Iuliana Manolache

Iuliana Manolache

President's Scholar

College of Education
Child & Adolescent Development

The Child and Adolescent Development major was the last one on my mind as I walked on the San Jose State University campus for the first time. I switched my major from Microbiology, to Chemistry, to Psychology, to finally Child and Adolescent Development. The reason why I attained this decision was because of life experience; I started working with high-school students during my first year of college. I was a tutor and I started to realize how enjoyable and important it is for me to work with such a population. I decided that the Child and Adolescent Development major would prepare me to attend better to the emotional, physical, cognitive, and social needs of all age ranges of children.

Being awarded as President's scholar is a great honor for me. This is definitely the type of recognition each one of the hard-working students attending San Jose State University deserves. This award is an emblem of the great knowledge that was passed on to me by the professors at this University; I was fascinated with all that I was learning, so getting good grades in my classes was just a result of the enthusiasm my professors inspired in me. I am very thankful for being awarded the President's scholar award as my way through college was not always easy. Each semester I took many units and almost each semester I worked a few hours too many in order to pay my way through college. Not having any financial support made it difficult to continue my education, but it also made me more motivated to pursue what I was interested it. Ultimately, my journey was worth all the while; I am a better person, always ready to help and support my community.

Many individuals have been influential in my life and I will always be grateful to each one of them. First of all, my mother has always been supportive of me continuing my education, although her circumstances disabled her from helping me financially. My mother has been a hard-working and honest individual her whole life, she did not have an easy life and I always appreciate that she upheld her morals even through the worst problems she was faced with. My mother has been and always will be a model for me in how I act in who I am.

Another positive influence has been my boyfriend, Samuel. He has been my biggest supporter since Day 1 at San Jose State University four years ago. Samuel never let me give up or fall behind on my assignments when I was overstressed and overworked. He listened to me when I felt sad and unmotivated, and he was patient with me when I needed it most.

I also want to mention my friend and co-worker Milara, who has always upheld the highest standards at work, while being a great achiever in college. I am proud of her accomplishments and she is also another great role model for me.

My program director, Erin, has always showed me the results of hard-work in a combination with caring. Erin really cares about the students we serve, which motivates her to work hard at keeping the funding of our program stable.

Collectively, the students I have worked with for the past three and a half years motivated me to pursue my degree and try to be the best role-model for them. Through their accomplishments and letters of thank you, my students have had an important and positive influence in my life.

From an academic point of view, a few outstanding professors from the Child and Adolescent Development Department come to my mind. Doctor John Jabagchourian is a driven, enthusiastic, and supportive professor. He really cares about each one of his students, and his lectures reminded me of the fascination I have with young children and infants' cognitive abilities. Doctor Jabagchourian has been helping me with my honors thesis this semester and his guidance has led me to amazing discoveries in my research. Next, professor Kaul, professor Mathur, and Dr. Bee-Gates have each inspired me to motivate, understand, and care for each individual child or adolescent I encounter. I am thankful to each of the ones mentioned above and I am glad to have been able to learn from them.

Humans have unique characteristics such as passion and love. Therefore, each one needs to find what he or she is passionate about and pursue that knowledge, because, in the end, he or she will love the results. Academic excellence will clearly show how passionate one is about his or her field of study, and it will be the proof of learning all that one can about that area of knowledge.

After I graduate from college, I plan on pursuing a career that will really make a difference in this community. My future also upholds continual learning and pursuit of excellence.


A few words from her nominating professor:

Iuliana has demonstrated during her time at SJSU that she is truly an exceptional student and should be honored for her committed efforts in supporting first-generation college students in their pursuits of higher education. In addition to maintaining a very impressive 3.95 GPA in her studies here at SJSU and being awarded many scholarships and honors for her academic work, Iuliana has worked in the community as a tutor, mentor, counselor, program coordinator, and a researcher to advance the efforts of first-generation college students as they transition to San Jose State and other 4-year universities.

I first met Iuliana in my course (ChAD 170) and quickly noticed that she stood out as an exceptional student. Iuliana was well respected by the students in the course. Students would often look to her input during class discussions and pick her as a leader for course projects. She worked exceptionally well with others and helped others achieve in the course. Iuliana is also an active member of our Child & Adolescent Development student organization.

During my course, Iuliana approached me and expressed that she wanted to pursuit an honors thesis within our department, something that is very rarely done. Iuliana’s interest in cognitive development and her work with South-County Cal SOAP has materialized into a very comprehensive research project investigating the factors that promote successful transfer from community college to 4-year universities among first-generation college students. Iuliana is on course to completing this research this semester, and we look to disseminate this research to an education journal and local colleges and programs to support their efforts.

Iuliana has also served as a student representative on the Cal SOAP advisory board and Early Opportunities Program advisory board. Both of these programs provide the community with support to encourage and enable high school students to pursuit higher education. She has been a proven leader both in and out of the university. Her hard work has made her a valuable member of our University and local community. There are so many more great things that I can say about Iuliana and her contributions as a student, leader, steward of the community, and researcher.      
- Professor John Jabagchourian