Allison Harness

Allison Harness

Dean's Scholar

Major: Biological Sciences/Conservation and Organismal Biology
College of Science

The course of my life has had many challenges from early childhood to my adult years. I lost both of my parents before completing high school so I had to learn to take care of myself at a very early age. Both my parents were the greatest influence on my morals and ethics as they taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to and if I put forth my full effort, I would obtain great results. I apply this philosophy to everything I do. That is not to say that I have not made mistakes along the way, but when I did, I would reassess my circumstances and make the necessary corrections to put myself on the right track again. I was never an athletic person but found great strength and pride in excelling in academics. I was the kid that everyone wanted to copy their homework but felt it was more important that they too learned the subject matter so I wouldn’t let them. I didn’t attend college straight from high school, I chose to start a family first. It was not until my children were mostly grown that I decided it was time to continue my education. I had been working indoors my entire adult life and decided it was time to get outside and put my skills to use affecting the environment in which we live so I chose a degree in Biology focusing on conserving the environment and the organisms that live there. My time at SJSU has been so positive. All of the Biology Department faculty and staff have been so wonderful and encouraging in helping me determine the best course of action to enhance my future career but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Stephanie Trewhitt as the most influential of all. She was my initial academic advisor, the person who helped me decide which courses to take and when, and the person that, when I felt like things weren’t working out well, would tell me to keep going and putting forth the effort and that all would work out in the end. I strive for excellence the one way that I know how, by working hard and putting great effort into learning all that I can. Receiving the Dean’s Scholar award and being acknowledged is the icing on the cake for me. It reminds me that all my effort and hard work means something special not only to me but to those around me. To all students, young and old, I would say this: school is hard, learning is hard, work is hard, life is hard but, if you put forth your best effort and apply yourself to your fullest potential, you will obtain great results. It is never too late to learn new things. Life is your classroom. I’m proud of the person I am today. I’m proud of my children and the great people they have become. I am proud to be a Spartan.


Nominated by Jeffrey Honda and Shannon Bros

"Allison is a current member of the Tri-Beta Biological, Golden Key International, and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Societies and a recipient of the Arthur and Karin Nelson Science and the Michael Lee Scholarships. Allison has successfully transitioned from a career in business to biology. She has maintained excellent grades while balancing family, research, and teaching assistant duties. She is currently pursuing her MS at SJSU (in my lab), studying West Nile Virus in Santa Clara County."