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Computer Science Student Receives Top CSU Award

Paul Chiou

My goal in life is to create mainstream Assistive Technologies to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to succeed.

Paul Chiou (’17, computer science) became fascinated with software as a child and dreamed of one day studying computer science, but a car accident threatened those dreams when he was in high school. Paralyzed from the neck down, Chiou needed a year of rehabilitation before he could resume his high school studies on a limited basis.

With unwavering persistence and the help of a devoted team, he never gave up on his education and plans to complete his master’s degree in computer science in spring 2018.

Chiou has been named the Trustee Emerita Claudia H. Hampton Scholar as part of the 2017 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. He along with 22 other recipients from across the system were honored Sept. 19 at the CSU Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach.

At the ceremony, Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley also presented a certificate of appreciation to Chiou’s grandmother, Kun Sheng Hou, who accompanied her grandson to every class.

Navigating life as a quadriplegic has been Chiou’s full-time occupation, but he draws inspiration from the late Professor Bruce Hillam, a quadriplegic and one of the founding members of Cal Poly Pomona’s computer science department.

Professor Hillam’s story helped Chiou envision a future beyond his wheelchair. Chiou hopes to one day motivate students as a college professor.

The Trustees’ Awards are the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement and provide donor-funded scholarships to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Students receiving the awards have all demonstrated inspirational resolve along the path to college success and many are the first in their families to attend college.

The 23 student scholarships range from $6,000 to $12,000, with the total amount awarded this year at $149,000.

The scholarship program was established in 1984 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation as an endowed scholarship fund to honor William Randolph Hearst, founder of the Hearst newspaper chain. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees, the CSU Foundation Board of Governors, and private donors.

In addition to the William Randolph Hearst recipient, 2017 scholars are named after Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi, Cisco Systems Inc., Trustee Emerita Claudia H. Hampton, Ron and Mitzi Barhorst, Trustee Emeritus Murray L. Galinson, Trustee Board Chair Rebecca D. and James Eisen, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, TELACU, Wells Fargo, Trustee Emeritus William Hauck and Padget Kaiser, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Michael A. and Debe Lucki, Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. and Catherine Reed, Edison International, Santé Health Systems/Scott Wells, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, SoCalGas, James Key, Trustee Emeritus Kenneth Fong, Mona C. Simpson/Boeing, Trustee Peter J. and Coralyn Taylor and Trustee Emeritus Peter Mehas.

Published on September 25, 2017

Impact Map

Explore Impact Map

The Impact Map shows how Cal Poly Pomona alumni are making a difference in Southern California and around the country. Explore the map or share your own impact.

Explore the map

Submit Your Story