Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press

Two former OLM students earn top honors at Fresno State

Josh Heupel
Josh Heupel
Lucca Lorenzi
Lucca Lorenzi

Our Lady of Mercy School in Merced — a Catholic elementary school under the Diocese of Fresno — continues to produce award-winning students who pursue constructive and positive endeavors.

Especially noteworthy this year are the accomplishments of former students Joshua Heupel and Lucca Lorenzi, both now top scholars at Fresno State University.

The two were recently selected as Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists based on academic excellence, community involvement, and other achievements. They were among eight Fresno State undergraduates to win the award — all selected from the eight schools and colleges at Fresno State, along with the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Later this month, one medalist from the group will be announced as the President’s Undergraduate Medalist — the University’s highest academic honor for an undergraduate student.

Heupel of Le Grand earned a B.S. in agricultural business and political science with a 3.98 GPA. through the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State. The Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholar double-majored in agricultural business and political science. His honors thesis was titled “California’s Pesticide Regulation Policy Future: A Case Study on 1,3-Dichloropropene in Strawberry Production.”

Heupel’s research allowed him to work with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. His political science project titled “California’s Water Rights: A Challenge to the State’s Mitigation of Water Needs” was on water rights, the drought, and underserved communities.

Heupel was a congressional intern for congressmen David Valadao and Jimmy Panetta. He participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University this past summer. He was also a supplemental instructor in the Learning Center, helping other students with agricultural business quantitative methods. He served on the Camp Kesem coordinator board, volunteered during the Fresno State FFA Field Day, and was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Heupel plans to attend Princeton University to pursue a master’s of public affairs and hopes to get a doctorate in the future.

Lucca Lorenzi, who attends the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, earned his B.A. in media, communications, and journalism (public relations option) with a 4.0 GPA.

In high school, Lorenzi underwent successful surgery to remove a tumor that grew into his left nostril, eye, sinuses, and throat. To show his thanks to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Lorenzi started Pack it Up for Packard, a collection drive for the hospital’s therapy program and library, which donated over 3,000 art supplies, 300 books, and $6,000. He was invited to shadow the hospital’s foundation team when he discovered he could combine his passion for art, writing, and public speaking into a career in public relations.

Lorenzi is a Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholar, worked as a multimedia student assistant for the Fresno State Transportation Institute, and was a writer for the Fresno County Historical Museum’s Italian Heritage Exhibit.

During the pandemic, Lorenzi created thank-you videos for Lucile Packard donors and art videos for patients. He helped with fundraising for the hospital’s virtual toy drive and served as a patient ambassador for Stanford’s 2021 Virtual Dance Marathon. He was a Washington, D.C. intern in Congressman Jim Costa’s office and was one of Valley Children’s Hospital’s inaugural marketing interns.

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