Meet Erica Lassen, 2022 Graduate Dean’s Medalist Nominee


Erica Lassen sits outside, smiling for the camera. She is wearing a black blouse. There are trees and shrubs in the background.

Erica Lassen is one of the 2022 Graduate Dean’s Medalist nominees for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. She has earned her master’s degree in communication.

A graduate of Dinuba High School, Lassen completed two years at Reedley College before transferring to Fresno Pacific University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in social science – secondary education in 2005.

Lassen was hired as an articulation officer at Fresno State in 2007, and later became the assistant registrar of degree audit and transfer credit. In these roles, she oversaw Fresno State’s articulation data and worked with community college articulation officers and Fresno State department chairs to determine course equivalencies. The efficient use of transfer coursework ensures that students are on track to graduate by not taking unnecessary courses.

Lassen also co-implemented and was the campus administrator of the ARRC workflow, which enables faculty to help students with a variety of degree related tasks including substituting courses to meet requirements in their major. Lassen’s work enabled her to advocate for student-focused practices through her participation in several committees on campus regarding general education and curriculum.

“My time at Fresno State impacted me in so many ways. I learned so much about process, systems, and people. I grew more confident in my ability to lead and effect positive change. I was able to really grow as a person and in my skills working for Laura Yager and Jenny Diaz, so much so that I was able to move into a very highly sought-after position with ASSIST in 2021.”

A selfie portrait of Erica Lassen, her two children, and her husband.
Lassen and her family

Lassen joined the ASSIST team as a senior articulation analyst in September of 2021. She’s continued to work full-time for the duration of her Master’s program, and was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA while balancing her career, family responsibilities, and personal scholarship.

“For [my thesis], I studied mother-daughter conflict communication,” Lassen said. “The purpose of my work was to assess whether dehumanization is present in mother-daughter conflict experiences, thereby determining whether fairness was experienced in the mother-daughter relationships of my [study] participants. This was accomplished by applying a social justice perspective and framework to [those relationships] to assess the role of fairness.”

Originally inspired to conduct this research by her relationships with her own mother and daughter, Lassen found that her thesis addressed a large knowledge gap. “As I studied and I was in the research, I was seeing there really was a lack of research out there looking at a mother-daughter relationship from both of their perspectives. There were a lot of calls for that in the research and I really wanted to step in and fill that gap. That’s what I tried to do.”

Utilizing her research, Lassen co-authored a book chapter for Casing Conflict Communication, a book being published by Kendall Hunt this spring.

Lassen plans to expand her research after graduating and eventually write her own book on mother-daughter communication experiences. She also plans to continue supporting transfer students through her work with ASSIST and in the classroom.

“As a transfer student myself, and someone who has worked in intersegmental student transfer for nearly 16 years, teaching at a community college level is a passion project for me. I want to take everything I’ve learned and do what my professors did for me with the next generation of students.”


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