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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Presidential Graduate Research Fellows

This semester, SDSU welcomes five Presidential Graduate Research Fellows to campus.
By SDSU News Team

This semester, San Diego State University welcomes six Presidential Graduate Research Fellows to the Aztec family. This competitive, merit-based campus program supports the recruitment of exceptional non-resident applicants to SDSU’s many graduate programs. 

Blaire O’neal

Blaire O’Neal
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
GPA: 4.0; Ph.D., Geography

A graduate program can only be as good as its researchers, and this is where SDSU really stands out. SDSU’s geography department is full of professors engaged in interesting, relevant research.

I’m most proud of my own research on vacant lots with perceived environmental contamination in low-income neighborhoods in Memphis, which helped the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation move forward with a clean-up and revitalization grant. Also, my work mapping human-elephant conflict in Namibia identified locations where NGOs should focus their efforts to avoid competition for crucial water resources.

I like to feel that my research effects change in the world. My professional goal is become a tenure-track professor.

Gabriela Meade
Gabriela Meade
Hometown: Waterbury, Vermont
GPA: 3.91; Ph.D., Language and Communication Disorders

I did my undergraduate studies in cognitive science at Dartmouth College. I chose SDSU for doctoral study because I fell in love with the sense of “family” in my new doctoral program. My future lab fosters the tight-knit academic community that I am seeking, as well as access to a wide range of research and clinical resources.

I am most proud of spending a year in the Netherlands with a Fulbright Study Grant and being the first in my family to go for a Ph.D.

My goals are to put my knowledge to use and to share it with others around the world. I am particularly interested in partnering with teachers to explore both how my research related to second language vocabulary learning can be applied to improving classroom instruction. I have already connected with researchers in France and the Netherlands who have similar interests, and am looking forward to building other partnerships in the future.

Brianna Kinlicheene

Brianna Kinlicheene
Hometown: Fort Defiance, Arizona
GPA: 3.83; Ed.S., School Psychology

I chose SDSU’s school psychology graduate program because of its outstanding dedication to multicultural competence, emphasis on intervention, and loyalty to children in academic settings.  I am most proud of my undergraduate research dedicated to stereotypes of mental and physical illness, and stereotype threat in Native American culture.

Also, I am proud of an internship I was a part of at Napa State Hospital in Napa, CA, working with severely clinically ill patients.

My goals while at SDSU include becoming an advocate and mentor for students who are underrepresented and creating a positive and mindful attitude in schools. Professionally, I would like to work with Native American students in schools that are in need of school psychologists. 

Mckayla Watkins

Mckayla Watkins
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
GPA: 3.8; MFA, Creative writing

I chose SDSU because of the MFA creative writing program's global and diverse approaches to writing and because of its outstanding faculty.

Writing has been my passion since first grade! I plan to pursue my Ph.D, teach college writing classes and establish a nonprofit that provides creative writing resources to grade school students, especially in underprivileged areas.

Kriza Puig

Kriza Puig
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
GPA: 3.34; MA, Women’s Studies

I chose SDSU because it offers one of the best programs in women's studies in the country.

I am a professor of comparative arts at the Universidad de Salvador in Argentina. I’m most proud of my research using the arts to disrupt cycles of violence against indigenous women in Argentina and my grant-supported work with immigrant girls who have survived human trafficking.

I plan to pursue a Ph.D. and combine my academic work with activism in order to help create actual change in the lives of women.