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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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The scholarship helps current students explore and prepare to succeed in doctoral programs. The scholarship helps current students explore and prepare to succeed in doctoral programs.

Above and Beyond

Seven SDSU pre-doctoral students were recognized for outstanding achievements.
By SDSU News Team

The California Pre-Doctoral Program recognized seven San Diego State University Pre-Doctoral students with Sally Casanova scholarships.

The program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages.

Sally Casanova Scholars

Students who are chosen for the award have the benefit of direct one-on-one guidance afforded from faculty members from within the CSU, and the opportunity to work with faculty from doctoral-granting institutions. They also have opportunities to receive funding for activities such as:

  • Participation in a summer research experience at a doctoral-granting institution to receive exposure to the world of research in their chosen field
  • Visits to doctoral-granting institutions to explore opportunities for doctoral study
  • Travel to a national symposium or professional meeting in their chosen field
  • Graduate school applications and test fees

This year's scholars from SDSU include:

Name: Trevor Auldridge
Faculty mentor: Jung Choi
Grade level: Senior
Major: Sociology
Doctoral study field of interest: Education

Over the past couple of decades, there has been a plethora of educational research on school inequality based on class, race and gender. However, very few studies have focused on differences, and or similarities, between rural and urban schools. As such, Trevor is interested in conducting an ethnographic study of rural and urban Northern California high schools to understand how the context and politics of urbanity and rurality affect and inform knowledge transmission in the classroom.

Name: Adrian Bacong
Faculty mentor: Christina Holub
Grade level: Masters Second year
Major: Public health — health promotion and behavioral science
Doctoral study field of interest: Public health — epidemiology and biostatistics

Adrian’s research interests involve utilizing health data disaggregation to understand health disparities among different Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups. He currently works in community-based participatory research aimed at addressing health disparities within San Diego’s Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. His desire is to learn more about the contribution of acculturation and family networks on chronic disease management within API communities, in addition to the translation of evidence-based practice toward the creation of culturally tailored health interventions.

Name: Alba Garcia-Lozano
Faculty mentor: Alda Blanco
Grade level: Masters, second year
Major: Spanish
Doctoral study field of interest: Border literature and narratives

Alba’s area of research interest is in the literature and narratives of trans-border people, that is to say, those who live in-between the U.S. and Mexican border. With this research, she will explore the ambiguities and complexities of the cultural identities represented in the texts. She wants to research aspects such as language, identity and culture of the border shared by Southern California and northern Baja California.

Name: Babgen Manookian
Faculty mentor: Andrew Cooksy
Grade level: Senior
Major: Physical chemistry
Doctoral study field of interest: Computational physical chemistry

Babgen’s interests in research lie in computational physical chemistry with applications in renewable energy. Computational methods including density functional theory and ab-initio study can be utilized in order to analyze chemical reactions involved in different processes related to steps in renewable energy production. He is interested in studying the kinetics and/or thermodynamics of these systems to gain insight into how similar reactions on a larger scale may occur.

Name: Carlos Nowotny
Faculty mentor: Tom Huxford
Grade level: Senior
Major: Chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry
Doctoral study field of interest: Biochemistry

Carlos’ research interest is in studying NF-KB, a ubiquitous transcription factor protein that responds to potentially toxic stimuli by promoting the expression of genes involved in diverse biological functions including inflammation, cell adhesion, adaptive and innate immune responses, development, cellular growth and survival from apoptosis. Transcription factors, such as NF-KB, provide an essential link between cell signaling from environmental stimuli and proper expression of response genes.

Name: Grecia Perez
Faculty mentor: Ramona Perez
Grade level: Master’s candidate
Major: Latin American studies
Doctoral study field of interest: Anthropology and cultural geography

Grecia’s thesis investigates the impact of hydroelectric dam construction on rural Mexican communities. She has been a Tinker Foundation Fellow twice and is a teaching assistant for internships and summer field research for Latin American studies. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology or cultural geography in order to continue with her research and mentor the next generation of scholars from under-served communities. Her research interests include rural development, geopolitics, citizenship and social movements.

Name: Alexis Romero
Faculty mentor: Fridolin Weber
Grade level: Senior
Major: Physics
Doctoral study field of interest: Physics

Alexis has been actively involved in research since May 2015. Her first research project, conducted at SDSU, focused on the study of the gravitational redshift of deformed neutron stars. In the summer of 2015, she participated in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer Research Program, where she had the opportunity to conduct research on generating computer simulations of accelerator particle collisions. Her aim is to obtain a Ph.D. in physics and to combine her background in physics and computer science to conduct novel research in theoretical and computational physics.

About the California Pre-Doctoral Program

Each year, the California Pre-Doctoral Program awards funds to approximately 60 juniors, seniors and graduate students in the CSU. These funds are designed to enable current students to explore and prepare to succeed in doctoral programs in their chosen field of study.

Awards are based on competitive review of student applications and given to current upper-division or graduate students who demonstrate academic excellence while having experienced economic or educational disadvantage, as well as committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.