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Seven Titans Named CSU Pre-Doctoral Scholars

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It’s written in their future. An advanced degree and a future in teaching.

Seven underrepresented students at Cal State Fullerton have begun a new educational journey, working toward a doctoral-level degree and, someday, teaching on a college campus. 

They are Sally Casanova Scholars in the California State University Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program, a systemwide initiative launched in 1989 to ensure that traditionally underrepresented students have more access to doctoral-level degrees and to broaden the pool of talented faculty members inclined to teach at the CSU. 

“The Sally Casanova scholarship is paving the way for me to earn my Ph.D., so that I can be one step closer to fulfilling my dream of coming back to a California State University campus as a faculty member,” said Mercy Tran of Anaheim, a senior psychology major.

“As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I definitely did not believe that there was a place for me in graduate school or academia. Being named a Sally Casanova scholar showed me that the CSU not only believes in my success as a future professor, but that it is invested in my goals and aspirations,” she added.

“This award has tremendously shifted my thinking from, ‘I can’t get a Ph.D.’ to “I can’t wait to get my Ph.D.!”

Stacy Guzman of Azusa, agreed: “Obtaining my Ph.D. has been my dream and it is something I have known for a long time that I wanted to pursue. This scholarship has given me the reassurance and tremendous support component that I was missing.

“I have been incredibly lucky to have a supportive mentor who has allowed me to work independently on my (research) project,” added the senior biochemistry major. “I realized research was what I wanted to pursue when I spent countless hours in the lab. The feeling of excitement for a new discovery was indescribable.”

The other Cal State Fullerton scholars, their class level, current degree programs and cities of residence are:

Michelle Cadwell ’09 (B.A. history) of Anaheim, graduate, history
Elizabeth Mercado Ayon of Ontario, senior, biological science-molecular biology and biotechnology
Araceli Robles of Santa Ana, graduate, anthropology
Bahar Tahamtani ’15 (B.A. psychology) of Fullerton, graduate, American studies
José Zamora ’15 (B.A. anthropology) of Lake Forest, graduate, anthropology 

Each honoree will receive a $3,000 scholarship and be offered opportunities to explore and prepare for doctoral programs, including a summer research internship program at a University of California campus or other doctoral-granting institution, travel to national symposiums, conferences or professional meetings, and other related activities. More information is available online.