Stellar year for SF State pre-doctoral scholars

Ten SF State students have promising futures as researchers and professors thanks to the California Pre-Doctoral Program. They are among only 66 students from the California State University (CSU) system selected for the prestigious pre-doctoral scholarship and professional development program this year. SF State ranked second in the CSU for the number of students chosen. Five more SF State students received honorable mentions for outstanding applications.

A photo of researcher using sophisticated lab equipment.

Pre-doctoral scholars are undergraduate or graduate students preparing for teaching and research careers.

Pre-doctoral scholars, also known as Sally Casanova Scholars, receive faculty mentorship and $3,000 toward educational and career development activities including travel to professional conferences and fees for graduate school exam preparation and applications. Pre-doctoral scholars are also eligible to apply for fully paid summer research internships at any doctoral-granting institution in the country.

Sponsored by the CSU Foundation, the Pre-Doctoral Program supports the ambitions of promising CSU students who want to teach at the college level. Designed to increase the diversity of college faculty, the program targets juniors, seniors and graduate students from communities in which doctoral degrees are not a common pursuit.

SF State’s 2011-12 doctoral scholars are Nicole Chaffee, chemistry; Alexander Farrow, cinema; Cassandra Freeman, American Indian studies; Sylvia Kocieda, philosophy; Courtney Leung, health education; Victor Ma, philosophy; Jessica Orozco, biology; Joachim Pedersen, engineering; Alp Tuncaci, international relations and Adrienne Wilson, health education.

Joy Viveros, academic honors and fellowships advisor, coordinates the Pre-Doctoral Program at SF State. She said the students chosen this year shared experience and determination crucial to success. “Each of these students had been very active in their fields, often presenting at conferences or participating in research,” Viveros said. “They also prepared very precise articulations of their research interests and proposed detailed plans as to how they would utilize the award’s benefits.”

Applications for the Pre-Doctoral Program are due each year in early March, but Viveros stresses that it is never too early to begin an application, particularly the essay and description of research. She is available to meet with students and give feedback on applications as early as the fall semester. Students who are interested in applying for the program should visit the SF State Pre-Doctoral Program website.

-- Denize Springer