Cal Lutheran launches $1 million program
Strong students face obstacles on path to doctorates
(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 25, 2018) Several of the first participants in a $1.16 million federally funded California Lutheran University effort to diversify the pool of people with doctorates will present their research at UCLA this week in an important step toward graduate studies.
The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is for high-achieving undergraduates who are low-income, first-generation college students or of an ethnicity or gender that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education.
Because research experience is key to preparing for doctoral studies, Cal Lutheran’s 21 McNair Scholars received five-week summer residential fellowships to conduct studies with help from faculty mentors. Thirteen will present their results today through Friday at the 2018 National McNair Scholars Conference. Research topics include the impact of the Thomas Fire on soil microbial diversity, California’s dwindling water supply and sexual violence on college campuses.
Like Ronald McNair, who overcame racial and class injustice to earn a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and to become the second African-American in space, Cal Lutheran’s McNair Scholars face a range of systemic challenges that could derail them from continuing their education. The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Educationwill enable the university to provide research-based and culturally responsive mentorship to support the students as they navigate graduate studies.
“McNair Scholars are motivated and driven to succeed,” said Janet Awokoya, a former McNair Scholar who became the director of Cal Lutheran’s program in June. “We just need to support them as they overcome systemic barriers so they can maximize their potential, realize their goals and develop into change agents dedicated to finding solutions.”
Each year, up to 25 new students will be selected to participate in the two-year program. They are matched with a faculty mentor and provided with support to publish and present their research. They also attend sessions on choosing and paying for graduate school, preparing for admissions tests and writing personal essays.
The members of the inaugural cohort of Cal Lutheran McNair Scholars are Vanessa Avalos of Fresno, Christian Bustillos of Barstow, Alicia Cabrera of Los Angeles, Vianca Castaneda-Correa of Atwater, Cortez Espinoza of Granada Hills, Stephanie Figueroa of North Hollywood, Giovanni Flores of Santa Paula, Alexis Ghattas of Lancaster, Sandy Gonzalez of Altadena, Emily A. Johnson of Palmdale, Sienna Magdaleno of Oxnard, Nodirkhon Mamatov of Tarzana, Anya Moody of Visalia, Kyrra Nielson of Utah, Angelika Pasion of Santa Maria, Luis Perez of Oxnard, Joanna Portillo of Canyon Country, Hope Ramos of Woodland Hills, Lorena Silva of Ventura, Zujaja Tehreem of Ventura and Ariana Valdez of Las Vegas.
- Cal Lutheran presents poet laureate series
Mon February 1, 2021
California Lutheran University is presenting a free three-part webinar series on U.S. poets laureate that will include a reading by one of the writers.
- AmeriCorps Fellows begin county service
Thu January 28, 2021
California Lutheran University’s first AmeriCorps Civic Action Fellows have begun serving low-income and immigrant populations throughout Ventura County as part of a first-in-the-nation program.
- Art activities, therapy free for fire victims
Mon January 6, 2020
California Lutheran University is offering free art workshops, counseling and presentations designed to help those who have moved past the immediate crisis of wildfires to a stage where they can process the experience and begin healing.
- Cal Lutheran receives $1M to help pastors
Wed October 17, 2018
California Lutheran University has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help pastors and church leaders throughout 14 Western states avoid burnout and thrive in their ministries.
- Cal Lutheran gets $6.5M in federal grants
Tue October 2, 2018
California Lutheran University has been awarded more than $6 million in federal grants to implement two new programs --- one to increase the number of Latinos and other underrepresented students who graduate from college and the other to increase the number who earn teaching credentials.
- Cal Lutheran launches $1 million program
Wed July 25, 2018
Several of the first participants in a $1.16 million federally funded California Lutheran University effort to diversify the pool of people with doctorates will present their research at UCLA this week in an important step toward graduate studies.
- Cal Lutheran receives $195,000 NSF grant
Fri September 8, 2017
The National Science Foundation awarded two members of the California Lutheran University faculty a $195,000 grant to work with undergraduate students to research proteins that enable pathogenic bacteria to thrive.
- Brainwave-to-speech system under study
Thu February 16, 2017
A California Lutheran University faculty member has received a $67,000 grant to assess whether a new brain-computer interface can efficiently help nonverbal people to speak.
- Cal Lutheran receives $4.63M STEM grant
Thu September 29, 2016
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California Lutheran University a $4.63 million grant to support students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- Cal Lutheran receives $1.2M federal grant
Thu July 21, 2016
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California Lutheran University a $1.2 million grant to provide Ventura County’s only federal TRIO program serving middle school students.