McNair Scholars Class of 2019



Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Kristin Beals, Psychology

Thesis:   Did You Hear What They Were Talking About? The Effects of Objectifying Language on Academic Performance and Body Perception     

Admitted to:  Northwestern University; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Michigan; University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Attending:  Joint Ph.D. program in Psychology and Women Studies, University of Michigan

Erick is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. His research interests include genderstereotypes, gender norms and sexual objectification. His career goal is to become a tenure-track faculty member at a four-year university. Erick is also a Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar and a member of the Psi Chi Psychological Honors Society.


Judith Avalos AvilaJUDITH AVALOS AVILA  

Geology, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Mentor:   Dr. Matthew Kirby, Geological Sciences

Thesis:   3000 Years of Hydroclimatic Variability Recorded in the Sediments of North Yolla Bolly Lake, CA

Admitted to:  Pennsylvania State University; University of California, Davis; University of Minnesota; Syracuse University

Attending:  Master's program in Geography, Environment, and Society, University of Minnesota

Judith is majoring in Geology. Her research explores the human impacts on water quality, groundwater discharge, overland flow discharge, and water sheds (i.e. over pumping, infiltration of contaminants, stream capture). Her career goal is to work as a hydrogeologist at the county level to reassure clean water for all of the inhabitants of that county. Judith served as lead tutor for the AVID Program and is also a Futures Scholar. She is an Honors Program student and has been a recipient of the Dean's Honor List for seven semesters in a row. The Geology department awarded her the Outstanding Major Award.


Darnell CalderonDARNELL CALDERON  

Sociology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Anthony Alvarez, Sociology

Thesis:  Determinants of Anti-Immigrant Attitudes: A Quantitative Analysis Using the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS)

Admitted to:  University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Cruz

Attending:   Ph.D. program in Sociology, University of California, Irvine

Darnell is majoring in the Sociology of Inequalities with a minor in Chicano/a Studies. His research interest include Race and Ethnicity, Culture, Immigration, Latina/o Studies, Social Inequalities, and Economic Sociology. His career goal is to become a Researcher, Analyst, and/or Professor. Darnell has been on the Dean's list for his academic excellence. 


Shirley ChikukwaSHIRLEY CHIKUKWA  

Music, College of the Arts

Mentor:   Dr. Katherine Reed, Music

Thesis:   Rethinking Domestic Music-Making in the Nineteenth Century: Performance Practice in Film Adaptations of Jane Austen Novels

Admitted to:   Brown University; Columbia University; University of Indiana; University of California, Los Angeles

Attending:  Ph.D. program in Music, Columbia University

Shirley is majoring in Music History and Theory. Her research explores the choral traditions of Southern Africa, specifically Zimbabwe. Her career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and catalogue these musical traditions so that they are preserved. Shirley serves as Secretary of the American Association of Choral Directors, CSUF Chapter.



Chicana/o Studies and Sociology, College of  Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Edwin Lopez, Sociology

Thesis:   The Criminalization of Learning: How Legal Status Affects the Education of Undocumented Male Students

Admitted to:  California State University, Northridge; California State University, Long Beach

Attending:  Master's Program in Chicano/a Studies, California State University, Long Beach 

Ulisses is majoring in Chicana/o Studies & Sociology. His research interests includes the school-to-prison pipeline and college matriculation for undocumented Latino males. His career goal is to become a university professor. Ulisses was on the Dean’s List in the Spring and Fall of 2016.




Human Services, College of Health and Human Development

Mentor:   Dr. Yuying Tsong, Human Services

Thesis:  Mental Health and Educational Disparities: Comparisons of Psychological Functioning and Academic Outcomes Between White and Ethnic Minority College Students in Recovery

Admitted to:  Boston University; University of California, Riverside

Attending:  Ph.D. program in Sociology, University of California, Riverside

Shayna is majoring in Human Services with an emphasis in Mental Health and Sociology Her research interests prevention and intervention of substance abuse, substance abuse recovery methods, co-occurring treatment modalities, societal effects on psychological wellbeing of individuals recovering from substance abuse and women empowerment vs. exploitation. Her career goal is to become a faculty member in an interdisciplinary department and Director of a program for recovering students. Shayna has been on the Dean's List in 2016 and 2017. She has held various leadership positions for a number of organizations including Las Mujeres Pa’lanta, the Substance Abuse Awareness & Prevention Student Association, the Health & Human Development Inter-Club Council - Substance Abuse Awareness & Prevention, Mentorship Program, and Event Planning. Shayna holds a California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators certification: CATC II and was a scholarship recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Alpha Gamma Sigma Academic Honor Society.



Sociology and Chicana/o Studies,   College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Maria Malagón, Sociology

Thesis:    The Multifaceted Experiences of Latina Deans and their Pathway to Deanship

Admitted to: Teachers College, Columbia University, California State Universiy, Fullerton

 Kimberly is majoring in Sociology and Chicano/a Studies. Her research interests include Access, equity, race and language in education, women in higher education leadership, the sociology of education, racial and gender microaggressions on college campuses and its trickledown effect on educational policies and reforms and how Chicana feminist epistemologies inform leadership. Her career goal is obtain a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Organizations to become a Latina President at a University. Kimberly is a recipient of the Fullerton College Woman of Distinction Award and was names Fullerton College’s 2016 Woman of the Year.



Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Laura Zettel-Watson, Psychology

Thesis: The Impact of Pain Intensity and Social Support on Cognitive Functioning and Quality of Life in Older Adults with Fibromyalgia

Admitted to:  University of Southern California; University of Southern Florida; University of Massachusetts, Boston

Attending:  Ph.D. program in Aging Studies, University of Southern Florida

Christina is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Gerontology. Her research interests include the impact of social support on older adults with chronic illnesses. In the future she hopes to explore aspects of chronic illnesses, namely Alzheimer's disease and memory of the aging individual. Her career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and become a professor. Christina is also a recipient of the Academic Senate Dean’s Honors Scholarship, the Opal Jones Trust Scholarship in Psychology, the Robert and Adrienne Westerbeck Scholarship, the George and Ruri Sugimoto Scholarship, the Leadership and Volunteer Scholarship from Pasadena City College.



Sociology and Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Jorge Fontdevila, Sociology 

Thesis:   Intimate Powers: Millennials’ Dynamics  Within Romantic Relationships

Attending:  Master's program in Demography and Social Analytics at the University of California, Irvine

Mimi is majoring in Sociology and Psychology. Their research interests include the sociology of emotions, language, networks, inequality gender and sexuality. They are also interested in the social psychology of LGBTQ+ experiences and identity development. They hope to become a professor and researcher. Mimi was the President of the Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) Honor Society Club and was an AKD Representative for the Humanities & Social Science Inter-club Council. They were also Treasurer of the Philosophy Club. Mimi received the Carroll Craik Scholarship Award.



Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Math Cuajungco, Biological Science

Thesis:   Functional Characterization of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the TMEM163 Gene

Admitted to:  University of Pennsylvania; University of Washington; Tufts University

Attending:  Ph.D. program in Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania

Vanessa is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Cell and Molecular Biology. Her research interests include the neurobiology of pre-frontal cortex formation, synapse communication, and post-transcriptional regulation. She hopes to attain a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Vanessa is also a  Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program Scholar. She received the Department of Psychology Applied Psychology Award and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Schweitzer Research and Creative Activities Scholarship.



Sociology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mentor:   Dr. Maria Malagón, Sociology

Thesis:   Traveling Your Way to Success: Success   within Latinx Students Graduating from a   Hispanic Serving Institution 

Attending:   Ph.D. program in Education, University of Pittsburgh

Marialexia is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Chicana/Chicano Studies. Her research interests include higher education, Latina/o's in higher education and first generation students in college. Her career goal is to work in a college access program to help students reach higher education. Marialexia is also a Deans List awardee and the Community Service Chair for Hermanas Unidas de CSUF.