Skip to Main ContentCOE HomeSDSU Home

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two Students Attended Grad Prep Academy

Alejandro Arias and Oscar Duran
Two San Diego State University undergraduate students participated in an all-expense paid program at an Ivy League school.

Oscar Duran and Alejandro Arias attended the Grad Prep Academy, a University of Pennsylvania project that aims to prepare undergraduate scholars for graduate study and research-related careers in the field of education.


“Words cannot explain how thrilled I was when I found out I had been one of the select few to form part of this Academy,” said Duran, a junior majoring in Social Science, with a minor in Counseling and Social Change. “I felt extremely proud of myself and thankful for this great opportunity. I knew this would be a life changing experience, and I wasn’t wrong.”

Arias and Duran were among the 32 participants selected from a pool of 127 applicants for the prestigious program at Penn’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. The Grad Pre Academy was established to promote graduate school among Latino, African-American, Native-American, Asian-American & Pacific Islander undergraduate students.

The Grad Prep Academy included presentations, panels and discussions related to education, race, research and attending graduate School. Academy scholars are assigned a doctoral student mentor to support them through the graduate school application process. Scholars also have the opportunity to participate in monthly webinars on topics not covered at the Academy. They also get a $1200 voucher to enroll in preparatory courses for the Graduate Record Examination.

“The Academy has given me a deeper understanding of the power of obtaining a Ph. D. and how to prepare for the graduate school application process,” said Arias, a second year transfer student majoring in Foods and Nutrition with minors in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Counseling and Social Change.

Both students thanked their mentor, Dr. Marissa Vasquez-Urias, for recommending the program and for guiding them through the application process.