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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Perseverance and Perspective: In Wake of Adversity, Vasquez Finds Meaning in Fellowship

Dr. Marissa Vasquez


Tears were flowing as Dr. Marissa Vasquez read the acceptance letter.

The assistant professor in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) learned last month that she was named to the Faculty Fellows of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). It’s a great honor and opportunity bestowed by an organization that once helped instill Vasquez’s belief that she could become a professor.

But that wasn’t the reason for her tears.

Drs. Chizhik, Brandon Work to Bring More Students of Color into Teaching

Drs. Estella Chizhik, Regina Brandon and SDSU students.


For much of her childhood, Dr. Estella Chizhik attended predominantly white schools and was taught by exclusively white teachers. That was until her father, a U.S. Army officer, was transferred to Fort McPherson in Atlanta. He decided to send Estella to attend 7th grade at Sylvan Elementary, a public school in the predominantly black neighborhood near the base.

“The whole time I was growing up, from kindergarten through 6th grade, I thought I wasn't very bright,” said Chizhik, who is black. “Ms. Maribel looked at me and she asked what reading level I was in. I said, ‘I don't know, I guess I'm in the low.’ She said, ‘Let’s give the high reading group a try. I think there's something more there.’”

Placed in the high reading group, Chizhik said she was positive she would fail. Instead, she excelled.

Joint Doctoral Program Students Funded for Innovative Projects

Students in COE's Joint Doctoral Program in Education.
From left: Terry Sivers, Reka Barton, Darielle Blevins and Asha' Jones.

Editor’s note (Dec. 23, 4:40 p.m.): An earlier version of this post included a list of proposed speakers for a student-led program providing a critical exploration of slavery and reparations. The student has since opted to revise the program. The following article has since been revised and will be updated if new information becomes available.  

Four students in the Joint Ph.D. Program in Education (JDP) offered by San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University recently received $170,000 in funding from the Office of the Provost to bring programming designed to improve the experience of Black students to SDSU during the spring semester.

COE News in Brief

COE News in Brief graphic

Accomplishments, awards, events and more — here’s a glance at a few things you may have missed in the College of Education over the past month:

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Luke Duesbery

Luke Duesbery 7 Things Graphic

Dr. Luke Duesbery is an associate professor in the School of Teacher Education and co-directs the online master’s in teaching and directs our college’s Center for Teaching Critical Thinking and Creativity. But there is more to him than just that. Find out more about Luke in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff!