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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

MFT Student Sarah Kouzi Talks Therapy, Culture and Family in U-T Commentary

Sarah Kouzi, a master’s student in San Diego State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program, has published a commentary in the San Diego Union-Tribune reflecting on the intersection between her culture and her career as a therapist. She explores her desire to dispel the stigma about mental health in the Arab and Muslim communities in America — and in her own family. 

“In this work, I find myself asking: What does it mean to belong to a marginalized community with stigma about mental health, and also serve it?” Kouzi writes. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

COE Faculty Launch Center to Advance Research into Black Education, Wellness

Estella Chizhik and Sesen Negash
Drs. Estella Chizhik and Sesen Negash. Photo/illustration by Ian Ordonio and Manny Uribe.

In the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd last spring, a group of Black faculty in the San Diego State University College of Education met virtually to share their grief, vent their frustration — and strategize what to do about it. 

“I was attending UCLA during the beating of Rodney King, so I've seen cycles of this,” said Dr. Estella Chizhik, professor of teacher education, referring to the Black motorist whose brutal beating by police in 1991 sparked worldwide outrage when the officers were acquitted on charges of using excessive force. 

“I just wanted it to stop somehow. It seemed like there needed to be some very intentional thinking behind these issues related to bias, police violence and the Black experience.” 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Homegrown Role Model: Alumna Named Finalist for Presidential STEM Honor

Phet Pease

During the winter break chill, middle school teacher Phet Pease (’05) received a text message from a former student that warmed her heart. The young woman had just been offered early acceptance and a full-ride scholarship to study computer science at Brown University — her dream school. 

The hallowed halls of the Ivy League may seem a long way away from City Heights — an underserved San Diego neighborhood with many English language learners and few parents with college degrees. But thanks to Pease, a San Diego State University alumna who teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at Wilson Middle School, it’s closer than ever before. 

“Students who have gone through my STEM classes are going to great schools and they're pursuing STEM careers,” Pease says. “And it’s because they’ve been given the opportunity to do so.” 

New EDL Grant Helps Principal Preparation Programs Adjust to Pandemic Realities

Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda
Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda. Photo by Ian Ordonio.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to all facets of the educational system, and the development of future leaders has been no exception. Ordinarily, aspiring school administrators would engage in hands-on experience with a variety of responsibilities a school leader will encounter. This might involve shadowing a principal, engaging the community or leading professional development and other on-the-job tasks. 

But with education gone virtual and mentors spread perilously thin, existing and new challenges around school needs have surfaced that current and aspiring administrators will need to be prepared to address.

An Agent of Change: CFD’s Ritblatt Retires After 25 Years

Shulamit Ritblatt

As she looks back over a transformational career as a professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Child and Family Development, Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt remembers one particular moment of inspiration. It was her first time teaching the course CFD 590: Children With Special Needs. There were the usual lectures, discussions and class readings, but she just couldn’t shake the notion that something was missing. 

“I was starting to teach it and I realized that the students didn't have any idea about what it was like to really work with a child with special needs,” recalls Ritblatt, an expert in early childhood social-emotional development. 

So she set out to change that. 

7 Things You Didn't Know About Cecy Beltran

Cecy Beltran

It takes a wide variety of skills to be successful as an administrative support coordinator, and Cecy Beltran has perhaps the widest range of skills imaginable. Cecy is a master of multiple languages, family budgeting, healthy living and even morning zoo radio! Find out more in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Hundreds Attend Dual Language Conference, New Virtual Center Launched

Image from virtual conference

Strong participation and the unveiling of a new center for bilingual and bicultural children’s books highlighted the 2021 San Diego Dual Language Conference, which took place virtually from Jan. 29-30. 

Bringing together top research and voices around bilingual education and equity, the conference was jointly hosted by San Diego State University’s Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (DLE), the San Diego County Office of Education and the Butte County Office of Education. More than 800 people registered for the annual event, including international guests from Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Nicaragua and the United Arab Emirates.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

SDSU Alumni Sweep the San Diego County School Counselor of the Year Awards

San Diego County Counselor of the Year award winners (from left) Ann Pierce, Bonnie Hayman and Cherryl Baker.
San Diego County Counselor of the Year award winners (from left) Ann Pierce, Bonnie Hayman and Cherryl Baker.

Ann Pierce, Bonnie Hayman and Cherryl Baker work in very different settings, from elementary schools dotting San Diego County’s rugged backcountry, to an urban fine arts middle school, to a large North County high school.

But they share two notable commonalities.

For one, all three were recently named 2021 School Counselors of the Year by the San Diego County Office of Education. Now in its second year, the honor recognizes top counselors at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

The other? All three received their training in master’s programs in San Diego State University’s Department of Counseling and School Psychology.

Monday, February 1, 2021

DLE Professor Serves on Biden-Harris Transition Education Policy Committee

Dr. Margarita Machado-Casas

San Diego State University Professor Dr. Margarita Machado-Casas was tapped by the Biden-Harris presidential transition team to help develop policy recommendations for advancing equity in the education workforce.

Machado-Casas, chair of SDSU’s Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education, served on the Diversity Education Workforce subcommittee of the Biden-Harris National Education Policy Committee.