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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ed Leadership Doctoral Alumni Honored With SDCOE’s Lighthouse Awards

Amy Illingworth ('15) and Cynthia Larkin (’13)
From left, Amy Illingworth ('15) and Cynthia Larkin (’13)
San Diego State University alumni Amy Illingworth ('15) and Cynthia Larkin (’13) were honored as “beacons in the education community” at the San Diego County Office of Education's (SDCOE) annual Lighthouse Awards
Illingworth, assistant superintendent of educational services at Encinitas Union School District, earned the Equity Champion award. Larkin, principal at San Diego’s Morse High School, earned the Turnaround School Site Leader award. Both are graduates of SDSU’s Educational Leadership (PK-12) Ed.D. program

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Meet COE's Outstanding Graduates from the Class of 2022

COE's 2022 outstanding graduates

Get to know the nine San Diego State University College of Education students who earned the title of Outstanding Graduate from the Class of 2022, as selected by their department, school or program.

Pair of Alumni Named Teachers of the Year by San Diego Unified

Andrea Loyko and Josh Rosenberg.
Andrea Loyko and Josh Rosenberg

Two San Diego State University School of Teacher Education alumni received San Diego Unified School District’s 2022 Teacher of the Year honor. Andrea Loyko (’04, ’19) and Josh Rosenberg (’06) were among the three recipients of the award, which was fittingly presented to them in a ceremony on May 3 — National Teacher Appreciation Day. 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: A Proud ‘Science Nerd’ Molds STEM Teachers

Donna Ross

When Donna Ross left her job as a classroom teacher in her native Oregon to enter the biology master’s program at San Diego State University, her intent was to transition from teacher to scientist. But being out in the field studying epibenthic algal mats — think the layer of slime on top of the mud in an estuary — gives one time to ponder one’s path. 
“I’d be out in thigh-high mud collecting data and I’d find myself thinking about how I would teach the information I was finding through the data I was collecting,” Ross recalls. “So I decided that while I loved biology, my heart was in teaching.” 

Schenkel Seeks to Build Meaningful Connections Between Kids and Science

Kathleen Schenkel

Kathleen Schenkel has a busy summer in store. She’ll soon be devising coastal climate learning kits that will be distributed to children across North America. Likely contents include craft supplies and polaroid cameras. 
If that doesn’t fit with a traditional understanding of how kids learn science, that’s by design. 
Schenkel, an assistant professor in San Diego State University’s School of Teacher Education, is co-leading a bi-national research project to explore innovative ways kids can build meaningful connections with their environments. 

Three COE Faculty Research Projects Awarded Post-Doctoral Support

SDSU campus at night

Three San Diego State University College of Education faculty research projects have been awarded funding for post-doctoral fellowships through the Division of Research and Innovation’s Support for Postdoctoral Fellowships Program. The program supports efforts that will have significant long-term impacts on the research, scholarship and creative activities at SDSU. 
Post-doctoral scholars will be hired to support two projects focused on autism research and another aiming to increase representation among Latinx students in STEM education. Here is a rundown of the awardees: 

ARPE’s Lisa Gates Receives Flurry of Campus Awards

Lisa and John Gates.
Lisa Gates with her husband, John Gates.

For Lisa Gates, it was a whirlwind week and a half. 
Over the span of 10 days, the director and advisor of San Diego State University’s leadership minor received not one, not two, but three campus awards. Gates was honored by Associated Students (A.S.), the Transfer Student Success Office, and the School of Communication. 

Creative Support Alternatives Celebrates 30 Years of Person-Centered Service

Mary Ellen Sousa (far left) and staff helped Chris (holding keys) become a homeowner in 2000.

It all started with one. Mary Ellen Sousa vividly remembers the first person Creative Support Alternatives ever served back in 1992 — a transition-age student with a developmental disability hoping to leave her group home and attend community college. Sousa and her colleagues successfully helped the young woman gain entry into the dorms at San Diego State University. 
This year, Creative Support Alternatives, which operates as part of SDSU’s Interwork Institute, is celebrating 30 years of providing supported living services and independent living services for people with developmental disabilities. Over the past three decades, the agency has supported about 150 individuals and expanded beyond San Diego County into Northern California’s Gold Country. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Alumni Spotlight: Karina Wong is Driven to Serve Others at ‘Full Force’

Karina Wong

To talk to Karina Wong (’15,’16, ’17) is to catch a glimpse of her boundless energy. Whether she’s discussing her career as a bilingual educator, her prodigious work in the community, or raising her two young children, the alumna of San Diego State University exudes seemingly inexhaustible enthusiasm. 
One wonders how she finds enough hours in the day for it all. 
“I make time,” Wong explains. “This is my life's purpose. And if I'm living my life's purpose, I'm going full force.” 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

CBB's Angela Byars-Winston Honored With 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award

Angela Byars-Winston

Angela Byars-Winston (’91, ’92) was instantly delighted when she found out she’d been named the San Diego State University College of Education’s recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. And when she glanced at her calendar and learned that the date she’d be honored — April 23 — was National Take a Chance Day, the honor began to feel even more special. 
“That didn't land on me lightly,” said Byars-Winston, who will be one of 10 SDSU graduates honored by SDSU Alumni at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. “There were so many people — mentors — who took a chance on me” 

ARPE's Toni Saia Inducted into Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

Dr. Toni Saia

Toni Saia has recognized from an early age that she mingles in a world that was not built with her in mind. A proud disabled woman and wheelchair user, she’s fought most of her life to break down environmental barriers placed in her path. There has been no shortage of them. 
“Very early on, I knew my advocacy skills had to be top notch,” Saia recalls. “When I was 5 or 6 in public school, I was told, 'Children like you play on this side of the school yard.’ There was a line on the ground. I remember going home and saying, ‘Mom, I'm not playing behind that line.’” 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: EDL's Wright Motivated By Untapped Potential

Dr. James Wright

Waterbury, Connecticut is known as The Brass City, an homage to its proud past as a hub for brassware manufacturing. In the early and mid 20th century, the industry's abundant blue-collar jobs were a magnet for migration, both from abroad and in the Jim Crow South. James Wright's large family — his mother had 15 siblings, and he counts more than 50 first cousins — was part of the latter, adding to a Black community that now makes up more than a fifth of Waterbury's population. 

But by the 1970s, The Brass City was starting to tarnish. The forces of deindustrialization caused factories to shutter and livelihoods to vanish. 

CCBMW Offers Black Wellness Providers Connections, Community

Candea Mosley, Myra Hollis and Sesen Negash
The CCBMW leadership team from left: Candea Mosley, Myra Hollis and Sesen Negash.

San Diego State University alumnus Ojore Lateef Bushfan (’07, ’09, ’15) intimately understands the importance of having Black wellness providers available to meet the needs of the Black community. That knowledge comes not only from his vocation as a marriage and family therapist, but also as a Black man who himself finds empowerment through therapy. 
“As a client who's worked with an African American practitioner, it feels nice to be able to talk to someone who gets it — who understands the experience,” said Bushfan, a graduate of the College of Education’s Community Based Block and Marriage and Family Therapy master’s programs. “I think it provides an opportunity for folks of African descent to lean into this thing called therapy, because it's very vulnerable, disclosing painful things. Rapport is important.” 

See What COE Researchers Have in Store for AERA Conference

AERA Conference Graphic

ARPE Faculty Emeriti Create Scholarship for Doctoral Students

ARPE professors emeriti
From left: Emeriti ARPE faculty members Ron Jacobs, Bobbie J. Atkins, Caren Sax and Fred McFarlane.

Even in retirement, San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) faculty are a tight-knit group. ARPE’s faculty emeriti still get together for regular happy hours where they — as professor emeritus Caren Sax puts it — “solve the problems of the world.” 
At the very least, they’ve solved some financial worries for future doctoral students. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Education Doctoral Student Awarded Fulbright Scholar Grant

Al Schleicher

As the reality of his Fulbright acceptance and upcoming semester abroad in Belize sinks in, Al Schleicher finds himself excited less by what he can gain from the experience than by what he can leave behind. 

Schleicher, a student in San Diego State University’s Joint Ph.D. Program in Education with Claremont Graduate University (JDP), will head to the Central American nation in January 2023 as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. He’ll be partnering with the University of Belize’s teacher education program on a project to build capacity to better train and support teachers. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

COE Climbs to No. 52 in U.S. News; No. 26 in Educational Administration

US News Graphic

San Diego State University’s College of Education moved up three spots to No. 52 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 list of best graduate education programs

COE’s educational leadership programs also garnered a No. 26 ranking in the publication’s educational administration specialty ranking. 

“Our latest rankings reflect a growing national acknowledgement of what we in our college have long known — that SDSU’s education programs are among the best in the country,” said Y. Barry Chung, dean of the College of Education. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Dean Chung Earns American Counseling Association Fellows Award

Dean Y. Barry Chung

San Diego State University College of Education Dean Y. Barry Chung has been named a recipient of the 2022 Fellows Award from the American Counseling Association (ACA) — the world’s largest association of professional counselors. 
The Fellows Award is a distinctive honor that recognizes ACA members who have advanced the counseling profession throughout their career. Making the recognition more unique is the fact that Chung is a renowned scholar in counseling psychology — a distinct field with a separate professional organization. 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Lambros Seeks to Raise Visibility for School Psych

Katina Lambros

It was in the Land of Enchantment where Katina Lambros became fully enchanted with the field of school psychology. In the early 2000s, Lambros worked with Indigenous and Native American communities in Albuquerque-area Head Start settings. While implementing self-determination curricula for students showing early signs of emotional and behavioral challenges, she realized how much she still needed to learn. 

“I remember thinking, ‘We'll just be able to go in there and implement this really great research-based curriculum,’” Lambros recalls. “Then I’d realize that they only had one textbook in the entire classroom, or that they lacked consistent educational staff. When you're faced with the barriers, the inequities and the access issues that are present in everyday school settings, it changes your perspective.” 

Alfaro to Receive CABE Innovation Leadership Award

Cristina Alfaro

By Maria Keckler

Cristina Alfaro, associate vice president of International Affairs at SDSU, is receiving the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) 2022 Innovation Leadership Board Award. 

The award honors Alfaro’s exemplary leadership and contributions in the field of K-20 biliteracy and bilingual education over decades of her professional career. 

Alfaro will be recognized during CABE’s 2022 Conference, to be held March 29 through April 2, and she will be a featured speaker during the conference. 

College of Education Shines at Student Research Symposium

Heather Thorogood and Rosa Tejeda
Heather Thorogood and Rosa Tejeda

By COE News Team 

Five San Diego State University College of Education-affiliated students won awards for outstanding scholarly accomplishment at the university’s 15th annual Student Research Symposium (SRS). SRS, a public forum where SDSU students present their research, scholarship, and creative activities, was held March 4-5 in Montezuma Hall. 

Here is a rundown of the winning students and projects: 

Donor Spotlight: Alumna Supports STE Graduate Students

Adeline Williams

SDSU is a family affair for Adeline Williams, her daughter, and grandson. With two College of Education graduates and a soon-to-be Engineering graduate, Williams is proud to lead three generations of Aztecs. Williams is as passionate about learning as she is about supporting research across campus. 

Adeline Williams, who loves learning, is leading the way for a family of Aztecs. Williams and her daughter Carolyn are both Education graduates, and her grandson Tyler is a current Engineering student. Williams and her family know the importance of education, and more so, the importance of research. 

Navarro Martell Shows the Write Stuff in Winning AERA Honor

Melissa Navarro Martell

Editor's Note: A Spanish version of this article is also available.

Throughout her career in academia, nothing has made Melissa Arabel Navarro Martell’s imposter syndrome creep in quite like writing. 

It’s a remnant of her experience of coming to the U.S. from Tijuana as a sixth grader, and transitioning from one nation’s school system to another. Mexican schools, she explains, typically do not teach writing composition until middle school. In the U.S., that usually happens at the elementary level. 

Navarro Martell Es Reconocida con un Premio

Melissa Navarro Martell

Editor's Note: An English version of this article is available. 

A lo largo de su carrera académica, Melissa Arabel Navarro Martell aborda el tema del síndrome del impostor en su escritura, la incapacidad persistente de creer que el éxito propio es merecido. 

Es un resultado de su experiencia de venir a los Estados Unidos desde Tijuana como estudiante de sexto grado y hacer la transición del sistema educativo de una nación a otra. Ella explica que las escuelas mexicanas normalmente no enseñan composición y escritura hasta la educación secundaria; mientras en EEUU eso sucede en las primarias. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Alumna Marlys Williamson Earns Nation’s Top STEM Teaching Honor

Marlys Williamson

Marlys Williamson’s fifth-grade science classroom at Wolf Canyon Elementary in Chula Vista always revolved around hands-on learning. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and students were sent home, she faced a moment of crisis. 

“That was the biggest panic moment for me,” recalled the San Diego State University School of Teacher Education alumna (’05, ’06). “How can I reach students in their homes, while they’re in their PJs with their dogs and their stuffed animals?” 

Her solution was to gather all the supplies she could from her classroom and get to work. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

A Class by Themselves: Remembering SDSU's Two National Teachers of the Year

Janis Gabay and Sandra McBrayer
Left: Gabay with students at Serra High. Right: McBrayer honored in the Rose Garden by President Clinton.

Editor's Note: This story is part of SDSU NewsCenter's 125 Years of Excellence coverage. 

In the early 1990s, the United States had about 2.5 million teachers. So when a San Diego State University graduate was singled out as National Teacher of the Year in 1990, it was an extraordinary accomplishment on its face. 

Just four years later, it happened again. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Vasquez Among 25 Women Lauded for Contributions to Higher Education

Marissa Vasquez

Marissa Vasquez often likes to repeat the quote “lifting as you climb.” Indeed, the credo of legendary feminist and racial justice activist Mary Church Terrell succinctly cuts to the heart of the matter. 

Vasquez, an assistant professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE), traveled the community college pathway herself as a student. As such, she views her work to empower underserved and underrepresented community college students as a personal responsibility. 

Alumna Phet Pease Earns Nation’s Top STEM Teaching Honor

Phet Pease

Khamphet Pease (’05) will have to wait a bit longer for her day at the White House. 

The alumna of San Diego State University’s teaching credential program and Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship was named one of 102 recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) — the U.S. Government’s highest award for ​​K-12 mathematics and science teachers. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony took place virtually on Feb. 24

But while a makeup visit to Washington, DC is in the works, Pease’s students and colleagues at San Diego’s Wilson Middle School have already given her a day she’ll never forget. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Discovering a Trailblazer: Henrietta Goodwin, SDSU’s First Black Graduate

The Goodwin family
The Goodwin family, with Henrietta seated at the far right. Photo courtesy San Diego History Center.

About a decade ago, Beverly Goodwin received a message from a college friend that kept a significant part of her family history — and San Diego State University history — from being lost forever. 

At the time, SDSU librarian Robert Fikes, Jr. was working on the book “The Black in Crimson and Black: History and Profiles of African Americans at SDSU.” In his research, Fikes had named 1913 alumna Henrietta Goodwin as the university’s first Black graduate. 

Wanda Clay Majors, a counselor in SDSU’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), saw the last name. She saw a photo of Henrietta that bore striking resemblance to her friend. And she knew Beverly had family roots in San Diego. So she reached out. 

It was a lucky break. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Mark Tucker Named NCRE Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year

Mark Tucker

For Mark Tucker, working in the field of rehabilitation counseling is its own reward. Through his research and training of vocational rehabilitation counselors, the associate professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) helps people with disabilities find employment, independence and identity. 

“The field is one where we're really focused on helping to level the playing field for the disadvantages that folks with disabilities experience,” Tucker said. “In our case, that’s particularly things like employment, participating in the community or education achievement. It's pretty rewarding to be able to devote your life to something like that.” 

His research has now garnered national acclaim. 

Monday, January 31, 2022

A Student-Centered Leader Says Farewell to SDSU

Lisa McCully

Lisa McCully comes from a family of educators. Her parents — part of a huge influx of teachers recruited to San Diego in the 1960s to meet the needs of a growing population — taught in San Diego Unified School District for decades. 

The thing is, McCully never envisioned that life for herself. 

“Did I think I was going to follow their footsteps in the field of education?” she said. “No. I didn't have a clue until I landed here.” 

Funny how things turn out. 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Maldonado Exemplifies a Collaborative Spirit

Saúl I. Maldonado

An important fact you need to know about Saúl I. Maldonado is that personal plaudits aren’t really their thing. The assistant professor in San Diego State University’s Department of English Language and English Learner Education (DLE) is known for their selflessness, collegiality and enthusiasm. 

“U is only one letter in the universe,” says Maldonado, who uses they/them pronouns. “I take meaning in my colleagues and in my community. And I'm grateful.” 

Postsecondary Educational Leadership Alumna Named Vice President at LMU

Emelyn A. dela Peña

JDP Alumnus Sean Hauze Spotlighted by ABC 10News San Diego

Sean Hauze

By COE News Team

Former JDP Director Rafaela Santa Cruz Leaves a Lasting Legacy

Rafaela Santa Cruz

In a corridor of Lamden Hall, just outside the office of the Joint Ph.D. Program in Education (JDP) between San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University, is a graphic that’s impossible to miss. Hanging in a display case is a postered map of the U.S., showing the location of JDP graduates who have attained higher education faculty positions. 

The alumni span from coast to coast and beyond. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Online Education Master’s Program Draws #8 National Ranking

#8 ranking graphic

San Diego State University’s online master of arts in teaching (MAT) is again among the top 10 online education programs in the nation, according to a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report. 

The No. 8 ranking in the 2022 Best Online Programs, released Jan. 25, is up seven spots from the previous year’s list and marks the second top-10 ranking in three years for the College of Education program. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Eric R. Felix Honored as Emerging Scholar by National Publication

Dr. Eric R. Felix
Photo by Ian Ordonio.
For Eric R. Felix (’10), being named a 2022 Emerging Scholar by the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is a significant achievement. The national publication’s editorial team annually recognizes just 15 outstanding scholars under the age of 40 for their early-career impact.

But it’s how the honor came about that gets the assistant professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) on the verge of tearing up. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Pair of Alumnae Make Their Mark as San Diego County Counselors of the Year

Christine Araki and Nicole Roman.
Christine Araki and Nicole Roman.

Christine Araki (’93 Community-Based Block) works on the cutting edge of education in the Sweetwater Union High School District’s first all-virtual school. Nicole Roman (’10 school counseling) is leading data-driven systems change at Poway middle schools to prevent at-risk students from falling through the cracks. 

The pair of San Diego State University alumnae recently were named two of three recipients of the 2022 San Diego County Counselor of the Year award. Both expressed surprise and satisfaction with the honor, presented by the San Diego County Office of Education for the past three years.