nine people standing on stairwell

Former SDSU MARC and IMSD/MBRS Program Scholars Give Back

IMSD and MARC alumni

As part of their mission to prepare undergraduate STEM and behavioral science students for direct-entry into Ph.D. programs, the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) programs held their 7th Annual Current Ph.D. Panel on February 21, 2014. This year, 9 doctoral students from universities across the U.S. returned to State to mentor dozens of students from the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering. Having received academic and financial support, as well as training and mentoring from the MARC and IMSD programs, each of the panel members has gone on to enjoy a successful graduate school research career, and continues the tradition of giving back by mentoring undergraduates at their graduate institutions.

This year’s panel included eight SDSU alumni and one current SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program student, all of whom were keen to answer student questions and provide advice on how to be successful in a doctoral program. The event began with the entire panel answering student questions about graduate school, followed by discipline-specific breakout sessions where students could ask questions of panel members in their fields in a smaller, more accessible setting. The event was a great success, with more than 60 undergraduates taking advantage of the opportunity to learn what life in a doctoral program is really like, and how to best prepare for a successful transition to graduate school. As a follow-up to the first event, MARC and IMSD will host a Post-Ph.D. Panel on April 18, 2014 which will feature panelists who have already earned their Ph.D., answering questions about life (and employment) after graduate school.

If you are passionate about research and dedicated to earning a Ph.D., contact MARC ( and IMSD ( for information about their programs.


Name SDSU CASA Program Graduate Institution & Doctoral Program
Daisy Galeana MEP/MSP UC Riverside – Mechanical Engineering
Alexandra Mendoza IMSD UC Los Angeles – Chemistry
Mike Valdez IMSD,  LSAMP and BRIDGES University of Arizona -Biomedical Engineering
Sarah McCullough N/A SDSU/UCSD – Joint Doctoral Program in  Ecology
Aurora Ramos IMSD University of Houston – Neuropsychology
Roberto Zamora IMSD University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa – Clinical/Health Psychology
Ashley Valdez IMSD,  LSAMP and BRIDGES University of Arizona – Optical Science
Alexis Zukowski IMSD University of Colorado, Denver – Biomedical Sciences
Alyssa Jimenez IMSD,  LSAMP and BRIDGES University of Texas Southwestern – Microbiology