The CSU Pre-Doctoral Program each year identifies Sally Casanova Scholars, prospective graduate students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who with a faculty mentor and financial assistance prepare for graduate school during their junior or senior year. Students who are already in Master degree programs also qualify for this program.

Each year CSU Channel Islands faculty members have the opportunity to sponsor students as candidates for the award (currently at $3,000). Funded activities include site visits, travel and registration for national or professional meetings and workshops, professional association memberships, GRE fees including prep course fees and graduate school application fees.

As campus representative for the CSU Predoctoral Program, the Academic Programs office and Planning publicizes the program, encourages faculty and student participation, and screens applications each spring.

Applications Availability:December  2020
Application to Campus Coordinator:February 1, 2021
Applications to Chancellor's Office:March 1, 2021
Chancellor Office Decisions:May 2021

For more information, please contact Sara Alcalá, Graduate School Specialist/Advising Analyst,, 805-437-8571 or via the CSU website directly, CSU Pre-Doctoral Program:

2012 Pre-Doctoral Award Recipients

Martha Torres Mendez, a senior at CSU Channel Islands majoring in Spanish, was the campus 2012-13 academic year recipient of the prestigious Sally Casanova Pre-Doctorate award. Dr. Stephen Clark, Professor of Spanish at CSU Channel Islands serves as Martha’s faculty mentor for the program. Ms. Torres-Mendez is the first child in her large family to complete high school, let alone college. Her family is of very humble means, but Martha has blazed a trail of success that her younger sisters are now following. Martha has already narrowed her scholarly interests to the field of Contemporary Mexican literature and has applied to UC campuses with doctoral programs that would fulfill this desired area of focus. Her faculty mentors indicate that her personal history, talent and drive to succeed will make her a success in graduate school. Martha has already received an offer of admission and fully paid doctoral studies at UC Irvine to date.

2011 Pre-Doctoral Award Recipients

Derek DeSantis, who is double majoring in Mathematics and Applied Physics, received a 2011 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship. This award will provide him with funds to be used towards investigating and applying to graduate schools as well as giving him the opportunity to take part in a summer internship in his field of interest. DeSantis plans to pursue a PhD in Mathematics and is grateful for the research opportunities he has had a CSU Channel Islands and the guidance of his faculty advisory, Mathematics professor Dr. Kathryn Leonard. For students who also hope to enter a doctoral program DeSantis stresses the importance of getting involved in undergraduate research and extracurricular projects in their field of study.

2010 Pre-Doctoral Award Recipients

Ashley Bonneau, a Biology major with an emphasis in cellular and molecular biology, received a 2010 Pre-Doctoral award. Following graduation she plans to enter a PhD program that allows her to research gene regulation and signal transduction pathways and later continue her research as a professor at a university. Ashley was originally interested in attending medical school but after participating in an undergraduate research project directed by CSU Channel Islands' Biology Professor Dr Nitika Parmar she found that this was her true calling. It is for this reason that she strongly encourages students interested in graduate studies to participate in undergraduate research. Said Bonneau, "[Research] provides students with a wonderful opportunity to develop and refine research skills and to take charge of their own education."

Danika Lindsay, the recipient of a 2010 Pre-Doctoral award, is currently double majoring in Mathematics and Applied Physics and working on a minor in Computer Science. She plans to pursue a PhD in Applied Mathematics after graduation in Spring 2011 and eventually hopes to become a university faculty member. Danika is especially grateful for the research opportunities she has had at CSU Channel Islands and the mentorship of female role models such as Drs Ivona Grzegorczyk and Kathryn Leonard, who are both Mathematics Professors at CSU Channel Islands. It is her desire to one day mentor and inspire young mathematicians, just as Drs Grzegorczyk and Leonard did for her. She encourages all students who plan to attend graduate schools to look to their faculty for guidance.

Jennifer Waters, who will graduate from CSU Channel Islands in Spring 2011, is a Mathematics major and the recipient of a 2010 Pre-Doctoral award. After graduation she hopes to attend UC Santa Barbara. Jennifer feels that attending CSU Channel Islands has given her a strong and solid foundation which will allow her to be successful in her future endeavor to become a professor. She is thankful for the guidance and inspiration that she has received from CSU Channel Islands' faculty members such as Drs Ivona Grzegorczyk and Cynthia Wyels. For those hoping to follow a similar path, Jennifer stresses the importance of hard work and determination.

Ryane Cox, the recipient of a 2010 Pre-Doctoral award honorable mention and an Academic Programs and Planning Pre-Doctoral scholarship, is currently double majoring in Biology and Environmental Science and Resource Management. After graduation in 2011 she hopes to attend either UC Berkeley, UC Davis, or UC Santa Barbara where she has already found strong PhD programs in her area of interest – the impact of climate change on carnivores. Ryane has had strong support from her family and her academic sponsor, Dr Amy Denton, a Biology Professor at CSU Channel Islands. She is grateful for the research opportunities she has had at CSU Channel Island which have better prepared her for the challenges of acquiring a PhD.

2009 Pre-Doctoral Award Recipients

Bianca Villalobos, who graduated from CSU Channel Islands with a BA in Psychology, was awarded a Pre-Doctoral scholarship in 2009. Currently she is hoping to pursue a PhD in Latino or Minority Mental Health and eventually become a university professor. She is particularly interested in attending the University of Southern California where research is being conducted on the disparities in minority mental health. Bianca has had great support from her family and mentors, such as CSU Channel Islands' Psychology Professors Drs Kimmy Kee-Rose and Virgil Adams, whose encouragement motivated her to reapply to graduate programs.

Jacob Jones graduated from CSU Channel Islands with a BA in Psychology and was the recipient of a 2009 Pre-Doctoral award. He now attends the University of Florida where he is working on a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology and he aspires to work at a university where he will be able to continue doing research. Jacob attributes his success to the support of his parents and the mentorship of Dr Kimmy Kee-Rose, who is a Psychology Professor at CSU Channel Islands. Said Jones, "I would not be in the position I am at if she did not take an interest in me and take me under her wing."

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