Two of the participants in the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program share a common bond: They are members of the Bronco family.
Alexandra Auslander and Manuel Diaz both graduated from Cal Poly Pomona — she in 2012 with a master’s in exercise physiology and he in 2008 with a bachelor’s in psychology. Auslander is a lecturer in Cal Poly Pomona’s kinesiology and health promotion department and is working on her doctorate in biostatistics at Claremont Graduate University. Diaz, too, has taught on campus and is pursuing his doctorate in education, also at Claremont Graduate University.
They were chosen for the program that aims to boost the pool of applicants for faculty positions in the CSU system. Promising doctoral students receive financial assistance to enroll in programs at accredited universities across the nation.
As part of the program, they also will be mentored by CSU faculty members through collaborative teaching, research and service activities while they complete their doctorates.
“The program was a good fit for me because I have spent most of my academic career here. I went to school here, have taught here for four years and have already done a lot of research on campus,” Auslander says. “It’s the whole Cal State experience.”
In addition to her doctorate, she is working concurrently on a second master’s in public health. When she finishes her studies, Auslander sees Cal Poly Pomona as a career possibility.
“I love it here. I love teaching here. Hopefully, there’s an opening for a tenure-track position when I graduate,” Auslander says. “There are many health promotion and kinesiology programs within the Cal State system. There’s a lot of potential for options.”
KHP department Chair Perky Vetter encouraged Auslander to apply for the program. Vetter serves as the CSU mentor to Auslander, who also earned bachelor’s in biology at San Francisco State.
Diaz was a lecturer in the ethnic and women’s studies department in the spring quarter, teaching a course on diverse sexual and gender identities. He served as the coordinator of the Pride Center in 2014-15.
He earned his first master’s in psychological counseling in 2010 from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. Diaz received a second master’s degree in education in May from Claremont Graduate University. He worked for three years as a mental health counselor for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community in San Francisco before pursuing his doctorate.
Diaz recently defended his dissertation proposal, which examines concepts of masculinity, manhood, gender and sexual identities among gay Latino college men. He says that after he completes his doctorate, he sees Cal Poly Pomona as a career path.
“Home is home. If I could, I would definitely stay at Cal Poly Pomona,” Diaz says. “The students I’ve encountered are humble. They work very hard for what they have. That, to me, says a lot. It resonates because that was me. I’ve walked in their shoes.”
His mentor is Ethnic and Women’s Studies Professor Jose Aguilar-Hernandez. Diaz also hopes to make an impact on several fronts, specifically with students in higher education.
“I want to give back to students and mentor the next generation of LGBTQ college students who need the support, whether that’s through academic, research or professional endeavors. That’s what I would love to do,” Diaz says. “I see myself in the classroom, but I’m also mindful that I have counseling background and I shouldn’t necessarily shove that to the side. I am passionate about both areas of work.”
Overall, 52 students from the 23 CSU campuses were selected for the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program, which was established in 1987 and is the largest program of its kind in the United States.
Loans of up to $30,000 can be awarded to recipients. The loans are forgivable at the rate of 20 percent for each year of full-time postdoctoral teaching in the CSU. Through June 2015, the program has loaned $47 million to 2,050 doctoral students enrolled in universities throughout the nation. Of those students, 1,245 earned doctoral degrees and 705 were hired for CSU faculty positions.