Scholarship Helps 2 Cal Poly Pomona Students Prepare for Graduate Degrees

Scholarship Helps 2 Cal Poly Pomona Students Prepare for Graduate Degrees
Phi Su, left, and Jessica Kizer.

Sociology seniors Jessica Kizer and Phi Su have been awarded 2009-10 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarships by the California State University to help them achieve their goal of earning a doctoral degree.

The $3,000 scholarship gives 70 students in the CSU the opportunity to explore and prepare to succeed in doctoral programs. CSU and UC faculty members play an integral part as they work closely with scholars to prepare them for graduate studies.

During the summer, Kizer and Su traveled to several universities, learned about their graduate programs and met with faculty and graduate students. Their sociology faculty advisor at Cal Poly Pomona, Mary Yu Danico, accompanied them to UC Berkeley; the University of Illinois, Chicago; the University of Chicago; Northwestern University; Stanford University; Boston University; and Brandeis University. Su's sociology faculty advisor, Dennis Loo, accompanied them to Harvard University.  

The trips helped the young scholars finalize their top graduate school choices as they apply to doctoral programs this fall. Kizer plans to study the socialization among families and religious organizations and the impact on racial and ethnic identity. Su will examine Vietnamese American communities in the context of community formation and diasporic identities. Both women hope teach at a CSU, preferably at Cal Poly Pomona.

“The trips to grad programs were incredibly useful,” Kizer says. “I talked to faculty members about their current research and work styles, and I spoke with graduate students about their experiences in the department and with their advisors. It was such a wonderful experience!”

The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential CSU faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. Students are selected by a committee of faculty from the CSU and the University of California.

Each scholar works closely with a faculty sponsor to develop a plan with individual career and educational goals. The program places a special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at a University of California campus.

Sally Casanova Scholars may use their award to:

  • Participate in a summer research internship program at a doctoral-granting institution to receive exposure to the world of research in their chosen field   
  • Visit doctoral-granting institutions to explore opportunities for doctoral study   
  • Travel to a national symposium or professional meeting in their chosen field; other related activities such as membership in professional organizations and journal subscriptions   
  • Pay for graduate school application and test fees.  

For more information about the California Pre-Doctoral Program, visit