Campus: Northridge -- July 28, 2006

CSU Loan Program Provides Former CSUN Student an Opportunity to Become Northridge Professor

Evelyn Torres has only been out of Cal State Northridge for about a year but already dreams of coming back, and the California State University Chancellor's Office is determined to help her return.

Torres, who graduated from Northridge in 2005 with bachelor's degrees in psychology and child and adolescent development and is currently pursuing her master's and doctorate in education with an emphasis in child and adolescent development at UC Santa Barbara, has been accepted into the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program.

The program provides financial assistance in the form of a student loan to a limited number of individuals pursuing doctoral degrees who have expressed interest in teaching at a CSU campus.

"I want to teach at CSUN, and being accepted into this program is going to help make that happen," Torres said. "It's a really competitive program, and to have been accepted into it is quite an honor."

The program provides participants loans of up to $10,000 per year up to a total of $30,000. If a participant applies, competes for and is hired in a CSU instructional faculty position after getting a doctoral degree, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven for each year of full-time postdoctoral teaching in the California State University system.

Torres, 23, of Panorama City, has her heart set on teaching at Northridge.

"I really enjoyed my four years at CSUN. I was sad to leave," she said. "I wanted to go to graduate school there, but CSUN doesn't have a doctoral program. I ended up at Santa Barbara. But my dream is to come back to CSUN and pass on the great experiences I had there to future students."

David Wakefield, one of Torres' mentors in Northridge's Department of Child and Adolescent Development, said he and his colleagues in child and adolescent development would, with open arms, welcome Torres back as a peer.

"A lot of my colleagues in the department know her fairly well and are very impressed with her maturity and focus. She already has the demeanor of a faculty member," Wakefield said. "Once she finishes her master's, we are going to try to bring her on as a part-time faculty member because she already has so much she could share with our students."

Wakefield said child and adolescent development is a growing field. He said there should be plenty of opportunities with people of Torres' depth of experience to teach in the future.

"Evelyn's research interest in the achievement gap between ethnic minority and white students complements the research focus of the child and adolescent development department at CSUN," he said. "Someone with her research focus and expertise in the San Fernando Valley communities would likely excel as a faculty member here and this is often exactly what we look for when hiring new faculty members."

Torres, who was among the first in her family to graduate from college and the first in her family to pursue a graduate degree, said she was accepted by a couple of the University of California campuses when she graduated from high school. But she chose CSUN because of its smaller faculty/student ratio and the reputation of some of its programs, particularly psychology.

"It was the best decision I could have made," she said. "I had opportunities to get involved on campus and because CSUN's classes are small enough, I really got a chance to know my professors. It was a wonderful experience. I can hardly wait to get back."

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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