Recent class of Sonoma State McNair Scholars are ready to tackle graduate programs

June 15, 2020

Each year, Sonoma State University’s McNair Scholars Program assists 27 undergraduate students, who are either low-income and/or first-generation students of an underrepresented minority group, to prepare and get them accepted into graduate schools. This year, more than half of SSU’s McNair students received accolades, from prestigious awards to being accepted into competitive MA and Ph.D. programs including Stanford, George Washington and Pennsylvania State University.

“I am particularly proud of the McNair Scholars cohort of 2019-2020. They embody a wide range of talents and abilities,” said Daniel Malpica, director of the McNair Program. “These students are special because they have faced all sorts of personal and institutional barriers. Despite these challenges, McNair scholars come to realize that with hard work, dedication, adequate faculty mentorship, and institutional support they have excelled in research and will become experts in their fields.”

One such scholar who had to overcome barriers is Raymundo Lopez, who graduated from SSU this spring with degrees in both political science and French. The San Diego native has overcome many obstacles in his life, including spending his childhood in the foster care system with his four brothers and sisters. In the fall, Lopez will attend Stanford University where he will pursue a master’s degree in Latin American Studies having received  multiple fellowships covering his tuition. 

“Being surrounded by bright, driven, wholehearted individuals is what I am most proud of as a McNair Scholar," said Lopez. He said his ultimate goal is to fund his own news organization geared toward minority and electoral rights for poor people who are disenfranchised around the world.

Another McNair Scholar with goals of helping the disenfranchised is Lizbet Gonzalez, who joined the McNair Program in 2018. Graduating from SSU with degrees in both Chicano and Latino Studies and philosophy, Gonzalez was accepted into six different graduate programs, but she will be attending George Washington University in the fall on behalf of a tuition fellowship to pursue a Master’s of Public Policy. The Temecula native said she hopes to write and research policies that help historically marginalized communities. If that wasn’t enough, Gonzalez said she has goals of running for Congress one day as well. But without the McNair Program, Gonzalez said she would have never realized her potential.

“The program has been the most formative and influential part of my time at SSU,” said Gonzalez, who came to SSU in 2016. “I will forever be indebted to this program for all it has given me, and I have seen the amazing doors it has opened for so many of my peers as well as myself, and I am very happy that all of the hard work has paid off. I am grateful for this experience in my time at SSU.”

For more information about the Mcnair Scholars Program, including opportunities and how to apply, visit See below for a list of the acceptances, opportunities and fellowships received by the this year's class of McNair Scholars.

Scholar Name Grad School Acceptances Summer Research Opportunities/ Other Scholarly Activities  Financial Package/Fellowships
Raymundo Lopez Stanford University - Master of Arts Latin American Studies American Political Science Association Minority Fellow FLAS fellowship: covers $18,000 of tuition and $15,000 stipend & Ayacucho Fellowship: covers $36,315 oftuition and $2,000 stipend
  Michigan State University - College of Social Science   Enrichment Fellowship: covers tuition and fees, $29,000 stipend, covers health insurance premiums
Bianca Valencia Barraza UC Irvine - Master of Pupblic Policy in the School of Social Ecology CSU Research Competition Participant Merit Based Fellowship ($9,000)
  UC Riverside - Master of Public Policy   Fellowship: $20,589
Alexis Mercado   Keck Graduate Institute Online Pre-Pharmacy Enrichment Program  
Angelica Aguilar   MDI Biological Laboratory MDI Biological Laboratory- $6,000 stipend, all meals included, travel reimbursements up to $400
Brandon Mariscal UC Santa Cruz - Mathematics Ph.D. program   Tuition covered, $25,069 stipend
  UC Riverside - Mathematics Ph.D. program   $54,000 stipend
  UNLV - Mathematical Sciences program   $1,000 recruitment award, Assistantship with $19,000 stipend
  U of Utah - Department of Mathematics Ph.D. program   Assistanship with $21,000 stipend, EDGES scholarship: $6,000 for relocation or other personal expenses, $4,000 for career development expenses
Eve Hostettler Univerity of Texas at Austin-Jackson School of Geosciences   Stipend no less than $26,340, tuition and fees covered, funds to purchase UT health insurance
Fabian Ramirez   2020 Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Undergraduate Program (MSRI-UP)  
Lizbet Gonzalez UC San Diego - M.P.P. Program    
  UC Irvine - M.P.P. Program   $12,000 fellowship
  University of Maryland School of Public Policy   Total stipend and tuition benefits of $42,134
  Carnegie Mellon   Tuition, room and board covered-total of $78,182
  American University - School of Public Affairs   Dean Award- tuition and assistanship total of $45,600
  George Washington University   Tuition fellowship $30,000
Madison Tinsley CSU Research Competition Participant   SSU Wine Industry Scholars Program Scholarship $10,000
Nidhi Patel Cal State East Bay Masters of Social Work Program    
  San Jose State Masters of Social Work Program    
  SF State - Waitlist for Masters of Social Work Program    
Therese Azevedo   DIMACS-Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science DIMACS-$5,400 stipend and additional meal allowance
Wyatt Huber   University of Chicago-Leadership Alliance 2020-21, California Pre-Doctoral Program-Sally Casanova Scholar University of Chicago- $3,150 stipend, housing, $750 meal plan, travel covered
Atziry Rodriguez   Awarded the Social Sciences Undegraduate Research Initiative  at Sonoma State University  
Lana Harris Oregon State University - Master of Science   Full funding for M.A. program
  Pennsylvania State University - Master of Education   Full funding for M.A. program
David Story   Sonoma State University-Summer Research with Dr. Mohamed Salem  


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Nate Galvan