Monday, October 23, 2017

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Presidential Graduate Research Fellows

Twelve Presidential Graduate Research Fellows are studying at SDSU this semester.
By SDSU News Team
 

This semester, San Diego State University welcomes 12 Presidential Graduate Research Fellows from around the world to the Aztec family. The competitive, merit-based campus program supports the recruitment of exceptional non-resident applicants to SDSU’s many graduate programs. The SDSU News Team asked six Presidential Graduate Research Fellows to share the stories of their journeys to the Mesa.

Paulina Díaz-Montiel
Paulina Díaz-Montiel
Paulina Díaz-Montiel
Hometown: Mexicali, México
Ph.D. Engineering Sciences – Structural Engineering

As an undergraduate exchange student at San Diego State University, I realized the enormous advantages of pursuing my graduate education at this institution. San Diego is recognized worldwide as a hub for aerospace engineering, and therefore it is not surprising to find such outstanding faculty at SDSU. I chose SDSU because I wanted to learn from the most qualified professors, and be involved in research projects that will have a significant impact in the aerospace community.

My research involves the study of composite materials structures and their failure modes. Currently, composite materials are highly desirable in the aerospace industry due to their superior mechanical properties and light weight. By better understanding the underlying mechanisms that cause composite materials to fail, my group of researchers and I hope to improve upon the in-service lifetime of the composite materials.

My ultimate goal is to become an expert in composite materials and structures, and be able to contribute as a researcher to the next generation of advanced materials in engineering.

Kaitlyn Dixon
Kaitlyn Dixon
Kaitlyn Dixon
Hometown: North Salt Lake, UT
Master of Social Work (MSW)

I love experiencing different countries, cultures, and people because they allow me to learn from a myriad of experiences. I studied music, English, Spanish, and psychology before deciding that in order to help people in the way I wanted, pursuing an MSW was the right path for me.

I have assisted in a variety of research projects, covering topics from family dynamics to racial inclusion in journals and opposing viewpoints in psychological debates.

Professionally, I hope to research happiness and eventually incorporate my findings into my clinical practice.

Stefan Ehard
Stefan Ehard
Stefan Ehard
Hometown: Ulm, Germany
MS, Statistics

My university in Germany, the University of Ulm, is a partner institution of San Diego State University. For many years, some of the best graduate students in my university's mathematics program have been coming to SDSU as part of an exchange program between the two institutions. This one-year program allows students to achieve both the American and German master's degrees, making it highly attractive to me.

I earned my bachelor's degree in pure mathematics at the University of Ulm in 2015. Thanks to a Fulbright Grant and the Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship, I am able to put my mathematical knowledge in an applied context at SDSU. I am particularly interested in stochastic modelling and statistics as they have many real-world applications, including in climate modelling at the Center for Climate and Sustainability Studies at SDSU. My research in statistics also compliments my focus on Actuarial Sciences and Insurance at the University of Ulm.

My goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in Germany and eventually apply my academic work at a company that operates on a global level.

Wen-Hsin Ku
Wen-Hsin Ku
Wen-Hsin Ku
Hometown: Tainan, Taiwan
MA, Speech-Language Pathology

I am very fortunate to have found a field of study that combines my interest in linguistics with helping others. I chose to pursue my master’s degree at SDSU because of the program’s outstanding and supportive faculty, its emphasis on evidence-based practice, and the unique bilingualism track offered through the program.

My professional goal is to work as a speech-language pathologist with the competency to provide assessment and intervention in both English and Mandarin so I can give back to my community.

Claire Muller
Claire Muller
Claire Muller
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
MS, Marriage and Family Therapy

I completed my undergraduate degree at Santa Clara University with a double major in psychology and women’s and gender studies. I chose to attend SDSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of its social constructionist philosophy and unwavering dedication to social justice, equality, multicultural competency, and co-creating meaningful change with clients.

I am most proud of being involved with undergraduate research focusing on violence against women and transnational feminism, being involved in different student organizations dedicated to diversity and advocacy, and receiving the 2015 Bronco of the Year Award during my senior year at Santa Clara University.

I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the MFT program at SDSU, alongside my amazing, talented cohort, with the support of our passionate instructors. I’ve already experienced a tremendous amount of personal growth and awareness and look forward to continuing this journey in the next two years and beyond.

Natalie Teboul
Natalie Teboul
Natalie Teboul
Hometown: Larchmont, New York    
MFA, Creative Writing

A born-and-raised New Yorker, I was ready for a new, laid-back lifestyle. I am excited to be here in sunny San Diego and continue my graduate studies. I completed my undergraduate degree in human development at Binghamton University and enrolled in an master's degree program in education at St. John's University. After two years of teaching in the South Bronx, it was time for a change. I chose SDSU's MFA program because I was excited about the possibility of writing a book on the beach and the program gives me the flexibility to study and write as I please.

I am most proud of my two years with the New York City Teaching Fellows, teaching in one of the most disadvantaged communities in the country.

My goal is to be published and author a best-selling memoir.