Our Students - Graduates


graduate group

Graduate Student Ambassadors 2018 - 2019

From left to right: Patricia Parks - MSW Student, Elizabeth Marquez - MPH Student, Brittney Bonfield - MPH Student, Amy Santos - MPH Student, Kyle Haley - MPH Student, Carina Barbosa - MACD Student, Edwin Rojas - MPH Student, Evelyn Casiano - MSW Student, Janet Hernandez - MSW Student, Stacy Pozas - MSW Student, Dana Marmolejo - MSW Student, Mercedes Mendoza - MACD Student



mark smiling

Mark s

1st year MSW student at University of Michigan, CSUF B.A. Psychology 2017, Former AHA Mentor

“I think what make“Allied Health Academy taught me how to manage time and practice self-care which I am utilizing in my graduate program. Allied Health Academy prepared me to stand in solidarity with groups who are of different backgrounds, identities, culture, and status. Through AHA, I have gained tools to support myself and others for a healthier and loving society.”

Allied Health Academy (AHA) has prepared me for graduate school in several ways. My first event with AHA focused on identity and culture. It was my first time sharing an important part of who I was with a diverse group of students. I could connect, learn and was able build community with other students who valued health. Currently, I am a graduate student at University of Michigan School of Social Work pursuing an MSW. Like AHA, I am engaging in group discussions about identity, community, health and social justice with students across the globe. Allied Health Academy taught me how to manage time and practice self-care which I am utilizing in my graduate program. Allied Health Academy prepared me to stand in solidarity with groups who are of different backgrounds, identities, culture, and status. Through AHA, I have gained tools to support myself and others for a healthier and loving society.



Sarah smiling

Sarah Essayli

1st year MSW student, CSUF B.A. Sociology 2014, Former Pre-Matriculation Program Participant

I participated in the first Allied Health Academy Pre-Matriculation Program (PMP) for graduate students. I graduated from California State University of Fullerton in 2014 and took time off from school to gain work experience. I applied for my Master of Social Work (MSW) for fall 2017. Since I was out of school for three years I was not prepared for this new chapter in my life. I am so grateful I was presented with the opportunity to join PMP that helped me prepare for the next few years in graduate school. Doing well in graduate school is important to me because I am a first-generation woman of color and I hope to make a difference in my community. The staff was helpful and encouraging and made sure we had the tools to succeed in graduate school. We had a structured curriculum to make sure every day we learned something new and valuable. We learned how to read journal articles, write annotated bibliographies and literature reviews, and had the privilege to listen to interview panels varying from current graduate students to professionals in the fields we aspire to work in. We also learned about resources available to us such as free counseling sessions on campus, the graduate student success center, how to write and attain scholarship opportunities, and how to navigate graduate school as a student of color. We had the privilege to collaborate with health career professionals who may or may not be from your department. I gained support from students and staff and began networking before school had started. This program was truly amazing and I would highly recommend it to every incoming graduate student!





1st year MSW student, CSUF B.S. Human Services 2017, Former Pre-Matriculation Program Participant

The Pre- Matriculation Program was a great experience for me. Academically, I was able to become more confident in my abilities as a student. As a first generation college student, there were many obstacles I had to overcome during the graduate application process. One of which was the Imposture Syndrome. Prior to entering this program, I was very discouraged about entering graduate school because I wasn’t confident in my skills as a writer, and voicing my opinions and expressions. This program granted me the safe space to receive constructive feedback on my writing skills and the ability for me to express my opinions.

Through the Pre-Matriculation Program, I was exposed to statistical and empirical article reviews. Along with numerous writing assignments that taught me how to become a scientific writer, and create annotated bibliographies. This knowledge allowed me to become competent in my field of study, but also with my way of writing.

This experience increased my awareness of all the services my program provides for their students. I was exposed to counseling, food, networking, school involvement, scholarships, and national conferences services. All of which I have used and plan to continue using in the future. From the presenters in the program to the staff that supported me along those 4 weeks, I am very thankful for meeting such wonderful individuals. Seeing other people of color in the field encouraged me to be proud of where I am today, and continue to thrive in my academic endeavors. Becoming aware that there are programs and individuals willing to invest in the support and education for underrepresented students has aspired me to further my education and begin my preparation for my doctoral degree. 

In conclusion, the Pre-Matriculation Program, allowed me to find the personal confidence I needed in order to invest myself in my field of study. It has further increased my aspirations to be able to give back to unrepresented individuals in my community in the future. Amongst all the great experiences I obtained, I am now proud to be where I am, and I no longer think, “I got lucky.”



Keyonna smiling


1st Year M.A. Communicative Disorders, CSUF B.S. Communicative Disorders, Former Pre-Matriculation Program Participant, Intern, & Mentor

I joined the Allied Health Academy’s first cohort in spring 2016. I saw it as a wonderful opportunity because I was a part of a program where a graduate degree was required. I am a first-generation college student so I had no idea where to start the application process. AHA helped me every step of the way through this journey. Through all the resources and services, I was not only able to apply to graduate school but get in. The staff and mentors that are a part of AHA care about helping students become amazing future health professionals and serve their communities. I have been supported not only as an undergraduate, but a peer mentor and future graduate student. I have been inspired by the many guest speakers and panelist and always hoped that would be me one day. AHA has fostered the mind of many individuals. I hope they continue their mission of helping underrepresented students through the pipeline of becoming health professionals.