Group shot of Current Ph.D. Panelists

More than 50 undergraduate students attended the 8th Annual Current Ph.D. Panel on December 5, 2014. This event is sponsored by the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) programs, as part of their mission to prepare undergraduate STEM and behavioral science students for direct entry into Ph.D. programs.  Students took advantage of the opportunity to learn what life in a doctoral program is really like, and how to best prepare for a successful transition to graduate school.

This year, six doctoral students from universities across the country came to State to mentor dozens of students from the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering.  Four of the six panelists are SDSU alumni who also received academic and financial support, as well as training and mentoring from the MARC and IMSD programs.  The remaining two panelists are a UCSD and an SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral program student.

During the event panelists were keen to answer student questions and provide advice on how to be successful in a doctoral program.  The event began with the entire panel answering student questions about graduate school, followed by discipline-specific breakout sessions where students could ask questions of panel members in their fields in a smaller, more accessible setting.

As a follow-up to this event, MARC and IMSD will host a post-Ph.D. panel in the spring semester, which will feature panelists who have already earned their Ph.D. and will answer questions about life (and employment) after graduate school.

If you are passionate about research and dedicated to earning a Ph.D., contact MARC ( and IMSD ( for information about these programs.


Name SDSU CASA Program Graduate Institution & Doctoral Program
 Maria Gutierrez  IMSD University of Louisville, KY – Molecular Biology & Immunology
 Raul Ramos  MARC UC Irvine, CA – Developmental & Cell Biology
 Alan Marquez  IMSD UC Los Angeles, CA – Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
 Chris Fowler  IMSD University of Missouri, KS – Clinical Psychology with emphasis in Behavioral Health
 Manna Iwabuchi  N/A SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral program, CA – Chemistry & Biochemistry
 Michael Folkerts  N/A UC San Diego, CA – Physics, Radiation Medicine & Applied Science