News Release | CSU Doctoral Incentive Program; Cal State L.A.

August 22, 2013

2 Cal State L.A. students receive doctoral incentive program awards

Los Angeles, CA  --  Cal State L.A. students Mario Giron-Ábrego and Cecilia Salvi are recipients of 2013-14 California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) awards. Once the awardees achieve their doctoral degrees and obtain a qualifying instructional position in the CSU, a portion of their loan from this program will be forgiven every year.

CDIP provides student loans, in amounts of up to $10,000 per year, to a limited number of individuals pursuing full-time doctoral degrees at accredited universities throughout the United States. They are given in an effort to boost the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs as well as to increase the pool of potential faculty for the CSU system.

Mario Giron-Ábrego, who specializes in the study of Mayan archaeology, was one of only five CSULA students selected to work in Belize at the renowned “Midnight Terror Cave,” as well as the “Actun Yateel Ahau Cave.” He financed his fieldwork research with Cotsen Fellowships for Archaeological Research in 2008, 2009 and 2010. After each season of research, Giron-Ábrego presented his investigations at the Society for American Archaeology meetings. He has also contributed to the specialization with a number of publications in hieroglyphic decipherment. Giron-Ábrego was able to pursue his dream in Maya archaeology early on, attending free monthly visits to the Museo Nacional de Arqueologí­a y Etnologí­a, a national archaeological and ethnological museum in Guatemala City. At CSULA, he took courses on Maya civilization and cave archaeology, which provided him the background for his fieldwork in the tropical jungles of the Maya Lowlands. His accolades include the CSU Trustees’ Hearst Award, the CSU Foundation Board of Governors’ Scholar, the CSU Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholarship, Golden Eagle Award of Excellence, and the Emeriti Association’s Mary Gormly Memorial Fellowship. In 2012, Giron-Ábrego became the first CSULA student to win the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Most previously, he was recognized with the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award. He was recently admitted to a Ph.D. program in archaeology at Boston University, with a focus on the Maya Civilization.

Cecilia Salvi received her master’s degrees in both Spanish and anthropology from Cal State L.A. with Excellence in Graduate Studies awards from both departments. At CSULA, she was a founding president of the Association of Student Anthropologists, and vice president of Lambda Alpha National Honor Society.  A Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Fellow, Salvi also interned in the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, tracking the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 187 and domestic workers’ rights. Her interest in the intersection between law and human rights comes from her experience interning at the legal department of an anti-trafficking organization, where she also lived for six months at its shelter for survivors of trafficking. She continues to work with her CDIP mentor, CSULA Professor ChorSwang Ngin, with whom she has organized panels at the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology’s annual meetings. She was recently admitted to the doctoral program in anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her doctoral research will focus on investigating the impact and contributions of non-governmental organizations on anti-trafficking laws in Argentina. She is also a research associate at the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies at Lehman College, CUNY. In the fall, she begins teaching as an adjunct lecturer at Queens College, CUNY, and City College, CUNY.  

Established in 1987, the CSU CDIP is the largest program of its kind in the United States. As of June 2011 the program has loaned $40 million to 1,872 doctoral students enrolled in universities throughout the nation, and 1,054 of these participants have successfully earned doctoral degrees. Among participants who have earned their doctoral degrees, 600 (57 percent) have subsequently obtained employment in CSU instructional faculty positions. For details:

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