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10 Cal State L.A. students to earn doctoral degrees

June 6, 2014

Six doctorates focus on educational leadership, 4 on special education

Los Angeles, CA – California State University, Los Angeles will graduate six students from its new Ed.D. program in educational leadership, an independent doctoral-level program, during its June 15 Commencement.

Cal State L.A.’s educational leadership program, approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the Western Association of Schools and College, was launched in fall 2009. Cal State L.A.’s independent Ed.D. program is helping lay the groundwork not only for professional doctorates in education in the CSU, but also for professional doctorates in other disciplines on campus.

Authorized by the California Legislature in response to the urgent need for well-prepared educators to help lead California’s public schools and community colleges, the program specializes in preK-12 education, focusing on system and school redesign, urban teaching and learning, and students’ special needs and services.

With dissertation topics ranging from inclusive education to high school mathematics, the following six Cal State L.A. students will be conferred their doctoral degrees in educational leadership in a colorful academic procession and hooding ceremony at 5 p.m. in the University Stadium.

  • Cynthia D. Brown’s dissertation is titled “Foster Parents' Support and Advocacy for Foster Youth's College Readiness: A Narrative Study.”
  • Preciosa K. Cordero’ dissertation is titled “Echándole Ganas: An Urban School’s Effort to Engage Latino Parents.”
  • Dolores Gallegos de Jimenez’s dissertation is titled “Early Childhood Education Teachers’ Perceptions on the Importance of and Experiences with Young Children’s Social-Emotional Development.”
  • Maha Falha Karout’s dissertation is titled “Perceptions of Heritage Language Programs.”
  • Darleen M. Villalobos’s dissertation is titled “A Narrative Study of Continuation High School Teachers.”
  • Jennifer M. Rios-Zambrano’s dissertation is titled “Stories from Adults Who Grew Up in the Foster Care System and What They Tell Us about Its Impact on Their School Completion in an Urban School Setting.”

Additionally, four doctoral candidates from Cal State L.A.’s joint Ph.D. in special education program with UCLA will be conferred their degrees. They are:

  • Clare Larkins, whose dissertation is titled “Friendship in Children with Anxiety Disorders: A Longitudinal Examination.”
  • Renee Polanco Lucero, whose dissertation is titled “Implementing Listening and Spoken Language Intervention for Children with Hearing Loss in the Public School Setting.”
  • Jenny Quan, whose dissertation is titled “Reading achievement for students with autism and students with learning disability: A comprehensive examination of the five key areas of reading.”
  • Marilyn VanDyke, whose dissertation is titled “The Therapeutic Process and Outcome during Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children with Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders.”

More than 20,000 people are expected this year to witness the conferral of more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees over three days as the Commencement takes place in the University Athletic Stadium, located at the southeast corner of the campus.

For more about Cal State L.A.’s doctoral programs, go to

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Working for California since 1947:  California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 230,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.