Engineering Undergrad Researchers Prepare for Continued Success in Ph.D. Programs


Two graduates of SDSU’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program and one graduate of SDSU’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program have accepted offers to continue conducting scientific research as doctoral students at universities across the nation.

Denise Garcia, a recent alumna of the IMSD program, graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering in Fall 2020. During her time as an undergraduate, Denise conducted research in Dr. Natalie Mladenov’s Water Innovation and Reuse Laboratory (WIRL) and was awarded the Women in Engineering Research Excellence Award at the 2020 Student Research Symposium for her work. Denise was also selected to participate in a summer research program at Caltech in 2019.  This past year, Denise was awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and received numerous offers of admission into graduate programs at universities including Stanford, USC, Columbia, NYU, Northwestern and UC Berkeley. Denise has decided to enroll in a Ph.D. program in Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley starting Fall 2021.

Denise pictured in front of her poster presentation at the 2020 Student Research Symposium

Itzel Salgado is graduating from SDSU with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering this Spring. She was a CCEFP Researcher at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities during Summer 2018 and participated in the Global Korea Scholarship Program for Foreign Exchange Students in Fall 2018. As an IMSD Scholar, Itzel conducted research under the mentorship of Satchi Venkataraman. This past year, she was selected by the National GEM Consortium as a 2021 GEM Associate Fellow and received offers of admission into graduate programs at universities including Northwestern and Purdue. Itzel has decided to enroll in a PhD Program in Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University starting Fall 2021.

Itzel pictured giving a virtual presentation at IMSD & MARC’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held in Fall 2020

Christopher Oyuela is graduating cum laude with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.  During his illustrious undergraduate career he was an active participant in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement MESA and CSU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) programs.   Chris studied abroad in Germany in Summer 2018, followed by a summer research program experience at New York University.  As a MARC scholar, Chris conducted research in Dr. Khaled Morsi’s Advanced Materials Processing Lab and in Dr. Christy Dykstra’s Environmental Biotechnology Lab.  Chris’ research won presentation awards at the Student Research Symposium (SRS) and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Chris was selected as a CSU LSAMP PROUD Scholar Fall 2020 and a CSU Board of Trustees Outstanding Student Achievement Awardee July 2020;  Chris was accepted to doctoral programs at Columbia, NYU and UCLA.  He decided to enroll in the PhD program in Chemical Engineering at NYU.

Chris pictured in front of his poster presentation at the 2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, CA.

SDSU's IMSD & MARC Programs are sponsored by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences and provide support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level.