Torero Tidbits: McNair Scholars Honored; Business Information Sessions, Webinars; Shop USD Torero Stores

Torero Tidbits: McNair Scholars Honored; Business Information Sessions, Webinars; Shop USD Torero Stores

The McNair Scholars Program at the University of San Diego hosted a virtual celebration on Thursday to honor its 15 graduating students among the class of 2020.

Gathered together via Zoom, McNair Scholars Director Ramiro Frausto and Academic Coordinator Brenda Gutierrez welcomed everyone and played videos to showcase this year’s cohort along with words of praise for the program, for their faculty mentors and announcing the graduating seniors’ post-graduation plans.

The TRIO program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and USD and named in honor of deceased NASA astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair, had a 2019-20 group comprised of 100 percent first-generation college students. This year’s cohort is USD’s 15th graduating class and the latest in what has annually been an exceptional group of Toreros. These high-achieving undergraduates are committed to pursuing a PhD or graduate degree as a result of gaining research training and early scholarly experiences.

The class of 2020 McNair Program graduates — along with their current post-USD graduation plans — include: Gequesha Collins (post-baccalaureate Research in social psychology, University of Kansas, then Master's in social psychology at New York University), Mina de Guia (University of Washington PhD English Literature), Daniel Rodriguez (UCLA Master’s in Architecture), Antonio Rojas (UNLV Master of Public Health Program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics), Yarissa Valdez (Arizona State University, Master of Education), Jesse Magana (USC Rossier School of Education Master’s in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs), Justin Oliveras (Teach for America, East Los Angeles, then University of Washington), Tatiana Zamora (Stanford Graduate School of Education, PhD in Developmental and Psychological Sciences), Brandon Kennedy (USD, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies’ Master’s in Peace and Justice Program), Jorge Saavedra-Alvarado (assessing Environmental Sciences and Community Outreach graduate school opportunities), Alexee Silva (Post-baccalaureate research to prep for a clinical psychology PhD program), Alexandra Unapanta (seeking post-baccalaureate research position to prep for behavioral neuroscience PhD program), Sami Zaia (finalizing graduate school applications), Larissa Olivas (pursue post-baccalaureate research, then prepare for PhD program in behavioral neuroscience), and Ivonne Salas (refining her research focus to prepare for a PhD program).

Also, the McNair Scholars program relies on USD faculty members to serve as important mentors, especially when it comes to the students’ research projects. Several were present during the virtual event. Each year, too, the McNair Scholars present one faculty mentor with its Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.

Daniel Rodriguez had the honor to introduce the 2019-20 award to his faculty mentor, Daniel Lopez-Perez, an associate professor in USD’s architecture program. Rodriguez, who is a double major graduate in architecture and Spanish, praised Lopez-Perez for all that he’s been able to do while at USD. Lopez-Perez spoke about Rodriguez’s opportunities through the support of various campus organizations, including Associated Student Government, Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action, the International Center, University Ministry and McNair Scholars. Rodriguez’s research and presentation opportunities have included trips to Mexico, Madrid, Spain and South Korea.

School of Business Webinars, Degree Information Sessions

The University of San Diego School of Business will remain very active in terms of presenting virtual events this summer.

Next week alone, three of the school’s graduate (master’s) programs — Business Analytics, Real Estate and MBA — will conduct virtual information sessions for prospective students.

There is a session on June 2 at 5:30 p.m. for the business analytics program, a noon session for real estate on June 3 and the MBA program session is June 4 at 3 p.m. Each session is free and open to the public, but you need to reserve your spot.

Furthermore, the School of Business’ Lifelong Learning webinar series that began earlier this month, will have two more virtual events in June.

David Pyke, the former USD School of Business dean from 2008-15 and current professor of operations management, will do a webinar June 11 at 11 a.m. on the topic, “Rethinking Global Supply Chains.”

Lecturer Vicki Halsey will do the last of the webinar series on June 25, also at 11 a.m. on “Cultivating Your Brilliance by Design in Challenging Times.”

Shop USD Torero Store Online for Class of 2020 Custom Items

The University of San Diego’s class of 2020 has graduated, but the memories of your time as a USD student don’t end with your final class, exam or project. The USD Torero Store has a full line of items available for purchase that can be custom made for the Class of 2020.

The USD Torero Store has a Zazzle product line that include such items as USD graduation lawn signs, poster, graduation announcements, postcards and even throw pillows and a jigsaw puzzle, along with more standard items such as shirts, hats, jackets, sweatshirts, blankets and more.

Shop the USD Torero Store online or check out the Torero Store merchandise available on

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone

McNair Scholar Daniel Rodriguez '20, left, and Architecture Professor Daniel Lopez-Perez at a conference in South Korea in 2018. Lopez-Perez won the 2020 McNair Scholars Faculty Mentor Award.McNair Scholar Daniel Rodriguez '20, left, and Architecture Professor Daniel Lopez-Perez at a conference in South Korea in 2018. Lopez-Perez won the 2020 McNair Scholars Faculty Mentor Award.

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