Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2010
School of Education
February 1, 2011
“Helping people is my passion, which gives me the motivation to do whatever it takes to help my students and their families.”
I came to the United States as an immigrant from Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. I came to pursue higher education. During my long journey toward my doctorate I encountered numerous challenges but I benefited from the educational opportunities available in this country. I consider myself fortunate to have met teachers who encouraged and supported my love for education. As a result, I became passionate about helping people, especially those who struggle to obtain higher education.
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Dominquez Hills. While raising two children who, at the time, were one and two years old, I received a Master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Student Development for Higher Education. My counseling background, along with working in student affairs, deepened my understanding of the tremendous challenges we face as educators and strengthened my commitment to supporting others in their educational journey.
While raising my children, I worked as an hourly counselor at Rio Hondo Community College for three years providing career and academic counseling. Subsequently, I accepted a full time position at California State University, Long Beach as Program Director for their Mathematics, Engineering, Science, and Achievement (MESA) program, an academic preparation program that serves educationally disadvantaged pre-college students. I have been working in this position for the past 11 years, which has given me an opportunity to reach out to local school districts and mathematics and science teachers, and encourage over 14,000 middle and high school students to pursue math- and science-based majors.
My lifelong dream of pursuing a doctoral degree, along with my strong desire to effectively serve public school students, administrators, teachers, and parents, encouraged me to research doctoral programs that met my finances, life style, and work demands. In 2006, I was fortunate to enroll in the UCI/CSU Joint Ed.D. program, which offered the flexibility, support, and cohort model that changed my life.
As an educational practitioner who tirelessly works to increase the pipeline of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates, I wanted to focus my dissertation research to understand the challenges and successes of recruiting and retaining all students in general, but with an emphasis on the retention of Black males. Hence, my dissertation topic was entitled STEMming the Tide: Understanding the Academic Success of Black Male College Students in STEM Majors.
My doctoral experience has given me a depth of understanding that I wish to share with others. Recently, I was a guest speaker at CSULB Science Teacher And Research (STAR) seminar, where I shared my expertise with graduate students and faculty as we explored ways to increase the graduation and success rates for all students, especially subgroups which have traditionally lagged behind.
In the future, my plans are to continue research in STEM areas and look for an opportunity to teach graduate students who are pursuing counseling and teaching degrees.
In everything that I do I am thankful that I have a wonderful, supportive husband and two children who are the joy of my life.