Mike is a doctoral student in the EdD in Higher Education program.  He is also a doctoral graduate assistant for the Graduate School, serving as the Co-Coordinator for the Pathways Project Program. The Pathways Project is a Graduate School initiative for inclusive excellence that is designed to support students from marginalized backgrounds through mentoring and research opportunities.

Where is your hometown?

I am from El Monte, California.

What are a few of your favorite hobbies?

Weight training, reading, hangin’ with my dog.

How do you practice self-care?

Being with my dog, Bella, is usually a good way to break the stream of stress that comes with doctoral work, work, and volunteerism. Going for a walk with her, playing fetch, and taking her to have coffee are just some of the ways we take time to hangout. I also enjoy grabbing coffee with friends, colleagues, and classmates. Being able to share some space, share ideas, and talk about research is always fun.

Why did you choose Ball State?

I chose Ball State for the opportunity. I wanted to find a doctoral program that I could immerse myself in, gain experience in higher education, and develop a network of professionals in education that would help me transition from a career in sports medicine to higher education and the professoriate.

What first interested you about your graduate program?

The social justice tone and the equity-based pedagogy. The EdD Program in Higher Education offers a diverse curriculum and pedagogy. There is value shown for individual experiences and a kindness that lends itself to learning. The faculty have designed a program so intentionally that it exposes the student to a variety of learning opportunities, empowers the student by offering a selection of course projects, and offers students the support and encouragement to complete projects that will improve their professional mobility post-graduation.

Where did you obtain your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, what were your major(s)?

California State University, Fullerton- Bachelor’s of Science Kinesiology.

California State University, Fullerton- Master’s of Science, Exercise Physiology and Athletic Training.

What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?

I have had the opportunity to learn more deeply about myself and the value of my own personal experiences in higher education that span over 20 years. The support of my faculty and my research have allowed me to understand the social injustices and barriers that exist for students of color and have taught me ways to develop inclusive teaching practices in higher education and healthcare education.

What has been the most valuable part of your graduate assistantship experience?

The most valuable part of my doctoral assistantship has to be the ability to interact with students from marginalized communities, to offer assistance, to help reduce the barriers to persistence in higher education, and to interact with faculty, staff and administration that are willing to give students guidance in a sincere, caring and equitable way.

Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

I would like to give a shout out to my fellow GA in the Pathways Project, Kade Padgett. They have been integral in our ability to work with mentors and mentees, and it has been great to share experiences and support one another during the day-to-day aspect of our assistantship.

What are your future plans and career goals?

The plans are to become a professor, to continue to support students from minoritized communities, and to continue to conduct research that advances equity in post-secondary education. I plan to move my Athletic Training Career from a clinically based approach to an academic approach as a scholar and researcher.