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SOE Graduate Student Ambassadors

The Student Ambassadors are a group of current Masters & Doctoral graduate students that want to share their experiences with prospective students and answer any questions they may have about the University of San Francisco, the School of Education, or their specific program. Feel free to contact a School of Education Ambassador to find out more!

Digital Technologies for Teaching & Learning MA

Colette Roche

Email: cmroche@dons.usfca.edu
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
I've enjoyed the wide range of courses that I've taken. In my multimedia course, I particularly enjoyed creating a Pecha Kucha.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
USF offers a variety of opportunities for students. Share your interests with your professors and be open to the opportunities that present themselves. In addition, get to know the students in the cohorts ahead of you. They can provide support.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Pagan--Pumpkin Curry.
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Higher Education & Student Affairs MA

Andrea Mozqueda

Email: amozqueda@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose to attend the University of San Francisco because their social justice mission statement aligns with my values. The internship and practicum experiences were a huge factor in my decision to attend this graduate program as well. I truly believe that the practicum courses are a huge asset to the hands on experience you will receive from this amazing program. Also San Francisco is a great place to grow culturally!
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
A highlight of the HESA program has been experiencing the practicum process. I have had the privilege to complete my first practicum experience with CASA (Center for Academic and Student Achievement) by co-instructing an exploratory major and career course. It has been great hands on experience to learn how student affairs collaborates with academic affairs.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
I would advise prospective students to reach out of their comfort zone. The Student Affairs world is an ever-changing, cultural and unique environment. Choose a program that you will be able to grow personally and professionally.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
My favorite restaurant in San Francisco is King of Thai 2 which is off Clement street! This Thai food restaurant is just a short 15 minute walk away from the campus and inexpensive for students.
andrea-mozqueda

Megan Sykes

Email: mfsykes@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of it's strong connection to social justice work. I value not only community service but community engagement. In addition, I was looking for a program with a theory to practice model. I wanted to attend a program that provided experiences in the field while time spent at the university. USF has an internship program that allows graduate students to hold a position in a respective student affairs position.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
I have really enjoyed the flipped classroom aspect of the HESA program. Dialogue is a big part of the program and I have learned so much from my cohort peers because of their diverse experiences and backgrounds.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Make an informed decision. Do your research on a variety of institutions and really be true to yourself when choosing a program. Make a list of characteristics that you would like in a program to help you navigate and narrow down the variety of programs. I would also encourage prospective students to get in touch with students currently at the university/in the program they are applying for to gain an insider look!
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
My favorite San Francisco restaurant is the Samovar tea lounge (the one next to Century Theaters has a unique view of the city) and my favorite "dish" is their hot masala chai.

megan-sykes

Zach Tepper

Email: zttepper@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
The commitment and dedication to Jesuit education and social justice embedded throughout the university and the Higher Education and Student Affairs program drew me to USF. I wanted to embed myself within an academically rigorous higher education graduate program that provided the practical, hands-on learning opportunities such as internships and practica outside of the classroom.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The internships are really the best time to put theory to practice on a daily basis. Being immersed in Student Housing and Residential Education has been such a rejuvenating journey. I feel that through my internship I am able to see a clear vision for myself and for the students I support each and every day. The teaching weekend schedule means you officially engage with your coursework less frequently than other programs, but the internship experience is intentionally created for students to actively put their knowledge to work for a more experiential learning process.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
I experienced a bit of self doubt when I began my time at USF because I took two years off from my undergraduate career. If you experience that self doubt, remind yourself that you were selected for this program for a reason. You have a lot of value to add to the program, but that self doubt can be destructive. Don't let that voice win - you're stronger than you think!
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
You have to check out Another Café in Lower Nob Hill! It's my favorite escape from campus and I love the loft seating they provide. Every drink is delicious!

zachtepper1

Human Rights Education MA

Jazzmin Gota

Program: Human Rights Education MA
Email: jcgota@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
USF's International & Multicultural Education program with a concentration in human rights education was brought to my attention by a former professor. I was very excited to hear about a program with a specific human rights focus and (coupled with the endorsement from my former professor) I chose USF for it's focus on social justice and well-established reputation.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The highlights of my program at USF is split between (1) broadening my perspectives and learning new theories with which to articulate myself and (2) my diverse and brilliant classmates and professors.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Sit in on classes. Talk with current students and professors, ask questions! Tour the campus and look at the area around the campus. If possible, attend one of the events at the school, especially the School of Education Symposium in February or the Human Rights Film Festival.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Doobu (in Japancenter) for the Seafood Tofu Soup! 
jazmin-gota

International & Multicultural Education EdD

Katie Zanoni

Program: International & Multicultural Education EdD with a concentration in Human Rights Education
Email: kzanoni@usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
As an educator of peace and human rights, I was instantly drawn to the International and Multicultural Education program to complete my studies using an applied approach to impact the field of education in a positive way. In reviewing the faculty profiles, I was also impressed by the breadth of knowledge that the professors offered and felt my research interests aligned with the faculty who were focused on Human Rights Education.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The Research and Pedagogy Symposium (RAPS) was one highlight of my first year of the program. I was inspired by the work being done both on a local level and an international level by my fellow scholar-practitioners within our learning community.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
I would recommend prospective students to speak to both faculty and current students at the School of Education. In addition, sitting in a course will also offer a preview of what the content of the courses are like and gain a better understanding of the learning community at USF.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Burma Superstar - the Tea Leaf salad is incredible!
 katie zanoni

Learning & Instruction EdD

Colette Roche

Email: cmroche@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF? I chose USF because of the variety of course offerings in L&I and for the flexibility allowing me to work while pursuing my degree.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
I've enjoyed the wide range of courses that I've taken. In my multimedia course, I particularly enjoyed creating a Pecha Kucha.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
USF offers a variety of opportunities for students. Share your interests with your professors and be open to the opportunities that present themselves. In addition, get to know the students in the cohorts ahead of you. They can provide support.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Pagan--Pumpkin Curry.
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Marriage & Family Therapy MA

Zasharah Araujo

Email: zaaraujo@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose to attend USF because I felt that the school mission aligned with my values and it was the best school in the Bay Area that could best prepare me to be a Marriage and Family Therapist in my multicultural and diverse community.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The biggest highlight for me has been the support from my professors in my own personal growth as a student and a woman. I have been challenged on various levels to think critically and to approach this program and my studies feeling confident with my current abilities, so that I can continue to grow and develop.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice to prospective students is to do the research and to find the best program that fits their educational goals, visions and passions. I would also recommend to speak to as many people available about their thoughts and concerns regarding each program they're interested in.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
My favorite San Francisco restaurant is La Taqueria on 25th and Mission. I've been going to this restaurant since I was a little girl and it always awakens my senses! It reminds of my family, my Mexican-American roots and the neighborhood my grandparents settled in the 1950's.
zasharah

Diana Chang

Email: djchang@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I was impressed with their counseling psychology faculty and department. Plus, San Francisco is the best city in the world!
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
My colleagues have been the highlight of this program. I love being surrounded by fellow healers.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Come into the program with an open heart and mind.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
I love Marica restaurant in Oakland. They have the best seafood stew!
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Krista Hutchens

Email: klhutchens@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
The signs around The City drew me in and once I decided to begin my graduate school journey, I investigated. I found that USF reflected similar values of advocacy that I held. When I met with the faculty prior to applying I felt welcomed and they too reflected those values. Additionally, when I consulted professionals in the MFT field, they spoke highly of the program.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?Really getting to know the professors and their many endeavors! I anticipate my trip with Project Yucatan with Dr. Joan Avis this summer will top my highlight list, planning for it sure has!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
This ties into my highlight! If you hear your professor say something interesting in class, make an appointment to learn more, folks love to tell their stories. In graduate school, our professors are our guides and one day will become our colleagues.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
I've been frequenting Green Chile Kitchen since my journey at USF began, its a great place to meet with friends or colleagues over a yummy meal!
 krista_hutchens

Sophia Ng

Email: skng2@usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
It is a world class institution with a program that was a tailored fit to my professional needs. I felt like I would fit in here perfectly. I appreciated the diverse student body, the emphasis on community, and social justice.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
My cohort. They have become my primary support system here and we have all become very close. They make my education something that I look forward to as they inspire me to become the best possible therapist I can be.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
This program will require you to really be open minded about what you think becoming a marriage and family therapist is about in a non-traditional sense. I would advise you to put away all your preconceived notions of what you think being an MFT means and be a sponge when you first enter the program. Advocacy, social justice and serving the under-served are huge components of what what our education here strives to instill in us.
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Hannah Schwartz

Email: heschwartz2@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I fell in love with the diversity and beauty of San Francisco at a young age and the weather was also an instant attraction. As I was researching graduate programs, I started looking at Jesuit universities because I do share in the mission and tradition of the Jesuits. Thus, I wanted to continue to become a woman for others that society had in some ways forgotten about. When I came across the USF Marriage and Family Therapist site, I knew I had found my top choice. Further, as I was reading each of the professors' bios I was impressed by their experience, training, and interests.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
So far, the highlight of my program has been connecting on a deeper level with my cohort. We have a strong bond, and that has made the transition into graduate school easier.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice to prospective students is to be adventurous! You are in a city that is rich with culture and history. Take advantage of all that San Francisco and the University has to offer.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Yum Yum Hunan on Divisadero! My roommates and I order from Yum Yum all the time. The Mongolian Beef is my favorite.
hannah-schwartz

Marriage & Family Therapy MA - Sacramento Campus

Alexis Gomez

Email: adgomez2@dons.usfca.edu
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
Learning therapeutic techniques that will be effective in therapy and actually seeing myself as a therapist. This program has given me the confidence I will need when I am seeing clients.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Your hard work will pay off in the end. If you ever feel defeated, just keep going! "Keep on, keepin' on!"
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Amici's, Bubba Gumps, Patxi's (try the Deep Dish Pizza!), and you have to stop at a Ghirardelli shop for dessert!
 alexis gomez

Organization & Leadership MA

Daniel Hagen

Email: dehagen@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF for the social justice which underpins its programs. USF is a cosmopolitan university in a cosmopolitan city, and it is a school that is determined to keep asking critical questions on why our society is the way it is, what practical steps we can take to change it. As an educator hailing from a country with a host of educational challenges, I am acutely aware of how badly my society, and those the world over, need informed, energized, and highly trained citizens ready to acknowledge why our world is the way it is and most importantly, take informed action towards writing the future we want to live in. I believe USF is a school that is closely aligned to these values which embody social justice and thus it is closely aligned to my own.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
A highlight of my program so far has been meeting people with similar goals and ambitions to mine, yet from disparate fields and backgrounds. My classes have a truly international flair with students from all over the world and from incredibly diverse career fields, yet we share a common goal. A highlight has been learning that achieving social justice requires a multi-faceted plan of attack across all of our communities and professional contexts. Change needs to come from every direction.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice for prospective students is to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. This university provides so many platforms to learn, network, and grow outside of class time in an incredible city. Get the maximum possible value out of your education and your time here. This university provides you with all the spaces to do so.

What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Chino's Taqueria in Outer Richmond. By far my favorite Carnitas burrito so far!

daniel-hagen

Corey Hill

Email: cmhill2@usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because the O&L program fit with my future career goals and because of the strong reputation of the program overall.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
Thus far I have enjoyed meeting so many people from all over the world that have a global perspective on leadership and education.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
In general, I would advise prospective students to get to know people on campus including instructors, current students and staff to get a feel for the campus.

What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Wow, its really hard to say but my most consistent favorite is Wood Tavern in Oakland. I don't have a favorite dish because the menu is always changing but everything that I have had there was great.

corey-hill

Organization & Leadership EdD

Rebecca Loboschefsky

Email: rloboschefsky@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
The primary reason I chose to earn my doctorate at USF is because of its values. Dr. Patricia Mitchell, Department Chair of Leadership Studies, and her supporting faculty are among the most knowledgeable experts in their fields. Learning from them in the Doctoral Organization and Leadership program is a priceless experience. They exemplify the personal and professional behavior that promotes positive growth in all students. With such a dedicated faculty, it's no wonder USF has such a warm family atmosphere. It makes me feel like my opinions and thoughts are valued as opposed to being just a number on a roster.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The sense of community among my colleagues and professors, networking, and the opportunity to work with others who want to give back to the world just as much as I do. USF offers many meaningful organizations and honor societies for their students to become involved in and give back. Phi Delta Kappa, Graduate Student Association, and Kappa Sigma Nu are just a few examples of these.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Do your research on the program, the classes the program has to offer, and who the faculty is to ensure both you and the program are a "good fit" for each other.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
My favorite SF restaurant is Cha Cha Cha and dish is their cajun shrimp and fried potatoes with spicy aioli sauce! In the Bay Area, I highly recommend Katcha Tai Bistro's Cashew Chicken, which is located in downtown Walnut Creek.
 Rebecca Loboschefsky

Emerald Templeton

Email: etempleton@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of its social justice mission and values for creating just institutions. I was also drawn to the scholar-practitioner model and flexible teaching weekends.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The relationships and the learning!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
"The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away." -David Viscott
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Angeline's in Berkeley is so yum!
emerald-templeton

School Counseling MA

Phylisha Nelson

Email: pnnelson@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because it came highly recommended from my undergraduate advisor. Once I did my own research I found it to be the perfect fit for me. It was close to home which is what I desired. After completing my interview and meeting some of the faculty it felt like family.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
A highlight of the program thus far has been the tremendous support from both my cohort and faculty.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Be open to growth! This place is a wonderful opportunity to expand your knowledge while becoming a complete contributing member of society.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
The Amazing Crab in Berkeley. I love the garlic snow crab!
phylisha-nelson

Shannon Smoot

Email: ssmoot009@gmail.com
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of its focus on social justice. It was so important to me to have this included in my graduate program because I see social justice as being central to my work as a School Counselor. I was extremely excited to learn that USF also holds this deep commitment to social justice in a variety of contexts and knew that this University, in a setting like the Bay Area, was the best fit for me! In addition to this, I chose USF because of the small cohort size, coursework content/structure, and opportunity to take classes toward the LPCC.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
A highlight of my program so far would have to be the connections I have made with my cohort and professors. I really appreciate the supportive environment and opportunities to build relationships with my colleagues and professors. That will definitely be one of the greatest takeaways from this program.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Definitely take hold of all the opportunities the school has to offer. Attend talks or presentations when you can and most of all, get to know your professors so they can best support you throughout the program. The School Counseling professors are amazing and have so much to offer, I highly suggest spending time with each of them outside of class time!
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Fernando's in San Mateo! Amazing Mexican food. My favorite would have to be the chicken enchiladas and tortilla soup!
 shannon_smoot

Special Education EdD

Melanie Barnett

Email: mebarnett@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF for their nontraditional program. I loved the idea of being able to continue to teach and further my education. Once I got a chance to meet professors and students, I felt at home and was excited for this amazing opportunity!
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
Presenting at the engaged scholar symposium. The nerves were getting to me, but once I started presenting and answering questions from the audience, I got more excited about my research ideas!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
It is possible to continue on in your goals. This process is exciting, inspiring, and FUN, but it can be overwhelming. Don't let that stop you, it's manageable and being organized along with creating schedules to help you through the process is a must!
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
Chop Bar in Jack London Square (Oakland), as a busy student they have recognized my voice when I call for a take out order and always ask if my fiance or I will be picking up the order. Amazing burger and brunch!
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Yvette Mere-Cook

Email: yrmere2@hotmail.com
Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because the mission of the University and the purpose of the coursework matched my future goals within the special education field.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
I have really enjoyed completing the practicum and working directly with professors on teaching and research projects.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
First, I would assure them that this process is achievable within busy professional and personal lives. However, you need to establish clear priorities, create a schedule, and follow through on your plans.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
I really enjoy The Corner Store – on Geary and Masonic. I love their burger.
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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages MA Online

Lisa Ortman

Email: lmortman@dons.usfca.edu
Why did you choose USF?
I needed an online master's program that would work with my busy schedule. I narrowed my choice down to 3 schools and ultimately chose USF for the following reasons: a socially responsible learning community, small class sizes, the concentration in digital technologies for teaching and learning, internship and teaching opportunities.
What has been a highlight of your program or USF so far?
The professors and my adviser have been wonderful. They are very present, knowledgeable, understanding, and responsive. I have also enjoyed getting to know my classmates, who are spread all over the world. Even though we don't meet in a traditional classroom, our weekly discussions are enriching and genuine. We are a community made of up people from diverse backgrounds all striving to make a difference.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Never be afraid to ask questions. If you don't understand a concept or assignment ask a classmate or the professor. Online programs are fast paced and chock full of useful information. Also, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Internships, webinars, research. All of these will help you grow as a person and lead you toward to a fulfilling career.
What is your favorite San Francisco (or Bay Area) restaurant?
This is tough one to answer! One of my favorite things about San Francisco is how each neighborhood has plenty of restaurant gems to explore. I would recommend (1) Ferry Building/Waterfront: Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company; (2) Cole Valley: Brunch on the patio at Zazie; (3) Financial District: Tapas at Gitane; (4) Marina/Cow Hollow: French onion soup at Liverpool Lil's.
lisa-ortman