PATH program students Beatriz Ramirez, Kevan Antonio Aguilar, and Kevan Malone.

PATH program students Beatriz Ramirez, Kevan Antonio Aguilar, and Kevan Malone.

Fellowship program aims to diversify faculty and administrators

March 22, 2021 | San Diego Community College District

By his own reckoning, Kevan Malone was not a serious student growing up. He rarely read. Studying was barely an afterthought. He enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. Today, Malone is a doctoral candidate at UC San Diego – the type of person with the type of background the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is interested in hiring.

Malone is part of the first cohort of UC San Diego doctoral candidates taking part in an ambitious program funded through an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant aiming to grow the number of community college students studying and finding careers in the arts and humanities. Called the PATH Integrated Internship Initiative, the effort is the latest chapter in and complements an expanding Preparing Accomplished Transfers to the Humanities (PATH) program initially launched in 2016 to expand the number and diversity of community college students transferring to UC San Diego or other four-year colleges and universities to study the arts and humanities. 

“The overall goal is not only to diversify the pool of transfer students in the arts and humanities to UC San Diego and elsewhere, but to also expand the diversity of students interested in teaching or working in the community colleges,” said Dr. Krystal Henderson, the SDCCD PATH Program Activity Manager. “These fellows are phenomenal. They are engaged in research, they are engaged in mentoring our students, and they are helping a diverse pool of community college scholars navigate the transfer process. These are exactly the type of educators and mentors we want to work at the San Diego Community College District.”

Why the humanities? Henderson noted that students studying the humanities develop skills that can be applied effectively to any other pursuit, skills that are increasingly valued by corporations, nonprofits, and governmental organizations interested in hiring well-rounded citizens who can adapt to a variety of sectors.

Fellows guest lecture this year with faculty coordinators (Dr. Kelly Mahew at City College, Dr. Pegah Motaleb at Mesa College, and Dr. Carmen Jay at Miramar College), shadow college administrators, and mentor community college students to support them in applying for transfer while exposing them to the invaluable resources. Kevan (City College), Kevan Antonio Aguilar (Mesa College), Beatriz Ramirez (Miramar College) conduct the majority of their fellowship activities at their respective college, in addition to participating in districtwide initiatives

Malone is sold. “My educational journey has been a bit unconventional,” said the Integrated Internship Initiative fellow who discovered reading while assigned to a ship in the Marines and later pedaled on a bike across much of the United States and Mexico. “But my experience as a community college student had a profound impact and is why I’m committed to the community college mission and would like to teach at a community college, especially one like City.”

The PATH program began in the fall of 2016 when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded UC San Diego and the SDCCD a $2.59 million, three-year grant to support an ambitious proposal with the main goals of identify potential transfer students in the humanities; provide supportive skills during their transition; and ensure that they graduate with appropriate and essential skills to successfully enter the workforce. To date, the grant has resulted in scores of SDCCD students transferring to UCSD and attending a five-week Summer Academy to prepare them for their university experience. Approximately 60% of students come from underrepresented communities. 

Phase II, as a result of an additional $2.7 million in January 2021 is kicking it up a notch by introducing UC San Diego Arts and Humanities Ph.D. students to a range of academic leadership positions in the SDCCD. In particular, fellows are encouraged to learn about career pathways and how their careers would support the transfer mission of community colleges. The fellowship consists of guest lecturing and job shadowing of faculty; shadowing SDCCD administrators and, mentoring SDCCD students with an emphasis on transfer guidance and career preparation. 

Integrated Internship Initiative fellows are among the best and the brightest.

Beatriz Ramirez was born in Mexico City and immigrated to Inglewood as a young child. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in philosophy from St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington and is currently completing her dissertation on Latin American, Mexican, and USMX border detective fiction. She has served as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer for Revelle College’s Humanities Writing Program for the past five years, and she has worked as a case manager and administrative assistant during the summers for the City of Los Angeles and San Diego County helping adults and at-risk youth find work.

Kevan Antonio Aguilar, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, is co-teaching and providing office hours to meet with students seeking insights into the PATH program and transferring to UCSD. A native of San Bernardino, Aguilar began his higher education journey as a Riverside City College student, then transferred to Cal State Long Beach for a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Latin American studies. Workshop series he has organized for SDCCD students include “Navigating the Semester vs. Quarter System,” “Finding Community and Culture After Transferring,” and “Financial Support and Opportunities for Transfer Students.

Kevan Malone is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History who has served as a teaching assistant for the Division of Arts and Humanities PATH Summer Academy and as the History Department’s lead teaching assistant. His dissertation research is on examining urbanization and environmental diplomacy in the Tijuana-San Diego border region in the 20th century.

“We need to take our community colleges seriously,” said Malone, who attended a community college in New York before earning a master’s degree in American studies at City University of New York. “Research universities tend to become, in my observation, a bubble, an echo chamber, a place where you spend your entire professional life and can end up losing touch with the outside world. At a community college, we are very much in touch with the world around us.”

The second year of the Integrated Internship Initiative for Ph.D. Students will begin with an expanded cohort of six in Fall 2021. PATH is looking for faculty and administrators to serve in the role of mentors in the upcoming year. Contact Dr. Krystal Henderson, PATH Program Activity Manager, at to learn more.


The PATH program is seeking administrator mentors for the 2021-22 Integrated Fellowship Initiative (IFI). The IFI offers one-year Fellowships to Arts and Humanities Ph.D. students at UC San Diego who desire to explore careers in the community college system. The administrator mentor role is a one-year appointment designed to help develop these future leaders in education through professional development, shadowing, and programming. 

Administrator Mentors must have at least 1 year of experience as an administrator at the San Diego Community College District. If you are interested in applying, please complete and submit the IFI Administrator Mentor Interest Form no later than April 21, 2021 at 11:59pm.

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