News Release| 2013 Commencement; Cal State L.A.

June 11, 2013

Cal State L.A. to confer 8 Ed.D. grads from independent doctoral program


Los Angeles, CA – This year, eight graduates of California State University, Los Angeles will be conferred their Ed.D. in educational leadership, the first-ever independent doctoral-level program offered at the University.

Cal State L.A.’s educational leadership program, approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the Western Association of Schools and College, was launched in fall 2009. CSULA’s independent Ed.D. program is helping lay the groundwork not only for professional doctorates in education in the CSU, but also for professional doctorates in other disciplines on campus.

Authorized by the California Legislature in response to the urgent need for well-prepared educators to help lead California’s public schools and community colleges, the program specializes in preK-12 education, focusing on system and school redesign, urban teaching and learning, and students’ special needs and services.

With dissertation topics ranging from high school math testing to school discipline, the following eight CSULA students will be conferred their doctoral degrees in educational leadership at CSULA’s Commencement on Friday, June 14, at 5 p.m. which includes a colorful academic procession and a doctoral hooding ceremony.

Zara Agvanian’s dissertation is titled “The Impact of Curricular and Pedagogical Factors on Tested Achievement in High School Mathematics.”

LaNelle Yvonne Harvey’s dissertation is titled “Inventatorium: A Journey of ‘Satori’ and Creativity in African American and Latino Adolescents.”

Eddie S. Lopez’s dissertation is titled “The Effectiveness of University Programs, Services, and Practices in Retaining Student Veterans Transitioning to Higher Education: Voices of Student Veterans—A Multiple Case Study at Two Universities.” 

Kelly Ann Kotowski’ dissertation is titled “The Calling Canvas, Weaving Words and Images: A Narrative Inquiry into the Creative Voice of Students with Autism Participating in a Creative Lunchtime Program.”

Manuel Rene Alvarez’s dissertation is titled “A California Mayor’s Bid to Improve the City’s Schools: A Study of the Reform He Implemented.”

Armando Rubio’s dissertation is titled “Student Misconduct and Isolation from the School Environment: A Study of Student, Teacher, and Administrator Perceptions of School Discipline at an Urban Middle School.”

Marisa Meyka’s dissertation is titled “Passports into Dominant Society: An Examination of GEAR UP Social Capital Experiences on Student Trajectories and College Participation.”

Mario Moya’s dissertation is titled “Novice Teachers and Support Providers in a Consortium’s Induction Program Serving Diverse Districts in California.”


Additionally, three doctoral candidates from CSULA’s joint doctorate in special education with UCLA will be conferred their degrees. They are:

Jemma Hyo-jung Koh, whose dissertation is titled “Peer-mediated inference making intervention for students with autism spectrum disorders.”

Michelle Dean, whose dissertation is titled “Sex difference and gender stereotypes: An analysis of school-age children and adolescents with high-functioning autism.”

Charlotte A. Mucchetti, whose dissertation is titled “Communication Growth in Minimally Verbal Children with Autism.”


More than 20,000 people are expected this year to witness the conferral of more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees over two days as the Commencement takes place in the University Athletic Stadium, located at the southeast corner of the campus.

For more about CSULA’s Ed.D. program in educational leadership, go to

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 225,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.