"Faces of HSS"
The students of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences represent close to 8000 different lives, each one with a unique story about the journey that lead them to Cal State Fullerton and to their academic major our College. To celebrate the diverse stories that our students bring with them and the collection of stories that create the identity of Humanities and Social Science, we will introduce additional “Faces of HSS” throughout the year.
Political Science & American Studies majors
The High School debate club, Junior State of America, and AP Government jump-started Joanna Wallace’s interest in Political Science. She added American Studies as a double major after taking several courses. “The classes were always very interesting, and I enjoyed the perspective and added hidden histories that my professors contributed to the courses,” Wallace says.
Wallace interned at U.S. Law Center, a firm that primarily deals with immigration. She answered phone calls, scheduled consultations, updated calendars, to start. Later she trained in the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Department and learned how to fill out forms to obtain the records from the FBI, CBP, USCIS, EOIR, CAL DOJ, OBIM that were needed for clients to take the next step in their immigration case. She also sent out hearing letters to clients. Wallace insists, “The best way to describe this department is by saying that it is the first step in the client’s case to make the proper plan of action.”
Wallace plans to continue to work at the law firm, study for the LSAT, and eventually work towards law school. “Having professors that have encouraged me to take up opportunities has been extremely helpful and reassuring. Their advice has shown me that I can take my time figuring out what I want to do and that it’s okay not to jump right into grad school or law school before I’m sure it’s something I really want to do. Not only do I have time, but I have options,” Wallace states.
Dr. Valerie O’Regan has been a role model for Wallace. “She is a professor that truly cares about her students’ success. Writing several 10+ page papers in her classes has made me a better writer, and her courses inspire me to learn more about the politics and social conditions of the world around me,” she adds.
Psychology/Criminal Justice major
Maximiliano Gutierrez’s professors, who were very passionate about the subject, initially sparked his interest in psychology. Gutierrez wanted to work with marginalized communities, which, on average, tend to be less informed about mental health issues, resources, and the benefits they can receive from psychotherapy. “Tattoos and piercings have become a norm in American society, and I’m interested in examining how a person with body modifications can influence or persuade others regarding mental health,” he states.
In Dr. Mori’s lab, Maximiliano Gutierrez researches perceptions of mental health and sexual assault. Gutierrez surveyed current students at CSUF and students across America on their knowledge about psychotherapy or other types of treatments, such as medication. Additionally, his sexual assault studies examined what kind of rape myths are accepted among college students.
Before Gutierrez started studying psychology, he considered dropping out of college. “I had no interest in school and was just wasting time and money on classes. Then, I registered for Psych 101 to complete my A.A. in general education. Three years later, I find myself involved in a research lab, presenting in conventions such as WPA, and close to graduating with a B.A. and a minor," he says.
Upon graduating from CSUF, Gutierrez intends on taking time to prepare for the GRE and eventually apply for the M.S. in clinical psychology.
American Studies major
Solorzano did her research on a congregation of “Women Religious.” “What I wanted to find out was why they decided to become ‘a Religious,’” she wondered. She found that some became Sisters because they had a sense of calling. The Sisters remember that they just knew they wanted to become “a Religious.” Others were looking for meaning, something more to life than just the obvious. One Sister Solorzano spoke to said that she saw the world she was living in and wanted to do something to make a difference and make it a better place.
Another reason that many became Sisters is that they wanted to help people. When they joined this congregation, they became teachers, and this was the way they helped people through education.
“I decided to do my research on ‘Women Religious’ because though I’ve known a few, I never stopped to ask any of them why they chose to become a Sister. After I began to work with them, I started to hear bits of their stories. This research only made me more interested and made me want to learn more about their lives and motivations to become ‘a Religious,’” states Solorzano.
“I like American Studies because it goes deep, looking below the surface. It looks at events, asks why, and then searches for an answer or reasoning that is often unseen.”