Psychology graduate becomes first director of alumni department

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Mrinal Sinha returned to CSU Monterey Bay as the first graduate hired as a tenure-track faculty member, and he is the first alumnus to serve as department chair. He was one of the cohort of professors who established the psychology department under its first chair, Jennifer Dyer Seymour. In the years that followed, the program became the largest on campus.

As chairman, Sinha helped guide the department through the challenges of the pandemic and its shift to remote learning. He also runs a psychology research lab, where he works with students on a body of research examining how the backgrounds, family, neighborhood, and experiences of Latino students have either presented barriers or facilitated their education. He has just returned from a sabbatical where he completed preliminary data analysis of 53 interviews and began writing up the results. This work has resulted in a book chapter accepted for publication and another article in progress.

Sinha was not always on the right path to becoming an academic. He grew up in San Jose and attended West Valley Community College as an English major, but as he puts it, he “was a failure at community college.” He left school and worked in food delivery as a dispatcher. A few years later, he “pulled himself together” and returned to community college, this time to De Anza College. There he took his first psychology course and liked it enough to change majors.

When it came time to move to a bachelor’s degree program in 1998, his track record wasn’t strong enough to get him into his first choice, UC Santa Cruz, but he had heard of a newly opened university just a little bit. further down the coast. . Even though they didn’t offer a specialization in psychology, he liked that it was near the beach, and its novelty was interesting. He applied and was accepted to CSUMB.

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