Alumnus Success Story
By Dr. Matthew LaFave, former CSUN student, Department of Special Education
Dr. Matthew LaFave, Assistant Professor, Russell Sage College, Troy, New York
My journey at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) began after traveling the country in search of my goals and a path to follow. After landing in Los Angeles, I was employed working with exceptional children in a San Fernando Valley school. Although I acquired the necessary skills to teach while employed, it was my experiences at CSUN that provided a foundation that equipped me to meet the multifaceted needs of my diverse students.
When I began my master’s degree at CSUN, I was impressed with the practical applications of course content and the support from the faculty in the College of Education who provided knowledge about how to improve student achievement as well as the guidance to stretch me professionally in the field of Special Education. I was fortunate to develop a mentorial relationship with Dr. Ivor Weiner, Department of Special Education, and through his tutelage was given the opportunity to present at school orientations, conferences, and professional development workshops. It was through these experiences that I realized that going into higher education would enable me to bring my knowledge and understanding of students with exceptionalities to a much larger audience. With the assistance of my mentor and other faculty from the College of Education, I was accepted into a doctoral program and was the recipient of a federal leadership grant at the University at Albany in New York.
After four challenging years, this May, I completed my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Special Education. I am currently an assistant professor and Program Director of Special Education at Sage Graduate Schools at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. As I look back upon my accomplishments, I can honestly say they began with the Eisner College of Education and were developed through the personal relationships I established with faculty and a mentor who continues to guide me.