Graduate Studies

Advancement to Graduate Education Conference (AGE)

Saturday, September 11th at 9:00am

Thinking about pursing a Master's or Doctoral Degree?

The AGE conference is an all-day FREE event where CSUN students learn about graduate school—both master’s and doctoral degrees. The conference will begin with our distinguished keynote speaker, Dr. David Stamps, followed by a variety of workshops to assist students with preparing for graduate school. If you would like to view the featured workshops, please click on the accordion below.

Welcome Letter

Dear AGE Participants:

We are thrilled to have you join us today and hope that you are able to explore ideas and gain new opportunities as you participate in the various sessions throughout the day. The future workplace will be exciting, with projects being complex and multi-disciplinary. Solving problems will require domain specific expertise as well as the ability to communicate ideas with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. A graduate degree can adequately prepare you for what lies ahead. As a graduate student, you will engage in research and creative works, participate in conferences and seminars, and interact with people from all walks of life. The foundations and friendships you will establish during this time will serve you throughout your professional life.

Today you have an opportunity to acquire information about graduate school from several experts. You will explore the graduate application process, learn how to finance your education, and how to succeed in graduate school. We hope that you are able to take full advantage of all of the workshops offered.

We wish you personal success and professional fulfillment in your future graduate education.


Amy Levin, MSW, Ph.D. Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies

Hedy Carpenter, M.A. Director of Graduate Studies



Program Schedule

Coming soon!

9:05AM Keynote Speaker

Dr. David Stamps

About the Keynote Speaker
David Stamps is an Assistant Professor in Strategic Communication and Mass Media at LSU. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and M.A. from California State University, Northridge. His research is aimed at understanding the psychological and behavioral effects of identity-focused interpersonal interactions as well as individuals’ exposure to and engagement with media. Inherent in this work is a recognition that issues of class, gender, race, ability, geographic location, and sexuality meaningfully impact these relationships.

David’s research appears in various book chapters and peer-reviewed academic journals including, Films as Rhetorical Texts: Cultivating Discussion about Race, Racism and Race Relations, and in peer-reviewed journals, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, the Howard Journal of Communications, Journal of Communication Inquiry and American Communication Journal. He is the inaugural recipient of The Claudine Michel Advocacy and Excellence Award, the Louisiana Board of Regents OER Common Faculty Cohort Award, and his work has been funded by the Congressional Black Caucus, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and The E Pluribus Unum Institute. He is currently working with the Governor’s Task Force in Louisiana to bring Black voices to the table regarding their lived experiences concerning the pandemic and racial unrest.

David has spoken and presented work at multiple national and international conferences, centering his work in identity-focused interpersonal and societal level interactions as a cornerstone towards actual inclusion and realized equity in society. A former entertainment publicist and grant writer, including time spent at NBCUniversal and the Los Angeles Arts Commission, he also holds a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. You can find him on Twitter at @davidstampsII and

10:00AM Workshop and Description

Workshop Title: Applying to and Getting Accepted into Graduate School
Presenter: Dr. Scott Plunkett, Psychology Dept.

Workshop Description: This workshop will discuss how to select a graduate school, the nuts and bolts of applying, and the things you need to know to submit a strong application.


11:00AM Workshops and Descriptions

Workshop Title: How to Compose a Successful Statement of Purpose (S&BS)
Presenter: Dr. Wendy Ashley, Social Work Dept.

Workshop Description: The Statement of Purpose (SOP) (also referred to as an Application Essay, Objectives for Graduate Study, Personal Background, Cover Letter, or some comparable title) is one of the most important, and one of the most challenging parts of your graduate school application.  Because graduate school takes focus, determination and resilience, admissions committees are looking for applicants who can articulate why and how they will be successful in the discipline they are applying for.  This document is the only way that you can make a good, strong impression and demonstrate to the admissions committee why you are a solid fit for their program.  This workshop will define what the SOP is, identify what admissions committees are looking for, and provide tips, tools and strategies for preparing, drafting, editing and completing your best, most successful SOP.

Workshop Title: How to Compose a Successful Statement of Purpose (CSM and CECS)
Presenter: Dr. Nyssa Silbiger, Biology Dept.

Workshop Description: How to write a unique statement of purpose that highlights YOU: tips for writing a statement of purpose and a statement of research in STEM fields.


12:30PM Workshops and Descriptions

Workshop Title: How to Finance your Graduate Education
Presenter: Dr. Cherie Francis, UCLA Grad Division

Workshop Description: Overview of the variety of resources available to new and continuing graduate students at University of California and other campuses, including special fellowships, research assistantships, internships, grants, and extramural prizes and awards from foundations and government agencies.

Workshop Title: How to Finance your CSU Graduate Education
Presenter: Sonya Adlersberg, CSUN Financial Aid Department

Workshop Description: What types of funding opportunities are available for graduate education?  What other financial decisions should be considered while attending graduate school?  Attend this workshop to learn more about financial aid and merit-based resources to attend graduate school.  We will also talk about additional financial decisions to consider in your planning.


1:30PM Workshops and Descriptions

Workshop Title: GRE: Crack the Test and Get In!
Presenter: Karen Herndon, Princeton Review

Workshop Description: The Princeton Review is a leader in test preparation that provides students with tips and tools to pass the GRE. In this workshop, you will learn about the logistics and structure of the GRE exam. You will also be given sample questions to review.

Workshop Title: Requesting letters of Recommendation & Building Relationships with faculty
Presenter: Stefanie Drew, Psychology Dept.

Workshop Description: The purpose of this workshop is to provide students with guidance on developing student-faculty mentoring relationship, as well as assisting students with the process of requesting faculty letters of recommendation.

Workshop Title:
Keys to Success & Survival in Graduate School (student panel)
Panelist: Jose Torres, UC Irvine PhD Student, Ashtyn Issaak, CSUN Graduate Student, Biology

Workshop Description:
This panel consisting of current Masters and Ph. D students who will share their advice for passing qualifying exams, successful time management and finding funding sources.  The graduate students will discuss problems they have encountered and describe the solutions they have discovered.


2:30PM Workshop and Description

Workshop Title: Health and Well-being in Graduate School
Presenter: Dr. Casey terHorst, Biology Dept.

Workshop Description: Graduate school is a stressful time, and for many students the stress can take a toll both physically and mentally. Together we will discuss the impact of health issues on graduate students as well as identify strategies for maintaining one’s well-being and establishing a healthy work-life balance.