• M3 Banner #1-Three mentor photos
  • M3 Banner #2-Three mentor photos



“My mentors were the only ones who could understand me, who could understand my background, who could give that hand without judging. They’ve helped me through personal development by keeping me from my breaking point.”

-David Contreras ’18 (Sociology/Chicana/o Studies)

"When someone assured me I belonged here, the fear dissipated, and my resilience and resolve strengthened. I earned a double BA in Deaf Studies and Linguistics in 2015, while homeless, and an MSW in 2017. Today, I am honored to mentor others, like I’ve been mentored — to help them realize they, too, are capable and deserving of an education. My mentors have been there entire way and continue to push me to pursue a Ph.D"

-Erik Escareño ’15 (Deaf Studies), ’17 (Masters of Social Work)


"Complications during my 16-year-old mother’s labor caused me to have a mild version of a diff-ability called Cerebral Palsy. “Diff-ability” is the preferred term in our community, since the prefix “dis-” in “disability” means “less than.” It was tough growing up with a diff-ability and a confusing AfroLatino identity, so I overcompensated with academic success. I reached my goal of becoming a first-generation college student at the University of New Mexico, but without a mentor and hard-to-access counselors, I signed up for 300- and 400-level courses as a freshman — failing one and barely passing others. I dropped out, believing I was smart, but not college material. Two of my businesses failed, and I humbly returned to a community college. There, I met two African American female professors who offered invaluable mentorship. Now, weeks away from receiving a Social Work Master’s from CSUN, and having been a mentor in the M3 program, I know mentorship is a key ingredient in my continued success."

-Mark Emeka '19 MSW

“I could not have been successful in college or graduate school without the support, guidance and resources provided by both my M3 Career Mentor and my M3 Peer Mentor. My life will never be average or what it was expected to be. I am setting a new standard.”

-Vincent Tabb '18 (Masters of Public Administration)


"As an athlete, I was plagued with injuries and forced to find success in a different arena. Falling into depression, I felt I would never regain my identity. Through many dark days and nights, I worked toward a graduate degree in a field that feels perfect for me, but I still struggled with my personal anxieties of not measuring up. A few of my professors inspired me through their knowledge and personal testimonies. That made me realize that I needed to start valuing my worth more. Their constant encouragement and relentless efforts kept me going - they were my coaches. Finding my identity, I reclaimed my team. Working with at-risk youth is my second chance to reach success. I want to walk with them through the light, the dark, the failures and the successes. I am very proud to say that I am a Master of Social Work graduate from CSUN. Feeling proud is one thing, remaining humble in my pride is the only thing."

-Charles Ohaeri '17 MSW

“Sometimes having a mentor is what you really need because you might feel lost, you might feel trapped, you might feel like an outcast, but M3 is here to help minority students.”

-Terrell Funches ’17 (Sociology)


"I grew up without a father, and an older brother who went to prison for 10 years. My sister passed away from leukemia when I was 21. I was devastated to lose someone so close to me. To cope, I turned to drugs and alcohol. I dropped out of high school three units away from graduating on stage—but, with a strong support system, I persevered. I got my high school diploma, connected with my faith, achieved sobriety, and now help others as a substance abuse counselor. My mother, who went back to community college at 40, is my biggest role model. She inspired me to pursue higher education, where being able to learn saved my life. Knowing professors of color, like Dr. Allen Lipscomb, who share similar life experiences gives me the blueprint to reach my educational goals and leave a legacy for the next generation."

-Jeremiah Buenrostro '20 MSW

“There are a lot of individuals who will say, ‘I can do it on my own. I did it on my own.’ No, you didn’t. By not taking advantage of opportunities, people are being wasteful because the purpose of my mentors helping me was so I could help hundreds of others.”

-Gabriel Buelna ’93 (Chicana/o Studies)


"I grew up in a working-class neighborhood with working-class parents who are detribalized natives. My father often drank himself non-functional, and my mother was often violent towards him and me. Coupled with home life, the hostility of racist locals pushed me to join a gang for protection, camaraderie, and “love.” At 13, I was comatose for three days and almost died from head trauma inflicted by my own gang. The doctor said that if I didn’t come out of the coma within three days, I would be permanently brain-damaged. But I am here, holding a BA in Cultural Anthropology and an MSW from CSUN. I have worked with probation youth, homeless parolees, and families. As an Associate Clinical Social Worker, I help uplift the youth I currently serve. Being a role model and a mentor to probation youth is a priceless gift to be savored—and it is my calling."

-Yaotl Mazahua