Sandra Calles, PhD

Dr. Sandra Calles is a psychologist, educator, life coach, mentor and activist. Her passion is to advocate for causes she believes in, teach about mental health topics, and guide others, so they may achieve success in their personal and career endeavors.

She has over 11 years of experience as a mental health professional having worked at various mental health facilities. Most recently she was a therapist at Los Angeles Harbor College at the Life Skills Center. While at Harbor College, she helped many students overcome emotional obstacles so they could transfer to universities and meet their career goals. She devotes her personal and professional life to political causes, and activities that promote mental health, women’s issues, the empowerment of Latinas through education, business ownership, financial literacy and political engagement. Dr. Sandra is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills, earning both a BA in Human Services and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She earned her doctorate from Saybrook University in Psychology, where she developed a treatment modality from her research on survivors of sudden cardiac death. The treatment plan known as PROSPER, is an acronym detailing a healing plan that can be applied to survivors of various traumas and is the underpinning for the work she does with her clients..... Continue Reading


Calif. Latinos Surge Into College, But Graduation Rates Lag

The number of Latinos in college in California is surging, but their graduation rates are still far behind other groups, according to a new report.
Researchers at Georgetown University found that 12 percent of Latinos have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 43 percent of whites and 24 percent of African-Americans.
Audrey Dow, senior vice president at the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California nonprofit group, says Latinos are now fully represented at community colleges, but not at four-year schools…
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Opening New Doors

…“It’s a space for our underrepresented and underserved students to find a community and to find academic support, and to find a sense of belonging at UCSB,” said Phommasa. “Even though our primary focus is on academic support, our whole focus is to make sure the students we serve find a place and find support here, because it is such a large institution that is challenging to navigate.”…
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The Importance of Training Teachers to Better Understand Their Native Students

Native American students make up 1.4 percent of the students in Washington state public schools. And they have the lowest graduation rate of any ethnic group, with just 56.4 percent earning a high school diploma in four years.
“I was that young person, I dropped out of school. I was one of those statistics of Native women dropouts,” says Dawn Hardison-Stevens, who is a member of the Steilacoom Tribal Council…
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Minority support programs lay the groundwork for broader student success

Miguel Angel Acosta Muñoz is immensely frustrated by the idea that there is little recognition that much of what we now see as innovative practices in student affairs were actually incubated in ethnic studies departments on campuses across the country. After working in higher education in both Chicago and New Mexico for 25 years and serving on the board for Albuquerque Public Schools, Acosta Muñoz is these days channeling his efforts towards family-community-school partnership in New Mexico, but feels those still carrying the torch in higher ed are still largely going unrecognized…
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How can higher ed institutions increase access for high-achieving, low-income students?

A new report from the Jack Kent Coolke Foundation found well-off students outnumber their low-income peers at selective colleges 24:1.
“Selective colleges and universities must commit to expanding access for high-achieving, low-income students and opening the doors of our higher education system to students based on true merit rather than family income,” Jennifer Glynn, Ph.D. wrote in the report, “Opening Doors: How Selective Colleges and Universities Are Expanding Access for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students.”…
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Cal State to no longer mandate remedial classes and placement exams

In an executive order, State Chancellor Timothy P. White, directed Cal State to get rid of the requirement that students complete noncredit remedial classes to help prepare them for college courses — a decision which could affect about 25,000 students. The schools will also discontinue Math and English placement exams.
The policy change, which will go into effect in the fall of 2018, comes after Cal State had pledged to more than double its four-year graduation rate to 40% by 2025. According to the Los Angeles Times, it also arrives after many have begun questioning how helpful remedial classes really are, with concern that the noncredit courses which must be completed in a student’s first year may spur many students to drop out…
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Webster University targets drop-outs for re-enrollment

According to 2015 data reported in Forbes, 22% of Americans have attended some college without reaching graduation.
The reasons students may drop out of college or discontinue taking classes are greatly varied, but nearly half of prospective college students are concerned they may have to drop out at some point in their academic careers.
Michael Cottam, the associate vice president for academic affairs and the director of the Online Learning Center at Webster University, said many of the students who have discontinued classes and degree programs at his institution face the crush of numerous personal and professional responsibilities. But now, it is these students Webster is targeting for re-enrollment, hoping to move the number of individuals with a degree forward…
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Number of minorities, women taking CS is skyrocketing thanks to STEM collaborations


  • Following implementation of a new type of computer science option last fall — AP Computer Science Principles, which puts real-world perspectives on coding — data from 2016 to 2017 shows the number of minorities taking a computer science exam in some form nearly tripled to 22,199, up from 8,283, while the number of girls taking it rose from 12,642 to 29,708. 
  • AP CSP was born out of a collaboration between the National Science Foundation, College Board and, along with other authorized providers, who are rolling out the course and training teachers to facilitate it, reports NPR — and over half of the schools teaching the course are using curriculum from, which trained 500 teachers last year…

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Culturally-relevant pedagogy critical to meet needs of today’s students

Educators must work to find better ways of building culturally relevant curriculum and reconfiguring their approach to pedagogy as they work with students, says Dr. Christopher Emdin, an associate professor with Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

During a presentation at the school this week, Emdin cautioned that incorporating cultural insight into teaching could be problematic, particularly when educators utilize their own biased preconceptions of how they think culture can manifest in classroom instruction.

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Photo Collections

Selected photos England and Belgium, 2016


Selected photos Filoli Gardens, Spring 2017, Spain, England, and Belgium

You may purchase any photo from the Photos Collections for $.99 each. Please email with your order request.

“…And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while…”

T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Press Release

2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals Now Available

The 2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals is now available on

News from the 2015 American Community Service shows good increases in the numbers of Mexican Americans attending college, achieving educational attainment, and holding jobs in industries including science, management, and business.

• Mexican American college enrollment increased from 18.7% to 18.9% between 2014 and 2015
• Graduate or professional degree attainment among Mexican Americans rose from 2.9% to 3.0%
• The number of Mexican Americans achieving bachelor’s degrees rose from 7.6% to 7.8% in 2015

Despite these numbers, Mexican Americans are still near the bottom of college enrollment and educational attainment by race and ethnicity.

The University of California is proactive in pushing for a greater number of underrepresented minorities. The number Chicano/Latino students attending UOC increased by 2.7% since 2014; this group now makes up 32.3% of admitted university freshmen.

In terms of occupations, the number of Mexican Americans making up part of the management, business, science, and art occupations continues to rise, from 16.6% to 17.5% from 2012 to 2015. Mexican Americans have also seen consistent numbers in the professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services occupations, keeping steady at 10.2% of all jobs in these fields held by Mexican Americans.

These numbers represent continuing gains in higher education and professional jobs for Mexican Americans. For more, visit