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


The California Promise Program

If you are an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) student and a California resident entering SF State University in Fall 2017, you are invited to participate in the California Promise Program
If you are committed to graduating in 2 years, the CA Promise program can help you make that goal a reality. We encourage you to join the CA Promise Program and earn your degree in two years!
Benefits of SF State’s CA Promise Program
After Pledging to the program in your first semester, you will receive:
Priority registration every subsequent semester so that you can enroll in the courses you need to complete your degree program in two years (maximum of 60 units);
Guaranteed course availability with personalized academic plan;
Specialized advising each semester to ensure students stay on track…
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Erasing Borders: The Mexican-American Connecting Students and Mentors

As a young student, I’d wake up around 4 a.m. in Tijuana, Mexico, hustle into the car with my mom and two sisters and spend up to three hours waiting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. We lived only 15 minutes from the border, but it was a process. Since we were born in San Diego, we could attend a private elementary and middle school in the U.S., which my parents believed would provide more economic opportunity later in life. My dad, who works for the Mexican government, stayed local. My mom is a manager of a health center in San Diego. For her, our school was just a stop on her way to work…
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Literary Dynamo

Author of more than 200 publications, books, essays, articles, reviews and short stories, UC Santa Barbara professor Sara Poot-Herrera is known for “always working” — organizing conferences or speaking events on Mexican and Spanish American literature, as well as writing, editing and teaching.
“According to my friends, I don’t sleep,” Poot-Herrera joked. Initially “torn” about missing her apartment and friends in Mexico, she sustains her cultural ties by inviting Mexican writers to speak to her students at UCSB, such as Elmar Mendoza, a key figure in the genre known as narcoliterature — crime fiction. The students, she noted, “were captivated.”…
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Rise In Latino, Black High School Grad Rates Boosts National Numbers

National graduation rates reached a record high of 81.4 percent in 2013, in part due to the increase of graduation rates among minority and low-income students.
Over the last decade, 1.8 million additional students have graduated from high school, according to a report released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center, and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
GradNation, a campaign by America’s Promise Alliance, was launched in 2010 to focus individuals, organizations and communities on decreasing dropout rates. They adopted a goal of raising the national average on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020…
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Machismo is a factor in the retention of Latino college men

Texas State University was recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution March 24, 2011. One of the things that this HSI or any others across the nation fail to research is the hidden cultural factors that affect Latino enrollment and graduation—namely, machismo.
Machismo, meaning strong or aggressive masculine pride, has been a part of the Latin culture since the beginning. From the Aztecs to the Tejanos to the contemporary Latino, the stigma remains men provide for their families. Even for Latinos who leave the nest, the expectation to support the family remains—especially for the eldest male…
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Latino Persistence in Education: Finding a Balance

The number of Latinos in higher education is increasing. However, Latinos are the least educated ethnic group in terms of bachelor’s degree completion with only 16 percent attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher.
According to Dr. Linda Castillo’s research, part of the problem may stem from intragroup marginalization. In other words, being teased by family members for not being Latino enough can impact a student’s motivation to continue in college.
Dr. Castillo, professor of counseling psychology, and her research team knew the importance of addressing this because of their own experiences in the education pipeline. Dr. Castillo had many instances where she was treated differently by white students and faculty for being Latino, but it was not until she was in college that she noticed her family’s views start to change. They treated her differently because of the way she spoke and for not being Latino enough…
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Latino Leader Named Head Of City Colleges Of Chicago

In the midst of a controversial overhaul, a Latino community leader has been tapped to take the helm of the City Colleges of Chicago.
Juan Salgado will replace Cheryl Hyman, a former corporate executive, as the head of the state’s largest community college network
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Hyman for improving the City Colleges’ graduation rate and consolidating programs with a focus on linking them to jobs under a plan called Reinvention. She also raised tuition and created a tuition structure that favored full-time students over those taking classes part time.
Those moves were sharply criticized by faculty and some community groups as a top-down initiative that they said limited student access…
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Helping ‘At-Promise’ Students Succeed

UCSB sociologist Victor Rios to discuss how emotional support from authority figures impacts the lives of marginalized students
UCSB sociology professor Victor Rios is among four presenters in PBS series of TED Talks on innovative approaches to education
Research on students who overcome adversity to successfully navigate higher education has shown that emotionally relevant educators often make the difference, by fostering the resilience that makes success possible. No one knows that better than Victor Rios, whose own life was forever altered by a high school teacher who saw his potential and became his mentor…
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Hispanic Latino Affairs launches mentorship program

A new UF mentorship program is helping Hispanic and Latino freshmen adjust to college life.
The Latino Educational Advancement Program, started by Hispanic Latino Affairs this Spring, is a five-week program that aims to help freshmen succeed in college classes and get involved on campus, said Carissa Cullum, the coordinator for LEAP. The program began Friday when the first 20 mentees and 10 mentors introduced themselves in the Multicultural and Diversity Affairs suite.
Cullum, a 24-year-old UF Latin American studies graduate student, said the program will host workshops every Tuesday starting this week. The workshops will teach students about on-campus resources, study tips, scholarship opportunities and Hispanic and Latino inclusion in higher education, she said…
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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