Graduate Student Diversity

Get involved

Let your voice be heard!

We are taking an informed approach to develop programming that will meet the needs historically underrepresented graduate students. Five focus groups will be conducted so we can hear directly from graduate students about their experiences, concerns, and needs. We are committed to creating a safe, confidential environment where students can be open and honest. Please click HERE if you are interested in participating in one of these focus groups.

Facilitated by the Director of Graduate Student Diversity, Feion Villodas PhD. MPH

About Graduate Student Diversity

Our mission is to support and coordinate initiatives to systematically improve recruitment, selection, retention, and professional development of historically underrepresented graduate students within the Colleges of Engineering, Sciences, and Health and Human Services
  • Develop and implement assessment and outcome protocols for monitoring progress towards graduate student diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
  • Develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented students in graduate programs.
  • Empower graduate student leaderships and voice at SDSU.
  • Provide colleges and departments with consultation on their professional development plans for graduate students.


Our approach:

We realize that every program is different, and many factors influence graduate student recruitment, admission, and retention. Therefore, we are taking a data driving approach to identifying the needs of underrepresented graduate students. These data will be used to assist graduate program directors, adjust their current practices and develop strategies to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive training environments. Our comprehensive approach includes the following four steps:

  1. Department Information Interviews: Conduct a comprehensive assessment with program directors/advisors and supporting faculty of their current policies and practices focused on recruitment, admission and retention of historically underrepresented graduate students.
  2. Graduate Student Needs assessment: Assess the academic and professional needs and concerns historically underrepresented graduate students using climate surveys and focus groups.
  3. Graduate Student Action plans and program development: Partner with the Graduate Dean and program directors to develop graduate student action plans and programming based on data from informational interviews, climate surveys and focus groups.
  4. Consultation and Implementation: Provide ongoing support and consultation to ensure the implementation of action plans.


Meet the team

photo of Dr. VillodasFeion Villodas 

Director of Graduate Student Diversity *
[email protected]

Dr. Villodas is a clinical psychologist and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at SDSU. She also has a Master’s degree in Public Health, with an emphasis in Health Promotion and experience conducting community-based participatory research. Her academic, research, and clinical experience provide a solid foundation for the development of evidence-based strategies to address disparities in the well-being of racial/ethnic populations. In particular, Dr. Villodas’ program of research focuses on educational, mental and behavioral health disparities among Black and Latinx communities. She has extensive experience in developing and implementing culturally tailored interventions for culturally diverse populations. She also has a successful record of providing academic and research support to underrepresented students. She is passionate about advising, mentoring, and supporting underrepresented students.




photo of Chirs ThomasChristopher Thomas

Administrative Assistant

Christopher A. Thomas is a MA candidate in the Post-Secondary Educational Leadership with Emphasis in Student Affairs program from Inglewood, CA. Recently graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology and a Minor in Leadership Development from San Diego State University in May 2019. My undergraduate involvement at SDSU began in 2014 as a first year, and I am currently working in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity as an Administrative Assistant. My interests include research and assessment around strengths-based development, positive psychology, and leadership development.