Holly Timblin, who is receiving a master’s degree in psychology, and Fernando Sanchez, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in history, are both being honored by the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences as its Outstanding Graduate Student and Outstanding Undergraduate Student for 2020-21.
Both students will receive their degrees at the college’s virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 22, as face-to-face ceremonies have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Timblin, who lives in Fontana, plans on continuing her studies to obtain a doctorate in clinical psychology and ultimately become a practicing clinician focused on evidence-based interventions for populations who have experienced trauma.
When she first started at CSUSB, Timblin was a pre-nursing major, but quickly learned that her passion laid elsewhere. When she enrolled in an introduction to psychology course, she became intrigued by the mechanics of the human mind.
“I wanted to discover and understand the explanations for human behavior, why people behaved the way they do, specifically those who are capable of completing heinous actions. I wanted to understand how one’s personal history and experiences shaped them into the person they become,” Timblin said. “The etiology of psychological disorders fascinated me, and the role of personality intrigued me. This led me to switch my major to psychology, with a concentration in clinical psychology.”
In her new major, Timblin focused on research participating in the Undergraduate Psychology Honors Program working under the direction of psychology professor Kelly Campbell. Working as a member of Campbell’s Community and Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Lab, Timblin worked on four projects related to online romantic deception. Her honors thesis focused on the initiation of catfish (or online deceptive) relationships and on the role of self-esteem among catfish perpetrators (those who deceive) and catfish targets (those who are deceived).
As a graduate student, she was in the Master of Psychological Science (MAPS) program, working closely with psychology associate professor Christina Hassija investigating whether expectations of disclosure mediate the relationship between shame and seeking mental health services among sexual assault survivors. “My master’s thesis hypothesizes that sexual assault survivors who experienced trauma related shame will choose not to disclose to mental health professionals due to expecting negative social reactions (e.g., victim blame),” Timblin said.
She said she gets her inspiration from “all the amazing people in her life who mentored her and advised her throughout her university career” including the CSUSB psychology department in addition to family, friends and her partner, Joshua Craig, “for supporting my aspirations.”
Timblin said her proudest accomplishment was a publication in her first year of her graduate program and participating in research competitions. “I am a very shy person, so getting in front of crowds makes me very nervous,” Timblin said. “Additionally, obtaining a publication was a major goal of mine when I started my graduate program!”
She said her experiences at CSUSB “prepared me for doctorate level training, as well as experience in the workplace. I am incredibly thankful for all I have been taught here at CSUSB and all the opportunities that have been presented to me!”
Sanchez, who lives in Moreno Valley, chose history as his major because it was one of the few subjects he was good at and he enjoyed learning about the past and seeing what lessons it can give to the future. He has done research including publishing an article in “History in the Making” about the life and legacy of George H. W. Bush.
“I have also done research on the Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum,” Sanchez said. “This research focuses on how language and dialect was crucial in her developing an aural celebrity that had extreme power in the social and political sphere.”
His future plans include attending U.C. Berkeley to earn a Ph.D. in history as he has been accepted into the university’s Near Eastern Studies Department and ultimately entering the academic field as a professor at a university.
He said he was inspired by his grandfather, a Mexican immigrant.
“He worked very hard so that his children could have a better life. When I was younger, I found out that he is partially illiterate. He can read basic texts but struggles with longer ones. Despite this, he was able to provide for his family by working very difficult manual labor jobs,” Sanchez said. “Because of his sacrifice, I have the opportunity to enter graduate school.”
He said his mentors include assistant professor Isabel Huacuja Alonso, associate professor and Benson and Pamela Harer Fellow in Egyptology Kate Liszka, and associate professor Ryan Keating, all from the history department, which he thanked for their help and encouragement. “Every single professor has been kind and knowledgeable and creates an environment for their students to thrive,” he said.
He was also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, which he said was important in helping him demystify the process of graduate school and helped him in his proudest accomplishment – getting into graduate school.
“I still cannot believe that I pulled it off. It is the culmination of all of my previous accomplishments,” Sanchez said. “It is the most difficult goal I set for myself and accomplishing it gives me the confidence to set even higher goals.”