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PAL News and Announcements



Congratulations to our EDS 140 PAL Action Research scholars!

During winter quarter, EDS 140 Action Research students researched and designed an action research project in collaboration with their practicum sites. Last night, they shared those proposals during a celebratory poster presentation session. Students were amazing and their presentations showcased their thoughtful work as scholars and as PAL mentors/tutors at their schools. We were joined by our students’ families, friends, and colleagues. The event closed with a wonderful performance by UCSD’s Mariachi La Joya del Sur (@mariachi_ucsd).

Professor Chung and Professor Mamas are very proud of the work of our students, and we are thankful to our amazing TAs: Nora Turriago and Matthew Monges for supporting and guiding our students through their projects.
EDS 140 students
UCSD Marriachi band











PAL Student Profile - Meet Ruby Ríos Ramírez


Ruby Ríos Ramírez is a Biochemistry major at Sixth College. Ruby is a first-generation college student, born and raised in San Diego. Ruby is bilingual and speaks Spanish and English.

Ruby experienced housing insecurity growing up, and during these challenging times in her life, Ruby noticed that her understanding of education and learning changed drastically. Ruby realized that prior to experiencing homelessness, she was excelling in school, but due to housing insecurity, Ruby was unable to receive appropriate academic and personal support. This circumstance greatly affected her schooling journey and her outlook in pursuing her dreams. Ruby is also the daughter of a single mother, so education was always important in her family, but at times it felt almost impossible to attain her educational goals.


Ruby’s prior experiences led her take a PAL class (EDS 136). Through PAL, Ruby wanted to continue to reflect on her schooling experiences and find ways to support other students who might find themselves in similar situations.

ruby in classroom
Ruby (pictured on the left) is tutoring during a Biology lab at San Diego High School under the mentorship of her former science teacher, Dr. Stephanie Rico. Pictured on the right is a visiting teacher from the Naval Hospital who was running a medical lab for the students at the high school.

Via PAL, Ruby is tutoring at her alma mater, San Diego High School. Ruby is tutoring for Dr. Stephanie Rico and Ms. Kate O’Connor. Both are science teachers and are faculty in the MedTech Academy at San Diego High School. Both were Ruby’s teachers when she was a student at the school, and were thrilled to have Ruby back as a tutor for their classes. Ruby credits MedTech Academy teachers for helping her build confidence and a pathway forward towards her goals of becoming a scientist.

As a PAL tutor, Ruby has been able to relate to her tutees’ experiences, and to reflect on how she can give back to her community by sharing her passion for science. A fond memory from her PAL tutoring experience is Ruby being able to connect to a 9th grader during a Biology Lab. The 9th grader is an emergent bilingual student whose first language is Spanish. Tapping into her bilingual background, Ruby has been working alongside the student in lab activities using Spanish as the language of instruction.

Ruby will be graduating in 2023 and is exploring several post-graduation routes. These include graduate work in bioengineering and science education. We are grateful to Ruby for supporting San Diego High School, one of our PAL partner schools.



PAL Instructor Amy Bintliff Receives Eleanor Roosevelt College's Outstanding Faculty Award

Amy Bintliff
Dr. Amy Bintliff has been named the 2022 recipient of the ERC Outstanding Faculty Award. This award is especially meaningful because the awardee is chosen by graduating ERC students. In naming Dr. Bintliff, students repeatedly cited her "dedication to their learning". Congratulations Dr. Bintliff!







PAL Student Profile - Meet Geovanni Aceves-Correa

KOSD summer camp kids

This quarter, we are proud to feature Geovanni Aceves-Correa, one of our EDS and PAL undergraduate students. Geovanni attended San Diego public schools, was a PAL mentee while in elementary school, and is now pursuing a pathway towards becoming a teacher. 

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I'm a second-year Mathematics and Education Sciences double major at Muir College. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, so I tend to speak Spanish at home. I attended Hawthorne Elementary located about 10 minutes South of UCSD.


Mentee Board from 4th GradeIn elementary school, you had a PAL mentor. Tell us about your fondest memory as a PAL mentee.

My PAL mentor's name was Jessica, who mentored me in 2012 when I was in 4th grade. My fondest memory was when she took me to explore UCSD with her since she was a senior student. I vividly remember exploring Price Center, Geisel Library, and the vicinity of Jacobs Hall among other places. It was the first time I ever got exposed to a campus and college life.

Tell us about your current PAL tutoring placement.

I am currently a tutor at Crawford. I'm very excited to grow and develop and help students since I just barely started!

What are your goals after graduation?

I plan on enrolling in a duo-graduate degree and credential program right after graduation so I can become a Math teacher immediately thereafter.




PAL Joins Community Partner Karen Organization of San Diego for KOSD's K-12 Summer STREAM Program

KOSD summer camp kids

This summer, PAL students are working with the Karen Organization of San Diego (KOSD) and the Teaching and Learning Collaborative (TLC) to provide summer STEAM and Reading (STREAM) activities to local K-12 refugees from Burma. Sponsored by SD Unified School District, "Summer STREAM" provides access to innovative, engaging, and culturally responsive activities to accelerate learning, attend to social emotional needs, and develop a sense of identity and belonging in SDUSD’s K-12 students who are refugees from Burma. With the support of PAL faculty and TLC educators, PAL Student Leaders are collaborating with KOSD staff to run this innovative summer program for about 80 K-12 refugees from Burma. The outdoor, active, hands-on program is off to a great start and all involved are delighted with the opportunities and connections.



Pandemic Brings Together New Friends and Partners At Learning

Amy BintliffLearn more about PAL's switch to remote-learning and some of our exciting new partnerships in This Week @UC San Diego








New Article by PAL Instructor, Amy Bintliff

Amy BintliffRead PAL Instructor Amy Vatne Bintliff on her recent article in Psychology Today, "How COVID-19 Has Influenced Teachers' Well-Being".









PAL Goes Remote

This spring, PAL faculty faced a monumental task – how to rapidly convert PAL’s service-learning, practicum-centered courses to a new remote-learning format without losing the community connections and field experiences that make the PAL Program meaningful for our students. PAL director, Caren Holtzman, along with the other spring EDS practicum instructors Susan Scharton, Luz Chung, Amy Bintliff, Chris Mamas, Erica Heinzman, and Sharon Fargason,  tapped into their existing networks of community partners to find out how PAL could best serve the community during this difficult time. An innovative menu of remote-learning activities was quickly compiled to ensure that all PAL students were able to complete their scheduled practicum hours in an impactful way. In addition to remote tutoring and mentoring, UCSD PAL students were able to assist teachers with technical issues, design remote-lessons, create educational and wellness videos, lead arts lessons, compile resources, participate in mindfulness activities, create video games, and use virtual visits and other online resources to connect with our local communities.
Remote learning also opened the door to new local and national partnerships. This spring, PAL began working with Homes for the Homeless, a New York City organization committed to using a family-based, child-centered, education-focused approach to addressing family homelessness. Through the organization, PAL students served as mentors and tutors to homeless K-12 students and met weekly with them through Zoom. PAL students also wrote letters to incarcerated youth in Louisiana prisons, contributed art work to a neighborhood project, worked with families through a local non-profit, and worked directly with parents to help engage their children in academic activities.
PAL has also teamed up with other UCSD organizations such as the UCSD Staff Association, Housing Dining and Hospitality, and the Center for Student Involvement to work together in supporting the social, emotional, and academic needs of local students.  While the pandemic related shift to remote learning posed many challenges, UCSD students in EDS/PAL practicum courses rose to the occasion and made positive impacts in many places with many people.



Outstanding PAL Leadership Award

Picture of Brycen

The Outstanding PAL Leadership Award recognizes PAL students who have demonstrated a commitment to the PAL Program and to PAL partner schools over a significant period of time and who have made outstanding contributions to both PAL classes and to PAL community collaborations.

We’re pleased to recognize Brycen Barron-Borden as our first Outstanding PAL Leadership Award recipient. Brycen has worked with the PAL program since Winter 2018 both as a student tutor and later as an undergraduate instructional assistant.

Brycen has consistently excelled in his work with PAL regardless of his role. During his senior year, he designed and conducted a notable action research project for his coursework in EDS 140 & 141. “I studied the special ways my host teacher related to and engaged with her students that helped cultivate a productive learning environment. Everyone involved was wonderful and we put in a lot of work to get through the challenges that came up. A special thanks to the professors of those courses and to my research partner Jocelyn as well who were integral to the project. As I graduate, PAL and EDS overall will be two of the things about UCSD that I will miss the most and I am sure I'll always look back on them fondly.”