Attending college can be one of the most transformative and impactful decisions someone can make in their life. Applying and enrolling at California State University, Northridge provides students access to a world-class education while empowering them to become the leaders and innovators shaping our community and world.

Portrait of Malachia Y. Hoover
Malachia Y. Hoover

Meet CSUN Success Story Malachia Y. Hoover, who received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at CSUN, and is currently working towards a doctorate at Stanford University. The former Matador is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program and a member of the Charles Chan’s lab. Her current research interest is the cellular and molecular pathways orchestrating intervertebral disc regeneration.

What inspired you to apply and attend CSUN? 

“I come from the public housing projects of Marin City, Calif. When I began applying  for colleges, it was important that I found a university that had reasonable tuition and living fees, a diverse student and faculty population, and located somewhere in California not too close to home. A local community organization, The Hannah Project, took a group of us high students on a college tour to universities in Southern California and I was immediately drawn to CSUN as my top choice.

How did your CSUN experience help shape your life and career?

“It was during my years at CSUN that I developed the skills and passion for biomedical research. It was during my undergraduate years that I joined my first lab (Dr. Jonathan Kelber’s Developmental Oncogene lab). We discovered novel pathways regulating pancreatic cancer and tissue regeneration, and I had the opportunity to not only present but also compete and win at numerous conferences and competitions across the nation. Additionally, we published our work in several peer-reviewed journals, including two of very my own first-author papers. I received exceptional mentorship and advisement from my principal investigator, Dr. Jonathan Kelber, and programs such as MARC RISE [now known as the Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-RISE) program] and [The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program]. After leaving CSUN with my BS and master’s in Cell and Molecular Biology, I was highly prepared to pursue a Ph.D. in stem cell research at Stanford University. This is my final year in the program and I’m excited for the next steps in my career. I am forever proud and thankful to be a Matador alumnus!”

Which CSUN class, program or event had the most impact on your life and how?

“As I mentioned before, the diverse student and faculty population was one of the key drivers in my decision to attend CSUN. Before attending college, I had never taken a class devoted solely to pan African studies, which includes African American history as well as other African descents across the African diaspora. I learned new knowledge I was never taught in primary school that gave more depth and perspective to the concept of Black history. These classes gave me a new sense of pride and self-worth and awareness that such institutional racism still plagues our country and world today.

Which university resources did you utilize the most during your time at CSUN and how did it add to your college experience? 

“Affording college and daily living expenses on a student budget is tough. I took advantage of programs such as LSAMP and MARC RISE [now known as U-RISE], which support minorities and research training. These programs provided a monthly or bimonthly stipend for my time in the lab, which allowed me to work in the lab full-time with compensation. They also helped with travel costs to conferences and, most importantly, gave me a community to connect with and lean on as minority scientists.

Is there something you learned during your time at CSUN you wish you could tell yourself as a first-year student?

“I would tell myself that you have not picked an easy career. Be prepared to fall and stumble along the way but remember that these bruises will only make you stronger and wiser. Never forget that you are capable and belong, even when you may be the only one that looks like you in the room. Never be afraid to ask questions and for help. You can never stop learning and growing and the sky is the limit! God is good!”

Are you ready to begin writing your own Success Story? Start your journey today and apply to CSUN!


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