Psychology grad becomes first alumni department chair

Photo: Mrinal Sinha

Mrinal Sinha | Photo by Florenz Tuazon

May 26, 2022

Mrinal Sinha returned to CSU Monterey Bay as its first graduate hired as a tenure-track faculty member, and he is the first alum to become a department chair. He was part of the cohort of faculty who established the psychology department under the leadership of its first chair, Jennifer Dyer Seymour. In the years since, the program has grown to the largest on campus.

As chair, Sinha has helped guide the department through the challenges of the pandemic and its shift to remote learning. He also runs a psychology research lab, where he’s working with students on a body of research looking at how Latino students’ backgrounds, family, neighborhood, and experiences either presented obstacles or facilitated their education. He has just returned from a sabbatical where he completed the preliminary data analysis of 53 interviews and began writing up the findings. This work has led to a book chapter accepted for publication and another article in progress.

Sinha wasn’t always on track to become an academic. He grew up in San Jose and attended West Valley Community College as an English major, but as he puts it, he “was a screw up in community college.” He left school and worked in food delivery as a dispatcher. A few years later he “got his act together” and returned to community college, this time at De Anza College. There, he took his first psychology class and liked it enough to switch majors.
When it came time to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in 1998, his track record wasn’t strong enough to get him into his top choice, UC Santa Cruz, but he had heard about a newly opened university just a little further down the coast. Even though they didn’t offer a psychology major, he liked that it was near the beach, and its newness was interesting. He applied and was accepted to CSUMB.
Read more in the Monterey Bay Magazine.