Toni Espinoza-Ferrel

What fears or anxieties did you have about going to college?

I was a first generation student and the second person in my immediate family to go to college. I had to navigate applying to college and transferring to CSULB on my own.  I was nervous about how I was going to balance work, friends and my school life. During my second year at CSULB I met my mentor, Dr. Mohammed Forouzesh. He took me under his wing and provided guidance and opportunities that have helped to make me the person I am today.  I love the work that I do, and I especially enjoy mentoring students.  


  • B.S., MPH,/CSULB

Do not put too much pressure on yourself to figure out what you want to do as your future career.  You are constantly developing and growing.  Take time to explore and focus on what interests you, so that you can find a career that you love.  If you love what you do, you will never feel like you are working. 

Once you figure out what your interests are, find a mentor.  Someone that works in your career of interest can be very beneficial.  Use CSULB as an opportunity to network and meet your professors and fellow students.  There are so many things you can learn by networking that happens outside of the classroom. Your professors and peers could potentially provide amazing learning opportunities and end up being life-long friends.

I like spending time with my family, boating, camping, riding my bike and walking my dogs.  Fun fact, I have 25 year old fraternal twins.

  1. My family
  2. My dogs
  3. Survival Lighter

Talking to and getting to know your professors is one of the most important things you can do as a student.  My mentor was a Tenured Professor and a Project Evaluation Consultant. He had numerous contacts at Community Health Organizations. I received hands on training from my mentor and was able to utilize the concepts I was learning in school and apply them in real world public health settings. I have been working with him since 1988.

Research Interests: Tobacco Prevention Evaluation, Heal