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Faculty Research Profile

Dr. Mario Guerrero

Dr. Mario Guerrero

Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara

Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science
at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Dr. Mario Guerrero started his undergraduate career at UCLA as a political science major. As an undergraduate at UCLA, he noted that there weren’t a lot of undergraduate research opportunities – at least none that he found. Now, as a tenuretrack professor, Dr. Guerrero realizes just how important research is for undergraduate students. As part of the Political Science department, Dr. Guerrero regularly teaches the Senior Thesis course and notes that “it’s my favorite class. It’s nice to see students be proud of their work and to see something come from a small idea to these full-fledged projects. The students are great. They do things I was not capable of when I was an undergrad, so it’s amazing to see.”

When it came to graduate school and obtaining an advanced degree, as a low-income, firstgeneration, and underrepresented student, Dr. Guerrero wasn’t aware of the option until the last quarter of his senior year of college. Once in graduate school at University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. Guerrero thrived but at home, his family still wasn’t clear on the kind of work he does on a daily basis. While his family has pride in having a son with a Doctorate degree, “there’s not a tremendous amount of understanding as to what I do all day [from my family] and there’s never been. Even now it’s like oh, you’re just going to school—you’re just going to sit in class all day.”

The second generation of Dr. Guerrero’s family is now getting ready to attend college. “My niece is 14 now, so she’s thinking about college,” and Dr. Guerrero is one of the first people she goes to for questions. He realizes that “I never knew a person growing up…in my family or contacts that was academically close to this career, so it must be encouraging for someone that young to realize you can do this and this is totally possible.”

As an educator, Dr. Guerrero is motivated by his students. While his original career goal as an undergraduate political science student wasn’t to teach, now he can’t think of being in any other career. “I love Cal Poly. I love the mission of this school and the students here. And I think that’s what motivates me. I see so much of myself in my students and it’s incredibly satisfying to kind of provide them with the experiences I never had. I can see, in the short time that I’ve known students here, how college is a transformative experience. It’s really like having a kid, and wanting to give your kid everything you’ve never had.”

Dr. Guerrero has one last tip to undergraduate students is to find mentors to help you in both your undergraduate career and in research. He notes “for someone to tell you this is how I did, and why I did it, and how you can do it, is invaluable.” Dr. Guerrero is ready, willing, and able to mentor undergraduate students looking to do research. If you are a history, sociology, political science, or other social science related major and would like to work on research and have yet to find a mentor, please contact Dr. Guerrero at