top of page
Dr. Bianca Barrios.jpg

Funding the future of first-generation PhDs



Founded in 2017 by Dr. Araceli López-Arenas (Dr. Cheli), PhunDed (fun-ded) inspires action to address the mental health needs of underserved communities (e.g., Veteran, homeless, low-income, immigrant, refugee, ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+, etc.). 

We are driven by a firm belief that everyone should have access to mental health care. We start by increasing the number of first-generation, single, female psychologists capable of addressing the service gap need.

For many, like Dr. López-Arenas, funding was a great barrier to completing her degree. As such, PhunDed was created to provide scholarships to All But Dissertation (ABD) psychology trainees to help pay for "end of the journey" expenses like a statistician, an editor, tuition, graduation, and other unexpected costs. There are limited fellowships (if any) for ABDs and PhunDed provides scholarships to PhDs who need a little financial assistance to complete their doctoral degrees. 

At PhunDed, we are inspired each day by the work we do, and believe that one way to address the culturally-competent psychologist gap is to provide fellowships to ABDs who cannot advance their degrees due to financial limitations. 

We believe that PhunDed can support ABD first-generation, single, female PhDs by providing the financial support they need in order to unlock their potential.

We want all doctoral candidates to envision their goals and realize they have the ability to make their dreams a reality!

Dr. Cheli
Dr. Araceli López-Arenas
Dr. Lilia Miramontes
Dra. Veronica Perez & Dra. LaKyshia Perez
Dr. Araceli López-Arenas
Dr. Mariana G. Martinez
Dr. Mariana G. Martinez
Dr. Mariana G. Martinez & colleagues
Dr. Mariana G. Martinez
Dr. Bianca Barrios
Dr. Bianca Barrios
Dr. Bianca Barrios
Home: Our Mission
Dr. Cheli at a Farmer's Market



I was working to finish my Ph.D. 

Less than 1% of Latinas complete their doctorate degrees. For first-generation, single Latinas, there are additional challenges that one faces that a lot of people don't talk about or are unaware. 

During the last leg of finishing, I faced A LOT of financial hardship. I was out of financial resources.

No more student loans (I was registered for 1 credit and to qualify, you need 6 credits to be registered as part time student).

No more credit cards (I maxed out the two that I had).

No parental/family financial support (they provided housing and yummy food).

No partner (I was single, so no dual income).

No savings (is there any in grad school?!).

No scholarships or fellowships (there are so many requirements...letters of rec, personal statement, research would take just as long to write the last chapter of the dissertation!).

Limited to no support from my program (I begged them to let me finish).

Unemployed (I was "overqualified" or not licensed for many positions).

I am sure there were other financial roadblocks. Out of frustration, I decided to start my own jewelry business, Sui Generis Jewelry and I hustled throughout the farmer's markets of San Diego, CA to gather enough money to pay my tuition, a statistician to run my analysis, an editor, travel for graduation, etc.

The struggle was R-E-A-L!!

It was not a fun time and the process (financial & institutional) took its toll. At the pit of this process, I decided that I needed to get my finances in order. I started following Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University plan and decided that no one should ever go through what I went through.

¡Ninguna! (No one!)

This is why I decided to create a scholarship for single, first-generation, female PhDs who are at the last leg of earning their doctorate degree. I can imagine how many have not finished because they didn't have $1,500 to pay tuition, or $500 to pay a statistician to run their analysis, or $1,000 for an editor. That was almost me. I almost didn't finish. I almost didn't make the ranks of <1% of Latinas with PhDs.

With my finances in order ("poquito a poquito"/little by little), I decided I would create a scholarship and would contribute a portion of my income and jewelry sales (Sui Generis Jewelry) to this scholarship.

I am passionate about PhunDed and standing in the success of other PhDs that seek to address the mental health disparities of our nation. 

¡Que nadie se quede atras! No one gets left behind. 

If you'd like to contribute to this effort (financial or other), let's discuss

To learn more about my professional accomplishments, visit my LinkedIn page: Araceli López-Arenas, PhD, MPH

Home: About
Dra. Veronica Perez and Dra. LaKyshia Perez.jpg


PhunDed is in its early stages of development. Get in touch for more information about scholarship opportunities, updates, and how you can get involved.

Thanks for submitting!

Home: Contact
Lilia Miramontes PhD.jpg


Be A Part of Our Mission

Whether you are a donor or a scholarship-seeker, there are lots of ways you can be a part of PhunDed. PhunDed is currently in its early stages of development. We are always looking for people that share our vision of changing the world and supporting those who need assistance. Contact us today to schedule a Google Hangout meeting with Dr. López-Arenas and see how you can get involved.

Home: Get Involved

Subscribe Form

Stay up to date

Thanks for submitting!

Home: Subscribe
bottom of page