CSU Voices and Views

A Music and Technology Pioneer

James Williamson
Cal Poly Pomona Alumnus
Sony Executive
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee

James Williamson joined the legendary protopunk band Iggy & the Stooges in 1970. A few years later, he gave up playing music professionally to pursue a career in electronics. Williamson went on to attend Cal Poly Pomona, where he graduated in 1982 with a degree in electrical engineering. He got a job at a computer company in Silicon Valley, and later worked his way up the corporate ladder at Sony to become Vice President of Technical Standards.

In 2010, Williamson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted into Cal Poly Pomona’s Engineering Hall of Fame—he says the honor is just as big.

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Serving Student Veterans

(Left to right) Director of Veterans Services Marshall Thomas, Student Veteran Mike Wang, President Jane Close Conoley, and Student Veterans Wendy Lewis and Andrew Meats at Cal State Long Beach’s Veterans Day Ceremony on November 7, 2014. {photo credit: David Nelson}

By Marshall Thomas
Director of Veterans Services
Cal State Long Beach

I’m often asked how many veterans we have on campus. An accurate number is hard to come up with because some veterans prefer to “fly under the radar” and not disclose their veteran status. With just over 500 self-identified student veterans, we have a community of students small enough to be overlooked. One of my missions is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

These days we hear a lot about veterans. News stories and academic articles focus so much on the mental health and overall wellness of veterans, it’s easy to get the impression that most are struggling with PTSD and traumatic injuries of the brain, body or spirit. Most of the research suggests that between 20 and 30 percent of veterans who deployed to a combat area experience one or more of these, and the results can have profound impacts on academic performance and social integration. Having services in place to provide support for affected student veterans should be a central part of every campus’s mission.
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Music Opening the Doors to Education

James Van Buren (front row, middle) with members of the Grant High Drum Line after performing at the Medi-Cal event at the State Capitol in June 2013.

James Van Buren (front row, middle) with members of the Grant High Drum Line after performing at the Medi-Cal event at the State Capitol in June 2013.

By James Van Buren
Sac State, Cal Poly Pomona Alumnus

You don’t really understand the power of music until you see it firsthand save someone’s life.  When I received my degree from Cal Poly Pomona and later my credential from Sac State, I went on to teach in some of the most challenging environments. I worked at economically disadvantaged schools that were located in communities ridden with poverty and crime. Some of my students have been emotionally disturbed<Many have been academically challenged and unable to grasp the concept of learning.

I knew I had to create a unique and innovative teaching strategy to reach these kids. I took the concepts I learned at the CSU and made them my own to fit my environment. By integrating the idea of multiple intelligences—which states that students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn in different ways— into my strategy, I was able to use their gift for music to help them become motivated in school and perform better academically.
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The Big Win

By Monica Arellano
Graduate of the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)

Monica and Pablo Arellano with their youngest daughter, Tania, during her high school graduation.

Monica and Pablo Arellano with their youngest daughter, Tania, during her high school graduation.

To me, “winning” means being able to successfully send my children to college. It means doing anything in my power to help them succeed. Winning is not letting my daughters go through what I went through as a child, and being able to give them a better life that will open doors to a promising future.

When I was growing up, no one told me that I had the option of going to college. I was raised by a single mother who worked so much that she wasn’t really aware of what opportunities were available beyond high school graduation. Back then, there weren’t many programs that helped parents get their children college ready, which is why I am so thankful that collaborations such as the CSU/PIQE partnership exist today.
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Empowering Others to Do More

Julie Debbs

By Julie Debbs
Student, Sacramento State

It starts with one thought: I can do more. At least that’s where it started with me.

My story begins more than 30 years ago, during a time where addiction and prostitution were the only things that mattered in life. When I finally was able to admit to myself that “I could do more,” I enrolled in a rehab program, cleaned up my life and started to take school seriously. It was then that I realized that I could also function in an advocacy role and use my unique history, combined with my education, to make a difference in the world.

At Sac State, I worked with professors Mimi Lewis and Dana Kivel to help build Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH), a program that assists sex workers in transitioning out of commercial sexual exploitation and into college. As a program coordinator, I provided women emotional support, encouragement and inspiration to move forward. More …

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A Call to Public Service


By Steven Avila
CSU Monterey Bay Alumnus
Special Assistant, Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, US Department of the Interior

When I transferred from community college to CSU Monterey Bay in 2009, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I would study business, graduate and move up to Silicon Valley or New York to pursue a life of big deals and enterprise.

But later that year, the most incredible opportunity flashed into my student inbox and it changed my life forever.

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Helping Others Move Forward

Monica R. Correale is one of 23 recipients of the 2014 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. As the top-scoring recipient of the CSU Trustees’ Award, Correale was selected as the Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar and will be receiving a $12,000 scholarship.

By Monica R. Correale
Graduate student at Humboldt State University
2014 Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar

Growing up, school was a safe place for me. Going to class was the best part of my day—not only because it challenged and excited me, but because it was a temporary relief from my home life.

Child abuse, domestic violence, and my parents’ struggles with mental illness and substance abuse were among the myriad of issues that I faced every day. Although I enjoyed school and dreamt of professional success, it was difficult to envision a future for myself that differed from that of my parents. For much of my childhood and adolescence, I struggled with self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. I eventually realized that there was a long legacy of trauma and dysfunction in my family. It was at this point that I truly embraced my responsibility to develop myself into a healthy, productive person, not only to break the cycle in my own family, but in order to affect social change in the world.
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Traveling Towards Graduation

By Laura Parada
San Francisco State Student

Laura Parada in Florence

Laura Parada in Florence

I boarded the plane to Italy fully aware that my life would be forever different. The decision to study abroad was quick, as I can imagine it is for most students. The hurdle was not the decision but actually transforming it into a reality.  My financial and academic plans needed to line up and I did not want my trip to prolong time to graduation.

After applying to study abroad, I waited for the letter that would tell me the fate of my third year at SFSU. Luckily, I was granted the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, which was a location I had only dreamed of going to. With that I embarked on my first international trip and my first solitary travel experience. More …

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Connecting the Dots at CSU Summer Arts

By Ian James
Theatre Arts Student at Long Beach State


Students, faculty coordinators and guest artists share how
CSU Summer Arts has impacted their lives.

I came to Summer Arts expecting to learn the basics about musical theatre and stage combat, but I have taken away more than I could have ever imagined. As a transfer student to Long Beach State, I wasn’t able to develop the typical connections of students who dorm together or who met freshman year. Summer Arts allowed me to share that traditional college experience.

We all come here with one goal in mind: to become a better artist. We are immersed in art 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are constantly collaborating, sharing and pushing each other. More …

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Extended Ed: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Amada Maggio
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Student
CSU San Marcos, Extended Learning at Temecula

Amanda Maggio visits members of the California Legislature to share how CSU Extended Education has enabled her success.

Amanda Maggio visits members of the California Legislature to share how CSU Extended Education has enabled her success.

Extended learning has offered me an invaluable educational experience. Not only has this been an exciting and fulfilling journey, but I have had outstanding opportunities that have allowed me to chart my future course for career success as well.

Initially, I was accepted to CSU San Marcos and attended the main campus for several years. Although I was enjoying my education, the classes were always so full and I felt like I was no different than any other student on campus.

Since I started attending CSU San Marcos at Temecula, I have become more than just a face in the crowd. The Temecula campus reminds me of the Cheers’ theme song: Where Everybody Knows Your Name. All of the faculty and staff know me and my fellow students by name, and consistently are willing to go above and beyond to help with any needs we may have. That extra personal touch has made a significant impacted in my education.
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