CSU Voices and Views

A Mission to Advocate

By Taylor Herren
Associated Students President, CSU Chico

As a grad student at Chico State and serving my second term as Associated Students (AS) president, it may seem that I have my plate full. But as a matter of fact, I couldn’t be any more grateful to be in a position to serve my peers and providing a voice for the student body is really what keeps me going.

Chico State is a big part of me, and my education here has been instrumental in my growth to becoming a student leader. More …

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My “Giving Back” Philosophy

By Kevin McCarthy
U.S. Congressman and Majority Leader
CSU Bakersfield Alumnus

(left to right) CSUB President Horace Mitchell, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and CSU Vice Chancellor of University Relations and Advancement Garrett Ashley during CSU Hill Day, an annual day of advocacy in Washington, D.C.

(left to right) CSUB President Horace Mitchell, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and CSU Vice Chancellor of University Relations and Advancement Garrett Ashley during CSU Hill Day, an annual day of advocacy in Washington, D.C., in 2014.

I can’t say it enough—I love education.

Education is the key to upward mobility. Education allows you to give and learn at the same time. Education provides you with the strong foundation needed to move forward—and that’s what my education at CSUB helped me do.

From a young age, my parents instilled in me the importance of going to college. Through their support and encouragement, I started a small business to help pay for school and when I was ready, I applied to CSUB. I am proud to say that I was the first in my family to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
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Passing on a Message of Inspiration

Devon Graves

By Devon Graves
Student, Cal Poly Pomona
Chair, California State Student Association

My family inspired me to get a college education, and now I have the opportunity to pay it forward and inspire others.

This is my second year speaking at churches throughout the state during CSU Super Sunday about the opportunities college has provided me. For me, Super Sunday is not just speaking about the importance of college; it’s about rekindling the fire for those who have already attended college, and inspiring them to speak to the next generation about going to college.
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Education Bringing Me to Great Heights

Chinonyerem Kamalu attended Sac State after hearing Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez speak about the importance of college during CSU Super Sunday. She received the President’s Awards, an honored bestowed by President Gonzalez during commencement, in recognition of her academic excellence and commitment to service.

Chinonyerem Kamalu attended Sac State after hearing Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez speak about the importance of college during CSU Super Sunday. She received the President’s Awards, an honored bestowed by President Gonzalez during commencement, in recognition of her academic excellence and commitment to service.

By Chinonyerem “Nonye” Kamalu
Sacramento State Alumna

After migrating here from Nigeria in 2004, going to college was on my bucket list but it wasn’t my number one priority because I wanted to save up some money before going back to school. My father always told me that receiving a higher education would take me to great heights and most importantly it is an asset that no one can take away from me. I didn’t quite understand until I enrolled at Sac State.

When I first got to the U.S., I started working at an elderly home for people with developmental disability to earn money to pay for college. Years went by and I still hadn’t enrolled in school. As a caregiver, we attended church with everyone in the home and that’s when things changed. One Sunday, at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, the pastor stopped the service to introduce the president of Sac State, Alexander Gonzalez. He was speaking about how concerned he was about the low number of black Americans attending college and how important it was to get a higher education. At the time, I thought it was so cool for a president of a university to take time out of his weekend on a Sunday to speak about college.
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Thank You, Professor Emmitt Clark.

 Christopher Schivley—captain of the Cal State Long Beach Police Department and Cal State Long Beach alumnus—with his son Emmitt, who was named after Professor Emmitt Clark.

Christopher Schivley—captain of the Cal State Long Beach Police Department and Cal State Long Beach alumnus—with his son Emmitt, who was named after Professor Emmitt Clark.

Dear Professor Emmitt Clark,

It only takes a split second to have your life change forever. One of those moments for me was the day I met you.

You were an inspiration to me while I was a student at Cal State Long Beach. Actually, you were much more than that. You were my support, my friend, my counselor and my mentor.

As you probably remember, I came from a tough background and my journey to college was not easy. Needless to say, my first semester was incredibly difficult. Luckily, you were not just a typical professor. To make the curriculum come to life, you always used examples from your own life…and each and every story was nothing less than remarkable. Your stories about overcoming obstacles and adversity really hit home with me and through them, I felt inspired to be more like you—a self-made man.

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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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