CSU Voices and Views

Q & A with the New Chair of Institutional Advancement

Upward Bound student Thais  Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

Trustee Steven Stepanek, a CSUN alumnus with over 40 years of service at the CSU, was recently appointed Chair of the Committee on Institutional Advancement.

The Committee on Institutional Advancement of the Board of Trustees includes seven CSU trustees who review, discuss, and recommend action involving alumni affairs and charitable gifts made to the CSU. When individuals and companies make generous contributions to the university, a responsibility of the committee is to approve the naming of programs and facilities to honor these donors. Institutional Advancement is also responsible for arranging and managing CSU partnerships with a wide variety of regional groups. Trustee Steven Stepanek is the newly appointed chair of the committee, whose motivational force for serving is rooted in his 40-year history at the CSU. More …

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My CSU Success Story


By Edgar Barillas
Student, CSU Northridge

CSU Northridge created a platform for several opportunities I was able to take to really push myself. I wanted to learn inside and outside of the classroom from as many people as possible by becoming involved on campus and giving back to the community. All of these experiences have guided me on my career journey and allowed me to figure out who I want to become.

I chose two majors—Communication Studies and Biology—so I could get an education in both the humanities and the sciences. I chose the unlikely combination because it gave me the advantage of multiple perspectives. The breadth of my education is one of the things that has helped me stand out and add value in the professional world.
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Three Generations of CSU

By Tony Kawashima
Alumnus, CSU Long Beach

family 007a

From left: Tony Kawashima, son Matt, wife Ellen, and son Doug

My mom and I both graduated from CSU Long Beach. My wife went to CSU Fullerton. Our sons Doug and Matt went to Fullerton and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

I think it’s safe to say we are a CSU family!

It all started with my mom, Elsie. She married young and was a mother of three by the time she was 22. Of course this isn’t common anymore, but in the 1950s it was the norm. For many years, raising three kids was her full-time job.

But I remember sometime in the mid 60s she declared she was going to go get a college education. Our family was surprised by this sudden announcement, but we were supportive—after years of devoting her life to our family, she was able to “get out” and be exposed to a whole new world of people and ideas. And let me tell you, there was no better place for this than a college campus in the late 60s. More …

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One Hour, One Day, Once a Year

By Dia S. Poole
Alumna, CSU San Bernardino ‘90
President, CSU Alumni Council

(left to right) Dia Poole with fellow CSU San Bernardino alumni Erik Fallis and Liza Wilson.

(L to R) Dia Poole with fellow CSU San Bernardino alumni Erik Fallis and Liza Wilson.

My CSU journey starts more than 25 years ago when I decided to attend CSU San Bernardino—I was a mid-career, returning adult student. After working a long, full day at the County of San Bernardino, I would go to school at night. It was tiring but I knew how important it was for me to get a higher education, and my experience as a student was absolutely invaluable. Everything from the insight each of my professors brought to the classroom to the network I built among my classmates helped me build the skills and talent I needed to advance my career.

Subsequent to my studies at CSUSB, I was accepted into the Capital Fellows Program at Sacramento State. There, I worked in the legislature for nearly a year and followed in the footsteps of some of our nation’s greatest government and community leaders. The Fellows program led to my next twenty years in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Yes, that’s right. My degree and experience as a CSU student was directly responsible for giving me the opportunity to work in the highest level of public service for 20 years. More …


Sparking a Love for Learning

Richard Torres (far right) at the Better Together: California Teachers Summit. Also pictured: (L to R) Joan Bissell, CSU's Director of Teacher Education and Public School and teachers summit speakers Desiree Olivas and Leland Melvin.

Richard Torres, far right, pictured with (L to R): Joan Bissell, CSU’s Director of Teacher Education and Public School Programs; teachers summit speakers Desiree Olivas and Leland Melvin. Better Together: California Teachers Summit at CSUF on July 31, 2015.

By Richard Torres
Student Assessment and Educational Measurement, Orange Unified School District

I was never much of a student. The “one teacher who sparked a love for learning” never entered my life. However, when my parents gave me an ultimatum and a choice between work or school, I chose to attend college as a way of delaying the inevitable reality of adulthood. Books seemed so much more inviting than getting a job.

Once I completed my general education at Cypress College, I found myself transferring to Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) still uncertain of what my future had in store. With a knack for writing and an interest in literature, I decided to focus my studies on English. I’m not quite sure when it happened, maybe between the pages of Milton or Shakespeare, but a love for learning was ignited once I became a student at CSUF. The discussions in class opened up my mind to differing views. It was evident that my professors truly loved their curriculum. For the first time, school and learning was fun. More …

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Public Policy, Here I Come

Upward Bound student Thais  Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

Upward Bound student Thais Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

By Thais Rodriguez
Junior, Garey High School in Pomona

Upward Bound has brought me to great heights—and my internship at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office has brought me even higher.

I first joined Upward Bound after seeing all the opportunities that my older brother received through the program. We come from a low-income family and are grateful to participate in a program that encourages us to go to college and helps us find our ideal career path. The program placed me in real-life work experiences that tailored to my strengths. It was suggested that public policy might be the right industry for me because I’m better at English-type subjects as opposed to math. After spending five weeks at the CSU office in Sacramento this summer, I realized that it truly was the right career for me. More …

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A Conversation with CSSA Leadership

2015-16 CSSA Executive Officers
Pictured from left to right: Alfredo Barcenas, Lauren Lombardo, Agatha Gucyski, Taylor Herren, and Edgar Garcia 

Since 1958, the California State Student Association (CSSA) has been at the forefront of providing student advocacy at the university and legislative levels. The CSSA consists of two student leaders from each of the system’s 23 campuses – the Associated Students president and a designated CSSA representative. As the collective voice of the CSU student body, the CSSA works with both the university administration and state legislatures to advocate for or against university policy.

In fall 2015, the Student Involvement and Representation Fee (SIRF) will go into effect – a $2 per-term voluntary fee assessed to each CSU student – a proposal adopted by the CSU Board of Trustees on January 28, 2014. As the CSSA was previously funded by Associated Students membership dues, fundraising, and Chancellor’s Office grants, SIRF will allow each CSU student to financially support the association advocating on its behalf. The implementation of SIRF will aim to create a more stable, independent, and expanded statewide student association.

With SIRF in place and preparation for the upcoming school year underway, the newly elected 2015-16 CSSA Executive Officers discuss their roles and vision for the next year: More …

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Translating Research into Textbooks

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

(L to R) CSUSB Provost/VP Academic Affairs Andrew Bodman, CSUSB Professor in Public Administration Montgomery (Monty) Van Wart, and CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales at the university’s 3rd Annual Student Research Symposium on May 27, 2014 where Dr. Monty Van Wart was awarded CSUSB’s inaugural Outstanding Scholar award for his extensive research in Public Administration. Photo courtesy of CSU San Bernardino

By Montgomery Van Wart, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Public Administration
CSU San Bernardino

Beyond my passion for teaching, scholarly research is a close second. A misconception about non-science faculty members is that our sole expertise lies in teaching. What people don’t realize is that we too conduct research and engage in scholarly activity.

Whether teaching public administration, history, communications or any other subject, professors all conduct research to help our respective universities become the best institutions possible. At CSU San Bernardino, we’ve created an environment where research endeavors thrive. I’m able to bring the research I conduct in the field into the classroom to help give students a well-rounded understanding of public administration topics. More …

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Using Education to Rise from Poverty to Prosperity

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

By Paul Lo
Judge, Merced County Superior Court

I was seven years old when my country fell. It was 1975 and communists had just taken over Laos. My family along with thousands of other Hmong families fled to refugee camps in Thailand, which is where we lived until I was eleven.

In 1979, my family and I were admitted into the United States, and it was about that time when education became one of the most important things in my life. We settled in Denver, Colorado and I was placed into the fifth grade not knowing a word of English. I was doing kindergarten-level work in a fifth grade class. Needless to say, the experience of coming here and adjusting was incredibly difficult. I was working from the ground up and needed something to help me rise from poverty to prosperity. Education was and still is my ticket to success.
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A Lifetime of Supporting Education

Bob and Barbara Ellis proudly showing their resolution from the CSU Board of Trustees designating that  Eductaion -1 building at CSULB be named in their honor.

Bob and Barbara Ellis proudly showing their resolution from the CSU Board of Trustees designating that the Education-1 building at CSULB be named in their honor.

Bob and Barbara Ellis have dedicated a total of 73.5 years of their lives to teaching the next generation. Now, with $1.4 million bequest to create a scholarship endowment for credential students at CSU Long Beach (CSULB), Bob and Barbara are helping future educators shape the lives of California’s children.

After graduating from CSULB in 1964, Barbara went on to teach English 22 years at Hughes Middle School and 14 years at Lakewood High School.

Bob earned his credential and master’s degree from CSULB in 1958 and began his career as a teacher and counselor in 1950 at Jordan High School, and concluded it as Jordan’s principal in 1987.  In between, he was principal of six different schools:  Avalon School in Catalina, Freemont Elementary, Newcomb K-8, Hughes Junior High, Wilson and Poly High Schools.

Their commitment to education doesn’t end there.
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