Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Luis Carlos Alvarez
Luis Carlos Alvarez Stanford University, Astrophysics Luis Carlos attended CSM as a Middle College student in his junior year of high school because he needed more academic stimulation than regular high schools offered. By graduating, he became the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. He decided that his best course of action would be to continue to attend CSM as a college student with the goal of transferring.
Chris Seminoff
Chris Seminoff Simon Fraser University, BC, B.S., Physical Geography Chris Seminoff, a 2007 graduate of Aragon High School, says that choosing to attend CSM was an easy decision. “I wanted to continue to play football but I also wanted to get a good education. Living in the community, I knew that CSM had a strong athletic program and reputation as one of the best community colleges in the state for academics.”
Richael Young
Richael Young University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.S. I first set foot on the CSM campus as a 14-year old student in the concurrent enrollment program, a program that allowed me to fulfill my high school requirements while getting a head start in college, says Richael. "CSM quickly became a place for me not only to learn, but to grow. I took challenging courses with caring and dedicated professors, I found countless leadership opportunities which helped me build my confidence and develop a strong voice, and I became involved in campus activities to further enhance my education."
Victoria Anderson
Victoria Anderson UC Davis, Communications Victoria Anderson fulfilled her goal of attending a university after high school graduation. However, the path to college for the Notre Dame High School graduate wasn't as straight forward as planned. After a year at a State university campus, and despite doing well in her classes, Victoria realized that she wasn't ready to make that big step as a college freshman. She decided to return home and attend CSM for her sophomore year. In doing so, Victoria became one of a growing number of reverse transfer students – students who begin their college education at universities and transfer to community colleges.
Mario Ayala
Mario Ayala College of San Mateo, A.A., Broadcasting and Electronic Media CSM is educating the next generation of media makers and Mario Ayala is a perfect example of that college-to-career connection. When Mario arrived in U.S. from Mexico in 2002, he couldn't imagine that he would earn a college degree and that the degree would lead to a broadcasting career with a world-class media company. “My English was limited, I had a six-month old daughter and I didn’t have a job.”
Ahmad Albawayah
Ahmad Albawayah San Jose State University, Aviation After graduation from Hillsdale High School, I decided to attend CSM to finish my general education as soon as possible and at the lowest cost. With the support of the CSM staff and Transfer Services, I earned an associate degree in social science and was able to transfer to San Jose State University as a junior.
Karina Orocio
Karina Orocio UC Santa Cruz, B.A. At CSM, she took advantage of many resources and was extremely active in college life. She became involved in many student clubs and in student government where she had the opportunity to meet many people from different countries, who have different traditions. “This is what made my experience at CSM so special.”
Chennie Castañon
Chennie Castañon UC Berkeley, B.S., Conservation Resource Studies While she was growing up, Chennie Castañon never considered going to college. Her family moved frequently; it was a lifestyle that created challenges for Chennie’s education. As a high school student, she attended no less than eight schools. Unable to settle into one school for any length of time, Chennie lost academic credits and was forced to repeat courses. Discouraged by her teachers and principals, Chennie decided to quit school when she was 17. In spite of her haphazard education, Chennie passed the GED to receive her high school proficiency certificate. Suddenly on her own, this resilient young woman spent the next ten years working to support herself and discovering what kind of a career she wanted to pursue.
Justin Hoffmann
Justin Hoffmann UC Berkeley, Political Economy From real estate to business to recreation administration and finally to political economy: that’s the journey that CSM student Justin Hoffmann has followed in his pursuit of a major. While at CSM, he was exposed to experiences and opportunities that inspired him to choose a major which would prepare him to help people in some of the most underdeveloped areas of the world.
Melissa Aliu & Sione Fanaika
Melissa Aliu & Sione Fanaika UC Santa Cruz, Sociology
Louisiana State University, Sociology
Cousins Melissa Aliu and Fehoko Fanaika come from a close-knit Pacific Islander family that greatly values a college education. Sacramento native and high school football player, Fehoko made the move to the Bay Area to be closer to his extended family and continue his football career at CSM. He lived with Melissa’s family in South San Francisco and the two cousins found themselves attending CSM at the same time. As fellow students, they provided each other with motivation to work hard and inspiration to reach their respective goals.
Jamielyn Gamboa
Jamielyn Gamboa University of San Francisco, Nursing The experiences and memories made as a student here at CSM were priceless! I am equipped, excited, and educated because of the countless resources made available to ALL students. Despite being nervous about attending college for the first time at age 38, I was quickly put at ease by fellow students and faculty. My longtime dream of getting into a nursing program has become a reality due to caring professors who believed in my vision to make a difference.
Robertino  San Diego
Robertino San Diego UC Berkeley, B.A., Economics Carlmont High School graduate Robertino San Diego says CSM was the foundation that made it possible for him to earn a BA degree in economics from UC Berkeley. Choosing a university is a major decision and I wanted to get it right. CSM gave me the opportunity to make that decision while I completed all of the coursework I needed to transfer.
Arianna Avendano
Arianna Avendano College of San Mateo, A.A.
CSU East Bay, Psychology
For Arianna Avendano, the key to her success at CSM was all about making the most of the college’s resources. “It was a combination of the staff, faculty and the services at CSM that contributed to my success. I was able to find the resources I needed in order to prepare for a university, and the support I received along the way was exceptional!”
Corey Kreidler
Corey Kreidler Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, B.S., Environmental Engineering Corey had earned a high grade point average, but as with so many college freshmen, he was uncertain about a major. “I wanted to make sure I would take the right path so I decided to attend CSM which would give me time to learn about different subjects and not have the pressure of focusing on a major right away.”
Jeff Lowenstein
Jeff Lowenstein College of San Mateo
Santa Clara University, B.S., Economics
As a graduating senior at Serra High School, Jeff Lowenstein had been accepted to several colleges, including Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but decided to attend CSM. His plan was to stay close to home and save money so that he could transfer to Santa Clara University (SCU), which was his top choice in a four-year university.
Mariela Buchin
Mariela Buchin Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mariela Buchin has completed more than 25 courses at College of San Mateo. She is a tutor in the College’s Math Lab. She was just accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). And, in June, the 17-year-old will graduate from high school. That’s right. Buchin is a high school student who is attending CSM and West Bay Christian Academy in Redwood City at the same time. She is among 350 other students participating this year in CSM’s Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Program. Buchin has received credit for community college courses in physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, math, English and biology. (The Program’s students may also apply these credits toward high school graduation.) She is a 4.0 student in high school, and carries a 3.41 at CSM. “I like the different cultures at CSM and there are a lot of great teachers,” Buchin said about her college experience.
Sandra Rivera
Sandra Rivera College of San Mateo, Human Services Single mother Sandra Rivera is a stand-out student at College of San Mateo, carrying a 3.7 grade point average, working part-time on campus and actively participating in student activities. In 2001, she returned to school to gain the skills necessary for a new career after 22 years in hospital administration. Rivera was also looking for a community college with an assistive technology program for disabled students because injuries prevented her from using her hands to type. She found that and much more at CSM.
Darnell Ford
Darnell Ford College of San Mateo With that smile—and it is a winning smile—College of San Mateo student Darnell Ford is going places. One of those places may be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a four-year college to which Ford hopes to transfer when he completes his studies at CSM. And he is optimistic because he believes good things are going to happen. “My life thus far is nothing short of a miracle,” says the 25-year-old student from Gary, Indiana. “I’ve overcome a lot of adversity and I still face some today. But I manage to stay focused and aligned in my new path of life.”
Mercedes Teuntor
Mercedes Teuntor College of San Mateo, Dental Assisting Mercedes Teuntor, a 21-year-old dental assisting student, was just looking for a job when she talked with CSM's Student Employment Office last year. But what she found in her position as a student ambassador turned out to be considerably more--for her and CSM.
Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson College of San Mateo CSM student Colin Jackson didn't follow the traditional path to college. He was home schooled by his parents, who would provide materials to their son and let him do his thing.

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