olivia wiemann
Story Careers

From Classroom to Career

Alisia Ruble

These CSU grads from the Class of 2024 have already been hired in their fields.

olivia wiemann

​Chico State master's graduate Olivia Wiemann. (Photo courtesy Jason Halley/Chico State)

Earning a college degree is a truly transformative experience, both personally and professionally. In addition to providing a high-quality classroom education taught by world-class faculty, each of the CSU's 23 universities works through its career center, draws on alumni networks and runs its own programs to provide career education to its students.

Students are encouraged to apply what they've learned in the classroom in the real world through internships, research, leadership experiences, work study and more. These experiential learning experiences not only build students' self-confidence, they make them marketable in an increasingly competitive workforce.

Meet just a few graduates from the CSU's Class of 2024 who have already been hired in their fields.

Olivia Wiemann

Master's Degree in Wildland Management, Chico State

Land Manager, Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria​​​

​​​Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet ​​For Chico State master's graduate Olivia Wiemann, a typical day on the job can look very much like her days at the university. As a land manager for the Mechoopda​ Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, Wiemann can find herself treating invasive plant species, performing wildfire fuel reduction, restoring burn areas and assisting partners throughout Butte County working on conservation projects, like restoring Chinook salmon habitats along the Sacramento River.​

She even keeps framed photos of plants​ she collected as an undergrad on the walls of her new office.

“The Tribe has just under 3,000 acres of land in Butte County and my role is changing every day, but essentially it is to write the management plans for the land, to keep us all on track with how we're going to steward all these Tribal lands," she says.

Wiemann completed a wildland management master's program​—the first program of its kind in the state—in which she conducted extensive fieldwork at the university's Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) and received significant training and experience in land management including chainsaw and equipment use, prescribed fire training and invasive species management. She earned her Wildland Firefighter II certification through Chico State, as well.

Before enrolling in Chico State, she earned a bachelor's degree in environmental management and protection with a minor in Indigenous Studies from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2021.

“My degree from Cal Poly was really broad and it allowed me to learn about a bunch of different subjects and really see how they all come together," she says. “And my studies opened my eyes to the idea that it doesn't have to be like this, that we aren't doing everything we need to be doing for the landscape."

The BCCER is 7,800 acres of diverse canyon and ridge habitats that, under the direction of Chico State Enterprises, serves to preserve and steward critical habitat and provide a natural area for environmental research and education.

In addition to conducting course research and projects on the reserve, Wiemann held a job there as a land steward on the reserve and conducted her master's project, a guide to land stewardship for rural landowners, with Chico State biology professor emeritus and long-time BCCER volunteer Paul Maslin. She will defend her thesis during summer 2024.

“The program really enabled students to just get out there and do the research, and then bring it back into the classroom and analyze it," she says. “I'm learning a lot [as a land manager for the Tribe] every single day, but I think having both of these degrees has given me the confidence to tackle anything."

In 2023, Mechoopda Tribe member and fellow wildland master's graduate He-Lo Ramirez approached BCCER staff to recruit for an open land manager position, and BCCER Executive Director Eli Goodsell encouraged Wiemann to apply. She started in November. 

Tarek Morsy

Bachelor's Degree in Finance, San Diego State

Consultant, Deloitte​

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What's even better than graduating from college with a job waiting for you? It's ensuring those who come after you have a competitive edge in the job market, according to San Diego State Class of 2024 graduate Tarek Morsy.

During his tenure as SDSU Associated Students (AS) president, Morsy launched A.S. Career Advantage, an initiative designed to help SDSU students find meaningful careers by providing an all-encompassing student hub and tailored services.

“When I ran for AS president, I ran on the platform that careers are important," Morsy says. “After I won, I did a lot of reading on the career ecosystem of SDSU, met with Career Services and with President [Adela] de la Torre, and I tried to identify some gap that AS could fill better than​ anyone else because we have the ability to galvanize students."

A key focus of the A.S. Career Advantage is leveraging alumni and industry connections to find nontraditional ways to get an interview. Morsy says peer-to-peer mentors can teach students things like how to conduct a cold call, ways to reach out to people on LinkedIn, which internships to participate in and more.

“The goal of A.S. Career Advantage is to teach students the most effective strategies for getting a job in today's market, and a lot of that comes from recent alumni," Morsy says. “Hopefully it creates a chain where students are helping each other get into places that previously there was no structured pathway for."

Morsy, for example, got his foot in the door at Deloitte, a business management consulting firm, thanks to a referral from an SDSU/AS alumna who is now a Deloitte employee. He will join their Sacramento office in July as a consultant in the finance and risk department where he will perform financial statement analysis and internal controls.

While he credits his formal education in the classroom with preparing him for a career in finance, Morsy is even more grateful for his student government experience.

“The level of trust I was given and the ability to enact my plans for SDSU as AS president was invaluable," he says. “I got to learn the way money flows through a huge institution like SDSU and launch a new initiative knowing I had the campus's support."

Morsy says he is excited to begin his new role with Deloitte and to learn as much as he can from his colleagues. 

Tarnvir Dhaliwal

Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Manufacturing Engineer, Penumbra​

​​​Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet Cal Poly San Luis Obispo master's graduate Tarnvir Dhaliwal has accepted a position as a manufacturing engineer with Penumbra, a global health care company specializing in manufacturing medical devices.

A Sacramento native, Dhaliwal says she decided to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering because of its location, its affordable tuition and its reputation. She earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering with a concentration in bioinstrumentation from the university ​alongside her master's degree in an accelerated, blended program.

“I knew I wanted to do more hands-on learning in addition to conceptual learning, and Cal Poly is famous for biomedical engineering education," she says. “And [attending Cal Poly] is definitely the best decision I could have made. I've never doubted it, even from that very first day of orientation."

During her time at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Dhaliwal worked on technical year-long projects through EMPOWER (Endeavors to Move People Onward with Engineered Results), a student-run organization that provides hands-on experience with engineering design projects, and participated in industry-sponsored projects including working on cardiac devices with medical device company Abbott.

She also conducted thermal comfort research with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo mechanical engineering assistant professor Jennifer Mott Peuker and a comparative study of scanning electron and confocal microscopy for surface characterization of tissue for her graduate thesis under the mentorship of biomedical engineering professor Lily Laiho.

“If there was ever anything that I wanted to do, I knew there would be people [on campus] that would support me in doing it," she says.

In addition to myriad research experiences, Dhaliwal developed leadership skills through her work as a mentor to first-generation students with TRIO Achievers and her part-time job with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's Center for Leadership. She also participated in two internships with the medical device company Medtronic as a manufacturing engineer and as a research and development systems engineer.

“It's amazing how much I've grown during my time at Cal Poly, from starting off not knowing much to being able to work with massive pieces of equipment and perform complicated engineering principles," she says. “There's so much that happened in five short years."

Dhaliwal had the opportunity to meet with Penumbra representatives at a career fair hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was hired to start in May 2024. In her role as a manufacturing engineer, she supports production with the goal of sustaining and improving manufacturing. She is excited to gain more hands-on technical knowledge and grow with the role. 

Isaac Vue

Bachelor's Degree in Communications Studies, Sacramento State

Staff Services Analyst, California Franchise Tax Board​​

​​​Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet ​Growing up in his Hmong American household, Sacramento State bachelor's graduate Isaac Vue knew that education was important to his family, but like many in his culture he didn't quite know the steps it took to earn a college degree. He did well in high school but floundered a bit after graduation, attending Fresno City College on and off while working full-time to save money for his future.

When his older sister passed away in 2017, Vue realized life can be cut unexpectedly short and dedicated himself to earning a bachelor's degree. Around the same time, Vue's girlfriend graduated from University of California, Los Angeles and moved to Sacramento for work, where he joined her in 2019 and enrolled at Sacramento State.

“My girlfriend is one of the biggest reasons I was able to go back to school and finish my degree, because she was the biggest support pillar in my life," he says.

Vue joined a student club, the Hmong Health Alliance, which advocates for Hmong people and those pursuing a degree in health care at Sacramento State, and found a small, tight-knit group of friends from a similar background to lean on.

He also got a job as a student assistant with Sacramento State's Career Center, an opportunity he learned about through a federal work study orientation offered by the campus. He kept this job throughout his time at Sacramento State and says his boss Stephanie Francis, who is now director of Career Services at Cal Maritime, was instrumental in instilling in him the confidence to try new things.

“My communication studies education, and my work with the Career Center, helped remind me of that part of myself that was outspoken and confident," he says. “It helped me develop a growth mindset and it made me a better communicator."

Vue says some of his favorite classes were on interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and organizational communication, and that what he learned in his degree program directly relates to the work he is doing now as a staff services analyst for the California Franchise Tax Board.

In this public-facing role, Vue is responsible for educating people on real estate withholding information, as well as talking to clients about various forms they're required to fill out and the pitfalls to look out for.

“It brings me joy to be able to help the public understand something that seems so terrifying like taxes," he says.

Though he is enjoying his current role, Vue says he ultimately wants to work in information technology communication and help dispel the myth that IT professionals don't know how to communicate.​​

The CSU's Career Services provide students and alumni with career counseling, advising and a variety of other services, helping graduates successfully transition from college to career. Learn more about these offerings.​ 

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