Where are they now hero

Where are they now?

Join us as we track down CSU alumni who went from promising to prosperous.


 

At the CSU, we consider our students superstars. Once they step onto campus, we watch in awe as they transform into remarkable decision-makers and idea creators of the near future. Despite having completed the transition from students to alumni, they will forever be part of the CSU family. So it shouldn't be surprising to hear that we think about them often…and aren't afraid to admit we downright miss them. To shake the feelings of nostalgia, we decided to check in with a couple to hear about their journey from campus to career.

Emily before Emily after

EMILY SHIMADA

California State University Maritime Academy '18

THEN:

B.S., Marine Engineering Technology with Oceanography minor | The CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement: William Randolph Hearst Scholar, 2017

“Receiving the scholarship money made a huge difference because I was hoping to do a long-term Marine Advanced Technology and Education (MATE) internship program with the National Science Foundation (NSF) when I graduated. One of my considerations on whether I was going to be able to do it was financial. It alleviated that doubt and the internship led to the career I'm in right now, which I love."

Proudest Moment:
“I was part of an initiative at Cal Maritime to integrate the Navigation Piloting and Oceanographic Instrumentation labs. The idea was, if the small training ship is going out anyway, why don't we try to do oceanographic surveys too? I worked with students to develop sampling plans, do training and try to attract more students into this field of work. It's something I've carried forward. I'm very active in outreach and DEI efforts, both through my current employer and through the marine technician community. And it started with being given that opportunity by Professor Alex Parker while I was a student."

NOW:

Marine Technician, Oregon State University |
Co-Chair, UNOLS Maintaining an Environment of Respect Aboard Ships (MERAS) Committee

“Oregon State University is part of the NSF Academic Research Fleet. Our Marine Technician Group is involved in high standards of oceanographic technology and best practices, and we are preparing for our new research vessel, which is currently being built. Marine Technicians are troubleshooters, supporting all aspects of science missions on research vessels. They are the go-between for visiting scientists and the ship's crew and are out on deck supervising deployment and retrieval of scientific equipment as well as serving as the IT and network specialists, electronics technicians, machinists​​ and fabricators. We're there to support the objectives of diverse science missions and ensure they are a success."

Looking Back:
“The biggest skill set I received at Cal Maritime was methodical problem solving: to be able to troubleshoot and work a problem independently. I use that every day out at sea because I constantly encounter new equipment or systems failures in a dynamic environment. I don't find problems insurmountable; I find them interesting. Going through an engineering and oceanography program that encouraged critical thinking and offered hands-on learning and leadership really set me up for success."

Jorge before
Jorge after

JORGE REYES SALINAS

California State University, Northridge ’15/’18​

THEN:

B.A., Broadcast Journalism, M.A., Communication and Media Studies | Student Trustee, CSU Board of Trustees, 2016-'18

“At the time, I was getting my master's and studying communications studies and political rhetoric. Being a student trustee made me a much better public speaker. The first time I had to speak in front of board members and just say my first and last name and where I'm from, I was shaking so much and rehearsing my introduction over and over. I had to often explain what it was like to be a college student in the Donald Trump era—especially as a DACA recipient myself. I laugh about it because now I work in the capitol and I speak to senators or lobbyists about bills, and I have no issue whatsoever. It taught me how to speak eloquently, not to lose my passion and how to get my point across."

Lessons Learned:
“The position taught me about negotiation—the art of speaking your mind with tact. It taught me how to understand the policy I cover now. When I have students or the faculty association coming to meet with me about bargaining, I know all about it. I know what is going on behind the scenes and can give Senator Monique Limón a proper recommendation of how to move forward. It's like I've come full circle."

NOW:

Communications Director at California State Senate |​ Senator Monique Limón

“I never thought I would be working in the capitol, especially as a DACA recipient. I walk the halls of the capitol, crafting legislation for people that can become law and I can't even vote. That's very powerful to me. And being able to tell that to people who are also DACA recipients who may be struggling in school is very special.

“I don't see the worlds of education and communication as being separate. I always tell people you can have the best policy in the world and change the lives of many, but if you don't know how to communicate that effectively, no one's going to listen to you. I'm really passionate about combining those worlds and educating people about the power of government and that their voices matter."

Looking Back:
“Education changed my life. It's not just about having that degree and putting it on your résumé; you get to understand how the world works and apply those skills to real life. I learned so much theory, but if you don't apply it to your every day, then you don't really see how great it is to connect both worlds. Education gave me a lot of confidence, a lot of opportunities and a sense of belonging. I'm able to feel comfortable speaking about things I'm passionate about and know how to use data to back up my claims. It gave me an opportunity to succeed, which is exactly what my parents immigrated here for."


Meet more CSU alumni making a difference in the lives of the people of California and the world.


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1/24/2022