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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.
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.
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.
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!”
Kendrick Bernas
Kendrick Bernas San Francisco State University, Biology I took my first class at CSM via the concurrent enrollment program back as a high school student and I was instantly hooked! The collaborative and dynamic learning environment along with CSM’s supportive and qualified faculty is why I chose to attend CSM. And fundamentally, that has been the cornerstone of a truly fulfilling experience that came with the opportunity to learn and succeed. As CSM students, we’re fortunate to have so many articulation agreements set up with the University of California, California State University, and private universities to ensure we have a guaranteed pathway to excellent colleges and universities.
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.
Rhonda Demars
Rhonda Demars College of San Mateo, A.A., Social Science Rhonda Demars “is doing her dream.” As an entrepreneur and president of her own company, which produces natural cosmetics and skincare products, Rhonda credits CSM with a share of her success, “I have to say if it wasn't for CSM and my teachers I wouldn't be where I am today!” Rhonda enrolled at CSM when she was in her late 30s with the goal of earning a degree in psychology. At that time, her philosophy was to take one class at a time while not concentrating on how long it would take to complete her degree. “Each class was a challenge but I was determined to finish. I was even awarded scholarships, which paid for books and supplies.”
Gabriel Denham
Gabriel Denham Columbia University, Physics Gabriel Denham's journey to college was anything but traditional. After attending four different high schools, he came to the conclusion that school just wasn't for him. In his junior year, Gabriel left school, took the state proficiency exam and earned his GED. At age 17 and out of school, he never considered going to college. Instead, Gabriel spent 10 years in the workforce employed at various jobs and gaining life experience. After being sidelined from work due to illness, he reconsidered education.
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.
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.”
Grace  Noland
Grace Noland San Francisco State University, Communications For Grace Noland, a graduate of Mercy High School in Burlingame, attending CSM was an enhancing and transforming experience. She arrived at the college as a determined and independent student uncertain of what she wanted to pursue academically, but she had confidence that she would be able to figure it out at CSM. "I wanted to start over. I wanted my successful past—that had been successful because of my dedicated parents and supportive teachers and coaches—to be put to the test. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it alone. And, I wanted my supporters to be proud that they had contributed to my success."
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.
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."

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