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Student Experience

Candice Alfaro
Candice Alfaro College of San Mateo, A.A., Political Science
UC Berkeley, Political Science
As a first generation college student, Candice Alfaro grew up in a family that valued education and expected her to earn a college degree. While she was academically prepared to go from high school to a university as a freshman, like many students, she was undecided about what major to study and thought CSM would be a good place to start college. At CSM, Candice was able to explore various subjects, experience student life and discover what path she wanted to pursue.
Rachel Brannon
Rachel Brannon College of San Mateo, Accounting As someone in the process of changing careers, CSM has helped put Rachel on the right career path. “My professors were all very knowledgeable and I received a top notch education at a great price.” In addition, she found the resources in CSM’s Accounting Department to be very helpful in providing networking opportunities to meet with accounting professionals.
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.
Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns UC Berkeley, Latin American Studies Patrick Burns is attending UC Berkeley as a Latin American Studies major, having transferred from College of San Mateo at the end of the Spring 2008 semester. "I struggled in high school, and I knew that if I worked hard at CSM, I would have a second chance to apply to UC Berkeley," he said. "Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life."
Jeremy Cham
Jeremy Cham UC Berkeley, Economics In addition to the coursework in general education and his major, Jeremy participated in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities such as the Transfer Club and Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society, as well as serving as an intern for a large financial company and as a volunteer in the community.
Chisa Menyon Daye
Chisa Menyon Daye College of San Mateo, Psychology When Chisa Menyon Daye was a high school sophomore in Daly City, she attended a College of San Mateo student festival. About five years later—after working in the retail industry and a “soul searching” summer—she still had that day impressed in her memory.
Gino De Grandis
Gino De Grandis College of San Mateo, Photography A native of Venice, Italy, Gino De Grandis was a well-established chef and owner of a successful restaurant. While satisfied with his career, his passion had long been photography. Self-taught in the fundamentals, Gino knew that if he was to become a serious photographer he would need more formal education. Gino recalls, “One day, CSM’s Schedule of Classes arrived in my mail and it changed everything.“ While flipping through the pages of the schedule, he found that CSM offered a photography program. Upon enrolling in his first classes he was immediately impressed by his professors who were also outstanding professional photographers.
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.”
Alex Guiriba
Alex Guiriba UC Berkeley, Sociology On the advice of his high school counselor, Alex Guiriba scrapped the idea of going to a local state university and enrolled at CSM. According to Alex, that was some of the best advice he ever received.
Paul Haas
Paul Haas College of San Mateo, Nursing A husband and father, Paul Haas, 37, graduated from College of San Mateo with honors last spring with a nursing degree, a well-paying and secure job at a local hospital already in hand and eminently prepared to pass the registered nurse licensing examination on his first try —all a tribute to his hard work and a highly regarded nursing program at the community college. “It was the toughest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” Haas said of nursing education at CSM. “It was a very intense program.” “The instructors were always supportive. They always prepared us to be good nurses and made sure we were serious about what we were doing” added Haas, one of 10 men in the 51-student nursing program graduating class. Part of CSM’s nursing education involves clinical rotations at hospitals, providing students with an array of hands-on experience—much to Haas’ liking.
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.
Amber Klink
Amber Klink College of San Mateo, English
Sarah Lawrence College, Social Work and Child Development
Amber Klink looks back on her young life and credits CSM in getting her to where she is today: a senior at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and concurrently taking graduate courses in social work and child development. "CSM has given me everything I have today: I literally and figuratively owe it my life."
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.
Chris Phillips
Chris Phillips College of San Mateo, Public Broadcasting For CSM alumnus and employee Chris Phillips, the college and specifically, the broadcasting program, became his home away from home. In search of a career direction, Chris found the campus to be a surprisingly comfortable place to learn and explore. To sum up his experience, Chris says, "Everything I needed was at CSM."
Emanuela Quaglia
Emanuela Quaglia College of San Mateo, Broadcasting and Electronic Media Emanuela, 36, is an "A" student studying broadcasting and electronic media as an international student. She's also president of the student club Mediate-started this year at for all media technology students-and an officer in the honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
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.
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.
Richard Tyler
Richard Tyler College of San Mateo, Electronics Technology "When I was five years old, I took my aunt's television remote control apart," said College of San Mateo alumnus Richard Tyler, recalling when he first became interested in electronics.
John Vehikite
John Vehikite College of San Mateo “Think of a number from one to 10,” instructed John Vehikite, who works in College of San Mateo’s Financial Aid Office reviewing students’ financial aid applications for eligibility. “Now, grab my wrist and think of that number over and over again. Squeeze tighter. OK, now you can let go.” As Vehikite rubbed his arm, the red marks created by the grip began to form a number. Suddenly and amazingly, seven appeared; it was the exact number Vehikite’s subject was thinking. How did he do it? Like a true magician, Vehikite (pronounced vay-he-key-tay) didn’t reveal the secret of his trickery. But, the easy-going 27-year-old did talk freely about himself and his other interests: Vehikite enjoys Polynesian/Tongan and Latin dancing and, most recently, he’s taken up the guitar.
Allan Young
Allan Young Brigham Young University, Political Science and Philosophy College wasn’t in Allan Young’s game plan when he graduated from high school, but following service in the Marine Corp, he thought he would give higher education a try. Although he hadn’t defined his academic goal, CSM provided Allan with an affordable way to explore many different subjects and find his strengths.

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