Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience

Tiffany Chan
Tiffany Chan College of San Mateo, Psychology Tiffany Chan, a member of College of San Mateo's water polo and swimming teams, is taking aim to get accepted to her dream college: UC Berkeley. Chan was accepted to UC Santa Cruz after graduating from Mills High School, but CSM water polo and swim coach Randy Wright encouraged her to enroll at CSM instead. Tiffany said that Wright convinced her it would be beneficial to play water polo and swim for CSM to increase her experience and play time in these sports, and ultimately secure a spot at Berkeley. Although it wasn't an easy decision, Chan found Coach Wright's encouragement to be very helpful and hasn't looked back since coming to CSM. Chan states, "My professors at CSM have been great. They have taken the time and the effort to help me learn and understand things, which I'm grateful for." Chan is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society at CSM.
Kyle Day
Kyle Day San Francisco State University I enrolled at College of San Mateo at the recommendation of my educational therapist immediately following high school. I was advised that DSPS was particularly suited to help with my dyslexia. The services and help I received at DSPS greatly aided me in adjusting to college life. The staff is awesome, helpful, and patient. I had the privilege of working for DSPS as an educational coach for three semesters.
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.
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, Economics & Mathematics 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.
Boryana and Stoyan Dineva
Boryana and Stoyan Dineva UC Berkeley, Economics Boryana Dineva, 25, graduated from CSM last spring with a 4.0 grade point average and was one of the top honor awardees. Stoyan Dinev, 21, graduated with high honors from CSM with a 3.9 GPA. Boryana and Stoyan are sister and brother, scholarly, community service-minded and hard-working students who are now attending UC Berkeley, studying economics.
Adela Esquivel-Swinson
Adela Esquivel-Swinson College of San Mateo “My experience at CSM was excellent!” As a single parent, Adela needed a college education to get a good job that would allow her to support her family. While she was a student, she also worked in the college’s Admissions and Records Office which enabled her to learn new skills and gain valuable work experience.
Jasmine Flores
Jasmine Flores San Jose State University, Electrical Engineering As a little girl, CSM transfer student Jasmine Flores learned about science and math from her father. Their conversations sparked her curiosity. “I was intrigued to learn how math and science, and especially physics, apply to the world,” Jasmine says. Her growing interest in those subjects guided her decision to major in engineering and also led to a NASA internship. Jasmine is currently enrolled in San Jose State University’s (SJSU) highly competitive electrical engineering program.
Burrell Floyd
Burrell Floyd Case Manager, San Francisco Mental Health My education at CSM has been an eye opener, meaning it made me aware that I could succeed at college level education. It has opened so many doors for me in my profession. I became involved with the NFL Alumni Association, workshops and speaking engagements on the Islands of Hawaii, invited to be a guest speaker at the Northern Lawyers Association, hired as a contractor to do education classes for the San Mateo Union High School District among many many more opportunities.
Victor Fong
Victor Fong California Poly San Luis Obispo, B.S. According to Victor Fong, attending College of San Mateo was one of the easiest choices he made after getting discharged from the United States Marine Corps. The transition from a Marine to student was not an easy one but Victor kept an open mind and stayed motivated which helped him meet the challenges he faced.
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.”
Sarah Funes
Sarah Funes UC Berkeley, Political Science Having moved to South San Francisco at 10 years old I craved the sun and a different point of view. So I decided to attend CSM with the goal of transferring to UC Berkeley. I knew I would be there longer than two years because I really struggle with math. My strategy was to complete the UC requirements and take advantage of the many resources that CSM offers.
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.
Maria Gershenovich
Maria Gershenovich UC Berkeley, Boalt Law School Growing up in Russia, as a competitive ballroom dancer, Maria Gershenovich never dreamed she would someday attend law school in the U.S. She and her dance partner achieved great success and became national champions. However, her education in the U.S. did not start out on such good footing. She attended three different high schools and a community college while in Washington. Then at 18, Maria relocated to the Bay Area, checked out local community colleges and decided to attend CSM.
Rupinder Grewal
Rupinder Grewal UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business Rupinder Singh Grewal, a graduate of Capuchino High School and native of India, says that attending CSM was the best experience of his life. At CSM, Rupinder found opportunities within his reach that would have been unattainable had he attended a university straight out of high school. When he arrived on CSM’s campus, Rupinder became involved in several student organizations that helped him grow personally and intellectually. He joined Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society and soon became a student leader in the organization. “PTK quipped me with the tools necessary to broaden my horizons, both academically and socially. Through my participation in PTK, I was continuously surrounded by passionate, thoughtful and goal-oriented people.”
Sebastian Grillo
Sebastian Grillo San Jose State University, B.S. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of attending a community college. However, once I visited CSM I was sold by the campus's eye opening, breathtaking views and friendly atmosphere.
Shalimar V. Guerra
Shalimar V. Guerra Juvenile Corrections Officer, San Mateo County Probation Department My name is Shalimar V. Guerra and I currently work as a Juvenile Corrections Officer for the San Mateo County Probation Department. My education at the College of San Mateo is what took my career to the next level. I enrolled in the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies Certificate Program after I graduated college from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice; I wanted to enhance my personal resume and career goals.
Jacqueline Guilbault
Jacqueline Guilbault University of Nevada, Reno, B.A., Communications & Marketing After graduating from Mill High School, Jackie Guilbault made the strategic decision to begin college at CSM. Jackie’s plan was to explore different areas of study, select a career and then chose a university based on what would lead her to reach her career goal. “I wanted to get the most out of my community college experience and attending CSM helped me make those important decisions.” To foster her decision making, Jackie sought out internships related to her classes. Her idea was to find internship opportunities which would give her real-world experience in a career field that interested her.
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.

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