Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience


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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keyxa Henriquez
Keyxa Henriquez Venezuela CSM offers students the opportunity to improve and continue their education and has a great staff to help in setting goals.
Justin Hoffman
Justin Hoffman UC Berkeley, Political Economy My advice for being a successful transfer student at CSM can be summed up in two words: Mike Mitchell. He's the coordinator of Transfer Services and will be able to help you prepare to transfer to a university. Beyond that, meet with a counselor and prepare a Student Education Plan in order to get priority registration; attend UC/CSU application and personal statement workshops sponsored by Transfer Services.
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.

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