Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience


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.
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.
Frank Simpson
Frank Simpson College of San Mateo, A.S., Electronics Through CSM’s electronics program, Frank learned the theories and applications widely used in the industry. “The hands-on instruction I received at CSM was so valuable because I could apply what I had learned as soon as I was hired as an engineering technician,” says Frank.
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.
Giovanni Wong
Giovanni Wong Canada I was very impressed with the resources that CSM provided me to fully achieve my goals and dreams. Not only does CSM provide great academic support, but also gives students the opportunity to develop leadership skills to become the future leaders of tomorrow.
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.
Michelle Okabe
Michelle Okabe San Jose State University, M.S., Accounting With the goal of changing careers, Michelle began taking accounting classes at CSM to see if she liked the coursework. Her experience at CSM turned out to be so positive that she ended up taking all of the accounting courses in addition to many computer courses.
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.
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.
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.
Claire Mack
Claire Mack College of San Mateo, A.A., Broadcasting
Antioch College, B.A., Broadcasting and Community Development
Claire Mack, a native of San Mateo, has spent much of her life making the community a better place to live. Having dropped out of San Mateo High School she persevered to earn her high school diploma eight years later from The American School. She went on to earn an AA degree in broadcasting from College of San Mateo (CSM) and BA degrees in broadcasting and community development from Antioch College. She returned to CSM in 1969 to begin her career in broadcast media as the producer and host of a number of local television and radio shows which aired on KCSM and KGO. She also served as the community affairs coordinator at KCSM-TV, a position she held until retiring in 1998. Among her achievements at the college, Claire is proud to be the founder and former producer of Jazz on the Hill, a fund-raising jazz concert benefiting KCSM-FM.
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.
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."
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."
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.
Dima Khudari
Dima Khudari UC Davis, B.S. While at CSM, Dima was able to successfully combine her studies with extracurricular activities. She participated in student government which prepared her to become an active member of her community.
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.
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.
Gizem Basar
Gizem Basar UC Davis, International Relations I chose to attend CSM because my parents and I decided that attending a community college for my general education was the best decision for me financially. I also did not mind staying home for a couple more years to truly learn more about myself before I moved out. At first it was difficult to get used to the idea of still being home when most people I knew were going away to college.
Stephen Schmidt
Stephen Schmidt Graphic Designer, Creative Director Stephen Schmidt’s career path, which began in graphic design classes at CSM, has catapulted him to become an award-winning book designer and creative director of his own graphic design company.

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