Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Featured Stories

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.
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.
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.”
Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough CSM Dance and Communication Studies Since the age of five when Julianne Hough slipped into her first pair of dance shoes, dance has been a consistent thread in her life. Throughout her elementary and high schools years, she studied dance at ODC - Oberlin Dance Collective in San Francisco. Later, her path led to CSM where she continued to cultivate her passion for dance.
James Howard
James Howard College of San Mateo, A.A., Social Science Veterans Outreach Specialist James Howard applies what he learned in classes at CSM to his work for the Department of Veterans Affairs on a daily basis. Equipped with a degree from CSM and major life experiences, James was able to fulfill his career goal of helping his fellow veterans. Soon after graduating from Aragon High School in 2001, James enrolled at Cañada College; however, within two weeks, his education was promptly disrupted by the events of 9-11. By October 2011, James enlisted in the U.S. Navy and began the first of two tours of duty which would take him to the Asian Pacific and the Persian Gulf. Following his honorable discharge, James decided to put his newly acquired veteran benefits to use and continue his education, this time at College of San Mateo.
Stephen Kadash
Stephen Kadash College of San Mateo, Fire Technology Stephen Kadash says participating in community service projects during high school inspired him to pursue a career that would allow him to serve his community on a daily basis. The dream job and career goal for this Redwood City native was to become a firefighter. “Being a firefighter is a career that gives me the opportunity to help someone who is having one of the worst days of their life and they are depending on me and the rest of the crew to help them.” Knowing the increased competition for jobs in fire service and the demand for more educated applicants, Stephen took the first step toward his career goal by enrolling at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 2012, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in forestry and natural resources.
Sarah Lowe
Sarah Lowe UC Davis, Biology I loved my experience at CSM,” says Sarah Lowe, who first stepped foot on CSM’s campus as a concurrently enrolled high school student. By the time she graduated from Mills High school, she had already earned eight units of college credit and completed several college requirements. Her decision to continue at CSM as a transfer student was easy. “CSM has a great atmosphere and the people are so nice! Because I was familiar with the college and understood what professors expected, I knew attending CSM and transferring to a university was the right path for me.
Dee Dee  Pickard
Dee Dee Pickard Stanford University, Social Psychology After earning a degree from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, professional singer Dee Dee Pickard built a successful career in the music industry as a vocalist performing in corporate bands, doing studio work and sessions and teaching voice. When Dee Dee, a single mother, moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, she was ready for something different. “After a break of six years, I decided to go back to college. I researched schools in the Bay Area and when I visited CSM, I really liked the campus and more importantly, it felt like the right place for me.” After getting her daughter settled in a local school, Dee Dee enrolled at CSM and immersed herself in the role of college student.
Efrosini Proios
Efrosini Proios UC Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology After completing high school in Greece, Efrosini Proios decided that California was where she wanted to continue her education. Arriving in the Bay Area, she began exploring the wealth of college and university options the region offered. Efrosini recalls, “I visited CSM’s campus and it seemed like a beautiful place to go to school. And, I learned the college offered many different majors, lots of activities and had some of the best professors in the Bay Area.
Jennifer Vara
Jennifer Vara UC Santa Barbara, Psychology & Sociology As a student at San Mateo High School, Jennifer Vara put her summers to good use. She attended summer session at College of San Mateo through the College Connection - Concurrent Enrollment Program. Over the course of two summers, Jennifer completed classes in U.S. history, ethnic studies, psychology and yoga. In addition to receiving credit toward high school graduation, she earned 13 units of college credit and gained a big jump on her college education. “Attending CSM when I was still in high school was a good experience all the way around. I liked the classes, the professors and campus, and I completed several college requirements,” says Jennifer.
Joshua Yeager
Joshua Yeager Claremont McKenna College, Economic Business Joshua Yeager decided to attend CSM right out of high school because the private schools he was accepted to were extremely expensive. Also, after researching those schools and learning more about himself, Joshua realized none of those institutions were the right fit. He says, “I was not comfortable with the amount of debt I would have when I graduated. As a business major, I knew this was not a good idea.”

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