Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
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. By his own admission, Allan had never been a good student in high school but at CSM, he found interests that challenged him to excel.  His connection with the Associated Students solidified his success when he was encouraged by the student government advisor to become active in campus life.  While most community colleges are commuter schools, according to Allan, “CSM is different. The staff work very hard to offer students many ways to get involved in the campus and local communities. They create fun and meaningful opportunities that are flexible enough to accommodate student schedules.”

He also found that CSM’s professional staff took genuine interest in his goals and provided authentic help, particularly his counselor, Modesta Garcia, and Dean Emeritus Al Acena. He credits Dr. Janet Black’s art history class with teaching him about the rewards of learning something completely foreign and pushing through the anguish of study and practice. “I try to do this every day. It is an essential life skill for every challenge you decide to tackle.”

By participating in student government, Allan learned a great deal about leadership and put his skills into practice. Allan served as student body president, president of Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, member of the Associated Students Executive Board, Finance Committee and he also served as student representative to several institutional college committees. For his many contributions to CSM, he was honored with the Allan R. Brown Outstanding Service Award at the college’s commencement in 2002. When asked how he would describe his CSM experience, Allan succinctly responds, “10 out of 10!”

Becoming engaged in student life also boosted his academic performance. When considering a transfer institution, he realized that the combination of his grades and student leadership experience provided many options. With offers of acceptance to UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Brown University and Brigham Young University Allan ultimately chose to attend BYU as a double major in political science and philosophy.

Allan continues to take on challenges that draw on his educational and leadership background. Today, he is honing his entrepreneurial skills as co-founder of a venture capital-backed startup based in San Francisco.