Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience

Stephen McReynolds
Stephen McReynolds Stanford University, Management Science and Engineering Stephen McReynolds was 12 years old when the United States was attacked on 9/11. “I grew up watching news coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I felt like I needed to do my part,” he says. Stephen enlisted in the United States Marine Corps a year after high school and began his service when he was 19. He served as an infantryman for six years, with tours of duty in Afghanistan and the Pacific.
Sally Zhao
Sally Zhao UC Davis, Computer Science I chose to attend CSM, after I didn’t receive admission into my university of choice. Once I got to CSM, I chose Computer Science, a major that I was interested in, thus straying from the medical career my parents encouraged me to follow. I knew I wanted to complete the required classes for my major within only two years, so I struggled as they were more challenging. I constantly sought for help, which was something I was reluctant to do in high school.
Niloufar Mansooralavi
Niloufar Mansooralavi UC Davis, Biology In my three years of attending CSM, I have met many talented and kind people. I initially wanted to go straight to a four-year university after high school, but, I wasn’t able to, due to financial need. However, I’m thankful for attending, and being able to depend on, CSM.
Neel Ajit Joshi
Neel Ajit Joshi UCLA, Business Economics When I first came to CSM, I was completely new to this country as I had just moved from India. I was scared, nervous and, most importantly, I wanted to fit in with my new surroundings. After my initial summer semester, I began to feel much more at ease, thanks to CSM’s diverse and welcoming culture.
Clibe Willkom
Clibe Willkom UC Davis, Economics I was reluctant to get involved with student life once I began to attend CSM; but, I soon realized that I wanted to network with and meet students whom shared interests with me. I joined the Business Club and the Transfer Club to learn more about majors I was interested in, such as Business and Economics.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Menjivar
Jennifer Menjivar San Jose State University, Human Resources Management My first semester was a complete blur, as I was getting used to being around students of all ages, finding my way around campus, and jumping through hurdles to get financial support for my studies. A friend suggested that I check out Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS). I honestly feel that this program is what launched the start of a new passion! I remember meeting with my EOPS counselor and figuring out my educational plan. At the time, I had no goal other than to learn business. She explained to me that I should pursue an associate’s degree for transfer. I clearly remember saying transferring wasn’t for me but she said she would mark me down as a transfer student, in case I changed my mind. With that being said, my next two years were planned and all I had to do was register for classes and check them off my list.
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.
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.
Brad Martens
Brad Martens San Francisco State University, Radio and Television For Brad Martens, work is just another day at the park – AT& T Park, that is. Brad, a CSM alumnus, made a successful transition from production intern to full-time digital media coordinator with SFG Productions, the San Francisco Giants’ production company. Within a short time, he has accumulated some highly impressive hardware to go along with his success, namely, two Emmy Awards and two World Series rings!
Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough University of Kansas, 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.
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.”
Luis Carlos Alvarez
Luis Carlos Alvarez Stanford University, Astrophysics Luis Carlos attended CSM as a Middle College student in his junior year of high school because he needed more academic stimulation than regular high schools offered. By graduating, he became the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. He decided that his best course of action would be to continue to attend CSM as a college student with the goal of transferring.
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.”
Chris Seminoff
Chris Seminoff Simon Fraser University, BC, B.S., Physical Geography Chris Seminoff, a 2007 graduate of Aragon High School, says that choosing to attend CSM was an easy decision. “I wanted to continue to play football but I also wanted to get a good education. Living in the community, I knew that CSM had a strong athletic program and reputation as one of the best community colleges in the state for academics.”
Richael Young
Richael Young University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.S. I first set foot on the CSM campus as a 14-year old student in the concurrent enrollment program, a program that allowed me to fulfill my high school requirements while getting a head start in college, says Richael. "CSM quickly became a place for me not only to learn, but to grow. I took challenging courses with caring and dedicated professors, I found countless leadership opportunities which helped me build my confidence and develop a strong voice, and I became involved in campus activities to further enhance my education."
Michael  Cardona
Michael Cardona UC Berkeley, Rhetoric Michael Cardona, a graduate of Hillsdale High School, came to CSM to play football with the goal of continuing his athletic career at the university level. While he worked hard to be the best player he could be, he realized that it wasn’t enough. He changed direction and decided to focus on academics and becoming the best student he could be.

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