Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience

Collette Yee
Collette Yee College of San Mateo When Harvard Forest called CSM student Collette Yee and offered her admission in its summer research program, Yee enthusiastically accepted. Little did Yee realize that she had competed among 500 college students nationwide for a program that accepted only 31 students. Even more impressive was the fact that Yee was the only community college student in the program!
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.
Alex Quintana
Alex Quintana College of San Mateo, A.A.
UC Santa Cruz, Philosophy
At CSM, he hit the ground running. Alex was a full time student, worked 25 hours a week in a local bakery to support his education and he quickly was immersed in college life. Alex became an integral part of student government where he was able to bridge his passion and dedication to issues of social justice with the desire to stand up for the students he represented.
Anna Keilo
Anna Keilo UCLA, Psychology
Jeff Lowenstein
Jeff Lowenstein College of San Mateo
Santa Clara University, B.S., Economics
As a graduating senior at Serra High School, Jeff Lowenstein had been accepted to several colleges, including Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but decided to attend CSM. His plan was to stay close to home and save money so that he could transfer to Santa Clara University (SCU), which was his top choice in a four-year university.
Damion Caldwell
Damion Caldwell Eastern Washington University, B.S.
San Francisco State University, M.F.T.
Damion credits “Coach O” and the entire football program at the college – coaches, trainers, athletic director and the rest of the staff – with providing an important support network and the structure he needed to be successful in the classroom and on the playing field.
Tiffany Chan
Tiffany Chan College of San Mateo, Psychology Tiffany Chan, a member of College of San Mateo's water polo and swimming teams, is taking aim to get accepted to her dream college: UC Berkeley. Chan was accepted to UC Santa Cruz after graduating from Mills High School, but CSM water polo and swim coach Randy Wright encouraged her to enroll at CSM instead. Tiffany said that Wright convinced her it would be beneficial to play water polo and swim for CSM to increase her experience and play time in these sports, and ultimately secure a spot at Berkeley. Although it wasn't an easy decision, Chan found Coach Wright's encouragement to be very helpful and hasn't looked back since coming to CSM. Chan states, "My professors at CSM have been great. They have taken the time and the effort to help me learn and understand things, which I'm grateful for." Chan is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society at CSM.
Chong (Alfred) Zeng
Chong (Alfred) Zeng China I’m so pleased to be a part of the international student group while studying and growing at College of San Mateo. Additionally, I joined an honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, which has helped me to make many great friends and improve my teamwork skills.
Mariela Buchin
Mariela Buchin Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mariela Buchin has completed more than 25 courses at College of San Mateo. She is a tutor in the College’s Math Lab. She was just accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). And, in June, the 17-year-old will graduate from high school. That’s right. Buchin is a high school student who is attending CSM and West Bay Christian Academy in Redwood City at the same time. She is among 350 other students participating this year in CSM’s Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Program. Buchin has received credit for community college courses in physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, math, English and biology. (The Program’s students may also apply these credits toward high school graduation.) She is a 4.0 student in high school, and carries a 3.41 at CSM. “I like the different cultures at CSM and there are a lot of great teachers,” Buchin said about her college experience.
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.
Mei Zhou
Mei Zhou San Francisco State University "CSM provided tons of opportunities as well as advice to guide me in achieving my goal," says Mei Zhou, a successful transfer student. Recently, Mei learned that her four years of hard work at CSM paid off as she was among the 80 accepted to start San Francisco State University's nursing program this fall; some 800 applied."Getting into a nursing program has always been my dream," she adds.
Aashish Jha
Aashish Jha College of San Mateo, Molecular Biology & Law Aashish Jha, District student trustee: Jha is a second-year student at the College, having immigrated to the United States two years ago from Nepal. He calls CSM "the beautiful 'Harvard on the Hill.'" A molecular biology and law major, Jha hopes to someday attend Harvard or Yale University.
Sandra Rivera
Sandra Rivera College of San Mateo, Human Services Single mother Sandra Rivera is a stand-out student at College of San Mateo, carrying a 3.7 grade point average, working part-time on campus and actively participating in student activities. In 2001, she returned to school to gain the skills necessary for a new career after 22 years in hospital administration. Rivera was also looking for a community college with an assistive technology program for disabled students because injuries prevented her from using her hands to type. She found that and much more at CSM.
Vanessa Castro
Vanessa Castro U.C. Berkeley, B. A., English As a first-time freshman at CSM, Vanessa Castro knew hardly anyone on campus which could have been a tough transition for most people, but not Vanessa. She quickly realized that she needed to reach out and meet new people. As a disabled student, that task was not simple. Vanessa has navigated through daily life with the assistance of a power wheelchair and a communication device to type out what she wants to say. “I would ask random people on campus for help in getting items out of my backpack, and speaking through my communications device, you can imagine that I got many strange looks.” However, she was always able to find someone willing to help–and that’s how she began to meet new people and make new friends at CSM.
Mercedes Teuntor
Mercedes Teuntor College of San Mateo, Dental Assisting Mercedes Teuntor, a 21-year-old dental assisting student, was just looking for a job when she talked with CSM's Student Employment Office last year. But what she found in her position as a student ambassador turned out to be considerably more--for her and CSM.
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.”
Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson College of San Mateo CSM student Colin Jackson didn't follow the traditional path to college. He was home schooled by his parents, who would provide materials to their son and let him do his thing.
Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns UC Berkeley, Latin American Studies Patrick Burns is attending UC Berkeley as a Latin American Studies major, having transferred from College of San Mateo at the end of the Spring 2008 semester. "I struggled in high school, and I knew that if I worked hard at CSM, I would have a second chance to apply to UC Berkeley," he said. "Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life."
Emanuela Quaglia
Emanuela Quaglia College of San Mateo, Broadcasting and Electronic Media Emanuela, 36, is an "A" student studying broadcasting and electronic media as an international student. She's also president of the student club Mediate-started this year at for all media technology students-and an officer in the honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
Candice Alfaro
Candice Alfaro College of San Mateo, A.A., Political Science
UC Berkeley, Political Science
As a first generation college student, Candice Alfaro grew up in a family that valued education and expected her to earn a college degree. While she was academically prepared to go from high school to a university as a freshman, like many students, she was undecided about what major to study and thought CSM would be a good place to start college. At CSM, Candice was able to explore various subjects, experience student life and discover what path she wanted to pursue.

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