Meet Some of Chico State’s Amazing New Graduates

damario-sims-thumbBasketball star Damario Sims has left an indelible mark on Chico State athletics history over the past four years. But beyond the buzzer-beating shots is his most defining aspect: the obligation he feels to be a role model for young people from his hometown of West Oakland. Read More

ariel-ellis-thumbIf there’s one thing Ariel Ellis wants those who feel depressed to know, it’s that they’re not alone. In fact, the graduating psychology major has dedicated most of her four years at Chico State to spreading that message and other facts about mental health.  Read More

mmartinez Spending time with Melissa Martinez today, you’d never guess that she was once a college dropout. After excelling in high school, Martinez enrolled in Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with the best of intentions, but found the transition to college life at 17 challenging. Martinez graduates on May 25 with a degree in biological sciences (cellular and molecular) and a minor in biochemistry. Read More

asherrodIf the start of Adrian Sherrod’s high school career was an indication of the rest of his life, his future would likely look different now. After spending most of his young life in Mexico, his mother moved the family back to San Diego County for a fresh start, and the transition to the States was a rough one. That all changed when he was introduced to running track and cross country. Read More 

nwalkerA few months before Nicole Walker started her freshman year at CSU, Chico, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Being too far away from her San Luis Obispo hometown to visit often, Walker decided to support her mom in a different way—by getting involved with the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Northern California. Read More

ian ruddellWhen Ian Ruddell came to CSU, Chico as a freshman, he was prepared to make change. The organizer of the first gay-straight alliance at Atascadero High was already a seasoned activist, used to making things happen. But he may not have anticipated that he would leave such an indelible stamp on both the University and the CSU—changing the way CSU, Chico supports LGBTQ students and voting on issues that directly impact the CSU’s 437,000 students. Read More

tim-sain-thumbUntil he was 25, Tim Sain did exactly what he says was expected of men in his family: He got into drugs, he dropped out of high school, he became an absentee father, he went to jail. He lost his house, his car, his job, his wife, and nearly, his three children. And then Sain did the unexpected. He decided to change everything. Read More

greg-wells-thumb

Greg Wells, who uses a wheelchair, was paralyzed at the age of 15 in a high school wrestling accident and also has a documented learning disability. These challenges, he says, make everything a little bit harder, but by staying true to his mantras of “keep going” and “never give up,” he has overcome them in a way that’s impressive by any standard. Read More

Dee ThaoGraduating communication design major Dee Thao is promoting social change through a highly social medium: film. Thao, recipient of the College of Communication and Education’s 2013 Outstanding Student Leader Award, recently premiered a 24-minute film she created that documents her family’s journey as refugees from Thailand when she was 5. Read More

Michael Bluing

Michael Bluing came to Chico as a freshman, sight unseen, on the recommendation of high school teachers who were Chico State alums. “I heard their stories; I saw the brochure, saw all the trees, and thought ‘Hey, I like trees,’” he said, laughing. Bluing is especially passionate about integrating diversity awareness into the learning process. Read More

Swan TomaFew understand or embody the meaning of service work and leadership quite like graduating political science major Swan Toma. Born in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Toma and his family, along with others, faced the threat of persecution in 1997 related to his father’s work with Western countries. Evacuating as refugees to camps in Turkey and Guam, the family eventually immigrated to the United States through the sponsorship of an uncle in San Diego County when he was just 6. Read More

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