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, 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

Finding Wellness in the Wilderness

juniperBy Juniper Rose, Junior, Journalism

I close my eyes for a second, guided by the feel of the trail beneath my feet. Slowly, as I walk, I unroll the folded piece of paper and open my eyes.

It reads, “It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized. -Wayne Dyer” welnessGroup

When I look back up, my bare feet have carried me to a vista point where you can see through a clearing in the trees, across a valley and to a distant peak. I stop. Everything is quiet, except my mind. But it is not buzzing in the way that it was before, filled with stressed tension. Instead, the realization of my surroundings makes the knot between my shoulder blades release. Now I’m wondering what it was about my life that made me feel so stressed all the time, when all it really took was stopping and allowing the worry to yield to celebrate the moment.

yurtHikeWith finals approaching, I had the opportunity to be a leader on Adventure Outings’ first-ever Weekend Wellness trip. This trip was free for AO participants and funded by the UMatter student mental health program. UMatter is dedicated to providing mental health training and services for the campus community. The focus of the Weekend Wellness trip was to bring Chico State students into the outdoors for a weekend and share in nature through hikes, discussion, meditation, and focused journaling.

Between the stress that the end of the semester brings and the pressures of peers, the weekend of May 5 seemed like the perfect opportunity to take eight students out of Chico and to the AO yurt at Butte Meadows for a weekend.

Being outside is always a stress relief, but the Weekend Wellness trip let me share that feeling with others who have not meditationhad the opportunity to feel the contagiously peaceful effect of a field of dandelions or the warmth of a campfire as it spreads so much further than your skin. As a leader, I live for moments when I get to witness someone’s first time sleeping in an open meadow, or hear the awe of the first-time sighting of a shooting star. In discussions of stress, goals, and anxiety, it was powerful to see the way that the students connected through group challenge activities and even more in the way they each opened up in forms of meditation.

The AO yurt is about a mile-and-a-half backpack trek, which was just far enough to ensure that everyone had to leave behind homework and computers and bring just the basics. Outdoor exploration can be used as a healthy way to let go, as opposed to other alternatives that degenerate your body instead of rejuvenating it.

creekJumpThe trip inspired me to want to continue to share these experiences with others, and I hope to be able to coordinate more Wellness Weekend trips in future semesters. While all AO trips offer a chance to get outdoors, focusing on renewing our mental health made the trip even more rewarding.

I refolded the quote I had drawn out of a hat and tucked it into my jacket pocket, vowing to keep it in mind when ever life began to feel like too much, and making an agreement to myself to choose the healthier option, which I know will mean the most to me.

Just Like the Movies

524919_436747436402574_1195883520_nBy: Amanda Hurley, Senior, Sociology, Communication Studies Minor

Re-Posted From: Chico State Study Abroad

There is no picture that can depict what its really like to walk down an Irish country road. The view of the landscape is nothing less than magical. I have truly never seen green so bright as it is among the Irish hills. Nor will I ever understand how a million stonewalls could be built by merely stacking onetumblr_inline_mkai26fkhw1rymiwg stone on top of the other. These dividers are everywhere; standing tall for hundreds of years without cement substance or tools, their foundation relies merely on balance. The beauty is truly mind blowing. While the horizon is decorated with traditional homes and farm animals, the occasional castle overshadows it. And it is all of this that makes me believe, life can be like the movies.

The quaint Irish city of Cork is built on cobblestone streets spotted with charming shops, markets, churches, and pubs. I’ve been hypnotized by light from the stained glass windows in an aged cathedral. I’ve been lured off the streets into English Markets 62104_436747449735906_1511915398_nby the smell of freshly baked bread. And I’m entirely convinced that nothing on this planet could sound as beautiful as live music in Ireland. The man playing a guitar and singing for spare change sounds like he won a Grammy. And you can experience the most amazing concert by simply wandering into the local pub. For this reason, I am eternally grateful I can still hear the twang of the fiddle, clapping hands, and cheerful voices chiming along. My six months in Ireland felt like a fairytale.207229_436747779735873_2011294182_n

My life is forever enriched by this experience and I know I will never be the same. I learned to enjoy the simple things in life: the blissful pleasure that comes from the ability to relax, to refrain from worry, and to take things slowly. This comes easily when distracted by the abundant laughter of Irish humor, and the recurring phenomenon of turning a stranger into a friend. When life feels too chaotic, I revert back to my time in Ireland, picturing myself running alongside the River Lee, I am suddenly reminded how breathtaking life really is.

3 Tips for Social Media Success

Dustin Moseley

By Dustin Moseley (Business, ’11), Owner of Full Circle Social and the Social Media Coordinator for HeyGoTo Marketing & Social Media

It’s important to understand that nonverbal communication and tone is nonexistent when expressing yourself in text. Whether it’s an email, an article, or a Facebook post, you must always keep in mind that those two communication avenues don’t exist.

Just think about all the times you’ve read a text from your friend, your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you had to read it over a few times before you had any idea of what they meant. And even then, you still weren’t exactly sure what they’re trying to say. Were they being serious? Were they being sarcastic? Surely they didn’t mean that…or did they!? Who knows?

The same potential for misunderstanding exists for all the readers who access your content online.

Make your message bite-sized, short and concise. If you try to write like you talk, there’s a 99 percent chance the reader will not receive that message as you meant it. If you have to write as you talk, practice with quotes and emoticons. For example, if you’re making a joke, a “smiley” face is appropriate to make sure that the reader knows you’re making a joke.

I think my generation is lazy. I mean, let’s be honest here, nobody wants to read a paragraph of text during their free time. If you want me to actually care about what you’re posting, make it short and interesting to read. Otherwise I’m moving on to the next interesting thing.

Did you know that the average person takes 3.4 seconds reading content before deciding whether to move on or not? Don’t believe me? The next time you’re scanning our Facebook newsfeed, pay attention to how long you take before moving on to the next post. Welcome to the generation of ADD.

Here’s my strategy for attracting online readers, but in bite-sized chunks:

  • Less is more: if you want people to actually care about what you’re writing, make it short and interesting. If you have a long story to tell, make sure your first sentence is compelling enough to convince readers to continue on.
  • If you have to post something that you wouldn’t want your parents to see, for cryin’ out loud, do not post it publicly.
  • Before making a post, take a step back and read your content. Pretend that you’re reading it for the first time. Does it make sense? Does it really say what you want it to say? Could it be taken in a different way than you meant?

Bonus tips:

think before you

Chico Brings Spring Flowers

Each semester we ask our followers to snap and share their photos of Chico State in its seasonal finest. This spring we asked the same, but with a twist: the photo submissions would be in the running to become our next Facebook cover photo. We accepted photos via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and our social media team selected 10 to be featured in an album. Of those, the photo with the most “likes” after one week became the next CSU, Chico Facebook cover photo. Over 600 people “liked” their favorites, but one photo beat them all.

Shannon McCollum8-cc

The fan favorite photo, and now our cover photo, was submitted by staff member Shannon McCollum.

Because we received so many great photos but could not feature them all, here is a slide show of some of the other wonderful submissions:

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To view the top 10 photos featured on our Facebook page, click here: