Social Media Director
By Sam Rios
Photo by Marisol Rocha
For 200 years, the US Federal Government has tasked itself with the seemingly impossible mission: to count every person in the United States. Mandated by the Constitution, the census determines the allocation of federal funding and provides data that will be used for the next 10 years.
With the census underway, communities across the country mobilize to encourage their residents to participate. It is essential for communities that the count is as accurate as possible. The effects of the census results are seen on three levels.
“The money, power, and representation to me are the three things,” said Ann Schulte, director of California State University, Chico’s Office of Civic Engagement.
The 2020 Census count will determine millions of dollars of funding for CSU, Chico. It will lead to campus improvements and affect campus buildings, labs, classrooms, and research grants. The count also affects students through financial aid, health services, and social services.
The effects of government support are seen on a local level and each person counted in the census contributes to funding. For each person counted in Butte County, $10,000–20,000 will be allocated to Butte County over the course of the next 10 years. These funds will go directly to healthcare, education, transportation, and more public services.
Ann Schulte partners with Mary Wallmark of Student Life and Leadership to spread the word about the importance of student participation in the census. Although census participation will benefit college students, they are known to be one of the hardest groups to count.
One of the reasons is that many assume college students are counted somewhere else. Dependent college students may still identify their parents’ household as their primary residence. Although students in University Housing will have their demographic information sent through a program called eResponse on behalf of the University, there are many students that are left to complete the census on their own.
For most students, this will be the first time they take the census. It may also be the first time that they fill out an official document independently.
“Essentially, students assume that their parents do it or they don’t check the mail. They may also not update their address with the government. Everything else you can assume your parents will do it for you. But not this,” said Logan Todd of the Butte County Complete Count Committee (BCCC).
Response to COVID-19 Schulte emphasizes that students should still count themselves as a resident of Chico regardless of whether they left town as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic, which has forced many institutions to come to an indefinite halt, has not changed the planned completion date for the census, July 31, 2020.
The US Census Bureau issued a statement regarding the necessary adjustments to complete the count. “We are adjusting some operations as outlined below with two key principles in mind: protecting the health and safety of our staff and the public and fulfilling our statutory requirement to deliver the 2020 Census counts to the president on schedule,” wrote the Bureau in their statement.
The shift to the option to respond online came at the perfect time. All previous censuses were conducted through census takers that collected information in-person at each household. If this strategy were to remain in place, the census would certainly have been put on-hold. The Bureau shows confidence that the new information collection system will allow a seamless collection of data.
“It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker,” wrote the Bureau in the same statement.
Hard-to-count Populations at CSU, Chico
The BCCC’s mission is to ensure that the count is as close to perfect as possible in Butte County. The committee is a coalition of 17 groups, including Chico State, that operates under the North Valley Community Foundation. The BCCC focuses on outreach to populations that are hard to count.
Hard-to-count populations tend to be clustered in neighborhoods, and 3 of the 5 low turnout areas in Chico are college student-heavy neighborhoods located right next to Chico State’s campus.
Chico State’s student body consists of several groups that are known to be hard to count, these include undocumented students, students from undocumented families, LGBTQ+ students and students of color.
Undocumented students and students with undocumented families might be afraid to participate in the census because of the media hype around the citizenship question. The Trump administration pushed for a citizenship question to be added to the 2020 census, but it was blocked by federal judges. Although the 2020 census will not include a citizenship question, the fear may still linger for undocumented students.
For LGBTQ+ groups, there has always been an undercount. Some students from this group may feel outcasted by choosing their sex. However, this census will be the first to collect information regarding same-sex couples.
Ethnic minorities have a history of being undercounted, as well. In 2010, the census overlooked more Hispanic and Black children than other ethnicities.
Power and Representation
Each of these groups has been targeted by rhetoric from the current president. Negative sentiment toward the federal government may deter members of these groups from census participation. However, it is in the best interest of these groups to participate because their participation means that they can be seen and represented for the years to come.
The census is the official population count, which influences federal representation. Representatives use the census data to determine who exactly they represent.
“We need to be seen. We need all of our identities to be acknowledged so that we can talk about who’s here. Otherwise, it’s too easy for us to just ignore problems,” Schulte said.
The census is an easy, yet powerful way for people to provide important, noninvasive information to the US Federal Government.
“It’s all about knowing who’s here. So that we can use what we have to create more justice. If the data reveals injustices or inequities, then we can do something about that,” Schulte said.
The data that is collected from the census will be referenced for the next 10 years. The more accurate the count is, the clearer the picture will become of who is actually in Chico’s community. The census only takes about 10 minutes to complete and is available until July 31. Complete the census today to benefit yourself and the community that you belong to. Take part in the tradition at 2020census.gov.
By Sam Rios
Cover Photo By Geralt on Pixabay
Infographic By Sam Rios
Law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in her 1989 paper, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.”
The inadequacies of the law regarding gender and race compelled Crenshaw to analyze anti-discrimination issues. Crenshaw saw that the law acknowledged the discrimination of gender and race separately. She focused on cases where the law acknowledged discrimination against African Americans and women. However, the law was blind in regard to discrimination against African American women.
Crenshaw saw the necessity to look at where aspects of an identity intercept. Hence the term “intersectionality.” The initial application of intersectionality was regarding law, but it can be applied in many diverse circumstances.
The application of intersectionality can be seen on the California State University, Chico campus. Recently, CSU, Chico announced a new major under the Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies: Intersectional Chicanx/Latinx Studies. Department chair Sara Cooper played a large role in forming the major.
“Intersectional Chicanx/Latinx Studies are meant to analyze how Chicanx/Latinx individuals and groups aren’t homogeneous and thus are affected differently by interlocking systems of oppression,” Cooper said.
“For instance, the class Chicana and Latina Power foregrounds the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality—with a secondary focus on other identity facets. Students learn firsthand how Latinx transwomen, for example, view the world and are viewed by the world in a radically different way than Latinx cis-gender women—and so feminist activism needs to fight for both,” Cooper said.
The major is a testament to how the intersectional lens can be used by organizations to show their audience that they understand who they are. As the percentage of Latinx/Chicanx students grows at CSU, Chico it is only natural that the University would respond with a curriculum that reflects that growth.
The application of intersectionality can lead to programs, laws, and services that are best suited for the groups they intend to help.
Nandi Crosby, a professor of sociology at CSU, Chico, emphasizes that intersectionality is a tool and not a theory. Crosby said that the tool considers how each aspect of a person’s identity influences their engagement with the world. Application of this tool has shown that multiple layers of discrimination are synergistic.
“In order to understand the nuance and complexity of human interaction, we need to understand that humans are intersectional. They have many identities that should be taken all together, not separated out,” Crosby said.
Intersectionality is used because, in most cases, it is insufficient to view a group in terms of just one category. To see the world in terms of just gender, just race, just social class, or any single aspect of social identity fails to see how many factors influence everything that we do.
An intersectional approach can help guide policies and perceptions on many levels. In areas where specificity is crucial, intersectionality is a great tool to gain a clearer understanding of how identity comes into play.
There’s a sweet spot between specificity and generalization when relevant identity factors are determined. For example, let’s say that CSU, Chico wants to include veterans in campus life. It may be too general for the target group to be only students that are veterans since there are many different forms of veterans. It may be too specific, however, for the group to be limited to Jewish STEM majors raised in middle-class households that are veterans. An overly specific intersectional approach can exclude key identity aspects. In this case, it may be unnecessary to exclude non-STEM majors and students from other socioeconomic backgrounds.
Sociologists, such as Crosby, use intersectionality to understand the world. It is not the only tool that sociologists use, but it is effective when applied in the right circumstance.
“It’s a way of framing something, making sense of something,” Crosby said. “Why would we not consider all of their intersectional identities in order to create the best resources for them?”
Intersectionality is not just an approach that should be used by sociologists. Researchers in all fields that look at demographics should consider an intersectional approach because the specificity allows for a clearer picture of the data. To consider all identities may reveal the effects of overlap in those identities.
You do not need to be a researcher or work for an organization to use the intersectional lens in daily life. Intersectionality allows people to gain a better understanding of themselves and the people that they interact with.
Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, compares a person’s identity to an iceberg.
“Hidden under the iceberg are all of the identities that we often don’t talk about for a variety of personal reasons. They are the identities that can truly drive our daily experiences and how we navigate our lives,” Robinson said.
Remember the iceberg metaphor when you engage with people. Under the surface are influential aspects of their identity. These aspects do not need to be hidden. The various aspects that influence identity reflect the beautiful complexity of being an individual. The intersectional approach dispels the tendency to label people based on slim, surface-level information.
Intersectionality prompts us to explore who people really are. The more it is used, the more it disproves what we think we know about the people around us. It may also encourage us to explore our own identities and consider how they influence the way that we see the world. Take a peek through the intersectional lens and let it change the way you see the world.
By Noah Andrews
Cover Photo By Tim Mossholder on Pexels
The construction of Chico State’s new Sciences Building leaves little doubt about the University’s desire to guide itself into the forefront of the 21st century. High-tech laboratories and top-of-the-line scientific equipment are but a few of the ways Chico State’s newest building rivals those of California’s elite schools. However, despite these fancy facilities, arguably the most impressive addition to this state-of-the-art building is the gender-inclusive bathrooms that can be found on the second and third floors.
The need to use the restroom spans all identities, yet, public bathrooms throughout the past 200 years have almost entirely been segregated based on one condition, binary gender. The reason for this separation started at the turn of the 19th century when the “Separate Spheres” ideology saw its peak. The British Library explains this ideology as the definition of the ‘natural’ characteristics of women and men. Separate Spheres regards women as physically weaker yet morally superior to men. This ideology asserted that women needed to exist solely within the domestic sphere. This belief of women being unable to handle the “harshness” of the normal public and needing their own homely spaces when outside of their houses soon became the popular belief of the time. Thus, states began to pass laws which provided women with these spaces and included the establishment of separate bathrooms based on gender.
It’s hard to believe that a practice that started as a Victorian-era repression tactic that aimed to keep women subjugated as the weaker sex has continued on into the 21st century. It’s even harder to believe that this practice has continued on at the expense of outgroups, such as transgender and non-binary individuals.
“We hear stories about people who will avoid drinking water because they don’t want to go near a restroom where they don’t feel welcome,”
-David Hassenzahl, the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at Chico State
“They will go off campus to find a place, and that then moves people away from campus or makes them uncomfortable while they’re here.” Hassenzahl is also a major member of the new building’s design committee. “Our goal is that we don’t want anything to distract from their learning,” he said. “They’re here to learn.”
Hassenzahl and his team’s commitment toward equitable access to facilities wasn’t just a guiding principle in the construction of the bathrooms—it was a guiding principle in the construction of the entire building.
“Our philosophy with this building is that we want students to want to come here, want to stay here, feel like they belong here,” Hassenzahl said, “Regardless of what their backgrounds are, regardless of where they come from. Everything about this building was designed to draw people in. … It’ll just be a very accessible building. We built it with maximizing student success in mind.”
Chico State has long shown its commitment to the provision of safe and accessible spaces for its students. In fact, gender-inclusive restrooms can be found in just about every building on its campus. So why are these new ones so important? They are the first non-retrofitted bathrooms of their kind on campus. This means that they weren’t just old binary bathrooms that the University reconstructed to become gender-inclusive—they were intended to be that way from the start. They are also the first multi-stall restrooms of their kind on campus, while all the previous gender-inclusive restrooms were single-stall installations. They represent a shift in the University’s way of thinking—a shift that focuses on prioritizing inclusivity and keeping outgroups involved in decisions that they used to only be an afterthought in.
“We really worked hard to build a team of representatives from all over campus… so these [gender-inclusive bathrooms] were more so just a natural extension of the model we used to assemble our team.”
Chico State wants to redefine the societal norm of gender-separated bathrooms so all of its students can simply focus on learning. As impressive as the new Science Building is sure to be technology-wise, this fact alone shows that the University is a role model that other CSUs and universities across the state should follow. Because, at the end of the day, does it really matter who is in the stall next to you?
By Anthony Mendoza
Cover Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash
Article Photos by Anthony Mendoza
Life works in mysterious ways regarding whether or not you have the right idea of your path. Everyone is bound to find their true calling at some point in their lives. For Pencheng Xiong, Sydney Angel, and Cheryl Watson their path in life was determined while at Chico State. Their involvement in student organizations and dedication to their academics has opened many possibilities.
Pengcheng Xiong, Compassionate Educator
Pengcheng Xiong found a passion for teaching and giving back to his community while at University of California Merced, where he spent three years as an undergraduate in the engineering program. Xiong soon discovered his calling wasn’t in engineering but in teaching and mentoring others. Xiong received an opportunity to work at UC Merced, developing educational programs for students that sparked his interest in teaching and eventually moved him to Chico State.
“Chico [State] has a good teaching program and it's affordable. Since then a lot of good stuff has happened, so I don’t regret my decision,” Xiong said of changing majors and transferring to Chico State.
Chico State offered opportunities and experiences that aided Xiong on his new career path. He landed a job as a mentor for Upward Bound, a summer mentorship program for high school students that provides support and preparation before college.
“There’s a lot of good opportunities here,” Xiong said. “When I first transferred, it was easy to find a job tutoring high school students through Upward Bound.”
Aside from job opportunities, Xiong found other interests on campus that developed his networking and leadership skills. He is the current president of the Hmong Student Association on campus. As president, his main responsibility is to promote diversity and awareness of traditions in the Hmong culture. He leads by example and has developed multiple leadership opportunities for his officers. He also provides guidance when needed.
“Being involved in the Hmong Student Association, I’ve been working on developing more opportunities for involvement in the community,” Xiong said. “Making people feel safer and connected to the school and have the opportunity to grow and gain experience.”
Xiong studied abroad this past summer in Thailand, which opened many possibilities for him to venture out and explore his heritage. Xiong explored Hmong villages and saw the reality of living in a third world country. He was touched by the stories and hardships that those students face, which directed him toward a career as a teacher.
“I saw how education has an impact and how they strive and even struggle to learn and that really touched my heart,” Xiong said. “I want to go back and teach over there because I feel like they need people to give them the opportunity to go places.”
-Pengcheng Xiong, Senior at CSU, Chico
Xiong has an innate curiosity for education, mentorship, and traveling because it’s given him a platform to educate others. After graduation, he plans to go back to Thailand to educate underprivileged students to share experiences and inspirations from his life.
Sydney Angel, Aspiring Doctor
Sydney Angel is another graduating senior that found her calling at Chico State. She is studying to receive her Bachelor of Sciences in biochemistry in the spring. Her passion stems from her family values and experiences, which inspired her to grow immensely while at Chico State. Angel participated in the pre-med club, chemistry club, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Student Learning Center as an SI leader. The atmosphere in the chemistry department allowed Sydney to develop very close, fond relationships with her professors.
“Being in a small department has been really nice,” Angel said. “I’m able to get to know my faculty on a first name basis and get to hang out with them outside of class.”
Her relationship with her professors has given her opportunities and guidance she didn’t think was possible. They push her to step out of her comfort zone by taking on leadership roles. Angel also credits the Student Learning Center as a major contributor to her success. There she developed key skills to mentor and provide leadership to other chemistry students. In her position, she’s helped over 800 students with their chemistry and physics courses, as well as provided oversight to the instruction of other SI leaders. SI supervisor Yer Thao is a coach to Angel, and guided her to be the SI leader she is today.
“Sydney is a model for the quote, ‘Leadership is action, not position,’” Thao said. “She is passionate for learning, dedicated to her craft, advocates for the people she serves, and goes above and beyond in everything she takes on. She will change the world for the better!”
The opportunities and challenges that come Angel’s way has helped her to excel in her major and grow as an SI leader. For example, to provide leadership and poster presentations to other SI leaders, she overcame her fear of public speaking. Although Angel knows her major is the right choice for her, she often competes against her male peers. Regarding the challenges within her major, she acknowledged that gender inequality is apparent.
“In the chemistry field there’s a lot of men, so just overcoming that stereotype of being a female and having people not look down at you because you are a female pursuing higher education,” Angel said. Angel is proud to be a woman of color representing minority groups in the STEM field driven by white males.
Angel will continue her journey at California Northstate University College of Medicine in Elk Grove. She will complete a dual program to receive her master’s degree in pharmaceutical science and the medical doctorate program to become a doctor in the next eight years.
“I automatically knew I wanted to be a doctor since my sister was in the hospital at such a young age,” Angel said. “Being able to see this doctor save her life made me want to be the same thing.”
Cheryl Watson, Endeavoring Academic Librarian
Cheryl Watson is a history major that ended up at Chico State by chance. She chose Chico State for convenience despite having other offers, such as the universities in San Bernardino and San Marcos. Coincidentally, her interests in research and organization guided her toward a career as an academic librarian. During her time here at Chico State, she has been involved in organizations that enriched her perspective and experience.
When Watson earned a position at the Meriam Library in the Special Collection’s sector her ability to organize, research, and track down items became apparent. There, Watson uncovered her passion to become an academic librarian and led her to pursue a graduate program in librarian studies.
“I like the environment of college and universities,” Watson said. “I’ve been good at school my whole life, so it would make sense that I would go into a career path set in a school setting.”
Even though it is a fulfilling and enriching experience to attend a university, higher education can sometimes come with its own challenges. Just Unity Sistas’ is an organization that provided Watson with a sense of community and belonging. She even served a term as treasurer and is still an active member. Watson feels that as a woman of color it can be a bit isolating at times, but that never discouraged her.
“To incoming students and women of color, Chico may seem overwhelming and a little bit scary, but there is a community here, you just have to find it,” Watson said. “Or make it yourself and break down doors, talk to people. You can do it because I did it, and I thought I couldn’t.”
Chico State has shaped Watson into the person she is today. Her experiences, memories, and professors allowed her to understand many different perspectives. She looks up to her mentors Tray Robinson, Stefani Baldivia, and Tracy Butts, who served as advocates for her and other students of color. Watson’s supervisor, Stefani Baldivia. in Special Collections often gave her advice on education and life experiences.
"Higher education and your professional life will always have people in power ready to keep you where they think you belong,” Baldivia said. “Being a woman of color and first generation puts you in a position to push the limits on the boundaries society set for you."
Watson has been accepted into three different library programs in the United Kingdom, where she will pursue her dream career as an academic librarian. She hopes to come back and visit Chico to reminisce about the unforgettable memories made here.
“If I could, I would love to work in the Meriam Library once I’m fully developed as a professional,” Watson said.
Congratulations to these three graduating seniors on all their accomplishments! Good luck with all your future endeavors as you all enter your next chapters in life.
By Anthony Mendoza
Cover Photo of Roberto Herniman & Family
The foundation of life is built with a loving family, ideal professional career, and selflessness to give back to others. Chico State is the place to begin to build the essential parts of your life that you will cherish forever. This was true for class of ’95 alumnus Roberto Herniman. He followed his heart, and it resulted in a life filled with cherished moments.
Upon coming to Chico State, Herniman was accepted through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) which opened many doors for him to succeed. He reached the highest score on the math exam at the EOP Summer Bridge program. The EOP Summer Bridge program is a transition program for first-time EOP freshmen, where they develop skills needed before a successful college experience. EOP helped Herniman develop academically, but it also helped him connect with some of his lifelong friends. Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, had the biggest impact on him, and 30 years after meeting in Summer Bridge their friendship is still going strong.
“There're many lifelong friends I made in Summer Bridge and still connect with them,” Herniman said.
“There're many lifelong friends I made in Summer Bridge and still connect with them,”
College is a time where everyone lives different experiences that can be life-changing, filled with lessons and rewarding times. Herniman got married at age 19 years old and had his daughter at 20. His resilient, hardworking, and caring nature manifested through his academics, work, and his new family. Throughout his time at Chico State, Herniman would commute to Marysville for work and come back for late night classes while staying committed to his fraternity and family.
“That first year at Chico State was life-changing for me,” said Herniman. “It was fun times, but it was busy—I started a fraternity, got married, and had a child.”
Herniman co-founded the multicultural fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Rho, alongside eight other colleagues. Being a part of this fraternity made him connect to other cultures, served as an overall basis of life, and exposed him to new people. Epsilon Sigma Rho quickly grew after the first year with a variety of students from different backgrounds. Herniman mentioned Tray Robinson was part of the first class of inductees and after that, the demographics began to grow.
“We liked what they stood for, and wanted to be part of a multicultural fraternity,” he said.
Acts of self-kindness can be seen throughout Herniman’s life due to his commitment to serve others willingly. He’s been a member of the Chico Elks Lodge for five years and continues to take on leadership roles. Herniman’s compassion and charisma with others have allowed him to become a Leading Knight for his chapter in the following year. This organization is committed to fundraising efforts, scholarships for graduating seniors, veteran support, and children’s services. He enjoys doing good things for a good cause because he finds philanthropy work rewarding.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to give back to the community and do something community service-based,” Herniman said.
Herniman’s family are all part of the Chico State legacy as college graduates. His wife, Estella, is an English language specialist at Biggs Unified School District. His daughter, Marisa, is a receptionist at Success One! Charter School. His son, Roberto, pursued a marketing degree and now works as a sales representative for Ferguson Enterprises. Herniman feels fortunate that his entire family were Chico State graduates.
"My dad was always a constant support system for my sister, Marisa, and me while we were at Chico State. I always went straight to him whenever I had a problem because I felt like he had probably went through it himself when he was a student,” said Herniman. “I wouldn't have been able to make it through if it wasn't for the support of my family."
Not only was he a student, husband, father, and part-time worker, but he was a DJ, also—starting young at 12 up until age 25. This was enough time to build a reputable career by hosting parties and performing at events. Roberto Herniman can add “opened up for Iced-T” to his resume.
Herniman also displayed his skills at an EOP talent show by performing tricks with the turntables. He won first place, which is an incredible honor to have so early on in his DJ career.
“Pretty much anything that plugs in, I’m managing,” Herniman said. “If there’s an issue early on, I like to check it and make sure to get the systems back up.”
As director of the technology department of seven school districts, you can imagine a typical day for Herniman includes countless meetings, phone calls and responding to hundreds of emails. He’s responsible for reaching out to his team to ensure all work orders are getting fixed. Herniman also contacts superintendents and principals, to mitigate any technical problems that arise at any district. Herniman now looks forward to the next chapter in life, retirement, and most importantly his family. And his granddaughter has become his favorite muse in life.
“I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with my granddaughter after retirement,” Herniman exclaimed.
College is the time to build the essential parts of your life. Herniman got married, started a family, and still excelled in his classes, worked multiple side jobs, and conducted philanthropy work. Although Herniman has been incredibly successful in meeting his goals, he’s excited for retirement and to see what the future has in store for him and his family.
By Christina Arias and Anthony Mendoza
Photo by Lorena Navarro
Chico State is nestled in the middle of the Northern California Central Valley. The modest city in which it resides buzzes with energy from college students at the start of each academic year and stays that way until summer break comes around. There’s a calm in the air during those summer months because it is those very students that give life to the City of Chico, helping it thrive. Although Chico may be small with a predominately white demographic, Chico State is getting recognized for its diverse population that continues to grow as the years go on.
While the city itself lacks diversity, the University campus demographics show that things are changing. Chico State’s Latinx student population has increased every year since 2015 when it reached a 25 percent population benchmark, which has made Chico State qualify for a federal Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) standing. This HSI recognition has not only created a more diverse campus and town, but it has also given minority student populations opportunities they may not have seen before. That number has since increased by about 10 percent, which made the Latinx population the fastest-growing sector at Chico State. Being HSI recognized means that Chico State can receive grants that are focused on Latinx students but also support and benefit all of its students.
These grants help create programs for undergraduate students, such as the Chico Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Connections Collaborative and, more recently, graduate programs like Adelante, which provides support and encouragement for undergraduate students pursuing a graduate degree. Paul Villegas, the Chico STEM Connections Collaborative program director, has been a part of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program at Chico State for a long time and said receiving grants have helped expand STEM opportunities on a larger scale. Such opportunities include undergraduate research through the Chico STEM Connections Collaborative program, which serves 65 students each summer. These students get hands-on experience for professional development while receiving a stipend for their work.
“This has given the opportunity for sophomores to get research experience with professors,” Villegas said.
“This has given the opportunity for sophomores to get research experience with professors,”
-Paul Villegas, Chico STEM Connections Collaborative Program Director
Many of these programs came into fruition within the past four years, after Chico State achieved HSI status. Ben Van Dusen, an assistant professor for the Department of Science Education, took on the role of researching the educational programs implemented and determine the success rate of students in order to better serve our community.
“I’m looking across gender, race, and first-gen students to see who are reaping the rewards of this new course transformation,” Van Dusen said of analyzing students’ behaviors, beliefs, and misconceptions based on their learning environment. “If our classes aren’t developing, especially for those marginalized populations, we’ll filter them out and [they] will continue to not be represented in those spaces,” he said.
In addition, some of these professors serve as mentors and provide guidance to their students. The Chico STEM Connections Collaborative’s natural sciences coordinator, Lorena Navarro, has proven that student-professor relationships are essential to ensure students stay on track and motivated.
“Once they get to Chico State, we provide them with the services needed to be successful in their majors—not just academically but to establish a sense of belonging,” Navarro said.
Navarro has been a major support system for students studying natural sciences. She provides them with academic advising, career counseling, scholarship opportunities, and assists in recruiting. Within her short time at Chico State, she has seen an exponential number of students apply for the research program. Navarro also aims to instill graduate school as an important proponent for students wanting to build a successful career in the natural sciences.
Adelante, the post-graduate mentorship program in the Department of Education, was created because the administration was becoming increasingly aware that students––and especially minority students––did not receive sufficient information and support to pursue graduate school. Adelante’s goal is to create support and exposure for students as early as their sophomore year. Master’s degrees give people an advantage further along in their career as advanced education becomes more in demand. As of 2018, only 13.1 percent of the US population hold advanced degrees. Chico State wants to increase this number nationwide, and they want to start with its students.
Overall, Chico State’s HSI status is much more than receiving federal grants, although that is a benefit. Teresita Curiel, the director of Latinx Equity and Success, shared her perspective on HSI is one that seeks to provide resources and solutions for all students on campus. In her position, she oversees student education through the pursuit of adequate and inclusive resources. Curiel also conducts research, attends grant writing conferences, and advises her collaborative team on upcoming grant proposals. Her work philosophy is “to do right by everyone” while meeting two important goals. The first goal is centered around students, to delegate resources to ensure success after college. The second is more grant-focused because this collaborative team constantly seeks opportunities for students that serve the underserved.
“I want to embrace the responsibility we have to serve our students,” Curiel said. “We do have a responsibility to maximize the participation in these grant programs of Latinx students, but not at the exclusion of others.”
This collaborative team of professors look forward to new opportunities that will come forth for Chico State as an HSI. Some of them hope to have upgraded laboratories, more centers for undergraduate research, and—most importantly—to increase inclusivity, equity, and access for all students.
By Noah Andrews
Photos provided by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
For several years interested faculty and staff have collaborated to host a variety of sessions on diversity topics for the campus community. The Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion series focuses on the complexities of group, and individual identities and how they influence one another. Every spring, the CODI planning committee holds an award ceremony that honors members of our campus community who have exemplified these ideals. On behalf of The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies and the Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition, congratulations to this year’s award winners!
After Chico Award
Recipient: Nicole McAllister, Impact Justice
The After Chico Award recognizes that the proof of a good education is what you do with what you’ve learned. In this award, we honor a Chico alum’s outstanding contributions in the field of diversity activism, service, education and celebration.
Taking it to the Classroom
Recipient: Carolina Alvarado, Science Education Department
Individuals who address diversity issues in the classroom often must deal with sensitive and challenging subjects, resistant or apathetic students or professional scrutiny. It is a daunting task that many choose not to address. The Taking It to the Classroom award recognizes an outstanding faculty member who possesses the courage and creativity required to successfully engage diversity issues in the classroom.
Behind the Scenes Award
Recipient: Katy Sylvia, Political Science Department
Just as in a movie or in theatre, much of the diversity efforts, the real work, is conducted and maintained out of public view. This award honors the individual behind the scenes, working diligently and often without recognition, to ensure that the show goes on seamlessly and successfully.
Promising New Comer Award
Recipient: Browning Michael Neddeau, School of Education & Multicultural and Gender Studies
This award is presented to an individual whose fresh perspective and energy galvanize campus diversity work and facilitate new approaches to old problems. The award honors the newcomer’s vision and invites a sustained commitment to its realization.
Pulling us Together Award
Recipient: Joe Picard, Basic Needs Project
This award is presented to the organizer(s) of an event that was noteworthy for drawing people together towards social change. The event may involve teaching the campus community eye-opening lessons about diversity issues, galvanizing a response to a particular social justice issue or representing those who are often marginalized in U.S. society.
Taking it to the Streets
Recipient: Jeremy Olguin, Office of Accessible Technology and Services
This award highlights a group’s or individual’s timely response to an event or issue of local, national or global significance. We particularly want to honor students, staff or faculty who have provided direct service to communities or individuals impacted by the topic.
Walk the Line Award
Recipient: Annie Adamian, School of Education
The Walk the Line award recognizes that the work to achieve social justice is both demanding and risky. Risks include excessive scrutiny and burn out from juggling multiple roles (e.g., mentor, teacher, advocate). This award recognizes one who takes such risk without the protection of privilege and safety nets such as tenure or full-time employment.
Recipient: Bre Holbert, Associated Students, Majoring in Agriculture
The Teach-Back Award recognizes the fact that while students most often learn from their professors, they also teach their instructors and peers. With this award, we honor one of our students who has consistently been active either inside or outside of the classroom and contributed to diversity education on campus.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Recipient: Gary McMahon, Chico Student Success Center
Understanding diversity is the work of a lifetime. Helping others to understand it is the work of an extraordinary life. This award is presented to an individual who has brought the campus closer to its vision of inclusiveness through her or his cumulative daily efforts to promote understanding and collaboration across lines of gender, race, culture, class and sexuality.