Why Do You Support The Beach?
As we highlight in this issue of Beach Connection, one of the best ways to support CSULB is to share your unique school stories and Beach Pride. Many thanks to the hundreds of Alumni Members who responded to our recent survey and answered the question: Why Do You Support The Beach?
We've collected many thoughtful and inspiring responses on the Beach Connection website. Read on to hear from your fellow Alumni Members.
I take a great deal of pride in my degree from CSULB, and consider my years spent there as some of the best in my life… I believe the role [of alumni] to be invaluable; an engaged alumni speaks to the experiences that former students have taken away with them. If they are willing to support and continue to foster their connection, growth and success will follow.
As senior engineering manager and chief engineer at Boeing, I was always very impressed by the students we hired from CSULB. After I retired, I decided to participate in the mentoring program. This is an opportunity to give something back to the school and a great role for alumni. My input is one more piece of information the student can consider when making difficult decisions regarding their major, industry, employment, and advanced degrees.
Joanna (Montoya) Contreras
I am proud to hang the CSULB pendent in my office at work, wear my alumni Beach gear, communicate my gratefulness for what the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department has done for me, and when possible, I proudly donate financially. Most recently, I was traveling in Europe and saw someone wearing CSULB alumni gear. It was incredible to be across the world, and still be able to connect with someone who was initially a stranger, but quickly found that we are connected by the Beach family.
I enjoyed getting my philosophy degree from CSULB. The faculty was wonderful and my fellow students were great while I was there. Alumni have an important role at the school because we have been through things that the current students have not experienced yet. We can offer encouragement and tell them to keep going because it’s worth it when you finish.
20 years on the College of Engineering Electrical Engineering Department's Advisory and Development Council. Bringing industry's current and future needs to curriculum development along with financial support, speaking at student organization meetings, explaining insights to freshman engineering classes, and much more was a most enjoyable and rewarding experience. Giving back to the University and College that gave me a rock solid foundation to begin my career was the least I could do. Then being recognized by the CoE as their Distinguished Alumni back in 1997 is one of the high points of my career and relationship with CSULB. Go Beach.
Robert M. Schneider
I graduated in 2000 and my parents met there at CSULB. I feel connected to CSULB and had a great experience at my 3 years there after transferring from Marymount College. I say Go Beach! All my friends know I graduated from CSULB and it’s highly respectable.
The instructors that I had over my academic career inspired me with their passion and intelligence. Also, the alumni that I have met since graduating have been amazing people. The alumni’s role is to use what we learned at CSULB to make it a better place - the ultimate “give back.” I tell everyone what school that I graduated from every chance that I get, and my Wells Fargo debut card has the LB Long Beach State logo on it.
As a member who helped found a multicultural sorority on campus, it was important to see this mission continued and supported. I'm [also] a teacher and my classroom wing is named Beach Blvd. My students are very aware of my alumni status and we even bring groups of 8th graders with the AVID program to showcase our alma mater!
I arrived at CSULB in 2013 as a 50-year-old, formerly incarcerated transfer student from Golden West College with a 28-year history of addiction, criminality, and incarceration. In the spirit of “inclusive excellence,” President Conoley and Provost Jersky embraced the idea of providing organizational and programmatic support for formerly incarcerated students at the Beach in the form of Rising Scholars and Project Rebound... Today, CSULB supports system impacted students in a variety of ways, connects and provides them with the resources they need to succeed, and partners with campus and community stakeholders to facilitate educational opportunities proven to reduce recidivism.
I just appreciate everything about the college. I like that it has a local chill and kick-back vibe, but an international reputation for excellence. The professors are the best and there are so many things students can do while they study there... I always share my Beach Pride and encourage high school students to look at the school as a serious option for their college education. I post to social media (Facebook) about things happening at the school and promote it as much as I can.
[I’m inspired by] the campus itself! The jobs, productivity and culture it brings to the City of Long Beach. The campus helps bring an educated population to the city and encourages growth and new ideas. [Alumni contribute] pride, job opportunities, a future worth of participating as a member of the entire community. A chance to improve the progress of the University in the betterment of graduates who will and can become leaders in the many facets of our community.
I participated in the mentor program last year and because I support men's and women's volleyball I also provide a little financial support to the school. I thought the mentoring program was a good use of skills and time. I tell all my colleagues that I graduated from CSULB. Even though I have other degrees from other schools I am most proud of being a CSULB graduate.
I had a wonderful experience in the classroom, student politics and fraternity life. My education and experiences allowed me to obtain a position in local government where I worked for 32 years. I am a member of the Director's Circle, Legacy Society and others. I have served as a mentor and have contributed an endowed scholarship for the women's golf team. Everyone knows where I went to school... as I continually extol the virtues of my experience.
Dr. Gayle Fenton
My entire professional career centered around the opportunities provided by CSULB. Alumni, with their wealth of experiences... are the very best ones to provide input from their personal experiences from being a student to their professional lives. We would not have accomplished all that we have without the direction and assistance from the faculty and professional staff. These experiences have changed all of our lives. I have been a member of the Emeriti Faculty & Staff Assoc. for over five years and retired in 2013 as Senior Director of Advising. In Addition, as the former Director of Student-Athlete Services for over nineteen years, I continue to be involved in LBS's NCAA, DI student-athletes through donations as well as support at athletic games.
What inspires me the most is how it has stayed true to how it was for so many years. The diversity is inspiring. When I was at CSULB, I never felt like I was the majority nor the minority. All people were treasured. I was a campus lifeguard both of my years, and I was the Football Secretary under Coach Dave Curry. Both jobs were big parts of my school spirit and gave me the opportunity to take parents, players and new students on tours of the campus on my weekends.
Since my experience at CSULB was at the doctoral student level, I got to see how our professors pushed us to be rigorous in our research and theoretical approach while being pragmatic and pushing us to find a balance between theory and practice. CED has real education leaders teaching and inspiring future education leaders, and that is truly inspiring! I believe it is important to give back through alumni mentorship opportunities, helping build that connection between what they are learning in college and how it can be applied beyond the classroom in a professional context.
[I’m inspired by] the groups and culture. Everyone is welcomed and everyone belongs. It doesn't matter what you believe or where you are from. Everyone has a place or places they can call home. [Alumni] show students what they can be with hard work and what is possible, even when it seems it is impossible. I've shared my experience as well as my love for the clubs and groups I joined while at the school, showing the connections you can make and the lifelong friends you make.
I have four degrees, two BS's, and two Master's, and I wanted to represent CSULB the best I could. It is important to show support as a CSULB alumni and continue the traditions CSULB has built over time that has brought it to where it is today. I always jump at the opportunities to share my knowledge and experiences. Way too many to describe here.
Alumni can play a huge role in recruiting students through sharing their experiences as students and showing how they have put their degrees to work. I've been a teacher with San Diego Unified School District for the past 32 years and have shared my experiences with my students to assist them with making decisions on higher education. This goes beyond what they receive from their counselors. I've also contributed to the scholarship funds for both Long Beach and SDSU, to enable students to continue to receive their education, especially, considering costs these days.
I am proud to say that I am now a full-time lecturer in the College of Education, the same college from which I received my Master's degree. As an alum, I contribute to the College scholarship fund as I see directly how these scholarships benefit students. As a faculty member I could not be happier than I am to work at The Beach! I admire our commitment to become more culturally responsive and I thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere on this campus. As proud as I was to say I was a student here, I am even more proud to say that I work here, supporting our students.
John Alec Stouras
As I'm currently in law school Long Beach taught me how to listen to others (actually listen, not prepare a speech while they talk), persevere, lead, and advocate intensely. These skills are also needed to become a lawyer. Because of that, I will always stay connected to The Beach community. For assisting and broadening my skill set.
It is because of my affordable education at CSULB, that I have the career opportunities that I have now. Because of the affordable and excellent education, my degree in Chemistry led to graduation from medical school. I give back because CSULB gave me so much. CSULB allowed me opportunities that are not available to everyone. Living in a different state now, I realize how impactful it was to have small class sizes, professors that cared and were compassionate. Staff that encouraged me and told me "Why not you?"
Quite honestly, I was first inspired by CSULB at about 9-years old, first stepping unto the campus during a school field trip. The culture, the academics, and the beautiful campus are what drew me to The Beach! As alumni, we can help spread the message and values of CSULB. As alumni, we have the opportunity to give to the CSULB community by serving as mentors.
As alumni, I feel that we continue the legacy not only as students but we resemble the strong sense of community that CSULB has sustained. We also get to be sources of support and voices in creating change for more access to resources or assistance for future students. We are a network system to help one another evolve in future careers.
I am a CSULB graduate and I worked at the university for 35 years. CSULB is an extension of my heart. I love the beauty of the campus. It is like visiting a garden every time you go to campus. I am also inspired by the stories of students who have overcome challenges to make it at CSULB. Alumni and retired employees can play a similar role in the ongoing progress of the university. This can be done through volunteering, mentoring, financial giving, or promoting the university as much as possible.