Candice Chick Shirey’s passion and commitment to CSULB stems from her days as a student-athlete. Chick Shirey’s journey as a collegiate athlete and star goalie on the women’s water polo team gave her valuable preparation for her current position as CHAMPS Life/Skills coordinator for the Athletics Department. She is able to identify with the unique needs of student-athletes as she gives them guidance on their paths to the real world.
"More than anything, I see my job as helping student-athletes achieve their academic and athletic goals. It’s a significant part of my work that I believe in strongly.”
- Candice Chick Shirey
Chick Shirey says she fell in love with CSULB while still in high school. She enrolled at The Beach in 1998 with high expectations for athletic and academic success. She graduated with honors in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. In 2004, she completed a master’s degree in counseling and sports management.
Chick Shirey’s road to success was paved with challenges. She happens to have dyslexia, a learning disability that influences the ability to process written language. Dyslexia gave her valuable experience in learning how to overcome life’s challenges, she reveals. “We all have stumbling blocks in life. I believe with hard work and dedication to goals, we can set ourselves up for success,” says the Long Beach resident. “Water polo helped motivate me to be the best I could be.”
Chick Shirey tips her CSULB cap to the university’s Office of Disabled Student Services. “I consider the Office of Disabled Student Services one of the best in California and the nation. The minute I walked into that office, I knew I would succeed.” “Today I am an advocate for athletes, other disabled students and dyslexics—largely as a result of the support I received at CSULB from Disabled Student Services,” she says.
As CHAMPS Life/Skills coordinator, Chick Shirey’s responsibilities include being an advocate, mentor and coach for more than 300 student-athletes. She supervises the Making Wise Beach Choices program that seeks to provide students with alternatives to alcohol. She provides leadership for programs dealing with issues such as healthy eating, alcohol safety, sexual health and other educational components outside the classroom. She oversees CSULB’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee that deals twice yearly with National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations. She also contributes to events such as the annual academic luncheon for student-athletes and graduating seniors.
“As a former collegiate athlete, I experienced the same set of successes and challenges as student-athletes experience today,” says Chick Shirey about her ability to relate to student-athletes. She played on the Junior National Water Polo Team before joining CSULB. “I was a student-athlete who once lived in the trenches just like they do. I try to be the coach/mentor I wished for when I was playing. More than anything, I see my job as helping student-athletes achieve their academic and athletic goals. It’s a significant part of my work that I believe in strongly.”
Athletics at CSULB is a family affair. “This is not an ordinary 8-to-5 job,” she says. “It is not a ‘hobby.’ It is being a member of a strong family numbering more than 300. We support each other in all our activities, in the classroom and on the playing field. It is the mentality of the athlete to bond and help each other. You may get pushed down but you get back up.”
Chick Shirey’s co-workers are a big reason she can deal with the long hours. “I was asked once what keeps me going one 10-hour day after another,” she says. “One big reason is that my co-workers are as supportive and competitive as I am. Nobody complains here because we know, as athletes know, that negative attitudes get you nowhere.”
Chick Shirey has big plans for her future. In July, she married Ian Shirey, who she met in a residence hall (Parkside) when she was a freshman. She continues to pursue her interest in sailing, spinning and Pilates. “As a longer term goal, I’m even considering writing a book about dyslexia,” she says. “I’m so glad I chose CSULB. It was love at first sight that continues to this day! I can’t picture myself anywhere else.”