Then: Matt Dudich is a 2001 CSUMB graduate in Management and International Entrepreneurship (IMIE, now called Business). Originally from a small town outside Sacramento, he chose CSUMB because it was the only school he could find that had a program specific to entrepreneurship. While visiting the campus before deciding to enroll in 1996, he found that he liked the area and the pleasant weather: "I thought it would be a great place to live for a few years." While at CSUMB, Dudich's activities and accomplishments included:
- Founding Rugby team member, playing for three years
- Coaching women's Rugby for two years
- Several Service Learning Projects, including working for a division of the Salvation Army, helping homeless people to create resumes and cover letters, and get training to find a job
Dudich says: "The first thing is that CSUMB was advantageous in that I learned skills out in the world-unlike people who came out of places like Harvard. Our classes were based on real practical applications; we really did things. We would write things like business plans and have to pitch them out in the world. That really gave me a leg up.
"The second thing was class size. Some of my business classes had only ten or twelve people in them, so the instructor could spend extra time. It wasn't a big lecture hall with a teacher's aid meeting with students. It was cutting edge as well. Progressive. In one class we had to create business plans and web sites, and pitch them to people in Silicon Valley. And we had to do all of that in one semester."
Now: Matt Dudich is now working in finance in Chicago for HSBC, the second largest bank in the world, with 100 million customers in 80 countries. Dudich has been with HSBC for five years, working the past several months in the Corporate Credit Risk Department. "I started as an intern at CSUMB before I graduated. Dr. [Sandy] Hale recommended me to Household [part of HSBC] in Salinas. Eventually I started working there as a Financial Analyst."
Dudich recalls with fondness CSUMB's very first rugby game, against Stanford University's rookie team in 1996: "There were growing pains all over the place at CSUMB. Here we were playing Stanford, an established team (and university). In rugby, you host the other school: have a barbecue, welcome them in. And we didn't even have a field. We just had a super-dry patch of weeds, north of campus. There were dried thorns in the ground, potholes you could literally fall into, no bleachers, no goalposts, no markers.
"We went the night before and cleaned it up, put up posts, the chalk, everything. The next day we beat them-a very prominent school. It was like everything else at CSUMB: you stepped up and made do, and made it a great experience. That was our inaugural game."
Then: Joseph Lara graduated from CSUMB in 2001 with a degree in Social and Behavioral Science (SBSC). While at CSUMB, Lara's activities and accomplishments included:
- Playing rugby for three years and soccer for two
- Studying abroad for one academic year (1999-2000) at Kingston University in London
- Volunteering with the Panetta Institute
- Community service reading tutor
Lara cites as helpful influences Social and Behavioral Science professors, Drs. Gerald Schenk, Raymond Gonzales, and Sandra Pacheco: "I didn't know what I wanted to do when I got [to CSUMB]. They were very confident in their program, and I knew that they were going to help me graduate."
"What I remember when I got there [in fall 1997] is that there wasn't much there. There was literally nothing to do, so we started forming sports teams, getting athletics elevated, clubs, etc. I remember that everything seemed to get started that year ."
Now: Lara has applied to law school and is awaiting word for admission to either Western State University College of Law or Chapman College-both in southern California.
Lara says: "CSUMB was a great place; it was new. What was great about it was you could have a social life and an educational life. There were lots of beach parties, and a great sense of community [on campus]. "I'd tell the students today that college life is what you make it. I had a great time, and found a lot to do."
Then: Grace Mendez graduated from CSUMB in 2001 with a degree in Social and Behavioral Science (SBSC). Having transferred from Fresno State, Grace's initial reaction to the barren CSUMB campus and its newfangled "outcomes-based" education rhetoric was mixed: "It was a little shocking," she remembers. "At Fresno, which is a pretty traditional school, we were given lectures, then tested; it was pretty repetitive. Coming to CSUMB, I was really impressed with the faculty; they were knowledgeable and obvious experts in their fields. But showing competency through outcomes-based [means], like portfolios and projects, rather than solely testing . . . That was unconventional. But the campus being pretty barren and the other challenges, it didn't detract from our learning at all. Or the teaching of the faculty. Now, as a staff person [in Financial Aid], it's great to see students come through and facilitate the process." Mendez's activities and accomplishments at CSUMB included:
- One of the original Pioneer students, having enrolled in August, 1995
- Student assistant in CSUMB's Financial Aid office in 1995
- Hired by Financial Aid as an assistant in 1998
- Became Financial Aid counselor in 2000
Now: Grace Mendez is now a financial Aid counselor (Grade II) at CSUMB and a mother of two young daughters, Grace would like to go to graduate school, possibly taking up studies in anthropology, with an emphasis on social work.
Nile Duppstadt II
Then: A 2001 graduate with a Management and International Entrepreneurship degree (IMIE) cum laude, Nile Duppstadt contributed substantially to strengthening the CSUMB infrastructure. He was a Student Voice senator during a critical time at CSUMB, and he played a leadership role on a number of key task forces and committees. He also collaborated on the development of the definition by Student Voice of "multiculturalism."
Duppstadt played a major role in providing input to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation process, and was the Student Voice liaison to WASC. Nile also worked as an advocate for students as a liaison to the former Provost on a regular basis, and served on the hiring committee of our current Provost. In addition, his work with the Academic Skills Achievement Program, in which he developed workshops for English as Second Language and limited English Proficiency students, exemplifies putting the CSUMB Vision to work. While managing all of these activities, he also made substantial contributions to the IMIE major as website developer.
Says Duppstadt: "I am truly honored. Being recognized in such a way means I made a difference in this community. It has strengthened my belief that if you try hard, keep your focus, and continually help others when possible, those efforts will not go unnoticed."
Duppstadt's plan right after graduation? "Stepping out of my realm by going to South-East Asia for two months. I have been going to school my entire life-I'm going to take a long-overdue break! "