Then: Originally from Lodi, Carolyn Drouin first visited Fort Ord long before CSUMB existed: "My Dad was a Marine," she says, "and we stayed in the housing here when I was in sixth grade. We visited because my Dad races cars at Laguna Seca. I just really liked the area. My parents are both teachers, and I knew I wanted to go to a school near the ocean. In the spring of 1998 I came out on a weekend to check out the campus. I remember we parked near the Library and nobody was here because there's nothing to do here on the weekend. We saw all these deserted buildings . . . I had already [been accepted] to come here. I thought I was stuck.
"I remember telling people when I got here that my main goal was to get out of CSUMB; I was going to transfer to Cal-Poly [San Luis Obispo]. But I got hooked: the relationships with all the people I met, and in HCOM [Human Communication], you get to know your professors. For students there are so many opportunities to get involved, and I got involved." Drouin graduated from CSUMB with a degree in Human Communication in 2003. At CSUMB, Drouin's activities and accomplishments included:
- President's Award winner in 2003
- President of Women's Rugby Club, later becoming captain and coach
- Multicultural Club for 1 1/2 years, helping organize the first Winter Semi-Formal
- Orientation Leader for 2 years
- Judicial Director for Student Voice
- Statewide Affairs Rep for Student Voice
- Cal State Student Association Lobby Core Officer
- Alumni Board member
Now: Still living on campus ("I moved four blocks after graduation"), Drouin is the Resources Coordinator for Abel Maldonado, who was elected to the California State Senate in 2004. Drouin is working in Salinas with the consulting company in charge of the Maldonado campaign, serving multiple roles, including fundraising. "I do anything and everything," she says.
"CSUMB really touts its class sizes. I remember my Tech Tools class was the biggest class I was in. There were 60 people. People [at other schools] don't get to know their classmates or teachers. They go to school, they leave, and they don't get involved. Because of a high percentage of people living on campus [at CSUMB], you can't not know what's going on here.
"Otter Days was an awesome experience. I'm friends to this day with all but two [of the seven] people from my group. I got to know a lot of cool people, and the camping experience was a lot of fun."