Chico State staff—helping students succeed

Education opened up my world.

Admissions counselor Jamile Balli says that the greatest thing about Chico State staff is that they really care about students. “There are so many people here who are willing to help, to go out of their way. They will answer a phone, and they will return a student’s call.”

These staff members are all over campus—hundreds of people dedicated to student success. They act as Summer Bridge mentors to make the transition to the University smooth. They put on multicultural welcome receptions, helping new students connect. They help students select classes, get involved with clubs and organizations, improve their study skills, and learn how to accomplish their goals. 

And like Jamile, Chico State staff are committed to demystifying university life for students from all backgrounds.

The adjustment to college didn’t come easily to Jamile herself. She is the first person in her family to attend college; her father was a farmworker in her hometown of Merced.

“It was very hard, brutal in its own way,” she says of her father’s job. “The fact that I come from that kind of background and I am here, and I don’t have to do that kind of work, is huge. That I am able to live by my brains as opposed to the labor of my hands, that’s a big deal.”

Jamile learned to negotiate the university environment over time—with the help of supportive staff. The most important thing she learned, she says, was how to use all the available resources.

Now, Jamile has a master’s degree in literature. As an admissions counselor, she is committed to helping students access the benefits of a college education.

“I feel like I have an obligation to pass it on,” she says. “I’m a Cal State grad myself. I try to communicate the things I learned that can change a young person’s life—how to access resources, how to ask questions, how to get the help they need to succeed.

“For me, an education meant freedom—freedom to choose my own path. It opened up my world. I am honored to share that with students.”

Jamile Balli, center, participated in Chico State’s 2012 Diversity Academy for faculty and staff.
Jamile Balli, center, participated in Chico State’s 2012 Diversity Academy for faculty and staff.