Students Who Shine

While Kaeli McCarther’s incoming class was the most diverse in the College of Agriculture’s 62-year history, less than four percent of new freshmen and transfer students identified as black. Determined to change the culture, McCarther launched a new student group that would give students from all backgrounds a place to connect. She helped bring the national organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences to Chico State and, as president, led it to thrive. She now aspires to teach in a diverse, low-income school, encouraging not only agricultural literacy but diversity within agriculture.

Two students pose with the off-road vehicle they built.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja had an unprecedented run at the Baja SAE California Competition. Judges hailed Chico State’s vehicle with “the best design effort” and said, “You put Chico State on the map!” Three team members landed internships with Volvo.

Moving beyond the depths of abuse, hostile environments, and health challenges, Andrea Avina found her calling in the world of speech therapy. The communication sciences and disorders major has given back by donating hundreds of hours serving the University’s Autism Clinic, at the Special Olympics, and as a campus conversation partner for English-language learners. 

The Wildcat Leadership Institute graduated 174 students from its programs this year, building lifelong leadership skills through certificate programs, speaker series, and other work.

Claudia Martinez in a hard hat and safety vest works on a concrete project at a local elementary school.

Claudia Martinez Pureco, winner of the 2016 California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, helped found the Women in Concrete club, a philanthropic student group that does hands-on service learning projects with its female student members.

Yesenia Jones earned her sociology degree entirely online while working full-time and balancing her life as a wife and mother— and subsequently earned her department’s top honor for exceptional academic achievement. Chico State is regularly recognized as one of the best colleges offering online learning by The Community for Accredited Online Schools. 

Lucas Pico

While showcasing his work at DreamCrit, where students’ work is critiqued by DreamWorks animators, applied computer animation and game development major Lucas Pico received the first-place excellence award in computer graphics for body mechanics animation.

Lara Tenckhoff pulls on rope-pulleys backstage at a theatre performance

Theatre major Lara Tenckhoff fed her passion for performing arts by landing numerous internships, directorships, and summer positions within the theater arts world and is now poised for a promising career as an actor and director.

Sales students continued their six-year winning streak at the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition, with three students finishing in the top three individual awards.

After meeting then-President Barack Obama, who told Dylan Gray and other young men of color how they could better themselves and their communities, the political science major and 2017–18 Associated Students president continues to be a pivotal force at Chico State and the Social Justice Learning Institute, where he distributes fruit trees in inner-city communities to increase access to healthier foods. 

Philip Drange plays a bass

Driven by his devotion to music and his dream of becoming a music teacher, Phillip Drange led a 25-member choir and 30-member orchestra in the debut of one of his original compositions at the Symphonic Wind Orchestra’s spring concert.

Jongwoo Choi in front of a chalkboard covered with equations

Jongwoo Choi's high-powered drive and passion for mathematics drove him to not only complete a mathematics degree in both general math and statistics, but also to write honors projects in both options—becoming the first Chico State mathematics student ever to do so.

Freshman Hunter Andrade was one of six students statewide elected to the California State FFA leadership team, where she will serve as reporter in 2017–18.