Sept. 12, 2016Vol. 47, Issue 1

'We Are Chico State'

Campus is filled with new faces—and not just those of incoming students and new faculty.

Striking portraits of students, faculty, and staff are featured on new banners that were installed in May. You can find them as you enter campus from Salem Street next to Ayres Hall, extending along the pedestrian-only stretch of First Street that outlines the southeast end of campus.

The 110 faces bring two unifying messages to life: “We are Chico State” and “We Are One University.”

“These are some of the people who really make up the fabric of our community,” said Creative Services Director Alan Rellaford, who led the project along with former senior designer Christian Burke.

Rellaford says he drew inspiration from both the concept of and positive response to the Facewall installation on the Arts and Humanities Building. He wanted to honor in a lasting way the richness of the Chico State community, including diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and the roles various constituencies play in shaping the Chico Experience.

“If you spend any length of time on campus, you begin to see familiar faces,” he said. “You might say ‘Hi’ as you walk by, but you may never get a chance to know them or their story.”

So, for this issue of Inside Chico State, we thought we’d give six of them the chance to share their stories.

Ricardo CarrilloName:  Ricardo Carrillo

Hometown: Valparaiso, Zacatecas, Mexico

Role on Campus: I’m the mason for Facilities Management and Services, which means I do all the brickwork, concrete work, tilework, and anything that has to do with masonry on campus.

Years on campus: 24

Why did you choose Chico? My teacher and mentor, Mr. Bob Kirker, was an alumnus from Chico State. He taught woodshop and drafting at Delta High School. When he retired, he moved to Chico to build homes and hired me right out of high school to work for him. I went on to complete the agricultural engineering program at Butte College.

What does the Chico Experience mean to you? The students. We are here to help them succeed.

What’s your favorite place on campus? Any of the athletic areas—Shurmer and Acker Gyms and the WREC. Also Alumni Glen—I've helped several students with capstone projects in the area and recently completed the rock retaining wall.

What’s something most people would be surprised to learn about you? When I'm not working, pouring concrete, I have a Porsche. I enjoy driving up to Burney Falls or Tahoe and enjoying the fresh air and scenery.  

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. Greatest accomplishment was becoming certified for scuba diving. Wildest ambition—to see Africa and the giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and lions in their natural setting.  

Rachel TeasdaleName: Rachel Teasdale

Hometown: I don’t really have a hometown. I have bounced around in Washington, California, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, England, and then Chico. Of all of those, I’ve lived in Chico longest!

Role on Campus: Geology professor

What is your area of expertise? My research area is physical volcanology (the study of volcanoes) and petrology (the study of origin, composition, distribution, and structure of rocks).

Years on campus: 12

Why did you choose Chico? Chico is located at the intersection of a diversity of geologic terrains, including the southern Cascades mountain range. … It is easy to take students in the field for research and class trips so we can work and learn in the field. We are also located near the Sierra Nevada mountains, which are made of intrusive igneous rocks—a spectacular example of the interior of volcanic systems.

What does the Chico Experience mean to you? I get to ride my bike to work every day and interact with students who are interested, motivated, and hardworking.

What’s your favorite place on campus? I love that Big Chico Creek flows through our campus. I get reminded of natural processes whenever I go across the bridges or walk along the creek—I notice when the water level is low in late summer and love watching the creek rise after rainfall events.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? An adrenaline-inducing activity was when I went on a research cruise and got to go on a few dives in the Navy-owned Alvin submersible to work on some submarine volcanoes in the north Pacific.

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. I was able to work with a first-generation college student who had a challenging upbringing. Through her hard work and determination and a little encouragement from me, she graduated from Chico State and went on to grad school when she hadn’t thought that was an option for her. She now has a great career with a state agency and last year helped me organize geology fieldtrips for current students. It was really exciting to see her interact with and advise students.

Bree ChunName: Bree Chun,

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

Major: Studio Art and Communication Design

Years on campus: 6

Why did you choose Chico? CSU, Chico was not my first choice. But, after my freshman year, I fell in love with the campus and town. I began taking my major classes sophomore year and deejaying for KCSC Radio. I also included myself in local activities, such as photography, rock climbing, slacklining, hula hooping, and internships at Upgraded Living magazine and 1078 Gallery.

What’s your favorite place on campus? I worked in the basement of the library for a year, as part of the Creative Media and Technology services and that was where I felt most at home. I loved my work in the Presentation Graphics Lab and my relationships with fellow staff and students. Plus, it was cool to work somewhere on campus that most people don’t know about.

What’s something most people would be surprised to learn about you? The fact that I’m from Honolulu, Hawaii, is a shock. The most frequent question I get is: “Why did you leave?” To everyone, Hawaii is paradise, but to me, it’s my normal and Chico is paradise.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? There have been outdoor rock-climbing routes that have really shaken me, but in the adrenaline-junkie kind of way. Knowing that you’re a hundred feet off the ground and all you have is a harness, rope, and some carabiners holding your weight is humbling.

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. Since my junior year, I like to consider myself a world traveler. I was in Florence, Italy, for 10 months, studying Italian, art, and art history right next to the gallery that holds the David by Michelangelo. I know students return after a semester abroad with eyes wide open, but imagine being in another country for almost a year with only a semester of Italian under your belt.

Brian OppyName: Brian Oppy

Hometown: That’s a tricky question! I was born in Axtell, Kansas, but never lived there (it was the nearest town to my grandparents that had a hospital). We moved from Colorado to Nebraska to Texas back to Colorado when I was growing up. I feel the most tied to Lakewood, Colorado, as I lived there from age 11 until I went to college.

Role on Campus: Professor of psychology. I’ve done research in psycholinguistics, pedagogy, and video games, and I’m currently looking into applied perception topics.

Years on campus: 21 

Why did you choose Chico? I love Northern California, prefer residential campuses and “college towns,” really wanted to work at a teaching-oriented school, and have family in the Sacramento area.

What does the Chico Experience mean to you? I think it means the friendly atmosphere, the way you walk across the street from a campus building and find yourself in a cool little downtown. It’s also the bike-friendly streets and the many trees.

What’s your favorite place on campus? I like the area north of the creek near Bidwell Mansion and Modoc and Holt Halls. The new landscaping by Holt with the rocks, trees, and bushes is a real gem.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? I have gone skydiving (jumping out of a perfectly good airplane) a few times. My first jump was from a small Cessna airplane, and I clearly remember climbing out of the plane at around 3,000 feet, hanging onto the wing strut, with a single foot on the wheel, and letting go when I was told it was time. It was quite a thrill!

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. In addition to chairing my department for the past nine years (I just stepped down), I had the pleasure of developing and running a leadership program for campus faculty. They discontinued it this year, but working with chairs and other faculty to develop leadership skills was very enriching.

Darlene ChesterName:  Darlene Chester

Hometown: South Gate, California

Role on Campus: Store Manager of Butte and Holt Stations for Associated Students Dining

Years on campus:  21

What does the Chico Experience mean to you? Chico is and has always been a special place for me to live and work. It is a beautiful city with many fun things to do and friendly people, and it is a great place to raise children. I also love working on this beautiful campus—there’s no other place like it.

What’s your favorite place on campus? Butte Station. It is very dear to my heart. I have made many wonderful friends with faculty, staff, and students (past and present).

What’s something most people would be surprised to learn about you? I have been married to my husband for 46 years and I have three sons and seven grandchildren.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Climbed the high cliff between Bear Hole and Salmon Hole, which is called “the drop-off.” I could not climb down so I had to jump in the creek between two large rocks. But I made it!

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. We purchased over three acres in the mountain community of Concow for our retirement.

Carl ConserveName: Carl Conserve

Hometown: Gallette Roche Blanche, Haiti

Major: Biology

Role on Campus: Student Assistant in the Office of the Vice President for University Advancement 

Years on campus: 2

Why did you choose Chico? Chico chose me. In brief, I got blessed with the opportunity to come to college in America, paid for by someone who didn’t even know me. I decided I would go to Butte College, then transfer over to Chico State. I knew that Chico was the place for me because, during my time at Butte, I grew fond of the community and the people that are in Chico. I fell in love with the woman who would become my wife, and we both love and enjoy the education were earning and the people who make a difference in our lives here.

What’s your favorite place on campus? I wish I took more time to enjoy the beauty of the campus. I’m the type of person that goes from class to work and work to study. I’m just now realizing that I’m so busy with my zeal to do well in class and to work to provide for necessities that I shut out most of what would be a great experience on campus.

What’s something most people would be surprised to learn about you? Most people would be surprised to know that I am an introvert. I am not as outgoing as most people think.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? The scariest thing I’ve ever done was my wedding proposal. I was overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness.

Tell us your greatest accomplishment or wildest ambition. My greatest accomplishment was recently getting hired as an emergency department technician at Enloe Medical Center. This job means so much to me as it will propel me toward my wildest ambition of becoming a physician assistant.

Professor Eric Houk stands in a crop field at the farm.


Professor Eric Houk presented on the impacts of specific agriculture practices at two international conferences in June. Read More

Faculty member stands in front of a chalk board with "It's my calling" written on it.

"Why I Teach"

New faculty members share their motivations for teaching. Read More