Student Spotlight: Jessica Candela


Jessica Candela

Jessica Candela (Photo credit to Jason Halley)

“Our global community requires diverse, strong leaders to build relationships, develop communities, and negotiate compromises…Congratulations to Chico State’s 2017 graduates! Enjoy the celebrations today, and get to work tomorrow.”  Excerpted from Jessica Candela’s (Political Science and Multicultural and Gender Studies ’17) commencement address, May 22, 2017.

Jessica’s commencement address embodied much of her own exemplary undergraduate experience at Chico State. Jessica arrived at Chico State in 2013 and quickly got to work. In addition to being a full time student and double major and minor, Jessica worked as the student coordinator of the town hall meeting, a health educator for Women’s Health Specialists, an outreach specialist for Butte 2-1-1, a voter registration coordinator for the Office of Civic Engagement, a project coordinator for the Butte County School Ties Program, a student teaching assistant for three courses across three departments, a research assistant, a mentor for the Office of Civic Engagement and an intern to Congressman Mike Honda, Safe Place, the Boys and Girls Club, the Esplanade House, the University Study Abroad Consortium, the First Year Experience Program, and a volunteer to the Stonewall Alliance Center.

This staggering service record speaks to Jessica’s tireless civic engagement. In her keynote speech to the 2017 Town Hall Meeting, Jessica noted, “Engagement is the absolute foundation of democracy, and we are engaging, here, tonight, at this event.” While Jessica’s accomplishments in her outreach and intern positions are too numerous to list, Jessica’s work in 2016 as a voter registration coordinator is emblematic of her approach and effectiveness. Jessica is very interested in bi- and non-partisan work aimed at increasing the civic and political engagement and awareness of youth and college age students. As voter registration coordinator, Jess coordinated 20 voter registration drive workshops, co-led two voter education forums for students, which reached over 200 students, and conducted a voting drive at a local homeless drop-in center.

For her copious service and commitment to civic engagement and diversity, Jessica received the prestigious Glenn Kendall Public Service award, being independently nominated by two departments. In presenting the award, President Gayle Hutchinson remarked, “Jess embodies all of the qualities that we recognize in this award. Jess’ service – as a passionate student leader, volunteer and mentor – has touched, improved, and perhaps even changed, the lives of many across the campus and community.” Dr. Crosby, Chair of the department of Sociology added, “She is humble, brilliant, generous and kind – that is just who she is.” Ellie Ertle, Town Hall Meeting Coordinator and Professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, also spoke of Jessica, “Her professional demeanor, enthusiasm and dedication shone through, and were of great benefit to our program. Community members who participate hold important positions in the Chico community. They are elective officials, business leaders, public servants, and community activists. I am ever confident of the impression that Jessica left as an ambassador for students and our program.”

While the Glenn Kendall Award recognizes Jessica’s commitment to public service, other awards demonstrate that Jessica was no slouch in the classroom, either. For both of her majors, Jessica received the 2017 Outstanding Student Awards. She also received the Valene L. Smith BSS 2017 Outstanding Student Award. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with the highest distinction in Political Science and with Honors in Multicultural and Gender Studies.

The Political Science and Criminal Justice department feels very grateful to have had Jessica as an undergraduate student and is happy to report that she will be continuing with us as a student in our Master’s in Public Administration Program in the Fall of 2017. Congratulations to Jessica on all of her accomplishments.

Jessica Candela with Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson

Jessica with Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson (Photo credit to Jason Halley)

Jessica Candela with BSS Dean Eddie Vela

Jessica with BSS Dean Eddie Vela (Photo credit to Jason Halley)

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Political Science Department at California State University, Chico.

With around 1,000 total majors, Political Science is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: general political science, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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