Giving to Chico State

Kristine Mazzei

Executive Director of University Development

Kristine Mazzei began her career at Chico State as the development director in the College of Business in 2014. She helped to dramatically expand philanthropic support for the College of Business through annual Tower Society gifts, as well as securing major gifts for the first named academic program and the first named faculty fellowship. Kristine was promoted to lead the full development team in 2016 and serves as the executive director of University Development. She reports directly to Vice President for University Advancement Ahmad Boura.

Prior to joining the development operation at Chico State, Kristine spent 10 years at Valley Vision, a Sacramento-based nonprofit and social enterprise. As a managing partner, she played a central role in securing organizational and project support. Her portfolio of projects involved the intersection of economic development, post-secondary education, and workforce development with a focus on supporting emerging innovation industries in the greater Capitol region.

Kristine also spent five years as an independent consultant. She completed projects on behalf of nonprofit organizations and regional and national foundations that were launching and evaluating major funding initiatives. Her consulting projects addressed numerous strategies associated with rural economic development and land conservation. Kristine has a BS in biology from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania (the state where she was born) and an MS in ecology from UC Davis (the reason she moved to California). Her husband has been a professor of biology at Chico State since 2004, and her three children are avid Wildcat athletics fans.   

About Me

Who is your hero?

My husband, Tag Engstrom. He has somehow discovered the way to be the perfect calm balance to my busy self. He makes parenting small children look easy, while also being a great mentor to Chico State’s emerging scientists.

What motivates you to do this work?

I love seeing our students take risks to stretch themselves and grow through their campus experiences. And I love to hear their conversations in the lunch line at the BMU.

Why do you give to Chico State? 

I have supported the College of Business scholarship fund, as well as North State Public Radio, the Gateway Science Museum, and the Chico Cares fund for students facing housing and food insecurity. I wish I could give to 10 more things!

What is your personal motto or favorite quote?

Make it a great day. That is the official quote of the Mazzei family.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Laxson Auditorium

What’s your favorite Chico restaurant?

Sierra Nevada Taproom

Favorite thing to do at Bidwell Park?

Go running while my kids are biking alongside me. We play silly word guessing games and people laugh when they overhear our conversations.  

What’s your proudest accomplishment so far?

Raising children who embrace kindness.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

My parents really, truly convinced me that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

The power to retract misfired emails.

Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?

Phone calls