College of Natural Sciences

Distinguished Alumni

Each year the College of Natural Sciences, together with the University, recognizes one of its outstanding alumni. These individuals serve as role models for students of today by highlighting how the California State University, Chico experience has made a difference in their lives.

The information listed below is from the Distinguished Alumni Award program from the year that the Alumnus was recognized.

Monica Soderstom

2022: Monica Soderstrom

School of Nursing, 1985

The first nursing job Monica Soderstrom (Nursing, ’85) had after graduating from Chico State was a three-month stint in Haiti. Working in a medical clinic in downtown Port au Prince, she also spent time in an orphanage for children and worked in a nursery for very ill children and infants and a home for the sick and dying.

Doing what she can in her own corner of the world—wherever that is—has been the hallmark of Soderstrom’s career. Born and raised in Chico, public health has always been at the core of her work. She has worked for both Enloe Medical Center and Butte County Public Health, guiding the community through several major crises including the Oroville Dam spillway failure, the Camp Fire, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently the community health director for Butte County Public Health, she heads the county’s community health division where she has overseen countywide nursing programs and coalitions since 2015. In March 2021, Assemblyman James Gallagher presented Soderstrom with the California Legislature Woman of the Year award, and this month, she will be honored as Chico State’s 2022 Distinguished Alumna of the College of Natural Sciences.

Soderstrom lives in Chico with her husband, Ted. They have two children.