Where Are They Now?

With more than four million California State University alumni scattered around the globe, it’s not easy to keep up with all the amazing things they are doing! So, we launched a series​ in which we check in with a couple periodically to hear about their journey from campus to career. In this installment, meet two alumni who leveraged their CSU education to pay it forward for current college students.

ANAIIS CISCO

San Francisco State University ’19

THEN:

M.F.A., Cinema | The CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement: Rebecca D. and James Eisen Scholar, 2017 “Receiving the Trustees’ Award and scholarship not only helped me to continue developing my voice as a writer and director, but it enabled me to produce a short story, GYRL​, that highlighted Black girlhood, an experience rarely depicted in mainstream media. Completion of this short film project led to a departmental nomination for an extremely competitive film grant, the Princess Grace Award, which I was awarded in 2018.”

Proudest Moment: “Receiving the prestigious recognition of the university’s Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement changed my life. It was beyond rewarding to complete my graduate studies while being recognized for my creative and academic endeavors. I thought accepting a professorship at Smith College was a huge accomplishment, but this acknowledgment was a complete surprise!”  

NOW:

Filmmaker | Assistant Professor of Moving Image Production, Smith College “I am the first filmmaker/professor to hold my position in Smith College’s program of Film and Media Studies. In my roles, I want to create pathways for students to gain hands-on experience working with skilled production teams on film sets. Women and non-binary people do not occupy a huge percentage of behind-the-scenes positions in the film and television industry, and I want to be a part of this move toward shattering this disparity.” 

Looking Back: “Education has taught me how to navigate the world. The media professionals in San Francisco State’s School of Cinema introduced me to various styles and conventions of media production and helped me develop my craft as a filmmaker and as a professor. I found ways to intersect art and scholarship while supporting and learning from the next generations of student creators.”  

 

MAGGIE WHITE

California State University, Stanislaus ’16/’18

THEN:

B.A., Communication Studies, M.P.A., Public Administration | Student Trustee, CSU Board of Trustees, 2015-17 “While serving as a student trustee, I was part of two presidential hiring committees, and the board hired five presidents in that one year. They were all women, and it was incredibly impactful to me at that point in my life to see them succeeding at such high levels.”

Lessons Learned: “My time as a trustee, and all the people I met and unexpected situations I found myself in, gave me real-life applications of what I was learning as I pursued first my undergraduate degree ​in communications and then my graduate degree in public administration. There was nothing in my textbooks that couldn’t be tied back to the problems we faced at the board meetings and the work that was being done across the system. It made my education even more real and meaningful to me.”

NOW:

Legislative Advocate | California State University, Office of the Chancellor “I am responsible for tracking, analyzing and providing feedback on thousands of legislative bills largely related to students’ experience at the university. One exciting moment was when my first Board of Trustees-sponsored bill, Assembly Bill 829, was signed into law, which gave the CSU the authority to offer an Occupational Therapy Doctorate.”

Looking Back: “I realized when I was a junior at Stanislaus State just getting involved in advocacy for my campus that the mission of the CSU aligned so perfectly with my own personal values. I also realized I had a lot to say about the power of a CSU education and what it means in the Central Valley to earn a college degree. I’ve been so lucky to be involved in systemwide advocacy since then (eight years!) and I still feel I have work to do to advance our mission of access, affordability, quality, completion and equity.”

Meet more CSU alumni making a difference in the liv​es of the people of California and the world.