Category: Alumni Profiles

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Felipe Rodriguez had been fighting fires for 18 years, and served in the U.S. Navy for five, so he had plenty of the experience needed to become a full-time professional firefighter. But before he could take his career to the next level, he needed one final component: a degree from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

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ValeriaCruz600.jpgValeria Carrion Cruz recently graduated from CSULB with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design. But it’s the exterior part of her world that has added a wealth of knowledge and personal growth to her educational experience, both at home and overseas. 

From fulfilling a longtime dream to live in England, to helping rebuild communities in Nepal following their 2015 earthquake, Carrion Cruz has taken advantage of many opportunities through the Study Abroad program at CSULB’s Center of International Education.

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CSULB alumnus Justin Shoemate graduated from the Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration (EMER) program in 2015, and it didn’t take long for him to score an important position at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Shoemate has vital responsibilities as the Section Chief, Systems Integration and Reports, in FEMA’s Workforce Management Division. 

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One of the most valuable results of earning a liberal arts degree is the flexibility of the knowledge and skills gained that graduates can use to pursue a wide variety of careers. In particular, CSULB’s Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (BALA) degree completion program provides skills in communication, critical thinking, language and literature, analytical and scientific reasoning, quantitative analysis, and philosophical foundations.

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DSalazarAVEng.jpgDavid Salazar (2013) is a graduate from the very first cohort of CSULB’s Antelope Valley Engineering Program (AVEP). He’s also a National Science Foundation fellow, a graduate research assistant, and currently a PhD student at Stanford University.

Salazar recently took some time to reminisce about his AVEP experience, how it linked him to his current PhD research, and his out-of-this-world dreams for the future.

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2016-05-30-PHOTO-00000116.jpegPHOTO: Cesar Medina teaching a class at his dance studio in Guam


Growing up in Guam, Cesar Medina’s first—and only—dance instructor was the TV. Inspired by the music videos of artists like Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul, Medina was drawn toward dancing as a way to express himself. Little did he know then that it would become his life’s passion, one that would take him around the world and back again. Only now, he’s the instructor.

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