As Dr. Seuss would say, “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!”
(San Bernardino, CA) The illustrations are bright and quirky. The text is filled with simple words a first grader could read aloud. But the deeper meaning behind the Dr. Seuss masterpiece “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” has sent many a university graduate on their way to a new chapter in life.
The book became a theme for showcasing the students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at California State University in San Bernardino. Dean Dr. Rafik Mohamed ran the idea past Director of Development Stephen Arneson and they identified five students – Julie Leyba, Meghan Streeter, Richard Bark, Rocio Gomez and Joseph Egbule – to represent its diverse graduating class of 2017.
“We wanted to get the word out, in a fun way, that we’re doing all these phenomenal things,” Mohamed said. “This book has been a graduation present for years. It’s a wonderful book and it’s a book that opens up the idea of opportunity. We know that life isn’t easy and all sunshine and roses like Dr. Seuss said it is. But it reminds you that I can do or be or accomplish anything I want.”
For all their differences, the five students also had lot in common. They each credit that special person that pushed, pulled and prodded them to go beyond what they thought they could. They leaned on friends they met at CSUSB, with study sessions that included copious notes, cups of coffee and sleepless nights.
They’ve paid late fees, lab fees and parking fees with a smile and gave their fitbit fits, logging thousands of steps a day navigating an ever-growing campus.
So, as Dr. Seuss would say, “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!”
Julie Leyba, BA Political Science, 2018
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Public policy is a broad term for making a difference in government. Julie Leyba plans on attending law school following her time working in Washington D.C. as the recipient of the prestigious 2017 Panetta Internship.
While at school, Leyba was challenged by Dr. Al Mariam. But at home, her driving force was her older sister, Erica.
The sisters lost their father and are caregivers for their mother as she battles Multiple Sclerosis. It was Erica that told Julie that her education came first.
“She has become my second mother, supporting me mentally and emotionally,” Leyba said. “I can’t always help take care of my mom and I feel guilty sometimes, but my sister said, ‘No matter what, you’re getting your education and don’t let anything stop you.’ ”
In her words: “Attending CSUSB has been an enriching and rewarding experience. Particularly, the Department of Political Science’s student-oriented faculty and rigorous and comprehensive curriculum have both inspired and prepared me to pursue graduate studies in public policy. I have additionally been encouraged through my supportive network of fellow students who have helped me balance my academic, work, and personal life. I look forward to representing CSUSB well in Washington D.C. this fall.”
Meghan Streehan, BA Social Work 2017
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Raised in the Inland Empire, Meghan Streehan kept close to her support system – her family. Her mom had always pushed her to be more and she started her college career near home at Norco College.
Fresh faced and more than a little nervous, Streehan transferred to CSUSB with a goal of better understanding human relationships and helping others. She credits professors Andrew Watson and Emily Shum for encouraging her to look at the world from a different perspective.
The supportive environment created a home away from home for Streehan and inspired her to complete her first degree.
Streehan will head up north to Humboldt State to earn her Master’s Degree in Serving Rural and Native American Communities. Her dream is a career on a reservation in Northern California serving Native American communities.
In her words: “When I first stepped on campus two years ago, I was overwhelmed by how large it was, and how out of place I felt. Today, CSUSB is like a second home. The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work have always been there to support me, and my future educational and professional goals. I’m leaving here passionate about my chosen profession, with happy memories, and great friendships.”
Richard Bark, Masters Applied Archaeology, 2017
“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high flyers who soar to high heights.”
Richard Bark has logged plenty of miles in his quest for higher education.
Giving new meaning to the words “commuter school,” Bark came to CSUSB to earn his master’s in Applied Archaeology. His bachelor’s degree came from his hometown school, University of California, San Diego. He currently works for the Navy in San Diego.
Daunting drive aside, Bark credits his wife’s support and his professors, Dr. Amy Gusick and Dr. Peter Robershaw in building a challenging yet practical foundation of method and theory. He has worked in the Cultural Resources Management field for more than 20 years, managing contracts and consulting with the California Historic Preservation Office and different tribes in the area. Bark said the graduate degree CSUSB offered was exactly what he’d been looking for.
Bark believes that his discipline to commute to CSUSB from either Edwards Air Force Base or San Diego, coupled with the degree being an extension of the work he already loves, drove him to be successful in this field.
In his words: “I’m an Archaeologist who has been working in the cultural resources management (CRM) field for more than 20 years, and the Applied Archaeology program offered at CSUSB is the graduate program I’ve been looking for that entire time. As a two-year program, the coursework is demanding and students are continually challenged by the instructors to think critically in order to solve problems that are based on real world examples. However, for those willing to put in the work, the result is well worth the effort. In my case, I have no doubt that my being in the CSUSB Applied Archaeology program contributed heavily to me having recently been hired as an archaeologist by the Department of the Navy.”
Rocio Gomez BA History 2016
“So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact. And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”
A first-generation college student, Rocio Gomez set an example for family and friends alike. She spent much of her time working during college, studying in her free time. In addition, Rocio was very active in the History Club and tutored Upward Bound students for two years.
Her passion for helping others mixed with her personal philosophy of life being “all about the impact that we leave.”
Rocio loved Dr. Jeremy Murray’s Chinese History class, mostly because it evoked so many emotions that she had to learn more. Currently, Rocio has been working with the Lake Elsinore School District but will move to a summer internship position at Manzanar National Historic Site. Her dream is to be a park ranger, with an opportunity to help people and the nature that serves them.
In her words: “Becoming a historian has taught me that, no matter where I am in life, I have a responsibility to remain engaged with the community that helped me become who I am. Whether I was doing work as a club leader, an Upward Bound tutor, or a regular student, there was always support and encouragement from some of the faculty, staff, and peers. If you want to make an impact, CSUSB is a good place to start.”
Joseph Egbule, BA Political Science 2017
“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 ¾ guaranteed)”
From his home in Rancho Cucamonga, family support helped Joseph Egbule thrive at CSUSB. The school and his professors taught him to “think out of the box,” taking in all circumstances to understand a situation. His time at the university also shaped some of his political beliefs.
For his part, Egbule said his positive attitude and dedication, along with really good memorization skills, lead him to follow his dreams.
Egbule will move on to law school at the University of Southern California School. After graduation, he plans to pursue his long-term goal of becoming a partner in a Los Angeles-based law firm. His dream is to be part of the in-house legal counsel for a large corporation, such as Google.
In his words: “I believe that Cal State San Bernardino was a big part of my success. I value the bonds I have made with the people here. As I go into the next chapter of my life at law school, I feel confident in my abilities thanks to the lessons I have learned at Cal State.”
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS) offers nationally ranked programs that explore a wide range of human issues. It is dedicated to the growth and support of undergraduate and graduate education, research, public service, and professional development.
“We are confident that a degree in one of our academic programs will provide students with the professional integrity and knowledge to communicate effectively across disciplines and cultures. Our primary mission is to transform the dreams of our students into a reality that will enhance society at large,” said Dr. Mohamed.
“We offer students the breadth of a traditional and innovative education in the social sciences while preparing them for a wide range of professions, for graduate school, and for advanced professional study in fields such as criminal justice, political science, law, clinical psychology, and economics,” said Arneson.
The College is home to 14 academic different departments and programs including Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, Economics, Geography and Environmental Studies, History, Political Science, Psychology, School of Social Work and Sociology. Our faculty and staff are student-centered and are dedicated to providing friendly, personal guidance, and mentoring to our students. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS) is the largest College at Cal State, San Bernardino.
As Dr. Seuss says: So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, You’re off the Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!
For more information about The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cal State San Bernardino call (909) 537-7500