Students find success after graduation


Niels Thomas, president of International Accounting Honors Association said that the accounting program is demanding. Photo credit: George Johnston

Various departments at Chico State harbor tools that help create successful graduates.

The backbone of the campus is the faculty, student organizations, atmosphere and the diverse avenues in which one can take their degree.

Chico State is ranked 76th on Forbes ranking of schools of the West, and 399th on the national list.

The engineering program fosters an innovative and well-appreciated approach to learning.

“We push project-based learning,” said Dr. Joseph P. Greene, department chair and professor of mechanical and mechatronic engineering and sustainable manufacturing. “(Students) have to demonstrate their knowledge in math and science (every year) in a physical project, so they get pretty good at being around machinery.”

Greene added that is what the companies that hired Chico State graduates liked most.

This forward approach to teaching has allowed many Chico State grads to take their degrees to big companies including Tesla, Verizon, Ford, Apple, General Motors and Chico local, Sierra Nevada.

Chico State also thrives in the criminal justice field.

“The program is interdisciplinary,” said Luke Alward, academic advisor and graduate student of Chico State’s Criminal Justice Department. “We really incorporate legal studies, sociology, psychology, and political science where students get a broad perspective of what we are talking about in terms of criminal justice.”

Alward explained that the program at Chico State harbors excellent research opportunities for its students. Some of Chico State’s faculty members are in partnership with the Butte County Sheriffs Department, where the students can gain first-hand experience in participating with ride-alongs, data collection and other types of various activities, which allows students to apply what they learn in the real world, he said.

Criminal justice graduates have been successful at getting jobs, mostly in the law enforcement field, as well as some in private security sectors. Internships that previous students have worked include the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The finance department has been working on a project to further the networking avenues for students,” said Richard Ponarul, chairman of Finance and Marketing in the College of Business. “Most of our students go to the financial sector, which includes banks and insurance companies such as Bank of America, and some go into the corporate finance sector for companies like Google and Gallo Winery.”

The job market is so huge that the key is networking so the applications for the graduates do not get lost in the stack of applicants, he said.

The project will gather information about the companies that have hired previous students who are successful within the field, so they can mentor and connect with some current students.

“Student organizations such as the business fraternity, the sales center and the career center provide the students with a sense of connectedness for success,” said Ponarul.

Optimized-imageWEB (3).jpg
Michael Rehg, chair of the Department of Management. Photo credit: Casey Hulls

Michael Rehg, chair of the Department of Management, emphasized that Chico State’s business school is diverse and can take students in various directions.

Rehg highlighted the Center for Entrepreneurship, and other clubs, where students “have a place they can go and interact.”

Chico State’s School of Business is part of the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business, an international honorary organization made up of over 600 colleges.

“We have to work to keep it,” Rehg said. “The College of Business has some really great students who are motivated to learn.”

Regh spoke about the previous graduates of Chico State and how they provide a reputable image for the university.

Also companies “love Chico State grads because they are easy to get along with, and they work well with teams,” he said.

Rehg added that he is confident that Chico State students can compete against anyone because of the work ethic he has seen in the students, and the hands-on mentoring the students receive from the faculty.

Neils Thomas, president of the International Accounting Honors Association, said that recruiters are aware that the accounting program at the university is a very vigorous one, and therefore, know what the students have gone through.

Thomas’ father is a Chico State accounting grad, who is a partner of a firm he started seven years ago.

“Chico is a very social campus, and (my father) hires people from Chico because he knows that they know how to balance,” Thomas said.

“If you can graduate from Chico with an accounting degree, you will most likely be able to succeed in the work place,” he added.

Thomas, a transfer student, chose Chico because of the professional accounting certificate.

“They make sure you know your stuff,” he said.

The Chico State community is widespread, in various corporations and numerous professions.

The Chico State Alumni Association highlights many of the successful graduates of the university. There are many members from every college.

Chico State’s alumni success stories and the student body’s various groups show the complimentary elements of the Chico State campus.

Casey Hulls can be reached at [email protected] or @mshulls on Twitter.