Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Evelyn Ramirez

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Evelyn Ramirez

Evelyn Ramirez

Evelyn Ramirez

Major and expected Graduation date:

International Business, minor in Communication Studies, Fall 2019

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an orientation leader because I wanted to be involved on campus and guide students in their transition from High School or Community College to SJSU.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part of orientation is being able to connect with others on the team and the students and families. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

My advice for incoming students is to get out of their comfort zones and get involved in order to take advantage of all the opportunities SJSU has to offer. 

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU so far has been all meaningful connections I have made with other Spartans. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class has been Strategic Management (BUS3 189) with Thomas Shirley through the Rio de Janeiro FLP.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Haley Tang

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Haley Tang

Haley Tang

Haley Tang

Major and expected Graduation date:
Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design, Spring 2020

Why did you become an orientation leader?

There were two main reasons why I wanted to become an orientation leader. The first was because I wanted to be able to have the same impact that my orientation leader had on me. I was one of the many students that was reluctant to attend SJSU. I wasn’t too optimistic going into orientation either. It wasn’t until I was able to meet my orientation leader and hear more about him when I was able to appreciate SJSU for more than the stereotypes I had heard from high school. This also ties into my second reason, in that I wanted to be able to share my story in order to encourage students that might have the same feelings about SJSU, showing them that there’s a place for them.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part about orientation is when I’m able to see the students be themselves not only around me but also each other. Each student is different and responds to certain activities and personality types differently. It warms my heart when I’m able to joke around with the students and have the nervous energy disappear. One way that usually helps break the ice is through our Spartan to Spartan time. I love being able to collaborate with the other orientation leaders (specifically Jeanne Trang and Jeffrey Tran) in order for our students to hear multiple perspectives about SJSU. Genuine conversations lead to genuine connections. Being able to talk about how my negatives turned into positives seems to help open the door for students to share their insecurities and anxieties about college life. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Take every moment day by day. Don’t compare your experience based on everyone else’s. These four to five years fly by so fast so make the most of it. Make those initially awkward conversations with your classmates. Join that club even if your friends don’t want to do it with you. Apply for that job even if you don’t think you’re qualified. Fail hard and fail fast but trust the process we call college. You never know what life has in store for you.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU has been being apart of the New Student and Families Program. As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve found a support group like no other through this program. Not only have I grown as a leader but also as a person. This program has given me a new appreciation and a new purpose as an SJSU student. I wouldn’t trade this experience or these memories for the world.

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class at SJSU has been my MCOM 100W. A lot of students don’t think too highly of their Area Z course, but I loved the open dialogue Professor Dowdy would provide. I was able to write in styles and formats that related to my major. Not being the strongest writer made me feel inadequate to take the class. Over the course of the semester, I saw my writing improve and my confidence in writing grow.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: CeeJay Fangonilo

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo
Major and expected Graduation date:
Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, Fall 2019

Why did you become an orientation leader?
I decided to become an orientation leader here at SJSU ever since I volunteered to be one at my community college. I wanted to inspire students to really grasp their vision and goals of who they envision themselves to be within their first semester or first year at this institution and what goals they want to accomplish by then. I want to help them feel less anxious about their first day of school, I want them to be more prepared, to encourage them to utilize all their resources offered by SJSU, and to not be afraid of failures and challenges that come along the way in their first year of college. Impacting at least one student in any way during my sessions, will be the thing I’ll be most grateful for in my heart.

What is your favorite part of orientation?
My favorite part of orientation is when I’m able to break through to my students and have them open up more and be more comfortable around me because I feel that once I make that connection with them, they ask me more questions about SJSU, campus life, my own college journey, and so much more. In this way, I know that they’re enjoying their first interaction/experience here at SJSU to make their transition to college easier.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
My number one piece of advice I would offer to incoming students is to get involved on campus in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to do more than just go to class, study, do your homework, and go home. You’ll start to really find SJSU to be your home away from home once you get yourself involved on campus because that’s how you get to really connect and network with other students at your institution. When you’re ready and comfortable, get out of your comfort zone, do something new, and discover something new about yourself! Another important advice is to never forget about your mental health! It’s just as important because if you’re not in the right headspace, things can get difficult and if you ever find yourself in a tough situation, we have resources students can take advantage of in the Wellness Center. Don’t ever invalidate your feelings and just know you’re never alone although that might seem hard to remember when you’re caught up in the moment. 

What is your favorite SJSU experience?
My favorite experience at SJSU so far has to be meeting the people I’ve met through the orientation program, through Greek life, and through the clubs I decided to get myself involved in because they really made my time here at SJSU special and worthwhile. SJSU wasn’t my first choice at all but since I decided to get myself involved, I’ve fallen in love with this institution and I don’t regret my choice of coming here. I’ve grown so much in the short time I was here at SJSU and I’m glad that this orientation program played a really big part in that. Without this opportunity to interact with thousands of students who come from different walks of life with such diverse backgrounds for two summers even with my diverse group of teammates I work with and leading the new orientation leaders my second year, I wouldn’t be the person I’ve become without this program. Much love and support to my orientation family! You’ll always have a special place in my heart.

What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class I’ve taken here at SJSU was probably my social media marketing class (a marketing elective) because it really geared my curiosity to really learn about this topic in the business realm and it made me realize that I want to have my future job involved within social media marketing. My professor even went as far as getting our whole class certified with the Hootsuite program that is a very useful tool in marketing and I’m thankful for that because that puts me one up from others when I apply for jobs and it shows how professors like her really care about their students and their future, wanting them to succeed in life.

Other thoughts on SJSU?
I would also like to add that It’s never too late to get involved! As a transfer here at SJSU, I know we feel older and feel a little bit out of place. Just remember that this is your college experience, so don’t let anything or anyone else’s opinion hold you back from going after what you want! You’re only an undergraduate once, so do all you can, but remember to balance it all out.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Jeanne Trang

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Social Science in Prep for Teaching, Spring 2020

Why did you become an orientation leader?

During my own orientation in Summer 2017, my orientation leader — Natalya B., allowed me to feel at ease and excited for my first year here at SJSU. Which in turn inspired me to apply and become an orientation leader myself. I was a bit nervous in the beginning because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this role. But knowing how big of an impact I can have on the incoming students motivated me to apply because I wanted to provide that same experience for them!

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part about orientation is the different connections that I have built with my students and the knowledge I now have about my campus because it truly helped me realize the number of amazing resources and support my campus has to offer — which has to lead me to fall in love with this school and program even more! 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Think of yourself as a rubber band. You can only be stretched so far before you snap. So prioritize yourself and your mental health. But also don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you normally wouldn’t try. Take college as a platform for test trials and errors. Because you for sure would rather live a life filled with “Oh” rather than “What ifs”!

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience so far at SJSU would be the number of opportunities I have been able to experience. Whether it is getting involved within orientation, Associated Students, or even other clubs and organizations — I strongly feel like it has allowed me to become a better individual as well as a leader and student. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class that I have taken so far would be the UNVS 199 course. This class is definitely a highlight for me because it allowed me to self explore my leadership style as well as providing me skills that I can use for other experiences. It is definitely something that is hard to explain and something you need to experience yourself. 

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Miranda Morrison

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Miranda Morrison

Miranda Morrison

Miranda Morison

Major and expected Graduation date: 

International Business, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

Because my Orientation Leader made me fall in love with SJSU and I want to do the same for incoming Spartans!

What is your favorite part of orientation?

I love connecting with my students and staff and making San Jose State and welcoming and exciting as possible. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

To be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to put themselves out there and get involved!

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

Being an Orientation Leader has BY FAR been my favorite experience at SJSU. I’m excited to study abroad in the fall too!

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite classes were Global Sport and Theater Appreciation and my favorite event was Fire on the Fountain. 

Other thoughts on SJSU?

I want new students to believe that this campus belongs to them just as much as it does to everyone else!

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Oners Martinez

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Oners Silva

Oners Silva

Oners Silva Martinez

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Sociology, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an Orientation Leader because I wanted to change lives for the better. I wanted to give students a better Orientation experience than what I went through. Coming in as a new student on campus, I know what it feels like being lost and not having the guidance that is needed to be successful as a student.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part of orientation is when we meet the students in our small groups. Seeing how students develop from the morning to the end of orientation is always rewarding to see.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

The advice I would give to incoming students is to step out of their comfort zone, be your authentic self and always stay uncomfortable. On the academic side, students should always meet with their academic advisors every semester at least once.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU has been making it onto the Dean’s List for my academic achievements.

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class so far has been Nutrition Science 144 where I learned about our current food system and the barriers that exist for people to get certain foods in the world.

Other thoughts on SJSU?

San Jose State chose you for a reason, so make the best out of this experience. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Tyrah Nicole Hicks

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Tyrah Hicks

Tyrah Hicks

Tyrah Nicole Hicks

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Business Marketing Major, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an orientation leader because I wanted to broaden my horizons at SJSU, and get more involved on campus while being a good resource for all the incoming students I get to meet.

What is your favorite part of orientation? 

My favorite part is seeing the impact I made on the students! Having them ask me questions and feel comfortable. I also like to see myself grow throughout the months as well.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

It is okay to make mistakes. It is a part of growing up. When those mistakes do arise, remember to always rise above them and things will always go on.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience every year at SJSU is Homecoming Week! Our event Fire on the Fountain is such a cool experience that I love having with my friends. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class so far would probably be Intro to Business (BUS 010) because it went over all the different aspects of business and had us go out and do hands on experience with our future jobs!

Other thoughts on SJSU?

SJSU is definitely a force to be reckoned with! I’m glad I chose this college because I could not see myself going anywhere else.

SJ Earthquakes Award Scholarship to Mt. Pleasant Grad

Azusena Reyes shows her excitement after receiving the San Jose Earthquakes East Side Promise Scholarship during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Azusena Reyes shows her excitement after receiving the San Jose Earthquakes East Side Promise Scholarship during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

At San Jose State University’s frosh orientation on July 16, Azusena Reyes said her heart started beating faster when the words San Jose Earthquakes Spartan East Side Promise Scholarship flashed across the screen during the welcome session.

“When I heard my name called, I was so shocked,” said the Mt. Pleasant High School graduate who will be attending SJSU in the fall. “The first thing I wanted to do was tell my mom and dad I won. It is more for them –to tell them I made it and that my accomplishments are because of my parents.”

Azusena Reyes, photographed with her parents (on the right), is presented the East Side Promise Scholarship by San Jose Earthquakes representatives during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Azusena Reyes, photographed with her parents (on the right), is presented the East Side Promise Scholarship by San Jose Earthquakes representatives during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Her parents were in on the surprise and had been notified a couple of weeks before by SJSU’s Financial Aid Office. They kept quiet, and Reyes experienced excitement and lots of emotions when her name was called.

“Having the opportunity to attend SJSU on a full scholarship for the first year is an amazing gift, to say the least,” she said. “I promise to use this opportunity in a profound way and pay tribute to those involved with the scholarship by committing myself to maintaining a high GPA while making a difference within the SJSU community.”

She learned about the Earthquakes scholarship, from Amanda Aldama, SJSU admissions counselor/recruiter-Spartan East Side Promise (SESP) coordinator. Through a variety of interactive workshops, events, and programming, SESP provides a pathway to admission at SJSU, and strives to prepare students and their families for the college academic expectations, by connecting students to campus resources prior to the start of their freshman year. The SESP also offers guaranteed admission to eligible students who graduate from a high school in the district. Through this partnership, the San Jose Earthquakes Spartan East Side Promise Scholarship provides one student admitted through the SESP special admissions program with funding for their first year of tuition and on-campus housing.

Reyes said her parents both immigrated to the San Jose area from Oaxaca, Mexico. She was born in east San Jose and watched her parents work hard to provide new opportunities for her and her brother. Her mother didn’t speak English but learned so she could get a job as a paraeducator and become a U.S. citizen. Her father worked two jobs as a landscaper.

“They came from one of the poorest states in Mexico and established a home and careers,” Reyes said. “I saw the endurance it took them. They inspired me to develop leadership and learn from their hardships.”

Reyes, who is an avid San Jose Earthquake fan, said she had visited the SJSU campus since she entered high school on field trips with her Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) club.

“The campus feels like a community and there is a lot of diversity,” she said. “There are so many students from different walks of life.”

She noted the sculptures and murals on campus that celebrate human rights activists, such as Cesar Chavez.

Reyes plans to be a software engineering major and first got interested in the field when she attended a Girls Who Code program her junior year. She spent six weeks at Facebook headquarters learning about computer science.

“I am interested in helping to close the gender gap in technology,” she said.”

This summer, she is getting a head start on her studies as part of Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) program at San Jose State University. The students selected for the three-week challenge are part of SJSU’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.

“I’m learning a lot of material, including python and java,” she said. “For the last week we will visit Google to help us with our final project. This program teaches and improves our coding skills as well as networking.”