May 1

From Student to Student-Researcher

Hi friends,

I hope April has treated everyone well. I know I personally have been in immense academic stress (hence my absence this month). This is the final few weeks of graduate school for me, and I am feeling all those deadlines. It’s almost like everything decided to just hit at once. Sometimes I don’t know how I’ll get it done, but I know I will. I’ve come so far and I am trying to go even further!

This week I’m going to participate in the 35th Annual California State University Research Competition at Cal Poly Pomona! I am so excited! Even if it will be virtual, participating in this has been a goal of mine. I know pre-COVID, I didn’t think I would have what it would take to become a  Stan State delegate. Somehow though, I managed to secure a delegate opening and will be presenting my research tomorrow (Saturday, May 1st)!. I’m so excited!

Logo by Cal Poly Pomona


Before tomorrow arrives, I thought I would reflect on what it means for me to present at this competition.

As a first generation student, who enrolled in a program that is deemed “too professional” and by some “not academic enough,” I can’t help but be very proud of myself. I never thought I would have the range to engage in academic and scholarly based work outside of classroom settings and assignments. I also never imagined myself presenting at the CSU system level! That’s huge.

Whenever I ask myself what I would be doing had I decided to go to school elsewhere, I begin to wonder if I would have the same opportunities that Stan State has presented me with. I also wonder if those opportunities were presented elsewhere, if the support system would exist that would allow me to strive and thrive in the face of academic pressure and what seems like endless deadlines, even during a once in a generation global pandemic.

I would describe this new era of my life as going from Student to Student-Researcher, because I am beginning to really accept the fact that there is a space in academic for people like me. Queer people of color can thrive and take up space in academia and do research on topics they are passionate about. I firmly believe it and hope anyone still considering attending Stan State to recognize that this university does grant those opportunities. It’s just a matter of taking them on.

Have a good weekend, friends!

May 1

For Anthony

I came to CSU Stan knowing no one. I went to undergrad over 200 miles away from Stan State’s campus, and all my friends were nowhere near Turlock. I told myself in grad school I would not make friends because grad school would be nothing like undergrad. I thought I would just show up to Stan State for class then head home, and repeat this process weekly. I never expected myself to make such a good friend. His name is Anthony.

In many ways, Anthony represented all that is good with this university. He was a first generation student. He finished his BA at Stan, then went on to complete his Masters’ here because he just loved the school so much and because he knew he would be able to excel at this university.

I met Anthony during my first year at Stan State, in fall 2019.

In early fall 2019 I joined a participatory action research (PAR) group. This is where I met Anthony. The faculty of the MSW program were leading the PAR group. “If I want to impress a PhD program, I need to take on all the research opportunities that exist!” I told myself when contemplating joining; so I did. The PAR experience itself was what I thought it would be: at times emotional, other times very academic.

A month had gone by into the semester, and the only person that really spoke to me outside of class and PAR was Anthony. He made me feel so seen. Whenever I was feeling down and/or unmotivated to continue with my masters program, Anthony would remind me to think of all the reasons why I made the big decision to take it on. Anthony had such a way of grounding me, while validating my feelings and experiences, and helping me see the bigger picture (which I’m not surprised by, he did complete his masters in counseling, but his way of interacting with people came natural). Quickly, I realized Anthony was probably one of my only few friends at Stan State. I have always believed in quality over quantity, so I was not upset that I personally did not meet that many people, because the few that I did, including Anthony, were very genuine and supportive people.

Unfortunately, Anthony ended up passing away after being involved in car accident right outside Stan State’s campus this spring semester. He had just graduated and was working in a field he was very passionate about. While I am sad to have lost one of my only friends at this university, I try find solace by reminding myself who he was while at Stan State and the positive impact he had on me and anyone whose life he touched. He filled so many people with happiness and positivity no matter his own personal struggles as a recent graduate. He always offered space and made sure to check up on his friends. Anthony will forever be a prime example of all the good that does exist at this university.

My time as a Stan State student is coming to an end. I am graduating in only just a few weeks. Anthony was a big part of my time at Stan State, and I could not end my time as a blogger without having mentioned the powerful and moving person that he was at least once. This blog is for my friend, one of the ultimate Warriors I’ll have ever known, Anthony.


March 27

My Stan State COVID Vaccination Story

Hello everyone,
I hope everyone is doing well during these interesting times. We’ve been in a pandemic for a year now and just being aware of that is very draining on our bodies, so I hope we’re all taking in as much self-care as we can. I know I have pandemic fatigue, so if you’re feeling any of that as well: don’t worry, you are not alone.
When I first heard of the COVID-19 virus, I was actually at Stan State. I did not think much of it at first. Then we walked into the storm. Fast forward weeks and months later, Stan State started to hold an anchoring role in my entire pandemic experience. Once COVID because a politicized, partisan issue, I started to become even more critical of the news I was consuming. Some news channels were saying one thing, and others were saying the exact opposite. It all was becoming too much.
At some point I decided it was best to just forego subscribing to some of the larger news outlets and started relying heavily on Stan State news. I knew Stan State would filter the news for the Warrior community in a way that was not happening anywhere online or on TV. Even now, I am so grateful for Stan State and all its labor that did not go unrecognized during those truly hard times!
Well, fast forward once more to 5:30pm on March 3, 2021. It was the evening and I just finished sitting through my last class of the day, when I suddenly received a text message from Stan State informing that COVID vaccine eligibility now included employees in educational sector. The text also included an announcement that the clinic on-campus would be open for a few more hours that day and there were vaccines available for anyone meeting these new eligibility requirements. I wasn’t sure if I qualified, but upon receiving that text, I decided to show up to campus and at least ask. 
Long story short, I arrived to Stan State around 6pm and by 7:40pm, I was on my way home with a Pfitzer vaccine in my arm! I could not believe it. I did not anticipate being eligible for any vaccine at least until May. To my surprise, once again Stan State became a central figure in my entire pandemic experience. I am so grateful that for whatever reason, Stan State became a vaccine distribution center as well as a source of credible information throughout this entire year of uncertainty! 
On March 24th, I became fully vaccinated. A day later on the 25th I turned 25 and all I have to say is receiving the vaccines at Stan State has been the best birthday present I could asked for, especially during an on-going global pandemic. I am still going to continue taking precautions, but I am now much less worried about leaving my home ever.
March 25

Stan State Annual Research Competition

Hello Everyone, 

I hope March is going well for all of us 😊 

I know it has been a very busy, but exciting month for me. This week alone I have done so much. While it has been stressful at times, I absolutely would not have it any other wayI consider it a huge privilege to have so many commitments and to be so involved with Stan State 😊  

A year ago our campus went remote, and distance learning became the new normremember being upset, not only because I just loved being on campus and knew I would no longer be able to visit campus so easily, but also because I was looking forward to showing up to the annual research competition 

Well, fast forward a full year since then, I am so excited to share that I participated and was nominated to apply to serve as a delegate to the larger CSU wide research competition. If I choose to apply, I will get to represent Stan State at the annual competition that brings together all the CSU campuses and its student researchers to showcase their findings. Normally, this would take place in-person in Southern California. This year, the competition will be happening virtually and whether I participate or not, I am simply excited to share that I DID THAT and have the option of doing so! I never thought I would one day actually be able to do something that, because stage fright and public speaking fears, but time has a funny way of making us step out of our comfort zones 😊  

My research focus is on Basic Needs and Academic Outcomes. I have basically been looking at how the Basic Needs Program here at Stan State helps students academically. I felt so grateful I was given the opportunity to present on a topic that means so much to me. Not only was I able to elevate the conversation of food and housing insecurity to the campus community through this research competition, I was also given such a huge experience to add to my resume/CV for when I apply to PhD programs! It was a grow two plants with one seed’ type of thing 😊  

I’m so grateful Stan State has given me this experience, who knows if I would have been granted this elsewhere. There were both undergraduate and graduate students involved, which I appreciate because I learned so much.  

If you’re thinking about wanting to do research, either in STEM or in the social sciences and humanities, or both, know Stan State is a university that can grant you the opportunities to partake in work that means something to you as well as a stage to showcase your work to the campus community and elsewhere! 😊  

March 3

March Goals

Greetings everyone!

Welcome to the best month of the year (in my humble opinion) 🙂

March is always one of the better months for me. I associate it with the start of a new season and a fresh beginning! Last year may have been the only exception, because this time a year ago, the pandemic was in its beginning stages in the U.S. I still vividly remember being in class a year ago today! Fast forward a year later, here we are: Stan State serving as a point of point of dispensing (POD) site for the COVID-19 vaccine! I love that for us!

It’s been such a long year, and I hope we’re all being patient and kind with ourselves. Let’s face that we are not who we were a year ago. We’ve been under constant stress to not only accept this pandemic as part of our lives, but as well as under the pressure to learn how to live with it. Unfortunately, I know this acceptance is much easier said than done. Something as simple as walking through Stan State’s green and lively campus pre-pandemic is something I do not want to view as a thing of the past. I know better days are coming, and reminding myself of this will be one of my goals for this month.

While I, and my blogger colleagues, may be on our way of out Stan State, so many folks are in the beginning stages of this new life! Some of the better news to keep the momentum going includes the California State System anticipating a return to in-person instruction come this new fall term. That is extremely exciting! What are some of your personal goals to complete to keep your energy going?

Some of my own personal goals for this month to keep myself with positive energy include:

  • Taking my dog on a walk a few more times a week than normal
  • Establishing a concrete skin care routine bc chile…. She is always needed
  • Finishing my literature review for my thesis
  • Making major progress on my graduate content analysis study
  • Including more Stan State visuals for the blogs

On Tuesday I will be at Stan State for our monthly Food Distributions. I will definitely take advantage of the time to capture some really cool content!  Here’s to March everyone!! I hope it’s a good month for all of us 🙂




February 17

“The show must go on!” – Kahmora Hall

Friends! It’s here. The final stretch. My last semester of school has finally arrived. Before we dive into the emotions that are spring 2021, can we take a trip down memory lane? To spring 2014? I know, that is such a long time ago, but with the pandemic still taking place, what can be more fun than constant and never ending reflection? Someone queue “Ribs” by Lorde and let’s go.

It’s spring 2014. I am turning 18 at some point this semester, but I have never been one to celebrate my own birthday. I definitely make it a priority to celebrate my friends’ days of birth, but my own? Never her. Besides, this is my last semester of high school. I don’t care about my birthday right now. At this moment, I only care about college admission results!!

17 and nervous? More like 17 and irrationally petrified? Very that. I fear I am going to be denied by my dream and goal college… (Spoiler alert: I did).

If I don’t get into my goal university, what am I going to do?! Will it all have been worth it? I’m referring to all the hours of student government, school clubs, all the late nights working on homework, the difficult classes like AP Chemistry and AP Calculus, the perfect attendance. “Will it be worth it?!” I keep asking myself.

Welcome back to 2021. That was kind of fun, diving back into an era of stress that I relive and reflect on from time to time. I was so young and trying to make sense of the world each day. It was a moment in time consumed by un-necessary yet understandable stress. I was 17 and throughout high school believed I needed to have a plan every step of the way. My plan included going to one specific school, and everything else would follow. As I quickly learned, I was not admitted into my goal school and the plans I had made did not necessarily follow, either.

With admission decisions rolling out, I hope everyone out there, especially all the LGBTQ soon-to-be college students of the world, know that no matter where you go, it will work out one way or another. It probably won’t be perfect and it probably won’t always make sense, but you have to go for it when the opportunities present themselves. Additionally, your educational trajectory will not be a linear experience if you don’t want it to.

I, for instance, was denied in 2014 from my goal school, and in 2019 graduated from that same university with a dual bachelor’s degree. All it took was starting out at a school that gave me a solid foundation to make it (and larger goals) happen.

This is my final semester of university until I start my PhD program a few years from now. I know I will miss being a student. I will miss having university anchor my daily life. But as Kahmora Hall said, “the show must go on!”

Well, here’s to spring 2021! We’re doing this, Joe!

December 7

The Final Stretch of the Semester During COVID-19

Hello everyone!! 🙂

It is finally FINALS WEEK for me! After Friday, I will officially be able to say that I am 75% done with my masters program!! That is so difficult to believe, truly! I don’t know where time has gone but before I can congratulate myself, I have to get through finals.

Unlike undergrad, I do not have any tests to worry about, which is amazing! Instead, I have presentations and assignments I need to submit, and the biggest of submissions is my thesis application to Stan State’s University Institutional Review Board (UIRB). What UIRB does is essentially give me the green light to do research for my thesis after they determine that I plan to engage in ethical and responsible academic work 🙂 It has been SUCH a long process, but I am finally here! Once I am given their approval (hopefully), I will then  be able to conduct the research necessary for my thesis 🙂 It’s going to be a quantitative study so a lot of statistics will be involved and can I just say that not once did I expect or want to do something like this?? Somehow Stan State has had a way to push me to try new things and I am all here for it! 🙂

While I am excited to cross the finish line this final term, I will always reflect on how difficult this term has been. There were various days and nights where I struggled to simply open my email. I felt so drained, so powerless, and routinely questioned how I was going to get through the week with all the deadlines and assignments constantly growing and nearing.

In retrospect, I think so much of this semester has been influenced by pandemic fatigue–where I simply became so exhausted of constantly learning about new record infection numbers, new lockdowns (which I support), and what seemed to be a worsening public health situation. There were also many moments where it was just hard to accept that this became the world we were in. I had so many plans for 2020!! 🙁

But looking forward, I cannot complain much. I know things will slowly become ok because 2021 is going to be a new year and a new year will always bring new prospects; even during this hectic year, I have accomplished so much as so have you! We are no longer where we were in March 2020. We may not be out of the woods soon, but we are resilient and if we made it through the most ambiguous and stressful moments, full of so much uncertainty, I know we will make it through these next few months!

I hope all students, whether in high school, undergrad, or grad school, find it within themselves to make it through that final finish line this semester! If you’re finding it difficult to do so, remember, you cannot be shy when it comes to communicating your needs to your professors! They’re there to help you and their support will always prove to be the most valuable thing during moments of intense academic stress. I know at Stan State this semester I have been PRIVILEGED in support! I would not have had it in me to do so if it weren’t for my professors (literally all of them).

I am wishing everyone luck on finals this week! I know we can do it!

November 26

A Virtual Thanksgiving

Hello everyone,

It is thanksgiving and even though times are probably challenging for all of us (an understatement, I’m sure), I still find that there is so much I can give thanks for.

Today I am thankful for many things, and one of the biggest is my education, and Stan State’s role in anchoring these last few months for me. I am thankful for the people I have met with at Stan State, including my peers and professors.

In early 2020, I remember having the highest of hopes for the year that was ahead of me. This pandemic and what  has seemed like endless series of events,  did change some of those aspirations. While 2020 has not been the easiest, it has been very telling and for that I am grateful.

This year I am mostly thankful for all the opportunities I have been presented with during these challenging times. It seems like such a long time ago, but back in March I was offered opportunities that helped keep me feel put together and ready to take on this pandemic. My research assistant jobs began to offer more opportunities to take on hours, even while virtually, and that alone helped redirect my attention to the present and ways to feel grounded. It was at times very easy to put blame on the pandemic for my inability to get something done, but I knew that was not sustainable. Pandemic or not, I still had things to get done and I am grateful that my non-academic commitments at Stan State kept me busy. Surviving this pandemic both metaphorically and literally I know will help me during challenging times down the road.

Truthfully, I do struggle to piece together these last few months. I often have to scroll through my camera roll to separate the months from one another, as they all feel a little too similar; but one thing that does not change yet is unforgettable, is the sense of drive my involvement at Stan State has provided me which helped power me through these intense months. I think that is the power of higher education, it is more than just going to class, taking tests, turning in papers, etc. It is about the connections we make and the experiences we want to provide for ourselves.

I hope you all have a great thanksgiving, in whatever way that looks like this year. For me, it will be mostly virtual. The only non-virtual aspect of today will be running to the kitchen for tamales :3

Thank you so much! <3

November 26


Hellooo :]

My name is Manny and #IAmStanState

What does it mean to be Stan State? I believe #IAmStanState because: I am eager to learn. I want to evolve. I am cultivating new beginnings daily; and I am doing all of this with my present and future community in mind.

#IAmStanState because I am a first-generation graduate student, an openly queer Latino from the Central Valley, and a believer in ongoing transformation and development. Currently, I am a graduate research assistant with CSU Stan’s Center of Public Policy Studies; Student Engagement in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (SERSCA) Graduate Assistantship Recipient; Graduate Intern at the Basic Needs Program at Stan State; a Master of Social Work student; and a Blogger with the Stan State Admissions Office. #IAmStanState because I wear many hats, and each are helping me find my way towards gaining admission into a doctoral program (which is my goal).

#IAmStanState because I believe LGBTQ people have so much to gain in this world and I want to make it my purpose to further those advances through my education. #IAmStanState because I believe Latinos and other people of color deserve to take charge of their agency in revolutionary ways. #IAmStanState because the education I am receiving at Stan State is equipping me with confidence in my abilities to seek the changes I want for my communities.

#IAmStanState because I believe in the importance of collective power and health, which is why I also wear masks everywhere I go! And practice social distancing :)! Stay Safe and thank you for joining me <3

November 18

Warrior Food Pantry at Stan State

Hello everyone :]

It’s National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a week long effort to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness in the U.S., especially as we approach the holidays; so in an effort to further the mission of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, I wanted to highlight a really cool resource at our university that works to alleviate student hunger: the Warrior Food Pantry!

I stopped by on Tuesday (11/17) after my internship just to check it out myself–and for the first time! How it works is pretty simple, even with COVID safety guidelines. Students walk into the pantry located in Student Services Building #116. Students then provide their ID numbers to sign in, and are then handed a “menu” of items to select from. Students circle the items they want from a variety of categories, and student staff load up their items into bags. It almost feels like looking into a little grocery store and reading off a menu or list of available items and choosing the ones we want.

Look at all I got :)!

Students are limited to 10-13 items a week, but today was also a Food Box Distribution day, which is another service within the Basic Needs Program, so not everything in the photo above is from the pantry itself but a solid 13 items are. I got some really stuff from my first visit and will definitely be stopping by in the future. During these hard times, it feels great to know that services like this exist on campus (and that have actually been created in large part by Master of Social Work program *wink-wink*).

As students it can be so easy to go hungry. We can get so caught up with school, extracurriculars, including jobs, and various other reasons and thankfully the Warrior Food Pantry exists to help mediate some that hunger. If you’re a Stan State student be sure to check out the Warrior Food Pantry, and be sure to bring a friend :)!