College of Science & Math: alumni + students = unlimited potential

By ESRA HASHEM, Student Writer


The College of Science and Mathematics is on the brink of creating an official chapter with the Fresno State Alumni Association.

The chapter is being founded with the help of Dr. Andrew Lawson, interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, student ambassadors in the alumni association’s Discovery Program as well as other science and math alumni.

“We’re trying to get a group of alumni together to be interested in starting it,” Lawson said. “We’ve got a core group reaching out, just about to get it started.”

With almost 16,000 alumni from the college, 7,600 of which live in Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kern counties, if established, the College of Science and Mathematics Alumni Chapter would be the thirteenth chapter under the Fresno State Alumni Association. Chapters are official academic-based groups under the alumni association’s purview.

“There are a number of departments within colleges on campus that have chapters,” Lawson said. “We really don’t have a strong involvement [with the alumni association] right now, and I don’t think our departments necessarily will be able to do individual chapters. A college-wide chapter is probably the best way to really engage with our alumni. We thought that would give us a pretty broad base.”

Departments within the College of Science and Mathematics include biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, mathematics, physics and psychology.

Lawson said the efforts of student ambassadors in the Discovery Program have helped foster interest in the future chapter. As a part of the program, these students conduct outreach efforts to alumni and interview them about their own student experience, their life-path since graduation and their interest in further engaging with Fresno State. The Discovery Program has three student ambassadors from the College of Science and Mathematics, each working an average of five hours per week.

“I have talked to quite a few alum who have expressed an interest in the chapter,” said Student Ambassador Samantha Sharp. “We found quite a few alum who are interested and we are continuing to try to find more, so that we have a strong chapter base as a whole.”

Sharp is a College of Science and Mathematics student herself, majoring in geology. She said an alumni chapter for the college could be especially useful for students and young alumni.

“When a person is about to graduate, it will be good to have that background — especially as a young alum who might be wondering, ‘What am I going to do? What is my next step?,’” she said. “Having that alumni chapter as a place to go to that has people, professionals you can talk to — you’ve got that help.”

Lawson said he hopes the chapter will be launched this fall. The chapter could be involved with organizing events traditionally put on by the College of Science and Mathematics, such as the Alumni and Friends Tailgate held each year during Homecoming.

“It would be really nice to have a good critical map of the number of involved alumni who could help coordinate some of our events and pull people in,” Lawson said. “We’re just really looking for ways to more deeply engage with our alumni and connect with them after they have graduated.”

If you are interested in helping establish, or in participating in a College of Science and Mathematics alumni and friends chapter, please contact Matthew Schulz at mschulz@csufresno.edu.