Smart Start Testimonials

Jackie AvendandoEstephanie Mendez
Major: Sociology

My name is Estephanie Mendez I am a first generation student majoring in Sociology. In the future I do plan to accomplish a Masters egree but I am not yet sure on what exact field I want to focus on. The FYE program was one of the best things I've came across throughout my college experience. What I loved the most about this program was the dedicated team they have. They never fail to help me and always motivate me to do better. The FYE team always made sure to help each and everyone of us with anything we needed. I am truly thankful for this program because it makes many like myself feel comfortable around one another. My most memorable FYE discussion was when Uriel made us write a letter in the beginning of the year explaining how we felt at the moment and then we opened it and the end of the year party. It was such a good feeling to know that I made it through my first year with their unconditional support towards all of us.





Sonya Steffes
Major: Sociology
Minor: Pan African Studies

My name is Sonya Steffes. I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in PAS. I hope to graduate by the year 2018 with my BA, and as of right now, 

considering getting a Phd. A future job I would like to have is to work with children or help people in tough situations.I had a baby recently while we were on Christmas break. December 14, 2015 to be exact, and came back January 5, 2016 to continue my journey. I am also a nursing mom here on campus and the FYE office is where I can do my personal business at.

There are numerous things I love about the FYE staff & the program itself. Everybody who have worked in the office, and is currently working there, have helped me grow as a person and student. I remember I had Uriel for a leader and it was time where we can relax and not take notes. It was a regular class but not with a professor. Instead, it was with someone who didn't pressure us and make us write papers that were due in a week. Everything about the program motivated me to do better, especially the staff. They are extremely nice people who welcome any and everyone. There's so much to say, I thank all of you. If you are a student who needs help, needs somewhere to study, or advice, this is the place to go.

ElisaElisa  Sinohui
Major: Criminal Justice 

My name is Elisa Sinohui and I really like to read, run, and draw. I am currently majoring in Criminal Justice and I plan on attaining a Masters in the future. Career wise, I plan on applying to the FBI academy, and if that doesn’t work out, then I hope to work with troubled youth.

The thing I liked most about being part of FYE are the groups sessions we had once a week. If there was anything I had questions about I was able to discuss them with fellow students. We were able to talk about anything and just vent out about college in general. The most memorable moment during one of our seminars was listening to what people had to say overall, I think most people forget to stop and hear people out, and in learning to do so. I learned a lot from the people I met during these seminars.


Vivian AririguzoWendy Yang
Major: Public Health

My name is ZhiRou (Wendy) Yang. I came from China five year ago and I am currently majoring in Public Health, but my goal is to be a nurse. I want to be a pediatric nurse and work with young children. I believe that if your work hard enough, you will be able to be what you want to be. FYE is the first program that I knew before I entered Cal State LA. I know that FYE is always there to help whenever I have hardships. The faculty and staffs are nice and they always try their best to help every students that asks help. When I first started at Cal State LA I know nothing about it. FYE always had all kinds of events and discussion group during the school year. We became friends in the group and we were free to talk about current news. I hope that FYE continuous to help students in the future. 






YessicaYessica Gordillo, B.S.W and current MSW candidate.

My name is Yessica Gordillo. I am currently doing the three year Master’s degree program in Social Work at Calstatela. I am the first in my family to attend college and pursue a Master’s degree. My goal after graduating from with an MSW is to work with people who are disabled and/or the elderly. The First Year Experience (FYE) program has helped me a lot especially Jenny Hicks and I am very thankful for that. Jenny has helped me with my writing skills and goes over my essays. Jenny, who is now the director of this program, was my English professor for my first year of English classes and I still keep in touch with her. What I like about FYE is that this program really takes their time to guide you in the classes. Five years ago, when I entered Cal State La as a freshman it was not called FYE, it was called “STRETCH PROGRAM,” but it had the same content. This program was a nice transition from highschool to University. However, I really liked that seminar classes, they really helped me with information about the campus and about where to go to ask for help regarding tutoring. The staff at this program are very friendly.