Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series, highlighting CSU Stanislaus students who will graduate at commencement ceremonies May 30 and 31. Click here for more.

Nicholas Johnson isn't one to sit back and let things happen. The Los Angeles County native fell in love with CSU Stanislaus while on a visit during his senior year, and although he arrived as an undeclared major, he quickly chose political science after an introductory course with Professor As'ad Abukhalil.

It wasn't long before Johnson was sitting in the office of Stephen Routh, chair of the Department of Political Science & Public Affairs, looking for ways to further his education outside the classroom. Johnson was accepted into the Sacramento Semester Internship Program in spring 2012, interning for State Senator Mark Wyland, and he interned for Congressman Duncan Hunter in Washington, D.C., last fall.

"Both of these experiences placed me in the middle of our government process, where I was able to learn intimate details about the functioning of both our state and federal governments," Johnson said. "I worked in wonderful offices with people who are extremely interested in seeing young adults being active in the political process."

During his internships, Johnson attended committee hearings, caucus briefings, legislative sessions and meetings with lobbyists. He said the experience has motivated him to pursue a career in public service, once he obtains a law degree and a master's or doctoral degree in political science.

Johnson believes his CSU Stanislaus education — he'll graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science — has prepared him well for these goals. While at CSU Stanislaus, he earned membership into the University Honors Program and several honor societies, including the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Pi Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega.

"CSU Stanislaus has not only given me an education — it has taught me life skills such as leadership, public speaking and civic duty," Johnson said. "I have met many diverse people and experienced far more than simply classroom lectures. CSU Stanislaus has provided me with the life lessons I need to succeed."

#StanGrad File

Nicholas Johnson
Hometown: Lancaster
Degree/Credential: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

What memories stand out most from your time at CSU Stanislaus?

"I have so many memories that have defined my experience at CSU Stanislaus that are extremely significant to me. I would have to say that my favorite memories come from being involved in my Fraternity (Tau Kappa Epsilon), serving on the ASI Board of Directors, and being active in many other clubs and organizations. These were exciting and valuable experiences that I will always treasure."

Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?

"Stephen Routh is a passionate and caring professor. He is always there for any student in need, whether it is welcoming us during office hours, randomly stopping him on campus or emailing him at 3 a.m. Even when I have doubted myself or stumbled in my pursuits, he has continued believing in me and the successes my future will hold."

What advice would you give to current and future students?

"There is more to college than simply attending classes. Become involved on campus and in the community. Join organizations, perform community service, take on leadership roles, and apply for internship opportunities. College is what you make it. The more involved you become, the more fun you will have. And remember that college is a relatively short period of your life, so cherish every moment of it."