May 22, 2024
Ivan Vega

With his goal of working as an occupational therapist in mind, Ivan Vega found opportunities to develop his leadership skills while serving as a coach for 9 to 12-year-olds in the TOPSoccer program, a national program for people with special needs.  

He also found the time to work at two local hospitals, all while studying for his bachelor’s in exercise science. He is focused on gaining as much practical experience as possible as he prepares for graduate school. He learned first-hand that it can get overwhelming, but his end goal kept him motivated. 

“I was able to create some amazing connections and gain valuable opportunities and experiences that have helped me become a more well-rounded candidate for grad school and future jobs,” Vega said. “It is OK for college to be more of a marathon than a sprint.” 

In addition, Vega is also shadowing an occupational therapist and adapted physical education teacher in Manteca while completing his degree at Stan State. 

“I knew Stan State would be the best way to start my educational journey and prepare me for both grad school and my healthcare career.” 

With his degree in exercise science in hand, he plans to pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy. Once complete, he plans to work in the Central Valley.  

“Working as a rehabilitation technician for the last five years, I’ve come across many patients, minorities in particular, who generally are unsure about what is involved in rehab services,” he said. “I would like to come back and do more community outreach and bring awareness to the importance of one’s health and safety in hopes of preventing hospital stays, especially ones that might require rehab services.” 

#StanGrad File


Ivan Vega


Riverbank, CA


Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

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

“I’m going to remember the days spent with my colleagues studying, working on projects and hanging out after class with one another. Our 2024 graduating class of exercise science majors felt like a family, as many of us took courses together. I am thankful to have shared this college journey with all of them. Their support and camaraderie have made these years truly memorable and special. I know the connections we’ve made will carry into our professional careers and beyond.”

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

“During my time at Stanislaus State, there were two faculty members who left a great impact on my academic career and provided me with tools I will take into grad school and in my career as an occupational therapist. 

The first was Janice Herring, a faculty member in the Kinesiology Department, whom I had the pleasure of taking two courses with. She pushed me to my limits academically, which allowed me to become a better student than I thought possible. She taught me that with hard work and dedication, I can complete even the toughest challenges.  

Bruce Davey, Stan State’s adaptive physical education instructor, is someone who has also left a lasting impact on my educational and professional career. Bruce is a person I look to model not only in my career but also in the way that I live.” 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“The best advice I can give current and future students is to network, whether it be with faculty or your fellow students. Doing this can lead to valuable connections, opportunities for collaboration, mentorship and a supportive community throughout your academic journey and beyond.”

Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2024. Read more StanGrad profiles.