Mariah Burciaga entered Stan State with a penny and came out with a pound. Like many students, she was timid her first year. Burciaga was uncertain what she wanted from her college experience and there was no one to guide her at first. She only had herself.
“Coming into college I had no idea what I was doing. I switched my major about four times, unsure of what I really wanted to do when I graduated,” Burciaga said. “It was only when I fully committed to being a student at Stan State and became involved that I figured out what I wanted to do. The process was one of trial and error. It’s OK to not have all the answers. That’s the beauty of life.”
Burciaga found her calling by getting involved in the community at Stan State. She joined clubs, made new friends, explored every bit of the campus and learned about herself.
On top of managing her schoolwork and maintaining a social life, Burciaga took on leadership roles on campus. She was the president of her sorority, while also serving as the chair at the Student Center.
“Mariah has been an exemplary student leader for the past two years in her role as the University Student Center Chair,” ASI Marketing Assistant Melannie Castellanos said. “She has spearheaded several University Student Center projects and always ensures student life and student success are a top priority when making organizational decisions in the Student Center. I have no doubt that Mariah will continue to excel in both her personal and professional endeavors after graduation.”
“So much learning happens outside of the classroom,” Burciaga said. “I expected all the answers to my future career and life to be inside the walls of a class, but it happened from being involved in different organizations. Taking hardships as learning opportunities has allowed me to grow in many ways.”
Burciaga plans on pursuing her master’s degree and working in higher education. Inspired by her own time at Stan State, she wants to support and guide students while providing them with the resources from which she benefited.
“I would eventually like to earn a master’s degree in student affairs, to work at a university. I want to help students, like me, who are lost when they first come to college,” Burciaga said. “I hope my positive experiences can help a student who was in my shoes look forward to their time at Stan State and see their potential.”
Bachelor of Arts in English, Single Subject Matter Preparation
What memories stand out most from your time at Stanislaus State?
“There have been many, but I will always remember the late nights during New Student Orientation (NSO) with my fellow orientation leaders, recruitment with my sorority sisters and moments in the office of the Student Center.”
Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?
“Cesar Rumayor, the executive director for Associated Students Inc. and the University Student Center. As a first-generation college student, I had many questions about what I was supposed to be doing, in life and in school. Working with Cesar throughout my college career allowed me to grow both professionally and in my personal life. He became a mentor to me without knowing it, answering all of my questions about credit cards, student loans, how to add a class, etc. He taught me how to be a leader and advocate for myself and others. I would not be where I am today without his guidance.”
What advice would you give to current and future students?
“Being involved will enhance your college experience and give you so many connections! You never know who you will meet, and what life experience they’ve had. Getting involved with your school can really change your life.”
Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2023. Read more StanGrad profiles.