May 24, 2024
StanGrad Iris Arellano

Iris Arellano, a first-generation college student, navigated a winding path toward earning her bachelor’s degree. Since her parents, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, did not have the opportunity to obtain an education, Arellano said she often felt pressure to figure things out on her own. 

“It could feel intimidating to have to reach out to others for help and guidance,” she said. “Nonetheless, at Stan State, you will be met with the unwavering support of staff and faculty. Advisors, professors and your peers are all here to see you succeed.” 

However, Arellano’s journey in higher education had a somewhat different start to what she would find at Stan State. Initially pursuing a degree in neurobiology at UC Davis with aspirations of working in healthcare, Arellano’s course took an unexpected turn when the pandemic compelled her to return home to Ceres. During this uncertain period, she uncovered a new passion for marketing. 

“When I thought about how life would be 10 years down the line, I no longer pictured myself in a hospital,” Arellano said. “I saw myself planning out events, mastering the art of photography, filming and editing and growing my knowledge of marketing.” 

After thorough research, she concluded Stan State would be a great choice because it would allow her to spend more time with her family, save money and pursue her dream career. 

“I have had the privilege of working as the marketing assistant for the Stan State Admissions and Outreach Department for more than two years now,” she said. “Knowing that I have helped other students and have contributed to giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience as they begin their journey here is truly an unexplainable feeling.” 

“Aside from being a pleasure to work with, Iris excelled in her role,” said Alix Ribeiro, administrative support coordinator in Admissions and Outreach. “I feel she went above and beyond as a student assistant and was passionate about Stan State and wanted to share that with others. Her work made an impact for Stan State’s brand recognition and incoming students are excited to become a Warrior!” 

After graduating, Arellano plans to use her degree to foster growth and support for the local business community while also continuing her work for Admissions and Outreach at Stan State. 

“As a first-generation Latina, it’s extremely important that I influence and lead others toward obtaining higher education,” she said. “Working in Admissions these past two years has allowed me to connect with Hispanic families and students as they navigate their transition into the University. I was once in their shoes so; I want to be the mentor that guides them and shows them the immense value of attending college and pursuing a career.” 

#StanGrad File


Iris Arellano


Ceres, CA


Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing

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

“The memories that stand out most from my time at Stanislaus State are those that I created while working in the Admissions and Outreach Department. 

 “In these past two years, I have been able to be a part of remarkable events such as Warrior Welcome and Warrior Expo. I have always aspired to lead others to pursue higher education and to be a supportive outlet for them as they transition into college. Through my position in the Admissions Department, I am proud to say I was able to fulfill this dream of mine.” 

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

“Maura Gatch, assistant vice president of strategic enrollment management, has made a lasting impact on me both personally and professionally. To know Maura is to know true respect, motivation and genuine support. I have had the opportunity to work alongside Maura for the past year; from the moment I met her, she has continuously believed in me and pushed me daily to become the best version of myself both in and out of work. She has not only been a role model, but she has always supported my ideas, goals and aspirations, no matter how big they might be. I have been able to grow immensely thanks to her ongoing help and motivation. I would not be the Warrior I am today if it weren’t for her.” 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“A piece of advice I would give to current and future students is to get involved as much as you can on campus. I know it might seem draining to have to place your time and energy into things outside of your stressful schoolwork; however, don’t let this stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone. You should apply for on-campus jobs, get involved with clubs and try to attend as many school events as possible. These are the things that will help you make long-lasting friendships, meet life-long mentors, create memories and grow in ways you never imagined. You’ll open doors for yourself that would’ve otherwise stayed shut if you never took the chance. Your future self with thank you for making the effort to step out and put yourself out there!” 

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.