May 22, 2023
Bella Rivera

Recruited to Stan State to play volleyball, Bella Rivera found so much more. 

Entering as a biology major with a goal of working in medicine or biological research, she said Associate Biology Professor Sarah Bissonnette helped her expand her studies and she will graduate with a minor in chemistry. Rivera hopes to pursue a master’s degree. 

Her volleyball career ended after one season, when as a 5-foot-10 setter from Fremont’s American High School, she played in 17 matches and finished with 2.98 assists per set and eight service aces. 

“After I ended my career as a student-athlete, I chose to stay here because of the supportive community,” Rivera said. 

She became part of that support system herself. 

“Bella started working as a peer tutor when we were all working remotely,” said Learning Commons Lead Erlynn Johnson. “Going to school remotely and then tutoring remotely was not easy. These students were on the computer either working or going to school sometimes 10-plus hours a day. 

“Bella has been not only a remarkable student and tutor, but she is also a great member of our Learning Commons Team. She is a natural leader, always willing to help her students and be involved in all aspects of working in the Learning Commons.” 

In addition to working with students, Rivera also volunteered to share information about the Learning Commons in the Quad. 

Her varied experiences will stay with her, Rivera said. 

“I started college with a specific plan for my life, but my time at Stan State has helped me learn more about myself,” she said. “I now know that I am capable of more than I thought.” 

Johnson sees something special in the tutor. 

“She is a true Warrior with love and passion for this University and community,” Johnson said. 

#StanGrad File


Bella Rivera 


Fremont, CA


Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Chemistry Minor 

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

“I really enjoyed my time working for the Learning Commons. I had the opportunity to meet new students while growing as a student and professional.” 

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

“Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Sarah Bissonnette has been a great mentor and she helped me find a path in biology.” 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“Get involved! And take advantage of all the services and programs Stan State has to offer." 

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.