May 22, 2023
Heather Collins

The most powerful thing Heather Collins has learned is to head toward the unknown and always say yes to something that seems scary. 

“I have experienced many new and exciting opportunities while at Stan State, and I was terrified every single time,” she said.   

Collins worried she wouldn’t be able to fulfill the responsibilities and expectations of each new opportunity. Regardless, she never let that stop her and took on every task with grace.  

“I participated in many creative and inspiring endeavors during my time as a Warrior,” Collins said.   

She has been involved with the McNair Scholars program, where she networked and communicated with her cohort during the recent lockdown. Additionally, she served as vice president of the Anthropology Club and spent the last year re-activating the club and recruiting members.  

“I have had a wonderful time getting to know students from my department and working on hosting events with them,” she said. 

Collins is a single mom and a returning college student. As a result, she was trepidatious about adapting to the classroom setting and navigating school on top of her personal life.   

“Stan State provided the most welcoming environment in which I could thrive and grow with the support of both faculty and my peers,” she said.  

As a transfer student from Modesto Junior College, she worried that she would have a limited amount of time to have a meaningful college experience.  

“These last two years have been the most inspiring and creative years of my academic journey, and I am grateful for the professional relationships that I have been able to cultivate throughout this process,” Collins said. 

She is majoring in anthropology with a focus on interdisciplinary studies, while focusing on water rights and inequity in Northern California.   

“Environmental injustice occurs in our own backyard, and I hope to use my professional skillset to address some of these issues alongside the communities that are affected,” she said.   

After completing graduate school, Collins hopes to either teach at a university or work in a government agency as an applied anthropologist focusing on environmental injustice.   

#StanGrad File


Heather Collins 


Modesto, CA


Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology 

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

“The memory that stands out to me the most is getting to present my McNair Scholar research at the American Anthropological Association annual conference in Seattle last year. It was such an incredible opportunity for me as an undergraduate, and I never could have attended if it wasn't for the McNair program and Student Engagement in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (SERSCA).” 

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

“While I have grown close with all the professors of my department, Dr. Ryan I. Logan has had the greatest impact on my academic journey while at Stanislaus. He has served as my academic advisor as well as my mentor for my McNair research project. He has gone above and beyond in his support as a mentor and has challenged me to think about the impact I would like to make with my future research. His advice on graduate school has been an invaluable resource in helping me decide the best path for my future. I couldn’t have navigated the last two years without his guidance and support.” 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“Dream big! Use the educational space provided by Stanislaus State to challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone, both socially and academically. Find a mentor who believes in you and your work and spend time nurturing that relationship. Develop a peer support network that you can bounce ideas off and lean on when things get hard.”  


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.