Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2020. Read more StanGrad profiles.
An accomplished athlete and student leader, Mi’Shaye Venerable was determined to make the most of her time at Stanislaus State from the moment she was recruited by the Warrior’s track and field head coach.
Venerable worked to re-establish the Black Student Union in 2016 and served as its president for two years. She was elected twice to the Associated Students, Inc., Board of Directors, worked two on-campus jobs and studied abroad for eight weeks in India. Meanwhile, she maintained a 3.44 grade-point average and ran track all four years, winning several California Collegiate Athletic Association awards along the way.
“I did my very best to maximize my student life here at Stan State. I was curious about a lot of areas on campus and did not hesitate to try them out,” said the social sciences major from Sacramento.
That attitude — being open to possibilities and willing to take chances — turned out to be Venerable’s key to success at Stan State.
“When an opportunity presents itself, it’s my job to take it or choose to leave it. There are plenty of opportunities right in front of us, and I learned that I could make an active decision to run with them,” she said. “Once I caught on to accepting the opportunities, I was unstoppable.”
When recruited by Coach Troy Johnson, Venerable could see immediately that Stan State was the college for her. It was affordable and close enough to Sacramento for her to easily visit home, but still allow her to taste independence. She also made a quick connection with Johnson and credits him with helping her grow as an athlete.
With her degree in hand, Venerable is planning to someday lead a nonprofit organization focused on youth, foster care or social services. First, however, she wants to travel to South Africa to earn a master’s degree in social work.
Wherever she ventures, chances are good she will continue to live by the advice she gives others: “Never limit yourself. If you are interested in something, go for it.”
Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences
What memories stand out most from your time at Stanislaus State?
“Memories of track and field competitions stand out to me the most. I enjoyed being a student athlete and challenging myself every day during practice. It also felt good to win every once in a while.”
Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?
“First, my coach Troy Johnson. He is the reason I attended Stan State. He recruited me as a high school student to jump for his program, and he has contributed to my growth by challenging me, coaching me and encouraging me.
Next, my mentor Rachel Grimshaw. She was my first Stan State professor and continues to be an incredible mentor. She will find time during the day, finals week, bad air quality or a pandemic to connect and check on my well-being. She has been consistently there for me since my first day.
Finally, Neisha Rhodes. During my last two years at Stan State, Neisha has made me feel comfortable, safe and seen as a Black woman on campus. She constantly validates me and has opened numerous opportunities for me to excel in my leadership.”
What advice would you give to current and future students?
“Find opportunities that spark your interest and go for it. If your interest does not exist on campus, create it. I challenge you to take a small step out of your comfort zone and get involved on campus somehow. If you are already involved on campus, I challenge you to take a leadership position. If you are in a leadership position, I challenge you to take your position a step further, however that looks like for you. We are living in a time of uncertainty, however, that does not mean your education, opportunity and future is uncertain. Continue to pursue your goals and strive as a Warrior.”