Maria on campus

Maria Angelica Garcia

“one of the best things about Humboldt state is how many different perspectives i see on campus.”

Maria Angelica Garcia describes her first days at Humboldt State University as "a complete and total culture shock." Almost 700 miles away from her hometown of Rancho Palos Verdes, the engineering major missed her friends and family.

But with the help of HSU's Place-Based Learning Communities (PBLC)—a program that puts first-year science majors together in the same courses, housing blocks and introductory seminars right from the start—Garcia was able to quickly adapt to life among the redwoods.

"They moved us in early and had us attend a four-day summer immersion experience," recalls Garcia, who is now a senior. "Right off the bat, I was put into a really tight-knit group of students who shared similar interests and backgrounds and got to be well-acquainted with the faculty I was going to be working with throughout my time at HSU."

HSU's PBLC is just one program at the CSU supporting the Graduation Initiative 2025 goal of helping students to establish a sense of belonging on their campus. When students feel welcome and integrated into their campus, it can lead to improved outcomes.

"Having this program was super crucial," Garcia agrees. "Otherwise, I would've felt really isolated and intimidated in such an intense field like STEM."


Learn more about Maria's story and about the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025, which strives to increase graduation rates for all students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps.



Click one of the links below to see more programs around the CSU that help establish support networks for first-year students.

STORY: MICHELLE MCCARTHY

PHOTOGRAPHY: Patrick Record, Courtesy of Maria Angelica Garcia

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