Share Your Transformation Story

SJSU is the #1 Most Transformative University in the nation according to Money magazine. Every Spartan has a story, and we would love to hear from you about how your time at SJSU propelled you to achieving your goals and aspirations. Was there a moment or semester where it all clicked? Did a particular professor, staff, administrator or friend provide mentorship that remains with you today? Whatever it may be, we want to know your story and share it with others.

Share Your Story

Testimonials of Transformation

Isra Ahmad.

Isra Ahmad

’13 Health Science

“SJSU allowed me to make mistakes, learn from my experiences and expanded my own understanding of my horizons. My passions to serve communities who would have otherwise been unheard, silenced or ostracized were also cemented through the service learning opportunities granted at SJSU. I am forever grateful for the time that I spent at SJSU! Go Spartans!”

Cornelio (CJ) Balmaceda.

Cornelio (CJ) Balmaceda

’20 Justice Studies

“I was never even supposed to be in college, let alone get accepted to SJSU. But the moment I stepped onto campus, everything changed for the better. One of the best ways SJSU transformed my life was by being  introduced to lifelong friends and developing many connections. I will forever cherish my days at SJSU, and because I attended there, I am a better individual. Thank you SJSU!”

Nadya Carlson-Bowen.

Nadya Carlson-Bowen

’21 Child and Adolescent Development

“I started at West Valley College a few years ago. However things changed and my twin sister passed away at age 26 years old with colon cancer. But with obstacles that life threw at me with the hardships I faced, I finally graduated with my AA there. I’ve always been a goal-getter, a problem solver and have always wanted to chase my dreams. I applied and got into SJSU for fall 2017 and I am finally there. I will be graduating from SJSU this May, spring 2021, with the coming of my teaching credential shortly.”

Tara Caughlan.

Tara Caughlan

’16 MA Environmental Studies

“I met so many amazing students and staff at SJSU. In the environmental studies program, I was surrounded by people who wanted to make the world a better place. I now work at the San Francisco Zoo, which is dedicated to conservation, both local and distant. My studies at SJSU helped me see the plight of animals in a much larger context. Thank you, SJSU!”

Tommy Wen Chin.

Tommy Wen Chin

’22 Physics

“[My SJSU professor] gave me the courage that I had been longing for to pursue physics. Every day since then, I have been very grateful for the opportunity to pursue what I truly love.”

Emily Dunn.

Emily Dunn

’20 RTVF

“I grew so much confidence from attending SJSU. The people I met truly impacted my life and made it so much better. I have only positive things to say about my time at this school and cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had attended elsewhere.”

Laurel Eby

Laurel Eby

’10 MA Library and Information Science

“I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years when I decided to go back to school to get a master's degree in library and information science. A year after I graduated I started working at the King Library in February 2012, and just finished my ninth year there. I love working in the MLK Library, and on the SJSU campus. San José State truly transformed my life!”

Kyle Galimba.

Kyle Galimba

’19 Marketing

“I grew up Filipino American, first-generation American born, and there was a lot of pressure to follow the money—but I always knew that it wasn't for me. I've always felt like I've had to keep my professional and creative lives separate but I’ve never felt these two things so intertwined. My creativity is celebrated in my professional career and my own creative brand. I am grateful for the opportunities I had at SJSU.”

Alec Giurlani.

Alec Giurlani

Academic Advisor, H&A Student Success Center

“As a student at SJSU, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. The entire College of Humanities and the Arts was so understanding and worked with me through my whole cancer journey. I never expected SJSU to be such a kind and loving family. Thankfully, I am now more than five years cancer-free and working full time at SJSU as an academic advisor. I’m grateful for SJSU and the opportunity to give back.”

Laura Guio.

Laura Guio

’86 Engineering and ‘86 Marketing

“SJSU helped me by being the university I needed at that point in my life.  I got married and had my first child while at SJSU. SJSU gave me a real foundation for what was needed in the working world. Many of my professors were from the working world and brought a perspective on what was needed once I graduated.”

Nikki Haider.

Nikki Haider

’20 Finance

“I was able to find a part time position a couple months after graduation. After that, they offered me a full-time position due to my knowledge and personal skills I learned throughout my time at SJSU.”

Carl Henderson.

Carl Henderson

’04 African American Studies

“My time at SJSU was a great transformation. As a transfer student from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, I arrived in San José deflated and depressed. I found positivity and inspiration within the Xi Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. After graduation I pursued coaching...with the life mission of ‘encouraging students to have a dream and admonishing them to have courage through adversity.’ My time at SJSU, though full of trials and tribulations, was the greatest time of my life.”

Marielle Lacanlale.

Marielle Lacanlale

’22 Nursing

“If I had not gone to SJSU to pursue nursing, I would not have been able to develop the work ethic that I have now to achieve my goals. SJSU has also provided me with a very strong Filipino community. I had also grown a very close knit friend group that has been able to support me in my journey throughout college. Now that I am in the nursing school here, SJSU has provided me with so many opportunities to make a difference within my community.”

Vanndy Loth.

Vanndy Loth-Kumar

’12 Nursing, ’15 Master of Public Health, ’21 Doctor of Nursing Practice

“SJSU set me on a path towards a rewarding career. SJSU introduced me into nursing. I was able to gain a strong foundation in patient care. Now I am in a position to take on students at my clinical site and help patients improve their mental health.”

Sharon Martinez.

Sharon Martinez

’20 Sociology

“Before graduating high school I applied to SJSU and my application unfortunately got withdrawn. I didn’t let that stop me though. I applied once more and a couple months later I was so excited that I had received my admission offer! I built strong friendships with my peers and strong relationships with my professors. SJSU transformed me in more ways than one, but I am glad I never gave up on myself. SJSU fostered a passion and purpose within me to help others. I will always be thankful for my life and experiences at San José State.”

Natali Montoya.

Natali Montoya

’20 Public Health

“I had the best experience at SJSU. I moved to downtown San José from a small city in the central valley. Being away from home was hard at times, but this entire experience transformed me into an independent hard working young lady. I recommend SJSU to almost every person I know. I had the best experience there and a great education.”

David Ngô.

David Ngô

’19 Public Relations

“SJSU instilled the confidence in me that a career through writing was possible. It was within reach. Coming from the East Side San Jose where access to resources are sometimes harder to come by—I became immersed into a different world on campus. The professors from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications worked tirelessly to help me graduate and saw the potential before I even did.”

Larissa Vega Noriega.

Larissa Vega Noriega

’22 Business Administration

“Attending SJSU has allowed me to expand my opportunities, it allowed me to become my own person, be more responsible and independent. My experience at SJSU has definitely made my life more fast-paced, but I am grateful for the challenges it is bringing me and I believe it will help me in my future.”

Carlos David Pérez.

Carlos David Pérez

’74 Art and Design

“In 1972, I was accepted into the Graphic Design Program at SJSU and, in 1974, I was chosen by the graphic design faculty as one of the top three portfolios of our class. The prize was an apprenticeship with a local advertising agency as a summer paid gig. In 1976, I was hired as an Art Director, proving that the education and training that I had received at SJSU had been worth its weight in gold.”

Alexandra Salazar.

Alexandra Salazar

’20 Molecular Biology

“Coming to SJSU introduced me to the mentors that would see my potential and help transform me into the scientist I am becoming. Thanks to the resources and guidance I received at SJSU, I will begin pursuing my PhD in neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute starting fall 2021.”

Shalini Singh.

Shalini Singh

’05 Master of Business Administration

“I became a technologist from a building professional and honed my business acumen and analysis skills while at SJSU.”

Kendall Sooter.

Kendall Sooter

’16 MA Communication Studies

“I came to SJSU thinking I would become a teacher after. Little did I know that during my time there that I would make some of the greatest friends and professional connections of my life. SJSU made me who I am today and helped me to get my dream job.”

Norman K. Tuitavuki.

Norman K. Tuitavuki

’17 MA Transportation Management

“I completed a graduate degree from San Jose Staté University several years ago. Without this formal training, I don’t know where I’d be at this moment in my life. The education I received from San Jose Staté has given me the tools I need to advance my career upward.”

Micaela Whalen.

Micaela Whalen

’16 Business Administration, Concentration in Corporate Accounting & Finance

“I transferred into SJSU having no idea of what I wanted my concentration in the College of Business to be. I'm not sure whether it was pure excitement but I felt so much power as an SJSU student. The type of power you feel when there are endless opportunities for you to succeed. It's not enough to say SJSU transformed my life. Without you all, my story would be entirely different.”