Busy CSUB grad’s perseverance pays off

June 6, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu
Grad's perseverance pays off Photo

Elena Avina is a true believer in not letting opportunities pass her by. When Avina, the outgoing California State University, Bakersfield Associated Students, Inc. president, had the chance to intern for a large corporation she jumped at the chance. That dedication paid off.

Now the candidate for a bachelor's of science degree in business will walk across the stage tomorrow (June 6) to join the graduating class of 2008.

Avina was wise to accept a job opportunity early. The Bakersfield native is now working full time at the Kern River Office for Chevron North America Exploration and Production. "I work in the learning and development department where I help administrate the training that is offered to employees and business partners. In addition, I also build online training modules that are required for employees in our business unit and go out and conduct training classes. I started working there as part of the STARS program at the age of 17."

Her advice to fellow and future graduates: "My recommendation is to embrace any opportunities we are presented with. Also, we need to make decisions that we are going to be comfortable with so we don't have to worry about having any regrets," the 21 year-old said. "Just before I started college, I had the opportunity to enter a summer program with school or begin an internship with Chevron. I chose to follow the internship path and I'm happy with my decision. Because of my decision, I've been able to start my career, even before I finished my college degree. We need to be proactive about looking for these opportunities, not just waiting for things to happen."

She's very proud of the legacy she's left behind for CSUB students. "I loved every part of being ASI president. I had so many growing experiences as far as working with people from many disciplines and backgrounds. It was also very time consuming with trying to understand the history of ASI and trying to define the objectives of our organization. I would have loved to devote more time to it but because I started working more at the same time, it wasn't really possible. One of the reasons I enjoyed being in ASI this year was because I was very fortunate to have a very committed executive board and board of directors. We shared the same enthusiasm for seeing ASI progress and transition into a stronger entity on campus.

"I am particularly proud of our current standing with our statewide organization. This has taken a vast amount of effort from our board, me and my Executive Vice President Valerie Poynor, to make sure our concerns were addressed. We've been involved in statewide, regional, and special meetings to ensure that those concerns were acknowledged."

The student body government was very active in 2008. "As part of our efforts to transition to an advocacy board we re-evaluated our executive positions and added a fifth officer – vice president of legislative affairs. This position will be essential in keeping the direction of ASI geared towards advocacy efforts. We also finally installed our LED sign, which will help in the advertisement of ASI and campus events," Avina detailed.

Avina won't stray too far from CSUB as she will be working to complete a second degree in computer science.

And in the future you might see this multitasking student leader working in a courtroom. "Down the line I will look to start a master's of business administration program. With work, I plan to continue looking for opportunities to grow and take on new positions. Eventually, I would like to follow my original goal of going to law school to study corporate law."