By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)
In 1984, CSU became the first university in the country to identify first-generation, in-state residents and offer competitive scholarships to pay for tuition and fees. Four siblings in the Chavez family from Sheridan, Colo., received First Generation Awards and exemplify the transformative effect the awards can have on students and their lives after college.
Maria (Chavez) Dodero (B.S., ’90) credits the award with being “instrumental” in getting her degree. She majored in business administration and worked at the Lory Student Center Information Desk and Intramural Sports. Since graduation, she has worked at Johns Manville, first as a COBOL programmer, then in Customer Service/Pricing for the Insulation Division; 29 years later, she is a project manager for the Information Technology Division.
Andrew Chavez (B.S., ’91) and wife Amy (B.S., ’97) were both business administration majors, and he too worked at Intramural Sports while on campus. Today they live in Naperville, Ill., where he is senior vice president of Mobility Solutions at ExteNet Systems. He is responsible for strategy, sales, and business development. This couple are Alumni Association Lifetime Members.
Connie (Chavez) Rosengarten (B.S., ’93) also majored in business administration. While at CSU, she worked as an RA in Allison and Braiden Halls, at the LSC Information Desk, and in the College of Business computer lab. “I loved working all those jobs because I met so many different people,” she says. “The Information Desk was a joy. I was able to help people and learned a ton about campus.” Connie also participated in the Inroads program, where she interned at KPMG and was hired full time upon graduation. She has worked at Liberty Media Corporation for the last 24 years, currently as accounting manager.
Carla Chavez (B.A., ’98), a liberal arts major, has taught English to grade-school second-language speakers for 22 years, first at Irish Elementary in Fort Collins, then in Jefferson County Public Schools, and currently for Aurora Public Schools in the Denver area. This year, her students speak six different first languages. She “loves working with kids from all over.” While at CSU, she worked in Financial Aid, then raised a son she had with alumnus DeVaughn Hawkins, who played defensive tackle for the Rams. Trevaughn Hawkins (B.F.A., ’18) currently is a graphic designer for FAST Enterprises in Centennial.
The oldest Chavez brother also is a Ram. Bob (B.S., ’87) started at CSU before the awards were available. He, too, majored in business administration. He coached the soccer team at Rocky Mountain High School and worked at Intramural Sports in order to pay for school. He also worked with faculty member Rich Feller to create a counseling software program, which was adopted by Colorado high schools. He has spent most of his career in application and software development and has worked at Quest/Century Link since 2009. His wife, Maria (Vigil) Chavez (B.S., ’87), majored in apparel and merchandising.
The Chavez siblings remain huge Ram fans who “bleed green and gold.” They are powerful evidence of what first-generation students can accomplish and of the importance of CSU’s First Generation Awards.