Meet our outstanding new grads

More than 2,100 new graduates turn their tassel during commencement ceremonies Dec. 13-14, officially becoming proud members of our alumni family. Two of them, Jillian Shook and Theresa May, worked for the CSU Alumni Association as students and took some time to reflect on years at CSU and share their future plans. We think their comments exemplify the best of CSU and reflect well on the potential impact our new grads will have on their communities through their careers and personal lives.

Theresa May, left, and Jillian Shook
Theresa May, left, and Jillian Shook

Congratulations to Jillian and Theresa, and to all of the new grads. The Alumni Association will be with you all in the “real world,” whether you need career and professional services, networking opportunities, or just a fun way to stay connected to your alma mater. Go Rams!

Alumni Association: How long have you worked at the Alumni Association and what are a few of your favorite memories?

Jillian: I joined the CSUAA team in January of 2016. I have enjoyed my time working various CSU events and football games because of the Ram pride atmosphere. Through events and communications with alumni, I have had the opportunity to share my CSU stories and hear some pretty amazing ones along the way. My very favorite opportunity that I found through the Alumni Association was promoting Ram pride, energy, and traditions by working with CAM the Ram as a Ram Handler. This program helped me grow personally and professionally and it will be an experience that I will never forget. I am grateful for my time caring for CAM, and even more, for the opportunity to work with such amazing individuals at the CSU Alumni Association (CSUAA).

Theresa: I started working for the CSUAA in January of 2017. Being a communications intern, I was given the opportunity to let my creativity flourish. A few of the most memorable things that I’ve worked on include writing for AlumLine and creating content for the alumni social media pages. I’ve had the opportunity to meet phenomenal CSU alumni, and have been able to share their stories with students and graduates alike. I’ve had experiences unlike many marketing interns as I have photoshopped quite a few outfits on to squirrels. The CSU squirrels are prominent on the CSUAA social media, and I’ve had a lot of fun making whimsical content with them. Through all of these experiences and projects that I’ve worked on, people I’ve met and skills I’ve gained, I will definitely look back at my experience fondly.

Jillian and Theresa pull a rope to ring the Old Main Bell and kick off commencement ceremonies.

AA: Tell us a bit about your CSU experience.

J: As a first-generation and a rural student, I did not know what to expect from CSU or the college experience. Throughout my time here and with guidance from mentors and professional staff, I have developed my passions and interests in social work and gerontology. My heavy involvement in academic, social,  and community opportunities and organizations generated a pride in my school, my actions, and myself. My CSU experience has been full of education regarding my degree, culture and diversity, social justice, as well as getting to know myself. Some of the lessons that I have learned here did not come from a classroom, but from meeting new people, making connections, and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Coming to CSU was one of my best decisions to date, for it has set me on a path for success in whatever direction I may go.

T: I am the youngest of 6 children, and the fifth of my siblings to attend Colorado State University. I knew from birth that I would be a CSU Ram, and didn’t apply to any other colleges. I grew up in a small farm town in Eastern Colorado and my graduating class was around 40 people. I wasn’t sure how I would adjust to a university with thousands of attendees, but I felt right at home as soon as I moved into Parmelee Hall in 2015. I have been involved in Greek life, PRSSA and other extracurriculars that have introduced me to some amazing people that embody the sense of community that CSU has created. I am a communications major with a minor in technical communication, and have thoroughly enjoyed the classes that I have taken. Through the interactions that I’ve shared with friends, professors, and mentors, I know that I’ll reminisce on my time at Colorado State University in a way that’s nothing short of perfect.

What’re your future plans?

J: I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school, with the goal to pursue my master’s of social work here at Colorado State University. As I await news from grad school, I will be continuing to work at the CSUAA here on campus. I am excited to experience campus and CSU as an alumna and am grateful for the opportunity to continue promoting Ram pride, tradition, and Colorado State University in my new position.

T: As of now, I have a few options up in the air. I specialize in digital marketing, and would love to continue to use my creativity in creating content for social media, website management, and mass e-blasts. I am excited for what the future holds for me and I am confident because of the work ethic that has been instilled in me.

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CSU via the CSUAA and your new grad membership?

J: Staying connecting to CSU is vital because we are truly a Ramily. We all share commonalities that connect us on various levels while we are here working toward a degree and then finding success after graduation. By keeping connected through membership in the Alumni Association, we can positively network and collaborate for future jobs, research, interventions, and the betterment of future generations and our campus.

T: Even though attending CSU is only a chapter of our lives, I believe that its lessons that it’s taught us in and out of the classroom will follow us for a lifetime. The networking and feeling of home that CSU promotes to its students and alumni is impeccable. Through my CSUAA membership, I’m given the opportunity to continue the CSU journey beyond graduation. The events that the CSUAA puts on for its members gives them an outlet to let their Ram pride shine, all while being surrounded by those who share the same ideals.