Outstanding first-generation grad helps pioneer mentoring program

Cami Ciesielski smiling in profile picutre

Cami Ciesielski knew she found her state the minute she stepped foot on Colorado State University’s campus. Ciesielski, a human development and family studies major, grew up in Littleton, Colorado, and fell in love with Fort Collins and all of the ways students can get involved at CSU. As a first-generation student, Ciesielski worked to overcome her fears that she would not complete her college degree.

Cami Ciesielski and her mentee smiling in a selfie photo.
Cami Ciesielski, left, and her mentee.

“I had a big adjustment to make coming to CSU, including overcoming that doubt that if no one else in my family could complete college, then I couldn’t either.” Ciesielski said, “Every day I chose to have grit and put my education first.”

With the support of her professors, adviser and community, Ciesielski was able to overcome every challenge that came her way. Her adviser, Amy Shuster, helped Ciesielski navigate the classes that best fit her career goals.

Mentoring students

While at CSU, Ciesielski was a pioneer for the mentoring program in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies for students who identify as being first-generation or students of color. Juniors and seniors in the HDFS mentoring program share their own experiences with their younger mentees. The mentors help their students navigate the University and connect them with people and resources that contribute to their success.

“I loved being a part of the program and truly learned the power of mentorship by being supported by CSU HDFS staff while also mentoring first-year students,” Ciesielski said.

Cami Ciesielski and her mentee hiking at Horsetooth Reservoir
Cami Ciesielski and her mentee hiking at Horsetooth Reservoir.

While at CSU, she also participated in intramural sports. In addition to prepare for graduate school and her career, Ciesielski has worked as a teaching assistant and volunteered in research labs. She is currently working with Professor Matthew Rhodes in the Department of Psychology and his graduate student Hannah Hausman in the Rhodes Memory and Metacognition Lab.

After graduating in December, Ciesielski will be volunteering in the lab she currently works in to help prepare for graduate school. In August, she hopes to begin in a Ph.D. program to study how students learn and the role that memory plays.

“I hope to work in academia and make a difference in students’ lives in the same way that so many people have done for me at CSU,” Ciesielski said.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is a part of the CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

Read about more of the outstanding graduates in the College of Health and Human Sciences.