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Centennial Stories


Emily Shearin

My experience at Humboldt State University is a rare one. I transferred from Riverside Community College in southern California, moving 800 miles away from all my friends and family. I discovered that I was pregnant within my first month at Humboldt. Although it turned out to be the greatest blessing in my life, it certainly made for an interesting two years.

My first semester here was the first half of my pregnancy. By looking at me you couldn’t tell I was pregnant, but I certainly felt pregnant. There was lots of morning sickness (which was really all day every day sickness). I would miss classes to go to the doctor, and just couldn’t get enough food in me. Scheduling life was hard, because I was always tired. I even fell asleep in the library multiple times trying to get my homework done.

My second semester at HSU you could definitely tell I was pregnant, and I really began to understand why we call HSU the “Hills and Stairs University.” I was still battling with morning sickness, and being exhausted all the time, but now I could barely fit in the desks. The larger I got the more it seemed like my brain was being taken over by everything baby, and nothing school. Yet, I somehow managed to pull through in all my classes, although it was rare students would see me without food in my hand, or rubbing my ever growing belly. I even had to take some of my finals early so I wouldn’t go into labor before they were finished.

Finally, my sweet baby boy Drew was born, and I took the summer off as maternity leave. However, come Fall I was right back into school with a new born baby at my side. Being a single mother was such a difficult time, but I have always been fortunate that the Anthropology department is a small department and we all care about each other. Over the past two semesters my teachers and fellow students have done nothing but stand by my side and help me raise my son while I finished off my degree.

I was pulled into a close knit community in the Anthropology department, which was full of nothing but love and support. I had students passing my son around taking turns watching him while I was in class, teachers allowing me to bring him into lectures, and an advisor who understood that I had special needs. It has been an interesting journey, some parts much harder than others (ever try to study for exams with a teething infant?), but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I appreciate the wonderful people who have helped me through this journey.

I am graduating 10 days before my son turns one year old, and I hope that the he will always remember the love that have been given to us, and the future that I worked so hard for. I continue my journey by applying for the Master’s program in Applied Anthropology here at Humboldt State, knowing that I will be supported not only as a student, but as a mother.

Roger Bucholtz (’71, Social Sciences)

First week: I was one of the first groups to live in Humboldt Village by the Auto Shop. They put 8 students to a trailer and in our first week. We had numerous water fights and got everything wet, ourselves and the inside of the trailer. One water fight on Friday night, we doused a bus full of high school students going to Redwood Bowl for a football game. The trailer complex flooded during the rains until they put in a central drain.

Favorite professor: Dr. Raymond Barratt was the Dean of Science and when I petitioned to use my science classes for my Social Science degree he counseled me to get a minor in Botany.  He even tutored me in the late afternoon on Organic Chemistry so I could pass Dr. Lovelace’s Plant Physiology class. Dr. Barratt somehow got me accepted in to Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania for a summer program in horticultural, which included students from the most prestigious schools in horticulture like Cornell, Michigan State and Purdue. In the 20 years they had the program, I was probably the only Social Science major they ever allowed.

Favorite class: Plant Taxonomy with Dr. James Payne Smith.  I fell in love with the subject and did very well in the course as well.  I would have gone into the field but Jim said there were no jobs and if I loved plants, I should go into horticulture. And that’s what I did: I got a degree in Ornamental Horticulture from CPSU, San Luis Obispo.

Groups and activities: I was involved with the Newman Club and the California Native Plant society.

Humboldt connection: Humboldt felt like home and I still have a soft spot in my heart for it even though I went on to several other universities, finally getting my masters at UC, Davis in PPPM.

Study: Used to study in the empty classrooms in Founders Hall on weekends or in the library.

Miss about Humboldt: The small intimate classes and the great outdoors.

Graduation: The pits, it was held in the gymnasium as it was raining, it was the first graduation that Cornelius Siemens couldn’t attend and it rained.

Special: I befriended several of the gardeners on campus and became lifelong friends. I still have several close friendships with people I met at HSU.

Deanna Chew (’93, Marine Biology)

First week: It was quite an overwhelming and exciting experience. It was the first time I was so far away from home. I was also excited about starting my journey to earning a biology degree. I had loved biology since I was young, so I knew HSU was the best choice for me because of its location and professors.

Favorite professor: I had two, Dr. Rasmussen, my advisor, and Dr. DeMartini. They both influenced my path toward graduation. Dr. Rasmussen helped me by suggesting I get tested for academic challenges. Thanks to him, I got the assistance I needed for my learning disability. He was also very supportive in encouraging me to never quit on my dream of graduating with a biology degree.  Dr. DeMartini also encouraged me to learn word roots, which was a great skill in biology.

Favorite class: Mammalogy with Dr. Tim Lawlor. I loved studying one of my favorite subjects, mammals. I especially liked the marine mammal skulls and visiting Dr. Lawlor’s property, where he accidentally caught a skunk.

Groups and activities: I was a member of the swim team and the Humboldt Orientation Program class. I also participated in the environmental education volunteer program at the Youth Educational Services building.

Humboldt connection: I feel the most growing up I did as a person was volunteering at the Y.E.S. House with the environmental education program. It allowed me to teach kids about something I loved, while having fun. I also grew up during the retreats with the Humboldt Orientation Program. The retreats really allowed me to look at myself, to be more open and have confidence.

Study: I loved the Fish and Wildlife Student Lounge. I enjoyed the animals around me. I would also study in a small area in between the science buildings, where a professor used to live years ago.

Miss About Humboldt: I miss the Redwood Forest.

Graduation: It was fun. I sat right next to my lab partner from invertebrate zoology. It was nice to have finally graduated. I also had my family and friends there for support. It meant a lot to me. The weather was beautiful.

Special: I feel the personal growth and sense of accomplishment affected me for the rest of my life. I value my time at HSU and will always have fond memories of my time there.

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