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Reaching Out: Alumni Adopt Community Colleges

Tad Mason, past president of the Cal Alumni Foresters, didn’t spend four years at Cal. He transferred to CNR from the College of the Siskiyous, and now he’s working to encourage today’s ambitious community college students to come to Cal as junior transfers, just like he did in 1977. And he’s recruiting other alumni to help.

“I thought it would make a lot of sense for alumni living in other parts of the state to approach community colleges, get to know the forestry instructors and counselors, remind that there’s a forestry program at Cal, and that it’s robust and world-class,” Mason said. With help from Assistant Dean Monica Lin and Associate Dean Lynn Huntsinger, Mason founded the Cal Alumni Foresters' Adopt a Community College Program. Started in the fall of 2004, the program matches up a dozen forestry alumni volunteers with community colleges throughout California. Each volunteer adopts a college, comes in to visit with students, tells them about CNR’s forestry and natural resources programs, and answers their questions about forestry careers.

The response so far has been enthusiastic; in fact, the College of the Siskiyous is so excited about the program that it is considering ways to dovetail its forestry curriculum with CNR’s, so that transfer students who are admitted into the forestry and natural resources major can make a smooth transition.

"Foresters aren't the only ones who can benefit from this type of outreach," said Lin, who leads many of CNR’s recruiting efforts. “Alumni from any of our majors are welcome to join College and campus representatives at information fairs or other similar events to share their experiences as CNR undergraduates."

As vice president of forestry services at TSS Consultants (a leading a renewable energy, natural resource management, and financial consulting firm) Mason’s goal is to give transfer students the same opportunity CNR gave him.

“My education and experiences at Cal allowed me to succeed in the rather narrow field of forestry,” says Mason. “I feel that if other students out there only knew what Cal had to offer, they could experience the same success. That’s really what I’d like to see.”

-Catherine Price

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