Each of the 1,300 Mihaylo College students graduating this month have a story and impact all their own, part of the diversity that makes Cal State Fullerton special. A few of the business students of the class of 2018 share some thoughts to inspire and challenge their fellow graduates, as well as students who may have a few years to go before they don their caps and gowns.

Annalei Marshall ’18, a Mihaylo College finance graduate.Annalei Marshall ’18

A finance graduate, Marshall is a ticket sales and service agent for The Walt Disney Company, one of many Mihaylo College students to gain professional development from Orange County’s largest employer.

At age 18, my mom encouraged me to fly to California from Seattle to follow my dreams.

In the middle of midterms during my freshman year, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Liana. Whether or not you had a child while in college, this principle is always true: You can’t be successful without the love and support of others.

Let’s be thankful for all the faculty members who went the extra mile to help us out. Let’s keep it going for all the parents, siblings and significant others who put up with our busy schedules and late night study sessions.

Once you walk away from commencement, find those people who helped you get here and give them the best hug you’ve ever given someone. Thank them and appreciate them.

And remember: You might feel like saying “I made it!” but you are just getting started.

Identical twins Elizabeth and Rachel Mueller '18, part of the 2018 Mihaylo College graduating class.Elizabeth and Rachel Mueller ’18

Elizabeth, a service and credit analyst at Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, earned her B.A. in finance, while her identical twin sister, Rachel, a social media marketer for Yamaha, earned her undergrad degree in marketing.

We grew up in a family of eight, so money was always tight and we thought college was out of the picture. However, we knew we wanted to better our future so we took the chance.

Fast-forward four years later, and we are the first in our family to graduate from college. What seemed impossible became possible and is one of our great milestones. Although it feels like the end, it is just the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Looking to the future, we know there will be failure, but that’s OK, because every time you fail, you learn and become a stronger person. Never let hard moments keep you down, let it be a motivation to go that extra mile and never give up.

Steve Haddadin '18, a Mihaylo College accounting and finance grad.Steve Haddadin ’18

A real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Service California Properties and founder of Redline Exotic Cars, a dealership specializing in exotic European automobiles, Haddadin earned his undergrad degree in accounting and finance. As a student, he was president of the Real Estate Association and treasurer of the Financial Planning Association.

I am thankful to have received a well-rounded education at Cal State Fullerton and to have spent it with a remarkable group of people. I’m grateful to my parents, professors and counselors for being supportive along the way. I am also thankful for the international students from China, India, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland whom I had the pleasure of connecting with and being enriched with their perspectives.

As a high school graduate at age 16, I adapted to the college setting years before many other business students did. Until I reached my senior year, I was younger than many of the incoming freshmen. My classmates were very supportive and helped me grow as a person.

I cannot stress how much of a difference getting involved in student clubs has had on my life. My experience serving on the boards of two great organizations has not only honed my leadership skills, but also given me the rewarding sensation of helping people make a difference. I look forward to being a generous alumnus of CSUF.

My mantra is “be obsessed or be average,” which means I believe in taking something, focusing strongly on it, and working on it until I reach my goal. Of course, along the road will come obstacles, discouragements and moments of despair. But as long as you stay focused, you will reach your destination.

Mihaylo College Entertainment and Hospitality grad Trish Kao '18.

Trish Kao ’18

Kao is a very career-focused entertainment and hospitality management grad who was involved in Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE), a co-ed marketing and sales fraternity, while a student at Mihaylo College. Continuing a PSE tradition, she has raised funds for the Alzheimer’s Association as a marketing volunteer.

We should remind ourselves that each and every one of us has a purpose, something to contribute to society, our own core competency that no one else can replicate. Whenever you believe that you are not enough, remind yourself that you are and that you are your biggest fan. You have huge potential deep inside of you waiting to come out.

Mihaylo College accounting and human resource management grad Celia Gonzalez Arellano '18.

Celia Gonzalez Arellano ’18

Earning a B.A. in accounting and human resource management, Arellano is a community liaison for the La Habra City School District.

Many of us, coming from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and gender backgrounds, have struggled daily to come to class because of concerns such as transportation, finances and physical issues. As hard as those times were, we continued and persevered, and now we are reaping the benefits.

As we move forward and land jobs that will build our career capital and establish a growth mindset, we want to say “thank you” to the people who supported us through the all-nighters, caffeine-loaded days, supplemental instruction sessions and Saturday classes.


Congratulations to the class of 2018! We wish you all the best in your future!