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Katie Hughes

Bachelor of Arts: Politics & Economics: Sustainability Studies

Honors

Magna Cum Laude

Hometown

Pilot Hill, California

My Greatest Supporters

All my love and my deepest gratitude are extended to Samuel Hughes and Suzette Sepaspour, for being the home I can always come back to. To Rosie and Hunter, for the unconditional love and life lessons. To Jenny and Mike, for the infinite support. To Olivia Hardt, for all the advice. To Grandma Hughes, the Knight family, Kayla Martain, and my best friend Paris.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Some of my favorite memories are taking a fencing class freshman year, rollerskating around campus in the wee hours of the morning, going to late-night with my gals, running on the path across from campus, taking a hip-hip class, going camping & road tripping (Joshua Tree, Fort Bragg, SLO, Anza Borrego), watching tVD, and getting drinks with the two best friends that anyone could have.

My Next Chapter

This summer I have the honor of interning with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. I will then attend either law school or graduate school before pursuing a career that combines my love for the environment with the pursuit of justice. I hope to spend my twenties enjoying nature, reading good literature, talking about politics, immersing myself in stories, and dancing.

Clubs and Activities

Sales Professional at Tiffany and Company (2018-2021)

Favorite Quote

"What do we wish for? To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from”
— Terry Tempest Williams
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Jessenia Pastran

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Minor

Law and Society

Honors

Magna Cum Laude

Hometown

Stockton, California

My Greatest Supporters

My greatest supporters have been my mom, dad, brother, and grandmother. They are the first ones I have to thank. Some other supporters I have to thank have been my childhood best friend, Joana, and my friends from SMC like Odaliz, Maile, and Sarahi, and many others. Thank you all for your love and support, especially when I doubted myself all those times.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Living on campus with my suitemates in Ageno East and the late-night food runs during the weekdays and the fun weekend trips to San Francisco. I also won't forget the many times the fire alarm would randomly go off and how everyone in the building would all have to wait outside, and how we would all laugh. I'll remember that forever.

My Next Chapter

I plan on starting my internship at the Stockton Younger Women's Task Force in their public relations department. I also plan on applying to law schools in the Fall to hopefully achieve my dream of being a sports attorney in the future.

Clubs and Activities

Saint Mary's Honors Program
Phi Kappa Phi
The National Society of Leadership and Success
Peer Advocates in Wellness

Favorite Quote

“I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.”
— Florence Nightingale

Ivett Arellano

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Honors

Summa Cum Laude

Hometown

Winters, CA

My Greatest Supporters

To my parents Lucy & Francisco, my boyfriend Christopher, best friends Sophia, Olivia, Julia, Aeriel, & the rest of my family and friends - thank you for all your love & support! Also, thank you to Philip Goodwin, Prof. Mindy Thomas, & Prof. Ahnen for encouraging my interests in politics, public policy & law. Your impact on my education & future goals will not be forgotten!

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Being accepted to the Panetta Institute for Public Policy as a Congressional Intern. While I was not able to complete the D.C. portion of my internship due to Covid, I intend on making it out to D.C. in the near future!

My Next Chapter

After taking time to gain work experience, I aspire to attend graduate school in Washington, D.C. to study K-12 education policy & reform. My dream job would be as a lobbyist for the American Federation of Teachers or the National Education Association, before becoming a professor of education!

Clubs and Activities

Student Ambassador
Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society
Surfrider Foundation
KSMC 89.5

Favorite Quote

"I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade."
— Hattie White
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Heather Charlton

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Hometown

Carmel, California
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Garrick Garcia

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Minor

Philosophy

Hometown

Los Angeles, California

Emily Conway

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Minor

Anthropology

Honors

Summa Cum Laude

Hometown

Fairfax, California

My Greatest Supporters

Thank you-
Mom and Granny: for weekend visits, the words of support, and the home-cooked meals right when I needed them!
Bryce, Jim, and of course Jo Kranzthor: for the incredible gift of my education, and for all the love along the way.
Nikki and Sophie: for being there for me through chaos and calm.
Legacy Lee, Patrizia Longo, Mindy Thomas, Anna Corwin: for inspiring me every day.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Any and all time in the IC. Learning together, ranting together, studying together, growing together (napping together on the beanbags) - I love you all dearly <3

My Next Chapter

I'll be working full time in the Labor movement, as the Research and Policy Associate with the North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO. I'm also looking forward to applying to law schools in the next year!

Clubs and Activities

Intercultural Development Leader at The Intercultural Center

Favorite Quote

All the elements in your body were forged many, many millions of years ago in the heart of a far-away star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolation of deep space. After so, so many millions of years these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe.
— Doctor Who S7 Ep7

Dominic Tognotti

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Minor

Theology and Religious Studies

Hometown

Belmont. California

My Greatest Supporters

My greatest supporters have been my parents, siblings, grandparents, family and friends. I have had such amazing supporters throughout my undergraduate experience and I am forever grateful to them for their love, support, and advice.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

My favorite memories during college have been the quality time spent with friends and the many conversations I have had with faculty, staff, and the Brothers.

Clubs and Activities

Lasallian Peer Minister for GaelPantry
SMC Knights of Columbus
Dante Club

Favorite Quote

"Just give me a thumbs up so I know you guys are here."
— Teachers on zoom

Christopher Harris

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Minor

History

Honors

Summa Cum Laude
Thurgood Marshall
Valedictorian

Hometown

Roseville, California

Award Bio

Christopher Harris was born in Roseville, California. At Saint Mary’s, he majored in Politics with a minor in History, developing a passion for foreign affairs. After interning on Capitol Hill, he narrowed that passion to counterterrorism and national security. Upon graduation, he plans to work for the federal government in Washington, D.C., as a counterterrorism intelligence officer.

My Greatest Supporters

My greatest supporters were my mom Dianne, my sister Caitlin, and my cousins Evan and Erin. I love you all and couldn't have done this without you! I also want to thank Andy, Patrick, Sophia, Madi, and Philip for always being there to help. And of course, I couldn't have done this last year without my wonderful girlfriend Ivett.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

My favorite memory was learning from Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta at his Institute for Public Policy. Hearing stories of his time in Congress, the OMB, the White House, CIA, and the DoD are all stories and lessons I will never forget. Our subsequent internship in D.C. during President Trump's first impeachment trial was also an experience I will never forget.

My Next Chapter

I have developed a passion for counterterrorism and national security, and I will be seeking positions in the Intelligence Community upon graduation. My dream job is to work at the White House on the National Security Council advising the President about terrorism and great power competition. Ultimately, I want to save lives and protect the country that has given me so much.

Clubs and Activities

Associated Student Government Executive Intern
Associated Student Government Senator
Colleges Against Cancer Club Mission Leader
Politics Tutor
Admissions Office Student Ambassador

Favorite Quote

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
— President Ronald Reagan
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Charlene Chand

Bachelor of Arts: Philosophy & Politics

Hometown

Pittsburg, California

Cesar Ledesma

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Honors

Magna Cum Laude
Professor Hisham Ahmed Award

Hometown

Bay Point, California

Award Bio

Cesar A. Ledesma is graduating magna cum laude with a BA in Politics. He is incredibly honored to be named the first recipient of the Professor Hisham Ahmed Award. The late professor served as an encouraging figure to all of his students and is greatly missed. Professor Ahmed and the Politics Department as a whole supported Cesar throughout the years, and he remains tremendously grateful for the experience. During his time at Saint Mary's College, Cesar participated in SMC's High Potential Program and CILSA's Public Service Internship Program. From these experiences, he has solidified his goal of pursuing his JD and is currently working with social justice organizations in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

My Greatest Supporters

My mom, my brothers, and my girlfriend, Rosanna. They were consistently there for me and supported all of my academic decisions. Without them, I could have not made it this far, and they are the reason why I will continue to thrive. I also owe all of my friends and classmates the credit of constantly challenging me into improving my abilities academically. Special thanks to Sophia!

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Hands down, my favorite SMC memory has to be the time a friend of mine confidently went up to the board to solve the 9 Dots Puzzle challenge and drew three straight lines on the board. She misheard the directions and didn’t know they had to interconnect. It's been almost 2 years and I still find it as funny as it was then.

My Next Chapter

My current goal is to pursue a JD and eventually work in the federal judicial system. I will continue to serve as a Leadership Council Delegate for a non-profit organization in Alameda County and as an academic mentor for underserved middle and high schoolers.

Clubs and Activities

CILSA Public Service Internship Program
High Potential Program
Government Club
Monument Crisis Center
Leadership Council Member at Genesis, An Affiliate of the Gamaliel Network

Favorite Quote

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it."
— Nelson Mandela