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Foundations of Success

For First-Year Freshman

First-year freshmen select a First-Year Pathway of courses which includes a set of courses that are part of a Learning Community.  At the "hub" of the pathway is the set of Foundations of Success courses (General Studies 101A in the fall semester and GS 101B in the spring semester), in which students form lasting connections and friendships and discover their path together.  From day one, the GS Foundations of Success courses build students' sense of community and camaraderie which serve as the bedrock for the First-Year Experience at CSUEB.  

The primary goals of the GS Foundations of Success are to support students in

  • building networks and communities of support
  • developing self-agency and growth mindset
  • practicing strategies for college success
  • finding and using campus resources
  • engaging in community (campus and beyond)
  • understanding major and GE requirements
  • planning for sophomore year and beyond  

For First-Year Transfer Students

First-year transfer students may pursue a special transfer learning community within a transfer student program.   At the core of these transfer learning communities is a set of General Studies courses.   The primary mission of these GS courses is to build community and networks of support for new transfer students at CSUEB. 

For more information on these programs and learning communities, visit the following CSUEB websites:

  • Transfer Student Programs.  Hub for several programs and communities for transfer students. 
  • GANAS (Gaining Access 'N Academic Success).  Learning community and support services with Latino/a-themed academic content.  Open to all transfer students.  
    • GS 331 Community Engagement and Leadership Seminar for GANAS I (Fall semester)
    • GS 332 Community Engagement and Leadership Seminar for GANAS II (Spring semester)
  • Sankofa Scholars Program.  Open to all transfer students, providing a supportive learning community and services that focus on African Diaspora Studies.    
    • GS 321 Strategies for Success in College and Career I (Fall semester)
    • GS 322 Strategies for Success in College and Career II (Spring semester) 
  • TAPASS (Transfer Asian Pacific American Student Success).  Promotes the academic, cultural, and personal successes of Asian Pacific American transfer students.  
    • GS 321 Strategies for Success in College and Career I (Fall semester)
    • GS 322 Strategies for Success in College and Career II (Spring semester) 

GS Faculty Bios

Diana Firestone
Darrol Hughes

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I joined Cal State East Bay as the Athletic Academic Advisor in 2015-16 after just over a year at Utah State University serving as the Football Academic Coordinator. My primary role at East Bay is to work with the student-athletes to ensure eligibility and on-time graduation through proper class scheduling and to support their academic endeavors.

Prior to my time at Utah State, I spent the previous six years as an Academic Support Coordinator at Army West Point, working with the men's and women's basketball, men's lacrosse, and men's and women's soccer, softball, and football programs.

Before Army, I spent the 2007 season as the tight ends coach at Columbia University in New York City. Prior to that, I served as a coach and academic/life skills coordinator for the football team at Western New England University. During that time, I earned my master's degree in athletic counseling from nearby Springfield College.

I was a three-year starter and center for the University of Connecticut football team, where I earned my bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology and helped the Huskies to a Motor City Bowl win in the first ever bowl appearance in 2004.

Although I am originally from Fairfax, VA., my wife and daughters and I reside in San Leandro.

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Mariaelena Marcano serves CSU East Bay as the Internships Coordinator.  Mariaelena has an extensive background working in higher education. A native to San Francisco and the East Bay, Mariaelena earned a BA in Broadcast Communications from San Francisco State University. While earning her Master in Education - Equity and Social Justice degree at San Francisco State University. Mariaelena served as the Academic Advising Specialist for the Office of Undergraduate Advising then served as Academic Advisor and Coordinator of New Student Orientation and Retention Services. It was in this role that she discovered a passion for Student Affairs and Student Leadership.

Mariaelena is committed to helping students by giving them the necessary tools so that they can advocate for themselves to be successful during their academic and life journey.  It is through her role as the Internship Coordinator at CSU East Bay that she has developed campus wide internship compliance processes and guidelines for faculty, staff, students, and employers.  Serving as an Adjunct for General Studies teaching GS 398/498/698 Internship courses throughout the year allows her to continue to support students in researching, applying for, and confirming an internship placement for academic credit.   

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Hello and welcome the Cal State East Bay. My name is Gerardo Ureno Sotelo and I serve as professor and counselor for the Gaining Access & Academic Success (GANAS) program. Prior to my current role in GANAS I worked as a counselor and success coach for over 10 year at the University of San Francisco.

I received my B.S degree in Information System Management from the Technical Institute of Zacatecas, Mexico. After completing my undergraduate degree I attended the University of San Francisco where I received my M.S degree in Organization Development and Doctorate degree in Education in Organization and Leadership.

My Ed.D dissertation and research interest focuses on the exploration and evaluation of Higher Ed programs and services supporting underserved student populations. My professional experience has provided me with extensive knowledge working with transfer students from diverse student groups including; Latinx, first generation, combat veterans, active service, dreamers, low income, accessibility, adult learners, and non-traditional college students.

In addition to my positon with the GANAS program I also serve as Dream.US scholar adviser and scholarship eligibility coordinator.

I look forward to meeting you!

Andrew Pasquinelli

 Andrew is a lecturer at Cal State East Bay, where he develops pillars of success for incoming first-year students, including the creation of software which aids in increasing retention of second-year students.

Andrew holds a master's in computer science, which he used to develop his own business in restoring computing technology for computer use. In addition to owning a business, he has developed software technology to assist students; giving probabilities, projections and calculation for courses that effectively increase student success in them.

Recently Andrew launched a web-based scanger hunt that uses a combination of today's technologies along with concepts of kinesthetics to create an interactive environment to pass along information; increasing user knowledge in concepts such as critical thinking and time management.

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