So, how does a Fresno State dean’s medalist decide to reward himself following four years of college?
In the case of Brandon Sepúlveda, it will be spending two years with the Peace Corps in Tanzania teaching math.
The 22-year-old Sanger native will earn his bachelor degree in business administration and a minor in public health with a 3.84 GPA. He is the dean’s medalist from the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Going into the Peace Corps didn’t come out of the blue. His cousin, Gaddi Vásquez became the first Latino to head the Peace Corps when he was appointed to the post in 2002. The former Orange County supervisor, a Republican, served in that post until 2006.
“When a Peace Corps recruiter came to campus last March, a friend asked me to go,” said Sepúlveda, a 2014 graduate of Sanger High School. “That got me interested again.”
Sepúlveda would chat about the Peace Corps with his cousin from time to time.
“My cousin said it was a beautiful place,” Sepúlveda said about Tanzania. Sepúlveda did not request a specific place when he signed up. He will leave on July 8.
Traveling overseas is nothing new for Sepúlveda, the son of Richard and Alice Sepúlveda. His father retired from Sanger Unified, and his mother retired after 20 years working at a bank. He has a brother at Fresno State.
As college students and as citizens, we need to be informed about the issues facing us as a country. It contributes as well to classes.
Brandon Sepúlveda, Fresno State dean’s medalist from the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Sepúlveda would like to become a health care administrator, having spent internships at Community Hospital as a sophomore, and later at Bakersfield’s Omni Family Health.
“I got to work in the ER and ICU,” he said about his experience at the downtown Fresno hospital. He worked as a technology trainer for doctors, and helped 1,600 sign up for an app.
“That got me interested in health care,” he said.
Sepúlveda served as Fresno State’s student body executive vice president and vice president for finance. A news junkie, he also convinced the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to provide free digital subscriptions to Fresno State students.
“It’s important for us as citizens to be informed,” said Sepúlveda, who noticed an uninformed population when he visited China. “Nobody really asked questions of the state government.”
Sepúlveda said gathering as much information as possible is a vital part of the college learning environment.
“As college students and as citizens, we need to be informed about the issues facing us as a country,” he said. “It contributes as well to classes.”
Last August, Sepúlveda spent 11 days in China along with three other Fresno State students selected by president Joseph I. Castro for a trip that included stops in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Sepúlveda was also active in looking at how outreach efforts increased the number of underrepresented minority students entering the university.
For him, going to college was never in question.
While college counselors steered top students to a UC or a major university, Sepúlveda was happy to go to Fresno State as a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College. He was accepted to UC Irvine, UC Riverside and other colleges.
“A friend of mine started at Brown University, and he ended up not liking it,” said Sepúlveda.
He said Fresno and Sanger “have always been home.”
“Fresno State is a good school with a lot of opportunities for students,” said Sepúlveda.