Riley Bender, First-Generation College student thrives at CSUSM and seeks to help others

riley3Riley volunteering for César Chávez Day of Service

Riley Bender is a Human Development (HD) major with an emphasis in counseling and graduating this May. 

“I am particularly passionate about working with couples, as well as mastering multicultural competency in the therapy setting and I feel so lucky to have found a campus with such a strong, diverse community.  I  find many corners of this university to call home. I served as an Orientation Team Leader for two years, in which I received the Kindest Orientation Team Leader Award and the Orientation Team Leader of the Year Award, due to the guidance and leadership of my director Christiana Moen and my incredible teammates. I am the President of the HD Club, and the co-founder and President of Tau Sigma Honor Society for transfer students, an organization I am so excited to play a part in since I’m a transfer student too,” says Riley.riley1Riley attends Annual Leadership Dinner hosted by CSUSM President Karen Haynes

Riley is a first-generation college student and currently in the throes of filling out graduate applications. She is hoping to find a Marriage and Family Therapy program she can enter into next Fall.

“My mother did her best to support me in school as I was growing up, but it was difficult,” Riley tells us. “I even ended up at a continuation school for a year in high school but my path helped me to understand how lucky I am to receive a college education. It is the reason I strive to support other students on their own unique path. I am so grateful to have a community and a support system at CSUSM, and I hope to help other students find their place on campus as well.”

riley2Riley with her teammates on Orientation Day