College of Education

My life at CSUMB: Angie Davis lost the derby but gained a home

Student testimonial: Angie Davis

Angie Davis stands near the wishing tree on the CSUMB campus. | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

October 19, 2023

By Mark Muckenfuss

Covid took away Angie Davis’ dream of being a roller derby queen. 

She had her wheels, she had her derby name – Baby Face – but, come the pandemic, she had no teammates, no track and no crowd. 

Fortunately, Davis, of Paso Robles, had another dream. And she is well on her way to becoming an elementary school teacher as a fourth-year liberal studies major at CSU Monterey Bay. A transfer student from Cuesta College, she came to CSUMB, in part, because once she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she can earn her master’s degree while simultaneously working on her teaching credential. 

“I knew the education program was pretty good at CSUMB,” Davis said. “It is definitely what I was looking for and more.” 

That extra element is the family she found. 

“I feel the community is one of the biggest things here,” she said. “The atmosphere is more helpful than competitive. Here, we all help each other.”

And it’s not just her fellow students who she feels that way about. Davis, who wed her high school sweetheart two years ago and lives in married student housing, said she has felt the same level of care and support from her instructors. 

“When I was having a hard time my first semester, my professor, Aimee Escalante, saw I was struggling. She reached out and said I could go to the Personal Growth and Counseling Center for help.”

Davis took her advice and was soon coping better. CSUMB’s nurturing environment has changed her outlook. 

“It’s helped me break out of my shell,” she said. “Before, I couldn’t talk in front of a classroom. My nerves were very shaky. Now, I feel like I can talk to anyone and not be the quiet, mousey person I was.”

The support she’s found through friends, professors and mentors, “makes me feel more open and accepted,” she said. "It definitely boosts my confidence.”

Part of her cloistered nature came from years of difficulty as a student.  

“I struggled with reading and wanting to read,” she said, adding that she deliberately chose a degree where she could help others avoid the same issue. “My emphasis is on literature so I can teach children how to love to read.”

Outside the campus office where Davis works part time is the CSUMB Wishing Tree. Slips of paper that students have tied to the tree’s branches flutter and spin when there is a breeze. It’s a reminder for Davis that many of her own wishes have already come true. Others lie ahead, such as turning kids on to books. 

Once she completes her credential with CSUMB, she expects that wish will also be realized. And who knows? Maybe she’ll even get the chance to skate again.