The College of Arts and Letters at Cal State San Bernardino will honor three of its outstanding graduating students at its Commencement ceremony at Toyota Arena (formerly known as Citizens Business Bank Arena) in Ontario on Saturday, June 15, at 8 p.m.
The three students are:

  • Frederick Brashear, Outstanding Graduate Student, Master of Fine Arts in studio art;
  • Victoria Porraz, Outstanding Graduate Student, master’s in English composition; and
  • Aubrey Guldemond, Outstanding Undergraduate Student, bachelor’s in English.

For Brashear, who lives in Hesperia, the decision to attend college didn’t initially come easy. At a younger age, Brashear admits to not having the maturity to handle the demands of higher education.
“Later in life, when I finally decided to become resolute about my education, I enrolled in CSUSB,” he said. “Being the only one in my family ever to attempt the level of Master of Fine Arts degree, CSUSB has provided me the blueprint for becoming not only a well-rounded citizen of our society, but a global citizen, encompassing the wholeness of interconnecting with the world on a larger scale.”
Brashear, a resident of Hesperia, credits his parents and his wife for being his inspiration. He also thanks the faculty for their mentorship.
“The various faculty in the Department of Art have taught me to be a better beacon of hope and righteousness in the world, unlocking my potential as a leader,” he said. “Unaware of this potential myself, the faculty recognized and nourished the seeds of growth and helped me mature into a freethinker on a global scale.”
With his MFA, Brashear hopes to become a professor and an accomplished artist.
“The choice to attend California State University, San Bernardino was one of the most life changing decisions ever made,” he said. “CSUSB has provided me with the knowledge to become a critical thinker and has given me the confidence to persevere in the face adversity because of my solid educational foundation.”
Porraz, a first-generation student and Hesperia resident, is no stranger to education – throughout her academic journey, she has earned an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, CLAD credential, administrative credential, and a master’s in curriculum and instruction. She will now add a master’s degree with a dual concentration in English literature and composition to her list.
“I chose my major because I feel a connection with language and words,” she said. “I am a lifelong learner who is fascinated by stories, literary theory and research.”
Porraz thanks Alexandra Cavallaro, assistant professor of English, and Amanda Taylor, lecturer of English, for their mentorship, and her husband and children for inspiring her to continue her education.
“Without all of his love and continuous support, none of this would be possible for me,” she said of her husband.
Porraz credits her education at CSUSB with helping her open a writing center for Granite Hills High School, where she has been teaching since 2001. She will be the director of the center when it opens this August.
“Ours will be only the fourth school in the state to have an official writing center,” she said. “I am proud of what this writing center will mean to our students and to our community when we expand our services after getting our footing.”
In addition to teaching at Granite Hills and becoming director of the new writing center, Porraz also plans to teach composition classes at Victor Valley College.
“CSUSB has breathed new life into my teaching career. My goal was to earn an M.A. so I can teach at the community college. I was ready to leave teaching at the high school where I had been employed for 18 years, but then I was introduced to a new world of writing center theory, and suddenly other possibilities opened up for me. I am excited to see this writing center project grow and expand,” she said. “I am proud to be a graduate of CSUSB. This university has been a large part of my life for many years and it has helped me find a second career within a field that I truly love.”
Guldemond’s academic journey began more than 20 years ago, but she says she would continually hold herself back, admitting that she was not a very good student. Despite her initial struggles, the Yucaipa resident pushed herself academically and says she is happy how far she has come.  
“I am most proud of the quality of work I have been able to produce,” she said. “I was never a good student in my youth, and I have now proven to myself I am able to achieve and maintain a high standard if I put my mind to it.”
Guldemond, who lives in Yucaipa, not only completed her degree for herself, but also for her children.
“Although it sounds cliché, my hard work is for my children. Not only so I can provide a better life for them, but to be a role model and hopefully inspire them to become the best versions of themselves,” she said. “I honestly believe that I would not have been as successful at Cal State San Bernardino if it wasn’t for them and the support of my husband.”
Guldemond hopes to use her writing skills in a government agency or working in politics.
“I have a passion for voter rights and I am hopeful I can use the skills I have gained to find an organization which can help secure voting rights for every American citizen,” she said.
“Attending CSUSB has given me a sense of hope for, not only my future, but the future of the country. The other students I have worked alongside with are intelligent, caring, open-minded and hardworking,” she said. “They have given me an opportunity to see a younger generation for who they really are, not just the stereotype. I have absolute faith that they will lead us into the future with love and grace.”
For more information about the June 2019 Commencement ceremonies, visit the Commencement website. All of the ceremonies at Toyota Arena will be livestreamed.
Visit the College of Arts and Letters website to learn more about its programs.