Group photo of new students and Colorado Mesa alumni members at the Denver student send-off event
Incoming students and their families gathered with CMU alumni for a new student send-off event in Denver.


Meet some of our newest Mavs

Most incoming college freshmen are a bundle of nerves and excitement as they prepare to leave their family, friends and hometown for the first time. It is an exciting but challenging time for a lot of students especially when a student has chosen a school that is four or more hours away from their home. That is why the CMU Admissions Office teamed up with CMU Alumni Association to host new student send-off events in Denver and southern and northern California this past July.

These events gave incoming freshmen and their families a chance to meet other incoming students and speak with alumni about what college life is like and, more specifically, what life as a Maverick is like.  

Meet a few of these students below and learn what brought them to Mesa, what they are most excited or nervous about or what goals they have set for their first year at college.


Ostins Gailis
Denver, Colorado
Political Science

“I was born in Europe, in a small country called Latvia. I lived there for about 12 or 13 years. Then after that my mom worked in international schools in Beijing, China, for two years and then we moved to Indonesia for another two years. We moved to Denver for my last year of high school. A large part of moving around and living internationally is I had a chance to meet and know a lot of embassy kids. I learned a lot about diplomats and their duties overseas and I became interested in politics. Moving to the U.S. last year I became very interested in the political election. I wanted to learn more about the political system here in the U.S., and ultimately I hope to end up in a diplomat position.”

Monica Stegall
Frederick, Colorado
Undeclared but interested in counseling/psychology

“I toured Mesa my freshmen year with my dad and absolutely fell in love with the campus. The atmosphere is just fantastic and I really thought Grand Junction could be a home for me. I’m actually not nervous at all. I guess the only thing I’m a little nervous about is leaving my mom for the first time in 18 years.”

Full length photo of new student Ostins Full length photo of new student Monica

Southern California

Emily Waner
Redlands, California
Graphic Design

“I actually wanted to get out of California. I wanted to go to a school that had a cooler climate and four seasons if possible. I was looking for a school with a lot of outdoor activities and sports. My dad soon came across CMU and suggested that we visit. I had no idea what to expect but little did I know I was going to fall in love. I fell in love with the people, students on campus and locals in the town, the outdoor program and how affordable everything was. A few things caught my attention like the classroom size and how the professors will get to know you, rather than just being another kid in the classroom. I've loved everything about the school so far and I've been waiting two years to finally call myself a Maverick and I couldn't be happier or more excited.”

Ethan Petersen
Beaumont, California

“My goals would be to make new friends and make new connections, and have as much fun as I possibly can while still getting my work done. My roommate and I have been talking for forever, since we first found out we were roommates. He’s from Golden, Colorado, and he’s already invited me to come home with him on the weekends he heads over there.  The one thing I’m going to miss is the Mexican food and In and Out.”

New student Emily holds up the Maverick salute hand gesture New student Ethan holds up a Maverick salute hand gesture

Northern California

George Puamau
Redwood City, California
Mechanical Engineering

“My cousin currently attends CMU right now and we were chatting it up and he told me about CMU - how it was a small university but a good university where everyone gets along. He said the environment is good, the classes are good and smaller. That’s perfect for me because I like small classrooms because I feel more comfortable. I’m open to anything and everything, which is why I was thinking of joining the Polynesian club and rugby. I just want to get involved and get out of my comfort zone.”

Kacie Hennessy
Concord, California
Criminal Justice

“I chose CMU because I was excited about the Forensic Psychology minor and from talking to people on campus that I already knew, I could tell it was a good fit for me. My biggest goal for my freshman year would be to put myself out there more, whether it be a new sport or club, I just want to fully embrace being in a new place by myself.”

New student George holds up Maverick salute hand gesture New student Kacie holds up the Maverick salute hand gesture

Media Contact

David Ludlam, Director of Public Relations

970.248.1868 (o)

970.433.2178 (c)