Anna Nazarian-Peters, coordinator of Student Life and Development, believes in everything about her office, especially its title.
“Our name is Student Life and Development,” explained the Lakewood resident who joined the university as a student in 1992 on her way to a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies: multicultural studies and a certificate in peace studies. “We not only work with students to plan events but we want to help them develop as people. As our former campus president Dr. Robert Maxson once said, ‘If all you do at CSULB is go to class, then you’re not getting a full education.’ That’s where we come in. We help students learn how to work well with others, how to communicate, how to resolve conflicts and basically, how to become good leaders. We want our students to have all these attributes; we want our students to be well-rounded individuals.”
As a Student Life and Development coordinator, Nazarian-Peters advises and provides program support to cultural, political/social action and religious clubs. She first joined the university workforce while a student, working as a peer advisor at the Educational Opportunity Program. She arrived at the SLD office to replace a former coordinator who was on maternity leave. What began in 1999 as a three-month substitution became an 11-year position.
“I love the groups I work with,” she said. “I really appreciate working with them. I learn something from them every day. I’m always asking questions and I’m always learning. I enjoy watching our students grow from their initial SLD involvement to accomplished scholars at the completion of their degrees during commencement each May. When students return to visit us at SLD with their children and families, it shows me that in some minor way we’ve had an impact on their lives that’s significant enough that they want to remain in contact with us. This is what makes being a coordinator of Student Life and Development such a rewarding position.”
Cultural events and festivals are business as usual for Nazarian-Peters. “We assist student organizations in organizing events such as the annual CSULB Pow Wow, the largest spring event of its kind in Southern California; the Cambodian and Vietnamese Culture Shows; the Pacific Islander Luau; and several high school outreach events, just to mention a few,” she explained. “Our religious and political/social action student organizations bring in speakers and organize conferences. It can mean striking a balance between the needs of the student organization and those who may disagree with the content of the event. This can be one of the challenges of my position; supporting the students implementing their event on one hand and rationalizing to others who oppose the event. Our regulations, rights and policies are all true, not for just one group, but for all.”
When she isn’t promoting culture at CSULB, Nazarian-Peters enjoys the outdoors, reading, sewing and beading for her husband and daughter’s American Indian dance regalia. A summer weekend saw the family camping at Zion National Park.
“I believe in education and especially higher education,” she said. “I love working in Student Life and Development and I hope to continue for many years to come. I appreciate the interaction with so many different departments, faculty, staff, administration members, and ultimately, I value our students.”