Colleen Supan has long been an advocate for other people. Supan, who graduated high school in 1993, will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado State University this month. While her path to that degree has been non-traditional, her legacy is one of outreach and support.
“Colleen has an energy and excitement about her education that is contagious,” said Kelli Gupton, an academic success coordinator in the Department of Psychology in the College of Natural Sciences. “I really appreciate her willingness to share her experiences with other students, so they can learn from her.”
Right out of high school, Supan intended to be a professional drummer, and was on a record label in her hometown of San Francisco
“I played around with a ska band and a few punk bands,” she said. “When that ended, I became an intranet producer for a dot-com in the Bay Area … Working in the music industry in L.A. is yucky and not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle, or even a future, so I knew I had to do something else.”
Several years switching between different industries wasn’t enough.
“I realized I really needed to change a lot about my life, including working to help people instead of just making money for other people and getting laid off every couple of years,” she said. “I had an opportunity to move to Colorado, so I did. I waited a year after moving to get residency, and then started college with gusto and a goal.”
Supan’s college career began at the University of Northern Colorado, where she studied folk and bluegrass music and psychology. Her girlfriend at the time was a graduate student at CSU, and when Supan visited her, she fell in love with the campus.
When she started at CSU, she was determined to take advantage of the many educational resources and opportunities available to her achieve her goal, even while she balanced demands from several jobs as well as her studies.
“I was more than thankful for all of the tutoring resources CSU offers,” she said. “Between [math tutoring through] PACe, TILT, the chemistry tutoring center, and Statistics Success Center, I was given the confidence to understand that I’m capable of expanding my mind more than I have my whole life. Without this help, I don’t think I could’ve done it.”
Supan is a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society and served as a mentor for Campus Connections, an experience that furthered her interest in working with people. She considers her time at CSU transformational, both academically and personally.
“Being a mentor and mentor coach for Campus Connections also changed my life for the better in many ways,” she said. “I recommend anyone from all majors to spend a semester being a mentor with Campus Connections.”
After graduation, Supan will be heading to the University of Denver to work toward a master’s in social work.
“I’d like to be involved in bridging gaps between low-income families, social support, and corporations or organizations who want to be philanthropic through technology and access to resources,” she said. “This includes working with youth in communities, restorative justice, and building skills and motivation outside of school hours. Helping our youth avoid drug dependency and school dropout rates would be my main focuses.”