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Chico State

Life-Changing Trips and Preparing for a Career in the College of Business

Kristen Chatham stands in front of the Wildcat statue holding a trophy
(Matt Bates / University Photographer)

Your college years are a time of exceptional growth—academically, socially, and philosophically. Who you are on day one is often very different from the person who throws their cap in the air at commencement. As members of the class of 2024 wrap up their time as undergraduates, we’re asking them to share their story of transformation.   

When Kristen Chatham decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and attend Chico State to major in business administration, she never could have dreamed she would get to travel to Hawaii and Amsterdam representing the Seufferlein Sales Program, and to New Orleans with the University’s American Marketing Association (AMA). It was during those trips that she formed close bonds with her classmates, gained invaluable real-world experience, and honed her skills as a budding sales professional.

Those experiences paid off when Chatham won the individual competition at the Western States Sales Competition hosted by the University in March 2024. She bested more than 40 students from universities across the region and was part of the Chico State team that won the group competition. To follow that achievement, she won first place in the undergraduate research poster competition and second place in the AMA sales competition at the 2024 AMA International Collegiate Conference earlier this month.

During her career at Chico State, Chatham developed a reputation among faculty as an extremely hard worker. From day one, she also immersed herself in extracurricular opportunities. From working as communications director for AMA to planning events for the Seufferlein team to participating in the Honors Program, she has seized every opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with faculty and peers.

Chatham is graduating in spring 2024 with a BS in business administration with a double emphasis on marketing and management, and a Professional Sales Certificate. She has secured a job as a system engineer for Palo Alto Networks in Dallas, Texas. 

As the 2024 Outstanding Senior representing the College of Business, we asked Kristen to share her story of overcoming challenges at Chico State.  


In Her Own Words:

“I think the biggest challenge for me was just finding people that I fit in with because I had a full year as a freshman that was all remote because of the pandemic. So, I finally got to Chico as a sophomore and was just trying to figure out who I fit in with and who I could rely on. That is when I really got involved with the Seufferlein Sales Program. It was staffed by a bunch of juniors and seniors, and they mentored me and helped me with everything from figuring out which classes to take, to what I could do around Chico, and what local hikes to go on.

Being involved in extracurricular activities was such a huge outlet for me and helped me get to know new people. Looking back to when I first got to campus, I never could have imagined I’d be this involved in so many things. However, it has helped me grow as an individual and a professional because there’s a big difference between going to classes and learning about the content and then actually going to competitions and conferences and doing content. 

So, if I were to offer any advice for future freshmen, I’d tell them to get involved in as many student clubs and organizations as you can and use those experiences to determine what your path will be.”