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Chico State

Introducing Chloe Koschnick: 2023 Lt. Rawlins Merit Scholarship Recipient

Chloe Koschnick
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Chloe Koschnick, one of the 2022-2023 recipients of the Lieutenant Robert Merton Rawlins Merit Award, is photographed on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 in Chico, Calif. Each year, faculty members nominate students based on their scholarship, involvement in extracurricular activities, and outstanding accomplishments. Nominations are based on these standards, along with evidence of students’ sincere intent to complete their education, increase their personal knowledge, and to achieve success in every aspect of their lives. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/Chico State)

In the coming weeks, we will be celebrating the accomplishments and stories behind this year’s Lt. Rawlins Merit Scholarship Recipients. The award—one of the largest and most prestigious at Chico State—celebrates scholarship, extracurricular activities, and outstanding academic, and professional accomplishments.

Perhaps no better job descriptor would be befitting of Chloe Koschnick than “curiosity guide.” The second-year computer science major lives out her intrigue in the world in not only her studies and co-curricular activities but in her work at the Gateway Science Museum, where she educates museum guests, sets up and maintains exhibits, leads field trips of elementary school students, and operates its robotics and technical equipment.

“I have a pretty big interest in STEM education, and outdoor education and museums are a great way for nontraditional learning to happen,” she said. “It’s really cool watching people learn about fascinating things—especially kids.”

One of Koschnick’s passions is inclusivity and accessibility in STEM. Over the last four years, she has worked for Project SHARE in the Shasta County Office of Education, helping instruct students on building Lego robots, planning and teaching STEM activities to K­–8th graders, and encouraging students’ curiosity through outdoor education. She’s vice president of the Chico State’s Women’s Chapter of the  Association for Computing Machinery and is a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international honor society in the computing and information disciplines.

When not immersed in her coursework, Koschnick is wholeheartedly committed to community service, with her contributions through the years spanning Whiskeytown Environmental School, events with the Society of Women Engineers, the Chico Animal Shelter, and fostering kittens through the Spay, Neuter & Protect Program and Forever United in Rescue.

Professor Ben Juliano first met Koschnick through the Gateway Science Museum, where she connected him with quadruped robots. Since then, she has excelled in some of his most demanding classes, and as a female student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a male-dominated field, she continues to overcome disadvantageous circumstances to pursue her dream, he said.

“Chloe embodies what it means to be a [Rawlins honoree]—a passion to learn, succeed, and a desire to help those around her succeed as well,” he said.

What does this scholarship mean to you?

It’s an opportunity to continue my education and finish my classes on time by making sure I take enough units each semester (by taking off some financial pressure). And it makes me feel encouraged. As a woman in STEM, it’s difficult to convince yourself you belong and overcome imposter syndrome. Being recognized for something like this reinforces a sense of belonging in this department and at Chico State.

Why did you choose Chico State?

Honestly, it wasn’t first on my list. But we came to visit and I loved it. I’m from Redding, so it’s similar but a little more laid back, and I love how much nature there is and that I can go hike on the weekends. The vibe of the town was different than I expected and I felt like I could really find my place here. And the computer science and engineering programs here seemed better developed and more expansive. It wasn’t important having a well-known school but to have a school that would definitely prepare me for jobs in the industry.

Tell us something not on your resume.

I’m a pretty creative person. I sew a lot of my own clothes, and I have a lot of fiber arts and crafts. It’s a way to combine left and right brain. It’s creative but you also have a set structure and logical steps. And it’s neat how those pan out and you physically make something. A lot of those arts are lost too, especially with folks my age.

What’s been one of your favorite moments of college so far?

Last year, I got to go to a conference with the [Association for Computing Machinery Women] club that I’m now vice president of. It was really neat to find a community with that club, and to take a trip and go to a conference that was built for people like me—women in computer science and engineering—and to get a taste of what it is like for us in the industry.