The Institute for Holistic Health Studies

Our Students

Since Holistic Health Studies is not an SFSU major our 'grads' come from all of the colleges on campus. This diversity of student backgrounds adds to the holistic perspective in each class. Our students take classes to earn a minor, GE Segment II & III credit, a Holistic Health Studies Certificate, work with faculty in research or as teaching assistants, or doing university and community service work. We are honored to work with the inspired and motivated students who come through our program. Here is a snapshot of a few of them who embody the IHHS motto of being Awake-Engaged-Alive.

HHS Student Profiles

Abbie Scianamblo (SFSU, 2001)
Abbie Scianamblo holds a BS in Industrial Design (2001), with an emphasis in product design, and a Certificate in Holistic Health Studies from San Francisco State University. With a passion for food, health and sustainable living, after graduating from San Francisco State she continued her holistic health studies at the California College of Ayurveda and the Kerala Ayurveda Academy. Integrating the food wisdom of Ayurveda and inspired by her Tuscan roots of growing olives, Abbie co-founded Sorelle Paradiso Estate Organic Olives & Extra Virgin Olive Oil. One of a handful of certified organic California olive producers, Abbie transitioned her family's olive orchard to biodynamic farming practices. She is now offering her award-winning products through Whole Foods Markets and specialty food stores nationally. Abbie also serves as a board member on the California Olive Oil Council, a non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting quality extra virgin olive oil.

"The Holistic Health Studies program at San Francisco State University was an integral part of my personal and professional life path. Shortly after graduation I began working in the olive farming industry where I could see the direct relationship between preventive healthcare and sustainable agriculture. Whether it is maintaining a productive cycle in the olive orchard, living a balanced life, or sharing positive relationships, I have come to find that all aspects of life can be approached more effectively from a holistic perspective."

Nikhol Esteras Roberts (SFSU, 2007)
Nikhol graduated with honors in 2007 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Holistic Health Studies. She received IHHS’s George S. Araki Award for Academic Achievement. After graduation Nikhol traveled extensively in Mexico to study Spanish, learn more about the people, the cultures, and issues surrounding emigration. Her travels inspired her to relocate in Nayarit, Mexico, where she currently works for PeaceMexico. She serves as the director of the Casa Comunidad education program, working with community members to improve life quality and financial stability. Nikhol plans to return to the US in the next few years to continue her education, pursuing either a masters in Latin American Studies or Sustainable Development.

"I am very grateful for the amazing experiences and inspiring people the Holistic Health Studies program brought into my life. I met students from all over the world while learning different perspectives on health and life from exceptional professors. I was encouraged to take on leadership roles, given opportunities to participate in research projects, and worked collaboratively with my peers as a coordinator in the holistic health internship, all of which has assisted me in reaching my personal and professional goals. One nice example, the program introduced me to yoga. Now in addition to managing Casa Comunidad, I have started a yoga project where I teach free classes to local children in the villages where I work. I have even received donated yoga supplies from Manduka Mats and the Boulder Mat Company in support of this effort! My experience in the Holistic Health Studies program ignited a passion to learn more about other cultures, traditions, peoples, medicines and language. Gracias al Programa de Salud Holistica. Saludos desde Mexico."

Autumn Gonzales (SFSU, 2010)
Autumn graduated in 2010 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Holistic Health Studies, overall 3.97 GPA and a 4.0 for her Holistic Health Studies courses. She was also the 2010 recipient of IHHS's George S. Araki Academic Achievement Award and was elected into the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Her interest in psychology focused on incorporating a whole-person approach to psychological healing, particularly how mindfulness-based cognitive therapy could be used as an approach for treating addiction and related mental health issues. Immediately after graduation Autumn applied for several positions and was hired by HopeLab as a program coordinator and research associate. HopeLab is an innovative Bay Area company developing products to improve the health and life quality of young people with chronic illnesses.

"My experience in the Holistic Health Studies program truly helped to shape the way I look at the world. I learned so much about general health practices, psychology, medicine, spirituality, and diet. I learned skills, like meditation and relaxation techniques, that I use on a regular basis, and I feel a strong sense of self-efficacy about putting those skills into practice. After my first year in the program I gathered together everything I had learned about healthy lifestyle in my HHS classes and applied it to my own life. The results in terms of my health and well-being were quite remarkable. I look forward to using these tools in my career, as they have already been so helpful to me, my friends, and my family."

Andrew Parsons (SFSU, 2011)
After several years fighting wildfires across the West as part of the California Hotshot and Alaska Smokejumper organizations, Andrew enrolled in SFSU to pursue a college education. He is now completing a double-majored in Biochemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology, with a minor in Holistic Health Studies, overall GPA of 3.90 and 4.0 for Holistic Health courses. Andrew has worked in SFSU's Biochemistry Lab as an undergraduate research fellow, was a clinical research intern in the Emergency Department of SF General Hospital, and currently volunteers as a medical aide at the San Francisco Free Clinic. After graduation Andrew plans to attend medical school and become a primary care physician.

"I cannot overstate the value of what I have learned from the Holistic Health Studies program. Exposure to the efficacy and variety of health promotion and treatment possibilities available, including meditation, biofeedback, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic techniques, was eye-opening, instructive, and will certainly be incorporated into my future professional work. Most importantly, the program’s holistic perspective was critical in expanding my view beyond a cellular and molecular focus to consider the physical, social, environmental and spiritual connections crucial to all human health and happiness."

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