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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Student Leadership Spotlight: Brandon Ishikata


See Brandon Ishitaka on YouTube

In the vast array of leadership and involvement opportunities available to San Diego State students, it is easy to see how the average student might get lost in the struggle of trying to balance all of his or her obligations. However, Brandon Ishikata is not your average student.

In fact, Ishikata has it in writing – on his diploma, as a matter of fact – just how above average he is in his studies, as he finished his undergraduate work at SDSU Cum Laude with a degree in Liberal Studies and an emphasis in Literacy in May 2015. Today, Ishikata is in his first year of his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program at SDSU’s College of Education.

While he has excelled in the classroom, Ishikata has left his mark on the SDSU campus in a way not many students have before. While it is easy to go on and on about each of his individual accomplishments and leadership commitments – his professional resume is a modest three pages long – he narrowed the list down to his three most valuable leadership experiences he has been able to partake in over his time as an Aztec.

“Being elected Homecoming King has probably been my greatest accomplishment so far,” Ishikata says. “It’s like being Ms. America. When you wear the crown you’re looked at much differently. You definitely have a microphone for the causes you wish to advocate for.”

Ishikata used his voice of advocacy to kick-start his personal on-campus project, Kaleidoscope of Abilities. This campus-wide service project brought a focus to arts appreciation and combined it with disability awareness of both the physical and mental variety.

In addition to being elected Homecoming King during his senior year, Ishikata highlights his time both as a Senior Resident Advisor and as an SDSU Ambassador as his most valuable experiences. After his first year as an RA, Ishikata was promoted to Senior Resident Advisor and lived in three different residence halls around campus working for SDSU Housing.

“Being able to mentor so many first-year students over the years has been one of my most rewarding experiences,” Ishikata says. “I’ve been able to help ease the transition from high school to college while also making a lot of friends in the process.”

As if all of that was not enough, Ishikata also worked as an SDSU Ambassador during his undergraduate years. As a member of the team in charge of working orientations, giving campus tours, and many other scheduled events on the SDSU campus, Ishikata embodies what it is to be an Aztec at heart, both as a student and as a representative of the school. In fact, he was chosen personally by Jeri Hirshman, spouse of SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, to represent SDSU at donor events.

Now in the first year of his credential program, Ishikata’s goal is to incorporate visual and performing arts into his future classroom curriculum, but his studies in the College of Education have prepared him well for any setting he decides to take on.

“Having professors in [the College] who were classroom teachers and understand the demanding lifestyle that is required has had an incredibly positive effect on my education,” Ishikata says.

In just one conversation with Ishikata, he exudes positivity and pride in each of his individual accomplishments. However, he remains humble and aware that the skills he has learned during his time as an Aztec will help him reach his goals, both inside the classroom and out.

“I know I may not be the biggest guy out there, or the tallest,” Ishikata says, “but I like to believe I have the biggest heart.”

With membership in four honors societies, six on-campus jobs, and seven on-campus organizations throughout his time at SDSU, one can understand how the average student in a similar scenario might become fatigued or lost among the discourse of university life. Luckily, Ishikata is not your average student.