Mitali Jain, 20, was elected the new Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Vice President of Finance on March 17.
Having moved to California from India when she was 14, Jain faced a few obstacles before arriving at her new executive position. This included knowing very little English, adapting to an entirely new culture and leaving behind loved ones.
“I was excited to come to the US and explore a new way of living and was excited to start high school here but at the same time, I missed my grandparents,” Jain said.
She recalled how she loved her grandmother’s food and would be with her in the kitchen as she cooked.
“I was always standing there like a child saying hey, I want a taste!” Jain said.
Mitali attended Cypress High school and faced issues because of her lack of English and being unaware of certain aspects of American high school.
“I didn’t know what AP classes were or honors classes,” Jain said. “When I reached out for help, they didn’t know how to help me, because I was a brand new person.”
Jain stated how she gratefully received support from her fellow classmates and faculty in helping her adapt to her new school.
“I didn’t know how to annotate a reading my teacher gave,” Jain said. “I remember my classmates explaining it and showing me how to do it. I was very grateful for that.”
Jain also got advice from faculty on how to better choose classes and what was best for her career path. She was grateful for the support but stated that it was to a fault.
“Struggling in my daily life just to be normal here, to be like how the culture is here, was one of the biggest obstacles,” Jain said. “You really have to go out there.”
Jain’s struggle to acclimate herself to her new environment is what led her to take leadership roles such as volunteering at her local library and serving as the president of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) fashion club at her high school.
“I was in two significant leadership positions,” Jain said. “And that made me really interested to continue forward.”
As president of the fashion club, Jain designed clothes for models, invited guest speakers to speak at club meetings and participated in local fashion shows.
“That’s how I started overcoming obstacles by talking to people and reaching out for help,” Jain said. “But that first step was really hard, to just reach out.”
At CSULB, Jain joined the University Student Union (USU) Board of Trustees in January 2021, first as trustee-at-large and most currently as chair.
As chair of the USU Board of Trustees, Jain performed duties such as recommending and reviewing the policies that affect all aspects of the USU and Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) operations.
Newton Bao, ASI Trustee-at-Large said Jain showed him the “ropes on how to become a representative for the student government.”
“For ASI, she walked me through how to run my own chair meetings,” Bao said. “For example, asking for how many voting members to determine if a motion passes or not.”
Sylvana Cicero, ASI associate executive director, has worked with Jain for the past two years and stated she’s seen the impact Jain’s made on the operations of the USU and SRWC.
“Through her leadership of the USU Board of Trustees, new services and programs have opened, including Shake Smart at the SRWC, Southland Credit Union at the USU and the ASI Beach Kitchen on campus,” Cicero said.
Jain then set her sights on running for CSULB’s ASI Vice President of Finance.
“She was on campus from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day promoting and visiting every club to give them a reason to vote for her,” Bao said.
Now, as ASI Vice President of Finance, Jain deals with the funds for student activities such as clubs and traveling.
“My friend wanted to go to this conference and I’m like, ASI has travel funding,” Jain said. “I want to spread enough awareness that these funds are there to help students and they can come to me anytime they have any questions.”
Jain also hopes to collaborate with Southland Credit Union to bring more financial literacy workshops on campus to increase student awareness about loans and credit cards.
“Mitali is consistently outreaching to students to understand their concerns, talking with them about ASI and working to find opportunities to better serve them,” Cicero said.
Knowing her struggles to get where she is today, Jain provided advice to those pursuing their goals who might be facing some hurdles.
“What I do is I take whatever my goals are and write them down,” Jain said.
She states that this is what she would do during all four years in high school and continues to do today.
“I have it written up in my room and I look at it every night just to see where I am at,” Jain said.