CSU Trustees’ Award Winner is Ready to Advocate for Homeless Youth

Sep 12, 2022

Psychology graduate student Lesley Bode has been named a 2022 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement winner. Bode is among 23 students, one from each California State University campus, to receive the award.

Cal Poly Humboldt student Lesley Bode

Lesley Bode remembers the first time someone really listened. She was a teenager who never knew where she would call home. She grew up in Pacifica, just south of San Francisco, and was housing insecure along with her mother from ages 10 to about 25, living in homeless shelters, motels, and a dilapidated RV. 

“There was really only one moment in my preteen years where I was able to sit with a therapist and verbalize my feelings,” says Bode, who is pursuing her master’s degree in Psychology at Cal Poly Humboldt. Bode is studying Counseling and plans to work with children after she graduates. “That moment has stuck over the years. I saw that need, I felt that need, and if I can I would like to do something about that, not just in my practice, but advocacy in my local community.”

Bode has been named a 2022 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement winner. The CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement will recognize Bode during a ceremony on September 13. Each student has overcome tremendous personal hardships and demonstrated financial need. The base scholarship is $6,000 with opportunities to receive enhanced awards. Read more about the awards and winners on the CSU website.

Bode transferred to Humboldt after earning her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she couch-surfed for several years. A self-proclaimed “beach girl,” Bode says she was drawn to the Humboldt area after hearing about its natural beauty.

“I have to say all the promises of nature and beauty have not failed,” she says. “It’s probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I can drive 10 minutes to the community forest which is a great place to relieve stress when you’re doing a grad program.”

Bode hopes to offer mental health treatment to youth, teens, and young adults after she finishes her certification as a therapist, concentrating on children who are underserved and have trouble accessing services. She plans to return to her community in Pacifica and add her voice to advocacy efforts for people experiencing homelessness. She says her experience as a student at Humboldt and as an employee at the University’s Counseling & Psychological Services office (CAPS) have given her many great tools to include in her future work.

“I appreciate how much emphasis there is on mental health in the community. I feel as though Humboldt’s proactive nature and awareness of mental health is something I’m really looking forward to taking home,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out in terms of the school I ended up going to. I think Humboldt was the right place for me.”