NSO

TAKE Program and Cast

Cody Raschella

Greetings,

My name is Cody Raschella, current TAKE Director for this year, and I am honored to introduce to all of you, the TAKE XXVII Cast. The TAKE Program, now in its 27th year of production, is a remarkable journey that has impacted and enhanced the lives of countless individuals. Among many other things, this program is designed to open up student’s eyes to the challenges and issues they might face, or be exposed to, during their time in college.

Understandably, the transition into college can be a big one! It is through the TAKE performance that we explore specific issues head on by giving the students a voice up on the stage. They are given a tangible reality to the stories and circumstances that have affected other CSUN students in the past; issues regarding relationships, body abuse, prejudice, and other transitional occurrences that will all be addressed during the Orientation day!

This program, however, is only as successful as the students and staff that put it together. This year twelve amazing individuals will embark on a nine month journey with the hopes of getting their story out there for incoming students to hear and learn from. They enter the program as strangers, and mature into a family. Through this journey, the TAKE cast will be challenged individually and as a group, and through this struggle they will generate a dynamic performance that will truly leave students moved and hopefully open and excited to start their CSUN life!

 

Meet the Cast
Group Photo

Back Row: Shannon Ashford, Daniel Ramirez, Edwin Pacheco, Frankie Benkovic, Bryan Hernandez, and Dirk Braxton

Front Row: Tianna CohenBianca Nagayo, Samantha SimondsAdriana GonzalezMaria Zaman, and Brianna Wilcox

 

Adriana M. Gonzalez



Name:
Adriana M. Gonzalez
Class Standing: Junior 
Major: Business- Marketing
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Ideation, Intellection, Adaptability, Woo, Communication


 

Personal Mission Statement:

I am at my best when my loved ones are around me. My life's journey is to always see the art in happiness and love. I want to inspire and be inspired. I want to learn from other cultures, grow as a person and see the bigger picture in life. I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as my ability to listen and allow others to share their inner struggles and raw edges. My most important future contribution to others will be to help incorporate peace and self-love. I will be the person who made other people enjoy their lives a little more and who inspired change in the world. Life is a beautifully written play when we allow happiness and love to play a key role in it.

 

Bianca Nagayo

 

Name: Bianca Nagayo
Class Standing: Sophomore
Major: Business - Marketing
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Restorative, Input, Learner, Achiever, Individualization

 

Personal Mission Statement:

I believe in life that every difference we find in others is a strength and every similarity a bond. My goal is to break down the walls that can hinder one from expressing their true self and allow every unique trait in a person shine. I want to inspire others to live life with an open mind, with curiosity rather than fear, understanding rather than judgement as there is always more to a person than meets the eye. I believe hope and love can go a long way particularly for those who may feel lost and alone so it is my goal to ensure that everyone feels that they are worthy as every life on this earth is of value. Lastly, I want to inspire and motivate others to believe that anything in life is possible so long as you put your mind to it as the only thing standing in one's way is themselves. By pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones we only stand to gain knowledge and experience by living our lives to the full.

 

Brianna Wilcox

 

Name: Brianna Wilcox
Class Standing: Senior
Major: Kinesiology- Exercise Science
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Futuristic, Restorative, Achiever, Responsibility, Developer

 


Personal Mission Statement:

I am at my best when I have order in my life, and I am ahead of schedule. I try to prevent times when I am overbooked, behind schedule, and stressed out. I find enjoyment in my personal life through staying positive, remaining humble, and inspiring others. I love to clean, eat, hang out with family and inspire the youth by investing time and values within them. I like to find opportunities where I can use my natural talents and gifts such as being a leader, dancing, singing, being active, problem solving, and being myself.

I can do anything I set my mind to. My life's journey is helping others who are in need without the desire for recognition. Whether it's to just sit down and listen or forming a charity. I strive to remain active and inspire others through my daily walk through life. I try to stay positive and let my smile or presence brighten up someone's day. I love keeping my attitude positive and remaining a blessing throughout life's challenges and being comfortable in my skin and successful in life overall.

I will be a person who stayed positive through life's journey ups and downs, good times and bad times. One who never gave up and lived to help and inspire others. One who would never judge but simply be there to just listen and love unconditionally. One who was selfless and never selfish and put others before herself. One who could light up a room with just her presence and a smile that reassured you that everything would be okay. One who reminded others to keep living because things would get better. A great daughter, aunt, mother, future wife and friend who fought to keep her family close together. Independent, one who was resilient and never gave up, and lived an admirable journey for others to follow.

My most important future contribution to others will be to pay back the people that invested the time and money into my future so that I could have a great life and education. I will try to listen rather than talk. I will stay mentally and emotionally honest with myself and others. I will not hold things in and let emotions pile up. I will get out and talk to others. Journal my thoughts and find outlets to express my feelings and remain honest and transparent while incorporating strength, resiliency, and responsibility.

 

Bryan Nicholas Hernandez

 

Name: Bryan Nicholas Hernandez
Class Standing: Senior     
Major: Kinesiology- General Studies
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Input, Futuristic, Strategic, Learner, Positivity

 

Personal Mission Statement:

I strive to live an honest and dedicated life, not just for myself, but to affect those around me positively. I almost died several times, before I really started living, so I truly understand to not take life for granted. I believe in living my life by a set of values and principles, and not by my feelings. Being able to visualize and see your dream is the first step to success. You have to know what it tastes, smells, and feels like, because if not you’ll compromise. You have to have a ‘why’ in life. If you don’t have a ‘why’ you’ll never understand. Why do you do what you do? Discover your ‘why.’ I embrace my failures/consequences the same way I embrace my rewards/accomplishments; with open arms. I believe in seizing every opportunity that presents itself to me. I have an uncontrollable craving and genuine desire for knowledge. I believe in accepting and taking responsibility for every decision I make, and moving forward. I believe in always raising my level of awareness in all aspects because in life, you don’t get what you want out of it, you get out of life who you are. When you start to live in whom you are, you start to ask different questions. So until you are who you say you are, you’ll never understand your purpose. My alarm clock every morning is my passion for life. And I truly believe in order to be great; there are no days off. I believe that we must be selfish in order to be selfless. Take the time to find inner peace and understanding with yourself. There are three characteristics that one should cherish. They are compassion, which leads to courage, moderation, which leads to generosity, and humility, which leads to leadership. Stop chasing this idea of a perfect life. Life is unpredictable. It’s irrational and it’s complicated, but that’s what makes it beautiful. Be a pioneer of the mind. Be a scholar and philosopher. Elevate your mind to heights that were unimaginable. Acknowledge yourself and give yourself credit for the resilience that you’ve demonstrated in your life thus far. Be brave to start a conversation that matters. And always remember to be happy. Greet those around you with a smile, because a simple hello, can lead to a million different things.

 

Daniel Ramirez

 

Name: Daniel Ramirez
Class Standing: Junior 
Major: Sociology
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Input, Ideation, Intellection, Strategic, Analytical

 


Personal Mission Statement:

Almost unbelievably, I’ve been a part of CSUN for three years now! When I first stepped foot on this campus as a first-time freshman, hoping to fall in love with science and earn the big bucks, I had no idea what the next few years at this beautiful institution had in store for me. I rapidly realized that Biology was not my calling, but it took a little longer for me to recognize what was. It wasn’t until I took a step back from trying to force a major and allowed myself the space to see the broader picture that it seemed glaringly obvious where my future lie.

My time in the New Student Orientation program has been such an elucidative experience that it has driven me to want to emulate that sense of illumination through the power of words, so I landed on a Major in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Minor in English with which I aspire to one day educate America’s young minds.

It would be remiss of me to not give credit where credit is due since everything I have achieved, and will, ideally, continue to achieve, has been supplemented by the unconditional love and support that so many amazing people have blessed me with, including my parents (Love you, Mom and Dad!), my brothers (HFF), my friends (you know who you are), various mentors (Christopher Aston), and especially my own amazing Orientation Leaders, namely Kenneth Villanueva and Jamie Valle, who played a critical role in my acclimation to the campus and even pointed me towards the organizations that have defined my college experience. Thank you, all.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

 

Dirk Braxton

 

Name: Dirk Braxton
Class Standing: Sophmore
Major: Engineering- Electrical
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Ideation, Input, Learner, Restorative, Empathy

 


Personal Mission Statement:

I am at my best when my mind is at peace. As a result of that I am able to focus more on the positives instead of the negatives which helps me get through whatever life throws at me. I love making music, being around people I enjoy, and meeting new people when I can. I will often find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as being a quick learner, the ability to empathize with others, and bringing energy to almost anything. My life's journey is to find peace within myself by overcoming a lot of different trials and tribulations. Eventually I want to use my ability to empathize with others so I can talk to them in their time of need efficiently, because it is important to me that the people know that someone is there for them.

 

Edwin Pacheco



Name:
Edwin Pacheco
Class Standing: Sophomore
Major: Engineering- Mechanical
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Competition, Achiever, Includer, Developer, Woo



Personal Mission Statement:
 

I am at my best when I am at my best when I have the love and support of all my friends and family. I enjoy my work by finding employment where I can make sure that everyone is succeeding to their fullest ability and making sure that each individual's goals bring up the overall image of the team. I find enjoyment in my personal life through being around people that care about my wellbeing and with whom I can forget about all the stress in my life and just be myself. I find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as being a leader, pushing others to achieve greatness, realizing where improvement can be made, listening, understanding, and problem solving. I can do anything I set my mind to. If I had unlimited time and resources, I would travel the world and experience the culture of all the different countries and religions around the world as well as visit every baseball, basketball and football stadium in the U.S. My life's journey is to be a leader and revolutionize some sort of engineering company with the help of my team and further this world both economically and technologically. This is my life's journey because growing up my parents taught me to always think outside of the box and come up with solutions for more than one problem. I will be a person who impacted so many people's lives growing up that will come back to celebrate my life when I have passed away because I made a difference in their life for the better. My most important future contribution to the people in my life will be to teach them how to stand up for what you believe in and what you have to say even if you're the only one in the room who thinks a certain way.

 

Frankie Benkovic



Name:
Frankie Benkovic
Class Standing: Junior
Major: Journalism and Communication Studies
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Restorative, Individualization, Arranger, Analytical, Ideation

 


Personal Mission Statement:

I genuinely want to help in the enrichment and transition of future students by sharing my life experiences and how I learned from them. I remember what the TAKE program did for me when I was a freshman and I only wish to reciprocate that same healing process. I am at my best when I am providing support for others and lending my hand to those in need. I find fulfillment in seeing others succeed and pushing them towards a greater goal. I know what it is like to not believe in yourself and to lose faith in all of your dreams. We need our dreams because it is the fuel that keeps our lives moving. It is important for us to help one another out and lay a foundation for each other to fall back on. Should anyone fall from their path and need a reminder why they need to carry on, I will be their backbone. My mission is to help others reach their full potential and see the light that I see in them. We are all capable of great things and I hope to be of a platform to raise everyone to see their dreams turn into their realities. 

 

Maria S. Zaman



Name:
Maria S Zaman
Class Standing: Sophmore
Major: Political Science
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Connectedness, Arranger, Responsibility, Belief, Input



Personal Mission Statement:

I am at best when I’m able to be myself. I enjoy learning and understanding various cultures and faiths, and live in the hopes of traveling the world. I’m a spiritual individual who believes that it’s good to free myself and yourself from grudge, jealousy and hatred as it benefits no one. Allow yourself to attain inner peace and learn to forgive/forget. In this life I’ve grasped one major concept, which is to love and respect oneself before doing to others. We live in a world with two types of people; those who do good and those who do bad. I live in the hopes of doing good, trying my best to become a well-rounded individual and an independent woman. I aspire to do the impossible because it’s surprising the doors the Almighty opens in which we thought were permanently bolted. Maybe one day I may become a person whom younger generations can look up to.

 

Samantha Simonds



Name:
Samantha Simonds
Class Standing: Junior
Major: Journalism
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Relator, Significance, Strategic, Futuristic, Command

 


Personal Mission Statement:
 

I am a firm believer in living life to the fullest. I love the saying: “Life may not be wrapped in bow, but it’s still a gift.” This quote speaks to me because I think I often forget how lucky I am to be living a life that I love. My personal mission is to show others of their potential and to be a friend when people need a reminder that we’re all only human. I feel it is our inborn responsibility to continue growing and changing throughout our life to be the very best we can be. I am constantly reminding myself to be patient and to know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.  I am at my very best when I am surrounded by people I love and getting involved in things I enjoy doing.  Each day is a new opportunity to be grateful for the blessings in my life and to do everything in my power to ensure that I am living a purposeful life. I am passionately curious. I feel it is this attribute that has given me a desire to continue learning and seeking new opportunities. I am motivated by the unconditional love and support of my close friends and family, as I want make them proud. Honesty, passion, and love are a few of things I value most in life and the ideals I strive to live by every day. Simply put…Life is a beautiful mess – and I plan on enjoying every second of it.

 

Shannon Ashford



Name:
Shannon Ashford
Class Standing: Junior
Major: Communication Studies
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Includer, Connectedness, Restorative, Communication, Adaptability

 


Personal Mission Statement:
 

When someone or something challenges my abilities, it tends to bring out the best of me because I am being motivated to challenge my limits and not limit my challenges. However, I sometimes catch myself performing poorly when someone’s negative thoughts might hinder me. But I mean, everyone has their moments. Growing up with two older brothers, I thought losing was never an option, which is why I’m looked at as the competitive young woman I am today. But I realized if I never experienced the feeling of losing, how would I ever learn? Therefore, in a sense, I like failing. I like having the feeling of there being more room in my life for improvement. When I communicate, I like to verbally, physically, and emotionally let my voice be known but in a time where it is appropriate. Having a connection with the people I communicate with makes me love the thought of life even more. I realized that it is easy to have aspirations of change but having the confidence in actually doing it, can be difficult. Although it is difficult, that is never a reason or an excuse to end. Being challenged with something that may seem impossible only means you have the capability to accomplish that challenge. Finally, we all have to understand that we will not always be socially acceptable in this world, which only means that us as individuals are unique. 

 

Tianna Cohen



Name:
Tianna Cohen
Class Standing: Junior
Major: Theatre
StrengthsQuest Themes:
Achiever, Learner, Futuristic, Strategic and Positivity



Personal Mission Statement:

As crazy as it seems, I am already half way through with my third year at CSUN. To say that my experiences here at CSUN have changed me for the better is an understatement. I have learned life tools through my relationships, involvement and the many opportunities that have opened up for me.

I am at my best when I am being 100% myself. It has taken some time but I have learned that I am the best version of myself when I am listening to what I need as opposed to the needs of others. Something that brings me the most joy is being able to encourage others to reach their goals.

My life is a song. When it comes to being myself and making myself happy, if I am singing than I am untouchable. I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts to propel me to be successful in all I do. I can do anything I set my mind to.

In my life I want to be a person who was loved by all for being a kind spirit. I want my friends to say that I was always someone they could turn to, a friend that listened with open arms, without judgment and always knew how to put a smile on their face. My most important future contribution to others will be my ability to be a friend. In life we are faced with so many obstacles that can be daunting. I hope that my impact on the important people in my life is that I helped them through the bad times and was always there to help celebrate the good.           

I will constantly renew myself by surrounding myself with friends who make me laugh. There is no greater feeling that a gut-wrenching laugh that makes you cry.

After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

The TAKE Program

Now in its 27th year of production, TAKE is a stage performance that includes four skits surrounding issues prevalent to CSUN students. Twelve diverse students perform at New Student Orientation (NSO) for freshmen about topics such as relationships, body abuse, prejudice and overall student transition, are focused on through the lens of . In supporting the overall missions and goals set forth by our institution, our division, our department and the NSO program, the TAKE performance promotes university resources and services through real-life situations and scenarios as experienced by our cast members.

Annually assessed by our own campus, the nationally recognized TAKE program is an innovative and well-positioned platform where new students learn about supportive structures at CSUN to help ensure their success in college.

The Educational Journey

Beyond the captivating one and a half hour performance and small group facilitation that follows, this program has an incredibly detailed and educational facet that the TAKE cast members go through prior to launching their product to the freshman audience.

Through the Office of Student Involvement and Development and under the supervision of Christopher Aston, assistant director for new student programs, the TAKE cast undergoes a lengthy developmental process that occurs throughout the spring and summer. As TAKE director, I have the opportunity to facilitate this journey through educational trainings, research projects, workshops and thoughtful discussions surrounding the four educational topics that TAKE presents. The cast will use information learned through this process, as well as their personal experiences, to help illuminate skit material and build out expected student learning outcomes for freshmen to experience at orientation.