California State University, Fullerton

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Orange County Register

The Art Of 'Making Stuff'

Kirsten Vangsness has been performing on stage since she was a little girl. Now the Cal State Fullerton alumna is a series regular on “Criminal Minds” as Penelope Garcia, a quirky technical analyst. Vangsness transferred to CSUF as a junior after attending Cypress College for two years.

“When I went to Cal State Fullerton, I remember I had to audition to get into the advanced acting class and I got into it,” she said. “I couldn’t even wrap my head around it.”

In 1996, Vangsness graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and is proud to call herself a Titan.

“People are like ‘I went to Juilliard,’ and I am like ‘I went to Cal State Fullerton. And it is magical,’” said Vangsness. “It is like Hogwarts to me. It was a magical wonderland and I can say that I spent most of my time there either in class or sitting in the hallway, writing in my journal, and my life now consists of being at work or in a hallway writing in my journal.”

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Tags:  Media