ABA PROFILES NEW GRADS
For CSU and Sac State employees, the ability to pursue a college degree without significant financial burden is a coveted benefit. The CSU Employee Fee Waiver Program, administered at Sac State by the Professional Development & Training (PD&T) Office in Human Resources, extends to qualified employees this invaluable educational opportunity. Over the years, ABA has benefited from the program, with employees gaining work-related experience and comprehensive degrees that increase professional workplace capacity and competence.
Graduation from college is a major milestone, one that requires commitment, self-discipline and persistence. For employees, add the factor of a full-time job and family obligations, and the challenges of a typical college student take on a whole new dimension. ABA staffers Laura Lockett, Serena Fuson and Camellia Sahm, all spring 2010 graduates, each have a unique set of circumstances and perspectives that set them on their paths and helped them achieve their goals.
Laura Lockett’s journey began in 1986 when, as a new Reprographics employee, she began working with the typesetter and, intrigued by design, enrolled in classes to learn more. Since then, both her goals and the academic program she selected have changed. Journalism became part of the Communication Studies Department, and the Graphic Design Program matured with the growth of technology and the marketing industry. Laura worked as a graphic designer for ten years (two of them in Public Affairs), and then became Reprographics' Production Supervisor. Her developing career influenced her educational choices, and her long-term goals for both converged to match her current supervisory role, which combines management and visual creativity. On top of that, Laura's degree came with accolades when she won the Best in Print Design Award at the Design Department's annual student show.
Serena Fuson came to Sac State as a student in 2004, and after a brief Student Assistant job, she was hired full-time in what is now the Business & Administrative Services department. Initially an Interior Design major, Serena switched to Business Administration to enhance her workplace professional skills and to become more marketable in today’s competitive job market. The first in her family to graduate from college, Serena sees the time spent earning a degree as a significant investment in her future. Recently selected for a promotional position in Public Safety, Serena is already seeing results.
With a BA degree from Fresno State and a passion for life-long learning, Camellia Sahm began her University career in the Evaluations Office in 1989. Camellia served in a series of progressively more responsible Admissions & Records positions prior to her 2006 appointment as Scheduling Coordinator for Space Management. She continued college coursework over the years, but more recently undertook the goal of obtaining a master’s degree. The flexibility of hybrid courses made her chosen degree program suitable for her situation, and she pursued it as a way to enhance current skill sets and create a professional network and new career opportunities.
Juggling a full-time job while pursuing a college degree can be a daunting undertaking. But, over the course of time, all three grads have learned ways to overcome obstacles to achieve their long-term goals. Laura Lockett raised two children over the course of her education, part of that time as a single mom. Camellia sacrificed weekends with family while working on her master’s degree. All attribute supportive families and flexible supervisors to their success. The guidance provided by the University’s PD&T Coordinator, Kim Harrington, was also invaluable, according to grads. Along with their formal education, the grads learned survival skills. Serena, for instance, attributes a large part of her success to the development of a set of tools, from goal setting and time management to conflict resolution and stress management.
All three employees value the prospective career opportunities that a higher education can bring. But more than that, their educations provide new perspectives and professional skills that serve them well in their current jobs. Serena practices the essential skills she has learned on a daily basis. Camellia now considers multiple learning styles and the power of technology in engaging customers. And Laura applies design theory every day in her job. Moreover, she is in an ideal position to help the next generation of design students with their printing projects.
With a staff of over 300, ABA counts 50 plus Sac State grads among its employee ranks. Nancy Fox, senior director of University Transportation & Parking Services (UTAPS), whose graduate profile appeared in a 1990 ABA newsletter article, shared an interesting anecdote. Nancy learned from a fellow ABA staffer that Nancy's newsletter profile was tacked to her bulletin board as an incentive to 'keep on keeping on' during the eight years it took to finish her degree. No doubt, these recent graduates will inspire the next generation of ABA employees just as much.
Parking Officer Nathan McQueen, not profiled above, also graduated in spring 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in spring 2010.
For a complete list of ABA’s Sac State graduates, visit ABA’s recognition website here - http://www.csus.edu/aba/aba_gradlist.htm.