Student Accomplishments 

Nursing Grad Takes Rigorous Route to Navy

Sara Blake’s quest to become a naval officer began in earnest in 2012, when she underwent multiple interviews, security clearance screening, credentialing and a highly selective board review process. The chances of a person being commissioned without preliminary training are slim: The process is so competitive that some naval officers warned Blake that the odds of a recent graduate being chosen from all the applicants would be akin to winning the lottery. Click here for the full story.

2013 Faculty Endowment Scholarship AwardBriana Hester-Keels

In recognition of her excellent academic record and her contributions to California State University, Sacramento and the community-at-large, Speech Pathology & Audiology major Briana Hester-Keels was selected as a Faculty Endowment Scholar. She is one of four undergraduate students to receive this year's honor, from a pool of 105 applicants representing the top 10% of the student body in academic achievement. She and the other award recipients will be honored at a ceremony on February 21, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. in the Foothill Suite of the University Union.

Q & A with Tasha Ketphanh

Tasha and her family
Balancing Act

It didn’t look like Tasha Ketphanh would ever make it to college. She was married at 16, a common occurrence in Laotian culture, and pregnant with her second child when she graduated high school. Yet six years later, she began studying speech pathology and audiology at Sac State. The mother of four (ages 11, 7, 5 and 4) now has a brand-new diploma and big hopes for herself and her children.

Q: How do you juggle parenthood with being a full-time student?

 A: My husband is very supportive, and my brother-in-law helps with the kids when I am not home. My kids are mature for their age. The older two help each other with homework and read to the younger ones if I can’t. During football and basketball season it gets a little crazy, though.

Q: Does your family study together?

A: My oldest son creates flash cards and quizzes me. Once, when I was learning the muscles of the abdomen, I drew on his stomach to see where the ligaments were. My experience has opened his eyes to the fact that he can do whatever he sets his mind to. He says he wants to become a surgeon.

Q: How has Sac State helped you reach your goals? 

A: I received some grants from Sac State, which really took a lot of pressure off of me because I didn’t have to work every single day.

Tasha receiving award from President Gonzales

Q: Have you done any hands-on work?

A: I had a job at a group home helping emotionally disturbed teenagers learn independent living skills. Last summer, I was an in-home behavior tutor for children with autism. A lot of children living with autism have barriers with speech.

Q: What’s next?

A: I am returning this fall for graduate school. I want to work in the field for a few years, maybe in schools as a speech therapist. I plan on getting a Ph.D. and working in research.

Published in Sac State Magazine, Summer 2011

Tasha Ketphanh is the Dean's Award winner for the College of Health and Human Services.

Watch the video and read the full story

Social Work Student Julie Debbs

Sacramento State's 2011 recipient of the William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement

Sac State Student Julie DebbsShortly after she was 18 years old, Julie L. Debbs became a victim of human trafficking and eventually became homeless, addicted and diagnosed with a mental health disorder. She lived this life for three decades before she began to reach out for help and try to make a new life through higher education.

Julie is maintaining a 3.50 GPA and working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work. Her education is already at work in the community where she volunteers, speaking to women striving for transformation from homelessness to employment, and promoting community awareness programs aimed at altering society’s perception and treatment of oppressed women. Her efforts earned her the unique honor of being named an Oprah Winfrey “Ambassador of Hope” recipient in 2009.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Julie plans to enter the Master of Social Work program at Sacramento State so that she can make a substantial difference in her community and beyond.

Watch the video