April 6, 2010
Sac State students honored as mayoral fellows
Two Sacramento State students with a passion for public service were honored Tuesday by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as appointees to his 2010 Spring Mayoral Fellows Program.
Hafiza Arikat, a graduate sociology major, and Brittany Purdy, an undergraduate psychology major, are serving 15 to 20 hours a week as interns in the Mayor’s Office, gaining valuable knowledge and experience over 12-week terms.
The fellowships are part of the memorandum of understanding signed in 2008 between the city and Sacramento State. University President Alexander Gonzalez said the program is an ideal way to capitalize on the cooperation between the two institutions.
“The MOU was an essential component of our Destination 2010 initiative, and this is one of the many benefits to our students,” Gonzalez said. “I congratulate Sac State’s Spring 2010 Mayoral Fellows, and I applaud our faculty for their outstanding work to prepare them for the fellowship’s enriching opportunities.”
Johnson said the internship program resulted from trying to determine how to be creative in marshaling resources during tough economic times.
“The way that made the most sense was to get talented young people who are in universities … and give them practical opportunities to help assist the city,” Johnson said. “So they’re looking at innovative solutions (and) taking on some of our most challenging issues in our city and region.”
Johnson praised Gonzalez’s support of the partnership. “We felt this would be a good one to get out in front and talk about opportunities where our young students can get practical experiences and we get to keep the talent in Sacramento.”
The mayor called the fellows “the very best and brightest” and said that “we want to create opportunities right here so they get practical field experience” and hopefully will want to stay in Sacramento after graduation.
Charles Gossett, dean of Sac State’s College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, said the internships are “what Sacramento State is all about – providing opportunities to students and providing service to our community.” He noted that faculty serve as mentors to each fellow during the internships.” The University also provides a $2,000 stipend to each intern.
Arikat, 23, of Stockton, and Purdy, 23, of Sacramento, were selected through a rigorous application process that focused on criteria such as strong interest in public service, exceptional leadership, analytical skills, and a record of academic and professional achievement.
The pair, along with four co-fellows from UC Davis, work with Johnson and his staff on key policy initiatives, including the environment, education, volunteerism, homelessness and the arts.
Arikat received a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Sacramento State in 2008 and is now pursuing a master's degree in Sociology. While keeping an excellent academic record, she also has served as program coordinator for the Sociology Department's faculty/student mentoring program.
Her plans include attending law school and working in international human rights. “This is exciting to me because I’m very interested in both education and politics, and to work with Mayor Johnson, someone who is so passionate about education, is very beneficial for what I want to pursue in my future.”
Purdy says she’s working on volunteerism and appreciates the responsibility the Mayor’s Office has given her. “What we get from this is leadership skills that we can use for the rest of our careers,” she said.
Purdy has maintained excellent grades while pursuing a bachelor's degree in Psychology. She serves as a research assistant and teaching assistant in the department and also logs weekly hours as a volunteer for the Suicide Prevention Crisis Line in Sacramento.
“Mayor Johnson and the City of Sacramento have embraced a new spirit of cooperation with our University, and we expect our partnership to provide even greater benefits to the region in the years to come,” Gonzalez said.
Sacramento State is making a difference in California’s Capital Region and beyond. We offer a life-changing opportunity for our 28,000 students, preparing them to be leaders in their professions and communities. Our professors are known for their dedication to great teaching. And our location in the capital of the nation’s most populous state allows students to pursue unique internships and research.