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Students Add Shine to Community

Over the past 55 years, more than 150,000 students have chosen Sac State as their higher education destination. Their creativity, idealism and energy have transformed the Capital Region.

CSUS Illustrated imageToday, like their predecessors, Sac State’s current crop of nearly 27,000 students are heavily involved in the surrounding community. They use the area as a laboratory, gaining real-world experience while putting into practice theories learned in the classroom. Businesses, arts organizations, nonprofit groups and state government all draw on their talents.

Nearly three-quarters of Sac State students work. Fully 40 percent give time as volunteers. About 1,000 can be found in local schools every year working as student-teachers. Another 600 earn academic credit while working for various employers in the state’s largest cooperative education program, while hundreds earn practical experience working with elected officials or government agencies.

Numbers and statistics, of course, don’t tell the whole story. So we’d like you to meet a few current students who are touching our community …

Daniel Cacho
Helping Others Is a Way of Life

Photo of Daniel CachoDaniel Cacho has accomplished much for himself, but the criminal justice graduate student continues to lift others. He lives by a motto his parents taught him which, translated from his native Spanish, goes “In this lifetime, we have to help each other. Extend your hand to the one at the bottom, and he or she will do the same for another. This society is all about helping others. As you have helped me, one day I will help another.”

Cacho’s “hand” has been mentoring students in danger of dropping out. He’s spent countless hours with students from Sacramento High School and from Sacramento City College. His bilingual skills have been invaluable.

“I’m a person who, when I help someone and I know someone has accomplished something, it makes me feel good,” Cacho says. He tells those he mentors, “It’s not where you come from, it’s where you end up that counts. It’s not what’s on you, but inside you that counts. In the end it is really all about heart.”

This summer he was honored for his work by the California State University system with a Hearst/CSU Trustees Scholarship. The award is given in part for outstanding community service.

When Cacho earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last year, he became the first member of his family to graduate from a university. And he did it with straight A’s. He is now pursing a master’s degree in criminal justice at Sac State, and eventually plans to continue helping others as a lawyer specializing in immigration law. He would also like to be a professor someday.

Cacho credits much of his success to strong encouragement from his parents. “I’m doing it as a goal for me, but also as a dream for them,” he says.

Sheila Coleman
Called to the Classroom

Photo of Sheila Coleman Sheila Coleman wants to be at the front of a classroom, and she wants to be there soon.

The 22-year-old senior is graduating in December with a degree in social science and a minor in dance. She’s also already enrolled in the Sac State teacher credential program, getting the first semester of that program out of the way while finishing her undergraduate degree. That’s meant taking eight classes this fall, even as she carries out duties with the U.S. Army Reserves and dances with the University’s Sacramento Black Art of Dance group. But she says it is well worth it.

“I realize how important knowledge is in shaping a healthy society,” she says. “And I want to be a part of shaping the next generation.”

Coleman plans to teach high school social science as well as dance and theater classes.

When she completes her teaching credential next fall, she’ll join the more than 600 other new teachers that Sac State turns out each year.

Coleman has known she was going to be a teacher since she was in high school. In fact, there’s already a job waiting with Sacramento’s San Juan Unified School District.

The district recruited her before she was in college, giving her a hiring bonus of half her tuition every year. In exchange, Coleman agreed to take a job as a high school teacher in the district for at least two years. Almost 30 Sac State students have benefited from similar arrangements with the district.

Coleman has also been helped along by the Sac State College of Education’s Mel Rapton Honda Scholarship and a scholarship that came with being named Miss Black Sacramento in 1999.

Zeyad Elsayed
Learning is Mall’s Best Deal

Photo of Zeyad Elsayed Sac State business student Zeyad Elsayed spent the past four years hanging out at the mall—and received national recognition for it.

Elsayed directs the CSUS Learning Resource Center at Florin Mall. The center, better known as Mall Hall, is a free computer and Internet learning facility staffed by Sac State students. Founded in 1996, it is open seven days a week.

This June, he was honored as one of six recipients of the national Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award at the Points of Lights Foundation conference.

“Mall Hall has affected me in so many ways,“ Elsayed says. “I have learned that the most rewarding moments in life are those that take place when people tell you that they got the job of their dreams just because of the computer skills they learned in our programs.”

The Swearer award is presented annually by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 750 college and university presidents committed to making community service a part of undergraduate education.

Each award includes a $1,500 contribution to the student’s community service project, just the most recent funds Elsayed has brought to Mall Hall. In the past year he also helped raise money to double the number of computer workstations to 24.

Elsayed has also established morning sessions, moving beyond the center’s original focus on middle and high school students to better serve those in welfare-to-work training programs and senior citizens.

Suzanne Huynh
Big-time Experience, Campus Comfort

Photo of Suzanne Huynh Suzanne Huynh never worked at Hewlett-Packard. Sure, she helped develop a software program for them, met with their management, cashed their paychecks. But she did so from the cozy confines of Sac State.

As project leader in a campus-based “virtual co-op” with the computer heavyweight, Huynh, along with three other computer science majors, spent last semester writing web page design software for use on the company’s website. A fifth team member, an English major, served as technical writer.

Hewlett-Packard provided the equipment, feedback and salary and the University provided the workspace. “H-P told us what they wanted and we wrote the software for it,” Huynh says.

The virtual co-op is the latest addition to the University’s cooperative education program, which is the largest program of its kind in the state. Through co-op, students receive academic credit for paid, career-related work experience.

In addition to writing the code, Huynh’s team developed a product overview, a user’s manual and even gave a demonstration of their finished product to Hewlett-Packard management. “At first we were nervous, but it was a good experience,” she says.

One of the challenges, and benefits, of the arrangement was the need to learn a new computer language. To ensure compatibility with the current web page, the team had to teach themselves a scripting language known as “Python.”

Huynh is now pursuing a master’s degree in computer science. After graduation she hopes to get a job writing software, possibly involving networks and databases. She says working in the co-op was a great way to gain the experience she’ll need. “It used to be easier to get a software job, but now there’s more
competition,” she says.

“Because of my work with the co-op, I am more knowledgeable of different types of software the industry is using. I also know how to work with a team.”

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