Follow the Leaders
|From the President|
|Follow the Leaders|
|From University Theatre to Carnegie Hall|
|Destination/ Green and Gold|
|Patricia A. Fong Kushida|
Sacramento State has a proud tradition of educating the leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of millions
As the only comprehensive University in the nation’s most dynamic state capital, we take very seriously our mission to prepare graduates who can contribute to the region’s schools, businesses, culture and future.
We have worked extensively in recent years to strengthen our connections with these graduates as they become members
of our growing family of alumni. This has allowed us to better understand the region we serve—and given us valuable feedback we can use to shape the future of our great University.
So far, a few areas of strong consensus have emerged. These include world-class academic programs that prepare graduates for the workforce, centers of excellence that will make us a
regional hub for innovation, and facilities and attractions that will make our campus a destination for events and entertainment as well as academics.
We are seeing that everyone wants Sacramento State to
continue moving forward and become a premier, comprehensive University—despite the economic challenges that are dramatically changing public higher education in California.
Your assistance will be essential as we work to accomplish this goal. As alumni and supporters, you serve as inspiring examples of the value of a Sacramento State degree.
I am confident that, together, we can create a University that will be the pride of the region and stand out as a beacon of excellence for generations to come.
Look out Wall Street. There’s a team of Sac State student investors moving in on your territory.
The Student Investment Management Program, which launched in September, gives business students practical experience in real-life investing, using real money—$250,000 from the investment portfolio of University Enterprises, Inc., the University’s non-profit business auxiliary.
Kelly Garlick, a senior business administration and finance major, says he applied for the program because “I wasn’t going to learn just from reading out of a book. Investing with ‘play money’ doesn’t have the same feel because the responsibility is not there.”
“The first two purchases were very important because we finally feel that we are doing something that might be beneficial for Sacramento State,” explains Vladimir Petrosyan, a senior business administration major. “This program not only provides unique learning opportunities for students interested in the investment field, but could also become a source for student scholarships in the near future.”
The students were cautious and “did their homework,” says Anna Vygodina, a finance professor and advisor to the group. “They are very serious about it.”
Advisors include faculty and professionals working in the investment field. They provide guidance on the research and analysis process, but do not influence the students’ purchasing decisions. There are also safeguards in place to make sure the students do not invest heavily
in any one company.
“I was in the meeting when they decided to invest the cash,” says Jonathan Lederer, a private wealth management consultant. “It really illustrated the difference between studying theory in the classroom and applying it in the real world.”
Q & A with…Michael David Davis 2011
A Vision for the Future
Michael David Davis lost his sight in 2002 to a brain tumor. But the business management and entrepreneurship major is happy to be alive and has lots of plans. After he graduates this spring, he wants to work in a bookstore to gain experience and learn the common mistakes entrepreneurs often make so he can achieve his ultimate goal—owning a Braille bookstore. During his college career, Davis has been a frequent user of the University’s Services to Students with Disabilities, particularly its High-Tech Center, which he uses for software that reads and “speaks” the text on a computer screen.
Q: Why are you determined to open a Braille bookstore?
A: I have not found a bookstore that has Braille books. A few will order them, but the selection is small and contains mostly children’s books.
Q: How do you think your Sac State education will help
you in your business?
A: One of the most important things I learned is that location can hurt or help your business. The best location for my bookstore will be downtown near public transportation so blind customers can easily get there.
Q: How has Services to Students with Disabilities helped you?
A: If Sac State did not provide these services, I don’t think I would have gotten this far in school. They provide assistance with note
taking and reading textbooks.
Q: What advice would you give to blind students?
A: Always talk to your professors about problems you are having. See if there is another way to get an assignment done. Show that you are putting in the effort to pass the class.
English 116B Children’s Literary Classics
Description: In Kim Zarin’s Children’s Literary Classics course, students read literature from the early 20th century through 2009. The course aims to satisfy two kinds of students: those who read children’s books for their own sake and those who strive to bring literature alive for children.
Class work: Through extensive reading, students learn to identify complexities in the seemingly straightforward texts. “Children’s literature may seem simple, but all the big issues—fairness, justice, truth, social/political stability—are embedded in the story, there for
all readers, young and old, to appreciate, debate and discover,”
Assignments: Students read aloud to children, practice story-telling techniques and write children’s stories. “Probably the assignment students like best is writing their own picture book,” Zarin says. “We learn to read like writers by thinking about what choices they had when they crafted their story.”
Students say: Kaitlyn Ferguson says the class was the most inspirational and exciting of her college career. “We had the chance to read amazing books, meet and converse with authors and create our own picture books. The projects and discussions prepared me for what I will experience with my own classroom.”
Green & Gold Gala 2010
Sac State celebrated the community’s support of the Destination 2010 initiative during the fifth annual Green & Gold Gala on Dec. 3. The evening featured performances by students from the theatre and dance department and the recitation of a poem written for the event by Sacramento Poet Laureate and Sac State Professor Bob Stanley (to read the poem, see page 21). The evening was capped by the announcement of a $100,000 contribution from Wells Fargo to the Student Veterans Success Program.
Campus selected 2010 “sustainable business”
Sac State was named the 2010 Sacramento Sustainable Business
of the Year by the Business Environmental Resource Center.
The award was based on the University’s contributions to sustainability and pollution prevention in the community, for voluntarily exceeding environmental regulatory requirements for the American River Courtyard student residence hall, and for partnering with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in the California Smart Grid Center.
Bass-fishing team lands trophy
The home team reeled in top honors at the National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship held at Folsom Lake with the weigh-ins at Sac State. Sac State bass fishermen Peter Lee and Robert Matsuura netted the Bass Fishing Club $50,000 in prizes, half of which they donated to the University to support scholarships and the Division of Nursing’s Folsom Hall expansion. The tournament was covered by the Versus
cable network and aired nationwide in November.
Campus community service lauded
Sac State’s commitment to community service earned acknowledgement when the University was awarded a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The honor by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is eagerly sought by institutes of higher learning. It recognizes the University’s institutional culture and the many campus programs, such as the Community Engagement Center, that encourage community outreach.
Physical therapy doctorate planned
Sac State may begin offering a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree as early as 2012. The California State University Board of Trustees approved having Sacramento State move forward with planning for the program. The need for a doctorate-level program was driven by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education’s decision to only grant accreditation to programs with doctorates, beginning in 2015.
Another Super Sunday
Tiffany and Walter Brewer want their son Jaylon, a ninth-grader, to attend college. So when Sac State representatives visited their church on Feb. 20, they had the family’s full attention.
“We want to make sure he is taking the classes he needs and is on the right track,” Tiffany explains. “It’s easier to stay on top of it when you can talk to someone in person.”
The Brewers were among hundreds of families to benefit from the sixth annual Super Sunday, in which Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez and other administrators visit churches in African American communities to promote higher education. The program takes place throughout the California State University system and reached about 100 churches statewide this year.
Members of Sac State’s admissions and financial aid staff were on hand to answer questions, share literature and encourage students to consider college.
“A lot of these kids don’t think they have the opportunity to go to college,” says Linda Walker, a Sac State alumna and member of Antioch Progressive Church. But, she says, church is the one venue where you can explain to “both kids and their families that a college degree will help you better yourself and the community.”
Graduate Dean Chevelle Newsome organizes Sac State’s participation in Super Sunday. She says the program has led to other partnerships with churches, such as community educational forums and a math academy for middle-school students.
“Churches are a central point for the community,” Newsome says.
“If we can get kids educated and if they stay in their communities,
they bring everyone up. It is a great partnership and a central part of our mission.”
Planting the seeds for success
CAMP helps children of farmworkers succeed in college
Ruben Velazquez Navarro’s parents worked as farm laborers most of their lives, earning enough money to put food on the table and not much else. Growing up in rural Arbuckle, Navarro, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, appreciated the importance of hard work, yet he never saw himself as a college student. That changed when he learned about the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Sacramento State.
“A lot of us are the first in our family to go to college,” Navarro says. “We don’t have anyone to guide us, to tell us what to expect. But the CAMP counselors give you advice, help you set goals and make you see that they are achievable.”
Now in its 30th year, CAMP has helped hundreds of children of migrant or seasonal farmworkers attend and succeed at Sac State.
It is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.
CAMP provides financial assistance, academic counseling, personal support and social activities for 80 students throughout their freshman year—when they are most at risk of dropping out.
CAMP Director Viridiana Diaz (’00, Communication Studies) says the program’s most vital role is to create a home away from home for students—an environment where they are surrounded by people who are experiencing similar fears and challenges.
“In the migrant culture kids often play an adult role, translating, taking mom and dad to the doctor, paying the bills,” she says. “Being separated from them is shocking. We become their family while they are in college.”
CAMP’s impact is evident in its retention rate: 90 percent of first-year students return for their second year, the highest of any ethnic program at Sac State.
Navarro says CAMP helped him develop not just the mathematical and study skills he needed to master his engineering courses, but the motivation to become a leader. He has been president of CAMP and five other clubs and served on the Board of Directors of the University Union.
“CAMP helped me take a role in my own self-development, to build my character and the ability to succeed in life no matter what,” he says. “It’s given me the ability to accomplish things I never thought were possible.”
They inspire students in gritty urban schools to achieve beyond their dreams, rescue homeless teens from the streets, go
undercover to shut down violent gangs and cure disease through their leading-edge stem cell research. Their common denominator? They are Sac State alumni, leaders in their fields and communities, and are at the top of their game, they say, thanks to the inspiration
and education they received while studying here.
Director, UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures,2010 Distinguished Service Award recipient
Jan Nolta (’84, Biology) was on track to become a doctor or veterinarian until Sac State biology professor Laurel Heffernan made a simple observation. “She said, ‘You seem to like it so much in the lab. You know you could be a scientist and get paid for it.’ I was floored!” she laughs.
More than 25 years later, it appears now-Associate Dean Heffernan’s nudge paid off. Today Nolta is one of the nation’s leading stem cell researchers and director of the Stem Cell Program at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures. Through a collaborative graduate degree program in stem cell research between Sacramento State and UC Davis, Sac State students participate in full-time internships at the Institute. The fact that Sac State interns are working in her lab means “it has come full circle,” Nolta says. “It’s so cool to be able to do this.”
Nolta oversees a research program with more than 145 faculty members working on stem cell-related cures for a number of diseases including disorders of the liver, kidney, lung, bone and heart. Her specialty is Huntington’s disease, a degenerative condition affecting nerve cells in the brain, and she was drawn to it for one simple reason—the patients. “When I work with them or their advocates or families, it tends to get to me,” she says. “They are such amazing people. There are 23 people throughout the system working on the Huntington’s disease team, and it’s rewarding to know we’re making a difference.”
The research is conducted in a new, state-of-the-art facility constructed with funds generated by the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004. Nolta says the teams focus on “bench to bedside” research. “Simply translated, that means we move from discovery to clinical trials. We also call it from ‘mice to men.’”
She loves her work, despite long hours. “I’ve always been fascinated with how cells divide and I spent 10 years studying adult stem cells and how they heal tissue.” The research often means an 18- to 20-hour workday. “No kidding, I work, drive home and eat something and then I’m back on the computer,” Nolta says. It helps that the atmosphere in the lab is “light-hearted, with lots of laughter. We all have that passion.”
Her advice to other aspiring scientists? “Stem cell research is the medicine of the future. If we can fix, repair or stop a disease’s progress, we give people a life without need for medicine, we reduce healthcare costs and avoid the barbarism of amputation. I’d say, get into the stem cell field.”
California Teacher of the Year, Grant High School Mathematics Teacher
His students at Grant High School come from Del Paso Heights, one of Sacramento’s poorest neighborhoods. Their lives are often a gritty reflection of the area’s drug abuse, poverty, broken homes and gang connections, and they come to his classroom accustomed to pulling down Ds or Fs. “They’re at risk of failure, lack motivation and are working far below grade level,” says Kadhir Rajagopal (’10, Doctorate, Educational Leadership).
But these are the students “Mr. Raja” loves to teach.
“I teach math in a way they can understand,” says the 29-year-old educator. “I create a classroom environment where it is cool to be successful and motivated.”
He does it with an instructional model he calls CREATE, which has not only turned his students from bored to eagerly engaged, but captured the attention of other educators—he was named one of five California Teachers of the Year for 2011.
CREATE is Rajagopal’s acronym for “Culturally responsive instruction, Rigorous and rewarding expectations, Essentials in curriculum planning, Assess and master in class, Test models, and Extra one-on-one tutoring.” He developed it because he knows his kids desperately need more than a motivated educator. “I believe my students’ lives depend on their success in my class. If my students fail, I fail.”
Rajagopal wants every student to master the skills he teaches during class before they leave the room. “You don’t go out the door until you can do those 10 problems,” he explains. “If you can’t, you come back at lunch or after school. I have their parents’ phone numbers on speed dial. I am tenacious.”
Rajagopal began molding his instructional model in his early years as a teacher, but says he really fine-tuned the CREATE method while working toward his doctoral degree at Sac State. “Sac State’s doctoral program helped me to focus and reflect, to better understand the most important aspects of my models and to strengthen those key aspects,” he says. “It helped me to understand my teaching style, my own magic, better.”
His students’ test scores prove the process works. In 2009, they outperformed the state average on the Algebra I California Standards Test, with 71 percent scoring basic and above, including 37 percent who scored proficient vs. the state score of 51 percent at basic and above and 25 percent at proficient.
Rajagopal has a lofty goal of reaching more than just Grant students. “I want to spread the instructional model. I want schools to glamorize success and, in urban schools, I want kids to think As on a report card are as cool as making a touchdown.”
Sacramento City School District Teacher of the Year, Earl Warren Elementary School Teacher
When John Castro was named 2010 Teacher of the Year by Sacramento TV station News10 and the Sacramento City Unified School District, he gave much of the credit for his award-winning teaching style to the internet master’s degree in educational technology or “iMet” he received from Sac State.
“The iMet definitely taught me how to combine cutting-edge technology with effective teaching strategies,” says Castro (’01, Liberal Studies, ’03, Educational Technology).
When he shared iMet’s technology-based learning techniques with his principal at Earl Warren Elementary, she embraced his suggestion to introduce it to the school. She found the funds to install LCD projectors and SMART interactive whiteboards in all classrooms and “it changed the culture of the school.”
The techno-savvy Castro has provided training for his colleagues and run mini-workshops during staff meetings. “We have great teachers here. It’s a very collaborative environment,” he says.
Castro’s students learn to create PowerPoint presentations, newsletters, digital photo albums and videos. They have their own websites where they share stories about themselves and their aspirations. Parents can visit their child’s classroom website to see what the students are learning.
Earl Warren is a Title I school, with a large concentration of low-income students. But while many Title I schools struggle to meet the state Academic Performance Index, Castro says at Earl Warren “our scores are rocking it.” The school received an 806 on the Index, just above the national goal of 800, and well above the average of 650 for similar Title I schools. As Earl Warren’s scores improved, “word started spreading about what we were doing, and now we get people touring the school to watch us teach our lessons.”
Engaging the kids with technology-based lessons has been successful, Castro says, but it’s also important to engage parents. Castro and other teachers participate in the Parent-Teacher Home Visits program, where they go to student homes, meet families and build relationships they’ll maintain over the years. “I give them my cell phone number and encourage them to stay in contact with me.”
He will work with these students for more than just a school year as he teaches on a “loop.” He stays with the same group of students as they progress through the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. “It’s more work because you have to master three years of curriculum, but it’s good for the kids,” he says. “When they come back in September, I already know most of them, so we can just get started. We are ahead
of the game here.”
Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Los Angeles Field Office
John “J.T.” Torres was 12 years old and delivering newspapers in south Stockton when, just feet in front of him, two drug dealers shot it out.
The violent incident became what the Sac State alumnus calls his “defining moment, my inspiration toward a career in law enforcement.”
Torres (’82 and ’86, Criminal Justice) never wavered, despite spending three and a half years commuting from Stockton to campus, taking classes during the week and returning home on weekends to work. “That foggy I-5 drive was tough,” he recalls, but he stayed on course because he had professors who “guided and mentored me,” and strong family values.
Torres’ father worked on farms and in canneries, and he had a strict, but supportive upbringing. “It definitely wasn’t easy, but they scraped enough together to put my sister, brother and me though Catholic school,” he says. “They wanted us to get a good education so we wouldn’t have to work in the fields. We were taught that if you had an idea of where you wanted to go, you would be successful.”
At graduation, Torres was recruited by both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Internal Revenue Service. He joined ATF as a special agent, going undercover in Las Vegas and Phoenix to “get guns and dope off the street.”
Through the years, he was assigned increasingly more difficult cases and rose through the ranks. He is currently Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Field Office, overseeing nine counties—from the Mexican border to San Bernardino, from Yuma to Carlsbad, all of Los Angeles and everything in between.
Torres’ staff of special agents have successfully investigated and prosecuted members of the violent Mongols motorcycle gang, the Rollin 30s Crips and the Florencia 13 street gangs, and the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, as well as participating in numerous arson, wildfire and explosive theft investigations.
Even after obtaining his master’s degree from Sac State, Torres continued to pursue educational and leadership opportunities. He has attended executive development programs at the University of Virginia and graduated from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executives Development Program. In April, he will begin a two-year term as president of the Police Officers Association in Los Angeles County.
“Education does not end when you leave college. You should keep pushing yourself,” he says.
Is he ever sorry he didn’t join the IRS? “No,” he laughs. “This has been a good career and a great fit. I’ve had an impact on helping reduce violent crime in Los Angeles and in giving back to the community.”
Executive Director, Larkin Street Youth Services
Sherilyn Adams (’88 and ’92, Social Work) uses words like “stumbled” and “landed” to describe her career path. “I was the first in my family to go to college, so I didn’t know the ‘rules’ of how to go about things. I stumbled into stuff all the time.”
So, it seems fitting that, in her work as executive director for San Francisco’s Larkin Street Youth Services, she helps young adults who have stumbled themselves.
“These are young people who have decided they’re not going to make it, that no one has faith in them, that they’re invisible and at best, dismissed and written off,” she says. “But, what I see instead are amazing, resilient, creative, smart kids who want the same thing everyone wants: a family, a job, a home and a good life.”
Larkin Street Youth Services opened in the 1980s as a drop-in center for homeless youth. It evolved into a network of 25 youth programs at 13 sites, giving temporary shelter, medical care, education and job training to up to 3,600 youth each year.
Adams discovered her passion for helping youth while working part time at Sac State’s Associated Students Child Development Center. “Then I got an internship at WEAVE as a sexual assault and domestic violence counselor, which was eye-opening,” she says. “I stumbled onto my first job in the social work field because I didn’t complete a field work seminar. While I was attending summer session someone from the Child and Family Institute in Sacramento came to make a presentation and mentioned they were hiring. I applied and got the job.”
“I loved my social work program at Sac State,” she says. “It had a diverse mix of students like me—just out of high school—and working professionals with experience and a diversity of knowledge.”
After receiving her master’s degree, she was hired as prevention and education director at the Child and Family Institute, where she created outreach programs for homeless families. She has also worked at a chemical dependency center for women, as a Superior Court family mediator, and as a program director at Baker Places, a San Francisco housing program for people affected by mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. But that job took her away from people, so when she was offered the Larkin Street position in 2003, she jumped on it. “I missed being involved with young people and fell in love with Larkin Street, with the vibrancy of the staff and with its great mission,” she says.
Adams says social work has been a good fit “because it’s important for me to do something in a small way to try and improve the world.”
Arts Specialist, California Arts Council
In a world increasingly enamored with Skype and smart phones, it can be easy to overlook a more traditional form of communication: the arts.
And, at a time when history is being made by the moment and captured on Flip camcorders and camera phones, Lucero Arellano (’84, Communication Studies) knows it can also be communicated through music and narrative. As a Sac State undergraduate, she worked at Sacramento Community Radio, where she produced programs describing events leading to the Mexican Revolution and Cinco de Mayo. She also hosted a program on Latin American music and conducted artists’ interviews at the station.
Today Arellano is an arts specialist at the California Arts Council, where she has worked for more than 25 years. She manages grant programs that provide support for artists and art organizations statewide and oversees Creating Public Value, a program supporting small arts organizations in rural and underserved communities. As a member of the Western States Arts Federation’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, she provides input on issues of cultural diversity and is also advisor to the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s Transnational Cultural Arts Remittances Program.
“The importance of cultural equity and access to resources has been one of my passions, thanks to my father, who was my inspiration at an early age,” Arellano explains. “He believed in fairness and in the right to equal access to opportunities.”
As a communication studies major at Sac State, “I was fortunate to be at a university with a culturally diverse student body, and I benefited from an intellectual environment, both inside and outside of the classroom,” she says.
Arellano was influenced by the Barrio Art class she took and by José Montoya and Esteban Villa, prominent Chicano artist-educators and co-founders of the Royal Chicano Air Force artists collective. “José and Esteban were influential in my connection and appreciation for the positive role of the arts in communities and in general,” she says. “I saw firsthand the role of the arts in a community’s creativity. Here, children and adults worked on art projects with the purpose of creating beauty and developing knowledge and skill in a particular art form or tradition.”
She says her degree was diverse enough to “prepare me to move into the different positions I’ve held over my career. It gave me the tools to become the administrator I am today.”
The California Arts Council’s budget was cut in 2003, she notes, forcing the suspension of many grant programs. The organization has had to be creative in its fundraising efforts, such as promoting the sale of arts license plates and the opportunity for California taxpayers to donate to the arts through their annual tax refund.
“Although these are difficult times economically, we recognize the social and economic impact of the arts in society,” Arellano says.
Vice President for Political and External Affairs, California Medical Association
He originally wanted a career as an engineer or architect, but what he’s building today are different bridges: political connections.
Paul Hegyi (’01, Government) was recently named vice president for political and external affairs for the California Medical Association. His job is “to make connections between physician-friendly politicians and physicians who have issues and ideas” and may need the ear or expertise of legislative experts.
“It’s a real ‘niche’ part of the business,” he explains. And, with topics like healthcare reform and legislative redistricting on the forefront, “this is an exciting time to be working in areas that will have such an impact, that are so relevant and pertinent and will continue to be for the next decade, at least,” he adds.
Hegyi’s career in the political arena is a far cry from where he began his educational journey in
the early 1990s when he was working toward a degree in optics engineering at the University of Rochester in New York. Fast-forward a couple of years, and Hegyi has returned to Sacramento—his hometown—to attend Sac State and continue studying engineering. That is, until he represented the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences on the Associated Students board. “When I got involved in lobbying student issues, it ignited my passion for politics,” he says.
He switched his major and never looked back.
Hegyi’s career took off after he participated in Sac State’s Sacramento Semester State Capitol internship program, during which he interned for State Assemblyman Mark Wyland. After graduation, he moved to San Diego to work in Wyland’s district office. He also joined a political action committee and volunteered on Shirley Horton’s State Assembly campaign. It was a hotly contested election, Hegyi says, but she won. “That really opened my eyes to the difference between political campaigns and legislative policy.”
Hegyi continued to work for Wyland while serving on the committee to elect Van Tran to State Assembly. When Tran was elected to represent the 68th District in Orange County, Hegyi became his chief of staff and stayed until Tran termed out last year.
Hegyi then joined the California Medical Association as a lobbyist. He officially assumes his new position in April. It’s a great fit, he says, because he can draw upon the network of political connections he has nurtured over the past 10 years while still keeping his thumb on the political pulse.
The best part? “I am continually learning new things,” he says. “There are many moving parts in this business, and they’re at work at the local, state and national level.”
Teacher of the Year among first Doctor of Educational Leadership graduates
Sac State’s budding Doctorate in Educational Leadership program reached an historic milestone in May 2010 when members of its
inaugural class received their degrees. “We are reaching our goal
of developing leaders with the skills and knowledge to execute transformation in our schools,” says program director Carlos Nevarez.
The degree had never been offered at any California State University System campus before 2005 legislation rewrote the state’s master plan for higher education to increase the number of better-trained educational leaders in the K-12 and community college systems. Previously, doctorate degrees could only be granted in conjunction with a University of California campus.
“Kadhir Rajagopal is an example of our success,” Nevarez says of the Sac State graduate who was named a California Teacher of the Year for 2011 and is profiled in these pages. “Our graduates are at the forefront of developing, implementing and accessing bold educational practices that will increase educational success and meet the demands of our schools and colleges.”
The three-year program is designed for working professionals. Courses are held on Friday evenings and Saturdays in six-week sessions. The program enrolls students from public schools, colleges, universities, nonprofit agencies and careers as policy makers.
Government internship programs are priceless professional opportunities
For students fascinated by the political process or passionate about making change for good, participating in one of Sac State’s government internship programs is nothing short of a golden opportunity. Graduate and undergraduate students work shoulder-to-shoulder with those who create public policy and launch initiatives, earning college credits and forging friendships and networking opportunities in
In fact, some might say it’s more than golden. In this tough job market, it’s priceless.
“Students who have had internships have an advantage over others because of the direct work experience,” says Beth Merritt Miller, director of Sac State’s Academic Advising and Career Center. “Internships make students more marketable for the workplace.”
Sac State’s proximity to the state Capitol provides unparalleled opportunities for students to get their foot in the door of government. “Students get the opportunity to make contacts within their field, which is so valuable once they graduate,” Miller adds.
Sac State now has three internship programs with direct access to the government process.
Capital Fellows is a nationally recognized and highly selective program for graduate students, recently named one of the “Top 10 Internships” in the country by Vault.com. Capital Fellows hold paid positions in the state executive and judicial branches, as well as in the Assembly and Senate. Each year, 64 Fellows—10 for the judiciary and 18 each for the Assembly, Senate and executive branches—are chosen from an applicant pool that may number more than 350, notes Acting Executive Director Ted Lascher. Fellows work full time for 10 to 11 months and receive a monthly stipend and health benefits. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree can apply and will receive 12 units of graduate credit at completion.
“The Capital Fellows Program gives its members a fantastic opportunity
to grow through public service,” says U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson of California’s 1st District. “Few other internship programs allow their participants to play an active role in the development of public policy. As a former Capital Fellow myself, I know the value of that hands-on experience.”
Sacramento Semester offers Capitol-based internship opportunities for undergraduates. Students of any major from all 23 California State University campuses can work in the legislative and executive branches, and in state agencies. Students earn six semester units for working 25 hours per week, and another six after completing the seminar portion, which features guest speakers from across the political spectrum. Now in its 35th year, the program places as many as 30 students in “positions with significant responsibilities,” according to Government Professor Michael Wadle, who directs the program. Applications are due in November for the spring semester.
“I really enjoyed the flexibility being a Sacramento Semester intern gave me,” recalls Paul Hegyi (’01, Government), vice president for political and external affairs for the California Medical Association (for more on Hegyi, see page 15 of this issue.) “I was assigned to work for Mark Wyland, a freshman member of the Assembly at the time. My work there definitely led to where I am now. It offered lots of different work experiences and helped broaden my professional network.”
Sacramento State Mayoral Fellows
Sacramento State Mayoral Fellows is a new program launched through an agreement between Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez. It offers undergrads and graduate students a chance to work in the Office of the Mayor. Currently students are working on one of Mayor Johnson’s three major initiatives: boosting participation in volunteer and non-profit organizations, reducing homelessness and school reform, says Charles Gossett, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.
“Working for Mayor Johnson was an invaluable opportunity,” says Hafiza Arikat (’08, Sociology), who was assigned to the Mayor’s STAND UP school reform initiative.
Arikat also joined the 2011 class of Sacramento Semester interns and began working in Gov. Jerry Brown’s press office. “My professors tease me that I’m a ‘professional intern’ now, but I’ve been able to work on local, national and now state issues. I’m very grateful to Sac State for these opportunities,” she says. “As a sociology major, it has given me much more confidence and motivation to pursue a career in politics and public policy.”
Sac State faculty help shape public policy with unbiased, thorough research
When government officials set out to set public policy, where do they get the data, research and statistics to support their decision?
Not from entities or individuals with a stake in the outcome or an axe to grind, says Rob Wassmer, chair of Sac State’s Department of Public Policy and Administration. Policymakers need informed, timely advice from reliable sources, and they need the information to be gathered without bias, he stresses.
Where better to turn than a public university, where academic careers are built on conducting independent research and collecting valuable data? Increasingly, Sac State’s public policy experts are being asked to share that depth of knowledge and expertise by those who shape policy, not only in Sacramento but throughout California and beyond the state’s borders, Wassmer notes.
Sac State’s proximity to the Capitol gives policymakers
access to its faculty, not only in the Public Policy and Administration department, but also through the affiliated Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy. Sac State’s professors collaborate on an array of projects as they conduct research and write reports, analyze data, offer expert testimony, sit on panels, and field media inquiries on such topics as land use, budget and fiscal reform, and educational access for K-12 and post-secondary students.
Finding smart solutions
Wassmer’s expertise includes issues of urban sprawl and the myriad economic, political and institutional factors that drive California’s budget quagmire. As the director of the master’s program in urban land development for Sac State, he has been asked to present evidence during legislative policy debate and to such organizations as the Urban Land Institute, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the California Futures Network. He also serves on the editorial board of four academic journals and was recently invited to join California Forward, a non-partisan government reform group, as a policy advisor on fiscal reform issues.
“We’re trying to convene the smartest people to sit around the table and develop solutions to the problems our state is facing,” says James Mayer, executive director for California Forward. “It’s important to get these smart thinkers’ perspectives in play. Rob is an example.”
While Mayer says Wassmer’s knowledge of fiscal and government issues is of value to California Forward as it “steps up to try and develop solutions,” his organization is not the only one to benefit. “He takes advantage of Sac State’s close proximity to policymakers to invite those already in public policy, or who aspire to it, to speak before his students,” Mayer explains. “It’s valuable for both. What people like Rob are doing is truly training the next generation of public policy administrators.”
Supporting higher ed
Nancy Shulock, also a public policy professor, directs the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, an independently funded institute formed 10 years ago to study higher education issues such as access, transfer and accountability. Over the years, Shulock has produced numerous reports focused on student success in post-secondary education, particularly in community colleges. One report, issued in 2007 highlighted policy barriers that deter degree completion at community colleges and caused quite a stir when it was initially released, Shulock says. “But, it led to a sea change of thought” about the importance of student success and a subsequent report was influential in shaping legislation—signed last year—to help improve the student transfer process from community colleges to universities.
“You walk a tightrope between research and advocacy,” Shulock observes, “but your work is only effective if it is respected as being accurate and rigorously researched.” The Institute relies on partnerships with other organizations that advocate for specific policy solutions.
Also focusing her research on accessibility issues for students is Su Jin Jez, assistant professor for public policy and administration and associate director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program. Now in its fourth year, the program prepares the next generation of superintendents, administrators and college presidents at a time when large numbers of these experienced academics are set to retire.
Jez’ research focuses on the K-12 level and beyond. It examines factors and policies that may impede student access to or readiness for college, as well as issues that may prevent them from graduating once they get there. “We also look at what institutions might be doing to improve graduation rates for students once they are enrolled in college,” she says. “There’s been a lot of focus on getting students ready for college, but perhaps not enough on making sure they are academically prepared to graduate.
“Our research helps us, as faculty, stay ahead of current trends and introduces us to other policy researchers. It allows us to continually develop ourselves, professionally,” Jez notes, “and that’s a benefit for students.”
Identifying future leaders
While the call to public policy is strong for these faculty, how can the country get more people actively engaged in the programs and processes that ultimately lead them to create policies that benefit society as a whole? According to Mary Kirlin, associate professor and provost fellow for community and civic engagement, leaders “skilled in being able to work in a group to set fair rules and to negotiate for the good of the group,” are frequently created during adolescence. Her analysis comes partly from a database she created to track thousands of junior high school students who participated in the YMCA’s Youth and Government program. Her study produced what she calls “stunning evidence” that former participants went on to not only become well-versed in current events, but were regular voters, donated to political campaigns, attended public meetings and, “in the ‘pinnacle of engagement,’ went on to serve on some form of public or community board. They were five times more likely to be actively engaged as adults.”
What Kirlin learned on this research project may ultimately be translated into other areas, including right back to the classroom. “We can infuse our curriculum with the skill sets students need to work in a group,” she says. “It’s invaluable for them as they learn to become leaders in our communities.”
Opera program gives students the techniques and confidence to succeed on stage
When he enrolled at Sacramento State nearly 10 years ago, Eugene Chan (’06, Vocal Performance) planned to be a choral educator. Today, he is an internationally acclaimed opera singer, performing in such famed venues as Teatro Comunale di Bologna in Italy and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Chan says the Sac State opera program fueled his transition, giving him opportunities to sing principal roles in fully staged opera productions. “I walked away from Sac State with roles under my belt and the experience to prove it,” he says. “This first-hand experience set me apart from ‘conservatory’ singers because I could give the audience a complete presentation as a ‘singer-actor.’”
That, according to Michael Sokol, Sac State voice professor and opera program director, is why the program exists—to help vocal students blossom from singers to performers.
“It is important to get on stage and learn to communicate as a character, to create suspension of disbelief,” Sokol says. “In voice lessons, you are doing technical work. In opera workshop, you are learning how to ask yourself the same questions an actor does.”
Students who aspire to be professional vocal performers typically start with opera. It offers the most employment opportunities in a small and competitive field, and it requires discipline and technical mastery that can
be applied to other vocal forms.
“A lot of singers can stand stock-still on stage, look directly at the audience and sing beautifully,” says Ernie Hills, chair of the Department of Music. “Opera brings a level of drama and storytelling to the mix.”
Live from Sacramento
Those theatrical elements will be on display April 15-17, when Sac State students present their annual spring performance, the Johan Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus. Instead of the opera program’s home venue of the University Theatre, the opera will be at California Stage in midtown Sacramento, an exciting opportunity for students to gain exposure to a wider audience.
“Any time we get our musicians off campus and into the larger professional world of the region, it is a good opportunity for people to discover what wonderful work we are doing and what great talents our students are,” says Hills.
Ray Tater, California Stage artistic director, is eager to expose his existing audience to Die Fledermaus, which he describes as “a wonderful and silly romantic comedy of manners” filled with “toe-tapping songs.”
The original story takes place in 19th century Vienna. But Sokol, adapting it to modern tastes, moved the locale to 1970s New York City and set the second act in a Studio 54-like club. Though the time period and setting of the operetta will change, the original music will not. “We are not changing the integrity of the music at all, but in between you will hear 1970s disco music to give the flavor of the era,” he explains. “All opera companies try to find an interesting new context for an old show—it makes it more immediate.”
The stage is set
While the end result of an opera production is artistic, there’s an academic component as well. In preparation for Die Fledermaus, Sokol and his 20 or so student-performers studied Johann Strauss and Austria’s social and political scene in the late 1800s. They watched ’70s era movies like Annie Hall and Saturday Night Fever.
The week before a show is intense for students. “For those seven days, they have no life other than the show,” Sokol says.
But ultimately, it’s the kind of experience that prepares students for life after Sac State. “This lets you know what the real world is going to be like,” Sokol says. “This is what you really need to know how to do.”
Eugene Chan is singing proof of that. “The fact that I, an undergraduate, had the possibility to walk away with the knowledge most people receive as a master’s or doctoral student or as a part of a young artist program in a major opera house is something I will always be grateful for,” he says.
By Bob Stanley
We come from Esparto, Natomas, and Richmond
Eureka and Livermore, Dixon and Cool,
from Elk Grove, South Central, and wide Sacramento,
the foothills, the valley, the bay,
and we’re looking for a destination
green along a river bend, we’re
trying to find a kind of connection —
sunlight reflecting gold in a friend’s eye.
She was eighteen
with a laugh in her eyes
as she walked to class through September pines
camellias just beginning to bloom in front of
Lassen, Calaveras, Alpine, and she asked
should I study Communications or Philosophy?
Ten years later, she’s working, raising a family
still not sure which one to study, but
still doing both
According to respected scientists,
laughing is an advanced form of critical thinking.
me and you/homework due
walk the levee/see the view
end of J/our place to play
and work — yes, we do work here —
deadlines and prompts, budgets and balances,
the way we move forward
we look for answers
in the unchoreographed dance
of learning to work together
Not everybody can get to
this green and gold way of life
so we brought some kids from the ‘hood
to come see how a college might look like a home —
walked through Courtyard, Library, Gallery
down to The Well
then back to class where we talked for a while:
The sixth graders asked
How good’s your football team?
Can we play in the video arcade?
The sixth-graders said
You got a Jamba Juice here? I’m goin’ to Sac State!
This must be the biggest school in the world.
Do I hafta take Math?
Do we know how lucky we are
to wander, to stop and talk
to read, write, think?
bells on the half hour…
We do know
how unlucky we are:
Two Papers due on Tuesday I haven’t done the reading yet
(It’s already Monday, pal!)
Bells on the hour
matriculation’s the culmination of
education, but a great city a thriving nation
needs participation so to make a reservation,
to support a destination
at an institution that just might be the solution,
talk to the administration!
(Or send in an application.)
He came back to study at 48
Found his groove in Douglass Hall
Proved he could do it: never too late
shrimp roll, noodle soup on a redwood deck
for a second wondering
how did I get here
on a cool fall day?
Little golden flame
double S that signifies
our many names
singers dancers potters
hoopsters hip hop head fakes
be bop communication adjudication
burritos samosas crepes and mochas
digs and spikes, tattoos and bikes and boards
the hornets’ buzz in the quad the union
fraternity sorority sonority of young and not-so-young
flowing stream this school we call our own
Do you know that blend of voices?
how many hours it takes to make a sound like that?
We walked below Guy West Bridge
one early morning class,
found kingfishers and salamanders.
Do you know
this was once
just river bed
Right here where the American
turns north for a spell
before continuing westward towards the Sacramento,
we might spend four, five, ten years of our life.
This place has always been
and has always been
just along the way.
Do you know?
Taking care of business
While working toward her Sac State degree, Pat Fong Kushida (’85, Business Administration and Marketing) was a student coordinator for the Sacramento State Center for Small Business, which provides free management assistance to small businesses in the Sacramento region. Kushida, head of the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce, says, “It was there that I developed my love for small businesses.” That passion would serve her well in the years to come.
Kushida first took her business skills into the retail fashion industry, where she enjoyed a 13-year career as a buyer, first for Weinstock’s and then as a senior buyer for Federated Department Stores, Macy’s division, in San Francisco. “The key to success in my job was 5 percent fashion sense and 95 percent business sense,” she says.
She married and returned to Sacramento to help her husband run his small business, Kushida Audio and Video Services. There, a promotional flyer about an opening for an executive assistant at the Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce came across her desk. Kushida applied and did so well in the interview that she was instead offered the job of executive director. “It sounds more impressive than it was,” she explains. “I had no staff. I eventually had to use some of my salary to hire that executive assistant.”
During her 13 years at the Chamber, Kushida, now president/CEO, has seen membership grow from 125 to more than 600 and the budget increase from $98,000 to more than $1 million annually. It is the largest Asian chamber in Northern California. In March 2010, she and her staff of 10 launched the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, taking their mission statewide. Kushida now actively promotes the interests of more than 400,000 Asian Pacific Islander-owned businesses throughout California.
She sees support for small business as the driving force behind the Chamber’s success. “The quickest way to the middle class is through small business ownership,” Kushida says. “We serve 16 different Asian-Pacific ethnic communities, most of them first- and second-generation.”
Kushida is happy with the direction Sacramento State is taking in its outreach to all ethnic communities and wants to work with the University to foster more opportunities for entrepreneurship among them. In addition to her work with the Chamber, Kushida serves on numerous regional boards of directors. She has been recognized as an exemplary leader by the American Leadership Forum and as one of the 100 most influential people in the Sacramento region by Sacramento Magazine, among other accolades.
Leveling the playing field
Jack Bertolucci (’50, Business Administration) was watching a Sacramento State baseball game one day in 1988 when it hit him. “I looked at all of these young athletes and noticed there weren’t any ‘bus-ad’ [business administration] majors playing baseball.” He decided to change that. Ever since, Bertolucci, who will be honored in May as the 2011 College of Business Administration’s Alumnus of the Year, has been a generous donor to a scholarship supporting business majors who play baseball.
“I set a goal for funding that scholarship,” Bertolucci says. “After a number of years I reached that goal and then I realized that I wanted to support soccer players as well.” Now he is funding a second scholarship for soccer-playing business majors.
A life-long Sacramentan, Bertolucci and Sac State go far back—to 1948. After returning home from serving in World War II, Bertolucci completed a two-year degree at Sacramento Junior College (now City College). He was ready to take off and see the country when his young wife, Clee, said, “Not so fast.” A UC Berkeley graduate, Clee urged him to complete his four-year degree at the newly formed state college, now Sacramento State. Bertolucci remembers attending classes in a partially completed apartment building just north of the junior college.
In 1950, with his Sac State business degree in hand, Bertolucci began a successful career in mortgage banking and commercial real estate, most prominently defined by eight years with Prudential Insurance and 27 years with Norris Beggs & Simpson, where he served as regional manager and vice president. Married 63 years, he and Clee have two daughters and a son.
“Thanks to my wife’s urging, the GI Bill and Sac State, I got an excellent college education,” Bertolucci says. “I could never have enjoyed the success in life I’ve had without that education. I felt an obligation to give something back.”
When asked what he got in return for his generosity, Bertolucci went upstairs and came back with an envelope. In it was a signed photograph of Gary Wilson, a Sac State Hornet pitcher from 1990 to 1992, who went on to a major league career. An accompanying letter read, “I have been blessed to get to do so many things in this great game of baseball. I hope you know that your generosity made it possible.”
Bertolucci realizes that few of his scholarship recipients will have professional sports careers. Still, he says, the gratitude expressed by the athletes and their parents—while he is out watching the games—makes it rewarding just the same.
Richard Tessen (’57) was admitted as a freshman in the first class of 1953 at the “new” Sac State campus. He graduated with the first and only degree in chemistry in 1957. His vocation encompassed four decades in research, development and production of solid rocket fuels and missiles. He retired to Capitola, Calif.
John W. Harris (’63) was re-elected to his fourth term on the Manteca City Council in November. He is retired from the San Joaquin County Probation Department.
Kathy Northington (’73) began her career as a teacher and has progressed to the elected position of Calaveras County Superintendent of Schools.
Jim Day (’75), former senior vice president of Lyon Real Estate, has been promoted to manager of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Sacramento-Sierra Oaks office.
John Boore (’76) retired from the Manteca Senior Center after serving 15 years as manager and program recreation coordinator. He plans to continue using the center he spent so many years expanding and updating.
Loren Cattolico (’78) retired after 29 years of police service, the last four as Galt’s police chief. He was instrumental in the modernization of the Galt Police Department.
Hunter William (Bill) Bailey (’79) is former All-America gymnast. He’s currently a registered representative, registered principal, investment advisory associate, certified funds specialist, and author of The Aspiring Millionaire (1998) and Wealth Strategies: Investing for Your Retirement (2008).
Tim Garrison (’84) owns a software company—ConstructionCalc, Inc.—and is a professional engineer and author. He recently published his fourth book.
Mark Fairbank (’81) was recently awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science teaching, the country’s highest recognition given to K-12 math and science instructors. He received a $10,000 grant and was honored at a White House recognition ceremony.
Matthew Frederick (’85), co-founder and co-curator of the ARC Studios and Gallery complex in San Francisco, held a popular exhibit titled “Four-Squared” (16 local artists contributed 16 works apiece) in September.
Heddy Kung Chiang (’86) celebrates her 11th year as a vice president at California Bank & Trust. She now manages the Hayward branch and is proud to announce her move from Sacramento to the East Bay. She also volunteers at Chabot College.
Ben Koh (’88), vice principal of Manlio Silva Elementary in the Lodi Unified School District, was presented with a Spirit of Literacy Outstanding Achievement Award for his personal successes.
Angel Nunez (’89), a Healdsburg accountant, has co-created a noteworthy youth soccer program. He says it is “progressive, forward-thinking,” and the curriculum revolves around good grades and parental involvement.
Chris Otto (’89) has been named general manager of Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend, Ore.
Jim Pelley (’87) teaches humor for Laughter Works Seminars, a company he founded that provides tools so that people can be happier and have more fun in their workplaces.
Patricia A. Rucker (’86), a legislative advocate with the California Teachers Association was named in Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Edition for outstanding contributions and achievements
Scott Schuh (’85), director of the Consumer Payments Research Center, and an economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, recently co-authored a significant paper about credit cards and low-income households.
Deborah J. Rooney (’90) is the consulting vice president of Oracle. She was recently inducted into Cambridge Who’s Who for her demonstrated dedication, leadership and excellence in her career.
Jane P. Imperato (’90) was appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Volunteers Commission.
Alex G. Paman (’93) wrote and had published Asian Supernatural, a book about ghosts, witches and demon-types found throughout the Asian/Pacific cultural sphere. His second book, Filipino Ghost Stories, will be published in the near future.
Steven A. Hartman (’91) has been promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer of Penn Virginia Corporation in Radnor, Penn.
Gary Peterson (’98) has been promoted to chief of the Martinez Police Department after working there for 22 years in various capacities. He had been the commander since 2008.
John O. Hilton (’93) stays busy at Placer High teaching physical education, health and coaching basketball and football. His newest position at the high school is baseball coach. He is also a part-time police officer and a reserve deputy for Sutter County.
Joe Hites (’90) has a 23-year history of coaching basketball with near-perfect winning scores. Joe says that rather than “coach,” he teaches competition, loyalty and determination. He is currently working with high school students in Ohio.
Nikki Shepherd Eatchel (’97) has been appointed vice president of program management at Questar Assessment, a leading educational assessment provider for states, schools and school districts.
Kraig Clark (‘91) is the founder of Clark’s Corner in Ione, Calif. He opened the café/village hub in December 2008 and the community of Ione is coming together, literally. The café boasts a 1,000-square-foot multi-use room, an outdoor patio, a restaurant and—for the first time—villagers have a place to gather for activities like story time for kids, wine nights, music, art shows and kickboxing workouts.
Dianne Heimer (’94), professor of English and journalism, held a lead-writing and story structure workshop at the offices of the Sacramento Press
Meina Wong (’96) is the electrical design manager at Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington. She leads a team of 22, responsible for electrical-specific processes and tools.
Betty Ruth Weatherby (’05) used her real-life challenges and triumphs to write her first fiction novel, Charlotte: Saved by Grace, published in 2010. She taught school in Stockton for almost 15 years before retiring and has volunteered as a missionary for Sierra Baptist Church in Africa and other countries around the world.
Sergio Saenz (’02) runs the newly opened and family-owned Tres Hermanas restaurant in Davis.
Jeff Felker (’06 and ’09) held his first solo exhibition of new, original oil paintings at the Sac State Union Gallery in October and November.
Julie Matta (2000), paranormal investigator, bodybuilder and employee of her husband’s law firm, is currently working on her master’s degree.
Eric Guerra (’03), Capitol director at the State Capitol, was an organizer of the Mexican Independence Day celebration staged on the steps of the Capitol, and attended by thousands, in September. He is a board member of the Sac State Alumni Association.
James E. Strode (’03) is remarried and has two lovely new children. He has worked for five years as an adjunct professor at Sierra College and Cosumnes River College. He says he became “the bionic man” with total hip replacement. He is certified to sail 14-foot and 21-foot sailboats.
Ryan German (’09) graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He will continue training as a tank commander and then attend Jump school and Ranger school.