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Hornets On the Rise
Nayeli Castañeda

Instead of starting her freshman year in college during the Fall of 2011 like her peers, at age 18, Nayeli Castañeda was giving birth to her daughter, Shania. "That's when I realized I needed to go to college and get a higher education to be able to provide for her," Castañeda said.

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Accepting the Family

Castañeda enrolled in community college and earned her associate's degree. She then applied to several universities but decided to attend Sac State because the University also accepted her daughter — specifically, into the ASI Children’s Center.

"I felt that they were seeing that I wasn’t a traditional student and that there was support for me," she said. They were seeing me as me, and not just the student number; that was really big for me.

The University Library has also been a source of support for Castañeda while she obtained her undergraduate degree and, now, as she pursues a master’s degree in counseling. Namely, the Library’s Family Study Room has been an invaluable resource. The room is equipped with child-size desks and chairs, children’s books, a sink, and comfortable furniture for Castañeda and her children to use.

Castañeda says she appreciates the safety of the Family Study Room. She can keep an eye on her kids and have her own space to study. She also can still have access to all the materials and services that the library has to offer.

Castañeda says the space, which is funded by donations to the University, shows that the entire university community — administrators, donors, and alumni — are all thinking about the non-traditional students who have families and are supporting their unique needs.

Hopefully, with my degree, I’ll be able to serve the community that has helped me to grow; not just personally, but professionally as well, she said. Looking at the end goal, one day I want to be in a position to be that helping hand to others, like those who were there to help me.

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