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About the Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy
Welcome to the Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy. The mission of the office is to promote Sacramento State and cultivate public support for it and its students. The office serves as the official voice of the University in engaging with community and government agencies at the local, state, and federal level. The Advocacy team actively shares examples of academic excellence and student success, as well as university priorities in effort to secure resources and support.
The Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy also plays a key part in fostering Sacramento State’s institutional role as a leading convener of educators, policy makers, and civic and thought leaders who address current issues that impact our society, economy, and democracy. The Office is responsible for the oversight of Sacramento State Downtown, a hub for innovation, teaching, learning, and research, and the nationally recognized Center for California Studies, which operates the renowned Capital Fellows Programs, and bridges academia and government in the service of strengthening California’s democracy. Additionally, the Office facilitates the Anchor University initiative to deepen the university’s roots in the community and focus on developing long-term relationships and partnerships that mutually benefit the campus and the community.
Phil Garcia, Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy
Phil Garcia came to Sacramento State in 2004, when he established the Office of Governmental and Civic Affairs and served as its executive director. With the creation of the Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy in 2010, he became its vice president.
Prior to his arrival at Sacramento State, Garcia was communications director for then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and deputy executive director of the State Board of Education. Earlier in his career, he was a journalist, working at the Arizona Daily Star, the San Diego Union and in the Washington, D.C., bureau of United Press International. His last newspaper job was with the Sacramento Bee, where he was a reporter and editor.
Garcia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He is a former Congressional Fellow for the American Political Science Association.
Nathan Dietrich, Director of State and Federal Relations
Nathan Dietrich has served as the Director of State and Federal Relations at California State University, Sacramento since October 2015. In that position, he seeks out opportunities for Sacramento State students and faculty to be engaged with state and federal agencies and identify possible funding sources. He also is responsible for the University’s budget and legislative advocacy efforts in Sacramento and Washington, DC. Prior to his time at Sacramento State, Mr. Dietrich served as Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s district director for over eight years. Mr. Dietrich is a graduate of UC Davis and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Judi Brenner, Executive Assistant
Judi Brenner is a Sacramento native and a proud graduate of Sacramento State. After many years of working as a personal assistant, she returned to school as a first-generation student and received her degree from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Studies. She was hired by the department soon after and worked first as Instructional Support Assistant, then as an Administrative Support Coordinator. In 2015, after nine years in the department, she joined Public Affairs and Advocacy as the Executive Assistant to Vice President Phil Garcia.
Teresa Lerma-Garcia, Downtown Administrative Support Coordinator
Teresa Lerma-Garcia has over 13 years of experience at Sacramento State. Before joining Public Affairs and Advocacy in 2018, she worked in Student Affairs, Financial Aid, and Student Services at Sacramento State. During Teresa’s tenure at Sacramento State, she played a key role in coordinating campus activities such as February’s Financial Aid Awareness month. Teresa is a proud alum of Sacramento State. She earned bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and master’s degree in education leadership and public policy. Teresa’s continued dedication and commitment to students and public service adds value to the mission of Public Affairs & Advocacy.