Faculty Spotlight: Maggie Natzel


Meet Maggie Natzel, a member of the teaching staff in the Child Development program.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in early childhood education from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). While attending UCSB, I also earned my primary and pre-primary Montessori teaching certificates.

What brought you to Sac State?

I started working for Sac State in 2007 when I was hired to work as a cohort instructor with the child development program. The incredible staff at CCE and faculty on campus motivated me to stay with this program for 7 years. I now teach on the main campus in the Department of Child Development, but hope to continue working with CCE whenever possible.

What has been your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy all aspects of teaching but especially enjoy class discussions. There are many controversial and complex issues in child development, and I appreciate hearing the students’ experiences and ideas related to these issues. I always enjoyed being in school myself, so I also appreciate that my job requires me to stay current with educational research and practices.

What led you to the field of child development?

When I was 17, I took a job at a day care center working with children in K-6. When I moved to Santa Barbara to attend college, I was able to get a job as a preschool teacher. I loved it and felt I was good at it. I originally planned to get a teaching credential and teach history at the high school level, but changed my focus to younger children.

If you hadn’t followed this career path, what do you think you’d be doing?

I think I would have gotten into environmental studies, ecology or animal sciences.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy trail running, hiking and camping with my husband and our dogs. I am an avid reader and like to read history related literature.

If you were to share one piece of advice for prospective or current students, what would it be?

Actively use your cohort peers for support. Many students in this program work full-time while completing their degree, which can be difficult. It is helpful to work with others who are having the same experiences in order to provide support and share effective strategies. At the end of the three years you will not only have a degree, but a new cohort family as well.