Ertug Misirli
Made at Sac State


-Intensive English Program
-Master’s Degree in Economics
-State Supervisory Training Certificate Program

“I learned I have to be fair to all my employees, give them responsibilities, make them feel valued and trust them.”

Growing up in Istanbul, Ertug Misirli was one of the best high school basketball players in Turkey. He played basketball in college followed by the Turkish minor leagues, until his injured knees sidelined his professional career.

He was 25 years old.

But Ertug, pronounced “air-two,” already had a back-up plan. He wanted a degree from an American university, a dream that led him to Sacramento State.

He learned English while attending an international boarding school, a different experience from his working-class neighborhood in an Istanbul suburb. Having lost his father at the age of two, Ertug’s tuition was provided by the Turkish government, while his basketball skills and size, six feet and growing, caught the eye of high school recruiters.

At Darussafaka High School, Ertug distinguished himself as an athlete, often the team’s top scorer, and as a scholar with “aspirations to get a Ph.D.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in public administration, Ertug was accepted into a doctorate program in the Czech Republic. But he felt the tug of family and followed his brother who was studying at Sacramento State.

And so began Ertug’s journey to the College of Continuing Education (CCE), first as a student and later as a professional.

“I remember him being praised at the time by his professors.” - Paulo Pinto, language instructor

With his English a little rusty, he entered the Intensive English Program (IEP) at the English Language Institute (ELI). After graduating from the program, he made a smooth transition to Sacramento State and earned his master’s degree in economics. “I remember him being praised at the time by his professors,” recalled Paulo Pinto, a senior manager at ELI, and one of Ertug’s language instructors.

As a graduate assistant in the California Energy Commission, Ertug analyzed data, like the savings cities would gain by switching to LED lights. He then took his analytical skills to the California Department of Social Services and after a series of promotions became a first-time supervisor.

His workload included a mandatory 80-hour training program, a regulation that brought Ertug back to CCE. In 2017, he entered the State Supervisory Training Certificate Program, where he ran into his old instructor.

“I think this is an awesome full circle, from ELI to Sac State and back around to CCE,” Paulo said. Students like Ertug “are contributing to the California economy and industry as well as bringing more diversity of ideas to our state,” he added.

Ertug brought his leadership in basketball, “being a team captain and working in a team environment.” His classmates came from different state agencies and each one a newly minted government supervisor. “Listening to their stories and recommendations was very helpful. The teachers were great too,” he said.

Ertug and his classmates graduated in November. And just like his days on the basketball court, he has had to prove himself.

“I learned I have to be fair to all my employees, give them responsibilities, make them feel valued and trust them. I think I am a better manager.”  

For more information, please visit the State Supervisory Training Certificate Program webpageand the Intensive English Programat the English Language Institute.