Student Stories


Student Stories

Students are our best indicators of success.

We are continually inspired by the ongoing dedication demonstrated by our students and alumni, whether they are enrolled in professional development courses, learning English, pursuing innovative training methods or fulfilling the lifelong dream of earning a college degree.

These stories are living examples of how the support we provide can make a positive impact on people’s professional development and academic career.

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Workforce Development Professionals Boost Their Careers
Mayor-Elect to Graduates: 'I love this, I can't tell you how much I love this!'

Sacramento’s new city leader saluted the graduates of an innovative apprenticeship program at Sacramento State. These apprentices don’t work in the industrial trades, like most apprentices, but in workforce development. They’ve learned new skills to put Californians back to work. 

Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg spoke at the Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program graduation and said graduates, like Megan Bailey, have an important role to play in the city’s growth.   


Testimonial: Workforce Development Professional
Matt Hidalgo: 'The program has empowered me to succeed'

August 2017 Update: Congratulations Matt!

A year ago, Matt was a job coach going through the Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program. He was hired by the California Workforce Association as a program manager coming out of the program. He just received his first-year evaluation and he continues to impress his boss. Matt has been promoted to a program director and received a nice raise too. 


Chilean Couple United by Wine and English
A Love Story: Victor Moreno and Joceline Ampuero

At 45, Victor Moreno led a comfortable life in Chile as an operations director for his country’s second-largest wine producer. He managed three factories, traveled to wine regions around the world and got engaged. And then he decided to quit his job.

“My dream was to study English” in America and get a master’s degree in business, Victor explained to his family and friends. And to his fiancée. “It was a big decision to move to the U.S.,” he said, and a huge sacrifice on her part.

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Eleonor Castillo adjusts her father's cap at a reception at Sacramento State, honoring students who completed their bachelor's degree through a long-distance program. (College of Continuing Education/Risa Knight)

Sac State Graduate Wins National Continuing Education Award
Rodolfo Castillo: 75 Years in the Making

Update (Feb. 14, 2017): Mr. Rodolfo Castillo has been named the 2017 Outstanding Continuing Education Student by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), following a nationwide search.

Mr. Castillo was previously recognized as an Outstanding Nontraditional Student in UPCEA’s West Region, covering institutions in the western U.S. and Canada.

Student Success Story

Graduate Turns Trauma Into Triumph

Coral Connor may only be in her 20s, but this Sacramento State speech pathology graduate has already found a mantra to live by. “I think turning your trauma into triumph is something a lot of people can relate to,” she says.

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Cultural Exchange and Speed Chat Rolled Up Into One
English Language Institute Welcomes Sac State Freshmen

When a class of freshmen at Sacramento State visited the English Language Institute (ELI) they met English language learners from China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and other places around the world.

Some were college students away from home for the first time, like the freshmen. Others were graduates and professionals including elementary school teachers, business owners, a restaurateur, a biochemist whose research specialty is nutrition, a mechanical engineer whose next step is a master’s degree, even a budding actress from South Korea.

Article Access Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Crawford
Graduate of Communication Studies and Instructional Design for e-Learning

Sarah Crawford knows the value of good training. She’s been a professional recruiter, a learning specialist, a training officer, and even taught a course in training design and delivery. So when it was time for her to re-enter the workforce, she looked to Sac State for current, industry-relevant education to boost her resume.

Student Success Story

Jullanar Williams
Criminal Justice

One look into her son’s eyes and Jullanar Williams knew she needed to be an advocate in the criminal justice system. She’s a single parent, who works full-time in the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office as a paralegal, cares for an aging parent, and lives over three hours away from the Sacramento State campus. Jullanar says her degree in criminal justice is made possible because of Sac State’s online program.  

Stephanie Hansel earned her Graduate Certificate in Judicial Administration in 2016. (Courtesy: Herb Ong)

Stephanie Hansel
Judicial Administration Graduate

The law has been in Stephanie Hansel’s blood since the beginning of her career. She started as a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, moved into other areas of the law including a family law practice, before she transitioned to court management. The Judicial Administration program at the College of Continuing Education prepared her for a series of promotions.

Stephanie is now the CEO, court executive officer, of the Sutter County Superior Court. Here’s her testimonial:

Robert Klotz earned his Graduate Certificate in Judicial Administration in 2016. (Courtesy: Herb Ong)

Robert Klotz
Judicial Administration Graduate

Robert Klotz had over 25 years of management experience in the retail industry, but even after he moved into the court system, getting promoted into higher management wasn’t easy. He was told repeatedly he didn’t have enough court experience. When he first applied to the Graduate Certificate in Judicial Administration program at the College of Continuing Education, he was rejected. But he got back up and strengthened his application and tried one more time.

Robert got the promotion he wanted as the CEO of Amador County Superior Court. Here’s his story:

Jason Galkin earned his Graduate Certificate in Judicial Administration in 2016. (Courtesy: Herb Ong)

Jason Galkin
Judicial Administration Graduate

At 31, Jason Galkin is the youngest CEO, court executive officer, in California. He studied law and passed the California bar exam, but he didn’t practice law.

Instead he negotiated contracts, first for private companies and then for Orange County Superior Court. He was working as a senior contract administrator when he entered the Graduate Certificate in Judicial Administration program at the College of Continuing Education. 

Today, he is the CEO of the Colusa County Superior Court. Jason shares his story:

Student Success Story

George Lolas
Leadership for the Government Executive

George Lolas began his 26-year state service career in 1987, shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. Throughout his rise to leadership he served in accounting, auditing and performance measurement positions before becoming the assistant chief for local operations for the California State Controller’s Office Division of Accounting and Reporting.

Student Success Story

Dillon Bunch
Criminal Justice

Dillon Bunch is a senior airman currently stationed at Beale Air Force Base. He has traveled to Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Great Britain and will soon be deployed to the Middle East, but no matter where he’s stationed in the world, he has kept on track toward his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Dillon picks up the story.

Student Success Story

Jeanne Shuman
Criminal Justice

Jeanne Shuman’s life’s journey has not been easy, a mother of nine children and divorced at 57. But she never gave up on finishing her education nor lost sight of her destination, of one day turning young and disadvantaged lives around in the criminal justice system. Jeanne tells her story.

Student Success Story

Victoria Rochester
Criminal Justice

Victoria Rochester reached a point in her career where she had years of experience in the criminal justice field, but the lack of a bachelor’s degree was holding her back. When she finally found a way to finish college, Victoria realized she was doing so not only for herself, but to set an example for her three children. Victoria shares her story.

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Eleonor Castillo adjusts her father's cap at a reception at Sacramento State, honoring students who completed their bachelor's degree through a long-distance program. (College of Continuing Education/Risa Knight)

Rodolfo Castillo: 75 Years in the Making
Oldest Student in Class of 2016 Graduates with Honors

Update: The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) has named Mr. Rodolfo Castillo the 2017 Outstanding Continuing Education Student, following a nationwide search. In 2016, the UPCEA West Region honored him with the Outstanding Nontraditional Student Award.

In his nomination letter, Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen called Mr. Castillo an inspiration and ”the personification of what it means to fight for your dreams and persevere through challenges.”  UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing and online education.  

As he went about his custodial duties Rodolfo Castillo would notice the preschool teachers, how they taught a lesson and held a four-year-old’s attention, how they comforted a child in need and nurtured self-control. “I want to study what they’re doing,” he told himself, “and I want to do the same thing.”

Student Success Story

Alicia O’Brien
Crime and Intelligence Analysis Certificate Program

Ever since high school, Alicia O’Brien wanted a career in law enforcement, but not as a police officer on the street. She found her niche in the criminal justice field while completing the Crime and Intelligence Analysis Certificate Program.

Margaret Crutcher, in her business statistics class, graduates in May. Photo by Jessica Vernone, University Public Affairs

Sac State on a Path to Create Global Citizens
New Partner Shares International Vision

Three students, Margaret Crutcher of Kenya, Esther Hattingh of South Africa, and Myung Jip “MJ” Kim of South Korea share a destination.

Margaret emigrated to the United States and raised three children, and years later one of her daughters says to her: “Mommy it’s time for you to go to school.” Margaret just finished her last class for her International Master of Business Administration.

Student Success Story

Sina Roudbari
International Master of Business Administration

As an industrial engineer in Iran, Sina Roudbari always had an eye toward his next project. So it wasn’t surprising that as he mastered English at the English Language Institute, he was already working on something new at Sacramento State: his international master of business administration.