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Education Bringing Me to Great Heights

Chinonyerem Kamalu attended Sac State after hearing Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez speak about the importance of college during CSU Super Sunday. She received the President’s Awards, an honored bestowed by President Gonzalez during commencement, in recognition of her academic excellence and commitment to service.

Chinonyerem Kamalu attended Sac State after hearing Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez speak about the importance of college during CSU Super Sunday. She received the President’s Awards, an honored bestowed by President Gonzalez during commencement, in recognition of her academic excellence and commitment to service.

By Chinonyerem “Nonye” Kamalu
Sacramento State Alumna

After migrating here from Nigeria in 2004, going to college was on my bucket list but it wasn’t my number one priority because I wanted to save up some money before going back to school. My father always told me that receiving a higher education would take me to great heights and most importantly it is an asset that no one can take away from me. I didn’t quite understand until I enrolled at Sac State.

When I first got to the U.S., I started working at an elderly home for people with developmental disability to earn money to pay for college. Years went by and I still hadn’t enrolled in school. As a caregiver, we attended church with everyone in the home and that’s when things changed. One Sunday, at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, the pastor stopped the service to introduce the president of Sac State, Alexander Gonzalez. He was speaking about how concerned he was about the low number of black Americans attending college and how important it was to get a higher education. At the time, I thought it was so cool for a president of a university to take time out of his weekend on a Sunday to speak about college.
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Music Opening the Doors to Education

James Van Buren (front row, middle) with members of the Grant High Drum Line after performing at the Medi-Cal event at the State Capitol in June 2013.

James Van Buren (front row, middle) with members of the Grant High Drum Line after performing at the Medi-Cal event at the State Capitol in June 2013.

By James Van Buren
Sac State, Cal Poly Pomona Alumnus

You don’t really understand the power of music until you see it firsthand save someone’s life.  When I received my degree from Cal Poly Pomona and later my credential from Sac State, I went on to teach in some of the most challenging environments. I worked at economically disadvantaged schools that were located in communities ridden with poverty and crime. Some of my students have been emotionally disturbed<Many have been academically challenged and unable to grasp the concept of learning.

I knew I had to create a unique and innovative teaching strategy to reach these kids. I took the concepts I learned at the CSU and made them my own to fit my environment. By integrating the idea of multiple intelligences—which states that students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn in different ways— into my strategy, I was able to use their gift for music to help them become motivated in school and perform better academically.
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Empowering Others to Do More

Julie Debbs

By Julie Debbs
Student, Sacramento State

It starts with one thought: I can do more. At least that’s where it started with me.

My story begins more than 30 years ago, during a time where addiction and prostitution were the only things that mattered in life. When I finally was able to admit to myself that “I could do more,” I enrolled in a rehab program, cleaned up my life and started to take school seriously. It was then that I realized that I could also function in an advocacy role and use my unique history, combined with my education, to make a difference in the world.

At Sac State, I worked with professors Mimi Lewis and Dana Kivel to help build Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH), a program that assists sex workers in transitioning out of commercial sexual exploitation and into college. As a program coordinator, I provided women emotional support, encouragement and inspiration to move forward. More …

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