Celebrating our 2020 MPA Graduates

jonathan rodriguez County Programs

We are extremely proud of our 2020 Master’s in Public Administration graduates! Because we were not able to honor them in person with a celebratory gathering of family and friends, we wanted to recognize them below.

To view their messages hover over any image below:

Jaleah Winn

Jaleah Winn

Graduating with MPA Cohort Seven has been one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. The learning experience enabled me to engage program faculty, staff and classmates. Also, I became empowered to have a more meaningful outlook on public administration. My vision of public service is to be thoughtful of communities and to practice values that strengthen society and government. I believe that public administration is determination, faith, responsibility, accountability, competence and service. I am grateful to have been a part of the Alameda County CSUEB graduating class of 2020. Finally, I know that Alameda County has prudently invested in us, the future public administrators, therefore, we will invest in the communities that have chosen us for service.

Joanna Saeteurn

Joanna Saeteurn

I started my career in the public sector out of college as a case manager for teen parents in Oakland at Brighter Beginnings. In 2016, I left there to social services with hopes to pursue a career in policy and program implementation in government. The MPA program has helped me to expand my skills and knowledge from the support of the professors and the wealth of information they have shared. It has given me a better understanding of bureaucratic systems and their structures. I look forward to being able to apply the knowledge I’ve gained from the program in future roles at social services.

Patricia Lebron

Patricia Lebron

Ten years of public services in Alameda County. This MPA is dedicated to all of my colleagues that bring equality and fairness to the lives of thousands of community members. Next step for me is an PhD in Social Justice may our path cross again. ¡¡¡Pa'lante Siempre!!!

Diez años sirviendo al publico en el Condado de Alameda. Este titulo de post graduado en Administración Publica esta dedicado a todos mis collegas que con sus esfuerzo y dedicacion proveen igualdad y justicia a miles de miembros de nuestra comunidad. Proximo paso para mi es un Doctorado en Cambio Social espero nuestros pasos se crucen otra vez.
¡¡¡Pa'lante Siempre!!!

Stacey R. Perry

Stacey R. Perry

Stacey began her career at the Oakland Police Department, working in the Jail Division and Traffic Division for 29 years before retiring in 2014. In 2015, Stacey began working as an Assessor’s Technician in 2015 for the County of Alameda. During that time, she completed her certificate in Paralegal Studies at California State University, East Bay.
In 2017, Stacey was promoted to Administrative Specialist II and was hired as the assistant to the Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Operations at Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA). While at ACERA, she completed her certificate in Management and Supervision in the County’s program in December 2018. While in the County’s management program, Stacey also pursued her advanced degree in Public Administration, which was also available in coordination with California State University, East Bay.
Stacey resides in Oakland with her family.

Iliana Ponce

Iliana Ponce

My participation in the Master’s in Public Administration program was a natural step after working in local government for almost five years. It was the perfect opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge in an area that I am passionate about while growing in my leadership within the County. I’m grateful that I was able to go through this journey with an amazing cohort who contributed to my experience and kept me grounded during these last two years. I’m excited and looking forward to practicing all I’ve learned!

Angelica Salmeron

Angelica Salmeron

This journey has been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster consisting of many tears and challenges, even agonizing at times yet rewarding and enriching. These past two years have been a pivotal and transformative point in my life and career as it’s helped me to achieve greater introspection. In a world that will continue to shift, I feel confident in knowing that I've been given the proper tools I need to build a strong future standing on the shoulders of giants. I end this journey feeling replenished, empowered, and inspired with 20/20 vision! Completing this program amid a global pandemic feels exactly how I imagined – ineffable!

Lori Chan

Lori Chan

This program has been life changing for me. Not only have I grown professionally, but also personally. I have been able to create lifelong friendships that I will always cherish! I feel confident going into the next stages of my career with an abundance of knowledge and skills. I am so profoundly grateful for the professors that have pushed me to be my best. They have encouraged me to do an enormous amount of self-reflection (constantly) and always strive for greatness.

Grace Akoidu

Grace Akoidu

My career with Alameda County in 2015. I currently work as Social Worker in Adult and Aging. My favorite book is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Spending time with family, gardening, and the arts are things that I enjoy. I am proud to be part of the 2020 MPA Cohort and look forward to what the future has to offer.

Emerald Porter

Emerald Porter

Who would have thought that, I, a fulltime worker and single parent would be able to find the time and energy to go back to school to get my Masters. Not me, but 2 years later I can proudly say that through determination, hard work, encouragement and sleepless nights I made it, Yayyy!! This challenging journey allowed me to teach my daughter to “Never give up”. Attending this master’s program has sparked new employment interest and appreciation for public administration. Thank you to the professors and staff that has helped me along this journey.

Larry W. Harris Jr.

Larry W. Harris Jr.

Born in San Jose, Ca and raised in Long Beach and East Oakland. He is former high school drop-out who is a married father of two girls 23 years old and 7 months.
He has been employed with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office as a Sheriff’s Technician assigned to Santa Rita Jail for 13 years. He was encouraged by his wife to pursue an MPA degree probably because she was tired of him talking her ears off about all the things, we think about when we think about them. The MPA program has changed his life by providing him answers to questions that he had been seeking most of his life. Now armed with tools from the MPA program, Larry is looking forward to serving his community and creating policies that will provide a positive impact on the Criminal Justice System. The Marathon Continues!!!

Erik Sakamoto

Erik Sakamoto

On my first day of work for Alameda County, one of the HR staff mentioned being a proud graduate of the MPA Program. That was a true sign for my journey ahead. As a career youth worker, having spent nearly 20 years in community-based organizations, transitioning to the public sector needed some scaffolding. And some sense-making. This investment of time, resources, and energy towards my professional academia (in many ways equally on the part of my family), lived up to its promise. I am grateful for the community of working professionals from whom I had the privilege to learn from, share with, and grow amongst.

Asha Reed

Asha Reed

I am currently the Assistant City Clerk at the City of Oakland.
Congratulations to all of the Cal State East Bay Class of 2020 MPA Graduates! We persevered through some interesting times and we can be thankful for no more group work! I hope that what I've learned in the program will help me implement better policy and truly make a difference!

Anjelo Rivera

Anjelo Rivera

Anjelo Rivera is a social worker in the Department of Adult and Aging Services. After the completion of the Master’s in Public Administration program, he acquired invaluable knowledge that could enrich the lives of the community that he serves. He is grateful for his instructors and fellow colleagues for making the program fulfilling and worthwhile. Anjelo would also like to thank his family and loved ones for the endless support in his academic and professional endeavors.

Vania Chen

Vania Chen

Being the first in the family to get my Bachelor degree let along my Master in Public Administration has definitely made my parents proud. It was an amazing program and it was fun working together with other students in the cohort despite many late nights. We all came from different background with many experiences, definitely opened my eyes to many more perspectives working alongside them. This year may be hard for many, but I am thankful for this experience. Congratulations to Class of 2020!

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth Miller was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She studied Business Administration, as an undergrad, at California State University, Hayward. She has a very keen interest in serving the public in Alameda county and was advised by her mentor to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA); excitedly, she signed up without hesitation. While pursuing her MPA, for the past two years, she has worked in the field of recruitment for the Social Services Agency of Alameda County, in their human resources department, with a compassionate satisfaction, drawn from knowing that her work services those in need in the community. While it wasn’t easy working full-time, going to night school, and being a single parent to two pre-teens, she believed in her goal, and through her daily affirmations and staying focused through vision boards, she persevered and achieved this degree. She is grateful to have studied something that positions her to be of service; she believes that the world needs the unwavering dedication, of such like-minded people right now and into the future. As an MPA graduate, she aspires to serve by encouraging Alameda county residents to live a healthy lifestyle and become their greatest version of themselves. In her spare time, she can be found in nature earthing, running, camping, chilling, or reading.

Vanda Sich

Vanda Sich

I am proud to have been a part of Cohort Seven of the Alameda County MPA Program. I am grateful for the connections and the friendships I have made during the last two years. This program has encouraged me to continue to strive to my fullest potential. All the hard work has paid off and I look forward to applying everything that I’ve learned. I want to thank my family, friends, and work family for supporting me throughout this journey. This accomplishment would not have been made possible without the support from each and every one of you, thank you all! A big congratulations to the Class of 2020! We did it!

Pedro Jimenez

Pedro Jimenez

I’m so happy to have landed in public service. It’s been a rewarding career to me. I now have over twenty-five years of public service in Parks and Recreation/ Community Services including the Director of Community services for the City of Emeryville for the past 5 years. I’m happily married to Erin Jimenez, we have two beautiful daughters (Gianna 12 and Talia 9) I’m proud of getting back to school and finishing my degrees, hopefully being a good example to my girls.
I am grateful for the MPA program, cohort, community of working professionals from whom I had the privilege to learn from, share with, and grow with on this journey. I am especially proud of going through this journey with the BSGE (Best Study Group Ever). Debra, Rosa, Chris, Angelica, TaNisha and Danielle. We have created a special bond that will never be forgotten.
Our jobs now more than ever as public administrators, will need to do more to bring real change, to unite and take action together.
Congratulations to all the Cal State East Bay Class of 2020 MPA Graduates! I hope we truly all can go out there and make a difference!

Rosa María Hernández

Rosa María Hernández

I went back for my masters more than 20 years after I got my BA and I am so glad that I did when I did, because I got to go through this with you. I want to congratulate everyone! I have learned from you as well as the program and I want thank you for that. What a finish! And now we are ready to back up all our ideas for making a better world for all of us. Wishing you health, strength and success.

I want to thank my parents, family, BFFs and friends for their loving support in my crazy and MIA times. Thanks to my little Chickens, who lifted me up with their energy when I had none left. Thank you to Toni Fogarty and Claudio for all the support and great encouragement.

I am sincerely grateful to the BSGE for all that you have been to me in this, individually and as a group: 22, T, Professor HO, Sugarman, Angelica, Dani. We’re family now.

One Love.

In Solidarity,
Rosa María Hernández

Debra Gill

Debra Gill

My journey has been long with many stops, starts, twists and turns. I haven’t taken a conventional path for sure. Although I was accepted to UCLA out of high school, I didn’t finish. I had my daughter at the age of 21 and my son at the age of 22. I finished my BA at CSUEB many years later and when my own daughter was attending college herself. I worked hard and made a career out of the opportunities available to me. I’m so glad I landed in public service. It’s been a rewarding career in a sector that really matters to me. I now have over twenty years of public service in human resources including management of all human resources functions in a full-service local government agency. I’m in charge of labor relations, organizational development, succession planning, employee engagement, performance management, budget, classification and compensation, recruitment and retention, safety, benefits and workers’ compensation. I negotiate labor contracts and now have over fifteen years of bargaining experience, currently serving as Chief Negotiator for the City of Pleasanton. Some would think I would get my MPA before these accomplishments, but not me. The fact is, although many would tell you there’s an order in which things are done, my life says something very different. There is no “right” order. There is no “right” way. There’s only my way and here it is. I’m happily married to Richard “Murph” Gill, we have four beautiful grown children and the sun rises and sets on my four babies (my grandkids). I’m proud of getting back to school and finishing my degrees. I’m proud of living through some difficult years as a single mom making very little money. I’m proud to have gone through this cohort with so many wonderful people. I am particularly proud of going through this journey with the BSGE (Best Study Group Ever). Pedro, Rosa, Chris, Angelica, TaNisha and Danielle, you’ve all made me a better person and I’m eternally grateful. You will be part of me forever. Now let’s change the world.

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