Alumni in the Field

Cheryl Sanford / BA in Sociology, 1972

In a 2003 interview with undergraduate Katie Hittmeier, Cheryl Sanford discusses how she uses her Sociology background inside and outside of her job in the HSU Office of Extended Education.

In 1972 Cheryl graduated from Humboldt State with a BA in Sociology and minors in Art and Spanish. Since graduating Cheryl has participated in volunteer work such as the Big Brother/Sister organization and the First Methodist Church Youth group. Through her exposure to other cultures on the HSU campus, she gained valuable skills that have helped her in later years.

As an African American, Cheryl had the opportunity to mingle among the few students of color at Humboldt State in the 1970's. She discussed how this gave her a new perspective and said: "It has helped in areas of getting along with my community and not feeling so isolated."

Part of the reason Cheryl chose sociology as a field of study was because of the social situation of the 1970's.

Vietnam, Martin Luther King marches and changes. Hispanics were starting to look at their changes with Cesar Chavez. And the labor unions were taking on a big chunk of changes in our lives and safety needs. Education was becoming more important in our lives, especially for the Afro-Americans, Hispanics, Japanese, and Native Americans. [These groups] were starting to see [that] their lives needed to come out of the caves of darkness, and our voices needed to be heard. I was glad to receive my BA in the Behavioral and Sociology Sciences. My family watched as I was one of the first grandchildren on my father's side to receive a degree. My mom and dad's sacrifices were huge.

Cheryl is now employed in the Office of Extended Education at HSU and uses her Sociology skills in and outside of work. She says that sociology "can be applied almost anywhere you go."

I am directly involved with community members from all social and economic backgrounds. We have a student exchange program that generates students from all across the United States. We have an International English Language program that generates students from all over the world who vary in social and economic backgrounds.

I love working with people and the community. Working with children has [also] been a big part of my life as a single mom. Being a single mom fits some of the social and economic situations that I studied in my course Sociology courses. In fact, if I had not studied those areas, I would wonder if I would have limited myself in growing more than I did. I have made huge strides in my outlook on things now and believe that you can change yourselves for the better. My life is one big application of Sociology.