Interaction with learners

First staff member, then student, then graduate aged 22

Since 2006, Terry Goodman ’22 has served on the staff of Cal State Fullerton, including nearly eight years of service at the College of Business and Economics.

Last May, Goodman celebrated a milestone that demonstrates the university’s commitment to empowering lifelong learners to succeed. Decades into his career, Goodman walked across the stage at opening ceremonies for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to mark the completion of his bachelor’s degree program in sociology.

Goodman’s academic journey is not over.

She now plans to start a master’s degree in sociology at CSUF this fall, while continuing her service at the College of Business and Economics.

Goodman shared his story with us:

“I remember the first day I set foot on this beautiful campus. I was filled with excitement and so proud to be a Titan. I have always valued education and held support positions at various levels.

“I started in a clerical job in marketing for the College of the Arts and progressed to a staff position in graduate business programs. Little did I know that working on this campus would be the inspiration needed to fulfill my dream of graduating.

“I am the daughter of immigrant parents and a first-generation student. My mother and father finished their studies and went straight to work, because that was the culture at the time.

“Opportunities for higher education were less plentiful and not an option. My parents’ hard work gave me the opportunity to pursue the education they weren’t lucky enough to get. I am very keen on pursuing opportunities at hand.

“For my master’s degree, I chose to specialize in sociology, in order to deepen the subjects that interest me. When I started my educational journey, I knew that I would thrive and grow in this field of study. When people ask, “Why sociology?” my answer is, ‘because it’s all around us, it’s current and applicable.’

“What a wonderful field of study to be in at any time and in any space. Not a day goes by that I don’t find something to which I can apply sociological thinking.

“I’ve always been interested in social interaction within society, feminist theory, the LGBTQ community, and the sense of self and how it fits into society as we age, which makes sociology a perfect fit.

“While taking undergraduate courses, I consumed knowledge of how society works within the framework of theoretical explanations. I really started to focus during my junior and senior years while taking electives on gender and aging. These areas interest me a lot and I really want to deepen these topics.

“Getting my bachelor’s degree after raising four kids is something I never thought I would do, and yet here I am, graduating and entering the master’s program this fall.

I” believe that everyone should have the opportunity to become a student and pursue the dream of bettering themselves and the world around them, which is a big part of why I chose to work in the education and going back to school. As a non-traditional student, I truly believe that it’s never too late to graduate. I want to be an example for people, especially women, to demonstrate the benefits of continuous learning and empowerment that occur in life.

“Getting my degree while working full-time certainly has its challenges. Carve out time to complete homework, find classes that fit my work schedule, technology issues, system hiccups, and try not to let the stress of deadlines affect my mental well-being.

“But once I walked through the stage on graduation day, it was worth it.

“Along the way, I gained a better understanding of what our students are going through. I understand their concerns because I recently experienced them. Getting to know other students and hearing about their academic journey was an education in itself. It’s a bonus to the overall experience to get my education in the same place where I work. I have had the pleasure of receiving instruction from passionate teachers, like the teachers I have had the pleasure of working with as a staff member.

“I continue to be amazed by the education we provide our students and the future we are a part of. It is in large part due to the positive words of a passionate faculty member that I was encouraged to continue in the masters program.Getting an education is the most rewarding part of my journey.

From supporting non-traditional students to educating the next generation of diverse students, Cal State Fullerton College of Business and Economics is a leader in opening doors of opportunity for students of all ages. Read our articles to learn about the college’s commitment and activities.