‘My year at Stanford changed the course of my life and affirmed my desire to work in higher education.’
When I applied to Stanford, I was working at a California community college and had no idea what to do with my life. I loved working at the college, so it seemed fitting to pursue a graduate degree that would keep me on a college campus. A colleague who attended Stanford encouraged me to apply.
Although I’d lived in the Bay Area my entire life, I had no knowledge of Stanford and what was available. Applying to a private, prestigious college was challenging and intimidating, but, encouraged by colleagues, I applied and was admitted.
I still remember receiving the phone call from Jim Lyons in March 1992 offering me admission to the Administration Policy Analysis in Higher Education program. I took a leap of faith by leaving my job, moving on campus (into the old Manzanita trailers), and trusting that I would complete my master’s program in one year.
While the first few months were difficult, I decided to take advantage of every opportunity Stanford offered. I worked with Res Ed and produced a video on the impact of ethnic theme houses on the undergraduate experience. I presented at a national conference in New Orleans, served as a TA for a senior seminar in political science and enrolled in a class at Stanford Law School.
My year at Stanford changed the course of my life and affirmed my desire to work in higher education. My work in community college is informed by my student experience at Stanford and I believe that the students I serve deserve the opportunity to change the course of their lives as well.
Celia Esposito-Noy earned her MA in Administration Policy Analysis in Higher Education in 1993 and an EdD at Mills College in 2013. She is the superintendent-president of the Solano Community College District in California. She has worked in higher education for 27 years.