Leadership Studies Student Spotlight: Sunny Balopole

Sunny Balopole

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Sunny Balopole. I am a singer-songwriter, nanny, and part-time student. I grew up in the Bay Area in a musical family, and in 2012 I decided to dedicate my life to my music career. Since then, I've released three singles, performed numerous shows throughout California, and released my EP "Songs from the Beginning." My happy place is on the stage, but I love collaborating with other musicians, writing, and producing. If I'm not doing any of those things, you can find me binge-watching something on Netflix, at a music festival, or spending time with friends and family.

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Studies program?

I dropped out of SF State when I decided to pursue music as a career, but I never lost sight of my goal of earning a college degree. While pursuing my music career, I took one or two classes at my local community college every semester. When the time finally came to transfer, I spent days researching programs. The Leadership Studies program was the first one that caught my eye, and I thought it was too good to be true! The fact that it was online and one class at a time drew me to it. After looking at all the class descriptions, I felt that the curriculum would prepare me for anything I choose to do in the future.

How has the Leadership Program positively impacted your personal and/or professional life?

The Leadership Studies program has profoundly impacted my personal and professional life in ways I never expected. I'm more confident in my leadership abilities, and I understand that leadership is a skill that I can develop. This program is providing me with the resources to do so. Professionally, the program has shown me how to advance my music career. There are two sides to being a professional musician: art and business. The leadership studies program has taught me valuable skills essential for running a successful business. Getting a good grade used to be my motivation to work hard in school. Now, I work hard because I enjoy what I'm learning, and I know I'll use this information in the future.

What are your goals after completing the Leadership Studies degree program?

I have many goals, but my music is always at the top of the list. If I can not only survive but thrive by being a professional musician, I have reached my goal. I also love education, and I could see myself applying for the Communication Leadership masters program at the University of Washington. The Leadership Studies program is not guiding me on one career path; it's opening doors for many career paths. Whichever direction I choose, I now have skills that will help me be successful. 

What do you think people who are considering this program should know before they start? Any advice for prospective students? 

Leadership Studies is a great program. I think many bachelor's degrees are focused on preparing you for the future (which is important), but Leadership Studies allows you to focus on your career now, and be successful in your current workplace. The professors and counselors in this program go above and beyond. The cohort system also provides a lot of support, because it's comforting knowing you're not in this alone!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I highly recommend this program, and I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it. My advice would be to take 5 minutes every day to check Canvas. As long as you do that, you’ll stay on top of your assignments!