Leadership Studies Alumni Spotlight: Sunny Shergill

Sunny Shergill

Role: Technical Theater Director and Special Projects Manager
Industry/Sector: K-12 Education
Year graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt: 2023

Please tell us about yourself.

Hello all, my name is Sunny Shergill! I currently work at a high school in Concord as the technical theater director and special projects manager. I work with 30-40 students putting on “near-professional” level shows and events for the school and the community. I am also an EMT for concerts and special events in my spare time and work for a state agency for emergency services management. 

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Studies program?

I was deployed to surge sites for California State’s COVID 19 pandemic response. During this time, I started thinking about using the time to go back and finish my degree. Once everything was virtual, I was able to take classes I would typically not have time to do. That experience furthered my motivation to find a program that would keep to this “supported virtual learning” model, and after lots of research, landed me in the Cal Poly Humboldt Leadership Studies Program.

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

The Leadership Studies program has been amazing in so many ways! I was hesitant at first when applying, as I didn’t want to start something I would not be able to finish, but right off the bat, talking with Betsy Rogers, the advisor, put me at ease. The first few classes set up what was expected, and the support structure to make sure you succeeded. Professionally I have been through multiple “leadership” style courses. While promising, they all lacked the fundamentals of being a leader. The Humboldt program has been a fantastic way to build up that foundation of leadership while utilizing the leadership experiences I have had in the past. 

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

My goal after completing the program is to expand the technical theater program at the high school I am currently employed at! The goal is to continue aligning the program to industry standards and create a powerhouse of a theater program in our area! There is nothing better than learning something and passing along that knowledge, and I hope to do the same for my students.
What do you think people who are considering this program should know before they start? Any advice for prospective students? 

You can definitely work full-time (even over full-time) and be successful in this program. There are so many helpful support staff and amazing instructors who are incredibly flexible. If you are having a hard time with deadlines or not understanding a concept, reach out to the instructors, and they will do whatever they can to help you out. Communication is critical in this program!
Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

Before coming to Cal Poly Humboldt, I tried a few other “online college” programs. Those programs all felt extremely disconnected, and there was almost zero interaction with other students. The Humboldt program is the complete opposite, and it just feels like everyone in the program is in it to learn something new, think outside of the box, and be as supportive as possible. If you have tried an “online college” type program before, I highly recommend talking to the Leadership Studies advisor, and you will instantly see the difference!