Leadership Studies Student Spotlight: Sylvia Carroll

Sylvia Carroll

Tell us about yourself.

I will graduate from the Leadership Studies program in the summer of 2024. I am a life-long learner in all areas of life with a passion for music and animal rescue. My husband of 20 years and I have a blended family with two children, and we share our home with three pitbulls.

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Studies program?

My educational journey has taken many twists and turns since the fall of 1988 (NOT a typo!) when I was a freshman deaf studies major at California State University, Northridge. That journey included giving birth to my son, who required brain surgery at five weeks of age, divorcing an abusive husband, then starting a new life as a single parent. In the early 1990s, I took my first ITV (Interactive TV) course at El Camino College, where I could watch the instructor's lessons on videotapes or public television channels and complete assignments remotely. Distance learning allowed me to work full-time, care for my son, and pursue my education all at once. Through the years, my major changed from deaf studies several times until I completed my AA and AS degrees at Pasadena City College in 2010, and I took classes at several universities. I enjoyed the learning aspect, but felt no deep connection. Then I found out about the Leadership Studies program at Cal Poly Humboldt. Eureka! (smile) After reviewing the course descriptions, I felt excitement and anticipation like never before. I could be successful in this program, and I could see where it was a fit for me. I quickly gathered my transcripts and submitted my application. My initial Zoom chat with advisor Betsy Rogers was so encouraging, and so has every conversation since then – but it isn't just Betsy. All of the professors have been so supportive and invested in each student's success. 

How has this program helped you in your career? 

I have been employed by the current school district for nearly 25 years, and I am looking to retire within the next 5-7 years. The Leadership Studies Program has helped me to think about what I want to do as my next career. Each class has helped me to look at myself differently. As a single mom with a young child, my focus was on finding the best-paying job with the best benefits. Now my son is grown, with a career of his own, and I am free to explore my interests and discover what I want to do.

How have you grown as a leader since starting this program? 

How haven't I grown? I never considered myself to be a leader until the program showed me the different facets of leadership and that is where I found my leadership style and voice. Moving forward I will use the confidence and knowledge I've gained to grow personally and develop others. 

What are your goals after completing your bachelor’s degree?

In the spring I will circle back to my deaf studies roots and register for classes to become proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). I've looked into possible post-baccalaureate and post-bachelor programs as well, because completing this degree and the things I've learned through this program have lit a fire within my little learner heart!