By Lauren Rosenthal

You might not know the Student Activities Specialist at your campus, but it’s certain that they have enhanced your community college experience. Kristen Robinson of Moorpark College, Gabriela Rodriguez of Oxnard College and Libby Fatta of Ventura College each develop opportunities for students to personally, professionally and academically grow outside of the classroom in ways that complement their career and scholarly aspirations.

To accomplish this substantial task, these three advise and facilitate the Associated Student Government on their campus, as well as help direct the abundance of student clubs and organizations. They also implement campuswide events and activities such as Multicultural Day, Constitution Day, Hispanic Heritage Month and commencement ceremonies, including this year’s celebration of graduates. While each specialist is responsible for her campus’s activities, the three closely work together to ensure all the VCCCD students have enrichment opportunities.

This July, Kristen will be celebrating her three-year anniversary at MC. She began her counseling career at UC Santa Barbara, before which she attended the school for two years after transferring from Ventura College. She maintains that getting to work with ASMC and the student staff, seeing her students take “leaps and bounds,” and their confidence grow is more rewarding than she ever imagined. She’s currently implementing a program called MC LEADS (Leadership Education And Development for Students), using “a la carte” leadership training in which students are given various topics and responsibilities throughout the semester. “This is really a ‘practice what you preach’ environment… I’m leading by example, which I take very seriously and with a high level of responsibility. I try to meet our students where they’re at and understand where they’re coming from by using empathy,” she said.

Gabriela comes from the nonprofit world, where she ran a youth leadership development organization called Future Leaders of America. In 2015, she received a provisional job opportunity at Oxnard College, and she loved the job and campus. Gabriela has always had a passion for education and student growth: “I love working with students and empowering them, helping them achieve their greatest self, and be in service to others.” One accomplishment she and ASG are particularly proud of is OC’s Meal Voucher Program, where students can get a meal ticket and a warm meal on campus. During her time at OC, she’s learned that it’s never too late to pursue one’s education. There’s no correct path to success, she said, and “everybody’s placed on this earth to teach you something about yourself or about the world.” 

Libby began her career at VC a little over three years ago, subsequent to working at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. The role of Student Activities Specialist has helped her grow personally and strengthen her leadership skills, she said. She derives her passion from student advocacy and transforming students into leaders. Libby has always had one foot in the door when it comes to leadership in education.

While attending community college in New Mexico, she was the Director of Activities for student government, which involved event planning, working with different clubs and organizations and absorbing valuable lessons that help her lead today. Her largest accomplishment with ASVC is the enormous expansion of VC’s Food Pantry. “I’ve absolutely loved my experience at Ventura College, it’s helped me grow into my profession more and realize what I want to do,” she said.

Lauren Rosenthal is a Moorpark College student and student worker with the Ventura County Community College District.

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