San Joaquin Delta College alumni returned to campus recently for a political science reunion, and offered up some sage advice for those following in their footsteps.
Poly sci alumni share how Delta paved their way
Alex Breitler
May 01, 2019

If college itself seems intimidating, try majoring in political science.

Speeches. Campaigns. Elections.

But under the leadership of professors Joel Blank and Cirian Villavicencio, Delta has prepared its political science students well, if remarks by several alumni recently are any indication.

On April 25, the professors and the Political, Law & Society Club hosted the College's first-ever Alumni Night and Political Meet and Greet, featuring a keynote address by state Assemblywoman Susan Eggman and a panel discussion with alumni. Here's just a small glimpse at what several of these former students had to say about their alma mater.

Andrea Herrera (class of 2014), legal administrative assistant for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund:

"I think Delta really helped me be an independent person and thinker. I work in nonprofits which are very rewarding, but they lack resources. You really have to be independent and just kind of go after it. I think Delta allowed me to be that independent person that I needed to be in the field I'm in right now."

Viet Vo (class of 2018), Sacramento State political science student, intern for Assemblywoman Eggman:

"Delta is the reason why I'm in politics today. Two years ago, I took Professor Villavicencio's class in American government. At the time I thought I was doing computer science. But I saw the passion and how he actually uses his knowledge in politics and goes to the Capitol and advocates for issues. And I wanted to do that myself. I was in Professor Villavicencio's class when the campaign manager for Congressman Jerry McNerney came to my class. If it wasn't for Delta I wouldn't have those great experiences working with public officials.

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman meets with San Joaquin Delta College students at the first Alumni Night and Political Meet and Greet on April 18.

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman greets students at Alumni Night.

Camille Manantan (class of 2016), Sacramento State political science student:

"One of the biggest skills Delta taught me was to reprioritize my life and pursue the things I was passionate about. I was going to school fulltime, i was working fulltime, I was interning and somehow trying to balance everything. At the same time I learned I couldn't stretch myself too thin. I had to remember the difference between things I wanted and things I needed.

"I was an art student. I had no interest in politics. I took the shortest class I could to make sure I met the requirements, but I ended up falling in love with the subject... My parents always told me there was a reason you didn't see Asian women in politics. Coming to Delta made me realize that shouldn't have been my barrier. It should have been the reason why I tried harder to pursue those passions, to change that stigma and make a future for myself."

Alejandro Gomez (class of 2015), working with Mayor Michael Tubbs at the Reinvent Stockton Foundation:

"What I learned at Delta was how to be myself in a big space. My third year at Delta I served as student trustee. I remember my first meeting, I was afraid to talk. Just today I was in a big building in Oakland with a bunch of really important people  and halfway through it I realized I was the youngest person in the room. I got a little nervous but that dissolved really quickly, and I can really attribute that to my time at Delta and putting myself in a situation where I would experience that."

Students and members of the public listen during the first-ever Alumni Night and Political Meet and Greet on April 25 at San Joaquin Delta College.

Dominic Manser (class of 2011), law clerk at the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of California:

One thing I credit Delta in teaching me is how to approach professors and other educated people. Being used to interacting professionally with people who have read many things, who are so smart, and being able to learn that skill is incredibly important.

"Delta has amazing professors. I've been at multiple universities and I still look back at Delta as having some of the highest quality teachers I've ever experienced. You have professors here who will go to bat for you, write that letter of recommendation when you really need it. Their classes were challenging but they're also nurturing. And I think that's a special part of being at a community college. At a big university you're thrown into this huge sea, but at Delta it's more of a small pond. If you try, and you're intellectually curious, you can be a big fish here and I think that's an incredibly special opportunity you won't get anywhere else."