SBVC Student Trustee Autumn Blackburn
By Dianne Anderson //–If Autumn Blackburn had stayed on her original path, she might have been on her way as a marine biologist, studying all manner of swimming things, but it turns out that she is more of a people person.
Burdened with the high cost of education at a university in northern California and undecided on her major, she came back home to San Bernardino three years ago where she discovered her true calling in Human Services.
Blackburn credits San Bernardino Valley College with providing the space she needed to regroup, and time to rethink the best way to use her talent. In her newly elected post as student trustee, one of her main duties will be contributing to the decision-making process on how the education budget is spent.
When she first started attending Board of Trustee meetings, she said there was a lot of talk about the financials, but at the time, she didn’t fully understand the overall impact to the students.
“It was like, I have all this information and they’re debating about it, so I knew that somehow it’s going to affect us,” she said.
In her new post, one of her top priorities is to break down the information to bring back to the students so they can better understand the education budget, and what it means for their academic future. She will also help with the Associated Student Governments, acting as a liaison between the college district and the campus. She said it’s important that students comprehend the current policies and pressing issues.
Beyond academics, Blackburn said that SBVC has given her a solid foundation for navigating professional circles. She has sharpened her skills and wants to use that knowledge to help others in her community.
“I feel like this is really preparing me to learn how to present myself not only to elected officials, but CEO’s and other higher-ups,” she said.
Like most students, when she first started at SBVC, she wasn’t deeply involved in campus events, but speakers regularly visited her classes asking for help. She started serving with the Human Services Association as an activities chair and events planner, followed by a stint with Instruction Support services alongside the Vice President. She said when the Vice President position opened, she wasn’t sure if she could handle the demands along with her studies, but her peers with the Associated Student Government encouraged her to run, and she won.
“This really has expanded my knowledge of politics, and how things are run at the school, that really got me started,” she said. “With their support on campus and talking to my professors, who were receptive also, the support team really helped.”
Blackburn, who graduated from Arroyo Valley High School in 2012, said that coming back home and attending San Bernardino Valley College was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. From here, she wants to continue her higher education at Cal State University San Bernardino in Human Services. Eventually, her goal is to become a clinical social worker.
She said the college has helped her clarify career goals while managing her student debt. All she needed was one class to make12 units to qualify for financial aid, which happened to be Human Services.
“I realized how much this field affected me,” she said, adding that she has since received her alcohol and drug counseling certification.
Because of the campus flexibility and support, she said she was able to make a solid decision.
“They give you an opportunity to experience and learn what you want to do. There are tons of options at Valley College with services to help students like me, and other people,” she said.