Stephen F. Austin State University

Featured Alumni

Adrian Gutierrez '16
Adrian Gutierrez '16

Foster Care and Adoption Specialist, ACH Child and Family Services

Adrian's Career Journey

Adrian's interest in the field of child welfare began while he was a student at SFA. He did his practicum with Buckner Children and Family Services in Lufkin where he obtained experience in their foster care and adoption department. After graduation he got a job with CPS as an Alternative Response Specialist where he was able to work with families to connect them to community organizations and service providers to help address their needs.

Working as a Foster and Adoption Specialist

As a foster and adoption specialist, Adrian now works with children in the foster system and gets the opportunity to match children who are legally free to be adopted with their forever families. He visits with children and their families monthly to discuss the child's progress and review strengths and any needs that the family might have. One of the most rewarding parts of his job is working with families through the finalization of their adoption. He says that knowing he made a difference in a child's life is a humbling experience that he will always cherish. Adrian reports his classes have helped him understand the developmental delays foster children experience, locate services to mitigate the impact of delays, and helped him to work with multiple entities.

Adrian's advice

Get involved with student organizations such as Jacks Council on Family Relations. These organizations help you prepare for life after graduation by networking, developing professionalism, and making friends who want to be in the same field as you.

Sydni Mitchell '10
Sydni Mitchell '10

Communications Director and Policy Analyst, Texas State Senator Robert Nichols

Sydni's Career Journey

While at SFA Sydni majored in child development and family living (now human development and family studies) and minored in management. Sydni's interest in leadership and public policy started in her undergraduate studies where she was president of JCFR, involved in Omicron Delta Kappa, and president of the Student Government Association. After obtaining her bachelor's degree, she stayed at SFA to pursue a master's degree in public administration. At that time she was elected Student Regent for SFA Board of Regents. Sydni reports her classes in child development and family studies have helped her to understand policies presented to her as well as the lobbyists and individuals representing their causes. She also reports that her course work has helped her to evaluate the information given to her and to determine how it affects others.

Working as a Communication Director and Policy Analyst

Sydni states she has two parts to her job. The first part is serving as media contact for state and campaign offices. This includes managing media messages, interviews, written statements, and press releases. Sydni reports that the undergraduate course that taught her how to communicate messages through press releases, radio, planning events was extremely helpful when she began to take over media for State Senator Nichols.

The second part of Sydni's job includes serving as policy analyst for committees on education, higher education, finance, and veteran's affairs and military installations. She is also an analyst for the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission for Senator Nichols. During the legislative session Sydni spends her time in committee meetings, staff meetings, and analyzing bills. She says, "Every day is different for me, as you never know what constituent calls we are going to get, which means contacting the appropriate agency to try to fix the issue."

Sydni's Advice

Sydni's advice to undergraduate students is to get out of your comfort zone. The best times and decisions she has made are when she decided to go for something even though she felt she wasn't qualified, such as Student Body President. She also suggests that students take part in internship and volunteer opportunities. Sydni's last piece of advice is to finish what you start. This shows people you are committed and dependable.