Stephen F. Austin State University

Featured Alumni

Adrian Gutierrez '16
Adrian Gutierrez '16

Juvenile Case Manager, City of Baytown Municipal Court

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 as an alternative response specialist with CPS, where he was able to work with families to connect them to community organizations and service providers to help address their needs. Before joining the City of Baytown Municipal Court, Adrian worked as a foster care and adoption specialist at ACH Child and Family Services, where he matched children who are legally free to be adopted with their forever families. He says that knowing he made a difference in a child's life is a humbling experience that he will always cherish.

Adrian's SFA Experience

"While studying at SFA, I formed meaningful relationships with professors and peers who have influenced my career. Each course provided knowledge of every aspect of lifespan development while expanding my understanding of the value of communication and relationships. I highly recommend the Human Development and Family Studies program to anyone with a passion for working with and helping children and families grow," Adrian said.

Adrian reports that his classes helped him understand the developmental delays foster children experience, locate services to mitigate the impact of delays and 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 helping you network, develop professionalism, and make 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.