Celebrating Women in Aerospace
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Aerospace Museum of California Executive Director Tom Jones invited five women from across STEM careers to share their real world experience with young people, their families, and other interested parties in a STEM Education Day event, Celebrate Women in Aerospace. The morning kicked off with activities throughout the museum for children and their families which included a scavenger hunt, photo challenge, phonetic alphabet activity, but the most popular was the paper airplane table situated between some of the indoor display aircraft.
The weather also provided opportunities to view outside exhibits and look into some of the airplanes, including the FedEx classroom plane used by Sacramento City College Aviation students. Docents were on hand to share stories and history, and Warren Searles and his crew were helping aviators in training in the museum’s Flight Zone.
The event’s highlight was the panel talk which kicked off with keynote speaker, Rear Admiral Bonnie Potter.
“I don’t fly,” said Potter, but that did not hinder her distinguished career which includes becoming the first female physician in the US Navy to be selected for flag rank.
“My parents encouraged me to do anything I wanted to do.”
She wanted to be a veterinarian, a desire shared by panelist Chelsea Engberg, CEO and founder of Aviatrix LLC. Potter’s road led her to the US Navy where she received a scholarship through the US Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program. She quickly learned that Title 10 prevented her from serving her residency on a ship, as a flight surgeon because she would not be permitted to land on any ship, or on a submarine.
“How you think is everything.” She was determined to become the best doctor she could be. In 1990, she was assigned to the USNS Comfort, a 1000 bed floating hospital that was deployed in support of Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Part of her responsibility was to set up the hospital, which meant unpacking crates, improvising when parts were not available, and developing an evacuation plan. She became certified as a Life Raft Commander.
“You can’t just wait for things to come to you. You have to go out and look for them,” she said. “Take chances. Test your ability.” These words and phrases were echoed by the panelists who highlighted their careers, challenges, and successes.
“Live your life with honesty and integrity,” she said, reminding them that “the wrong post can keep you from getting the job you want,” referring to social media.
Following Potter’s address, Jones asked the panelists questions beginning with who their greatest supporters were or still are.
Captain Carola List, US Coast Guard Commanding Officer Air Station Sacramento, credited the support of Chief Petty Officers and her lifelong interest in flying.
“If you don’t know your passion, try many things,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to fail.”
Chelsea Engberg said that the film, Top Gun, was a huge inspiration.
“I wanted to be a fighter pilot.” She wrote many unanswered letters to President Reagan asking why she could not be a fighter pilot.
“I fell deeply in love with physics.” She also fell in love with flying and earned a master’s degree in aeronautical science. Her parents purchased her one hour of flight time with Sean Tucker, and that was the start of a lifelong career, leading to her becoming the school’s COO. “Don’t give up. It’s all about the journey.”
She is a tough woman, even by military standards, having spent fifteen hours in centrifuges. She is a flight instructor, aviation safety expert, movie and television consultant, and aerobatic pilot. She also credits the strong women in her life and a flight to Europe as a child when she was invited to sit in the cockpit with the pilot.
“The journey will take you where it’s going to take you. Don’t close the door on finding your passion.” She dreams of solo hiking the John Muir Trail.
Sarah O’Meara is currently a Ph.D. student at UC Davis and intern at the Johnson Space Center focusing on human-robotics integration and physiology, and she is a Link Foundation Fellow who uses all aspects of STEM in her research.
“Math is an everyday thing,” said the quiet young woman who dreams of someday ice diving in Antarctica.
She created, with several classmates, SOAR (STEM Outreach for Academic Reinforcement) Mentorship program.
“I guess our parents all went to the same camp,” she said when asked about mentors. Her mother had a Ph.D. and encouraged her to follow her dream, with a twist. O’Meara was directed to pursue engineering for her undergraduate degree. After that, she was free to study whatever she wanted.
“Stop being a perfectionist,” she said, adding that enjoying the process and not being afraid to share ideas are important.
Shannon Sanders Swager owns Sanders Aviation in Ione and has her master’s degree in business administration.
“I’ve got a pacifier in my pocket,” she said, a reminder that she is also a mom who, like many women, wears many hats. She also credits her grandmother as a role model and many of the men she encountered on the journey which took her from possible history teacher to working at Disney and returning to college.
“Don’t let people tear you down,” she said. “Look to people who build you up.”
She advised students to enjoy life because they never know where it will lead. “Don’t be afraid to try. If you don’t try, you may never find your passion,” she said.
Upcoming events include Rocket Appreciation Day on Saturday, March 30 and ACE Career Expo 2019 on Saturday, April 6 where interested students and others can learn about STEM career pathways and meet professionals in all of the STEM areas.
For additional information on Aerospace Museum of California, visit: https://aerospaceca.org.
Named as Extraordinary Woman at Annual Celebration
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Assemblyman Ken Cooley joined the California Legislative Women’s Caucus to recognize extraordinary women from across the state in celebration of Women’s History Month. This year, the Assemblyman honored Michelle Callejas of Sacramento.
“Recognizing Michelle on this momentous occasion at the Capitol brings me great pride,” said Assemblyman Cooley. “Michelle’s dedication to working collaboratively with families and partners within our community fosters better experiences and exemplifies outstanding community service.”
Michelle Callejas has worked in the health and human services field for over 25 years and is currently the Director of Child, Family and Adult Services for Sacramento County. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
She began her career at W.E.A.V.E., a local domestic violence agency, providing services for victims of intimate partner abuse and sexual assault. She also provided group counseling for children exposed to domestic violence and delivered court-ordered counseling services for women involved in Child Protective Services trying to reunify with their children.
She began working for Sacramento County in 1996, and has served in child welfare, mental health, and the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness program working with family members of homicide victims and victims of hate crimes.
Michelle served as Deputy Director of Child Protective Services for seven years, where she identified opportunities to work with system and community partners to better address the complex needs of children and youth in foster care. She and several other leaders in Sacramento completed a Multi-System Integration Certificate Program at Georgetown University and have implemented practices to reduce the number of foster children that cross over to the Juvenile Justice system. The team also worked with other community partners to develop a county-wide protocol to identify and serve child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. She is currently co-leading efforts to develop a county-wide prevention plan that focuses on strengthening families and preventing child abuse.
“It is truly humbling to receive this award. I consider it a privilege to serve our community and want to acknowledge the dedicated staff in the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services who are serving and supporting children, families and adults each and every day in District 8 and the larger Sacramento area,” said Michelle.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley represents the 8th Assembly District which includes the communities of Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rosemont, Wilton and other portions of unincorporated Sacramento County. For more information, please visit http://asmdc.org/members/a08/
Source: Office of Ken Cooley
Findings will determine how to prepare foster youth for success in college and career
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - United Way is gathering foster youth and community leaders working on foster care issues for its inaugural Foster Youth Summit on April 5 from 9 am-3 pm at the Sacramento State Ballroom, 6000 J Street.
The summit will identify opportunities to increase the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to complete post-secondary education. Summit findings will be released as a report that will determine the direction of United Way’s foster youth programs. For more information and to sign up: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FosterYouthSummit.
Stephanie Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region, announced the summit to 300 supporters at United Way’s 17th Annual Women United Luncheon on March 21. More than $78,000 was raised through the luncheon for United Way’s programs that are preparing foster youth for success in college and career. Since 2002, United Way’s Women United action group has raised more than $2 million for programs for local foster youth.
“It’s time to take our work to the next level,” Bray said at the luncheon. “For far too long, we have talked about the drop-out and homelessness rates for foster youth. We know that no one person or organization can do this alone. So we are convening a public forum to discuss how we move the needle on high school graduation and college or career attainment for foster youth so that fewer struggle as they transition into adulthood.”
Nonprofit service providers, state and county foster youth advocates, school districts, foster youth and other supporters will come together for a deep dive into community level data, a foster youth panel on real-world implications of the data, breakout sessions and a keynote speech by Jennifer Rodriguez, JD, executive director of Youth Law Center and a former foster youth.
At the luncheon, Bray cited a 2018 Annie E. Casey Foundation report that noted without any support, California foster youth drop out of high school at a rate of 24 percent, 30 percent do not have stable housing and 51 percent are unemployed.
“That is so much lost potential,” Bray said. “We at United Way believe that every child, including each foster youth, has the opportunity to achieve. Imagine the impact if we don’t invest in our foster youth’s potential.”
Bray referred to luncheon keynote speaker September Hargrove as an example of how foster youth achieve success, not only for themselves but for communities across the country. Hargrove, a former Sacramento foster youth who volunteered with United Way a decade ago, is now VP of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co., leading the company’s $150 million commitment to Detroit through neighborhood revitalization, small business, financial capability and workforce development.
For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond.
United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On March 14, volunteers were recognized by Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA) at Shriner’s Hospital for Children – Northern California. Nearly 100 people attended the annual awards ceremony which recognized three categories of volunteers – Youth Volunteer of the Year, Individual Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Volunteer Engagement.
Rachele Doty, CVA is the board’s chair and presented the welcome to all nominees, their friends and families, judges, and Brian Ricks from Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s office. Doty said that each of the nearly twenty-five nominees present received certificates from DOVIA and from Cooley’s office. He was unable to attend this year but is very supportive of the awards.
The Youth Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Abby Schumacher, who has volunteered at Fairytale Town since 2016. In addition to the certificate, she received the $500 Margaret Einsphar Memorial Scholarship award to assist with college tuition. Youth volunteers are under 21 years of age and must currently be students. They are also required to have donated a minimum of 25 hours of service during the year and are nominated by their organizations.
Schumacher was nominated by Fairytale Town’s Education and Program Coordinator, Samantha Hawes who wrote, “Abby has truly made the lives of people who come to our park helping in summer camp, programs, events, marketing and so much more. We are so proud of her, and she is truly a wonderful volunteer.”
Doris Henke, a decades-long volunteer with Snowline Hospice received the Individual Volunteer of the Year award. She received a certificate and a $100 honorarium gift for Snowline Hospice. Henke has spent a lifetime giving back to the community in El Dorado County where she has lived since the 1960s.
“Doris Henke is a name to be recognized and remembered. Her name is truly synonymous with love and caring because of the profound difference she makes in the lives of others,” wrote Bonnie Davis, CVA, Director of Workforce and Volunteer Services for Snowline Hospice. Davis nominated Henke for the award. “It is impossible to quantify the hundreds or thousands of lives she has touched through the years. This loving wife, encourager, mother, caregiver, businesswoman, selfless giver, community developer, friend, ministry-builder, and mentor lives an intentional life of service to others and is a shining example of ‘giving your all’.”
The Individual Volunteer Award of the Year is new this year, said Doty. “We had always focused on the youth volunteer, and DOVIA is looking to the future.”
The final award for Outstanding Achievement in Volunteer Engagement award was presented to Darlene Cullivan, CVA of Eskaton for her work. “I am honored to receive this special award as it demonstrates Eskaton’s vibrant philanthropic culture. Eskaton is grateful for the over 2600 volunteers who invest their time, talent and compassion to enrich the lives of seniors. I am inspired daily by people of all ages aspiring to make a difference. Eskaton volunteers illustrate our belief that Age is Beautiful.”
Nominees were judged by Carla Lehn, CVA, Cole Forstedt, and Valeri Mihanovich and had, Doty said, a difficult time making the final decision this year because all of the nominees were “so wonderful.” Volunteer service must have been performed in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, or El Dorado counties during the 2018 calendar year.
Service includes work release time, without pay or for student course credit, and each nominating organization must provide service for the larger community, not simply for its members.
Nominees were involved with Access Leisure and Paralympic Sport, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, ACC Senior Services, Sacramento Sheriffs Explorer Program, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, Breathe California Sacramento Region, yolo County 4-H, Project R.I.D.E., Inc., Sacramento Tree Foundation, First Call Hospice, Sacramento SPCA, Foothill Therapy Dogs, Sutter Hospice, Oak Park Community Center, Gardenland/Northgate Neighborhood Association, and Junior League of Sacramento, Inc., Snowline Hospice, Eskaton, and Fairytale Town.
“DOVIA exists to support the volunteer managers, to provide networking, continuing education and support,” said Doty who has held several board positions. DOVIA presents at least one event each month.
For additional information, visit http://www.doviasacramento.org/.
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald A. Lawrence will be installed as the 54th President of the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) for a one-year term, on March 9, 2019, at its 42nd Annual Training Symposium held at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Chief Lawrence brings extensive experience to the position of President of CPCA, having been in law enforcement for 29 years. He has served as the Chief of the Citrus Heights Police Department since October 31, 2016, having previously served as Chief of the Rocklin Police Department for several years. Prior to becoming a Police Chief, he also served as a Police Captain with the Rocklin Police Department, a Lieutenant with the Palo Alto Police Department, a Sergeant and Police Officer with the West Sacramento Police Department, a Police Officer with the Lincoln Police Department, and a Deputy Sheriff with the Placer County and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Departments.
Chief Lawrence was appointed to the CPCA Board of Directors in 2011 and was elected third vice president in 2016. During his eight years on the CPCA Board, he has served on several committees and workgroups, chaired the association’s Finance Committee, as well as the Political Action Committee.
“Leading the California Police Chiefs Association this year as President is truly humbling. I join a long history of California police chiefs who have been consistently dedicated to keeping Californians safe, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the years. We have proven ourselves trustworthy partners to all who have an interest in public safety; we have championed good policy as well as opposed bad policy, in our focused efforts to protect California communities. There is much to accomplish in the coming year, and we stand ready to continue our legacy of leading professional municipal policing in the state. Our top priorities will be to work collaboratively at addressing issues facing our profession, including homelessness and the mentally ill, strengthening community trust, helping frame the conversation around police use of force, and working to pass legislation to standardize policies and training. I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with all California police chiefs, who are committed to working with our stakeholders on these priorities and many other issues that impact the safety of California residents,” -Chief Ronald Lawrence.
Chief Lawrence is the second police chief to lead the Citrus Heights Police Department, taking the helm from the departments’ inaugural police chief, Christopher Boyd, who is the current City Manager. Boyd served as CPCA’s 49th President in 2014, prior to taking the City Manager position and hiring Chief Lawrence to lead Citrus Heights Police Department into the future. Boyd will administer the Oath of Office for Chief Lawrence’s CPCA inauguration on March 9, 2019. During Chief Lawrence’s tenure at Citrus Heights, the crime rate has lowered, and addressing homelessness has been a top focus.
Intersection Improvements Increase Safety for Drivers and Pedestrians
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The City of Citrus Heights applied for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant and was awarded $486,000 of grant funding.
The funds will be used for the Signalized Intersection Safety Improvement Project, which includes upgrades to traffic signals and pedestrian signals, and improvements to increase safety at certain intersections.
The project will upgrade many traffic light signals from 8 inches to 12 inches. The larger traffic signals will be more visible to approaching drivers, increasing the time drivers have to react to signal changes and enhancing their ability to react to roadway conditions.
Pedestrian signals will be upgraded to the countdown model, which displays the time remaining for the pedestrian to finish crossing the street.
The countdown function reduces the number of pedestrians in the roadway when the signal light changes because pedestrians have more information about when it is safe to cross. Many pedestrian signals in the city already use the countdown model, but 11 still need to be upgraded.
The east side of Sunrise Blvd. at Macy Plaza Dr. (adjacent to the Sunrise Mall) currently has no push buttons or pedestrian signals to inform pedestrians when to safely cross the roadway.
There is not much room for pedestrians to stand while waiting at the light, and the crosswalks are very narrow. The planned improvements for this intersection include adding pedestrian push buttons and countdown pedestrian signals, installing ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible curb ramps, and widening the crosswalk.
Another major safety improvement is the installation of pedestrian safety fences within the existing raised medians at the Greenback Ln. and Auburn Blvd. intersection.
This intersection is heavily trafficked, with 73,000 vehicles crossing it each day. It has the most collisions as well as the most pedestrian-involved collisions in the entire city.
According to Citrus Height Police Department (CHPD) Traffic Sergeant Shaun Gualco, in the last five years there have been 10 pedestrian-involved crashes at the intersection, and one crash proved fatal. “The signal upgrades will increase visibility, which is always a plus,” said Gualco. “And installing fences in a high-collision intersection will force pedestrians into the crosswalks.”
CHPD Sergeant James Garing said, “Anytime you have safety improvements on any of our streets in our community it’s a good thing. I just really wish people would use the crosswalks; I don’t know why people would risk it.”
Rhonda Fisher has been a resident of Citrus Heights for 40 years. She lives within a mile of the Greenback/Auburn intersection and she supports the idea of pedestrian fences: “I think it’s going to be a good addition, a needed addition. It’s a busy intersection. I’ve had a lot of near misses with pedestrians jaywalking there…I hope this will help.”
Ray Helzerman has lived in the area since 1979. He said, “I think it’s a good idea to have a barrier so people aren’t running across. It’s such a busy street, and sometimes at night people are running across in dark clothes in the dark.”
Helzerman appreciates that the City is “doing all they can do” to increase safety for everyone in the city.
The City asked residents and commuters to provide input on their preferred style out of four pedestrian fencing options: plant-climbing fence, scalloped fence, straight-topped fence, and unfinished hog wire fence.
The fence options are each approximately 4 feet tall to create a barrier discouraging pedestrians from climbing or jumping over. The designs allow for visibility so drivers can easily see over and around the fences.
The City plans to install the fencing around the existing median landscaping, and it would be installed in a series of panels, so it will be easy to replace a section if it is damaged.
The options were presented through various public outreach measures, at an Open House last month, and through an online survey that was available throughout the month of February.
After reviewing all the feedback received on fence preferences, the options were presented to the City Council on March 14.
Leslie Blomquist, senior civil/traffic engineer, told the Council that the City received a total of 501 responses, and the plant-climbing fence received the highest average of positive votes.
The plant-climbing fence has curved panels with space for climbing plants and vines to grow up and within the panels.
This option would beautify the intersection, but would also require additional planting costs and ongoing costs for maintenance and water use.
Since that intersection is a major entrance to the city, the Council agreed that it would be worth the extra money to add some visual interest with the plant-climbing fence.
Mayor Jeannie Bruins suggested that the plants installed along the fence should be drought tolerant in order to offset the water and maintenance costs as much as possible.
Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey commended City staff on their public outreach efforts, noting that it is rare to receive so many public responses to a City project.
The Signalized Intersection Safety Improvement Project is currently in the final design phase, and construction is expected to start in late summer of 2019.
Meghan Huber Works to Ensure Small Business Continues to Thrive
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - In January, the City of Citrus Heights welcomed Meghan Huber as the new economic development manager.
Prior to taking on this role in Citrus Heights, Huber worked as an economic development analyst for the City of Rancho Cordova for three years. Huber has a background in hospitality and sales marketing with Marriott and Hilton hotels.
Huber was looking for a new challenge, which led her to the position with Citrus Heights. She said, “I admire the City of Citrus Heights’ origin story of incorporation despite really big odds, especially having the grit to fight all the way to the State Supreme Court. Citrus Heights is a City that takes its future into its own hands, and that passion is still here in the City and with our businesses and residents.”
With prior experience working in economic development, Huber knew the best way to spend her first month on the job was “knee deep in data.” She said, “I took the time to familiarize myself with the community through data analytics.”
Huber explained that data analytics “allows you to move past the common perceptions of your community into understanding your true strengths and weaknesses, [so] we are able to connect our economic development initiatives directly to our community needs.”
Retaining and supporting existing businesses is an important part of Huber’s job, so she has introduced herself to local business groups like the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, Sunrise MarketPlace, Auburn Blvd. Business Association, and Antelope Crossing Business Association.
In order to attract new businesses to the area, Huber spends time researching available real estate in the city so she can match businesses with appropriate locations to suit their needs.
“The most important part is to ask the right questions to get to know a business, their product or service, operations, [and] customer type so I can point them in the right direction,” said Huber.
Start-up support is another essential element of business development, and Huber strives to ensure businesses have access to all the resources they need. “It’s so important to continue to grow that ecosystem,” said Huber. “I am also very interested in the work of how to generate economic development in a mostly built-out city, which needs unique ideas and creative problem solving.”
Huber stated that the marketing aspect of economic development is about telling the “Solid Roots, New Growth” story of Citrus Heights, and attracting and maintaining “local businesses that confirm that story.”
One “compelling story” Huber is using in her marketing materials is that the “intersection of Sunrise and Greenback is the third-highest traffic count area in Sacramento County.
So that’s really significant for us because that is right where our retail core is, so that speaks to a high-volume foot traffic area – which is really great for potential retail recruitment.”
Retail is a major industry for Citrus Heights and Huber found that 67% of all businesses in the city have fewer than 10 employees, so “Citrus Heights is a place where small business thrives.”
Recognizing how vital small businesses are to the local economy, Huber said, “We build out tools and resources to support our current small businesses and attract new ones.” As an example, Huber cited the Auburn Blvd. Business Association, which has 229 businesses averaging fewer than eight employees per business.
“To support this important corridor, the City of Citrus Heights created the Activate Auburn grant program that provides consulting for ideas on how to enhance the exterior of a property and funding to make those improvements,” said Huber.
With an overall population of more than 88,000 people, and an expected increase in median income by 13% over the next five years, Huber said, “We are a really robust residential and business community and we’re working to create tools and marketing initiatives that promote that and tell that story.”
Huber also discovered that Citrus Heights “has a higher than average population of both millennials and retirees than other cities of our size, so that tells me that we’re a genuine community since we can capture everyone.”
She said this statistic really shows how the City “welcomes both ends of the spectrum.”
Huber enthusiastically declared, “I adore my job,” and her passion for the work is evident. She described her role as a “nexus point between business development and community advocacy.”
Huber works to “amplify the voice of the City of Citrus Heights” and partner with property owners, brokers, and businesses – all of whom contribute to and are part of the local economy.