Spotlight on Staff: Sharon Sobotta

Throughout the academic year the Staff Council randomly selects a staff member to celebrate in our Spotlight on Staff.  Our recipient for the month of January is Sharon Sobotta.

Sharon Sobotta1.     How long have you been at Saint Mary’s College?

I started my job at SMC on September 10, 2002. I was originally hired as the coordinator for sexual assault awareness, and then went on to take an interim role as director of the WRC, and later I became the director.

2.     Tell us a little about your job.

In my job as the Director of the Women's Resource Center, I can safely say that no two days are the same. I have the privilege of working with faculty and staff colleagues from across campus to provide co-curricular programming opportunities, partnering with students to help them explore solutions and on-campus resources for the issues they are dealing with and weighing in on protocols and policies to ensure that we are being inclusive to persons from all genders.

3.     What do you enjoy the most/find most rewarding about your job?

I love watching the progress and the transformation of the students. When providing advocacy, support and referrals, it's often not possible to see an instantaneous result. I think as educators we plant a seed, nurture/encourage it along the way, and hope for the best. When the seed flourishes, I think it's often the result of many people--staff, faculty, and even fellow students--who have cultivated it along the way. I find it extremely rewarding to be a part of a community that cares so deeply and is so invested in our students.

4.     What do you enjoy most about the SMC community/campus?

I really love so much about Saint Mary's College--the students, the staff and the faculty and the fact that we are all deeply invested in the success of the students we work with. Saint Mary's College feels like far more than a workplace to me. It is a community, a place that is built on relationships and a place where transformation happens.

5.     Anything you would like to share about your interests, hobbies, family or volunteer work?

I have a passion for helping people find their voice, making space for all voices to be heard or making all voices audible. This translates well into my work at the college. This year's theme for the WRC is Find Your Voice: Share Your Story, and our entire year-long series of programs was built around making space for stories to be shared. I have found that when you can reach both the mind and the heart, you have a real potential to bring about positive change.

On the theme of making voices audible, I should mention that I'm a member of the unpaid staff at KPFA, where I serve as a field reporter, a weekend anchor for the news department and as a producer for the Women's Magazine. I've had the pleasure of interviewing the likes of Peter and Paul from the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, Eddy Fisher from OneRepublic, and the Today Show super fan Lennie, who showed up on the set everyday for two decades. However, the most important interview I've ever done was with Wanda Johnson, the mother of the late Oscar Grant.

Aside from my life at SMC and at KPFA, the most important thing in my life is my daughter. I am the mother of an amazing little girl, Esperanza, who turns two on Christmas day! She has taught me more about getting grounded and centered than any other life activity ever could have.