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Sunday, December 10, 2023

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Anya Shutovska (‘19) Anya Shutovska (‘19)

SDSU Alumna Serves Others Through California Senate Fellowship

Anya Shutovska (’19) realized her personal mission for serving others during her time as a student leader at SDSU.
By Fowler College of Business News Team

San Diego State University alumna Anya Shutovska (‘19) realized her personal mission for serving others during her time as a student leader. Her diverse range of campus involvements including the Fowler Scholars Program, Associated Students, Rotaract, and the Educational Opportunity Program inspired her to pursue a career in public service after graduation in May 2019. 

Last fall, Shutovska, a management major in the Fowler College of Business, participated in the California Senate Fellows Program. She was assigned to Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s office and worked as a full-time staff member on policy areas such as health, human services, and elections. 

Senate fellows are a part of the Capital Fellows Programs, nationally recognized public policy fellowships which offer unique experiences in policy-making and development in each branch of government. Capital Fellows are placed at some of the highest levels of California state government to assist state legislators, senior-level executive staff, and court administrators and support a broad range of public policy issues and projects.

Since her fellowship ended, Shutovska has continued her career in public service working as an analyst in the legislative office  of the California Health and Human Services Agency. 

Shutovska shares how her degree and experiences as a student leader helped her succeed in her career. Additionally, she offers advice for students seeking ways to get involved in campus opportunities, internships, and fellowships.

Why did you choose to attend San Diego State University?

Ultimately, I chose SDSU because of its value. As a first-generation student paying for college on my own, it was important for me to attend a university that was not only affordable but also one where I would receive a high-quality education. The California State University system offered me the resources that I needed to succeed. Additionally, SDSU had a reputable business program and was known for its school spirit. I wanted to attend a university where I could do more than just attend class and could get involved in student organizations. 

Why did you choose to get a degree from the Fowler College of Business and how has your business degree prepared you for your career? 

I felt that the management program in the Fowler College of Business would teach me skills that would be transferable to any field I decided to pursue. However, at first I was not sure if I would find opportunities to apply my degree when I began working in the legislature and for the State of California. But in situations where I am negotiating changes to legislation or needing to think strategically to resolve a problem, I find myself reflecting on my finance, negotiation, and human resources coursework often. The Fowler College of Business is also unique because it places a significant emphasis on ethical leadership and empathy. 

As a student leader who was involved in many organizations at SDSU, can you share which organizations had the greatest impact on your college experience and career choice? What made you decide to start your career in public service? 

My four years in Associated Students and SDSU Rotaract were the most enjoyable and impactful involvements I had. It was in these organizations where for the first time I met people who experienced upbringings similar to mine and not only overcame their personal challenges, but became student leaders advocating for change, whether that was by creating the first student food pantry in A.S or hosting a fundraiser for wildfire victims in Rotaract. My peers showed me that I had not only the ability, but a responsibility, to do the same. Thus, I began to channel my background and passions into helping others who have experienced hardships and taking up new social causes to be a voice for others. At the same time, I had several internships that allowed me to experience the different paths I could pursue. Through this, I realized a latent personal mission for serving others that I never knew was there before. 

What accomplishment from your college career are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the relationships I built at SDSU, which has now turned into a supportive group of friends and an alumni network that I can call upon for advice. I am also very appreciative of the opportunities I had to mentor younger students and now seeing them doing so for others.

What advice would you give students wanting to get involved at SDSU?

Even though it can be uncomfortable and intimidating, you never know where one simple decision to get involved will take you. If I had not joined Associated Students six years ago, I probably would not have gotten involved with Rotaract, Dance Marathon, and the Fowler Center for Student Success. It may sound cliche, but if an event or organization sparks your interest, do it. You have nothing to lose and it might just be the best decision you ever make.

What skills did you have going into the fellowship and how did this fellowship help you build on those skills or gain new ones? Why do you believe fellowships and internships are valuable for SDSU students?

I had already begun to gain teamwork, problem solving, and analytical skills in the student organizations and internships I participated in at SDSU. Once I began learning more about the political process during the Fellowship, I realized that what I did in those involvements was a microcosm of what happens in the State Capitol. This helped me grasp things fairly quickly and prepared me to continue learning and honing skills in a more high-stakes environment. I think that this is the same in any job and speaks to the importance of pursuing extracurriculars but also formal fellowships and internships where you can gain experience that will make the transition to post-grad significantly easier.  

What advice do you have for students seeking internships and fellowships?

My number one piece of advice is to not self-select yourself out. If you see an internship or a fellowship that you are interested in but you feel that you don’t meet every requirement or it is too competitive, apply anyway. Many of my peers have been offered positions they had thought were a stretch because they impressed the interview panel or had valuable experience the organization didn’t know they needed.