Simona Stefanescu #ProjectTransfer

Simona Stefanescu
CSU East Bay

Position: Coordinator, Marketing & Social Media

B.A. in Communication, Mass Communication, and Public Relations, California State University – East Bay

A.S. in Wine Business and Marketing, Santa Rosa Junior College

A.A. in Liberal Arts, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York

Also attended: National School of Political Sciences, Romania & Vassar College

1. How did you decide to attend your college/university?

I started working when I was 14 and built a successful career as a journalist in Europe, before actually attending a college. After 15 years, I wanted a change of pace and I looked at communications and marketing. I researched colleges and universities offering communications majors.

2. How did you afford college/university?

I worked several jobs and went to college, simultaneously. I also spent all my savings (and it was worth every penny). I constantly applied for scholarships and was fortunate to receive several considerable ones. In the end, I graduated with only $2,000 in debt and it’s all paid.

3. What was unique about the college/university you attended?

The reputation and the quality of instruction at each college I attended was of paramount importance. Both community colleges I attended had fantastic support networks and resources for students. My absolute best experiences were at Vassar College, which offered an Ivy League program for community college transfer students, and Santa Rosa Junior College, which is outstanding in every way. I don’t think one can walk the grounds at SRJC and not feel how special this place is.

4. Did you have any experiences transferring?

Transferring from a community college in New York to the CSU system in California was a complicated process. Several of my classes (like a basic Math) were not recognized by the CSU system. Fortunately, I saved the syllabus for each class, I went to the admissions and records evaluators and we worked together to get the equivalent for my community college classes. I was also very lucky to transfer several of the communication classes I took in Romania to CSU and it saved me a whole year of school. Reaching out in person to the evaluators and bringing transcripts and documentation helped a lot.

5. What kinds of jobs did you get after graduation?

I have worked in the field I loved – communications and social media marketing – even before graduating. I opened my own freelance business and it took very little time to find contracts within the local wine industry, music industry, hospitality, and eventually higher education.

6. How did you discover you current position?

I volunteered and helped the communications team at the local Red Cross, where I met my current manager. When she was hired as a Director of Communication & Marketing at Santa Rosa JC, she reached out to see if I was interested in consulting to develop the social media strategy for the College. I loved working with her team so much that I applied for the full-time job when the position opened. It’s a fantastic place to work  and I love my job and my coworkers.

7. What do you love about your field?

I love that it changes all the time and the challenge to stay relevant in social media marketing is intense. I love strategizing, solving problems - the more complicated, the better. I love making things easier and helping people to find answers or connect with the person/department who can help them. You probably don’t know but that person constantly posting and answering comments and messages on the SRJC’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is me, 99% of the time.

8. Do you have any tips for transfer-bound students?

First: Work with a transfer counselor. They are so resourceful and have valuable information that will save you time. Second: there is no other place like SRJC. The care, attention, education you get here is often superior to four-year universities. Three: Do keep in touch with your professors. Make a habit to email back and keep them updated with your progress. Besides making them proud through your success, they can also be key references when you’re searching for your dream job.