Coming Back Again: An Alumni Story

The constant bustle of a student seems never-ending. Graduation somehow seems so close, yet so far away. Completing courses from one school opens up opportunities for more at another. Attending commencement isn’t the end because there’s another waiting for you elsewhere until you feel your potential has peaked. There are major aspects that make the years easier, faster, and more enjoyable. This is different for everyone, but for me, it’s friends/connections for one, experience with other students for two, and the teachings at Sierra College as number three.

My name is Katelyn Vengersammy, I obtained my AS in Photography & Video, as well as my AS in Behavioral Sciences at Sierra College in 2020-2022. After commencement, I immediately transferred to California State University, Sacramento in Fall 2022 to begin my journey toward a BFA in Photography, with graduation date being Spring 2025 as of right now. My parents have always pushed their kids toward a higher education. While I’m getting my bachelor’s to make them proud, I also have my own drive to continue the path of learning for me.

It started with Sierra College’s online news website, Roundhouse News & Review. Meeting Professor Jenifer Vernon was my first fortunate connection gained at Sierra College. Interacting and getting to know her allowed me to showcase my skills as a prior editor throughout high school, gaining that position once again for Roundhouse. Through this, I was able to form connections with peers on an editorial team and then again with other students whom I collaborated with to put their stories onto Roundhouse.

Meeting, talking, and making connections with these editors and writers allowed me to gain insight on the types of lives that these different people have lived, how that affects what they write about, and what’s important to them.

“I always say that everyone has a story. With some people it’s obvious and with others, it’s not. Being an editor allowed me the opportunity to gain insight into their story.”

This same possibility followed me to my classes at Sierra College. Going through the photography program with Professors Randy Snook and Professor Kirkman Amyx granted me another chance to make connections with both professors, as well as students. Seeing the types of images produced from my classmates helped me understand who my peers are, through their photos.

The Importance of Connections

The Hallberg Merit Award Student Exhibition allowed me a closer connection with Professor Amyx as my mentor. Gaining feedback and working with him through the summer allowed me to progress in my passions and put up my best work with the help of a great photographer.

Poster from Nov. 10, 2022 Hallberg Exhibit “Opening Reception” on the Rocklin campus, featuring image by Katelyn Vengersammy in lower right-hand corner.

These friendship connections at Sierra College have followed me after graduation and into California State University, Sacramento. From the first year of not-so-fun, but necessary, lecture classes to year two with project-based teachings until graduation. Though these courses are difficult and somewhat new, I’m not going through it alone.

A few of my peers that I met at Sierra College are now in my position at Sac State, going through this new environment with me. In this way, we have each other. We all went through Sierra College, which allows us to have the same basic understanding of photography. We have each other to lean back on during the strenuous times at University.

Katelyn Vengersammy and professor Kirkman Amyx at the Hallberg Reception, Sierra College, Rocklin, Calif. Nov. 10, 2022. Photo by Toni Vengersammy.

Starting at Sierra greatly prepared me for Sacramento State. What I remember the most is the classes taught by Randy Snook and Kirkman Amyx. The way that they went through Lightroom, studio lighting, camera aspects, and more is also repeated at Sacramento State. While this is new for most, my peers and I from Sierra College see it as review.

From connections, to friends, relationships, experience, teachings, and transferring, it all started at Sierra College for me. This school has prepared me for my transfer in more ways that I thought it would as I was attending.

Even while I’m gone, those connections with professors, advisors, mentors, and friends have stayed with me following graduation.

My hope is that Sacramento State gives me the same opportunity and closeness that I got at Sierra.

So far, it seems as if it’s going that way, especially with my peers and professors in the photography program. I hope to continue to hear, read and see more stories before my time at Sac State comes to an end.

Written by Katelyn Vengerssammy | Featured photo by Aaron Kolb

Katelyn Vengersammy taking a picture
Katelyn Vengersammy was a Roundhouse News & Review photojournalist, writer, and editor. Here she is depicted in a photo she shared when joining the team in 2020.

Leave a Reply