Riverside, Calif. – Eduardo Sida, a public health graduate student at California Baptist University, was presented with a proclamation last month from the city of Perris for his “outstanding achievements” in running a successful community garden program.
For the past nine months, Sida worked as a Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) Public Service Fellow for the city of Perris. WRCOG aims to place students in one of 22 local government agencies to gain high-level experience with a career in the public sector. Fellows work with executive management to learn, develop and create new programs, policy and initiatives in Western Riverside County. CBU is one of two universities selected for students to submit applications for the fellowship program.
Sida said he developed a sustainable community garden, created a volunteer program to recruit community members to upkeep the garden and developed a plan on how to create additional garden sites.
“Everything I learned at CBU, I was able to apply it to the actual workforce,” Sida said.
Graduate students in the public health program at CBU are required to do a practicum; as a result, Sida, who will complete his coursework in August, was searching for an opportunity to gain hands-on experience. Sida was alerted to the WRCOG fellowship by a professor at CBU and received assistance with his resume and preparing for the interview from the Career Center at CBU.
“It was one of the best experiences,” said Sida of his time with the city of Perris. “I dipped my hands into almost every public health aspect.”
The fellowships benefit all of those involved, said Laura Acosta, associate director for CBU’s Career Center.
“The agency wins by having a high level, experienced fellow for nine months,” Acosta said. “The student wins by getting exposure to the public sector and being able to learn how the public sector works. WRCOG wins by providing another resource for its agencies and the students.”
Sida’s role at the city was extended to June 30 to continue working on the community garden project. Additionally, during this extension, Sida will be training Maria Marquez, who is also a CBU public health graduate student and the next fellowship student.
“My purpose is wanting to help the community,” Sida said. “That’s really what I wanted to do—give back to the under-served communities.”