Alumna Deborah Evans shares how her leadership experience at Cal State Hayward paved the way to pursue several graduate degrees and public service.

Dr. Lucas received recognition as the first Black woman to serve as student body president at Cal State Hayward, which helped launch her remarkable career in academia and public policy.

Pictured- Left Top and Bottom: Deborah Evans and Charles Weiss, former Associated Students President, and Vice President in 1988 and today. Bottom Right: Deborah Evans and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. 


By Dr. D. Pulane Lucas (Deborah Evans), BS ‘88, Business Administration


I transferred to Cal State Hayward from the College of Alameda, where I earned an AA in Business Administration. While studying at what is now Cal State East Bay's College of Business and Economics, I and fellow students formed the Black Business Majors Association, a support/mentorship organization for students of African descent.  

After I was elected President of the CSUH Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), the student government implemented a number of new programs and policy reforms to improve the quality of life for students. To name a few, we formed the Tower Internship Program (TIP) that gave students the opportunity to work with and learn from high-level administrators at the college. 

I also worked with Mr. Charles Weiss, Associated Students VP, and other student officers to pass legislation for a student fee that would eventually raise enough funds to build a childcare center on campus. At the time, I had a young son, and I would have to drive him across town to the Cal State Hayward child care center.  It was important to my administration for students to have access to safe, affordable, convenient child care services. We knew that future students would appreciate such an invaluable service that also demonstrated support for their academic success. Ms. Joyce Montgomery (Executive Director of ASI from 1987-2004) was instrumental in providing a link between our administration and future administrations. I was grateful to learn later that the childcare center opened on campus. 

While serving as President of the Associated Students, the student body also approved funds for an electronic sign placed in the center of campus to keep students informed of campus events. At that time, other than the campus newspaper and word-of-mouth, there were no other ways of keeping the student body informed of campus and club activities. At that time, the sign was not digital. We hired a student to physically change the letters each week. 

As student body president, I was exposed to policy-making at the CSU, local, state, and national levels. I had the opportunity to meet elected officials representing constituents in California and across the country. I was delighted when I was offered an internship opportunity in the office of Oakland City Council member Leo Bazile. 

After graduating from CSUH, I completed my MBA at Harvard Business School, completed two additional master's degrees at Harvard University, and earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the Virginia Commonwealth University, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Today, I am an Assistant Professor (adjunct) in the School of Business at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia.  

I also founded Policy Pathways, Inc., where I serve as President and CEO. Policy Pathways is a non-partisan 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization that is committed to providing exceptional educational programming and developmental activities for youth and young adults who are interested in public policy, public administration, and public service leadership. The mission of Policy Pathways is to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals who desire to excel in policy studies and public administration degree programs and those who seek leadership positions in policy-related public and private sectors. Policy Pathways aims to help young people translate activism and protest into policy reform and systemic social change. The ultimate goal is to prepare young people for success when applying for public policy and policy-related jobs and degree programs.

I am proud to be a graduate of Cal State East Bay's College of Business and Economics. It was at CSUH that my academic experiences and extracurricular activities formed a strong foundation for all that I have achieved to date. Most of all, I was able to cultivate a commitment to academic excellence; gain an understanding of the roles of business and public policy in the lives of students, communities, and the world; and foster a deep commitment to community service. Thank you Cal State East Bay's College of Business and Economics for all that you have given to me! My aim now is to give back what I received from you! 

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