SBCC alumna Jody Nelson was destined to become a Vaquero. Her father, Dr. Gray, has worked as an SBCC Geology professor for the past 47 years, and her mother studied art at SBCC and also worked for Adult Education. Continuing a rich family legacy, education and work at SBCC has been a running theme in Jody’s life.

Jody originally attended SBCC from 1983-85 before transferring to Sonoma State University and then to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Physical Education and Exercise Science and a teaching credential. She also competed on the UMass fencing, soccer, and rugby teams.

Following college graduation, Jody’s career focus for many years was on physical education and she also made her way back to the SBCC campus as a teaching assistant in the mid-90’s. In 2002, she returned as a student to study Broadcast News Journalism and that class sparked her interest in documentary film making, which prompted her to enroll in the Film Production program.

After producing three short films (“Hero of the Game,” “First and Ten,” and “Iron Boy”) that were screened at the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo International Film Festivals and garnered her four awards at the SBCC SOMA Showcase, she graduated with honors from SBCC in 2006.

A lifelong learner, she has continued to take classes at SBCC while working as a Film Production Educator, a Documentary Film Producer for her own Nelson Films, and working at SBCC in various capacities. Jody is currently working to complete her documentary, “Roadside Santa,” which she began as a student in Candace Schermerhorn’s Documentary Class.

“SBCC provided authentic life experiences, skills and tools, while instilling confidence to help me move forward with my life and career aspirations,” Jody said. “The teachers helped cultivate an environment of positive support with a ‘can do’ attitude, gently encouraging me to exceed my own potential. SBCC provided a practical and safe place to explore my educational and career interests, offering insightful and supportive feedback.”

To learn more about Jody and her films, visit her website here.

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