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As a Baldwin Park police sergeant, Chris Carlos ’01, M.A. ’03, had a limited perspective on the world and a polarized view of people: they were either in crisis or causing it. Today, things are different. Receiving his education through APU’s School of Adult and Professional Studies (APS) allowed him to interact with a diverse group of people and taught him to become more accepting and tolerant of the differences in others. He grew as a person and a professional, and now as the chief of staff for California Assemblyman and Assistant Majority Leader Ron Calderon (D-58th), Carlos incorporates the concepts he learned on a daily basis while mentoring others and advocating positive change.

After taking a 15-year break from school, Carlos embarked on APU’s adult learning program in 1999, about the same time that he became involved in politics. Growing up in Covina, California, Carlos had never really liked going to school – until then. His APU academic journey enabled him to apply the teamwork concepts and share the learning with those around him. After earning his Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (now the B.S. in Organizational Leadership) in 2001, he quickly enrolled in APU’s Master of Arts in Organizational Management (now the M.A. in Leadership and Organizational Studies), which he earned in 2003.

As a graduate of two APS programs, Carlos values how APU incorporates the notion of adult learning. “The APU model supports any working professional who wants to go back and earn a good, solid degree,” he said. “You can’t put a monetary value on my experience. There’s a wide spectrum of professionals in the program and so many diverse life stories. Interacting with such a broad group of people enriches you and enables you to learn from each other.”

“When you find someone as loyal and dedicated as Chris, you want to hold on to him,” Calderon said. “His discipline and organizational skills have helped give me the freedom and peace of mind to do my work and not be concerned that the logistics are not being handled properly. He gets along well with others and earns their trust, inviting them in and making them feel comfortable.”

Not interested in running for elected office himself, Carlos seeks to influence through education. Now in his second year at Pepperdine University, where he is earning his Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, he would ultimately like to be a consultant to organizations. But the real reason for pursuing his doctorate is so he can teach at APU. “I want to go back to my roots, where I got my start,” Carlos said. “What better way to give back to APU than to teach there?”