How Organizational Leadership is Preparing Benerd Student to Make a Difference in Juvenile Reform

Benerd student, Rudy Buenrostro

Rudy Buenrostro is expected to graduate in May 2023 with his Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. 

Sometimes the most significant opportunities aren’t necessarily the ones you were looking for. In 2011, Stockton-native Rudy Buenrostro was volunteering at Pacific as a member of the Stockton Success and Leadership Academy under former-Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and Ty-Licia Hooker. During this time, Rudy heard about Pacific’s Community Involvement Program (CIP) and decided to apply.

In 2019, Rudy was accepted into the Bachelor of Arts, Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Criminal Justice.

“My goals were to advance my career as a case manager for reentering citizens and to become more deeply involved in the community. I felt I was a participant, not a creator of systemic events.”

The overall theme that most of my courses taught me is that empathy is the core of strategizing, constructing schedules, and connecting to your team.

One of Rudy’s favorite experiences within the Organizational Leadership program has been learning from Larry Hansen, professor for Leadership & Supervision in Criminal Justice and former Lodi Chief of Police. “I had never thought I would take a course from a former police officer or have a conversation with him as a scholar. Once, [Prof. Hansen] said if he didn’t know better, he would have thought I was a seasoned police officer. That meant, in his eyes, my writing was excellent.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln and Rudy Buenrostro

Rudy Buenrostro with Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln at the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, a high-impact community service and experiential learning program, on Aug 19, 2022.

Rudy is in his last year and expects to graduate in May 2023. His goal is to move back to Los Angeles and become a full-time teaching artist in juvenile facilities, developing a curriculum in music for juveniles and prevention services. He has received multiple job offers in L.A. County, specializing in gang reduction and youth development.

Comparing the Degree Completion program to a traditional undergraduate program, Rudy notes the difference in the community. “Before, as an undergraduate, you feel support from others, but you’re alone. Being in this program with its cohort format helps you feel like you will graduate.”

“This program made me feel normal and realize how intelligent I am when I push myself and write at a scholarly level. I feel at peace.”

To learn more about Benerd College's Degree Completion Program, please email Lisa Matuska at