Brittney Fisher-Watters was the first in her family to earn a college degree, but she never really considered how graduating from Fresno State with a bachelor’s in psychology, then a master’s in counseling could influence others, especially African American youth in the community.
With encouragement from her friend Clark-Lauren Richard, also a Fresno State alumnus, Fisher-Watters started sharing her story of success, and for the third consecutive year, she will be a keynote speaker in Fresno during the annual California State University Super Sunday event on Feb. 28.
“I believe in showing support and collaboration, but most importantly telling our students ‘if I can do it, you can do it,’” said Fisher-Watters, who is manager of communications for the Fresno Unified School District. Two years ago, she joined the district’s African American office to improve on the inequities affecting African American students. Fisher-Watters previously worked as a counselor in Fresno State’s Upward Bound program.
Super Sunday, which will happen virtually this year, is the flagship event of the CSU African American Initiative to bring an empowering message to almost 100 predominantly Black churches throughout California about the importance of preparing for college. The CSU has partnered with faith-based leaders to host Super Sunday for more than a decade.
Nine Fresno churches will participate this year. A pre-recorded message from Interim University President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval will be played during the 9 a.m. service for Family Community Church. Worship will be led by Pastor Chester L. McGensy.
“I am excited to deliver an open invitation to our African American students to come to Fresno State. Our world-class instructors and our warm community welcome them,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “I’m confident that Fresno State will empower them to become visionary leaders in our community and beyond.”
In previous years, University representatives attended church services where parents and students can meet them, receive resources to help foster a college-going culture at home, and get information about preparing for college. That networking will happen virtually this year. It is estimated that the CSU has reached nearly 1 million students and their families through Super Sunday over the past decade.
In addition to Family Community Church, the other eight local churches participating include:
- Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 9:15 a.m., Pastor Edward Lee
- Westside Church of God in Christ, 9 a.m., Dr. Paul L. Binion
- Bethesda Churches, 9 a.m. for the two southeast Fresno locations and 11 a.m. for the central Fresno location, Pastor Tobaise Brookins
- Saints Community Church of God in Christ, 10:30 a.m., Pastor B.E. McAlister
- Second Baptist Church, 10:45 a.m., Rev. Lawrence Clinksdale
- Carter Memorial Church, 11:30 a.m., Pastor Dominic L. Holland Sr.
CSU Super Sunday is one of many events supported by the CSU to increase the preparation, retention and graduation of African American students. The year-round partnership between the CSU and African American community leaders throughout the state provides additional outreach, support and preparation, such as campus college and career fairs, financial aid completion workshops, Cal State Apply clinics and more.
Fisher-Watters said participating in Super Sunday these past two years has been transformative. “I feel like I was in a position to strengthen the relationship between Fresno Unified and Fresno State,” she said. “I believe in what they are trying to do — showing support and collaboration.”
For more information, contact Wendy Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559.278.5374.
(Photo is pre-pandemic from a Super Sunday event on Feb. 23, 2020.)