Campus leader retires after 28-year career

by Kalah Siegel, Staff Writer

San Diego State has been embracing the notion that “children are the future” since Associated Students opened the SDSU Children’s Center in a portable building on campus. The center has grown into an elite child care service for the children of students, faculty, alumni and community members.

The center’s main goal is to serve young children of current students, followed by the children of faculty, alumni and community members. However, it’s also a resource for hands-on learning for 300 to 400 child and family development majors each year.

Children’s Center director Robin Judd began her journey with the center as a child and family development undergraduate. Judd completed the coveted internship while studying at SDSU, and thus her 28-year career with the center was born.

“I love to watch the children when that light bulb goes off and to see them learning and their excitement about discovery,” Judd said.

Robin hopes her legacy of keeping children at the forefront of the Children’s Center continues. The first five years of a child’s life are vital to growth and development. That’s one of the main reasons the center offers services for children from 6 months old through preschool age.

At the Children’s Center, playtime and learning are one and the same. The children create their own curriculum through educational toys and games that spark their imagination and interest. Another important focus of learning at the center is art education. Students are able to exercise their creativity daily with different art projects.

Judd started the center’s largest annual fundraiser, “A is for Art.” Each classroom creates an artistic masterpiece that is eventually auctioned off at the event. The artwork is displayed at KPBS.

“A is for Art” is not a simple undertaking. Aside from coordinating the entire event, Judd finds sponsors and incorporates them into the function.

Laura Garcia, a business marketing senior and member of the Children Center’s public relations team, described Judd as one of the most humble people she knows.

“Working with Robin, I understand the amount of stress that she was under, along with her committee, and she handled it with grace, which is something to be commended,” Garcia said.

The funds raised from the event go directly to helping fulfill the needs of the Children’s Center. Despite the fundraising and support from A.S., there’s still a discrepancy between the actual budget and everything the Children’s Center would like to accomplish.

The center is able to keep a 1:3 teacher to child ratio for infants and toddlers and a 1:8 teacher to child ratio for 3- to 4-year-olds. Hiring more full-time teachers would allow the center to serve more students, staff, alumni and community members who are in need of quality child care.

With that goal in mind, volunteers and student interns are at the heart of the center’s functionality. Judd encourages all students to get involved with campus clubs and always ask questions.

“Go for it and trust yourself,” Judd said.

After retirement, Judd will be spending quality time with her own family, including her one-year-old granddaughter. Though she will not officially be working with the center anymore, she would like to stay connected.

“One of the things I’d really like to see happen going forward with the Children’s Center is to share with the public what kind of learning actually happens here,” Judd said. “We’re supporting research that supports the betterment of children all over the country and the world, and we’re supporting the betterment of future leaders and future teachers.”