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I have always felt that a college education is similar to one’s journey though life… It’s not how you begin it, but how you end it that truly matters.
My older brother never adjusted well to our move to California. He quickly became involved with the “wrong” crowd, succumbed to drugs and alcohol, frequently ditched school, forged signatures and report cards, etc., etc… needless to say, my single mother had no choice but to kick him out of the house. At 17, he became a high school drop out and found himself living on the streets.
My big brother was my best friend growing up, but I knew I did not want to end up like him. I became quite the opposite student. I graduated from high school in the top 25 of my class with a 4.25 and college Sophomore standing. I was senior class Vice President and member of honorary societies, such as CSF and NHS. My counselor was ecstatic! But being a child of a single mother, with a little brother still in grade school, I knew I would be working after graduation to help support the household. I also had dreams to become a star, so college really wasn’t at the top of my priority list. Consequently, I didn’t apply for any scholarships, or colleges, for that matter.
Luckily, my first year out of high school, my older brother turned his life around. He took the GED and began attending Fullerton College. To help with the finances, my mother allowed him to move back in and he conned me into attending FC with him. Because of caring teachers here, we both found ourselves with the direction and means to continue our educations. My brother transferred to San Diego State, graduated Magna Cum Laude, was accepted into their medical program, as well as Duke’s and Yale’s, just to name a few. He is now a doctor with his own successful practice.
As for me, well, I still wasn’t completely sold on college, but Dr. Katharine Rundus in the Music Department wouldn’t give up on me. She garnered me auditions for elite vocal performance programs in area. She prepared me well and I was awarded scholarships; full rides even to schools like Chapman University. I ended up following my heart and entered Cal-State, Fullerton’s Musical Theatre program. I graduated Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian of the Theatre Department that year. I did go on to have some success as a performer, but have not yet become a star, though my 4 year old would argue otherwise. Instead, I am now proud to call myself a professor, and better yet, a professor at Fullerton College. I can’t tell you the honor that comes with being an individual who will, hopefully, make a difference in the lives of my students, as the professors here made in mine. Being a teacher may not have been what I set out to do, but those of us who study subjects like Theatre, History, Art… well, that IS where we often end up. No matter how or why it happens, I do feel there is no greater profession. I mean, if you want to affect lives, being a teacher is certainly the way to do it.
It use to be attending a Junior College was a “dirty” word and the students that did were, well, not thought to be of much quality. If so, no one ever told me, or my brother. We may have started on two very different paths, but we both ended with similar success. I cherish my times at Fullerton and always felt my professors cared more about me and my future, than they cared for their own personal agendas. If I’ve never said it before, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few people. Thank you, Derry Seaton, Dan Conforti, Dr. Rundus, Gary Krinkie and the many others here who assisted in making me the person, and teacher, I am today. I am more than proud to walk amongst you. You did affect this life and in me, your legacy proudly lives on.
"I have always felt that a college education is similar to one’s journey though life... It’s not how you begin it, but how you end it that truly matters."
Amberly Chamberlain is both an alumni of Fullerton College and Cal-State, Fullerton. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian from CSUF, earning her BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre. While in attendance there, she performed in the yearly fundraiser, Front and Center, featuring Walter Cronkite and Al Franken. Coincidentally, this was also her first encounter working with her teaching partner, Roger Castellano.
After college, she received a singer/songwriter deal and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Amberly co-wrote, produced and performed on her debut album entitled, In His Hands. In 1998, she formed and still owns her own music publishing company, Roundbrush Music. She is a member of BMI and represents other songwriters, as well herself.
In 2000, she returned to California to pursue her acting career. Amberly has worked steadily obtaining her status as a professional actress. She is a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Some of her television credits include four seasons as a featured regular on “MADtv” and a sketch actor on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” for three seasons. Additionally, Amberly spent a season behind the scenes of “MADtv” as the Key Set P.A. She has starred in independent and graduate films that circled the country in various film festivals and can also be seen in episodes of "Nikki", "It's a Miracle" and the film "Two Can Play That Game". Some of her past favorite roles on stage include Vera in Ten Little Indians, the Witch in Into the Woods (which was performed here on campus), the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing..., Charity in Barnum, Vi in Footloose, Brooke in Noises Off, Ethel in Petticoat Fever, Laura in Look Homeward, Angel, and Grace in MTSC's production of Annie with Tom Hatten. Her most recent productions include a portrayal of Elsa, the Baroness, in Performance Riverside’s, The Sound of Music and MTW’s production of Annie, starring Andrea McArlde.
Amberly has directed plays and musicals in various locations throughout the country. In 2004, she began her newest career teaching at Esperanza High School. There, she directed the extra-curricular productions, where many of her students and musicals were honored with M.A.C.Y.s, a program she has been closely involved with since she was a student at Esperanza. Amberly has been an adjunct faculty member here at FC since 2008. In Spring of ’09, she directed the College’s musical production of Guys & Dolls and is currently teaching TH 125 - Musical Theatre Performing Techniques & TH 138 - Musical Theatre Workshop. During the Summer, she assists with the SRO program and Playwrights’ Festival in the Winter. But most importantly, she’s a teacher to her adorable son, Greyson, and sometimes even her husband, Frank, too!