Sean Davis knows firsthand the struggles that some community college students face. He dropped out of high school, then worked nights as a pressman while earning his degrees that led to his career as a sociology professor at MiraCosta College.
He said his background influences how he teaches and interacts with students.
“Coming into college as a high school dropout, I had no idea about so many things, like services the college offered,” he said. “I want to let students behind the rope and let them know how things work. I also want them to know there’s no one way to do any of this.”
Davis was raised in Oceanside, the son of a mother who immigrated from the Philippines. After dropping out of high school, he supported himself with a job as a press operator at the North County Times while attending classes at MiraCosta College and later California State University at San Marcos.
“I went to school full-time during the day and I worked all night, and I slept when I could,” he said.
He fell in love with sociology during one of his first classes at MiraCosta College and resolved that he wanted to teach the subject at a community college.
Davis continued his education, eventually earning his high school diploma at the MiraCosta Adult High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from CSU San Marcos in 2010 and a master’s degree in sociological practice from CSU San Marcos in 2013.
It was while he was working on his master’s degree thesis that the North County Times closed, and many of the pressmen who had worked there – some for decades – were moved to the pressroom at the San Diego Union-Tribune, Davis among them.
He wrote his master’s thesis on how blue-collar workers coped with the displacement of technology, interviewing his fellow pressmen as the basis for the thesis.
“It was a great way to honor them. I grew up in that pressroom,” Davis said. “I learned a lot there.”
In 2013, he left the pressman job behind when he was offered teaching jobs at CSU San Marcos, Palomar College and MiraCosta College.
Davis said he hopes students in his sociology class will better understand how the social world works, broadening their perspective.
“Often people can feel like their worldview is the right one,” Davis said. “I hope students come away from the class with less rigidity and more empathy with how other people understand the world.”