“I truly learned to be a leader during my time at Humboldt State.” Don’t write Sofia Pereira off as a small-town mayor. At just 30, she’s using what she learned at the CSU to make Arcata, California, a trailblazer in sustainability. Page Content x Sofia Pereira was just 27 when she was elected to the city council of Arcata, a Northern California city of 17,000. Arcata is also home to Humboldt State University — the reason Pereira came to this lush enclave of redwoods and marshland a dozen years ago.Like a lot of freshmen, Pereira didn't know exactly what she'd study at college. A self-described "quirky theater kid," she joined the campus' speech and debate team on a whim. From there, she worked as a student orientation counselor. Eventually, she became Associated Students president at Humboldt State.Following her graduation in 2009, the former communication major and social advocacy minor took on internships and dove into working on local political campaigns, putting her on the path to Arcata's City Council. In December 2017, she was elected mayor and even now, at 30, she's the council's youngest member."My time as president of Associated Students was such a great experience of learning how to work with others to find common ground," says Pereira. "That is what I am doing today as an elected official."