From Cubicles to Cuticles: City College student leaves corporate America

Michael Celatka uses knowledge and experience in marketing to further cosmetology program.


Angel Cazares

Michael Celatka uses his knowledge of business to further the Cosmetology Program. Photo by Angel Cazares

Angel Cazares, Arts and Culture Editor

Many have an idea of what it means to work in corporate America with its constant repetition and the profit-driven motivation needed to succeed. Some students are registered at City College because they are attracted to this very lifestyle.

Michael Celatka wasn’t always involved with the cosmetology field. Before attending San Diego City College he was working a corporate job for about six years that eventually lead him to being unhappy.

However, most of his friends were involved in the cosmetology industry, which he has always had an interest in. They encouraged him to pursue a career in the field.

He left his job and is currently finishing his third program with the Cosmetology Department.  

Cosmetology students are used to finding creative solutions for their clientele, having to use the knowledge gained from their classes and other experiences. Celatka, for example, uses his knowledge of business and cosmetology to further the program, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“During this time, I witnessed his passion for the industry, his genuine people skills along with his organizational skills, a strong asset that is much needed in this type of industry,” Cosmetology Department Chair Sudabeh Phillips wrote in an email.

Celatka was just one of many students in the program but gained notoriety for his leadership skills and was eventually hired in a role as a faculty member. He now helps students get enrolled in the program, and promotes cosmetology courses outside of school.

“One of the things I’d like to do for the program is more for marketing,” Celatka said. “I go to different high schools and help promote our program, and in return, we get a lot of students who didn’t even know we had the program here.”

San Diego City College bolsters a rising cosmetology program. According to Celatka, they get dozens of emails from prospective students who want in. This is due to the two-year program the department offers which allows a quick turnover for students.

Cosmetology also hosts Dry Bar, an event that offers discounted services for braiding, basic manicures, haircuts and styling.This helps cosmetology students get more experience and reach out to other City students and the local community.

Celatka looks to the future and has high hopes for what looks like a long career at City College.

“Right now I’m transitioning to becoming one of the instructors for the cosmetology program,” Celetka said. “What I would like to see is our program begin with a full-time barber program, that is something I’d like to get involved with. Long term I would definitely like to see myself as department chair.”

Students can take advantage of Dry Bar every Thursday at the AH/BT Plaza from 12-3 p.m.