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Erik Steinkamp
Updated On: Dec 19, 2008

It’s Academic
Steward Erik Steinkamp fights family health problems to achieve his scholarly dreams

Erik Steinkamp knows how to work toward his dreams.

Despite family health problems, the 15-year veteran of the retail food industry managed to earn two associate

degrees in liberal arts and social sciences and a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in humanities. He earned

his master’s degree in public history in 2007.

When asked what he does in his free time, he laughs and says, “Free time? What’s that?”

Steinkamp was a member of the Contemporary World History Project, in which colleges across the United States

represent nations around the world in a coordinated study of each country’s history, culture and society. The

program was sponsored by the California International Studies Program.

“Sacramento State was the United States when I was there,” Steinkamp says. “I was honored to be one of the speakers

at the Global Forum at Stanford University.”

Aside from being a scholar, Steinkamp is also a husband, father and Steward.

“I started as a Courtesy

Clerk at Albertsons in 1991,” Steinkamp recalls. “I got promoted when I was 18 to Journeyman Clerk. I’ve worked just

about every place in the store that has to do with groceries.”

year-old son named Jack and a 1-year-old daughter named Avery. When Jack was born, Julie went through a “horrible

birth” and developed infections and medical problems that were

Steinkamp credits his and his wife’s union benefits with easing the burden of those difficult times.

What does Steinkamp plan to do with all of his degrees?

“I took an internship at Sierra College because I wanted to be a community college history professor,” he says. “But

I’m really open to anything that will allow me to help working people.”

Steinkamp is an admirer of UFCW 8-Golden State’s Union in the Schools program, in which UFCW 8 District

Representatives speak to high school classes about Union history and UFCW 8-Golden State.

“This is an extremely beneficial program,” Steinkamp says. “It’s an opportunity to educate our youth about why

Unions were formed and how they benefit society.”

Regarding his dreams and his drive to achieve them, Steinkamp remembers a quote by President Franklin Delano

Roosevelt:

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

Steinkamp worked at Albertsons until 1999. After brief stints at Safeway and the Schools Financial Credit Union, he applied for work at

Raley’s in 2001. He currently works at Raley’s 402 in North Highlands.

Working at school and on the job may seem hard enough, but Steinkamp also faced challenges that threatened his loved ones.

His wife, Julie, is a second-grade schoolteacher. Their children include a 4-

slow to be corrected. But just when those problems were winding down, Julie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“She went through surgery and radiation, and then had to be quarantined because of the radiation,” he says.

“It was a definite stress on our family,” Steinkamp continues. “I took care of our son while my wife was recovering and I worked the night crew, so there wasn’t much time to sleep. But in the end, it only made us stronger as a family.”


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