Outstanding Graduate Jeffrey Anderson's Young Niece Fueled His Desire for Education

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“I was a fraud.” That’s how Jeffrey Anderson viewed himself. That feeling is also the reason he’s wearing a cap and gown today.

For some the decision to enroll in college is rote. For them, the expectation of a higher education has been there as long as they can remember. Anderson’s path was just about the opposite.

A high school dropout who had spent many of his 37 years “watching life pass me by,” his decision to enroll at Cypress College was inspired by his role caring for his young niece. Anderson said that as a child, things came easily. As a result, he wasn’t interested in anything difficult. When school became hard, he simply walked away.

“The turning point in my life was the birth of my brother’s first born,” he said. “As I tried to instill in her the ideal work ethic and morals that will help her succeed in life, I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like she could tell.”

Anderson said the one step he could take was to become a better person. As he spent time with his niece, he was reminded of a long-time goal to join many others in his extended family by becoming an educator. His research guided him to Cypress College’s Teacher Preparation Program. Three years later, Anderson maintains a flawless 4.0 GPA, has completed 84.5 units, and graduates with an associate in arts for transfer degree in Elementary Teacher Education. He’ll begin classes at California State University, Long Beach in the fall.

Along his journey, Anderson has also learned braille, became a Library of Congress-certified transcriber, and has traveled making presentations in the field. The company he works for provides braille transcripts for students across the entire 113-campus California Community Colleges system.

Anderson has also impressed his faculty.

“His term paper was truly outstanding — one of the best I have ever received from an undergraduate in my entire teaching career,” said Dr. Greg Cavin, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. That’s heady praise from a professor who has also taught at the University of California, Irvine, at San Diego State University, Chapman University, and Whittier College.

“He displays a clear passion for the field of education,” said Sherry Ward, Anderson’s professor in the Teacher Preparation Program. “Jeffrey has a combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve that’s rare in a college student, but so essential to the learning process.”

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles