President Schilling’s Board Report for November 24, 2020

The following is a report to members of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees

Presented by Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.

on November 24, 2020

The LIFE Program’s resource fairs and Lift Up3 events were held on November 9 and 16. LIFE is a grant funded program that supports our formerly incarcerated students and this was the first resource fair for formerly-incarcerated and system-impacted student populations. We were honored to host such amazing community resources as Project Rebound, Project Kinship, and Homeboy Industries. Attendees heard the voices of students who have experienced incarceration – and are now pursuing higher education.  They left feeling inspired by these individuals.

DSS counselor, Dawn Decker, was awarded CAPED’s highest honor – the 2020 President’s Award. Dawn has been a member of CAPED for many years and has been an active member, serving on several committees. She is well respected in the LD and CAPED communities for all of her hard work. Brava, Dawn! Also, at the CAPED convention, Maha Afra, was recognized as CAPED’s Teacher of the Year.  She was invited to the DSS team meeting on Thursday, November 12 to be recognized. The CAPED President, Dr. Chad Bowman, was also there to virtually present the award to her.  Congratulations, Maha!

Kane Smego, spoken word poet, hip hop artist, and cultural diplomat returned to Cypress on Friday, November 13, 2020 to hold the second in a series of workshops for students. Drawing on the concept of intersectionality pioneered by Kimberly Crenshaw and harnessing the power of poetry, this dynamic workshop series helped students tell their own stories by creating an original piece of spoken word poetry.  Kane’s workshop series will culminate with an open mic session in two weeks.

Cypress College just wrapped up a fantastic Hispanic Heritage Month celebrating our Puente Program’s 25 Years of Success. Thank you to all faculty and staff that attended and those who sent students to our events. A big thanks to our wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month planning committee members and Puente leaders Therese Mosqueda-Ponce and Ashton Politanoff.  These events were not only culturally inspiring but also brought much needed human connection. Students commented that they looked forward to these activities and they appreciated learning about the Hispanic culture.

The Cypress Health Center, in partnership with the Orange County Health Care Agency, provided over 300 flu shots with 3 separate Drive Thru Flu Clinics. The HC staff supervised students from psych tech and nursing programs to provide clinical hours to these students. Since going live with “TeleHealth” in March, the HC has provided over 600 medical visits and 200 counseling sessions.  The HC has supported the formation of Cypress Wellness Collaborative to support health and wellness across the campus including drop in sessions for students called “Let’s Talk”, Wellness Wednesdays, and supported Mental Health events such as “Movies for Mental Health” on a virtual platform for students and staff.  Movies 4 Mental Health (online) workshop last week had 77 participants.  Participants stated they felt the event created awareness of mental health issues and helped them confront and address stigma related to mental illness. Attendees that were not already receiving mental health support also reported an increased likelihood to reach out for help.

The Veterans Resource Center construction is almost complete.  Take this opportunity to leave a permanent tribute and support Cypress College students with the opportunity to name a space, room or building at the new Veterans Resource Center.  Or honor veterans and your family, a loved one, or business through an engraved paver along the path at the new VRC complex.  For inquiries email

The Cypress Farmer’s Market has a new mural/banner, designed by our student Michelle Bac.

Brooke Straus, the City’s communication analyst reached out to the college earlier this year seeking a partnership. Four students submitted design ideas and received $25 vouchers for the Market, with one receiving a $100 voucher for the design that was selected by the City of Cypress. The Market could not provide an actual wall, so the final product is a portable printed banner and it looks great. Customers will be able to take selfies and photos of themselves in front of this mural. We’ve included a photo of Michelle’s winning design at the end of this report. Congratulations Michelle!

Dr. Barbara Dunsheath spoke at the Soroptimist Club of Cypress on November 18, sharing her lecture on a Women’s Right to Vote and the impact that women’s clubs had on the Suffragist Movement. It was a wonderful, thoughtful, and inspiring lecture on the women who fought for the right to vote and the importance of ensuring all citizens can make their voices heard through the act of voting. In the words of Trustee Dunsheath, “We are stronger when we are organized and work together!”

Congratulations to students Joyce Lin, Ryan Chieng, and Traci Nguyen, for presenting their research papers at the Western Psychological Association (WPA) conference last month. All three students developed their research under the tutelage of advisors, Randy Martinez and Brandy Young, and are members of Psi Beta Phi, an honors society for psychology scholars. We are #CYProud!

Upcoming Events

The Career Center’s first ever drive thru event will be a socially-distanced Headshot Happy Hour! This will be held on Wednesday, November 18. This event will be set up at the roundabout in front of the theater.  Students will be able to pull up to the curb, get out to take a headshot, get back in their car and drive away. One to three professional headshots will be emailed to them for use on their LinkedIn or Portfolium profiles, or for other career readiness and attainment needs.

Due to the recent fires in Irvine, the Debate against Irvine Valley College was rescheduled to Wednesday, November 18.  The debate topic is “Resolved: When casting actors, preference should be given to actors within the identities of the characters being portrayed.” There will also be a Speech/Performance Event on Thursday, November 19.  The theme this month is “My Diversity Story.”

The Legacy Program is sponsoring a series of engaging study sessions for our students. One will be Game Night on November 19 that uses a Jeopardy format. The second study session will be a Jam Session that will include the Pomodoro Study Technique coupled with Karaoke / dancing.  The goal of these study sessions is to create a fun environment for our students to review important subjects before the final.

Mental Wellbeing, Stress and Mindfulness Workshop will be held on Friday, November 20, 2020.  Sam Gould and Angela deDios will look at stress, its effects on health, and how mindfulness can be applied to our life, allowing us to live and experience the fullness that life affords us.

Please join us on December 8 at 5 p.m. for the Cypress College Annual Kwanza Celebration. This year the event will be virtual, but it promises to be as inspiring as ever. Our students work in teams to present the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). Please join us for this important celebration.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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