President Thayer’s Board Report for March 26, 2024

The following is a report to members of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees
Presented by Cypress College President Scott W. Thayer, Ed.D.
on March 26, 2024

Women’s History Month

In a celebration of Women’s History Month, the Career Planning and Workforce Development Center proudly hosted a Virtual Career Chat: Women Professionals Panel on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 12:30 p.m.

Participants gathered on March 7 to delve into the vibrant narratives of esteemed professionals: Carolyn Lupin, the enchanting Vocalist and Educator; Pooja Jhobalia-Pelham, the trailblazing leader in Global Responsibility, Food Waste, and Food Security at Starbucks Corporate; and Tamika J. Carter, the Executive Director of Advantage Public Institute.

Each luminary shared captivating tales from their career journeys, offering invaluable guidance and pearls of wisdom to the audience. Expertly steering the conversation was the Title V Career Coach, Lucy Vu, ensuring every moment brimmed with insight and inspiration.

Cypress College played host to a dynamic series of events, generously sponsored by CTE and DEIAA, that left attendees inspired and invigorated.

The festivities commenced with a screening of the empowering film “Joy,” setting the tone for an enlightening journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Next up was the eagerly anticipated Women’s Wellness Event, a celebration of resilience, strength, and holistic well-being. From yoga sessions to insightful workshops on mental health and self-care, participants were treated to a day dedicated to nurturing their mind, body, and spirit.

The grand finale of the series featured the keynote speaker Carman Koo, whose electrifying address left the audience spellbound. With her infectious energy and insights, Koo ignited a spark of inspiration in every heart present. Following her speech, the stage was set for the CTE Industry Panel, where industry experts shared invaluable wisdom and expertise, providing attendees with insights into the rapidly evolving landscape of career opportunities.

The series of events sponsored by CTE and DEIAA was a testament to Cypress College’s commitment to fostering growth, inclusion, and empowerment within its community. As attendees departed with hearts full of inspiration and minds buzzing with possibilities, one thing was clear: the impact of these events would resonate far beyond the campus walls, leaving a lasting legacy of empowerment and transformation.

49th Annual Americana Awards

On March 16, the 49th Annual Americana Awards event took place at the Westin Anaheim Resort with 660 people attending. The 2024 Americana Awards celebration was organized by the Cypress College Foundation and was made possible by the collective efforts of the entire community.

The event honored Person of the Year, Bobbie Stovall, along with Citizens of the Year: Jody Daily & Kevin Kidney, Anaheim; Elizabeth “Beth” Swift, Ed.D., Buena Park; Jon Peat, Cypress; Joe Hammer, Garden Grove; Michele Steggell, La Palma; Shelli Appling, Los Alamitos; Greg & Kathy Fellers, Seal Beach; and Rigoberto Ramirez, Stanton. It also raises money to support Cypress College students and to support student success at the college.

Additional thanks to the Foundation Board of Directors, Americana Committee Chairs, and other dedicated individuals, including Howard Kummerman, Rachel Ghatikar, Lesley-Anne Loon, and Victor Jimenez. The event also received support from students, faculty, city committee chairs, mayors, council members, distinguished guests, and elected officials, reflecting a true spirit of collaboration within Cypress and the wider community.

Special recognition goes to the steadfast supporters, our Presenting Sponsor, TEM, and our Title Sponsor, US Bank, and to those who have consistently purchased tables over the years.


On Friday, March 15, Cypress College welcomed 900 kindergarten students, teachers, and chaperones for our 2024 Kindercaminata. We had 12 different elementary schools in attendance, representing Cypress Elementary School District, Magnolia Elementary School District, Savanna Elementary School District, Centralia Elementary School District, Los Alamitos Elementary School District, and Buena Park Elementary School District. These young scholars had a fun-filled day that included over 35 activity stations, photos with Charlie the Charger, watching the solar system come to life in the planetarium, a picnic lunch on the lawn with live music, and ballet folklorico dancing.

Thanks to the 2024 Kindercaminata Planning Committee Members: Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, Giovanni Hortua, David Okawa, Jay Shonkwiler, Nydia Sandoval, Gloria Ortega, Dario Resendiz, Andres Licea, Kendra Ubierna, Adriana Caridad, AnnMarie Ruelas, and Lili Perez.

All of this would not be possible without the support of the Charger Experience Team; thank you to Dario Resendiz, Andres Licea, Adriana Caridad, Maria Haro, Kassandra Lawrence, David Alfaro, Karen Hill, Amelia Mosely, Mai-Thi Pham, Kendra Ubierna, Anissa Tagayun, Micaela Munn-Perez, and the Student Ambassador Team.

For the first time, Kindercaminata was sponsored by Gonzelez’s Northgate Market, T&G Printing, and Golden State Water Company. Thank you Teresa Anaya, Teresa Blanco, Mary Whitacre, and Angeles Honorato for generously donating mini pan dulce; to Ken Vecchiarelli with Golden State Water Company for donating waters; to Rachel Ghatikar and Howard Kummerman for organizing donations with the Disneyland Resort; and T&G Printing Fulfillment for donating colored visors and stickers to our kindergarten participants!

Women’s Empowerment Gala

Cypress College is also thrilled about our recent Women Empowerment Gala held on March 21.

The gala was a celebration of the remarkable achievements and contributions of women throughout history and in contemporary society. It served as a platform to honor their resilience, strength, and unwavering determination in breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations.

In light of the significance of Women’s History Month, the gala held particular importance. It provided an opportunity for our community to come together and reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and empowerment. By attending, guests were part of a collective effort to support and uplift women from all walks of life, including our military-affiliated women who had served or are currently serving our country with honor and dedication, as well as their families and dependents who provided essential support on the home front.

Moreover, we are pleased to announce that the proceeds from the gala benefitted the Cypress VRC Women’s Unity Group. These organizations that donated played a crucial role in providing support, resources, and opportunities for women within our college community, fostering a more inclusive and empowering environment for all. This collaborative event between the Cypress VRC Women’s Unity and EOPS promised an evening filled with inspiration, entertainment, and opportunities to connect with fellow members of our community who shared a passion for women’s empowerment.

Attendees marked their calendars and joined us for what was a memorable and impactful evening. Together, we celebrated the achievements of women past, present, and future, and worked toward a more equitable and inclusive society.

VAPA Outreach Event

Approximately 400 high school students attended the Visual and Performing Arts outreach event held on campus on Tuesday, March 12. The event exposed potential arts majors to the various department within Cypress College’s VAPA pathway, including Art, Communications/Journalism, Dance, Media Arts Design, Music, Photography, and Theatre.

This is the second year the event has been held. Students were treated to a welcome and introduction in the theater, along with music and dance performances. In addition, students toured the various departments most aligned with their interests.

The high school students registered and checked in for the event, which will also facilitate follow-up communication with them.

CTE Skills Day

Local high school students got a chance to put their training to the test at the second annual Automotive Skills Challenge and Career Fair this week on campus. Nine schools competed and two others attended the combination competition and auto industry professional meet-and-greet—the only one of its kind in the region.

Around 275 students visited exhibitor tables and attended educational workshops in addition to seeing who would take home first prize for their skills. Workshops gave the prospective Cypress College Auto Tech students an opportunity to learn about subjects such as alternative fuel, industry employment roles, new car dealership management, and equipment marketing association scholarships. The Auto Collision Repair program and Aviation and Travel Careers department held separate workshops on topics that included body welding and flying drones.

The outdoor tables featured 22 companies representing 31 brands, including several industry leaders. Manufacturers Ford, Bridgestone, Snap-On, FormulaD, Electude, and Penske Automotive were represented, along with dealerships Tuttle-Click, Norm Reeves Honda, Downey Nissan, Jaguar/Land Rover Newport Beach, Tustin Toyota, McKenna Cars, Tom’s Truck Center, Browning Automotive Group. Orange County Automotive Dealers Association and Specialty Equipment Market Association were on hand to share information with students about their future in the automotive industry.

But the main event was the skills challenge. Seven stations throughout the shop held standard auto repair and maintenance tasks, and participants worked fast to beat the clock.

Three teams took home trophies and prizes. The grand prize winners also were a first in another category – the first all-women team to win. The honor went to Naomi Prunchak and Natasha Zavala of Savanna High School Regional Occupational Program, with their teacher Carlos Sanchez. Second prize was awarded to Nathaniel Aldana and Michael Arreola North Orange County Regional Occupational Program La Habra High School, with their teacher Daniel Moreno. Devyn Azzolina and Lenny Ramirez, with teacher Oscar Chavez, of North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, Buena Park, took third prize.

Current Cypress College students in the general Automotive Technology program and the Toyota T-TEN program volunteered to guide students and assist with the skills challenges. The two winners from 2023, Damian Garza and Angel Beltran, who attended Rancho Alamitos High School last year, were back, this time as Cypress College student volunteers.

Cypress College Art Gallery

The Cypress College Art Gallery is showing two exhibitions from the bubbling edge of this fantastic world: Invisible Features and The Society of Illustrators of Los Angele 61st Annual Illustration Competition.

Curated by Donivan Howard, Invisible Features includes 2d and 3d concept art, final imagery, figurines, animations, and game art by Black artists who have achieved great success in the entertainment industry working with such world-class companies as: The Disney Company, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, Rhythm & Hues, Renegade, 20th Century Fox, and Lionsgate, on stellar projects that include the X-Men, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Avengers franchises, among many others.

The gallery exhibition is comprised of a wide range of works by Emmy-nominated—and renowned Garbage Pail Kids—artist Layron DeJarnette, Riot Games animator Benjamin Davis, theme park designer Mark Page, graphic designer Jon Davis, storyboard illustrator Todd Harris, and toy designer Deon Nuckols.

The Society of Illustrators of Los Angele 61st Annual Illustration Competition exhibition features over 30 gorgeous illustrations from across the county, including medal-winning works. Artists include Robert Carter, Tianqi Chen, Fangyu “Matu” Ma, Steve Carroll, Martin French, and Peter Diamond.

You’re Invited

Cypress College Career Planning and Workforce Development Center will be hosting the annual Career Fair on Tuesday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This will be an opportunity for Cypress College students to forge valuable connections with local employers eager to discuss job and internship opportunities tailored just for them. It will be an excellent chance for students to network and explore potential career paths that align with their aspirations and talents.

The first 200 students will receive exclusive Career Fair kits! Students will also be offered access to the Career Closet, LinkedIn Photo Booth, and Handshake (online job board).

The Prom

Finally, the curtains have fallen on another spectacular performance by the Cypress Theatre Arts program, marking the conclusion of the musical production, “The Prom.” Drawing inspiration from real-life events, this heartwarming musical comedy followed the journey of a courageous group of theater artists who rally behind a teenage girl facing adversity: when her school administration refuses to allow her to take her girlfriend to the prom, these passionate individuals unite to champion love, acceptance, and equality. Through toe-tapping tunes, side-splitting humor, and poignant moments, “The Prom” captivated audiences, leaving them uplifted and inspired by the transformative power of solidarity and compassion.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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