President Thayer’s Board Report for May 14, 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 May 14, 2024

Commit2Cypress Event

The Cypress College family warmly welcomed the Fall 2024 Charger Experience cohort for Commit2Cypress on May 1, where the students signed their contracts for two years of free tuition starting in August. The approximately 1,500 guests, among them 1,148 high school seniors, represented 150 different high schools — including all 10 of our Anaheim Union High School District high schools. This marked the largest attendance in the history of the event, with every seat occupied across various venues.

Congratulations to Brittany Hamer and the Charger Experience Program on the successful event and our gratitude to the numerous individuals who played pivotal roles in coordinating and executing this remarkable event. This includes the faculty, classified staff, managers, and students across Cypress College, NOCCCD, and AUHSD for their enthusiastic participation, fostering an environment where students and families engaged with our Academic and Student Services programs, embracing this new chapter in their educational journey.

Additional thanks go to Dr. Paul de Dios who warrants particular acknowledgment for his unwavering support and vision for the Charger Experience Program, to President’s Staff, including Dr. Kathleen Reiland, Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, Marc Posner, Howard Kummerman, and Bryan Ventura, for their invaluable support. Also, the success of the event would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of the 2024 Commit2Cypress Planning Committee Members, who invested their time and energy to ensure its success. Recognition is also due to the Student Ambassador Team, Gloria Ortega, Nydia Sandoval, Dr. David Booze, Chuck Rodgers, Laurel Mura, Dave Okawa, Jay Shonkwiler, Craig Lee, Daniel Wollenberg, Armando Vega, Alex Bernal, Gary Gopar, Phil Fleming, Liz Arcos-Realpe, Hermalinda Solis, and the M&O staff, among others, for their indispensable contributions. Finally, heartfelt thanks are extended to Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, Regina Rhymes, Sarah Munro, and all Deans, Faculty, Staff, and Hourlies from Student Services for their unwavering support and participation, ensuring the event’s success.

Cypress College Counselor Breakfast 2024

On behalf of the Division Office of Counseling and Student Development, and the Counselor Breakfast Committee, Dr. Troy J. Davis, Dean of Counseling and Student Development, extends gratitude to all participants involved in the development and execution of the Counselor Breakfast 2024. The event saw considerable success, with the participation of 60 middle and high school counselors from various districts including ABC, Anaheim, Long Beach, Fullerton Joint Union High School, Los Alamitos, Whittier, Downey, Norwalk-La Mirada, Garden Grove, and Montebello Unified School Districts.

Appreciation is extended to the executive team for their unwavering attendance and funding support, crucial for ongoing outreach efforts aimed at increasing enrollment. Their collective remarks, which were inspiring, included contributions from Dr. Scott W. Thayer, Dr. Paul de Dios, and Dr. Kathleen Reiland. Special acknowledgment is also extended to the Campus Communications team, and to the attending managers, including Dr. David Booze, Brittany Hamer, and Andrea Morales. The presence of deans Celeste Phelps, Rick Hodge, and Dr. Janet Vera, is also appreciated, with a special mention to Patricia Menchaca for facilitating an engaging planetarium demonstration by faculty member, Michael Frey, on the topic “Dark Universe,” narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Recognition is offered to Department Co-Coordinator, Robert Grantham, for his insightful remarks and introduction of the dedicated division counseling faculty. Special gratitude is extended to the “Threads that Connect Us” Presenters, including Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, Dr. Alejandro Omidsalar, Shawnnie White, Jenelle Herman, Penny Gabourie, Renay Laguana-Ferinac, Dr. Jeannie Mitsch, Therese Miu, and Anne-Marie Beck, for their exceptional hosting of affinity space areas during the showcase to our guests.

The successful execution of the Counselor Breakfast would not have been possible without the collective efforts of the Counselor Breakfast Committee: Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, Kelly Carter, Marisa Lehmeier, Cassie Rodriguez, Lela Beck, and Joselyn Knight.

Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce Retirement Party

This month Cypress celebrated the extraordinary career of Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce as she embarks on a well-deserved retirement after 45 years of unwavering dedication to our students! Dr. Mosqueda-Ponce’s unparalleled commitment and energy will be deeply missed, yet her legacy will thrive for generations!

Gratitude is owed to everyone who contributed to making Dr. Mosqueda-Ponce’s Retirement Party an unforgettable event, with special recognition extended to Lela Beck, Alejandro Omidsalar, Dr. Troy Davis, Dr. Paul de Dios, Marbelly Jairam, Marc Posner, Marcie Kagawa, Anthony Diaz, Julianna Montenegro, Tori and Patrick Felipe, Rachel Ghatikar, Howard Kummerman, Lesley-Anne Loon, Victor Jimenez, Joselyn Knight, Moises Del Real Viramontes, Adriana Caridad, Kassandra Abreu Lawrence, Brittany Hamer and the Charger Experience team, Craig Lee’s security team, VAPA’s Kellori Dower, Chuck Rogers, and the Theatre Team, Liz Arcos and the M & O team, Veronica Castro, Nathan Ramirez, Lindsey Angula, SB Catering’s Cindy Gau, Obed Silva, and all the Puente students.

A heartfelt thanks goes to former Puente student Evangelina Rosales, who now serves as President of our Board of Trustees, for her gracious introduction of representatives from the California Legislature Assembly. During the event, Dr. Mosqueda-Ponce was deeply honored to receive a Resolution from Honorable Sharon Quirk-Silva 67th Assembly District, Honorable Josh Newman 29th Senatorial District, and Honorable Thomas J. Umberg 34th Senatorial District.

Pride Center Drag Show

Cypress’s first ever sponsored drag show, SPOTLIGHT, was a resounding success, dedicated to cultivating artistic expression, self-love, and LGBTQ+ Culture. The event featured Pride Center students who made their performance debut for a night filled with charisma, glitter, and big drag energy.

The idea for the event originated when Pride Center students became interested in drag as a performing art after participating in a workshop series on Queer Icons. Pride Staff member Terra Acevedo, a producer, performer, and instructor of Variety Cabaret & Drag shows in Los Angeles, took modules from their workshop courses and started teaching Pride Center students in weekly workshops, helping each student cultivate their own act.

Additionally, Pride Staff member Jonathan Cossio secured sponsorship from Kim Chi Beauty and arranged for professional drag queens to participate as guest performers and judges in the SPOTLIGHT Drag Show.

Attendees had the opportunity to cheer on Pride Center students as they made their debut, gain a deeper understanding of drag culture and its significance to the queer community and history, and build connections with the campus Pride Center staff and students.

Cypress College Legacy and A2MEND Culmination Celebration

We are delighted to report the resounding success of the Legacy Program’s recent event, which honored Legacy Scholars who completed their first year of college, Legacy Transfer Students, A²MEND Leaders, and their parents. Additionally, invitations were extended to all Black Transfer Students, fostering a sense of unity and inclusivity within our student community.

The event took place on May 9 in the event tent. The evening was characterized by heartfelt speeches, jubilant celebration, and the acknowledgment of our students’ remarkable achievements.

We extend our sincerest gratitude to those campus leaders who were able to provide their presence and support. The participation of those who stayed to bestow stoles upon the transfer seniors added a meaningful touch to the event.

AI Symposium at Cypress College

The Artificial Intelligence Symposium at Cypress College on May 10 was a resounding success. The event was headlined by Chancellor Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland and state Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian.

Attendees were treated to a day filled with groundbreaking discussions and presentations on the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. Attendees exchanged ideas with industry experts, paving the way for the implementation of generative AI in higher education.

Throughout the event, participants engaged in uncharted discussions, sharing best practices and gaining valuable insights into the future of AI. Networking opportunities abounded, allowing attendees to connect with like-minded individuals and forge valuable professional relationships.

Overall, the AI Symposium provided a platform for learning, collaboration, and innovation, empowering attendees to lead the path forward in the exciting field of artificial intelligence.

Cypress College Planetarium Show

We’re delighted to announce that our first presentation from the Cypress College Planetarium, “Dark Universe,” narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, was a resounding success! The premier event took place as scheduled, offering attendees a captivating 45-minute show designed by Michael Frey.

The presentation featured a 25-minute film that delved into the universe unseen by human observation, providing audiences with striking visuals and informative commentary. Employees and their families had the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the cosmos in an engaging and educational setting.

Overall, “Dark Universe” proved to be a fantastic inaugural event for the Cypress College Planetarium, and we’re grateful to all who attended and made it a memorable experience!

Invitation: Language, Gender, and Sexuality-Embracing a Culture of Inclusivity

Join us for the upcoming installment of the PLURALISM, INCLUSION, & EQUITY (P.I.E.) SERIES, titled “Language, Gender, and Sexuality – Embracing a Culture of Inclusivity,” scheduled for Thursday, May 16, 2024, from 11 a.m. to noon. During this session, participants will explore various aspects of LGBTQ+ identities, gaining valuable insights and tips on how to engage with students and become better allies. Dive into discussions on intersectionality, with a focus on language, gender, and sexuality as pivotal identity factors. Kelly Ramnarine, a community organizer with expertise in psychology and primatology, will lead the session, sharing best practices and perspectives on gender and sexuality spectrums while celebrating LGBTQ+ student communities.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about fostering caring relationships with students and discover best practices for building connections in an inclusive environment. Join us as we embrace diversity and promote equity in our educational community.

Mark your calendars and be sure to attend this enriching session led by Kelly Ramnarine, a dedicated advocate for LGBTQIA2S+ communities in Southern California. Together, let’s create a culture of inclusivity and support for all.

Cypress College Congressional Forum

Last week, Cypress College hosted a candidate forum featuring candidates from the 42nd, 45th, and 46th Congressional Districts. Held in the Cypress College event tent at the pond, attendees had the chance to engage with candidates on various pressing issues such as education, the economy, homelessness, women’s reproductive freedom, and military spending. The event was planned by Professor Peter Mathews from the Political Science Department.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members attended the event, which provided a valuable opportunity to listen to and engage with candidates running in the November 5, 2024 Congressional/Presidential Election. The event was intended to raise awareness and to help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box.

Office of STEM Programs Open House

The Office of STEM Programs recently hosted an Open House event showcasing its new center and the services offered for STEM and MESA students as well as the program’s achievements and opportunities. Fun facts about Cypress College’s STEM program:

  • With a total of 348 participants, our STEM/MESA Scholars program continues to thrive, serving as a hub for budding talent in STEM fields.
  • Notable among our scholars is Daanish Noor, who earned the distinguished title of the Presidential Scholar of Distinction for the SEM pathway, reflecting the caliber of students we nurture.
  • Karen Salazar’s acceptance into an undergraduate research program at Cornell University marks a significant milestone, underscoring the national recognition our program’s students receive.
  • This summer, 12 select STEM scholars are participating in an intensive 8-week research program, each receiving a generous $4,000 stipend to support their endeavors.
  • Currently, 32 STEM students are actively engaged in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program (NCAS). Additionally, we’re excited to host a robotics competition from July 29 to August 1, showcasing our commitment to hands-on learning and innovation.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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