Engineering Technology New Equipment Makes Program “One of the Best”

Engineering Technology recently acquired new equipment and software licenses to assist students. The additions have raised the quality of the program above and beyond others, according to Professor of Engineering & Engineering Technology Massoud Saleh.

“Our Mechatronics lab is one of the best and most complete labs anywhere,” as a result of the recent purchases, Saleh says.

The following is a list of the new additions:

  • Ten computer stations added to room 102, converting the lab to a computer lab
  • Eight units of Elvis III
  • Quanser sensor and mechatronics panels, for hands-on training of the students
  • A Parker Hydraulic/Pneumatic trainer cart (our system is the newer version that is more compact than the one in the video but has same functionalities)
  • License to LabVIEW. This is software that also can be used as a virtual replacement of some equipment for remote teaching. More information about LabVIEW can be found here:

“We were able to purchase a sample of almost every type of sensor out there for hands-on training of the students,” Saleh says. “These sensors can be connected to Labview for a realistic analysis of any system in form of a digital twin.”

Go MAD This Semester

This spring, several courses offer a variety of ways to learn or improve computer illustration, modeling, and projection mapping, among other skills. These Media Arts Design classes can help expand and enhance your professional portfolio or provide enrichment if you are simply interested in digital design.

Learn art that you can apply with the following courses, which still have availability for the upcoming spring semester. Visit myGateway today to enroll.

MAD 104 C – Intro to 3D Graphics-Mac (3 units)
MAD 105 C – Intro to 3D Graphics-Win (3 units)

Find out about 3D computer graphics, with an emphasis on 2D paint and 3D modeling and animation software used in animation. You’ll create original 3D still and animation imagery for your portfolio. This course is a gateway into the variety of classes for the Art Computer Graphics program, where you can pursue more in-depth study on the topic(s) you were drawn to during this introductory class.


MAD 106 C – Social Media Vlog Production (3 units)

Examine the evolving role social media and video play in cultural and corporate 21st Century life. You will learn to create a Vlog (Video Blog), and shoot and edit video and audio content. You’ll create a plan to distribute and market your Vlog brand identity.


MAD 112 C – Electronic Illustration-Mac (3 units)
MAD 113 C – Electronic Illustration-Window (3 units)

Learn how to generate Mac and Windows Postscript (vector) images for desktop publishing/page layout software and as standalone images with high-resolution output. In these classes, professional artists can build basic Mac and Windows skills needed for employment and/or advancement.


MAD 120 C – 3D Modeling-Mac (3 units)
MAD 121 C – 3D Modeling-Windows (3 units)

These courses focus on the introduction of Mac and Windows creation techniques for making three-dimensional computer graphics content. Classes emphasize 3D modeling and animation tools, menu structures, and model-building applications.


MAD 201 C – 3D Typography for Media Design (3 units)

This intermediate typography course focuses on graphic communication usage. Learn how to develop concepts, layout, and presentations. Projects include lettering design, layout, and 3D typography. You’ll learn electronic design techniques in 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional forms.


MAD 207 C – Projection Map/Live Entertain (3 units)

Get an overview of the many uses of projection mapping with an emphasis on 2D and 3D design to make digital presentations. You will create projection mapping projects for public display.

Former HRC Instructor Meets Challenges on ‘Chopped’

Blackmarket Bakery owner Rachel Klemek can work under pressure. She runs three bakeries, has four kids, and counts herself as a former Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts faculty member of Cypress College. And now, she can call herself a “Chopped” episode champion and season finale runner-up.

We asked her a few questions about her experience. She offered an inside glimpse of the popular cooking competition show, as well as some sound advice that works in and out of the kitchen.

How did you get involved in being on the show “Chopped?”
Back in October of 2018, I received an email from a casting company requesting that I apply to “Chopped.” At that time, I hadn’t seen more than a few snippets from “Chopped” over the years but thought I should just give it a try anyway. My family strongly discouraged me, given how challenging it looked. Being an optimist, I filled out their app online and submitted a few videos of myself baking. A Skype interview and a more in-depth phone interview followed. Even then, I didn’t think I would get cast. Then, a producer called to schedule my “bio-pack,” where a crew filmed in the bakery location. But the producer warned that nothing was decided. Then, three weeks before the first episode filmed, they emailed to say that I was cast in a dessert episode and needed to get to NYC! I memorized and tested as many “fast” recipes as possible, not knowing what kinds of desserts I would be making.

At the start of the “Sweets Showdown: Cake” episode, you said your philosophy on the show was to “Keep Calm and Cake On.” Is this your motto for everyday life, too?

I think I came up with that on the spot, at the producer’s prompt to have a tagline. But in essence, I aspire to follow that advice. Freaking out about stuff is not productive, but sometimes it still happens!

You called one of the judges on the show, Sylvia Weinstock, a legend. Did that make you more nervous?
The whole process of filming was completely nerve-wracking, but I don’t know if any particular judge made it any more so. Sylvia Weinstock was a trailblazer in exquisite sugar flowers and incredible tiered cakes, so I was familiar with her stature in the industry but decided that being overly intimidated would be a handicap so tried to act as normal and confident as possible.

Squid-ink toffee — what inspired you? It was very popular!

Toffee is basically sugar, butter, water and a bit of salt. Since the salt is necessary to balance the sweetness, the saltiness of the squid ink seemed like it would work well. My mistake was adding the squid ink before the toffee was completely cooked, since I relied on the color to tell doneness. Luckily, I was able to guess when the toffee reached temperature (before burned and turned bitter) by the bubbles. Plus seafood and butter made sense to me!

You said the other contestants’ Bundt cakes were simpler. Do you think your more complex take helped you?
I think substituting the tomato soup as part of the liquid in the cake was the key to my surviving that round. Adding ganache and caramel, which seemed like a good idea for a dessert, was perceived by the judges as going overboard…

What did you win for being the best chef of that episode?
For winning the Chopped Cake episode, I won the chance to go back and compete in the Sweets Finale. And the ability to claim that I am a Chopped Champion. That’s it!

For the finale, the pressure seemed stronger. And did the ingredients seem weirder?
The ingredients were pretty weird in all six of my rounds (in both shows), but in every round there were at least two items that were easier to address. With Martha Stewart judging and that $50,000 on the line, the pressure was more intense in the finale.

It appeared as if the closer the show drew to the end, the more camaraderie there was among contestants. Did you feel that way?
Not particularly. In between rounds, there was a minimum of conversation between contestants. We were all coping with a very stressful situation together, but since we were still in it, I think we all kept pretty focused and to ourselves.

What was the most intimidating/challenging thing in that episode? What was the best?
Making a dessert to flambé was really tough for me. A new experience! I considered using the cotton candy machine but hadn’t done so before and didn’t want to count on it without any prior experience. The high point was making desserts for Martha Stewart and hearing positive feedback. One of my favorite cookbooks as a young baker was Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts, so I am a huge fan!

You got good feedback on your flavor. And your flambé looked so pretty! Judge Alex Guarnaschelli said you are “such an unbelievable baker.” Is that how you were able to walk away saying you were “feeling like a winner for sure”?

Going into the whole “Chopped” experience, I had no expectation of getting through even one round. So winning one episode and being the runner up in another constitutes a big accomplishment in my view. Being a business owner, I spend lots of time on office stuff like marketing, hiring, accounting, scheduling, etc and not much in the kitchen anymore. So I was proud to have gotten as far as I did!

Is there anything you learned from the experience that you might bring back to your students?

My take-away from filming two “Chopped” episodes is:
1. Practice, prepare, and be as ready as possible (for life, for baking, for anything)
2. Trust your instincts
3. Do work you are proud of
4. Remember to have fun and not take yourself too seriously

Cypress College Career Technical Education Receives Two Awards

Automotive Technology instructor Russell Bacarella and student Gable Kemma-Berg received the Instructor Finalist Award and a Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Scholarship, respectively, last month at the 2019 SEMA Education Event in Las Vegas.

The three-day event, part of the annual SEMA show and organized by SEMA and the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT), saw approximately 2,000 students and instructors from across the United States and Canada.

Bacarella, a master Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician who has been teaching since 1999, received his award at the Educator of the Year Awards banquet. With approximately 200 instructors in attendance, Bacarella and two instructors from across North America received the honor for fostering the professional development of promising new students. The award is open to anyone who teaches automotive-related instruction including auto tech, diesel and collision, and recognizes instructors who implement and emphasize aftermarket technology in their classrooms.

Additionally, Cypress student Kemma-Berg received a $3,000 SEMA Student Scholarship, created to introduce and encourage students studying automotive, diesel or collision to pursue careers in the automotive aftermarket industry.

As the largest automotive organization in the world, SEMA has roughly 21,000 corporate members. The annual SEMA Show hosts over 200,000 annually during the four-day event in Las Vegas.

#CYProfessional: Deann Burch, Career Center Coordinator

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Career Planning Center Coordinator Deann.

What was your path to Cypress?

In many ways, Cypress has always been part of my path. I was born in the early ‘60s and lived in Anaheim, while many of my relatives lived in Paramount, Artesia, and Lakewood. Every Sunday we traveled to various family homes, and drove past the multitude of dairy farms, cows, pastures, and layers of fog that hugged the streets. One day, my mom pointed at the sign that said, “Future Home of…” and she was so happy to know there would be a junior college nearby. Dad looked at me and my siblings and said, “Hey, you might want to go here when you finish high school.”

Then in the early ‘70s my dad’s karate dojo rented the gym to host tournaments. I was the scorekeeper and back-up timer so, technically, I worked at Cypress College when I was 10 years old. In the late ‘70s my mom, in an effort to help a recently widowed friend get involved with the community, took a job as an adult hourly during registration. Mom’s friend eventually found work elsewhere, but mom loved the college environment. She worked as an hourly in Admissions and Records until a permanent position became available in the Athletics Division. Mom worked with the athletes and coaches until she retired from Cypress College in the late ‘90s. She maintained close friendships with many of her Charger friends until she passed in 2011.

I began my educational journey at Cypress College in the fall of 1979, and then met my future husband in a class during the spring of 1980. That June, a position became available in the Admissions and Records Office, and my mom suggested I apply for the job and get some interview practice. Lo and behold, two hours after the interview, I received the call that I was hired. Yes, this was a life-altering moment for me and set me on the path of a truly fulfilling career. It also established lifelong friendships that I cannot imagine my life without.

I met my husband at Cypress College in the Psych 120 course in February 1980. We were married exactly two years later in February 1982. We are happily married to this day. Perry retired in August, and I will be retiring in November [2019] so the two of us are starting a new journey together.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?

I always wanted to be a teacher. I played “school” as a kid and assigned homework to my sister and friends. When I was in sixth grade, my teacher had each student stand up in class and share what we want to be when we grew up. I stood with pride and said, “I want to be a teacher.” The look on his face was unforgettable, and in retrospect, unforgiveable. He said with a disapproving sneer, “Oh, there won’t be any teaching jobs available when you graduate college.” My career dreams stopped at the very moment. I continued to excel in school, but I didn’t have a dream or a hope for what I wanted to “be.” I didn’t have a direction in mind, so when the position became available in the Admissions and Records Office, I saw it as a job, not a career. And then, something shifted. I liked the work I was doing. I enjoyed knowing the work I did, and assistance I provided, was helping other students along their path. I enjoyed the sensation of happiness, and fulfillment when students thanked me for being kind to them, for answering their questions, and for encouraging them to keep going.

After five years in A&R, I was then hired to work in the Career Planning Center. Chalk this up as the absolute best career-move I could have made. I cannot begin to adequately share the joy I had when connecting with and contributing to the field of career development. I learned about myself and how my interests, strengths, values, personality, and skills aligned with this career. Many of the tasks I enjoyed when I “played school” were now part of my daily adult life. I love research, making connections, pulling together data, and most of all, seeing students attain their goals, experience success, and learn about themselves without ever feeling the disapproving sneer that had discouraged me at a young age. What inspires me? Happy, content, fulfilled, supported students inspired me each and every day.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

Although I could be considered a workaholic, I actually have a very full and rewarding life that has worked in conjunction with my career. My family and friends keep me balanced. My studies of meditation practices have helped me to keep my mind, body, and spirit in harmony. My eclectic interests and desire to learn about these in depth have kept me involved with exploring, expanding, and evolving my thoughts and beliefs. I do volunteer work that keeps me informed and reminds me of the strong, loving foundation of my family that I never take for granted. I am happy and am able to infuse this happiness into all my pursuits.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

After 39+ years at Cypress College, I have decided to retire. I adore my work, the people I work with, and still get excited by the upcoming innovations. I originally thought I would be at my desk another 10 years, but then a little switch in my brain suddenly turned on and told me, “It is time.” I have no regrets, but am a little disappointed that I won’t be in the thick of the Title V Grant, rebranding our Center to the Majors and Careers Program, or seeing Guided Pathways fully embedded into the experience of our students. But I do know that I have contributed to these things. I served on committees, I gave a voice to and for classified employees, I demonstrated leadership, and I made a difference. I am now looking forward to exploring my meditation and spiritual studies, and perhaps will teach others as I had dreamed of when I was a child.

Is there any other information you’d like to share?

I am proud of my achievements, awards, and accomplishments. I am grateful for the friends I met on my first day in A&R and am still embracing these friends in my life today. I value the difference career professionals have made to bettering the field of career development. But most of all, I am inspired and in awe of the strength, fortitude, and motivation our students display on a daily basis. As Dr. Don Bedard told me on my first day of work, “Never forget. We are here for the students.” I have honored that throughout my career.

Hospitality & Culinary Students Tour Marriott

In late October, Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts students toured Marriott Anaheim to hear from professionals in their field and see where a degree or certificate from the HRC program could take them.

The field trip included students from the Hospitality Law class and the Hospitality Leadership class. Marriott gave an orientation and walked students and faculty, including professors Jeannette Jones and Lisa Clark, through the heart of the house to hear from managers and key associates.

“It was especially fun to hear from the Banquet Chef, Patrick Duralde, former Cypress alumni,” Clark says. “We have dozens of students working for Marriott with many more over the years. Marriott is a long-standing educational partner. They serve on our advisory board, offer field trips, guest speak, attend career fairs and, of course, hire and develop our students.”

Professor Jones also works on call with Marriott. Clark calls her connections “invaluable” in coordinating these opportunities.

Instructor Exhibits in Louvre Museum

This month, Cypress College art instructor Paul Paiement exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris during a special event. Annual art fair Le Carrousel du Louvre took place October 18-20 and included artists selected by a committee, based on nominations. Paul’s European art dealer Adelinda Allegretti submitted his work for consideration.

“It’s a huge honor to exhibit my paintings in the largest and most prestigious art museum in the world,” Paul said. “Drilling a screw into the same walls that house Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ was an incredible experience.”

Paiement selected four paintings from his Nexus series to exhibit. He was able to complete these paintings during a sabbatical from teaching at Cypress, a period in which he says he was “more prolific than I’ve ever been.”

The resulting work was well received at the show; Paul says the pieces created a lot of dialogue among visitors, and his painting ‘Nexus — Ronan, Montana’ was selected and published in the exhibition catalog.

“It was all very real,” Paul said. “By real, I mean tangible. I’ve read, seen documentaries, and heard stories about the Louvre. It’s has a ‘larger than life’ mythology. It has the largest and most comprehensive art collection the world has ever seen. Assisting the museum staff in the installation of my artwork was very real.”

The work exhibited in Paris was painstakingly created. Paul says during the school year, one of his paintings can take anywhere from 3-14 months to complete; during his sabbatical, his goal has been to complete one painting a month — based on a 40-60 hour week. The sabbatical continues until spring 2020 but even when Paul returns he will find a way to continue on this creative streak.

“I don’t find time to create — I create time to create art,” he says. While teaching, he commits to working in his studio three to five days a week.

Paul’s Nexus series bridges natural backdrops and engineered structures. It incorporates the elements that inspire him.

“I draw inspiration from concepts and questions about our reality. Questions like who are we? Who am I? What is nature? Am I part of nature? I hope these concepts are communicated to the viewer in my paintings.”

To view more of Paul’s exhibited work, click on his Carrousel du Louvre link here. You can see additional paintings by visiting his personal website here.

AC&R Program Passes Accreditation

Cypress College’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Program passed a reaccreditation visit on Oct. 3, ensuring its accreditation for six more years.

Members of validation group HVAC Excellence, which sets educational program standards and verifies their fulfillment, met with Cypress faculty Doug Sallade, Carlos Urquidi, and Richard Hock to tour the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration facilities and review curriculum.

The Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program offers an associate degree and nine certificates, ranging from core knowledge to a four-semester long comprehensive certificate. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges job placement rate reports that 93% of recent program graduates were hired in their field. The US Department of Labor projects a 15% growth in employment by 2026 for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers.

The photo above shows the faculty and HVAC Excellence team. From left to right: Sallade, HVAC Excellence Accreditation Specialist James Crisp, Urquidi, Esco Group Director of Technical Education & Standards Eugene Silberstein, Hock, and HVAC Excellence Accreditation Specialist Steven Allen.

#CYProfessional: Marcia Jeffredo, Locksmith, Maintenance and Operations

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Maintenance & Operations’ Marcia.

What was your path to Cypress?
I was a licensed contractor, running a lock-and-safe service I’d started 15 years earlier when an acquaintance — who had the Cypress College food-service contract at the time — told me about the job opening. At first I was afraid it might be boring to be “stuck” at one site. What I found instead was a family-like work environment and seemingly unlimited opportunities for mutual enrichment between myself, students, and colleagues.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?
I can relate to and empathize with students who aren’t sure of themselves, especially ones who feel marginalized for whatever reason(s). I loved school, but when it came to higher education, my parents were not on board, because it was unfamiliar territory. Plus, even though I was nurtured by wonderful teachers and staff, I spent my school years fearful of being perceived as gay. That journey goes into a whole other long story, but I have on many occasions been a speaker on campus in classrooms and in forums, enlightening some people and affirming others about how damaging it is to try to be someone you’re aren’t because you’re fearful of what consequences you might suffer if you come out.

In addition, I have five decades of experience studying foreign languages. About five years ago I had a teacher who kept telling our class it’s difficult to learn a language after the age of 8. I didn’t agree and that motivated me to start some study groups and do some tutoring to prove that with the right approach and mindset, learning a new language can be fun and doable at any age.
I’ve had some memorable times working with the NOCE Independent Living Skills students too. They used to have a job-shadowing program and it was very rewarding bringing them to my shop and taking them around campus, teaching them how to be good employees. I also was a guest speaker on the topic and we had a lot of fun because I know how to reach them.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?
In my time at Cypress College I’ve been trusted by managers and administrators to prioritize my work, creation of new projects, and shared-governance activities on my own. I like to be busy, and allowing me to have such autonomy has been the ultimate way to get the most out of my energy, experience, ideas, organizational skills, and time management skills. Outside of Cypress College I’ve volunteered for numerous organizations since my teens. I feel a responsibility to be actively involved wherever I am.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
I had been working on designing and managing ADA and mechanical and electronic access control projects campus-wide and a smaller project at NOCE Anaheim. It took years of building relationships in order to get the support, especially the funding, to make these things happen. All of those people left last year and the momentum got stalled. We have a lot of new colleagues bringing their own ideas to Cypress College and I’m preparing for retirement, so it’s time to pass the torch. Meanwhile I have plenty to keep me busy. With the new construction, I’m starting to make all of the new keys and pretty soon I will be pinning up all of the lock cylinders for the contractors to install.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.
I am forever grateful that I landed here almost 19 years ago. Life is good. I will miss being surrounded by students all the time, but there are some I’ve stayed in touch with and I’m so proud of them. We all have grown so much.

Associate Degree Nursing ACEN Accreditation Site Visit Oct. 9, 2019

Public Notice of Upcoming Accreditation Review Visit by the ACEN

The Cypress College Registered Nursing Program is hosting a site review for continuing accreditation of its Associate Degree program by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

You are invited to meet the site visit team and share your comments about the program in person at a meeting scheduled at Cypress College in TE3-203 (Health Science, Building 13) on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, from 12:45–1:45 p.m.

Written comments are also welcomed and should be submitted directly to:

Dr. Marsal Stoll, Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326
Or email: mstoll@acenursing.org

All written comments should be received by the ACEN by Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

Click here for more information on the Cypress College Nursing Program.

#CYProfessional: Philip Dykstra, Institutional Research and Planning Director & Accreditation Liaison Officer

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Institutional Research Director Phil.

What was your path to Cypress?

I graduated from Cal State Fullerton back in 1995 with a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in urban planning. During my final year there, I started an internship as a researcher with Santa Ana College. That led to a job as a part-time researcher there and then a full-time position through 2000. I then worked as a research analyst at El Camino College and Cerritos College from 2000-2004. In February 2004, I came to Cypress as a classified professional serving as the college’s research analyst. In 2012, I was promoted to the Director of Institutional Research and Planning and the rest is history.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?

I am an inquisitive person by nature so being a researcher really appeals to me. I like trying to get to the bottom of things and determining whether things are working and more importantly why or why not. My work in the field for the last 25 years has allowed me to do just that.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

It can be challenging especially during certain times of the year. Having a team with two amazing classified researchers really helps. I am only able to take on additional tasks here at the college like accreditation and helping our District Management Association because our team is so wonderful and dedicated. It also allows me the opportunity to take on other opportunities that are important to me personally, like serving as a Puente mentor, because I know our team has a good handle on things.

Institutional Research Director Philip Dykstra Stands in Front of Campanile

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

My last big project prior to my retirement in October is the review of the college mission, vision, and core values. This is a semester-long project that is an important part of the college’s accreditation. This process happens every two or three years where we come together as a college and see if we want to make any changes. With all of the changes at the state level, it will be interesting to see how we end up changing our mission statement to reflect those changes.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

Over the course of the last 15 years here at Cypress, it has been a wonderful experience. I have gotten the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people, and many times those interactions have turned into friendships away from the office. When I look back on my time here at Cypress I feel a sense of joy and accomplishment in all the things that the Research Office has undertaken with the goal of helping our students be successful. And for that, I am eternally grateful to all of my colleagues for allowing me to be a part of our students’ educational journey along with them.

#CYPossible: Pedro Romero-Nieva Santos, ESL

Pedro travelled far to begin his Cypress College journey. The strength he possessed from his supportive family upbringing in Madrid, Spain, not to mention his dedication to sports, helped him gain a foothold in his new life abroad. The Cypress ESL faculty and staff also assisted Pedro in his new life, and he credits the program with boosting his ability to seize his dreams. Combined with the network he was able to build within the college’s athletic program, Pedro reflects warmly on his time at Cypress as the gateway to his coaching career.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

My coaching career and academic formation started in my home city of Madrid, Spain, back in 2006. I earned my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, exercise science, from the Universidad Politecnica in Madrid where I graduated in 2011. During the last three years of my degree, I had the opportunity to study high performance conditioning soccer coaching under the current Real Madrid Fitness Coach, Dr. Javier Mallo, who has had a huge impact on my professional and personal development within the field of coaching. Between 2008 and 2011, I also combined my education with practical experience on the field coaching at both youth and professional soccer academies in Madrid.

In 2012 I had the opportunity to move overseas to play soccer and study at Cypress College, California, where I played for the soccer team and earned a certificate in athletic coaching in 2013. After this, and thanks to the relationship I built within the coaching staff at Cypress College, I began my coaching career in the United States at the community college, high school, and club levels.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I was playing in Spain back in 2011 when I was contacted by a company that promoted soccer players from Europe, all around universities and colleges in the United States. They came to my games and filmed me playing to then send the videos to the United States. I received several offers to play soccer from colleges in Utah, Chicago, and finally Cypress College reached out. I always wanted to move to California, so that was an excellent opportunity for me to live there and learn English while experiencing college and soccer life abroad. My year as a student athlete at Cypress College was incredibly positive and rewarding for my personal and professional development. The coaching staff was extremely nice with me, which helped a lot in order to build a very close relationship that still to this day I keep with every one of them. My teammates welcomed me with open arms from the beginning, and I also developed some great friendships that I still keep. Academically, Cypress College helped me a lot to improve in my English, and to further my knowledge within the field of kinesiology. I also developed great relationships and friendships with some of the professors that I still keep to these days. Overall Cypress College helped me to build a very strong bond with the American culture, motivating me to stay here and make a living in the States. I have to say that if it wasn’t for the amazing experience I had at Cypress College, and the relationships I developed, I would have probably moved back to Spain after one year.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I got accepted into Cypress College for the 2012/13 academic course. I was enrolled in the Athletic Coach Certificate, English as Second Language, and I was also a part of the Men’s Soccer Program. I was there for only one season, but it was an extremely rewarding and productive experience. There were so many people at Cypress College who helped me in my first year living and studying in the United Sates, and I couldn’t ask for a better experience than the one I had at Cypress.

To begin with, I would like to make a special mention to the International Student staff, Yongmi Han and Gina Marrocco, who helped me with my visa paperwork, helped me to adapt to the cultural and lifestyle differences, and made my life much easier overall.

Within the field of kinesiology and athletic coaching, I was able to establish and develop very good relationships with professionals from the field of athletic training, coaching, and teaching such as Coach [Margaret] Mohr, or Scott Tucker, among others, who made a very positive impact in my personal and professional growth. On the soccer field, I developed very strong friendships among the teammates, some of them still last to this day.

Among the coaching staff I have to say I developed very strong bonds with them from day one. Head Coach Ed Kephart welcomed me to the team with open arms and allowed me to be part of the team in what I consider it was a great season. I also developed very good friendships with assistant coaches Tony Barber and Martin Wallwork, who helped me on and off the field especially in my first and second year in the States. Finally, assistant coach Mike Stauber made the biggest impact in my journey by helping me to pursue my coaching career in Southern California, and becoming not only a mentor but also one of my best friends to this day. Lastly, I would like to give a special mention to Professor Kathryn Wada who not only taught me English as my ESL professor, but most importantly became my “American mom” who always has looked after me, and continues doing so. I am extremely grateful for her help, her advice, and her belief in me from day one. She is definitely one of the reasons I am where I am today.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After completing my studies at Cypress College, and thanks to the relationship I built within the coaching staff at Cypress College, I began my coaching career in the United States at the community college, high school, and club levels. I helped Cypress College during the 2014 and 2016 seasons as Assistant Coach and Strength and Conditioning Coach. At the high school level, I worked at Kennedy High School in La Palma from 2013 to 2015 as the Girls Varsity Head Coach. In 2015, I was offered as position at Canyon High School, located in Anaheim Hills, California, as the Program Director and Girls Varsity Head Coach. In my last season with the Comanches (2017/2018), I was offered to take over both the boys and girls programs as Program Director and Varsity Head Coach. During my time at Canyon High School, the Girls Program won two league titles in three seasons. While at Canyon I created, developed, and implemented the curriculum for all levels (Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Frosh/Soph); moreover, I developed several players to transition to youth national teams all over the country as well as to D1 schools such as the University of Southern California, University of Arizona, University of South Carolina, Kansas University, and Texas Tech University among others. At the club level, I coached at Chelsea Soccer Club and Pateadores Soccer Club, in Orange County, before I moved up to be part of the Pateadores Academy coaching staff from 2016-2018, which provided me with the opportunity to implement their curriculum as well as to develop players to the highest levels of the collegiate, national, and professional levels.

In 2016 I decided to further my education at Azusa Pacific University, combining my graduate level coursework with practical experience on the field. In 2018, thanks to my thesis titled, “The Influence of Small Sided Games in Soccer Tactical Periodization,” I got an internship with the Los Angeles Galaxy. I have spent the last year working as the Sports Science and Performance Associate at the LA Galaxy First and Second teams. After that, I was offered to be the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the LA Galaxy Academy, as well as the U15s Head coach where I continue working to help the players achieve their maximum potential within the highest level of youth soccer in the country.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

As a coach I aim to coach at the highest level. Currently I am involved in a professional club, working for an MLS academy, which allows me to have a direct contact with the highest level of youth soccer in the country, and access to the professional level as well. This unique environment is helping me within my personal and professional growth in the field of coaching. As an aspiration, and future goals, I would like to see myself coaching at the professional level or involved in it at any coaching role possible, but I am aware of the difficulties that this goal entails. Therefore I continue enjoying the journey, and living the current experience of coaching at the LA Galaxy Academy to its full potential. Whatever happens next will depend on what I do now. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be coaching at the LA Galaxy Academy, I would probably call you crazy. Life can take you places you have never imagined and this is why I am focused on my current journey here at the LA Galaxy, and the amazing learning experience this has been so far.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

Coaching is my true passion. I want to make a positive impact to the players I coach, not only as soccer players but most importantly as good people, and good individuals. I truly believe in sports as one of the most powerful tools in our society in order to influence and impact people by promoting positive values. Therefore my ultimate goal as a coach, is not only develop players to their best and full potential soccer-wise, but also and ultimately, to develop good people and good individuals preparing them for their future life within positive values, morals, and principles that can help and guide them to become the best version of themselves they can possibly be in their future careers and life.

There is nothing more rewarding as a coach than seeing a player growing and developing as a mature individual who is able to deal and cope with his life in the best way possible through the practice of soccer. I have always felt attracted by sports, and have participated in multiple sports since a very early age, although soccer has always been my main passion and I would even say an obsession. My passion for sports in general and soccer in particular kept growing as I grew up. The older I became the more interested I was in everything regarding sports, the benefits of sport in the human body, and how to improve people’s life through sports. I knew from my early high school years that I wanted to study kinesiology and later on I decided to specialize in sport science and high-performance conditioning soccer coaching. In my last years of playing, I started discovering a new passion in me within the field of coaching and how to impact players on and off the field within a particular philosophy of coaching and style of playing. There was not such a special or critical moment in my life that drew me to this field, but the fact that I have always involved in sports from an early age, and the support I have always felt from my family at pursuing what made me happy, were indicators that lead me toward the field of sports and everything related to it.

What are you most proud of?

I have to say that moving by myself to California from my hometown of Madrid, Spain, and leaving my family there, has been the toughest but most rewarding experience of my life, and I am definitely most proud of everything that has happened to me since. Moving to California changed my life from day one due to the different challenges I had to face. From speaking English (which I struggled with a lot during my first few months), to adapting to a complete different culture, developing new friendships, and adjusting to the challenges that any college student has to but in a completely different environment than what I was used to. I was the first member of my family to move abroad, and the fact that I have been able to live here for the past seven years, earned a master’s degree, and currently been coaching at one of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the nation is something that makes me very proud. Another thing I am very proud of is that I have been able to do all this by carrying the morals, principles, and work ethic that my family always taught me from day one. And not only that, but I have also tried to impact the student-athletes that I have coached within the same morals and principles that my family raised me with, through the practice of soccer, communicating it all in a different language, and in a completely different culture.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I don’t think I would change anything I did in the past. I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that the way I am today is the result of my previous experiences. Therefore I wouldn’t change anything from the past, because these experiences (good and bad) have shaped me the way I am today, and has taken me to where I am right now.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Probably the best advice I can possibly give current students is to get out there and master their craft with practical experience. In the field of physical education, sports science, coaching, and strength and conditioning, the hours on the field/class/gym are incredibly important in order to improve and grow. Besides the information from research articles, books, and other sources, the day-to-day job and being hands-on is what truly helps in terms of becoming a better professional who better understands the dynamics of athletes, teams, and groups of training.

Another piece of advice I would give to the students is to always connect with people from the same field. Networking is key, and in my particular experience, it has played a very important role since I moved to the United States. Making real and lasting connections with other coaches, players, and staff is important as you pursue your career goals. Given a certain level of academic education and preparation and theoretical foundations that can back up your work, how you connect with colleagues is key in order to achieve your goals. If it weren’t for the connections I have made through my practical experiences in the field of coaching, I would have never gotten to where I am now.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Yes, I would like to motivate all the students at Cypress College to always dream big, have big goals in mind, and work toward them. Do not let bad experiences or others’ opinions get in the way of your goals, and keep working toward them. Always remember to enjoy and focus on the journey, not the destination, as life and experiences can take you places that you can never imagine.

Psychology Students Inducted into Honor Society

On Friday May 3, 2019, 14 Cypress College students were formally inducted into Psi Beta, an honor society for students attending two-year colleges. A gathering in the Humanities Building marked the occasion with a candle-lighting ceremony and celebration of these students’ achievements.

Founded in 1982, Psi Beta’s mission is to encourage professional development and psychological literacy of students by promoting and recognizing excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service.

In order to become a member of Psi Beta, students must have completed 12 college units and have earned a grade of B or higher in a college-level psychology course. They also must have maintained an overall minimum GPA of 3.25.

The 14 students who reached this goal are:

  • Helen Alsunna
  • Felicia Cleaver
  • Ashley Gee
  • Lillian Hoang
  • Gigi Liu
  • Alejandra Lopez
  • Vanessa Orduno
  • Estephania Ovalle Patino
  • Angelique Robinson
  • Yasmeen Qtaish
  • Jessica Rojas
  • Kimberly Soriano
  • David Su
  • Crystal Wilcox

#CYProfessional: Gary Gopar, Music Department Chair

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Conn-Selmer Endorsed Artist and Music Department Chair Gary.

What was your path to Cypress?

I never had plans to make a career in teaching. I always wanted to be a great trumpet performer. While I was completing my master’s degree at California State University, Long Beach, however, I did work as a long-term substitute teacher at a middle school. That job helped me realize I never wanted to teach middle school again for the rest of my life. Soon afterward, I got my first college adjunct teaching job at Long Beach City College.

The euphoric rush of adrenaline, passion, and excitement that I feel when I perform was happening to me while I lectured to 45 students in a jazz history course. I was hooked. I immediately realized this was something I was supposed to be doing. I wanted to share my experiences, trials, and tribulations with students in regard to whatever subject matter I was teaching. I wanted college students to get real world knowledge from their instructor, just as I received from my favorite college instructors.

After two years at LBCC, I interviewed for an adjunct position at Cypress College. I taught many courses as an adjunct at Cypress, including directing the jazz big band, handling duties of a department chair (there were no full-time music faculty), plus organizing, directing, and performing in dozens of gigs for the college. This led me to be fortunate enough to interview and be hired as a full-time, tenured-track professor. Thankfully, I officially became tenured during this spring 2019 semester.

What inspires you as a teacher?

First are the professors I looked up to in my college career: Dr. Ray Briggs, Dr. Roger Hickman, and Dr. Michael Carney.

Second are the students who work hard in search of knowledge, better lives, and careers in something they are passionate about.

Third are the good deeds of others in my profession.

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/ creative work?

This is a never-ending battle. I try to find time each day to practice trumpet. This usually happens sometime between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. I have to keep the performance and creative side of my life going in order to stay balanced and happy. This gives me clout in the music business and with students. The problem with this is that it leaves almost no time for family and a personal life. Some may say that this is an exaggeration. My response to this is that my personal level of success has had a direct relationship to the amount of sacrifice I have been willing to accept to “make it” and continue to move forward.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

I am working on putting together a new course we are offering, MUS 114 – History of Hip-Hop/Rap. I am very excited about teaching this new class and I am certain many students will want to take it because of the popularity of this genre of music. I have a few other exciting things happening that combine education and performance, but it is too early to unveil them at this moment.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

I feel like I am part of a family at Cypress College. I have made many meaningful relationships here and I look forward to driving to the campus each day. The students are why I strive to be the very best at my craft and continue to get better each semester. I chose to be a professor to help students become more successful than I have. Thank you for giving me this platform to share my love and passion for music and higher education.

#CYPossible: Fernando Rodriguez, Math

Fernando left Cypress College many years ago but credits the faculty here with making him who he is today. He has had a 14-year, award-winning teaching career. Fernando currently teaches math at Buena Park High School, where he was awarded the Buena Park High School Teacher of the Year award in 2014. He now inspires students to love mathematics, just as his Cypress instructors did for him.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I came from a low socioeconomic, farm-working family that immigrated to the United States from the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Both of my parents worked in the strawberry fields located in Orange County and Irvine. When the strawberry season was over, we would move to Northern California (Delano), and my parents would pick grapes and tomatoes. My parents would bring us to the fields to help them when we were young. Thus, at a very young age I knew what I did not want to do for the rest of my life. I am the second oldest out of five siblings and a “first generation” college graduate. I grew up in the city of Cypress and attended Mackey/King Elementary, Walker Junior High, and Kennedy High School. I was an English learner and school was difficult for me.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I decided to attend Cypress College because it was close to my home and I could walk there. Reading and writing were my weaknesses so I took more English classes than I needed to better my skills. My strength was in mathematics, so I took many math classes at Cypress College all the way up to Calculus 250A. I then transferred to California State University, Fullerton.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was not involved in any sports or clubs while attending Cypress College. I had to work to pay for tuition. I paid my way through college, including my master’s degree. Among the staff members who helped mold who I am today were: my English teachers, Sandra Schaefer and John Weber; and my Math teachers David Petrie, Cindy Shrout, Minnie Allison, Larry Smith, and Christina Plett.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After pursuing my studies at Cypress College, I transferred to CSUF and majored in mathematics. Afterward, I enrolled into CSUF’s credential program and received my Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. I then came into the teaching profession and returned to CSUF and received a master’s in science. I am currently teaching Algebra I, Algebra II Honors, and AP-Calculus at Buena Park High School.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My wife, Rosa Monica, and I have two boys. Fernando is 15 years old and a ninth grader at Oxford Academy in Cypress; Daniel is finishing sixth grade, and will be attending Lexington Jr. High in Cypress. My long-term goals are to make both of my son’s education paths smoother than mine. I have always instilled the importance of education to my children from a very young age. Fernando is currently taking Calculus 150AC at Cypress College through the special admit program. When the time comes and is appropriate, Daniel will take classes at Cypress College, too.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about my job. I really enjoy teaching and working with the next generation. I’m a member and been a presenter of many mathematics committees including: California Mathematics Council (CMC), California Mathematics Council – South (CMC-S), and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family and my accomplishments. I really enjoy my job and I go out of my way to reach all my students. In the 2014-2015 school year, I was named Buena Park High School Teacher of The Year; one week later, I was named Fullerton Joint Union High School District Teacher of The Year as well. My parents taught me and my siblings when we were young that “hard work would get you far.” I’m glad I listened to my parents and my college professors’ advice.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Neither my parents nor I understood the rules of the game. If I could do it all over again, I would take as many honors and AP classes through high school [as I could]. This would help me receive college credit and would allow me to accelerate.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

The advice I would give to current and future students at Cypress College is not to give up. Cypress College is an excellent place to mold your future. The staff is well prepared and very friendly and helpful.

#CYPossible: Young Lee, ESL

ESL student Young Lee had to change her life when her husband passed away. Faced with raising her daughter by herself, Young searched for a career path that could support the two of them. She also sought, after experiencing the tragedy of her husband’s pain and illness, work that would help her change the lives of others by strengthening their health. She ultimately chose Occupational Therapy — but to get there she had to fine tune her English skills. She turned to Cypress College’s ESL Program, and says it gave her a solid foundation for the next steps of her career. Here’s to taking many more steps to helping others, Young!

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born and educated in Korea and moved to the United States in 2009 because my husband was assigned to the U.S. branch of his company in Korea. At that time, I was a wife and mother who supported my husband and took care of my daughter. That all changed in 2013 when my husband, who suffered through hepatic carcinoma, passed away six months after diagnosis. I had to work for regular income, but it was difficult to find a decent job in the United States as an adult immigrant; therefore, I enrolled in Cypress College to prepare for a better future career.

Once I became interested in the field of occupational therapy, I took prerequisites at Cypress College to apply for occupational therapy schools and got in Loma Linda University OT school this year.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

As a single mom who needed to take care of a young daughter, the main key to choose a college was the distance to commute between school and home. I, therefore, chose Cypress College because it was so close to my home. However, at that time, I wasn’t aware that attending Cypress College would give me an amazing chance to change my life for the better. Since I was a non-native English speaker who graduated high school and university in Korea a long time ago, taking ESL and math courses at Cypress College provided me with a solid foundation to prepare for the next steps of my academic career.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I want to especially thank Professor Kathryn Wada in ESL 185 who led me to the first step for the academic pathway in the United States. I started attending classes at Cypress College in 2015; meanwhile, there was a huge barrier that I had to face because I was a non-native English speaker. In ESL 185, however, I could learn the fundamental and essential elements and principals of reading, writing, and speaking in English. Also, the lessons through ESL class were a powerful and vital resource to take prerequisites for OT school. In addition, it helped my name be placed in the President’s Honor List of Cypress College in the Spring of 2016 and complete the 14 classes with a strong GPA of 3.95. With the continuous support and encouragements by Professor Wada, I have now achieved my current position, a graduate school student, which I couldn’t have ever imagined at that time.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

I have been able to successfully get into Loma Linda University’s OT school this year after I completed the OT program prerequisites at Cypress College.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

After the death of my husband, my view toward ailing and disabled people and their families changed dramatically. I previously lived to pursue only my own happiness and personal advantages but, now, my ultimate dream is to encourage people in need and help them to promote health and the quality of their lives.

Through the experience as a single mother and a volunteer who worked at a pediatric therapy clinic for nine months, I became interested in the early intervention of occupational therapy. I want to be an occupational therapist who has a professional knowledge base in the early intervention and work for the children who need improvement with therapeutic treatment.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

It has and always will be God and my daughter. Considering my painful experience, I might have given up on my life if I hadn’t had my faith in God. Faith encouraged me to endure the desperate situation and restore myself to have a willingness to live as a single mother. My daughter is the prime strong motivation that encourages me to pursue my academic path and professional career. Because I love my daughter and live with a great sense of responsibility for her, I can overcome immense obstacles of everyday life by myself. With her by my side, she continuously encourages and supports my dream whenever I become exhausted due to studies or work.

What are you most proud of?

As a first-generation immigrant who is not familiar with American culture and language, neither any experience with the academic programs in the United States before, I am proud of myself that I completed the whole academic process to get in a graduate school and got into an OT school eventually.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Honestly, I don’t want to do it all over again! However, if I do it again, I want to participate in classes actively. Because I was shy in front of classmates and concerned about my English pronunciation during team discussions in the classes, I couldn’t ask questions and share my opinion voluntarily. Even with my lack of abilities in English, I regret not taking many chances to talk to my classmates in the discussions.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

My main piece of advice would be for them to keep in mind that hardships that ordinary people often face will lead them to extraordinary opportunities if they work hard with perseverance. As I mentioned before, I was an ordinary wife and mother before; however, I had to endure the desperate situation that I faced to live a better life. If I did not have perseverance throughout my life and willingness for the better life, I would not have started to study at Cypress College, or I would have given up easily due to the academic and linguistic difficulties while I took classes. I believe my perseverance and willingness led me to the academic opportunity at Cypress College. Which in the end, provided me with an extraordinary chance to be an occupational therapist.

 

#CYPossible: Karina Vanessa Lopez, Business Administration

Karina recently attended Cypress College and majored in Business Administration, which she continues to study at Cal State Fullerton in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree. She wants to work as a Certified Public Accountant and eventually become a partner in an accounting firm. Although she’s finished her classes at Cypress, she is on campus weekly to help other students through her job in the Business and CIS Division. She knows that support can go a long way for students, and she’s glad to now be in the role to offer help, as others have helped her on her academic journey.



Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born and raised in the small town of Mammoth Lakes in Northern California. While growing up, I participated in all kinds of sports and assumed leadership roles in soccer and basketball as team captain. I am a first-generation college student, and I’ve always aspired to achieve all my goals that I set my mind to. I enjoy outdoor recreation activities, especially hiking and taking my dog on my favorite trails.  I love spending time with family, especially because my time with them has been so limited ever since I moved away to pursue higher education.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

Cypress College was recommended to me by one of my cousins who had taken classes here in the past. After doing my research and finding out that it was one of the best community colleges in California, I decided to attend Cypress without even visiting the campus. I knew I wanted to continue my education after high school; however, I was not even sure what I wanted to major in. Economically, attending Cypress was an excellent choice.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was involved in a few organizations on campus such as the Honors Program, EOPS, and Puente. These programs assisted me in the process of narrowing down my interest into choosing a major. The Puente Program in particular truly led me into meeting incredible individuals. Dr. Therese Mosqueda Ponce, with her well-established program, allowed me to take full advantage of the resources available to me. Stephanie Teer became my Puente Mentor, which changed my life in a way I could never have imagined.

Throughout the entire year in Puente, she and I worked on determining where I saw myself 10 years. We focused on building that picture and envisioned a plan on achieving my goals. I soon began working with her on campus in the development of the Dual Enrollment Program, which eventually led to working within the Business and CIS Division.

Having the opportunity to be a student and staff member allowed me to view both academic and professional perspectives. As a student I always felt supported by professors and staff members; however, being a staff member allowed me to see the drive and determination my co-workers had in the interest of the students we serve. They genuinely care about the success of the students; to them students are not just another number.

Henry Hua, Dean of Business and CIS, also made a huge impact in my life during my time at Cypress College. He has always challenged me to grow within the workplace and inspired me to be a better individual every day. He genuinely made me realize how much of a social impact one can truly make. I am extremely thankful to have met these individuals throughout my journey at Cypress College.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After Cypress College, I transferred to California State University, Fullerton. I am currently in my second semester there pursing a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. Because of the great experience I received at Cypress College from being involved, I joined the Latino Business and Student Association and Accounting Society. The opportunities that I was given at Cypress College allowed me to implement my leadership skills as the Vice President of the Institute of Internal Auditors for the Accounting Society this semester. This summer I was accepted for an internship at Deloitte.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to be?

My long-term goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant and eventually become a partner for an accounting firm.  I aspire to give back to students during their educational journey and encourage them the same way multiple individuals have done for me.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My family. They have always been very important to me and I truly value every single one of them. There are always going to be setbacks, but being passionate about the value and pride I have for them is immeasurable. Whenever there are challenges that I face, they always help me remind myself of the motives behind all my efforts.

What are you most proud of?

Overcoming adversity. I could have easily stayed in my hometown and gone to community college there, but leaving and allowing myself to grow as an individual definitely contributed to who I am. I have taken risks and made sacrifices to pursue my dreams to become a Certified Public Accountant. Along the way I have learned lessons that will continue to help me further my education. I am proud of taking that first step in leaving my hometown.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would not change a thing. I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. As my mom always said to me growing up, “Ni antes ni despues, todo llega cuando tiene que llegar,” meaning not sooner nor later, everything comes when it is supposed to. Patience is key.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Get involved and utilize all your resources. This will open so many doors for you. Always remember to have a growth mindset because it will truly go a long way. There really is no rush in finishing up school or having to compete a task in a certain time frame. Take everything at your own pace and cherish the moment. Remember to take risks because if you don’t, you never know what could have been. Go for it because no matter how it ends, it was a valuable experience.

 

 

#CYProfessional: Robert Grantham, Business and CIS Division Counselor

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Counselor Robert.

What was your path to Cypress?

Born and raised in the UK, I came to the United States right after high school. I attended Fullerton College (FC), where I received my AA degree while working as a student hourly in the Admissions & Records and Bursar’s offices. I was hired as a classified member of staff in the Counseling Center at FC, and attended UC Irvine to complete a BA degree in English before working on my MSW at Cal State Long Beach. I became an adjunct counselor at FC, and was fortunate enough to be hired a year later at Cypress College as a full-time Outreach Counselor in the Admissions & Records office.

During the “5% MORE” years, I presented to high school seniors about the benefits and opportunities of attending CC after graduation, as well as planning the annual Senior Days (back when we still had duck pond races!) and Parent Nights. I served a three-year term as the Department Coordinator for the Counseling division early in my tenure here during the construction of the Student Center, and that afforded me the opportunity to participate in the planning and coordination, which I would not otherwise have been a part of.

I also inherited the handful of veteran students that we had on campus when a seasoned counselor retired, and moved over to Business/CIS as the counselor for that division. I was also able to assist Christy Davis (our certifying official) as we established a corner office in A&R as the first Veterans Resource Center on campus before securing space on the second floor of the Complex where it is currently located, and our veterans program then exploded.

As the other full-time Business/CIS counselor retired, I juggled the student loads of both the division and the VRC during the recession years which was certainly quite a challenge at times, to say the least. However, we were able to hire Juan Garcia as the full-time VRC counselor/coordinator two years ago, which has allowed me to concentrate my time in the Business/CIS division, although I still help out in the VRC once a week, and attend several of our veteran events on campus.

What inspires you as a counselor?

Seeing the professional growth of one of my counseling mentees has been one of my proudest moments here at CC. Juan Garcia was one of my veteran students and student hourly workers as he completed his AA degree at CC prior to transferring to complete both his BA and MSW degrees. He returned to us as an adjunct counselor, and we were able to steal him back from his full-time tenure track position at El Camino to take over the VRC for us. I often joke that I was fortunate to have been able to have “raised” Juan here at CC.

How do you balance your work as a counselor with your other professional/creative work?

I continue to teach COUN 140C each semester to our incoming freshman students, which allows me to balance office time with classroom time. And it is that “a-ha” moment when I see the students in my class understand how important career planning is when making a choice about their major, something I never did at their age, and something I tell them not to do themselves — “do as I say, not as I’ve done!”

I consider myself to be a true student advocate, and have “gone to bat” for students on many occasions when I feel that they have been caught up in the system and need our assistance navigating their way through the sometimes complicated maze of the higher education system.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

I derive the most satisfaction from my job when disillusioned and confused students come in to my office for an appointment with a less than stellar academic history from a handful of other colleges, and I am able to show them how they can still achieve their transfer goal, getting them back on track, academically. Seeing their faces light up once we have created a clear education plan for them, class by class, is what continues to inspire me as a counselor. I have also practiced what I have been preaching to high school students over the years, as my own two children are now attending FC prior to transfer, and this has helped reaffirm what I do every day here at CC.

Although it doesn’t really seem possible, next year I will be celebrating my 30th year with the NOCCCD!

 

Dual Enrollment Students, Instructor, Place First at Auto Tech Competition

Five Cypress College Dual Enrollment students took top prize at a county-wide automotive technology competition last Saturday, March 23, and earned their instructor an award, too. The Orange County Automobile Dealers Association 26th Annual Technology Competition pitted 14 teams of high school students against each other in several categories at Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, and offered thousands of dollars in prizes.

Five students from Western High School, who take Automotive Technology courses at Cypress College as part of the Dual Enrollment program, won First Place. Additionally, adjunct instructor David Endo, who worked and prepared the winning team, was granted the OCADA Teacher of the Year award.

The winning team, pictured with the car they get to bring back to the Cypress Auto Tech shop. Top row, left to right: Sergio Salgardo, David Endo, Andy Salgado. Bottom row: Jorge Torres, Andrew Campos, Salvador Ramos.

Prizes include more than $11,000 in Snap-On Tools and over $30,000 in scholarships, according to OCADA. The winning team also got to take a 2018 Hyundai back to their classroom shop for training purposes.

Auto Technology instructor Russel Bacarella taught the Western students in their Automotive Fundamentals class and was proud of their success.

“They’re competing with kids who have had as much as three, four years of experience,” Bacarella said. “They’ve had about a class and a half. They’ve done very well considering the time they’ve had to work with.”

The Dual Enrollment students competed against high schools such as Mission Viejo High School, Irvine High School, Loara High School, Katella High School, Buena Park High School, Rancho Alamitos High School, and those in Santiago Canyon, many of which have their own auto tech department, Bacarella says.

“It makes us feel like we are doing a pretty good job here, and hitting on the necessities,” Bacarella said. “There seems to be a gap between leaving high school and entering the workplace, and we’re doing the job of filling it in.”

Students were tested on theory and practical applications in several categories. Some of the tasks included electrical repairs, brake-related workstations, an online safety test, a suspension identification, and diagnosing engine mechanical failure. A STEM element asked competitors to construct and repair electrical circuits.

Cypress College instructors Dave Endo, Russ Bacarella, and Michael Klyde participated in planning meetings for the competition. In addition, Bacarella was the event chair; Endo was a team leader; Kelley and Klyde did separate two-hour seminars to help prepare the participants; and Beard and Klyde were event judges.

Cypress College’s own High School Auto Competition took place March 16 and included 14 teams of high school students putting their automotive technology education to the test. Tasks given to the two-person teams fell into six skills stations: tire rotation; brake rotor runout measurement; engine component measurement; scan tool operation; series circuits; and parallel circuits.

The top-place teams in the annual spring competition were:

  1. Western High School Team 1/Dual Enrollment
  2. Rancho Alamitos Team 1
  3. Western High School Team 2/Dual Enrollment
  4. Oxford/Kennedy All female team/Dual Enrollment

Other teams included Katella High School, Loara High School, Buena Park High School, and Santiago High School.

“What a great event! I’m so proud of our winners,” said Elizabeth Ovesen, adjunct counselor. She also extended “a special thank you to our wonderful instructors for their support and guidance.”

Prizes were donated by Mac Tools, Hedman Hedders, and K&N Performance Air Filters. The competition committee was made up of Russ Bacarella, Mike Beard, and Paul Kelly, and the support staff was Cypress College’s own automotive students.

#CYProfessional: David Booze, Registrar, Office of Admissions and Records

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Registrar David.

What was your path to Cypress?

Well, I began my career in higher ed administration in the State University of New York system at Buffalo. After working there for several years, I came to a conference in Southern California, in April. In my hometown, it was snowing in April. I had family in San Diego who were trying to convince me for some time to move down there. On the last day of the conference, I was lying on the beach, where it was 80 degrees — at the beach, so you know it was a really, really warm day — and I thought about what I was going back to, in the snow… and I decided, “Yeah, I could get used to this.” And six months later, I was here.

Initially, when I was living here, I was finishing up my master’s thesis but also looking for employment at the same time. It just so happened that a couple of weeks after I submitted my thesis and was accepted for graduation, I found a job in the CSU system, with Cal State Dominguez Hills.

I was there for several years, then decided to take a position with Emory University, in Atlanta, from there I went to Savannah state, which is an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Then, from there, I went to Spelman college, which is another HBCU — the premier HBCU. After that, I decided to make my way back to California because I missed all this sunshine and I love California — I love the vibe, the atmosphere. The thing that attracted me to California, other than the sunshine, was the diversity that can be found in this state. That was really, really attractive to me.

I worked for a professional school here for a few years but all the while I had my eye on the community college system here, because I believe in the mission of the CCC system, which is open access. I believe solidly that knowledge is power, and that education is a pathway — for my money, the best pathway — for building wealth and stability in communities, particularly those that have been marginalized. This opportunity came along and I threw my hat in the ring and, as they say, the rest is history.

What inspires you as a registrar?

Again, I believe that knowledge is power and that as we educate ourselves on whatever topics we have, that it changes us. It helps us become something different. It helps us see the world a different way, and to perhaps behave differently and to pursue or act out on things in a more productive manner.

Education quite literally saved my life — but that’s a story for another day. I lost my parents at a very young age. In my more formative years, I didn’t have the guidance and the wisdom of a parent. I did have a legal guardian but, you know, it’s not the same. As a younger man, I could have gone either way. Fortunately, I loved school. In high school, I couldn’t fathom missing a day; when I did, I felt that I really, really missed out on something. That’s been my attitude about education to this day.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

Well I’m a doctoral student too, so my entire life is a balancing act. I have children — a 14-month-old — so it’s been difficult to balance those three personas. But we make it work, somehow or another. For the past three years, I’ve balanced it by cutting out sleep <laughs> but I hope to remedy that soon.

I’m in the doctoral program at Cal State Long Beach, getting my doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on California community colleges. The topic of my study is: “Improve or Perish: Making the Case for Enrollment Management.”

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

NO. Not at all.

Is There Any Other Information You’d Like to Share?

In terms of the profession and my role here, I really enjoy helping other people to be successful. I know that much of the work I do and am responsible for here goes unnoticed. People in the know know full well the relevance of the role of a registrar and the office of admissions and records and facilitating students’ education. Commencement season is my absolute favorite time of the year. I just love to walk around campus and see all the smiles on our graduates’ faces and the sense of accomplishment they have and the absolute joy that you observe in their family members and loved ones that come to see them walk across the stage. That just takes my breath away.

#CYProfessional: Deidre M. Porter, Counselor, Science Engineering and Mathematics Division

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Science, Engineering, and Math counselor Deidre.

What was your path to Cypress?

My path to Cypress College:  After graduating from UCI with my BA degree in Psychology, I began working at Golden West College (GWC) in 1989 as a Counselor Assistant/Transfer Center Coordinator. While working there full-time, I was able to complete my MA degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. In January of 1993, I accepted a part-time job in EOPS Counseling at Cypress College (CC). I was hired for the permanent EOPS Counselor position that same year.

What inspires you as a counselor?

What inspires me as an education facilitator is seeing the joy on students’ faces when they’ve achieved something they consider meaningful. Witnessing this still gives me goose bumps!  In addition, knowing that I am able to have a positive impact on peoples’ lives and their future generations keeps me energized and motivated.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

I balance my work at Cypress College with other professional/creative work by surrounding myself with family, friends, and other like-minded people who share in my altruistic endeavors.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

Since completing my doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California, I have refocused my attention toward my next undertaking. I am currently finalizing my portfolio and project framework to begin my work as a consultant.

In my spare time, I love traveling to New York to visit my daughter who is completing her MFA in Cinematography at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.

#CYProfessional: Jane Jepson, Career & Technical Education Counselor

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Career & Technical Education counselor Jane.

What was your path to Cypress?

I always wanted to be in a helping profession, and after completing a BA in Sociology — and enjoying the educational experience — I discovered there was a career in helping students on college campuses! So I completed the MS Counseling in Student Development in Higher Education at CSULB while working there as an academic advisor in the College of Business. As part of the graduate degree requirements, I was fortunate to do a practicum (similar to an internship) at Cypress College, whereby I got to know Cypress, and the faculty and staff got to know me. Soon thereafter I was hired part time and eventually full time.

So my own experience is proof that internships, practicums, and the like are super important in a career pathway!

I’m like a kid in a candy store at our college; the variety of courses we offer is so enticing!  But while I don’t actually take too many courses here at this college, it’s a vicarious thrill to be journeying through the learning process alongside our students. I’d like to think I’m a bit of a role model for lifelong learning with well over 275 credits and four degrees in my educational vitae. The most recent — just in 2018 —  is a PhD in Social & Environmental Justice pedagogies. Thus, lifelong learning is one of my strongest values and I try to impart this value to my students.

What inspires you as a counselor?

Working with different students every day is challenging and rewarding because every student is unique — unique cultural and familial backgrounds and unique aspirations — and being entrusted with each student’s special goals and dreams is an honor and a privilege. Indeed, my inspiration to be an educator comes from the students themselves who are looking to me/us for support in their own journeys to gainful employment, wider horizons, and deeper understanding of the world and themselves through our courses, certificates, and degrees.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

Balancing work, school, family, and other/community obligations is a challenge, and even with all my experience as a student and working professional, I have had to relearn the lesson of “finding balance.” “Time” really is a scarce commodity that we must budget as wisely as any important resource; we must make a conscious effort to use it for what is most important in our lives, whether it’s for study, for family, or even downtime for reflection.

One of the most effective means for finding balance is through “time management,” which is taught in the COUN 140 Educational Planning course. There are apps for time management/budgeting, but in the COUN 140 class we usually use pencil, paper, and a weekly calendar broken down by hours. We ask students to first block out all their obligations (e.g., class time, making dinner, work, etc.) and then fill in the remaining spaces with study time so that STUDY TIME is ON the calendar. Students quickly realize how essential budgeting, planning, and managing time is to their success.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

One of my current joys is teaching a course called “Cultural Tourism” which is ATC (Aviation & Travel Careers) 182. As a lover of travel and former employee in the travel industry, it is my great fortune to also impart the value (and privilege) of traveling to learn more about other ways of being and knowing in our shared world. Travel, i.e., experiencing different cultures and places, is an interactive dialogue. It is an opportunity to share our commonalities as humans and to learn to be respectful and embracing of our differences. So, more than learning about the most hip beaches or vacation hot spots, this course is about being a discerning traveler in appreciating authenticity and supporting sustainability measures, and valuing the beauty and wonder of both built and natural environments.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

I love this college, and am grateful to be working here. We are all so fortunate to be living and working in such a great community of learners and journeyers. Ciao, !Salud! and “Buen Cypress!”

#CYProfessional: Jolena Grande, Professor, Mortuary Science

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Mortuary Science’s Jolena.

What was your path to Cypress?

When I left high school without graduating in 1987, I thought I was destined to spend my adult life in a series of dead-end jobs and no satisfying career options. During my freshman year in high school, however, I was able to enroll at a local community college and take evening courses with my mom, who was working on her associate degree while struggling as a single parent with limited employment advancement aspects. She repeatedly told my brother and me that she would get a raise if only she could finish her degree. It took her almost 25 years to accumulate enough units and pass “that math class” to finally walk across the stage during the Rancho Santiago College commencement decades later. One would think that witnessing how she struggled should have confirmed my commitment to doing as well as I could in high school, graduating with honors, getting a scholarship, and heading off to a university. Unfortunately, that’s not even close to my reality.

I was a dual-enrolled student during 9th and 10th grade, but began struggling to make sense of the high school experience. If it was meant to prepare us for post-secondary education like college, and I was already enrolled at Golden West and Coastline, why did I need high school? I often found that the best part of my school day was spent on the farm at Westminster High School. I had been exposed to vocational education in junior high shop classes, but it wasn’t until my older brother, Daniel, introduced me to the agriculture teacher, Norm Nakanishi, and the local Future Farmers of America chapter, that I began to understand how education and employment were intricately connected. I memorized the FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve,” and began following this mantra in earnest. On my 16th birthday, I made the life-changing decision to leave high school behind to earn a living, attempting to ease my mom’s burden of supporting our five-person household and raising my younger brother.

I dreamed of one day attending law school, but was not on a clear educational path that would lead me there. In fact, I dabbled with coursework that appeared interesting in the schedule of classes, but was not at all focused.  That was until I started working at Westminster Memorial Park in 1988. At first, I worked in the flower shop, using the skills I learned in the Coastline Regional Occupational Program (CROP) floriculture classes held on the farm in the afternoons at Westminster High School. Eventually, I migrated over to the mortuary and learned about funeral service practice. There was an apprentice who took me under her wing and directed my interests in mortuary science to Cypress College. This is where my continuing journey at 9200 Valley View Street begins.

What inspires you as a teacher?

During my enrollment as a student at Cypress College, I was privileged to learn from amazing faculty and receive incredible mentoring from phenomenal staff. Without their support and understanding, there is no way that I would have ever finished my vocational certificate and associate degree, nor transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma for a baccalaureate degree. I had never considered teaching as a career option up to this point, but in 1994, on a return trip to Cypress College to visit former professors in the Mortuary Science Program, I was presented with “an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Robert Boettger, Doug Metz, and Byron Stout were three of the most influential faculty in my life up to this point and all three encouraged me to give back and help shape the future of funeral service practice. They coached and mentored me as I began teaching as an adjunct faculty member while working at local funeral homes in the evening, and eventually served on the hiring committee that selected me for a full-time position in 1999. From the first time I walked on campus almost thirty years ago, I felt like I was at home at 9200 Valley View Street. This is precisely the feeling that I try to share with new students coming to college immediately after high school graduation, or with the adult learners attempting coursework after spending time away from education, and with returning adults as they transition from one career to another or are in need of retraining.

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?

I am beyond fortunate to be able to find so much creativity and professional satisfaction in the work I accomplish at Cypress College. I continually strive to balance work on campus with other endeavors. Using the benefit of semester breaks, summer intersessions, and long holiday weekends, there are ample opportunities to pursue other passions, outside of the classroom. It is through my service on our campus Academic Senate, with District committees, and regional and state workgroups that I have found a way to enlarge my impact on career education and increase my commitment to the issues confronting California Community College faculty, staff, and students.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

The most defining moment of my career to date has been the ability to champion the inaugural community college baccalaureate degrees in California. Understanding the sacrifices that students must make when deciding to pursue higher education, including possible relocation to attend college, employment instability, and living on their own for the first time, in addition to the costs associated with enrollment, I was especially drawn to the promise of a “$10,000 bachelor degree” that was being championed by Senator Marty Block in 2014. When the Mortuary Science Program was selected to participate in the bachelor degree pilot program signed into statute by Governor Jerry Brown, I immediately realized how fortunate it is to be a part of this historical undertaking. In addition, Governor Brown recently appointed several new members, in which my name was included, to the California Community College Board of Governors, the overseers for the largest system of higher education in the country, serving over two million students annually. It is my hope that experience as a high school dual-enrolled, vocational student, community college transfer student, and career education faculty advocate, allows me to represent all the voices of those whom I am privileged to serve.

 

#CYPossible: Rick Richardson, Operations Manager at Marriott International

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Rick made a complete career about-face, after an accident left him unable to continue coaching tennis. He was encouraged to go into Hotel Management, and discovered he had a knack for the industry. A transfer to Cal Poly, enrollment in the Marriott International’s Voyage Development Program, and several steps up in his career, Rick now oversees housekeeping and engineering at Courtyard Anaheim Buena Park and has dreams for the future as well as appreciation for his past at Cypress College.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was raised in the Midwest. As a junior I played competitive tennis and as a young adult I taught professional tennis. I had my own tennis academy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and was the head coach for the United States’ Tennis Association boys’ and girls’ 12’s National team, and won the National Clay Court Championship.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

In 2003, I suffered a freak and rare accident from a mere slip and fall. I had complete tears of both quadriceps, ruptured the right patella and complete rupture of the bottom three vertebrae (3, 4, and 5). After five surgeries and 7 years of extensive physical therapy, I was taught to walk again.

As part of the rehabilitation process, they try to find a way to integrate the patient back into society. Because I would never be able to play tennis again, it was suggested by a counselor that perhaps I try working in a hotel. Cypress [was one of only several junior colleges that] offered a hotel management program. On the day I enrolled, Lisa Clark happened to be visiting my counselor. The counselor introduced me to Lisa; she was so kind and welcoming and even though the classes were closed, she told me to apply and she would ensure I got in.

So that is where it began. Lisa taught me the essentials of becoming a hospitality professional. I remember her saying, “Rick, it is not what we do; it is who we are.”


What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was Hospitality and Culinary Club Secretary and graduated from Cypress with a 4.0 in my discipline; having made the Dean’s list every semester except two, for which I made the President’s Honor Roll. In 2012 I received the Cypress College Scholarship Award from the Anaheim Orange County Hotel & Lodging Association.

As far as faculty, Lisa Clark, Chef Jeremy, Jeanette Jones, Chef Stephanie, Chef Tracy, and Jane Jepson—each of these played intricate roles in my professional development and helped shape who I would become as a hotel manager. All of whom I still keep in contact with and continue to seek mentorship and guidance.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

From Cypress I went to the Collins College at Cal Poly. Graduating within four years, I was at the top of my class and was admitted into Marriott International’s Voyage Development Program. I was placed as an Operations Voyager at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert. I was a third-generation Voyager and the program allots 12-18 months to complete. I became the first Voyager to ever complete the program in less than one year. This accomplishment, along with a few other highlights enabled me to be promoted after a year to Assistant Front Desk Manager. After two and a half years, I moved back to LA/Anaheim and took a position as Manager on Duty at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort. After one and a half years there, I came to the Courtyard Anaheim Buena Park where I currently am the Operations Manager over housekeeping and engineering.


What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goal is to become a General Manager. It has always been my dream from the beginning to own and operate my own bed and breakfast hotel.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

Creating unforgettable guest experiences. The feeling I get when I believe I have formulated an intimate connection with a guest and moved them in a way that leaves a lasting impression.

What are you most proud of?

In our industry, everything moves so quickly and you come across so many people; some nice, some not as nice. All these people ultimately have an effect on you, and many will be factors in your success and movement upwards. I am most proud that through it all, I believe I have never changed who I am or how people see me: a man of high character, principle, and integrity.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I have been very fortunate and truly blessed, accomplishing a good amount in a short span. I would not do anything different, but if I was much younger, I would take more chances.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Following my response to question eight—be more courageous and take chances. When you are younger, you do not have the ties that bind you, so to speak. Travel; take positions in other cities, states, even countries. Your path upward can move more swiftly if you are willing to move around. Be realistic, pragmatic because with anything you have to work and put in the time.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

In addition, widen your discipline. In the new world, the expectations are that the managers will be able to lead more than one department at a time.

#CYProfessional: Peter Maharaj, Manager, Academic Computing Technologies and Media Services

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional staff like Academic Computing manager Peter.

What was your path to Cypress?

There were three reasons that contributed to my Cypress College pathway:
1. Traffic
2. A bet
3. The opportunity to work with a leadership team seeking technology change

Traffic: Before my tenure here at Cypress College I worked as an IT Project Manager at Riverside College District overseeing their ERP and analytics applications and the commute was a miserable one. I’m not a fan of driving, nor sitting in traffic, so the opportunity to work at a college closer to home helps.

A Bet
: A colleague of mine challenged me during the application process for the job here at Cypress and being a tad competitive, I accepted the challenge and applied. One of the best decisions I’ve made and bets I’ve won. I’m able to leverage my technical, finance, and accounting knowledge, and operational experience to serve the campus community and our students.

The Opportunity: The fit was right, and my analysis and review of the college environment were attractive to me. Cypress College provided an opportunity for change which met the criteria of what I was seeking in a team, and administrators willing to embrace institutional change through technology. This change would improve services for faculty, staff and provide resources to the student body for successful completion of degrees, graduation, and transfer — a very attractive proposition and one I wanted to be part of to lend my knowledge and experience. Cypress Leadership team demonstrated factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive knowledge which were part of my scoring matrix on the institution. The opportunity aligned perfectly with what I am passionate about, and that is improving operations, having an astute eye to fiscal controls, and teaching and learning experience through technology.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?

People inspire me and seeing the ‘ah-ha’ moment is very rewarding when new information is conveyed, and I could address a problem and provide a successful working solution. The contributions we make as education facilitators have a profound impact on those we serve and nurtures the growth and development of the individual to accomplish their goals.

I am also very passionate about connecting different aspects of operations, cost controls, improving efficiencies, process development, and integrating technology within the fabric of the organization. Makes coming to work fun.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

A difficult question to answer because I don’t think I have the perfect plan for the work/life balance. I try my best to take Saturdays off to ride my bike and connect with my friends for a mental reset. Conversations and being out on the bike help clear the ‘cobwebs’ and align my thought patterns for current projects or improvements to operations. Additionally, I travel quite a bit to Asia to lecture on economics, trade (ASEAN), supply chain operations, artificial intelligence, and finance which adds a unique perspective to what I can use and apply at my current job. It’s like grinding new lenses and seeing how other industries are using technology for process improvement, connecting the workforce, fiscal controls, and improving the user experience — valuable for innovation and improvement.

Creativity comprises of observations within the environment, art, communication and the value of the human disposition. An example is the launch of the Cypress Connect mobile application in August ’18 and collaboration between the Fine Arts Department and our basketball team. The beauty in the movement of the dancers, to the rhythm of the basketballs, created the metaphor of synchronicity and provided the platform the technology is seeking to achieve, and that is to help create the connection to college resources and moving the user through the process, favorably, to be successful here at the college and their academic journey.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

I am quite busy with several projects for the college, including the new college website, mobile application improvements, and other operational projects for the college. Also, we are introducing an innovation competition in the spring semester and are about to embark on a marketing campaign together with the Office of Campus Communications.

Other personal projects include the completion of my doctoral degree at USC, which consumes the balance of my free time.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

A common question I get asked is, “Where are you from?” and followed by a second part, “Are you from India? Your accent is different.” I politely share that I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, the most southernly isle in the Caribbean and yes, the accent is a ‘sing-song’ one with broken English.

In a previous role, I served the U.S. Military with the expansion of education services for all branches and had the opportunity to support active duty, spouses, and senior commanders on bases throughout the U.S. and Hawaii. A fun job and sparked my interest in business development, fiscal management trend analysis, and digital marketing to reach the customer and operation decisions.

My answers above are focused on work, but I do have a life outside the office. I enjoy coaching and managing athletes in the sport of track cycling. I represented my native Trinidad and Tobago at the London 2012 Olympic Games and continue to support aspiring athletes in the sport. My last major role was overseeing the Colorado Cyclones. Truly a fun event and opportunity. I am also actively involved in raising funding for cancer research at the University of California, Irvine, and ride to raise awareness.

Being part of something bigger than yourself feels pretty awesome. Be part of something good. Taking a small step forward to help others… Loyalty. Dedication. Positive Mindset. Always fight on.

#CYPossible: Katy Straughn, Aviation and Travel Careers

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Katy is a familiar face on campus. She not only studied for her A.S. in Travel and Tourism with an Advanced Flight Attendant Certificate at Cypress, but she is also an adjunct professor here at the college. Away from Cypress, she works full time as a flight attendant with United Airlines since 2012.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?
I was born in Long Beach, but I grew up In Cypress. I went to Cypress High School and Cypress College. I have a lot of interests and am always open to try new things. Sports are a big part of my life. Soccer has always been my passion; I have played my entire life. You can also find me watching Sunday football; I am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. I love the outdoors, going on hikes, and being active. I am really into fitness and working out. I love going to Lake Havasu—that’s home away from home for me. When I am not working either of the two jobs I currently have, you can find me doing one of those activities.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?
I chose to come to Cypress College because of their Aviation program; being close to my house was also a bonus. I knew before I graduated high school that being a flight attendant was what I wanted to do. I owe everything I have accomplished to this day, to Cypress College Aviation & Travel Careers Program. I am so thankful to have Kathleen Reiland and Kathy March on my team. They have supported me through every decision I have made since I started the program at 17 years old. I participated in all the networking activities that they set up for us students and took advantage of all the volunteer activities as well. My love for travel has grown tremendously through the program and allowed me to confirm that being a flight attendant was what I wanted to do. Now that I am an adjunct professor at Cypress College, I am proud to say that I work alongside some pretty amazing people who share the same passion for travel as I do.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?
After I graduated at Cypress, I interviewed with multiple different airlines, landing a job with Continental in 2012. They were going through the start of their merger with United Airlines, which is not finalized. A couple of years later, I decided to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree and chose to attend Cal State Los Angeles because of their Aviation program as well. I finished in exactly two years, graduating May of 2017.

My degree in aviation administration, with a minor in operations and supply chain management, has opened the door to many opportunities within the industry that I can achieve. I took a position as an adjunct professor at Cypress College, teaching courses within the Flight Attendant Certificate. I believe in this program, what it stands for, and what the staff does for their students to help them achieve their goals and be successful in the industry.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?
I don’t see myself ever leaving the aviation industry. If I were to change directions I would move into something involving accident investigations with the National Travel Safety Board.

What are you most passionate about? Why?
Travel. I am someone who has been around the world, and I can’t express how important it is to learn new cultures and embrace all the beauty we have in this world. The world is such a small place and it will make you richer within. Knowledge is power and I believe traveling and experiencing new things and places is a great way to learn and appreciate what we ourselves have.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of myself for making the decision to go back to finish school. I know a lot of people are not fortunate enough to make that happen, but I have a great support system of family and friends and they helped me to make that possible. I am proud that I set a goal and I accomplished it.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I needed all the highs and lows that I went through to bring me right where I am today in life. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of how my life plan fell and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me. This is just the beginning.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?
Patience. Hard work always pays off. Keep going. Everyone’s journey is going to be different and you should never compare yourself to someone else or how their journey is panning out or even how we as society think young adults should live their lives these days. Focus on you; keep true to yourself.

#CYProfessional: Juan Garcia, Counselor, Veterans Resource Center

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Veterans Resource Center counselor Juan.

What was your path to Cypress?
When I was discharged from the Marine Corps in 2008, I came back home and Cypress was the closest college and decided to begin in the spring of 2009. During my time as a student at Cypress I was a work-study for the VRC and found my passion working with the veteran population. My vocational goal at the time was to end up working at the VA in Long Beach as a social worker and I somehow ended up getting an adjunct position in the VRC and decided to pursue an academic counseling position instead of working at Long Beach.

What inspires you as a counselor?
I enjoy being the veterans counselor because I understand the challenges many returning veterans encounter when they return to college and I use my experience to help them overcome the obstacles along the way.

How do you balance your work as a counselor with your other professional/creative work?
The support that I receive from Dr. Rams allows me to juggle my counselor/coordinator/instructor position to provide holistic support services for our student veteran population within the VRC, counseling setting, and in the classroom. I enjoy what I do and I am very fortunate to be a part of the Cypress College family.

#CYProfessional: Michael Coronado, Instructor, Journalism

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Journalism instructor Michael.

What was your path to Cypress?
For two decades I worked as a professional journalist at The Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise, first as a staff writer, then later as an editor. As a reporter I covered military affairs, the prison system, city and county government, and various beats. In 2003, I reported from Iraq as a war correspondent for nearly two months. In 2013, I was appointed editor of The Press-Enterprise, overseeing nearly 80 journalists at the Inland Empire’s largest news-gathering organization. I had the opportunity to teach part time in 2013 at OCC, and in 2016 discovered an opportunity to teach full time at Cypress.

Courtesy of The Press-Enterprise/David Bauman

What inspires you as a teacher?
I get inspired by students who learn about journalism and media in-depth for the first time and a light goes off. They realize that asking the right questions in today’s connected world is vital to understanding facts. I get inspired by students who understand why a free press is so important to our democracy. I get to talk about these things every day—and they pay me! How cool is that?

Courtesy of The Press-Enterprise/David Bauman

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?
My family keeps me busy. Along with my wife, Amanda, my family consists of our two girls, Gabriella, 6, and Alessandra, 3. Much of my career has revolved around journalism, learning, and teaching, so I’ve had to get used to figuring out a good balance, but it’s worked out pretty well.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

Our student newsroom in November put out its first edition of the Cypress Chronicle newspaper in many years. It’s great that we have the student voice back on campus. Now, we’re working on rebuilding our existing digital news platforms while creating new ways of telling stories and expanding our class offerings. In Spring, I recruited Michael Goulding, one of the finest photojournalists in California, to teach visual journalism and photography alongside our newsroom staff. I want to build the finest journalism program in the community college system and that will take time but it’s a lot of fun. Our student newsroom is a blast to be around. If you want to join us, sign up for JOUR 225.

#CYProfessional: Maha Afra, Department Chair, Instructor, Dance

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Maha.

What was your path to Cypress?

I found out there is something called a dance major by pure coincidence. I was taking a ballet class and one of the students said, “I’m getting my MFA in dance.” And I said, “What?” I asked the teacher, and she said, “Oh, yeah; she’s a dance major.” I looked it up – and it exists!

I graduated from UC Irvine in 2001. That was my second schooling. I changed majors; I went from science to dance because I didn’t know there was a dance major. Once I found out there was a dance major I went back and got my BA, then my MFA, in dance.

In February 2002, I got a part-time gig at Fullerton College where I was teaching one course. It was “Stretch and Relaxation.” I’ll never forget, I taught in the faculty dining room, where we had to move all the tables and chairs and there was a carpet on the floor where we had to remove all the crumbs.

That was my first gig with the North Orange County Community College District. My colleague who used to work there moved here, and she brought me as a part-timer. I don’t remember what year, but I think in 2004 and I became an adjunct here, and at Fullerton… and at seven places. I used to teach in one semester in seven colleges.

In 2009 I became interim, and then I got the full-time job in 2010. After I got my tenure four years later, I became the chair of this department.

What inspires you as a teacher?

A lot of things. The human beings you work with in the classroom. These are people whom we as teachers have the ability to make a difference in their life – in a good way and in a bad way, so, hopefully in a good way.

Also, our current students are my heroes. I get inspired by them. They work, many of them, full time; many of them more than one job. So many of them have children, so many of them are single parents. So many of them support their families and they come to school, too. Many of them don’t have a car; they have to take the bus. So this is what inspires me. I look in awe at them – how could you not? How could you be bored in this job, looking at these human beings every day, struggling and still trying to make it?

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?

<laughs>Well, it’s a big challenge. Basically, I’m grateful for one thing that’s within me, which I got from my parents: discipline. I am a very disciplined person. I try to use my time very efficiently without wasting time on things that don’t add value to life – not only my life but other people’s lives.

So far, I’ve been lucky to balance a big responsibility here, and the responsibilities I choose to be in. Plus I have my own dance company outside of here which is a non-profit. Plus, I have my family; I have three grown kids, and I have to see them every week.

The price I’ve had to pay is in my social life. I used to have an amazing social life – having time to go out dancing. Just to dance! I haven’t had that privilege anymore. I used to see my friends more often, now I don’t have time; I don’t have time to have a luxurious lunch somewhere or visit somebody. This is where I’ve had to sacrifice.

But it’s OK. Nothing is perfect. Everything has a price. We all have to choose what price to pay. I believe in not only being involved in the department or the division, we all are a community and if we don’t get involved, how do we call it our college? We need to get unified; we need to work together to make it one. If there’s no sense of community what’s the point?

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

At the moment, this is crunch time for the concert Celebration of Dance. We’ve been working really, really hard since the beginning of the semester. People don’t know how much time and energy and effort and pain of not only the students but the choreographers. This semester, we have faculty choreographers and we have student choreographers and designers… It’s really tons of work, and you can’t count time. You can’t say “Oh, it’s time to leave!” No, when you need to stay, you have to stay.

We put in so many hours on nights and weekends. Tech day is Saturday – 8 in the morning to 8 at night. After that it’s Hell Week, where we’re here at night, and we have to be here and make it happen. Then the gods of theater and dance bring it together and hopefully give people good energy, give them hope, give them diversity, which is very important, I’m big on diversity, and give them beauty. But that doesn’t happen automatically.

The slots for guest artists are being filled by the dance ensemble. This is the company that represents Cypress College on and off campus. That’s what I’m busy with, and also getting ready for a American College Dance Association conference and getting ready to go there. It’s only once a year, where universities and colleges get together for master classes and to look at each other’s work.

Always busy – and grateful.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

Please come see our concert! This concert is you – this is Cypress College. Please come celebrate what we have at Cypress College. We’re offering a special price for groups of eight or more: $5 a ticket. This is, like, less than a burger and fries. We are happy to put their names at the box office and they will get that deal. Hopefully the whole community will come here and be proud of what we have. We have a strong visual arts and performing arts program.

Part of the Celebration of Dance is collaborative work between the students of Media Arts Design and the Music students. The students don’t know each other and they didn’t even talk to each other while they were making their projects. So, it’s like a collaboration that’s blind. Artistic freedom coming together in one space.

We have two main performances: November 29, 30, and December 1 at 7 pm, then another one at December 2 at 4 pm. December 3 we have a choreographers’ showcase, where we will have the dance classes showcasing what they did during the semester.

Oh, and on December 4, the dance ensemble will be doing a special performance for the Mortuary Science program. This is, like, oh my gosh, my heart… The department gets bodies donated to them and these bodies – these humans – have nobody to bury them and honor them, so they’re doing a special ceremony to honor them. The dance ensemble is doing a performance to honor these angels who have helped our education.

Ed. – For Celebration of Dance information, including tickets, click here.

 

#CYProfessional: Kathleen Troy, Department Coordinator, Instructor, Management & Marketing

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Kathleen.

What was your path to Cypress?

I started as an adjunct in 1988, and was hired full time in 2014. I’m possibly the longest running adjunct. I knew Cypress was a really good school, I loved teaching here, and I wanted to be full time.

Prior to working at Cypress, I taught for the University of Redlands’ accelerated graduate and undergraduate program as a dissertation advisor. And more – I was Director of Education for the Archdiocese in Los Angeles, I worked as a criminal defense attorney, and I worked on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. It’s a lot.

What inspires you as a teacher?

You know, it’s really fun. I‘ve had lots of corporate jobs, and I hated all of them. My students are all really smart. I’m with smart people every day. How many people can say that about their work environment?

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?

It’s really tough. I own two other businesses.

I’ve owned a design business, since 1991, that designs anything in the home – libraries, kitchens, etc. It’s a small company; I have 11 employees.

And I own a winery with three other people in Paso Robles. I do all the legal work – marketing, sales, and legal. It’s a beautiful area.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

Yes! I write children’s books. Young adults, for boys 13-15, and am working on a series. It’s about a down-and-out con artist who’s 15 and his life isn’t going too well.

I also train service dogs. Right now I have a Cocker Spaniel, Dylan, who goes to hospice. He’s so darn cute, he gets a lot of mileage out of it.

#CYProfessional: Ed Valdez, Aviation and Travel Careers Professor

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Ed, department coordinator for Aviation and Travel Careers.

What was your path to Cypress?
It was a furlough from United Airlines, where I was a pilot. It was a not so good situation that became very good. I began teaching at OCC, and was an associate professor with them. I came to Cypress for more work, and was hired full time.

My path was losing my job and therefore utilizing my preparation and background and experience. I was referred to by another professor. That’s how I came here.

What inspires you as a teacher?
I really love to help people out. When I was a boy, no one knew how to direct me. I had to find my own way to get here and that kind of drives me to helping people reach their goals. I found that I enjoyed teaching, although I never had planned on it.

By becoming a pilot, you become a mentor to other pilots to help them gain experience. Being a flight instructor is one way to get experience. I found I enjoyed teaching. I look at it as painting a picture in people’s mind. I tried to bring the flying into the classroom.

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?
Planning, looking ahead, and trying to stay ahead. I am constantly looking for a better tool for planning all the projects I have, and so I’m very carefully looking ahead to scheduling what I do into their prospective categories, primarily with aviation.

I still introduce people to flying, taking students up and showing them. I’m creating video and audio material for students to get my teachings in addition to classroom time.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
To further enhance training material, we got the new simulator room up and running recently. Students can learn on the ground in our simulators and be much more proficient when they get in the air. Also, I’m coordinating a flight training provider. They provide aircraft and instructors to help students learn.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.
I love sharing the love of flying and how it can be an excellent career for anyone who has a similar passion. One good thing is that I bring a lot of experience with major airlines, commuter airlines, supplemental airlines, and corporate aviation, charter aviation – many facets of aviation. I’ve worked on a ramp loading bags, familiar with those operations, I work with flight attendants, and cargo and prop planes. That has helped me bring the leading operating procedures and so forth to the classroom, so our students can be well prepared for the industry.

When life brings you a crash situation, make your crash site a launch pad. If it seems like it’s done and over with, you can use that experience to become better. I wouldn’t be at the college if I hadn’t been furloughed.

#CYProfessional: Katalin Angelov, Media Arts Design Professor

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Katalin.

What was your path to Cypress?
I graduated with an MFA in digital arts from USC. After graduation I taught at different colleges, starting in 2003. My courses focus on digital technology, and my classes range from 2D animation, storyboarding and motion graphics. I came to Cypress College in 2015 as a part-time instructor teaching twice a week at the Media Arts and Design department. I was very fortunate that a full-time, tenure-track position opened up the next year and I was hired.

What inspires you as a teacher?
Mainly, my students inspire me. Their success and growth gives me enthusiasm for what I do every day. Making a difference and impacting someone on a daily basis is amazing.

How do you balance your work as an instructor with your other professional/creative work?
It’s very difficult not to bring work home and focus on different things in life. I am involved in a professional volunteer-based organization and spend time with my fellow animation professors by organizing forums and symposiums. I also carve out some time to do my personal art during my free time. I usually involve my daughter in this because she is also interested in drawing and design. This way we can spend time together in a meaningful way and still get work accomplished.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
I am not working on anything personal, however, that is because I am currently developing a new area of study at Cypress College, and learning how to use the tools and programs related to it is my main focus. This new area of study is called projection mapping. While the name sounds quite strange, projection mapping is a cutting edge technology which is the future of entertainment. It’s the art of projecting visuals onto architectural spaces and surfaces.

To explain it better: if you have ever seen the castle at Disneyland at night – the way they bring it to life is by using projection mapping. It’s used in theater production, live entertainment and in many more fields. I would like to add that Cypress College is the first community college that will offer classes in this area of study in the United States. We really are No.1! The first class is scheduled in Spring 2019 and I am very excited for what experiences and opportunities it will bring to our learning community.

New Pledge Center Unveiled During Dedication Ceremony

Cypress College’s Pledge Center dedication took place September 19 to mark the opening of a new hub for counseling and academic support on the ground floor of the Student Center.

The ceremony welcomed the community to hear more about the Anaheim Union Education Pledge, also called the Pledge Program, which assists high school students on their paths into higher education. Members of legislative offices and leadership teams from the North Orange County Community College District and Anaheim Union High School District came out to mark the occasion as well.

Organizers took turns at the podium to thank supporters of the program, a partnership between higher education institutions, and the City of Anaheim to support students entering college. Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., expressed gratitude and encouragement based on the success of the “historic collaboration.”

“There are 959 students in the inaugural class – great, engaged students,” Dr. Schilling said. “We want to keep them going in a focused manner, and expect this to grow bigger every year.”

She especially credited the initiative’s achievements to the “fabulous team” of Counseling Dean Dr. Paul de Dios and Interim Student Success & Support Programs Director Gisela Verduzco. Verduzco told the audience that the Pledge Program, part of the Charger Experience, creates opportunities for students in Cypress’ own backyard.

“We have to start with our own communities,” she said. “Students are being supported with their own place they can call home.”

NOCCCD Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall took to the podium and called the opening of the Pledge Center a dream come true. Next, Dr. Schilling and Verduzco presented a baton to Mike Matsuda, superintendent of AUHSD, who called it symbolic of the meaningful partnership that created and supports the Pledge Program.

The ceremony also offered a chance to thank donors. Catherine Sorensen and the Disneyland Resort, represented by Elva Rubalcava, were recognized by Dr. Schilling for their generosity and given plaques to commemorate their participation.

Government officials in attendance included Cypress Mayor John Peat, Mayor Pro Tem Stacy Berry, Clayton Heard of U. S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s office, Stephanie Hu of State Senator Ling Ling Chang’s office, Christopher Aguilera of California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s office, and Tim Whitacre of Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel’s office.

Pledge Program students joined organizers in pulling the curtain for the big reveal of the center, located at the northern end of the Student Center’s  first level. Attendees were invited to a reception following the event.

Magazine Spotlights Former Theater Student on Cover

Alex Alpharaoh has won the attention of theatergoers and critics with something he hid for years: his immigration status. The former Cypress College student’s effort to make sense of government policies around undocumented immigrants led to the creation of his autobiographical play, “WET: A DACAmented Journey,” and a spot on the cover of “American Theatre” magazine’s May/June 2018 issue.

Alpharaoh wrote the play to discuss his personal history as an undocumented resident growing up in Los Angeles. He came to the United States from Guatemala at the age of 3 months, when his 15-year-old mother crossed the border on foot. Alpharoah told the magazine his mother constantly reminded her son to protect the family secret that they lacked the proper paperwork. That memory stayed with him even as he grew up and went to college.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Elisa Noemí (@lapaintedlady) on

“I denied myself the fullest extent of my growth as a student because I harbored a secret that I could not reveal and explore in my work,” Alpharaoh said, of his early days in the Cypress Theater Arts Department. “Mark [Majarian], never inquiring about anything that I wasn’t willing to share, said: ‘You never have to reveal anything that you feel would jeopardize you or someone else. The work is yours so long as you can do it independently and outside of the classroom.’”

Alpharaoh says Majarian’s advice led him to find ways around the issue without it interfering with his training. Although his theater education wasn’t compromised, the struggle to live as an immigrant without documentation continued and motivated him to develop and perform his play in 2017. Since then, he has performed “WET” at venues such as the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

“Alex, from the beginning, brought fire, vulnerability, and a self-created resilience emanating from a challenged childhood,” Cypress College Professor Emeritus Majarian said. He taught Alpharoah when he studied theater at Cypress from 2007 to 2011.

“Alex acquired, through his own grit, the craft fundamentals of acting that would give voice to his own individual statement as an actor as well as servicing the plays and playwrights he was learning from.”

Alpharaoh will perform in more cities during his upcoming national tour this fall, including local dates. Find more information on where and when he will be performing by visiting DacamentedJourney.com.

Bistro Begins Regional Cuisine Trip and You’re Invited

This semester, students in Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts again will take palates on a trip around the country by offering visitors a chance to sample a variety of regional dishes from the United States and beyond.

The Cypress Bistro opens for fall Thursday, September 13, with traditional New England cuisine. The menu includes:
Starter – New England Clam Chowder
Entrées – choice of Yankee Beef Pot Roast or Maine Lobster Roll
Desserts – choice of Sticky Toffee Pudding or Boston Cream Pie

New England Clam Chowder

A post shared by Cypress Bistro (@cypressbistro) on

The rest of the semester’s menus feature food from: the South, September 20; Louisiana, September 27; Texas, October 4; the Southwest, October 11; an Oktoberfest celebration, October 25; California (vegan), November 1; the Pacific Rim, November 8; the Pacific Northwest, November 15; and Floribbean fare, November 29.

Visit the Bistro for lunch on Thursdays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, at the NOCCCD Anaheim Campus. The three-course meals cost $13.00, and are for tables of four or fewer, dine-in only. You can make reservations, which are recommended, by emailing Chef Tracey Heine, theine@nocccd.edu.

 

Newly FAA-Certified Flight Instructors Credit Cypress with Test Prep

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Certified Flight Instructor – Airplane Single Engine test is, understandably, a difficult one. Two recently accredited instructors, however, say they felt prepared for the challenge, thanks to Cypress College.

Anond Thai and Eric Felix passed the FAA test after studying aviation under Capt. Ed Valdez at Cypress. Valdez confirms the exam’s difficulty.

“It’s no easy feat to pass the test,” Valdez said.

Long Beach native Felix’s instructing career took off after he passed the exam. He currently works for two flight schools as a flight instructor and describes his schedule as being hectic but rewarding.

“I enjoy instructing,” he said. “I love this career from the bottom of my heart.”

This job path fulfills Felix’s lifelong dream. He says he’s always been excited by planes and air travel but that flight training can be costly, running into the $80,000 to $100,000 range. Cypress allowed him to achieve his dreams within his means.

“If I didn’t do the program with Ed at Cypress, I wouldn’t have had the same results. I would have not accomplished the exams with the same amount of training — my training would have been much longer.”

Thai received his certificate in May and has been busy teaching as well, after passing the tough exam. The Thailand-born Orange County resident says he wishes “it was an easy test but it’s not,” and is grateful to Valdez for facilitating his success.

“Without Cypress, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “I went from no flying knowledge at all to being a pilot in about two years. Cypress aviation program helped a lot. Got to give it credit.”

Thai originally attended Cal Poly Pomona; although he had high grades in high school, he says he entered the university having trouble with English. He eventually left after his GPA got too low and he was disqualified.

“I went to Cal Poly and didn’t know what college life was like,” Thai said. “Cypress College taught me a lot about college life.”

Thai will continue his college education at Cal State Dominquez Hills, to earn his bachelor’s degree in math. He will keep teaching while there; he currently has eight students, working with two to three students a day for about three hours each lesson.

Both Felix and Thai work out of the Long Beach and Santa Ana airports, where they share the lessons they’ve learned during their time at Cypress.

#CYPossible: Kourosh Shirazi, Automotive Technology

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Kourosh Shirazi

Kourosh (who also goes by Cyrus) made a 180-degree turn in his career path when he decided to pursue his love of working on cars and study automotive technology. Cypress offered a state-of-the-art facility where he could gain hands-on experience; the T-TEN program here enabled him to access a career. Now he’s working at Lexus Santa Monica, happy that he changed gears after almost a decade of going off course.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Orange County; however my family immigrated to the United States. We came from the third world as a family of famers. My father was a large advocate of doing things yourself. He was constantly purchasing DIY books and we would work together doing various projects around the house and work. From a young age, my parents instilled the lesson that to attain any means of success equates to hard work. It has been an arduous journey ever since. I have always held a passion for the automotive industry, but due to personal circumstances, I’ve had to put my ambitions on hold in means of duty to the family. After 10 years, I have changed gears and started pursuing a career that always held my interests.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I came across Cypress College through a referral from a close friend back in 2008. I recall Luis showing me around and being impressed at how well equipped the shop was. When I decided to go back to school, Cypress College was one of the first places in mind. I feel lucky to have returned at a time T-TEN is available. Being a part of this program helped me find employment.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

The biggest influences lie upon Mike Klyde and Paul Kelley. The support and dedication that these two invest into T-TEN and the students is amazing. They helped guide me at every step of the way.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

My goal was to find a dealership where the environment was best suited to the type of person I am. Going through the T-TEN program, Mike Klyde and Paul Kelley were able to ascertain my skill set and work ethic and match that to a dealership of their recommendation. I placed my faith upon their assessment and now find myself at Lexus Santa Monica, working with one of the best dealerships in the area.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goal is to establish myself within the industry. It would be nice to one day leave the dealership, but become a part of Lexus corporate.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I find myself very passionate towards the automotive industry as a whole. Working in this industry has been rewarding and satisfying.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud to be a part of T-TEN. There are others in my cohort that are exceptional technicians and show strengths in areas where I know I am weak. The camaraderie shared as we journeyed through while supporting one another is a memory I hold dear.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have to say nothing. The program and support provided by Mike Klyde and Paul Kelley is exceptional. They are veterans in preparing individuals with the determination to succeed.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Work hard and maintain a positive attitude. These past two years have been a constant six days of work with 4-hour nights. If you wish to achieve any means of success in life, you must work hard. There are no easy shortcuts or lucky breaks.

#CYPossible: Mary Eng, Kinesiology & Radiologic Technology

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Mary Eng


Mary comes from a large family that holds education in high regard. She passed the California High School Proficiency exam at age 14 and was ready to start on her college journey and join her two older sisters who were enrolled at Cypress College. Mary gravitated toward radiologic technology; she’d visited X-ray technicians as a child when she was diagnosed with scoliosis, and wanted to help others. The diagnosis also led her to try out swimming, which opened up a lifelong love of the sport and brought her to a spot on the Cypress College swim team.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I am the fourth of 10 children, all born and raised here in Orange County. I was homeschooled until age 14 when I took the California High School Proficiency Exam and enrolled at Cypress College. Studying hard and doing well in school has always been very important in my family. My parents wanted my siblings and me to be able to graduate from the homeschool with enough skills to meet the real world and be successful. The skills I gained from being homeschooled, such as learning on your own and self-motivating, have helped me to be successful at Cypress College.

When I was 11 years old I learned that I had scoliosis. Because of that, I had my first introduction to radiology through regular visits to get X-rays. Having scoliosis also got me into swimming. Soon after learning I had scoliosis, I joined a club swim team. All of these experiences helped lead me to Cypress College.

If I’m not busy working or studying, I enjoy playing the flute, ringing handbells in our family musical group, going thrift-store shopping, or doing one of my many artistic hobbies such as calligraphy, card-making, or painting.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I chose to attend Cypress College for several reasons. One reason was that my two older sisters were also attending Cypress College at the time and I enjoy doing things with my sisters. Another motivation for me was the opportunity to join the Cypress College swim team. I had enjoyed swimming on a club team for a few years and when I saw how welcoming the Cypress college swim team was I knew I wanted to be part of the team. In addition, Cypress College was an excellent economical choice for my family and me. I knew that by attending Cypress College I would be getting a good education without a large student debt. Furthermore, the radiologic technology program at Cypress College is one of the highest regarded in the area as well as having the most straightforward admission process into the program. At the time I applied for the program, it was necessary to have A’s in the prerequisite courses, but there was no waiting list. I knew that if I wanted to be radiologic technologist I needed to be at Cypress College.

The reputation of Cypress College and the quality of the training I received in the Radiologic Technology program has enabled me to be in my current job. Even though I have less than one year of experience in the field, I now work as the only X-ray tech of a fairly busy out-patient center. Without the strong foundations in positioning and patient care I received at Cypress College, I do not think I would have been qualified for or given this job.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

Having started College so young, I had plenty of time to do other things at Cypress College besides pursuing my goal of becoming a radiologic technologist. I was a part of the Cypress College swim team for three years. This was very good for me in several ways. Although it was a lot of work to attend daily practices and gym sessions while being a full-time student and keeping up my 4.0 GPA, I believe this helped prepare me for the rigors of the radiologic technology program. Also, because the radiologic technology program is so highly regarded, the prerequisite classes were often impacted, making it difficult for students to take them. I avoided this problem because I received priority registration as a student athlete.

The first degree I earned from Cypress College was in Physical Education. Many of the classes I took for the degree overlapped with those I needed for general education and I enjoyed taking the classes. Physical education was not something I considered a career in but I liked learning about it since I had not encountered it in the homeschool. Also, since I was on the swim team, much of the information was very applicable to me. Because of my interest in physical education, I helped start a kinesiology club with a small group of other students, which included one of my younger sisters.

After completing my years of eligibility with the Cypress College swim team and graduating with high honors in Physical Education, I was 17 — old enough to apply for the Radiologic Technology program. I learned so much about life and myself through my classmates, my teachers, and my experiences in the program.

There are so many faculty and staff who have been instrumental in helping me be a successful graduate of Cypress College

• Coaches Larry, Denise, Pavielle, and Rick who motivated me to push myself and made the Cypress College swim team such a great team to be a part of. I had so much fun being part of the team and have so many wonderful memories. I wasn’t the best swimmer but they were always encouraging me and I learned a lot from my experiences on the team.

• My instructors in the Radiologic Technology program who prepared me so well to be in the workforce and continue to be there for me to ask questions:

o Laura Grieco, the former clinical coordinator for the Radiologic Technology program. I took my first prerequisite class, medical terminology, with her and learned so much. She encouraged me to study hard because I would need good study skills to survive in the Radiologic Technology program. She got to know my whole family and was very helpful when I was preparing for my journey toward radiologic technology.

o Lynn Mitts, the program director. She is such a sweet person and works so hard to make sure all students of the program have the chance to be the most successful version of themselves. She made an effort to listen to students and to accommodate their needs so they could achieve.

o Dr. Michael Frianeza, who teaches many of the classes. He made the effort to communicate well with his students and was very understanding. He was always willing to say a good word about someone or write letters of recommendation.

o Barry Siegel, the clinical coordinator. He made himself readily available if I needed help or advice. His tireless efforts to make sure I thoroughly understood all the necessary clinical knowledge and radiographic positioning have served me well now that I am working on my own.

• Katherine Fehr, my anatomy professor,encouraged me to reach higher and helped me create my first resume. I truly enjoyed her anatomy class and the excellence she demanded in her class greatly benefited me once I started the Radiologic Technology program.

• Becky Rojas from Associated Students and Coach Margaret Mohr offered wisdom and guidance when I was helping to get the kinesiology club started. Although my time with the club was very short, I learned a lot about how to organize and administrate something.

Last but not least, I am so grateful to everyone who donates to and administrates the Cypress College Scholarship Foundation. I received several scholarships which assisted me to become what I am today. The annual scholarship ceremonies were one of the highlights of my time at Cypress College for both me and my family.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

Soon after graduating from Cypress College, I started my first job working for RadNet as a per-diem radiologic technologist. I was also given the opportunity to begin working on an additional certification in bone densitometry. Five months later, I began working full-time and training in computed tomography. Now, I am continuing to work full-time and am studying to pass the registries for computed tomography and bone densitometry.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment from being a student for so long to having a regular job and money to spend. I’ve also realized how much more responsibility I have in my work and how much it matters that I am a good radiologic technologist. Nevertheless, I am enjoying this new phase of life and am excited to see what happens next.


What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

Once I complete my additional certifications in CT and DEXA, I hope to use my skills to help others by going on medical missions. By going on medical missions, I would experience the fun of traveling while using my skills to show love to those less fortunate than I. No matter where I end up working or traveling to, I hope to be the best technologist I can and to constantly be learning.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I want to use the knowledge, wisdom, and love that I have been given to bless the lives of others. I have been blessed with so much for a reason — to bring the good news of love to those around the world.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Don’t think you have to do everything alone. Ask questions and let people help you. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you are reaching too high. No one is too young or old to achieve great things.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

My family has been an unwavering source of support and encouragement. I could not have made it to where I am now without them.

I want to thank all my classmates from the Radiologic Technology program class of 2017. I made some great friends, and making it through the program was so much easier with all of them alongside me.

Aviation Student Could Set World Record for Youngest Pilot to Fly Solo

A Cypress College student’s aviation achievement last week could set a Guinness World Record.

Fourteen-year-old Mohd Shaikhsorab flew solo out of Langley Regional Airport in British Columbia, Canada, July 19, after having only 15.9 hours of flying experience. This makes him the youngest person to independently fly a plane with the least amount of training hours.

A representative from Guinness World Records confirmed that Shaikhsorab’s application is under review by the organization’s records management team. No one currently holds such a record, according to the representative.

Captain Edilberto Valdez taught both of Shaikhsorab’s aviation classes last year – Private Pilot and Flight Simulator Private Pilot – and described him as “very motivated and mature for his age.” He wasn’t surprised by the news that his student soon might hold a world record.

“We talked a lot about how our training was going to do just that: enable him to solo at the lowest amount of time,” Valdez said.

The 15-minute flight went well, despite slightly windy conditions. If Shaikhsorab felt nervous at all, his excitement overrode it.

“It was a kind of cool feeling because no one is on your left seat or right seat to tell you what to do,” he said. “I hopped on and the instructor said ‘Good luck.’ Kind of amazing feeling that I could finally solo on the airplane, by myself.”

Shaikhsorab credits his success with the instruction he received at Cypress.

“With 100% confidence, I can say that if it weren’t for Ed Valdez I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this,” he said. “The majority of the credit can go to my instructor.”

Shaikhsorab took classes beginning at age 13 and says he knew he could do something incredible with his youth as a factor. In June, he headed to flight school in Canada, where the minimum age for solo flying is 14; in the United States, it’s 16.

Processing the world record application can take up to 12 weeks. By that time, the young pilot will be attending fall semester classes, and Cypress College could have a Guinness World Record-holder on campus.

#CYPossible: Juan Santos, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Juan Antonio Santos Ocampo

Despite working full-time while studying, Juan completed his certificate in air conditioning and refrigeration in two years. Before he was even finished, he was fielding job offers. The former secretary for ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) on campus has been working in the field for a year.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, until I was 10 years old. My parents immigrated to the United States, and I have resided in Orange ever since. I enjoy spending time with my family and staying physically active.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

A friend of mine who was involved with Cypress College mentioned how great their HVAC program was. I decided to give it a try. The teachers were so helpful that I was able to find a job right before finishing the course.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

During my time in Cypress, I was the secretary for ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) Club. Thanks to Mr. Hock and Mr. Urquidi, who were the most helpful during the completion of the program. They pushed me hard and took the time to explain the material when it was difficult.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After completing the HVAC program, I was able to land a job in refrigeration; I have been working for Accutherm Refrigeration for a year now.


What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

As of now, I would like to keep learning new skills in refrigeration filling; in the future, I would like to open my own business.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My biggest passion is my family. They push me to be the best that I can be. They always support me, no matter how rough our situation is.

What are you most proud of?

I am the most proud of finishing the HVAC program in two years. I was working full time and going to school full time. I pushed myself to finish the program. Now, I am working in the field, and seeing the rewards of hard work feels satisfying.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I feel that I would not do things differently. The situations that I have been through have shaped the way I am, and I am satisfied with the outcome.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

The best advice I can give other students is to not give up and keep working toward your dream.

#CYPossible: Shamaniece Gray, Culinary Arts

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Shamaniece Gray

Cypress College was close to Shamaniece’s home, which is why she chose it, but then it became close to her heart. The culinary arts major calls the college her second home, and says it changed her life. In addition to taking a full courseload, she got involved with the work-study program; now, she volunteers for the school, helping other Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary students. She’s currently working as an intern at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Beach.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

My name is Shamaniece but I prefer Niecey. I’ve lived in California for the majority of my life. I love to eat and cook different types of cuisines. If I could choose, it would be Mexican and Italian fusion.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

Honestly, I chose Cypress College because it was close to my house but I had no idea how the HRC program would change my life. Starting off in the program, I was very quiet and timid. This program forced me to have a voice and to develop a tough skin. In a kitchen, whispering will not get you anywhere. Your teammates need to be able to hear you over all of the chaos and the craziness in the kitchen. Volunteering and being a kitchen assistant helped me as well. Doing this, I learned how to work with different machines, work catering events, mise en place for different recipes, etc. All of this helped me get my first job right out of culinary school.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was involved in the work-study program here at Cypress College. I got the opportunity to be Chef Tracey’s Kitchen Assistant. Although I was a Kitchen Assistant, I also got to assist all the Chefs, such as Chef Jeremy, Chef Amanda, and Chef Stephanie. All of these teachers played a significant role in my life. They taught me how to speak up, to have a voice in the kitchen, and to never give up on myself. They were also upfront with me even when I didn’t want to hear it. The teachers actually care about where you end up in the future and are willing to help you network and to build connections to get there. Even the counselors like Renee Ssensalo and Iris Zelaya are there no matter what, whether it’s for school or just to talk.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After finishing the HRC program I still volunteered at the Anaheim Campus. It is a second home for me, filled with people who actually have my best interest in mind. It’s great not to be just another student in a classroom. Now I am actually interning at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel for the summer.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I am going to get my master’s in Hospitality Management. I am going to be a Chef and later transition my career into a Personal Chef.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about cooking and helping people. I love being able to brighten up someone’s life even if it is only for a moment. It’s an even better opportunity to be able to give guest a great experience through food and customer service.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of my poster in front of the bookstore at Cypress and the person that God is helping me become.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would be less shy and be willing to ask for more help.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

If you know that a subject is hard for you go to tutoring in the beginning. The last thing I would like to say is major in something that you are passionate about even if it takes time to figure out what it is. Even if there is no one supporting you, you can be your own self motivator.

#CYPossible: Zachary Lynch, Automotive Collision Repair

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Zachary Lynch

Zach grew up loving anything with an engine, and says Cypress College’s well-known Auto Collision Repair program drew him in because having a certificate from the school might lead to employment opportunities. Sure enough, he received several job offers from local body shops throughout Orange County, even before finishing his courses. He’s currently at Service King as a full technician, where he enjoys working on cars.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Lake Arrowhead where I always had a strong interest in cars, trains, boats, and pretty much anything with an engine. After taking welding classes in high school, I became a Los Angeles certified welder. This facilitated my interest in car repair and design, as my welding skills played a significant role in my confidence in my ability to work on cars. My first job in high school was assisting at a mechanic shop, and a couple of years later I attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena for car design classes.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I chose to attend Cypress College because of its well-known automobile repair program, which I knew would be most useful in attaining my future goals with car design and repair. This turned out to be true, as I have since had many job opportunities in body shops throughout Orange County, though I have only worked at three different companies over the last four years.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was enrolled in the Automotive Collision Repair program for three years, where I was primarily supported and taught by Larry Ramos and Dan Snook, who have been instrumental in my development as a successful car repairman.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

While attaining my certificate, I started working at Mercedes-Benz, Newport Beach, as a technician’s assistant in the body shop. I am currently working at Service King as a full technician, where I greatly enjoy working on cars.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

To have my own automotive company, which builds both complete vehicles and products for existing vehicles.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I enjoy designing and working on cars in an innovative way, as well as developing all-new automobile packages and modifications that will enhance overall car performance and design.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of how far I have come in my path to car design in spite of a few obstacles and detours I took along the way, which helped me gain experience and learn what I truly wanted to do in life.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing!

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

To stay with the program and complete it. Dream big and chase your dreams.

#CYPossible: Roshni Chahwala, Radiologic Technology

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Roshni Chahwala

Roshni recently earned her certification in Radiologic Technology from Cypress College, and almost immediately got a job offer from Placentia-Linda Hospital’s Radiology Department; soon after, Kaiser Permanente gave her an additional job as an X-ray technologist. Roshni wants to continue growing in the radiology world, learn all she can, and further her education by achieving a bachelor’s degree that could move her into a management-level position. Roshni hopes to one day teach and train bright minds in the department of radiology.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born in New Jersey but grew up in California. I enjoy watching and playing sports, especially basketball. The beach, park, and anything outdoors is usually where you can find me the happiest.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

I chose Cypress College because of its outstanding reputation as well as its credibility for the Radioglogic Technician program. I commuted over an hour to get to Cypress College and it was more than every good thing I heard. Because of the college’s reputation, I was able to find multiple employments as soon as I received my licenses for X-ray.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

From Kelly Carter to Michael Frianeza to Lynn Mitts, everyone took their time to guide me to success.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?

After my studies, I received a job offer at Placentia-Linda Hospital in the Radiology Department. Shortly after that I received a job offer as an X-ray technologist at Kaiser Permanente. I am currently working at those two locations and went further to obtain my credentials in mammography.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I hope to continue growing in the radiology world, learn a lot and further my education in achieving my bachelor’s. One day, I hope to teach and train bright minds in the department of radiology. I also want to get my bachelor’s, to move into the management level of radiology.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I’m the most passionate at being helpful and useful to others. Nothing is more gratifying than finishing a workday knowing you could have saved a life or turned someone’s day around for the better.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud in where I stand today: the daughter of hard-working immigrants who achieved more than most from a community college, which guided me to an amazing job that allowed me to check off “buying a home” at age 25.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. All the hardships were meant to happen to get me where I am now: extremely happy.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Seek guidance when needed. Counselors are there, utilize them. Ask as many questions as you need.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Community college has always had a stigma to it compared to universities. But what I gained in such a short amount of time, no one can take that away from me. I am a huge advocate for community college, especially Cypress College. Thank you.

Cypress College Featured in NOCCCD Video

North Orange County Community College District recently highlighted Cypress College in a video posted to the district’s YouTube page. Created in partnership with the North Orange County Chamber, the video showcases Cypress College, Fullerton College, and North Orange Continuing Education in a segment of the two groups’ “Community Movies” series. Cypress College is cited as “among the best campuses for Career and Technical Education programs in California,” with over 50% of course offerings dedicated to career education and as one of California’s first community colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree.

For more information on Career and Technical Education at Cypress College, visit the CTE Programs page.