New On-Campus Charger Study Space Now Open

Cypress College is providing a new, safe study space on campus for students to use throughout the fall semester.

Tent in Gateway Plaza with words "Charger Study Space, Safe, Open, Outdoor"

The study space will be available Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.  Make a mandatory appointment in two-hour blocks using the college’s Cypress Connect app. If you haven’t downloaded the app already, please download it here.

To complete your reservation time, please go to our COVID-19 module within the mobile app. Next, complete the required Wellness Check Form, also located in the COVID-19 module in the app, each time before coming onto campus. Wear a mask while on campus and maintain a distance of at least 6 ft. with others.
Additional guidelines are available below:

I made an appointment. How do I access the study space?
You may enter the study space using the designated access area from Lot 1 through Gateway Plaza only.

Will charging outlets be available?
Limited charging outlets will be available in the study space. It is strongly recommended that you charge all of your devices prior to coming on campus.

Will I be able to use the restroom while on campus?
Yes, there will be designated restrooms and hand-washing stations for use. You must wipe down or spray each area touched after each use.

Can I eat while studying?
No, food is not allowed in the study space. There will be designated areas for eating. Please ask a staff member about these designated areas.

Is it OK for me to attend a Zoom class while at the study space?
Certainly! To be considerate of others using the study space, you are required to use head/earphones if you are taking a live Zoom class that requires sound and interaction.

Can I go anywhere else on campus?
No. Students must stay in the study area only. When exiting campus, leave the study space area and return straight to your transportation. Exceptions will be made for students with an on-campus class before or after using the study space; however, these students are also limited to accessing only those areas at the entry point identified by their instructors.

What health and safety precautions are being taken to provide this study space?
You must wear a mask while on campus, and may only remove it when seated at your designated study space and at least 6 feet away from anyone else. Hand sanitizer will also be available to students at every table.

The study spaces must be wiped down and disinfected with provided materials by students and staff after each use, and the campus’ Maintenance and Operations team will do a nightly deep cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

#CYProud: Amber Winey, Addiction Studies

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2020.

Student Amber Winey with a quote

Amber Winey was raised in Los Angeles’ South Bay area by a single mother. She’s had a longstanding interest in human behavior and psychology, and has a passion for “total wellness for my fellow humans and being an advocate and resource for underserved communities.” Now a single mother herself after removing herself from a situation involving domestic violence, Amber and her daughters faced homelessness at the beginning of the year; however, with help and support from Cypress College and Pathways of Hope, she found stability while continuing to pursue a certificate in addiction studies. Ultimately, Amber strives to earn a master’s degree in psychology and become a drug addiction counselor.

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

I grew up in the South Bay area in Los Angeles. I was raised by a single mother from birth, and although she did her best to protect us from life’s struggles, I was a very perceptive child and ‘tween.’ During this time, I tried to solidify my own identity as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, and girl growing up in the world. I developed mental health issues and spent my adolescence with this passion and understanding of human need, but not being able to express my own. I was always extremely interested in the processes of human behavior on the scientific side of psychology and then on the relational side wondering “how” and “why” people interact the way that they do. Perhaps this was my way of making sense of understanding the behaviors exhibited in my own family. Maintaining this goal of self-identity has kept my self-awareness one of my greatest tools. In my senior year of high school, I began a relationship and became pregnant. I began attending Orange Education Center to finish my diploma, and I now know from educating myself and speaking up that this time in my life was the beginning of my experience with domestic violence, I have only just been able to remove myself from it 10 years later. Without that final piece of awareness and understanding of the importance of my own safety (and that of my children), as well as the help of Cypress College, I would have probably never reached a state of stability like I have within the last year. I have opened myself up to being vulnerable, to telling my story, to expressing passion and love for humanity, and showing my daughters that breaking the cycle (from my own family’s history and now ours) is the KEY.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College specifically because of the extensive support services around mental health, and because of programs (like DSS and EOPS) available to assist with adult re-entry into college. The ability for fun events hosted by Charger Experience were also an important consideration for me because I was able to include my children in my education.

CYProud Amber Winey, candidate for an Addiction Studies certificate, with her daughters

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

My first participation was in the Humanities event during Club Week of Fall and against my previous introversion, I stopped and participated in the photo session regarding what type of world I would like to live in. Working with Pathways of Hope at Cypress College, along with much diligence, my daughters and I were assisted with rapid re-housing within the last six months! During this time of homelessness and working more one-on-one with community resources, the path of adding human services to my psychology degree unfolded.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My passion is total wellness for my fellow humans and being an advocate and resource for underserved communities. I have a passion regarding how we acknowledge and treat mental illness among adolescents; how our system works with ex-offenders and treats and assists them in re-entry. I have a passion for working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their own goals and realize their strength and resilience. I am skilled in art therapy and hope to add these types of certifications as I plan to broaden my client scope. For me, without those people in my corner, I would not have made it through, back from when I was an adolescent, so I developed this passion and have kept my goals steady since age 12. Keeping this passion has allowed me to remain resilient during my life.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today? How has Cypress College supported you throughout your semesters?

Dawn Decker supported me by connecting me to the DSS office and the ability to sit down and follow the career paths of the hundreds of certificate programs it seems Cypress offers. Dawn assisted in connecting me with the Department of Rehabilitation, which has been the ultimate lifesaver regarding my unique situation. Penni Lavoot, set to retire this year, will be sorely missed! Molly Schulps offered me tough love during my first semester back at Cypress and helped me assess that at that point in time, I was not ready mentally for daily classes. I hope to prove to her when I am ready to commit to her pottery class because the aesthetic work is something I personally thrive in. During spring 2020, my situation came to a head and Professor Brandy Young remained steadfast in her support of what I was going through and doing my best to hang on to a class that ended up being a credit towards my certificate without trying! Her encouragement and this nomination helped push me through the scariest time in my life.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

Obtain employment as a drug addiction counselor to complement my residential treatment experience and maintain my certificate.

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

My longer term goals include continuing on my path to finishing my bachelor’s degree in psychology and working with Cypress on transferring my old credits. I plan to obtain my master’s in psychology with added certificates in human services, victimology, and art therapy. My employment goal is one-on-one or group settings in residential treatment facilities or hospitals.

What are you most proud of?

For me, being normally self-deprecating, I can now actually say that I am proud of myself! I am proud that I have two (soon three) small faces watching me achieve my goals, even when I sometimes get off track, but always keeping my endurance to work towards my passion. I have continued school while homeless and now being nine months pregnant; I am welcoming a NEW CHARGER by the end of the summer session.

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

NEVER falter from your dreams for they remain within you to be attained, and do not allow the outside world to change that love we carry for our fellow humans.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I want every man, woman, and even child who steps foot on this campus to know there is support for them here. There is someone on campus who understands your journey. You are not alone!

Commit2Cypress and Take Advantage of Free Tuition Through Pledge and Promise

Join us at Commit2Cypress on Thursday, April 30 at 4:30-8 p.m. to learn more about and sign your contract for the fall 2020 North Orange Promise or AUHSD Pledge granting free tuition to all qualifying first-time college students for their first two years!

Meet representatives from support programs and services on campus, interact with deans and professors from the college’s academic programs, and attend sessions on topics most relevant to new college students and parents.

RSVP here!

Cypress College Foundation Raises $80,000 at its Annual Golf Classic

The Cypress College Foundation held its Annual Golf Classic at Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park October 21, raising $80,000 to fund student scholarships and book grants/loans, faculty grants, and more. There were 168 participants, including a member of the LPA team who shot a hole-in-one and won a new vehicle.

The Foundation gives a warm thank you to all of its sponsors, participants, and volunteers and student ambassadors.

Title Sponsor
TEM – Total Environmental Management

Corporate Sponsors
A.O. Reed & Co. and Foundation Pile
Control Air and Helix Electric
Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuaries
MAAS Companies
SUNDT Construction Inc

Eagle Sponsors
Air Treatment Corporation
Morgan Stanley
Newport Diversified

Birdie Sponsor
Cypress Lawn Funeral and Cemetery

Foursomes included players from the following sponsors
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo
ACCO Engineered Systems
Air Treatment Corporation
American Crematorium
Buena Park Police Department
The City of Cypress
CSI Fullmer
Cypress Police Department
Remax/Tiffany
Fullerton College
So Cal Gas
Golden State Water
Hazelrigg Claims Management
Johnson Controls Fire Protection LP
Patron Property Management
Piping Industry Progress and Education
Toyota Place
Union Bank
Westberg White Architecture

Cypress College Career Technical Education Counselor Named Counselor of the Year

The Orange County Career Education Community College Network recently named Cypress College Career Technical Education Counselor Dr. Jane Jepson as a 2019 Counselor of the Year. The award, given each year to counselors who excel in a number of areas pertaining to student and career success, will be presented at the 2019 OC Counselor Symposium on Thursday, November 7.

“Dr. Jepsen is good-natured, positive, and hard-working, but most importantly she has demonstrated an empathetic understanding and sensitivity to her students,” said Cypress College Vice President of Student Services Dr. Paul de Dios. “She has earned the respect of administrators, faculty, and students. She is committed to student learning, assessment of learning outcomes, and helping students reach their goals. I can attest to the significant impact she made not only in the lives of her students, but for the community as well. She has truly made, and continues to make, a difference.”

Counselor of the Year recipients promote student enrollment, and college and career readiness; advocate for the integration of academic, personal, and career learning; are knowledgeable in current goals, changes, and processes of the community college system; collaborate with other counselors; engage in ongoing professional development efforts; and possess collaborative and leadership capabilities in their current role.

“It is a labor of love to work with a diverse population of students seeking better, more productive, and engaged lives in a progressive educational environment,” said Jepsen. “It is my pleasure to be recognized for what is the best job ever, which is providing information and inspiration to people wanting to enrich their lives with relevant knowledge and skills.”

Jepsen said she shares the honor with all Orange County Career Education counselors with whom she shares a commitment to championing career education at the community college level and the students who have touched her life over the years.

“Each student is dear to me, special because of the uniqueness of their aspirations and background and desire to be the best they can be,” she said. “And although I may not remember the details of each student’s story from month to month and year to year, I hope each one of them knows I am a vessel for their hopes and dreams, and a witness to their challenges and accomplishments.”

Jepsen received her master’s degree in counseling and recently completed her doctorate in social and environmental pedagogies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Her research, subtitled “Finding Meaning, Locating Praxis and Connecting to Place,” focuses on alternative ways of knowing and being in a world of interconnected social and environmental inequities and injustices. In fall 2020, she will launch a Global Citizenship Studies program.

Jepsen currently serves on Cypress College’s curriculum committee, oversees the Perkins and Strong Workforce grants, and teaches “Educational Planning” for the Counseling Division and “Cultural Tourism” for the college’s Aviation and Travel Careers program. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and gardening and is a strong advocate for creating ecologically friendly habitats of native, bee and bird-attracting plants in home gardens.

Over 700 counselors are anticipated to attend the 2019 OC Counselor Symposium, which will be held at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel and focuses on supporting student wellness and success through academic, career, and social/emotional support and development.

#CYProud: David Su, Psychology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

David Su

The pressure to perform and live up to parental expectations set by successful older siblings can be a difficult burden. For David Su, meeting those expectations was a simple task throughout primary and middle school, but became too much to bear in high school. In junior year, he fell so far behind in his classwork that he dropped out and instead attended an alternative high school that nulled his eligibility for a UC or Cal State.

“Cypress College has given me the opportunity and time to explore my options in life,” David said. “Essentially, for a person whose family places such a high importance on higher education, Cypress College has given me a second chance.”

David became heavily involved in a number of clubs on campus and was inducted into the college’s Psi Beta psychology honor society. He graduated with an associate degree in psychology and transferred to UC Irvine. He aspires to earn a master’s degree in educational counseling and become a counselor in higher education.

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

I grew up in Cypress, California, born to two loving parents who always doted on me and praised me for the high passing marks that I would receive in elementary and middle school. Back then, I passed all of my classes with flying colors — and, I had to. After all, I had to succeed like my wonderful older brother who had set impossibly high standards for me as he was seen as a genius in school. My parents assumed that I would do equally as well, so I worked hard just to please them — except, I didn’t.

Elementary and middle school were easy. I flew by with flying colors without really having to study at all because back then, everything came to me naturally. I failed to realize that the reason for this was because of the low difficulty; nevertheless, I settled into my bad habits of not studying and not working hard because why would I need to study or try hard when everything was so easy?

And then high school hit. And it was a disaster.

As I settled into high school, I found each passing year becoming more and more difficult for me, and in my junior year, I found the classes to be too difficult. No longer could I just sit back, relax, and let the information soak into my brain; I had to actually try this time around as my classes were no longer a cake walk. For the first time in my life, I had to actually study to succeed, and I couldn’t. I let my homework and assignments pile up as I slowly slipped behind, and I failed to study when I needed to. Eventually, my grades began to drop. It was at this point that I began to frequently miss school to attempt to make up my homework, but I failed to realize that this would only result in me having to catch up on more missing assignments for those missed days. Eventually, it was too much. There were too many late assignments to catch up on, my grades had fallen far too low, and some of my teachers even doubted if I would ever come back.

They were right. I never did come back. Instead, I graduated from an alternative high school that offered independent study. Because of that horrible disaster that was my first high school, I found myself afraid of learning and afraid of disappointing my parents, friends, and teachers.

That lasted for two years, and now I’m at Cypress College. Since then, I’ve tried my best to get over my fears, and in the process, I’ve rediscovered my love for education and passion for learning, most notably for my major of psychology. I love learning about the human mind and discovering the intricacies of human potential. Since my lowest point in high school, I’ve now been accepted to both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Irvine.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

When I dropped out of high school and went to an alternative high school, I was automatically locked out of applying to any Cal States or UCs because the coursework at my alternative high school did not meet those colleges’ standards. I had no choice but to look at other alternatives for higher education, such as private school or community college.

I chose Cypress College because, as a child, I used to take summer and winter classes at the School of Continuing Education. Most of these classes were held at Cypress College, and I remember immediately falling in love with the campus at a young age when I first explored the campus grounds. Even when I wasn’t taking classes at Cypress College as a child, my family would often take my brother and me to exercise at the track.

After graduating from high school, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my future, but I knew immediately that I wanted to go to the college that I had fallen in love with as a child. Since then, Cypress College has given me the opportunity and time to explore my options in life. Essentially, for a person whose family places such a high importance on higher education, Cypress College has given me a second chance.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Ever since my enrollment at Cypress College, I’ve found myself becoming heavily involved with Circle K International (CKI), Psychology Club, Psi Beta, and Inter-Club Council (ICC). Joining CKI was an easy choice for me; I had fallen in love with volunteering and giving back to my community ever since high school (I volunteered more than I did homework back then), and I was thrilled with the idea of being able to continually engage in community service. Since joining, I have served as the vice president and president in CKI.

As for Psychology Club, I decided to join because it directly related to my major, but I stayed because I met two wonderful professors who were able to share their special love for psychology with their students. These two professors, Dr. Angela deDios and Dr. Brandy Young, would go on to expand the Psychology Club and establish Psi Beta, an honor society for psychology at the community college level, which I naturally became a member of because I wanted to follow the two professors that I look up to.

Finally, I became involved with ICC due to my involvement with the three aforementioned clubs because I was appointed as the ICC-representative for each of them. I would later go on to become the ICC secretary.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I’m most passionate about my major, psychology. Ever since I began to take my major classes, I’ve really enjoyed learning about human behavior and development. I enjoyed learning about how someone could have a certain tendency or behavior because of their previous experiences in life or genetic susceptibility. Through this, I’ve also learned about my own tendencies and behaviors, and the reason why I failed in high school. I want to help others understand themselves and unlock the potential within them.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are a lot of faculty and staff who have helped me get where I am today.

Dr. Angela deDios – Dr. deDios was one of the first Cypress College faculty members that I met. I took her for Intro to Psychology and Developmental Psychology. Not only did I learn a lot about psychology, I was able to apply many of her teachings to my own life. Dr. deDios is also the advisor of Circle K International, Psychology Club, and Psi Beta.

Dr. Brandy Young – Despite never having the chance to take Dr. Young’s classes, I was able to meet her through Psychology Club and Psi Beta. She gave me advice on life after Cypress College. Dr. Young gave us many opportunities to explore psychology on a professional scale with student speakers in graduate school, field trips to the UCLA Psychology Department, and networking experiences at the Western Psychological Association’s convention.

Transfer Counselor Yolanda Duenas – I’ve spoken with Yolanda Duenas on multiple occasions to discuss my education plan at Cypress College in order to transfer. However, on one occasion, I asked her about how she became involved with being a transfer counselor. I already had an affinity for advising students on how to transfer, yet Yolanda helped me see that this is something that I wanted to pursue.

Dave Okawa – As the director of Student Activities, Dave Okawa was someone I spoke to on multiple occasions as I was the president of CKI and an ICC representative for three different clubs. When the position of ICC secretary was vacant for the 2018-19 academic year, he motivated me to apply for this position.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I plan on finishing my bachelor’s degree at UCI and going on to pursue my master’s degree in educational counseling.

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

My long-term goals in the future are to, hopefully, pursue my master’s degree in educational counseling. I’ve said before that I really enjoy realizing and unlocking the potential within others; I want to become an educational counselor because I want to help others realize that they can go on to achieve incredible things in life. After my master’s degree, I plan on becoming an educational counselor at the college level, most notably the community college level. I aspire to assist students who may need guidance on how they can transfer to four-year institutions.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my brother, who’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in pharmaceutical biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My older brother has always been my pillar of strength when I’ve needed him most; he’s always been there for me, right behind me to support me when I needed it the most. He gives me helpful advice when I need it, and, occasionally, the truth when I don’t want it. Sometimes, he even annoyingly calls me at weird times of the night to bother me, but I know he does it because he just wants to talk to me since we’re far apart from each other, living our own lives and pursuing our own futures — and that’s why I’m proud of him. Even though he’s extremely busy, he’ll always find time to help me out, to give me advice, or to annoy me at odd times of the night. He’s my older brother, but he’ll always find time for his little brother.

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

I would say that it is important to use the resources that are provided to you at Cypress College. If I didn’t use the resources that were provided to me, I don’t think I would have been as successful as I am now. To give an example, if I didn’t consult with my guidance counselors, I believe that I would have been incredibly lost when it came to the direction that I wanted to take my future in. I highly recommend consulting with the school’s guidance counselors as not only are they friendly, but they’ll help point you in the right direction.

There are a lot of other resources at Cypress College, but I think the most important thing to remember is this: the resources provided aren’t going to come to you, asking if you need help; you have to go out on your own accord and utilize these resources.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Cypress College has truly been a place of comfort for me to pursue my education. While I entered Cypress College without many friends, I am exiting with a full network of friendships and opportunities for my future.

#CYProud: Tasmia Alam, Business Administration

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Tasmia Alam

Tasmia Alam is passionate about making a difference and effecting change for the better. Of Bengali descent but born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tasmia moved to the United States with her family after completing high school. In need of a path into higher education that wouldn’t put more of a financial strain on her family, she found Cypress College and knew it was where she wanted to start her higher education journey. With a desire to mix her creative side and passion for making a difference, Tasmia plans to build a career in marketing. She transferred to Cal State Fullerton to complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and minor in communication studies. She later plans to earn a master of business administration (MBA).

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

I am a Bengali girl born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Since there is no birthright citizenship given in Saudi Arabia, my nationality has always been from Bangladesh. I graduated high school in 2014 and immigrated to the United States in 2015 with my family. Immediately after, I embarked on my higher education journey at Cypress College. My hobbies include dancing, traveling, and occasionally reading.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Once I moved to the United States, I came across the community college system. Restarting life in the States was a financial strain on my family as it is; however, through community college, I could pursue higher education without being financially indebted. After researching a couple of colleges within my area, Cypress College attracted me the most. Visiting the campus and getting a glance at the beautiful architecture and the friendly ambiance, I knew instantly this is where I wanted to start my higher education journey. In addition, Cypress College was also ranked top three in their transfer rates at that time.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

During the fall 2015 New Student Welcome Night, I was very intrigued by the Associated Students council and their presence on campus. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Cypress College Associated Students Council. The group’s commitment to representing and being the voice for the Cypress College student body drew me toward them the most. As an active member of the student government, I was able to work my way up from an activities coordinator my first semester, to senator, to finally being elected as the executive vice president for the academic year 2016-17. Within my two-year journey with the Associated Students, I was fortunate enough to be part of several planning committees, such as the Cypress College Food Bank, which was initiated to fight food and hunger insecurities on campus. In addition, I was also able to help a fellow associated student member with what was known as the first Cypress College resolution submitted. The resolution was about enriching student success through a more-detailed registration process. This resolution was passed in the spring 2017 SSCCC General Assembly.

In fall 2016, I was hired as a student ambassador on campus. As an ambassador, my main job is to help students and make their first steps in college easier. I have successfully helped several families and students join Cypress College and ensure their continuing success. Being located at the entrance of the Student Center, I help students during the registration process, as well as guide them around their way on campus. As an ambassador, I have also helped with other programs on campus such as the Pledge events and Charger Fridays. Active involvement in both the student government and Student Ambassador programs gave me the opportunity to participate in and help with several events hosted by Cypress College, including Kindercaminata, the Americana Awards, Pledge Night, and Cypress College’s annual commencement.

After completing my term as an executive vice president for Associated Students and gaining experience in helping students and working events through the Student Ambassador program, I decided I wanted to do more for the students of Cypress College, specifically, more for students in the Business Department. During fall 2017, I took the initiative to restart the Business Club on campus. My goal as the business club president was to educate students on how to be successful in the world of business including finance, management, marketing, and more. This club serves as a platform for students to network and explore the different sectors of a business. It also served as an opportunity where I could spread along the knowledge and experience that I gained through the Associated Students and the Student Ambassador program. Currently, I am still an active member of the club and manage the social media sites for them.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My passion derives from making a difference. I believe in change and change for the better. Bringing innovative ideas and making a difference for the betterment of others is what drives me the most. As I dealt with culture shock and finding my place at Cypress during my initial weeks in the United States, I found my creative space in just learning about this new world that I stepped into. Creativity to me was creating my own place at Cypress and using the resources that helped me to help others. Facing challenges and overcoming them creatively gave me the platform to express myself. Being actively involved in various student leadership platforms gives me the opportunity to make a difference and create a similar space for students that may struggle with similar issues.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Throughout these four years that I have been part of this campus, I have been very lucky to have the guidance of several people who helped me become who I am today. Some people that I believe deserve special recognition and gratitude are:

  • Alan Reza, my EOPS counselor: He has always helped me reach my goals and has constantly provided me with resources and opportunities to succeed as a student at Cypress College.
  • Penny Gabourie, my Honors Program counselor: She always made sure I was on the right track with my education and transfer process.
  • Dave Okawa: He was my advisor for Associated Students and has always encouraged and motivated me to be the best student leader I could be.
  • Lark Crumpler, former supervisor of the Student Ambassador program: I am very grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to be a student ambassador and represent Cypress College.
  • Kassandra Abreu: She is my current supervisor who has constantly believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my goals and aspirations.

Last but not least, some faculty that I am thankful to are Kendyl Covey, whose English classes taught me the value of time management; Nicole Ledesma and Jane Gross, whose math classes taught me that math is not as hard as most people make it seem; and Parwinder Sidhu for her endless support for student success and making economics a fun subject to learn.
In addition, I am also grateful for everyone involved with the EOPS and Honors programs for constantly providing resources and opportunities that have made my educational journey easier.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will be transferring to CSUF in fall 2019 where I will be completing my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and minor in communication studies. I look forward to also being an active student leader at CSUF. After completing my bachelor’s degree in business, I will be pursuing a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

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

I want to build a career in the marketing field of business. Among the broad spectrum of business sectors, marketing intrigues me the most because of its constantly evolving and innovating techniques. With my passion for making a difference and creativity, a career in business marketing is what I am aspiring to right now.

What are you most proud of?

In addition to being proud of the difference I was able to make as an executive vice president of Associated Students and creating a platform for business students through the Business Club, I am most proud of the two scholarships that I received from Associated Students, for being an outstanding student leader in spring 2017 and spring 2019.

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

One piece of advice that I would like to give to the current and future Cypress College students is to always be curious and ask questions. One thing that I have learned through my journey at Cypress is that there are plenty of resources available for students to succeed and the only thing we need to do is seek them. One question that always pushes me to take that next step is to ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Curiosity and asking questions have led me to where I am today, and I hope that I continue to be curious and ask questions in my future educational endeavors.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Cypress College has made me who I am today. It was the first place that I was introduced to when I moved here, and today, it is a place that I call home. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities this place has provided me with. Without the experiences that I have endured at Cypress, I would not be the Tasmia that I am today.

#CYProud: Musab Awad, Registered Nursing

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Musab Awad

Many times, education is a family affair. Musab Awad followed in his mother’s footsteps when he chose to attend Cypress College. Interested in science and the human body from a young age, Musab, one of four sons to a single mother, graduated from the college’s Registered Nursing program. He currently works at Hoag and and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at California State University, Fullerton.

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

I grew up here in Orange County, but we traveled out of the country many times during my childhood. My interests were mainly toward science and the human body. My mom is a single parent and when we moved back to the States in 2008, my mother was stuck with four kids, an apartment with no steady income to pay rent, and no college education. She found out about Cypress College and attended full time while working to support us. She was in EOPS, which provided her with much-needed support and relief. She motivated us to always move forward with our education and never settle for simple things in life. She taught us to aim high and work hard for everything we do in life. She introduced me to nursing and helped me to become the nurse I am today.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Nursing was a competitive major and most programs were impacted and some were expensive. I applied to many nursing programs, but Cypress College had a great nursing program. It was also near my place of residence.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I wasn’t involved very much since most of my time was spent toward earning A’s on my prerequisite nursing classes and supporting my mom while she was out working. I helped manage the house, cook dinner, laundry, any kind of chores that would bring relief to my mom when she got back from work.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping others in their worst times.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

All the Registered Nursing and EOPS faculty and staff!

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am currently working at Hoag and pursuing my bachelor’s degree in nursing at California State University, Fullerton.

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

I plan to continue to work and experience the different areas in nursing. I plan to go for my master’s degree afterward. I aspire to be the best nurse I can be and continue to serve people in need.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my class for becoming registered nurses.

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

Make good connections and make new friends. It’s hard tackling things alone.

#CYProud: Leah Nakahara, Elementary Education

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Leah Nakahara

Leah Nakahara was born and raised a Southern California girl who is passionate about helping and teaching people, particularly children. She successfully completed the Puente Program at the college, and served as a Student Ambassador representing the college at outreach and other on-campus and community events. Leah is transferring to California State University, Long Beach to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and earn her teaching credential.

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

I grew up in Cypress, but moved to Lake Elsinore in the third grade. After high school, I decided to move back and go to Cypress College. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College for the calm and peaceful environment, the small class sizes, and the connections with local Cal States.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

At Cypress College, I was involved in the Puente Program and am currently involved in the Teacher Prep and Student Ambassador programs.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I love helping people whether that be children at the elementary schools I volunteer at or the adults I help while being an ambassador.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Every professor or faculty I have had an encounter with at Cypress has had an impact on my life; however, Kassandra Abreu has had a big part in getting me to where I am today. She has become a mentor, friend, and someone I know I can always go to for advice anytime.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After Cypress, I am going to transfer to California State University, Long Beach where I hope to receive my bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and my teaching credential. Hopefully my master’s degree, too.

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

My long-term goals are to get my master’s degree and have my own classroom.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of graduating from Cypress College in two years with high honors. These past two years have been some of the toughest, and I could not have accomplished this without the support of my family and friends.

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

Advice that I would give to current and future Cypress College students is to not give up. Also not to skip class.

#CYProud: Vy Vu, Business Administration

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Vy Vu

Vy Vu grew up and worked as a travel agent in Vietnam before coming to the United States. Intent on finding success in the States, she chose to pursue an education at Cypress College, not imagining that she would be in a position to transfer to a four-year university after ust two years. She aspires to open her own travel agency to promote cultural tourism between Vietnam and the United States. She is transferring to University of California, Irvine to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a combined master’s degree in finance.

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

I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States from Vietnam four years ago. When I came here, I realized that the best way for me to be successful in the United States was to attend college. Like other foreign students, I started taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, which helped me improve my academic writing and communication skills. From there, my experience at Cypress College has exposed me to and offered me opportunities beyond anything that I imagined. Cypress College has been my personal ‘movable feast’.

When I first started at Cypress College, I had not imaged that two years later I would be applying to transfer to a University of California. I did not think I was good enough. And I never imagined that I would be offered the opportunities and the resources to adapt to life in a new country all while building an educational foundation that would allow me to matriculate to the country’s premier public university system. However, my family and Cypress’ professors encouraged me to try my best, and this encouragement was a large component of my motivation to set my sights high. It took a little finagling. Due to scheduling conflicts I had to take a couple of math classes at another college in order to meet the UC transfer requirements before the application deadline. This included taking one of the classes as an intersession course and the other at the same college because the intersession course did not finish until after my last semester at Cypress had already started. Through it all, the professors and counselors at Cypress completely supported and encouraged me. I was so proud of myself and of the education that I received at Cypress when I got my acceptance letter to University of California, Irvine. From here, it’s up and away as I focus on my interest in business and lay the foundations of building my own business, a business that I envision also as a cultural catalyst.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I still remember the first time I visited Cypress College. When I entered into the Student Center, I just looked around because I did not know who I could ask for help. One of the Cypress staff members instantly recognized that I was a new student and came to help me fill out the application form. I really appreciated her assistance. It made me feel that Cypress’ commitment to students was exceptional and that the staff was there for each and every student with a helpful and friendly outlook. My choice to attend Cypress College was an easy choice to make!

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) for three years. I attended transfer workshops and went on field trips to visit Cal State Fullerton and UCI, organized by EOPS. In addition, I joined the Business Club at Cypress College, which has given me opportunities to see the inside workings of local businesses such as Boardriders. It was exciting to see how the company worked and to have a chance to speak directly with the company representatives in order to look for an internship. Furthermore, I also participated in the 2019 Digital Innovation & Ideathon Competition at Cypress College where I had the opportunity to learn to create an app to help students cope with mental health problems that may challenge them or their friends and colleagues. Participation in these events very much enriched my experiences and education as a student at Cypress College, and I really enjoyed the social and intellectual aspects of the competitions, career fairs, and extracurricular activities that Cypress College organized, supported, and made available to me as a Cypress student.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping other people. I used to work as a receptionist at an assisted senior living facility. When I worked there, I had a chance to help a number of residents who did not have family or relatives. They were lonely and needed help. Sometimes, they just came to the front desk because they needed someone to chat with them and listen to their stories. Day by day, I felt that I started to think of them and love them as I do my family. I enjoyed helping them in whatever ways they needed help, and I realized that I was filling a role that was especially valued by the Vietnamese residents who could not speak English. By the time that I had to give up the job to focus on my studies, I realized that I actually wanted them to come to the front desk to bother me so that I could see them and make sure that they were fine. For me, the residents at assisted senior living were my second family.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The faculty and staff at Cypress College are wonderful. First, I appreciate my EOPS counselor, Leena Acosta. She assisted me to make a good educational plan to achieve my goals and encouraged me to apply for Cypress Foundation scholarships. Second, professors Samantha Simmons and Alison Robertson in the ESL Department, and Professor Kendyl Covey in the English Department helped me improve my academic writing and also gave me good advice whenever I needed help. Last but not least, I cannot forget Professor Ann Solis in the Accounting Department and Professor Sidhu Parwinder in the Economics Department. They shared success stories to inspire me and also encouraged me to transfer to UCI. Without the strong support of the Cypress faculty and staff, I could not have done so well in school. They have contributed a lot to my success today, and I was extremely lucky to be their student.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

The first thing I will do after I have graduated from Cypress College is go on vacation to reward myself. Then, I will apply for a summer internship to earn experience in management before my fall term starts at UCI. I will work with UCI counselors to make an educational plan at the four-year university. I will also participate in activities, clubs, and social events at UCI in order to make new friends and create networking in school.

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

Because I worked as a travel agent before leaving Vietnam, my dream job is to open a travel agency here. My goal is to create a connection between Vietnam and the United States. I envision using my contacts with travel agencies in Vietnam to bring Vietnamese tourists to the United States. I want to organize special tours for elderly Vietnamese living here who want to go back to their homeland to visit their families and friends. I also want to link the newer generations of Vietnamese Americans, who have never traveled to Vietnam, to Vietnam by creating opportunities for them to discover the beauty of their patrimony. Vietnam is not just a series of locations — Halong Bay, Son Doong Cave, or Hoi An; it is a culture — traditional, current, diverse and evolving. It touches one through all of one’s senses: eyes, ears, tongue, heart, mind, and memory. The business that I imagine creating is my dream of creating a future. It is my goal of entrepreneurship. It is my desire to create the cultural, family, heritage, and generational bridges that would be lost in time if not for the vision that I dream.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family. I was raised in a Catholic family. We trust in God. My great grandfather passed away one year ago at 107 years old. He always smiled and said “Good! Good! Thank you,” when his children, nieces, and nephews did something for him. He taught us how to love people, how to share with people, and how to forgive people, as God teaches us. My family always gathers and comes together whenever anyone needs help. They always support me in school and in my efforts to achieve my dreams. Therefore, I want to share my success with my family, make them happy, and make them proud of me.

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

Be an active student both in class and in school. There are a lot of good opportunities for students to expand knowledge and improve life skills. Do not be shy to ask for help. The faculty and staff at Cypress are willing to help students achieve their goals. It does not hurt if you try. Never give up on your dream. If you fail, just do it again, again, and again. Your success is Cypress’ success. “WE TAKE THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“You don’t have a life, because you have a future” – Jennie Beltran.

Don’t be stressed. Do your best. Forget the rest.

#CYProud: Jolene Gazmen, Communication Studies and English

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Jolene Gazmen

In high school, Jolene Gazmen didn’t apply to any colleges because she didn’t think she would ever be good enough. After becoming a mother, she was determined to be someone her daughter would be proud of, so she took the step to return to school and pursue a degree. Though she initially intended to focus solely on her studies and raising her young daughter, she ended up joining the college’s Forensics Team and even took over as captain. Jolene is transferring to University of California, Berkeley to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She dreams of one day writing and starring in her own show.

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

My name is Jolene Gazmen. I’m a Leo and love long walks on the beach… No, but in all seriousness, I am a California native, born and bred. Honestly, it’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I am so happy that I’m finally here. I am a returning student, having graduated high school a decade prior. I sometimes feel out of place, but then I remind myself that everyone lives by their own timeline, and I continue to push through. About 15 years prior, I shut down because of situations in life I wasn’t equipped to deal with at the time. They left me with confidence that could be measured in teaspoons and a head full of self-doubt. I drifted through life, not really trying, hardly even living. But when my daughter was born, I decided to make a change. I had been out of school for so long at that point, but I was determined to become someone that my daughter would be proud to call her mother. So I returned to school, enrolling in Cypress in order to pursue some of my passions.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because I needed a fresh start, and I’m so glad I did! Cypress is not only a beautiful campus, but such a welcoming environment! The staff, counselors, and especially professors helped to empower me, encouraging a girl with crippling self-doubt like me to go for what she wants. When I was in high school, I didn’t even bother to apply to colleges because my lack of confidence convinced me that I would never be good enough. But this time around, I had so much support, so many people in my corner rooting me on, and I had the courage to apply to my dream UC! I’m pleased to say that I’ll be attending Cal beginning fall 2019! It’s something I’d only dreamed of, but Cypress helped to make that dream a reality.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in the Cypress College Forensics (Speech and Debate) team. It’s not something that I was planning on becoming a part of. As an older, returning student, my primary objective going into school this time around was to minimize my social life, to just get through school while raising a toddler and working. I thought my plate was full and that anything else would be too much. Plus, like many students out there, the idea of speaking as solely myself in front of a room full of people seemed like a terrifying thought. Thankfully, I had a truly spectacular COMM 100 professor who convinced me that it was something I could excel in. She empathized with everything I had going on and worked with my schedule, but still pushed me to find strengths in myself that I didn’t even know that I had. I’m proudly the captain of our growing Forensics Team and have even gone on to win awards, which is something I would have never thought I could do when this first began.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My passions are two-fold: writing and acting. When I was at my lowest in life, it was those things that gave me a sense of purpose and saved my life. They provided me with an outlet, a way to sort through things that I couldn’t make sense of. These things are some of my loves in life, and I don’t know where I would be if I ever had to give them up.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The counselors at this school are some of the best I’ve ever encountered. They don’t feel dismissive nor are they judgmental when you tell them where you’ve been or what you want to do, even if your previous track record wasn’t that great (such as it was for myself). They encouraged and reassured me that nothing was out of reach, and that I wasn’t “behind” in life because there is no right or wrong time to go for what I want, just so long as I go for it.

I’ve also been fortunate to have some of the best professors. They are knowledgeable, empathetic, helpful and, most importantly, passionate. None are just going through the motions of teaching, but rather, really taking pride in what they do. Their passion helps me to feel excited for what’s to come! (A special shout out to Jen Page and Josh House, who went above and beyond in all they do for their students and the Forensics team.)

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

Like I mentioned prior, I will be entering as a junior at University of California, Berkeley this fall 2019. I am planning on majoring in English and minoring in creative writing, but I’ve also been flirting with the idea of double majoring in ethnic studies, which I just recently found a passion for thanks to another one of my ever-inspiring professors.

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

My long-term goals include the pursuit of my passions and the enhancement of my craft, which would be writing and acting. I’m striving to incorporate both into whatever future endeavors I choose to pursue, in one aspect or another. My dream would be to write and star in my own show.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my daughter. She is the reason I do all of this, the reason I work so hard both academically and to become an overall better person. I can truly say that I’ve pushed myself to grow beyond the girl who was just resigned to her depression into someone who seeks help, who pushes past her comfort zone to find parts of herself she didn’t know she had. I have become an overall better person with her around, and I hope that by working so hard and following my dreams, it teaches her to do the same. My biggest hope is that I make her proud.

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

My advice to any current or future Cypress College students would be to utilize all the resources available to you. Cypress College offers some of the most wonderfully supportive staff and programs, all of which are designed to help you throughout your journey through Cypress. I hadn’t had the best experiences prior to coming here and I was hesitant about asking for help, but this second time around, I took the leap and I’m so glad that I did!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Not at the moment, but thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you have the best day, whoever you are!

#CYProud: Timothy O’Connor, Mathematics

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Timothy O’Connor

The loss of a close family member is a difficult situation for anyone, but for Timothy O’Connor, it was an event that led him on a downward spiral into poverty, homelessness, and addiction. After receiving help to get himself back on his feet, Timothy chose to pursue his passion in electronics. He is transferring to University of California, San Diego to continue his studies in electrical engineering. He hopes to work in control systems or power generation, and is interested in clean energy.

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, California. My father worked in the defense industry and my mother was a computer programmer. Growing up, I played a lot of sports and musical instruments. I played golf, football, and baseball, as well as the saxophone and snare drum. After high school, my father passed away, and I was deeply affected by it. I took a long absence from school, and worked in the restaurant industry, until I finally decided to commit to getting my associate degree and transferring.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress because when I decided to come back to school, I didn’t have a car, and Cypress was close enough to ride the bus to and cheaply commute using Uber if need be.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in the (STEM)2 program here at Cypress, I was an SI leader for Physics 201/210, and am now currently a tutor for math and physics in the Learning Resource Center and Math Learning Center.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about figuring out how things work, especially cars and electronics. I love taking things apart and building little gadgets. I have a few Raspberry Pis that I’ve made to emulate retro games and practice ethical hacking. I also love anything to do with space exploration. I have a replica of the Saturn V rocket that took us to the moon, built from Lego, in my bedroom.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

My calculus and physics professors had the most profound impact on my time here at Cypress. Professor Morvan taught me how to conceptualize calculus and clearly articulate what I was doing in my work. Professor Nusbaum showed me how interesting series and integrals could be, and always made class interesting by showing interesting proofs and giving challenging problems for extra credit. Professor Plett always brought such a pleasant energy to her classes and made some extremely difficult topics palatable and digestible. Professor Mercado put me on the right track toward being able to understand physics on a conceptual level. Dr. Armale made mechanics fun with his in-class demonstrations and pop culture references. Dr. Subramaniam pushed me to always perform my best and to not give up. She would show me where my weaknesses were, and it forced me to confront and conquer them. Dr. Hall made things very interesting in the topics of waves, optics, and thermodynamics. He would show us tools such as Taylor series approximations and helped me link together what I learned in calculus with what I was learning in physics. All these professors made a truly profound impact on my time here at Cypress, and I am so grateful to have been one of their many pupils.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I plan on transferring to University of California, San Diego to continue my studies in electrical engineering. I support myself by working in restaurants, but I want to continue tutoring part time in calculus and physics. The opportunity to do that has kept my mind sharp, reminds me of what I have forgotten, and forces me to relearn things, keeping my skills sharp for more difficult courses.

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

I want to work in either control systems or power generation. I would love to be able to design better controls for cars, airplanes, or satellites. I also feel as though efficient and clean energy generation is crucial for our success as a society. I feel as though the topic of clean energy gets too politicized for there to be ample progress. One day, I hope to assist in creating something that will help our planet, society, and future generations to come.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of beating addiction. After my father died, I developed a severe issue with substance abuse. I was homeless at times, broke, jobless, and at the true nadir of my life. I was finally able to get some help and pull myself out of it. I am now able to pursue my dreams and have taken care of myself the whole time since.

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

One is that the world does not owe you a thing. You can only control how you react to situations, and when you can understand that, you will have strength to persevere through tough times with your family, classes, jobs. Things won’t always go the way you want them to go, but you don’t ever have to give up. I’ve always tried to reassess my part in how things might not have gone my way and improve my future attempts at pursuing my goals as best I can.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would just like to tell people to dream big. Even if you fall a little short, you’re destined to do something good.

#CYProud: Holly Herrera, Mortuary Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Holly Herrera

Holly Herrera worked as an EMT until she decided she wanted a career focusing on the surviving family members of a trauma. Committed to working in the funeral industry, she returned to school to pursue an education in mortuary science while working full time and raising a family. Holly is now a licensed funeral director and registered apprentice embalmer at a funeral home in Corona. She also hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in forensics or criminalistics to one day work as an investigator for a coroner or in a similar medicolegal career.

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 Memphis, Tennessee. Like most people, my childhood wasn’t ideal, but I am forever grateful for the experiences that have shaped me into the adult I am today. I currently live in the Inland Empire with my husband, our three children, and the most beautiful and talented fur-baby you have ever seen! I am also a licensed funeral director and a registered apprentice embalmer for a funeral home in Corona, California.

Professionally speaking, I come from a background of emergency medicine. During my time as an EMT, I encountered every aspect of humanity. I have seen the ugly, the terrifying, the promising, and the innocence of life. After some time, I felt compelled to move on to a new chapter of my career, this time focusing on the surviving family. It is a privilege to help families celebrate the life of their loved one.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Once I had committed myself to working in the funeral industry, I began to research schools. When I found that Cypress was not only within a commutable distance, but also regarded as having one of the leading Mortuary Science programs, I knew it was meant to be. Returning to school after a hiatus of raising children and working in a different career path was daunting. I felt intimidated and unsure if I could do it. My first meeting with a counselor reassured me that I was making the right choice and just how lucky I was to attend Cypress.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

It wasn’t until the third semester of my program that students and faculty were able to establish the Sigma Phi Sigma chapter here on campus. The purpose of our fraternity is to educate the public about the funeral industry and shed light on a field that is often misunderstood. I encourage all students to enhance their educational experience by participating in clubs and fraternities. You really owe it to yourself to give it a try.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

Not to sound cliché, but I am passionate about life. Since working in the funeral industry, I have come to appreciate just how little time we have on this earth. Witnessing firsthand how unpredictable death can be has put my own life into perspective. Time flies by. It is a precious gift that many of us take for granted. Spend the time you have with careful words and a forgiving heart.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Each faculty member of the mortuary program has positively contributed to my time here.

Professor Grande has become a mother figure to me, whom I hold in high regard. In an industry that is historically made up of men, she has worked her way to the top and is single-handedly the most knowledgeable person of funeral law. Jolena Grande is a force to reckon with, and I admire her tenacity and appreciate her nearly impossible homework load. Professor Grande, I thank you.

Dr. de la Cruz is an aristocrat of mortuary science. He is truly a student’s advocate and holds our best interests at heart. Not surprisingly, he is also one of the most generous people I have ever met. There is never a dull moment in a DLC class. He has created a drive in all of us to become the best we can possibly be, and to do so with unfailing integrity. Dr. de la Cruz, I thank you.

Professor Collins, the fashionista of mortuary science, has the best attitude and sense of humor, both of which are desperately needed in this industry! Her door is always open to students and she takes time to hear us out and find solutions to our problems. She relates to her students and her desire to help us succeed is genuine. Professor Collins, I thank you.

Professor McCament. There are not enough sweet words to describe this man. He is the most selfless soul, commuting unthinkable miles, all in the name of teaching. When my cohort first heard that he was retiring, we legitimately felt sad. There is no end to this man’s patience. I could not have asked for a better instructor and I feel confident in my own skillset thanks to his guidance. Professor McCament, I thank you.

Lastly, but certaintly not least, Professor Nichols. Even though we had a short time with you face-to-face, you managed to get us all excited for restorative art. Even though your days are spent outside of the classroom, you are always reachable and ready to help us with any concerns. More importantly you taught us not to take ourselves seriously and to enjoy our work. Professor Nichols, I thank you.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am currently in a two-year apprenticeship for my embalmer’s license. I will continue to work both as a registered apprentice and a licensed funeral director. I look forward to applying what I have learned here at Cypress.

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

My plan is to begin my undergrad in forensics or criminalistics while I am completing my apprenticeship. My aspirations are to work in the capacity of an investigator for a coroner, or in another medicolegal position.

What are you most proud of?

I will be completely honest, when I received notification that I was selected to be recognized, initially I did not feel as if I deserved it. There have been many times during the duration of my program that I wanted to give up. Through the challenges of having a family, working full-time, and attending school full-time, I questioned my choice daily. However, I stuck with it, and I refused to back down. I am proud that I am just a few weeks of completing this chapter of my life and look forward to the next challenge.

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

I’d like to speak directly to those who find themselves wanting a change in careers, or who have spent their lives being a caretaker and now want to do something for themselves: You can do this. No matter what field calls your name, once you make that commitment, see it through. Life will throw all sorts of obstacles your way. There will be times that you will find yourself in tears questioning your decision. Those are the times that define us and show us just how fierce we are. Take the time to shed your tears, gather your thoughts, and move one foot in front of the other.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to personally thank all the members of my cohort. We have been through some difficult times together, and I am honored to have stood alongside every one of you. I hope you all have learned something from me as I have learned from you. I wish you well and I hope to see you once again.

#CYProud: Minh Nguyen, Chemistry

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen graduated high school in Vietnam, then moved to the United States to pursue higher education, with sights on becoming an emergency doctor and medical researcher. “I will be able to contribute my work to improve the quality of life for people who, unfortunately, do not have the basic rights and benefits as others,” he said. After encountering some health setbacks of his own, Minh became heavily involved on campus in the (STEM)2 program, Chemistry Club, and as a supplemental instruction leader. In 2019, he was named the college’s American Chemical Society, Orange County Section’s Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year. He is transferring to University of California, Irvine in fall 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.

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

After graduating high school in Vietnam, I started my new academic journey in the United States. Everything was on the right track after I got accepted to Cypress College until I was brought to the emergency room at Orange Coast Memorial Hospital for a surgery; my life was crumbling down again. It was a hard time for me when I had to keep doing great in my first semester at school while suffering from my hurting wound every single day. The hospital bills were stacking up in the mailbox and my homework due dates were coming one by one. I could not sit or walk normally, so I lay on my bed with my vocabulary and science books. Countless hours were spent in my room trying to understand the English words and science concepts that I missed. After a massive amount of effort, I finally got a constant 4.0 GPA at Cypress College. I got over that extremely difficult time of my life and nothing could hold me back now.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I visited many community colleges in Orange County: Golden West College, Cerritos College, Coastline College, and Cypress College. I was impressed by the clean and beautiful campus with a lot of trees at Cypress, especially the ducks by the pond in the middle of the campus, which gave me a feeling of comfort. It motivated me even more when I contacted the international office for more details. They are very friendly and very open to welcome students. I felt like this would be my second home in my college life; therefore, I decided to take this journey together with Cypress.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?
When everything went back to normal, I started to get involved in our campus. Based on my good performance at Cypress College, I was chosen as be a one-on-one tutor for math, chemistry, and physics in the Learning Resource Center in spring 2017 and was accepted as a supplemental instruction (SI) leader for Calculus II in fall 2017. After two semesters of my great efforts, I got promoted to be a mentor for SI in fall 2018.

I have been a (STEM)2 scholar since fall 2016. Based on the (STEM)2 program, I had a chance to conduct hands-on research at University of California, Irvine in summer 2018. This was when I got a step closer to my dream. The research was about biomedical engineering techniques. Along with my research group, we contributed to engineering a mechanical device that tested effects in collagen density from fibroblast production due to applying mechanical stress. The research has given me even more motivation to study and work harder for this major.

Also during that summer, I got elected to be the Chemistry Club president for the next two semesters. As a campus club, we provide the environment for students who are interested in STEM fields to work with professionals, conduct outreach activities, promote chemistry, and inspire young generations about science. It is also my best and most memorable moment when I was nominated by Professor Robin De Roo for the American Chemical Society, Orange County Section’s Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year 2019.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I came from Vietnam where people must work as hard as possible just to barely earn their daily bread. Like other developing countries, we have a low education system, corruption, and one of the worst medical systems. Health is the priority. Without health, nothing can be done. My final goal, which has been the ambition and inspiration of my life, is to be an emergency doctor and a medical researcher. I will be able to contribute my work to improve the quality of life for people who, unfortunately, do not have the basic rights and benefits as others. I will be able to use my abilities to explore new things or invent useful things for the future of mankind.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Words cannot fully describe how thankful I am to all of the amazing faculty and staff at Cypress College. They are all sharing a big, warm heart with the students. Especially, I would like to give a huge thanks to:

  • Professor De Roo, who is my favorite organic chemistry professor. Her enthusiasm and kindness have inspired me in chemistry. I always want to be in her class every single day no matter what. Thank you so much for being an awesome professor!
  • My coordinator, Janelle Salinas and my mentor, Francisco Perez. They are the most wonderful staff I have worked with. They are always there when we need it the most. They are always there to make us better. Without their help, I could not become a strong and skillful leader as I am now.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

For now, I will spend my summer reviewing the past materials before I transfer to UCI. I will also take some summer classes there through the Transfer Edge program. And definitely, I will reward myself by traveling and exploring new places in the summer.

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

I will first start with a biomedical engineering major. I am transferring to UC Irvine in fall 2019. After graduating from UCI, I will apply for medical schools to earn the M.D.-Ph.D. degree in eight more years.

What are you most proud of?

From the bottom of my heart, my biggest pride is my mother. She is the one and only person who I will always work my best for. In the past, she had lived in misery from an unhappy marriage. Domestic violence had been killing her every day for more than 14 years. Even though she suffered a lot in her life, she is always fighting for the best for her kids, me and my sister. My mom has spent her whole life for us. Now, it is my time to do the best for her.

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

You have nothing to lose, so do not hesitate. Dr. Rajab, my biology professor, said, “When in doubt, ask about.” Yes, be ready to let your curiosity glow. I am definitely sure it will take you somewhere good. You may not even imagine how you got there so easily.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“Be awesome and join Chemistry Club!”

#CYProud: Felicia Cleaver, Psychology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Felicia Cleaver

Felicia Cleaver grew up a Los Angeles native who graduated high school with honors, but did not immediately pursue higher education. At the age of 25 and as a single mother of two, Felicia found herself drawn to pursuing a degree for her children and out of curiosity. Felicia received her associate degree in psychology and liberal arts with an emphasis in social and behavioral sciences in May 2019. She started an outreach program for young women in Hawaiian Gardens, along with a recreation program for special-needs youth. She is transferring to California State University, Fullerton in fall 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in communications.

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 ghettos of Los Angeles, California. While growing up, I showed leadership skills in all school activities, but was caught in the whirlpool of dysfunctional family life. My focal point became a goal to get grades that would allow me to enter college and be able to choose a career. I pulled myself up, pushed through the family deterrences, graduated high school with honors, and am now a first-generation college student. I have and will achieve any goal I set my mind too. Currently, I’m striving to enhance my communication and motivation skills while keeping a GPA above a 3.5 as a full-time student, which can attest to my drive and ambition in completing my educational goals, along with raising two beautiful children. If you’re reading this, just know, anything is possible if you believe in yourself!

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose to come back to college for one main reason: curiosity. My greatest motivation for returning to college is my two children. In the beginning, I was a little hesitant and only took one course because it had been almost eight years since I last stepped foot in a classroom. In all honesty, I never thought or was certain if I was ever going to go back to school. Then I stumbled across Cypress College simply by driving by it. Something sparked inside of me (curiosity), and I enrolled. It was the best decision I ever made, and Cypress College, in turn, has been the best community college I could have asked for! I enrolled in Cypress College in the spring of 2017, and at the time I was a 25-year-old single mother of two, but desperately decided that I needed to take action to get an education I deserve.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Curiosity got me in the door, but my motivation has pushed me through my past two years at Cypress College. Only having a part-time job working eight hours a week, it is hard financially, but going to school and understanding financial aid and being part of the EOPS and CalWORKs programs has made all the difference. Similarly, I am a participant in the CARE program and have found the networking events, grants, seminars, and scholarship opportunities all beneficial. I have utilized my time well at Cypress College and the programs set in place to help students succeed is what makes this college great.

I will also recognize the Learning Resource Center and endless tutors in the math and English centers for all their help! Spring of 2019, this is my last semester and the first semester that had child care open up at Cypress College. Those two days and eight hours every week are really beneficial for a single parent, and I could not be happier about the direction that this college is going. If it was not for these programs, it would be very difficult to get to school when having two children. My curiosity turned into motivation, then determination. In my last semesters, I have been able to broaden my net and be involved in clubs such as the Psychology Club and obtain the title of president of Psi Beta on campus, which is a national honor society for students attending two-year colleges.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I have a profound interest in the studies of the mind, so my career goal is in studying psychology. The purpose and passion of my life is to discover a greater understanding of the universe and its people. Specifically, I plan to better grasp the beauty and miracles of this world and share them with each person I come in contact with. I know my doctoral degree is further in the future, but I’m doing everything now to obtain practice in this field. I am also starting an outreach program to young women in the city of Hawaiian Gardens as well as a special needs recreation program for the youth.

Everything I do in my time now is free of charge. I am gaining experience in this field on top of my book work. I am a bright and intelligent student whose potential is endless. I want to help people who need help, who need support, or who need resources, are neglected, or otherwise at a disadvantage in life. If I can help 1 out of 10 people then I know I made a difference in the world and a difference in the life of that individual. You don’t have to be a superhero to have a mission!

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

A student’s accomplishments are directly related to the daily efforts of faculty and staff at any college. I am pleased to say there is an abundance of great faculty and staff at Cypress College and I couldn’t have done this without them! There are so many that have made my journey a successful one, I want to shout out to:

  • EOPS/CalWORKs/CARE – Connie Boehler, Lili Perez, Leena Acosta
  • English Department – Nicholas Gil, Stephanie Tran
  • Psychology Department – Brandy Young, Randy Martinez, and Carlos Sandoval

Thank you all for being there for me, being guides, mentors, and writing references for me. You are all wonderful! You groomed me to be a sound professional and made working with you an interesting and memorable experience. I will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

Right now I need to put my full focus on receiving my two associate degrees from Cypress College and pursuing my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Cal State University, Fullerton. Then I hope to get into a doctoral program. I will increase my communication and writing skills, while enhancing my understanding of human behavior. I’m just at the beginning, but I am a perfectionist and always strive for success.

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

My long-term goal is to obtain an applied doctorate and eventually become a professor at a college. 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 proud of?

I am most proud of my time spent on pursuing scholarships. I have currently won two scholarships just through Cypress College. I will obtain two associate degrees and my bachelor’s degree from CSUF all on scholarships, not including my financial aid award. Saving money is a must, and everyone should be applying for scholarships. They are out there; you just have to do the work!

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

Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: College will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Be sure to get the best of both worlds and find the healthy balance between the studying, and contributing to your school, all while utilizing resources on campus. Finally, the best piece of advice I could ever give, and have ever received, comes from my statistics teacher in Psychology: “Take everything one… step… at… a… time.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

For anyone to really open a challenge within themselves they have to believe they can really do it, and, above all else, really want it (self-fulfilling prophecy)! Believe in yourself. You are your own rainbow!

#CYProud: Abby Omolafe, Political Science and Dance

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Abby Omolafe

Abby Omolafe was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. She grew up in La Palma and graduated from Kennedy High School prior to starting her studies at Cypress College. Initially, she pursued an education to become a registered nurse, but later reevaluated and realized she was most passionate about working for the government and enjoyed dance. She advocates for orphans and foster youth as the current Miss High Desert Hills, and earned her associate degree in political science and dance. She transferred to California State University, Long Beach in fall 2019.

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

I grew up in Nigeria, Africa. I came to America when I was 12 years old. I am now graduating with my associate degree in political science and dance, which is a dream come true. This feels like the first step in achieving my goal of serving my community. I lived in La Palma, which is about 10 minutes away from Cypress. I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. I am currently a Disney cast member, as well as the current Miss High Desert Hills.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because it was close to home, as well as cheaper than four-year universities. I am transferring to California State University, Long Beach debt free because of financial aid. Cypress also has intimate class settings, as well as great professors who are always open and willing to help students however they can.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I started as a registered nursing major at Cypress; however, the more I took classes the more I realized it wasn’t for me. After that, I talked to a counselor to explore other options. Through all this, I took dance classes and I was a part of the dance concert every semester. I found that I was most passionate about working in the U.S. government, so I started the process to get my associate degree in political science, as well as dance.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I have the honor of being part of the Miss America Organization. I have been working as a local title holder on my platform which is “Until They All Have Homes: Advocating for Orphans/Foster Youths.” With this platform, I work with organizations like Olive Crest, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Together We Rise to help foster children find loving homes and safe environments. I also do suitcase drives all over California to provide foster children with suitcases filled with toiletries, stuffed toys, books, and blankets. I am most passionate about my platform because I am also an orphan. I was adopted by my maternal grandmother and brought to America after I lost my parents at the age of 10. Unfortunately, the environment I was put in after I was adopted was highly toxic and abusive, so I know what it’s like to not have anyone to stand up for you. I am determined to make a difference in the lives of foster children.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Professor Maha Afra has been an amazing role model to me. She is one of the most caring and dedicated professors at Cypress College. Knowing my story and background, she always makes sure to ask about my health. She is always encouraging and gives me hope whenever I feel like giving up. Maha always asks after the well-being of her students and even has pillows in her office to make sure we have a safe space we can escape to. She goes above and beyond to make sure we are successful in our educations while we have healthy bodies and minds.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am transferring to the California State University, Long Beach for a bachelor’s degree in political science. After getting my bachelor’s degree, I would like to take the LSAT and go to law school.

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

My career ambition is to become a prosecutor at a district attorney’s office and eventually work in the U.S. Congress.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact that I now live on my own, but I am still able to take care of myself and go to school to achieve my dreams. As an orphan, I have found my own family in my pageant sisters, my fellow cast members, my fellow dancers, and the amazing men and women who have helped me in one way or another. I pulled myself out of a toxic and abusive environment with the help of my aunt and all my supporters.

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

Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world. For current and future Cypress College students, my one advice is to never give up just because the road is hard. The path to success is not a short one. Learn from your mistakes, celebrate the little achievements and always remember you can achieve anything with discipline, optimism, resilience, and hard work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If I can do it, you can too!

Cypress College Foundation Awards More Than $260,000 in Scholarships

The Cypress College Foundation recognized nearly 250 exceptional students receiving more than 300 awards for a total of more than $260,000 in scholarships at the Annual Scholarship Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 8. More than 400 family, friends, faculty, staff, and students attended the event held in Gateway Plaza in front of the campanile.

The Cypress College Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to raise money for the college through donors who care about our students. These funds are designated to assist students with scholarships and support other important college programs. Oversight of the Foundation comes from a group of dedicated volunteers serving as the Board of Directors, along with the leadership of the Cypress College president.

Cypress College Radiologic Technology graduate Crystal Neer started a scholarship to help deserving health science majors in the EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKS programs.

Thank you to our donors, faculty, staff, Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling — and, especially, our deserving students.

College to Welcome Prospective Students at Commit2Cypress

Cypress College will host hundreds of prospective students at its inaugural Commit2Cypress event on Wednesday, May 1. The event will feature a resource fair with food trucks; a Charger Experience welcome; and information sessions about admissions, counseling, and different student services and programs.

Commit2Cypress aims to introduce students to academic pathways of interest, inform them of resources at the college to help them succeed, and provide support even before day one of their educational journeys at the college.

Students will also learn about the North Orange County Community College District’s North Orange Promise, which will be expanded starting fall 2019 to offer all eligible first-time college students one year of free tuition.

Attendees will have an opportunity to be entered into a drawing for $250 book awards.Free parking will be available in Lot 4

Students and their families may RSVP to attend the resource fair and two information sessions here.

Questions? Contact Noor Altoma at naltoma@cypresscollege.edu or (714) 484-7000 ext. 48269.

Now Offering On-Campus Child Care Services

In partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cypress and Anaheim, and North Orange Continuing Education, Cypress College now offers free on-campus child care services for all enrolled students while accessing services on campus like counseling appointments, tutoring sessions, and studying in the L/LRC.

To assist students with school-age children, Boys and Girls Club offers services throughout the semester on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in NOCE (Bldg 18), Room 117 from 2 – 6 p.m. Children are offered help with their homework, or can engage in games, arts and crafts, literacy activities, and STEM activities.

For more information, please contact the Boys and Girls Club of Cypress at (714) 527-2697 Ext. 200 or email information@bgccypress.org.

Cypress College Foundation Recognizes Citizens, Woman of the Year at 44th Annual Americana Awards

On February 23, 2019, the Cypress College Foundation held its 44th Annual Americana Awards at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom, honoring and recognizing Citizens of the Year from the college’s eight surrounding communities and 2019 Woman of the Year Jill Bolton.

The Americana Awards is the Foundation’s signature event attracting roughly 600 guests. It is also the college’s major annual fundraiser with proceeds supporting the work of the Foundation, including funding student scholarships, providing student book loans and emergency assistance, offering faculty grants, developing the college’s endowment, and more.

Woman of the Year, Jill Bolton

Jill Bolton recently retired from a 24-year career at the Disneyland Resort where for the last 18 years she served as the executive overseeing all of the resort’s Corporate Citizenship efforts.

She joined the Public Affairs Division as manager of Disney Educational Programs in February, 1994 and was responsible for implementing numerous educational programs with Orange County school districts. She created an educational arts partnership program that provided teachers over $700,000 in grants to enhance the arts in their classrooms, offered cultural performance assemblies to over 100 schools annually and arts and entertainment workshops for teachers. She oversaw the Disneyland Band Concert Program serving 40,000 second graders annually, implemented the “Creativity Challenge,” a performance-based competition for middle and high school students and started a mentorship program.

She established strong relationships with school district superintendents, the Orange County School of the Arts, the Orange County Department of Education, supporting hundreds of teachers through their annual Teacher of the Year awards program, and with the California State Department of Education by hosting the California Distinguished School Awards at the Disneyland Resort.

In 1998, Jill’s responsibilities expanded to encompass all of Disneyland Resorts community relations efforts overseeing all donations to the community and a variety of outreach programs, including the annual Community Service Awards providing hundreds of thousands of grants to local nonprofit organizations, the Disney Wish Program, The Community Involvement Program, a ticket program for individuals with disabilities, The Disneyland Dreamers and Doers Program, which supports high school students who focus on efforts to improve the local community and the annual CHOC Walk, the largest fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Orange County. She also became responsible for overseeing the Disneyland Ambassador Program, a legacy initiative that was started back in 1965 during the 10-year anniversary of Disneyland.

On January 1, 2000, Jill was promoted to the executive level as director of Corporate Citizenship, overseeing all Disneyland Resort’s philanthropic giving, including all cash and in-kind giving valued between $17 and $20 million annually. In this role she created several new programs such as Show Your Character, the Disneyland scholarship program, and the Happiest Class on Earth – a ticket donation program to encourage sixth graders to complete a project to enhance their community. She was also instrumental in establishing the relationship with the nonprofit organization KaBOOM! to help build nine playgrounds throughout Orange County – each designed by neighborhood children to bring play to underserved communities. She also was the creator of a marketing effort, raising funds for Make a Wish called “Share Your Ears.” During her tenure, Jill also had the responsibility of placing leaders on community boards – such as Michael Cooper, Disneyland Director of Sourcing and Procurement, who serves on the Cypress College Foundation Board of Directors. Her role was further expanded in 2008 when she became responsible for the Ambassador program on a global level supporting Parks and Resorts in Florida, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Paris.

Jill’s interest in youth led her to be involved with numerous organizations that support the needs and development of the young. She launched a comprehensive school to career program for Anaheim High School students and partnered with the Anaheim Parks and Recreation Department to provide funding to build local skate parks and refurbish sports fields. She currently serves on the Festival of Children Foundation Board, having been involved with that organization since its inception more than a decade ago. From 2013 to 2017 she hosted the Carousel of Possible Dreams event at the Disneyland Resort, helping to raise over $1.2 million for local children’s charities. She served as a longtime board member of the Anaheim Family YMCA, 15 years on the board and serving as its chairman in 2013, and 2014 as vice chairman and secretary. She chaired the Governance Committee and served on the Executive and Personnel committees and led the effort to build a new YMCA facility, the Active Living Center at Ross Park, scheduled to open in 2019.

Born in San Diego, Jill was raised in Huntington Beach and graduated from Marina High School. She matriculated to the University of California, Irvine, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and an Education Administrative Credential in 1982. In 1985 she graduated with both a master’s degree in Counseling and a School Psychology Credential from California State University, Long Beach. She also earned a certificate in Corporate Community Involvement Management from Boston College. Prior to joining Disneyland, she was employed as a full-time school psychologist for Huntington Beach City Schools.

City of Anaheim, James and Lori Dinwiddie

James and Lori’s story began in 1983 when they first met in photography class at John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma. High school sweethearts, they have been married 26 years, live in Lori’s childhood home in Buena Park, and have devoted most of their volunteerism and community service to Anaheim.

The Dinwiddie’s dedication to community service began when their sons entered Luther Elementary School. Lori, a stay-at-home mom, quickly became involved with PTA and was “bitten” by the community volunteer bug. From there, Lori began serving in numerous capacities for the Cypress School District. Her involvement in education continued through her children’s middle and high school years.

In addition to her work in education, Lori has supported numerous organizations. Since 2016, she’s been an Anaheim Sister City Commissioner and has been chairman of the Government and Cultural Exchange program, which brings exchange students from Mito, Japan to Anaheim. She is also involved with the Anaheim 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Anaheim YMCA Good Friday Breakfast Committee, and the YMCA’s Art Auction Committee. She has been a director of the Anaheim Fall Festival Board and the coordinator for both the Anaheim Halloween Parade and Miss Anaheim Fall Festival Teen Ambassador program. For many years she was also a member of the Anaheim Arts Council Board of Directors.

Following high school, James attended California State University, Long Beach, where he earned his degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in power design and controls. James is a registered professional engineer and the president & CEO of Power Design. James belongs to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers and the California Society of Professional Engineers.

While supporting his family and running his business, James was inspired to get involved with the Anaheim Family YMCA, and in particular its Indian Guides program. Indian Guides is the catalyst for James’ involvement in the community, as this program helped him grow with his children and give back to support the community. James served as the Indian Guides Nation Chief, and in 2002 he joined the Y’s board of directors and has co-chaired its annual support campaign.

James served as an Anaheim Sister City Commissioner from 2010 through 2016 and was the Government and Cultural Exchange Chairman for 2013-16. In this capacity, he was involved with the exchange program with Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. James is also involved with Anaheim Cops4Kids and has devoted countless hours to helping the Anaheim community. Like Lori, James was also involved with the JFK Shamrock Regiment, where he served for 9 years. Within his role on the Board, he was both Ways and Means Chairman and the Board president.

Outside their various individual roles, James and Lori have grown to be heavily involved in the Anaheim community and participate together in a number of major community organizations including the Anaheim Flag Day Committee as well as the Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting Committee. One of their favorite activities is their participation as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, where each year nearly 1000 children visit with them and tell them what they want Santa to bring them for the holiday season. This has slowly evolved from assisting with the taking of photos nearly a decade ago to donning the Mr. and Mrs. Claus suits at Anaheim’s and other regional events.

City of Buena Park, Leslee Milch

Leslee Milch is a National Board Certified Teacher, Early Childhood Generalist, and has been a teacher and reading specialist in the Buena Park School District for 25 years.

Leslee was born in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Her family moved frequently before settling in Garden Grove. After graduating from Rancho Alamitos High School, she became a waitress for Bob’s Big Boy restaurants, and at 21 a manager. Later, after her divorce and as a single mom she waitressed at Charley Browns restaurant and volunteered at her son’s school. Accepting a friend’s challenge to return to school, she earned both her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from CSULB. In 2002, she earned a Master of Science degree and Reading Specialist credential from CSUF.

Besides being well-respected professionally, Leslee is intimately involved with the school community at Gilbert Elementary School as a kindergarten teacher. Over 20 years ago, she started a summer READ WITH ME! program, where she helps children overcome the summer lag by reading to them at Bellis Park.

Leslee says it all began when she was mentioning summer vacation to her class. One little boy asked, “Who’s going to read to us?” Her response was, “I’ll go to the park and read to you.” That first summer between 10 and 40 children would show up to hear her read, sing songs and nibble on pretzels that she brought. Over the years, the summer program grew and the Buena Park Library asked to partner with her. The library staff brought books in their own cars until procuring a ‘cool’ mobile van for community outreach. Leslee now reads to 100 or more children of all ages each Wednesday for a couple of hours, while the library staff checks out books to the children. For many of these children, who would not otherwise have transportation to the library, Leslee’s program is the only access to books or connection to school and learning during the summer months.

Leslee’s involvement in the community goes beyond her summer READ WITH ME! program. Each year the City of Buena Park has a student art show, and Leslee submits art work for every child in her class. Leslee financially supports Buena Park Goes to College, where high school students are provided with access to information to prepare themselves for college. She is also a founding member of the Buena Park School District Education Foundation and has written grants for over $40,000 to help students from the Buena Park School District attend outdoor science camp.

City of Cypress, Charles Williams

Charles Williams is fondly called “coach” by the hundreds of boys and girls who have played hockey, softball, baseball or football under his direction.

He first coached the South Coast Sabers, a hockey team for 15-16 year olds that he led to championships during his several years as coach when his daughter Amanda began playing softball, Charles coached her first team. When his son Nathan began playing baseball, Charles slid into coaching that team, while still supporting his daughter and leading her Y2K Softball Team to the West Coast Softball Championship.

Charles was born in San Pedro, but Cypress has been his home since 1968. He attended Cypress Elementary School, Morris Elementary, Oxford Junior High, and graduated from Cypress High School in 1979. He enrolled at California State University, Fullerton, where he was a bullpen catcher until he hurt his arm, an injury that ended his baseball career. He then focused on math and earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at National University. He spent his career in the computer field, and with a friend in 1992, began National Creditors Connection, a business he still oversees.

A few years ago, Charles was approached by members of the Boys and Girls Club of Cypress who were seeking a reliable vehicle for the transportation of the Club’s kids. His response was, “What do you need, and how can I help?” From this meeting, he agreed to financially support the Boys & Girls Club in its efforts to purchase three, 14-passenger vans. This allowed the club to more than double the number of children attending the main branch after-school program.

Along with this gift, he continues his generosity through the “Change of Life” Scholarship program and the “Keeping Kids on Track” annual event. Charles and his family also sponsor a child every year to help low income and military families who can’t afford to pay the membership fees. His new focus is the Teen Center at the club. He and his wife donate monies to the program as well as coordinate golf tournaments to help raise needed funds.

For his community-wide efforts, Charles has twice been recognized by the Cypress School District and named Cypress Volunteer of the Year by Cypress Parks and Recreation. He has also received the Service Above Self Award from Cypress Rotary.

City of Garden Grove, A.G. and Kelly Anvari

When it comes to selecting caregivers for their agency, A. G. and Kelly Anvari promote “Character Counts.”

A.G. and Kelly, owners and operators of Visiting Angels, Living Assistance Services in Garden Grove, not only list “character counts” in their business brochure, but their own character counts in all they do in their community of Garden Grove.

A.G. was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and at 15 he immigrated to the United States. He settled in Charlotte, where his sponsor, a professor at Gaston College, resided. A.G. attended two-year Gaston College before transferring to UNC.

A.G. and Kelly met while students at the University of North Carolina. Both were working their way through school by waiting tables at “Slugs” in Charlotte, a fine dining restaurant on the 30th floor of the 1st Union Bank Building. Kelly was a political science major and A.G. was a chemistry major. The couple married in 1984 in York, South Carolina, and later moved to Poconos, Pennsylvania, the state where Kelly spent some of her childhood before her family settled in Charlotte.

In 1997, A.G. and Kelly moved to Garden Grove where they got involved in the community, and in 2004 they began their Visiting Angels home care business. They also like working with baby boomers, whom they employ as caregivers. “We are always looking for exceptional caregivers, those with experience and compassion,” said A.G. Through their business they partner with many local organizations that serve the senior population

Kelly was a volunteer member of Friendly Visitors, taking care of one woman for a total of three years. For four years she was employed as a librarian at Peters Elementary School.

In 2004, Kelly and A.G. joined the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce – Kelly the Women’s Division and A.G. the general organization. Kelly was a board member nearly six years, serving as president for two years. Both A.G. and Kelly have been honored by the Chamber’s Women’s Division with the group’s Silver Spoon Award for Volunteerism.

Kelly was also on the board for four years of Acacia Adult Day Care and has been a member of Assistance League Garden Grove for nearly six years. Although not a member, she supports the Veterans Program of the Women’s Civic Club of Garden Grove.

A.G. joined Rotary of Garden Grove in 2013, has been secretary since 2014, and continued in that role while serving as president from 2017-2018, and again February – June 2019. Through Rotary, he helps raise dollars for scholarships for sixth graders at the city’s schools. The scholarships are awarded during a lunch ceremony for the recipients and their families. Funds for the awards are raised through a dinner, opportunity drawings, and an event at the Gem Theater. A.G. helps fundraise so Rotary can donate $3,000 annually to Assistance League Garden Grove for its Operation School Bell program that provides clothes, shoes, and books for elementary school children whose parents need assistance. Other funds A.G. helps Rotary raise assist local centers such as Magnolia or Buena Clinton Center and international grants to support the needy in Vietnam and Mexico.

City of La Palma, Greg Goodyear

Greg Goodyear is the epitome of a man of integrity, honor, volunteerism, and dedication to his community and it is exemplified by his decades of service to all of our service organizations in La Palma, said La Palma City Councilman Peter Kim.

Greg was born in Adrian, Michigan and was raised in the same area. After graduating from Sand Creek High School, he attended Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In 1974, he earned his CPA License, also in Michigan, and his first career-path job as an accountant was with Alexander Grant and Company in Muskegon, Michigan, where he worked from June 1972 until December 1975. After moving to California, he went to work for Linford, Jensen & Bradford in Long Beach, and since August 1982, he has been a principal at “Goodrich & Goodyear, an Accountancy Corporation” in Long Beach.

Greg was initially invited by a friend to get involved with the Kiwanis Club of La Palma, and then saw that what others did helped make La Palma a “great city to live in.” His initial volunteer efforts soon evolved into a significant yearning to give back.

“I wanted to use talents I had developed to earn a living to use in the community,” said Greg, whose expertise as a certified public accountant has made him an important connection.

From his first involvement – with Christian Life Church in Long Beach in 1976 – Greg began taking on leadership roles elsewhere. He joined La Palma Kiwanis and La Palma Neighborhood Watch, both in 1988. Early into his Kiwanis membership, he became the program chair, a position he held for two years. He then followed that role with a term as president from 1990-1991. In 1995, he took on the duties of treasurer and has continued in that position ever since – a total of 24 years. He was also treasurer of the community’s Neighborhood Watch program from 1988 until 1991.

Seeing that there was a need for fundraising, Greg joined other community leaders in forming two foundations—in 1997, the John F Kennedy Scholarship Foundation and in 2004, the La Palma Kiwanis Foundation. Greg continues to support both groups as treasurer. Three years ago, in 2016, he was also one of the founding members of the La Palma Community Foundation, of which he is still treasurer.

City of Los Alamitos/Rossmoor, Emil Jorge

Emil Jorge has earned the respect of the Los Alamitos Community by his dynamic leadership and facilitation skills through his involvement in nonprofit, civic and business projects.

Emil was born and raised in Los Alamitos as his parents were original owners in Rossmoor. He only left the area to further his education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a B.S. degree in geography. His original intent was to earn an MBA and to explore the classes offered at Berkeley from its “wonderful professors,” but the MBA curriculum didn’t allow for many electives outside of the core MBA classes.

Emil’s first involvement in Los Alamitos was with Casa Connection, a group made up of young professionals brought together by Karen Klabouch, whose goal was to raise money for Casa Youth Shelter. In the beginning, he helped this small group raise between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. He’s still involved, and they now raise over $20,000 annually, mostly through a “Poker Night” event with professional dealers. One of the primary reasons Emil first got involved with Casa Connection was for his kids.

“I wanted my kids to see me give back,” he said.

Emil’s volunteer efforts spread to other organizations. He became involved with the Los Alamitos Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Commission and is currently on the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce Board, serving in 2017 as chairman. He has also chaired the annual Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo event at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, and served on the committee to hire the current Los Alamitos police chief. Recently, he was asked to join the Los Alamitos Hospital Board of Governors

In 2007, Emil was named a World Leader Business Person, and was also the recipient of The Bizz Award as a Master in Business Leadership, both for being a successful leader.

City of Seal Beach, Greg and Gina Phillips

As individuals and as a couple, Greg and Gina Phillips have served the community of Seal Beach with distinction, doing much to improve the town and to help the less fortunate.

Greg was born in Long Beach and is a lifelong resident of Seal Beach, having attended local schools and graduating from Los Alamitos High School. Gina grew up in neighboring Anaheim, attending St. Anthony Claret Elementary, Sycamore Junior High and Anaheim Union High School.

Greg is a long time community servant and an active member of the Seal Beach Lions Club. For three years, he was a coordinator for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. His alma mater, as well as the entire Los Alamitos High School District, receives his support as he has been a sponsor of the Robotics Team, the Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) and the Science Technology Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) program.

Greg’s most significant involvement in the community is as president of Run Seal Beach – a position he has held for the past four years. This single event is one of the largest in the city and produces more funds than any other community fund-raising event. Run Seal Beach contributes about $150,000 per year to local non-profits and organizations in and around Seal Beach.

Gina started her community involvement in 2012 as a volunteer with the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce. This grew into her being named as the Chamber’s Director of Operations. She also served on the Chamber’s board of directors for two terms, 2009-2010 and again from 2015-2016.

An active member of the Seal Beach Lions Club since 2010, Gina recently represented the club at the organization’s international convention. She has chaired numerous events and has received recognitions such as: President’s Medal of Courage and the President’s Award, and the Lions Project for Canine Companions Abdul Fellowship Award.

The couple’s major commitment is to the Seal Beach Police Foundation, which was formed in 2014, due in large part, to their interest and dedication in supporting both the police department and the community. The Foundation is responsible for obtaining important tools for the department and helping with community engagement and community policing.

Besides the couple’s dedication to the Foundation, the Lions Club and to Los Alamitos High School, the couple regularly supports other organizations in the community through their donations, event attendance, and volunteerism. Seldom does an event in Seal Beach occur that the Phillips are not seen at, said Scott Newton, Seal Beach Lions Club member and Seal Beach Police Foundation Director. “In most everything the Phillips do as individuals, they are backed up with significant and unconditional support from their spouse. This ‘force multiplier’ is what makes their individual contributions so notable,” said Scott.

City of Stanton, Glenn McElroy

Glenn McElroy had an idea 43 years ago that would transform a typical American auto wrecking yard into an environmentally friendly and affordable community business. His idea soon gave birth to Pick Your Part Auto Wrecking (PYP), which opened its doors in the early 1970’s in Monrovia.

Glenn was born in Texas and grew up in the San Fernando Valley and Compton, graduating from Compton Union High School. In his 20s, he moved to Cypress where his family had settled, and then spent the next 40 years living in Huntington Beach before moving to Anaheim.

As a youth, Glenn went to work as a “lot boy” at his father’s car dealership, and in 1957 he moved up the ranks and became a car salesman. By 1960, Glenn had become the owner of three used car lots – two in Compton and one in Bellflower. It was while dealing with people shopping for used cars that Glenn got the idea of an auto wrecking business.

With Orange County being his home, Glenn has supported numerous nonprofit organizations in Stanton and Anaheim as well as in other cities since 1988. He is a founding member of Stanton’s Boys and Girls Club, supports local fire departments by donating vehicles for use in exercises using the Jaws of Life to rescue victims and extinguishing vehicular fires, and is a 60-year member of the al Malika Shrine in Los Angeles and a lifetime member of the Los Caballeros Horseback Riding Club.

What Glenn says is one the most rewarding things he does is supporting a few families in need during Christmas. Currently, Glenn and his longtime partner, Pamela Ball, provide Christmas gifts, clothing and food for four families. “I buy the junk food and Pamela buys the staples,” he said. One of the families is chosen from the elementary school where Pamela’s daughter Brooke teaches, two are from the Boys & Girls Club of Stanton, and one family is that of a former employee who is now deceased. It’s been 13 years since they’ve been Santa for this family.

Cypress College Congratulates Paul de Dios, New VP Student Services

Cypress College announced the selection of Dr. Paul de Dios as its new vice president of student services on February 4. De Dios has been the college’s dean of counseling, student development, and admissions & records since 2007 and previously served as dean of student affairs, director of special programs and services, and coordinator/counselor of CalWORKS at Barstow Community College over an eight-year period.

De Dios is a product of the California Community College system, having earned an associate degree in sociology from Cerritos College. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in sociology from University of California, Irvine, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling and education specializing in community college leadership from California State University, Long Beach. He is now a part-time lecturer in the Student Development in Higher Education Counseling Program at CSULB.

Highly involved in the community, De Dios serves as the chair of the board for the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, and vice chair of Helping Others Prepare for Eternity (HOPE), an organization that assists abandoned and abused women and children in Garden Grove who may be experiencing food, housing, and resource insecurities. He has also been involved in various student success initiatives and projects on campus such as the Charger Experience and Pledge programs, online Counseling-Cranium Café, Holocaust Survivor Memorial Gallery, and, most recently, Connect2Cypress featuring Majors2Careers and Guided Pathways.

Congratulations to Paul de Dios on his new position at Cypress College.

Cypress College Welcomes Carmen Dominguez, New VP of Instruction

On January 17, Cypress College announced its selection of Dr. Carmen Dominguez, dean of visual and performing arts at College of the Canyons, as its new vice president of instruction.

Dominguez, an accomplished musician with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from San Diego State and a Ph.D. in conducting from Johns Hopkins University, was a music professor at Saddleback College for 16 years and also served as department chair and Academic Senate president. She was dean at College of the Canyons for eight years.

Dominguez currently leads the K-12 Education Outreach Consortium, in partnership with the Kennedy Center, which provides development for K-12 teachers to integrate art into their classrooms. The program serves more than 30,000 students in the Santa Clarita Valley. She has also served on multiple accreditation committees, as well as participated in her college’s self-study, has served on a vast array of committees such as program review, curriculum committee, grants committee, enrollment management, the college planning team, and many more.

Dominguez is deeply committed to serving and supporting students’ educational journeys, and has been a long-time volunteer for organizations that celebrate and advocate for diversity, including the Human Rights Campaign, Si Se Puede, Sisters Involved, and providing Safe Zone support to the LGBTQ students and staff she serves at College of the Canyons.

Cypress College is excited to welcome Carmen Dominguez to the campus community.

Buen Cypress Theme Resonates at Spring 2019 Opening Day

Buen Cypress! It’s a simple phrase—albeit sometimes confusing to those hearing it for the first time—that embodies the core of what Cypress College is about. It is the college’s way of building a culture that lets students know that each and every faculty and staff member cares about them, is there to support them, and is invested in their academic and life journeys.

“Phrases are empty if they’re just words, but I really believe that Buen Cypress is deeply ingrained in what we do here, and it’s just a way to call attention to the work that is already being done,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling during spring 2019 Opening Day.

NOCCCD Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall shared the sentiment of Buen Cypress when she spoke about a Gallup research study on student success, which found that “it boiled down to three basic things: hope about the future; a sense of engagement, which is connection and enthusiasm about the campus or school that they’re a part of; and a sense of well-being, physical, emotional, mental, all of that.

“It’s those three things,” she continued, “that ensure or help students get to the finish line. And so part of our work, and I think the work that we’ve been doing the past few years, is to really shape an environment where we can give students those three things.”

Keynote Speaker Heather Hackman reiterated the Buen Cypress theme during her presentation on “Developing and Utilizing an Equity Lens in Our Teaching.”

Dr. Schilling originally coined Buen Cypress during her first Opening Day at the start of the fall 2017 semester. It was inspired by the “Buen camino” greeting shared by travelers on Europe’s Camino de Santiago.

Continuing, she said, “Nothing really depicts Buen Cypress better than the next student that I’m going to introduce to you,” as she invited Brandon Davis, a math student who was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in late fall 2017, to the stage.

Brandon was a typical college student juggling school with work and a social life when he was faced with a difficult reality: the active 20-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in the last few weeks of the semester.

“At the beginning, I went through really hard realities that kind of stick with me today, such as I didn’t know if I was going to make it to celebrate my 21st birthday,” he said. While undergoing 14 rounds of chemotherapy over eight-and-a-half months, along with 29 rounds of radiation over a span of six weeks, Brandon turned 21 in September 2018. He recently received his first negative scan since finishing his treatment.

Though he was faced with contemplating his own mortality, Brandon continued to be vigorously dedicated to his education. He credited the support he received from family, friends, and college faculty and staff with helping him to keep up with his studies while making it through his long months of treatment.

“Without the amazing professors I had that were so understanding of my situation, there would have been no way that I would have been able to get my incompletes done during my treatment, no matter how much I wanted to,” he said. “The message that I wanted you guys to get from this is that students like me, we are aware and extremely grateful for all the effort and time you put into our education. I’m not special. There are lots of us in all of your classes. We are very quiet and shy, so you never hear from us, so I’ll take this opportunity on behalf of all students like me to say that we really do appreciate what you guys do.”

Speech and Debate Students Place 1st, 2nd at Pacific Southwest Tournament

By Jennifer Page

On December 1 and 2, 2018, the Cypress College Speech and Debate Team took 18 students to the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association’s Fall Championship Tournament held at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. This year, 39 universities and community colleges attended both near and far, including the University of Utah, Northern Arizona University, Kansas City Community College, Cerritos College, Concordia University at Irvine, and Palomar College.

Our students did an amazing job representing Cypress College!  We would like to recognize these students:

Nate Garcia
British Parliamentary Debate – Novice 1st place
British Parliamentary Debate Speaker Award – 2nd place
Novice Extemporaneous Speaking – 3rd place
Novice Impromptu Speaking – 5th place

Isaac Ramnani
British Parliamentary Debate – Novice 1st place

Jolene Gazman
Novice Prose Interpretation – 4th place

Christopher Piazza
Open Cultural Artifact – 1st place

Prisma Ayala
Open Cultural Artifact – 2nd place

Tatiana Burmeister
Open Cultural Artifact – 5th place

Jessica Esparza
Open Cultural Artifact – 6th place

Students Michael Clyburn, Itati Doradea, Maria Ayala, Mariem Rizk, Michelle Sandoval, Sierra Gohl, Justin Fernandez, Angelo Middleton, Ramon Avila – Ojina, Miranda Calhoun, and Peter Shamoun also competed.

Retired Professor Publishes Book on Equestrian History of San Juan Capistrano

A love of horses combined with a knack for storytelling made Donna Friess’ most recent book a natural project.

Capistrano Trails: Ride for the Brand takes a look at the equestrian history of San Juan Capistrano through first-person narratives, and photography and illustrations.

“San Juan is often called the ‘Horse Capital of the West Coast’ or the ‘Horse Capital of Orange County,’” she wrote in a blog post dated August 28 on her personal website. “The community seems to have defied all odds and preserved its historic character and equestrian culture. How is that possible?”

She continued, “That’s when the idea struck me. If I hurried, I could gather up the lived experience of those involved with horses before their stories were lost. Perhaps, I could find the answer to the mystery as to how San Juan has remained a charming Western enclave while the rest of Southern California has succumbed to concrete, glass, and steel.”

Friess is a retired communication studies professor who taught at Cypress College for more than 40 years. She has published several other books, including her debut novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest, in 2015, and 1993’s Cry the Darkness, which won the National Indie Excellence Award and has been published in seven languages.

For more information about Capistrano Trails and other books by Friess, visit her website at drdonnafriess.com.

NSA and DHS Designate Cypress College a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education

The National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated Cypress College a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education this past August. Cypress College was one of two community colleges in California to earn the designation, and one of 10 college or university programs in the Southwest region of the U.S., including California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

The designation is valid through academic year 2023 and was given following a rigorous application process that required meeting stringent criteria and a campus visit.

“This is, indeed, a true honor for the college,” said Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. “I thank the faculty and dean for their countless hours, days, weeks, and months of preparing our proposal and backing it up with a commitment to excellence and student success. Kudos to faculty members Ben Izadi, Mike Hannah, and Dean Henry Hua for their work qualifying for this prestigious designation.”

Official award of the designation will be made next month at a conference in Miami.

The strong push for education in cyber defense and cybersecurity in the U.S. reflects the country’s immediate priority and high demand for an experienced and qualified workforce full of innovative, critical thinkers. National CAE programs aim to address the country’s “critical shortage of professionals with these skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.”

Karen Leuschner, National CAE Cyber Defense Program director, continued in her designation letter to the college, “Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Structure.”

In 2017, Cypress College started a Pathway to Advancement in Cybersecurity Education (PACE) program, which is modeled on Guided Pathways. PACE introduces students to dual enrollment courses from as early as the tenth grade and provides them with multiple opportunities to receive certifications and even an associate degree in cybersecurity.

“The results have been promising, as 216 middle and high school students have taken cybersecurity-related dual enrollment courses within the past year and successfully obtained 73 industry-recognized certificates,” said Ben Izadi, director of the college’s Cyber Defense Center and lead for the Cybersecurity Program.

He added that 14 high school students will be completing the cybersecurity certificate this fall, and three will also complete the cyber defense certificate.

In addition to PACE and providing area high school students with dual enrollment courses in cybersecurity, Cypress College has also worked in other ways to open cybersecurity education opportunities for K-12 Orange County students. For the past three years, current and former Cypress College students have mentored middle and high school students to compete in the CyberPatriots National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, a cybersecurity contest hosted by the non-profit Air Force Association.

Last year, one of the college’s middle school teams ranked tenth in the nation among 1,200 teams. This semester, more than 200 students participated in an on-campus training event, including more than 40 elementary school students, in a program that has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2016.

Click here to learn more about the college’s cybersecurity program or how you can get involved.

Storytelling, Adapting to Change are Themes of Fall Opening Day

Storytelling was the centerpiece of an Opening Day that highlighted the student experience and changes the college and its individual employees must make and adapt to in order to better serve students.

“We have to be fiercely devoted to allowing our students to have a voice, to allow them to tell us what we need to do to meet their needs,” said Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., to more than 300 faculty and staff Friday, August 17.

Three Cypress students, who found purpose and connection through programs on campus, spoke of their personal journeys.

“Every step of the way, I have been extremely fortunate to have support of my professors, faculty, and peers,” said Selina Jaimes Davila, an undocumented, first-generation college student majoring in mechanical engineering. “These awesome individuals have encouraged me when I needed it the most, when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even in the most difficult moments, they saw a potential in me that I did not see in myself.”

Jaimes Davila was homeless for a time, living out of a car with her mother, and finding a path in higher education proved difficult. She lacked self-confidence and ended up changing her major three times; however, with guidance from EOPS, the Puente Program, and (STEM)2, she finally found her passion.

“I was a timid little freshman when I started my educational journey at Cypress College,” Jaimes Davila said, “and now I am a fierce, empowered woman that knows what I want to accomplish in life and feel confident in my ability to accomplish my dreams.”

Kenyun Rone also grew up in difficult circumstances as a child in the foster care system. He was immediately kicked out of his foster home when he turned 18 and enrolled at Cypress College in 2008. Struggling without direction and a guiding hand while also taking care of his mother, he ended up dropping out of college.

“But I never quit thinking about, I need to do more with my life,” he said. “There has to be something more to my life.”

In 2017, Rone received a call from Legacy Program Director Regina Rhymes that lit a spark and motivated him to return to school. He is now a philosophy major planning to transfer to San Diego State University.

David Rodriguez’s parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and emphasized the importance of education in hopes that their children would not endure the same hardships they had. But Rodriguez wanted to pursue his passion for music and the arts, so he “totally put school on the backburner.”

Following his high school graduation, he started his studies at Cypress College, “but I didn’t have the right mindset,” he said.

“Over the next three years from 2012-2015, I felt very lost and just very unmotivated and unconnected from the campus,” he added. “So, in 2015, after being kicked out and readmitted, I dropped out with a GPA of 1.9 and I told myself that school wasn’t for me.”

After gaining some film experience working at the University of Southern California, Rodriguez decided to give higher education another chance. His older brother, a former Puente student, suggested that he speak with Puente Co-Coordinator Therese Mosqueda-Ponce. His involvement in the program led to other opportunities, including participation in a Puente leadership conference, as well as employment on campus working with the college’s Dual Enrollment and CyberPatriots programs.

“Throughout this journey, I realized, well, I wanted to be a musician, I wanted to be a filmmaker, I wanted to be a cartoonist,” Rodriguez said. “But now, I want to be a college graduate.”

Energized by the students’ powerful stories, Dr. Schilling said to the crowd, “We share these stories because…it all kind of fades away if we’re not actually reaching students.”

Disrupt or be Disrupted

Disrupt or be disrupted was a common thread throughout both Dr. Schilling and North Orange County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall’s presentations, delving further into the significant changes facing Cypress College, along with California’s 113 other community colleges.

Dr. Schilling described the six signs that your institution is being disrupted, indicating a need for re-examining the way things are done, and related that to the college’s turn to the Guided Pathways model.

“We are a pretty traditional education institution and that’s where we have the opportunity to make changes without actually changing what you do in the classroom, so reframing it from the principles of traditional education to Guided Pathways,” she said. “And Guided Pathways doesn’t have to be this thing that we do. It’s really reframing the student experience.”

Dr. Marshall echoed those sentiments and said, “One of the key ideas is that we can either be the disrupters or be disrupted. And so, there are days when we kind of feel like victims, but it also means we have the opportunity to be creative, to try new approaches, and be the instigators in higher ed’s new reality instead of just having things happen to us.”

In this pursuit of Guided Pathways and adapting to the realities of the times, Dr. Schilling suggested that students need four things from the college and its employees: 1) We must be relentless in improving our students’ experience at Cypress; 2) We must base our decisions on long-term student success, not short-term benefits; 3) We must lead by putting our core values into action; and 4) We must be an equity-minded institution.

One way Cypress College is working to better serve its students in an environment they are familiar with is through the launch of a new app, Cypress Connect. Cypress College Director of Academic Computing Technologies Peter Maharaj presented the app, currently in phase one of launch, emphasizing that the college needs to think digitally because that’s where students are.

Updates and Accomplishments

Opening Day is also an opportunity for the college to celebrate the start of a new semester. Dr. Schilling recognized new and recently promoted employees at the college, spoke of staff and faculty accomplishments from the past year, and presented the Diversity and Inclusiveness Award to retired Photography Professor Clifford Lester.

Lester has worked tirelessly to give voice to Holocaust survivors and ensure that their stories are not lost or forgotten. His work is featured in the Holocaust Memorial Gallery currently located in the second floor hall of the Student Center, and has also been presented during the college’s annual Yom HaShoah events.

Dr. Schilling and district representatives Dr. Marshall and NOCCCD Board of Trustees member Ryan Bent also awarded Cypress College (STEM)2 Program Director Yanet Garcia and Career Planning Center Coordinator Deann Burch with the North Star Award. The award recognizes employees throughout the district for their outstanding contributions and work performance. Garcia and Burch had previously been honored at the June 26 Board of Trustees meeting.

Accreditation co-chairs Phil Dykstra, Cypress College director of institutional research and planning, and Liana Koeppel, English professor, provided employees with an update on the college’s next steps in the accreditation process and institutional set standards. The college’s accreditation follow-up report is due March 1, 2019 and is currently in the draft stage. An open forum will be held in mid-October to allow faculty and staff to provide feedback.

The day came to a close with a barbecue lunch by the Pond and division meetings held around campus as faculty and staff buzzed with excitement for the start of a new school year.

Classes Still Available for Fall 2018

Fall semester classes start Monday, August 20, but classes are still available and you can register without an add code until Sunday, August 19, at 11:59 p.m.

We invite you to look at the open class list online. There are still a number of classes available that may fit your needs, and closed classes may have a waitlist option available.

If you are on a waitlist, please remember that waitlists expire at midnight on the day the class begins. That means that on the first day a class meets, there’s no longer a waitlist. Instead, the list is included in priority order on the instructor’s roster as a tool to help faculty with the petition process. So, if you’re on a waitlist, you’ll need to attend the first class meeting in hopes of obtaining an add code.

Register for classes by:

  • Logging into myGateway and clicking on “Add or Drop Classes” in Registration Tools; or
  • Stopping by the Counseling Center on the 2nd floor of the Student Center (Building 19) for help selecting classes that fit into your student educational plan.

The following is a partial list of classes that are still available:

AC/R – Air Conditioning/Refrigeration

  • AC/R 100 C – Principles of Thermodynamics/Heat Transfer
  • AC/R 265 C – Project Management

ACCT – Accounting

  • ACCT 202 C – Cost Accounting

ACR – Automotive Collision Repair

  • ACR 009 C – Refinishing Technician III
  • ACR 013 C – Computerized Auto Damage Appraisal
  • ACR 040 C – Structural Alignment Repair
  • ACR 060 C – Collision Repair Management

ANTH – Anthropology

  • ANTH 208 C – Anthropology of Death
  • ANTH 210 C – Intro to Forensic Anthropology
  • ANTH 225 C – Ancient Cultures of Mexico and Central America
  • ANTH 308 C – Anthropology of Death for Mortuary Science

ART – Art

  • ART 114 C – Modern Art History
  • ART 155 C – Art Open Laboratory
  • ART 174 C – Jewelry Design

ASTR – Astronomy

  • ASTR 116 C – Introduction to Astronomy

ATC – Aviation and Travel Careers

  • ATC 160 C – UAV-UAS Basic
  • ATC 161 C – UAV-UAS Basic Simulator
  • ATC 162 C – UAV-UAS Basic Flight
  • ATC 261 C – UAV-UAS Advanced Simulator
  • ATC 262 C – UAV-UAS Advanced Flight

CIS – Computer Information Systems

  • CIS 121 C – Adobe PDF Document Management
  • CIS 189 C – Administrating and Configuring Windows Server Directory Services
  • CIS 191 C – Administrating and Configuring Windows Server Network Infrastructure
  • CIS 231 C – Cisco Networking 2
  • CIS 260 C – Game Concepts Development

COMM – Communication Studies

  • COMM 138 C – Forensics

COUN – Counseling and Guidance

  • COUN 073 C – Computer Access I
  • COUN 140 C – Educational Planning

CTRP – Court Reporting

  • CTRP 030 C – CR Beginning Practice Lab
  • CTRP 031 C – CR Intermediate Practice Lab
  • CTRP 035 C – Advanced Practice Lab

DANC – Dance

  • DANC 101 C – Multicultural Dance in the US
  • DANC 108 C – Modern Dance II
  • DANC 111 C – Jazz Dance I
  • DANC 112 C – Jazz Dance II
  • DANC 113 C – Tap Dance I
  • DANC 114 C – Tap Dance II
  • DANC 117 C – Modern Dance III
  • DANC 130 C – Afro-Caribbean Dance
  • DANC 141 C – Performance Class I

ENGL – English

  • ENGL 096 C – College Reading Strategies
  • ENGL 100 C – College Writing
  • ENGL 102 C – Introduction to Literature
  • ENGL 108 C – Writing the Personal Statement
  • ENGL 110 C – Humanities: Ancient & Medieval
  • ENGL 137 C – College Study Strategies

ENGR – Engineering

  • ENGR 205 C – Advanced 3D Solid Modeling and Simulation

ESL – English as a Second Language

  • ESL 051 C – Intermediate Pronunciation
  • ESL 062 C – Advanced ESL Grammar 1
  • ESL 064 C – Advanced Academic Oral Skills NNS

ETHS – Ethnic Studies

  • ETHS 150 C – Intro to Chicana-o Studies
  • ETHS 151 C – Chicana-o History I
  • ETHS 235 C – American Social Justice Movements

FREN – French

  • FREN 102 C – Elementary French II
  • FREN 200 C – Conversational French
  • FREN 203 C – Intermediate French III

GEOG – Geography

  • GEOG 100 C – World Geography
  • GEOG 232 C – GIS: Analysis and Modeling

GEOL – Geology

  • GEOL 100 C – Physical Geology
  • GEOL 125 C – Natural Disasters
  • GEOL 130 C – Intro to Oceanography
  • GEOL 190 C – Environmental Geology

HIST – History

  • HIST 111 C – Western Civilizations II
  • HIST 142 C – History of Latin America I
  • HIST 160 C – Asian Civilizations I
  • HIST 171 C – History of the U.S. II

HUSR – Human Services

  • HUSR 215 C – Introduction to Family Studies
  • HUSR 221 C – Crisis Intervention & Referral
  • HUSR 224 C – Self-Esteem Strategies
  • HUSR 271 C – Society and Victimization
  • HUSR 295 C – Cross-Cultural Criminology

JAPN – Japanese

  • JAPN 102 C – Elementary Japanese II
  • JAPN 200 C – Conversational Japanese
  • JAPN 204 C – Intermediate Japanese IV

JOUR – Journalism

  • JOUR 101 C – Reporting and Writing
  • JOUR 225 C – Student Media Practicum I
  • JOUR 226 C – Student Media Practicum II

KIN – Kinesiology

  • KIN 114 C – Springboard Diving
  • KIN 116 C – Swim for Fitness
  • KIN 135 C – Step Aerobics
  • KIN 198 C – Athletic Weight Training
  • KIN 199 C – Conditioning for Athletes
  • KIN 240 C – Sports Officiating
  • KIN 242 C – Theory of Coaching Baseball
  • KIN 249 C – Sport and United States Society
  • KIN 284 C – Contemporary Personal Health

MAD – Media Arts Design

  • MAD 107 C – Motion Graphics I
  • MAD 112 C – Electronic Illustration-Mac
  • MAD 113 C – Electronic Illustration-Win
  • MAD 114 C – Electronic Illustration II-Mac
  • MAD 115 C – Electronic Illustration II-Win
  • MAD 120 C – 3D Modeling-Mac
  • MAD 134 C – Digital Imaging-Mac
  • MAD 135 C – Digital Imaging-Windows
  • MAD 182 C – Cinematography
  • MAD 183 C – Preproduction for TV-Vid-Film
  • MAD 207 C – Projection Mapping/Live Entertainment

MGT – Management

  • MGT 261 C – Small Business Management

MKT – Marketing

  • MKT 103 C – Principles of Advertising
  • MKT 208 C – Principles of Selling
  • MKT 222 C – Principles of Marketing

MUS – Music

  • MUS 203 C – Theory III
  • MUS 204 C – Musicianship III

PHIL – Philosophy / Religious Studies

  • PHIL 100 C – Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 101 C – Intro to Religious Studies
  • PHIL 160 C – Introduction to Ethics

POSC – Political Science

  • POSC 100 C – United States Government

SOC – Sociology

  • SOC 102 C – Social Problems
  • SOC 275 C – Marriage and Family

SPAN – Spanish

  • SPAN 201 C – Spanish for Spanish Speakers I
  • SPAN 203 C – Intermediate Spanish III

THEA – Theatre Arts

  • THEA 108 C – Stage and Screenwriting
  • THEA 147 C – Stage Makeup

For the full list of open classes, as well as details on the classes listed above, please visit myGateway.

#CYPROUD: Sarah Brazer, Culinary Arts

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Sarah Brazer

Sarah is a culinary arts major who is looking forward to entering the hospitality industry following her graduation from Cypress College. Interested in the arts from a young age, Sarah initially pursued music education after finishing high school, but later realized that it wasn’t the direction she wanted to go. After taking a semester to consider her options, she decided to pursue the culinary arts because “giving someone a meal that is uniquely theirs is extremely rewarding.”

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

All throughout my life, I’ve always been interested in the arts. I grew up singing in choir, performing in theater, reading anything I could find, and cooking whenever my parents weren’t home. I began my educational journey at Orange Coast College as a music education major. That seemed to be the natural path for me, as singing had formed so much of the tapestry of my life thus far. Several years into the program, however, I was faced with the realization that this wasn’t the direction I wanted my life to take. After much consideration, I decided I wanted to use my creativity to provide a service to other people. I remembered that I’d always loved cooking, but it was kind of a long-buried interest. I took a semester off to do some experimenting, and decided this was really where I needed to be.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

At first, I chose Cypress College for geographical reasons. I’d recently moved, and it was closer to my new home than Orange Coast. I soon discovered that there was so much more to it than that. I immediately noticed the welcoming atmosphere. I quickly found out that the Hotel, Restaurant, Culinary Arts program would give me all of the skills and practical knowledge I needed to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. I was also impressed with how accommodating the Disability Support Services were. They always ensured that I had everything I needed to be successful in all of my studies.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I’ve mostly gotten involved through opportunities given by the Hotel, Restaurant, Culinary Arts program. Every Thursday, the students operate the Cypress Bistro. First, I had the opportunity to participate in the American Regional Cuisines class. This class cooks for the bistro, and as a final project, the students have the opportunity to make a dish of their own to be served at the bistro. The dish I made was chicken avocado egg rolls. My next opportunity to be involved in Cypress Bistro was the Restaurant Management class. This is the class that serves and manages the restaurant. Here, I was able to gain experience serving as well as filling some management roles, such as special event captain and general manager. I also got the opportunity to work with a team to design tables, menus, and a specialty beverage for a showcase project. Most recently, I’ve gotten to participate in hosting a career fair as a project for the Special Event Management class. I was also given the opportunity to work as a volunteer in the kitchen alongside one of the chefs.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I discovered my passion through a volunteer opportunity provided by my church. They have a ministry where volunteers can provide meals for people going through a difficult period. I found it greatly fulfilling to use their list of dietary restrictions and preferences to create a meal specifically for them. Giving someone a meal that is uniquely theirs is extremely rewarding, and I’ve been grateful for each opportunity I’ve gotten to participate in this ministry.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I’ve been grateful to be able to work with each member of the Hotel, Restaurant, Culinary Arts staff. Professor Lisa Clark has been particularly influential. She gave me the tools I need to move forward with finding work in the industry. Another influential member of staff has been Chef Tracy Heine. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work individually with her and have gained so many valuable skills through that experience. Both of these individuals have been instrumental in shaping my education. They’ve also helped me to build my skills and confidence in myself. I’ve also been grateful for the help of the staff at Disability Support Services.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plans are to find work in the hospitality industry as well as staying on at Cypress College to complete the requirements for a final certificate in Special Event Management.

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

My long-term goal is to market myself as a personal chef where I can use the experience I’ve gained to create meals based on specific needs and desires. I’d also like to further explore catering and special events.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the growth I’ve been able to experience at Cypress College. I’ve been able to grow both personally and professionally through my education here.

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

My advice to current and future students is to embrace every opportunity to grow that you get. You want to look back on your experiences and know you did what you could to develop yourself, both personally and in your field.

#CYPROUD: Brandy Manfredonia, Commercial Pilot

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Brandy Manfredonia

Brandy is a commercial pilot major transferring to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English education following her graduation from Cypress College. From a small, rural town in Ohio where few pursue a higher education after high school, Brandy grew up knowing she would go to college; however, it wasn’t until a high school physics class that she found her passion for aviation. After completing her undergraduate studies, Brandy aims to teach high school English and pilot for commercial airlines during the summers.

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

Born and raised in a small town in rural Ohio, I was always destined for something larger than my town could offer. Many people from my rural area go to high school and then enter the workforce immediately, so going to college is far less common and less discussed in Small Town, USA. This, however, was not the case in my household. From elementary school on, I was raised with the idea that I had to aim high, and that going to college was something I was going to do. Neither of my parents attended university, but they wanted something different for me.

Surrounded by a lack of everything, I had much time to focus on school. By my junior year of high school, I had a list of prestigious schools picked out to apply to the next year to pursue a degree in Education. With high ACT scores, AP classes under my belt, and a 4.0 GPA since elementary, I was ready for the big universities. My senior year of high school I took an AP Physics course and learned about airplanes; that is when everything I had planned on changed. I was fascinated by how airplanes worked, and was quick to decide that I was meant to be a pilot. I spent time researching affordable colleges where I could obtain a degree in aviation, and Cypress College was at the top of my list. I flew out to visit and was hooked. I have now been living here for five years and have been a full-time student and full-time worker my entire time here. I graduated with four aviation certificates and an associate of science degree, all with a 3.93 GPA!

Why did you choose Cypress College?

After becoming interested in aviation, I spent a year researching affordable flight schools. I stumbled upon Cypress College’s Aviation and Travel Careers program and found it to be a top contender. I read about the program and was so intrigued that I flew out to California in the spring to tour the campus. From the moment I stepped onto the beautiful campus, to meeting the staff, I was sold. I would be attending Cypress College the next year. I uprooted myself the fall after graduating high school, made a solo move across the country, and enrolled in spring classes in the Aviation and Travel Careers program. Finding Cypress College online from my searching in Ohio was unlikely, but it has made all the difference.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Since enrollment, I have been fortunate to find nothing but success. I brought a 4.0 GPA and AP course credit with me and have continued to achieve educational and professional successes. Throughout my nearly four years at Cypress, I have taken 83.5 units and maintained a 3.93 cumulative GPA, earning high As in 32 out of 33 classes I have taken. I have been on the President’s or Dean’s Honor list throughout my entire time as a full-time student. I was also nominated for the Outstanding Graduate of the Year Award!

I took many challenging courses, satisfying all Cal State gen-ed transfer requirements, and all of my program requirements, plus many electives. I earned four Aviation certificates — Private, Instrument, Commercial, and Advanced Pilot certificates — and an associate degree in commercial pilot. I accomplished this large courseload, all while working as a full-time manager for a retail clothing store. In my last year, I have also worked full time for the National College Resources Foundation as the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Aviation, Mathematics) communications coordinator. Through NCRF, I work doing college promotion, instruction of STEM to elementary students, and outreach events including LA’s Black College Expo. In my time working while being a student I received four promotions and continued to stay on top of my education.

Although extremely busy being a full time employee and student, I did have many extracurricular successes in my time at Cypress College. I have trained in the simulator labs for flight, as well as assisted other students with flight in the simulators. I have also spent many hours tutoring students in my aviation classes, as well as tutoring several students in English. Correspondingly with my program of study, I have also been a flight student under the instruction of Captain Ed Valdez out of the Orange County Airport. Within the last year, I have worked closely with the ATC department chair, volunteering time to design and manage a Facebook page and a website promoting Cypress College and its ATC program.

I have succeeded in getting students to tour campus through outreach I have done. I volunteer at Senior Day, and have been a leader in resurrecting the Aviation and Travel Club, including organizing the startup of the club, scheduling and promoting the first meeting, as well as organizing monthly events, and being in charge of member communication. I helped to organize and set up for, and sat in, on the ATC Advisory Meeting, giving and getting insight on program improvements that can be made. In addition I have represented Cypress College at the OC Pathways event along with several other outreach events. When not working, studying or volunteering for Cypress College, I have also volunteered at my local church.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about education, independence, and success. I believe they go hand in hand. I believe that continuously educating yourself is the most important thing you can do for your mind and your life. Learn something every day, even if it seems small and insignificant. If you do that, in five years you will have learned 1,825 new things! That little effort every day grows over time and helps you become a well-rounded intellectual!

Taking control of your education helps you to become independent. Being able to do for and support yourself is so important in today’s world. Too often we rely on parents, others, even the government to support us, but it is so much more satisfying and beneficial to be independent and be able to do for yourself! Finally, I feel like if you accomplish those two things, it will bring you great success in life; and everyone should want to feel and be successful. It gives you a good sense of self-worth and pride in yourself. I am passionate about that and feel as though it is the key to happiness. Be passionate about investing in YOU!

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I give ship loads of credit to the incomparable, incredible Ed Valdez (ATC). I have never seen someone do so much and go so above and beyond. Kathleen Reiland has also been an influential faculty member throughout my career.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I was accepted to both CSULB and CSUF with a full ride! Whoo hoo! I have chosen to attend CSUF to complete my bachelor’s degree in English education, while still working full time.

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

I aspire to be a pilot and a teacher. My plan is to spend the school year teaching English to high school students and to fly with a major airline, or fly charter, over the summers. I also plan to move back to Ohio in a few years and carry out my plans there. Traveling is also high on my goals list.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of two things: being the first in my whole family to graduate college with a degree, and working full time throughout my whole full-time student career and completely supporting myself. That is not something most college students can say they did. Many get great grades, not as many do that all while working full-time hours. Balancing school and work is such a challenge, but I succeeded and did so with high honors all around.

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

Take as many classes as you can at Cypress College before transfer. It will save you time, and thousands of dollars when transferring to a university. Also, see how you can help your department succeed. It really is a great feeling to be a part of something important.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

As my career as a Cypress College student comes to a close, looking back on all of my accomplishments and successes throughout my time here gives me a great deal of joy and pride. Now that I have graduated and all is said and done, being chosen for the CYProud campaign is such an honor and a recompense of all of my effort put in. While at times it seemed as though graduation was so far out of reach, I know all the struggles I faced, in addition to all of the positive times, were just milestones shaping me into the person I am today. My time here is something I will reflect on for a lifetime, and I thank the faculty and my peers for the experience I have had.

#CYPROUD: Daniel Taylor, Business Administration

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Daniel Taylor

Daniel is a business administration major transferring to Cal State Fullerton following his graduation from Cypress College. A Southern California native, Daniel grew up in a large family and is a first-generation college student. Throughout his time at Cypress, he received a lot of help and support from the EOPS and Guardian Scholars programs. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Daniel hopes to start his own business.

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

I grew up half of my life in a small town called Apple Valley, and the other half of my life I spent in a small city called Temecula; both are located in California. I am the first of my family of eight to complete any type of college.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

It is a beautiful college that is composed of students who work to achieve more academically and are focused on transferring to universities. Cypress College is a place where you can learn and study.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in EOPS, Guardian Scholars, and even the Honors Program. The programs gave me the guidance and focus to take the classes I needed and pass them.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about setting an example for my family to follow in my footsteps and achieve greater success.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Many staff members have helped me achieve my academic goals, but two I wish to highlight are Eva Palomares from EOPS and Ashley Berry from Guardian Scholars.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

To attend Cal State University Fullerton and get a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship.

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

I want to own my own business.

What are you most proud of?

Earning my associate degree in business administration.

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

Be tough, determined, and resilient, but most of all, have faith and hope in yourself that you can accomplish anything if you have a willing mind to take the first step on your path to success.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I love the ducks!

#CYPROUD: Anthony Pansoy, Psychiatric Technology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Anthony Pansoy

Anthony is a graduate of the Cypress College Psychiatric Technology program and works at a Southern California hospital. He chose to attend Cypress College for its strong psych tech program, which came highly recommended from colleagues, many of whom are also graduates. Anthony wants to continue positively impacting the lives of the mentally ill, and eventually hopes to become a registered nurse.

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

I grew up in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 18 years old on March 29, 2008. I went back to school in spring 2016 to take the prerequisites for the Psychiatric Technology program because I was working in a community psychiatric mental health setting and learned about the program from my coworkers. I had a few interests outside of work or school, but I’ve always set simple goals in life such as having a house, a stable job, and a happy family, so I believe that finishing the Psych Tech program will enable me to achieve those goals in the future.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I choose to go to school at Cypress College because I heard they had the best Psych Tech program in L.A. I currently work at a hospital where most of the PT staff are alumni from the program, and I was encouraged by them to go into the program. Cypress College was also the closest program to my home and place of work, and the program’s schedule coincided with my work schedule.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been involved in any Cypress College activities since I started studying at Cypress College. I was busy juggling both work and school schedules, and most of my time was spent studying for quizzes and exams during the course of the Psych Tech program.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about helping mentally ill individuals. When I started my job in the psych field, it opened my eyes to the needs of the mentally ill. I used to be less aware of the impact that mental illness has on a person; working at my job made me realize that a lot of individuals go through mental illness without the proper support and end up relapsing or losing themselves, and their potential to have a good future. I want to help these individuals as a licensed staff member, and use the skills that I learned from the program to make a bigger impact on the lives of the mentally ill.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I believe that all the faculty and staff at the Psychiatric Technology program help me achieve my goals. Without each and every one of the faculty, I would not be able to be successful in the program, and I am greatly thankful for their passion and dedication to the Psych Tech program and its students.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I plan to apply at a state facility or work in the community as a licensed psychiatric technician after I pass my state licensure examination.

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

One of my long-term goals is to proceed to the Registered Nursing program and to have the chance to further my career. I want to help the mentally ill at a higher capacity and a higher license so that I can have a much bigger impact on the lives of the people that I take care of.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of recently finishing the PT program while working a full-time job at the same time. I believe that goal-setting and good time management have enabled me to achieve my goals and that I will continue to use these tools to become a good mental health practitioner in the psychiatric field.

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

Good advice to future Cypress College students would be to focus on goals and make sure that one’s chosen degree can provide a living wage in the future. As a teacher once said to me and my fellow students in the program, “Love what you do and do what you love.” I believe that if one follows that principle, then an individual can be successful on the job or in meeting their goals in life.

#CYPROUD: Lisa Benjamin, Computer Information Systems

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Lisa Benjamin

Lisa graduated from Cypress College with an associate degree in computer information systems, along with an additional three CIS-related certificates. Born and raised in Central California, Lisa was involved in a tragic car accident that left her paralyzed for about half a year and in physical therapy learning to walk again for another three years. She later moved to Southern California to pursue a degree in athletic training; although she completed her degree, her spinal cord injuries put an end to pursuing that line of work. She now plans to enter the workforce with hopes of pursuing a career in college administration.

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

I grew up in a small town in Central California where, for me, sports and art were life. I always struggled with academics—things didn’t click very easily for me as they did for other students, especially in math. Not knowing at all what I wanted to do for a career after my high school graduation, I entered the workforce where I worked a few different types of jobs before realizing I wanted to become a manicurist. I always loved doing nails, so it seemed perfect for me and a way that I could get paid for my artwork.

Off to beauty college I went, but after graduation and before I could take the State Board Exam, I was in a tragic car accident, where I suffered a spinal cord injury. After the accident, I was left quadriplegic for two weeks and paralyzed for roughly six months. I will continue to suffer from lifelong nerve pain and some lingering paralysis in different areas of my body. Keeping a positive attitude, I thought, “What is the worst that could happen now,” considering the doctors had no idea what my outcome would be. So, I pushed forward with one goal in mind: walking. Learning how to walk again was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever had to do. Having to endure this was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. I don’t take life for granted and every day I remain upright is the best day I could ask for. I am not guaranteed to walk forever, so I enjoy every step I am able to take.

After three years of therapy, I thought, “I am ready to take my State Board Exam.” I did, and passed. I was now a licensed manicurist and ready to feel normal again. I landed a sweet job at a very prestigious day spa and thought I had finally made it. However, after a couple years, I realized that I needed to grow beyond what my small town had to offer.

Not sure where to go or how to get there, I went online and found a roommate finder. I found a few people in the area where I wanted to live in Southern California and set up some appointments. After meeting with everyone, I picked the best out of what I had. I quit my job, gave notice at my apartment, registered for college at another institution in Orange County, and moved.

My major was athletic training. I felt a passion to go in that direction due to the hours I spent in therapy. I was hoping to help others and motivate them to accomplish what seems almost impossible while keeping a positive attitude. Eager to learn and help, I landed an internship in the training room at my school. However, my hopes were cut short when my own injuries caught up with me and I was no longer able to continue my studies at a higher educational institution with that being my major. Even while still struggling with mathematics, I overcame those setbacks and graduated with my associate degree.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Not being from Southern California, I actually chose Cypress College based on the campus when I went to the swap meet they hold on the weekends. As we were walking through I was looking around and thought, “I could go here. It’s really nice.” I was trying to return to the workforce and applying for job after job, only to realize my computer skills were, let’s just say, not up to par for even the minimum requirements. Knowing I needed to return to college, I remembered that campus I saw at the swap meet. I then went to the Cypress College website and noticed all the CIS (Computer Information Systems) classes the college offers at many different levels, and I was sold. I registered right then and started to look at which classes I wanted to start with, hoping that come registration time they were available. They were and I was ecstatic. I do wish that I had found Cypress when I first moved down here.

I am able to achieve my goals because of the time I put into my studies and all of the resources that are available to me that I take advantage of. Without the extra help outside of the classroom, I wouldn’t have the grades I have. I put in the extra work and ask for help when I need it.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I originally was going to take just a few different classes in computer programs to brush up on my skills. After taking a couple classes, I realized I needed more than to just “brush up.” A lot has changed in 20-plus years, so I grabbed that catalog and planned my path. Now I’m about to enter my fourth semester and coming up on completion of three certificates and another associate degree. I am beyond thrilled about what I have accomplished and the fact that I was able to maintain straight A’s for the first time in my educational career.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about my family and the bond we share. Coming close to losing my life made me realize at a young age who was really there and who will always be there for me. My family supports me in anything I choose to pursue, and having them to back me up is the best motivation I could ask for. Whether I succeed or fail, the love they give is always the same, and I could not be more thankful for them. This gives me the motivation to always try and give it my all.

Also, I love to oil paint. Both my grandmothers helped me to discover art in all its forms and the way you can just get lost in your own imagination. Standing in front of my easel in my studio is one of the best ways to escape the stresses in my life and gives me a lot of joy. I have painted my whole life, and I always will as long as I am able.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I think that most of the teachers I have had at Cypress had a hand in where I am today. However, Mrs. P. (Pelachik), is always available to answer questions and guide me along the way. She encourages me when I begin to doubt myself or brings me back to reality when I am completely overthinking something. She has known the answer to every question I have ever asked, from “how do I do this” to “who should I talk to about that.” You can tell she loves teaching and enjoys watching her students succeed. It has been a complete joy to have had her as a teacher and mentor.

Also, I’d like to give a shout out to Theresa, Ayman, and the many teachers who help in the lab. Without the lab, I don’t know where I would be, hours after hours, days upon days, a million questions later, they are always there to help me through what I don’t understand, even though the answer is sometimes (most of the time) right in front of me.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plan after graduation is to enter the workforce, hopefully at the college level in administration. I do plan on returning to college while working, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business and eventually obtain a master’s degree. I would love to be able to interact with students on some level to encourage them and watch them succeed as I have.

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

Once I find a position, my long-term goal is to stay there; I am loyal and have roughly (hopefully) 15 years left in the workforce. So, to find a position that I love would just be perfect to me. To retire from a fantastic, satisfying job is the plan. Also, since art is my passion, I will be returning to Cypress to take more art classes when my schedule allows.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of myself, my determination, and everything I have been able to accomplish simply by not giving up. I may not have taken the easy route, but that’s OK because I found myself along the way. Also, staying positive even when there were not many reasons to has helped me complete everything I have ever put my mind to. Despite the fear, injuries, age, I put all that aside and pushed forward to achieve any goal I set for myself.

I am proud of my family, as well, for always encouraging me along the way.

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

Success is at your fingertips. Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from becoming a better you. Cypress offers an educational path for everyone at every level. Enjoy your time here. There is so much Cypress has to offer. Set goals for yourself and stay on top of your educational plan. Sometimes we don’t know what we want to do until we have taken a class in that area or vice versa. We go in with one path set in our minds and we find another path of interest instead that leads us to a better life than we could have ever imagined. Enjoy the ride and the amazing experiences that await.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

One of the best decisions I have made was to attend Cypress College. The time and effort the professors, administrators, and staff put into our success is priceless. I am genuinely going to miss my days at Cypress. I have excelled as a student, grown as a person, and have proven to myself that I can accomplish anything. Thank you, Cypress College, for everything you provide to your students to ensure our success.

#CYPROUD: Dante Jaramillo, Biochemistry

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Dante Jaramillo

Dante graduated from Cypress College a biochemistry major and is transferring to Cal State Long Beach. The loss of a close childhood friend motivated him to get serious about education, and he originally pursued a degree in photography. After deciding he wouldn’t enjoy photography as a career, he switched gears and decided to follow his passion into medicine. He plans to pursue studies in osteopathic medicine and aspires to become a physician.

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

Hello, my name is Dante Jaramillo. I grew up in California in the city of Brea, and graduated from Brea Olinda High School in 2012. Throughout my younger years, most of my time was spent surfing at local beaches with family and friends. The ocean has always been a major influence in my life, and for a long time, being in the ocean water was all I wanted to do. I even spent a couple of years repairing surfboards for others as it was my way to stay involved with surfing while living inland.

Eventually, I found myself wanting to learn to play the drums and started a band with close friends. We spent a couple of years playing at parties and venues, just having the best time traveling around and performing our own songs. College initially was not of major interest to me, but with the passing of a lifelong friend, I started taking education seriously. At first thinking I could never succeed in higher education, it was only through determination and with help from others that I am at this point in my life. I am truly thankful.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Prior to Cypress College, I was working on a photography major at Fullerton College. When I began to understand that I would not enjoy photography as a career, I discovered the radiologic technology program at Cypress College. My thought process was that if I could take my interest in photography and add some health science in then that would be a better track for myself.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

When I did not secure a spot in the Radiologic Technology Program, I realized it was actually the extra push I needed to encourage myself to shift my studies in the direction of medicine, where my passion has always been. While starting the early coursework for a biochemistry degree, I soon learned about the (STEM)2 Program and applied. Not realizing initially what I was getting myself into, I soon became involved with the campus science community, and I am thankful that I did. The program has encouraged me to keep moving out of my comfort zone to network with peers and professionals on campus and in the workforce, attend workshops built on strengthening the campus community, and take advantage of opportunities to participate in research.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

As of now, I am most passionate about continuing to develop my understanding of the sciences and the world. I hope to learn all that I can and use that knowledge to help others now and in the future.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Throughout my years at Cypress College, all of the counselors and staff have always been supportive and encouraging. Without the campus support, I probably could not have maintained my determination to stay in school consistently for all the years.

In my path toward biochemistry, a few faculty come to mind that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with. Professors Sheila Nguyen and Fumio Ogoshi were the first to introduce me to the rigors of studying heavily while also always staying positive and supportive. They were the foundation for what I was to expect moving forward in school, and I am thankful to have met both. In (STEM)2, Yanet Garcia is the biggest fan of everyone in the program. Her constant encouragement and helpful advice to keep pursuing and keep moving up have helped me come a long way, and she has been a part of many academic and work opportunities that have helped shape me into who I am today. Finally, the biggest influential figure for me was Dr. Adel Rajab. Through brutal coursework and pressure to stay sharp and focused, I became much more confident in my decision to major in biochemistry and now look forward to taking more tough courses. He is the “Uncle Adel” looking out for all of his students, and I know he has a strong influence on the lives of many.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am transferring to Cal State University Long Beach to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. The summer before starting, I will be a part of research on campus through the Summer Bridge to the Beach Program.

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

I plan to continue working to pursue an education in osteopathic medicine, and aspire to become a physician. I have an interest in utilizing an education in medicine to be in the healthcare community and work toward finding lasting solutions to help those who are suffering and unable to receive adequate health care here and abroad.

What are you most proud of?

For a few years, I struggled greatly with anxiety. It eventually reached a point where I had extreme hardship getting out of bed and performing other daily activities. I am proud that with time and the support of family and friends, I have worked my way through this personal hardship by making many lifestyle changes and learning to seek help when it is needed. Now, the anxiety has much less of an effect on my daily life, but I know it will continue to be a work in progress. I hope to encourage others struggling with anxiety to seek support and keep pushing forward.

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

Be sure to utilize the resources that are available on campus to help find and guide you in pursuing your interests. Take the necessary time to find what you are passionate about, and when the time arrives that you figure out what that is, work as hard as you can for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with staff and fellow students at Cypress College. I wish the best to those who are continuing, and those who are starting, their college education. Be mindful, grateful, positive, true, and kind.

#CYPROUD: Flora Li, Human Services

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Flora Li

Flora is a human services graduate from Cypress College who will continue her studies at Cal State Long Beach majoring in human development. A native of Hong Kong who moved to the U.S. in 2012, Flora finds great joy helping people live happy, fulfilling lives. She currently volunteers at two caring ministries and hopes to continue helping others by becoming an executive at a non-profit.

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

I was born, raised, and educated in Hong Kong. I lived there until I came to the U.S. in 2012. My interests include reading, hiking, painting, and almost everything related to art. I studied human services as my major at Cypress College and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in human development at Cal State University Long Beach starting fall 2018.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I felt comfortable and relaxed in the campus environment at Cypress College and was pleased with it in addition to its outstanding rating in California. The campus’ location is also pretty close to my home, so it kept me from having a hectic commute.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Since I have been volunteering in two separate caring ministries, unfortunately I am not involved in campus activities.

My path unfolded when I worked in Arizona back in 2013. I was at a Christian ministry that provided services, programs, and residence to adults with developmental disabilities. I found great joy in nurturing people to live a happy and fulfilling life.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about helping people to live a life of fullness. I believe that being happy and healthy is a right; however, it is not the case that people are always viewed fairly and justly. Marginalization and stereotyping still exist in this country. I want to make a difference and prove that every individual deserves to be respected.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I am fortunate to have met many wonderful instructors and staff. To name a few, I would especially like to thank ESL instructor Catherine Whitsett. Not only have I seen her passion and skill for teaching, but her humility. I would also like to thank my counselor, Mymy Lam. She has been extremely helpful and unlocks some program complexities for me to make ends meet. Last but not least, I applaud Ly Chang, an evaluator in Admissions and Records. With her professionalism, patience, and down-to-earth demeanor, she guided me to do the right things at the right time.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will transfer to CSU Long Beach in fall 2018 majoring in human development.

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

My long-term goal is to become an executive in a not-for-profit organization. I wish to help people relate in an ever-evolving society and partner with them to explore their full potential.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being a student over 55 and overcoming the hurdles of studying, maintaining an excellent GPA, and being selected for #CYProud.

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

To borrow Paulo Coelho’s quote, “Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am fortunate to have chosen Cypress College. It has provided me with an enjoyable and fulfilling campus experience. I also thank God that He guided very wonderful professors, staff members, and friends to me at Cypress College.

#CYPROUD: Rogelio Dominguez, Culinary Arts

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Rogelio Dominguez

Rogelio is a culinary arts graduate from Cypress College who will continue working and growing at the JW Marriott/Ritz-Carlton L.A. Live. Born and raised by parents who immigrated to California for a better life, Rogelio found his passion in the kitchen while helping his mother cook. Though his family had other dreams for his future, Rogelio was determined to follow his passion and learn as much about the culinary arts as he could. In summer 2017, he was accepted for an internship at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort, which led to his current employment in Los Angeles. Ultimately, he hopes to open his own restaurant to share his passion for food with others.

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 Lynwood/Compton area in LA County, about 15 miles north of Cypress College. In 1991, my parents, along with my three siblings, immigrated to California from Guerrero, Mexico for a better life. I came along in 1995, becoming the only U.S. citizen in the family.

Growing up, my siblings and I were thankful for having hardworking parents. Both of them have always worked and went above and beyond to provide us with a middle-working-class lifestyle. The hardworking characteristic was always present at home. Chores were present in my life since the day I understood the meaning of cleaning and putting my toys away. I hated chores so much, but I ended up finding my passion through them.

One of those chores involved me stirring soups, meats, and sauces. My chore was to prevent them from burning and making sure that mom’s home-cooked meals were just how she wanted them. In high school, that chore became a passion when I began to understand that food was more than just breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That was my main interest and passion, and I wanted to move forward with my goal, but it also became difficult for my family to understand my interest in pursuing a career in culinary arts. They wanted a businessman, engineer, lawyer, doctor, etc. out of me, but I was not going to pursue something I did not enjoy. So here I am, following my passion, working hard, and learning everything there is to know in a kitchen so that I can conclude my story.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

After gathering information from institutions that offered a degree in culinary arts, I thought Cypress College exemplified a campus full of academic focus, diversity, and professionalism.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Through the Cypress College Hospitality, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts Program, I was part of the student-run Cypress Bistro for two semesters. Also, I had the privilege to represent Cypress College in a Marriott Culinary Internship this past summer 2017. I attended a three-month-long internship at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a hands-on experience that unfolded many opportunities for me. Once my internship concluded, I was able to network and accept a cook position here at home at the JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton LA LIVE.

Cypress College played a significant role unfolding my path in this industry. Our instructors in this program show commitment and dedication toward our education and careers. They prepare us by sharing their experiences and achievements in this complex, yet amazing, industry.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

For myself, knowledge is a very powerful tool. I am passionate about learning new things, cooking techniques, trends, and anything related to food and beverage. I try to learn something new every day. Whether I’m at work, eating out, or on my days off, I am always excited to observe and learn. At work, I find myself asking questions and observing my peers and leaders so that I can grow professionally as a chef.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Chef Jeremy, Chef Stephanie, Chef Brian, Chef Amanda, Chef Tracy and Professor Lisa Clark are all instructors who have motivated my peers and me to succeed in our fields. They are all full of passion for this industry. Their excitement and dedication motivate us to go above and beyond in our careers. They all make the Cypress College Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Program a familial learning environment.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I plan on building my culinary background at my current job, The JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton LA LIVE. I am surrounded by incredibly talented chefs at this property. I am committed to growing as much as possible with Marriott International and helping my property meet guest satisfaction through food and beverage in any way possible.

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

There is nothing more satisfying than creating your dishes and seeing them printed on a menu. I aspire to open my own restaurant. I want to share the flavors that are dearest to me, and I would want for foodies (food lovers), guests, and just anyone to have a memorable experience with my food.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of the commitment I have to the culinary arts. I have been cooking professionally for about a year and a half. During this short period of time, I have been presented with many challenges that have helped me become a better leader. I am proud of the love I have for cooking and am proud of my commitment to not stopping until I have met my goals.

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

Follow your passion and do what you love most. Don’t be afraid of what others have to comment or say about your goals. There will be a lot of stressful moments and mistakes will be made, but those mistakes will only help you become a stronger individual.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“Pressure makes diamonds.” – George S. Patton Jr.

If you find yourself pursuing the things you love, never complain about being under pressure. The pressure in your workforce will bring out the best of you, and it will make you a competitive candidate in your career of interest because pressure makes diamonds.

#CYPROUD: Gabrielle Carbajal, Kinesiology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Gabrielle Carbajal

Gabrielle was a kinesiology major who will continue her studies at Humboldt State University while playing for their basketball team. Always an athlete, Gabrielle’s love for basketball brought her to Cypress College to play for Women’s Basketball Coach Margaret Mohr. Gabrielle aspires to become a physical education teacher and basketball coach herself.

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

I grew up in Garden Grove, CA and attended Rancho Alamitos High School. During high school, I was a tri-sport athlete participating on the cross country, basketball, and track teams. I have a strong passion for basketball, and I invest most of my time in improving my skills and focusing on school. In my free time, I like to read, write, and spend time with family and friends.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because of the women’s basketball program and its strong academic reputation.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?
The women’s basketball program at Cypress College has had the greatest impact on my life. I not only grew as a basketball player, but as an individual as well.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about sports because my family members are sport fanatics. Also, I have a strong passion for reading, writing, and photography.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The women’s basketball coaching staff at Cypress College has positively influenced my life by helping me achieve in the classroom and on the court. The Kinesiology Department has guided me academically as well.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After studying at Cypress College, I plan on transferring to Humboldt State University to further my basketball and academic career.

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

My long-term goal is to be a physical education teacher and a basketball coach.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being the first in my family to graduate from college. I am also proud of my academic and basketball achievements at Cypress College.

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

Believe in yourself.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you, Cypress College, for the best two years of my life. I will forever cherish the memories made.

#CYPROUD: Myeongseob Kim, Political Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Myeongseob Kim

Myeongseob was a political science major at Cypress College who is continuing his studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, following his graduation from the college. In search of the right educational path for his future following a couple of years at a South Korean university and two years in the military, Myeongseob decided to study abroad in the U.S. At Cypress College, he took credit overloads nearly every semester while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He aspires to be a politician in his native South Korea and also a member of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center.

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

I grew up in South Korea where the society enforces that students focus on education heavily. Earning academic successes was probably the easiest thing of my life until I graduated high school. It was normal for me to study for more than 12 hours a day and I was able to earn good grades from middle school to high school. Due to this, a lot of people who knew me during that time expected that I would get a high score on the Korean version of the SAT, the Korean University Admission Exam. On the day of the exam, the pressure on me to get a high score distressed me. As a result, I failed to get the grade expected. I studied one more year, dedicating as many hours as possible for the Korean SAT. After the second exam, I realized that I had disappointed everyone around me and myself. I had to proceed and enter a university that I was not satisfied with.

I went to a university that was ranked relatively lower than where I pursued. I studied at the university for two years and served in the military for another two years. Even after those years, I was still lost and worried about my future. As a result, I decided to study abroad and came to the United States last year as the spring semester of 2017 began and started my first semester at Cypress College. I was taking more units than many other students, so it was difficult to learn all the material in English in the beginning. However, as the semesters went by, I found myself finding joy in education again. For this reason, I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and was accepted into a great university.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

During my service period in the military in South Korea, I met my girlfriend who was a student at Cypress College. While she was visiting Korea, she encouraged me to study abroad at Cypress College because it is one of the top community colleges in California. While I was researching about the college, I realized that it would be a good school for me to acquire knowledge and to prepare to transfer to a University of California. Also, I found that Cypress College has one of the top ESL programs in California, which is helpful for international students. These were the reasons why I chose Cypress College.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in many programs that were provided at Cypress College. I took 18 units in the first semester, 11 units in the summer semester, 20 units in the fall semester, and 21 units in my final semester. When I started to study at Cypress College, I only focused on graduating and transferring to a UC as fast as I could, so I focused on taking general education classes and deciding on my major of study. I finally found what I want to study and what I want to be while studying at Cypress College.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am interested in knowing political theories and their implications to pursue a just world. An incident of South Korea and conflict in global society happened when the Korean president was impeached, causing the relationship amongst North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. to deteriorate. Those political events inspired me to feel passionate about becoming a politician who has the ability to maintain the peace of the world. Moreover, I wanted to inform and suggest a well-developed political theory to South Korea from learning politics in the United States, which is the leader of democratic countries.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I really appreciate all professors who taught the classes I took. To professor Alison Robertson, Armando Mendoza, Daniela Gutierrez, Angela de Dios, Janet Nau, Lisa Little, and all other professors, I would like to say thank you so much.

  • ESL professor Alison Robertson helped me with adopting the Cypress College life in my first semester and acquiring the English language easily as a second language.
  • Professor Daniela Gutierrez furthered my knowledge of art and made me feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Dr. Angela de Dios gave me a lot of useful information for my life, and I learned lessons from her responsibility and the effort she put into her classes.
  • Professor Lisa Little taught me about biological anthropology, which changed the perspective I had about the world and human beings. She provided a wonderful experience through visiting the San Diego Zoo with students, and it helped me to appreciate life on Earth.
  • Professor Armando Mendoza and I had a common interest, which was Korean martial arts. Before or after class, we used to share our knowledge about this common interest. He was a really nice professor, nice father figure, and an expert in martial arts. He liked to give students advice for their future lives and suggested how we should live. Thank you to all professors for helping me at Cypress College.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am planning to go to University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall quarter and graduate in the winter quarter of next year. I also want to graduate from UCSB with many accomplishments, so I will focus on participating in many conferences and club activities, as well as taking classes with good grades because I realized through the transfer process that maintaining a high GPA is not the only important accomplishment. After graduating from UCSB, I will go to a graduate school to study further.

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

As one of the Korean people, I want to try to solve the conflict among the United States, South Korea, and North Korea. Also, I want to resolve the corrupt state of Korean politics, so I have a goal to be a troubleshooter. Specifically, I have two dreams: one is to be a politician in South Korea as a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the diplomacy department; the other is to be a member of KMC, which is the Korea Mission Center in the CIA.

What are you most proud of?

When I first came to the U.S., I was planning to get a degree in a short amount of time. When I started to study at Cypress College, I met with some counselors to make my education plan. Most of the counselors told me that one year and a half would not be enough to graduate and transfer to a UC, so they said it would be impossible. I had to take 75 units including ESL courses in three semesters. I had many challenges during my time at Cypress College. I was able to skip ESL 185 by earning good grades and good test scores in ESL 184. I also took 11 units in the summer semester. I was required to see counselors each semester so I could take as many units in each semester as possible beyond the maximum. Finally, although there were many difficulties and challenges, I was able to finish my plan and graduate this spring.

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

I would like to advise that lazy students will not receive good grades at Cypress College. The most useful way to succeed at Cypress College is to use many programs, meet with counselors, and take advice from professors. As you meet with counselors, you can set appropriate goals whether they are short term or long term ones. Also, you should try to meet with professors during their office hours or before or after the classes as much as you can because you can acquire varied knowledge beyond the textbook.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am regretting that I did not have enough time to experience everything at Cypress College, so I would like to say that students should enjoy their life at Cypress College. Thanks to all professors and staff. I had a gorgeous experience at Cypress College as a starting place in the U.S.

#CYPROUD: Janki Sukhadia, Chemistry

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Janki Sukhadia

Janki was a chemistry major who will continue her studies at University of California, Davis. A student at both Cypress College and Fullerton College, Cypress’ sister institution, Janki committed herself to being heavily involved in both campus communities, as well as the community at large. She was an active member of a number of programs and student groups at the colleges, including (STEM)2 and Associated Students at Cypress and the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society at Fullerton. She aspires to become a physician’s assistant with a specialty in substance abuse.

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

I grew up in Fullerton, California, and am currently living in Anaheim. Most people think I immigrated here from India when I was young because of how native I sound when I speak Gujarati; however, it was my parents who struggled and worked hard to get here so that my sister and I could have a better life. It is thanks to them that I never lost touch with our roots. My interests include watching TV shows, reading, doing nail art, and hanging out with friends.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because of the amazing things I heard about the science teachers. I actually started off at Fullerton College my first summer after high school. While taking my first anthropology and art history classes, I met some friends who told me about how amazing the science teachers are at Cypress College and that I could go there for classes because we’re sister colleges. I took my first class at Cypress College in fall 2015 and just fell in love with the classes and teachers and how much they care.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I didn’t really start getting involved until my second year at Cypress College. I heard about the (STEM)2 program and how amazing it is, so I applied and was accepted. I’ve been in the program for two years now and all I can say is that it has opened me up to a lot of opportunities. I was able to go to quite a few conferences and make connections I’ll never forget. The (STEM)2 program has really impacted my life in so many ways. The workshops I’ve attended have taught me a lot, and I can say that I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t been able to get involved in this program.

Another way I’ve been involved at Cypress College is that I joined Associated Students. Even though I was only able to be a committed member for one semester, I made some amazing friends and have great memories with all of them. I try to still go by and help out with events whenever I can.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I’m very passionate about chemistry. As a chemistry major, I will be constantly applying everything I learn in the classroom to my future job and throughout my career. I’m also passionate about giving back to the community and volunteering as much as I can. At Fullerton College, I have my own club dedicated to community service. Through that, we have an event almost every Saturday. I also volunteer outside of that at St. Jude Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and at CAST. I know that it took a village to help my family get on their feet when they first got here, so I want to give back as thanks for all the help we got.

Volunteering has become a major part of my life, and I know that whatever I do, I will never stop making time to give back to those who need it.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

During my three years, there were so many professors and faculty members that helped me and made a huge impact on my education and I can’t name them all. However, there are a few that I would like to thank for everything they have done for me:

  • Yanet Garcia and Rosa Mejia for all they do for the countless students in the (STEM)2 Program, for the workshops they work so hard to schedule and find speakers for; for setting up complete college tours where we are able to see the labs we will be working in within the STEM buildings; and for guiding us. Without this program, I would not know what I want to become because I was guided by a lot of the conferences and workshops I was provided access to through the (STEM)2 Program.
  • Professor Torri Dragonov, my general chemistry II professor, because she was one of the teachers who really encouraged me to continue pursuing chemistry. Professor Draganov is a professor who is invested in the future of her students. She cares a lot about the paths they will be taking and is always willing to give advice. She kept me interacting and interested in her class even though it was a late class with lectures ending at 10 p.m.
  • Professor Anthony Hollow, my organic chemistry a lab professor for always being willing to help students out with any questions we had about lab or lecture. He also cared about his students so much that he would stay long after class ended at 10 p.m. to answer any questions we had or assist with anything we were confused on. I still remember when my study group and I didn’t leave lab until 11:30 p.m. because he wanted to make sure we understood the material being covered in class. His passion for organic chemistry is inspirational and unrivaled by any other organic chemistry professor I have met.
  • Professor Eric Wong, my physics 221 professor because physics was one of the classes I was doubting myself in coming into college. I’d always been interested in physics and how the world works, but my high school physics professor pretty much killed my dreams of becoming an engineer. Professor Wong was one of the most encouraging teachers I have ever met. He could see when we were confused and would immediately go back through the material a different way with examples to make sure we understood. He went above and beyond by filming his lectures and making them accessible. He would also stay after class to help out any students who were struggling. He also had a very annoying habit of having us figure out the answer to our question by asking us more questions; however, looking back, that was the best way to get us to think about the material and learn to be self-sufficient. He was definitely one of the most approachable teachers I have ever had and I was sorry to see him go. He changed my view of physics and taught me to have a growth mindset.
  • Professor Adel Rajab, my biology 174 professor because biology was a class I’d written off as a chemistry major until I realized that UC Davis wanted it for my forensic chemistry major. I actually loved biology and wanted to be a biology major until I took organismal biology at Fullerton College and didn’t like it. I was actually quite scared going into Professor Rajab’s class for a couple of reasons, one being my last biology class and how it didn’t go so well, and the other being that he sent out a huge list of assignments and weekly tasks on his syllabus before the semester even started. I managed to brave my fears and push myself to take his class. He is actually one of the most amazing professors I have had the pleasure of taking. He does everything he can to help his students succeed, from creating his own modules for every chapter, to offering his office hours to go over how to use Excel to help us with our labs. He has proved time and time again how interesting and complex biology is, and surprisingly, he hasn’t scared me off yet. One of my favorite things about his class is that he tries to use props to create visual representations of concepts that are hard for his students to understand. He will also spend time that he doesn’t really have answering questions in class just to make sure we understand the material. I will say that Professor Rajab’s class has changed my view on biology; however, I am still a chemistry major.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will be transferring to UCI to complete my bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. I will also be involved in research and will continue volunteering at St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach. After my undergrad, I plan on taking the MCAT and applying to medical schools.

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

My goal is to one day be a PA in the ER of a hospital, making a difference. I would also love to focus my specialty in substance abuse so I can draw in on the forensic chemistry side of my education, too. I want to make a difference in the lives of those who need help, but don’t realize it. I also, one day, want to go to third-world countries and help with their medical clinics. Some of this may seem far-fetched, but I know I’ll be able to make it.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of myself for coming as far as I have come. When I left high school, I was very quiet and shy with no idea what path I wanted to take and what I wanted to do with my life. Here I am now, three years later, involved in two big programs at Cypress College and countless more at Fullerton College, including being the president of Fullerton College’s Alpha Gamma Sigma, a community service-based honor society, and being honored as a Student of Distinction at Fullerton. I have found my path and I know what type of impact I want to make. With the support of my friends and family, I am transferring to an amazing UC and I can finally say, “I did it!”

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

Be tough, determined, resilient, but most of all, have faith and hope in yourself that you can accomplish anything if you have a willing mind to take the first step on your path to success.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I love the ducks at Cypress College!

#CYPROUD: Bryan Igboke, Engineering

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Bryan Igboke

Bryan is an engineering major at Cypress College transferring to Cal Poly Pomona following his graduation from the college. He originally attended Cypress College to play basketball and stayed to lay the foundation for earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He credits the college’s (STEM)2 Program for helping him realize his passion for engineering, as well as helping him meet others with similar interests and providing opportunities for educational and professional growth. He aspires to own an engineering firm that operates in both the U.S. and Africa.

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

I grew up in Long Beach, California, but attended school in Los Alamitos from kindergarten through high school. My interests include basketball, video games, and watching anime.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I originally came to Cypress College out of high school to play for the basketball team. After my time on the team was over, I stayed at Cypress to lay the groundwork for pursing an engineering degree.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Once I was done playing basketball for the college, I felt like I had lost my purpose and even felt alone at times. This changed when I joined the (STEM)2 Program because it helped me realize my passion for engineering and helped me meet other people in similar majors. Being in the program definitely improved my academic career by pushing me to get better grades and participate in extracurricular career-building opportunities, such as summer research.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about basketball. Basketball instilled qualities in me such as resilience, hard work, and team work that help me even outside of the lines of the court. There is no doubt that it has shaped my life in a positive way and given me the discipline and drive to be successful in life.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Yanet Garcia is the coordinator of the (STEM)2 program and has helped me in numerous ways, such as urging me to apply for summer research and writing me multiple letters of recommendation. The amount of work she puts into not only bettering the (STEM)2 program, but also students’ futures, is inspiring. Deidre Porter is one of the (STEM)2 counselors who has always guided me in taking the right classes for my major, believed in me, and was even kind enough to include me in her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. She reminds me of my mother because I believe she truly wants the best for me.

Brinda Subramaniam was my Physics 222 professor who lived up to her reputation for having the toughest class in the school. She is also the most caring professor I have ever had, and you can tell she genuinely wants to see all of her students make something of themselves. The study habits she instilled in me will continue to aid me throughout my life.

Massoud Saleh helped me get to where I am because taking all of his classes helped me confirm that I want to be an engineer. He is extremely knowledgeable about the engineering field and is happy to share his knowledge with all of his students. Learning in his classes was fun because I never had to be afraid to ask any question.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona where I will major in civil engineering. I then plan to get my master’s degree in an engineering field and then enter the workforce.

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

I want to use my degrees to improve infrastructure by minimizing waste and diminishing the negative impact we have on the environment. I would also like to create a blueprint for affordable, reliable homes that can be built in third world countries. I hope to one day own an engineering firm that operates both in the U.S. and Africa.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my parents. They both came to the U.S. from Nigeria with very little money and no friends or family to rely on. They worked extremely hard to provide for my two brothers and me. I owe any success I have attained to them because of their constant guidance, as well as them being models for what hard work and determination look like.

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

Community college students are often looked down upon because we didn’t go to four-year universities straight out of high school. People think that we are lazy or are just too stupid to make it at a “real” college. None of that matters. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you in community college to achieve your goal, so long as you never give up. You can be just as great and even greater than those who did not go to community college. “Even a ‘reject’ can surpass an ‘elite’ if he/she trains hard enough.”

#CYPROUD: Abhiruchi Chaulagain, Biology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Abhiruchi Chaulagain

Abhiruchi was a biology major at Cypress College who will continue her studies at University of California, Irvine following her graduation from the college. Named Cypress College’s 2018 Outstanding Graduate, Abhiruchi has made a lasting impression on many college faculty and staff with her hard work, passion for education and helping others, and dedication to excellence. She moved to the U.S. in 2015 to pursue a medical career in emergency and disaster medicine, motivated by that year’s devastating earthquake in her native Nepal.

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

I was born and brought up in Nepal, a small Himalayan country in South Asia. I graduated from high school there and moved to the United States in 2015. After relocating here, I enrolled myself in Cypress College to continue my higher education. My main hobbies are dancing, watching TV shows and movies, traveling, and trying new foods. I love water sports and would like to be a certified scuba diver someday.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Community college was the best option for me as I was very new to this country and wanted to start my educational journey in a smaller community. I was unaware of the higher education system here; I had so much to learn. I was searching for a place that would help me grow academically, socially, and culturally. Cypress College was perfect! It was very close to my home and came highly recommended by my well-wishers. It also had amazing student resources and a high transfer rate, a beautiful campus, diverse demographics, numerous academic options, and friendly staff. I was sure this was the right place for me.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

My first semester, I was a part-time student, so I wasn’t very involved on campus. However, once I became a full-time student, I tried my best to be as involved as I could. I have been employed as a Cypress College student ambassador for two years now, and through this program I have participated in numerous events on and off campus. I have helped organize and execute events like Kindercaminata, New Student Welcome Night, Senior Day, Commencement Ceremony, Americana Awards, 50th Anniversary Festival and Reunion, and the Cypress Golf tournament. I have participated in outreach activities, representing Cypress College at local high school fairs and city events. Likewise, I have worked with special college enrollment programs like Dual Enrollment and Charger Fridays. I also gave campus tours to familiarize students with the campus.

I am an Honors Program student at Cypress and have been actively involved in events organized by the program like the Northern California trip, Honors Book Fair, and classroom renovation. As a biology major, I have been a part of the (STEM)2 program on campus for three semesters. Through this program, I have participated in various workshops and events, learning how to succeed as a science major. I was the Inter-Club Council representative for the Chemistry Club, and a member of the Math and STEM clubs.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about education and health care. Growing up, my family made sure I understood the importance of education for the success of an individual and community. I truly believe that higher education promotes growth and development of a society. Therefore, I loved working as a student ambassador for Cypress College. Sharing my experience as a college student and promoting higher education amongst high school students gave me pure joy. Likewise, proper health care, especially in underdeveloped communities, requires special attention right now. Good health care is essential for productivity, and overall progress.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by faculty who have gone above and beyond to help me succeed. I owe special thanks to my physics professor, Dr. Brinda Subramaniam, and my English professor, Kendyl Covey Palmer. Their guidance, motivation, and numerous recommendations have played a tremendous role in my success.

I am extremely grateful to Lark Crumpler, my former supervisor, for believing in me, and choosing me to be one of the student ambassadors for Cypress. I am also thankful to my current supervisor, Kassandra Abreu, who has always been considerate, pushing me to achieve higher. The Student Ambassador program helped me build professional and personal relationships I will cherish forever, and paved my pathway to numerous achievements.

Penny Gabourie, the Honors Program counselor, made sure I was on the right track, and was always there to assist me in every step. I am also grateful to the entire (STEM)2 team for providing me with wonderful resources, which contributed to my overall success here at Cypress.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will be transferring to UCI to complete my bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. I will also be involved in research and will continue volunteering at St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach. After my undergrad, I plan on taking the MCAT and applying to medical schools.

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

My long-term goal is to have a career in the medical field. I aspire to become a physician and contribute my efforts to the improvement of global health care. I would like to provide health care education and training to underrepresented communities in different parts of the world. My peak areas of interest are emergency and disaster medicine and women’s reproductive health.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being selected as the Outstanding Graduate of 2018 and being awarded the Associated Student’s Outstanding Community Service Scholarship.

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

My one advice to fellow Chargers would be to utilize available resources and ask for help. There’s plenty of help available at Cypress College like counselling, tutoring, health services, scholarships, the Food Bank, and much more. Just ask away!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Cypress College has been my second home these last two years. There were days when I would spend about 14 hours on campus. It isn’t just my educational institution, it is my place of work, and my safe space. I built amazing relationships here, and made memories I’ll cherish forever. It provided me with a platform to grow academically, professionally, and socially. I will truly miss Cypress.

My Cypress Story: Lisa Benjamin

Every person has a story to tell, and Cypress College is excited to share the inspirational, motivational, and aspirational stories from our many students of all walks of life. No matter the path, we accompany each and every one of our students on their educational journeys. Take a walk down the west-side hall of the Humanities Building to explore some of the people who make us a unique community.

We call this project “My Cypress Story.”

Hello, my name is Lisa Benjamin.

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

I grew up in a small town in Central California where, for me, sports and art were life. I always struggled with academics—things didn’t click very easily for me as they did for other students, especially in math. Not knowing at all what I wanted to do for a career after my high school graduation, I entered the workforce where I worked a few different types of jobs before realizing I wanted to become a manicurist. I always loved doing nails, so it seemed perfect for me and a way that I could get paid for my artwork.

Off to beauty college I went, but after graduation and before I could take the State Board Exam, I was in a tragic car accident, where I suffered a spinal cord injury. After the accident, I was left quadriplegic for two weeks and paralyzed for roughly six months. I will continue to suffer from lifelong nerve pain and some lingering paralysis in different areas of my body. Keeping a positive attitude, I thought, “What is the worst that could happen now,” considering the doctors had no idea what my outcome would be. So, I pushed forward with one goal in mind: walking. Learning how to walk again was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever had to do. Having to endure this was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. I don’t take life for granted and every day I remain upright is the best day I could ask for. I am not guaranteed to walk forever, so I enjoy every step I am able to take.

After three years of therapy, I thought, “I am ready to take my State Board Exam.” I did, and passed. I was now a licensed manicurist and ready to feel normal again. I landed a sweet job at a very prestigious day spa and thought I had finally made it. However, after a couple years, I realized that I needed to grow beyond what my small town had to offer.

Not sure where to go or how to get there, I went online and found a roommate finder. I found a few people in the area where I wanted to live in Southern California and set up some appointments. After meeting with everyone, I picked the best out of what I had. I quit my job, gave notice at my apartment, registered for college at another institution in Orange County, and moved.

My major was athletic training. I felt a passion to go in that direction due to the hours I spent in therapy. I was hoping to help others and motivate them to accomplish what seems almost impossible while keeping a positive attitude. Eager to learn and help, I landed an internship in the training room at my school. However, my hopes were cut short when my own injuries caught up with me and I was no longer able to continue my studies at a higher educational institution with that being my major. Even while still struggling with mathematics, I overcame those setbacks and graduated with my associate degree.

Why did you choose Cypress College and how is being a student here helping you achieve your goals?

Not being from Southern California, I actually chose Cypress College based on the campus when I went to the swap meet they hold on the weekends. As we were walking through I was looking around and thought, “I could go here. It’s really nice.” I was trying to return to the workforce and applying for job after job, only to realize my computer skills were, let’s just say, not up to par for even the minimum requirements. Knowing I needed to return to college, I remembered that campus I saw at the swap meet. I then went to the Cypress College website and noticed all the CIS (Computer Information Systems) classes the college offers at many different levels, and I was sold. I registered right then and started to look at which classes I wanted to start with, hoping that come registration time they were available. They were and I was ecstatic. I do wish that I had found Cypress when I first moved down here.

I am able to achieve my goals because of the time I put into my studies and all of the resources that are available to me that I take advantage of. Without the extra help outside of the classroom, I wouldn’t have the grades I have. I put in the extra work and ask for help when I need it.

What do you like most about being a Cypress College student?

The feeling of success I feel after each day. This is the most rewarding time in all my years of school. I feel that everyone here at Cypress wants to be here. Having that positive energy makes me want to do more than I originally thought I could. Seeing everyone when I am walking around the campus helping each other and working together is amazing to be around.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded and who are the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I originally was going to take just a few different classes in computer programs to brush up on my skills. After taking a couple classes, I realized I needed more than to just “brush up.” A lot has changed in 20-plus years, so I grabbed that catalog and planned my path. Now I’m about to enter my fourth semester and coming up on completion of three certificates and another associate degree. I am beyond thrilled about what I have accomplished and the fact that I was able to maintain straight A’s for the first time in my educational career.

I think that most of the teachers I have had at Cypress had a hand in where I am today. However, Mrs. P. (Pelachik), is always available to answer questions and guide me along the way. She encourages me when I begin to doubt myself or brings me back to reality when I am completely overthinking something. She has known the answer to every question I have ever asked, from “how do I do this” to “who should I talk to about that.” You can tell she loves teaching and enjoys watching her students succeed. It has been a complete joy to have had her as a teacher and mentor.

Also, I’d like to give a shout out to Theresa, Ayman, and the many teachers who help in the lab. Without the lab, I don’t know where I would be, hours after hours, days upon days, a million questions later, they are always there to help me through what I don’t understand, even though the answer is sometimes (most of the time) right in front of me.

What has been the most difficult part of being a college student? How have you dealt with that?

For me, I think the most difficult part is time. I feel, sometimes, that I plan how I am going to tackle all of my work instead of just doing it. There are so many steps in some of the lessons we are given that I often underestimate how long it is going to take to complete, or, at a glance, the lessons seem basic and easy enough, but once I am a few pages in, I hit a section that just makes me scratch my head in confusion. But I just keep going. I may have frustrating moments that feel like I will never be able to get the work done, but after reading and re-reading or asking for help, it just clicks. Also, sometimes I just need to step away for a few minutes to clear my mind, especially when I keep making the same mistake over and over.

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

Once I find a position, my long-term goal is to stay there; I am loyal and have roughly (hopefully) 15 years left in the workforce. So, to find a position that I love would just be perfect to me. To retire from a fantastic, satisfying job is the plan. Also, since art is my passion, I will be returning to Cypress to take more art classes when my schedule allows.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of myself, my determination, and everything I have been able to accomplish simply by not giving up. I may not have taken the easy route, but that’s OK because I found myself along the way. Also, staying positive even when there were not many reasons to has helped me complete everything I have ever put my mind to. Despite the fear, injuries, age, I put all that aside and pushed forward to achieve any goal I set for myself.

I am proud of my family, as well, for always encouraging me along the way.

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

Success is at your fingertips. Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from becoming a better you. Cypress offers an educational path for everyone at every level. Enjoy your time here. There is so much Cypress has to offer. Set goals for yourself and stay on top of your educational plan. Sometimes we don’t know what we want to do until we have taken a class in that area or vice versa. We go in with one path set in our minds and we find another path of interest instead that leads us to a better life than we could have ever imagined. Enjoy the ride and the amazing experiences that await.

My Cypress Story: Mickaylah Prewitt

Every person has a story to tell, and Cypress College is excited to share the inspirational, motivational, and aspirational stories from our many students of all walks of life. No matter the path, we accompany each and every one of our students on their educational journeys. Take a walk down the west-side hall of the Humanities Building to explore some of the people who make us a unique community.

We call this project “My Cypress Story.”

Hi, my name is Mickaylah Prewitt.

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

I grew up in Long Beach with my grandmother, mother, and sister. Growing up, my mother made me try many sports and activities to find potential interests and outlets for after school. I ended up in ballet and was passionate about it from third grade all the way through tenth grade. In high school, I lacked discipline with my time and grades, so I quit spending so many hours at the ballet studio.

While at Millikan High School, I continued to dance on the school dance team, which was more fun and laid back than the more structured atmosphere of ballet. In high school, I lacked motivation and my only goal was to get out. I did the bare minimum, but pulled decent/average grades.

Why did you choose Cypress College and how is being a student here helping you achieve your goals?

I chose Cypress College because my sister and many of her friends told me stories of their struggles at a nearby community college and their difficulties seeking and receiving help with aspects of their education.

A friend who had graduated before me and stayed local told me about the success she had in finding help and guidance with her education, which helped me with making my decision regarding where I wanted to get my general education done. I did research on some of the city colleges around me and visited a few schools. Cypress was the most appealing to me.

Ultimately, Cypress College has been a great experience for me with starting my higher education path. I was successful at Cypress College because I was made aware of the resources, and I actually used them.

What do you like most about being a Cypress College student?

Every day I come to campus, I am reminded of how much it has served me. I am lucky enough to be a part of such a positive, inclusive community of intellects.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded and who are the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

Using resources is a simple concept, but sometimes getting started with getting directional help is difficult. While beginning at Cypress, I promised myself that I was not going to walk around campus and not know anyone, so I joined Associated Students and the Legacy Program in my first year. With these two communities as my support/social/school groups, using on-campus resources became routine and is what helped guide me to graduating in spring 2018.

The Legacy Program helped me build skills and led me to take on more leadership roles within the program once I completed it. I became a tutor and peer mentor for incoming students.

Faculty that have played key roles in my educational path include, but are not limited to: Regina Rhymes, Daniel Lind, Abraham Hardway, Dr. Deidre Porter, and Leilani Matanguihan.

What has been the most difficult part of being a college student? How have you dealt with that?

One of the hardest things I dealt with as a college student was getting started. This means starting an assignment, starting an application, starting to sign up for things, just starting the process to be productive. Getting started it still hard for me, but once I start, I am determined to finish.

I also struggled heavily with trying to do absolutely everything. By this, I mean I needed to do all of my schoolwork, work to pay for school, and be an active member in multiple groups on and off campus.

Having accountability for my actions when they were both bad and good was a very difficult part of transitioning into college and adulthood. I constantly had to remind myself that the things I do now are sacrifices for my future. One thing I constantly reminded myself was that being tired is temporary, but your GPA is forever! This mindset led me to overwork myself and neglect important aspects of my life, including my mental health.

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

It sounds corny, but my long-term goals and aspirations only include being happy. I am not too concerned with my future so long as I finish school with my bachelor’s degree in communications.

Ultimately, I would like to slowly work toward my master’s degree after my bachelor’s degree.

My career path is unclear, but I am spending my minimum wage years trying out different jobs and positions so I can find things that spark an interest in me, just as I tried many activities and sports as a kid.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my ability to push through and remember my priorities even when I am having a hard time outside of the classroom.

I am proud that I have been able to do so well as a student at Cypress College. When I started college, I feared disappointing myself, so I set low expectations at first. I soon found out that I am capable of great things if I just get started on them.

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

Make sure you absolutely take advantage of resources that are provided to you. The faculty and staff genuinely care and want you to do well at Cypress and beyond. Having an education plan is very important, but don’t make it a race. Finishing school is the goal, but doing well and being mindful of your limits is even more important in the long run.

My Cypress Story: Mayra Paiz-Asencio

Every person has a story to tell, and Cypress College is excited to share the inspirational, motivational, and aspirational stories from our many students of all walks of life. No matter the path, we accompany each and every one of our students on their educational journeys. Take a walk down the west-side hall of the Humanities Building to explore some of the people who make us a unique community.

We call this project “My Cypress Story.”

Hola, me llamo Mayra Paiz-Asencio.

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 Guatemala City, Guatemala. I first came to the U.S. when I was 16 years old, but I decided to go back home to continue my high school studies. I attended a Canadian school in Guatemala where I started learning English. After finishing high school, I went to a university for a few years, and I also got married and had my first son Marlon. Unfortunately, my husband died after three years of marriage and I decided to live permanently in the U.S. I have lived in Anaheim since then.

As a single mother I needed a job, so I took all my ESL classes at Fullerton College to improve my English skills. I worked for a temporary-job agency for more than half a year, but I was blessed to obtain a permanent job at an electronics company as an accounting clerk in 1999. In 2006, I remarried my current husband, Osmar, and we had our daughter, Melanie.

I learned a lot working in the Accounting Department, and I became a cost accountant in 2007. Working as a cost accountant for more than 10 years, I acquired a lot of experience and responsibilities, but I noticed that my salary did not increase as I wished. I decided to talk to my boss about the possibility of receiving a promotion as a senior cost accountant, but my petition was denied. My boss explained that my knowledge was not at a senior level and that I was not a candidate for a senior cost accountant position because I did not have a bachelor’s degree earned in the United States. My heart was broken because I knew how to do all the work; in fact, when the senior cost accountant was absent, I had done all of the job myself.

I spoke to my husband because I was not happy at my job anymore and started to feel a lot of stress. My husband and I decided to prepare ourselves financially to live on one income while I returned to school. In July 2017, I decided to quit my job, and I enrolled in Cypress College for the fall 2017 semester to achieve a higher education.

Why did you choose Cypress College and how is being a student here helping you achieve your goals?

I chose Cypress College because it offers a convenient location as it is close to my home and my daughter’s school. Also, I can carpool with my oldest son, who also attends Cypress College. I feel grateful that we both were able to find competitive education plans.

What do you like most about being a Cypress College student?

Cypress College was always my dream. It feels like a home to me. I knew this was my starting point, and I love how much support there is for all of us who have started a new journey.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded and who are the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

Due to the many extra hours my husband works during the week to support our family, all after-school activities and household activities fall on my shoulders. As a full-time student, I am extremely busy, so I do not have time for extra-curricular activities at Cypress College at the moment. However, I am active in my church, and I encourage my friends and family members to teach our kids to practice our beliefs.

Since this is my second semester at Cypress College, I haven’t had the opportunity to meet a lot of the professors here, but I would like to mention Maha Afra, my multicultural dance in the U.S. professor, and Jessica Puma, my Spanish professor for providing me with a lot of motivation and support.

What has been the most difficult part of being a college student? How have you dealt with that?

The most difficult part of being a college student is learning how to manage my time to be as productive as possible. I am a full-time student taking 16 units, but I also have two kids, a husband, and a house to keep moving forward.

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

I aspire to obtain my associate degree and transfer to California State University, Fullerton for a bachelor’s degree in business administration, as well as open a family business.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of having made the decision and taken the steps to return to school for a better future. I am proud to be a daughter of an immigrant. I am proud of being the first generation in my family that attends college. I am proud of who I am now, and I am I proud to prove to others it can be done.

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

Take advantage of everything Cypress College has to offer. Do not be afraid to ask for help in any matter because there are people out there who are willing to help others.

My Cypress Story: Brandon Davis

Every person has a story to tell, and Cypress College is excited to share the inspirational, motivational, and aspirational stories from our many students of all walks of life. No matter the path, we accompany each and every one of our students on their educational journeys. Take a walk down the west-side hall of the Humanities Building to explore some of the people who make us a unique community.

We call this project “My Cypress Story.”

Hello, I’m Brandon Davis!

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

I have grown up my whole life in Southern California. I lived in Westminster for about half my life and Garden Grove for the other half. My interests include baseball, camping, and hiking. I played baseball for nine years, ever since I was 10 years old. Throughout the years playing, I’ve gained lifelong friends, created treasured memories, and learned many life lessons. Even though I no longer play baseball, it will always be a big part of my life and who I am. Since I’ve played sports, I’ve always loved being outside. That’s what led to my tremendous interest in camping and hiking. Every single hike I go on, I can’t get enough of the fresh air, amazing views, and wildlife. I recently went on my first camping trip this past summer to Utah and immediately fell in love. I couldn’t get enough of the campfires, cooking, hiking, and sleeping in the tent. Even though I’ve only gone camping a couple times now, it will always be my favorite thing to do.

My story has been normal up until recently. I went to school, work, and hung out with friends and family just as most 20-year-olds do. Then, I started to develop a pain in the left side of my neck. I went to the doctor and ER multiple times during last fall semester without many answers. The two conclusions they kept coming up with were that it was a pinched nerve or I had just herniated a disk in my neck. Then I had an MRI done on my neck and that’s when those conclusions were put to rest. The MRI showed a mass on the left side of my neck. As soon as the ER doctor saw the mass on the MRI images, I was admitted to the hospital so that they could do a biopsy on it. This was on a Sunday and I remember being less concerned about the mass in my neck and more about my child psychology test that next Wednesday. I even asked the ER doctor if I would be discharged the next day because I hate missing class. My wish did not come true, however, as that hospital stay lasted six days. They did the biopsy on my neck and found that the mass was, in fact, a tumor. When I heard the doctor tell me that, my whole world was turned upside down. I went from being a normal 20-year-old college student to having cancer.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete the last three weeks of last fall semester. After further testing done on my biopsy, I was formally diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma on December 8, 2017. Since then, I have undergone three rounds of chemotherapy and can expect to have chemo and radiation until September or October of this year. Even with this life-changing diagnosis, my mindset has not strayed from my goals when it comes to school. During the course of my treatment, I plan to continue my education by completing the incompletes I received for my fall classes and possibly take some online classes.

Why did you choose Cypress College and how is being a student here helping you achieve your goals?

After high school, I was completely ready for college, but had no idea where I was going to go. I was still playing baseball at the time and was contemplating whether I was going to continue playing after senior year. I had some friends who played baseball for Cypress, and they invited me to take the summer baseball class before I made a decision. I took the summer baseball class and came out to Cypress that summer. The time I spent out on the field and on the campus was amazing, and I really enjoyed it. Even though I decided not to continue playing and focus on my studies, I had decided on where I was going to school. Being a student here has helped me tremendously to achieve my goals. Everyone I’ve encountered in my classes and just around campus has been more than helpful and courteous. Also, with professors as passionate as the ones I’ve had, it’s that much easier to be successful as a student at Cypress.

What do you like most about being a Cypress College student?

What I like most about being a Cypress College student is the overwhelming support and friendliness I’ve received from everyone on campus. Any time I have any questions, the faculty and services at Cypress are always more than helpful and kind. All of the professors I have had are so passionate about what they teach and are always there to help me if I need help. In addition, the classmates I have had are amazing. They’ve all been so helpful, and I’ve gained many friendships through classes I’ve taken at Cypress.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded and who are the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

Due to being so busy with schoolwork and work, I have not had the opportunity to be involved in much. I have attended several supplemental instruction sessions for the calculus classes I have taken, which were extremely helpful. I have also utilized the Learning Resource Center while I was taking English 100, which really propelled my writing.

  • Brandy Young, my professor for Psychology 101, made my introduction to psychology a lot of fun. From her passion for psychology, I learned more than I could have imagined and received my highest grade because of it. She has also been there and done more for my family and me through my diagnosis and fight than I could ever wish for.
  • James Lee, my English 100 professor, was my first English professor going into college my first fall semester. The subject I struggled with the most in high school was English, and I ended up with a B every single semester. I was very afraid of English 100 going into it because it was college writing and that was my worst part of English. However, by the end of the class, my thoughts on writing and my confidence levels as a writer were never higher, and I received my first A in an English class. Professor Lee has a gift for teaching writing that has helped me in all of my other classes.
  • Hoa Tran, my Math 150BC professor, is someone who pushed me in my study of math, especially in my first semester of college. Her deep understanding of the subject really helped others as well as me in a very difficult class.
  • Christina Plett, my Math 250AC professor, grew my love for math. Every day I sat in class, all I could see was the tremendous amount of love she had for the math she was teaching. That amount of passion and love for math is something that I hope to display for my future students.

What has been the most difficult part of being a college student? How have you dealt with that?

The most difficult part of being a college student for me has been spacing out my time equally between all of my classes. Naturally, because of my major, I tended to spend a lot of my study time on math without even realizing it. When I did this, it left little time to read and study for my other classes. To overcome this, I’ve made sure to set goals of what I want to accomplish each day for all of my classes. That way, instead of coming home every day and just starting math because it’s what I want to do, I’ll do math for a little, take a break, and then read for one of my other classes. Once I learned how to overcome going straight to math every day, the quality of what I was learning in my other classes increased tremendously.

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

My long-term goal is to become a high school math teacher. I have always loved math. I remember whenever I went over to my grandma’s house when I was really little, all I wanted to do was count this bag of money she had. I would count the same bag over and over again just because I thought it was fun. In third grade, I was so upset that I didn’t get placed in fourth grade math that I would do twice the homework. I didn’t receive any extra credit, I just wanted more practice. Then, in fifth grade, we took a test to determine if we would be in the advanced math group or regular instruction one and I tested into the regular one. I was devastated and pouted during math for the next week.

Throughout my education, my math teachers have had a lasting impression on me. So many have showed me how useful and interesting math can be. They are responsible for sparking the passion I have for math. That is where my passion for wanting to teach math comes from. My biggest goal is to spark students’ interest in math just as many of my teachers did. I look back and am thankful for what those teachers did for me and want to be able to do the same for my future students.

What are you most proud of?

My senior year of high school, I received an ABC award in AP Calculus for outstanding performance throughout the year. The reason this award means so much to me is that it made my confidence level soar and increased my passion for math. It really solidified my wanting to teach math and I was able to take all the confidence it gave me and apply it to my math courses in college. The award has been a huge catalyst to my success and passion in math.

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

One bit of advice I would give to current and future students is to never take a day for a granted. See the beauty in each day and know that each day presents an opportunity to smile or laugh no matter how dark or cloudy it may seem.

#CYPROUD: Shay Prokopchuk, Culinary Arts

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Shay Prokopchuk

Shay is a culinary arts graduate at Cypress College who will continue working at the Main Street restaurants in Disneyland while finishing his second associate degree in business management at Fullerton College. Originally a biology major with aspirations of becoming a doctor, he decided to change majors when he realized that would mean about 12 more years of schooling. He found his passion in culinary when he stepped into a kitchen role at Disneyland, where he has now worked for seven years, and dreams of one day opening his own restaurant.

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

I grew up in the South Corona/Lake Elsinore area out in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. I skateboarded, played football in high school, etc.; nothing out of the ordinary. I started college at Mt. San Jacinto College at the Menifee campus. As a biology major, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, until I realized that it takes close to 12 years of schooling. I started working at the Disneyland resort and transferred to Fullerton College. I changed my major to business because I knew I wanted to open my own business but had no idea what type of business. Two years later, I stepped into a kitchen role at Disney and everything clicked and fell into place. That was when I knew that I wanted to be a chef and open a restaurant one day. A year after that, I began my time at Cypress College and haven’t looked back. I am still working on my associate degree in business management at Fullerton College.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

By suggestion from my sous chefs at work, I looked into Cypress’ programs and found experienced, knowledgeable chefs running the program.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have had several opportunities to help the chefs with special events and was part of the management team for the 2017 Career Expo.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about food and music. I’m a terrible musician, so luckily, I found a career for my other passion. Both are always changing, evolving in new directions. I have always been fascinated also by cross-cultural influences, looking back through history at how civilizations have influenced and changed each other. Cuisine and culture have been changed and influenced along the way, for better or worse.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Hospitality Management Professor Lisa Clark taught me that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Use them to your advantage to better yourself and your team

Chef Jeremy Peters taught me to always strive to be the best.

Chef Brian Hathenbruck taught me to take your best and make it better.

Chef Stephanie Rosati always held me to a higher standard because she knew I wanted to be on a higher level.

Chef Amanda Gargano taught me to take everything you have learned and turn it on its head. Always try new ingredients and methods, and experiment with combining cuisines.

Chef Tracey Heine taught me to take pride in my work: prepping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plans are to work hard to advance at Disney. I am working toward a chef position currently, along with other advancements in the future.

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

I want to be a chef first and foremost, in title, certification, etc. Eventually, I want to open my own restaurant.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that I can say I found my passion and get to live and breathe it every day. A lot of people can’t say and do that, which is sad.

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

Nobody gets in to the restaurant/food service business because it is easy. Nothing worth doing is easy. You are here for a reason, so don’t squander it. Channel your passion and drive, and put in the work. You get what you put into it, if not more so.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

There is a quote painted in the Cypress Bistro at the Anaheim Campus: “Life is too short for fake butter, fake sugar, and fake people.”

#CYPROUD: Brooke Blandino, Environmental Management

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Brooke Blandino

Brooke will be an environmental management major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo following her graduation from Cypress College. Born and raised in Southern California, she found a passion for the environment and hopes to educate society about ways to help preserve the world around us. She plans to pursue research opportunities in environmental science at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and aspires to teach at the collegiate level.

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

I come from a family of five and grew up in Chino Hills, California. We moved to Seal Beach right after I graduated high school so both of my parents could be closer to their jobs. I chose to go to community college because I did not get into my dream schools after high school, and I felt that going to community college would give me a second chance. My interests include beach volleyball, learning about the environment, and being outdoors. I will be the first person out of my family to graduate college and pursue a degree in science. My parents have been very supportive throughout my time at Cypress, and I am very thankful for the encouragement that I have received.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because I had a family friend who attended Cypress and she mentioned how much she liked the professors and the school itself.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in the (STEM)2 Program for two years and it has pushed me to make connections with other students and faculty as well as opened many doors for me to participate in summer research. The staff of this program really encourage the students to apply to opportunities and provide workshops that help prepare students for life after community college. This has been a great asset to my time at Cypress College because I feel more prepared to transfer and attend a four-year university than I did before joining this program.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about making a difference in the environment and finding ways to educate our society in reducing single-use plastic, as well as being conscious about consumption. As a community, we have to make a change in the ways we operate in order to preserve species and combat climate change. I want to continue to be educated in environmental science so I can eventually educate others.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The (STEM)2 staff have helped me immensely as far as the ways I operate as a student and have contributed to my success. Biology Professor Adel Rajab also motivated me with his first day of class speech in BIO 174. He taught me how hard work and dedication can bring success and that you don’t have to be a natural genius to earn a degree in science. I would also like to thank Chemistry Professor Sheila Nguyen for encouraging me to persevere through a tough semester of chemistry while a decent amount of the class decided to drop. I pushed through and am very thankful that she encouraged me to finish the semester strong.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plans after transferring are to find research opportunities at Cal Poly SLO and get involved in the environmental clubs on campus. My goal is to network with professors and other students so I can be successful at this school. After earning my degree, I want to go to graduate school and do research so I am able to educate others. I want to do research in the field and eventually teach at the collegiate level.

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

My long-term goals are to complete my undergraduate degree at Cal Poly SLO and continue my education with graduate school. I would like to do research in different environmental fields so I am able to see what I want to do as a career. Environmental science is a very broad field, so my upper-division courses will definitely assist in helping me decide which specialization I’d like to be involved in. Ideally, I want to contribute to an ecofriendly environment through educating others.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being self-motivated and pushing through the lower-division science and math courses. Attending a community college can be intimidating because you really don’t know how long it is going to take to get out and if you’ll be able to pursue a degree that requires difficult courses. Taking classes such as calculus II and chemistry seemed impossible when I felt like I wasn’t strong in math. Even though there were many difficult times when I thought I should change my major, I still believed in my ability to get through it.

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

Some advice that I would give to current and future Cypress students would be to never settle and always believe in yourself. Don’t ever feel that you aren’t smart enough to pursue a certain degree because in the end, it comes down to your willingness to try hard. Don’t settle on a major because it is an easier route. Always take the challenge and push yourself so you can end up working a job that you want to work for the rest of your life.

#CYPROUD: Imad Alhajj, Biology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Imad Alhajj

Imad is a biology major transferring to UCLA following his graduation from Cypress College. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to the U.S. with his family at the age of 10 for better educational opportunities. He is passionate about helping those suffering from the effects of war, fires, and other disasters, and so aspires to become a cosmetic surgeon. While at the college, he has been heavily involved in a number of programs and clubs, including EOPS, (STEM)2, and the Chemistry Club.

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

Born and raised in Lebanon, I grew up in the Middle East in a city called Beirut. Growing up in Beirut at the time did not promise a safe nor bright future for children of my age because there was war all around the region. Therefore, my father decided to move my siblings and I to California in hopes of fulfilling a much brighter future. I moved to the United States of America at the age of 10 with my family in hopes of pursuing a higher form of education and exploring better opportunities for my future. I had to begin a new life from scratch, and I did not speak any English. After a couple of long years of living in California, I had finally become fluent in speaking and writing the English language by working extremely hard in and out of the classroom. Since moving to California, I have lived in Orange County for nearly 11 years and every day I work to improve and fulfill my initial goal of attaining a great future.

Since I was a young age, I always had an interest in helping others in need. Growing up, I began to develop a strong interest in biology, and I have decided to pursue a career path in biology in order to fulfil my goals and aspirations of one day using my knowledge and skills to help those in need. Inspired by events and experiences as a child, I developed a strong passion toward becoming a cosmetic surgeon in order to help those whom have suffered from causes such as war and fires, along with other unexpected disasters. With this, I have also developed an interest in cancer and the treatment processes of it, as many of my family members have lived through different forms of it.

Another interest/hobby of mine is playing soccer. I have played and watched the sport of soccer since the age of five, and I have always had a passion toward the game like no other. Outside of school, I always find time to participate and play on soccer teams. Also in my free time, I volunteered at an emergency room in a hospital where I helped nurses, doctors, and patients complete whatever tasks were necessary.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Having little knowledge on universities in California after graduating high school, I decided to take the community college route to my educational path. After seeking out and exploring which community college campus would suit me best, I came upon the decision of attending Cypress College. Since then, there has not been one day when I have regretted that decision. From my first day at Cypress College, I have been given tremendous opportunities in and out of the classroom to expand my knowledge. Whether it was about a particular subject or about simply expanding my knowledge on the transfer process, I have always found tremendously helpful resources at Cypress College to answer my questions. Today, I believe I know everything that I need to have a successful transition to a four-year university and it is all thanks to the multiple resources at the college.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Since the start of my path at Cypress College, I have sought out as many opportunities and programs as I can in order to make my experience extremely memorable and successful. The first program I became involved in at Cypress College is the EOPS program. My participation and involvement in this program has made my experiences at Cypress College extremely easygoing and exciting. My involvement in the workshops, field trips, and resources that EOPS has offered allowed me to gain much more knowledge about my career path than I would have imagined.

Another program that I have been involved in at Cypress College is the (STEM)2 Program. Utilizing what had been offered by this program also made my experiences at Cypress College unforgettable. Whether it was attending the workshops they hosted or using their help and knowledge to build a personal resume, I always gained new and useful knowledge for my career path.

Throughout my time at Cypress College, I have also been involved in several clubs such as the Marine Biology Club, STEM Club, and Chemistry Club. In these clubs, I have helped organize and participated in many different activities such as science nights for elementary kids and field trips to visit university labs.

My participation in all of these programs and clubs at Cypress College has made my path here extremely informative and memorable. My path has unfolded itself as I have learned a tremendous amount that I believe I would not have been able to learn anywhere else.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

As I progress through my educational journey, I am most passionate about succeeding and finding resources to help best prepare me for whatever that next step is. I am also passionate about helping others with my knowledge and experiences in order to improve theirs. Last but not least, I am most passionate about completing my studies and achieving my long-term goals. By doing so, I believe I will be able to fulfill my goals and aspirations and help others along the way.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Throughout my attendance at Cypress College, I have encountered incredible faculty and programs that have helped shape where I stand today. These individuals and groups are:

  • Alan Reza: Alan has been my counselor through the EOPS program since my entry at Cypress College. Alan has gone above and beyond to help shape who and where I am today. He has assisted me in figuring out exactly what the steps are that I need to take in order to achieve my goals. Alan has helped me plan my path at Cypress College. Whether it was him referring me to a particular office at Cypress College to answer my questions or him encouraging me to apply to opportunities like scholarships and university visits, he always went out of his way to make sure my path at Cypress College was as smooth and successful as it could be. I cannot thank him enough for that.
  • Dr. Brinda Subramaniam: Dr. Brinda has been my physics professor my last year at Cypress College. Dr. Brinda has made my attendance at Cypress College extremely interesting as she has shared her precious knowledge on physics in the greatest way possible. She has an extremely strong passion toward physics and that passion is infectious. Whether it was her referring me to scholarships, helping me understand certain subjects, or her assisting me in understanding how my career path will unfold, she has made my attendance at Cypress College a memorable one, and I thank her for that.
  • All (STEM)2 and EOPS faculty and staff: The (STEM)2 and EOPS programs have allowed me to have opportunities at Cypress College that have helped unfold my path. They have also given me opportunities to be able to grow personally and professionally. The staff members of both these programs have set me up for success by helping me with the basics of preparing for my next steps.
  • Dr. Adel Rajab: Dr. Rajab was one of the early-on professors in my years at Cypress College who helped me develop a stronger interest in biology. He has made the classroom very engaging and enjoyable. Dr. Rajab has had a tremendous impact in shaping where I stand as he, too, has an infectious passion. Encountering professors like Dr. Rajab had been a tremendous honor, as he has been willing to help me with many questions in regards to classroom material and my career path.
  • Professor Garet Hill: Professor Hill was a math professor who I had the opportunity of taking at Cypress College, of which I am grateful. Professor Hill taught me how to maintain a fun, exciting environment in the classroom while at the same time taking things seriously when necessary, all while surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Carrying that notion throughout many of my other classrooms has really allowed me to be where I am today, excited and eager to learn what’s next.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After completing my studies at Cypress College, I plan to transfer to UCLA in order to continue my studies in biology. There, I hope to do research in my field of study as well as grow even more personally and professionally. I hope to work in a lab while attending my transfer institution where I will truly get the opportunity to work hands on.

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

My long-term goals in regards to my career are to attend a medical school and receive a doctor of medicine degree. I aspire to become a cosmetic surgeon in order to help those who are in need.

What are you most proud of?

Today, I am most proud of how far I have come since moving to the U.S. Starting as a 10-year-old boy who barely knew how to put a sentence together in English to now becoming an undergraduate student working to fulfill his goals of becoming a cosmetic surgeon, I have grown as a person tremendously. I am also proud of being a first-generation college student and for reaching my position today without much guidance at the beginning of my journey.

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

One piece of advice I have been repeatedly given while attending Cypress College is to network and develop great relations with professionals in my field of study. This is one piece of advice I would also like to pass on to future students at Cypress College as it has helped me to get where I am today. Without having those relationships and connections with professionals and professors in your field, you are extremely limiting the opportunities you can have. In addition, having these relationships allows you to have people who can write you strong letters of recommendation whenever needed, and that is something that cannot be emphasized enough.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Lastly, I would like to take this moment to truly thank Cypress College as a whole for making my experience in the community college system extremely successful and effortless. My experience here at Cypress College has been an unforgettable one as I have been set up in the best ways possible in order to continue succeeding and growing at a four-year university. I have encountered some amazing individuals here at Cypress College and for that I am thankful and extremely excited for what my future holds. Attending Cypress College has truly shaped who I am today and who I will be tomorrow.

#CYPROUD: Surbhi Arora, Biology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Surbhi Arora

Surbhi is a biology major transferring to University of California, Irvine following her graduation from Cypress College. A native of India, Surbhi has wanted to study and practice medicine ever since she was a young girl. She found a home at Cypress College when she joined the (STEM)2 Program and helped grow the college’s STEM Club. She currently interns at St. Mary’s Medical Center as part of a UCLA-affiliated program which, after completion, awards a certificate in patient care.

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

I was born in India and came to the U.S. around the age of 4. I may have been born there, but I mostly remember my life here in California. Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to go into the medical field as some kind of physician. I’ve always been a creative child who loved painting on walls and expressing myself through art. I believe that’s why the human body really interests me.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

At the time, Cypress was the best choice for my family. Being in the middle class has its restrictions, and my dreams of going to medical school were already going to be expensive, so Cypress College was an affordable choice to be able to save up for transfer and future ventures. Little did I know that Cypress would grow so close to my heart.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

My first year at Cypress was me taking mostly general education courses, and it was extremely hard connecting with anyone because not many people that I knew were in the same major. However, in my second year, I decided to join the (STEM)2 Program. At that time, I didn’t know that I would be getting my very own STEM family, and I did. I made a lot of close friends in my major, along with other students who valued education and their future just as much as me.

Being in STEM definitely changed my whole outlook on Cypress; going to classes became a day full of fun because studying with a group of friends is much better than sitting alone at home.
My path definitely unfolded for the better through STEM. I have networked a lot through the program and learned valuable life lessons about how to go about succeeding in not only my studies, but life as well. Due to my fondness for the program, I became the STEM Club president, which taught me a great deal about teamwork and leadership, along with improving my communication skills. I absolutely love my club and how much we have grown together; each event is like adding another member to our close-knit family.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about helping my community and having a positive influence on society. I am an intern at St. Mary’s Medical Center, which allows me to gain firsthand experience in patient care. It is a UCLA-affiliated program, which, after completion, awards a certificate in patient care.

I am extremely passionate about my role as an intern there because I get to do more hands-on work than regular volunteers would. My duties entail feeding, bathing, ambulating patients and aiding nurses with anything requiring patient care. I have worked with surgeons and anesthesiologists during surgeries to gain knowledge in regards to surgical procedures and techniques. My passion derives from my thirst for knowledge and a hospital is the perfect setting for me to learn more about healthcare and decide which specialty I would be most interested in.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are several great staff and faculty members who have aided me, whether academically or personally; however, my two absolute favorite faculty members are Yanet Garcia and Adel Rajab. Both have impacted my journey at Cypress immensely.

Yanet Garcia is the (STEM)2 program director who has encouraged me to become a better leader and student as a whole. She is always extremely encouraging and, regardless of how busy she may be, she makes time for all her students and genuinely wants us to succeed. She has been drilling the idea of networking, and I honestly have noticed a major difference in the opportunities I gain through the connections I make. She has been my mentor throughout my last years at Cypress because her motivation is a wonderful catalyst for me to do better, not only academically, but socially as well. I can say one thing about her: she has definitely earned her high, respected position as the program director with her passionate personality.

Adel Rajab is a biology professor who, since the first day, has acted as a major role model and mentor to several of his students, including me. His motivating personality, along with his encouraging behavior, really influences students to do better in class and in their academics as a whole. He has a way of emphasizing the importance of education, which deeply connected with me.

I believe both of these staff members are great in their own way, and without them, my journey at Cypress would not have been as impactful as it has been.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plan after completing my studies at Cypress is transferring to University of California, Irvine and continuing my higher education in biology. I want to continue my internship at the hospital, but also be involved in research work to gain experience and knowledge in that aspect of the medical field as well. I also work right now at Starbucks, so depending on my study workload and how my transition goes at UCI, I want to continue working part-time since UCI is extremely expensive. I want to continue gaining knowledge and doing community service in the health field.

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

My long-term goals include going to medical school and eventually becoming a surgeon. I am still deciding which type of surgeon I want to become, which is where my internship comes in handy because it allows me to gain valuable experience from different healthcare professionals, whether it be nurses, surgeons, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists, or other staff.

I aspire to become a surgeon because I love seeing how quick on their feet surgeons are during surgery and how they save lives daily by ridding patients of diseases or other health issues. I am the girl who doesn’t shy away from the sight of blood, and understanding the human body has fascinated me since I was a young girl. I would love to become a successful surgeon who is having a positive influence on society daily.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact that I enjoyed and made the most of my journey at Cypress. Initially, I didn’t have a good support system of friends, and I missed high school. However, becoming active on campus allowed me to make several friends and become socially involved. I am proud of my achievements while I have been at Cypress, including being on the Dean’s Honor Roll for a semester, participating in my internship, holding my role as president and leader of a club, and building friendships.

My mentors have aided my evolution into a better version of myself, and it’s highly motivating. I am proud of being here, featured as a #CYProud student, when I always thought I would just quietly fly through my years here and transfer to a four-year university; I am proud that someone thought I was worthy of recognition. There is not one major thing I am proud of, but my daily accomplishments here are what make me who I am.

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

Don’t think that being at a community college is a disadvantage; rather, take it and make it the best experience you can. Be active on campus, meet people, and make friendships that will last you a lifetime. Be confident, be bold, be fearless to be the best version of yourself!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to be recognized at Cypress, which I never thought would happen. My greatest wish is that every day I continue learning valuable life lessons and keep growing into a better human being. Thank you, Cypress College, for such a wonderful journey here. I will never forget you all!

#CYPROUD: Stephen Crawford, Funeral Service

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Stephen Crawford

Stephen was one of five students who graduated as part of Cypress College’s first cohort of baccalaureate-degree students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Funeral Service. It is thanks in large part to him that the mortuary science program was chosen for inclusion in the statewide pilot; only 14 other California community college programs were chosen. He is a manager at a cemetery and funeral home in Oakland, California, and looks forward to continue growing in the industry.

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

Prior to coming to Cypress, I was working as a manager in retail. It was by no means glamorous, but it paid the bills. One Saturday, I remember being at work and suddenly it was Monday afternoon and I was in the hospital. I was cut off by a car on my motorcycle on the way home. I mangled my leg and destroyed my spleen. It was weeks before I could even get out of bed and months of physical therapy before I could properly walk. The incident did, however, allow me an opportunity to go back to school to pursue something I was truly passionate about: that meant mortuary science and attending Cypress College.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Mortuary science is only offered at two schools in California, and Cypress was literally right down the street from me. Since the other was in Sacramento, my choice seemed clear. It was also nice that Cypress happens to have a highly rated Mortuary Science program.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

The biggest project in which I was involved at Cypress College was the push for a baccalaureate degree program. Once California passed the law allowing for a pilot program of community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees, I made it my mission to make sure mortuary science at Cypress was one of the programs selected. This included attending multiple meetings to persuade the Academic Senate that Mortuary Science was the program that Cypress should champion moving forward; attending meetings of the NOCCCD Board of Trustees to argue in favor of Cypress College and its Mortuary Science program over Fullerton College’s law enforcement program; as well as even attending the meeting in Sacramento that affirmed Cypress College as one of the 15 community colleges selected for the pilot program.

Since then, I have enrolled in said program and have now completed it. It is because of this program that I have been able to further my career within the funeral service industry.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

Currently, I have been a huge advocate for mortuary science education and higher education in general, for obvious reasons. Last year, there was a bill being put forward to expand the pilot program that allowed Cypress to offer a baccalaureate degree. I had the opportunity to testify in front of the California State Senate and share the story of my journey, of how the opportunity to receive a bachelor’s degree in funeral service has affected my life for the better.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The entire faculty in the Mortuary Science Department helped me first through the associate program and then again with the bachelor’s program. But, by far, the person who has had the biggest impact on my schooling and career to this point has been Jolena Grande. She was the biggest proponent of the Bachelor of Science in Funeral Service program and it took her initiative to make it a reality. She has pushed me since I started at Cypress to further myself in almost everything I do.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am already in the workforce, but it was because this baccalaureate program was created that I was able to move into a management position overseeing a cemetery and funeral home. I plan on taking the knowledge that I have gained from the program and spread it throughout the industry as much as my influence will allow.

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

Right now, I couldn’t ask to be in a better position. It’s already because of Cypress that I have achieved about as much as I can. The only thing left is to try to be a leader and influencer within the industry through years of experience; it’s just that I need the years of experience first.

What are you most proud of?

The fact that I am here graduating with a degree that didn’t even exist a couple years ago. After not completing my studies at a four-year school, I started over and worked my way through a new program, helped get it extended and completed that too.

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

Get your ass to class.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

It has taken 14 years for me to get a bachelor’s degree. I couldn’t be happier to have had it take this long because it means being part of the first class to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Cypress.

#CYPROUD: Brianna Adams, Hotel Management

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Brianna Adams

Brianna is a hotel management major transferring to Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management following her graduation from Cypress College. She grew up in Southern California and initially pursued Cypress College’s Radiologic Technology program, but decided to change her major just before completion. She soon found she had a passion for hospitality and entered the college’s Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary program where she thrived. She aspires to one day be a general manager at a full-service hotel and pursue her love of travel.

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

I grew up in Bellflower, California, and graduated in 2012 from Downey High School. My interests include traveling, trying different types of cuisines, and going to Disneyland. I will be graduating this year from Cypress College with an associate degree in hospitality management. I am also the very first person to graduate from college in my family. While taking classes at Cypress College, I have also maintained a full-time position as a guest experience host at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I originally chose Cypress College for the Radiologic Technology program. I almost completed the entire program, until I had a change of heart and found my passion for hospitality. Now, I am so grateful that I chose to complete the Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary program at Cypress College.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

At Cypress College, I have mostly been involved on the Anaheim Campus for the Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary program. I participate in the Cypress Bistro, which includes planning, organizing, managing, seating, serving, and dishwashing. I also attend the annual Career Fair for HRC students to interact with hospitality industry employers.

My path seemed to unfold right after I took the personality assessment at the Cypress College Career Center. After switching majors, I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. The personality assessment informed me of the hospitality career options. As soon as I joined the HRC program, I quickly found a job in the field, with the help of Professor Lisa Clark. Now, I have been at the same workplace for two years and plan to continue to grow with the company.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about learning new things and saving money. I enjoy learning new things because I feel like it makes me a more knowledgeable and well-rounded person. I am a people person, so by being knowledgeable and familiar about different topics, it helps me relate to people and start conversations. I am also passionate about saving money because it allows me to travel and see the world. I work hard in school and at work, so it is a good mental break for me to travel, and it is something that I always look forward to.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Lisa Clark has helped me get to where I am today. I owe it to her for educating me about the hospitality industry and assisting me with getting hired at my current workplace. She is one of a kind and a huge asset to the Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary program. Cypress College is lucky to have her.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After graduating from Cypress College, I immediately plan to start my education at Cal Poly Pomona in the fall of 2018. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management there, I plan to apply for the Corporate Management Training program for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and develop myself into a management/leadership role.

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

My long-term goals are to become a general manager at a full-service hotel and travel the world. I aspire to be a leader and mentor that my employees and colleagues look up to. I want to succeed and grow in what I do, as well as help others succeed and grow in what they do.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being the first person to graduate in my family, as well as leading by example for my younger sisters. I am also very proud to have been selected and nominated by Lisa Clark for CYProud. It is an honor and very nice to know that my hard work does not go unnoticed.

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

One bit of advice I would give to current and future Cypress College students is to truly never give up. It is completely OK to not know exactly what you want to do in life. I felt so lost after I changed majors, but I used the resources at school and continued to stay positive in order to truly find my passion. Surprisingly, everything just falls into place eventually, as long as you continue to go to school and never give up.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am so fortunate that I had the opportunity to attend Cypress College. I would recommend this school to anyone wanting an education.

#CYPROUD: Luis Ramirez, Engineering

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Luis Ramirez

Luis is an engineering major transferring to University of California, Irvine, following his graduation from Cypress College. With hard work, dedication, and passion, Luis evolved from an average student in high school to a college student graduating with honors. After an experience working with a young amputee learning to walk with his new prosthetic leg and research dealing with artificial muscles, he decided to pursue a mechanical engineering degree with aspirations of developing prosthetics, exoskeletons, and wearable robotics to help those with impaired muscular movement.

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

Hi, my name is Luis. I have spent my whole life growing up in Long Beach. My hobbies during the semester include studying, living in coffee shops, crying over exams, and the typical STEM student activities. When I’m not focused on school, I like shooting photography, exploring unfamiliar cities, volunteering, working with children, and growing my skill sets.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I fell in love with the environment. I noticed that students at Cypress take school very seriously. It was out of the way for me to attend compared to other community colleges, but the environment motivated me to stay focused, do my studies, and not let distractions get in the way of my academics.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Upon joining the (STEM)2 Program, I was exposed to a nurturing academic setting that offered endless opportunities to grow. It was through this program that I was accepted to participate in a paid summer research opportunity at University of California, San Diego to work with artificial muscles and underwater soft robotics. This experience was my exposure to the professional field where I learned the importance of being a well-rounded student with more skills and experience than merely a high GPA. Since then, I have put myself out there and have met large amounts of professionals, gained scholarships, founded our Cypress College Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Chapter, organized large workshops, and community outreach events.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am very passionate about community development. I see the Cypress College community as a very vital component of my success, fellow students, and faculty alike. Specifically, I have strived to organize as many opportunities to aid fellow peers struggling through difficulties similar to those I have faced as a community college student. I have applied my efforts outside of my classwork toward creating opportunities for our students to gain leadership experience, work with mentors in the professional field, have valuable teaching experiences through tutoring opportunities, earn scholarships, as well as valuable information on how to transfer to their dream four-year university.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Cypress College stands out to me because of the endless support from faculty. Every professor has always been eager to help through letters of recommendation, office hours, emotional support, professional advice, and encouragement throughout the moments I thought I couldn’t keep going. For all of that, I thank every single faculty member and hope they know that none of their dedication toward their students goes unappreciated.

Specifically, I would love to thank professors Amy Ward, Sheila Nguyen, and Torri Dragonov for their mentorship and letters of recommendation for my scholarships and internships; and Yanet Garcia and her staff for their endless efforts toward providing opportunities to our STEM scholars and Yanet’s joy of personally listening to and assisting us through our struggles. I’d also like to thank the physics professors for making me appreciate the true definition of applying myself to learn what I love.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My plan for when I transfer is to devote every ounce of my human will to studying for my classes to maintain a high GPA for graduate school. I also hope to gain more experience conducting research to make myself a more competitive applicant.

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

I’ve always wanted to devote myself to helping children. The semester I took my first physics class and human anatomy class, I was working with a child with a recent amputation who was learning how to walk with his new prosthetic leg. The way he was so enthusiastic about learning how to walk with his new “magic leg” made me consider applying myself to developing devices to help individuals dealing with physical abnormalities. From this and my summer research experience working with artificial muscles, I set the goal of applying my mechanical engineering degree toward developing prosthetics and exoskeletons, as well as soft, wearable robotics that will help with impaired muscular movement. As far as where I see myself, I honestly would be comfortable conducting research, working in industry, or even starting my own company to develop the best devices for those in need.

What are you most proud of?

What I am most proud of is the progress I have made in recent years. Graduating out of high school, I had a 2.6 GPA and was expected to not make anything out of myself. I never even imagined associating the career of engineering with my name or even taking any math class past college algebra. It amazes me that I’ve managed to push myself every night studying in order to surpass every challenge and exam that I have encountered. I’m extremely proud to be able to have found such a rewarding major that frustrates me as well as captivates me. I am happy to say that my parents are actually excited to see where my hard work will take me. Finally, I am also very happy to have met so many influential people in my recent years here. The friendships I have made here will never be forgotten.

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

Be proud of your academic struggle, lack of sleep, and determination to get the highest score possible. Identify with the hardest-working students in the class who pour out their souls every night in order to pass the class. Push yourself as well as your peers to do better and do not let them give up. Be genuinely happy for your classmates when they do great on an exam. People take notice of your hard work and character much more than what you say about yourself.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I have had a lot of mentors and peers congratulate me on organizing large events, collaborating with numerous professionals, and even surprising professors who doubted my abilities with my hard work. But I wake up every day feeling that all my accomplishments were merely a freak accident and I am not worthy of any of the opportunities I have been blessed with. The sad fact is that some of the most brilliant individuals I have met at Cypress feel this same way.

Please carry yourself with an attitude, don’t listen to those who doubt your abilities, and let your hard work speak for itself. Surround yourself with those who believe in you and push you to do better, and smile at everyone who has been a part of your academic journey.

#CYPROUD: Ngoc Ngo, Psychology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Ngoc Ngo

Ngoc is a psychology major transferring to UCLA following her graduation from Cypress College. A native of Vietnam, Ngoc wanted to pursue higher education in the U.S. because it would allow her to study her passion and provide her with more opportunities. She is a first-generation college student and participant in the CC2PhD Scholar Program, a research and Ph.D. preparation program offered through the UCLA-based CC2PhD Association. She enjoys working with children and aspires to be a child psychologist.

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

I came to the U.S. two years ago from Vietnam. It was not easy to leave the place where I grew up for almost 20 years; however, I knew deep in my heart that the U.S. would be a better place for my future and education. Just like other new immigrants, I struggled to adapt to the new culture. When it came to communication, I felt like I was falling in a big black hole of disappointment and depression because I could not express myself.

I love studying psychology, but there was not any opportunity for me to pursue it in Vietnam. Thus, despite the language barrier, I set a goal to double my efforts and get ready to face challenges in order to achieve a degree in psychology here in the U.S.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

One of my relatives suggested Golden West, OCC, and Santa Ana College when I had to decide which community college I would like to go. At that time, I’d only been in the U.S. for a few months, so I literally had no idea about the colleges here. One day, I went to the swap meet at Cypress College and fell in love with the campus. It was then that I decided Cypress College would be my new home for the next two years.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been in EOPS for three semesters. It is such a wonderful program with amazing staff who not only provide me with valuable information, memorable field trips, and tons of advice, but also are like my little family. I was lucky to have a chance to work as a student advisor in EOPS, where I learned to express myself and help other students. Without EOPS and its wonderful staff, my success would have taken longer to come and with many more difficulties.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am in love working with children. I always think that every child should be given an equal opportunity to grow, especially those who have mental disabilities. That is why I choose to become a child psychologist.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

All of the faculty and staff I have been working with contributed to my success. However, if I had to list the top three, it would be Professor Wada and Professor Simmons in the ESL Department, and Eva Palomares, my EOPS counselor. Professor Wada and Professor Simmons helped me build my very first foundation for academic writing and reading in English. They are also now my mentors whenever I need help. Eva is a wonderful counselor who helped me on my educational and career pathway. Her encouragement motivates me, making me believe more in myself, and the quotes in her office inspire me very much.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will go to UCLA, finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and then apply for graduate school. During my time at UCLA, I will get involved in research to gain more experience, confirm my final interest, and get fully prepared for post-baccalaureate education.

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

During my time at UCLA, I would like to get involved in an international non-profit organization working to help children in need. I will apply for a research assistant position in some of the labs at UCLA to increase my research experience. I will set a plan working to maintain a high GPA, expand my network, and prepare myself as best as I can for graduate school. I have not decided on a specific field I would like to go deeply into, but sure to say that earning a doctorate is one of the goals.

I will also have one gap year to give back to my parents, who sacrificed their whole lives for my education. My lifelong goal is always to make my parents proud.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of who I am today. Every obstacle I have overcome, every fear I have fought against, and every bit of nervousness that has been stuck in my head are now becoming points of pride. I am proud of not giving up in the middle. I am proud of being a Vietnamese immigrant, first-generation student to graduate with the excellent GPA, holding the first college degree in my family.

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

Set your goal and work for it with all your heart. Don’t ever allow yourself to think that you cannot. Be confident. Believe in your true self. If you are an immigrant, don’t let language barriers prevent you from what you love and what you want to do. You do not need to speak perfect English, but you need to have passion and knowledge.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to once again say thank you to all faculty and staff at Cypress College. Thank you for giving me such an incredible experience of my life here in the U.S.

Psychology Students to Present at CC2PhD Research Conference

Eleven Cypress College psychology students have been chosen to present research projects at the CC2PhD Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference at UCLA on Saturday, May 26. The conference is one of two held annually by the UCLA-based CC2PhD Association and strives to provide an accessible opportunity for community college and transfer students to engage in research and encourage pursuit of a graduate degree. It will feature presentations from more than 100 California community college and transfer students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM.

Ngoc Ngo, a Cypress College sophomore transferring to UCLA in the fall, pursued her project about the influence of language and culture on immigrant students’ relationships with their teachers as part of the 2017-2018 CC2PhD Scholars Program. Twenty-nine underrepresented community college students of color are chosen for this program every year to guide them through research and prepare them for earning a doctorate.

MURC presentations from Cypress College include:

Social Media and a New Means of Social Perception: The Number of Instagram Followers and Attractiveness by Ju Eun Shin;

Accuracy of Perception: Sexual Orientation by Madison Coryell, Faten Harb, and Nichole Graves;

Accuracy of Memory Recall and Reconstruction by Maribel Lopez and Yesenia Hernandez;

Sleep and The Impact It Has on College Student’s Ability to Learn and Retain Information by Michelle Lurence;

Parenting Style vs. Grit by Karyssa Eddy;

Ethnic differences in Generalized anxiety and depression levels: A study on African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White college students by Dianna Barahona Carrillo and Samantha Barron;

Do immigrant students’ English language proficiency and culture influence student-teacher relationships? by Ngoc Ngo.

Attendance at the conference is free and open to the public, though an RSVP is required.

#CYPROUD: Mihir Patel, Computer Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2018.

Mihir Patel


Mihir is a computer science major transferring to Cal Poly Pomona following his graduation from Cypress College. He immigrated to the U.S. from India at the age of 11 and at first struggled to learn English. With advice and guidance from his older sister, Mihir decided to attend Cypress College after high school and found help from the EOPS program and many of his professors. He aspires to earn a master’s degree and become a programming teacher or work in the programming industry for a major corporation.

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

I was born in India and migrated to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. I look at my younger self now and would have never imagined the troubles I overcame in my life to be where I am now. I had to learn English on my own. I would try to converse with my classmates, whom I could not understand. I couldn’t have been here without the guidance of my older sister. She turned her bad experience into advice for me so that I can have a better future. I owe it to my sister for me being at Cypress College, and I am very grateful for her guidance.

My interest in technology and computers is what convinced me to major in computer science. Besides an interest in computers, I really enjoy learning about psychology, specifically brain behavioral studies. I would consider doing a minor in psychology at Cal Poly Pomona.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Cypress College was my first choice of community colleges because of the great programs they have on campus. I also learned that Cypress offers a multitude of on-campus social opportunities and clubs. Cypress College also had exceptional transfer rate percentages.

I also chose Cypress College because it was convenient; it was close to my house and my previous job. It also has small class sizes, which gives a great study environment for students to learn and communicate with professors. I fell in love with the Cypress College campus even before I enrolled. I had also heard many great things about the campus and faculty from my sister and a few of her friends who attended Cypress College.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I was involved in the EOPS program for about three years. The program gave me opportunities to socialize and improve my network with other students interested in the same major as me. The program hosted a field trip to northern UC schools and some of the southern UC schools as well. In addition to the field trips, I attended some of their workshops to better my studying skills. I was inspired to create my own club on campus after attending the field trip and workshops.

I also did work study at the EOPS office which allowed me to network with some of the staff members around the campus.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping others in any way possible. I also love to learn about new topics that are different from my major. In my free time I watch some TED Talk videos, read some articles regarding new technological advancement, and do some research on Game Theory. I am also passionate about games and I would really like to become a Game Developer somewhere down my career path. I am aiming to get my master’s in computer science and possibly even teach programming.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I want to acknowledge my EOPS counselor, Alan Reza, for helping me reach my dream. He helped me create my education planner as well as my transfer process. He also gave me several opportunities to be involved in social events.

I recently took Physics 222 with Professor Subramaniam and she helped me change my study habits. Her class was the hardest class I have ever taken, and she always made sure to give us the encouragement to study hard. It was thanks to her that I went from studying 10 to 12 hours a week to studying almost 20 to 23 hours a week. She has helped me prepare for the hard work I will face once I transfer to Cal Poly Pomona.

I also want to say thank you to all my previous professors for helping me become the person I am today. They have all been wonderful and helpful in every way.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My plans after transferring from Cypress College are to finish up my bachelor’s degree and follow up to get my master’s degree as well. I would like to be a programming teacher after I receive my master’s degree. If teaching doesn’t go my way, I would either consider working as a software engineer for Amazon or as a game client engineer for Valve Corporation.

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

My long-term goals are to work in a programming industry. After I acquire experience, I would like to design an application for augmented reality. I would also like to focus and learn more about artificial intelligence.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the success I have achieved here at Cypress College. I am also proud of myself for being accepted to Cal Poly Pomona because of all the hard work I have done. I am proud and grateful for the experience I gained from creating a club on campus.

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

I would advise the current and future students of Cypress College to never give up on their dreams, no matter how far it may seem. Even if there are financial issues, do not give up on your education and continue being at least a part-time student. I would also recommend making friends that are pursuing the same major as you will most likely take the same classes.

Put yourself out there and join a club on campus to increase your social network. My counselor always told me, “Your network is your net worth,” and I take those words very seriously. As you increase your network, more opportunities will open up for you. Try to get as much experience off campus by attending events as they are equally as important as your academic experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I want to say thank you to my family, friends, and professors for helping me. I just want to wish the best of luck to current and future Cypress College students in achieving their goals, and may their hard work pay off.

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry and complaining.” – Stephen Hawking.

Congratulations and Thank You For Your Service, Retirees!

Cypress College thanks the following employees for their commitment to students and offer them our best wishes in retirement.

Jane Boyce

Jane Boyce has been a registered nurse and instructor at Cypress College in the Psychiatric Technology program for the past 39 years. Jane has been an integral part of the program, searching out new clinical rotations for students, and teaching about clinical depression and bipolar illness as well as mental illness in children and the elderly. She has taken students on field trips that include visiting prisons, jails, and the homeless, exposing them to all aspects of mental health and illness while instilling in them the compassion to work with severely mentally ill individuals. Jane has been active throughout the campus, was a Puente mentor, and attends both the PT program and college graduations each year. Students would say that Jane “knows her stuff,” is a “no-nonsense” individual, and supports and cares deeply for the patients she serves and the students she teaches.

Robert Greg Cavin

Robert Cavin has been teaching philosophy and religious studies at Cypress College since 1996.

Cherie Dickey

Cherie Dickey began teaching full time in the English/Reading Department in 2000. An excellent instructor, Cherie’s dedication to student success was most recently exemplified in her teaching Fast-Track classes, giving English 57 students an opportunity to progress to English 60 in just one semester. Other direct and broader contributions to student success came through her service as Title V Grant coordinator, helping to establish and develop the math and English success centers, and her service as the Basic Skills Initiative co-coordinator. Indeed, Cherie has shouldered many important responsibilities that have been integral to the success of the college, the most notable perhaps being her roles as Curriculum Committee chair, Academic Senate president, and College Accreditation chair. Years ago, during her tenure review, one student wrote, “Keep up the good work on teaching us, Mrs. Dickey. You are a keeper in my book.” If possible, her colleagues would like to keep her, but apparently so do her husband and family. We will miss her.

Darlene Fishman

Darlene “Dee” Fishman has been at this campus for 40 years! It is difficult to summarize her accomplishments—she has contributed to the college in so many ways—but here are a few of the highlights: Darlene began at Cypress as an educator in the Vocational Nursing program. The program did not stay at Cypress, but she did! She taught numerous students as a professor of nursing with a focus on teaching fundamentals, and obstetrics and maternal care. Darlene has been the director of the Registered Nursing program working to ensure that the program continues to receive accolades and a superb reputation in the nursing community. She has authored many grants and innovations to improve the college’s nursing program. She was also the faculty advisor for the college’s California Student Nursing Association chapter for over 20 years, mentoring and encouraging student leadership. Darlene received her NLN Nurse Educator certification in 2009. As if that weren’t enough, Darlene received her doctor of education in 2013. What will she do next? Whatever she does with her newfound freedom, one thing is for sure, she will be missed! Thank you, Darlene. We will continue the work!

Mary Forman

At the onset of her teaching career at Cypress College in 1997, Mary Forman co-coordinated the Puente Program, which at the time was in its beginning, formative phase. After this experience, she went on to create and lead her own cohort, the University Transfer Achievement Program, as well as coordinate Peer-Assisted Learning, a precursor to Supplemental Instruction. Mary was also active in numerous committees, and one would not have to guess too hard as to which one was her favorite: Study Abroad. Not only did she lead a number of study abroad programs in Europe, she was keen on arranging scholarship assistance for students struggling financially to have this experience. Mary also wanted to ensure that students were aware of this wonderful opportunity. A permanent reminder of this is the display at the entrance of the Language Arts Division Office that she arranged to be funded and personally designed. Mary’s deep-seated motivation to help students was greatly appreciated; one student wrote, “I will never forget her.” Neither will her colleagues.

Joseph Franks

Joe Franks is a psychiatric technician and registered nurse with an instructor credential in health and related technologies and a master’s degree in Spanish. He has been an instructor at Cypress College in the Psychiatric Technology program for the past 36 years, teaching first mental disabilities and then nursing. His campus involvement includes senate representative for the Health Science Division, Puente mentor, and being actively involved in student activities around campus. Joe was actively involved in recruiting clinical sites and is a member of the California Association of Psychiatric Technician Educators (CAPTE), where, notably, many of his former students are now educators in the PT Program. Joe Franks has been a popular instructor with students.

Sally Frumkin

Sally Frumkin is retiring from the Registered Nursing program after 11 years of teaching. She has spent her teaching career educating first-semester students in the medical-surgical environment. She has been committed to ensuring that our students have a solid foundation in nursing fundamentals. She is dedicated to her students in the clinical setting, encouraging them to provide a high level of care to their patients. In her free time, Sally enjoys hiking, exploring nature, and traveling with friends. She is looking forward to more time to explore, read, and enjoy her home. We thank her for her service and wish her the best.

Betty Germanero

Betty Germanero started at Cypress as a student in the Court Reporting program in the ’80s. After working as an hourly employee at the college in different offices, including in the SEM Division, where new-student testing and orientations took place, she became the secretary in the Counseling Department from 1989 until 1993. A coworker, Lovice MacKay, urged her to apply for her current position in the Facilities Use and Rentals Office, where she has been for 25 years. Betty has no immediate plans in retirement except to get her house in order, start having fun, and maybe do a little traveling; however, she may move to Texas, where she hears everything is bigger (maybe even her paycheck).

Farid Gesri

Farid Gesri has been working in the district since 2005.

David Gill

David Gill has been teaching biology at Cypress College since 1999.

Jackie Ha

Jackie Ha has been a member of Cypress College since September 1980. She began her journey as a work-study student, moving on to part-time staff one year later, and finally becoming a full-time staff member on September 1, 1982. Jackie has seen many changes during her time at Cypress College, from the implementation of Banner to the modernization of the financial aid process, and now working under her sixth director of financial aid. Throughout it all, she has maintained a positive, upbeat attitude that has been enjoyed for over 35 years by students and her fellow coworkers.

Sabah Hermiz

Sabah Hermiz has been working in the district since 2001.

Astiphan Jajo

Astiphan Jajo has been working in the district since 1990.

Christina Johannsen

Tina Johannsen is a psychiatric technician with a master’s degree in counseling. She has taught mental disabilities, leadership, supervision and ethics, and behavior modification courses for the past 11 years at Cypress College in the Psychiatric Technology program. Tina’s previous 30-year IT/business background helped her write a comprehensive State Board Review course to bring state examination rates up. Active on many leadership committees, Tina believes in “paying it forward.” She served as the curriculum representative for the Health Science Division for six years, resigning when elected as president of the United Faculty. An active member of UF, Tina also previously held elected positions of vice president and grievance representative. She served as treasurer of the California Association of Psychiatric Technician Educators (CAPTE) for nine years, on the Academic Senate for four years, on the State Senate Standards and Practices Committee, and supported OC Pathways promoting the Psychiatric Technology program by presenting at local schools. Students would say that Tina “knew a lot and told great stories” and was a “tough, but fair teacher” who taught them how to market themselves to achieve the success they desired.

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson has been teaching psychology at Cypress College since 1996. She was introduced to the sexuality field 40 years ago in North Carolina with Dr. Paul Fleming, a gynecologist and sex therapist. With him, she had the opportunity to do individual, couple, and group counseling; community education; and professional training all over the country. She later moved to California and graduated from Pepperdine University-Orange County with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She taught at Pepperdine-OC for 21 years as an adjunct faculty member. “Teaching is my passion and I have been thrilled to be part of Cypress College,” she said. “The highlight of my career here, of course, has been introducing and continuing SEX Day: Celebrating Love, Sexuality and Diversity. The umbrella goal was to contribute to a campus culture promoting greater comfort around personal responsibility for sexual, physical, and psychological health; integrity; and embracing diversity.” Outside of academia, Susan enjoys being at the beach with her dogs and dancing. She does some biking, loves nature, and also enjoys hockey and college basketball. “I was born in North Carolina,” she said. “Loving college basketball is state mandated!”

Barbara Kashi

In Barbara Kashi’s first evaluation in fall 2000, “effervescent persona” were the words used to describe how she was valued by both her peers and Learning Center staff. “Warm,” “energetic,” “vivacious,” “disarming,” “and ebullient” were just a few of the other adjectives used to describe her in following years. “Empathetic” was probably the best one to describe how she impacted students in developmental English courses; she would share her own struggles in the past and then impress upon students her high hopes for their success. Her steady pursuit of professional development resulted in her becoming the English/Reading Department’s magician of metacognition, employing a variety of creative techniques to convince students of their ability to succeed. And it worked! In tracking student success, the Institutional Research Office discovered that her metacognitive teaching magic resulted in her students having incredibly high persistence rates. Barbara also pioneered and excelled in the use of instructional technology, a model for her peers. Beyond instruction, she was an active contributor to campus committees. Overall, she exemplifies why Cypress is one of the best colleges in California.

Daniel Kawahara

Dan Kawahara started his career here at Cypress College as an electrician in March 1989. Within a few years, he became the college’s communications electrician and has never looked back.

Susan Klein

Since the time she was hired in 1999, Susan Klein’s impact on her colleagues is best described in this sentence, written in her second year: “Her dynamic leadership serves as a cohesive force within the department.” These descriptive words captured her efforts then and later as she served as a long-term department coordinator and developed new innovative curriculum throughout her career: open entry/exit, workshops, crossing disciplines, and acceleration were the pathways she explored and led. With new ideas come new best practices, and she worked hard to give opportunities to faculty to further excel in the classroom, such as the Active Collaborative Engagement Strategies film series she produced. Her “cohesive force” extended beyond her department as best teaching practices were shared across disciplines. Another way she added to the cohesion of Cypress College was her long-standing hard work in screening Foundation scholarship applications. Beyond being a great asset to Cypress College, Susan forged wonderful relationships with many Chargers, who now wish her the very best in her retirement.

Kathleen Kruse

Katie Kruse is happy to announce her retirement from our nursing faculty after 27 years of teaching. She taught in most of our medical-surgical nursing courses over the years. She is dedicated to patient safety and always encouraged her students to practice with safety and caring in mind. She was a leader in implementing our newest curriculum focused on safety and quality in nursing education. Her main passion is for geriatrics. In developing and teaching our geriatric nursing class, Katie hoped to pass this passion on to future nurses. Taking load bank this spring, she has already begun to embrace retirement. Always the life of the party, she is out and about enjoying her new free time traveling and enjoying Broadway shows, food, and pools with her daughter; looking forward to the birth of her first grandchild with her son and his wife; and making plans to relax with her husband, Jim. We wish her the best as she moves into this next phase of life.

Donna Landis

Donna Landis has been with Cypress College for about 28 years. She started as an hourly employee while attending the Court Reporting program and later progressed to a part-time classified position in the Production Office. Realizing she didn’t care much for court reporting, she went on to working full-time with Staff Development, as a DOM in the Health Science Division, and the majority of time as the catalog and schedule coordinator.

Maureen Leopold

Maureen Leopold, or Mo as she is better known, started at Cypress College in the Bursar’s Office as an hourly February 1979. She became a full-time staff member in the office July 1983 and stayed there for the duration of her career while raising three young kids and earning her associate degree at the college. The campus accounting manager at the time designed a position just for Mo because the Bursar’s Office was taking on more and more job duties—and so was Mo—who eventually assumed the title of accounting specialist. While her family grew exponentially, her three kids grew into six, so did the tug at her heart to retire.Mo retired to new adventures with her mom, husband, kids, and grandkids who simply adore her. She has said, “Cypress College and my family there will always be a part of my heart.”

Clifford Lester

After 25 years running an advertising photography studio, Cliff Lester started teaching at Cypress College as a full-time instructor in 2002. “My experiences here have been incredibly rewarding,” he said. “As I leave Cypress, I have much to be grateful for including my wonderful colleagues and my hard-working students who have put so much into their class projects. Many have gone on to amazing careers in photography. Together we have produced hundreds of pro-bono photos which have truly made a difference for community organizations. Perhaps I am most proud of being involved in our Yom HaShoah event for the last three years, as well as leaving behind a photo gallery of Holocaust survivors in the Student Center, which I plan to keep updated with new images as I continue to photograph survivors. I look forward to spending time with my loved ones, traveling, gardening, cooking gourmet meals for my wife, and perhaps playing a little golf.”

Angela Lippolt-Rios

Angie Lippolt-Rios started her career with the NOCCCD in June 1976 as a groundskeeper. She has held many positions, from groundskeeper to equipment operator, and has been the college’s landscape coordinator for many years. Angie worked out of the La Habra Plant, Fullerton College and ultimately made her home away from home here at Cypress College since 1986.

Rodney Lusch

Rod Lusch started his career with the NOCCCD at the La Habra plant in 1980 as the district welder/sheet metal mechanic. Rod then went to Fullerton College for a few years and finally came home to Cypress College and has been here since 2005. Most of us know him as our very own in-house CSEA Local Chapter #167 president extraordinaire.

Mark Majarian

For 37 years, Mark Majarian has given selflessly of himself serving as the Theater Department chair and, more recently, the chair of the Curriculum Committee. He is passionate about his students, many of whom have gone on to enjoy successful careers. Mark swears that when he leaves Cypress College, he is not really retiring, but rather joining the French Foreign Legion for a completely different career. A short story from Mark: “The Circle in the Square Theater in NYC was producing Chekov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ during the summer of 1973 with sold-out performances. Mike Nichols had directed the play with an all-star cast: Lillian Gish, George C. Scott, Nicol Williamson, and Julie Christie. Julie Christie had already won the Academy Award for best actress in Pasternak’s ‘Doctor Zhivago.’ I was 22 and studying at the Circle in the Square conservatory that summer. I witnessed her perform the role of Yelena in the play onstage one night. Students at Circle were encouraged to meet the actors backstage after performances if they had questions. I was directed to her dressing room. I stumbled through her door and her back was to me. She was alone, petite, and arranging herself in front of a mirror. She spun around to greet me and asked me what I thought of the performance. Strange, furtive, incoherent sounds emanated from my mouth. She smiled and said, ‘That’s wonderful love. Well, I have to be leaving…’ as she dropped over and shot back up flipping her hair back over her shoulders. I bolted out of her dressing room holding my breath until I hit West 50th Street.”

Jose Martinez

Jose Martinez started his career at Cypress College in December 1984 as a maintenance assistant and has been an HVAC mechanic since the early ’90s.

David McCament

David McCament began teaching the embalming components of Cypress College’s Mortuary Science program in 2006, coming to the college after almost four decades in funeral service. He is a 1978 graduate of Cypress and was a member of the first class transitioning from the California College of Mortuary Science to Cypress College in 1977. Since joining the faculty, David has migrated from teaching embalming to practicing restorative art. He has served as the Heath Science Division representative on the campus Student Learning Outcomes Committee and more recently as a senator to the Academic Senate.

Richard McKnight

Richard McKnight earned his electrical engineering degree from Cal State Long Beach. After graduation, he married and entered the U.S. Army, and received his officers commission teaching at the U.S. Army Artillery and Missile School. After leaving the Army, he worked several years as a systems engineer for IBM before earning his master’s degree in business from Chapman University to prepare for a career teaching in higher education. In his first year of teaching, he was a part-time instructor at Cypress College, El Camino College, and Rio Hondo College. A year later, he was offered a full-time position at Cypress and started the Computer Information Systems Department as its first full-time instructor. He created and designed the CIS111 Computer Information Systems and CIS211 Introduction to Programming classes along with several other courses leading students to credential and transfer programs. “My most rewarding achievement is having taught for over 43 years and to 20,000 students, helping them achieve their dreams as I had been helped in achieving mine,” he said.

Alex Mintzer

Alex Mintzer has been teaching biology at Cypress College since 1999.

Albert Miranda

Albert Miranda started his career in adult education here at Cypress College in August 1976 as an hourly employee. Since then, he has held many positions, most notably as the college’s director of physical plant/facilities. In 2017, he was awarded the NOCCCD’s North Star Award for his extensive contributions to the college and district.

Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen has been working in the district since 1979.

Daniel Ortega

Public Safety Officer Daniel Ortega started his career with Cypress College in January 2002. His on-the-job skills, dedication, and professional conduct has contributed enormously to the safety of our campus community, and he is well-respected by his peers. Officer Ortega is assigned to the California State Military Reserves and is responsible for training and working with National Guard units. He also serves on the State Honor Guard unit and serves the community. His military unit has volunteered for color guard during graduations at Cypress. The Campus Safety Department thanks Officer Ortega for his service to the campus, helping to provide a safe academic environment. He will be deeply missed.

Joyce Patti

Joyce Patti is leaving behind a large legacy of students who have successfully transferred, received degrees in art, and are working professionally in the illustration or fine arts fields. She was the Art Department chair for 12 years and an inspiration to her colleagues. She championed for the faculty and especially the students. She will be missed deeply.

Patricia Pelachik

Patty Pelachik has been teaching in the Business Division at Cypress College since 1991.

Mark Peterson

Mark Peterson has served as the accompanist for both the Music and Dance departments for 16 years. In addition, he has tutored numerous music students in theory and performance. Mark has a particular passion for opera and has written a number of them himself. We wish him the best of luck as he sets off on new adventures. Hopefully, Mark will now have the time to focus on composing another new opera!

Brad Pickler

In 31 seasons as the Cypress College head softball coach, Brad Pickler has earned over 1,300 career wins while leading the college to a record nine CCCAA State Softball Championships. Brad also led the Chargers to 26 state finals appearances and helped Cypress earn 23 Orange Empire Conference titles. In 2017, his team completed the first-ever undefeated State Championship run in CCCAA softball history, finishing the season 48-0 and earning his staff the NFCA Cal JC National Coaching Staff of the Year Award. In 2018, his team extended their win streak to 62 games, which is believed to be an all-time collegiate record for consecutive victories. Brad has also served as fitness lab coordinator for the Kinesiology Division and helped ensure improvements to our facilities in his role as a discipline instructor.

Robert Riffle

Bob Riffle started his career at Fullerton College as a student hourly in the cafeteria in 1981, later attaining permanent status as a custodial helper in January 1984. Bob worked at the La Habra Plant, Fullerton College, and Cypress College and has held many positions throughout his career with the NOCCCD. Here at Cypress, Bob had been the interim maintenance and operations manager in 2003, and then again permanently since July 2014.

Luis Rivas

Luis Rivas has been working in the district since 2001.

Terry John Roberson

John Roberson started his career as a painter at Fullerton College in 1988 and then came to his true home away from home, Cypress College, in 1991.

Rebecca Rojas

Becky Rojas started at Cypress College in December 2001 after a friend mentioned the Student Activities Center job to her, noting she would likely be a good fit. “I am so grateful she did,” Becky said. “This was the best move I could have made.” Becky has been on several committees at Cypress, including Senior Day, KinderCaminata, and Graduation. She was awarded Woman of the Year twice and said she has enjoyed working with so many students over the years. “I am blessed to have been working with all the students that come in the Student Activities Center. When I started, for some reason they started calling me Miss Becky, and it has stayed the entire time I have been here. I am happy and look forward to hearing about their future endeavors.”

Ramon Sanchez

Ramon Sanchez has been working in the district since 2007.

Laura Stephens

Laura Stephens has been working in the Cypress College Foundation Office since 2005.

Mariye K. Takahashi

Mariye Takahashi was hired in 1991 to teach Japanese, but much more than this, she developed a whole program, which for many years was unique and singular among community colleges in giving students more opportunities to gain fluency. She took pride in preparing students for future success in universities and for obtaining passing scores on Japanese government-sponsored proficiency exams. She was also a pioneer in developing curriculum that centered on students gaining more experiences with Japanese art and culture through manga, anime, and general film mediums; her curriculum was copied by neighboring CSUs. On campus she advised the Anime Club, and off campus she encouraged students to study Japanese martial arts (being an expert herself) and take advantage of local cultural opportunities. Every summer, she led a group of students on an affordable trip to Japan, made possible by an alliance she forged with Kyushu Sangyo University. Mariye’s dedication to the Japanese Program was evident in her successful grant applications from the Japan Foundation and her leadership of Teachers of Japanese in Southern California. She certainly deserves our great respect and gratitude for what she has done for Cypress College students.

Pablo Trinidad

Pablo Trinidad started at Cypress College as a graveyard-shift custodian in October 1990 and within three years, became a daytime groundskeeper/field maintenance worker. He has been a campus equipment operator since June 2004.

Wendy Valencia

After 18 years of service to the Registered Nursing Department, Wendy Valencia has retired. Wendy taught all levels of students in the medical-surgical environment as well as pharmacology; however, as a geriatric nursing practitioner, geriatrics is her real passion. Together with fellow retiree Katie Kruse, she helped design and implement a dedicated geriatric nursing course imparting her passion to the next generation of nurses. On load bank this semester, Wendy is already enjoying her retirement with her husband and family, including five grandchildren, her most treasured things in life.

Rick Van Beynen

Rick Van Beynen started his career at the La Habra Plant as a maintenance assistant in July 1983. A year later, he was promoted to plumber and then worked at Fullerton College. Since 1997, Rick has been Cypress College’s go-to plumber.

Donna Woo

Donna Woo has been teaching in the Business Division at Cypress College since 1984.

Cypress College Years of Service

We recognize the following employees for their years of dedicated service to the college.

5 Years
Garet Hill; Janelle Salinas; Samantha Simmons; Ratha Thong; Hoa Tran; and Ed Valdez.

10 Years
Nancy Corrales; Lisa Gaetje; Vanessa Gonzales; George Isaac; DaJuan Jackson; Jason Luna; Nishad Marathe; Elizabeth Pacheco; Rosemary Penesa; Aaron Pilkey; Parwinder Sidhu; Stephen Tom; Carlos Urquidi; and Lynette Young.

15 Years
Michael Beard; Alex Bernal; and Alan Reza.

20 Years
Michael Brydges; Armando Mendoza; Margaret Mohr; Marty Orozco; Kevin Peery; Bill Pinkham; Jessica Puma; Adel Rajab; Lili Stroud; and Federico Vazquez.

25 Years
Deidre Porter and Kathy Wada.

30 Years
Lynn Mitts and John Roberson.

35 Years
Albert Miranda and Rick Van Beynen.

40 Years
Darlene Fishman.

Two Cypress Faculty Members Honored at UCI Educator Recognition Dinner

Cypress College faculty members Ann Sheridan-Solis and Adel Rajab are being honored at the University of California, Irvine’s 13th Annual Educator Recognition Dinner and Awards Ceremony on May 22. Solis, Rajab, and other honorees were chosen by UCI’s most academically successful transfer students who identified the faculty member or counselor from their community college who played a critical role in their successful transfer to the university.

Solis, an accounting professor in the college’s Business/CIS Division since 2003, was chosen by Phong Le, a spring 2017 business administration graduate.

“One of my most favorite professors is Professor Ann Solis, who has had an impact on my business interest today,” wrote Phong Le in his #CYProud student profile. “I truly love participating in accounting and finance events with her. She has really helped expand my knowledge and networking skills.”

Rajab, a biology professor in the college’s Science, Engineering, and Math Division since 1998, was chosen by Matt Tran and Myra Ali.

Six Cypress College Faculty Granted Tenure

Cypress College is pleased to congratulate six full-time faculty members from four divisions for completing the tenure process. They were recognized by the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees at its April 24 meeting.

ANDREW ALHADEFF


Andrew Alhadeff has been the head coach of the Cypress College Men’s Basketball Program and a full-time faculty member in the Kinesiology Division since fall 2014. In his first three seasons, Alhadeff led the program to back-to-back CCCAA post-season appearances after a 20-year drought and coached the 2015-16 season team to 22 wins, the most at Cypress since the 1992-93 season. Nine Chargers have also moved on to play at four-year universities under his leadership.

Prior to Cypress, Alhadeff spent eight seasons as the associate head coach at Irvine Valley College. While there, the Lasers compiled a record of 169-73 (0.698), which included back-to-back trips to the State “Elite 8.”

At Cypress College, Alhadeff is part of the Student Learning Outcomes Committee and is club coordinator for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Alhadeff played for the University of Redlands where he was a four-year starter and captain of the most prolific scoring team in basketball history. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Redlands in 2005 and his master’s degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University in 2009.

JULIA CHERNEY


Julia Cherney began teaching at Cypress College as an adjunct faculty member in the Dental Hygiene Program in 2010, becoming a full-time faculty member in 2014. She had previously taught in the Dental Assisting Program for a year in the mid-1990s.

Cherney has worked in the dental field for nearly 30 years, starting out as a dental assistant, then moving up to dental hygienist. She also taught at the Huntington College of Dental Technology and Concorde Career Institute.

At Cypress, Cherney is on the Safety Committee and the Radiologic Technology and Diagnostic Medical Sonography Scholarship Committee. She is also the radiation safety officer for the dental departments.

Cherney earned her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology in 1994 from the University of California, Riverside. She later received her certificate in dental hygiene from Cypress College in 2005, then went on to receive a master’s degree in higher education teaching and learning from Kaplan University in 2011. She also has a number of professional certifications, licenses, and affiliations.

EVA PALOMARES


Eva Palomares began at Cypress College as an adjunct counselor and was hired as a full-time faculty member for Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) in 2014. Prior to joining the college, she was an adjunct counselor and classified employee at Santa Ana College.

Palomares earned her bachelor’s degree in human development from University of California, San Diego and her master’s degree in counseling from University of La Verne; however, she started her college journey at Rio Hondo College where she joined the EOPS Program and the seed was planted for one day becoming an EOPS counselor.

Palomares said, “It is a dream come true to be a counselor for a program that made such a difference in my life as a first-generation college student.”

At Cypress College, Palomares has been a mentor in the Puente Program and a counselor for CARE, a program for single parents attending college. Some of the highlights of her time at Cypress have been participation in implementing numerous university trips as well as last year’s residential Transfer Leadership Opportunity Program at the University of California, Irvine.

ALAN REZA


Alan Reza started at Cypress College as a full-time financial aid specialist in 2003 and became an adjunct counselor in 2006. He received his full-time faculty position in 2014. Prior to working at Cypress College, he worked for the NOCCCD’s North Orange Continuing Education (then School of Continuing Education) as a 40% instructional assistant and part-time substitute teacher for the Fullerton Unified School District.

At Cypress College, he has been a member of several committees over the years. He is currently a member of the EOPS, CARE/CalWORKs, and Guardian Scholars Advisory; High School Senior Day; and Dual Enrollment committees. He is also a mentor for students in the Cypress College Puente and Legacy programs. In the past, he has served on the President’s Advisory, Accreditation Standard IIB, and Student Services Master Plan committees.

Reza earned his associate degree in liberal arts from Fullerton College, bachelor’s degree in Mexican American studies from San Diego State University, and his master’s degree in educational counseling from National University.

SUSAN SMITH


Susan Smith started teaching at Cypress College in the Registered Nursing Program in fall 2014 as a full-time faculty member. Prior to Cypress, she practiced as a registered nurse at Loma Linda University Medical Center and Auto Club Speedway in emergency nursing for nearly 20 years.

Smith has taught most of the classes in the college’s Registered Nursing Program during her tenure at Cypress. She also taught many courses for the Emergency Nurses Association while an emergency nurse.

In her first year at the college, Smith wrote a strategic fund allocation to assist nursing students struggling in the clinical portions of their courses to facilitate student success. She is the skills lab coordinator for the Health Science Division, which aims to enhance students’ clinical skills and understanding of theory, as well as provide other assistance as necessary. Smith has also been an advisor for the Cypress Nursing Student Association for more than three years.

Smith earned her associate degree in nursing from Pasadena City College in 1989. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2010 and master’s degree in nursing and healthcare education in 2012 from University of Phoenix.

KATHLEEN TROY


Kathleen C. Troy, J.D., began teaching at Cypress College as an adjunct professor in 1988 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in the Business Division in 2014. She is the department coordinator for management and marketing, and serves on numerous committees.

“I think I am the luckiest person I know,” she said. “Every day, I am with talented, hardworking students and dedicated faculty. I am very proud to be a part of this community.”

Troy earned her juris doctor degree from Western State University, College of Law. Among many endeavors, she was the director of education and development for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Additionally, she trains service dogs and owns a design business, winery, and boutique children’s publishing company.

Circle Drive Affected Friday for 5K Race

The Cypress College Veterans Organization is holding its 2nd Annual 5K Run/Walk in partnership with non-profit veterans organization Save the Brave on Friday, April 27. All of the proceeds will go toward assisting student veterans with scholarships, emergency grants, and camaraderie-building events.

The race will take participants throughout campus, including Circle Drive. Please note:

  • Circle Drive and parking lots will remain open during the event, but entrance and exit closures will begin at 10:30 a.m.;
  • the Valley View entrance will remain open throughout the day;
  • the Holder entrance/exit will be closed until 12:30 p.m.;
  • the Orange entrance will be closed until 12:30 p.m., but vehicles may still use the exit.

Participants will be on Circle Drive for approximately one hour starting at 11 a.m. They will be instructed to remain in the left (inside) lane. Vehicles should drive in the right (outside) lane; there will be signs along Circle Drive reminding drivers of this. Please be mindful of runners and drive carefully on campus.

Volunteers wearing bright green vests will direct traffic and be out to ensure everyone’s safety. Please follow their directions.

3rd Annual Yom HaShoah Ceremony Honors Survivors, WWII Vets

Stories of survival were recounted, heartfelt thanks to American liberators given, and songs of faith and hope shared at Cypress College’s 3rd Annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Day of Remembrance event on Tuesday, April 17.

“Before I give you a glimpse of what transpired when a 10-year-old kid goes through hell, I just want you to be aware that you live in a land of plenty, that you enjoy the freedoms, and you should cherish every minute of them,” said Holocaust survivor Sam Silberberg during the event. “When I look at this diverse crowd, I just enjoy seeing the diversity and the love that you inspire all around you.”

Survivors Silberberg, Gerda Seifer, Piri Katz, Dr. Jacob Eisenbach, and Harry Lester, were available for a meet-and-greet prior to the event. They were joined on stage during the ceremony by World War II veteran Dr. Henry Nahoum, who was recognized for his service and involvement in liberating the death camps. Joseph Germanero, father of Cypress College employee Betty Germanero, was also recognized posthumously.

Nahoum’s daughter, Bonita Nahoum Jaros, performed several songs from the ghettos and camps. She was joined by dancers from the Cypress College Dance Department and visual effects from Media Arts Design Professor Kati Anguelov.

During the lighting of memorial candles, second-generation survivor and Cypress College staff member Rick van Beynan joined the five survivors on stage.

The emotional event was held in the Cypress College Theater. Livestreams were available on the Cypress College UStream and Facebook pages. Both continue to be available for view online. In addition, the edited full-event video is available on the campus YouTube channel.

Photos Courtesy of Cristina Gutierrez Omoir Photography

Students Present Research at ART+POLITICS

Cypress College art students presented scholarly research at ART+POLITICS, the 2nd Annual Community College Art History Conference that took place at the UC Riverside ARTSblock on Saturday, April 14.

Pondering the question “what is beauty,” art history major Sandra Alvarado presented “White Westernized Walls,” an incisive and moving presentation on the work of artist Thien Nuygen and the enduring personal and political legacies of colonialism.

Presenting “Get Out: An Evocative Symbol of the Marginalization of People of Color in America,” film studies major Randy Cruz quoted both the movie sound track and director Jordan Peele when she concluded, “The sunken place is the system that silences the voices of women, minorities, and other people…Racism is not dead, it is hidden in plain sight. Stay woke.”

ART + POLITICS is organized by Cypress College, Fullerton College, and Cerritos College faculty and students, as well as regional university students. The conference aims to provide community college students with the opportunity to present their first scholarly work in a university setting.

With a Heavy Heart, We Remember Char Felos

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Charlene “Char” Felos, retired Cypress College ceramics professor, who had worked so tirelessly for Cypress College, the education of students, and the fine arts community.

Char died at her home in Huntington Beach on April 15 at the age of 75. She began her career at Cypress College in 1969 and became art department chair in 1987. She retired in 2003 after 34 years of service with the district. Char was named Cypress College Outstanding Faculty Member in 1987-88.

Char Felos (center), pictured with retired art faculty members Les Johnson (left) and Roger Mendes (right).

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to The Global Sticky Network at 1954 Placentia Avenue #108, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people experience health and wholeness physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Char will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress during a private service. Her celebration of life will also be a private family gathering.

Cast Your Ballots for A.S. Officers

Elections for positions on the Associated Students Council for the 2018-2019 school year are April 16, 18, and 19 (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday) from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Pond, so be sure to cast your vote!

You must be a current Cypress College student to be eligible to vote. Please present your Cypress College student ID with current A.S. sticker, or a printed copy of your spring 2018 class schedule with photo ID.

President

Robert Mounce


I believe I am the most qualified because I have the most experience. I have served as elected Executive Vice President as well as appointed Vice President of Student Organizations. I have worked with campus clubs as well as campus staff. I have been working with Associated Students for two years. I believe I offer a leadership role, as well as making AS more efficient if I were elected.

My main goals and objectives for the upcoming term would be first to make Associated Students more efficient as well as make Associated Students’ presence on campus more visible as well as make students know of their resources that they have on campus.

I would try to change events to become more smoothly as well as advertise them a month before the actual event. I would change the way students speak up with a monthly table of changes students would want to change as well as other ideas they have and execute them to best of our ability.

—–

Executive Vice President

Gricelda Weed

Mission Statement: To uphold equitable academic excellence, increase diversity and inclusion through a collaborative student council.

I believe I’m the most qualified for the Executive Vice President position on the Associated Students Council due to my well rounded knowledge and experience of student government. Most importantly, the understanding of the constitution and by-laws, which I currently uphold as Vice President of Public Relations. I have experience in collaborative leadership roles; I thrive in high impact positions that focus on the greater good of students. Previously, I have fulfilled the role of Associated Students Senator, which allowed me to serve as a student representative in shared governance and district levels. I aspire to represent Cypress College with the utmost integrity.

My main goals and objectives, if I’m elected, will be to advise the President of Associated Students in collaboration with our student council, upholding the constitution and by-laws, promoting the importance of student voice and representation in academia. It is my goal to continue Associated Students’ hard work and dedication. I would like to implement a collaboration with our Cypress College divisions, programs, clubs and organizations in order to achieve an informed student body at Cypress College.

In my opinion, I believe Associated Students needs to focus more attention on community outreach. If elected, it is one of my goals to create a social action initiative at the Cypress College Swap-meet with intentions of reaching the underserved community. I envision Cypress College Associated Students serving our local community with career development resources, testimonies of first generation students, and information highlighting the accessibility of pursuing a higher education. Another focus should be, Associated Students partnering with the Cypress College bookstore, in order to create a progressive brand representative of being a Premier Community College. Thereby, creating a committee to provide collaborative opportunities for the student council to share feedback and take part in ordering a variety of promotional merchandise showcasing Charger Pride!

—–

Vice President of External and Internal Affairs

Diondre Hollingsworth

I have served one year on the associated student executive board as vice president of campus and District affairs. With the merging of that position and vice president of external Affairs I believe I am the best equipped to handle the merged responsibilities of those positions for this next year. I believe AS can improve its efficiency in gathering student body metrics and representing the student opinion here on campus. By chairing the associated student subcommittee of internal and external affairs I will maintain adequate student representation in all shared governance faculty meetings and represent our school at the state level for statewide policy.

—–

Vice President of Fiscal Affairs

Angiel Mendieta

I have been the Vice President of Fiscal Affairs for over three semesters : appointed by the A.S Council in spring 2017 and than elected by the student body for 2017-2018. I have the experience and knowledge as the VP of Fiscal Affairs to be given a chance by the student body to be re-elected.

My goals are to help the A.S. Council as well as the student body know where their money is going to and to who. To be able to use all the funds properly and make sure that the students are being given what they deserve from purchasing their A.S. Stickers. I also want to keep learning from this position on how to do my job better and be able to achieve these goals I’ve set out. The students are giving each year the council the trust to run A.S properly and I want to keep that trust by performing to the best of my abilities.

A.S needs to focus on being more inclusive with other students. I would start by inviting more students to our open business meetings and taking my time to explain how A.S. runs. I would also work for the council to have more efficient communication to improve the task at hand. Lastly, the A.S. council needs better communication with the Inner Club Council. I will work closely with the VP of Student Organizations and the club representatives through monthly workshops and attend ICC meetings to have better communications with club members.

Monica Santana

I am the most qualified person for this office because I have complete knowledge and understanding of what Associated Students represents and what we have to offer as an organization for the student body. I have 6 semesters of A.S experience including 4 semesters of being Executive Secretary on the A.S executive board. I am no longer able to serve in that position because I have met the maximum amount of terms there is to one position. I am fully capable of excelling as Vice President of Fiscal Affairs since that position has the most communication with Executive Secretary and I know what VP of Fiscal Affairs requires and the type of responsibilities and deadlines I need to meet.

My main goals and objectives are to be efficient, on time, and responsible. VP of Fiscal Affairs requires meeting weekly deadlines and keeping up with weekly requested funds and my main goal is to make sure I am on top of the purchase requisitions and make sure clubs and A.S events get their funds in a timely fashion without worrying about not getting the funds in time. Another goal of mine is to be on top of the A.S. budget as much as possible to refrain from overspending so we will not have to worry about not having enough funds to spend for any particular event or outing. Another goal of mine is to have this position communicate strongly with clubs.

I believe A.S. needs to focus more attention on trying to reduce the costs of certain A.S events by budgeting ourselves beforehand so we request almost the exact amount we will use instead of estimating and not knowing till adding all the receipts up how much we actually spent on that particular event and realizing we probably could of spent the funds more wisely. That will lead to accurate and efficient annual budget updates since we will know exactly how much we spend on each A.S event. I will help improve that by keeping up to date with the funds requested and help any officer out with calculating the expenses of events before they are requested. A.S also needs to remind and let clubs know beforehand every academic year that there are club grants available for them every semester since many clubs I have talked to do not even know there are grants available for them. I will improve that by talking to each active club or club president individually and explain the process of obtaining club grants and what they can and cannot spend their funds on.

—–

Vice President of Public Relations

Elise Cunanan

I believe I am most qualified for this position because I have been on the AS council for 2 semesters and believe that I have the communication, collaborative, creative, and critical thinking skills to complete the responsibilities of this position. In the past few weeks I have made posters for High School Senior Day and other events that have helped prepare me for this position. I enjoy creating, designing and writing which is something this position has to offer. The opportunity of this position is a great chance for me to get more involved in AS and Cypress College.

I am hoping to achieve getting more involved in AS, getting more active on social media publicity and displaying my creative abilities through the position. I also hope to achieve being more capable of bringing more changes and improvements that can help the school to the AS council and be more in touch with other instructors and staff about AS on campus. In addition I would like to improve my communication and speaking skills so I can grow as a person and have more

One thing that I feel AS needs to improve more on is its involvement in social media and I would like to see the AS instagram page up and running again. I would also like to see them be more in touch with not only our clubs but also with the programs as well such as the Teacher Prep Program, Stem program, Honors program, etc. I also think that we should make the school more aware and involved as to who we are and what we do as an AS council.

—–

Senator

Brandy Hoffart

I am committed to Associated Students and possess strong leadership skills and want to make a monumental impact as a Senator. Serving as a Senator will give me an opportunity to grow and advance in Associated Students. I know particular issues that need to be addressed in order to create a better campus environment. As an appointed Senator I will represent you, the Cypress College student body, and advocate concerning important student policies including political issues. I will report and provide important recommendations to the Associated Student Council regarding pressing student related campus policies and political issues. I will also serve on the Campus and District Affairs Committee and participate in the Associated Students Public Relations Committee.

Associated Students needs to focus its attention on student outreach and resources available to students. We have a food bank on campus and I would like to see and assist in creating more student beneficiary programs similar to it. The food bank needs more funding because they are low on supplies and there is a high demand for food assistance on campus.

Christine


I believe I am the most qualified person running for the office of Senator not solely based on my qualifications, but greatly so based on my heart for the position. I am passionate about standing up to the face of injustice and saying enough. I desire more than anything to provide each and every Cypress student with a voice on their college campus and in front of the state legislators. In high school I served as a board member for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club on campus for two years allowing me to build valuable leadership skills and learn how to create and maintain positive team relationships. Furthermore, I am highly organized, a characteristic further developed having worked as the head of the Termite Department for a pest control company. During my time working with the company, I oversaw the scheduling of employees, customer relations, updating our filing systems, and creating initiatives for improving customer satisfaction. These experiences have prepared me for the position of Senator, where I intend to use all my gained skills for the benefit of the Cypress student; so your voice is heard.

My main goals and objectives if elected as Senator are very student focused. I would like to present more opportunities for direct voicing of the students through various means such as: taking surveys to gather student opinion, hosting panels where students can inform faculty directly of their expectations for classes and faculty members, and hosting panels oriented towards eliminating any prejudices, no matter how big or small, that exist on our campus and orienting us instead towards reconciliation.

I believe A.S. needs to focus more on the promotion of A.S. itself as many students are unaware of the many resources and opportunities for voicing their opinions, let alone the existence of A.S. To improve upon this I will push for A.S. members to appear in classes at least once a month to provide a quick explanation of who we are and the opportunities available for students.

Presten Jimenez

I think I am the most qualified for this position because I have first hand experience of restarting a club and running a club. Being president of the Creative Guild gave me the knowledge of what smaller clubs need in order to grow in the right direction. When I first became president there were only 3 people, now the club has grown to 15 people. Along with this I have learned the different styles of leadership, planning an agenda, following an agenda, and organizing events.

My main goals if I were to be elected for this position would be to help with the growth of smaller clubs, make the presence of clubs more known across campus, and to plan and organize more events specifically for the clubs. I have made a suggestions list for people who have smaller clubs or want to start a club. In this suggestions list there is advice on how to get your name out there, how to best represent your club, panning an agenda, and other advice from my personal experience. I also plan to have information about the clubs at Cypress posted on the boards around campus which will make it more accessible along with having that information posted in the student activities center. If a club wins club of month along with having their name, meeting times, and small passage about their club on the website, I want to also post it on the boards for students to see. I believe that there are not enough events on campus dedicated to bringing the clubs exposure during the middle or end of the semester. This is typically the time when clubs start to lose their members. I have already helped organize the club art exhibit that will happen on the 23rd and 24th of April.

I think A.S. needs to focus their attention more on the perspectives of the students rather than viewing things through the eyes of having a role in our student government. Along with this I think A.S. needs to put more of an effort to put their faces out there. Meaning that many people are unaware that there is a student government on campus. I think if we walked the halls during holidays or stressful times such as midterms and final and gave back to the student it would help increase our presence. While doing this we can ask students what concerns or suggestion that they have. This will allow A.S. to connect with the students more and put a smile on their face when they recieve a little treat.

Timothy


I think I am the most qualified because I have a heart for people and really care about helping others

My main goal is to talk to everyone I see in campus and ask them if they have any problems with the school and what AS a can do to improve things.

AS needs to focus more attention on bringing more school spirit. I will make sure more people are involved

—–

Activities Coordinator

Kyla Salas

Kyla Salas is my name and change is my game! I am a first year student running for Activities Coordinator to serve YOU.

In High School I specialized in Speech and Debate and was also a three year Executive Board Member and President of the Cypress Future Business Leaders of America Team, all the while balancing Honors and AP Classes.

Currently I am studying Computer Science and Engineering and participating in the STEM Program. Furthermore, as an advocate for mental health, I plan to create an awareness day that provides a FREE THERAPY SESSION for students. Besides this main platform of MH advocacy, I plan to bring the student body together through fun and productive activities around campus for a more welcoming environment.

—–

Executive Secretary

Jeremiyah White

I feel I would be the most qualified for the position of Executive Secretary because I have had previous experience in a senator position in the creative guild; a club we have on campus. I have also been in JROTC and held an office position for two years.

My goals are to perform at my absolute best and help the A.S council achieve the goals set out to help the student body.

In my opinion I feel that AS should improve on making ourselves visible on campus. One of the things I have noticed is many of the students that attend the college are unaware that a student government exists. I would assist in help the recruitment for our organization as well as assist making ourselves known in the best way I can.

—–

Student Trustee

Maria Isabel Alvarez

I, Maria Isabel Alvarez, strongly believe I am the most qualified to serve as the Student Trustee next year because I obtain a fierce passion to want to make change for the students. Since I have attended Cypress College, I have been in student government serving for the students. I am currently the Associated Student President. I couldn’t be any prouder of my team and I. During my presidency, we got things done! We brought forward new ideas like the solar powered charging stations, accomplished new milestones for the student body by expanding the awareness of our food pantry on campus and working with local companies. We also revamped the relationship the student government has with their student body by standing in solidarity together in the #NeverAgainMovement or supporting our Dreamers by creating DACA forum. I also upheld the position of Vice President of Campus Activities. I organized all events on campus and outreach events as in welcome back, club rush, sex day, and finals fuel. Through sitting in shared governance meetings, to serving hot dogs, passing out free scantrons on the week of finals and seeing the smiles on the student’s faces, I have seen the need for an active student government council.

Currently as my Presidency comes to an end, I can’t help but think, “ Man, I have some great ideas for the student body still left.” I believe if I was elected Student Trustee, I would be able to accomplish these goals faster and more efficiently. I want to build a relationship with OCTA and have Cypress College Students ride for free with just their student ID. I want add to the syllabus criteria and make it mandatory for teachers to go over the fastest exit ways, location of fire extinguishers, and what to do incase of an active shooter. Safety and Student Success are my main concerns. I have had the pleasure with creating relationships with students,club members, faculty, personal, and classified. I hope to utilize all my knowledge, resources, and connections to do an amazing job as Trustee.

Confidence must be restored in student government where students feel they can come to the the council and express their needs. I value student’s opinions, ideas, and concerns when making ANY decision. I also have an open ear and honor minority groups in a way that is fair and just for all groups and all the students as a whole to feel heard. I am familiar with this institution and I am ready to begin making change for the betterment of our campus, our community, and our future. My strength is definitely student interaction with education. I am well rounded organized and a heck of a multi tasker. I am also a business major who will be innovative and get things done in an outstanding matter. I am determined to excel all expectations and be a memorable Student Trustee. To do that, I want to continue to provide my knowledge ideas and experiences to continue contributing to our campus and Student government as Student Trustee.

Daniel Sebastian

I believe I am the most qualified for this position of student trustee, mainly because I already have a year of experience doing this positon, & this past year I have drastically changed the way this position presents itself. I have changed it from it being a position of mystery; to being an open. For example, changing it by being free for discussions and hearing the general concerns and voices of our students & trying my best to present the popular interest of students to the Trustees of Cypress & Fullerton. Also I have a genuine interest in helping our fellow students & assisting the student body grow whenever possible. If anyone ever needs a helping hand I am always there when I can. Having a year of experience behind my belt means that I can do this position even more efficiently than last year, I’ve learned the twists and turns there are to being in this leadership position. So by having me in office I can guarantee that we can all continue to grow as students and make changes for the better; together.

My main objectives and goals for this up coming year is to be more connected. By that I mean; having more public discussions with our A.S Government & students to find out what they think needs to change on our campus, or also what are things we appreciate about campus. This would be a main objective, to improve the quality of student life on our campus.

I believe that A.S. needs to work on getting people more involved in advocacy and getting people to join the government council. I will try to address this problem by talking to more students around campus & getting them excited to come join & see what we’re all about.

Hundreds Participate in March 14 #NationalSchoolWalkout

More than 200 Cypress College students, faculty, and staff came together at the Pond to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and stand in solidarity with students across the nation for the #NationalSchoolWalkout. The Associated Students organized the March 14 event, setting up 17 empty desks and chairs on the Bridge to symbolize the Parkland victims.

“This event is to show support to those who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action,” Associated Students President Maria Alvarez said. “The Associated Students hope to promote activism, awareness, and show that students are ready to take control of the world around them. Therefore, we aspire to help students find their voice, build confidence, and stay on the path to be engaged citizens.”

A.S. members wearing white ribbons of remembrance read aloud the victims’ names, then called for 17 minutes of silence, one minute in honor of each life lost. Following that, students read aloud short biographies and quotes from friends and family of the victims reported by the news media.

After the event, Claudia Cristales, a second-semester Cypress College student, said of the event, “It wasn’t about gun control or anything like that. It was just for the students, nothing political, to bring attention to the students’ lives that were lost.”

“That could have been our school, so I sympathize with them, the families and friends who lost someone,” added Vanessa Moran, a third-year Cypress College student. “It’s nice that our school has directions for what to do when there’s an active shooter on campus. It gives us instructions and it’s throughout the whole school.

“It’s things like that, they help,” she said.

Dr. Schilling Accepts Presidential Charge During Investiture

Dr. JoAnna Schilling accepted the presidential charge from Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall and Board of Trustees President Jaqueline Rodarte during the investiture ceremony held as part of Opening Day activities on Friday, January 26, 2018.

In addition to members of the campus community, participation came from across Southern California. California State Senator Josh Newman and Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva were among the elected officials in attendance. Presentations came from three of Dr. Schilling’s former colleagues: Dr. Manuel Baca, a trustee at Mt. San Antonie College and a former Board of Governors member; Julio Flores, a former student and current faculty at Rio Hondo College; and Sue Parsons, a retired faculty and management colleague at Cerritos College.

The investiture was emceed by Academic Senate President Bryan Seiling. “You have an ability to inspire and motivate that I find amazing,” he said to Dr. Schilling.

In her remarks, North Orange County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall praised Dr. Schilling.

“I believe you will take Cypress College to even higher levels of greatness,” Dr. Marshall said.

Parsons noted that in her earlier roles, Dr. Schilling forged relationships and partnerships that have resulted in a number of programs and educational opportunities. “Dr. Schilling is your royal flush,” Parsons told the audience.

As you continue to take on these priorities, I can’t think of anyone else better to lead Cypress College than Dr. JoAnna Schilling, said former colleague Dr. Manuel Baca.

Flores, a former student of Dr. Schilling, recalled a time when Dr. Schilling went out of her way to help a lost student on the first day of class at Rio Hondo College, remarking on her passion and interest in helping students succeed.

After accepting the charge of office as Cypress College’s 12th president, Dr. Schilling thanked the college’s many supporters. She then shared a takeaway from a recent trip she took with her husband to the Middle East.

On a school door she happened upon was a sign that said Education is the movement from darkness to light. She said, “Education opens our eyes to all the possibilities, not the limitations…”

“I am proud to work at a community college,” she said, continuing, there is no other type of institution in the world. “Our doors are open to all, we are a beacon of hope and allow people to go further than their birth may dictate.”

She closed, “May Cypress College long be a shining light to the students and communities we serve.”

 

Campus Safety Forum Takeaways

On Wednesday, November 29, the college held a Campus Safety Forum with representatives from the Cypress Police Department and Cypress College Campus Safety to inform the campus community and answer questions about an active shooter scenario, crime, and other safety-related concerns on and near campus. Cypress Police Department Chief Rod Cox and his team detailed the necessary steps they take for a swift, comprehensive response to incidents. Campus Safety and Maintenance and Operations officials discussed the campus’ response and lockdown capabilities should an incident occur on campus.

We present this FAQ with some tips and other information garnered from the forum to help the community prepare in the event of an incident on campus.

1. I know the basic premise of run, hide, fight, but what do you do if you know there’s an active shooter on campus, but don’t know where that person is? If you run, you might run into the shooter.

There isn’t an answer to that question. In this world, we like to have concrete answers, but these events are so fluid that you can’t address that with any real certainty. You can only do what you think is best for you at the time. At least do something. The only wrong thing you could do that day is nothing.

Also. take deep breaths so panic doesn’t set in, and prepare your mind to think about what you should do. Know that your mental preparation starts now. Start planning what your response would be in different scenarios, and be aware of your surroundings.

2. What’s an example of something you might have in an office that you can use as a weapon?

Stapler, pen, your car keys, chair, computer, laptop. If you have the ability to distract or momentarily incapacitate a suspect, that may give you an opportunity to escape. Don’t limit yourself to what we might traditionally think of as a weapon.

3. Since the active shooters have become more prevalent, we’ve had some conversation about an armed response here on campus. Could you please talk a little bit about pro/con about that and what you see; is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I can’t stand up here and tell you what’s right and wrong. What’s right for your campus might not be right for another campus. This is where you work and where you live; our opinion really makes no difference. We’re coming and we’re coming fully prepared and you understand what our job is when we get here. What you’re safe and comfortable with here, only you all can make those decisions through the district and your in-house administration.

This campus is extremely blessed. The police department is so close. You essentially have an armed response in your backyard.

The other thing you have to think about with guns—we think about it all the time—every contact that we have, every confrontation that we have is an armed confrontation for us because I bring a gun. I have to worry about my gun getting into somebody else’s hands. If you bring that onto campus—not that it’s a good or bad thing—you have to be prepared for all the things that go along with it. And those are the big decisions that have to be made when you talk about armed or not armed.

4. If someone were to call 911 on campus, how does that work with getting in touch with Campus Safety, even if there’s an active shooter on campus? How is information about a major incident communicated on campus?

At the college, there are campus-wide speakers that can be utilized, phone alert systems and phone trees, a text system for emergency messages to be communicated to anyone with a cellphone signed up in myGateway, and marquee access to let people off campus know there’s something happening and to stay away.

Don’t call 911 unless you have actual information to share. With major incidents, many will be calling in and tying up the phone lines. It’s best to not call if you don’t have specific information to share.

5. I want to ask about prevention. Most people know “if you see something, say something,” but what does that really mean? What should people be reporting and what shouldn’t they be reporting? And if they see something, who do they tell?

Master normal so abnormal sticks out. If people take the time to sit and watch human behavior on campus, the abnormal will stick out like a sore thumb if you’re paying attention. That abnormal thing, however slight, that you think is odd, should be reported. It’s better to call and let the authorities make a determination than to ignore something you think might be unusual.

If there’s a crime being committed, call 911. If it’s somebody acting suspiciously and you don’t know what to do, call Campus Safety and they will make contact with the individual.

6. Managers and some offices have radios on campus. What’s the protocol for radio use during a major incident?

Stay off the radio unless you have something urgent and very important to communicate and need to do so quickly. Just use it to listen. You’ll be able to get a lot more information from it than you will be able to give to Campus Safety.

7. Can you provide some tips about how we can provide helpful identifying information about a suspect?

Top to bottom, outside in. Give height, weight, skin tone, and facial hair, if any. Start at the top, then work your way down.

 

Request from Maintenance and Operations: If your hardware for doors is malfunctioning, etc. please let Physical Plant know so fixes can be scheduled and completed. We must ensure every part of the campus can be properly secured in the event of an emergency.

Resources to Help You Power Through the End of the Semester

Does the quickly approaching end of the semester have you stressed? We know that this point in the semester can be very hectic, with papers and projects coming due, and finals rapidly approaching. We want to see you succeed, so we’ve rounded up resources at the college to help you survive (and thrive) these last two weeks. The L/LRC even has extended hours to help you succeed!

Academics: Support at the Library & Learning Resource Center

  • Resources for research: Books, periodicals, and article databases are available through the Library,  which you can find here. Librarians are also available to assist you in your research. Not near a computer? They have an app! You can also text a librarian—simply text “Cypress” to 66746.
  • Computers: Both the Library and Learning Resource Center have desktop computers, and the library has laptops that you can check out as well.
  • Math Learning Center: Need help with a problem in math, stats, or physics? Go here! They have tutors available for questions, as well as computers for online math work.
  • English Success Center: Having problems with a specific part of a paper, or need formatting assistance? They can help, and have computers available for research and writing as well.
  • Individual tutoring: It is available in several subjects, including English. Tutors can work with you on research papers. See how to make an appointment. Not on campus? Online tutoring is available! Click here for details.
  • Extended Hours at the L/LRC:
    • Monday, December 4- Thursday, December 7, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Friday, December 8, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Monday, December 11- Wednesday, December 13, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Supplies and Food: Associated Students Finals Fuel

  • Supplies: The Associated Students will have those items vital for your exams- They will be handing out Scantrons, Blue Books, and pencils!
  • Food: A.S. will have snacks as well, so you can grab a quick bite to keep you fueled!
  • Finals Fuel will be Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. outside the Student Activities Center.

Stress Relief: Resources through the L/LRC

  • Relax your mind filling out coloring books and playing board games from Monday, December 4 through Thursday, December 7.
  • De-Stress with Service Dogs: Feeling a little frazzled? Stop by the tent in front of the L/LRC Thursday, December 7 at 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to take a moment to relax and enjoy some time playing and cuddling with some service dogs.

A Heartfelt Letter of Thanks

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and take stock of all we are thankful for, we would like to share a note to the campus community from Sandra O’Connell, the human services student at Cypress College who lost everything she owned in a fire on campus earlier this semester.

To the Staff and Students of Cypress College:

My name is Sandra O’Connell. I needed to take a minute to express to you what an impact you all made in my life. Recently, I lost the most important person in my life, the woman who taught me about family and the importance of being a part of something bigger than myself, my Mother. All of you gave me the pleasure of remembering her lesson and so much more. You gave not only my home back, but also made me feel a part of a family.

Everybody who did whatever they could to ease my loss, I thank you. I will not ever forget your generosity. The kindness and love I received from you was so overwhelmingly amazing, somehow thank you is not enough. I also want to extend a thank you to your families. I know that there were gifts given on behalf of some of you. The RV I purchased with the donations is the one parked in front of the school. Please feel free to stop by and say hello, and allow me to formally introduce myself.

Thank you,

Sandra J. O’Connell
Cypress College student

Supporting Our Students During the Holidays & Throughout the Year

At Cypress College, we are dedicated to helping all of our students in all ways that we can year-round, and we understand situations may be difficult, especially around the holiday season. We encourage the entire campus community to join us in supporting our students in need through the following Cypress College programs and services.

Associated Students Thanksgiving Food Baskets

Every year, A.S. distributes food baskets with a large turkey, stuffing, and many other Thanksgiving goods to students in need of some help around the holiday. Donations are accepted at the Student Activities Center (SAC) and large, decorated boxes around campus starting November 1.

Boxes are located in:

Admissions and Records on the first floor near the Campanile entrance;
Business on the first floor in between both entrance doors;
CCCPLX in the middle of the third floor;
Fine Arts in the center of the first floor;
Gym II next to the division offices;
Health Science second floor near the nurse’s office;
Humanities first floor near both entrances;
the Library/Learning Resource Center near the first floor entrance;
NOCE (formerly SCE) near the building entrance;
SEM near the first floor staircase; and
Tech Ed I on the second floor inside the counselor’s room.

Baskets will be distributed November 20 and 21. Know of a student in need? Submit a nomination at the SAC!

Food Bank Donations

The Cypress College Food Bank, launched Spring 2017 and with an upcoming Grand Opening the second week of November, needs your help keeping its shelves stocked. Please considering donating canned goods, snacks and cereals, and other non-perishable items.

The following are items in high demand:

  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Pasts and pasta sauce
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Granola bars
  • Cereals
  • Snacks
  • Individual apple sauce
  • Mac and cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Soups

Thank you for helping to make the Food Bank such a huge success!

CARE Adopt-A-Family Program

The CARE Adopt-A-Family program provides low-income and single-parent CARE families with gifts and necessities during the holidays. During last year’s inaugural season, faculty and staff adopted 34 families.

Individuals, groups, or departments can participate in this joyous and gratifying event. Sponsors are provided with the description of their “adoptee family” along with a copy of the family’s Wish List of requested items ranging from groceries and clothing to gift certificates and toys. Participation is encouraged at a level comfortable for you.

For those who would like to participate, fill out the sponsor form by Friday, November 3 and return to cbarrios@cypresscollege.edu. Sponsors will receive a description of their adoptee family and a copy of the family’s wish list by Wednesday, November 8 along with further details regarding the program process.

DSS Holiday Fundraiser

Support the college’s students with disabilities by participating in Disability Support Service’s annual See’s Candies fundraiser. Send a box to friends, colleagues, family, or a Cypress College veteran (just check the “VRC” box on the order form)! Simply complete the linked form and drop if off with Summer Justice in the DSS Office (CCCPLX-100) by Friday, November 3.

 

#CYProfessional: Ambika Talwar, English 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 Ambika.

Ambika Talwar is a Cypress College English professor and has been teaching at the college for nearly three decades. Born in India, she is also an author, wellness consultant, artist, and poet whose “vision is to to realize her sacred destiny and invite others to find their brilliance.” She has published a number of books, poems, and essays, including her latest, “My Greece: Mirrors & Metamorphoses,” for which she participated in a reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga last month.

When was My Greece published?
My book was published in December 2016 through CreateSpace. I have both paperback and e-book versions.

What inspired you to write My Greece? What does it mean to you?
I traveled to Greece in 2002 and took with me a big old Sony PD-150, thinking I would film my experience. And I did. But I also took a lot of notes and realized there was more than one story. And that all these experiences with people and places became part of an overarching narrative that tells us Greece is buried. But so are we. This realization pushed me to write my memoir of those 6 weeks spent in that hot hot summer.

My other inspirations… The Macedonian Prince Alexander had invaded India in 326 BC. As a child, I had visited the place in the north where his horse had turned back, indicating to the 33-year-old that he needed to return. And then of course, Greeks know their history and considered me their cousin. They’d say, “Oh you are Indian! We are cousins!” And then the mythology — the layers of stories we grow up with and study that inform our sense of who we are also remind us of our deep inter-connections. In fact, we would all be more in synch with ourselves if we but remembered our common roots. Sadly, we are all affected by the destructive limitations of colonial thinking. Look at the way the world is going. But good is arising from these ashes, too. There was no way I could not have written this book; I was concerned about our human purpose and destiny. It is not a tourist book but one in which I ask the question, “Is our evolution a shift from one technology to another?” We surely need to express our humanity in profound ways. Now.

Do you have other readings scheduled?
Yes. November 18 at 4 pm. It will be on their website soon. http://www.beyondbaroque.org I hope you are able to join me.

Beyond Baroque
681 N. Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Ph: 310-822-3006

How do you balance your work as a professor with your other professional/creative work?
I teach writing. If I did not participate in what I do, how could I make the experience authentic for my students? It becomes that much more special when I can share my weaknesses and rough moments in my own writing with our students who find writing difficult — something “I’m never going to learn,” or “I hate writing,” as they say. I have to remind them that while we have lessons to stir and guide them on, ultimately, they have to make it their own. In other words, I work with them to help them access their own knowing-ness and wisdom. Grammar is part of it all.

Truly how we do one thing is how we do everything. As a creative person, when I invite students to touch that special creative space in them, they may feel a bit intimidated; but when they connect, the world changes. This is what motivates me to do what I have been doing for these long years.

My professional and creative work are same and different. Teaching is a creative process. I truly understand that each person is imbued with creative spirit; we are all creative as we each create our lives moment by moment. So do you. There is no separation. Imagine if we were aware of this interplay of self-Self.

Oh, I have to share this recent experience. As a world traveler, I take special interest in the profound ways in which I am moved by various cultures. I learned in 2012 that our schools do not teach geography. Yes, I was stunned to silence, almost frozen. It was an Eng. 60 class. How then do we become global citizens enriched by exquisite diversities I wondered. So we had a fascinating discussion in class, which led to them writing what it means to be a global citizen. It was transformational; a student who had remained reticent through the semester opened up to more possibilities after this and for the first time shared what she wants to do.

And just a week ago Monday, I emailed my ENG 100 students their journal topic. They were to look at the map of the world and identify 10 rivers they had never heard about. Out of a list of 10, they were to pick two that interested them and study these in terms of environment, story, seasonal changes. I had not given a due date. I was stunned when I walked to class on the Wednesday and found they had all done this assignment in less than two days. They shared their new knowledge and were so eager and interested in their findings that I felt really very deeply touched. I simply said to them: “You know, you all told me you had never studied geography. I am just taking you around the world.”

This was exciting. We have to excite them with what is in them.  You see, we are not so separate from one another, even though politics on all levels of our existence and religious wars want to divide us all. If they cannot travel, here is a way to travel together. And they get to tell me about it — even better. And through my book, I get to share with you all.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
Well, I write poetry, too. Last year, I was invited to join the West-side Women Writers; we meet usually once a month (except in holiday months). We are working on a collection of our poems due out in March 2018. It is a glorious group of women writers who are also a lawyer, music historian, light worker, interviewer on KPFK’s Poet’s Cafe, and more. We meet, share feedback, eat heartily. I am not involved in the book’s production.

Yes, there is a book stirring in me. You know it took me 15 years to get My Greece ready (with very long pauses); I wanted it to be for my father. Tragically, he passed before it was ready for him. I have dedicated this book to my father.

So for more such writing, I have not adequate time, only longing. Yes my time is shared and teaching grabs most of it, with other related commitments it demands.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.
Not more information, but a wish. I wish for people to ultimately be inspired by themselves, to awaken to their true path. I firmly believe schooling ought to be found on such sound principles of wholeness. And thank you for hanging out with me. It has been a pleasure.

Save

‘Esprit de Corps’ and ‘Charger Spirit’ Highlight Accreditation Visit

Cypress College’s Charger Spirit was on full display this week as the Accreditation Site Visit Team spent four days on campus to validate the self-evaluation report and compile commendations and recommendations to share with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

During the team’s Thursday exit report to the college, Team Chair Pamela Luster, president at San Diego Mesa College, commended Cypress College for its “esprit de corps” — echoing verbatim the observation of the previous site visit team earlier this decade. Luster continued her praise, saying the team had a “remarkable experience” and the college “really set a tone for us.”

The exit report is not an official or final report, but is intended to provide a brief, overall update to the campus. The team will deliver a preliminary report to the college for factual corrections, then submit the final report to ACCJC. The Commission will then evaluate and announce the college’s accreditation status after a January meeting.

Luster noted the impressive attendance at the two open forums on campus, which “informed on the quality of life here at the college.” Dozens of faculty, staff, and students filled the forums to champion programs and services from across campus.

In an employee-wide email, Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., thanked the “entire campus community for your hospitality and participation this week.”

The Site Visit Team was on campus Monday, October 9 through Thursday, October 12. They participated in 33 meetings and interviewed 73 members of the campus community. They also attended a number of committee meetings.

The team noted nine commendations, four recommendations for improvement, and one compliance recommendation. In addition, they offered three district commendations and three district recommendations for improvement during the exit report.

In this instance, commendations are for programs that are exceptionally innovative, successful, and unique, Luster said. The team said more programs than those listed below could have been included, but the following stood out in particular:

• The Institutional Research and Planning Office for its role in the college’s data-based decision-making;
• The clean, safe, and beautiful campus at the college and its enhancement of the student learning experience;
• The college’s esprit de corps, collegiality, and hugely apparent Charger Spirit;
• Innovation and collaboration in the Counseling Division, and implementation of the Cranium Café online video counseling platform;
• The Financial Aid Office for its work reducing loan default rates;
Student Services for its focus on outcomes and moving from “one stop” to “non-stop”;
• The (STEM)2 Program for supporting students and increasing access to the STEM fields for under-represented students;
• The college’s strong, comprehensive Career Technical Education programs emphasizing workforce development and implementation of a baccalaureate program; and
• The college’s clear, innovative 2017 Technology Plan.

The compliance recommendation regarding student learning outcome (SLO) assessments indicates an issue where the college does not meet the standard, which must be promptly addressed.

Overall, the Site Visit Team’s exit report was very positive and they noted it had been “an absolute pleasure to be here with you at Cypress College.”

To close the event, Dr. Schilling told the campus community, “I am so proud. You really did rock the house.”

Former Cypress College President, Wife Donate Bus Shelter

Former Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson and his wife, Denise Simpson, who works for the NOCCCD’s North Orange Continuing Education (formerly School of Continuing Education), donated a bus shelter for student and staff use on the Cypress College campus.

The shelter, located off of Parking Lot 4, was completed with planning and support from the Maintenance and Operations Department.

Cypress College extends its sincere appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. Simpson for their generous donation sure to be used by students and employees for many years to come.

In Light of the Tragedy in Las Vegas…

The Cypress College Health Center is holding drop-in group counseling on Thursday, October 5 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in CCCPLX-414 to help the campus community cope with the tragic event in Las Vegas. Many have been directly and indirectly impacted, so if you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, distressed, or just in need of a safe, comfortable atmosphere, please come by. All are welcome.

The Cypress College community has been deeply impacted by the event. Andrea Castilla, a former dental assisting student, was killed in the Sunday night shooting. She completed her certificate in 2012 and continued her studies at the college working on a degree through Fall 2015. The OC Register reported that she was in Las Vegas to celebrate her 28th birthday.

Among the public posts on her Facebook page, Andrea shared this photo from 2012:

Melissa Pope, a photography student who also attended the college as Melissa Coffey, was injured in the shooting. She is well known in our Photography Department and has taken many courses in the program, although she is not enrolled this semester. She was released from the hospital late Monday afternoon and is recovering from her injuries.

Please keep in your thoughts all who have and are continuing to suffer after this devastating event.

Save

Student in Need Following RV Fire

Cypress College Human Services student Sandra O’Connell lost everything she owns when her RV was destroyed in a fire in Lot 9 Monday, October 2. Sandra escaped the fire and was briefly hospitalized. The college is working to help connect her to services and additional help; as you can imagine, her needs are tremendous at this time.

The college has established a GoFundMe page to assist Sandra. The Cypress College Foundation will be overseeing this account, or you can also contribute in person at our Foundation Office on the 3rd floor of the CCCPLX building.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

#CYProud: Ashley Kipling, Diagnostic Medical Sonography

At Cypress College, we are proud of our students, many of whom have overcome difficult situations, seek to better their stations in life, and have brilliant dreams and visions for their futures. Our students make a difference in their communities and the lives of many others, and we are pleased to featured distinguished #CYProud students like Ashley.

Ashley Kipling
Cypress + DMS

Kipling is a diagnostic medical sonography major finishing her degree at Cypress College this fall semester. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007 with a degree in psychology and Spanish, she spent a decade in social work counseling those with mental illness, advocating for those with developmental disabilities, and aiding those in crisis. Life changes, particularly single motherhood, led her to return to school at Cypress College in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, and she is preparing to graduate at the end of the current fall semester.

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

I am a Southern California girl, born and raised. I attended Irvine Valley College before transferring to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for my undergraduate degree. After graduating college in 2007 with a degree in psychology and Spanish, I entered the social work field. Over the past decade, I have counseled individuals with mental illness, helped advocate for those with developmental disabilities, and walked alongside those in crisis. My goal was always to go back for my master’s degree to become a marriage and family therapist, but my own family life picked up, so I’d put those goals on the back burner for the time being.

It was not long after becoming a mother to my beautiful daughter in 2013 that my marriage went through some difficult times. I was hopeful that it could be reconciled and that our family could be repaired. Unfortunately, it was within a year after my daughter’s birth that I became a single mother and the sole financial provider for us. In light of these life changes, I decided to make a new path for my daughter and I, and began attending night classes to enter the sonography field while still working full time in social work.

Currently, I am in Cypress College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, and am set to graduate this December. It is a lot of work being a full-time student and a mother, but I am so thankful for the opportunities God has given me. I enjoy spending my free time with my daughter, family, and friends. My daughter and I enjoy going to the park, feeding the ducks there, and gardening.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College due to its competitive Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. I am proud to be a part of a program that holds such a strong reputation within the community.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Due to the many hats I wear as a mother, the provider for my daughter, and full-time student, I am busy, busy, busy. Unfortunately, I do not have time for extracurricular activities at Cypress College. However, I am actively involved in my church and support a local pregnancy clinic.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am an idealist at heart and always strive to do my best, no matter what the circumstance. This underlies all my efforts: in mothering my daughter, in pursuing my goals, and in helping others. I love encouraging others to see their worth and potential, and overcome the obstacles in their lives. That is what I loved most during my time in the counseling field and what I am eager to take into my future career as a sonographer.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

I am so grateful for the support and encouragement from each of the professors within my program. To my professor, Nancy Corrales, who has provided continued support, a listening ear, and encouragement. This has meant the world to me! To Emma Anton for her knowledge, patience, and continued support. And to both Julie Hollinghurst and Lynn Mytts for their encouraging and positive spirits.

To my clinical supervisor, Labi Sonuyi, for her countless hours of teaching, and for her investment in my training. And to all the techs at my site who have spent many hours teaching, guiding, and encouraging me. Thank you…I would not have come this far without each and every one of you!

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After four years of maintaining life at a frenetic pace, I may sleep for an entire week straight after I graduate! After that, though, I hope to gain employment in the sonography field and continue honing my skills as an ultrasound tech.

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

I am eager to see where my sonography career takes me. I loved working in the helping field by counseling others and am excited to bring the skills I’ve refined over the past decade into the medical field. I hope that my patient, compassionate, and empathic nature will provide a peaceful, comfortable environment for my patients in times of anxiety and uncertainty.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of making a new path for my daughter and I, especially after all of the obstacles we have faced over the past few years. I am grateful that I will be able to provide for her financially and always have a career I can depend on and grow within.

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

Never give up on your goals. Keep your eye on the prize and get up each day and remind
yourself, “You can do this”!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Life can take you by surprise sometimes, but it’s with God’s grace and strength that I’ve not only been able to bounce back, but to thrive. I would not have been able to go through my school program and this season without the support of my family, especially my mom, my wonderful boyfriend, and my community of friends. I am forever grateful!

Cypress College Ranked #1 Community College in California

We’re #1!

Cypress College has been named the top community college in California in the 2018 Best Community Colleges ranking.

Compiled and administered by Niche, the ranking is based on a rigorous analysis of academic, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as millions of reviews from students and alumni.

These metrics account for both student success, in areas such as completion and university transfer, as well as student perceptions of the campus and the college’s faculty.

Cypress College also ranked #3 of 228 mid-size community colleges nationally, and #27 of all community colleges nationally.

In an email to college faculty and staff, Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., said, “This result is a reflection of the integrity and commitment each of you has made in support of our mission. The work you do on behalf of our students makes a difference each and every day, and I cannot thank you enough for your efforts.”

Dr. Schilling noted that this recognition is one of a series of recent accolades — including Cypress College’s placement at #6 in California and #94 nationally on the same list last year.

While the recognition is gratifying, she contextualized the true reward of the news: “Please take a moment to enjoy the knowledge that we are the lucky ones who have the opportunity to make a difference in our world and in the lives of the students we serve.”

 

Save

Save

Puente Mural Celebration

To celebrate over 20 years at Cypress College and help increase the program’s visibility, a photographic reproduction of a Puente Program mural was donated and hung at the college Library reference desk Thursday, September 14. Members of the college’s 22nd Puente class gathered in the Library for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The original mural was created in a Humanities building classroom for the college’s 50th Anniversary last school year.

The ribbon-cutting event was incorporated into Professional Development’s mixology event, a mixer/social gathering for employees at the beginning of the semester.

A Buen Cypress! Fall 17 Opening Day

Change, celebrating student success, and examining the ways in which the college and district can further support and facilitate student success, were the major themes of new Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schiling’s first Opening Day Friday, August 25.

“I’m well aware that this opening day is, for many of you, different and maybe even a little bit sad,” she said, acknowledging the large number of retirements at the end of the last school year. “Change is inevitable, but the spirit that is here at Cypress is the same, and as long as we have students who need us, our common goal will still exist.”

She continued, “I want to remind you that our common purpose is in serving the students who come here to Cypress and ensuring that they reach their destination.”

Three current and former Cypress College students still on their educational journeys shared their experiences and appreciation for the academic and life opportunities they now have because of pursuing their studies at the college.

Stevan Vargas, a military veteran and first-generation college student, transferred to California State University, Long Beach and will be starting his first semester as an electrical engineering major next week. A Marine who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Vargas said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder soon after being discharged and had a difficult time transitioning to civilian life.

“Prior to attending Cypress, I was an alcoholic veteran going down the wrong path in life,” he said. “You see, Cypress College didn’t just give me an education; it saved my life. Building relationships, having a purpose, feeling like I belonged, and giving legs to my vision were the most important aspects for me and my education.”

Martha Romero, a (STEM)2 scholar and president of the Cypress College Chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), emigrated from Nicaragua with her family at age four and grew up in Downey. Though she originally intended to attend Whittier College after high school, certain circumstances led her to attend community college instead.

Prior to coming to Cypress College, Romero had attended three other community colleges. Here she found the support and guidance she needed in the college’s faculty and (STEM)2 Program. She also found her passion in food science and technology, and hopes to transfer to California State University, Los Angeles next fall.

Mihir Patel immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 11 not speaking any English. Now he is a computer science major at Cypress College working on his AD-T in hopes of transferring to the University of California, Irvine—his dream school since eighth grade—with the eventual goal of working at Blizzard Entertainment as a game developer.

Dr. Schilling presented Dance Instructor Maha Afra with the college’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Award for the 2016-2017 school year. She also recognized Albert Miranda, Physical Plant and Facilities director, who was awarded the new NOCCCD North Star Award that recognizes employees for their contributions throughout the district.

The college’s accreditation leads, Phil Dykstra, accreditation liaison officer and Cypress College director of Research and Planning, and Liana Koeppel, self-evaluation faculty chair, reported that the college’s Self-Evaluation Report has been completed and was sent to the accreditation team August 1. The 13-person team will visit the college from October 9-12 during the fall semester. Results of the accreditation process will be announced late-January 2018.

There were also presentations about the college’s new website and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff across campus, as well as remarks from the college’s shared governance leaders, NOCCCD Board President Molly McClanahan, and State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

North Orange County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall talked about the challenges the district currently faces.

She also discussed the implementation of Guided Pathways, a relatively new educational model, to effectively help students “make informed choices about careers” with a clearly defined path and built-in support services to facilitate their success.

Dr. Schilling—whom Dr. Marshall referred to as “kind of an expert on this”—analogized a trip she made on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage that starts in France and ends in Northern Spain dating back to the Middle Ages, with Guided Pathways.

“I can’t think of a better illustration for Guided Pathways than the El Camino de Santiago,” she said. “The road exists to lead each traveler to his or her destination, and each way station is there to provide support that ensures the traveler reaches his or her goal.”

She finished with a Cypress-tailored greeting from the Camino de Santiago, saying, “And so I want to say to you, Buen Cypress! Each of you is needed in order for Cypress to be the place that we want it to be. Buen Cypress! We are on this good path together. Buen Cypress! Our students need each one of us to be at our best in order to complete their own journeys. Buen Cypress! We walk together, we serve together, and we will succeed together.”

🔷

 

Save

Save

Parking Lot Closures For Repairs and Re-Striping

Campus parking lots will be closed on a rolling basis for the next three weeks due to asphalt repairs and re-striping.

All-Day Closures

  • Friday 7/28 – Lot 1
  • Monday 7/31 and Tuesday 8/1 – Lot 2 and Lot 3
  • Wednesday 8/2 – Lot 6
  • Thursday 8/3 and Friday 8/4 – Lot 4
  • Monday 8/7 and Tuesday 8/8 – Lot 5
  • Wednesday 8/9 and Thursday 8/10 – Lot 7
  • Friday 8/11 through Friday 8/18 – Lot 8

 

High School Students Get a Taste of College, Earn Credits During Summer Connect

By Spencer Golanka

The Dual Enrollment Summer Connect Program at Cypress College is dedicated to assisting high school students reach their educational and career goals before moving on to post-secondary education.

This summer, more than 300 students participated in the program and completed up to two units of college credit during the two-week sessions. Courses in career exploration and educational planning were aimed at helping students identify occupational and educational possibilities, while also providing an orientation to the college lifestyle and developing a personalized Student Education Plan.

Students also enjoyed hands-on teaching from Cypress instructors and counselors, along with summer enrichment opportunities including various field trips, activities, and renowned guest speakers.

Keith Kaplan, Tesla Foundation CEO, spoke to Summer Connect students about the evolving workforce of the future. He emphasized the inevitable transition to unmanned aviation and artificial intelligence, as well as the enormity and complexity of space travel. Students enjoyed the presentation and especially appreciated Kaplan’s one-on-one interactions.

Students were treated to an exclusive look at the Orange County Computer Forensics Laboratory. Lab Director Chris Pluhar and Deputy Director Carlos Field taught students about the importance of investigative work not only in law enforcement, but in our everyday lives as technology is becoming ever more prevalent.

At the University of California, Irvine, Summer Connect students were fully immersed in the world of the United States legal system at the campus’ School of Law. A panel of legal personnel from local districts discussed the intricacies of the legal system and its relevance in society, along with informative lectures from law professors and a tour of UCI’s Law Library.

Students were also exposed to cutting-edge technology throughout UCI’s technological research institution. Also, program administrators led a tour of their campus and research facilities. Students had the opportunity to utilize technology that was developed by UCI graduates pursuing doctoral degrees in informatics (the study of human-technology interaction).

At California State University, Dominguez Hills, students were given the opportunity to talk with a panel of entrepreneur CEOs from businesses across the district. CEOs from various industries, including insurance and restaurant, presented students with entrepreneurial advice and real-world examples that are necessary for success in all business sectors.

Several students also began coursework in the Dual Enrollment Cybersecurity Pathway. More than 80 students enrolled in CISCO Networking classes and learned to configure and troubleshoot network devices to prepare for a highly recognized industry certification (CCENT).

#CYProud: Mo