Culinary Instructor Nominated for Teacher of the Year

Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts instructor Chef Amanda Gargano has been nominated as a 2021 Orange County Teacher of the Year. The award is bestowed by the Orange County Department of Education and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, and would have been granted to Gargano at a gala, however, the pandemic has put the in-person celebration on hold until at least fall 2021.

Culinary Instructor Amanda Gargano with flowers and balloons

Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. and Associated Students representatives broke the news to Gargano with a certificate, flowers, and balloons. A presentation last December, sponsored by the OCDoE honored Gargano, and nominees. The acknowledgement ceremony was attended by David Okawa, Marc Posner, Schilling, and Career and Technical Education Dean Kathleen Reiland.

“In course evaluations, it is striking to see such consistently high marks and comments about Chef Amanda’s instruction from all students,” Reiland says. “Students rave about how wonderfully informative and supportive she is throughout their studies.”

Reiland said Gargano seeks creative learning opportunities and industry connections for the HRC Department, and that she is thrilled to have her at Cypress. Gargano is humble but her inspirational instruction has certainly reached the students who nominated her.

Culinary students gather around instructor Chef Amanda Gargano

Gargano with her culinary students before the pandemic prevented in-person classes.

“My teaching philosophy has always been to pique my students’ curiosity, lead by example, and empower them to be the best version of themselves,” Gargano says. “All students are capable of success!”

Nominees came from 28 school districts, three regional occupation programs, and 10 community colleges in the county. Two other North Orange County Community College faculty received nominations — Dr. Amber Rose González of Fullerton College and Erin Sherard of North Orange Counting Education (NOCE).

Each of the 58 nominees will receive a SchoolsFirst tote bag containing a personalized blanket, an all-access pass to OCDE Professional Learning Opportunities, an invitation to the Teachers of the Year gala, and other gifts — including a cash award of $500 from SchoolsFirst. Additionally, the Orange County Teachers of the Year Award Foundation provided each nominee with a gift of $3,000.

T-TEN Program Ranks First in Tests Passed per Student for Two Years in a Row

Cypress College’s T-TEN program has been recognized for the highest Automotive Service Excellence tests passed per student, for the second year in a row. The Automotive Technology Department program also was recognized for having 22 graduates in 2020, a year hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A car waits to be serviced in the Automotive Technology department

The news was announced during the Toyota Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) annual conference the week of January 4. At the conference, Michael Klyde was recognized for serving on the T-TEN Safe Labs Project, the Distance Learning Team (which provided training to T-TEN instructors on Distance Education), and the T-TEN Instructor Community Board. He also presented two of the sessions during the event.

The Cypress T-TEN program earned an additional Techstream diagnostic scan tool to reward its ASE pass rate. There are eight ASE tests in the Master Automotive Series and the Cypress T-TEN class of 2020 had an average of 6.2 per student.

This is the second Techstream, valued at over $8,000, that the Cypress T-TEN program has earned in the past three months. It was awarded by Toyota for the Automotive Technology recruiting efforts this past November, during which Klyde interviewed 13 potential T-TEN students online. Since September, he has interviewed more than 35 potential T-TEN students.

“T-TEN and the entire Automotive Technology Department have stepped up in the face of COVID-19 to make the adjustments necessary to maintain a viable program for the past year,” Career and Technical Education Dean Kathleen Reiland says. “Our students are lucky to have such vested faculty, staff, and counselors to support our students’ success.”

“It is also good to hear that T-TEN recognized you for your work in providing pandemic related resources to Cypress College and other colleges to ensure safe lab usage and quality distance learning,” Reiland says.

Cypress College Partners with National Guard in 22-Week Jobs ChalleNGe CTE Academy

Cypress College was awarded the 2020 National CyberWatch: Innovations in Cyber Security Education award for their work with Jobs Challenge last semester. This is the second consecutive year in a row that the Cypress College Cybersecurity Program is being honored.

The program is led by Ben Izadi and Russ Alizadeh and the Dual Enrollment team, led by Dr. Henry Hua, Stephanie Teer, and Stephanie Flores, was also involved in the effort, along with the Auto Technology program faculty. The Jobs Challenge program is a collaboration with the National Guard and Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

Last semester, nearly 50 students completed the California Jobs ChalleNGe, a 22-week residential career technical academy at Cypress College. The program was formed by the National Guard to provide post-secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) to graduates of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.

The California Jobs ChalleNGe program provided CTE training and career readiness skills that will lead to gainful employment. Student participants earned industry-recognized certificates, college credits and selected between automotive technology, construction pre-apprenticeship and cybersecurity programs.

“We are so honored to have hosted this important program,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling. “One of our Cybersecurity students, Noah Touchstone, broke the record on our campus earning the highest score on the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+Cybersecurity exam, and students in our automotive program also earned Cypress College certificates and achievement patches. Most important, every student participated in Career Professional Development activities to assist with potential employers. We are proud of our partnership with the National Guard and each of the students who participated in this program.”

Forty-seven students participated in the California Jobs ChalleNGe program graduation, held at the end of last semester. Program participants must be between the ages of 17 and a half and 20 years of age, have graduated from a California ChalleNGe Academy, have a high school diploma or GED, and agree to reside at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base for the duration of the program.

Cybersercurity graduates Grace Motley, Ivan Torres, Noah Touchstone, and Daniel Uscanga were sponsored by the Western Academy Support and Training Center (WASTC) to co-present with Cypress College on the cybersecurity program at the WASTC 2020 Winter ICT Educator Conference in January at CISCO’s headquarters in San Jose, California.

Four graduates of the program have already accepted internships at local companies and are continuing their studies at Cypress College in pursuit of their associate degrees.

This year’s graduates are: Robert Augustine, Leann Avila, William Barela-Irvin, Edward Barragan, Jonathon Benson, Dulce Cardona, Kiley Cardona, Victor Castaneda, Nicholas Castro, Romero Clark, Jaden Crawford, Juan Delgado, Brian Elias, Zach Fretland, Justin Fuentes, Carmen Garcia, Arriana Gonzalez, Nancy Hernandez Tovar, Maleni Hernandez, Gilberto Jaramillo, Isaiah Johnson, Chantal Lopez, Sandra Luna, Ethen Magana, Isabella Martinez, Samantha Martinez, Anthony Mcgrew, Ricardo Mendoza Torres, Wendy Montoya, Miguel Moran, Grace Motley, Ruby Nunez, Alex Olivera, Natalie Omana, Dixie Palacios, Nathaniel Peralez, Kathy Perez, Maria Ramirez, Christin Rios, Ivan Torres, Noah Touchstone, Gabriella Urquidez, Daniel Uscanga, Joana Vargas, Juana Venegas-Jeronimo, William Washington and Jimmy Zamecki.

For more information about the Jobs Challenge, visit http://cajc.us.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

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Aviation Department Coordinator Flies In Memorial Day Tribute

Capt. Ed Valdez, Cypress College’s aviation instructor, participated in a well-publicized Memorial Day tribute. He was among the aviators aboard the “Flabob Express,” a World War II-era DC-3 that flew in the lead group.

In all, about 14 vintage aircraft flew as the “D-Day Express” across Southern California on Monday, May 25, crossing above landmarks in San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.

Valdez is aboard the light-colored plane in this group of three Douglas DC-3 aircraft.

Valdez is aboard the light-colored plane in this group of three Douglas DC-3 aircraft.

Valdez is the department coordinator for Cypress College’s Aviation & Travel Careers Department , as well as an instructor with the Commercial Pilot Program.

Ed Valdez flies the DC-3 "Flabob Expres.s"

Valdez’s view from the Douglas DC-3 “Flabob Express.”

In addition to teaching at Cypress, Valdez flies for United Airlines on the Boeing 757 and 767; he occasionally flies private Gulfstream G3 aircraft on a contract basis as well.

Recently, he was invited to fly the Flabob Express (a Douglas DC-3) as a volunteer pilot, and is currently in training for the aircraft.

Former HRC Instructor Meets Challenges on ‘Chopped’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cypress College Career Technical Education Receives Two Awards

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

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

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

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

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

Hospitality & Culinary Students Tour Marriott

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

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

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

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

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.

AC&R Program Passes Accreditation

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

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

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

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

Cypress College’s Automotive Technology Program Named Toyota’s Top T-TEN School in the U.S.

Cypress College’s Automotive Technology Program swept the recent Toyota Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN) awards — including being named the #1 T-TEN program in the nation. The announcements came at the recent Toyota Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN) awards held at Lakes Community College in Laconia, New Hampshire.

“I am proud and deeply appreciative of the standard set and maintained by our Automotive Technology Program,” said Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. “The department is constantly searching for ways to set the bar higher and provide the best possible learning experience for our students. Being recognized in this way shows the hard work and dedication of our students and staff to this lucrative field.”

Cypress College was the recipient of three awards:

  • T-TEN ASE Award for the highest per student pass rate, 6.4 of 8, of available Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests;
  • T-TEN Techstream Award — presented to only two, two-year colleges — for graduating 15 or more students this past year; and
  • T-TEN Top School Award, given to the school with the most graduating students and highest ASE pass rate in 2019.

The T-TEN awards recognized certified programs that have excelled and met the standards set by Toyota.

In recognition of these accomplishments, Cypress College’s Automotive Technology Program will receive four new Techstream scan tools, valued at $8,000. These four Techstream scanners will join the two Techstream tools acquired by the program in 2019 and will improve student access during practice lab on-vehicle diagnosis.

“This past May, we were able to graduate 17 students, which was the highest number of graduates of all 38 T-TEN programs across the United States,” Dr. Schilling said. “Eight of those graduates received all eight available ASEs. Our program is focused on ensuring students earn a livable wage after completing the program. Students with all eight certifications are valuable employees to dealerships and can perform almost all available warranty and recall work. These students are poised to earn over $60,000 within the first 18 months of employment, and over $75,000 within three years.”

The Toyota T-TEN program at Cypress College is a cooperative, two-year training program designed to enhance the technical and professional competency of Toyota and Lexus dealership technicians. Students participate in classroom and laboratory sessions using current Toyota and Lexus vehicles and components to receive valuable work experience at a Toyota and Lexus dealership. Cypress College’s program has been part of the T-TEN family of schools since 1990 and begins a new cohort every summer.

Cypress College students typically receive over 1,000 hours of internship during the 63 units of coursework needed to complete the program and graduates have received positions as shop foreman, service managers at local and regional offices, as well as returned to Cypress College to teach part-time in the college’s general automotive program. All instructors in Cypress College’s National Automobile Technician Education Foundation (NATEF)-certified program are National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Technician Certified. For additional information, visit cypresscollege.edu/academics/divisions-special-programs/career-technical-education/automotive-technology/toyota-t-ten.

About Toyota T-TEN

Toyota’s Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN) is a partnership between Toyota, community colleges, vocational schools and Toyota and Lexus dealerships to develop and place thousands of factory certified technicians in challenging, rewarding and well-paid positions in over 1,400+ Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the country. The T-TEN program provides state-of-the art, hands-on automotive diagnosis and repair education and training in classroom and dealership settings. Since its inception in 1986, T-TEN has been considered as the auto manufacturers’ benchmark for technician career-entry programs, with over 10,000 students that have completed the program and received Toyota factory Certification. Each year 9 out of 10 T-TEN graduates are hired by a Toyota or Lexus dealer.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

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Note: View the news release

Cypress College Aviation Program Adds Full-Motion Simulator to Enhance Technical Skills

Cypress College is home to a full-motion, twin-engine flight simulator.

Cypress College recently announced the addition of a full-motion, Twin-Engine Reciprocating & Turbine Motion Simulator to its new Aviation Lab.

The Twin-Engine Reciprocating & Turbine Motion Simulator enables Cypress College instructors to train aspiring pilots for their initial private pilot certificates. This on-the-ground training saves students between 30 and 60 hours of flight time, equating to a savings of $7,500 to $15,000.

“This new simulator will enhance the training we’re able to provide students,” said Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. “It dramatically reduces FAA required flight training times, providing our students with an economical path to the completion of their flight program. We couldn’t have made this purchase without the donation we received from an anonymous donor last year.”

Last October, Cypress College was the recipient of the largest individual gift in campus history when an anonymous donor provided a $1 million donation to the college’s aviation program. The donation was earmarked to transform Cypress’ state-of-the-art flight simulator lab into the region’s best public facility, support Cypress’ flying team, and be used toward the purchase of an airplane. In addition to the new Twin-Engine Reciprocating & Turbine Motion Simulator, four FAA certified simulators will soon be installed to better enhance the attainment of technical skills and increase student completion rates. The five simulators are part of the ultimate plan for the Aviation Lab to include eight flight simulators, with one slated as a full-motion multi-engine turbo-prop simulator. The college is home to a unique simulator that mirrors the recently released Boeing 737 Max commercial jet.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Note: View the news release

#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.

Fullerton 99s Visit Cypress College

The Aviation & Travel Careers Department hosted the monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 for the Fullerton Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of licensed women pilots from around the world. Students with an interest in aviation were invited to participate in the monthly meeting and enjoy pizza and drinks.

After the meeting, students and members moved to the Aircraft Simulation Lab and explored the features and possibilities of the equipment. The time in the simulator lab provided opportunities for students and members to work with one other, sharing knowledge and experiences across different age groups.

Fullerton 99s Member, Cypress Alum, and Pilot Kim Ernst

Students and members also had the opportunity for team building, by working together to solve navigation problems and by practicing crew resource management. The lab time also built confidence, by flying new types of aircraft, exploring aircraft systems, flying at sunset, and by practicing pilotage and navigation.

For more information about the Fullerton Chapter of the Ninety-Nines and scholarship opportunities, visit them on Facebook.

Anyone who is interested in Aviation, Travel Careers, Homeland Security, or UAV/UAS (drones) should attend the Aviation & Travel Careers Department’s Program Information Meeting on Friday, August 23, 2019 from 4:30–5:30 p.m.

ATC Students Attend Women in Aviation Conference

Twenty students from the Aviation & Travel Careers Department volunteered and attended the 30th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference. The conference this year was held at the Long Beach Convention Center March 14–16, 2019. Students who attended had the opportunity to interview with employers and see what future job opportunities are available to them. Student volunteers assisted with media development, silent auction, merchandising, and more. Students also had the opportunity to attend education sessions on careers, general aviation, leadership, pilots, and technical operations. Two of our students have recently obtained jobs from attending the Women in Aviation Conference. One is now working for Dynamic Aviation as a pilot and the other is working for JetSuiteX as a flight attendant.

More than 4,500 people, from 33 countries, attended the conference. Present were 170 companies representing the aviation industry, including unmanned aircraft vehicles. This year, Women in Aviation International awarded 146 scholarships, worth a total of $875,065.

For more information about Women in Aviation International, visit their website at wai.org.

The next conference will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, in Lake Buena Vista Florida.

Aviation Students Attend LAX AirEx Training

On April 10, 2019, 25 students from the Aviation & Travel Careers Department participated in the Los Angeles International Airport AirEx full-scale exercise plan. The exercise is held every three years to test the airport’s ability to respond to an accident at the Flight Path Museum, next to the airport on Imperial Highway. Students participated by acting as crew members and passengers with different injuries. Some of the students acting with fatal injuries were covered in fake blood. Participating in the event gave students the opportunity to see and experience emergency airport operations, walk onto restricted areas of the airport, get up close to commercial aircraft, and interact with first responders.

Pyrotechnics were used to start the event. First on the scene were the airport’s newly acquired Aircraft Rescue Firefighter (ARFF) rigs. This equipment has the ability to pierce the aircraft skin and spray water or foam directly into the cabin. Next on scene were Engine 51 and Rescue 51. These units are also located at the airport. Soon after, additional equipment arrived to begin triaging and treating victims. Crew members were also identified and isolated for safety, debriefing, and drug testing purposes. Responders said that passengers can sometimes become aggressive toward crew members, blaming them for the accident or injuries.

The simulation included volunteer victims and first responders.

The simulated event was that an Airbus A319 declared an emergency landing, due to the smell of fuel in the cabin. After the airplane landed, it was unable to stop and went off the runway, shearing off the left landing gear. When the aircraft finally stopped, a fire erupted on the right side of the aircraft.

In total there were about 150 victim volunteers, nearly 200 first responders, and approximately 300 observers.

+C Team Wins $2,000 Ideathon Prize, Trip to MIT

Cypress College teamed with ModoLabs to host the inaugural Ideathon™ on Saturday, April 13. Eleven teams qualified for the weekend’s competition, and vied for the grand prize of $2,000 and a trip to the 6th Annual Kurogo Mobile Conference at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, where they will have the chance to compete for a national prize of $10,000.

First-place winners, Team +C

The first-place team, +C, wanted “to make an app for the college students where they can post about the textbooks they want to sell. We have noticed it is very hard to access cheap books and sell your textbooks.”

Team Innovate took second place and a prize of $300.

Second-place winners, Team Innovate

“Many students are unaware of the plethora of educational resources found on campus,” the team stated. “For both incoming and previously enrolled students, it can get overwhelming to grasp a hold on everything. Our app targets incoming students and aims to inform them of the resources and assets that Cypress College has to offer. Our app addresses this challenge by providing an easy to use platform for students to be aware of particular office hours and available tutoring sessions. Our platform applies the use of an open forum that will allow students to communicate with each other, providing an educational and welcoming community feel for everyone.”

Third-place winners, Team STEM Cells

Placing third was team STEM Cells, whose app idea dealt with “how to establish good habits, to present resources and information on what a habit is, and how [to] effectively change [those] habits.”

For more information about the 2019 Digital Innovation & Ideathon Competition, visit our website here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CYProfessional: Jane Jepson, Career & Technical Education Counselor

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

What was your path to Cypress?

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

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

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

What inspires you as a counselor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CYPossible: Katy Straughn, Aviation and Travel Careers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flying Team Earns Top Two-Year Honors at Competition

Cypress College’s flying team earned top honors for two-year colleges at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Region II Safecon competition held November 13-17, 2018 at Ernest A Love Field Airport, in Prescott, AZ. Cypress College placed first overall for two-year colleges for the first time since 1978.

Several Cypress students surpassed competitors from host university Embry-Riddle. Two aviation students — Noel Jacobs and Anond Thairatanakul — finished in the top 10 of the combined university and two-year standings. Cypress finished second in the combined flight events university/two-year standings, behind only Embry-Riddle, and fourth overall in the combined standings for all events.

Students compete in categories such as navigation, landing, instrument precision, and message drop. Thairatanakul finished second in the power-off landing competition. Jacobs earned bronze in the short-field landing competition. Full results are available at: https://nifa.aero/2018-region-ii-safecon-official-results/.

Cypress College’s fight-training program recently was the recipient of a $1 million donation, the largest individual in campus history. The donation, in part, was intended to revitalize the flying team and facilitate their participation in flight competitions such as Safecon.

Department Chair Ed Valdez is a professional pilot who has served as a first officer, captain, and line-check airman for various airlines, including United Airlines, Skywest Airlines, and Champion Air, as well as for FlightSafety International as a Gulfstream and International Procedures Instructor. He has type ratings in the Boeing 727, 737, 757/767, A319/A320, and Gulfstream’s G2, G3, G4, and G5 aircraft.

#CYProfessional: Ed Valdez, Aviation and Travel Careers Professor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bistro Begins Regional Cuisine Trip and You’re Invited

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

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

New England Clam Chowder

A post shared by Cypress Bistro (@cypressbistro) on

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

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

 

Newly FAA-Certified Flight Instructors Credit Cypress with Test Prep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CYPossible: Kourosh Shirazi, Automotive Technology

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

Kourosh Shirazi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you most passionate about? Why?

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

What are you most proud of?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#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.

#CYPossible: Juan Santos, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

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

Juan Antonio Santos Ocampo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

What are you most passionate about? Why?

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

What are you most proud of?

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

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

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

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

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

#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.

#CYPossible: Shamaniece Gray, Culinary Arts

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

Shamaniece Gray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you most passionate about? Why?

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

What are you most proud of?

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

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

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

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

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

#CYPossible: Zachary Lynch, Automotive Collision Repair

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

Zachary Lynch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you most passionate about? Why?

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

What are you most proud of?

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

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

Nothing!

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

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

#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: 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: 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: Junnior Rodriguez, Automotive 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 are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Junnior Rodriguez
Cypress + Cal Poly SLO

Junnior is an automotive technology, physics, and math major transferring to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo following his graduation from Cypress College. He grew up with a strong passion for automotive technology and engineering, and entered Cypress College as a first-generation college student. He initially went through the College’s Toyota T-TEN program, then pursued his associate degree in physics and math for transfer into mechanical engineering.

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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 Orange County, California. As a child, my favorite toys were Lego and plastic car model kits. I loved the challenge and joy that I experienced while using my imagination to build anything my mind could think of. I spent days, even weeks, creating and building my ideas with these toys. As I got older, my interests and abilities evolved, and so did my toys and hobbies. They went from 1/25-scale model cars to actual production vehicles. Simply out of curiosity, I disassembled my entire car to study how it was made and how it operates. A revelation from this obsession resulted in knowing how things work and how I can improve them. This is when I knew I wanted to become an automotive engineer. From my humble beginnings in this journey toward higher education, Cypress College has enabled me to progress from becoming an automotive technician to evolving toward a mechanical engineer.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

During high school, my dream job was to become an automotive technician. I applied at my local Toyota Dealership, only to be turned down as I didn’t have any work experience. This inspired me to further my education and attend a trade school. It all started with a simple Google search of local schools in my area. Once I saw the T-TEN, Toyota’s Technician Training & Education Network, automotive technician training program at Cypress College, it was love at first sight. Looking through Google images, the state-of-the art and hands-on education alongside the greenest grass I have seen on this beautiful Southern California campus, made the decision to attend Cypress College an easy one. Two weeks after graduating high school, I became a Cypress Charger!

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

I initially started attending Cypress College for its Automotive T-TEN Program. Automotive Performance and Drivability Instructor, Michael Klyde, notified me about an internship opportunity with the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. At first, I thought to myself that there would be no way I could land this opportunity as I was intimidated, afraid, and had never done anything like it before, but I applied for and received top honors in this highly competitive opportunity available to all trade school students in Southern California. From this experience, I saw firsthand that the more we do outside the classroom, the more fulfilling our experiences are inside the classroom. I was more motivated in my classes as I realized that what we are learning, we’ll be using later in our careers. What we study from textbooks isn’t enough, but once you start applying what you have read, that’s the true value of an education. As a result, I wanted to do more and get involved as I saw valuable opportunities the more we apply ourselves. My hunger for learning and finding more about myself led me to get more involved on campus.

By being an active participant and giving myself an opportunity to put myself out there, I saw and felt the community in this community college. I’ve been the secretary of the Automotive Club; member and vice president of the Engineering & Physics Club; member and engineering ambassador for the STEM Club; STEM Study Lounge leader; founder of the study group Physics Friday; and I’m a member of the (STEM)2 Program. Also, with the help of friends, we founded and I was honored to be the president of the Leaders of Tomorrow Club.

I’ve also worked on campus as the Calculus II Supplemental Instruction Leader for Professor Nusbaum’s Math 150B course tutoring in the LRC’s the Math Learning Center, and as a Peer Mentor for the (STEM)2 Program. In my various roles on campus, I’ve turned myself into the student I always knew I could be. By believing in myself and knowing that I am destined for greatness, I’m starting to get more out of life while helping others along the way. My broad background gives me an advantage with various transferrable skills, a flexible mindset, and technical, hands-on experience that will engineer my success wherever I go.

Every opportunity that I’ve received happened because I applied myself and networked, both of which are vital skills I obtained from the (STEM)2 Program. Thanks to this program, I’ve been able to conduct undergraduate research at Cal State Fullerton in mechanical engineering. This experience confirmed to me that what I am studying in school is what I want to do as my career.

When I first started coming back to school and decided that I wanted to become an engineer, I honestly didn’t know what an engineer was or what they do. If it weren’t for my personal mentor, Alan Jaquias (a Cypress College alumnus), and the guest speakers I’ve heard from and workshops I’ve attended here at Cypress College, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I consider internships and summer research opportunities as “test drives” in your intended major. As you should never buy a car without first test driving it, so you should treat majoring the same way. You shouldn’t invest four years of your life studying something and realize you have no passion or “feel” for it because you never experienced it firsthand. So get out there, test drive your major, and get involved! All the effort will pay in great dividends toward your success.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I can’t stop thinking about cars, technology, engines, and building what my mind envisions. It has transcended being an obsession and is almost a love affair with wanting to learn and do more. I am like a sponge, anxiously waiting to be submerged in knowledge to soak up. When most would be sleeping and dreaming in the middle of the night, I would be awake reading, doing practice problems, sketching my ideas, preparing for my future, and making my dreams a reality by putting in that extra work. This leads me to one of my favorite motivational quotes by the legendary Soichiro Honda, founder and former president of Honda Motor Company:

“Many people dream of success. Success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents one percent of your work, which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure.”

I, personally, have failed numerous times in my life—so much so that it’s now a normal occurrence—but I don’t consider those failures to be losses as I have always learned from them. When you’re driven by passion and dreams, every day is a blessing and an opportunity to bring those goals to fruition.

I love anything that has wheels and is motorized. When my mind starts racing and I imagine what could possibly be, it inspires me to learn and do more. I love that I can let my mind run free, get my hands dirty, and apply the principles of math and science to create things that pull on my knowledge, experience, and creativity. That feeling is what drives me.

When sleep started becoming an inconvenience because it took time away from pursuing my goals, I knew I had fallen in love with engineering. By following my dreams and embracing my curiosity, I know that my passion for learning will fuel my future and allow me to reach the pinnacle of what I am capable of in my career. I accept the challenges and risks because when you’re passionate about something, you can’t go wrong!

I prepare myself today to live for a better tomorrow. “Si Se Puede!” (Yes, you can!) is what I tell myself every day in the morning after I wake up. If I am alive and able to get out of bed, then everything else after that is definitely possible. I can’t wait to wake up one morning knowing that I have achieved what was once thought to be impossible. Until then, “Si Se Puede!” You always have to start by believing in yourself. Being passionate about something is only the beginning; executing and planning to achieve your goals is where it all comes together. Embrace those late nights, hard work, risks, and bold, curiosity-driven undertakings as it’ll all be worth it!

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

As a student, I realize that we are a representation of those who we learn from. I have many amazing and profound people to thank, but the list will go on and on. I want to let everybody know that I couldn’t have ever done this alone! To all the professors, instructors, faculty/staff, lab attendants, Math Learning Center tutors, students, study partners, and to my family, friends, and mentors, I want to say THANK YOU for always being there for me, helping me, and believing in me! I would like to recognize specifically:

    • Yanet Garcia, (STEM)2 program director a.k.a. “The STEM Queen” for her continued support, dedication, mentorship, counseling, supervision, and the plentiful opportunities that she has provided, not only for me but for the entire (STEM)2 Program, its scholars, and the entire SEM Division. She has influenced my life in the most positive way, and I am grateful as she always leads by example and has been a person I look up to and admire! Her commitment to all the students is everlasting, and I owe much of my successes to her and the (STEM)2 Program.
    • The (STEM)2 Program, Yanet and “Responsible” Rosa Mejia, SEM Dean Richard Fee, the STEM counselors and peer mentors, STEM “Salad” Secretaries Julie and Susan for their vibrant personalities, Louie (our STEM mascot), and all STEM Scholars for helping me grow professionally, academically, spiritually, and mentally. Thank you for the workshops, club events, university trips, guest speakers, internship and summer research opportunities, scholarships, and the book loan program that has guided and helped me along this educational journey. Thank you all for showing me that when we STEM majors stick together, we can accomplish anything and have fun doing it!
    • Professor Nusbaum, for demonstrating how math is an art where every step of the process plays an essential role. When a class changes you as a person, you know the professor has made a significant impression on you. Professor Nusbaum has taught me to take pride in my work, be detail-oriented and not omit any steps in a process, and carry myself with integrity, humbleness, and resilience. Thank you for believing in me. I am honored to have been your student and your Math 150B (Calculus II) supplemental instruction leader.
    • Michael Klyde, for helping and guiding me since the beginning of my time at Cypress College. He was the first person to notify me and make me aware of internships, scholarships, and other higher education opportunities. He always believed in me and wanted more for me, and is one of the primary reasons why I became more heavily involved in school and in my studies. He’s not only an instructor, but a person I can call my friend; he has been there since day one and continues to push me to keep moving forward.

I would also like to give a shout out to:

  • Jane Jepson for shedding light on my future and leading me down the correct educational path for me;
  • Professors Hoa Tran, Garet Hill, and Christina Plett for the fun math adventures;
  • Professors John D. Alexander, Michael Beard, Marty Orozco, and Don Blanchard for helping me develop into being a proud professional in the automotive industry and for teaching me lifelong lessons, skills, and techniques for becoming a successful technician;
  • Professor Obed Silva for showing me my true passion for writing and how to have fun with it, and for being an example to always do better;
  • Professor Regina Rhymes for supporting my club and being our advisor of Leaders of Tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your positive energy and experience with us; and
  • Professor Brian Shotwell, for being my supportive “tension in the rope” and acknowledging all my hard work and efforts during his fun and interactive physics class.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?
With under a six percent chance of being admitted as a transfer student majoring in mechanical engineering, I am proud and humbled to say that I’ve been accepted and will be transferring to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo! Ten years since graduating high school, a career change, and 225.5 completed units later, my educational journey has truly been a dream come true! Thinking back, I never pictured myself going to college and making it this far, but that’s what excites me; I am doing things that I never thought I could do. I plan on taking a cross-country road trip in my own race car to explore and embrace this milestone of mine with the car that I built during my time here at Cypress College. I will visit landmarks and attend many baseball games, reflecting on how far I’ve come, reminiscing on the years, and remembering to always keep moving forward.

Using the abundance of knowledge and skills that I’ve learned and gained here at Cypress College, largely through the automotive T-TEN and (STEM)2 programs, I’ll be networking and making vital connections with industry professionals to obtain internships and summer research opportunities once I transfer to better prepare myself for the future; the difference is all in the preparation. I plan on joining Cal Poly’s Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team to further gain hands-on experience and be able to build what my mind and thoughts create. I consider myself a “doer” and know the true value of my education doesn’t come from what I’ve memorized or the exams I’ve passed, but from what I do with what I’ve learned. Knowing that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s philosophy is “Learn by Doing” is how I know I’ll thrive. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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

My goals are to graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo knowing that I used the tools that I gathered here at Cypress College to take full advantage of the opportunities available there and to find out what I am capable of and see how I can contribute to be of service to others. As Cypress College Astronomy Professor Michael Frey once commented, “Be an advantage for those who are at a disadvantage.” The circle of life of helping one another will help us all. I aspire to be an inspiration to others. In science we trust, and we must trust to always keep moving forward for the better!

Our strengths don’t come from being the best, but from bringing out the best in one another. Together we are strong while divided, just like in math, we will only be a portion of who we can really be. I am here to help. I will be doing what I can to contribute toward evolving and becoming a well-rounded individual. Bringing in the Latino Heat and not just breaking the stereotypes but incinerating them, along with my unique and diverse experiences will convey a whole new perspective into how we do things. I don’t plan on building any walls but I do plan on helping you all build the best version of yourselves. Some call me crazy, but I think it’s crazy to not follow one’s dreams.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of how far I’ve come on this educational journey. Being a first-generation college student has definitely been a challenge filled with lack of direction and support, and feeling lost and scared. My time here at Cypress College has changed my life because I stayed true to myself and built myself up through my struggles and failures. I’m definitely not the same person I was when I first started attending Cypress College. I’m graduating as a proud, confident, determined, persistent, positive leader who knows that I have the ability to make this world a better place. I’ve realized that I’m not alone on this voyage to become an engineer and have evolved completely as a person. I couldn’t have done it without the guidance of faculty, staff, and the (STEM)2 Program, as well as support from my family, friends, and fellow students who all believed in me. The plethora of opportunities that I’ve encountered because of Cypress College have been the catalyst of growth and giving back.

Being the type of person that will always give more than what I receive, I contributed to the College by advocating for and sharing my story about my experiences at Cypress College for the construction of the new Science Engineering and Mathematics building. I spoke in front of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees and told them that I never saw myself going to college, that it was something my family had never done before. But knowing I had the power to make a change and further my education at the College, I never looked back and it’s been the best decision of my life. Investing in education is an investment for all mankind. I expressed how the Board has the power to affect every student that comes after me to be exposed to better educational experiences and they shouldn’t limit anybody having a better tomorrow. Proudly, I received a standing ovation from everybody in the room and got praised for staying persistent in my studies. I received the nickname “SEM Savior” by Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson, and the Board unanimously voted in favor for the new building right after my speech.

I may be the first one in my family to pursue a college degree, but I know I won’t be the last! I want every future generation to be better than the one before. I’m proud to have paved the way, not only for myself, but for my family and for future students to believe in themselves and to always remember to give back. Some have called me a role model, someone that they can look up to. I leave Cypress College with a legacy of being a student who came, dreamed, studied, helped, and ultimately succeeded in making a change for the better! I’m beyond proud to call myself a Cypress Charger. This place has been my second home, where I’ve flourished and become someone who now has the confidence to make a valuable impact anywhere I go. I’ll forever be #CYProud! Thank You.

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

I would tell them that they are not alone. Everyone around you is also struggling, and those who have struggled the most are usually willing to help out the most. I am one of those people. You won’t ever be the first person to face these challenges and you won’t be the last, so while you’re in need, all you have to do is ask. Don’t be afraid or view asking for help as a weakness. It’s actually a sign of strength to know you need help and are willing to admit it. I would recommend getting involved in a collaborative learning environment that leads to active participation, asking questions, and being with fellow students so that no one struggles alone.

The first step to addressing any problem is confirming that there is a problem. Keep your head up, your mind open, give someone your full attention, and be ready to seek and ask for help as that will benefit you greatly. With that being said, we can’t help everyone, but everyone can help at least one other person, so always be willing to help others, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Work hard and get involved! Something beautiful happens when you start applying yourself as that’s when you start growing out of your comfort zone. Three words that I live by are accept, adapt, and overcome. You must embrace change and never be afraid of it. As the legendary Michael Jackson said: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Go out and join programs and clubs; attend school events and workshops; apply for internships, scholarships, and summer research experiences. Doing all these things is how you’ll learn what you do and don’t like. Take the risks; nobody is going to do it for you. Always do things with integrity and purpose, and don’t take your time here at Cypress College for granted. Anything is possible as long as you keep trying. There’s beauty in the struggle, and I’ve seen a lot of beauty after all of my failures. Nothing is more satisfying than achieving and feeling proud knowing that you didn’t give up!

I may have taken a longer route than others, but I am the first in my family to embark on this educational pathway where I’ve worked multiple jobs, gotten involved on campus, was a leader to fellow students and I was still able to achieve academically. We are here in the land of opportunity, so no matter where we go, one thing is for sure, don’t quit until you get to your destination and be forever grateful for those who help you. Show everybody that we can make it and that it doesn’t matter which path you take as long as you get to where you want to be! Hard work forever pays off, so keep on charging, fellow Cypress Chargers!

-Junnior “Si Se Puede” Rodriguez

#CYProud: Phuoc Vo, 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 are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Student sitting on grass in front of library

Phuoc Vo
Cypress + Culinary

Vo is a culinary arts major joining the Marriott Voyage Global Leadership Development Program following his graduation from Cypress College. He was the top choice in the nation for the program, which prepares participants for hospitality and culinary management positions, and will start working at the JW Marriott Desert Hot Spring this summer.

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 Orange County. I was always fascinated by food and how new trends are constantly evolving cooking and plating techniques. I originally went to the University of California, Santa Barbara for pharmacy, but once I actually started working in a pharmacy, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. After I graduated in 2015, I returned to Orange County and heard about the Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. From then on, I decided to pursue my passion in culinary and enrolled in the program.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because of the good student-to-faculty ratio and small classroom settings. In these classroom sizes, you are treated like a student and not just another number. I was able to build a great student-faculty relationship, which is very difficult to do in larger institutions like the UCs and CSUs. Cypress College was also an affordable option that fit my budget perfectly.

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

As a part of the Special Events class, I served as the supervising chef for Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program Advisory Board Meeting and Career Fair of Spring 2017. In this leadership role, I facilitated communication among the student body while executing a luncheon for our hospitality employer partners.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about cooking and creating new dishes for others. There’s just something about seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy the food I make. The sense of satisfaction I get is indescribable and something I always look forward to.

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

    • Lisa Clark, the department coordinator and professor of hospitality management, is someone who is genuinely passionate about hospitality and dedicated to her students. She has always supported me and pushed me past my limits to challenge and develop me.
    • Chef Jeremy Peters always nurtured my curiosity and pushed me to be creative by allowing me to experiment in class. If I wanted to try something new with a dish and he didn’t have the equipment, he would try his best to get it.
    • Chef Stephanie Rosati pushed me through Baking I and Garde Manger. She has high expectations of me, which pushed me to constantly improve myself to deliver.
    • Chef Tracey Heine is the backbone of our program and is always around, ready to give tips and tricks on how to improve my dish or how to be more efficient.
    • Although Chef Amanda Gargano just joined this semester, we were able to connect through our shared interest in food. She inspires me to stay up to date on food trends and learn from them to boost my creativity.

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

After I graduate from Cypress College, I will be joining the Marriott International team as a Culinary Voyager. I will be immersed in their culture built on putting people first and constantly pursuing excellence during a one-year internship at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert. I will get hands-on training and learn about managerial responsibilities from the property’s executive chef and team.

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

My long-term goal is to become an executive chef of my own restaurant where I can pass on the knowledge I picked up through the years and bring out the potential in others.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of representing Cypress College at the Marriott International Voyager Program final interviews. This was the first year that Marriott decided to partner with a community college and I was lucky to receive the honor of being the best of 20 culinary students across the United States applying for this internship. I astounded recruiters and chefs with the plate I presented to them, and I strongly believe I’ve opened a world of possibilities for students majoring in culinary arts and hospitality in community colleges.

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

Enjoy your time at school and network with as many students and faculty as possible because you never know where that can get you. Most importantly, always stay humble in your endeavors.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This is a quote that I live by and keeps me going. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut, I remind myself of this quote and it gets me out of it.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

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#CYProud: Phuoc Vo, 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 are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Phuoc Vo
Cypress + Culinary

Vo is a culinary arts major joining the Marriott Voyage Global Leadership Development Program following his graduation from Cypress College. He was the top choice in the nation for the program, which prepares participants for hospitality and culinary management positions, and will start working at the JW Marriott Desert Hot Spring this summer.

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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 Orange County. I was always fascinated by food and how new trends are constantly evolving cooking and plating techniques. I originally went to the University of California, Santa Barbara for pharmacy, but once I actually started working in a pharmacy, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. After I graduated in 2015, I returned to Orange County and heard about the Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. From then on, I decided to pursue my passion in culinary and enrolled in the program.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because of the good student-to-faculty ratio and small classroom settings. In these classroom sizes, you are treated like a student and not just another number. I was able to build a great student-faculty relationship, which is very difficult to do in larger institutions like the UCs and CSUs. Cypress College was also an affordable option that fit my budget perfectly.

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

As a part of the Special Events class, I served as the supervising chef for Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program Advisory Board Meeting and Career Fair of Spring 2017. In this leadership role, I facilitated communication among the student body while executing a luncheon for our hospitality employer partners.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about cooking and creating new dishes for others. There’s just something about seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy the food I make. The sense of satisfaction I get is indescribable and something I always look forward to.

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

  • Lisa Clark, the department coordinator and professor of hospitality management, is someone who is genuinely passionate about hospitality and dedicated to her students. She has always supported me and pushed me past my limits to challenge and develop me.

  • Chef Jeremy Peters always nurtured my curiosity and pushed me to be creative by allowing me to experiment in class. If I wanted to try something new with a dish and he didn’t have the equipment, he would try his best to get it.

  • Chef Stephanie Rosati pushed me through Baking I and Garde Manger. She has high expectations of me, which pushed me to constantly improve myself to deliver.

  • Chef Tracey Heine is the backbone of our program and is always around, ready to give tips and tricks on how to improve my dish or how to be more efficient.

  • Although Chef Amanda Gargano just joined this semester, we were able to connect through our shared interest in food. She inspires me to stay up to date on food trends and learn from them to boost my creativity.

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

After I graduate from Cypress College, I will be joining the Marriott International team as a Culinary Voyager. I will be immersed in their culture built on putting people first and constantly pursuing excellence during a one-year internship at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert. I will get hands-on training and learn about managerial responsibilities from the property’s executive chef and team.

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

My long-term goal is to become an executive chef of my own restaurant where I can pass on the knowledge I picked up through the years and bring out the potential in others.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of representing Cypress College at the Marriott International Voyager Program final interviews. This was the first year that Marriott decided to partner with a community college and I was lucky to receive the honor of being the best of 20 culinary students across the United States applying for this internship. I astounded recruiters and chefs with the plate I presented to them, and I strongly believe I’ve opened a world of possibilities for students majoring in culinary arts and hospitality in community colleges.

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

Enjoy your time at school and network with as many students and faculty as possible because you never know where that can get you. Most importantly, always stay humble in your endeavors.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This is a quote that I live by and keeps me going. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut, I remind myself of this quote and it gets me out of it.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

Cypress Bistro Opens for Spring Semester

Love food? Love food that also looks good on Instagram? Then our Cypress Bistro is the place for you! Operated by Cypress College Culinary Arts students, the bistro offers a fine-dining experience at a casual-dining cost.

Beginning February 23 and open every Thursday from 12-1 p.m. through May 18, Cypress Bistro offers outstanding service and trending regional cuisines — from New England to Texas Buffet to Mexican to Pacific Rim and more. Click here for the Spring semester menu.

Check out some of the delicious meals that were provided last semester:

The Appetizer

appetizer

The Entrée

entree

The Dessert

dessert

Looks good, right?! Cypress Bistro is located on our Anaheim campus at 1830 W. Romneya Drive. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made via email at theine@nocccd.edu. See you there!

#CYProud: Madison May

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Madison May who will transfer to Niagara University in the fall on athletic scholarship. Madison is a seasoned volleyball player who will contribute greatly to her new D.I team in New York. #CYPCity #Chargers #CYProud 2016

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#CYProud: Madison May Cypress to Niagara University (athletic scholarship, volleyball)

#CYProud: Madison May
Cypress to Niagara University (athletic scholarship, volleyball)

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)I was born in Long Beach, California and went to Los Alamitos high school. I graduated in 2014. Ever since I started playing volleyball when I was 12, it was my dream to play college volleyball. It was my goal throughout my whole volleyball career. To have ability and skill to play at the next level was my life dream. Volleyball is a very emotional, competitive, dynamic sport. And being able to play at a high level where the talent is incredible is really rewarding. To play on that level is the best gift anyone can ask for.After high school I played volleyball at Cal Poly Pomona for one year but it didn’t work out. I didn’t fit with the coaching philosophy and the team dynamic, and I felt I needed to move out. That’s when I decided to move to Cypress.
  1. Why Cypress?I chose Cypress because I’ve knew Coach Nancy Welliver my whole life. I felt it was a good fit competitively and team wise. Also Cypress is in a good area and I knew that the school would help put me in a good place for transferring.Being on the team we had this year was so special. I’ve made lifelong friends that I’m sure I’ll have forever. It was a great group of girls. Our season may not have ended as I wanted it to, but seeing my teammates grow and learn throughout the season was incredible. Being able to share the volleyball knowledge I had acquired in high school together with my experience at Pomona to my teammates (since most of them were first years) was very rewarding for me. And being a great leader for them and having them look up to me was also really meaningful. It was nice teaching them things that can help them in the future.
  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?After high school I decided what my major was going to be. I had my path all planned out. So I’m majoring in political science because I have always been interested in history and politics. I have aspirations to go to law school after undergrad and hopefully make an influence in the political world.
  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.I joined the STEM program in the fall of 2014 because I wanted to re-ignite my drive. The purpose of the STEM program is to retain students in STEM majors and to increase underrepresented community college transfers to four-year institutions. Because of this program I have been able to tour the biological science and engineering labs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and CSU Monterey Bay. In addition, I participated in workshops hosted by STEM professionals who really inspired me. I’ve also helped recruit students into the STEM program, organized networking events, and participated in panels about undergraduate research and scientific conferences.  All of this was supported and encouraged by my mentor Cypress College Marine Biology Professor, Jesus Reyes. Professor Reyes introduced me to research and encouraged me to apply for summer programs.
  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UC Sand Diego?I’m going to Niagara University in New York on full scholarship for volleyball. I look forward to this fall and hope to make an impact. I’d like to help the team win the conference title and move on to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Academically, I would like to stick with my major and take some classes that will give me the knowledge and experience to help me in my future.

6. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

I have a mix of interests. Professionally, I’m thinking that I’d like to work in the political realm in some capacity, maybe for an elected official in Washington D.C.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my accomplishments those of my team. I’m proud of the impact that I’ve made on my teammates outside of volleyball. Also, I’m proud of the fact that I got to accomplish my dream. I feel like what the team can take away from my time is that if you set your mind to a goal and work hard, you can achieve anything. Stay humble, be a good leader. It’s important to be a great teammate because you can’t go anywhere without the support of your teammates. If you show confidence in them, they will show confidence in you.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

If you work hard, you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.

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#CYProud: Madison May Cypress to Niagara University (athletic scholarship, volleyball)

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Erika Nilsen

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Erika Nilsen who will transfer to San Francisco State University in the fall on athletic scholarship. Erika was a standout basketball player at Cypress. We’re sure that she’ll continue her trajectory of athletic and academic success at SFSU. Congratulations, Erika! #CYPCity #Chargers #CYProud 2016 

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#CYProud: Erika Nilsen Cypress to San Francisco State (athletic scholarship, basketball)

#CYProud: Erika Nilsen
Cypress to San Francisco State (athletic scholarship, basketball)

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…) I grew-up in Los Alamitos and went to Los Alamitos High School. I played on the basketball team during the four years that I was there. I earned good grades every year and was always on the academic honor roll. My senior year I earned a 4.0 grade point average. It was a pretty good experience and prepared me well for college.My dad signed me up for a youth basketball league when I was seven years old. I wasn’t too interested or excited in the game when I first started playing, but I quickly got better and began to enjoy it. I love its fast pace and understand every aspect of it. In my junior year of high school we broke the school record and were the first women’s basketball team to win the Sunset League.
  1. Why Cypress?

    Cypress College Basketball Coach Mohr recruited me in high school. I came to a few practices and games at Cypress while I was in high school to get a feel of the program. The team had great energy both on and off court, which made me want to join. My coming to Cypress was for basketball, but I also knew that the academic program was strong. In high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do either major-wise or career-wise. After some guidance while here at Cypress, I decided to focus on kinesiology. I was impressed with professional options and liked its direct application to sport. Learning about the human body and how it moves is really intriguing. As an athlete it has helped me understand why my body functions the way it does.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

    It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been an intense and very fast two years. I learned a lot about my game and how to be a better player. I learned how to be a better person on and off the court. It was just a really great experience that has prepared me well for the next level. I felt that I’ve matured. When I began, I felt like I was just quiet and shy and didn’t know how to do a lot independently. Coach Mohr has helped me grow as a person and as a player. She taught me how to lead my team and have more of a voice.Taking some of the health science courses here, especially in kinesiology, has helped me create a career path for myself.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

    Obviously the coaches I had were a big influence: Coach Mohr, Coach Ford, Coach Armstrong, Coach B (Brittany Imaku) helped me a lot on and off the court. Mrs. Nguyen, a chemistry professor, helped me a lot with that subject and made it accessible and fun to learn. I took Advanced Placement chemistry in high school so I had a lot of passion for the subject heading into college.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UC Sand Diego? I’m going to San Francisco State and will ideally enroll in their Kinesiology program. I have completed the bulk of my general education courses, so I can begin focusing on kinesiology right away.The coaches and the girls on the basketball team at San Francisco State seem really nice. The SF State coach seems really interested in building the program and comes from an excellent background. I’m really excited to be part of the building block.

    For now, I look forward to learning more about basketball and being a smarter student.

  2. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?I’m not entirely sure what job I want to do quite yet. I am leaning towards physical and personal training. I really enjoy helping people get in shape.
  3. What are you most proud of? I’m proud that I was able get good grades and be a good athlete at the same time. I stayed above a 3.5 GPA while becoming a better player and person.
  4. Anything else you’d like to add…Advice. Just go to class. It’s not that long. You can do it. Really focus on your schooling so you can continue on with your education. Cherish your time because it will go by fast. You won’t get that time back.
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#CYProud: Erika Nilsen Cypress to San Francisco State (athletic scholarship, basketball)

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Josh Currenton

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce student-athlete Josh Currenton who will transfer to Cal State University, Fullerton. Josh was a stand-out basketball player at Cypress and plans to join CSUF’s team in the fall. #CYPCity #Chargers #CYProud 2016

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#CYProud: Josh Currenton, Cypress to Cal State Fullerton

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)I went to five different high schools. I was born in Watts, California, but I moved all around. I ended up going to Iowa, to Illinois, to the Bay Area, to South Carolina, and came back to California when I was 13 because my grandma was sick. When I was homeschooled during my freshman year, I grew five inches. I went from 6’ to 6’ 5”. I was homeschooled because my mom didn’t want me to attend school in Watts since the environment there was bad. After that period, we moved up to Victorville and I attended Silverado High School. We ended up losing our house there because my mother couldn’t afford it anymore. So I ended up moving to Norco and lived with my aunt for a whole semester. I then went to La Sierra High School for my junior and senior years. That’s when I started to play basketball. Though I had always wanted to play for a team, it wasn’t possible prior to that because I was always moving around. I didn’t have roots.I started playing a lot of pickup basketball during the spring semester of my junior year and I was really bad. I couldn’t shoot a layup because I was so uncoordinated. I would travel all the time and couldn’t catch the ball. You can ask my teammates. I was so bad. I was 6’ 10” and I still couldn’t dunk. It was hard, but I stuck with it. I had several great mentors, including my high school coach who wanted to give me a chance to play. He had seen me in a pickup game and didn’t question me. He offered me an opportunity.
  1. Why Cypress?I was introduced to retired Cypress basketball coach, Tom Lubin, while in high school. Coach Lubin is a legend. He has worked with NBAA All-Star athletes like former Cypress College students Swen Nater and Mark Eaton. That meeting convinced me that Cypress would be a good fit for me, a place to develop. After that initial meeting, the College followed-up with a recruitment package, which I thought was really cool. I decided to come to Cypress on account of Tom, and began working out and practicing with the team that summer.Cypress College is a very hands-on school. There are counselors you can speak to for guidance and the school has many great academic resources, which have helped me figure out what I want to do and how to strengthen my weaknesses. I used to go the math center for additional help because I knew that math wasn’t my strong suit. But I also knew that I wanted to do something science-based. It was Cypress College professors that sold me on science. They were all so passionate about their respective subjects. I enjoyed hearing them talk about science and learning about life and how things worked. They really influenced to pursue that path and not do the easy “athlete” subjects like communications. I know that faculty will help me if I seriously go for it… even with a shortcoming in math. Science always fascinated me since it’s the study of life and how things work.
  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?I spent my first two years at Cypress grey-shirting for the basketball team. Then I transferred out to Cuesta College and came back to Cypress when Coach Drew took over. I then redshirted during my third year. Finally, I again played this past year. I did a lot of community service while I was greyshirting and helped the coaches with recording the games and keeping stats.I also worked in the financial aid office with Dr. Richard Rams through work-study. It gets really busy at the financial aid office, especially when students come in frustrated because they need money to keep studying.I learned time management is the most important skill to have as a college student. You always have to find that balance. For me I have to study to keep my grades up and put in work at the gym. There will be times I study so much that it impacts how I play. I feel it during games, especially when none of my shots are falling. Then, if I put more time in the gym, I see that I play better, but my grades start slipping. It’s really about finding that balance.

    Aside from basketball and work, I helped out with Kindercaminata with my professor Tracy Van Herk. We organized some of the programs for the event and come up with fun games and activities for the children. I love people and I love kids, and it’s just fun to give back to the community. I never really had a father figure in my life, so I wanted to help mentor kids and be a good leader, one that I never had.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.Keith Cobb at the Financial Aid office, Dr. Rich Rams, Coach Drew, and my professor Tracy Van Herk all have been great mentors in my life. They have all chipped in and helped me become the man that I am today. I went through a rough patch last year. I was kicked out of my house, sleeping on my friend’s couch, and without money. I couldn’t afford to go to school anymore and practice basketball, so Coach Drew talked to Dr. Rams and they helped me get a job at the financial aid office. I ended up moving into a house across from Cypress College. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by people that genuinely care about me. They weren’t my blood, but they really cared about me. Coming from my background, you don’t really see a lot of that. It’s really special to be a part of Cypress College. Every day I thank God, and someday I want to be in a position where I can give back to someone in my position as well.
  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at CSUF?In terms of a major, I’m between geography and kinesiology. In the future, I really want to teach. I want to become a college professor and help people learn. As for basketball, I want to score 20 points a game and grab 20 rebounds. That’s just the competitive nature in me. I definitely provide another tall body that can play physically and bring the energy. I bring energy along with hard work and hustle.
  2. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?I feel like there are a lot of teachers that have lost their passion for education. I want to be one of those teachers that will find new avenues to teach students. I learned that the classes where I learned the most were the ones where I was up and interacting with the classroom. I want to make a positive impact in how we learn. It would meaningful to leave that kind of legacy behind.
  1. What are you most proud of?I definitely take pride in being a member of Cypress College. It’s an enormous accomplishment for me, coming from my background and how far behind I was academically, especially in math. I’m proud that I actually stuck with it and didn’t give up. There were times where I thought about just leaving school and getting a regular job. But, I’m glad I was able to stick with school and work hard in the gym. Every day when I come home, I know I gave the best that I had.
  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

 

I’m thankful to be a Cypress Charger. I’m glad I get to graduate in the spring with my AA and go on to Cal State Fullerton to play. I would like to thank everyone at Cypress College for their guidance. So many people cheered me on and gave me hope, even when I felt down and out. We have something special here at Cypress College. It really feels like a family.

#CYProud: Josh Currenton, Cypress to Cal State Fullerton

#CYProud: Josh Currenton, Cypress to Cal State Fullerton

Currenton was also the subject of this profile, produced by Cypress College’s Sports Information/Marketing Representative Wes McCurtis:

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Michelle Betanzos who will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona’s industry-leading Collins College of Hospitality Management in the fall. Michelle is a California Dream Act student who benefited greatly from our Puente and EOPS support programs.

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

I am originally from Tijuana. My parents brought me to the US as a young child fifteen years ago. From the start, my mom did everything possible to make sure that I had access to the best public education in the area. She worked hard so that I could go to the highest rated schools. She also encouraged me to take advantage of every extracurricular opportunity that I could. As a young girl she took me to our local YMCA and signed me up for youth basketball. I fell in love with the sport and have continued to play throughout my life. Today, I coach at the same YMCA that helped shape me. I absolutely love my job. The Y is like an extended family ­– so many there have seen me grow up.

  1. Why Cypress?

After graduating from Fullerton Union High School, I wanted to enroll at Fullerton College but soon learned that only Cypress offered a culinary arts program. After touring the Cypress campus, I was happy to enroll here. The campus is beautiful (more attractive Fullerton’s, in my opinion!), and the change of scenery turned out to be really nice. It felt better to know that I was going to a college that was a couple of miles away from my high school instead of just across the street.

When I started at Cypress I wasn’t really sure which classes I would take. I didn’t have much of a plan. Then I met Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, the Director of the Cypress College Puente Program. She helped me develop a comprehensive educational plan and define my career goals. Through her guidance, I realized that my interest in culinary arts was a viable professional path.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

I began culinary arts in junior high as an extracurricular class and really enjoyed it. At Fullerton Union, I took part in their four-year culinary arts/restaurant program. Thanks to the CA Dream Act I was able to get my license and begin to work while in high school. I’m so happy that Cypress offers a program in culinary arts and that it’s enabled me to continue my studies at one of the best four year institutions in this career field: the Collins School of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona.

At Cypress, I was very fortunate to take part in the Puente Program, which provided me invaluable life and career guidance. I’m also grateful for the financial aid and academic support of the EOPS program, which paid for my tuition fees, textbooks, and school supplies. The staff helped me stay on track, especially when I overloaded myself with unit credits and my goal seemed impossible. I also have to thank both programs for opening up four-year possibilities to me. Through EOPS and Puente, I had the opportunity to tour great institutions like Berkeley, UC Davis, Monterrey Bay, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UCLA.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

Being a part of the Puente program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it opened so many doors and possibilities for me. Director Therese Mosqueda-Ponce and English professor Obed Silva wanted nothing but the best for their students and reminded our group each and every day that every one of us is capable of realizing our full potential. My Puente cohort was truly a familia.

It was through Puente that I was introduced to our Culinary Arts Program by way of an assigned mentor – Chef Stephanie, instructor of Baking and Pastry. Stefanie has become more than a professional resource for me… she has become a great friend.

I am also very grateful for the incredible leadership of Ms. Lisa Clark who oversees the HRC (Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts Program). She truly is an expert in her field. She also happens to be one of the most compassionate people I have met. She has really helped me refine my people skills, which is key to any service industry. Professionally, she seeks the best for her students. She gets us connected to the industry by making us aware of job openings, special events and networking opportunities.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at Cal Poly Pomona?

This fall I will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona for Hospitality Management. I hope to live on campus and get involved in several extracurricular activities and service clubs so my plan is to move to the area. I’ll continue to work as a gymnastics instructor for the YMCA and as a front desk agent at Marriot Hotel’s Anaheim Suites. Next summer, I plan to apply to an out-of-state internship with Marriot’s Vacation Club. I’d like to be in Orlando, Florida. At some point down the line I’d like to attend the University of Central Florida for further specialization in Hotel Management and Special Events Planning.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

My goal is to be a General Manager of a full service luxury hotel with a fine dining operation like the Ritz Carlton. I’d also like to take advantage of my associate’s degree specialization in baking and pastry by dabbling in dessert catering and special events as an entrepreneur.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of getting into my dream school UCF, as well as all four state schools to which I applied: Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach, San Diego State and San Francisco State. Although I decided to stay in state for the next two years, UCF remains in my future plans. Though it was difficult to make that decision, I know that it was the right one for now. My family is important to me and I still feel the need to stay close to home.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

I’ve been very fortunate during my time here at Cypress, I’ve had amazing counselors and very supportive staff to guide me along my way. Each year, I’ve had a financial aid package that made college a possibility for me. In addition, Cypress’ excellent student support services and programs like Puente helped me pay for textbooks, my cap and gown, school supplies and even my chef’s uniform. I’m grateful for all of these resources and incredible mentors– they’ve been foundational to my success.

In my time here, I’ve learned so much about myself. During my first year I had a car accident. Shortly thereafter, my mom suffered cardiovascular health issues. That was a hard period in my life. I became depressed, anxious, and my grades suffered as a result. I got out of that by becoming more proactive with my decisions and time. In taking care of my mom, I realized that nothing made me happier than taking care of others. I also came to realize that having the support of others really helped me, too. Instead of pushing people away, I opened up. That was possible because I found a group of people – faculty, staff and friends – who really wanted the best for me. I chose to spend more time with those who really matter to me.

I feel so blessed to be where I am today. I’ve been given so many opportunities and I won’t take any for granted.

___________

Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

Appreciating our Veterans: Louis Raprager

With Veterans Day this Wednesday, we are recognizing Cypress College student veterans who have done so much in the service of our country and are having a great impact here at home. We are pleased to feature a few of our on-campus leaders this week, including Louis Raprager III, who served in the U.S. Navy and is now Chair of the Inter-Club Council at Cypress, overseeing 30+ on-campus clubs.

Luis II

A Long Beach native, Louis attended Paramount High before enlisting in the Navy in 1999. With a long family lineage of military service, Louis was compelled to keep up tradition. Unlike his forebears, however, he chose sea life over the army. His service includes deployments in the West Pacific and a flight deck post on the USS Abraham Lincoln – the “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier. After many years of service, in which half was spent at sea, Louis turned his focus to his educational goals. He first enrolled at Cerritos College, but switched to Cypress after hearing about the reputation of the Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Arts program. His experience here has been overwhelmingly positive, “The Culinary Arts program is fantastic. The faculty are top-quality and very caring, and all the instructors are supportive of us veterans. It’s just a great environment… same for Cypress all-around. It’s a beautiful campus and solid community.”

In addition to his full-time studies, Louis is ICC Chair, a position in which he oversees and supports each of the College’s 32 student-run clubs. Under his leadership, club engagement has notably increased. The campus is more vibrant in part because of Louis. Also of note, Louis has made a lasting difference on a broader scale. This year the District is observing Veterans Day on the actual date of commemoration (instead of extending the weekend) in part due to Louis’ efforts. Now, our large number of student veterans can take advantage of opportunities in the community without missing class on their day of national recognition.

In what free time remains, Louis is with his young son. He also works part-time in promotional activities at the Angels Stadium, where he aspires to eventually become Director of Food and Beverage Services.

Luis III

Louis Raprager III.

 

 

Studying as a Blind Student

Meet Sarah and Foreman (Sarah’s mellow Black Lab Guide Companion). Sarah is a beautiful, quiet individual with an impactful aura and lyrical voice. For all 23-years of her life she has lived with a visual impairment that categorizes her as legally blind. In a brief interview she graciously shared with us a bit about herself and her day-to-day as a Culinary Arts student here at Cypress.

Sarah Foreman I______

Was your visual impairment congenital or developed?
It was onset. When I was born, I wasn’t fed for ten hours. That led to a seizure, which ripped my optic nerve…. So that’s how that happened. Initially I didn’t have any sight, but as time progressed it started to improve. By the age of nine or ten it had leveled out– no changes for the better or worse.

What’s the extent of your sight?
I have very limited sight, but can read braille and print (with strain). A lot of what’s hard for me to see is detail. I can make out color and vague shapes, but detail is difficult for me.

Who taught you braille?
I learned in elementary school. We had a full-time teacher for visually impaired students.

How did you end up at Cypress? What are you currently studying?
I was going to Orange Coast and studying choral music before I moved to this area. I had heard about the Culinary Arts program and thought it was a great fit for me. That was two years ago.

What services do you use here at the College?
The DSS Office (Disability Support Services) is really helpful. They provide me with books and test accommodations. For tests, I get a copy of the exam in braille, access to a room, and a bit of extra time.

That book of braille is huge! How much does it weigh and what class is it for?
This is for math. Believe it or not, it’s only a few sections of a chapter. It definitely weighs several pounds!

Thankfully, technology has advanced enough to make work and studying much more straightforward than it used to be. A lot of braille is now electronic. I used to have to carry around a huge typewriter-like machine to class for notes. Now I can do a lot electronically. It can still be confusing… especially math… there are just so many symbols and it’s all so specific. But on the whole, studying is a lot simpler today.

Sarah Foreman

What do you hope to do post-Cypress?
I enjoy being of service to others, and I love food and cooking – making others happy. I’d like to put that all together within the culinary arts field, but in a small setting (not a big kitchen). I think that would fit well with my personality…. to create really well thought-out, memorable dining experiences for select clientele. That’s the direction I have in mind at least.

Can you tell me a little about Foreman?
The non-profit “Guide Dogs for the Blind”, matched me with Foreman my senior year of high school. They’re great at picking the perfect dog for different personality types. That’s important because it’s a relationship that needs to connect from the start. That was six years ago. Foreman’s seven now… getting older. He’s always had an older spirit though. He likes to sleep a lot!

Do you face any stereotypes?
Some people think that because of my visual impairment I must have super senses. For example, they’ll say ‘Oh, you must be able to hear really well!’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, I can hear fine.’ Or they’ll think that because I read braille all the time that my fingers must be extra sensitive. I’m sure they’re heightened to a degree, but it’s definitely nothing extreme. No superpowers here 😉

Also, I don’t think of myself as having a disability. I’m not defined by it, nor do I view it as a limitation. It’s just a part of me… something I’ve always known. I have as full and satisfying a life as anybody.

_________

Contextual Facts:

  • Braille has been around for more than 200 years. The inventor, Louis Braille, created a new alphabet for the blind in order to read more himself. At the time (early 1800’s), books for the blind were created using raised print. These were both difficult to read and laborious to produce. Louis experimented with ways to create an alphabet that would be easy to pick-up with the fingertips. He invented braille when he was just 15.
  • Braille was initially used by the military for messages that soldiers could read on the battlefield at night.
  • There is a braille code for nearly every foreign language. There are also braille codes for mathematics, music and computers.
  • Approximately 1.3 million Americans are legally blind; about 21 million report severe visual impairment.
  • Sight loss affects people of all ages, but especially those who are older: 1/5th of people aged 75 and ½ aged 90 and over are living with sight loss. (Access Economics, 2009)
  • About 1 in 5 people live with a disability; 1 in 10 with a disability that is severe.

The Cypress College Disability Support Services is proud to provide services to eligible students. Services are individualized to meet each student’s needs. For more information please visit DSS online.

Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Arts Scholarship Recipients

Three Cypress College students received scholarships in the Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Arts field.
They are:
  • Linda Tran – $2500 Ayers Hotel Cares scholarship;
  • Cory Irwin – $2500 Ayers Hotel Cares scholarship; and,
  • Austin Nguyen – $2000 American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Foundation Scholarship
Both Linda and Cory received a $2,500 Ayers Hotel Cares scholarship. This particular scholarship is supported by the Orange County based family owned hotel company and is open to Ayers employees: http://www.ayreshotels.com/
Austin Nguyen (a #CYProud graduate of 2015 and current Cal Poly Pomona Hospitality Management student) received $2,500 from the Anaheim Orange County Hotel & Lodging Association http://aochla.org/ The AOCHLA scholarship recognizes outstanding students studying for a career in the hospitality industry. The scholarship is a national competition and unusual for a community college student to win. In addition to Austin’s AOCHLA recognition, he was also recently named Employee of the First Quarter for Hyatt Huntington Beach – quite a big deal for a property that size! Congratulations, Austin!
For more information on our industry acclaimed program, please visit the Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Arts program online.
Pictured here: Austin Nguyen, #CYProud Graduate, Class of 2015; current Cal Poly Pomona Hospitality Management student
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Pictured here: Cypress College HRC students – Linda Tran & Cory Irwin

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Cypress Alum on the Food Network

Update: 9/24/15 – GDBros had a great run on the Food Network’s “The Great Food Race.”

In their own words:

Wow, what an experience! Nothing like traveling the road with the best crew in the world, doing what you love. When you look outside that window, and there’s a huge line outside waiting to try your food, you get this pump of adrenaline. There’s no better feeling knowing you put a smile on their face after watching them take that first bite. Never did we ever think we’d be on @foodnetwork: The Great Food Truck Race. Each city welcomed us with open arms, and we made friendships that will last a lifetime. We wanted to make Orange County, CA proud, and although we didn’t take it home, we wanted to thank each and every single one of you from the bottom of our hearts. With your love and support, we were able to make it as far as we did. Most definitely the experience of a lifetime. It’s been a great ride so far, but this is only the beginning. (Photos: Photos: @gdbroburger)

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Although they’re no longer on the Food Network, they are close by in the O.C. – in a newly inaugurated brick and mortar locale.  Visit them at 2321 E 4th St. Santa Ana, CA 92705.

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Travel Route #66 with one of our own! Cypress College Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts student and CSULB Hospitality Management alum Geoffrey Manila is competing for a $50,000 cash prize on the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race! Geoffrey and his GD Bro Tuck team – friends Kevin and Mark – kicked off the show’s sixth season premiere in Santa Monica. In the weeks ahead they will compete against seven other professional food truck entrepreneurs along 2,500 action-packed miles in an effort to be part of the grand finale in Chicago. In order to make it that far, they will have to face a number of challenges that test their resolve as a mobile business. We’ve already heard news that their signature “globally delicious stuffed burgers” are a hit. Show your support; vote for them in the Fan Poll. Way to represent, and best of luck Geoffrey, Kevin and Mark! All images courtesy of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race.

Vote for Geoffrey Manila on the Food Network!

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Images courtesy of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race.

SEMA Holds 2nd Annual Auto Event for Cypress College Students

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Cypress College hosted its second annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) Career Day event today. SEMA Career Day is intended to inform students of alternatives in the Automotive Technology and Transportation industries of opportunities extending beyond traditional auto tech skills. The event also focused on attracting women to these careers.

This year’s event also engaged participation from the College’s Marketing, Management, Art and Computer Graphics, and Photography programs, along with the Automotive Technology and Auto Collision Repair departments.

The event, with ran from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., featured a host of prominent speakers from the industry who presented about the diversity of careers in the automotive aftermarket. Students from the automotive, business, and arts programs participated in educational sessions geared towards specific career paths.

Presenters:

  • Randy Lorentzen, Planet-R Inc. Photography
  • Theresa Contreras, L&G Enterprises, Designer & Painter
  • Matt Gamble, Edelbrock, Engineer
  • Max Grundy, MaxGrundy.com, Art & Design
  • Von Hot Rod, Pin stripping and Merchandising
  • Erin Gilhuly, Toyota Motor Sales, Project Administrator
  • Melanie White, Hellwig Products, Vice President
  • Tracie Nunez, PWA President,
  • Jim Liaw, Formula Drift, President/Co-founder, Motorsports and Promotion
  • Myles Kovacs, DUB, President/Co-founder, Publishing
  • Dan Kahn, Kahn Media, President, Public Relations

 

 

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#CY: Meet Stacy Aspaturian

See Why We’re Proud…. #CY-Instagram-010

 

Meet Stacy – If you dream of it, go for it. Graduate of the Year candidate, Stacy Aspaturian, returned to Cypress College in 2011 (she was a student here in the late 90’s) after a twenty-year career in international shipping. This time around, she enrolled with a very specific interest in mind– to develop her long-held passion for culinary arts and put those skills to use as an entrepreneur. A few months ago, she and another program graduate launched their own catering business specializing in gourmet cakes and pastries.

@Cypress – Stacy gives high-praise to the Cypress Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Arts faculty and staff: “Lisa Clark and Jeremy Peters are excellent mentors. They are your best resources and will give you clear direction. They’re demanding and professional, but also very generous with their time… and they want to see everyone succeed. The program provides a lot of solid opportunities to develop your skills via experiential learning – there are plenty of rewarding program partnerships and weekly production work opportunities. This is a gateway to a great career. And an added plus – the camaraderie among everyone in the program is special.”

Words of Wisdom – Be prepared to work hard; you can achieve whatever you wish – the possibilities within this field are endless.”

Congratulations, Stacy!! And best of luck on the new venture!

#CypressCollege #CYProud

OC Weekly: 'Stick a Fork in it' Profiles Alum Gio Bolivar

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The May 18, 2015 edition of OC Weekly features Culinary Arts alumnus Gio Bolivar of Dory Deli in Newport Beach. In the piece, authored by OC Weekly’s Anne Marie Panoringan, Bolivar discusses, food, the culinary industry, and his educational preparation to go into the field.

From Panoringan’s column:

Where did you attend culinary school? And did you learn anything that you might not have been taught if you didn’t attend?
I attended Cypress College; they have an amazing culinary program headed by Chef Jeremy Peters and Lisa Clark. I feel that culinary school really got me ready for a life in the kitchen and put me on the right path for the future.

The full piece is available at: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit/2015/05/dory_deli_newport_beach_gio_bolivar.php.

#CY: Meet Jason Ingels

See Why We’re Proud….

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Meet Jason Ingels – Jason was an auto-insurance underwriter before enrolling in the Cypress Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts program in the fall of 2013. He joined to make a career shift – to transition to a more dynamic and creative field that would allow him to be with people and think on his feet. He found his niche under the wide umbrella of hospitality services. “In this line of work we get to do fun, artistic tasks while refining our skills and building expertise. It’s also very satisfying to do so for and with different types of people. The culinary side in particular is instant gratification; being part of a quality product and seeing people happy as a result is meaningful.”

@Cypress – At Cypress, Jason has specialized in Hotel Operations and Restaurant Service Management. He is the first Cypress College graduate to be accepted for transfer into the prestigious L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State, one of the nation’s finest in that particular area of applied studies.

Why Cypress – “Cypress has the best Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts program in the area hands-down. There really are none that are comparable. Others may have the hotel or restaurant-side well established, but we have the most comprehensive program and the best gateway to the finest schools. We also have the very best educators. Lisa Clark, for one, has been amazing. She has tremendous industry experience, personality, warmth and genuinely cares for her students.”

Best Memory – “In my second semester, I volunteered to work the end-of-year faculty buffet. I was new to the program so I was the potato-peeler (the thinking was ‘you can’t mess up potatoes, right?’ 😉 It was my first catering experience and I loved it. We worked hard at prep for two days for an hour of show time – great adrenalin-rush. I had so much fun that I returned again the following year.”

Advice to Future Students – “Find a mentor in your department; someone that you can connect with and pick their brain. Cypress is a tool. You’re missing a big part of being here if you don’t utilize it. Get involved!”

Long-Term Vision – “I currently work at the Hyatt and plan to build a career with the company. I’m happy there. My focus at San Diego State will be Hotel Management. Post graduation, I hope to enter the Hyatt Corporate Management Program. It’s a six-month intensive training course where you rotate departments for a month before focusing on an area of interest for the remainder of the program. It’s known for top-notch management development and networking opportunities.”

Congratulations, Jason!! And best of luck at the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State: http://htm.sdsu.edu/web/

#CypressCollege #CYProud

#CY: Meet Phuong Austin Nguyen

See Why We’re Proud….

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Meet Austin – a Hotel Management & EOPS graduate of the Class of 2015.

Austin will be transferring with a 4.0 GPA to Cal Poly Pomona where he plans to major in Hotel Management and minor in Spanish.

Austin was nominated by a Cypress College faculty member as an inspirational graduate of the Class of 2015. We asked Austin to tell us a bit about his background and future plans:

Why Cypress – When deciding where to study, he asked an important question: “Which school will allow me to transfer to a top-tier, four-year hotel management program?” He did his research and decided that Cypress was the best because of its high transfer rates to the prestigious Hospitality Management program at Cal Poly Pomona, Collins College.

Origin Story – Austin came to the U.S at the age of 20 from Saigon, Vietnam. In the six years since, he has worked many different jobs – at a Vietnamese restaurant, at the Hyatt of Huntington Beach, as a Cypress College EOPS student advisor, and even as a trash man at Knott’s Berry Farm. In 2012 he enrolled at Cypress College in the ESL Program. He is grateful for the opportunities the U.S. and Cypress College have provided both him and his family.

@Cypress – Austin was an active leader within the EOPS program. In addition to serving as a student advisor, Austin was selected as an EOPS representative to advocate on behalf of the program in Sacramento. There, he spoke with several state legislators and explained the different demographics within EOPS as well as the need for continued financial support. Austin also brought to the program his excellent command of digital production techniques to digitize the EOPS newsletter. For his academic excellence and campus leadership, Austin won several scholarships from the Cypress College Foundation and the Hotel Associates Program.

Fun Facts – Austin speaks Spanish fluently! He learned via the Spanish Consulate in Vietnam where he worked in tourism. He also speaks quite a bit of sign language, which he learned here on campus at the School of Continuing Education. His personal goal has been to better connect with and serve the needs of the deaf community. He finds meaning in bridging divides.

Advice to Future Students – “Study and grow yourself. Take full advantage of the resources on campus – there are a lot! Also, over the winter and summer breaks choose to be proactive. I would read all my of my next semester’s course books in advance. That was critical to my success as an ESL student. Find the community that fits you and feels comfortable. Be inspired; create an emotional connection with the campus. Do more than just study”.

Long-Term Vision – Post graduation, Austin will pursue a career in international hotel management.

Congratulations, Austin!! And best of luck at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona: https://www.cpp.edu/~collins/

#CypressCollege #CYProud

Softball, Baseball Teams Both Hosting Playoff Series this Weekend

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Both the Cypress Chargers baseball and softball teams begin their 2015 championship quests by hosting a regional playoff series this weekend!

The 2015 Orange Empire Conference champion women’s softball team (32-8) hosts 14th ranked Rio Hondo College (22‐17‐1) in a best-of-three series, beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Here is the complete softball bracket. The series winner advances to the Super Regional Tournament.

Baseball, which finished a game shy of their own OEC championship, starts the playoffs with an intra-district rivalry series. The Chargers (25-11) host the Fullerton College Hornets (21-15). The first game of their best-of-three series is Friday, May 1, at 2 p.m. The baseball bracket is available here.

Schedules:
Softball — http://sports.cypresscollege.edu/sports/sball/2014-15/schedule
Baseball — http://sports.cypresscollege.edu/sports/bsb/2014-15/schedule

Athletics Info:
http://sports.cypresscollege.edu/landing/index

Brackets:
Softball — http://www.cccaasports.org/Fastpitch/Women/2015_CCCAA_Softball_SoCal_Round_1_Bracket.pdf
Baseball — http://www.cccaasports.org/Baseball/Men/2015_CCCAA_SoCal_regional_bracket.pdf

Bacarella, Lawrence Set for Board Recognition for Attaining Tenure

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Two Cypress College faculty — Russ Bacarella, of Automotive Technology, and Roberta Lawrence, from the Dental Hygiene Program — will be recognized by the NOCCCD Board of Trustees on Tuesday night for their milestone of attaining tenure. The Board meets at 5:30 p.m. on April 28 at the Anaheim Campus.

Roberta Lawrence
Dental Hygiene

Roberta Lawrence is Co-Director of the Cypress College Registered Dental Hygiene Program. She joined the campus in an adjunct capacity in 2001 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in 2011. With a strong background in academic and clinical instruction, Roberta has helped position Cypress College’s Registered Dental Assistant program as one of the very best in the nation, with consistent annual student state licensure pass rates of 100%.

Roberta holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology from California State University, Fullerton, as well as a Masters of Science (MSc) in Higher Education from Kaplan University. She is a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) through Cypress College, and is also a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP).

Prior to teaching, Roberta worked within an intersection of tech and the arts as a graphic designer and Assistant Lead Art Director for Hughes Aircraft, and later as Art Director of Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Bomber project. Wishing for more autonomy in her career, Roberta decided to pursue an alternative path and return to her roots in the sciences. To do so, she attended Cypress College’s Dental Hygiene Program for her certification in the field.

After working as a dental hygienist in private practice for three years, Roberta began to teach part-time in the RDA and RDH programs here at Cypress. Around this time, she also obtained her RDHAP degree from West Los Angeles College and started her own business to accommodate elderly patients’ home-care dental needs. For the last five years, Roberta has participated in the Annual Free Clinic held each October. She has also participated in and helped coordinate an international cultural exchange visit of dental hygiene students from Nagano, Japan for the last three years.

Russ Bacarella
Automotive Technology

Russ Bacarella found his niche young. At the age of twelve, he joined his father repairing motorcycles and working the parts counter for the family business. In automotive matters, Russ’ experience is solid. He has worked in a number of automotive-tech capacities over the years, for on-site service stations, at a new car dealership, as an on-the-road fleet operator for Austin Products Servicing, and as a loyal employee of Buddy’s Auto.

Since his early career start, Russ has merged his passion for automotive technology with a love of teaching. Prior to joining the Cypress campus community, Russ spent eight years as a full-time teacher at Loara High School NOCROP and seven years as a part-time teacher for Central County ROP. In 2011, Russ was hired as an adjunct Automotive Fundamentals instructor within Cypress College’s Automotive Technology Program. Later that year he was promoted to full-time faculty as the program’s Engines instructor.

When asked what he values about the College, Russ highlights his department’s collaborative approach to teaching and learning, which has endowed him with a deep respect for the work of his colleagues, who are “real industry experts… that have enabled me to become a more well-rounded, better prepared instructor.”

Russ holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Automotive Field Service Operations from Weber State and an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology from Cerritos College.

RELATED: View the 2015 Tenured Faculty publication

Cypress Head Coach Brad Pickler’s Scores Legendary 1,200 Career Victory

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Cypress College is blessed to have the most-decorated active women’s college softball coach in California Community College Athletic Association history.

Head Coach Brad Pickler’s landmark 1,200th career win came with a 9-1 Charger defeat of Orange Coast College on Wednesday, March 18. The Chargers’ victory consolidates Pickler’s legacy, besting programs led by Head Coach Robert Maglione at Napa Valley College and Sacramento City College (1,177-381) as well as Mark Eldridge at Palomar College (1,083). In his 28 seasons of leadership, Pickler has led the Cypress Chargers to a state record eight CCAA State Championships, 23 State Championship appearances, and 19 Orange Empire Conference Championships.

On the national scene, Pickler is the fifth most accomplished active collegiate softball coach among all divisions, and ranks 11th all-time.

This milestone is recognized on the CCCAA Sports state website: http://goo.gl/SQyRhN.

TVB (USA) Visits Cypress College to Report on Mortuary Science Bachelor's Degree

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TVB (USA), a Chinese-language channel appearing across the country, visited Cypress College on Tuesday to prepare a news report about Cypress College’s participation in the California Community College’s pilot bachelor’s degree program. Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program was one of the 15 programs selected to represent the state’s 112 community colleges in the first-of-it’s-kind effort in the Golden State.

It’s not yet known when the TVB story will air, but the plan is that it will be shown nationally, in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York markets.

Professor Dave McCament hosted the news crew in his Restorative Arts classroom for more than 3 hours. Both he and his students did a fantastic job when interviewed.

UPDATE: Here is the report (note: only the interviews are in English).

Long Beach Press-Telegram Highlights Mohr's Milestone

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Last week, Cypress College women’s basketball Coach Margaret Mohr reached a milestone with her 300th career victory. The Long Beach Press-Telegram noted the occasion, adding background about Mohr’s local ties:

Mohr starred for Long Beach State’s women’s squad in the mid-80s and was inducted into the 49er Hall of Fame in 2011.

More information about Coach Mohr and her team is available at: http://sports.cypresscollege.edu/sports/wbkb/index.

Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program Selected in California’s First Bachelor’s Degree Pilot Program

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OFFICE OF CAMPUS COMMUNICATIONS

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Cypress College is one of 15 California community colleges that will offer a bachelor’s-degree program as part of a statewide pilot effort. The College’s Mortuary Science Program was selected by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, which voted its initial approval of participating colleges on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m just thrilled,” Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson said. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students. Our faculty worked with tremendous diligence to meet the application requirements. In addition, the College’s proposal was enhanced by the participation of Mortuary Science students and alumni in the process. While this is a significant step for community college students, it is also important to note that successful implementation of this program will not impede the core work of the college.”

Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program is so well regarded that the HBO series “Six Feet Under” repeatedly referenced Cypress College to add authenticity. The program is one of only two at public institutions in the state and no public university in the Western United States offers a bachelor’s degree in the field. The closest such program is in Oklahoma.

In the News

OC Breeze — Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program selected in California’s first bachelor’s degree pilot program

Orange County Register — Santa Ana, Cypress colleges slated to offer 4-year degrees

Los Angeles Times — Fifteen community colleges in California to offer four-year degrees

Long Beach Press Telegram — Cypress College among 15 campuses to offer 4-year degrees

OC Weekly — Cypress College Moves on to Better Place With Early Nod for 4-Year Mortuary Science Degrees

Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program was selected last November by North Orange County Community College District Trustees to apply for the California pilot program. Districts were permitted to submit only one program each. Programs also were required not to be in conflict with bachelor’s-degree programs already offered in the Cal States or UCs.

In September 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that allows California community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees in a pilot program. The legislation, known as SB 850, was sponsored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego).

Instruction in the pilot baccalaureate degree program in 15 college districts will begin no later than the 2017-18 academic year. Under the new law, community colleges would charge only $84 more per unit for upper-division baccalaureate coursework than they currently charge for lower-division courses. The Legislative Analyst’s Office will conduct an interim evaluation of the bachelor’s degree program in 2018, and a final evaluation by July 2022. The pilot program will end in the 2022-23 academic year, unless extended by the Legislature.

Nationwide, more than 50 community colleges operate almost 500 baccalaureate programs in 21 states.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College has motivated the minds of students since 1966. For nearly a half-million people — including actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses and teachers — Cypress College has been a springboard to their dreams. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice. For others it provides essential training for a rewarding career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and its highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of its many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 50 university-transfer majors, 138 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 61 areas of study. The College’s traditional semesters begin in January and September, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest higher education tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 110-campus California Community College System. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Stanton. Dr. Bob Simpson is the president.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the College is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22 and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

More information about Cypress College is available by calling (714) 484-7000 or by visiting the campus Web site at http://www.cypresscollege.edu.

 

NOTE: The official news release is available here — Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program Selected in California’s First Bachelor’s Degree Pilot Program

Related:

OC's 100 Most Influential Includes Mortuary Science's Glen Bower

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Glen Bower, Director of Cypress College’s Mortuary Science program, was one of Orange County’s “100 Most Influential” people, according to the Orange County Register, which highlighted the year’s “game changers” in publications during late December. In addition to being a member of the faculty, Bower is also an alumnus of the program.

In the article profiling Bower, OC Register Staff Writer Anders Howmann described Bower’s selection this way:

Why he’s an influencer: In 2014, Bower began working on a curriculum to create the state’s only four-year moruary-science program, at Cypress. Bower already directs one of only two accredited mortuary-science schools in California, and the current 18-month program boasts an employment rate of 70 percent.

The full profile of Bower is available here on the Register’s website. The Mortuary Science program’s application for California’s pilot program to offer bachelor’s degrees in community colleges was discussed in this entry.

Cypress College’s CTE Teacher Prep Pipeline Grant Extended Through CCCCO Program

Cypress College’s CTE Teacher Preparation Pipeline grant has been extended for an additional year through the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The $150,000 extension focuses on Career Technical Education and the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Seeking to increase the number of teachers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), K-12, adult education, and career technical education (CTE) qualifications, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office today announced it has awarded $1.2 million in grants to 10 community college districts with existing Teacher Preparation Pipeline programs in order to more effectively recruit and train students for careers as teachers in these disciplines,” the CCCCO said in a news release issued on Thursday. “The California Community Colleges STEM Teacher Preparation Pipeline grant addresses the critical need for teachers with STEM backgrounds in California. California’s demand for new math and science teachers in the next 10 years is expected to exceed 33,000, far surpassing the number of STEM teachers that the state is expected to produce. In addition, an estimated 51,500 openings for elementary school teachers and 31,100 jobs for secondary school teachers will occur statewide between 2010 and 2020.”

According to the release: The California Community Colleges STEM Teacher Preparation Pipeline grants extend program funding through late 2015 for a network of community colleges that includes Cabrillo College, Cerritos College, College of the Canyons, Grossmont College, Cypress College, El Camino College, Rio Hondo College, Saddleback College, City College of San Francisco, and Lemoore College.

“If we want more diversity in the STEM technician occupations that drive many of our regional economies, like those in biotech, healthcare, and energy, let’s inspire students by giving them diverse role models in STEM teaching positions,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris.  “Cultivating an innovation worker begins with the effective recruitment and training of STEM teachers.  Our community colleges reflect the diversity of California and are well-positioned to train the next generation of STEM teachers.”

Volleyball Hosts Opening Round of Regionals on Tuesday

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No. 3 Women’s Volleyball to Host No. 14 LA Pierce in 1st Round of SoCal Regionals

The third-seeded Charger volleyball team will host 14th-seed LA Pierce on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7:00 pm in the first round of the SoCal Regional playoffs. Cypress has had an impressive season thus far, notching a 19-4 record, while finishing second in the Orange Empire Conference with a 10-4 record. The team is poised for a deep playoff run and we want to show as much support as possible for the ladies on the court.

If the Chargers win Tuesday  night, the team will then host either No. 6 Santa Barbara or No. 11 Victor Valley on Saturday, Nov. 30 (6 PM).

Below is a link to the playoff bracket.
http://cccaasports.org/sports/wvball/2014-15/releases/20141123bhh3qj

Come out and support your Chargers as they make a run at the state title.

Mortuary Science Selected by NOCCCD Trustees as District’s Applicant for Bachelor’s Degree Pilot Program

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Mortuary Science — a program so well regarded that the HBO series “Six Feet Under” repeatedly referenced Cypress College to add authenticity — will be the North Orange County Community College District’s applicant for California’s pilot program to award baccalaureate degrees at community colleges. No more than 15 programs will be selected for the program’s trial period.

Trustees voted 4-1 on Tuesday, November 11 to file an intention to apply for inclusion on behalf of the Mortuary Science Program. Districts can only submit one program, and those programs must not conflict with bachelor’s-degree programs already offered in the Cal States or UCs. Trustees also considered a proposal on behalf of Fullerton College’s Administration of Justice program which would have focused on a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement supervision.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that allows California community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees in a pilot program.

According to the state Chancellor’s Office, the CCCCO will decide in consultation with UC and CSU which districts will be chosen to host programs, subject to California Community Colleges Board of Governors approval. Districts will be selected according to their ability and interest in establishing rigorous undergrad programs that confer degrees in high occupational demand among regional employers. Achieving a geographical balance of districts to maximize student enrollment will be another factor.

Instruction in the pilot baccalaureate degree program in 15 college districts will begin no later than the 2017-18 academic year. Under the new law, community colleges would charge only $84 more per unit for upper-division baccalaureate coursework than they currently charge for lower-division courses. The Legislative Analyst’s Office will conduct an interim evaluation of the bachelor’s degree program in 2018, and a final evaluation by July2022. The pilot program will end in the 2022-23 academic year, unless extended by the Legislature.

Nationwide, more than 50 community colleges operate almost 500 baccalaureate programs in 21 states.

Water Polo Team Hosting Fundraiser at Super Mex

The Cypress College water polo team is hosting a fundraiser on  Wednesday, October 29th, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. at the  Super Mex Mexican Restaurant located at 6830 Katella Ave. (Dine In) and 6860 Katella Ave (Take Out), Cypress CA, 90630. For additional details, please see the flyer.

SUPERMEX fundraiser[2]

Photography Student’s Image of Rare Whales Appears Across the Globe, Including NBC Nightly News

A photograph by student Lasanthi Benedict was published widely, including on NBC Nightly News.

A photograph by student Lasanthi Benedict was published widely, including on NBC Nightly News.

Lasanthi Benedict, who is enrolled in Cliff Lester’s “Available Light” Photo 118 course, had photographs from an eventful whale-watching trip picked up by media outlets — including NBC Nightly News and the Associated Press — across the globe.

On Monday (October 6, 2014), Benedict was part of a tour off the Orange County coast when the group came across what the Newport Beach-Corona del Mar Patch called a “super-rare pod of sperm whales.”

She told classmates in Lester’s course that by the time they headed back to shore, news crews were circling in helicopters and racing to the area by boat. She called the Associated Press and her photographs began appearing in publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Patch, Southern California Public Radio, ABCnews.com, Yahoo News, the Orange County Register, and NBC Nightly News. In addition, publications abroad also used her photographs, Benedict said.

Cypress College Athletics Mourns the Loss of its Biggest Fan, Sonia Travers

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Cypress College Athletics is mourning the loss of Sonia Travers, a longtime friend of the Chargers who passed away suddenly in early September after a pulmonary embolism. Travers was a constant fixture at Charger events and around campus for many years. She would often be seen at games handing out water to athletes and coaches, while assisting the athletic programs in a variety of ways.

Read more …

 

 

Baseball Coach Pickler's Summer Team Wins Cape Cod Championship

Cypress College baseball coach Scott Pickler

Scott Pickler

Head Baseball Coach Scott Pickler led his Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to another Cape Cod Baseball League title in mid August. Pickler coaches in the elite league during the summer, and has now led the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to six Cape Cod League Championship appearances and has captured four titles in the past 10 seasons (2004, 2006, 2007, and 2014).

The Cape Cod League features some of the nations most elite and competitive Division I baseball players from around the country. Athletes from powerhouse baseball programs such as UCLA, LSU, Tennessee, Missouri, U.C. Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton among others, competed for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox this season.

Cypress College Assistant Coach Brian Resnick also coached alongside Pickler this summer.

Pickler is headed into his 30th season as the head coach for the Cypress Chargers baseball program. He has led Cypress to five State Championships, seven Orange Empire Conference Championships and has helped more than 200 student-athletes receive scholarships.

More than 120 of his former players have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft — with 18 of those former Chargers reaching the Major League, including eight who are currently active.

Padres to Honor Alumnus Trevor Hoffman

Congratulations to alumnus Trevor Hoffman, who is being inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame tomorrow. Hoffman, after whom Major League Baseball named an award earlier this year, played for the Cypress College Chargers in 1985-1986. He was also the Cypress College Foundation’s Americana Awards Man of the Year in 2013.

You can read more about Hoffman’s career at Cypress College in an earlier @Cypress Online post about his retirement announcement.

Cypress College Auto Students Dominate CNCDA Scholarship Awards

Photograph of a Cypress College automotive technology student

Alejandro Garcia Rodriguez was the recipient of the Richard Welch Scholarship Award, the California New Car Dealers Association’s top scholarship. Rodriguez (center) is pictured with his faculty, Michael Klyde (right) and Russ Bacarella (left). Photograph courtesy of Brian Maas, CNCDA President.

Cypress College students dominated the award process for scholarships recently presented by the California New Car Dealers Association Scholarship Foundation. Forty four Cypress College students received $30,300 in scholarships from the CNCDA, roughly half of the total funds. An amazing 56% of CNCDA scholarships in Orange County and 42% of their awards across the entire state were presented to Cypress College Automotive Technology students.

Student Alejandro Garcia Rodriguez was selected as the Peter Welch Scholarship winner, a honor for the student the selection committee thought was the best overall applicant.

The industry group made the selections earlier this month:

For the 2014-2015 school year, the California New Car Dealers Scholarship Foundation has awarded scholarships to 106 California students enrolled in post-secondary automotive technology or automotive management programs totaling $73,641. Since 1995, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded a total of $620,491 in scholarships.

'CC Tank' Social Media Course Showcases Student's Campaigns to Businesses

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Perhaps you’ve heard of the ABC hit “Shark Tank” in which entrepreneurs pitch potential investors. Cypress College’s CIS 120 – Advanced Internet Applications is being re-molded in this image. The hybrid course begins this Friday, August 29, 2014. It meets in person on selected Fridays, from 1 to 3 p.m., later this semester. The course is CRN 11790.

CIS 120 provides complete coverage of using the Internet and related technologies including an in-depth coverage of social media and social networks. Students will participate in a fun, real world “CC Tank Challenge” where they will create various social media campaigns for local businesses to help promote a product or service. As part of their final grade, students will present their campaign to a panel of judges from local area businesses.

Other topics explored in the course include Internet security, wireless technology and networking, creating web pages and E-commerce.

In-person class meetings are held on: August 29, October 24 and 31, November 7, 14, 21, and December 5 and 12.

OC Weekly Names Mortuary Science Chair to ‘OC People’ List for 2014

OC Weekly has included Cypress College Mortuary Science Department Chair Glenn Bower in its “annual Orange County People edition.” OC People 2014 celebrates the 30 “most fascinating people in Orange County,” according to the publication.

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In the feature on Bower, OC Weekly’s Taylor Hamby writes:

Whether you know him or not, the work of Glenn Bower has probably touched you. As the longtime director of mortuary science at Cypress College, he or someone in his seven-person staff has likely taught someone at the center of one of the most emotionally trying times of your life. The department is the only one of its kind at a community college in Southern California, one of just two such programs in the state.

Bower is quoted in the publication about the types of students who enroll in the Mortuary Science program.

Many students who enroll in the program have experienced a loss themselves and want to comfort others who will inevitably mourn someone’s passing. “Some had a great funeral experience, and they want to emulate that,” explains Bower. “Most of the people coming through have that internal drive to help people.”

OC Weekly also asked Bower about a view of “the funeral-service industry as a depressing or macabre”:

“It’s a great business to be in to help people,” he says. “This is an emotionally hazardous time. To lose somebody of such relational significance is very hard to do.”

The full piece is an enjoyable read and provides additional insight to the industry and some background about Bower, including how he — and the entire Mort Sci faculty — are Cypress College alumni.

Nursing Program Accreditation Site Visit on March 11 and 12

Cypress College’s Nursing Program will host some special visitors this week as members of the Board of Registered Nursing accreditation site-visit team will be on campus each day, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Members of the visit team will be available for appointments from any interested party on Wednesday, March 12, from 1-2 p.m. in Tech Ed II/Health Science, Room 201. Appointments can be made though the Health Science Division office by calling (714) 484-7283. Such individual visits facilitate any public comment and provide students and faculty the opportunity for private interaction with the site visitors.

High School Students Compete in Third Cypress College Automotive Competition

Cypress College’s Third High School Auto Competition included competition from seven two-student teams. The students competed in tasks at six different skills stations: tire rotation; brake rotor runout measurement; engine component measurement; scan tool operation; series circuits; and parallel circuits.

Snap-On Tools provided prizes for first through third place. All participants received hats and sponsor t-shirts.

students who competed in Cypress College's High School Auto Competition #3

Seven two-person teams competed at Cypress College’s High School Auto Competition #3, which was held on Thursday, January 9, 2013.

Also attending the event, held by Cypress College’s Toyota T-TEN automotive technology program, where high school instructors, parents, and students. The event helps emphasize to high school students and their parents the high-tech skills required for employment in the automotive industry, as well as the potential career paths.

Cypress College employees responsible for the successful event include automotive technology faculty and staff members: Michael Klyde, Louis Krebbs, Lidia Coman, Russ Bacarella, and Marty Orozco.