Skyline College Hall of Fame Member Mike Fitzgerald is Retiring

Mike's Retirement PhotoAfter 81 semesters teaching and coaching in the Kinesiology Department at Skyline College,

Professor Mike Fitzgerald is retiring from his full-time position.

Coach Fitzgerald was also instrumental in creating and running the nationally-recognized Physical Fitness Testing Program at the college, personally testing over 15,000 students during this time.  He was recognized nationally within the United States Professional Tennis Association, winning the Northern California Seminar Contest 5 times and finishing 5th in the nation in 2008.  Mike Fitzgerald has been inducted into both the City of Pacifica and Skyline College Hall of Fame as a result of these accomplishments.

Coach Fitzgerald plans on returning to teaching part-time after a semester off from Skyline.

“I still have a passion for teaching, and after spending 44 years of my life at Skyline it is hard to say good-bye.”

Mike is a born-again Christian and plans on spending time with his wife, twin sons, daughter-in-laws and five grandchildren.

SMCCCD “Here For You” Marketing Campaign Launches Throughout San Mateo County

smccd here for youThe District, in collaboration with the three college marketing offices, launched a comprehensive marketing campaign that will blanket San Mateo County mailboxes and computer screens over the next three months.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing catastrophic economic damage and the resulting disruptions to education and employment, focused efforts are needed to reach out to our community on an unprecedented scale. The core of the campaign message is a reminder of who we are, what we do, and how long we’ve been doing it. In essence, that SMCCCD and its colleges are “Here for You.”

The campaign will deliver millions of “impressions” to San Mateo County residents throughout the summer. The campaign communication channels include:

  • Direct Mail: A series of three different postcards mailed to 280,000 residential households each month through July.
  • Food Box Inserts: Additional postcards inserted into food boxes for weekly Second Harvest food drives at CSM.
  • Digital: Coordinated delivery of key messages each month that align with postcards using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Spotify, and Google AdWords. (Pictured right)
  • Web Landing Page: All channels will direct viewers to smccd.edu/hereforyou, a custom landing page that features an “Apply Now,” “Request for Information,” and Connect to College RSVP or video for each college.

The objectives of the campaign consist of the following:

  1. Build community by reminding San Mateo County we are here and we are with them through the current crisis.
  2. Remain top of mind (TOM) among San Mateo County residents as higher education plans and job situations change for many.
  3. Manage the district’s reputation and the reputation of the three colleges by demonstrating community partnership.
  4. Increase enrollment among the three colleges in the San Mateo County Community College District including Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College.

Women in STEM Panel

women in stem panelOn May 5, 2020, Skyline College Library was pleased to partner with the STEM Center for the 2nd event in the Science In Action Speaker Series, presenting a Zoom panel discussion by faculty Women in STEM. The panel’s featured participants — including Dr. Safiyyah Forbes, Dr. Emilie Hein, Maryam Khan, Elayne Rodriguez and Dr. Bela Singha — shared experiences in their fields, lessons learned and their personal motivations, as almost 50 participants tuned in for a rich discussion moderated by Outreach Librarian Pia Walawalkar.

The premise? We’venot yet bridged the gender gap in science. One by one, faculty speakers made their case for motivating the next generation of women to earn academic degrees in STEM. They began with some practical advice for female students: 

  • Find a mentor who knows you; mentors motivate you to reach your goals.
  • The road is not easy but it’s doable when you find the right support system. Meet with a counselor who can connect you with the right network.
  • Find a student who is a few steps ahead of you. Ask lots of questions.
  • Join a professional organization such as the Association for Women in Science — and attend local chapter programs and conferences.

Next, speakers explained how being a woman in science is an asset:

“[As a woman], you’re bringing in something new and different. So be okay with being different, don’t fear that that’s a bad thing.”

  • Additionally, the experience of being female in science “makes us stronger when we put ourselves on a larger platform, it helps us with leadership skills and makes us essential members of a team.”
  • Last but not least, from a biological standpoint, studies show women are more resilient than men.

Many faculty expressed career satisfaction in watching their students grow. “I feel a great sense of pride when I see my students transferring and when I observe their evolution. I continue to provide support along their path.” Elayne Rodriguez, Director of Respiratory Care and Allied Health at Skyline College, described her recent pride in her second-year female respiratory therapy students who applied for work permits to join the workforce during the current pandemic, despite the danger. All agreed: “Our [female STEM] students pay it forward to the next generation.”

Faculty concluded with some messages to inspire younger female scientists. 

Maryam Khan, Skyline College Engineering professor and Skyline College alumna, was explicit: “Your parents might scold you, your teachers may tell you you’re going to be nothing when you grow up – I heard those things – but you need to keep your own path.” Others chimed in:

  • Be engaged in school, be patient with yourself, ignore the noise you hear that “You’re a girl, you can’t do this.” Tell yourself you can do anything!
  • As parent to children: Be observant about what you see on your walks. Give constant encouragement and support to girls.
  • Pursue your goals, be persistent.
  • Attend science camps whenever you can.

The session concluded with questions from students. Throughout the hour, it was clear that advice for “thinking outside the box” applies not just to young female scientists, but to all of us now adapting to work during strange and frustrating times: “Remember, there are always three or four ways to solve a problem!” If you weren’t able to tune in, you can catch some inspiration by watching the session on YouTube.

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp

Human Library and Poetry Corner Make their Virtual Debut

poetry cornerAn experiment in transforming a face-to-face event to a virtual environment, the most recent Human Library session on April 24, 2020 featured six “human books” checked out 19 times by “readers” from our community, each in their own private Zoom breakout room.

In line with its mission, the Human Library brought together participants including students, staff, faculty and administrators for deep conversations about tough topics like discrimination and displacement. Following her experience reading a book about the Pakistani/Muslim experience with which she was unfamiliar, one reader relayed, “I was glad to get to read a “book” on that topic. And we are going to meet up… so I can continue to bridge that gap and learn more about a culture, people, a religion that I don’t know anything about personally and hopefully gain a new friend!”

Technical challenges aside, facilitators were especially appreciative of positive feedback from readers: “[Human Library] was just a great experience, one that will hopefully continue as we are planning to meet after the shelter in place is over.” For many, the session provided much-needed relief from the isolation of living through the pandemic.

On April 29, 2020 readings in celebration of National Poetry Month by faculty poet Kathleen McClung, recent winner of the Rattle Chapbook Prize, Engineering faculty Maryam Khan, student poet Hilary Cruz Mejia, and faculty poet Katharine Harer, again brought 32 members of our community together for an hour listening and interesting discussion via Zoom.

Professor McClung read from her award-winning book of poetry, A Juror Must Fold in on Herself, written during and following “the most difficult year of my life” as a forewoman on a manslaughter case, as well as some profound and nostalgic works from The Typists Play Monopoly and other works recalling her childhood days of drive-in movies and later, working as teen movie theater attendant.

With March’s women’s history events postponed and Asian American Heritage month just beginning, Professor Khan straddled both celebrations with a reading of favorite works by contemporary and historical voices in Punjabi literature. These included Pakistani poets Rupi Kaur (“I am the first woman of my lineage with freedom of choice”), Imtiaz Dharker and Amrita Pritam. Many of the poems formed a backdrop to the social blockade Khan’s own family experienced following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 – the division of the Punjab state – followed by the diaspora that brought Pakistani families like Khan’s to the Bay Area.

The virtual audience found beauty in a joint reading by Professor Khan and Librarian Pia Walawalkar of Amrita Pritam’s “Ajj Aakhan Waris Shah Nuu,” as Khan read in Punjabi and Walawalkar read the English translation. Representing their divided state, their family’s native countries “enemies,” the two demonstrated powerfully how poetry can be a healing force.

Next, Poetry Club student leader Hilary Cruz Mejia read “La Subita,” a powerful poem she’d recently composed in English and Spanish, followed by Professor Harer’s first public reading of her new poem “Smile,” dedicated to Hilary. Enjoy these poems for yourself by visiting Skyline College Library’s online Events and Outreach guide.

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp

Job Opportunities

We understand that many students and our community members may have lost their job due to the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is our commitment to continue to offer information regarding paid internships and quality job opportunities that are available along with support in design or update of a resume, preparing for an interview and expanding one’s network to secure employment during these uncertain times.  The Career Readiness & Job Placement Team looks forward to doing all we can to ensure students and our community members have what they need to get a job and continue to offer remote services and resources while the shelter-in-place order is in effect.  If one of the jobs shared does not meet your needs or interests please complete this form and we will reach out to you directly to assist!  Please stay safe. 

How may we assist you in landing your dream job? The Career Readiness & Job Placement team is excited to share the following job opportunities with you. Check them out—

Article by Alexa Moore

Internship Opportunities

We understand that many students and our community members may have lost their job due to the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is our commitment to continue to offer information regarding paid internships and quality job opportunities that are available along with support in design or update of a resume, preparing for an interview and expanding one’s network to secure employment during these uncertain times.  The Career Readiness & Job Placement Team looks forward to doing all we can to ensure students and our community members have what they need to get a job and continue to offer remote services and resources while the shelter-in-place order is in effect.  If one of the jobs shared does not meet your needs or interests please complete this form and we will reach out to you directly to assist!  Please stay safe. 

Expand your network in ways that will lead to your dream job. The Career Readiness & Job Placement team is excited to share the following paid internship opportunities with you. Check them out—

Article by Alexa Moore

Science In Action Speaker Series Concludes Spring Semester Online

science in actionThroughout the spring 2020 semester, Science In Action hosted weekly talks on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. During these events, guests shared first-hand insight into their current work and, more importantly, their educational journey. What was their upbringing? What support systems did they find during their college experience? With an emphasis on personal connection, students gain opportunities to further explore their curiosity and how the material they learn in their classes fits into their future. These high-value, low-key talks have continued for over five years.

As our reality began to shift with the pandemic, Science In Action transitioned to a weekly virtual event offered at the same time. In an effort to maintain normalcy, Irene Yim and Susan Wu (from Impossible Foods) were our first guests to spend Science In Action via Zoom on March 10, 2020. From that point on, all weekly Science In Action events were facilitated via Zoom. Our unique semester concluded our speaker series with a heartfelt goodbye to Dean Raymond Hernandez. With up to 50 participants attending the Zoom call, Science In Action provided an opportunity and a platform to maintain a community.

Please check out our Science In Action page to see our list of presenters and a brief abstract of their talks. Any presentation between March 17, 2020 and May 12, 2020 will provide a link to the corresponding recording on YouTube.

Science In Action looks to continue for the fall 2020 semester. The weekly series is presented in partnership with the STEM Center, the San Francisco University Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, the Skyline College Science and Math Division, and the Math, Engineering, Science Achievement Program (MESA).

Article by Bryan Swartout

Skyline College Honors Students’ Academic Achievements

ssacSan Bruno, California – May 13, 2020 – Financial scholarships were awarded to over 280 Skyline College students on Thursday, May 7, 2019 through an email and website announcement including a congratulatory video from Interim President Dr. Jannett Jackson in lieu of the in-person award ceremony. Skyline College students were virtually presented with 255 awards totaling more than $189,000 in scholarship funds thanks to community support.

The prestigious Karl S. Pister scholarship was also awarded on May 7, 2020 to Skyline College student Pearl Ibeanusi who will complete her undergraduate studies at University of California, Santa Cruz. Ms. Ibeanusi is a leader on campus, holding the position of president of the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC). The scholarship awarded provides $20,000 over two years, and assistance in securing additional funding, to a transfer-eligible student who shows exceptional achievement despite adverse socio-economic status, has demonstrated commitment to assisting and improving the lives of others, and would not otherwise be able to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz due to financial need. This highly competitive scholarship is awarded to only 13 students nationwide.

“Taking a minute to recognize the achievements of students is truly an honor for me as Interim President of Skyline College. We are proud to provide over 250 scholarships this year, thanks to the generosity of the San Mateo County Community Colleges foundation and donors from the community, including many college faculty and staff. For many students, these scholarships make a significant difference in their ability to graduate,” said Jannett Jackson, Ph.D., Interim President of Skyline College.

Many of the scholarships students received are generous donations from the community secured through the fundraising efforts of the San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to promote student success and to nourish program innovation and excellence by providing special financial support for the District’s three colleges including Skyline College. For more information, on the Foundation’s scholarship program or to donate to Skyline College, please contact the San Mateo Community College District Foundation at (650) 358-6871.

Article by Cherie Colin

Project Change Comes to Skyline College

project change2Skyline College is committed to offering pathways for formerly incarcerated and other system impacted individuals into higher education. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world. Incarceration impacts more than just those who serve time in correctional facilities. Family, friends and whole communities are often heavily affected, or system impacted, by incarceration. The new Skyline College Project Change Program provides support to system impacted students essential to achieving their academic, professional and personal goals.

Project Change is designed to build community, on and off-campus, that will serve as social, emotional and academic support for student members. The program connects formerly incarcerated and system impacted students to support services at Skyline College, as well as community resources.

The Project Change Club provides students with a voice on campus and a social network of students, staff and faculty who understand many of the experiences and concerns that system impacted students have in going to college, and who want system impacted students to succeed.

Thank you to Program Coordinator John Skovgaard for his work starting Project Change at Skyline College. John wants all students who have served time in a correctional facility, have been placed on probation or on parole and all other system impacted students to know they are welcome in the Project Change family.

Students may join Project Change at by applying here. Learn more about Project Change here.

If you have any questions, email us at skyprojectchange@smccd.edu or call at (650) 738-7964. Coming soon: office hours in theSocial Science/Creative Arts Hub – Building 1, Room 1-124.

Article by Chris Burwell-Woo

International Student Program (ISP) Spring 2020 End-of-Year Celebration

ispThe International Student Program (ISP) at Skyline College was excited to hold their first ever virtual End-of-Year Celebration for the Academic Year 2019-2020. In attendance were the Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza; Provost, International Education, Dr. Jing Luan; Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services Russell Waldon; Director, International Education, Diane Arguijo; transferring and graduating international students, continuing international students, staff and faculty.

The event held via Zoom opened with a slideshow of past ISP events as guests streamed in and caught up with each other via the chatbox or on-screen. It began proper with a welcome from the emcee, followed by speeches from Dr. Taylor-Mendoza and Dean Waldon. Two faculty members–Professor Soledad McCarthy, who recorded a video for the students, and Professor Felicia Mazzi also gave short speeches.

The highlight of the event was hearing from students, both transferring/graduating and continuing. ISP’s transfers are headed off to schools such as SF State, UCLA, UC Berkeley and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Each transferring/graduating student who spoke received thunderous cheers in the form of shouts, claps, reactions and capitalized text in the chatbox. One graduating student, Barbara Campos-Reis, even joined in from Brazil. This was followed by words of appreciation from the continuing students. It was a wonderful yet emotional sharing as students shared their hopes, dreams and wishes for the future and their peers.

The event drew to a close with speeches from Dr. Luan and Director Arguijo. Once again, there were hearty congratulations for the transferring/graduating students with wishes to stay healthy and well for everyone. ISP is immensely proud of its students, especially the transferring and graduating students! Congratulations once again, you did it!

Article by Clair Yeo-Sugajski | Photo by Gordon Leung