Get informed, Be Prepared, and Stay Healthy (COVID, Monkeypox, and the Flu)

On November 2, 2022, Skyline College Library and Health Center collaborated to present an informative talk on monkeypox, the flu and Covid-19 by our college physician, Dr. Walter Cheng. A small but inquisitive group learned about the history of each virus, their treatments, and recommendations for staying healthy this coming holiday season. Dr. Cheng also reminded participants that the Health Center is offering free flu shots. “We are already experiencing an early and severe flu and cold season that promises to become even more chaotic during the holidays.” Dr. Cheng advised all members of our community to get their flu shots and Covid boosters, continue wearing masks indoors (to prevent against all three viruses), and wash your hands frequently. If you would like a copy of Dr. Cheng’s slide presentation to share with your colleagues or students, please send a note to Skyline College Nurse Emily Risk <riske@smccd.edu>.

Article by -Jessica Silver-Sharp

Umoja-ASTEP Students Experience Black Opera at Stanford University

On October 15, 2022, the Umoja-ASTEP program took 14 students and staff to see The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist. This opera was created in response to the murder of Eric Garner, serving as an act of resistance. The event created an experience where music, visuals, text, and movement could intertwine and invite its audience to co-conspire and highlight the importance of breathing in any way we can.

The field trip was hosted in partnership with Skyline College’s WMLA, BSU, and BAM. It began with a van charter from Skyline College to Stanford University, allowing students a quick campus tour of Stanford University. Notable landmarks included Stanford’s Memorial Church, Stanford Stadium, and the CoHo Café.

Dr. Chad Coates, the Umoja-ASTEP Coordinator, mentioned, “This was a truly transformative experience for those of us who attended.  Most of our students had never attended an opera before, and for their first project to center on Black empowerment, rituals, and resilience as acts of resistance against oppression within our current social/cultural context is phenomenal.  Some students remained after the performance to hear from and engage in dialogue with the project’s creators.”

When asked about her experience, WMLA student Ashley Elliot said it was “very powerful…hearing it on the news…and then seeing the art…made the experience meaningful”. WMLA student assistant mentioned that the opera was a “mixer of emotion…I felt the pain and empathy, and hope…the play made me feel empowered to make a change being in community with one another”.

The Umoja-ASTEP learning community is part of the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. If you wish to learn more about Umoja-ASTEP, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Coates at coatesc@smccd.edu.

Article by Sirreck Brown | Photo by Brittney Sneed

International Education Week Opening Ceremony

On Monday, November 14, 2022, the International Student Program (ISP) hosted the International Education Week (IEW) Opening Ceremony to celebrate the benefits of cultural and academic exchange programs around the world. The event was held at the Farallon Room in Skyline College and hosted by Sirreck Brown, Interim Retention Specialist (ISP). Dr. Melissa Moreno, College President, started off the event with a speech about the significance of International Education. Dr. Vinicio Lopez, Vice President of Instruction, and Zaid Ghori, Interim Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services, also shared their thoughts on the importance of International Education.

Next, there was a student panel on the study abroad experience where they shared about the benefits of study abroad and how scholarships and support from family played a part in their study aboard journey. All panelists were recipients of the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award to English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Professor Felicia Mazzi. This award is given to a faculty or staff member who has made a positive impact on the lives of international students at Skyline College, as nominated by international students. Professor Mazzi thanked her students in her speech and talked about her wonderful experience with international students. Finally, the event ended with a raffle, with the winners being picked by Chancellor Michael Claire. The lucky winners received raffle baskets filled with different foods from various countries.

The International Student Program is part of the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. If you wish to learn more about ISP, don’t hesitate to contact the ISP Office at skyinternational@smccd.edu.

Article by Kaitlyn Widjaja | Photo by Raisa.

Skyline College International Students Visit UC Berkeley

On October 24, 2022, the International Student Program (ISP) hosted a campus tour of UC Berkeley. Seventeen international students and staff participated. The trip began with a charter bus ride from Skyline College to UC Berkeley, where students explored the Cal Student Store, the ASUC Student Union building, and the Golden Bear Café prior to the campus tour.

Students and staff got the opportunity to learn more about the history of UC Berkeley, information about the different admissions processes for majors, a glimpse at student life, the safety protocols to ensure student safety, and a tour around campus.

Kaitlyn Huang, ISP student ambassador and international student, mentioned that “it was not my first-time visiting UC Berkeley, but it was my first time learning about their traditions and superstitions…it was fun and interesting.” 

UC Berkeley is one of the most prestigious public universities in the world, being ranked #1 with UCLA according to a U.S. News and World Report on American college rankings.

The International Student Program is part of the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. If you wish to learn more about ISP, don’t hesitate to contact the ISP Office at skyinternational@smccd.edu.

Article by Sirreck Brown & Photo by Kaitlyn Huang

Students Prepare to Study Abroad in Florence Next Spring

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Study Abroad Program held a meet-and-greet event for the 28 Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College students who will be studying abroad in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2023 semester with the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium (NCSAC). Students enjoyed some Italian appetizers and the opportunity to get to know their professor and other students from their district with whom they will be travelling.

SMCCCD will send 28 students to Florence as part of a cohort of 110 students from the consortium. Other participating districts include Contra Costa Community College District, Los Rios Community College District and Santa Rosa Junior College. The program is offered in partnership with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). San Mateo County Community College District has participated in the consortium since 1986.

This semester, students in the program take courses in Economics and Business, Kinesiology, Sociology, and Art and Art History. Cañada College Economics professor, Paul Roscelli, will teach four courses in Florence: Intro to Micro Economics, Intro to Macro Economics, Business Law, and Italian Life and Culture.

SMCCCD Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about studying or interning abroad, faculty teach abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please contact Zaid Ghori at ghoriz@smccd.edu. You can also learn more

by visiting the SMCCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Stephanie Wells. Photo by Zaid Ghori.

Skyline nEXO Group Presents at the 2022 APS DNP Conference in New Orleans

Late last month, the American Physical Society’s Division of Nuclear Physics held its annual Fall Meeting in New Orleans, LA, and the Skyline nEXO group was there. Three students, Sara Ellingsworth, Jonathan Mariano-Smith and Paul-Frederik Schubert attended the conference in person and one student, Carol Sanders, participated virtually. The students were accompanied by Prof Kolo Wamba, also attending in person, and Prof Emilie Hein, who attended virtually. This was the first time since the pandemic that the meeting was held predominantly in person.

In a session titled “Inspiring the Next Generation,” Prof Wamba gave a talk on the nuclear physics and nuclear physics-related Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work that the Skyline nEXO group is doing and shared original content that each Skyline nEXO student had contributed to. The talk was extremely well received. A few people, including session chair Dr Sharon Stephenson (a program manager at the US Department of Energy Office of Science [DOE-SC], office of Nuclear Physics, who helps manage the funding for Skyline’s nEXO student traineeship program), commented on how Skyline is blazing trails as the sole community college to be funded by a DOE-SC “Research Traineeships to Broaden and Diversify Nuclear Physics” grant award. This very impressive achievement is a testament to the caliber of our amazing administrators, faculty, classified professionals, and students. “People go to community colleges for economic reasons,” noted one audience member during the Q&A portion of Prof. Wamba’s talk, “community colleges are the wave of the future. What you’re doing is groundbreaking.”

DEI were important themes of 2022’s APS DNP meeting, as well as in the broader American Physical Society. Founded in 1899 by 36 physicists at Columbia University with a mission “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics” throughout society, the organization has grown considerably due to increased public interest in science beginning in the 1960’s. In recent years, APS’s outreach efforts have been broadened to address the concerns of historically underrepresented groups in physics, establishing committees and publishing a climate survey to address barriers experienced by non-minority LGBT, non-minority non-LGBT women, and minority scientists. There was, additionally, considerable interest in the portion of Prof Wamba’s talk that dealt with DEI initiatives that we are working on here at Skyline, such as the nEXO collaboration’s DEI information hub and newsletter (initiated and led by Prof Hein), and its publications equity subcommittee (led by Prof Wamba).

A panorama of cutting-edge nuclear physics research, topics of presentation at the meeting also included stellar nucleosynthesis, quantum chromodynamics, and neutrino physics. In one particularly engaging talk, postdoctoral researcher Dr. Wei Jia Ong of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory discussed progress in the study of novae or exploding stars. In addition to explaining how advances in computation as well as rare isotope beam production have accelerated the accuracy of astrophysical models, she even drew a few laughs from the sleepy morning audience of physicists.

Some presentations included highly technical language while others were more accessible to a general audience. In one fascinating talk, William R. Hix of Oak Ridge National Laboratory explained, in an exceptionally pragmatic way, the importance of multi-messenger astronomy— observational technology that can simultaneously detect multiple kinds of signals like gravitational waves, photons, and neutrinos—in the study of supernovae.

The portion of the meeting that was arguably the most important were the plenary sessions on assessing and mitigating the threat posed by nuclear weapons, particularly as it pertains to the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine. These sessions were nothing if not horrifying, and they drove home the point that the world is now the closest it has been to global nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis. One particularly sobering presentation was given by Rutgers University Prof Alan Robock, a leading expert on the theory of nuclear winter. This is the idea that a large-scale global conflict involving strategic nuclear weapons would cause tens of millions of metric tons of smoke and ash to be released high into the atmosphere, where it would block out the sun and bring about a perpetual global winter reminiscent of the most recent Ice Age. A world in the grips of nuclear winter is one in which all forms of agriculture are impossible, and billions of people starve to death as a result. In his talk, Robock showed the results of his group’s calculations and computer simulations of the aftermath of a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. As University of Maryland College Park associate provost Dr Steven Fetter pointed out in the talk preceding Robock’s, such an event is most likely to occur as an unintended side-effect of the Ukrainian conflict – for example, due to a mistake, malfunction, or other mishap – and has an increasing probability as the war is prolonged. In the most optimistic of the Robock simulations, about 30% of the world population is lost to starvation within the year following a US-Russia nuclear confrontation. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the other 70% of humanity would perish in the year or so that follows, due to the inevitable disruption in basic human services and global supply chains that occurs when nearly a third of the world’s people are wiped out, essentially all at once. The main takeaway from these plenary sessions was the existential urgency of nuclear disarmament and the dire need for the conflict in Ukraine to end before it leads to catastrophic consequences for the entire world. Skyline Shines readers are encouraged to check out the more in-depth article on this topic that Prof Wamba has published in Worker’s Voice.

Another notable highlight of the meeting was the Institute for Nuclear Science to Inspire the next Generation of a Highly Trained workforce (INSIGHT) dinner, which had been organized by Michigan State University physics faculty and INSIGHT PI Prof Paul Guèye. The dinner brought together students and PIs from each of the institutions and programs that, like Skyline nEXO and INSIGHT, are supported by the DOE-SC “Research Traineeships to Broaden and Diversify Nuclear Physics” grant award program. DOE-SC program managers Dr Paul Sorensen, Dr Sharon Stephenson, and Dr Astrid Morreale were also there. It was a wonderful opportunity for Sara, Jonathan, and Paul to connect with diverse undergraduates doing similar work from all around the country, and for Prof Wamba to get to know DOE-SC program managers and professional colleagues who are similarly committed to DEI.

This work is supported by US Dept of Energy Office of Science Office of Nuclear Physics Grant Award # DE-SC0021954

Article by Sara Ellingsworth, Jonathan Mariano-Smith, Carol Sanders, Paul-Frederik Schubert, Kolo Wamba and Emilie Hein | Photos by Sara Ellingsworth

Psychology 220: Introduction to Psychobiology

Students in Psychology 220 – Introduction to Psychobiology – created infographics with information about how drugs commonly found on college campuses affect one’s brain. Supplemental information about risk factors, criteria for substance use disorder, costs associated with drug use, and helpful resources are also provided.

In addition to applying course material, this assignment allowed students to work on other 21st century skills including critical thinking (what material to include), information literacy (reading charts and graphs), and collaboration and communication (they worked in groups).

This display is located in Building 6, on the west wall to the left of the fireplace. It will be available to view through Friday, October 28th, 2022.

Article by Jennifer Merrill

Skyline College Students Present Their Scientific Research at National Conferences

Two Skyline College students presented their original, scientific research this Fall. They presented at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in October 2022 and at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) conference in November 2022. Undergraduate science students from hundreds of colleges and universities present their research at these conferences. Nearly 1000 students presented their posters to 3000 attendees at each conference

Both Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa and Monica Mendoza undertook original, scientific research during the 2021-22 academic year with Christine Case. Their abstracts were accepted by teams of independent judges.

Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa presented his research on “The Migration of Microplastics: From urban creeks to the Pacific Ocean” at SACNAS, which was held in Puerto Rico in October 2022.

Monica Mendoza presented her research on “Investigation of Antimicrobial Activity of Anemopsis californica” at SACNAS and, in November 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center, at ABRCMS. Monica won the Cell Biology Award at ABRCMS. 

Combating Prejudices and Building Kinship

Skyline College Library hosted the virtual Human Library event on October 20, 2022. At Skyline College, the Human Library goes beyond combating stereotypes and prejudices and celebrates our shared experiences. By providing a space for heart-to-heart conversations that inspire people to thrive despite stigma and taboo, these interactions foster kinship among the participants. Instead of reading a hard copy or an electronic book, the reader would meet with the person behind the chosen title and would learn the human book’s journey through one-on-one conversations. Our featured books were A Foreigner Everywhere, California Dreamin, Lowriding Professor, A Different Kind of Birthday, and Driven to Speak Up.

Though all timeslots were filled, our Skyline College President Dr. Melissa Moreno was able to read two books: A Foreigner Everywhere and A Different Kind of Birthday. Dr. Moreno shared her enthusiastic experience on The Fog Blog, under “Human Library” for week 10. After reading the Lowriding Professor, Adjunct Librarian Mary Torres-Volken stated, “… we all are connected and that we all have something in common, whether it’s language or family background or teaching experience.” After dialoguing with Driven to Speak Up, another reader learned about “micro-aggression” and the importance of not “ignoring it.” 

Thank you to all the human books and readers who engaged in the Human Library. Look out for Skyline College Library’s next virtual event “International Poetry in Many Tongues.” This upcoming event on November 17, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. is open to everyone, so join and possibly grace us with an original or favorite poem in your mother tongue! 

For further information about our November 17th, 2022, event, please contact Pia Walawalkar, Librarian and Outreach and Equity Coordinator for Skyline College Library.

Article by Sherri Wyatt

Save the Date for International Voices in Poetry! 

All members of our community are invited to join a live virtual poetry reading on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 4:30pm. Back by popular demand, the library will present this third annual reading “International Voices: The Poetry of Many Tongues” in celebration of our own incredible multilingual community. 

The lineup includes poetry in American Sign Language (ASL), Farsi, Portuguese and other languages. You can bring an original or favorite poem to share aloud in your native tongue or just enjoy listening in. “International Voices” is held in conjunction with our larger campus celebration of International Education Week.

Please contact Equity and Outreach Librarian Pia Walawalkar <walawalkars@smccd.edu> for any questions.