Daily Archives: May 22, 2014

ASTEP Graduation at Skyline College


On Monday, May 19, the Skyline College ASTEP program celebrated its graduating class of 2014. The ASTEP graduates, twenty students in all, received ASTEP certificates signed by the Skyline College President, Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud and ASTEP Coordinator and faculty member, Phyllis Taylor Gulbransen. The students also received Kente Cloth Stoles as a rite of passage through the ASTEP program.


The students and the Skyline College Community was humbly graced with a riveting speech facilitated by Emmanuel Stewart the keynote speaker. Stewart also co-signed on the value of education, a theme that resounded with a special resonance for Skyline College students.

The event once again proved to be a night filled with many deserving students who had completed their AA/AS degrees and transfer requirements. The ceremony began with a wonderful opening speech from our President, Dr. Stroud, who eloquently addressed the students about the importance of education and equity. During her presentation, Dr. Stroud encouraged all the students to look closely to their left to visualize what their futures could possibly be like, by using the administrators and faculty members as a model of excellence and champions for higher education.

14059941079_a24e3a6841_zThe evening activities provided the students with a special treat, from Skyline College’s own Richard Porter, the graduate guest speaker whose oration moved and inspired the ASTEP graduates. Porter painted a picture of his journey to success by demonstrating how Skyline College has afforded him many opportunities and aided his decision to achieve his career goals.

14059987737_4fa2144801_zIn all the beautiful moments that occurred during the graduation celebration, it marked a bitter/sweet new beginning. For the past seven years, Professor Phyllis Taylor Gulbransen, the current ASTEP Coordinator, will be retiring at the end of the Spring Semester. As she transitions into her new role as a retiree, she will be sorely missed but not forgotten for all the hard work, time and dedication she put into making the ASTEP program a success.

To all the faculty, staff, friends, members, students and community volunteers that aided in making this year’s event a wonderful success, the ASTEP family thanks you.

Article by Nathan Jones | Photos by Raul Guerra

Skyline College “Beams Up” at End of Year Celebration

photoSkyline College’s End of Year Celebration on May 16, 2014 was nothing short of epic!  The theme “To Boldly Go Where No College Has Gone Before” featured the crew of the Starship Skyline, namely, Ray Hernandez as Captain Kirk, Pat Tyler as Scotty, Nancy Lam as Bones, Bryan Besnyi as Mr. Spock, and Leigh Anne Shaw as Lt. Uhura.  Groovy tunes were provided by the Skyline College Jazz Quintet, led by Professor Zachary Bruno.

DSC_0376Video mash-ups by Bryan Besnyi kicked off the event, which netted a whopping $1,139.00 in the division basket raffle.  The proceeds will be donated to scholarships.  The Classified Senate presented a Special Recognition award to Chris Weidman and one to Linda Allen for their excellent service to the college.  The Academic Senate presented a Special Recognition award to Kate Williams Browne for her service, and an award to Nina Floro, which was accompanied by a resolution outlining her many great deeds and which was adopted by the Senate by acclamation.  The Classified Senate also honored retiree Clydie Rizzo, while the Academic Senate honored retirees Katharine Harer, Phyllis Taylor, Kevin Sullivan, John Chavez, and Virginia Padron.

The Academic Senate was pleased to receive many nominations for the Meyer Award for Excellence in Teaching, and decided to give two awards:  Chris Gibson and Amber Steele were the recipients.

Outgoing Classified Senate President Linda Allen made an appearance by video in which she announced that she had been elected to the State Classified Executive Board as the Bay Area 2 representative.  The Classified Senate council members for Fall 2014 will be:

President:  Alana Utsumi
Vice President:  Michele Haggar
Secretary:  Linda Herda
Treasurer: Barbara Lamson
Historian: Barbara Daley
Parliamentarian:  Kennya Ruiz

The Academic Senate council members for Fall 2014 will be:

President:  Kate Williams Browne
Vice President:  no candidate
Secretary:  Leigh Anne Shaw
Treasurer:  Tiffany Schmierer
Curriculum co-chairs:  Dennis Wolbers and Christine Roumbanis
Educational Policy:  Nick Kapp
Professional Personnel:  Zachary Bruno
Research:  Mousa Ghanma

The organizational team would like to thank Sherrie Prasad and Theresa Tentes for arranging the catering for the event.  It was a great way to celebrate before the grueling week of finals began, and many attendees left with smiles and good cheer.

Article by Leigh Anne Shaw | Photos by Claudia Paz

Time to Tool Up


Set to leave on her first international build with Habitat for Humanity, Skyline College student, Latasha Washington is enthusiastic about constructing affordable housing in Cape Town, South Africa. Having volunteered with HFH domestically, driving nails and drywall are not new to her. Ms. Washington is a vibrant student and active member of the Women in Transition Program and ASTEP. She is co-founder of POP! which is a club for students who are Parents without Partners.

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Habitat for Humanity requires of its participants to cover their own expenses. For a student and single mom, that price tag was significant ($4,939!) but she was not to be deterred. She pursued fundraising by selling hot dogs, pizza, and requested donations. The Skyline College community has been most generous in assisting her with fund raising for which she has expressed deep gratitude. She has met her goal with a $2500 scholarship from the San Mateo Community College Foundation, and the rest was made up from donations from students, faculty, staff and administrators. Most impressively, approximately 506 students contributed to her cause.

photo 3Reflective of her deeper core values, she feels it’s critically important to be aware of people who struggle for basic necessities and to give back to the community. She intends to share her experience with the Skyline College campus when she returns and to encourage other students to take up the HFH challenge. Ms. Washington will be transferring to Howard University next spring where she will complete her BA. Her ultimate goal is to become a lawyer.

It’s so appropriate to highlight this exceptional member of our Skyline College community —Latasha Shines.

Article by Lori Slicton | Photo by Latasha Washington

Skyline College Hosts Final BACC Convening

BACC-Final-Convening650Skyline College hosted the national convening for the two year Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) Demonstration Project on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 through Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Representatives from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and Lumina Foundation presented findings from the work of community colleges around the nation who worked to extend access to public benefits for eligible students. Leaders and practitioners from the following six community colleges traveled across the country to participate in the two-day convening:

  • Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Gateway Community and Technical College, Covington, Kentucky
  • LaGuardia Community College, Long Island, New York
  • Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, Michigan
  • Macomb Community College, Warren, Michigan
  • Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

CLASP Director, Olivia Golden, moderated a partners panel on the first morning comprised of the following agencies:

  • San Mateo County Human Services Agency
  • San Francisco County Human Services Agency
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
  • Thrive – The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County
  • SparkPoint at Skyline College

Each community partner described how the organization initially engaged in a partnership with SparkPoint at Skyline College, as well as the benefits their organization derives from the partnership. Skyline College has been a model for partner engagement to increase benefits utilization among its eligible student population, especially in regards to developing data sharing agreements with local Human Services Agencies to support students’ applications.

The beginning of the convening focused on best practices each college employed to increase awareness about and uptake of public benefits on their campuses. The second day of the convening concentrated on sustainability of public benefits services on each of the college campuses once the BACC grant closes on June 30, 2014. Each college was charged with developing a sustainability action plan that it would share with its leadership team after the convening.

Article by Heather Smith | Photos by Adolfo Leiva

TRiO Celebrates Success in Record Numbers!

On Friday, May 9, 2014 TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) held its annual “End of the Year Celebration” with the highest number of TRiO students recognized! A total of 87 TRiO students were acknowledged for their academic accomplishments. There were 4 students receiving a certificate, 75 students graduating with an associate degree, and 44 students transferring to an institution of higher education including SFSU, SJSU, CSUEB, SSU, UCB, UCD, UCSB, UCSC, UCLA, and the University of New Hampshire! Students, family members and Skyline College administrators, faculty, and staff enjoyed a wonderful dinner catered by La Tapatia. The event brought out more than 160 attendees.

14223859096_72b3651493_zThe evening began with Jessica Lopez, TRiO Counselor, welcoming the TRiO SSS students, family members, friends, administrators, faculty and staff. Dr. Angelica Garcia, Dean of Counseling, Advising, and Matriculation addressed the audience with an inspirational welcome. Chanel Daniels, English Instructional Aide and Eugene Garcia, Math Instructional Aide also shared inspiring and motivational words with those present and encouraged TRiO students to work diligently toward their academic and career goals.

Pedro Hilda Arcadia

Lilly Ho and Daniel Erazo-Hernandez were recognized as “TRiO Students of the Year” for demonstrating academic excellence, perseverance in the face of emotional and financial challenges, strong participation in TRiO, and graduating with an Associate Degree as well as transferring to a four-year university. In the fall semester, Lilly will be attending USF to pursue her degree in Nursing and Daniel will be transferring to SFSU to pursue a B.S in Business Administration.

In addition, during the event, 20 TRiO students were recognized for receiving grant-in-aid financial support. TRiO student John Acosta received the “Leopoldo L. Rosales Excellence in the Pursuit of Higher Learning through Higher Education” Award.

TRiO Graduates and Transfers were recognized with a “Certificate of Completion” along with a TRiO stole and book bag. The celebration closed with photo opportunities for families to capture this wonderful moment of academic achievement— it truly was a time to celebrate!

Article written by Jessica Lopez and Virginia Rosales | Photos by Raul GuerraDaniel and Jessica

Heart Wrencher’s Car Care Clinic a Huge Success

clinic 3

Skyline College’s Automotive Technology Department hosted a free car care clinic for students, single parents and low income families on Tuesday, May 20th. Eligible clients received safety inspections, brake inspections, oil changes and tire rotations all free of charge. The Heart Wrenchers (club for the female automotive students) organized the event in partnership with local repair shops and social service agencies in San Mateo County.

Funding for this event was donated by O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Topline Autosport, Skyline College Organizations and Club Council and Helming’s Auto Repair. Students volunteered their time to perform the services and make recommendations for needed repairs. Over 25 low income individuals received much needed services. The Heart Wrenchers would like to thank our sponsors, the Automotive staff and faculty and the generosity of the automotive students for making this event a huge success!

Article and photo by Julia Johnson

ECE and Education News

14230606194_e7bc2fb3f7_zSkyline College’s annual Education Graduation Celebration was held Thursday evening, May 15, at the Skyline College Child Development Center. Both Skyline College and Cañada College students completing an Early Childhood Education [ECE] or Special Education [ECSE Certificate] or ECE degree during the Summer 2013, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters were honored by noting their achievements and their future plans. The Program was opened with songs by the graduating preschoolers, followed by welcoming remarks by Skyline College ECE/EDU Program Coordinator Kate Williams Browne, Dean Don Carlson, and Vice-President Sarah Perkins.

14251026573_ed24401aaa_zInspiring keynote addresses by Senator Jerry Hill and Alumna Drea Gabriel served as bookends to announcements of each student graduate as s/he walked across the stage. Refreshments and cake were served to families, friends, faculty and graduates, accompanied by Skyline College’s Jazz Quintet. Congratulations to ECE students who have worked hard to accomplish their goals! This year, students have earned 41 Certificates [ECE, ECSE, Foundations] and 41 Degrees [ECE, AST, & High Honors]! Skyline College and Cañada College are proud of you and know that you will help to make the world a better place for children, families and educational settings here and beyond.

Special thanks to all who helped make the event success: Dave Haw of Facilities, Rick McMahon of Pacific Dining, Zack Bruno of the Music Department, Dean Linda Hayes, Val Goines & Sue Eftekhari of Cañada College, Cece Rebele & Shawna Whitney of Skyline College, and the staff of the Early Learning Child Development Center.

 Article and photos by Kate Williams Browne

EOPS/CARE/CalWORKS Goes Above and Beyond

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EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs provides over and above services to its program participants. Here are some 2013-2014 program highlights: The EOPS Program provided $250 book vouchers/grants to over 300 students; visited 11 college campuses: University of California- Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz; San Jose State University; California State University -Long Beach, Los Angeles; Cal Poly Pomona, University of Southern California; and the program also paid for EOPS students’ caps/gowns.

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This year EOPS used technology to transcend borders and inspire its students. Former EOPS alumni Ricardo Quinto (Press Secretary for New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich), who attended UCLA and John Hopkins University, skyped in from his office in Washington, D.C. He acknowledged how instrumental EOPS was to his success to a room full of over 120 students. Ricardo went on to inspire students to always strive to perform their best and take advantage of all EOPS services.

Article submitted by Guillermo Alonzo | Photos by Amandeep Singh and Pablo Gonzalez

Skyline College Hosts First Ever CalFresh In A Day Event

SparkPoint Table

Skyline College hosted a first of its kind event on Monday, May 12, 2014 during which eligible students and community members who resided in San Mateo or San Francisco Counties accomplished the following in one day:

  • Apply for CalFresh (Food Stamps)
  • Submit verification documents
  • Complete an eligibility interview
  • Receive an eligibility determination
  • Obtain an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
  • Select a pin number
  • Receive a free bag of groceries

Iliana Rodriguez, San Mateo County Human Services Agency Director, provided a keynote address during which she highlighted the ingenuity of our community partners to host an event which increased access to food assistance in a way which had never been done before.

Second Harvest Food BankA certified nutritionist provided a demonstration on how to prepare “veggie tortilla roll-ups” repeatedly throughout the event and provided samples to participants. Regardless of eligibility status, each individual who attended the event walked away with a grocery bag filled with ingredients included in the “veggie tortilla wraps,” as well as the following items: tomatoes, romaine lettuce, black olives, whole wheat tortillas, cream cheese, green chilies, bell peppers, cucumber, green beans, mixed fruit, corn, corn flakes, spaghetti, rice, canned tuna, and pinto beans.

Skyline College Financial Aid Office, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, San Francisco Food Bank, San Mateo County Human Services Agency, and SparkPoint at Skyline College set up resource tables with information about their services for students and community members who attended the event.

A Skyline College photographer took pictures during the event to capture the excitement of individuals, who for the first time ever, had the ability to apply for and receive CalFresh benefits in the same day. Furthermore, under SparkPoint at Skyline College’s leadership, San Mateo and San Francisco County Human Services Agencies collaborated for the first time on an initiative which transcended typically intransigent county boarders and policies. SparkPoint at Skyline College hopes that the event’s success will serve as an impetus for future collaborations among agencies that perform similar functions in our community.

The abovementioned partners collectively assisted twenty-three individuals with completing CalFresh applications, and ten individuals walked away with EBT cards in hand. These ten individuals were able to leave campus with a debit card which they could use to purchase groceries for themselves and their families. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of these committed partners, students and community members were able to easily access a resource which is typically laden with red tape and exorbitant paperwork.

Article by Heather Smith  | Photos by Claudia Paz

Inside Skyline College: Faculty & Staff Resources

shinesInside Skyline College is a newly developed website that serves as a resource for faculty, staff and administration of the college. This site takes the place of the former Faculty/Staff site and includes important resources such as how to order business cards online. The goal of the page was to shift internally-focused information from the public website into an easy to use portal format. Much of the information on the site contains quick links to easily access information of interest.

The site is still a work in progress, so feedback about what would be helpful for you and your department to see/be able to access from this portal is welcome. Please contact Cherie Colin at colinc@smccd.edu with any feedback.

Thank you to Liz Gaudet, Web Programmer Analyst who worked diligently in conceptualizing and implementing the site.

Article by Cherie Colin with help from Liz Gaudet