Monthly Archives: May 2015

Spring Choral Spectacular Has Audience On Their Feet!

Spring Choral ConcertOn Sunday, May 17, Skyline College Concert Choir and Skyline College Vocal Jazz Ensemble hosted special guests Westmoor High School Concert Choir and Final Note-Us (Westmoor High School’s a capella singing group) for a Spring Choral spectacular!  The Concert Choir, conducted by Jude Navari and accompanied by Margaret Fondbertasse, sang a set of music of magic, fantasy, and enchantment including a new arrangement of “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” by choir member Kevin Valera.  (The Concert Choir also performed their set at Broadmoor Presbyterian Church in Daly City on Saturday, May 16.)

The Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Michelle Hawkins, sang a set titled “Rock With You” featuring Michelle’s Brazilian style arrangement of the Michael Jackson classic.  The Vocal Jazz Ensemble was accompanied by Ben Flint (Piano), Clinton Day (bass) and Phil Hawkins (Drums). Westmoor High School Chorus was directed by Stephanie Stewart and Westmoor’s Final Note-Us was directed by Kris Cruz.  Special thanks to Josh Harris for designing lighting that made us look fantastic too!

Article and Photo by Jude Navari

SMCCCD Study Abroad Program Joins the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative

GSA_partner_logo_orangeThe San Mateo County Community College District Study Abroad Program has joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans to gain international experience through study abroad programs. This is one of more than 450 new commitments announced by IIE.

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. The District Study Abroad Program, housed at Skyline College, has pledged to send 500 students across the three campuses abroad by 2018.

Under the new partnership, the SMCCCD Study Abroad Program will take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad.  Some of these opportunities include offering faculty engagement workshops to provide more faculty-led study abroad programs, study abroad scholarship sessions at the College of San Mateo, Cañada College and Skyline College and launch a Community Travel Program to generate institutional scholarships for study abroad.

Initial benefits to the District of this partnership include access to study abroad scholarship opportunities, use of the Generation Study Abroad logo in marketing and outreach efforts, and free access for all District students, faculty and staff to the IIE publication “A Student Guide to Study Abroad” valued at $14.95 per copy.

As of November 2014, Generation Study Abroad partners to date include over 300 colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as 13 governments, 16 education associations, 67 international partners, and 56 study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversity the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad in 2014 in the belief that the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

About Generation Study Abroad

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase study abroad participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing programs. Generation Study Abroad will sustain an ongoing dialogue about the need for more students from all backgrounds and in all fields to gain international experience. This will include research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources.  IIE will also hold a Summit on Generation Study Abroad on October 1-2, 2015 in Washington, D.C. to engage stakeholders in higher education and all commitment partners.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

Article by Zaid Ghori

Dr. Gloria Arjona – Black Mexico: The African Heritage in Mexico

Gloria ArjonaThe African Diaspora Program at Skyline College hosted Dr. Gloria Arjona as she and her husband Javier Arjona presented “Black Mexico: The African Heritage in Mexico” on May 20, 2015. Dr. Arjona’s presentation focused on understanding the social and cultural contributions of African descended people in Mexico. She noted, that while it has been largely written out of textbooks, the contributions of African descended people in Mexico cannot be overstated. Examples from Dr. Arjona’s presentation ranged from what has been traditionally believed to be solely Mexican dance, to the various hierarchies determined by interracial parentage.

Students and Skyline College faculty and staff alike were captivated by the wonderful singing and guitar playing of the Arjona’s. The combination of guitar and vocal stylings were used as a tool to further highlight the similarities to and contributions of African descended people to Mexican history. This interactive presentation was further highlighted by the inclusion of images of historic Casa Paintings. Casa painting depicted how interracial marriage was viewed during the days of Spanish colonization. The Casa Paintings, after completion, would be sent back to different parts of Europe in order to show the effects of interracial parenting.

A few of the surprising highlights:

  • Mexico’s first black president, Vicente Guerrero, issued Mexico’s slavery abolition decree
  • The traditional Mexican drink agua de jamaica, has its roots in Africa
  • Juan Garrido, who was born around 1480 in West Africa is the most prominent from a small group of free Africans who traveled to the Americas during the Spanish conquest of the West Indies and Mexico in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries.  Later Juan Garrido, who became an agricultural innovator, is credited with introducing wheat harvesting to the Americas.

Overall the presentation was well received and attended. We would like to thank all those who attended.

Article by Clyde Lewis | Photo by Maryam Hadi

UC Transfer Admissions Numbers on the Rise

googleplus-avatar-roundThis year, Skyline College Transfer Students did very well in being admitted to 2 of our very competitive local UC campuses!

Through our partnerships, we have received preliminary numbers of admits for fall 2015 at UC Berkeley and UC Davis. At UC Davis, we have an impressive 88 students admitted and 20 still on the waitlist. Comparatively, 83 students were admitted last year. Over the past year, our UC Davis Representative Mayra Escobar has tirelessly dedicated her time to supporting Skyline College students transfer to Davis. With her continued presence and the presence of the UC Davis Transfer Opportunity Program, a program designed to support first generation underrepresented students, we expect the numbers to continue to grow and continue to be strong!

We also had a very impressive 33 students offered admissions at UC Berkeley for Fall 2015 or Spring 2016! This is the highest number of admitted students in recent years! The highest number was 30 in 2010! One of the biggest highlights is that 6 students were admitted into the very prestigious HAAS School of Business. In Fall 2014, only 91 transfer students were offered admissions to HAAS, with 1637 transfer students applying nation-wide. This is an extremely impressive accomplishment of these 6 students- one for us to celebrate!

To recognize the success of all Skyline College transfer students, the Transfer Center will be hosting a Transfer Achievement Recognition Dinner on Friday, May 22. It’s time to take a moment to celebrate our students success before we gear up to prepare the next group of transfer students this Fall!

Article by Suzanne Poma

Students Learn To Get “Googlie”

students on google campusThis past Wednesday, May 20 the Career Services Center led a group of twenty-two students to the Google campus in Mountain View, CA.  The visit included a walking tour of the Google campus, a trip to the visitor’s center, lunch on campus, and a Q & A session with Googlers.

Students learned about the history of Google, its mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and its culture which asks its employs to look for “Moonshoots” in their work, or ideas that reach for the moon.  Students learned about internship and career opportunities at Google.  Representatives from Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing departments also talked about their personal journey into the company, the variety of employment opportunities available, and the qualities of “googliness” that the company values.  Overall it was an informative and inspiring visit!

Special thanks to our Jesse Haro, John Saenz, and Lezra Chenportillo for making this visit possible!  Also thanks to Brian Jenney for helping to chaperone this trip, and Lavinia Zanassi, Jessica Lopez, and Stephen Fredricks for helping to connect students to this opportunity!

Article by Lezra Chenportillo

Vocal Jazz Ensemble Entertains Students, Sings in Fireside Dining Room

Vocal Jazz Ensemble at Fireside_2015The Skyline College Vocal Jazz Ensemble’s 2014-2015 performance tour came to a rousing conclusion with a lunchtime concert for Skyline College students in the Building 6 Fireside Dining room on May 20.  The VJE performed a wide range of musical styles featuring songs by Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Kurt Elling, and Tower of Power.

The Vocal Jazz Ensemble performance tour included the November 2014 Cuesta College Jazz Festival in San Luis Obispo and the March 2015 Columbia College Jazz Festival in Sonora.  Additionally, the award-winning ensemble was invited to perform at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland by jazz pianist/vocalist Matt Falker in February 2015.  The Vocal Jazz Ensemble also participated in a collaborative concert exchange with Daly City’s Westmoor High School Music Department.  The VJE performed on the Westmoor Spring Choral Concert, and the Westmoor Choirs performed in the Skyline College Choral Concert on May 17.

This year’s Skyline College Commencement Ceremony on May 29 will feature the Vocal Jazz Ensemble in an encore performance.

For more information about the Vocal Jazz Ensemble program please contact Michelle Hawkins at

Article by Zachary  Bruno | Photo by Michelle Hawkins

Spring 2015 Internship Job Shadow Program

InternsPlease join the GLPS division and the RHT Program as we congratulate our Spring 2015 Internship Class on a successful semester!  We spent the last four months training student interns and creating opportunities, such as job shadowing, career modeling, networking and professional development with our different programs.  All interns received a certificate of completion signed by the Dean of GLPS, Dr. Tammy Robinson and the RHT Director, Andrea Vizenor.

The Internship Job Shadow Program provides real-world job experience to students interested in business, international trade, international tourism, entrepreneurship, office administration and other related industries. Interns are also eligible to receive up to 4 units of college credit through the Cooperative Education Program.

Via the Internship Job Shadow Program students are exposed to valuable experiences such as:

  • Networking events
  • Business Seminars
  • Professional Development
  • Trade Shows/Conferences
  • Paid Internships/Job Opportunities
  • Youth Events
  • Technical Skills Enhancement
  • Soft Skills Training
  • International Delegation Events and Meetings
  • Hospitality Training Programs
  • In-bound Trade Missions
  • And more!

Please be on the lookout our Summer 2015 Internship announcement!

This internship job-shadow opportunity is available each academic semester to all Skyline College students regardless of their field of study.

For more information on the Internship Job Shadow Program, please contact, Pcyeta Stroud at

Article by Pcyeta Stroud | Photo by Alessandra Zanassi

Skyline LINKS Inc. Mentorship Academy Finale

LINKS StudentsThe Skyline Links Inc. Mentorship academy, developed by Professor Danielle Powell and Clyde Lewis, concluded its spring semester with a celebration on May 13, 2015. All of participants are current Skyline College students and came from a range of backgrounds. This phenomenal group of future leaders were able to come together and lend mutual support through Mentorship.

Throughout the semester, faculty and staff from Skyline College worked with members from the LINKS Inc. in order to provide students with sometimes brief, but always informative narratives about how to navigate life as a woman. Personal narratives included topics ranging from overcoming the struggles of poverty, to breaking the very real glass ceiling of the work world. Through personal examples, the Skyline College students were able to better understand that while some of the struggles were daunting, that they could overcome them.

The closing celebration included speeches by Dr. Tammy Robinson and project facilitator Professor Danielle Powell. Participants were provided with award certificates and a set of books geared toward continuing to expand on the lessons from the semester.

In talking with the Skyline College students who participated, they are all really grateful to have been a part of this Mentorship Program, and look forward to the coming semesters.

Article by Clyde Lewis | Photo by Joseph Adams

TRiO Student Spotlight: Shelvina Singh

Shelvina SinghIt is our pleasure to introduce Shelvina Singh to the Skyline College community.

Shelvina joined the TRiO SSS Program in fall of 2014, her first semester of college after graduating from high school. During her short time with TRiO, Shelvina has been heavily involved in various aspects of the TRiO community and is a joy to be around for all who have the privilege of working with her, students, staff and faculty alike. Shelvina comes from a life of struggle, a first generation college student originally from the island of Fiji where opportunities for higher education are extremely limited. Her transition to life in the United States was one characterized by unfortunate brushes with racial discrimination due to her ambiguous features, which almost caused her to give up on her education. However, with the help of a loving counselor during high school and two very dedicated parents, as well as her own will to resist stereotypical expectations of her potential, Shelvina excelled during the closing years of high school.

These days, bringing an almost complete draft of a paper a month in advance of the due date is just common practice for this shining TRiO star. Shelvina was recruited by Skyline College for the Reading Partners program, so she has volunteered at Los Cerritos Elementary School, helping young children with their enjoyment and comprehension of reading. She also a volunteered for TRiO’s Middle School Outreach Project- Student Conference coordinated by TRiO Counselor, Jessica Lopez. Here, Shelvina volunteered  for the panel to advise young students about college and guided them with her own personal stories from middle and high school.

When asked about what keeps her motivated even during those most challenging of times, Shelvina had this to say:

“My inspiration is my parents. During my difficult moments or problems, I look at my parents! Why? Because they never got the opportunities that I have gotten! They never had a chance to go to college and struggled to maintain a household when moving to the States. They worked overtime and did whatever they could to provide for my siblings and I. In the future, I’d like to give back to my parents, to take care of them! They are my inspiration and motivation to do better.”

During her spare time, Shelvina enjoys going on adventures to places that she’s never been, especially to explore the beauty of nature, and she has the long term goal of majoring in Psychology and becoming a youth probation officer. Knowing Shelvina, nothing will stop her from achieving this goal which is close to her heart and a strong catalyst for her impetus to succeed.

Article written by Chanel Daniels   l    Photo by Alexis Guillen De La Cruz

Band, Orchestra, and Guest Artists Concertize Together

On May 15, 2015, Skyline College’s Concert Band (MUS. 430) and Symphony Orchestra (MUS. 440) joined with the South San Francisco High School Band and a professional string quartet to provide their receptive audience with a diverse and impressive performance.

The Friction Quartet, a San Francisco-based ensemble of classically-trained professionals who specialize in modern music, opened the concert with a selection by Ludwig van Beethoven, followed by a selection composed in 2010 by legendary Bay Area composer John Adams. The Skyline College Symphony Orchestra, led by Dr. Zachary Bruno, took the stage alongside the Friction Quartet and performed pieces by W.A. Mozart, J.S. Bach, and Sergei Taneyev.

After intermission, the bands were the stars. South San Francisco High School’s Symphonic Band, led by Dan Talbert, performed the Sea to Sky suite, a 25-minute four-movement work by Ralph Ford. Skyline College’s Concert Band then performed pieces by John Philip Sousa, Alfred Reed, W.A. Mozart, with student trumpet soloist and concerto competition winner Alan Burnett stealing the show in a Herbert Clarke piece composed for trumpet and band entitled “The Debutante”. The 96 musicians of the two bands joined forces for Henry Fillmore’s “The Circus Bee” conducted by Skyline College alumnus and current San Francisco State University music student Ben Villa, followed by the Skyline College “Alma Mater” and South San Francisco High School’s Fight Song.

Article by Zack Bruno