Daily Archives: March 24, 2016

Two Skyline College Students Earn Phi Theta Kappa All-California Scholarships

Vitoria Araujo Goncalves
Two Skyline College Students, each Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members, have earned All-California Scholarships and placement on the All-California Community College Academic Team. The selection for the All-California teams was determined by the scores nominees received from Phi Theta Kappa judges at the national level selecting winners for the national academic teams. These 60 students represent some of the best of the 2.1 million students enrolled in California’s 113 community colleges.

First-team member Vitoria Araujo Goncalves emigrated from Brazil at the age of seven. She has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa since 2014. Vitoria currently serves as a senator in the Associated Students of Skyline College. Vitoria has a passion for helping those who are English learners like her. Through Reading Partners, she has worked with numerous students to improve their reading levels. As a current student ambassador within Skyline College’s Outreach program, she publicizes to local high schools the importance of attaining an education through community college. Vitoria is majoring in Business Administration and plans to transfer to the University of California, Berkeley. Her long-term goal is to establish a sustainable manufacturing company and aid in the betterment of the textiles industry.

yelanaSecond-team member Yelena Vayn is studying Biology at Skyline College. She plants to transfer to the University of California to complete her undergraduate studies. She hopes to attend medical school, and eventually, work in the medical field. At Skyline, she has been on the dean’s list every semester, and joined both Phi Theta Kappa as well as the honors program. Her second semester, she became the teaching assistant for a general biology at Skyline College. She has been volunteering and doing research at Saint Mary’s hospital. Just recently, she became an English teacher at the Eye Level Center in Belmont. Aside from academics, Yelena is a competitive ballroom/Latin dancer. In 2014, she and her partner were bronze medalists in the USA National Latin Dance Championship. She went on to represent the USA in the world Latin dance championship in Moscow, Russia. Now, she is teaching Ballroom/Latin dance to students of all ages.

Article by Christine Case

SparkPoint Attended DREAM 2016

DREAM 2016 AttendeesThe DREAM 2016 Conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia from February 23 to February 26.  This year SparkPoint at Skyline College sent three representatives, including interim Director of SparkPoint and Career Service Center at Skyline College, Chad Thompson, Program Services Coordinator, Heather Smith, and Staff Assistant, Julie Lamson.

DREAM 2016 is an annual convening of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network – the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education. This event brought together about 2,000 influential policy-makers, investors, leaders, and practitioners from over 200 colleges throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia, who are dedicated to addressing one of our nation’s most urgent challenges: helping more community college students succeed. This year’s emphasis was on “Equity and Excellence,” focusing on student success and closing the achievement gaps for historically underserved student populations.

We reflected on and shared lessons about ways to increase student success by improving data analysis, program evaluation, and student-centered decision making.  Day 1 was spent with SparkPoint’s Working Student Success Network (WSSN), which included about 100 people from 23 colleges in 4 states. Julie Lamson presented about SparkPoint’s data collection and evaluation, and we shared best practices and strategies. Day 2 was filled with various breakout session, one in particular titled, “Beyond Financial Aid: How colleges are supporting students’ financial stability and improving outcomes” where SparkPoint at Skyline College was used as an example model program.  Heather Smith was asked by the presenters to speak about SparkPoint at Skyline College during the session.  Day 3, Chad Thompson presented in a spotlight session on “Centering Financial Wellness in Student Success” in which SparkPoint was highlighted as a resource for student success and retention.  The convening was directly tied to SparkPoint’s mission of mitigating economic disparities, and increasing student success and financial well-being.

Article by Julie Lamson | Photos by Chad Thompson and Julie Lamson

Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud Honored with the Mary McLeod Bethune Leaders of Distinction Award


awardees at the Leaders of distinction awardsThe African American Regional Educational Alliance honored Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, President of Skyline College and five other African American female presidents and chancellors with the Mary McLeod Bethune Leaders of Distinction Award on Saturday, March 19, 2016. The award was bestowed upon Dr. Stroud since she has dedicated her life to not only improving the lives of students through education, but also advancing and exposing all students to the possibilities that are available to them by obtaining higher education degrees or certificates.

The award of distinction holds particular significance because Mary McLeod Bethune was the first African American female college president in the United States. Ms. McLeod Bethune opened the doors to the Cookman Institute for Men in 1923 and the institution later became known as Bethune-Cookman College. The college was one of the few places that African American students could pursue a college degree. She remained with the college until 1942.

Dr. Stroud is a champion for students and clearly lives up to the Mary McLeod Bethune Leaders of Distinction Award she was given as she states in her “President’s Welcome” quoting bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress:

“The academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created…In the field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom (207).”

Dr. Stroud also writes: “I urge you to practice until you get it right. Get an education as if your life and the lives of future generations in your family depend on it – because they do.”

It is clear that Dr. Stroud lives up to the tenets of Mary McLeod Bethune Leaders of Distinction Award. One more note about the parallels of these two dynamic women is that Mary McLeod Bethune was known as the “First Lady of the Struggle.” She devoted her career to improving the lives of African Americans through education, political and economic empowerment.” Skyline College is again honored to have Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud as its college president.

Article and photos by Dr. Tammy Robinson