Daily Archives: March 22, 2018

Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics

Over 1,200 middle and high school girls from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties attended the 38th annual Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics (EYH) conference at Skyline College on March 1.

Volunteers from Skyline College and North San Mateo County Soroptimist planed the conference which was funded by the President’s Innovation Fund. Soroptimist of North San Mateo County provided scholarships and school buses for north county girls, who are mostly middle school aged (83%).

EYH is a conference geared toward increasing their interest in the critical Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers through hands-on workshops.

Over 100 scientists volunteered to present workshops. Additionally, Skyline College students and Skyline College alumnae who have completed their baccalaureates degrees presented workshops. Faculty and staff who presented workshops and/or mentored students developing workshops included Alice Erskine, Mary McKay, Nick Kapp, Chris Case, Carla Grandy, Carina Anttila-Suarez, Judith Crawford, Jing Folsom, Elsa Jimenez-Samayoa, Safiyyah Forbes, Janice McOmber, Janelle Barbier, Julia Johnson, Mary Thomasmeyer, Ray Hernandez, Maryam Khan, Kylin Johnson, Emilie Hein, Lauren Ford, Madison Steele, and Valerie Higgins. Another 70 Skyline College students volunteered to help usher girls between their sessions.

Dean Christine Roumbanis started the day by welcoming the girls and introducing keynote speaker Dr. Rita Ng, who gave an inspiring talk, encouraging the girls that they can do anything they want. Dr. Ng is a cardiologist and Physician in Chief at Kaiser Hospital Oakland.

In their workshops, girls designed a secret code, collected forensic evidence at the “murder in the produce aisle,” made lip balm as “cosmetic chemists,” “scrubbed in for surgery” and learned the chemistry of magic tricks. There were 56 concurrent workshops for girls. Each girl participated in three workshops during the day.

Expanding Your Horizons aims to encourages girls to participate in high school math and science courses, provides role models for young women who are interested in math and science, and promotes interaction between people employed by industry and education.

Planning committee members include AJ Bates, Shari Bookstaff, Chris Case, Kevin Chak, Gary Cheung, Stephen Fredricks, Jon Freedman, Mousa Ghanma, Ray Hernandez, Kylin Johnson, Nadia Tariq, and Alana Utsumi. Community members on the planning committee include Arlene Chang, Barbara Irli, Judy Lewis, and Kim Touneh.


Article by Christine Case | Illustration by Andrea Caesar

Skyline College Bids a Happy Retirement to a Beloved Colleague

Jimmy Chan, a dear friend and colleague of the Skyline College community will begin his retirement on March 30, 2018.

Jimmy has been a true gleam of joy for everyone who encounters him. He has demonstrated a strong work ethic and dignity that we all can learn from reflecting upon. Working in Facilities with the San Mateo Community College District for the past fourteen years, Jimmy has spent the latter twelve at Skyline College with Building 5 as his assignment for the past three years. Jimmy is always ready to roll up his sleeves, full of encouraging words at just the right time, and demonstrates a quiet strength that is rare in this day and age. A few expressions from co-workers express this best:

“My first night ever working at Skyline College was a big change from the school I worked at previously, not the least of which was because I was working an evening shift by myself. Jimmy took the time to stop, introduce himself to me, and ask how my first day was going because he didn’t recognize my face. I think that encapsulates who he is, someone who knows the people he works with well enough to recognize a new face and someone kind enough to take time out of his day to welcome a new colleague to the Skyline community. It’s people like Jimmy that make Skyline College such a nice place to work.” TLC IA II/ VP of Classified Senate Christina Trujillo said.

“I would like to thank Mr. Jimmy for all his services through all of these years. Mr. Jimmy is always kind and friendly to us (everyone). There are times Jimmy saw us working late, and he would bring us Japanese crackers as snacks for our late shifts. As sad as it will be not to have Mr. Jimmy around, I am really happy for his retirement. I wish him and his family the best and a happy retirement.” TRiO Math Coordinator/ Math Instructor Miranda Wang said.

“Mr. Jimmy has supported TLC since before my father passed and the two of them often spoke when I was working late, and Dad was waiting to pick me up. Aside from his highly driven work ethic, I will never forget the nurturing way that Mr. Jimmy has looked after me since that devastating loss.” TLC-TRIO IA II/ English Instructor Chanel Daniels said.

Jimmy will be spending Spring Break with his daughter, March 23 will be our final opportunity to express gratitude before his official sendoff. While we will miss him dearly, we wish Jimmy the greatest joy and fulfillment as he travels the world with his lovely wife.

Article written by Chanel Daniels | Photo by Bryan Evans

International Students Lead Japanese Conversation Group

The Japanese Conversation Group is a new group on campus derived from the original Japanese Culture Link club.

This association was created to give students the opportunity to learn Japanese from two of our very own international students. They teach Japanese vocabulary, grammar, cultural mannerisms, and reading. There are already a few members with varying levels of Japanese comprehension, from beginners to students who are fluent: learners at all levels are welcome to join.

Current members of the program express feelings of excitement about learning the language and having a platform where they can practice. Members especially enjoy the fact that they are learning from Japanese expats, and that they get a deeper understanding of Japanese cultures through the students sharing stories about their own personal experience. It has also been a great opportunity for them to make friends and speak to like-minded people.

The club and language group are coming together to host a Japanese movie screening on Friday, April 6, 2018 from 1:00PM-3:30PM in the Multicultural Center. The movie will be in Japanese and will have English subtitles. There will be a brief language lesson prior to the movie so that the non-Japanese speaking audience will have a better understanding of the movie. There will be also be snacks provided so viewers will have something to nibble on while they enjoy the film. This will be the first of many events that the club will be hosting in 2018 and it is open to anyone who is interested.

The conversation group is every Monday, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. and every Thursday, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. and is held in the Learning Center, room 5-102.

For more information on the Japanese Conversation Group and/or the movie screening, e-mail jculturelink@gmail.com.

Aritcle and Photo by Naledi Mthembu

Beta Theta Omicron Earns Chapter and Individual Awards

Photo from left: Michael Wong, Thanh Nguyen, Martha Marquez, Mei Ling Lai, Xiaowen Cai, Sufang Tan, Michele Huang.

Skyline College’s Omicron Theta Beta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society achieved the distinction of Five Star Status for 2018. This is the 18th consecutive time since the chapter was chartered in November 1999 that the chapter has earned the highest status awarded by Phi Theta Kappa.

To achieve the five-star level, members must do scholarly research and develop and implement a service project on the Honors Study Topic. Additionally, they must develop and implement a College Project, specifically for the benefit of the College.

At the Nevada/California Regional Convention this past weekend, Beta Theta Omicron’s officers received the Distinguished Chapter Officer Team Award for demonstrating an exceptional atmosphere of teamwork, leadership abilities, and promotion of a scholarly Honors in Action project.

Current co-president Xiaowen Cai and past-president Mei Ling Lai each received the Regional Scholar Award. This award is based on an essay on the Honors Study Topic and the student’s transcript. Xiaowen and Mei Ling tied in the judges’ evaluations.

Xiaowen and Mei Ling accept the CPRS award.

Mei Ling and Xiaowen also went to the California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS) Banquet to receive the Champions of the Community Award that CPRS presented to Beta Theta Omicron. South San Francisco nominated the chapter for their continued commitment to helping senior citizens achieve computer literacy.

Article by Christine Case

Kappa Beta Delta Honor Society Spring Initiation

Alpha Beta Chi chapter of Kappa Beta Delta Honor Society Co-Presidents Vincent Ramsey and Laymin Saw inducted sixteen new members on March 14, 2018.

They are Kyaw Aung, Alexander Chen, Katrina Cheng, Irish Camille Cruz, Paul Dzul, Alicia Finger, Pearl Ibeanusi, Jacob Korf, Markinna McConico, Junn Ng, Adonai Prado, Julieta Mares Rich, Alaina Romeo, Mawulan Yashengji, Justin Yu, and Yongyi Zen.

To qualify for membership students must have completed fifteen units at Skyline College with a minimum 3.4 cumulative GPA and have completed two courses in their business major.

Vincent Ramsey and Laymin Saw received service awards for their leadership this year.

Linda Whitten greeted the new members on behalf of the Kappa Beta Delta International Board of Directors and Dean Christine Roumbanis talked about the importance of accreditation in Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Article by Linda Whitten | Photos by Albert Ramos

The Learning Commons and Language Arts Collaborate to Flex for Student Success!

The Learning Commons and English/ESOL Departments teamed up for a highly attended and incredibly productive afternoon of reflection and dialogue on March 8, 2018.

Key elements of the tutoring process were addressed in order to deepen the quality of support received by Skyline College students. In preliminary planning, it was determined that establishing best practices for unpacking prompts with students, as well as prioritizing in tutoring sessions once this has been done, would yield maximum benefit. The impact can be best summed up through the expressions of tutors and faculty in attendance.

“Our flex day activity was a great opportunity to connect with other tutors (and professors) about best practices when assisting students.” English Tutor Joshua Paras said. “Activities like these help me develop a rapport with the larger English Learning Assistance community at Skyline College.”

“It was a pleasure working with this impressive group of thoughtful, smart, and dedicated tutors.” English Professor Rachel Bell said. “Our students are in good hands.”

It is our hope that this team effort can become a regular staple of the mid-semester flex trainings offered. Key best practice gathered during the training are as follows:

Best Practices for Breaking down Prompts:

  • Have students mark up/annotate the prompt
  • Identify focus & task
  • Make sure student understands the genre
  • Look at each piece of the prompt & check for understanding
  • Help students unpack complex ideas
  • Help students draft a “working” thesis
  • Turn over prompt and have the student explain what they are being asked to do.
  • Have a conversation and/or freewrite about the tasks.
  • Talk through the required structure of the paper
  • Ask “How can I help?” without making assumptions
  • Ask critical questions: “What do you think?” “Why do you think that?”
  • Look for clues throughout the prompt
  • Ask student to explain text/story
  • Work backwards towards a concise thesis (from loose ideas)
  • Reverse outline the paper
  • Exercise empathy with your students
  • Enlist sections of the Skyline rhetoric for help (especially the thesis section)
  • Create a question & answer it to develop a thesis
  • Help student to make sure response is text based
  • Ask “What is your writing process?”
  • Give time for ESOL/non-native speaker to silent read the prompt, then unpack together

Best Practices for Tutoring Students on Essays:

  • Start with a positive and ask to see earlier drafts w/ teacher’s feedback if available
  • Discuss the difference between key concepts & start reverse outlining based on the thesis statement
  • Put the draft away & have a brainstorming session with a new sheet of paper. Next, apply that brainstorm back into the work they already have.
  • Isolate an element of the essay for improvement (set goals)
  • Group similar ideas
  • Big picture (content) vs small picture (grammar/editing/proofreading)
  • Have students explain the quotes/information with adequate analysis
  • Refine strong and relevant examples
  • Label the TEA/PIE in each paragraph
  • Look at 1 or 2 grammar challenges and then have tutee apply to the next instance of error
  • Ask questions in order to help develop reverse outline based on prompt (use guiding & probing questions)
  • Regularly integrate sincere commendation balanced with constructive feedback
  • Help students by encouraging language reflective of growth mindset
  • Discuss long-term benefits

Article written by Chanel Daniels l Photo by Scott McMullin

Skyline College Celebrates Open Education Week

Skyline College joined hundreds of higher education institutions around the world in celebrating Open Education Week which took place from March 5 to March 9.

At Skyline College, our goal for celebrating Open Education Week was to:

o   Increase focus on textbook affordability as a social justice issue.

o   Encourage faculty to choose low-cost course materials

o   Educate students & faculty on the benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Coordinated by the Academic Support & Learning Technology (ASLT) Division, Open Education Week included activities for both faculty and students. Students participated in a textbook affordability survey, interactive whiteboards, “Instead of textbooks, I could have bought…”, and button making highlighting awareness around rising textbook costs and how the open education movement seeks to provide students with low-cost or free materials for courses.

Several faculty, staff, and administrators participated in an all-college panel, “Introduction to Open Educational Resources and the Faculty Perspective” featuring a keynote from Director of the CCCOER Consortium Una Daly, and Skyline Faculty Panelists: Bridget Fischer, Art; Adam Windham, Physics; Rick Hough, Math; Dr. John Calavitta, English; Krista McClain, Psychology.

Faculty panelists shared insights on their journey toward adopting open education resources (OER) as well as successes and challenges. All panelists agreed that the benefit to students outweighed the challenges with finding relevant, current, and engaging OER materials.

Skyline College recognizes the continued high cost of textbooks as a barrier that impacts student success. Inability to afford textbooks and course materials is an equity issue and it can be addressed through OER adoption. Through the support of the Skyline College Library and Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL) the Skyline College community will continue to promote OER awareness, faculty professional development, and ongoing support for OER adoption.

Want to get involved with the Skyline College Open Education Movement?

Visit our new webpage at: http://skylinecollege.edu/oer/ to learn more about where to get started and upcoming professional development opportunities.


Article by Bianca Rowden-Quince & Pia Walawakar | Photo by Zaw Min Khant