Monthly Archives: May 2018

Students Exploring Careers and Engaging with Employers through the Career Services Center!

career fairThe Career Services Center is happy to share that our efforts in supporting students over the past semester with career exploration and employer connections has been successful via the services and programs we provide.

Through our program, Get Work Wednesdays, a service that connects students directly to local employers who are actively looking to hire on the spot, we have been able to connect over 25 employers with over 300 students! Many of these employers shared that the students they interacted with showed excellent skills in communication, were well organized, and seemed prepared to engage in conversations around the World of Work. Additionally, at least 60% of employers surveyed indicated that they had conducted on the spot interviews and were able to successfully hire students for the positions they were advertising. Some employers reported that they were able to hire between 1- 3 students as a result of their participation in GWW.

Additionally, we were also able to host an Amazon Hiring Event for students! Amazon representatives hosting the event shared they were able to conduct over 15 on-the-spot interviews, with 9 job offers going out to students. With such a successful event, Amazon is looking forward to continuing their relationship with the Career Services Center so that they can host more hiring events and find other ways to engage with Skyline College students.

We are also happy to share that employer connections didn’t stop there. In anticipation for summer job opportunities and the need to support students’ search to find jobs, Career Services hosted our annual Career Fair on Tuesday, April 17. With close to 40 employers ranging from a wide variety of careers and industries, many students had the opportunity to engage and learn about job opportunities within and outside of the community. The energy was strong and students were excited to have the chance to connect with employers. One student shared that they “learned about careers I never knew I had access to”. Other students shared the sentiment that this fair exposed them to job opportunities they never thought about and that it gave them the chance to learn about what employers are looking for in candidates. And for some students the fair connected them to jobs within an industry they always wanted to learn more about. Overall, the event was well attended by both students and employers.

And in conjunction to connecting students with employers and jobs, the Center also hosted a workshop with Price Waterhouse Coopers to recruit students for their Summer Professional Development Internship programs. We are excited to share that for the 3rd consecutive year, 4 Skyline College students have been selected for the highly sought after and prestigious internship programs. Please help us in congratulating Justin Yu, Michelle Huang, Paul Dzul and Katrina Cheng for being accepted into the Price Waterhouse Cooper Explore Internship. This program will allow them to embark on a journey of self-discovery and career exploration with PwC’s culture, values, and purpose through a series of interactive experiences with PwC professionals.

And the internship opportunities didn’t stop there! In collaboration with Reading Partners (a President’s Innovation Fund Project dating back to 2013-2014), on Wednesday, February 28, the Center hosted a tutor orientation for Reading Partners. With close to 20 students in attendance, Reading Partner representatives informed us that they have now hired many new wonderful tutors to help support their program. This is exciting news and a step in the right direction to ensuring the Center is continuing to support our local elementary schools, while also connecting Skyline College students to service learning, volunteering, and community involvement.

With all these volunteer opportunities and employer connections, students also need to be resume and interview ready and so with the help of the Center’s staff, over 80 students were provided assistance with resume and interview readiness. Students who participated in a survey about their experiences during these appointments shared that the staff member was “…able to provide me with a solid foundation of skills to better prepare my resume for future job opportunities” and that thanks to these sessions one student reported that they “…felt more confident in their abilities in interviewing and updating their resume.” Of the students surveyed, over 60% indicated that they were able to acquire a job or were in the process of acquiring one.

And with that, Career Services is looking very much forward to our up-coming fall 2018 semester as we prepare to host more employer visits, the Meet Your Major Fair and Season Job Fair, along with more resume and interview workshops so that we may continue to support career exploration and job readiness for Skyline College students.

Article by Michele Haggar | Photos by Skyline College Marketing Department

ASTEP and Umoja Communities Celebrate 2018 Graduates

ASTEP and Umoja Group PhotoThis year marked the first ever joint End of Semester Celebration with Skyline College’s African American Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) and College of San Mateo’s Umoja Learning Communities.  On Thursday, May 17, 2018, ASTEP and Umoja students and their family members, faculty, administrators and staff members from both campuses came together in the Fireside Dining Hall at Skyline College to celebrate students and graduates in both programs. It was truly an evening of unity and community, and a celebration of African American and African culture.

The evening began with a welcoming ritual led by CSM Ethnic Studies Professor, Frederick Gaines, and was followed by an overview of the 2017-18 program highlights from CSM Umoja Coordinator, Jeramy Wallace and ASTEP Coordinator, Danielle Powell.  The celebration was kicked off by an African Dance, featuring Skyline College ASTEP and International students, Franck Yao, Abiodun Forsythe, Ayanda Miti and Ernest Bediako.  Afterwards, Naledi Mthembu read an original poem that she wrote.  Throughout the evening, there were also inspirational speeches that moved everyone to tears.  Vice President of Instruction, Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza shared an historical overview of the statewide Umoja program and her connection to the CSM and Skyline College programs.  Bay area native, Ameer-Hasaan Walton motivated ASTEP and Umoja students to set goals and hold each other accountable during his keynote speech.  Ameer received his degree in Marketing from Bowie State University and currently works for the Black College Expo. During his undergrad tenure, he co-founded Black Male Agenda which is an African-centered student run organization and mentoring program. He is also the co-founder of Get Far Magazine and he co-hosts the “Live At The Family BBQ” podcast. CSM student, Romell McCalpin-Carter and Skyline College student, Franck Yao gave memorable speeches that highlighted their personal and academic journeys and the support that they’ve received from their respective faculty and colleges.  The night then ended with a celebration of the 2018 graduates as they were honored with certificates and graduation stoles.

Both ASTEP and Umoja are grateful for the support of our college’s administrators, SMCCCD Board of Trustee members, and that of ASTEP and Umoja faculty and staff.  We also thank Roger Marcelo for providing music and sound support during the celebration, and Pac Dining for the great soul food!

Article written by Danielle Powell

Skyline College Hosts Faculty Open Educational Resource (OER) Training Series

OER training #3 breakout activityZero Textbook Cost (ZTC) and Open Educational Resource (OER) Champions recently participated in the Skyline College ISKME Open Educational Resources training series.

Over the course of three workshops, faculty and early adopters:

  • Engaged in hands-on work exploring the what, why, and how of OER
  • Explored courseware improvement tools and developed collaborative workflows to identify, remix, and design resources.
  • Road-mapped strategies for the A. S. Respiratory Care pilot project and refined workflows for individual course implementation and college-wide adoption.

Coordinated by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL) and the OER Team, the OER training series capitalized on the momentum of OpenEd Week and moved the ZTC Grant project forward. Skyline College’s first zero textbook cost (ZTC) degree pathway, A.S. in Respiratory Care, is set to launch fall 2018!

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 that can be addressed through OER adoption and ZTC initiatives. The Skyline College community is committed to identifying and supporting textbook affordability options. Through the coordinated efforts of Skyline College Library, Bookstore, and the CTTL, Skyline College will continue to promote OER awareness for students and faculty, provide faculty professional development, and facilitate OER adoption.

Are you ready to get involved with the Skyline College Open Educational Resource and Zero Textbook Cost Movement? Visit our webpage at: to learn more about where to get started and upcoming professional development opportunities.

Join the Skyline College Group at OER Commons to take advantage of openly shared knowledge, resources, and tools that can be accessed and contributed to by all educators.

Have questions? – Please contact the OER Team at

Article by Bianca Rowden-Quince and Ame Maloney | Photo by Ame Maloney



International Student Attending UN Women’s Conference in Washington DC

Head Shot of NellyanaSkyline College’s international student, Nellyana Altuve-Rojo, was selected to attend the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (“NCCWSL”). The conference will be held in Washington, DC from May 30 – June 2, 2018.

The NCCWSL is an annual United Nations sponsored conference that is held to provide a space dedicated to empowering college women. The conference will be made up of various forums and panels that are aimed at transforming and educating young women leaders. Nellyana will be one of 800 women from colleges and universities all around the United States at the conference.

One of Nellyana’s goals at the conference is to learn more about the impact that women have in politics today. Nellyana’s academic goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Political Science so that she can pursue her dream of working with the United Nations, specifically in the International Relations and Politics Department to combat issues of poor economies in Latin American countries including her homeland, Venezuela. With her participation in this conference, it is obvious that her dreams align with her actions and that she is surely paving her way to a successful career.

Article by Naledi Mthembu | Photo by Zaw Min Khant



Transfer Center Hosts Fifth Annual Transfer Achievement Dinner

Transfer student at Transfer Center dinnerThe Transfer Center hosted its fifth annual Transfer Achievement Dinner on May 18 in the Fireside Dining Room.

The celebration had two primary purposes. First, the event was an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievement of transfer students who will transfer in fall of 2018, and students who transferred in spring 2018. Second, the event is an excellent opportunity to continue to foster and strengthen a transfer culture within Skyline College. The event symbolizes both the achievement of transfer students, while also representing the hard work, resilience, and academic preparation students have committed, to realize this significant academic milestone.

The Transfer Achievement Celebration was well-attended, as more than 70 students attended, with over 133 guests. Thus, the celebration included over 203 guests and over 15 staff, and faculty members. First, students were welcomed at the check-in and provided a tassel to wear for commencement on May 25, or for a future commencement, as they will soon graduate from their four-year universities.

The program began with an engaging welcome and opening speech from Transfer Coordinator and Counselor, Lucy Jovel. Shortly after, guests were able to enjoy dinner and participate in the photo booth activities. Our guest speakers provided words of wisdom and encouragement to our students and their families.
The program featured a speech from Luis de Alba, a Skyline College Alumnus and San Jose State University undergraduate student. Luis’ speech emphasized the importance of persistence, and networking to our guests, especially as students transition into new universities, new environments, and academic programs.
Following up this motivational speech, Dr. Luis Escobar, Dean of Counseling, Advising, and Matriculation, presented on the importance of “why?” That is, he empowered the audience to think what is the primary purpose and motivation fueling their academic endeavors and goals. Dr. Escobar engaged students to consider how this motivation will help them soon transform the communities they serve.

The program included an activity in which students were able to write down and share tips with the audience to encourage future seamless transfer experiences for Skyline students. The dinner concluded with a give-a-way, which featured items donated by the bookstore. During this event, our students and their families shared the table with students who would transfer to the same transfer university. This seating assignment allowed for students to form a transfer community, and share critical information, to allow for a more positive transfer adjustment at their future institutions.

Feedback from both students and parents was overwhelmingly positive. Many students shared their appreciation and excitement for the event. Many students stayed after the event to have their families meet counselors and faculty who supported them along their academic journey.

With that, the Transfer Center would like to thank our Facilities and Operations staff who made this event possible. We also extend our gratefulness and thankfulness to the bookstore manager, Kevin Chak and Marta Cuellar, operation assistant, for their donations. In addition, we thank staff and faculty who supported and recommended students to attend this final celebration.

Article by Ernesto Hernandez

CIPHER and Guardian Scholars Program Celebrate Second Annual Graduation


Group photo of Cipher and Guardian Scholars GraduatesThe CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community and Guardian Scholars Program (GSP) celebrated their second Annual Graduation Celebration on May 15, 2018. We had the opportunity to honor and acknowledge the achievements of twelve dynamic and resilient students who had to overcome obstacles and hardships along the way.  Their stories aligned with the theme based on Nas and Lauryn Hill’s classic song, “If I Ruled The World” highlighting their voices and lived experiences.  Despite all that they faced, students will recieve degrees and are transferring to colleges and universities such as San Jose State University, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Hawaii-Manoa.

In true CIPHER and GSP fashion, the graduates, families, friends, faculty, and staff were treated to a full program of live performances and student speakers.  We got to hear powerful and inspiring words from graduating students, Herri Sundiam and Mercedes Henry about the journey at Skyline College and the impact that programs have had in their educational experience.

A huge thank you to April Crawford and Angie Alvarez for their procession song; Cassandra Bermillo and PeeJay for their soulful grooves, and David “The GQ Specialist” Garon for energizing the crowd with his song, “Soul Bounce.”  Also, a special shout out to Roger Marcelo for providing the beats and musical ambience throughout the evening.

We would also like to thank Delisle Warden and Lasana Hotep for providing the welcome remarks and halftime speech for our graduates.  Making connections to the evening’s theme, they were able to provide thought-provoking wisdom and advice around persistence, resiliency, and resourcefulness as our students enter their next chapters of their educational journeys.

This graduation would not have been a huge success without the help of these amazing people.  Thank you Soledad McCarthy, Webster Cruz, CeeCee Kelly, and Cinque Curry for transforming the space into a beautiful venue, Kevin Chak for refreshments, and Annie Trinh and Amory Cariadus for room reservations.  A big thanks goes to Tia Holiday, Linda Allen, RJ Quiton, and Anna Nguyen for all of the behind the scenes work to make this event possible.

The success of the CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community and Guardian Scholars Program is largely depended on the belief that access and advocacy that is rooted in equity and social justice is absolutely necessary for our students to succeed and to see themselves as members who belong in higher education.  For this to be possible, we would like to give gratitude to our fierce, supportive, and unapologetic Skyline College Leadership team for their unwavering support – Dr. Regina Stanback-Stroud, Dr. Angelica Garcia, Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Dr. Tammy Robinson, Eliosa Briones, Dr. Luis Escobar, Lasana Hotep, Delisle Warden, Christine Roumbanis, Regina Morrison, and Board of Trustee member, Maurice Goodman.


Article by Nate Nevado | Photo by MCPR

Skyline College Welcomes Director of Respiratory Care and Allied Health

Headshot of Gretchen KeysPlease join in welcoming Gretchen Keys to the administrative team as the Director of Respiratory Care and Allied Health beginning May 21, 2018.

Gretchen has been a licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner since 1996 and has provided direct patient care, served in various leadership roles within hospital departments, and has directed Respiratory Care programs within the Southern California area.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a practitioner, an educator, a manager, and a leader. Her many years of experience provides her with a wide network of professionals in respiratory care, education, and the healthcare industry.

She holds an AS in Respiratory Care from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA, a BS in Health Care Administration from Pima Medical Institute in Tucson, AZ, and an MS in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ.  She is currently pursuing an EdD in Organizational Leadership from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

In her leisure time, Gretchen enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and three children and wine tasting.  An avid sports fan, she can usually be spotted around town cheering on her favorite athletes (her children Kiara, Khatari, and Kayla) and her favorite coach (her husband Lorenzo).  Raised in New Orleans, Gretchen is a Saints fan and a great cook with fried chicken, gumbo and homemade pralines being her staple dishes.


Article by Raymond Hernandez

PACE Year-End Celebration

PACE students group photosThe PACE (Proficiency in American Culture and English) Learning Community held its annual End-of-the-Year Celebration on May 17 in the Multicultural Center. Three cohorts of PACE students and faculty as well as their families gathered to celebrate their accomplishments and commemorate the people who have supported them in their educational journeys.

The hit of the evening was the potluck of foods from around the world, featuring dishes such as Brazilian coxinhas (shredded chicken meat covered in dough), Mexican tamales, and Kyrgaz chak chak (a traditional sweet). The MC for the evening, PACE student Gisela Garcia, began the evening with a warm welcome. Faculty and students then gave speeches about their experiences learning and being part of the PACE Community. Lucas Cunha, from Brazil, spoke about his journey of becoming educated and the difficulties of balancing school, work, and home life. Sonun Owen, from Kygystan, shared how education has empowered her, especially being the only girl in a single parent family. PACE graduates and transfer students were also honored at this event and given the red, gold, and white PACE graduation cord as a token of their participation in the learning community. The evening concluded with a slideshow to music curated by PACE student Radni Pireh Abdollah Kandi.

This event was a celebration of the diversity that makes our learning community and campus special. The co-coordinators of PACE, Erinn Struss and Serena Chu-Mraz, would like to thank all those who have supported PACE and have made this event possible.

The PACE Learning Community brings together English language learners and dedicated faculty and staff in a four-semester series of linked classes starting with ESOL 840 and culminating in ENGL 110.

Article by Serena Chu-Mraz and Erinn Struss

Early Childhood Education End of Year Celebration

Attendees of the Early Childhood Education End of Year CelebrationOver 40 students walked across the stage in recognition of achieving their goals in the fields of Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education on May 10 at the Child Development Center.

Along with these students, were their families, friends and ECE/EDU faculty to cheer them on and show their support. Vice President of Instruction, Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza and Dean Christine Roumbanis joined the celebration, along with Director Tina Watts, Master Teacher Michele Amaral, and faculty Suji Venkataraman.

Nicole Porter and chair Kate Williams Browne announced the students as they crossed the stage where they were tossed a beach ball by program adviser Kristina Brower.

Each year the program is able to provide this celebration through a generous donation for the Skyline College ASSC, a wonderful musical jazz performance by Zachary Bruno and his ensemble, and through opening and closing remarks from inspiring community members. This year’s speakers were Board of Trustee member Tom Mohr and Superintendent of San Mateo County Schools Anne Campbell. Both touched on how important education and working with young children is to our future and to our communities.

Article by Kristina Brower



WMLA Hosts Its First Short Film Festival

Behind the scenes of film project shootThe Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy (WMLA) hosted its first ever short film festival in the Multicultural Hosting Gallery on May 18, 2018.

The film festival was a special project that was part of the COMM 160: Gender and Communication course that several of the women were enrolled in this semester. This project was the culmination of a 10-day film workshop called ActWrite, founded and led by Mrs. Teresa Dowell-Vest, MFA. Terésa Dowell-Vest is the founder of Diva Blue Productions and Publications, and is a Professor of Film and TV Production at Prairie View A and M University. She is a three time Geoffrey Award (Santa Monica Theatre Guild) winning director and a NAACP Theater Award nominee.

During the film festival, audience members were able to see short films starring WMLA participants that were written, directed and edited by students enrolled in the course, along with the assistance of Mrs. Dowell-Vest. All of the films highlighted experiences, issues and challenges that many of the women face in everyday life. Some of the films were comedic in nature and others were more serious, highlighting issues impacting women that were discussed during class sessions. The 10-day workshop included four days of writing and editing stories into film scripts, three days of acting and filming, then finally two days of editing and producing films. The final day of the workshop included the presentation of the short-films to the campus community. The film festival line-up included:

* Because I’m Different written by Abiodun Forsythe
* Self-Cleaning Bathroom written by Gwen Jones
* The Rise of the Slip written by Patrice Robinson
* My First Relationship written by Ashley Lopez (featuring Ernest Bediako)
* What Did I Leave Behind written by Anasanique Fountaine
* Home Documentary Series Trailer written by Naledi Mthembu
* Story Project (with song Rincon Yuvateco by Porter) by Jane Arias

Several other women in WMLA wrote scripts as well, but due to time constraints they weren’t able to be included in this year’s film festival.

WMLA thanks Mrs. Terésa Dowell-Vest for her talent, and her guidance, wisdom and humor throughout the project. We also would like to thank Board of Trustee member, Maurice Goodman, Vice President of Administrative Services, Eloisa Briones, Grace Beltran, Jessica Hurless, Martina Center-Goodman, Lucia Lachmayr, Carlos Romero, and members of Brothers Achieving Milestones for their support during the film festival.

Article by Danielle Powell