Monthly Archives: August 2018

SparkPoint Snacks to Address Food Insecurity on Campus

On August 27, 2018, SparkPoint at Skyline College launched a much-needed project to support student success: SparkPoint Snacks. This project addresses a most basic human need – food – by making free snacks available to Skyline College students with no barriers to access. Intended to dramatically impact student food insecurity and curb the stigma with which it is often associated, SparkPoint Snacks has twelve strategically placed baskets filled with popular snacks around campus, each one hosted by a sponsor program working with SparkPoint to ensure that the baskets are fully stocked and supported at all times. SparkPoint distributed over 2,100 snacks to students in the first week of operations, and will continue to disburse more throughout the academic year.

SparkPoint Snacks is a synergistic component of Skyline College’s paradigm of comprehensive support for the whole student. While it addresses food insecurity, it also serves as a point of contact for other SparkPoint services, all of which are specifically designed to assist students to overcome financial barriers – each snack has a SparkPoint business card attached to it in order to connect food-insecure students with CalFresh application assistance, financial coaching, the SparkPoint Food Pantry and more.

If you have any questions regarding SparkPoint Snacks or other SparkPoint services, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint and Career Services, at

Article and Photo by Chad Thompson

Engineering and Tech Scholars Shines at National Conference

On Tuesday, June 26th, Skyline College STEM Retention Specialist Jenny Le and Engineering Professor Nicholas Langhoff presented a paper on the Skyline College Engineering and Technology Scholars (ETS) learning community at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The paper details the development, implementation and initial outcomes of ETS, a cohort-based program to strengthen retention of underrepresented community college engineering students. Since the program was piloted in Fall 2016, ETS has proved to be a cost-effective model of a guided pathway that increases retention, provides additional enrichment to students, increases accessibility to scholarships and internships, and bolsters student success in an accelerated pathway. With the model, pass rates for ETS students in entry-level math courses have significantly increased above traditional levels, showing enhanced persistence in a historically challenging pathway. To review data and outcomes presented, link to the full paper here.

Development of the ETS program started as grant-funded project supported by the Silicon Valley Engineering Tech Pathways (SVETP) and Growth Sector with the aim to diversify the STEM workforce. The project has now evolved into a strong community of peer and faculty support that integrates students, faculty, and staff into a community of academic and social support early on and throughout their transfer journey.

Members of the audience showed enthusiasm for and interest in the ETS learning community and have connected with the Skyline College team to learn more about how they can develop similar programs on their own campuses.

The Skyline College team was joined at the conference by other community college engineering faculty friends from around California, including SMCCD Engineering Professor Dr. Amelito Enriquez (Cañada College).

Article by Jenny Le and Nick Langhoff

Student Selected to Visit NASA in October

Miguel Garcia of Skyline College in San Bruno has been selected to travel to NASA’s Ames Research Center this fall to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) onsite experience.

Garcia has been selected as one of 319 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of the NCAS onsite experience.

The five-week online activity culminates with a four-day on-site event at a NASA Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget and developing communications and outreach.

The onsite experience at NASA includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for internships and a tour of NASA’s unique facilities.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is an activity funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.

With this activity, NASA continues the agency’s tradition engaging the nation in NASA’s mission.

“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA.  NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to and ultimately entering the NASA workforce.  It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” Joeletta Patrick, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager

For additional information, please contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars by email at or by phone at 281-483-0493. For more information, visit:

For more on MUREP visit:

For updates on social media follow:  #NCAS2018 #MUREP

Article by Juan Miguel Garcia | Photo by Jenny Le

Student Receives Pearson Scholarship

Skyline College student, Michelle Huang, is one of 10 students nationwide selected to receive the 2018 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education, a $5,000 award.

The Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education is awarded to Phi Theta Kappa members who are civically engaged in their community through service and who demonstrate leadership, academic rigor, and excellence. Preference is given to first-generation college students. Nearly 800 applications were received.

“We are so excited to welcome these 10 new scholars into the Pearson family,” said Lindsey Erlick, Senior Manager of Student Advocacy and Marketing at Pearson. “We look forward to seeing the impact that these scholars have on their campus, community, and future career.”

Each Pearson Scholar will receive $1,000 to complete an associate degree and $4,000 over two years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Scholars are also paired with a Pearson Mentor and will receive complimentary access to Pearson textbooks and online codes to support them as they complete their degrees.

Article by Christine Case

First Zero Textbook Cost Degree Pathway Launches!

The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) team is excited to announce that the Fall 2018 Respiratory Care A.S. cohort is enrolled in Skyline College’s first degree pathway to be a zero-textbook cost program!

Beginning Fall 2018, incoming Respiratory Care A.S. students will receive electronic delivery of course materials. This will save each student at least $1,200.00 in textbook costs over the course of their two-year program!

ZTC course materials include Open Educational Resources (OER), Skyline College Library electronic resources, teacher-created Creative Commons licensed course materials, and more. These may be full textbooks, media, journal articles, power point presentations and other relevant course materials.

Support and implementation of the ZTC degree pathway is possible because of campus-wide collaboration. As subject matter experts, faculty are indispensable in identifying and remixing ZTC course materials that support equitable access and academic success of Skyline College students. The Skyline College Bookstore is a strong supporter of textbook affordability solutions and provides students with low-cost print services of many OER course materials. The Skyline College Library is a source of print copies of OER textbook course reserves, as well as electronic books, journal subscriptions and media for faculty and student use. The ZTC Team promotes adoption of zero textbook cost course materials and provides ongoing faculty support for individual course conversion.

Visit to learn about zero textbook cost resources!

Article by the ZTC Team

California State University Spring 2019 Admissions

The Transfer Center has been busy this fall 2018 semester assisting students with transfer applications for California State University (CSU) Spring 2019 admissions. The Transfer Center has hosted over fourteen application support workshops in August to support a large number of applicants, including daily walk-in application support. Since fall 2017, the Transfer Center has observed a 61.9% increase in the number of students accessing application workshops for support. The latest data show that 94 students transferred to CSU in spring 2017, with spring 2018 remaining preliminary and unavailable at this moment. That said, the transfer center has welcomed over 76 students this application period as of August 30th, resulting in over 92 visits this period if student count data is duplicated.

Moreover, CSU spring admissions have increased 56% since 2014 (CSU Info Center, 2018) due in part to state policy regarding transfer admission, enrollment capacity, improved funding at CSUs and transfer service programming at Skyline College.

Last academic year, CSU extended the deadline for spring admissions because it launched a brand new application system, Cal State Apply. Until now, CSU has not corresponded about deadline extensions, so August 31st will be the final day to submit an application. If CSU elects to extend the deadline, the Transfer Center will continue to assist students to create, complete and submit applications.

Thanks to Dr. Luis Escobar for support during this busy period. Furthermore, a special thank you to Joyce Lee, Melissa Komadina, John Ho, Richard Torres and the entire counseling faculty for their support and expertise. A special thank you to Skyline College Marketing and Public Relations for their assistance in our recruitment campaigns.

Article by Ernesto Hernandez


Welcome Week 2018

The Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) welcomed new and returning students, staff, faculty and community members during the annual Welcome Week celebration held from August 15 to August 23, 2018.

On the first and second day of school, ASSC officers handed out fresh donuts and coffee on the Quad and provided students information on class locations, community resources and getting involved on campus. A similar activity for the benefit of evening students was held on August 21.

Around 24 college programs and different student groups participated in the Program Services & Clubs Fair on August 22 at the Quad to provide students with resources to increase engagement.

Welcome Week closed with the Annual Pancake Breakfast on August 23. Staff, faculty and student volunteers served over 700 students a free breakfast courtesy of the ASSC.

The ASSC Governing Council will continue to promote student engagement, equity and social justice through programming, committee participation and student advocacy.

Leadership opportunities are available for students; students may apply for a position with the ASSC or gain membership in a student club. Faculty, staff and administration assistance in encouraging student participation is appreciated. A word of encouragement goes a long way in motivating students to engage and feel connected to the campus community.

The ASSC looks forward to working with the campus community and making this another successful academic year. Thank you.

Article and photo by Ryan Samn

Meta Major Preview Day Welcomes New Students to Skyline College

meta majors preview dayOn August 11, 2018, Skyline College hosted the first Meta Majors Preview Day for new students where they learned about the Meta Majors, engage with instructional faculty, meet counselors within their success teams and complete the steps to enrollment. Students were also able to connect with campus resources and services, receive assistance with financial aid applications and support with course registration.

Dr. Angélica Garcia welcomed the students to campus and provided words of encouragement for the start of a new semester. Jessica Hurless kicked off the event with a fun balloon activity that emphasized the way in which the faculty, staff, and administration are available to help students throughout their time at Skyline College. Instructional faculty were present to lead engaging workshops to connect students to their Meta Majors. During the workshops, faculty also highlighted the common themes within each Meta Major, provided recommendations for student support services and shared their own personal college stories.
Arts, Languages & Communication
The Arts, Languages & Communication Meta Major workshop was facilitated by Jessica Hurless, Jude Navari and Luciana Castro. The faculty identified expression as the common theme that ran throughout all of the programs under the ALC MM. To truly connect the students to the “Expression” theme, the faculty challenged the students to a Project Runway-like fashion competition in which they had to use mixed materials to design and create a garment, incorporate both sound and movement and display words from different languages to describe their garment.

Business, Entrepreneurship & Management
Soledad McCarthy, Marv Steinberg and Angelica Gorostiza facilitated the Business, Entrepreneurship & Management Meta Major workshop, which introduced students to business foundations and ideas. Using only random items provided in a box students teamed together to create a new idea or product to “pitch” to investors (aka faculty).

Science, Technology & Health
Students in the Science, Technology & Health Meta Majors were led by Safiyyah Forbes, Carla Grandy, Nick Kapp and Gretchen Keys through a variety of experiments. Gretchen walked the students through the various STH programs, recommended supports and introduced the faculty, providing students with what to expect during the semester.

Society & Education
Kristina Brower, Kate Browne, Nicole Porter, Danni Redding Lapuz and Anthony Swanson led students through an Escape Room exercise to identify their meta major theme: Human Connection and is impact on education, law, history and social sciences. The discussion also uncovered students’ own concerns and fears about entering college and the positive impact of engaging with faculty members before the start of school to quell those fears and create a space of comfort and belonging.

Thanks to the planning committee and all involved in execution of Meta Major Preview Day. In addition to those listed above: Luis Escobar, Will Minnich, Delisle Warden, Grace Beltran, Jeremy Evangelista, Patty Mendoza, Connor Fitzpatrick, Nadia Tariq, Ana Gutierrez-Gamez, Suzanne Poma, Michelle Chee, Carlos Colombetti, Cliff Moss, Angelica Alvarez, Yatin Kumar, Athena Mendoza, Mary Caldeo, Sha’Rhonda Johnson and Lauren Ford who all contributed to the success of the event. In addition, thank you to Dr. Jennifer Taylor Mendoza and Christine Roumbanis for stopping by to show their support, and Kevin Chak for donating prizes. Finally, thank you to Roger Marcelo, Bryant Evans and Vinny Samujh for the media and logistical support needed to make this event a success!

Article by Lauren Ford | Photo by Grace Beltran

Skyline College Continues to Honor Outstanding Members & Groups

Skyline AwardsThis year marked the 13th year of Skyline College’s Skyline Shines Award, presented annually to one College employee or group and one community individual or group who help Skyline College to shine in terms of its quality of programs and services and its reputation for quality.
College Winner: Pamela Ortiz Cerda, Program Services Coordinator, Dream Center

As a part-time staff member for most of her time at Skyline College’s new Dream Center, Ms. Ortiz Cerda has worked quickly and efficiently to invent and establish the Center as a space accessible and open to all. Unfazed that there was no structure in place or precedent for doing so, she hit the ground running, using her networking skills, excellent judgement and professional skills to make it happen, and on a part-time basis. As DACA has been rescinded and reopened, Ms. Ortiz-Cerda has stayed up to date on the constantly changing legal landscape, able to answer questions from confused peers with confidence, clarity and accuracy.

Pamela demonstrates the values of Skyline College through her earnestness and approachability, as well as her courage to speak the truth. Though young, she runs monthly Dream Center Task Force meetings consisting almost exclusively of staff and faculty older than herself, she is easily able to motivate her team to come together and work on common concerns amicably. Additionally and importantly, Pamela has been able to welcome undocumented Skyline students to the Task Force as equals and to create an environment that has encouraged them to return monthly. She also speaks to classes regularly and has led faculty and staff flex workshops.

Her job aside, Pamela embodies social justice work in all aspects of her life. While balancing work and pursuing a graduate degree, she and her family have helped hundreds of community members apply for DACA on their own time without pay. Like many social justice advocates, she works tirelessly to help her community both at work and when she leaves campus.

Establishing and running Skyline College’s Dream Center was no easy feat in such a turbulent political climate. Pamela has met and exceeded that challenge to the benefit of the students we all serve. Congratulations Pamela!
Community Winner: Strategic Energy Innovations

For those of you who may not be familiar, Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building sustainable communities through programs focused on four key areas: education, workforce, housing, and government. SEI works with communities across California on identifying opportunities to provide their residents with socioeconomic support while reducing use of natural resources and generating savings. Five years ago, SEI initiated a partnership with Skyline College to work on programs for its students directed at sustainability education and green workforce development. Today, those programs are known as the Energize Colleges student internship program and the Climate Corps fellowship program.

The Energize Colleges program (designed by SEI) offers Skyline College students internship opportunities through which they develop skills that give them an edge when applying to transfer or looking for a job. Internships pay $13.50/hour, are mostly on campus or with nearby organizations, and have flexible schedules. This affords all students the opportunity to participate with respect to their social, financial, academic, and other constraints. In addition, fellows in SEI’s Climate Corps fellowship program enroll at Skyline College and earn the Climate Protection Professional Certificate while they work at local government agencies, nonprofits, schools and businesses on sustainability projects. Because they are Skyline College students, fellows qualify for student loan deferment. This removes a significant financial barrier that could otherwise deter someone from applying for the fellowship and gaining the valuable hands-on experience needed to advance within the green workforce.

Through the Climate Corps fellowship program, SEI supports Skyline College with its curriculum development program, the Sustainability Blitz. Climate Corps fellows work alongside Skyline College faculty to develop lessons relating sustainability to a variety of different academic disciplines, resulting in a well-rounded education that prepares students to maneuver challenges of the future. SEI staff also collaborates with Skyline College faculty on an energy series module, which provides students with an introduction to concepts of energy and sustainability as well as a space to explore the field’s career opportunities.

Finally, all of the programs implemented with SEI have allowed Skyline College to truly implement its sustainability vision, ensuring our campus is moving into the future in an environmentally responsible way.

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick | Photos by Zaw Min Khant

Opening Day 2018

Opening DayOpening Day 2018 focused on progress. Progress made toward the college redesign, progress driving equity across campus and progress in ensuring that the college is student-ready.

President Regina Stanback Stroud took the opportunity in her opening day address to highlight the work accomplished over the past year.
“A few years ago, I stood on this stage and asked this college to confront the brutal facts of low success rates,” said Dr. Stanback Stroud. “I asked that you work with me toward achieving a student completion rate of at least 75%, and since then we’ve started clear, impactful work to move us closer to that goal.”

President Stanback Stroud underscored the importance of redesigning the entire mindset of the campus community around strengths-based thinking as opposed to deficit thinking. Concentrating on what students can do and bring to bare on their journey as opposed to what they can’t do, or don’t have or weren’t raised with.

“We must believe in the idea that there is always an institutional, structural way to improve student success.”
Dr. Stanback Stroud then described a few of the major projects and milestones coming up in the 2018-19 academic year:

The Equity Institute: Featuring equity academies, the cabinet roundtable, publications and professional development. It will administer institutional assessments, publish research and provide professional development for organizations across the state and nation.
Accreditation: The college has been preparing for the upcoming site visit. The campus engaged in a strategic planning process to identify our strategic goals and initiatives that align with the district strategic plan. The plan has gone through the governance process and will go to the board for final approval this fall.
Branding Research Study: The college will be conducting a full scale research study (using quantitative and qualitative methods) of our brand to evaluate and evolve our brand look, define our unique positioning in the higher education landscape, develop audience personas to hone in on messaging, update our assumptions on target markets and test a new/evolved brand direction.
Great Colleges to Work For: We did not place in the competition across the nation. Instead we learned some things that we will certainly work on so it can and you can get the recognition you deserve.

After recognizing award winners, newly tenured faculty and new employees, the program was rounded out with a presentation by members of the Design Team who gave a presentation on the comprehensive college redesign. Of particular note in the presentation was the thorough mapping of what a student’s journey through their college experience might look like, with specific resources and milestones that they could expect along the way.

The presentation highlighted the incredible amount of work that’s gone into the college redesign thus far, and also provided a clear outlook for the future.

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick | Photos by Mia Coo & Zaw Min Khant