Monthly Archives: September 2018

BABEC Reaches out to the Bay Area High School and Community College Science Teachers

On September 8, 2018, the Bay Area Biotechnology Education Community (BABEC) held its fall 2018 Kickoff, BABEC 2.0 -Curriculum Classics for the New Era.  Over 90 local high school and community college faculty previewed the new curriculum, which was updated to include NGSS.

Jeff Schinske, PhD., currently at Foothill College and Principal investigator and Co-Director, NSF CCB FEST, gave the keynote address. Jeff is also a former adjunct instructor of Biology for Skyline College.  Jeff’s research focuses on equity and inclusion in the science classrooms.  His talk, Highlighting Diversity While Covering Biology Content, described his work on how Scientist Spotlights can diversify students’ preconceptions about scientists and boost interest and engagement in STEM among underrepresented students.  Learn more about Scientist Spotlights here:  Watch videos of the event here:

A discussion panel including teachers from across the Bay Area at various stages in their careers followed.  They discussed the new science standards (NGSS) and emphasized that biotechnology lessons can help them in their efforts to align their curricula with NGSS.  They also gave pointers and advice to teachers who are new to teaching biotech, highlighting that the benefits to students are worth the extra effort.

The main talks were held in the large conference room in Building 6. In addition, BABEC also hosted biotech workshops in smaller break-out rooms where faculty were able to conduct hands-on laboratory activities such as analyzing DNA and making recombinant proteins.

Finally, there was a science supply give-away.  A big hit at the event was the Bio-Depot, a nonprofit that collects and distributes surplus science equipment to local educators.

Skyline supported BABEC by providing the space for the conference.  We would like to give a shout out to the members of the Skyline community who helped make this a thought-provoking and memorable experience:  kudos to staff in the Science Math and Technology office, Presidents office, Media services, and Facilities. In addition, Skyline Biotechnology students support BABEC by participating in an innovative work-based learning program where they gain valuable biomanufacturing experience while producing educational materials used by participating BABEC high schools.  The Biotechnology Supply Chain Operations Project for Education (BioSCOPE), is funded by the Strong Workforce Program, and it allows Skyline to participate in this exciting regional joint venture of several Bay Area community colleges.

This is just some of the many examples how Skyline successfully partners with our community.

The Skyline Biotechnology Program is supported by NSF funding grant #1502042

Article and photo by Nick Kapp

Former Men’s Basketball Players Excelling in the Philippines

Simon Enciso (Terra Nova High School) and Justin Gutang (Burlingame High School) are both living their dreams of playing basketball in the Philippines.  Simon is currently playing for the Alaska Aces in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the nation’s premier league.  Considered one of the top young players, he recently scored 30 points in a Governor’s Cup game.

Justin is currently playing for College of St. Benilde on a full scholarship.  He recently won the nation’s collegiate slam dunk championship.  Justin hopes to join Simon in the PBA after completing his degree.

You can find more information on these, and other, former Skyline College men’s basketball players on the team’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Article by Justin Piergrossi

Science and Research Club is Looking for Members

The Skyline College Science and Research Club is planning a year of fun science-related activities such as science-related movie screenings, bike rides, producing a quality notebook, and how to do a literature search.  On November 3, 2018, the club will host a booth at the Bay Area Science Festival held in ATT park demonstrating how to isolate DNA from everyday food items to over 200 middle school students.

The club, which is all-inclusive, is looking for new members. Meetings are held every Friday at 1:15 p.m. in Room 7-204.

Article and photo by Nick Kapp

Biotechnology Devices Club is Now Active

Enterprising students Lumanti Tuladhar, Mario Acua, Carlos Acuna, Yuele Zhang and Kongment Chi have teamed up with Professor Nick Kapp, Ph.D.  to found the Biotechnology Devices Club, which meets every Friday from Noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Biotechnology lab at Room 7-204.   The club focuses on how to use engineering skills and biology knowledge as well as the advice of various Skyline College faculty including the Biotechnology and Fab labs to create items that span both the engineering and biology worlds.

The club is already working on 4 projects:

  • Use soy bean urease and alginate beads to make a device that would supplement dialysis.
  • Team up with the Berkeley start-up Fiat Lux to test and validate their Fermenter sensors using the Bioreactors and other equipment from the Biotechnology lab.
  • The club’s first sensor, built from scratch, as a conductivity meter run by an Adreno processor, hopefully using parts available in the FAB lab.
  • Assembling a mind storm robot to facilitate filling of micro centrifuge tubes and very small volumes for the Biotechnology manufacturing program.

If any students are interested in engineering, biology or both, please come and see what the club is about.

Article and Photo by Nick Kapp

Strategic Planning and Allocation of Resources Committee (SPARC) Updates

The Skyline College Strategic Planning and Allocation of Resources Committee (SPARC) met for their first meeting for the FY 2018-19 on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Jacque Honda, Interim Dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, led the discussion to review and discuss the committee charge and member responsibilities.  The committee charge is to coordinate, integrate and communicate college wide budget and planning, and to make recommendations to the College Governance Council.

Beginning with this fiscal year, the Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) process will be under the purview of SPARC, previously CPRs were reviewed in the Curriculum Committee. The Program reviews are planned for April 11, 2019 and April 25, 2019.

Paul Cassidy, Finance and Operations Manager, presented an overview of the college adopted budget for FY 2018-19.  The college received $250,000 in District Innovation Funding which will be used toward the following:  Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) replication as part of the Skyline College Promise program, Paralegal Program, Equity Fellow in Residence, SparkPoint Center, Skyline Express Shuttle, and Women’s Mentoring Leadership Project.  Interested parties may refer the 2018-19 Final Budget Report for details.

Next meeting is September 27, 2018 (Thursday) from 2:10 to 4:00 p.m. in Room 4.

Article by Judy Hutchinson

SparkPoint Snacks Continues to Address Food Insecurity on Campus

SparkPoint has distributed over 4,434 snacks to students in the first three weeks of operations! There are currently thirteen strategically placed SparkPoint Snack baskets 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. We have also received a number of basket requests from faculty, staff and administrators throughout the campus who want to offer their support to this program and their students. With the help of these host programs, we 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. Since the launch of SparkPoint Snacks, student engagement and requests for these SparkPoint services has steadily increased.

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

Article by Chad Thompson

Prominent Bay Area Artists to Show at Skyline College

The Skyline College Art gallery is proud to present Tropeycalia Club, a group installation of paintings, sculpture and more by prominent Bay Area artists John Yoyogi Fortes, Juan Carlos Quintana and Carlo Ricafort.  The exhibition runs from September 22, 2018 to October 20, 2018. A reception will be held for the artists on Saturday, September 22 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Skyline College Art Gallery.

The title of the exhibition is a play on the 1960’s Afro-Cuban-Brazilian music movement, Tropicalia. Using a conscious misspelling tactic of ‘tropey’, the show explores myriad tropes associated with everything tropical. In his essay about the exhibition, artist and gallerist Arvin Flores explains, “Tales of exotic places, fantasy islands, and otherworldly paradises, utopian in essence, are discourses about the ideal, and thus political by nature. This notion has given inspiration to such classic gangsta rap hits as manifest destiny, or turn of the century eugenics, both having racist leanings with genocidal outcomes. In short, colonial mentality is but a reflection of the master’s image, and colonial states are bastardized versions of the ideal (of course this is not a news flash to everyone).”

The exhibiting artists both embrace and scathingly satirize kitsch tropical imagery that abounds in movies, TV shows, art, music, travel brochures and tourist trap souvenir shops. Imagery runs the gamut from coconut palm trees to stereotyped musicians, to tiki dolls, cannibals, pineapples and bleached bones scattered about on desert islands. Viewers are invited to participate in both deciphering the ways in which these tropical tropes perpetuate themselves in culture, and examining the (unexplored?) and conditioned mental spaces from which these tropes’ biases and prejudices arise.

Viewers are also invited to make their own tropeycalia drawings that can be added to a large collaborative mural project in the gallery. Participate by sending a jpeg image (300 dpi) of a black and white drawing of what comes to mind when you yearn to escape to or from the tropics. Image must be vertical and fit on an 8.5” X 11” sheet of paper. Color images will be converted to black and white. Selected submissions will be printed and installed as a collaborative piece on the gallery wall. To be included by the opening, work must be received by September 22nd. Please submit image no later than Oct 6, 2018.  (Disclaimer: By sending an image you give Tropeycalia Club and Skyline College Art Gallery permission to include your image in the exhibitions promotional material, social media, internet and print. All submitted images, both electronic and printed, will be destroyed after the close of the Tropeycalia Club exhibition.)

Send image to:

For more information, visit

Article by Paul Bridenbaugh, Arvin Flores, Juan Carlos Quintana

Forum on Institutional Responsibility for Student Success

On September 12, 2018, the Office of Student Equity and Support Programs hosted the Beyond the Margins Equity Forum (BTMEF), Stay Woke: A Discussion About Student Success at Skyline College. This event brought together a cross-section of 65 students, staff, faculty and administrators to have a collective conversation about issues salient to the campus community.

Using key findings from the Student Voice Survey, the forum focused on economic marginalization and its impact on a student’s educational experience, and how institutional policies, practices and procedures can be responsive to student needs.

The program opened with welcoming remarks from Dean Lasana Hotep followed by a presentation from faculty facilitator, Jesse Raskin who provided information to help frame the discussion about Student Success. He stated, “Ensuring success in higher education among historically marginalized students is our institutional responsibility.”

The program also featured a panel including Rika Fabian (Professor of Sociology), Ivan Silva (Promise Scholar Counselor) and Danielle Powell (Professor of Communication Studies). Rika Fabian presented Student Voice Survey Data on students experiencing housing insecurity, food insecurity and the inability to afford required textbooks, resulting in taking fewer classes, not register for a required course on their SEP and/or perform poorly in a class.  Ivan Silva provided the audience with a working definition of marginalization and how the condition of being marginalized by an educational institution affects students academically, socially and psychologically. Danielle Powell discussed her work with the Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy and the strategies she has used to ensure students receive the support they need in order to be successful.

Article by Katrina Pantig | Photo by Zaw Min Khant

SparkPoint Cash Provides Incentives for Positive Financial Behaviors

SparkPoint at Skyline College has launched SparkPoint Cash; a financial education program that rewards students for smart money management.  SparkPoint Cash simplifies the financial coaching process for students by providing them with a menu of positive financial behaviors from which to choose. Students meet with their financial coach, identify a positive financial behavior, accomplish that behavior with the financial coach or on their own and then schedule a check-in meeting.  Students earn $25 for each completed positive financial behaviors for a maximum of $100.

SparkPoint Cash is based on behavioral economic concepts, which SparkPoint at Cañada College successfully implemented in 2016.  The first financial incentives “nudges” students to engage with a Financial Coach and complete a positive behavior, while the additional incentives “nudge” students to complete additional positive behaviors that eventually become positive financial habits.  When students complete behaviors like applying for CalFresh, completing a spending tracker, increasing their savings by $25/month, or review their credit report, they are preparing themselves to overcome potential financial barriers that might otherwise affect their academic success.

These positive financial behaviors and habits could ultimately be a determining factor for a student to persist in their educational program and/or degree, and lead to long-term financial stability and self-sufficiency.

If you have any questions about SparkPoint Cash or if you would like to refer a student to any SparkPoint Services, please contact (650) 738-7035 or

Article by Chad Thompson

San Mateo Community College District Celebrates Undocumented Student Graduates

The journey to transfer and graduation is filled with many challenges, especially for undocumented and immigrant students. Last spring, Skyline College, College of San Mateo, and Cañada College partnered up to create SMCCCD’s first ever Migration Celebration, which aimed to celebrate the journeys, families, and achievements of undocumented and immigrant student graduates.

The Migration Celebration featured student leader speakers from each campus who shared their stories, experiences at SMCCD, and words of inspiration for their graduating cohort. The ceremony recognized a total of 18 students who had earned a certificate, Associate’s degree, or were transferring to a 4-year institution. The students expressed excitement about being a part of the first Migration Celebrtaion Cohort and stressed the importance of these events in inspiring other students to persist through their college journeys.

The three District Dream Centers are excited to continue this collaboration for years to come. If you are interested in participating or volunteering at this year’s Migration Celebration please visit the Skyline College Dream Center.

Article and photo by Pamela Ortiz Cerda