Daily Archives: January 17, 2019

Skyline College Engineering Department Pilots STEM Research Internship Program

STEM PathwaysEarlier this winter, the Science, Math and Technology Division along with the Engineering Department piloted the inaugural STEM Pathways Research Scholars Program to empower students of historically underrepresented minority backgrounds. The program focused on introductory research skills, academic engagement, internship applications, transfer preparedness, teamwork and developing a stronger sense of self-reliance and sense of community within our campus STEM programs.

Held January 2nd through January 11th in the Base11 Innovation Center, the program supported 26 participants (mostly first-year and rising second-year students). Program activities helped students develop skills in electronics, microcontroller programming, signal conditioning, data acquisition and supplemental topics in MATLAB programming and simulations.

Activities in the first week prepared the scholars for STEM research: exploring the research process, analyzing scientific papers, and developing and delivering technical presentation in STEM. The university transfer process was also explored to reduce students’ transfer anxiety and become “four-year ready”.

During the second week, the scholars were given semi open-ended design projects to create a device that used sensors to measure physical stimulus and provide a designated output. On-hand physics and engineering lab equipment were used to facilitate device manufacturing. Students presented their projects and live demonstrations on the second to last day of the program. The program concluded with a tour of San Francisco State University’s School of Engineering to gain insight on research in seismic/structural engineering, bio-electronics, intelligent computing and embedded systems as well as an orientation on the transfer process for engineering students.

Toward helping students prepare stronger internship applications, members of Workforce and Career Programs, Steven Lopez and Lauren Dekelaita, held a session on framing resumes for technical jobs and using LinkedIn profiles to enhance their Skyline College Alumni and STEM network. Surgical Technology Lead, Alice Erksine and the Dean of Science, Math and Technology, Ray Hernandez, shared related experience and equipment demonstrations on measurement devices and sensor technology that are used in the medical industry.

During recruitment, program benefits and incentives were highlighted, including compensation for work performed ($600) as well as the opportunity to gain introductory research experience. Upon selection of student participants, priority consideration was given to students from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

Upon completion of the program, a post-program survey was administered with a brief wrap up meeting. Skyline College aims to use the experiences of these scholars to further strengthen the program for future cohorts.

The STEM Pathways Research Scholars program is part of Skyline College’s newly funded grant project Strengthening Pathways to Success in STEM (SP2S – STEM Pathways Program): a collaborative project between Skyline College’s Engineering department and San Francisco State University. The project is funded through a five-year $3,750,000 grant from the Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Title V Program. With a large focus on supporting the college’s upcoming and highly anticipated STEM center, the STEM Pathways project is designed to improve and expand STEM educational opportunities and improve overall academic achievement for underrepresented and low-income students.

Article by Maryam Khan and Nick Langhoff

Winter 2019 Chemistry Jam

chemistry jamChemistry plays a vital role in our daily lives, whether we are aware of it or not. From the medication we take, to cooking, eating or even the gasoline we use to fuel our cars. It all involves some aspect of chemistry. While this is true and can be exciting for some to fully understand the role chemistry plays in our lives, it can still be challenging for students to understand the fundamental concepts, thus creating a persistent struggle for our students to excel in their first semester of chemistry. To address this challenge, the Chemistry Department launched its first free Chemistry Jam workshop at the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester with the support of the President’s Innovation Funds.

The workshop ran for six days, with a total of 18 Skyline College and High School students participating. Students who participated in the workshop wanted to develop studying techniques, note-taking skills, build confidence to ask questions during lectures, improve laboratory skills and understand concepts that will better prepare them for their first chemistry course. Throughout the workshop, students engaged in inquiry-based learning thereby stimulating and motivating them throughout the learning process. Built into each concept was a hands-on laboratory activity which allowed each student the ability to apply the concepts that they learned.

Working in groups, students carried out a variety of measurements using different laboratory equipment, which they then apply concepts of unit conversion learned to convert from one unit of measurement to another. By far, stoichiometry is one most challenging concepts. Student participants were able to get a better understanding of limiting and excess reactants by looking at the reaction of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and acetic acid (vinegar). By comparing the amount of carbon dioxide generated when varying amounts of baking soda react with a given amount of vinegar, immediately each student was able to identity the limiting and excess reactant in each reaction mixture.

A student participant entering Chemistry 410 this spring semester shared, “This was a great workshop, it helped to build my confidence and provided me with resources that will help me succeed this Spring.” We encourage students who plan to enroll in chemistry for the Fall semester to participate in the next workshop beginning  July 29, 2019 – August 2, 2019.

Article by Safiyyah Forbes | Photo by Brittney Sneed

Dear California High School Student, Go to Community College!

Community college to UCLAFormer Skyline College student Alec Roa wrote a compelling article posted on the jobs/networking website LinkedIn. Writing about the reasons why it’s advantageous for high school students to attend a community college, Roa says “My experience at Skyline College influenced a great deal of my article. Thank you Skyline College!”

His article, edited for length, is below. A link to the full article is located at the end of this section.


Dear California High School Student, go to community college!

Something that will instantly remove the negative stigma and shame your peers cast upon you for attending a community college out of high school is receiving your bachelor’s degree from a university you want to go to, in a field you enjoy and find yourself debt free in the process. If you are an outlier that worked hard enough to get accepted to a top 25 school and are fortunate enough to have parents that are a part of the top 10% of earners in California disregard this article. However, if you are a part of the majority that does not fall into these two categories, I would highly advise you to read this article thoroughly. Three years ago, I entered community college with the negative narrative of community college blasted in my ears, it is a narrative that most high school students are constantly fed. Three years later, I left my community college with acceptances from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Barbara. I left my community college with an Associate’s degree. I left my community college with friendships and social capital I was told I would miss out on. I left my community college with valuable life skills and direction. However, best of all, I left my community college with $0 of debt thus far, along with scholarships and financial aid that will ultimately cover 100% of all my expenses at UCLA. I’m going to list various arguments in 3 separate categories that will hopefully open your eyes to the best-kept secret in higher education.

1. Finances

Instead of pulling out a high-interest loan for the first two years of my education I was actually getting paid to go to community college (Yes, I actually made a profit).

Finances Argument 1: You will save thousands of dollars.

Private Universities in California range from 30k-60k annually, the highly sought after University of California (UC) education averages at around 33k annually, the California State University (CSU) option, which is undeniably the cheapest choice for a student, still exceeds 10k annually when you factor in all expenses. When you compare these three options to a California community college, there is no question which is the smartest fiscal option. A full-time California community college student will only pay around 1-2k annually.

Finances Argument 2: Financial Aid is for Everyone.

Most individuals are under the impression that financial aid is only awarded to those who attend a 4-year institution. This is a common misconception that is merely a myth. The first step starts with filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no matter what your income level is. After that, your community college will assess your eligibility for two primary forms of aid. First, the California community college system offers what is known as the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver. The (BOG) waives your per-unit enrollment fee (the current rate is $46) at any community college in California. It is important to note that you do not have to be in extreme poverty to receive this waiver, in fact, one million California community college students receive the (BOG) waiver throughout the state annually. If you demonstrate even more financial need on your (FAFSA) the second form of aid you can receive is a Federal Pell grant on top of your BOG Fee Waiver. The Pell grant does not need to be repaid and can award you up to $5,840 per academic year for any expenses.

Finances Argument 3: Scholarships and Financial Programs.

Scholarships are readily available regardless if you are at a community college or a 4-year university. It does take some effort in researching and applying in order to receive scholarship money, nevertheless a great deal of community college students receive at least one scholarship to aid their education. There are various financial programs offered at specific California community colleges. Scholarships are given on both a financial need and merit basis. Additionally, there are government funded programs that are present at virtually every California community college such as TRiO and SparkPoint. These two great government-funded programs can aid with a broad range of needs. These needs consist of the basics such as school supplies and books, groceries, financial planning, to even helping you get your first credit card.


2. Academics

I was taking the same exact course as the students at San Francisco State just at a remarkably lower price tag.

Academics Argument 1: General Education is General Education.

The first two years at a 4-year institution you will be forced to take “general education” courses regardless of your field of study. The general education courses at 4-year universities in California are the same exact courses that you can take at any California community college to fulfill your requirements.

Academics Argument 2: Academic Flexibility.

Community College gives you much more academic flexibility. What is academic flexibility? Simply put, academic flexibility is the ability to do what you wish to do with little to no consequences. In other words, there is significantly less pressure to commit to a particular field of study or commit to school altogether. When you are investing thousands of dollars in a course or a semester, it is tough to back out and switch paths. Whereas in community college, you have the freedom to test the waters to see what you truly want to do in the future. You do not like a course, that is fine. You rather do a trade program, that is fine. You want to work full-time for a semester, that is fine. Community college gives you the option to find your unique individual path.

Academics Argument 3: Professors are highly qualified.

A full-time position at a California community college is a highly sought-after position with a multitude of qualified candidates. Even young part-time professors have their masters finished at a minimum. These professors are highly motivated to help you develop as a student, with loads of one-on-one attention.

Academics Argument 4: Accessibility to professors.

Community college professors have one single job and that is to teach you. With this being said, you will get the luxury of constantly interacting with your professors on a daily basis.

Academics Argument 5: You can still get a degree!

I like to compare an Associate’s Degree to a minor, understanding that an (AA) by itself will most likely not hold a great deal of weight in the job market. However, when you supplement an Associates Degree with a Bachelor’s Degree (BA), you naturally become a much more attractive candidate in the job market. Employers love a candidate that is diverse with a multitude of skills. Community college gives you this extra opportunity to help diversify yourself for the job market, also if you end up not finishing your bachelor’s degree for any reason you will at least have something to fall back on.


3. Chances of getting into the four-year university of your choice

The UC system has a program for transfers at California community colleges which is arguably the best-kept secret in California higher education. This program is called “TAG” which stands for Transfer Admission Guarantee (yes, you read that right “guarantee”).

Everybody is different and we all have unique personal goals, so I will divide this specific argument into 3 parts that suit 3 distinct students.

High school student #1 you got rejected to every school you applied to and are debating school altogether.

High school student #2 you got into a couple impacted schools with 50-75% acceptance rates across the board.

High school student #3 you got into a multitude of great schools 35-50% acceptance rates, but feel admissions at the elite universities got it wrong, you only want to go to one of the top 5 Universities in California you know you belong at.


Read the rest of this article here: https://bit.ly/2CoViFg

Article by Alec Roa

Spring 2019 International Student Orientation

International Student OrientationSkyline College started the Spring 2019 semester by welcoming over 50 new international students from 20 different countries. In an effort to ease the new students’ transition, the International Student Program (ISP) hosted a three-day orientation from January 7th – 9th where the attendees received valuable information on the following topics: F-1 visa regulations, employment, cultural adjustment, safety and security, immigration laws, health insurance coverage and academic expectations.

The orientation also included the following activities: a student ambassadors panel, campus tour, raffle, placement testing and class registration. The new students were successfully guided through the registration process by the student ambassadors and were ready and prepared for their first day at Skyline College on January 14, 2019.

For many students, it is their first time away from home. Orientation is an opportunity to become acquainted with their new environment and to make new friends. The International Student Orientation is an important event that helps to facilitate international students’ success and it wouldn’t be possible without the student ambassadors who helped to prepare for and support the ISP team during this event.

ISP will continue to provide services and programs for international students as well as for the entire Skyline College community. The next ISP event will be the International Student Mixer on February 1, 2019 and everyone is invited to be a part of this welcome party!

Article by Clair Yeo-Sugajski | Photo by Zaw Min Khant

SMCCCD Study Abroad Program Prepares to Send Students to Florence, Italy

Study Abroad FlorenceOn Saturday, January 12, 2019, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Study Abroad Program participated in the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium (NCSAC) Pre-Departure Orientation at American River College in Sacramento. The orientation was in preparation for students’ upcoming semester abroad in Florence, Italy.

SMCCCD will send 19 students to Florence for the Spring 2019 semester as part of a cohort of 111 students from the consortium. Faculty and students depart for Italy on February 2, 2019 and return May 3, 2019. Other participating districts include Contra Costa Community College District, Los Rios Community College District and Santa Rosa Junior College. The program is offered in partnership with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). San Mateo County Community College District has participated in the consortium since 1986.

This semester, students in the program will have the opportunity to take courses in art, history, biology and English. College of San Mateo Professor of Fine Arts, Rebecca Alex, will teach four courses in Florence: Drawing I, Drawing II, Old Masters’ Aesthetics and Techniques, and Italian Life and Culture. Professor Alex’s art courses were very popular and filled early on. Students enrolled in her courses have expressed excitement to draw and paint in the home of the Renaissance and world-famous scientists and artists. Professor Alex has arranged to hold many of her classes inside the museums and gardens of Florence and students will have the opportunity to draw sculptures like Michelangelo’s David in person.

In the Old Masters’ Aesthetics and Techniques course, students will make their own paints and materials and will create with the mediums of the historical periods they study. Professor Alex has collaborated with a local art historian in Florence to develop art history lectures to accompany the studio art components of the course.

We want to congratulate two students, Valentin Viera from Skyline College and Ireri Vargas Tello from Cañada College, who were selected to receive scholarships from AIFS. As part of their scholarship, they will share their experiences in Florence with fellow students when they return to campus next semester.

SMCCCD Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about studying or interning abroad, faculty teach abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please contact Zaid Ghori at (650) 738-7088 or ghoriz@smccd.edu. You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Stephanie Wells | Photo by Zaid Ghori

Skyline College’s New Environmental Building Receives a CCFC Design Award

Environmental BuildingThe San Mateo County Community College District had the distinction of receiving the Award of Honor for a Project in Design at the 2018 Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC) Design Awards. Skyline College was given the Award of Honor for its new Environmental Sciences Building project, which is currently under construction.

This annual awards ceremony recognizes projects that incorporate outstanding institutional features that will enhance the community college learning environment. Jurors said, “This is an ambitious project that recognizes that the college if of the community”. The San Mateo County Community College District was joined at the awards ceremony by DES Architects + Engineers, XL Construction and Swinerton Management & Consulting.

Article by Kristin Moorhouse

A Championed Voice Through Poetry

Poetry Corner Learning CommonsSince its inception on October 8, 2018, the Learning Commons Poetry Corner has been more than a monthly event where an instructor and students gather in Skyline College Library’s lounge area to read Chaucer, Keats, Kipling or the likes while sipping coffee or tea. Rather, it is a democratic, brave space where students express their ideas and voice their concerns about the political climate and environmental, racial or gender issues through the creative medium of poetry.

Each Poetry Corner event was tied to a theme and designed to elicit engaged participation from students and faculty, readers and listeners alike. Participating students and faculty read from contemporary poets as well as their own works.  The first Poetry Corner event held on October 8, 2018 celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month, hosted by English Adjunct Brandon Diaz and featured contemporary Latinx authors.

The second poetry reading event held on October 23, 2018 was hosted by English Professor and Coordinator Rob Williams and also featured contemporary LGBTQ+ poets. This event encouraged active discussions and students to share their personal experiences about the feeling of marginalization as gay or queer students on Skyline College campus.

The last event was held on November 13. 2018 with English Professor Lucia Lachmyr as the host and celebrated Native American Heritage Month. They began with students singing Native American welcome songs to ask the ancestors or God for pity and wisdom, as well as songs for blessings. The poems students read revolved around respecting and nurturing the land of their ancestors as well as reminding their readers that their culture is more than a footnote, a noted figure in a textbook or exoticized characters in Hollywood movies. As Raphael Clark-Faust, former Skyline College student and cofounder of the Intertribal Alliance Movement (I.A.M), declared in his original poem, “I am not your Jacob from Twilight I say …”, and then ended with “Honor the Earth, Honor yourself and Honor the people”.

The Poetry Corner pilot has been successful in fostering student engagement and creating an open forum for discussion and expression through the written art of poetry. This student driven momentum will continue into the next themed event on February 13, 2018, celebrating Black History Month.

Following February’s theme, please submit an original poem, art or both to Professor Rob Williams at williamsr@smccd.edu by February 1, 2019. Art submissions must be in a JPEG or PNG format. All submission will be considered for publication in Skyline College’s Literary Magazine – Talisman, coming out in May 2019. A few poems will be selected to be read and art work to be displayed in the Skyline College Library for February’s Learning Commons Poetry Corner.

If you have any questions, please contact Rob Williams at williamsr@smccd.edu, Pia Walawalkar at walawalkars@smccd.edu or Sherri Wyatt at wyatts@smccd.edu. See you at the next Learning Commons Poetry Corner event from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. on February 13, 2019!

Article and Photo by Sherri Wyatt