Monthly Archives: May 2019

International Student Receives $82,000 Transfer Scholarship

NellyNellyana Altuve Rojo from Caracas, Venezuela has received an $82,000 transfer scholarship to Menlo College where she hopes to attain a Bachelor of Science in International Management. The scholarship will cover most of her expenses at Menlo College including tuition and housing. On top of that, she will graduate from Skyline College this Spring with three associate degrees: Political Science, Interdisciplinary Studies: Arts and Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Studies Social and Behavioral Science. She is an honors student and an active member of the Skyline College community since her first semester.

She is a member of several clubs including Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Model United Nations Club, the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) and Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy (WMLA).

As Secretary General of the Model United Nations Club, she has participated in conferences at UC Berkeley (UCB) and UC Davis. In particular, she participated in a debate at UCB about her native country, Venezuela, representing Skyline College. She also received a full scholarship to attend a United Nations conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2018.

Furthermore, she was selected to attend “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama” in December 2018. Nellyana also volunteers with the Make-a-Wish foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children who are critically ill. Her job is to find out what a child’s wish is and to make it come true within the assigned budget.

This summer, Nellyana will go to Madrid, Spain for an internship where she will gain experience helping undocumented immigrants get legal status in a non-profit law firm. She has received scholarships from San Mateo County Community College District and Associated Students of Skyline College to cover the expenses for this internship.

Nellyana has this to say about her Skyline College experience, “Skyline College opened doors for me and made me feel welcomed, I felt like I belonged right away. It supported me in achieving my educational goals. Today I’m beyond thankful to Skyline College because I will receive 3 associate degrees related to my major and priceless experience in leadership.”

We wish Nellyana all the best for her future!

Article and Photo by Clair Yeo-Sugajski

Skyline College Participates In Another Annual SMUD Solar Regatta!

ERC boat competitionOn Saturday, May 4th, 2019, the force was with Skyline College’s Engineering and Robotics Club (ERC) as they competed in the 8th annual Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Solar Boat Regatta held at the Rancho Secco Recreational area in Sacramento. The team consisted of 10 students and four faculty members who camped lakeside that Friday night, gearing up and making last minute preparations for the race.

To compete in the Solar Regatta, Skyline College’s Engineering and Robotics Club had to design and build a fully functional solar powered boat that could quickly maneuver through a series of difficult courses. This year’s boat was named Skywalker, an allusion towards Star Wars Day (May the fourth).

The team used the previous year’s solar boat chasse and enhanced its performance by reducing its overall weight and finishing the boat’s surface with a high gloss paint. The decision to reuse the boat chasse saved the team time, allowing them to focus their efforts on other categories of the competition, such as sustainability.

Tackling the sustainability aspect fostered team collaboration and influenced many of the new designs that were implemented. The students utilized equipment in the Base 11 Innovation Center located in Building 7. It was here that the team of future aspiring engineers worked on the solar powered boat. Many of the new components being built in the innovation lab were sourced from recycled materials. These upcycled additions included a student donated car roof rack that was used to mount and secure a re-purposed ice cooler box that housed the electronics, aluminum bars that served as structural I-beams to join catamaran style boat together and hardware and leftover plumbing that served to be a useful and effective steering solution.

It is a long held Engineering and Robotics Club tradition that the team and faculty camp overnight prior to the race at the Rancho Secco Recreational Area. The trip serves as a great opportunity for the students to build team camaraderie and is a chance for them to learn from and get to know their advisors.

Many other Northern California teams camped that night, which allowed students and faculty to network and collaborate with other schools on the boat project. Legendary chef, Nick Kapp, prepared an incredible balanced meal that night, giving strength to the team for their upcoming competition. The overnight camping trip was a blast for everyone, and allowed the group to kick back and relax around friends and a warm campfire. It was the final stretch of a journey that took hours upon hours of assembling, rethinking, trial and error and problem solving on the fly. The team grew closer with every challenge they faced and overcame, which is arguably the most important aspect of the solar boat project: teamwork.

Within the competition, the students had to perform in three challenging races and conduct a technical, artistic and sustainability presentation of their work in front of panel of judges. In the sustainability category, the ERC’s Skywalker came in 2nd place! For artistic design, the team scored 3rd place. Their technical design scored them another 3rd place. Overall, even though the team had technical difficulties, their team spirit allowed them to push through the competition, placing them in 7th place out of 18 schools — one spot better than last year!

The importance of teamwork extends well beyond the Engineering and Robotics club and Skyline College. During the event presentation, Ohlone College’s boat fell off its stand, breaking majority of the boat’s components such as it’s motors. Feeling their pain and knowing how much work they put into their project, Skyline College’s team went out of their way to offer up a working motor to Ohlone College so that they could continue to compete. Unfortunately the damage was too severe but the judges were so impressed by the support showed by Skyline College’s team that they awarded them with the Leading by Example trophy. This trophy is symbolic of this teams’ collaborative, friendly and team oriented mindset: the essence of this competition.

This is Skyline College’s 4th time competing in the SMUD Solar Regatta.

Students who attended:

Michael Toledo, Jessica Ngai, David Chou, Jialin Li, Ellis Manning-Villar, Raymond Iacobacci, Vincent Guan, Cynthia Lee, Daniel Messier

And former Skyline College Student Gianni Grelli

Faculty members who attended:

  • Nick Kapp (Bio Technology)
  • Maryam Khan (Engineering)
  • Nick Langhoff (Engineering)
  • Marco Wehrfritz (Engineering)

Thanks for the support of the Kinesiology department for letting us using the van and all the other helping hands!

Written by Marco Wehrfritz, Nick Kapp and Michael Toledo

EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs and Guardian Scholars Programs Celebrates Over 100 Students

Celebration EOPS, Calworks and Guardian Scholars The EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs and Guardian Scholars Programs held their end of the year celebration on Wednesday, May 15, with over 90 guests in attendance. It was a festive event as the programs honored 138 students who completed 37 certificates and 174 degrees this academic year.

Highlights of the celebration included the overall gathering as a community, presenting graduation stoles and certificates to the 35 program graduates who were present, honoring faculty member, Imelda Hermosillo, for 25 years of EOPS counseling and having EOPS alumni David Martinez as a guest speaker.

David Martinez, a former EOPS student and ambassador at Skyline College, shared with attendees his story of grit and perseverance in the face of adversity. At the young age of 13, David was initiated in a gang and early on decided that school wasn’t for him. He completed high school with a 1.9 GPA and attended Skyline College briefly, earning a 1.1 GPA before deciding not to return. He credits his parents for encouraging him to continue with college, but didn’t decide to return until he was 30 years old.

At that time, with a new perspective, David decided to make the most of this second attempt at college. He got involved with student government, and he credits programs such as EOPS and TRiO for supporting him financially and academically and encouraging him to consider transfer universities. Soon he was on the Dean’s list and applying for transfer to UCs – getting accepted to UC Riverside for Business Economics.

At UCR, he continued his involvement with student leadership organizations, which ultimately allowed him to build his network and attend professional development opportunities in LA County and even obtain internships.

He described how his motivation would push him to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a 5:00 a.m. three-hour train ride to USC for such opportunities, and it paid off. He was encouraged to apply to USC, and has recently completed his Masters Degree in Business Taxation from USC. He has returned to the Bay Area and will begin a new job with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, also known as “PwC”, a leading global accounting firm, this July.

We thank David for sharing his narrative with our students as it serves as an inspiring and tangible source of motivation for all of us. Thank you to all who attended and supported the success of our EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs and Guardian Scholars students.

We look forward to more celebrations as EOPS prepares to commemorate 50 years within the state of California next academic year. EOPS is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. For more information, please email

Article and Photo by Melanie Espinueva+Aure

Students Manufacture a Way to Learn from Their Mistakes

bioManufacturing The goal of manufacturing is to create many of something with as little variability as possible. Mistakes, if they occur at all, should be very infrequent. This past semester, the Biomanufacturing Club at Skyline College saw just how hard it is to be a Contract Manufacturing Organization (CMO) in the life sciences or pharmaceutical space.

The Skyline College biomanufacturing group has volunteered to produce petri dishes for BABEC, a nonprofit that supplies biotechnology lessons to local high schools. The biotechnology club followed cGMP, biopharmaceutical industrial standards, making these plates.

The group learned that having the correct materials, planning and communicating with all members of the group is required for good manufacturing. Originally, the group had planned to pour 2000 plates. However, there was a backlog in the media prep room and our members were not able to get into the autoclave on time (which takes an hour to work), starting at 2:00 p.m. rather than noon.

The group found out that the medium would boil over in the autoclave, so instead of having three liters, we now only had two liters of medium. The group decided to press ahead and still manufacture what they could.

We experienced problems with our pump (which filled the plates with 10 ml of medium), stacking our plates and clotting of the agar, a thickening agent, in one pump and dribbling in the other. After an hour, we found that we could only make 120 plates in an hour and that even with two groups manufacturing plates, we would still be in lab on a Friday evening.

To top it all off, the group discovered that the media prep team did not add agar to one set of the media so the 120 plates they poured would never solidify and have to be thrown out.

A disaster, but maybe not. The group sat around for their last hour and did what industry calls a CAPA, Corrective and Preventative Actions, and listed all the things that went wrong with the 2k pour and how we can prevent those things in the future.

The day was full of learning from our mistakes.

On a side note, the biomanufacturing group will be demonstrating some of the innovative teaching labs that our students came up with at the Bay Area Makers Fair held at the San Mateo Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 18, 2019 and Sunday, May 19, 2019. This is a fun fair for DIY and Makers of all kinds, so if you are near downtown San Mateo this weekend you should check us out.

Article and Photo by Nick Kapp

Spring 2019 International Student Spotlight: Terry Asiedu

Terry AsieduTerry Asiedu is an international student from Accra, Ghana who will graduate from Skyline College with a degree in Allied Health this Spring. He has been admitted to several universities including Arizona State University, Oral Roberts University and University of Daytona. He has also been a recipient of the Global Beca Scholarship for all four of his semesters at Skyline College as well as various San Mateo County Community College District institutional scholarships.

On top of being an outstanding student, Terry is also an active member of the Skyline College community. He has been a student ambassador for the Division of Student Equity (DSE) where he helped at the Equity Summit, a conference held at Skyline College for educators, practitioners and community members to learn about and discuss issues surrounding education equity.

He was a presenter in Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), an annual math and science conference for young women from 6th to 12th grade, where he assisted his professors with explaining how a heart works.

He has been a Peer Mentor, a member of Brothers Achieving Milestones and volunteered at SparkPoint, an organization that helps economically-challenged individuals and families to become more financially self-sufficient. He has volunteered at Reading Partners, where he worked one-on-one with elementary school students to attain their reading goals.

Terry says that he had a great time at Skyline College and that every single day served as an opportunity for him to intellectually develop himself as an individual contributing to positively to society. He received a $15,000 scholarship to Oral Roberts University, where he hopes to attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Article and Photo by Clair Yeo-Sugajski

Spring 2019 International Student Spotlight: Abiodun Foresythe

Abiodun Foresythe Abiodun Foresythe is an international student from Lagos, Nigeria who will transfer from Skyline College this Spring. She has been admitted to almost every college/university that she applied to including UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. She is not only an honors student, but also an active member of the Skyline College community since her first semester.

She is a member of the Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy (WMLA) and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), has participated Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) since 2018 and is a Senator in the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC). She is also a tutor and a Supplemental Instruction leader.

As a member of WMLA, she has participated in conferences, leaderships talks and vision boards. In WMLA, Abi says that she has found a safe space and a support system with people who helped her to become a leader in her community.

As Vice President of Community Relations for PTK, Abi has been part of the team that was awarded the Distinguished Chapter Officer Team, Distinguished Honors in Action award and is one of the Top 100 PTK chapters in the nation at the Annual PTK Convention.

She has been a guide (2018) and a presenter (2019) at Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), an annual math and science conference for young women from 6th to 12th grade.

As a Senator in ASSC, she was part of the Accreditation Committee and was also part of the group that advocated for and attained cheaper food options to be available for Skyline College students.

Abi says that moving on from Skyline College comes with happiness and sadness. She is sad to leave her Skyline College family behind but knows that because of Skyline College, she will be able to move on without fear. We are excited to see where the future will take Abi and wish her all the best in her endeavors!

Article and Photo by Clair Yeo-Sugajski

Skyline College Students Win at SFSU’s Intramural Speech and Debate Tournament

Intramural Speech and Debate TournamentOn Friday, May 10, 2019, two Skyline College/Design Tech High School students, Benjamen Gao (High School Junior) and Amaryllis Gao (High School Freshman) took 3rd place in the parliamentary debate category.

Amaryllis also took home first place for top speaker award, a huge accomplishment in this highly competitive community! San Francisco State University’s Bi-Annual Speech and Debate Intramural Tournament unites forensics programs to offer Skyline College, CCSF, SFSU, USF  and other Bay Area students an opportunity to practice and apply methods of public speaking, oral interpretation, persuasion, argumentation and debate.

If you are interested or know someone who might be interested please consider enrolling in COMM 680SB: Forensics for Fall 2019 and join Benjamen and Amaryllis as they help set the foundation for a speech and debate team legacy here at Skyline College.

Article by Lindsey Ayotte | Photo by Benjamen Gao

Psychology In Action!

Psychology in ActionStudents enrolled in social psychology created posters applying social psychological concepts to common issues facing tweens and teens. These posters doubled as Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) and addressed the issues of self-esteem, disappointment/rejection, academic pressure, drama and temptation.

Social psychological concepts represented in the posters included social comparisons, self-presentation, conformity and social identity.

Students also incorporated various persuasive techniques in an effort to reach their audience. These included the use of fear (stating potential consequences of certain behaviors), the use of the central route to persuasion (citing facts and statistics) and the use of the peripheral route to persuasion (using images of celebrities and other influencers).

These student-created PSA’s are now being displayed in the South San Francisco and San Bruno Libraries and will go on display next week at San Bruno’s Parkside Middle School.

Article by Jennifer Merrill

SPARC Meeting Update

The Skyline College Strategic Planning and Allocation of Resources Committee (SPARC) met for their final meeting on May 9, 2019.

Dean of Student Equity and Support Programs, Lasana Hotep and Vice President of Student Services, Angelica Garcia provided an update on the Student Equity Plan that is due September 30, 2019. The draft plan will be reviewed at college governance committees in the next several months. The final plan will be submitted to the Board of Trustees at the September 25, 2019 meeting for approval.

Survey results from both the SPARC and the CPR Completers were shared at the May 9, 2019 SPARC meeting. SPARC also discussed ways to have wider campus engagement in the CPR process.

Paul Cassidy, Finance and Operations Manager provided the 2019-2020 Tentative Budget Scenario. Vice President of Administrative Services noted that there will be additional refinements to the budget over the summer and an update will be provided to SPARC in the fall.   SPARC moved to recommend the budget to the College Governance Council.

Next meeting is Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 2:10 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Building 6, Room 6-203.

Article by Judy Hutchinson

Ceramics Students Show Their Work in 2019 California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art

Ceramics Advancement of Ceramic ArtFor the 11th consecutive year, Skyline College ceramics students participated in the annual California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art in Davis, CA from May 2-5, 2019.  The conference draws collegiate ceramics students from the region who display their artwork and attend over 30 exhibitions by other colleges and universities throughout California. Students also attended lectures by professional ceramics artists that included clay demonstrations.

Each college is provided a retail space in downtown Davis to transform into a pop-up gallery for the weekend.

The Skyline College show was located in a former jewelry store with large glass display cases ready to fill with ceramic art pieces. The installation took a full day and included preparing pedestals and wall displays, hanging lights and arranging the artwork and signage.

Participation in the Skyline College Ceramic Art show is a capstone project for our upper-level ceramics students. Through hands-on learning, students experience how to set up a professional exhibition. They created a series of three or more pieces around a selected theme, wrote an artist statement and resume, photographed and promoted their work and interacted with show attendees. Following the event, they wrote a reflection on their work and the show.

The show contained a wide array of themes and styles, reflecting the diverse artistic expression of Skyline College students. Participating students welcomed conference guests to our show and shared their inspirations, ideas and techniques. The large variety of school exhibitions presented a wonderful opportunity for students to connect with potential transfer schools, their instructors and current students.

Ceramics professor Tiffany Schmierer co-curated the show with the students and was an exhibitor in the main conference show with her ceramic sculpture. The California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art is all about promoting art education, collaboration and creative learning.

Article and Photos by Tiffany Schmierer, Professor of Art