Monthly Archives: December 2020

Engineering Students Shine Through Virtual Middle School Workshops

STEMpalsA pandemic couldn’t stop a group of Skyline College Engineering students from holding middle school STEM workshops. On December 10th and 11th, Engineering students, Megan Chan, Lauren Gan, Christal Nevarez, Bonnie Hoff and recent transfer Lauren DeVera, collaborated with Ingrid B. Lacey’s 8th grade to create holiday led light-up cards. This collaboration was done through STEMpals, a PIF project aimed at combatting the gender disparity in STEM by connecting Skyline College Student mentors with middle school tween girls to promote science, technology, engineering and math. In order to conduct the workshop remotely, the students and their coordinator, Maryam Khan assembled activity bags that were then delivered to the middle school, where students came to then retrieve their bags. The workshop consisted of a presentation on the science behind electronics, circuit fundamentals, and then assembling a light up led card that was completely customizable for the holiday season. The students followed the instructions from the mentors along with an instructional video. It was quite amazing to see one by one students (who had their cameras on) showing their lit-up cards! We’d like to thank Ms Jean Lakata of Ingrid B. Lacey for providing the skyline students an opportunity to work with her 8th grade periods.

The STEMpals mentors really shined in the zoom workshops and we’re looking forward to continuing the efforts to inspire women of younger generations to see that careers in STEM are tangible.

Article by Maryam Khan

BAEC Student Interns – Fall 2020 Wrap-up!

Student Recognition EventLast Thursday, the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center held its Student Recognition event for the fall 2020 cohort of Job Shadow students.  Since the shift to a virtual job shadow, the BAEC has provided opportunities for career exploration and development to over twenty students and provided support to local organizations and campus departments.  This past fall, our students supported the work of the BAEC, Skyline College’s Study Abroad & Exchange Program, The Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and the San Bruno Chamber of Commerce.  After completing this job shadow, a number of students have accepted paid internships and job opportunities.  The Internship Job Shadow Program remains committed to supporting our students’ career and educational goals, regardless of the modality.  Congratulations to all of our students this semester!  Application deadline for our spring 2021 Virtual Job Shadow is Thursday, January 28th.

For more information on the Internship Job Shadow Program please contact

Article by Pcyeta Stroud

Image by Olivia Vialau

New Staff at Skyline College

Once a month, Skyline Shines will be highlighting staff changes at the college. “New Staff at Skyline College” will provide a list of new staff members in each division, including transfers and detail positions. Please feel free to email with any new members of your staff and they will be featured here at the end of the month.


December Staff Changes:

  • Raxell Villagracia – Automotive Technician – Business, Education and Professional Programs
  • Araceli Arias – Learning Commons – Academic Support and Learning Technologies


Article by Becky Threewit

Classified Senate Student Scholarship Drive Surpasses Goal!!!

Student Scholarship Drive FlyerThe Classified Senate is thrilled to announce that we have raised $2,735 for our 2nd Annual Classified Senate Student Scholarship Drive, reaching well over our goal of $1,500!!!  Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our Skyline College Community for helping us surpass our goal and supporting our scholarship drive. Your generous contributions will help lessen the financial burden for our students who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and we are excited that this year we are able to award more scholarships to our students than ever before.  We truly appreciate your generosity in supporting our students and the Classified Senate.

The winner of the raffle drawing prize was randomly selected earlier this week. Congratulations to Marianne Beck, who won the Chrome Book raffle prize drawing! The Classified Senate would like to thank the generosity of the Skyline College Bookstore and Kevin Chak, Bookstore Manager for the prize donation.

On behalf of the Classified Senate, thank you again to everyone who donated and supported our annual scholarship drive. Wishing you all a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday break. Be safe and stay healthy!

With Gratitude,

Classified Senate Executive Board

(Sherrie, Golda, Jeremy, Belinda, Kennya, Martin & Grace)

Virtual Global Internship Faculty Spotlight: Lavinia Zanassi

Employee SpotlightNext semester, SMCCCD students will participate in the first ever Global Virtual Internship Program, interning remotely with companies and organizations based in Costa Rica, England, and Italy. While this program was initially launched in response to Covid-19 and the travel restrictions it imposed, SMCCCD Study Abroad plans to continue to offer virtual programs beyond the pandemic, recognizing the access virtual programs provide to students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to participate in a global experience. The Global Virtual Internship Program is made possible through collaboration with the Skyline College Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Development Division and Career Counseling faculty, Lavinia Zanassi. Below is a discussion between Ms. Zanassi (LZ) and Stephanie Wells (SW), Program Services Coordinator for Study Abroad, about her decision to collaborate on the Virtual Global Internship Program and the opportunities that she sees programs like these providing our students.

SW:      What value do you see a student gaining from a virtual global internship?

LZ:       For one, the pandemic has presented to us the importance of virtual communication. It’s something people have done for quite a while, but now it really has become part of everyone’s lifestyle. If we are to prepare students for life after Skyline, we would be doing them a disservice if we didn’t teach them how to communicate in this virtual era. Also, this program allows students to gain exposure to different customs, cultures, languages, and backgrounds. It has brought us to the 21st century; it’s necessary and timely.

SW:      You were involved in the student interview and selection process. What was that process like?

LZ:        What I really liked about the interview and selection process was that students had a true-to-life opportunity to apply for a position and respond to a series of questions, presenting themselves professionally and being a self-advocate. What I found especially valuable was the “skills test” that students completed, in which they were asked to write a hypothetical email to an internship supervisor addressing a challenge they were having in their internship. Then, during their interview with the selection committee, they were asked to give their rationale for how they communicated in their email. This allowed them to showcase their problem-solving skills, professional etiquette, and sense of self awareness, practicing how to resolve issues in a professional setting. It took them away from the comfort of a classroom, out of passive learning into active learning; there was no index with the correct answer in the back of the book. This allowed them to show their personality and demonstrate, through practice, the deeper problem-solving skills they have, as well as to discuss the various ways to approach a situation.

SW:      Do you believe this program will continue to have value post-Covid?

LZ:       Yes, I do. This is an example of something coming down the path unexpectedly that we must not only adapt to but take advantage of. This is an important global connection opportunity we can offer to more students. Many students told us they would have never considered a program abroad for a variety of reasons — namely finances, familial obligations, and work commitments.  This program allows these students to participate in a global experience they may not have otherwise considered.

People sometimes ask, “how can you experience another culture virtually?” But building intercultural awareness goes beyond the sights. This program allows a deeper interaction that requires students to focus on their relationship-building and learning how to communicate their meaning across cultures in a professional setting. So, the learning is at a different level. If people can find soulmates virtually, why can’t we assume that a virtual global experience will allow students to take away important lessons that will enhance their life. It is really innovative, thinking outside the box—even outside the traditional internship experience. It’s interesting because students are in the safety of their home, so there is no risk from travel, but there is communication and relationship risk; they learn the importance of choosing their words because they have to rely on their words when all information is exchanged remotely.

SW:      What other study abroad programs have you participated in?

LZ:        I have been a faculty leader for two Community Travel Programs to Italy. The irony is that I had been brought up speaking Italian as a first-generation Italian American, so I had knowledge and familiarity of that culture but was never able to travel there until much later in life. When I had the opportunity to return as a faculty liaison, it allowed me to experience the culture in a new way, from an educational lens. I’ve always been an advocate for students to have a global experience during their educational years. I see the impact these programs have for our students. America is only one part of the world, and yet when you’re raised here, it’s everything. Gaining global knowledge and interacting with the larger world is a lesson in humility – the realization that there will always exist other ways to do something, other ways to live this life, and that our way may not always be the only or the best way. Experiences like these, that allow our students to see how others around the world live, work, and communicate, enhance their educational, personal, and professional development.

To learn more about the Global Virtual Internship Program, please visit the Spring 2021 Virtual Global Internship page. For questions, please contact

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 or (650) 738-7088 or Stephanie Wells at You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad


Article by Stephanie Wells

Boat in a Box

Boat in a BoxThe Skyline Solar Boat has a new home, or more like a new box. But putting stuff in boxes has become quite familiar over these pandemic days, owing to Amazon and Door-Dash.

Thanks to the substantial support of Engineering Professor Nick Langhoff, who is the Principal investigator of the DoE HSI Title V STEM grant, the Skyline STEM division was able to reallocate some of those funds to purchase a cargo container to store the Solar Boat and its equipment. The purchase was a necessity due to the remodeling of building 19, Pac Heights, as a new home for our IT department and as a swing space for several other Skyline College departments; the boat had to be moved.

Thanks to the great idea of Project Manager Heidi Rank, we got a used cargo container as an external storage option.

With this container we were able to achieve two goals: find a storage space for the boat and its equipment and create a new workspace for the team. Over time this container will be turned into a proper workshop for the Engineering and Robotics Club and almost certainly won’t be used to work exclusively on the boat. As soon as we have power and some proper tools for our Engineering students in there, there will be space for several projects. Hopefully sometime in 2021, when this pandemic is finally under control, we can do such things again.

The facilities team did a great job in painting it, so that it blends in with the surrounding structures at the north side of building 19, next to building 20.

A special thanks to Dean Carla Grandy, who initiated the administrative steps and for her strong support of the project.

Article by: Marco Wehrfritz

Photo by: Marco Wehrfritz

Skyline College Celebrates 15th Drive-Thru Community Market!

Produce BoxThe Skyline College Drive-Thru Community Market launched in September and provided groceries to 300 families in the first day. This past week marked our 15th weekly food distribution event and served 800 families! Each family receives almost 40 lbs of groceries, including milk, eggs, pasta, rice, fresh produce, canned goods and dry goods, as well as a protein item (ham, chicken, turkey, etc.).  Second Harvest Food Bank calculates that these distributions have offset over $650,000 in grocery costs for the most at risk members of our local community.

This weekly event is held at Skyline College every Wednesday, 11:00am-1:00pm and has been extended through May 2021.  SparkPoint, public safety, and facilities staff work along side volunteers from Skyline College, SMCCCD and our local community to distribute pre-boxed groceries while adhering to all COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols.

  • Only drive-thru pickups will be served
  • All participants must remain in their cars at all times and wear a mask
  • Open to students and the community
  • No I.D required to pick up food
  • Please call 650-738-7970 for weather and air quality closure updates
  • Please use Skyline Blvd entrance

Please note that there will not be a Drive-Thru Community market on Wednesday, December 30th.

If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up through the Second Harvest Food Bank website.  If you have any questions please email us at


Article by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint and Skyline College Lead Historic Bay Area 2020 Census Count

Library Census StationSparkPoint and Skyline College partnered with United Way Bay Area to do outreach for the 2020 Census and we have received the official BAY AREA COUNTS 2020 report.  People and communities throughout the Bay Area will have better access to services, more resources and better political representation because of these efforts.

THE INVESTMENT: Over $27.5M in investments and millions of dollars of in-kind resources were allocated to hundreds of organizations across the Bay Area.

THE REGIONAL RESULT: The Bay Area Counts 2020 network has made millions of outreach impressions in 68 languages and these impressions made a significant impact. Despite all of the challenges that we have faced this year, the Bay Area’s self-response rate (SRR) and rate of increase compared to 2010 Census consistently ranked higher than both the state and national averages. The Bay Area region’s SRR is over 75% (3.5% higher than the 2010 Census)! And of the top 10 highest responding counties in the State, 6 of them are in the Bay Area.

THE LOCAL RESULT: Although the Bay Area has done well as a whole, San Mateo County is ranked 1st in the state with a Self Response Rate of 78.6% (5.4% higher than 2010).  Without a doubt, these local results are a product of the many meaningful and personal interactions that SparkPoint, Skyline College and other local partners have had with community members on a regular basis. More individuals from “hard-to-count”(underrepresented) populations were reached thanks to our email blasts, check-in calls, flyer distribution and the incorporation of census outreach into the Dream Center, Library, financial coaching and food distribution programs.

A special thanks to Bradley Cleveland from the San Mateo Labor Council and Kevin You from the Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, as well as our very own Rika Yonemura-Fabian, Pamela Ortiz, Lori Lisowski, Jessica Silver-Sharp and Chad Thompson for leading and supporting these efforts.


Written by Chad Thompson

Photo by Jessica Sliver-Sharp

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care Hosted Virtual Site Visit

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care Program recently hosted a delegation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).  The accreditation review included a recent, two-day virtual site visit. The evaluators were greeted virtually by the faculty, staff, students and program administrators welcoming them to Skyline College’s amazing campus.  During their virtual site visit, the evaluators conducted interviews with program and institutional administrators, faculty, graduates, students and advisory committee members. The program received glowing reviews. The College and Program was congratulated for development of a model for Community Colleges in California to award a Baccalaureate Degree and have produced a superb example for Respiratory Care Degree Advancement Program.


Thank you to everyone who made the site visit a huge success, especially

Elayne Rodriguez, Beatriz Qura Del Rio, Ray Hernandez, Dr. Carla Grandy, Nadia Tariq, Dr. Melissa Moreno and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza for their continuous attention and contributions to the program.  A special thanks to community leaders, faculty, staff students and graduates who came out to support the program.


Article by Nadia Tariq

International Student Program Host Resume & Cover Letter Workshop for International Students

The Skyline College International Student Program (ISP) and Career Readiness & Job Placement Hub held the Resume & Cover Letter Workshop for international students on December 2, 2020. This event was set up with the intention of informing international students about the importance of resume and cover letters and how they are practiced in the U.S. culture. It was an eye-opening experience for international students in attendance because the employment practices are very different from what they knew from their home countries. Alexa Moore and Renee Liang from the Career Readiness and Job Placement Hub have also introduced a wide variety of services and resources designed to assist students in landing their dream job and to meet their individual career and employment goals. The event was very informative and students received information and resources that will be very beneficial in the rest of their college careers.

ISP will continue to conduct events and workshops to improve the services offered to its students and the entire Skyline College community. If you are interested in learning more about future ISP programs and events, contact ISP office at


Article by Chikako Walker