Monthly Archives: May 2022

End of the Year Party for Biomanufacturing, PDA and BioScope Grant

If you were at Glen Park in San Francisco last Friday you would have come upon the Biomanufacturing clubs of Skyline and Laney College competing in a speed gowning competition. L-R: Johnathan Der, Kevin Recinosgon, Julio Catalan, Jonathan Zhang and Emily Quach

On May 20, 2022, the Friday before finals week, the Biomanufacturing clubs from Laney College and Skyline College met at Glen Canyon Park in San Francisco for an end of the quarter celebration; to reward its members with community, burritos, games and prizes for a year well spent.

In a fun picnic, students from the Skyline College and Laney college Biomanufacturing Clubs met and were able to network and meet with one another for team building and celebration of the end of the semester. The Biomanufacturing club acts as an independent Contract manufacturing organization, completing orders to manufacture quality lab consumables that are used in local classrooms and labs. This gives the club members real work experience in manufacturing, keeping documents, clean room gowning, packaging and labeling as well as various other activities that a contract manufacturing organization would do. More experienced students act as the club’s shift leads and project managers, managing the other students’ activities, developing leadership skills and contributing where their expertise is needed. After a long year of producing over 10,000 petri plates, 2,000 DNA isolation sets, 1,000 mock covid kits and various other items it was time to celebrate and to see what we all look like after a year of masks and zoom training sessions.

The picnic was sponsored by our major customer: the Bay Area Bioscience Education Community (BABEC). BABEC provided catering for the party as well as prizes for the games that the students participated in. Throughout the year, BABEC provides Educational materials for local schools and greatly appreciates the low cost yet high quality materials that are made by the Biomanufacturing groups at Laney and Skyline Colleges.   

Student members of the West Coast Chapter of the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) were also in attendance at the party. The PDA is a global professional organization that promotes community and training of individuals who manufacture drugs and vaccines. Student membership is free for the PDA starting this year. The PDA also sponsors live training meetings in the Bay area that students can attend for free if they register or volunteer. The PDA members offered networking opportunities for our students.

Members of the Student Chapter WCC PDA, and the Laney and Skyline College Biomanufacturing programs taste tested some commercial and lab grown root beer sodas. L-R: Nick Kapp, Jing Folsom, Kevin Recinosgon, Daniel Wang, Jonathan Der, Julio Catalan, Jonathan Zhang, Kat Huang, Chuyun Wang, Kitty Mei, Priscilla Sanchez

It was an uncharacteristically hot and sunny day at Glen Canyon Park. Students competed in a speed gowning competition, challenging students to don a clean room gown, goggles, bonnet, mask, gloves and shoe covers all in a sterile manner in under 1 minute of time. It was a good thing that it was hot because we then filled up expired latex gloves with water and had an old-fashioned balloon/glove toss. A few of our members did get wet. We would also like to thank the BioLink Depot for supplying the old gloves and gowning materials. The attendees then used a mask to slingshot a water filled test tube for distance. Professor Jing Folsom (the most petite of the group) was able to sling the test tube the furthest. She then uncharacteristically announced that she was the winner and that everyone has homework to do in order to get better.

“It was a good end to an interesting year of production, attending conferences and volunteering at various schools and organizations such as the BioLink Depot. The faculty and students are looking forward to what we can do in the coming year.” said Professor Nick Kapp


Article by Johnathan Der | Photos by Nick Kapp

Students attend the Bay Area Planetary Science Annual Meeting

Every year, members of the Bay Area Planetary Science (BAPS) community meet in a conference-style meeting. Most of the members of BAPS are actively involved in NASA missions, studying the Moon and Mars, as well as the outer solar system. Talks are usually astrophysics- or geology-oriented and are centered around hypotheses and theories pertaining to the formation and evolution of the solar system.

This year, the BAPS conference took place on the University of California, Berkeley campus on Monday, May 23 and students from Skyline College’s Physics and Astronomy Club (PAC) were invited to participate. The goal was to expose them to the newest developments in the field, introduce them to researchers, and potentially offer them opportunities to take part in analyzing data obtained by NASA missions in dedicated projects.

Several students were able to attend despite the conference falling on the first day of Finals week! Jonathan Mariano-Smith, the club president, learned about the Mars Perseverance Rover and the sheer amount of planning needed for a successful mission. Shannon Hoang, an energy engineering major, got the opportunity to visit Berkeley Engineering where she is planning on transferring in the fall. The research presented at BAPS gave her a chance to map out different pathways that her major could possibly lead her to as she focuses on incorporating environmental sciences in her educational career. Brendan Murtagh is a physics major transferring to UC Berkeley in the Fall, and was also able to explore his future campus, in addition to attending BAPS presentations.

Thank you to the BAPS organizer for inviting PAC’s students to attend and learn about the latest developments in planetary science while exploring their future transfer institution!


Article by Emilie Hein, Shannon Hoang, Jonathan Mariano-Smith and Brendan Murtagh



Student Research Spotlight: Purple Urchins

Bottom photo: Chris Duran after collecting sea water and seaweed to feed purple urchins to be used in the lab. With Chris’ care, the urchins were used for several labs instead of rush ordering them for only one lab.

Each semester, BIOL 215 students are tasked with the responsibility to raise and observe model organisms as part of their class. From yeast to crabs to mice and fish, these model organisms are key to research and are used in multiple class labs. Because of this, many of the organisms used in the lab require extra hours and work to ensure their survival for the rest of the class to use.

Biology student Chris Duran took this a step further to care for the urchin shipment delivered to the lab. He has had personal interactions with them before (collecting some from a local beach under his fishing license), and thought it would be fun to research and observe urchins for his model organism project. He was able to use this expertise to assist during the lab and outside the class.

When asked, he describes this as “an opportunity to go and learn more about the ecosystem and animals in our coastal ecosystems” while spending more time at the beach and intertidals. Between “connecting biological concepts and what is learned in lecture to the hands-on approach to learning, it reinstills why these concepts we learn are a thing through these demonstrations in and out of the lab”.

These hands-on projects can be credited towards the supportive atmosphere brought about by the instructors and PI’s, who demonstrate enthusiasm for biology. Many in the class Duran was in, agreed that the support they received helped in understanding more of the basis of biology and were able to come out of the class better equipped to care for terrestrial and aquatic organisms.

Moving forward, the department hopes to be able to expand their support for students who seek to research model organisms. This would include the application of a scientific collecting permit, in order to bring in local organisms into the lab for further research.

For more information about starting your own research project, ask your STEM instructor about the possibility of doing a special project, or see the STEM Research club advisor, Nick Kapp ( or STEM Center Program Services Coordinator, Bryan Swartout ( The STEM Division works to support and facilitate interactions with other students, researchers and involvement on campus.


Article by Nick Kapp and Kaileiani Louie | Photos by Chris Duran




Art Students Collaborate with Nature for Spring 2022 Sustainability Blitz

For the Spring 2022 Sustainability Blitz, Climate Corps Fellows teamed with Art instructor Teresa Cunniff to give an inspiring presentation on Sustainable Urban Design to the students of Art 401, Three-Dimensional Design. After the presentation, students collaborated to create bio-receptive, modular blocks as they learned to use tools and equipment in the Sculpture Studio.

In this project, Art 401 students learned the safe and proper use of the band saw, the drill press, and various hand tools to make the wooden molds used to cast the bio-receptive blocks. Living Blocks is an open-source recipe designed by Lawrence Parent to produce blocks that can support plant and insect life. The blocks were made from hypertufa, a lightweight, porous material made from cement, sawdust and perlite. The voids in the blocks were made by placing expired fruits and vegetables in the molds. The liquid hypertufa was poured around the organic material. Once the hypertufa was set, the fruits and vegetables were dug out to make room for succulents and other plants harvested from the class members’ gardens.

Surplus fruits and vegetables were donated by Skyline’s SparkPoint Food Pantry. After installing the blocks, the class visited the SparkPoint office, located in Building 1, Room 1-214 to learn about services available to students year-round including Financial Coaching, Housing Resources, and Food Programs.

The Sustainability Blitz is a project created through the partnership between Skyline College and Strategic Energy Innovations’ program Climate Corps. The fellows of the Climate Corps program, working in a variety of sustainability sectors across the Bay area, Southern California, Oregon, and Washington, team up with Skyline faculty to deliver a unique lesson. Students get the opportunity to engage in sustainability, climate change, and climate justice related topics within the course subjects they are currently studying. The Climate Corps program is an early career opportunity for recent graduates to gain experience working in sustainability over the course of 10 months.

A big shout out to SparkPoint staffers Chad Thompson, Raul Amaya, Flor López and Kevin Eifler. Many thanks to Climate Corps Fellows Naima Sudjian-Carlisle, Alexandra Shaw, Allison Solis, and to Sustainability Coordinator Landon Smith. We couldn’t have completed the project without their help!


Article by Teresa Cunniff | Video by Christian Panalagao | Photos by Dr. Nicole Porter, Teresa Cunniff, Naima Sudjian-Carlisle and Justin Garcia

District Dream Centers Hosts 4th Annual Migration Celebration 

On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Dream Centers of Skyline College, College of San Mateo and Cañada College hosted the San Mateo County Community College District’s 4th Annual Migration Celebration. This was the first time the gathering was hosted virtually, and it was wonderful to see campus leadership, administration, faculty, staff and community members come together to celebrate the graduates. The Migration Celebration is a special ceremony that celebrates immigrant, undocumented, mixed-status-family and ally students and honors the special barriers that these students and their families have had to face in their pursuit of higher education. 

The evening started with Keynote Speaker, Marithza Quiroz, a graphic artist currently living in the Bay Area. Born and raised in Sonora, Mexico, she migrated to the U.S. with her parents at age 17. She learned English and graphic design through low-cost adult programs in Los Angeles and worked in the printing industry for over 20 years. Marithza’s story exemplifies the passion that comes with learning without accepting the limitations that can be attached to systemic barriers.   

After the keynote, each graduating student was able to speak, with many giving thanks to their family, friends, ​teachers and staff members who supported them in their academic journeys. The evening ended with community members expressing their support and congratulations to the graduates. It was the perfect event to send off graduating students. The District Dream Centers look forward to the 5th Annual SMCCCD Migration next Spring!


Article by Ana Escalante, Martin Marquez and Paola Mora Paredes

“How Do We Trust the Media?” Dialogue and Workshop Promote Media Literacy Skills and a Dose of “Healthy Skepticism”

On May 11, 2022, Skyline College student Tara Grover facilitated a virtual, student focused event, “How Do We Trust the Media?,” to help her peers better understand how fake news is generated and raise awareness of the many techniques for confronting it. She graciously introduced her panel of “brilliant minds,” Skyline College faculty from across the disciplines: Andrea Fuentes, Pia Walawalkar, Rachel Cunningham, Nancy Kaplan-Biegel, and Suzanne Schubert.

Participants began by viewing a video clip of the actor Tom Cruise – who turned out not actually to be Tom Cruise. Prof. Cunningham asked, “What happens when we take social media posts at face value?” Prof. Karen Wong responded, “What if they put somebody’s words in the mouth of a very prominent figure like our president? …. It could be…really insulting to another head of state…and that might cause some real diplomatic tension in the future.”

Throughout the session, discussions were illuminated by clips from the documentary film, How Do We Trust the Media, which participants were encouraged to watch before the session (also available for the Skyline community here, please use your OneLogin credentials for access). Many students participated by responding to questions by chat.

Tara explained how media literacy tools, guidelines, and questions we ask ourselves can give us the confidence to know whether the information we are learning is true. She pointed out that we need these for the same reasons Malcolm X is said to have explained about 50 years earlier: “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. Media has the power to influence minds, ideas, behaviors, and attitudes of the masses.”

Participants evaluated several social media examples and learned how new technologies not only confirm our existing biases but also take advantage of our psychological vulnerabilities. One example has been tweets created by Russian bots mimicking real people but using fake accounts, which the New York Times identified as part of a disinformation scheme by the Russian Internet Research Agency which used social media to instigate violence in Texas.

“It’s not just the media — we as real people amplify misinformation, too,” Prof. Walawalkar explained further. “We have to question everything that’s coming our way” especially before we reshare it. She and journalism Prof. Kaplan-Beigel encouraged students to use lateral searching techniques, a method for finding out what other groups and professional journalists are writing about a particular story. They also urged students to probe deeper to learn who, for example, is funding the organization that has published or posted a story, since groups appearing to be grassroots organizations may actually be industry members in disguise.

Prof. Walawalkar explained, “We have a right to all of this information but with rights come responsibilities.” By reposting we have essentially agreed that certain information is true. Additionally, in thinking about the authority of who is writing or sharing information, “just because somebody has a doctorate doesn’t mean they can’t be bought…it’s complicated.” She continued, “it’s not about becoming cynical or not believing anything, just having a healthy skepticism, asking a lot of questions before believing or not believing something.” She shared her library research guide, designed to help students do this for themselves: Evaluating Fake News and Beyond.

Faculty and students shared other techniques for confirming whether information is true, including asking themselves if an article or post makes them emotional and then searching for other sides of the story, and using Snopes, a fact checking website that gives the details and history of specific fake stories and posts. Prof. Schubert closed the event by asking students to share something that they had learned during the session or could share that hadn’t yet been discussed.

Lastly, this insightful session would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of Tara Grover. We have no doubt her inquiring mind and stellar organization skills will serve her well as she transfers to UC Santa Barbara and beyond. Congratulations, Tara!


Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp

Celebrating 20 Years of Honors Transfer Program Graduates! 

On Friday, May 6, 2022, the Honors Transfer Program (HTP) held a Graduation Medallion Ceremony and celebrated its 20th anniversary of the program at Skyline College. In a room with over 40 attendees consisting of prospective, continuing and graduating Honors Transfer Program students, family, faculty, staff, and administrators, everyone came together to enjoy food and celebrate our students.

The program began with a welcome from student co-hosts Curtis Chou and Alysia Tanimura, who are the outgoing and incoming Honors Club Presidents, respectively. Our Interim Vice President of Instruction, Danni Redding Lapuz talked about the importance of research, and she shared personal stories of opportunities that research brought her in her educational journey. Acting Dean of Social Sciences and Creative Arts, Dr. Nicole Porter, contributed a welcome video that was warm, genuine, and truly heartfelt–reminding everyone there about the importance of honoring students’ accomplishments. HTP Faculty Coordinator and English faculty Janice Sapigao introduced Melissa Rohlffs from the San Mateo County Community College Foundation, who shared a few words of gratitude for students; she also encouraged students to sign up for the SMCCCD Alumni Association

“HTP started because STUDENTS wanted it! At their request, in Fall of 1997, Donna Bestock, the Dean of Social Sciences at that time, started to work with a Steering Committee to create the Skyline Honors Transfer Program. After several years of planning, the program started in 2000 and has flourished since then, growing year by year,” HTP Counselor Joyce Lee began, as she shared the highlights of the 20-year history of the program. 

Student Speakers Curtis Chou, who will be transferring to UCLA as Computer Science major, and Anny Moreira, who will be transferring to UC Berkeley as a Cognitive Science major, shared both humorous and grounding narratives of their time as student-leaders at Skyline College. In part of Anny’s speech conclusion, she offered this reflection and advice for students, “While I leave Skyline as a better student thanks to the excellence of the faculty, Skyline’s greatest gift to me was to help me find my sense of belonging. Regardless of your journey at Skyline, if you are here today then you are also part of this community. This is our home.”

HTP acknowledged the years of work, care, and time of former Faculty Coordinators, English Professor Katharine Harer and History Professor John Ulloa, who each dedicated 7 years to the program and accomplished ensuring Skyline College as part of the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program, and established IDST 105: the Honors Research Seminar. They, along with the 20 HTP graduates, received medallions with the program logo to wear at Commencement. HTP graduates earn medallions after completing C.O.R.E. requirements: 15 units of Honors course contracts, earn an overall GPA of 3.25 before they graduate, accomplish research projects in each Honors contract course with a faculty-mentor, and engage in 16 hours of mutual aid/volunteer hours. 

Congratulations to all 20 of our HTP graduates from this past academic year! Communication Studies Professor and HTP Advisory Board member Lindsey Ayotte read aloud the names of students, their transfer schools, and advice graduates have for current students. One example of this is from HTP graduate Theresa Calingasan who will be transferring to the University of San Francisco as a Public Health major, and shared, “Always do things with purpose.”

Thank you to all who were listed above, and many thanks to Prof. Susanne Schubert, the Honors Club (Honors students Curtis Chou, Ryan Woo, Andrea Hernandez, Alysia Tanimura, Julio Lau, Florence Thwe, Benjamin Cook), Chris Woo, Prof. Jennifer Merrill, Prof. Rachel Cunningham, Facilities, Pacific Dining, Kathy Fitzpatrick, Ernesto Hernandez, and all attendees who coordinated, celebrated, and shared their continuous support of HTP and our students. HTP would not be possible without the ongoing support of the 60+ faculty who work diligently with HTP students on their research passions and interests every year.


Article by Janice Sapigao | Photos by Janice Sapigao and Julio Lau


COVID-19 Updates


The health guidance for exposure procedures and isolation directives have been modified to align with updated San Mateo County procedures. Key updates include:


Exposure to Confirmed COVID-19 Positive Individual (Close Contact)  

  • Quarantine is not required for individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
  • A close contact must monitor for symptoms for 14 days and take a COVID test 3-5 days following exposure.

To help explain the impact of this change on the District’s processes, the District’s COVID-19 Health Officer, Ray Hernandez, shares updates about the District’s Isolation/Exposure/Quarantine Decision Tree in this video. You can also read the latest changes by clicking here.



At-home COVID-19 test kits will only be available through the campus public safety offices or Bookstores. 


COVID-19 Testing Resources: 

B.S. Respiratory Care Final Capstone Project Presentation May 23-25

You are cordially invited to attend the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (BSRC) Final Capstone Project Presentation on Monday, May 23, 2022 through Wednesday, May 25, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..  Graduating  BSRC students will be presenting their culminating project to the Respiratory Care community and Skyline College.


Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (BSRC) Final Capstone Project Presentation

Date: May 23 – 25, 2022

Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Via Zoom

Webinar Zoom link:


Solar Boat Team Competes Again

Skyline Solar Boat Team 2022: Logan Chan, Marlon Villalobos, Thomas Toy, Ned Bitar, Paul-Frederik Schubert, Madeleine McSwain, Valeria Zarco, Emma Mayoral, (not pictured) Jonathan Mariano-Smith

For the 4th time, the Skyline College Solar Boat Team joins the SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District)  California Solar Regatta competition held on May 13, 2022 at Rancho Seco recreational area in Herald, CA. It was the 9th time this state-wide event took place and the first time after the pandemic.

Due to safety restrictions, the number of teams was limited to 10 by SMUD, down from more than 20. Even so, everyone was happy to be back in person after waiting two years.

It was a nice, warm, and sunny day at Rancho Seco Lake. The lake is the old emergency cooling pond of the former nuclear power plant on the site, of which buildings are still standing. The main reactor building and the twin cooling towers can still be seen over the lake, making a scenic background to the competition.

The group photo is of our nine participating student team members, their red shirts matching their overhauled solar boat, who were eager to compete against other schools. Because of the pandemic, it was the first time for all of them to participate in the race. Some of these students will be returning next year to support and lead next year’s team. We hope to gain more traction to better prepare for next year’s race.

It turned out the strongest adversary wasn’t one of the other boats; it was the gusty winds which blew over the lake from time to time. The motor of the boat wasn’t able to fight against this natural hurdle. After a couple races, Skyline’s boat suffered an electronic failure and the team’s boat had to be towed off the lake. This was not unusual, with many of the other teams struggling with wind and equipment technicalities in their first race after the long downtime due to the pandemic.

Overall, it was a great experience and everyone enjoyed the supportive and collaborative atmosphere among the participants and the organizer of SMUD. Students were able to communicate and connect with other students at different schools, problem solve, and learn from each other’s boat builds. Thank you SMUD, for hosting such a great event again and giving students a great learning experience!

The club would like to extend a big thank you to Marco Wehrfritz (Physics) for supporting the team throughout the process, Dr. Susanne Schubert (Chemistry) for coming and cheering the team, and Dr. Emilie Hein (Physics, MESA) and Dr. Nick Kapp (Biology) for driving the students and equipment to Rancho Seco on Friday night, providing logistics for the overnight stay, camping with the team till the dawn of the race, and driving them safely back to Skyline!

To get involved or for more information, contact Engineering and Robotics Club (ERC) advisor, Marco Wehrfritz (

Article by Marco Wehrfritz, Nick Kapp, and Kaileiani Louie | Photo by Susanne Schubert