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

SparkPoint Snacks to Address Food Insecurity on Campus

On August 27, 2018, SparkPoint at Skyline College launched a much-needed project to support student success: SparkPoint Snacks. This project addresses a most basic human need – food – by making free snacks available to Skyline College students with no barriers to access. Intended to dramatically impact student food insecurity and curb the stigma with which it is often associated, SparkPoint Snacks has twelve strategically placed baskets filled with popular snacks 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. SparkPoint distributed over 2,100 snacks to students in the first week of operations, and 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.

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

Article and Photo by Chad Thompson

Engineering and Tech Scholars Shines at National Conference

On Tuesday, June 26th, Skyline College STEM Retention Specialist Jenny Le and Engineering Professor Nicholas Langhoff presented a paper on the Skyline College Engineering and Technology Scholars (ETS) learning community at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The paper details the development, implementation and initial outcomes of ETS, a cohort-based program to strengthen retention of underrepresented community college engineering students. Since the program was piloted in Fall 2016, ETS has proved to be a cost-effective model of a guided pathway that increases retention, provides additional enrichment to students, increases accessibility to scholarships and internships, and bolsters student success in an accelerated pathway. With the model, pass rates for ETS students in entry-level math courses have significantly increased above traditional levels, showing enhanced persistence in a historically challenging pathway. To review data and outcomes presented, link to the full paper here.

Development of the ETS program started as grant-funded project supported by the Silicon Valley Engineering Tech Pathways (SVETP) and Growth Sector with the aim to diversify the STEM workforce. The project has now evolved into a strong community of peer and faculty support that integrates students, faculty, and staff into a community of academic and social support early on and throughout their transfer journey.

Members of the audience showed enthusiasm for and interest in the ETS learning community and have connected with the Skyline College team to learn more about how they can develop similar programs on their own campuses.

The Skyline College team was joined at the conference by other community college engineering faculty friends from around California, including SMCCD Engineering Professor Dr. Amelito Enriquez (Cañada College).

Article by Jenny Le and Nick Langhoff

Student Selected to Visit NASA in October

Miguel Garcia of Skyline College in San Bruno has been selected to travel to NASA’s Ames Research Center this fall to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) onsite experience.

Garcia has been selected as one of 319 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of the NCAS onsite experience.

The five-week online activity culminates with a four-day on-site event at a NASA Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget and developing communications and outreach.

The onsite experience at NASA includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for internships and a tour of NASA’s unique facilities.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is an activity funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.

With this activity, NASA continues the agency’s tradition engaging the nation in NASA’s mission.

“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA.  NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to and ultimately entering the NASA workforce.  It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” Joeletta Patrick, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager

For additional information, please contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars by email at or by phone at 281-483-0493. For more information, visit:

For more on MUREP visit:

For updates on social media follow:  #NCAS2018 #MUREP

Article by Juan Miguel Garcia | Photo by Jenny Le

Student Receives Pearson Scholarship

Skyline College student, Michelle Huang, is one of 10 students nationwide selected to receive the 2018 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education, a $5,000 award.

The Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education is awarded to Phi Theta Kappa members who are civically engaged in their community through service and who demonstrate leadership, academic rigor, and excellence. Preference is given to first-generation college students. Nearly 800 applications were received.

“We are so excited to welcome these 10 new scholars into the Pearson family,” said Lindsey Erlick, Senior Manager of Student Advocacy and Marketing at Pearson. “We look forward to seeing the impact that these scholars have on their campus, community, and future career.”

Each Pearson Scholar will receive $1,000 to complete an associate degree and $4,000 over two years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Scholars are also paired with a Pearson Mentor and will receive complimentary access to Pearson textbooks and online codes to support them as they complete their degrees.

Article by Christine Case

First Zero Textbook Cost Degree Pathway Launches!

The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) team is excited to announce that the Fall 2018 Respiratory Care A.S. cohort is enrolled in Skyline College’s first degree pathway to be a zero-textbook cost program!

Beginning Fall 2018, incoming Respiratory Care A.S. students will receive electronic delivery of course materials. This will save each student at least $1,200.00 in textbook costs over the course of their two-year program!

ZTC course materials include Open Educational Resources (OER), Skyline College Library electronic resources, teacher-created Creative Commons licensed course materials, and more. These may be full textbooks, media, journal articles, power point presentations and other relevant course materials.

Support and implementation of the ZTC degree pathway is possible because of campus-wide collaboration. As subject matter experts, faculty are indispensable in identifying and remixing ZTC course materials that support equitable access and academic success of Skyline College students. The Skyline College Bookstore is a strong supporter of textbook affordability solutions and provides students with low-cost print services of many OER course materials. The Skyline College Library is a source of print copies of OER textbook course reserves, as well as electronic books, journal subscriptions and media for faculty and student use. The ZTC Team promotes adoption of zero textbook cost course materials and provides ongoing faculty support for individual course conversion.

Visit to learn about zero textbook cost resources!

Article by the ZTC Team

California State University Spring 2019 Admissions

The Transfer Center has been busy this fall 2018 semester assisting students with transfer applications for California State University (CSU) Spring 2019 admissions. The Transfer Center has hosted over fourteen application support workshops in August to support a large number of applicants, including daily walk-in application support. Since fall 2017, the Transfer Center has observed a 61.9% increase in the number of students accessing application workshops for support. The latest data show that 94 students transferred to CSU in spring 2017, with spring 2018 remaining preliminary and unavailable at this moment. That said, the transfer center has welcomed over 76 students this application period as of August 30th, resulting in over 92 visits this period if student count data is duplicated.

Moreover, CSU spring admissions have increased 56% since 2014 (CSU Info Center, 2018) due in part to state policy regarding transfer admission, enrollment capacity, improved funding at CSUs and transfer service programming at Skyline College.

Last academic year, CSU extended the deadline for spring admissions because it launched a brand new application system, Cal State Apply. Until now, CSU has not corresponded about deadline extensions, so August 31st will be the final day to submit an application. If CSU elects to extend the deadline, the Transfer Center will continue to assist students to create, complete and submit applications.

Thanks to Dr. Luis Escobar for support during this busy period. Furthermore, a special thank you to Joyce Lee, Melissa Komadina, John Ho, Richard Torres and the entire counseling faculty for their support and expertise. A special thank you to Skyline College Marketing and Public Relations for their assistance in our recruitment campaigns.

Article by Ernesto Hernandez


Welcome Week 2018

The Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) welcomed new and returning students, staff, faculty and community members during the annual Welcome Week celebration held from August 15 to August 23, 2018.

On the first and second day of school, ASSC officers handed out fresh donuts and coffee on the Quad and provided students information on class locations, community resources and getting involved on campus. A similar activity for the benefit of evening students was held on August 21.

Around 24 college programs and different student groups participated in the Program Services & Clubs Fair on August 22 at the Quad to provide students with resources to increase engagement.

Welcome Week closed with the Annual Pancake Breakfast on August 23. Staff, faculty and student volunteers served over 700 students a free breakfast courtesy of the ASSC.

The ASSC Governing Council will continue to promote student engagement, equity and social justice through programming, committee participation and student advocacy.

Leadership opportunities are available for students; students may apply for a position with the ASSC or gain membership in a student club. Faculty, staff and administration assistance in encouraging student participation is appreciated. A word of encouragement goes a long way in motivating students to engage and feel connected to the campus community.

The ASSC looks forward to working with the campus community and making this another successful academic year. Thank you.

Article and photo by Ryan Samn

Appreciation Reception Thanks Donors!

An Appreciation Reception hosted by Chairman, Ron Derenzi and the President’s Council was held in the Art Gallery on Thursday, February 15, 2018. The event was a chance for us as a college and the President’s Council to thank those that have so generously donated as part of the President’s Breakfast efforts the past 2 years. The President’s Breakfast fundraising efforts support the President’s Innovation Fund and also, now provides the funding source for Promise scholarships as part of the Promise Scholars Program. Over 100 guests attended the reception, enjoying art, jazz music, h’ors de’ouvres and wine. Guests were provided a wine opener gift set a token of our thanks for their generous support.

Ron Derenzi, Chairman of the President’s Council welcomed guests on behalf of the council and recognized the many elected officials who were in attendance. President Stanback Stroud welcome guests on behalf of Chancellor Ron Galatolo and the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District. Dr. Stanback Stroud thanked all the donors for their generous support and the love they’ve shown the college over the years, which has allowed for the campus to continue its tradition of developing innovative projects and provided over 400 students to date, with Promise scholarships.

Guest had the opportunity to meet a few Promise Scholars who were in attendance. Promise Scholar Leanne Gajunia spoke as part of the short program about her experience as a first year college student being fully supported by the Promise Scholars Program. Leanne was a Middle College student who was able to get a head start on her college credits and will transfer as a junior next academic year. The investment of the donors in the room with her as she spoke, got her the support she needed to continue on in her educational journey.

We would like to thank alumna Daisy Li, owner and Annie Chan, catering manager of Moonstar in Daly City who generously donated all the amazing food! This was the second year in a row that Daisy Li provided food for the reception. Pacific Dining provided the water, coffee and tea service for donors, gratis. Guests enjoyed wine courtesy of Recology San Bruno and Republic Services who teamed up to donate white and red wine so our reception was complete!

We would also like to thank Paul Bridenbaugh for providing such a beautiful venue, where we were able to enjoy the artwork of 5 women artists as part of the current exhibition “Holding the Center” on display through March 16. Music Professor Zachary Bruno and the Skyline College Jazz Combo provided incredible background jazz music, greatly enhancing the ambiance of the event. The community and faculty and staff in attendance were quite impressed with the talented students and professor of music.

A special thanks to the leadership and staff who planned, organized and delivered such an exceptional representation of the college. From the Marketing, Communications and Public Relations office, Brian Collins and Mia Coo who picked up the food with Manny Tablan of the Administrative Services team, Connor Fitzpatrick who prepared the student speaker to deliver a compelling speech, Zaw Min Khant and Kevin Perez who provided photography and assistance with set up and Brittney Sneed who was involved every step of the way from RSVP to clean up and never misses a detail. From the President’s Suite, Bryan Besnyi, Belinda Chan and Becky Threewit who served wine, Golda Margate, Angelica Mendoza and Theresa Tentes who assisted with guest registration and greeting/mingling with our guests to make sure they felt at home and were available should anything arise that needed attention.

Under the leadership of Andrea Vizenor Director of Career and Workforce Programs and the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Program, we would like to recognize Claudia Paz, Visual Communications Coordinator in Career and Workforce Programs and Elizabeth Tablan, Program Services Coordinator in Career and Workforce Programs for serving as catering managers and assisting with the set up and execution of the event! You two were incredible and went above and beyond!

Career and Workforce Programs also recruited servers who were interested in working for the event. The servers who did an exceptional job of serving the donors with grace included:

  • Ling Jung Chien, BAEC intership program intern and now student assistant,
  • Jody Gonzalez, previous BAEC intern and now Short-term OAII
  • Maria Hanna, Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy and student of the Hospitality & Tourism Management Adult School Bridge Program
  • Emerita Hinojosa, Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy and student of the Hospitality & Tourism Management Adult School Bridge Program
  • Eva Liang, BAEC internship program intern and now student assistant
  • Linda Truong, Office Asssitant II, BAEC

Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to recognize Tykia Warden, Interim Executive Director of the San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation, for her leadership and partnership in fundraising for the betterment of our college and in support of the amazing Skyline College students. She and her team have been with us every step of the way with all the fundraising activities of the President’s Council.

Article by Cherie Colin | Photos by Zaw Min Khant