Five Cypress College Faculty Members Receive Tenure

Cypress College’s newly tenured faculty were honored by Trustees of the North Orange County Community College District on Tuesday, April 11. Pictured are: (front row, from left) Michelle Palmisano, Ed Valdez, Samantha Simmons, Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson, (back row, from left) Cypress College Academic Senate President Bryan Seiling, and Garet Hill.

Cypress College is pleased to congratulate five full-time faculty members from three divisions for completing the tenure process. They will be recognized by the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees at its April 11 meeting.

Garet Hill, SEM

Garet Hill, mathematics professor

Garet Hill joined Cypress College as a full-time faculty member in the Mathematics Department in Fall 2013. Prior to joining the College, he was a teacher at Orange Lutheran High School from 2009-2013 and an adjunct faculty member at Golden West College, Santiago Community College, and Concordia University.

At Cypress College, he is an Academic Senate representative for the SEM division. He said one of his favorite experiences at the College was participating in the “ACES” Film Series on advocating collaboration amongst students, faculty, and staff. He also competes on the SEM faculty team in the annual EPC Dodgeball Tournament.

Hill earned his bachelor’s degree from Biola University and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies out of college. He signed with the Phillies following his senior year and played in the minor leagues for a few years. He went on to receive his master’s degree in mathematics from California State University, Fullerton.

Michelle Palmisano, SEM

Michelle Palmisano, biology professor

Michelle Palmisano, Ph.D., began teaching at Cypress College as an adjunct professor and was hired as a full-time faculty member in the Biology Department in 2010.

She has participated in a number of committees at Cypress College and has been a mentor to newly hired faculty. She is also certified as a distance education instructor.

“I have been blessed with many educational opportunities and am very proud to be part of the Cypress College community,” Palmisano said. “I am most proud of my students, and I credit my family, my parents as role models and giving me a proper foundation for love of faith, family, and work. I would not have completed this without the support of my husband and children.”

Palmisano earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical and electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University where she earned a full athletic scholarship and played on the women’s basketball team, which advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA playoffs. She also played varsity tennis. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, San Diego and did post-doctoral research in skeletal muscle physiology.

Samantha Simmons, Language Arts

Samantha Simmons, ESL professor

Samantha Simmons started at Cypress College as a full-time faculty member in the English as a Second Language Department in 2013. Prior to that, she was a lecturer at the University of California, Irvine; an ESL instructor and teacher trainer at the University of California, San Diego Extension, English Language Institute for more than eight years; and an adjunct faculty member at several Southern California community colleges.

At Cypress College, Simmons has been a mentor in the Legacy Program and was recognized as Mentor of the Year in Spring 2016.

She received her bachelor’s degree in speech with an emphasis in intercultural communications from California State University, Fullerton and her master’s degree in linguistics with a specialization in teaching English as a second language from San Diego State University.

Hoa Tran, SEM

Hoa Tran, mathematics professor

Hoa Tran began teaching at Cypress College as an adjunct Mathematics Department faculty member in 2011 and became a full-time faculty member in 2013.

She is the SEM representative for SLOs and has been involved in KinderCaminata and piloting the Summer Boost program at Cypress College, which aims to improve students’ math comprehension.

Tran said she originally wanted to to be an engineer, but found a love for teaching while she was a graduate student. Following graduation, she taught at California State University, Fullerton for a few semesters, then started teaching at local community colleges.

“I enjoy working with students and find this profession rewarding,” she said. “It is rewarding to see students grow mathematically.”

Tran received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied mathematics from California State University, Fullerton.

Edilberto Valdez, CTE

Ed Valdez, aviation and travel careers professor

Ed Valdez began teaching at Cypress College as an adjunct faculty member in 2004 in the Aviation and Travel Careers Department and became a full-time faculty member in 2013.

He has worked in the aviation industry for nearly 35 years starting as a ramp agent at Los Angeles International Airport at 18 years old. He was a pilot for United Airlines, Champion Air, and Skywest Airlines; he was also a corporate chief pilot. Valdez continues to fly Gulfstream jets all over the world and also teaches corporate pilots, military pilots, and NASA test pilots.

He is involved in the Cypress College Academic Senate and was instrumental in the development of the College’s new drone photography program.

Valdez received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautics with a minor in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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