District Encourages, Supports Greater Female Representation in Elected Office

The number of women in California elected office has remained stagnant or decreased over the last few election cycles. In an effort to inspire and engage the next generation of women leaders, the North Orange County Community College District hosted the Women in Politics Symposium at the Fullerton Community Center Friday, April 28.

The event, organized in partnership with California Women Lead, a nonpartisan association of women encouraging greater female participation in government leadership roles, and the Orange County Legislative Task Force, gathered about 100 Orange County students, education workers, and political leaders for discussions on topics like entering California politics as a woman, what it’s like being an appointed government official, and how to get women more engaged in politics and becoming leaders in elected and appointed office.

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Three panels of women leaders spoke about different government roles and aspects of political life, answering questions from moderators and also taking questions from attendees.

Jeanette Vazquez, a member of the Fullerton School Board and former Cypress College Associated Students president, participated in the first panel of the day. She said she’s proud of the NOCCCD for its role in hosting and helping to organize the symposium.

“I remember, as a community college student myself, when I was thinking about what life in public service would be like and seeing it as a possibility, it was definitely all about me trying to figure it out on my own,” she said. “I think that this is really important for the District and other community colleges to have for students early on as they’re starting to think about public service because they already have that seed there. What this does is it gives them those tools and that push without shying them away from the field because of all the rhetoric that’s going on right now.”

Vazquez graduated from Cypress College in 2009 with an associate’s degree in liberal arts. She transferred to the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minor in public policy. She earned her teaching credential and master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount University. Vazquez is now a sixth grade teacher in North Orange County.

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Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who represents District 65, which includes the NOCCCD, said she believes there’s more encouragement for and engagement with women to become involved in politics now, especially compared to about 15 years ago when she first ran for elected office.

The former public school teacher and huge supporter of education added, “I think it’s really a vital part of women choosing to run when they can be educated about not only what it takes to run and when, but what the job’s actually like and actually hear from local and state leaders that are doing the job.”

Speakers also provided words of wisdom and suggestions for becoming involved in public service and governance.

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Mona Pasquil, appointment secretary in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, told the audience that one of the most valuable things is to find a mentor and advised everyone to “be prepared to step up at any time to think about how you want to lead your community, your state, your country, this world.”

Former California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez added that you can choose to be a leader, no matter the role you have.

“Everybody has a comfort level, and at any point, a woman can be a leader,” she said. “We can all be leaders. Whether we’re in politics or not, we must be and take that responsibility of being leaders in our communities.”

 

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Other featured speakers and panelists included:

Barbara Bagneris, Orange County Fair Board vice chairwoman
Lisa Bartlett, Orange County supervisor
Alicia Berhow, Accountancy Board chairwoman
Cyd Brandvein, State Board of Optometry member
Letitia Clark, City of Tustin councilmember
April Lopez, State Council on Developmental Disabilities member
Fiona Ma, State Board of Equalization member
Rachel Michelin, chief executive officer of California Women Lead
Loretta Sanchez, former member of Congress
Jaqueline Rodarte, NOCCCD trustee
Betty Yee, California state controller

Imparting some last few empowering and inspiring words, Dr. Cheryl Marshall, chancellor of the NOCCCD, closed the symposium saying, “Your voice matters. Everybody here remember that. You matter, your voice matters. Find your passion. Go forward, lead, live your values. That’s what matters as we walk day by day through this life.”

John Rojas, NorCal College Tour

Cypress College Puente, Legacy, and Honors program students had the opportunity to go on a three-day Northern California college tour last Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22. The trip helped to familiarize them with other colleges in the state, as well as inspire them to consider transfer colleges not just based on proximity to home. The students visited four Central and Northern California public university campuses—the University of California, Santa Barbara; San Jose State University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley—and the California State Capitol on a trip that also gave them the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the state.

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John Rojas, Puente Program Class 21
Plans to major in sociology or urban and regional planning
Hopes to transfer to UC Santa Barbara or UC Davis after graduating from Cypress College

Last week, the Puente program went on a trip to Northern California for a college tour at four different campuses. We were accompanied by students from the Honors and Legacy programs. We visited the University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, Berkeley; San Jose State University; and University of California, Davis. We also visited Sacramento and San Francisco.

The tour was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. On our way there, we passed through various landscapes along the Pacific Ocean. Our first stop was UC Santa Barbara. I really loved the architecture of the campus and I learned a lot about the programs and majors they offer. Out of all the universities we visited, I thought UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis were the best. I hope to transfer to one of these schools and play soccer for them one day.

On the second day of the trip, we visited the State Capitol in Sacramento and learned more about the history of the building.

My favorite part of the trip was when we visited San Francisco at the end of the second day. It was my first time there and I was very excited about crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Overall, I had a wonderful time with my Puente family, and I hope to visit all of these places again soon. The Puente program has really helped me survive college. I first came to Cypress College to play soccer, but I ended up joining Puente, which was the best decision I’ve made in my life. I highly encourage everyone to check the program out.

Lissette Figueroa, NorCal College Tour

Cypress College Puente, Legacy, and Honors program students had the opportunity to go on a three-day Northern California college tour last Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22. The trip helped to familiarize them with other colleges in the state, as well as inspire them to consider transfer colleges not just based on proximity to home. The students visited four Central and Northern California public university campuses—the University of California, Santa Barbara; San Jose State University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley—and the California State Capitol on a trip that also gave them the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the state.

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Lissette Figueroa, Puente Program Class 21
Nursing major
Plans to transfer to a UC or CSU after graduating from Cypress College

I never imagined myself in college because I grew up in a home where it was not talked about. In high school, all I thought about was graduating because that meant no more school ever. Once I graduated, it was time to think about getting a job. It all sounded amazing until I had to grow up quickly and realized just how tough life is.

Cypress College was an obvious choice simply because it was near my home. I did not know how wonderful this school would be. One day, a few Puentistas came into my English class recruiting students to join the Puente Program. It was only my second semester in college and they spoke about the aid Puente provides for students who are unaware of what they are going to do after they graduate from Cypress College. I never thought about what came after college, so I knew I had to be part of Puente.

My life plans changed from just graduating from Cypress to transferring because Puente took us on trips to visit many different colleges in both Southern and Northern California. After visiting a few colleges, I learned that there were more options than just attending a school based on the commute from home. Before going on the college tours, I was set on attending UCLA; California State University, Long Beach; or the University of California, Riverside based on the short distance from home and because they offer nursing, the field I plan to go into.

Last week, we went up north and visited four colleges. I fell in love with the University of California, Davis and San Jose State University. The scenery is beautiful on both campuses and they felt just like home even though I was seven hours away from where I live. Visiting these campuses not only motivates me, but made me question why I did not go to college sooner.

Opportunities do not always happen, so if given the chance to be part of something great, take advantage of it and, as Puente students would say, “Si se puede!”

Karina Lopez, NorCal College Tour

Cypress College Puente, Legacy, and Honors program students had the opportunity to go on a three-day Northern California college tour last Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22. The trip helped to familiarize them with other colleges in the state, as well as inspire them to consider transfer colleges not just based on proximity to home. The students visited four Central and Northern California public university campuses—the University of California, Santa Barbara; San Jose State University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley—and the California State Capitol on a trip that also gave them the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the state.

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Karina Lopez, Puente Program Class 21
Business administration major
Hopes to transfer to UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton or Cal State Long Beach after graduating from Cypress College

The Northern California College Trip was an amazing opportunity that I was able to experience thanks to the Puente Program. Visiting the campuses really helped me see that there are so many college options that I wasn’t aware of. I really enjoyed all the tours we went on and thought it was great having the opportunity to speak to current students at the universities. I have always focused on Cal State University schools because of my major, but after talking to representatives from each campus we visited, I was able to find a major that was very similar to mine at a University of California school.

At our first stop at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I really enjoyed that we visited on a regular school day and were able to see the regular flow of a student’s daily routine. UCSB has a gorgeous campus and nice environment. The modern look and feel to the school really gave off a calm ambiance. The calm and comforting environment really provided a welcoming tone to the campus. I really enjoyed having the beach just feet away from the classrooms, which could provide a quick escape from the stress college life can bring. It was a true honor to step on and experience the amazing UC Santa Barbara campus my friends have been telling me about.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of our next stop, San Jose State University. The environment honestly seemed like a big high school to me. My favorite part of the campus, however, was the Olympic Black Power Statue. It was great that students gave us a short presentation about it because we were able to understand the significance of the statue and how SJSU students were the ones who protested and fought to have it on campus, despite the college administration taking credit for it.

The University of California, Davis, our third stop, had a really nice campus. I loved how it was so big and really felt like a community within a city. I loved the easy access to transportation to the bigger cities surrounding Davis, and I found it neat that it is such a bike-friendly campus. Bike paths are all you see around campus.

The tour at the State Capitol was amazing. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to go into the Legislature room. It was neat being able to sit in the chairs of the members of the California State Assembly. I think it’s awesome how the architects left signatures all around the building, such as the gargoyle on the ceiling or intentionally inserting one tile in the entire building upside down.

I really liked our last stop, the University of California, Berkeley. I just wish we would’ve had more time to see more of the campus itself. It was really cool to be at Berkeley on Cal Day—the university’s open house—but it would have been nice to go on a different day and go on an actual tour arranged by the school.

Having the opportunity to visit these four campuses was honestly an amazing experience. I do not think I would have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the Puente Program. It was also really nice being able to spend time with all of the students who attended the trip. Touring these campuses motivated me to continue doing the best I can here at Cypress College to later transfer to one of these great universities.

 

Michelle Chitica, NorCal College Tour

Cypress College Puente, Legacy, and Honors program students had the opportunity to go on a three-day Northern California college tour last Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22. The trip helped to familiarize them with other colleges in the state, as well as inspire them to consider transfer colleges not just based on proximity to home. The students visited four Central and Northern California public university campuses—the University of California, Santa Barbara; San Jose State University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley—and the California State Capitol on a trip that also gave them the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the state.

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Michelle Chitica, Puente Program Class 21
Radiology major
Plans to transfer to Cal State Northridge after graduating from Cypress College

When I finally decided that school would be the only way I could properly care for my six children, I did my research and discovered that Cypress College was one of two other community colleges that had an ultrasound program. Being at Cypress College has been a great experience thus far; the staff and students have made me feel welcome and secure.

After Cypress, I plan to transfer to California State University, Northridge to complete my bachelor’s degree in radiology. At Cypress, being a part of the Puente Program has been a life-changing experience. I doubt I would be as confident as I am now if it had not been for the teachers and counselor in Puente. I feel more confident in my education and I have been able to experience so many different things because of the program.

This weekend’s Northern California college trip was amazing. As I visited each campus, I felt proud to be a Cypress College puentista. I felt privileged touring each campus and listening to the students and other speakers share their stories of success. During the trip, we also had a chance to stop at the State Capitol, and for the first time, I actually gave political science a thought.

Overall the experience I had on the trip was awesome. Each campus was absolutely beautiful, and I admire and appreciate the time everyone took to welcome and motivate us with their stories. More than ever, I feel compelled to continue my education and make my family proud.

Get Your Creative Work Published!

The Creative Guild, a creative arts club at Cypress College, will be producing Sole Image, a literary journal of writing and visual art created by Cypress College students.

All students are invited to submit their creative works to be considered for publication.

Submissions due Wednesday, May 3 at 11:59 p.m. All work must be submitted with a completed cover sheet.

To submit work digitally or request a digital cover sheet, email cypresssoleimage@gmail.com. To submit work in print or pick up a paper cover sheet, please visit HUM 208M.

Students interested in working on producing Sole Image should contact the Creative Guild, which meets in HUM 106 every Thursday at 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Karen Lopez, NorCal College Tour

Cypress College Puente, Legacy, and Honors program students had the opportunity to go on a three-day Northern California college tour last Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22. The trip helped to familiarize them with other colleges in the state, as well as inspire them to consider transfer colleges not just based on proximity to home. The students visited four Central and Northern California public university campuses—the University of California, Santa Barbara; San Jose State University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley—and the California State Capitol on a trip that also gave them the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the state.

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Karen Lopez, Puente Program Class 21
Plans to double major in psychology and English
Hopes to transfer to a UC or CSU after graduating from Cypress College

I had never considered moving out of the comfort of my hometown to go to school more than two hours from home, but since coming back from this Northern California campus trip, I realize I have more options and opportunities than I thought I had before. On this trip, we visited four different campuses and listened to students talk about their experiences adjusting to being away from home to further their education and learned about different resources each campus provides for their students.

One of the campuses I really loved was at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As we were touring the university, I could imagine myself there as a student. The campus was absolutely beautiful and it was near a beach. I personally have never been a fan of the beach, but just thinking about the peaceful environment and how calming the sound of the ocean is makes me think it would be a great way to study for exams and work on homework for classes.

The Puente Program has been a great help for me in many ways. It has given me a direction to what classes I need to get and get me to my end goal of graduating from Cypress and transferring to earn my bachelor’s degree. The program has also given me a support family within my peers in class. When I am struggling with an assignment my friends in the program are cheering me on and giving me the right motivation to keep on going and persevere.

I want to double major in psychology and English, but still do not know where I want to transfer to. I had my mind set on transferring to a California State University—either Long Beach or Fullerton—but since coming back from this trip, I realized that I don’t need to settle for universities that are close to home. Now I am considering applying to the University of California, Davis or University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as the California State Universities I mentioned before.

Overall, this trip was an eye-opener. I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me. My educational journey is just beginning, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me.

Cybersecurity Opportunities Abound at Cypress College

Cypress College provides a variety of opportunities to middle and high school students interested in the increasingly critical field of cybersecurity.

The College is a member of the SoCal Cybersecurity Community College Consortium, a collaborative effort between seven community colleges striving to create pathways to success in cybersecurity for K-12 students in Orange County.

In March, more than 90 students from Anaheim Unified High School District schools were on campus to learn about the CyberPatriots National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, a cybersecurity contest hosted by the non-profit Air Force Association.

Current and former Cypress College students mentor the middle and high school students to compete. Students on campus for the March 24 field trip participated in training sessions on securing Linux and Windows operating systems, CISCO networking, and building network cables.

Last season, six teams coached by Cypress College advanced to the semi-final rounds of competition. All participants were celebrated at the College’s first awards ceremony for the program earlier this semester.

Training sessions for the upcoming competition season are held once a month at Cypress College.

The College also offers two CISCO networking classes to high school juniors and seniors during the summer. The courses are free and prepare students for receiving the CISCO Certified Networking Associate Certificate.

For more information, contact Ben Izadi at bizadi@cypresscollege.edu, or Stephanie Teer, Cypress College special programs director at steer@cypresscollege.edu.

The Cypress College Career Academy also offers two weeks of cybersecurity workshops during the summer through the School of Continuing Education. Contact Ginger Neel at gneel@cypresscollege.edu for more information.

 

United Faculty Donates to College Food Bank

Keith Vescial, United Faculty membership chair and Cypress College English professor, presented the check to Associated Students President Amanda Aros and Activities Coordinator Fernando Lizarraga.

Keith Vescial, United Faculty membership chair and Cypress College English professor, presented the check to Associated Students President Amanda Aros and Activities Coordinator Fernando Lizarraga.

United Faculty, the faculty union of the North Orange County Community College District, donated $1000 to the Cypress College Food Bank to help address food insecurity among Cypress students.

The Food Bank, located in the Student Activities Center, opened this semester to help students focus more on their academic successes rather than where their next meal is coming from. All Cypress College students are welcome.

Students may register by scheduling a confidential appointment with David Okawa, Student Activities Director, at (714) 484-7197 or dokawa@cypresscollege.edu. Students can also walk in on Thursdays from 1-3 p.m.

When registering, please:

  • Have your Cypress College photo ID and current class schedule;
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of three units at Cypress College; and
  • Complete a Food Bank Registration form to be connected with all eligible services.

To support the Food Bank, donate non-perishable, sealed food items with clear expirations printed on the label at the Student Activities Office during normal business hours (Monday and Thursday 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.). Monetary donations, 100 percent of which is used to purchase non-perishable food items, are also accepted.

For more information, contact Becky Rojas at (714) 484-7199 or rrojas@cypresscollege.edu.

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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