#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Michelle Betanzos who will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona’s industry-leading Collins College of Hospitality Management in the fall. Michelle is a California Dream Act student who benefited greatly from our Puente and EOPS support programs.

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona
#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona

#CYProud: Michelle Betanzos, Cypress to Cal Poly Pomona

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

I am originally from Tijuana. My parents brought me to the US as a young child fifteen years ago. From the start, my mom did everything possible to make sure that I had access to the best public education in the area. She worked hard so that I could go to the highest rated schools. She also encouraged me to take advantage of every extracurricular opportunity that I could. As a young girl she took me to our local YMCA and signed me up for youth basketball. I fell in love with the sport and have continued to play throughout my life. Today, I coach at the same YMCA that helped shape me. I absolutely love my job. The Y is like an extended family ­– so many there have seen me grow up.

  1. Why Cypress?

After graduating from Fullerton Union High School, I wanted to enroll at Fullerton College but soon learned that only Cypress offered a culinary arts program. After touring the Cypress campus, I was happy to enroll here. The campus is beautiful (more attractive Fullerton’s, in my opinion!), and the change of scenery turned out to be really nice. It felt better to know that I was going to a college that was a couple of miles away from my high school instead of just across the street.

When I started at Cypress I wasn’t really sure which classes I would take. I didn’t have much of a plan. Then I met Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce, the Director of the Cypress College Puente Program. She helped me develop a comprehensive educational plan and define my career goals. Through her guidance, I realized that my interest in culinary arts was a viable professional path.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

I began culinary arts in junior high as an extracurricular class and really enjoyed it. At Fullerton Union, I took part in their four-year culinary arts/restaurant program. Thanks to the CA Dream Act I was able to get my license and begin to work while in high school. I’m so happy that Cypress offers a program in culinary arts and that it’s enabled me to continue my studies at one of the best four year institutions in this career field: the Collins School of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona.

At Cypress, I was very fortunate to take part in the Puente Program, which provided me invaluable life and career guidance. I’m also grateful for the financial aid and academic support of the EOPS program, which paid for my tuition fees, textbooks, and school supplies. The staff helped me stay on track, especially when I overloaded myself with unit credits and my goal seemed impossible. I also have to thank both programs for opening up four-year possibilities to me. Through EOPS and Puente, I had the opportunity to tour great institutions like Berkeley, UC Davis, Monterrey Bay, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UCLA.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

Being a part of the Puente program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it opened so many doors and possibilities for me. Director Therese Mosqueda-Ponce and English professor Obed Silva wanted nothing but the best for their students and reminded our group each and every day that every one of us is capable of realizing our full potential. My Puente cohort was truly a familia.

It was through Puente that I was introduced to our Culinary Arts Program by way of an assigned mentor – Chef Stephanie, instructor of Baking and Pastry. Stefanie has become more than a professional resource for me… she has become a great friend.

I am also very grateful for the incredible leadership of Ms. Lisa Clark who oversees the HRC (Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts Program). She truly is an expert in her field. She also happens to be one of the most compassionate people I have met. She has really helped me refine my people skills, which is key to any service industry. Professionally, she seeks the best for her students. She gets us connected to the industry by making us aware of job openings, special events and networking opportunities.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at Cal Poly Pomona?

This fall I will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona for Hospitality Management. I hope to live on campus and get involved in several extracurricular activities and service clubs so my plan is to move to the area. I’ll continue to work as a gymnastics instructor for the YMCA and as a front desk agent at Marriot Hotel’s Anaheim Suites. Next summer, I plan to apply to an out-of-state internship with Marriot’s Vacation Club. I’d like to be in Orlando, Florida. At some point down the line I’d like to attend the University of Central Florida for further specialization in Hotel Management and Special Events Planning.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

My goal is to be a General Manager of a full service luxury hotel with a fine dining operation like the Ritz Carlton. I’d also like to take advantage of my associate’s degree specialization in baking and pastry by dabbling in dessert catering and special events as an entrepreneur.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of getting into my dream school UCF, as well as all four state schools to which I applied: Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach, San Diego State and San Francisco State. Although I decided to stay in state for the next two years, UCF remains in my future plans. Though it was difficult to make that decision, I know that it was the right one for now. My family is important to me and I still feel the need to stay close to home.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

I’ve been very fortunate during my time here at Cypress, I’ve had amazing counselors and very supportive staff to guide me along my way. Each year, I’ve had a financial aid package that made college a possibility for me. In addition, Cypress’ excellent student support services and programs like Puente helped me pay for textbooks, my cap and gown, school supplies and even my chef’s uniform. I’m grateful for all of these resources and incredible mentors– they’ve been foundational to my success.

In my time here, I’ve learned so much about myself. During my first year I had a car accident. Shortly thereafter, my mom suffered cardiovascular health issues. That was a hard period in my life. I became depressed, anxious, and my grades suffered as a result. I got out of that by becoming more proactive with my decisions and time. In taking care of my mom, I realized that nothing made me happier than taking care of others. I also came to realize that having the support of others really helped me, too. Instead of pushing people away, I opened up. That was possible because I found a group of people – faculty, staff and friends – who really wanted the best for me. I chose to spend more time with those who really matter to me.

I feel so blessed to be where I am today. I’ve been given so many opportunities and I won’t take any for granted.

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

Class of 2016 Lauded During 49th Commencement

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Cypress College’s Class of 2016 includes nearly 1,300 students and another 500 plus who were awarded with occupational certificates. The 49th Commencement was held in the campus Gateway Plaza on Friday, May 27, with student participation at a near record high.

Pending finalization of grades, there are 1,298 students earning a total of 1,510 associate’s degrees as members of Cypress College’s Class of 2016. In addition, the College is awarding a total of 738 occupational certificates to 536 students. There are 571 students who have earned AD-T’s, guaranteeing transfer into the California State University system.

Some 292 students are graduating with honors — meaning they have maintained a Grade-Point Average of 3.3 to 3.74 during their Cypress College career. Of that group, 83 students are graduating with high honors — meaning they have earned a career Grade-Point Average of 3.75 to 4.0.

During the ceremony, Jeffrey Anderson was recognized as the Outstanding Graduate for 2016. Once a high school dropout, he earned a perfect 4.0 GPA at Cypress College. He is transferring to California State University, Fullerton in the fall and intends to pursue a career as a teacher.

Photographs, video, biographies of commencement speaker Donna Miller and Outstanding Alumnus Wayne Kistner, and more are in the Commencement Central section of the website.

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No Lines! License Plates Replace Physical Parking Permits

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Cypress College eliminated parking permits — so you won’t have to wait in line or by the mailbox. Ever again. That’s because your license plate is your permit.

Just as before, students will purchase parking when registering for classes. Once all fees are paid in full, simply activate this new permit in myGateway by entering your plate number. That’s it. If you’re changing cars for the day (or a period of time), simply login and input the temporary plate.

More information is available at http://parking.cypresscollege.edu.

In myGateway, simply look for the “Cypress Parking System” link under “Registration Tools” and follow the directions to enter the information.

Cypress Parking System

All fees, including parking, must be paid in full to register your vehicle in the parking system. As an alternative, one-day visitor permits can be purchased online and/or at kiosk locations on the Cypress College campus.

Parking permits are valid across all NOCCCD locations so students from Fullerton College and School of Education who attend classes at Cypress College also need to register their vehicles.

All NOCCCD employees can register their vehicles at the same site.

Visitors will also use the system for guest parking and day-use permits, meaning trips to a cash-only vending machine are no longer necessary. Purchase and registration can even be completed via mobile phone from the parking lot. Signs provide QR links to the website.

LPR Parking Sign

#CYProud: Alex Dolan Balin

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Alex Dolan Balin who will transfer to Claremont McKenna College, one of the nation’s very best institutions of higher education. At Claremont, Alex will study Politics, Economics, and Philosophy. A math tutor in our Library Learning Resource Center, Alex also contributed to and benefited from our Honors Program

#CYProud: Alex Dolan Balin – Cypress to Claremont McKenna
#CYProud: Alex Dolan Balin – Cypress to Claremont McKenna

#CYProud: Alex Dolan Balin, Cypress to Claremont McKenna College

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

    I am a 26 year old, born in Long Beach, CA. I tested out of high school in 2007 in order to enter the labor force. As you might guess, that was a mistake. The recession forced me to work low-wage jobs, and hiked the tuition of college out of my reach. After seven years spent unable to get a good enough job or save up enough to start college, I found an opportunity to work on Catalina Island. Though I was only paid $5 an hour, the company took care of my living expenses, e.g. rent, food, transportation, etc. This enabled me to spend my whole paycheck as I chose, and I chose to save enough to buy a laptop and enroll in online classes at Santa Monica College (SMC). My first semester was 12 units of online classes–that was also a mistake. Online classes are far more taxing than in-class courses, as the professors can link to any online resource and call it “required reading.” They also are much more difficult to communicate with effectively, as the nuances of confusion are far easier to iron out in-person than over email. All of this, piled on top of a shotty island Internet connection, plus working more than forty hours of physical labor a week, proved to be a bad strategy for academic success. I therefore had to move back to the continent, to my hometown of Long Beach, to continue my academic career.
  1. Why Cypress? 

    As I just mentioned, I started college at SMC. Once enrolled in physical-classroom courses, I started to do well academically. After taking Statistics and getting an A in the class, I was invited by the college to work as a mathematics tutor. I told this to a friend of mine, who told me that Cypress College was also looking for math tutors. I applied to both schools, and Cypress’ offer was more compelling. While exploring the campus, I saw a brochure for the Honors Program. This was pivotal.The Honors Program at SMC has a unit cap, both maximum and minimum, and within one semester I missed both. I asked the Cypress College Honors Counselor, Penny Gabourie, about their unit cap. Her answer was, “What? What cap? We don’t have a unit cap. What’s your GPA?” I told her. “Okay, you’re in.” That’s what brought me to Cypress as a student.

    I like strategizing, so I calculated what I needed to finish the Honors Program as quickly as possible. My major at SMC was in Communications, but the courses I took for that major at SMC weren’t offered at Cypress. After crunching the numbers, I determined that another interest of mine, Political Science, was the fastest way to finish the Honors and AA requirements. Following that plan I finished the required 18 Honors units and took all the classes needed for an AA-T in Political Science in two semesters. To do this I needed to take two courses at Fullerton College, so on Monday and Wednesday nights I took two Honors Political Science courses with Jodi Balma my second semester. Though the commute was routinely exhausting, it was the required course of action for my goal, and now that it’s done it’s easy to see how much I benefited from that sacrifice of comfort to propel my academic pursuits.

    The reason the Honors Program was so important to me were the options it opened up for potential transfer universities. The whole purpose of coming to a Community College, if you’re not pursuing a vocational program, is transferring to the school you really want to go. My purpose then becomes making myself the most competitive applicant to the largest amount of quality universities. If you finish it, the Honors Program opens up a lot of special agreements with some of the best universities, including two of the Claremont Colleges–which were always my dream schools. I expected finishing the program; I did not expect being accepting to Claremont-McKenna College. I am certain this was entirely due to finishing the Honors Program and serving as the Vice President of the Honors Club.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded? 

    Outside of my studies and being the Vice President of the Honors Club, a lot of my time outside of my studies has been spent working. As an independent student, who underwent my entire college career without parental oversight, influence, or financial support, I have to work to make the money to buy the books and supplies I needed for this process. When the laptop I bought on Catalina Island was drowned in pickle juice by a former coworker, I had to take out a loan to buy the components to build a computer that I could rely on for the remainder my college career, which I anticipate being still a very long time.That notwithstanding, I was fortunate enough to find work on campus in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) as a mathematics tutor. In that capacity I was able to pilot a tutoring program in the Cypress College Veterans Resource Center. I’m someone who truly values the courage and sacrifices our servicemen and servicewomen have made, so I could not have been happier to be of help. I ended up assisting the front desk of the LRC when they became unexpectedly short-staffed partway through the spring 2016 semester. Outside of campus, I work on the weekends for FarmBox LA in the departments of delivery service and construction/maintenance. I’m looking forward to the summer when I will be designing and building a new front counter desk for that company in the morning and tutoring math in the evening.

    In the little time that remains, I play guitar and sing with my sister, Marley Balin, and my dear friend, Karen Peters, where we play folk music and sing three-part harmony. I also value the time I have between classes where I can debate import issues with the friends I’ve made here, like Saed Hussein. If I had more time I would have been very active with the Debate Team at Cypress College and I encourage all those who can to become a member and develop their dialectic abilities.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today. 

    Kathryn Sonne and Penny Gabourie have been immeasurably valuable for making Cypress College a step-up in my college career. Treisa Cassens, Janelle Salinas, Ally Rocha, Tania Miller, and Gonzalo Arenas have been an awesome force in the LRC. The professors which need special recognition are Melanie Nabahani, Bryan Seiling, and Jodi Balma; those of you reading this who are looking for English, History, or Political Science classes, you need to take these professors. Seriously. Their classes ask a little more of you as a student, but they make it very clear what it takes to do well in their class. The skills you learn and develop in their classroom make every other class easier. But more than that, their style of teaching is so compelling that I end up telling stories about their classes as the highlight of my time at Cypress.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at Claremont-McKenna College? 

    In the fall I will be attending Claremont-McKenna College. After I my time there, which I intend to experience to the fullest extent, I hope to move onto Law School. After Law School I will look to serve my country as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the military.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to? 

    Though it’s difficult to anticipate anything beyond that, I hope to transition from military service to public service. In my admittedly limited education, I perceive a lack of veterans in legislation. Because I cannot convince veterans who have already sacrificed so much to make the sacrifice of private gains for public service, though I believe they would be an extremely valuable participant in representative government, I will choose to pursue this line of reasoning. Cliché as it is, there is a value to this saying, especially in government: If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

  1. What are you most proud of? 

    Entirely on my own, I overcame drug addiction and put myself through college to a high enough standard that convinced Claremont-McKenna to extend me an invitation to attend their university. I will be the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. After all of this is over, I hope to be another name in a long American tradition of being a Rag-to-Riches story, using my wealth to invest in the nation’s commonwealth.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add… 

    I want to address the student not sure about college: Go look up what happens when you don’t become educated. You will likely work in the lower levels of a company, you will likely make less money, you will probably have a harder time getting out of and staying out of poverty, you probably won’t afford your own house, and all of this will make you suffer. Needlessly. On top of this, our future is probably not going to be kind to those of us who didn’t finish college. Just look up the likely outcomes of income inequality, the growing state and federal debts, the advent of automation and artificial intelligence, and the increasing political inability to address issues like these. We live in a time of serious problems, and we need serious people to solve them. Sure, a few people who didn’t finish college will have an effect on all of these problems, but they will be an extreme exception to the general rule. Those who finish college will work the best jobs and make the biggest impact on society. Don’t gamble on your future. Finish Make transferring from Cypress your primary purpose and you will open doors for you and your family. There are serious problems and we need serious people. You want to help? Get ready–get educated.

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Lynnette Reed

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Lynnette Reed who will transfer to UC San Diego’s prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the fall. Lynnette is a Marine Biology major who benefited greatly from our STEM(2) program. #CYProud 2016

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Lynnette Reed, Cypress Class of 2016 to UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography

#CYProud: Lynnette Reed
Cypress to UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography 

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

I grew up with my mother, sister, and grandmother across the street from Cypress College. As a child, I remember driving by the campus everyday with my mom on my way to school. It was exciting to see a college across the street from my house and to know that I would be there one day. Years later, I moved to Anaheim and graduated from Western High School with academic distinction in music.

  1. Why Cypress?

I graduated from Western High School with a 2.7 overall GPA, so I knew that I probably wouldn’t qualify for acceptance into a California State University or University of California institution. Most of those in my high school graduating class were underrepresented minorities. As a whole, we weren’t encouraged to pursue higher education. Myself included.  But I wanted to become that excellent student that I had dreamt of as a child, and so I enrolled at Cypress College in the fall of 2012.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

I completed my English and math assessments before my first semester, but was discouraged from the get-go. I had placed into remedial English and math. I breezed through English with ease, but struggled immensely with math. It was hard knowing that I was required to complete the calculus sequence for my science major. I always knew I wanted to study marine biology, but at that time I convinced myself to reconsider my major.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

I joined the STEM program in the fall of 2014 because I wanted to re-ignite my drive. The purpose of the STEM program is to retain students in STEM majors and to increase underrepresented community college transfers to four-year institutions. Because of this program I have been able to tour the biological science and engineering labs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and CSU Monterey Bay. In addition, I participated in workshops hosted by STEM professionals who really inspired me. I’ve also helped recruit students into the STEM program, organized networking events, and participated in panels about undergraduate research and scientific conferences.  All of this was supported and encouraged by my mentor Cypress College Marine Biology Professor, Jesus Reyes. Professor Reyes introduced me to research and encouraged me to apply for summer programs.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UC Sand Diego?

I am so excited that I will be the first in my family to attend a four year university…. and at my dream school – UC San Diego! There, I’ll pursue a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography – one of the world’s best research institutes in my field. I’ll get a jump start this summer as a research assistant at Scripps – an opportunity I acquired through our STEM(2) program here at Cypress.

  1. Advice to Future Students?

I recommend students to be involved with their passion, even if it is a rather limited field. Visit the career and transfer center to determine your major. Make a student education plan. That will help you prioritize your courses and efficiently transfer to a four year college or university. There are plenty of on-campus resources and major-specific programs available to students such as the STEM program, but it is recommended to declare a major first. The career and transfer center provide CSU/UC application workshops, resume-building activities, and mock-interviews for all students. Lastly, I strongly recommend seeking a mentor through a program, professor, or someone you admire in academia. Ask questions, seek constructive feedback, interview each other, and remain in contact. Even if there is no immediate need for advice, a mentor is an ever-lasting source of knowledge and encouragement.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

I plan to continue my studies and complete a Ph.D. at either UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. I have a strong interest in marine mammal acoustics and would love to become a principal investigator conducting research about the anthropogenic effects on social and behavioral patterns of cetaceans in noise-polluted areas. I’ve also considered a dual DVM/PhD, and plan to open a non-profit research and rehabilitation center with an emphasis on acoustic-related strandings.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’ve accomplished a lot thanks to the wonderful resources at Cypress College, especially the STEM(2) program. I re-established the college’s Marine Biology Club and fulfilled the presidential role for two years. I volunteered in a research lab at CSU Long Beach with my mentor, Jesus Reyes, who provided me hands-on experience and the confidence to apply for summer internships. I did what I thought was the impossible and was one of ten students selected from across the United States to participate in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program in Florida. I was then selected to present this research at the 2015 SACNAS National Conference in Washington, D.C. This year, I was selected to participate in the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography conducting marine mammal acoustics research. So far, I have accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do in major, and have yet to graduate with my bachelor’s degree, so it’s really exciting to see what happens next!

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

I come from a single parent household and would like to recognize my mother, Christina Loya, who unexpectedly passed away from stage four lung cancer on March 19, 2016. Her twenty-two years of love, encouragement, and support provide me with the daily strength I need to achieve academic excellence and it is because of her that I have an inspiring story to share.

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Lynnette Reed, Cypress Class of 2016 to UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Omar Mercado

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Omar Mercado who will transfer to Cal State University, Long Beach to continue his biology and pre-medical studies in the fall. Omar is a California Dream Act student who benefited greatly from our STEM(2) program. 

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Omar Mercado, #CYProud 2016 Biology Graduate, Cypress to Cal State Long Beach

#CYProud: Omar Mercado, Cypress to CSULB

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

Dream Big. This phrase continues to motivate me as a work each day to reach my goal of becoming a physician. I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in the country of Mexico. I migrated to the United States when I was 12 years old with my family in search for better opportunities. It was a challenge at first to adapt to the new environment and life style, but within six months I was speaking fluent English and going to school. Since moving to the United States, both of my parents have worked full-time jobs to be able to provide for me and my two other brothers. Due to this and being the first in my family to go to college, they didn’t understand our system of higher education. Without parents to guide me through the college application process in high school or to push and motivate me in my studies, I graduated not knowing what path to take to reach my dream. But I kept my dream alive. I knew that I wanted to become a doctor.

  1. Why Cypress?

I enrolled at Cypress College hoping to find a path that will lead me to become a doctor. I have lived in the City of Cypress for 8 years now and Cypress College was the closest institution. I knew that this was the place to plan out a road map in my premedical route.

  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

Over the course of my time here at Cypress I have been involved in student club organizations and have been part of the STEM^2 program. STEM² was the first program to provide me with guidance. I was introduced to mentors, counselors and workshops that encouraged me and provided me with knowledge that I need to advance along my premed pathway. Through the program I was also offered the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research at Cal Poly Pomona, where I had an extraordinary experience. I spent a summer at Cal Poly Pomona – living in the dorms and learning how to conduct research, develop my critical thinking skills, and work in a team. This experience has motivated me to continue to achieve my dreams and goals.

Over the past two semesters I have also served as the Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Club Vice President. Being part of this club has reinforced my leadership and communication skills. I became Vice President with idea of helping others, by giving them advice and sharing knowledge that I acquired as a student. I wanted to create a support system for one another.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

Yanet Garcia and Professor Rajab have been two of the people that have helped me in my pre medical career path. Both have encouraged me not to give up, and have opened new opportunities for me that will shape me into the future physician that I will one day become. Due to their support and guidance I have participated in amazing opportunities such as undergraduate summer research, MEDPEP at UCLA (Pre-Health Pipeline Program), and as the Vice President of the STEM Club.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at CSULB?

As I transition to Cal State Long Beach as a Biology Major this fall 2016 I will continue to grow as an individual and on my pre-medical path. My academic plans at Long Beach are to join a pre med and/or health club, make strong connections with my professors, and seek opportunities for personal and academic development.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

I have always had a passion and a great desire to help those who are in need. This desire grew as I experienced how low-income underserved communities struggle for patient-center care. I want to become a doctor to be able to provide excellent patient-centered care to low-income communities and others who struggle with health care access. Most of all, I want to save lives.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of not giving up and of how much I have grown as a student and as a person. There were times of great struggle but I always kept pushing forward. I am truly grateful for those individuals who have (and continue to) empowered, motivated and helped transition to Cal State Long Beach.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

Never Give Up. Believe in Yourself and Dream Big!

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Omar Mercado, #CYProud 2016 Biology Graduate, Cypress to Cal State Long Beach

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Danila Mendez

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce Danila Mendez who will transfer to the University of California, Irvine to continue her business and accounting studies. Danila is a 4.0 2016 Graduate of the Year Candidate. She managed to maintain a perfect college GPA while working full-time and being a dedicated single mother to her young girl. Congratulations, Danila! We’re proud of your accomplishments and drive. #CYProud 2016

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#CYProud 2016 Graduate Danila Mendez plans to transfer to UC Irvine.

#CYProud: Danila Mendez, Cypress to UCI

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)
  • I was raised locally in Anaheim. I’m one of 4 siblings, three girls and one boy. It was tough growing up as the oldest girl in a Hispanic household. There were many expectations, and unfortunately education past high school was not one of them. I attended Fullerton High School but graduated from Garden Grove High. That was a rough transition. I really wanted to go to UC Irvine at the time, but I also wanted to run from home. I felt very independent because I had worked since I was 15, so at 19 I got married and ran! At 21 I had my first child, a boy, and at 23 I had my second, a girl. At 25 I became a single mother, and that changed everything. I had two choices: get ahead, or get ahead. I redirected my focus in life toward school and enrolled at Cypress College in the spring of 2012. It has been extremely difficult and I have had to make many sacrifices, but I value every one. I appreciate so much in life because of it. I have a long road ahead of me still, but I’m excited and optimistic.
  1. Why Cypress?
  • To be frank, I chose Cypress because it was convenient. I work full-time and I’m also a single mother. Getting from work to pick up my kids from their school and then dropping them off with a babysitter to make it to class by 6:30 sometimes is TOUGH. Cypress College is only about a 15-minute drive from all the places I have to be so that’s been a great plus. I love Cypress College and all the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
  1. @Cypress — what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?
  • I usually cringe when I’m asked this question. Because I’m a single mom, it’s very hard to be involved in anything on campus. My days usually have just about every minute accounted for. If I’ve ever attended an event on campus it’s been to earn extra credit for an accounting class. I’m glad, however, because I’ve attended some very interesting events and have had the opportunity to listen to encouraging speakers. I usually have to make up time I take off at work, so it’s not easy to be involved. I can tell you that I’ve been involved in coaching my daughters cheer squad in summer and winter. Through coaching the girls, trying to be a good role model for my kids and what I’ve learned from all the wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with at Cypress College, I have grown professionally and personally. I used to be afraid to ask a question for fear of sounding dumb or being a burden, but I’ve out grown those fears.
  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.
  • I love so many professors at Cypress College for different reasons! Perhaps what stands out the most is that professors like Anne Solis, Michael Lobasso, and Diana Clarke believed I had potential to be good at what I do before I even realized it. When I first enrolled I just wanted to get an accounting certificate to hopefully better my pay as a basic accounts receivable clerk. Because of them and their willingness to teach I am now the staff accountant for my company. It’s a huge accomplishment personally. I went from posting payments to preparing financial statements and reconciling bank statements. I’ve even been offered a promotion to assistant controller! It’s gratifying, to say the least. There have also been professors like Samreen Manjra, Parwinder Sidhu, and Kathleen Pinckard who I admire, and aspire to emulate. All the professors I mentioned are people who genuinely care about their students and the quality of education they provide. They have all unknowingly inspired me to be a better version of myself. Mr Lobasso is a 49ers fan… he’s just cool.
  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UCI?
  • I hope to continue to have success in reaching my educational goals. I am very lucky to have the support of my boss who allows me to take time off and make up hours to continue my education. I plan to take advantage of that privilege for as long as I can to continue learning! I would like to eventually complete a Masters program. For now I want to focus on UCI and reaching the next milestone, my Bachelors Degree. I plan to transfer and complete the BA in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. I would also like to graduate UCI with a 4.0 GPA.
  1. Advice to Future Students?
  • Establish balance in your life so you don’t drown in a small puddle of water. Working full time, being a single mom and attending college has been difficult, but I’ve been able to manage it by seeking balance in my life. I’ve learned that to give myself time to do it all everything has to be synced, and I have to give myself only the right amount of time for everything. Don’t be afraid to grow and embrace the past along with any mistakes made along the way. Learn from them! Ask questions! Have conversations about meaningful subjects. Say hello and smile at humans, not your phone! Learn everything you can about everything because you just never know when that knowledge might come handy. Knowledge is power!
  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?
  • I would like to complete a master’s program. I would like to enjoy a movie night with my kids and not have to study for an exam right after! Of course by then they’ll be teenagers (they are 10 and 8 now), and mom will be so uncool! I hope to achieve financial stability through my education and offer my children the opportunity to further their education early in life.
  1. What are you most proud of?
  • I have to say that I’m most proud of my GPA. I have been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA. It’s the perfect reward for all the times I’ve had to sit through my daughter’s cheer practice in 50 degree weather trying to study for a test, or 100 degree heat trying to watch my sons football game while reading for English, or the early 5 am shifts at the office so I can make it to Econ at 9 am, or all the times I’ve fallen asleep at the kitchen table because I swear I won’t get sleepy typing a research paper in the kitchen. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve wanted to give up, but I didn’t and I am so proud of myself for not giving up. Throughout elementary school and for most of my high school career I always maintained a 4.0 GPA and was enrolled in honors and AP classes. I was so afraid that I would not be able to meet my personal expectations.
  1. Anything else you’d like to add…
  • You mentioned that a faculty member nominated me. I don’t know who it was, but if you can, please thank him or her for me. I would like them to know that their nomination has made me feel an incredible amount of joy. I feel grateful and even more motivated to continue going forward. My children and I had a smile from ear to ear when I read the email last spring. =)
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#CYProud 2016 Graduate Danila Mendez plans to transfer to UC Irvine.

___________

Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: Oscar Lee

As part of this year’s #CYProud 2016 student profile series, we are pleased to introduce Oscar Lee who will transfer to the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall. Oscar asked to take part in our campaign this year to share his story and words of advice to incoming students. Congratulations, Oscar on acheiving your goals and best of luck at UCSB in the fall. 

Oscar Lee, Class of 2015, Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara
Oscar Lee, Class of 2015, Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara

#CYProud: Oscar Lee, Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara

  1. Origin — what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

I grew up right around the corner from Cypress College, my mom attended Cypress many years ago and transferred to CSULB. Before I enrolled at Cypress, I was offered admission to Cal Poly Pomona. During my senior year, however, my grades slipped due to what many of you would know as senioritis. I lost my chance to go university that year.

  1. Why Cypress?

I came to Cypress as a means to an end, it was my last shot to attend a four-year university. I wanted to be the best I could be this time around and get into my top choice.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

The excellent counselors that helped me understand the IGETC and Assist that allowed me to transfer.

  1. Post Cypress — what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UCSB?

Ultimately, I am going to earn a degree, but of course I want to have some fun while there and enjoy the campus and all it has to offer. I’d like to have a full college experience.

  1. Advice to Future Students?

RATEMYPROFESSOR.ORG it is your best friend.

  1. Longer-Term Vision — what do you aspire to?

I plan on teaching at a high school. I want to take what I’ve learned from teachers and peers and apply it within my classroom. I believe that the best perspective for teaching is being a student.

  1. What are you most proud of?

Getting into all the schools I applied to (with the exception of CAL), but it still feels really good to achieve what was unreachable for me just three years ago.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

Really, RATEMYPROFESSOR BFF.

Oscar Lee, Class of 2015, Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara
Oscar Lee, Class of 2015, Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara

___________

Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CYProud: William Conley

Commencement is a celebratory time on campus. To capture this year-end spirit, we asked our faculty to tell us which students they are most proud of. Some of those profiled in this year’s #CYProud 2016 feature have overcome significant personal and financial hurdles to reach their educational goals; others have distinguished themselves as exemplars of academic achievement and/or student leadership.

As part of this year’s series, we are pleased to introduce William Conley who will transfer to the University of California, Irvine in the fall. William was an English major who will transition to political science studies at UCI. Congratulation, William, and best of luck in all your future endeavors! We’re proud of you #CYProud 2016.

William Conley, Cypress to UC Irvine
William Conley, Cypress to UC Irvine

#CYProud: William Conley, Cypress to UC Irvine.

  1. Origin – what is your back story (hometown, high school, personal story…)

I was born September 30th, 1993, and grew up in Yorba Linda, California. I went to Esperanza High School in Anaheim. I’ve enjoyed writing since the Fourth Grade and through the years I’ve come to also enjoy traveling.

  1. Why Cypress?

I was a rather slothful high school student, only doing enough work to get by and sometimes not even that. At a certain point in my high school years, I resigned myself to the idea of community college, and chose not to bother with studying hard for the SATs or maintaining a GPA high enough for a four-year institution. My laziness continued into the summer of 2012, when I put off registering for college classes until it was much too late. I was closer to the Fullerton campus, but due to errors on my end I registered all my first semester classes at Cypress. I accepted the error, realizing I was lucky to have classes at all, bit the bullet, and made the longer drive to Cypress. I have stayed at Cypress ever since. The Cypress campus is open, less claustrophobic, and even prettier I thought. Above al, the faculty anchored me to Cypress. I was thrilled by their dedication, passion, knowledge for their subjects, and their willingness to always meet with me during office hours to talk. I felt valued and included in a way I’d never experienced from past teachers.

  1. @Cypress – what have you been involved with? How has your path unfolded?

At Cypress, as in high school, I started as a rather passive student who didn’t engage in extracurricular projects or events. My grades improved from what I was used to earning, but despite the collection of clubs I might have enjoyed joining, I remained a student inactive in campus events. “Come in, do your work, go home” was my motto, and I stuck to that tightly for my first years at Cypress.

In the Spring 2014 semester, things began to change. I took a film class, and suddenly I felt a drive to perform at my best. This wasn’t always present in my past work, but it was for this class. Through that course, I was nominated for the Bill Clarke Memorial Scholarship. I applied and won, and then things changed for me. I suddenly felt much more optimistic about my future, about my own work ethic, and about where I was going. Around that same time, I learned that in Spring 2015, Fullerton College would be hosting a semester abroad in Rome. Wanderlust kicked in. I signed up.

There is a lot that can be said about studying abroad, about how valuable it is and how much it will change you. All of it is true. Never did I imagine that the accident of ending up at Cypress College would catapult me into a journey of this size. Through it I transformed as a person. When I returned, I had at least one more semester of classes to complete before I could transfer. Nothing was the same after that trip. Simple as that.

I finished my requirements in the Fall 2015 semester, and with one more semester free before transferring, I chose to take a Creative Writing class. As this was my sole class, I wanted to devote myself one-hundred and twenty percent to utilizing its resources. I spent the semester practicing my writing, reading as much material as I could, and most importantly, joining the first extracurricular club of my life. I joined Cypress College’s Creative Guild club, and through circumstance became its president. With our small size, we coordinated and assembled the Cypress College publication Sole Image. I have made good friends in this club and learned a great deal I wouldn’t have if I simply confined myself to my class. Towards the end of this semester, I was fortunate enough to also win Cypress College’s Violet & William O’Brien Scholarship for poetry. Through Sole Image and the Creative Guild, I felt like I was truly leaving a mark on Cypress before I transferred. That felt wonderful.

  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

Cypress has incredible faculty who have helped me in incredible ways. I do not want to diminish any of the work of faculty by stating a few by name. Throughout my time at Cypress I have been blessed with a collection of inspiring teachers. These are simply three of the most notable examples:

  • Robert Greg Cavin — His Intro to Philosophy class was the first college course of my life, and my introduction to Cypress. It was nothing but positive, and I went on to take many more of his classes. He taught his material with poise and grace, and was particularly skilled in concealing his opinions in favor of teaching both sides of an issue. He taught students how to think, not what to think, is a pleasure to speak with during office hours, and was a source of immense inspiration for me in my early days at Cypress.
  • Kathryn Sonne — Kathryn was my introduction to the Cypress College Honors Program. She taught her classes in an open but controlled seminar style that she wasn’t afraid to let deviate from curriculum if an interesting topic had been raised. She augmented her classes with valuable service learning and extracurricular activities that provided opportunities to grow and experience new places and ideas. As one of the teachers who went on the Study Abroad trip to Rome in Spring 2015, I got to know her more, and she is wonderful and thoughtful company inside and outside the classroom. I am honored to have said I’ve traveled with her.
  • Stuart Rosenberg — Stuart Rosenberg’s impact on my life cannot be put into enough words. I was introduced to him through his film class, and was immediately enthralled with his teaching style. He taught with care and attention, and could articulate complex ideas and the abstractions of writing and art to his students. When watching him teach, you can feel his investment in his craft. I call it his craft because that is what it feels like. I was fortunate enough not just to have taken two of his classes but to have been given two opportunities at winning scholarships from him. When reviewing student work, his feedback is honest, polite, and always of great value. I feel I have grown substantially as a writer from my studying under him. It is with sadness that I leave Cypress not having taken every single class he teaches. He has simply changed my life.
  1. Post Cypress – what do you hope to do in the near term? What are your plans at UCI?

I am transferring to UCI as a Political Science major, and aim to continue studying that field through to my Bachelor’s. I also aim to explore UCI’s clubs and programs thoroughly in the hope of finding—or building—a community of writers with whom I can share work and ideas. My time in Cypress College’s Creative Guild has taught me the impact extracurricular clubs can have on an academic life.

  1. Advice to Future Students

If you (incoming students) are enrolling in courses at Cypress, you’re in for a great experience. There were many things I wish I knew going into Cypress that I’m only aware of now that I’m leaving. For one, work very closely with counselors and advisors early on. Community college is wonderful for its affordability and accessibility, but if you do not go in with a plan it can be a vortex of switching majors and completing prerequisites. Even if you are undecided, work with counselors on picking the most time efficient path to your goal, whether it be transferring or completing a certificate. Finally my advice to students is to really make the most of your time here at Cypress. Cypress has many clubs and activities that you can involve yourself with, and doing so will help you grow tremendously, I promise. The extra time commitments and responsibilities that can come with clubs may seem daunting, but the reward—experiencing new people and ideas in new settings—is simply worth it. I say this because I truly wish I had engaged myself with clubs early on at Cypress, and I didn’t. I learned the value of such clubs right as I was leaving. Learn from my mistake, and invest yourself in your time here. You will not regret it.

  1. Longer-Term Vision – what do you aspire to?

I have learned that I love traveling. In the distant future I want to see the world, as much of it as I can before my time on it is done. You know, scratching that wanderlust itch.

Writing has been something I have done since the Fourth Grade. If I can’t get over writing for pleasure now, I don’t think I ever will. I would very much like to publish in the future and establish myself somewhere in the literary world. A lofty goal, perhaps—a lofty goal I’m going to chase with conviction.

Thinking about teaching too. We’ll see on that one.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’ll say that I am proud of the myriad experiences I have been lucky enough to have abroad traveling. I am proud of my writing, proud of having this as a hobby. Whatever the strength of my work is, I am proud whenever I’m completing a work or piece. I am proud of signing my name on the work. I am proud of owning what I write.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

I continue to see a prevailing stigma surrounding community college. Sometimes it is mocked or dismissed as invalid or illegitimate. To students who attend community college, don’t buy it for a second. Never let those people distract you. Community college is a life-changing experience all its own, with unique lessons and perspectives on life to teach you—lessons you might not have received had you gone elsewhere. Press on always in your education. Your triumph is in your decision to pursue one.

William Conley, Class of 2016 - Cypress to UC Irvine.
William Conley, Class of 2016 – Cypress to UC Irvine

___________

Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

Outstanding Graduate Jeffrey Anderson’s Young Niece Fueled His Desire for Education

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“I was a fraud.” That’s how Jeffrey Anderson viewed himself. That feeling is also the reason he’s wearing a cap and gown today.

For some the decision to enroll in college is rote. For them, the expectation of a higher education has been there as long as they can remember. Anderson’s path was just about the opposite.

A high school dropout who had spent many of his 37 years “watching life pass me by,” his decision to enroll at Cypress College was inspired by his role caring for his young niece. Anderson said that as a child, things came easily. As a result, he wasn’t interested in anything difficult. When school became hard, he simply walked away.

“The turning point in my life was the birth of my brother’s first born,” he said. “As I tried to instill in her the ideal work ethic and morals that will help her succeed in life, I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like she could tell.”

Anderson said the one step he could take was to become a better person. As he spent time with his niece, he was reminded of a long-time goal to join many others in his extended family by becoming an educator. His research guided him to Cypress College’s Teacher Preparation Program. Three years later, Anderson maintains a flawless 4.0 GPA, has completed 84.5 units, and graduates with an associate in arts for transfer degree in Elementary Teacher Education. He’ll begin classes at California State University, Long Beach in the fall.

Along his journey, Anderson has also learned braille, became a Library of Congress-certified transcriber, and has traveled making presentations in the field. The company he works for provides braille transcripts for students across the entire 113-campus California Community Colleges system.

Anderson has also impressed his faculty.

“His term paper was truly outstanding — one of the best I have ever received from an undergraduate in my entire teaching career,” said Dr. Greg Cavin, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. That’s heady praise from a professor who has also taught at the University of California, Irvine, at San Diego State University, Chapman University, and Whittier College.

“He displays a clear passion for the field of education,” said Sherry Ward, Anderson’s professor in the Teacher Preparation Program. “Jeffrey has a combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve that’s rare in a college student, but so essential to the learning process.”

___________

Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles