#CYProud: Anna Rodriguez, Classical Studies

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Anna Rodriguez
Cypress + Cal

Rodriguez is a history major transferring to the University of California, Berkeley following her graduation from Cypress College. She persevered in her education despite falling ill during her senior year in high school, and has been part of the Honors Program at Cypress College, representing the College at the Honors Transfer Council of California’s Annual Student Research conference. She has a passion for learning and is interested in a wide variety of fields in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and sciences. She will major in classical studies at Cal.

oad-0179

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I’ve actually lived in Cypress my whole life! I graduated from Cornelia Connelly School in 2014 with over a 4.0, but during my senior year I started getting really sick. I went off to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but I left after my first quarter because my health started to deteriorate. I decided to start at Cypress, which is something I had never imagined myself doing before. That decision turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever could have made. Over the years, my health has gotten better along with my outlook on life! Being at Cypress was the unexpected experience in my life that has made all the difference.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because it’s close to home and because I knew it was a great school with many opportunities!

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

When I first got to Cypress College, I was pretty confused. I hadn’t had orientation, I signed up for classes really late, and I didn’t even know community colleges had majors.

That first semester, I had signed up for an honors class because it had room. The next semester, I took a few more honors classes and found out about the Honors Program. Joining the program has been an integral part of my time here. It’s an amazing program that really encourages students and helps them achieve great things.

I represented Cypress College this year at the Honors Transfer Council of California’s 18th Annual Student Research for California Community Colleges at the University of California, Irvine! It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about conducting humanities research and presenting. My presentation was on the role of women in ancient Rome as revealed through original Latin texts. For the project, I compiled primary sources written in Latin and translated them into English, then used that evidence to form an analysis and summary of the lives of these women.

Most of my time here was spent taking different classes and preparing to transfer. I’ve also been quite involved in the art program at Cypress College, having taken three painting classes, pottery, and digital painting. The art program here is great, and I’ve learned so much from all my teachers. I’ve also had the opportunity to show some of my pieces in the annual student art show and in a few publications across campus!

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I’m most passionate about learning! I love school and I wish I could study and be a full-time student for the rest of my life! It’s really hard for me to pin down exactly what I’m most passionate about. I love the Classics, and will be studying that at Berkeley. I love the field because it combines so many interesting things, my love for Latin, history, philosophy, art, religion, politics, and so much more!

I’m also really passionate about astronomy/space exploration and art. I’m a huge Star Trek nerd, so naturally, I love space! This year, I participated in the online segment of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program (NCAS). It was exciting to learn from people at NASA about space exploration, astronomy, physics, and the future of science and technology. I will also be going to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for an on-site workshop!

Art has also always been a big part of my life. I’ve taken painting here with Paul Paiement as a beginning, intermediate, and advanced student. I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much as an artist, and my teachers here definitely helped a lot. For me, art is almost like an escape. It’s extremely difficult, but I like a good challenge, and it offers me an opportunity to become 100% focused for a few hours and block out everything else in the world. It’s also pretty exciting to see something you’ve worked on for months up in a gallery!

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There have been so many amazing teachers here at Cypress College that have really helped me along the way! I’ve had a few teachers, like Professors Nicole Ledesma and Paul Paiement, who I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken multiple classes with.

Professor Ledesma was an amazing professor to have! I was so stressed and anxious about having to take math, but she made the classes I took with her great. I actually ended up enjoying statistics, which is another thing I never thought would happen! I know for sure if it wasn’t for her, I definitely wouldn’t have learned so much, enjoyed the subject so much, or have done as well as I did.

Professor Paiement has also been an amazing professor I’ve been lucky enough to have here at Cypress. I’ve taken art classes before, but he was the first teacher I’ve ever had where I truly felt like I was learning. He’s helped me so much as an artist, and I feel that I’ve gotten much better as a painter during my time here. He’s been very encouraging, but I also feel like he has challenged me a lot and driven me to be a much better artist and to not just settle.

Another of my favorite professors is History Professor Bryan Seiling. I loved his class so much. While it was difficult, he really made the class interesting. He has a great personality and sense of humor, and is clearly passionate about history.

Ms. Penny Gabourie has also been such an integral part of my time here at Cypress! She is an amazing counselor and has helped me so much with figuring out the transfer process. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without her, and I am so thankful for all she has done for me!

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

In the beginning of June, I will be participating in an on-site program at NASA’s JPL which I’m really excited about!

In the fall, I will be starting my studies at the University of California, Berkeley in classical civilizations. There are a number of organizations I would like to get involved in there, and I would love to continue the research project I started while here at Cypress!

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?
For now, my long-term goals are to do well in school at Berkeley and to be happy. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I’m planning to pursue a master’s degree and perhaps a doctorate, depending on what I decide to go into. There are so many things that I am passionate about and would love to spend my life doing. Right now, I’m content with the unknown. I’m looking forward to learning as much as possible at Berkeley and beyond.

Aside from education, I would love to travel as much as possible and learn as many languages as I can. I want to explore every corner of the world and learn about the cultures and histories of each unique place. I’d also really like to go to space when space-tourism takes off! I also want to become the world’s leading historian in something really obscure and be interviewed as an expert for a History Channel documentary.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of myself! I’ve faced a lot of setbacks in my life and the last few years have been anything but easy. I’ve worked though being sick and recovering. I was diagnosed with two learning disabilities (dyslexia and dysgraphia) that I didn’t know I had until a year ago. I’ve achieved all that I have while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and how much I have overcome in the past few years. So much has been thrown at me, and I’ve constantly been recalibrating my course of life. It’s been quite difficult, but I’m so proud of all the hard work I’ve put into it all and everything that has come out of it!

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Try your hardest in everything you do, no matter how trivial you think it is. Everything you do is a reflection of yourself and your values.

Also, talk to your teachers outside of class whenever you can! They love talking to their students and you can get a lot of learning done in a small amount of time when you talk with them one on one. Even if all you have is a few moments after class, ask them a question. It doesn’t even have to be on the topic/subject they are teaching. I think it’s always a good idea to ask people who are learned in any subject their opinions on things because they can offer you a unique and educated perspective.

One of the best things you can do as a student is connect what you learn in different subjects together with things in life. It makes subjects more relevant and interesting, and your education becomes strung together like a web. You may be surprised about how what you learn in one class may be so helpful for what you learn in another!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just really like to thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. There are so many people who have helped me so much, and I can never thank them enough!

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Katherine Gendron, Anthropology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Katherine Gendron
Cypress + CSUDH

Gendron is an anthropology major transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills following her graduation from Cypress College. She has dreamed of being an anthropologist working in cultural and historical preservation since she was a child, and one day hopes to work on a team searching for the lost city of Atlantis. She also aspires to become the curator of the British Museum.

oad-0171

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born and raised in Lakewood, CA. I attended and graduated from Sky Mountain Charter School in 2014, all the while volunteering at Ralph B. Clark Interpretive Center, which sparked my love of anthropology and understanding where our societies come from. I volunteered with the Long Beach Junior Golf Association for many years. Currently, I am working for the Disney Corporation in Anaheim and in the fall, I will be furthering my education at Cal State Dominguez Hills, majoring in anthropology with an emphasis in archeology.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

The flexibility of working my schedule around my jobs was very appealing. I also found professors who shared my love for anthropology and would continue to mentor and support my academic choices and future goals. The campus is very accessible, and the price-per-unit enabled me to attend full time while working two jobs.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Throughout my time at Cypress College, I continued to be on the Dean’s Honor Roll and became a member of the Anthropology Circle. I knew what I wanted my path to be and the professors at the College helped guide and support me to achieve my goals.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about being the first child in my family to receive a college degree and continue my education at a higher level, as my family was unable to do so financially. I am also very excited to pursue a life-long dream of being an anthropologist and seeing, preserving, and saving historical cultures throughout the world.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are two faculty members that I would like to highlight:

Professor Becky Floyd, to whom I owe my sincere gratitude for pushing me to continue my studies in the field of anthropology. She was my mentor and always open to helping to guide me through the choices of the field. She is a bright, energetic, and positive teacher and role model.

Professor Craig Goralski, who made classes fun, educational, and interesting, but continued to be stern regarding completing assignments, reading the material, and being prepared for exams and quizzes. He also encouraged us to be more responsible and respectful about historical and contemporary cultures.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will continue my education at Cal State Dominguez Hills with a major in anthropology and minor in archeology. I will be continuing and pursuing a dream that I have had for 17 years.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals are to help build people’s understanding and knowledge of cultural history before they are lost forever. I would also like to work with the team searching for the Lost City of Atlantis. It is also my dream to work for and become the curator of the British Museum

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of completing the first step of my educational and career goals with the help, support, and love of my family. I am very proud of the fact that I completed this part of my education while working two jobs.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

I would advise future students to be patient and honest. Never give up on your dream of completing your education, no matter what life throws at you.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to express my utmost gratitude to all of the staff at Cypress College making my two years here very enjoyable.

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Fernando Barboza, Political Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Fernando Barboza
Cypress + UCLA

Barboza is a political science major transferring to UCLA following his graduation from Cypress College. He is an honors student and represents the College as a Student Ambassador, sharing this educational journey with potential students. He is deeply passionate about politics, and hopes to pursue a jurisdoctorate after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.

oad-5203

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

“Mijo, felicidades! Son, congratulations,” my grandparents enthusiastically exclaimed with pride. It was supposed to be the best day of my life: finally graduating high school. Everywhere I looked, I saw joy, jubilance, and happiness. Yet, I felt disappointed and ashamed of myself, barely meeting graduation requirements and obtaining a grade point average of just 2.4. I simply felt I did not belong, so there was obviously much challenge. Therefore, I buried myself in a hole of fear and self-doubt.

Despite this, I transformed my life at Cypress College. I climbed out of the hole with my head held high and took initiative. All of a sudden, I was academically successful. I was getting the highest score on exams, straight A’s, and constantly participating in class discussion — something I had not done in high school. Furthermore, I gained a deep desire and passion for learning and fell in love with all aspects of political science. This led to a deep urge to consistently inform myself of different branches of politics by reading scholarly articles on topics ranging from the comparison of political economic theories to the externalities in foreign affairs. This is part of my personal insight question, but this perfectly depicts my life, my journey, and my story.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I live in Artesia, California. What I am trying to say is that Cerritos College is really close by. I tried to talk to a college counselor there, and as a result, I visited Cerritos College on multiple occasions. It was always the same thing—the counselors were unavailable and I was always left confused. One day, my mom, a graduate of the Cypress College Psychiatric Technician Program, decided to give me a tour of the College. As I strolled through campus, I fell in love with the pond, the architecture, and the friendliness of the staff. Every time I visited campus, I always felt at home; the vibe just felt right. That’s the story of why I chose Cypress College.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

During my journey at Cypress College, I have been involved in the Honors Club, Student Ambassador Program, and the Multicultural Club. The majority of the time, I have been involved with the Student Ambassadors.

As a student ambassador, I represent Cypress College at college and high school fairs, and give tours to prospective high school students. I also answer questions that students or prospective students may have about certain programs, resources, or any other offerings at Cypress College. One of the things that I love about being a Student Ambassador is that I am able to have direct contact with students who may be lost because I was once in their shoes. As a person, a student, and a Student Ambassador, I share my story with students, not so they can feel pity for me, but to exemplify that anything is possible.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

It is notable that my deep-burning passion is politics. I always find myself reading articles and talking to individuals about contemporary politics. I just find it extremely intriguing. When I am bored, you can always find me reading articles that have to do with politics, such as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” or any political articles. Another reason why I find politics so interesting is due to the political culture in the United States. What I have found is that citizens are usually misinformed or unaware of political ideologies, key political issues, and how money plays a huge role in all levels of government. This has all sparked my curiosity in politics.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are many faculty and staff that helped me get where I am. First, my EOPS counselors Alan Reza and Lisa Blod. They both helped put together my academic planner, and if it were not for them, I would not have received my second associate degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in social and behavioral sciences. I also have to acknowledge my political science professors Gloria Badal and Peter Mathews, who helped me fall in love with politics. Professor Badal’s international relations class particularly inspired me to pursue international relations as a concentration in my major at UCLA.

Furthermore, my English professors Christopher Kennison, Nicolas Gil, and Kendyl Palmer pushed me to develop my writing skills. Thus, I now see writing as a work of art. I also cannot forget to mention my music professor Gary Gopar. Professor Gopar has played an instrumental part in my life. His expertise in the jazz genre has made me love jazz and appreciate it with all my heart.

All these professors helped me get where I am today, but I cannot forget to mention the wonderful Lark Crumpler. She was the person who interviewed and hired me for the Student Ambassador Program. The program has me helped grow, learn, and aspire. In addition, all of my fellow student ambassadors are my home away from home. I want to again thank Ms. Crumpler and everyone else that I have mentioned.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plan is to arrange my academic courses for each quarter at UCLA. After that, I plan to enroll in the Center for American Politics and Policy Program (CAPPP) at UCLA. Once enrolled, I will be able to acquire a political or legal internship while taking courses at the University of California, Washington Center (UCDC). In other words, I will be studying and working on an internship for one quarter in Washington, D.C. Following that, I will join clubs at UCLA such as the Pre-Law Transfer Society and the Latinx Pre-Law Association so I can inform myself about the process of applying to law school. Ultimately, I plan to obtain my bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations, as well as a minor in philosophy.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals are eventually to obtain my juris doctor degree, pass the bar exam, and become an attorney of law. Furthermore, I dream of one day being able to give back to Cypress College by donating money to EOPS and the Political Science Department.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of our Cypress College Student Ambassador Program. The program plays a crucial role at Cypress College. You see, student ambassadors are the perfect “middlemen” between college students and administration. This is important because events such as graduation, Charger Experience, and Yom HaShoah would not have gone as smoothly without the presence of student ambassadors. Their hard work, perseverance, and integrity is always shown, and I am honored to be part of the program and more than proud of my fellow student ambassadors.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

The advice that I would give Cypress College students is learn how you study best. For example, when writing a paper, I have to stop, relax, and dance like the world is not watching to get myself in a creative mindset. On another note, if you plan to transfer, it is crucial to constantly check Assist.org, as well as to start a UC TAP (UC Transfer Admission Planner). Finally, my biggest advice is to be a student outside of the classroom. Attend events that Cypress College offers, such as plays, dances, and musical events. Your experience outside of the classroom is equal to or even greater than your academic experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be accepted to UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, and that I would be deeply involved on campus with the Student Ambassador Program, I would have laughed because I would not have believed you. This shows how it is possible to transfer to your dream school.

The last thing I would like to share is that it is an honor and privilege to be selected as a #CYProud student. I do not take this lightly. I wear this loud and proud, and if I had to do this all over again, I would choose Cypress College every time.

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Kimberly Worl, Mortuary Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Kimberly Worl
Cypress + Mortuary Science

Worl is a mortuary science major looking to become a funeral director and embalmer following her graduation from Cypress College. She is a top-15 scholarship recipient from Service Corporation International, the largest funeral service provider in the country, and the first Cypress College student to receive the scholarship. She recently passed the state exam for her funeral director license and will take the state exam for her embalming license this summer.

oad-0040

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in south Orange County and attended high school in Mission Viejo. When I was little, I used to say I wanted to dig up bones, and most of the books I read came from the true crime section of the bookstore. My plans to pursue work in forensic anthropology came to a halt while attending Golden West College. I was elected president of Circle K and from there I met a funeral home owner through Kiwanis International. I learned that being a licensed embalmer could lead to a career at the coroner’s office. Something just tugged at me and the only thing I could think of was getting a job at a funeral home.

I landed a six-nights-a-week on-call position, which entailed driving to a person’s location of death and transferring the deceased to the funeral home. During the day I worked a normal desk job and attended night classes. Soon, desk work became meaningless and I asked for a full-time position at the funeral home. I was very fortunate to have them sponsor my embalming apprenticeship, as well. Time flew by and I dedicated nine years to the profession before I finally got the courage to resign and dive into the rigorous Mortuary Science Program at Cypress College to obtain my degree.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Cypress College is one of two schools in California that offers a Mortuary Science degree. The other school is located in Sacramento. Despite the fact that Cypress College was an obvious choice as far as distance is concerned, I fell in love with the campus while taking general education classes. Every single faculty member I have come in contact with is outstanding.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

The Mortuary Science Program is nothing like anything I have ever experienced. In order to be successful, you must be active. By being active, I mean showing up every day, being engaged in each lecture, and being supportive of your cohorts. It is truly a team effort and we all help each other throughout the process.

I learned the hard way that sometimes your mind will get the best of you. I remember the first day of orientation, I was looking at the class load and thinking, “I can’t do this.” It hit me hard when I realized that I was my biggest obstacle. Since then, I have gained more confidence in myself, having faced what I had been putting off for all those years. I have so many opportunities that are opening up for me that I otherwise would not have had. I work hard, but I also owe my success to the amazing support system I have here. I just hope I can be an example to other students who are coming back after a long break. I want everyone to know, it is better late than never.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am absolutely passionate about the funeral service profession. It is an interesting line of work because it incorporates so many different aspects, including sociology, psychology, chemistry, anatomy, business, and law. There is never a dull moment. I know why I gravitated toward this career and it is not because I was curious about death as a child. It is because I live for helping others.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

First I want to recognize Armando Garcia, who is a partnership counselor at the Cypress College School of Continuing Education. If it was not for Armando, I would have been lost when I got back to school. He was the one who counseled me through Math Co-Lab, which put me on a fast path to get to where I needed to be to apply for the Mortuary Science Program. I am forever grateful for his help and encouragement.

Second, I want to recognize the amazing faculty of the Mortuary Science Program:

  • Prof. Glenn Bower, for never letting your class be silent and always engaging us;

  • Lori Collins, for your care, patience, and encouragement in the embalming lab;

  • Dr. de la Cruz, for your uninhibited enthusiasm for chemistry and embalming;

  • Prof. Jolena Grande, for always keeping us on our toes and pushing us to do our best;

  • Prof. “Mac”, for your amazing talents in restorative art and for being my mentor; and

  • Stephen Nichols, for your tireless dedication to our success.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I just passed the state written examination for my funeral director license. I plan on taking the written examination to obtain my embalming license this summer. My goal is to be working as a licensed funeral director and embalmer by August. I already have funeral homes reaching out to me about work after graduation. The funeral profession in California is a small corner of the world. Everyone knows everyone and Cypress College is the place to be for Mortuary Science. So many opportunities will open up for you here.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I would like to continue my education to obtain a bachelor’s degree and eventually my master’s degree. I would love to go full circle and come back to Cypress College to teach in the Mortuary Science Program.

What are you most proud of?

I am honored to have been selected as a top-15 scholarship recipient for Service Corporation International, the largest funeral service provider in the U.S. Being in the top 15, I was flown to Houston, TX for a two-day event, one of which included three rounds of panel interviews. We were coached on our resumes and networked with over 30 SCI representatives, including recruiters to help place us in a funeral home after graduation. I am the first student from Cypress College to receive this scholarship, so it was a great feeling to be able to represent our school.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Try not to compare yourself to others. Your success is your own. Go at your own pace. If you feel discouraged, reach out to a faculty member. Lastly, please ENJOY the process because it will be over before you know it!

#CYProud: Amanda Nguyen, Biochemistry

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Amanda Nguyen
Cypress + UCI

Nguyen is a biochemistry major transferring to the University of California, Irvine following her graduation from Cypress College. She hopes to enter the medical field as a physician assistant and is passionate about working with non-profit organizations, where she has worked and volunteered at over the last eight years.

oad-0494

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I’ve been living in Orange County and still plan to for the next few years. I guess you could say I don’t get out much, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing growing up because I was able to stay at home with my grandmother. At a young age, I started to care for her by reminding and assisting her with her medication, helping her with chores around the house, and assisting her in any other way I could. Over time, I realized that a career that incorporates human interaction, emotional support, and healthcare would be a perfect fit for me.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I initially planned to attend a university after high school, but was only accepted to universities that would involve being away from home. Therefore, I decided to attend Cypress College due to personal and financial reasons.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

While an active member of the (STEM)2 Program, I was exposed to a handful of opportunities. I became a (STEM)2 Study Lounge Leader, (STEM)2 Study Lounge Coordinator, and STEM Club President. The aforementioned positions have allowed me to promote student involvement, prioritize student networking, and improve community support through events hosted both on and off campus. My leadership positions have given me the platform to encourage others to assist those in need, which helped unfold my path and my passion for a career in healthcare.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about working with non-profit organizations that emphasize charitable, scientific, and educational purposes. I have been working with several non-profit organizations for the past eight years and believe that coming together to support a common cause and purpose truly helps remedy problems in our communities.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There were times when I second guessed my major and career path, and wondered if I should continue as a science major. During those tough times, I confided in my mentors. Their patience and advice for me have helped get me where I am today. I would like to thank Yanet Garcia, Anella Aquino, Dr. Maryline Chemama, and Rosa Mejia. I have paid countless visits and the accumulated time I have spent with you all have given me the extra boost I needed to reach where I am today.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

During the summer, I plan to do research for eight weeks at Cal Poly Pomona, where I will examine the chemical degradation of lignin by synthesizing new vanadium catalysts in order to remove oxygen from biomass. I will also continue as an emergency department volunteer at St. Jude Medical Center. Afterward, I plan to attend the University of California, Irvine in hopes of finishing my undergraduate education.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at UCI, I believe the degree will lead me closer to a secure and successful career as a physician assistant. Whether or not my plan unfolds the way I would like it to, I still plan to contribute to the community by helping people medically, emotionally, and physically.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of growing the STEM student organization to what it is today. I believe that as president, I have accommodated the needs of the student population by incorporating service and STEM in an engaging way.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

I would say to take advantage of the tutoring services, professors’ office hours, and especially make an effort to converse with your classmates. You may learn new study techniques that could benefit you in the classroom and improve your study habits overall.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had here at Cypress College. I will forever remember my professors, my advisors, and the friendships I have made here.

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Sarah Ormsby, Anthropology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Sarah Ormsby
Cypress + England

Ormsby is an anthropology major transferring to Liverpool John Moores University in England following her graduation from Cypress College. She has a bachelor’s degree in theater and worked in entertainment at Disneyland for a number of years before returning to school to pursue her first love, the human body. She hopes to become a forensic anthropologist to help people affected by disasters.

oad-0256

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I hail from the state of Nebraska, having moved to California in 2003 to pursue a master’s degree in theatre at the University of California, Irvine. I grew up in a small town where the average class size for K-12 schools was 10 students. Needless to say, it was quite the shock to step onto the UCI campus with a population equal to that of a city near where I was raised, but I thrived and immersed myself in my new surroundings and quickly obtained a job at Disneyland in their Entertainment Department. After some twists and turns, I chose to leave the entertainment industry to pursue my first love from school, the human body. This led me to pursue the associate degree in anthropology that I now possess, which is spring boarding me into my next career as a forensic anthropologist.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I was previously taking courses at another community college when the one class I wanted to take to solidify my future plans was canceled. I quickly began a search for the same class elsewhere so as not to delay my education. Cypress College provided the class I wanted and was offering it that semester. By the end of that week, I applied to the college, was accepted, enrolled in the course, and purchased my required textbooks. Having enjoyed my experience considerably at Cypress, I have continued to take courses here.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about helping others. My career and my own happiness are centered on service to others. From helping to bring a smile to a child’s face while working at Disneyland, to the simple act of pointing out the location of a restroom, to being a shoulder to lean on when the world seems empty, and to hopefully helping someone with closure after the loss of a loved one, I ultimately want to be of service to others.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Professors Becky Floyd and Craig Goralski have been the two faculty members to get me on my way. After having already taken the basic courses in anthropology, Professor Floyd and Dr. Goralski were there to teach the two most important and difficult classes for my degree, Forensic Anthropology and Field Studies in Archaeology. These were the two classes I truly needed before I could move on to pursue higher education, an internship, or a job. Both have given me tremendous insight into their respective specialties while also providing sound advice as I continue my journey.

Though at the time it seemed devastating, the best day while pursuing my new career was when the last course I needed for my degree was canceled. That instance brought me to Cypress College and to these two remarkable professors.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will be attending the master’s of science program in forensic anthropology this fall term at Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England. This accomplishment is thanks to my time spent at Cypress College, specifically with Professor Floyd and Dr. Goralski. Being a returning student, I was amazed at how much I could still learn in the classroom, not only on my topic of choice, but by learning to work with a new generation and making new discoveries about myself in the process.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My goal is to become a forensic anthropologist. I want to respond to mass disasters to help those affected by such events. I also look forward to working on cases from the past where natural disasters caused disarray, and to put victims of genocide and war, as well as their families, at peace. These will be special assignments alongside my work with law enforcement bringing justice to those who have suffered.

What are you most proud of?

At this time, I am most proud of being accepted into the master’s program at Liverpool. It has been a dream of mine since I was in high school to attend university overseas. Beyond that, I am also proud of each day I don’t give up. Even now, I have a lot of logistics to work out before attending Liverpool John Moores University, and each step could be an excuse not to go. On top of that, the United Kingdom has a different way of teaching, so I will have a large learning curve, not only in teaching myself how to learn in their education system, but also in adapting to their unique culture. As a student of anthropology, I can’t resist the opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign environment!

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Don’t give up on what makes you happy. I thought I had my future laid out for me, but discovered the career path I had chosen did not fit my temperament. Rather than choosing to suffer the rest of my life in a job I no longer loved, I took the risk and returned to school. Was it scary? Yes. Have I had moments of terror as I think about my present and my future? Yes. Though I have yet to accomplish my ultimate goal, I know the risk has been worth it.

When I have moments of doubt, I remind myself of the alternative unhappy, unmotivated life I could be living and it pushes me to continue. I’m still scared. I’m moving to England in September with no plan to follow! But I’ve grown so much as a person and have a true passion for what I am pursuing that I know all will work itself out in the end.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Being from another state, I did not understand how community colleges worked in California. My previous experiences with community colleges were that they only taught trades. Now that I know they also teach four-year university-level courses in all potential degrees, I encourage everyone to take advantage of such great institutions. The courses are affordable enough to allow for exploration, and the quality of these courses makes me proud to say I have taken them at these colleges. I plan to take more courses in the future knowing that knowledge is something that can never be taken away from me and that each topic learned makes me more well-rounded and understanding as a person in today’s world.

Save

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Crystal Neer, Radiologic Technology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Crystal Neer
Cypress + RadTech

Neer is a radiologic technology major graduating from Cypress College Spring 2017. She will be receiving her rad tech license in the summer and hopes to spend time doing x-rays and become licensed in administering CAT scans as well. She hopes to attend a four-year instutition in the near future to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

8939

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

My name is Crystal Neer. I grew up in Garden Grove, CA. I graduated from Rancho Alamitos in 2004 and immediately started working. I went to college, but found it was not for me. After having my son in 2011, I knew it was time to go back to school to better myself, not only for me, but my son as well. Being a single mom is not easy, but the hard work is worth every minute and I would not change it for the world. I enjoy volunteering at the OC Food Bank, studying, and spending time with family and friends.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because it is close to me, and I love the campus. The school also provided the Radiologic Technology Program. There aren’t any other schools in the area besides OCC that offer the program.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I am part of the CalWORKs program, as well as EOPS and CARE. These programs have provided financial aid, daycare for my son, books, counseling, guidance, transportation, and moral support throughout this journey.
Originally, I was interested in the Ultrasound Program, but after finding out some things about the program, I quickly changed to Radiologic Technology. I worked hard to be on the President’s List and was also honored to be a student mentor for Biology 210. I was accepted into the Radiologic Technology Program in 2016 and will be graduating in May of 2017 with high honors.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping people. When my mom had breast cancer, the people in the office were so kind. They were always supportive and helped my mom as well as me through a tough time. That was when I grew a real passion for helping people. I want to help guide people through what may be a very difficult time in their lives.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Where do I start? There have been so many who have truly helped me. When I first came to Cypress, I went to see Connie Boehler in the CalWORKs office. She helped me figure out the classes I needed to take. I visit her at least once a semester, sometimes more when I come across a problem or need advice. She has always been there to provide moral support and guidance.

Ms. Boehler referred me to Doreen Villasenor, the counselor for EOPS. She was very welcoming and warmhearted, just what I needed during this tough time back to college. I visited Ms. Villasenor three times each semester. She helped me stay on track by creating my educational plan. I always enjoyed speaking with her as I would leave feeling motivated and on the right track, which I was.

Lili Perez, the EOPS/CARE program coordinator has helped me tremendously. She always welcomed me to the office and offered her help and advice if I ever asked. Ms. Perez encouraged me throughout my time at Cypress. She played a huge role in my scholarship achievements, persistently asking if I had applied. Finally, I did, and I won. Not only did I get one, but I received five scholarships. They include the Soroptimist Scholarship for women, Kaiser Permanente Scholarship, Gay Hannah Scholarship for single parents, Bruce Family Scholarship for Health Science, and the Cypress Foundation Scholarship. The EOPS/CARE program also provided grants for attending workshops, as well as school supplies.

Eva Palomares is another one of my amazing counselors. After Ms. Villasenor left EOPS, Ms. Palomares took her place. Ms. Palomares is another person I owe many thanks to; she has always been there for me during any issues. She always worked me into her schedule when needed, especially with my busy schedule during my internship. Ms. Palomares encouraged me, along with Lili Perez, to apply for scholarships. I always thought little old me, why would I get awarded anything like that? I was wrong, and Ms. Palomares taught me to be proud of myself and celebrate every accomplishment.

Dee Ann Sato, my Biology 160 and 210 professor, taught me what it really means to love anatomy and physiology. Not only does she love her students, but she will do anything she can to help them. Anytime I did not understand, she would stay after class and explain things to me. She gave me ideas of how to understand and remember concepts that I found difficult. Ms. Sato also gave me an opportunity to help other students. She helped me get out of my comfort zone and most importantly, helped me grow.

Anne-Marie Beck, a career counselor, has helped me create my resume starting from scratch. Ms. Beck encouraged me to find my strengths and learn how to use them. She also taught me about one of my biggest weaknesses, interviewing. I now feel confident for any future interviews.

Kelly Carter, the counselor for Health Sciences. I remember the first time I went to speak with her, I was so nervous. She was very direct and to the point. I really like that about her, which is when I realized she was there to help. She helped me overcome my fears and put the past behind me. I entrusted my future in her, and she never let me down. She has been here to guide me throughout my college career.

Last but not least, Lynn Mitts. She is the program director of Radiologic Technology as well as Ultrasound. After taking a class with her, she has been there every step of the way. She goes above and beyond to help me. Ms. Mitts has always made time for me out of her busy schedule and has helped me through a time I found to be very difficult. For that, I am forever grateful.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I will wait for my license to come in the mail. It usually takes about two months. During this time, I will be off and enjoying the time with my mom and my son. Family is so important to me, and I would not be where I am today without them

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

Long-term goals, I am not sure what is next. I want to spend some time doing x-rays and hope to get my license in CAT scans. I would like to get some time in these areas and possibly return to school in the near future to pursue my bachelor’s degree.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of myself. I have not always been focused on school. There was a time when I was very unsure of what I wanted to do. After having my son, my life drastically changed; everything I have done is for him. I have been focused, motivated, strong, responsible, positive, and committed. It has been very hard, but with my family, friends, teachers, and counselors, it has all been made possible.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Do not give up. Sometimes it feels like it will never end, but all it takes is a little hope. See a counselor and get an education plan. Apply for financial aid and scholarships. You never know, you might actually qualify! I did!

Most importantly, if you don’t understand, seek help. You will find it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to showcase some of the biggest hearts we have at Cypress College. The people I have mentioned above have played a critical role during my time at school. If not for these people, I may not be where I am today. They all hold a special place in my heart and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from them. I will miss you all as I continue on, but you will always be considered as my family.

#CYProud: Phong Le, Business

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Phong Le
Cypress + UCI

Le is a business administration major transferring to the University of California, Irvine following his graduation from Cypress College. He emigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam four years ago and took ESL classes at the School of Continuing Education before starting his studies at the College. Le aspires to become a CPA and have his own practice.

_mg_5156-cropped-lq

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born in Vietnam, and have been living in the U.S. for four years. In the beginning, I struggled with learning a new language, culture, and customs; but I was lucky and very excited because I knew that the opportunities in this country could allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a successful businessman. Thus, I spent the majority of my time learning to expand my knowledge.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

The School of Continuing Education (SCE) was located at Cypress College, and it had an impact on my English improvement. When I first came to the U.S., I could not speak a word of English. In the beginning, I just wanted to take free-credit ESL classes at SCE to improve my English. Later on, with advice from my brother, friends, and counselors, I decided to attend Cypress College. The SCE and Cypress College together created an amazing ESL program. I truly love Cypress College, its facilities, and the faculty.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in EOPS for three years. I really enjoyed participating in activities organized by EOPS such as the UC and CSU meetings, the Lung Force Walk, and college campus trips. Additionally, there are a lot of workshops to assist EOPS students with writing a good resume and personal insight essays, and preparing for transfer. I found a lot of helpful information through EOPS activities and took advantage of good opportunities to improve some of my weaknesses, like communication and networking skills.
Since I started taking business classes, I have been involved in a lot of accounting and finance events organized by the business club and business faculty. Through the Career Day and business events, I reinforced my interest in business, especially accounting and finance.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping other people. I am extremely lucky to have great friends and relatives who lent their time to help me during difficult times. Most of my accomplishments so far could be credited to many good friends’ support, which has served as my inspiration. Thus, whenever I have a chance to help other people, I truly want to share what I know and lift them up.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are many amazing faculty and staff members who have helped me at Cypress College. I have been working with one of the most awesome counselors, Alan Reza from EOPS, who gave me a lot of advice over the course of my education. In addition, I took two ESL classes with Professor Alison Robertson and learned so many reading and writing skills. Professor Alison is extremely professional and organized, and she is also a very kind person.

Lastly, one of my most favorite professors is Professor Ann Solis, who has had an impact on my business interest today. She loves to invite her students to meet her after class for a better understanding of the material. Her explanations and examples are very clear and easy to understand, while her advice is insightful. She is very friendly and kind, too. She also loves to share her students’ success stories to inspire other students. Career Day and other accounting events that she and her students organized are very helpful and motivating. I truly love participating in accounting and finance events with her. She has really helped expand my knowledge and networking skills.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I just started working as an intern in a CPA office. This summer, I will spend more time on my internship to learn as much as I can before the Fall semester starts at the University of California, Irvine. I will work with UCI business counselors to set up my new path at the four-year university, join some business clubs, and discover the school’s helpful services during summer. When school starts, I will focus more on the accounting field, and maybe finance as well to become more versatile in the future.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I want to get my bachelor’s degree, become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and earn a master’s degree. I would like to work for big companies to earn experience and eventually have my own practice.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of all the little accomplishments I have achieved while at Cypress College. I am proud of being an active and good student. I am proud of learning so many things I had not known before. I am proud of assisting students and instructors when I worked at the School of Continuing Education (SCE). I am proud of being accepted to UCLA, UCI, UCR, and other CSUs. I am proud of helping many low-income citizens as a volunteer in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to help them prepare their tax returns.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

There are always motivated and amazing people around you such as your friends, counselors, or professors. Sometimes, I do get tired. I talk to those motivated people to recharge my passion, dream, and energy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready. – Will Smith

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Alejandra Garcia, Biology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Alejandra Garcia
Cypress + CSUF

Garcia is a biology major transferring to Cal State Fullerton following her graduation from Cypress College. She is a STEM scholar who enjoys volunteering, and aspires to attend medical school and become an OB-GYN.

oad-0807

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Tustin and attended Tustin High School. I was doing well and had a promising future. Then, in my senior year, I became pregnant. When I told family and friends about my pregnancy, they all immediately said my life was over and that I had ruined my future. The staff at my high school just saw me as another statistic: teen mom who would drop out of high school and work a minimum wage job — that would be all. I, on the other hand, felt even more determined.

I graduated from high school while my newborn daughter was in the stands. I then decided to keep pursuing my education, so I enrolled at Cypress College. I decided to follow my dreams and follow the pre-medicine path. When I would tell friends and family, they all said I was crazy, that I should major in something simple and graduate as soon as possible and get a job. Again, I didn’t listen. I listened to my mom who told me to follow my dreams and that she supported me. Being the first person in my family to attend college had its difficulties. It took me five years to finally be able to graduate and transfer, but it was well worth it when I received acceptance letters from seven out of the eight schools that I applied to.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

At first, I chose Cypress College because it was conveniently close to my house. Later, I did research about the College and found that it was an amazing school. After a few semesters at Cypress College, I was ecstatic about the high quality of professors we have. I have never had the need to take a class at another campus. In fact, I have met people who come from the areas around San Bernardino because we have highly qualified professors on campus. Cypress College is a great school, and I feel very happy with my decision to enroll here.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been part of the (STEM)2 program since its early days at Cypress College. I can honestly say that a huge part of my college success has been because of the program. As the first person in my family to attend college, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Through this program, not only did I learn how to present myself in a professional manner, but have been able to experience and take part in many different events. I had the opportunity to go to a pre-med conference at the University of California, Davis, where I met with professionals that were already where I want to be one day. I have also been able to give back to my community through this program. I have been a part of the College’s Kindercaminata, where I was in charge of the STEM booth. I have done volunteer work at St. Mary’s Hospital and a local non-profit pregnancy clinic where not only do I get to shadow and learn from healthcare professionals, but also help people from my community. Through the (STEM)2 program, I was able to acquire my first summer research experience at Cal State Fullerton. Most importantly, through the (STEM)2 program, I was able to meet some of my closest friends today.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am very passionate about helping people, most importantly pregnant teens. I am very fortunate to volunteer at a non-profit pregnancy clinic where I get to mentor pregnant women who are going through a crisis pregnancy. A lot of the times these women feel like there is no help and there is no hope for the future. I like to share my story with these women and tell them that there is always another way and there is always hope. My goal is to one day be an OB-GYN and help pregnant women who feel like they are lost and show them that it is possible to overcome any obstacle.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are four faculty and staff members who have helped me get where I am today. The first faculty member is Professor Robin De Roo. She is the organic chemistry professor here at Cypress College. Her class has been one of the most difficult classes I have ever taken, but she has always motivated me to keep trying. She was also a single mother trying to finish school with two children, so she knows the difficulties of having children and going to school. She has always encouraged me to keep going with school, telling me that although it is difficult, never give up because I’m being a good example for my daughter.

Next is Dr. Adel Rajab. He is one of the biology professors here at Cypress College. Dr. Rajab is an extraordinary professor and human being. I have been able to go to him and ask for letters of recommendation, as well as help with projects at Cypress College. I could always go to him if I needed help and he would do anything in his power to help me. It was an amazing feeling knowing that there was a faculty member that would stop whatever he was doing in order to help me out.

Finally, there is the director of the (STEM)2 program, Ms. Yanet Garcia. Ms. Garcia is the founder of (STEM)2, and I was lucky enough to be one of the first students admitted into the program. I have seen how much she has grown the program and how much she has helped students who are in the program. If it hadn’t been for her and this program, it would have taken me even longer to graduate and transfer. I owe much of my success to her and the (STEM)2 program.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

This summer I will be doing research at Cal State Fullerton where I will be working on how copper is transported from mother to fetus during pregnancy. I will also be transferring in the fall to Cal State Fullerton where I will be working on my bachelor’s degree in biological science. I hope to continue my involvement in the research project, as well as volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital and the non-profit pregnancy clinic.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goal is to go to medical school. My dream medical school is the University of California, San Francisco, but I would be happy to attend any medical school. After I graduate from medical school, I hope to specialize as an OB-GYN to work with women who are in a crisis pregnancy. I also hope to one day have my own clinic that provides women with all the services they need in order to feel that an unplanned pregnancy is not the end of the world.

What are you most proud of?

What I am most proud of is that my daughter is seeing her mother go on this journey and at her young age, is seeing and understanding how important education is. I am also very proud that my mother, who was also a single mother, is seeing her hard work paying off. I have my daughter and my mother to share my achievements with because I am very thankful for their unconditional love and support.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

My bit of advice that I would like to share to current and future students is to not give up. There have been many times that I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore, when I felt like the classes were too hard and maybe I was not cut out to do this. Well, unfortunately the classes do not get easier but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! You always have to remember what is driving you and not lose focus on that. Surround yourself with people that are positive and have that same drive as you to keep each other focused. You will get through this, and once you get that degree or land that dream job, it will all be worth it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would just like to thank everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at Cypress College. I have met amazing people in my five years here. There were times where it got rough, but there was always someone who pushed me to keep going. It has been an amazing experience, and I am very proud to be part of the Cypress College 2017 graduating class.

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Chidi Ewenike, Engineering

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2017.

Chidi Ewenike
Cypress + Cal Poly Pomona

Chidi Ewenike is a physics and mathematics major transferring to Cal Poly Pomona following his graduation from Cypress College. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and is looking forward to a career in robotics and automated systems.

oad-0372

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

What many do not know is that I am a half-Nigerian Finnish immigrant. I moved to Brea, California from a little town, Karkkila, Finland, at a young age where I have lived ever since. My interests in life include soccer, science, reading, travelling, gaming, and working on little automation projects at home.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because I was given the opportunity to play soccer for the Chargers. Ed Kephart, the men’s soccer coach at the time, was one of the coaches at my club and he reached out to me to play for the team, which I enthusiastically agreed to. Since my return to school in pursuit of an engineering degree, I chose to remain at Cypress due to the strength of the (STEM)2 program and the friends I have made at this school.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

My initial involvement was participating in the men’s soccer team. At the time, I was pursuing a degree in English, but after sustaining another head injury while playing, I realized that I had no interest in English and I wanted to pursue a different career. I decided to join the Finnish military and it was there that I acknowledged my fascination with the development of technology. I constantly saw different innovations being made in robotics, automated systems, and electronics, which sparked my interest in becoming an engineer.

Since returning from Finland, I became fully committed to becoming an engineer and joined clubs and organizations to further this goal. I am the Calculus I Supplemental Instruction Leader at Cypress College because I truly enjoy the subject, as well as assisting upcoming scientists and engineers with this study. I am also a heavily active member in the (STEM)2 program, as well as the Leaders of Tomorrow Club and Society of Women Engineers. I was also involved in the STEM Club, and the Engineering and Physics Club.

During the summer of 2016, I conducted research at Cal State Fullerton in “Brain Computer Interface Technology: Home Automation for Assistive Technology.” Our team designed a headset that controlled household devices using blinks to assist patients suffering from debilitating disabilities with performing normal functions. The feeling when a design comes together with such resounding benefit for others is indescribably rewarding.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about pursuing a career in robotics and automated systems. We live in an age of exponentially rising technological advancements commonly referred to as the “Third Industrial Revolution.” Technology is growing so rapidly that today’s innovations are yesterday’s news. The shame is that these innovations occur so frequently that society embraces these technological revolutions as expectations rather than the miracles that they are. Not for me though. These innovations are and have been absolutely enthralling to witness: the dawn of an automated era. Such advancements have truly captivated my interest and imagination.

Every day, I visit my favorite engineering and technology forums and am awestruck by the newest geniuses of the human mind, the realization that all of the complexities that we, as a society, utilize are merely human creations. It was this aspect that drew me to engineering and so much so that I am pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in computer science. It is my sincerest hope that I can one day contribute to this “revolutionary” period, particularly in the field of automation and robotics.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

There are many individuals who have selflessly done so much for me over the past few years in order for me to succeed. I would like to thank:

  • Yanet Garcia and Rosa Mejia for tirelessly providing us STEM students with countless opportunities to thrive as scientists and engineers. I joined the (STEM)2 program as a student with a dream and thanks to their efforts, it is now a reality.

  • Professors Hoa Tran and Christina Plett for providing me with a true love and appreciation for my studies, notably in mathematics. Their guidance and passion for their preferred field has always inspired me. Also, the magnitude with which the two of them care for their students has made school enjoyable and inspired me to one day become a professor myself.

  • Dr. Brinda Subramaniam for always pushing me beyond my limits so I can one day reach my potential. Dr. Brinda holds her students to a standard that every student should hold themselves to truly be successful, especially in science and engineering. The lifelong lessons Dr. Brinda provided me will not only make me a superlative engineer, but a quality person as well.

I do not know where I would be in my life were it not for these individuals and everything they sacrifice for students like myself. I feel truly blessed to have had the honor and privilege to learn from these professionals.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I was selected to participate in a summer research program this summer in robotics at the University of California, San Diego to further my development in the field of robotics and automated systems. Upon transferring, my plans are to join the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a robotics team to gain more hands-on experience in my desired field. I am also looking to obtain an internship to, again, gain more hands-on experience and bolster my resume for when I complete my schooling overall.

With my associate degrees in physics and mathematics, I am hoping to continue gaining experience as a private tutor to refine core engineering material and develop my teaching skills to pursue a career in teaching later down the road.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals are to make serious contributions toward society in robotics and automated systems. There is so much potential to expand human convenience through innovations like autonomous vehicles, bionic prosthetics, and home automation that I would like to contribute to. These are mere examples of the endless possibilities in this field of which I am aspiring to.

I ultimately want to gain as much experience as possible — both professionally and academically — to one day obtain my Ph.D. and become a consultant. I feel that once I accomplish a fulfilling career, it is my duty to pass down my knowledge and experience to the next generation by also becoming a professor.

What are you most proud of?

I would have to say that I am very proud of how far I have come. When I came to this school in 2010, I had no intentions of pursuing a meaningful education and my grades reflected this. There was a point when I did not think I would ever transfer to a four-year institution. When I left for the Finnish military, it was with the intention of finding my passion and gaining the discipline needed to succeed in academia. I returned to Cypress with one goal in mind and I can proudly say that, with the support of my mother, sister, friends, and faculty, I have accomplished that goal.

I am also very proud to represent the black community in the STEM field. This community is exceedingly underrepresented, and I feel it is a responsibility to inspire future generations of African-Americans to pursue a career in STEM, particularly in engineering. I am fortunate to have had countless individuals who fought relentlessly for me to have the equal opportunities I have today and it is not a sacrifice I take in vain.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Work hard and leave with no regrets. Make the most of your time at Cypress College by performing the best you possibly can in all classes, as well as seeking opportunities where they are seemingly unobtainable. Do not wake up tomorrow thinking, “Well, what if I studied a little harder for that exam?” or “Why did I not participate in this invaluable program with so much to offer?” This school was built for students to succeed. Join organizations like (STEM)2 and get involved in clubs. Take advantage of this invaluable opportunity in every way possible. Never limit yourself; you deserve what you work for.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to thank my family, friends, and faculty for everything they’ve done for me because I would be lost were it not for them. I am eternally grateful to have attended Cypress College and to have been involved with this fine institution. Thank you again.

Posted in CY