#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.

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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.

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#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.

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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.

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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

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#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.

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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.

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#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.

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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

#CYProud: Malik Elasha, Physics

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.

Malik Elasha
Cypress + Cal

Malik Elasha is a physics major transferring to the University of California, Berkeley following his graduation from Cypress College. He is a STEM scholar who hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics and move on to an industry career researching nanotechnology.

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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 Garden Grove. For the first half of high school, I attended Pacifica, but due to getting sick, I had to attend an online school called Pacific Coast for my remaining time of high school. Also due to my sickness, I had missed out on several classes and didn’t have the required units to graduate, so I took a proficiency exam to test out of high school and start at community college. I have a profound interest in physics and my hobbies are playing basketball and tennis, reading, and playing video games.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress due to it being ten minutes from my home, as well as hearing a lot of good things about the school’s STEM Department. After attending for a semester, I decided that I really enjoyed all the professors I had taken classes with, and I heard about the (STEM)2 Program from several students I had met in my classes. Between the incredible faculty and the amazing opportunities in the (STEM)2 Program, I decided that staying at Cypress College was the best decision I could make.

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

During my time at Cypress College, I have been involved in the (STEM)2 Program. My time in the program has exposed me to so many incredible friends who are also pursuing a STEM major, as well as many amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. (STEM)2 has allowed me to learn from the experiences of so many amazing guest speakers and provided me with many different opportunities to apply for research programs and internships. Thanks to (STEM)2, I was accepted to do research at the University of California, San Diego as a part of the school’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success. The (STEM)2 Program was a large part of my life at Cypress College, from the lessons I have learned, to all the wonderful study groups and friendships that I have formed with other individuals in the program.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am very passionate about my physics studies. As a physics major, the things I learn in my physics classes will stay with me for the rest of my time in school as well as throughout my career. I am passionate about physics because it is an incredible science that teaches me so many amazing things about how the world works and how I can work to improve it. My passion is further fueled by my motivation to use the things I learn to make a difference in the world by researching nanotechnology.

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

During my time at Cypress College, I have had absolutely incredible professors who have all made a really big impact on my life and education. The two faculty that have had the most impact on me are Professor Christina Plett and Professor Brinda Subramaniam. Professor Plett has been a very large influence on me during my time in her 250A and 250B classes. Her passion for math and the joy she has teaching it really gave me a much better perspective on the subject. Her class has led me to really enjoy math, appreciate all the applications of what we learn, and to want to learn more about math.

Dr. Subramaniam has been influential in helping me to decide what I want to study within physics. Not only was her incredible teaching of electricity and magnetism very educational for me, but during my time in her class, she gave me a lot of advice on what she recommends for me to pursue in physics as well as advice on which schools I should apply to and why. These two professors have changed my future and my perspective on my education, and for that I will be forever grateful.

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

From Cypress College, I will be transferring to the University of California, Berkeley where I will continue to work toward my undergrad in physics. I hope to get involved in undergraduate research in condensed matter physics while I am at Cal.

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

My long-term educational goal is to complete a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics. I aspire to use that Ph.D. to pursue an industry career researching nanotechnology. I currently plan to finish my undergrad in physics at UC Berkeley, complete a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics, work on industry research in nanotechnology, and toward the end of my career I want to take what I learned from my long time in school as well as my career and teach the next generation of engineers and scientists.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of how far I have come in these two years I have spent at Cypress College. When I started here, I set a goal for myself to give all my time and effort to my education and to do the best I can in all my classes. I am proud that I was able to stick with that and dedicate all of my time to studying and maintaining my 4.0 GPA.

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

The best advice I could give to any student is to work hard, focus on your education, and don’t be afraid to open up to your professors. Give your utmost effort and time to education since the return for what is put in is incomparable. Being dedicated and committed to doing the best you can in all your classes will go a long way toward helping you accomplish both your educational and career goals.

I would also advise students to open up to their professors and ask them for advice. Professors really want to help their students and can give great advice on how to better prepare for classes. Professors can also provide students with information on their fields of interest and their own experiences to help students make decisions on what degrees and careers they want to pursue.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I want to say thank you. Thank you to all the incredible friends who helped me stay motivated and focused even as our classes got more and more difficult. Thank you to the wonderful faculty who have expanded my knowledge and education, helped me find the path I wish to pursue, and have helped get me to take this next step of transferring to UC Berkeley.

Posted in CY

#CYProud: Phuoc Vo, Culinary Arts

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.

Phuoc Vo
Cypress + Culinary

Vo is a culinary arts major joining the Marriott Voyage Global Leadership Development Program following his graduation from Cypress College. He was the top choice in the nation for the program, which prepares participants for hospitality and culinary management positions, and will start working at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa this summer.

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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 Orange County. I was always fascinated by food and how new trends are constantly evolving cooking and plating techniques. I originally went to the University of California, Santa Barbara for pharmacy, but once I actually started working in a pharmacy, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. After I graduated in 2015, I returned to Orange County and heard about the Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. From then on, I decided to pursue my passion in culinary and enrolled in the program.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because of the good student-to-faculty ratio and small classroom settings. In these classroom sizes, you are treated like a student and not just another number. I was able to build a great student-faculty relationship, which is very difficult to do in larger institutions like the UCs and CSUs. Cypress College was also an affordable option that fit my budget perfectly.

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

As a part of the Special Events class, I served as the supervising chef for Cypress College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program Advisory Board Meeting and Career Fair of Spring 2017. In this leadership role, I facilitated communication among the student body while executing a luncheon for our hospitality employer partners.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about cooking and creating new dishes for others. There’s just something about seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy the food I make. The sense of satisfaction I get is indescribable and something I always look forward to.

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

  • Lisa Clark, the department coordinator and professor of hospitality management, is someone who is genuinely passionate about hospitality and dedicated to her students. She has always supported me and pushed me past my limits to challenge and develop me.

  • Chef Jeremy Peters always nurtured my curiosity and pushed me to be creative by allowing me to experiment in class. If I wanted to try something new with a dish and he didn’t have the equipment, he would try his best to get it.

  • Chef Stephanie Rosati pushed me through Baking I and Garde Manger. She has high expectations of me, which pushed me to constantly improve myself to deliver.

  • Chef Tracey Heine is the backbone of our program and is always around, ready to give tips and tricks on how to improve my dish or how to be more efficient.

  • Although Chef Amanda Gargano just joined this semester, we were able to connect through our shared interest in food. She inspires me to stay up to date on food trends and learn from them to boost my creativity.

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

After I graduate from Cypress College, I will be joining the Marriott International team as a Culinary Voyager. I will be immersed in their culture built on putting people first and constantly pursuing excellence during a one-year internship at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert. I will get hands-on training and learn about managerial responsibilities from the property’s executive chef and team.

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

My long-term goal is to become an executive chef of my own restaurant where I can pass on the knowledge I picked up through the years and bring out the potential in others.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of representing Cypress College at the Marriott International Voyager Program final interviews. This was the first year that Marriott decided to partner with a community college and I was lucky to receive the honor of being the best of 20 culinary students across the United States applying for this internship. I astounded recruiters and chefs with the plate I presented to them, and I strongly believe I’ve opened a world of possibilities for students majoring in culinary arts and hospitality in community colleges.

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

Enjoy your time at school and network with as many students and faculty as possible because you never know where that can get you. Most importantly, always stay humble in your endeavors.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This is a quote that I live by and keeps me going. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut, I remind myself of this quote and it gets me out of it.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

#CYProud: Michael Gonzalez

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 Michel Gonzalez who will transfer to UCLA in the fall. Michael is a History major and on a Pre-Med track. He was involved in both the STEM(2) program and Puente at Cypress. #CYProud 2016

#CYProud 2016: Michael Gonzalez, Cypress to UCLA
#CYProud 2016: Michael Gonzalez, Cypress to UCLA

#CYProud: Michael Gonzalez
Cypress to UCLA

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

I first attended Fullerton College, but soon found out it was not the right fit. I ended up at Cypress College because of a close friend of mine who convinced me to come check out the campus. I really enjoyed the first class I took and felt that Cypress was a better fit for me. The instructors are awesome, the campus is beautiful, it’s not overly crowded. Plus, it’s close to home. When I began going back to school, I wasnn’t sure if I wanted to further my education in nursing or pursue medicine, but with such great programs like Puente and STEM I’ve decided to go for medicine.

  1. Why Cypress?

I am Puente Program graduate and an active member in the STEM(2) program. I initially got involved in Puente when I attended a counseling session with Dr. Therese Mosqueda Ponce. She explained what the program was about and I took an interest. Through the Puente Program I learned about STEM and all the opportunities available.

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

There is a whole list of faculty and staff that have helped and supported me here on my journey at Cypress College, but I’ll keep it at my top three. The following three faculty are among the very few people that I can openly discuss issues with. I am truly honored to have not only to have worked with them, but also to simply have met them.

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

Dr. Mosqueda Ponce from the Puente Program has been a huge influence in my academic career. She is by far the best counselor I have had while at Cypress College and has been – and remains – a big support to fueling my academic dreams.

Cypress College President Dr. Robert Simpson has also been a huge support and wonderful mentor.

David Halahmy is one of the greatest history professors I have had.

Carlos Sandoval an awesome Psychology professor who is very passionate about his classes. There’s never a dull moment in his class.

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

I plan on finishing up my bachelor’s degree in History at UCLA and completing all my premed requirements. I’d then like to go to medical school. While at UCLA I would love to do scientific research in stem cells and HIV therapy.

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

I aspire to become an MD PhD Doctor working in the field of stem cell research.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I am proud of my accomplishment here at Cypress College and how far I have come as an individual.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in this world.”

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#CYProud 2016: Michael Gonzalez, Cypress to UCLA

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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: Megan Imperial

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 Megan Imperial who will transfer to UC Berkeley in the fall. Megan is a Political Science major who was involved in Forensics and the Lively Arts Club at Cypress. At Berkeley she will major in Interdisciplinary Studies#CYProud 2016

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#CYProud 2016: Megan Imperial, Cypress to UC Berkeley

#CYProud: Megan Imperial
Cypress to UC Berkeley

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

Originally from Garden Grove, I went to a private Catholic school Mater Dei High for K-12. I grew up very active in volunteering and outreach programs, collecting over 1,000 hours of community service in high school alone. With the degree I will get in the future I hope to continue that outreach to have a scaled positively impact.

  1. Why Cypress?

Well, I actually was accepted to several universities in high school, but I decided to choose the community college path for financial savings. I chose Cypress College over other options because I was accepted into the EOPS program under Joanne Olimberio, who was actually my preschool teacher. I expected to do well here at Cypress and be successful right off the bat, but unfortunately my first semester was my worst due to the death of a close friend. I was very lost, but luckily I found strength by continuing my activities at Cypress College. My goals have changed immensely since entering Cypress College. I started off a Business major who was interested in working with studios and making big money. Now, however, I have a major similar to international relations. I’d like to work on equity issues. The topic of inequality interests me.

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

There is a whole list of faculty and staff that have helped and supported me here on my journey at Cypress College, but I’ll keep it at my top three. The following three faculty are among the very few people that I can openly discuss issues with. I am truly honored to have not only to have worked with them, but also to simply have met them.

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

There is a whole list of faculty and staff that have helped and supported me here on my journey at Cypress College, but I’ll keep it at my top three. The following three faculty are among the very few people that I can openly discuss issues with. I am truly honored to have not only to have worked with them, but also to simply have met them.

Firstly, Liana Koeppel, my previous Forensics director and communications instructor. She is the one who pushed me to join the Forensics team after she saw my potential in a classroom setting. Liana taught me to dig deep into my emotions in my Programmed Oral Interpretation on feminism “the other F word” last year. She opened doors to the [crazy], but fulfilling world of Forensics and for that I am eternally grateful.

Next is Josh House, my current director and advisor of Forensics. Josh has continued to teach me ways to strengthen my debate skills and has entrusted me to help the Forensics program in every way that I can. Josh and I have sought to improve the Forensics community at Cypress College as a whole and I think next year’s team will do quite well at the CA State Championship tournament. Josh has greatly supported all the ideas that I have for Forensics, while putting up with me during plane rides, tournaments, and practices. In his first year at Cypress College he has an amazing job as Director and 2chainz mentor.

Last but not least, Barbara Meyer, my advisor for the Lively Arts Club and previous theater professor. Together, we have kept the Lively Arts Club alive and growing by supporting all the arts at Cypress College. We have gone through many hurdles and I greatly appreciate her for being there when I needed her. I also appreciate all the effort she has put into the club. As an advisor, she really taught me patience and how to delegate work as a President. We have so many great memories together.

Thank you all for helping me grow and I will miss you.

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

I will be transferring to UC Berkeley in the fall for Interdisciplinary Studies. At Cal I hope to be challenged in my field and come out on top in academics. I will be looking to study abroad for a year, hopefully intern in Washington D.C., and gain involvement and closeness with my new Golden Bear community. My goals are to learn as much as I can as I finish my bachelors degree. I hope to demolish any self-constructed limitations I may have and I’ll challenge myself to continue to do so throughout my life.

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

Long term, I aspire to complete my masters degree, travel, work in different countries, and continue in the political field. I am currently learning Japanese so I will most likely set my sights on first working for a think tank in Japan. I also would love to work in Washington D.C. to tackle head-on some of the legislative issues that are negatively impacting so many. Ultimately, I hope to be successful enough to make a positive impact in my local community and within the world.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of myself. In truth, I am doing all this [being successful] because I choose to. But the reason I choose to everyday is not only for me, but in order to make my mother proud. I remember when I was young all my instructors had no hope for me in my academic path and kept trying to hold me back. But it was my mother who told them “No, she is smarter than you think she is; trust me, I know.” My mother’s belief in me has caused me to believe in myself and work past my own limitations in order to prove to her that I will succeed. I really enjoy making my mother proud. We have struggled together for so long. She has taking on such great burdens for me. I hope to ease her stress by ensuring that she doesn’t have to worry about me. I will succeed and get past obstacles because I choose to. Plus she gets to brag about me more to her friends this way haha.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

I will be going to Japan in the summer with Takahashi Sensei in order to strengthen my speaking abilities. I will greatly miss Cypress College, but I have grown comfortable here and with comfort comes restfulness. I will continue to be restless in order to fight against ignorance, injustice, and apathy. I will move forward and make my fellow Chargers proud to not be comfortable and to always strive to achieve.

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#CYProud 2016: Megan Imperial, Cypress to UC Berkeley

___________
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: Angel Garcia

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 Angel Garcia who will transfer to Cal State Fullerton this fall. Angel is a remarkable leader with natural charisma, charm, and positive, outgoing spirit. She is valued across campus. Angel has served Cypress as the 2015-16 Associated Students President and as an official student ambassador. Congratulations, Angel and best of luck at CSUF! #CYProud 2016

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#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton

#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia
Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton

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

I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but I moved here when I was 5 years old so this is where I feel most at home. I began my involvement with Student Government as early as elementary school and continued throughout both middle and high school. I graduated from Pacifica High School, and I took Advanced Placement (AP) classes and was a part of the Associated Student Body (ASB) and Filipino Club. I have grown so much since then, and I hope to continue to do so!

  1. Why Cypress?

My plans after high school were like those of many of my classmates – go to a four-year college or university because everyone says so. It’s ridiculous really, the stigma that community colleges are the easy way out and looked down upon. I had planned on attending Cal State Fullerton, but after I missed a deadline my admission was denied. It felt like the whole world was crashing on me, and I was so bitter. I wound up coming to Cypress because it was close to home. Truthfully, I had not heard anything about it so I felt that I was taking a huge risk. After my first week of classes, however, I knew that it was the best decision I had ever made. There are so many great faculty, staff, and administrators. Also, the campus is beautifu and there is a lot to offer within student life.

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

I have been involved with the Associated Students since my first year at Cypress three years ago. I began as an Activities Coordinator, and then on the Executive Board as the Vice President of Public Relations. If you had asked me back in high school if I could ever picture myself as the AS President, my response would be, “Hell no!” But now I can’t imagine myself in any other position. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given when I was elected President, to represent the Cypress College student body and the AS Council.

My current job is a Student Ambassador, but it doesn’t feel like work to me at all! I love what I do – helping Cypress students and assisting with the College’s outreach to local elementary/middle/high schools. Along with AS, I have worked with some amazing people who I will always cherish.

During my first two years, I was a contributor to the Cypress Chronicle when it was active. I had my own YouTube channel in which I posted weekly videos (I filmed/edited myself!), covered news on/off campus by writing articles, and published my photography.

I really do love to write, particularly fiction and poetry. I have participated in the two Open Mic Nights hosted by the Lively Arts Club and MEChA Club’s Noche de Arte event this year by reciting my original poetry.

Another club that I am involved with is Club LEAD (Ladies Empowered and Determined), whose purpose is I am fiercely passionate about. Cypress College truly has played such a significant role in my growth as a person and a leader, and I have learned so much about who I am and what I stand for. I am proud to say that I am a dedicated social justice advocate aiming to be an activist who fights for oppressed communities. As a woman of color, particularly a Filipino American woman, I strive to represent folks in my community and be their voice.

#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton
#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia, Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton
  1. Faculty or staff that have helped you get where you are today.

There are so many awesome faculty and staff here at Cypress College! People who have significantly helped me get to where I am today are the AS Advisor Dave Okawa, the Student Ambassador Director Lark Crumpler, and my Ethnic Studies professor Daniel Lind. All of them have gone above and beyond their positions, each of them in their own individual way, and I am so grateful that they contributed to the person I am.

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

Once I graduate with my AA-T in Communications Studies, I plan to transfer to CSUF this fall semester. My major will be Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations, but I am interested in double majoring for Asian Pacific American Studies. I intend on being involved in the Associated Students, Inc. and/or social justice clubs.

  1. Advice to Future Students?

Take initiative! Seriously. Apply for scholarships, apply for financial aid, speak with a counselor and make an education plan, join clubs (A.S., of course! ;)), and visit our awesome student support programs and services! My biggest regret is not doing this until my last year here.

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

I know this is idealistic, but I truly do hope I achieve my goal of being a talk show host! Oprah inspires me, and while I may never be half as amazing as she is, I strive to follow her footsteps. Ultimately, I want to represent the Filipino-American and women community by having a platform to spread awareness of our issues. I want to give them hope that there are people that look like them and can relate to them. I aspire to become an activist, and I’m still learning (and will continue to learn throughout my life) how to get there. I also hope to publish my own novel.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of becoming the AS President for an entire year. As I mentioned before, I would have never expected to be where I am today. I did not think I was capable of taking on such a significant leadership position – and succeed. And look, I did it! But I would be lying if I said this journey wasn’t hard and that I didn’t face many stressful difficulties. Trust me, it happened quite often. But there’s beauty in the struggle, and it has only made me stronger. I’m very grateful for my experience.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add…

Thank you!

#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton
#CYProud: Angelyn (Angel) Garcia, Cypress to Cal State University, Fullerton

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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