Professor Regina Rhymes Revamps Legacy

The Legacy Program is under new leadership. Cypress College Professor Regina Rhymes (Social Sciences, Sociology) has revamped the College’s Black Studies cohort. Established in 2000, Legacy was the very first community college program in Orange County to concentrate on the African American experience in the United States. The mission of the Legacy Program is to help educationally underrepresented populations of students reach their dreams of college success. With a strong and focused academic curriculum that combines writing, math, counseling and mentoring along with experiential learning opportunities, Legacy provides a solid base of support for students who wish to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, earn higher-level degrees and return to the community as mentors and leaders to future generations.

Benefits of the program include:

  • Weekend College Tours
  • Accomplished Mentors
  • Networking
  • Friendships
  • Institutional Support
  • One-on-one Counseling
  • Increased Leadership Skills
  • Increased Self Esteem

The Legacy Program curriculum includes:

  • ENGLISH – Legacy students take English 060C and English 100C consecutively. These classes work to improve students’ basic written language skills and to help them develop research methods and critical reading and thinking skills.
  • COUNSELING – Legacy students also take Counseling 150C and Counseling 160C consecutively. These classes help Legacy students improve their study skills, explore career options, develop an academic educational plan, and identify lifetime goals.
  • ETHNIC STUDIES – While taking English 100C, Legacy students will be concurrently enrolled in Ethnic Studies 129C. These classes offer complementary curriculum so students will be able to take material they learn from both classes to improve their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of the African-American experience.
  • MATHEMATICS – Once Legacy students complete the math placement tests administered by the Assessment Center at Cypress College or by another college, they will be placed in a mathematics course that corresponds to their tested leve.

Course Breakdown:

FALL – English 60 / Counseling 150
SPRING – English 100 / Counseling 160 / Ethnic Studies 129 / Any Math Course

Newly Appointed Program Director, Professor Regina Rhymes (second from left) with colleagues:

Cypress College hosted its 48th Commencement on Friday, May 22, 2015. A total of 1,041 students earned 1,151 associate's degrees as members of the Class of 2015. In addition, 938 occupational certificates were awarded. Two-Thirds of the graduating class, 670 students, earned transfer certification into California's public university system. The Class of 2015 had 259 members graduating with honors and another 65 graduating with high honors. More information is available in the "graduation Central" section of the College website at:

2015 Legacy Program cohort of mentors & students:

Record Enrollment Possible as Fall Headcount Challenges 2009 Mark

Welcome Back


Enrollment is as strong as it has ever been. As of today, Cypress College has 16,672 students enrolled in classes. That’s two greater than the all-time high recorded at first census. First census is an important milestone since it establishes official enrollment in a course and is the point in the semester from which the state derives benchmark enrollment figures.

In Fall 2009, Cypress College had an unduplicated student count of 16,670 at first census. State budget cuts in subsequent terms precluded the College from expanding on that record enrollment.

With the first census date arriving this Sunday (students can drop up to that date with no record of enrollment noted on their transcripts), it appears as if Cypress College will record its second-highest headcount figures in college history.

Depending on how many students have yet to use add codes, it is possible that the all-time high could be eclipsed. Headcount — the number of unique students enrolled in at least a single course — peaked at 16,699 on August 29 and 30.

A dip of just 27 students since last weekend is a strong indicator that faculty have successfully made retention of students a priority.

“Thank you for your contribution towards improving access to post-secondary education for the students,” Executive Vice President Santanu Bandyopadhyay said. “This would not have been possible without the excellent teamwork, right from outreach to marketing, enrollment services to financial aid processing, high quality of instruction, and accommodating as many students as possible in the classroom without compromising on pedagogy. Job well done!”

While keeping students enrolled through census is an important step for the College, the goal is to foster student success through course and program completion, he noted.

“Access is the initiation of the academic journey of our students,” Dr. Bandyopadhyay wrote. “Our next goal is to retain the students in the classroom and helping them acquire the skills they need in order to be successful. I am confident that with your commitment and dedication to our students, we will see the improvement in retention and success of our students. Let us continue the great work!”

In the News: Professor Craig Goralski

Until recently, counties across California buried unidentified human remains – known as John & Jane Doe’s – in nondescript plots of open land. Many who reside in such cemeteries were victims of foul play and/or lived on the fringes of society. Their passings remain a mystery, their histories largely untold. It’s only with relatively recent advances in forensic science that questions of anonymity can be resolved; a name can be connected to a body – a decades old case finally closed.

Our very own Dr. Craig Goralski, Professor of Anthropology, is heralding this effort on behalf of San Bernardino County. As Co-Director of the Institute of Field Research Unidentified Persons Project, Dr. Goralski leads students from around the world in the delicate excavation and genetic analysis of Potter’s Field –  a dusty, three-acre tract of land where roughly 7,000 individuals reside, approximately 700 of which are unidentified.

The Orange County Register featured Dr. Goralski and his team this August in a piece titled ‘Who is Buried in Potter’s Field?’. The article is testament to Dr. Goralski’s expertise, sensibility and leadership, and is an example of the quality of our faculty at Cypress College.

In addition to his field talents, Dr. Goralski is also widely renowned for his teaching. In the spring of this year (2015) he was inducted into the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Hall of Fame as an Influential Educator. More on that notable commendation here.

The full article ‘Who is buried in potter’s field?’ can be found on the OC Register website. For additional information on Dr. Goralski’s field work in forensic archaeology see the Gizmodo article ‘The Coldest Case’.

(Photo Credit: Alexis Gray)

Retirees Among Cypress College Employees Honored for Service

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New retirees from Cypress College toast each other with their apple-shaped awards at the annual End of the Year Luau on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Pictured (from right): Shirley Ashburn, Virginia Derakhshanian, Bob Burson, Nancy Miller (obscured), and Carol Green.

Sixteen Cypress College employees who retired during the 2014-2015 academic year, including several who will complete their careers here at the end of the spring semester, were honored during an annual campus ceremony held on Wednesday in the campus Theater Lobby. The employees include faculty and support staff. Two of the employees — Virginia Derakhshanian and Regina Ford — served Cypress College students for 4o years each.

The new retirees are: Shirley Ashburn, Nursing faculty; Paul Baca, Maintenance and Operations; Robert Burson, Maintenance and Operations; Hong Chi, English as a Second Language faculty; Virginia Derakhshanian, Library/Learning Resource Center; Michele Dugan, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services; Regina Ford, Admissions and Records; Cathy Franklin, English/Reading faculty; Donna Gibson, Maintenance and Operations; Carol Green, Dental Hygiene faculty; Brett Harrington, Campus Safety; Pat Humpres, President’s Office; Michael Johnson, Media Arts Design faculty; Kathy Llanos, English as a Second Language faculty; Nancy Miller, Career Planning Center; Carol O’Brien, Campus Safety; and Antonio Fernando Oliviera, Foreign Language faculty.

Brief bios of the 2014-2015 retirees are available in a publication distributed at the ceremony.

In addition, the Cypress College Academic Senate conferred the title of Professor Emeritus for the following faculty:

  • Shirley Ashburn, Health Science Division (2015)
  • Hong Chi, Language Arts Division (2015)
  • Cathy Franklin, Language Arts Division (2015)
  • Carol Green, Language Arts Division (2014)
  • Laura Grieco, Health Science Division (2015)
  • Michael Johnson, Fine Arts Division (2015)
  • Kathy Llannos, Language Arts Division (2015)
  • Rosali Madjid, Health Science Division (2015)
  • Fernando Oliviera, Language Arts Division (2014)

Faculty, Staff Recognized for Contributions to Cypress College Students

Cypress College faculty member Richard McKnight (left) and staff member Roy Hurtado (right) are recognized by Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, for their 40 years of service to the campus and the College's students.
Cypress College faculty member Richard McKnight (left) and staff member Roy Hurtado (right) are recognized by Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, for their 40 years of service to the campus and the College’s students.

Cypress College recognized the contributions of campus employees on Wednesday as part of the annual End of the Year Luau. The event is a celebration of this year’s retirees and a recognition of employees reaching milestones in their employment. The Luau also coincides with two wider celebrations: Teacher Appreciation Week, which is observed May 4-8, and Classified School Employee Week, celebrated May 17-23.

A large number of Cypress College employees were recognized at the Luau.

Shirley Ashburn, Paul Baca, Robert Burson, Hong Chi, Virginia Derakhshanian, Michele Dugan, Regina Ford, Cathy Franklin, Donna Gibson, Carol Green, Brett Harrington, Pat Humpres, Michael Johnson, Kathy Llanos, Nancy Miller, Carol O’Brien, and Antonio Fernando Oliviera. Read about each of the retirees here.

Employees reaching 25 years of service:
Stephanie Acosta, Kelly Carter, Penny Gabourie, Robert Grantham, Susana Jianto, Victor Jimenez, Patty Kishel, Kathy Llanos, Aggie Martinez, Jose Siordia, Pablo Trinidad, and Eldon Young.

Other employees reaching service milestones are listed below, by the number of years of employment in the District.

5 Years:
Maha Afra, Kendra Contreras, Michael Frianeza, Craig Goralski, Roberta Lawrence, Michelle Palmisano, Joyce Peacock, Shajith Ratnapala, and Stephanie Rosati.

10 Years:
Meg Alton, Michelle Bandak, Lela Beck, Sujata Chiplunkar, Becky Floyd, Catherine Franklin, Mike Frey, Janet Fujimoto, Farid Gesri, Edward Giardina, Tracey Heine, Stacey Howard, Rhonda Kraft, Della Lopez, Sal Martinez, Denise Medina-Bernstein, Barbara Meyer, Miguel Rodriguez, Nahid Salkovieh, Dee Ann Sato, Laura Stephens, Samuelu Vaeoso, Zifeng Xie, and Brandy Young.

15 Years:
Virgil Adams, Karen Cant, Victoria Castle-Donovetsky, Lisa Clark, Yvonne Cota, Susan Davis, Cherie Dickey, Christie Diep, Dao Do, Temperence Dowdle, Arcelia Dropulic, Richard Fee, Michael Flores, Mary Lou Ford, David Halahmy, Sarah Jones, Barbara Kashi, Kathleen McAlister, David Nusbaum, Mary Odebunmi, John Payne, Marc Posner, Elizabeth Putman, Kathleen Reiland, Douglas Sallade, Dawn Sontag, Renee Ssensalo, Wendy Valencia, Thu Hang Vo, and Nancy Welliver.

20 Years:
Donna Landis, Randy Martinez, David Okawa, Theresa Tracy, and Manuel Verdugo.

30 Years:
Steven Banneck, Colleen Barger, Marlene Courtney, David Gibson, Velia Lawson, Barbara Marshall, Scott Pickler, Christina Plett, and Scott Tucker.

35 Years:
Deann Burch, Rodney Lusch, and Therese Mosqueda-Ponce.

40 Years:
Roy Hurtado and Richard McKnight.


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Assemblywoman Young Kim provided resolutions recognizing Cypress College employees for milestones in their employment and in recognition of new retirees.

Sato, Anton, Mathews Selected by Academic Senate for Annual Faculty Awards

Dee Sato
Dee Sato, a professor in Biology, is the 2015 recipient of the Cypress College Academic Senate’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

Biology Professor Dee Sato is Cypress College’s 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Emma Anton, who teaches in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, is the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award recipient. Peter Mathews, of the Political Science Department, is being honored with the Charger Award.

The three faculty members were selected by members of the Academic Senate for the awards of excellence in their field. They will be recognized for their achievement both at commencement on May 22 and at Opening Day in the fall.

Each year, the Academic Senate honors one full-time and one adjunct faculty member who have demonstrated outstanding teaching abilities and made significant contributions above the norm to the students’ learning experience.

The Senate also annually presents the Charger Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the educational community outside of their classroom.

Bacarella, Lawrence Set for Board Recognition for Attaining Tenure



Two Cypress College faculty — Russ Bacarella, of Automotive Technology, and Roberta Lawrence, from the Dental Hygiene Program — will be recognized by the NOCCCD Board of Trustees on Tuesday night for their milestone of attaining tenure. The Board meets at 5:30 p.m. on April 28 at the Anaheim Campus.

Roberta Lawrence
Dental Hygiene

Roberta Lawrence is Co-Director of the Cypress College Registered Dental Hygiene Program. She joined the campus in an adjunct capacity in 2001 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in 2011. With a strong background in academic and clinical instruction, Roberta has helped position Cypress College’s Registered Dental Assistant program as one of the very best in the nation, with consistent annual student state licensure pass rates of 100%.

Roberta holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology from California State University, Fullerton, as well as a Masters of Science (MSc) in Higher Education from Kaplan University. She is a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) through Cypress College, and is also a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP).

Prior to teaching, Roberta worked within an intersection of tech and the arts as a graphic designer and Assistant Lead Art Director for Hughes Aircraft, and later as Art Director of Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Bomber project. Wishing for more autonomy in her career, Roberta decided to pursue an alternative path and return to her roots in the sciences. To do so, she attended Cypress College’s Dental Hygiene Program for her certification in the field.

After working as a dental hygienist in private practice for three years, Roberta began to teach part-time in the RDA and RDH programs here at Cypress. Around this time, she also obtained her RDHAP degree from West Los Angeles College and started her own business to accommodate elderly patients’ home-care dental needs. For the last five years, Roberta has participated in the Annual Free Clinic held each October. She has also participated in and helped coordinate an international cultural exchange visit of dental hygiene students from Nagano, Japan for the last three years.

Russ Bacarella
Automotive Technology

Russ Bacarella found his niche young. At the age of twelve, he joined his father repairing motorcycles and working the parts counter for the family business. In automotive matters, Russ’ experience is solid. He has worked in a number of automotive-tech capacities over the years, for on-site service stations, at a new car dealership, as an on-the-road fleet operator for Austin Products Servicing, and as a loyal employee of Buddy’s Auto.

Since his early career start, Russ has merged his passion for automotive technology with a love of teaching. Prior to joining the Cypress campus community, Russ spent eight years as a full-time teacher at Loara High School NOCROP and seven years as a part-time teacher for Central County ROP. In 2011, Russ was hired as an adjunct Automotive Fundamentals instructor within Cypress College’s Automotive Technology Program. Later that year he was promoted to full-time faculty as the program’s Engines instructor.

When asked what he values about the College, Russ highlights his department’s collaborative approach to teaching and learning, which has endowed him with a deep respect for the work of his colleagues, who are “real industry experts… that have enabled me to become a more well-rounded, better prepared instructor.”

Russ holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Automotive Field Service Operations from Weber State and an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology from Cerritos College.

RELATED: View the 2015 Tenured Faculty publication

OC’s 100 Most Influential Includes Mortuary Science’s Glen Bower

Glen Bower, Director of Cypress College’s Mortuary Science program, was one of Orange County’s “100 Most Influential” people, according to the Orange County Register, which highlighted the year’s “game changers” in publications during late December. In addition to being a member of the faculty, Bower is also an alumnus of the program.

In the article profiling Bower, OC Register Staff Writer Anders Howmann described Bower’s selection this way:

Why he’s an influencer: In 2014, Bower began working on a curriculum to create the state’s only four-year moruary-science program, at Cypress. Bower already directs one of only two accredited mortuary-science schools in California, and the current 18-month program boasts an employment rate of 70 percent.

The full profile of Bower is available here on the Register’s website. The Mortuary Science program’s application for California’s pilot program to offer bachelor’s degrees in community colleges was discussed in this entry.

Baseball Coach Pickler’s Summer Team Wins Cape Cod Championship

Cypress College baseball coach Scott Pickler
Cypress College baseball coach Scott Pickler
Scott Pickler

Head Baseball Coach Scott Pickler led his Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to another Cape Cod Baseball League title in mid August. Pickler coaches in the elite league during the summer, and has now led the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to six Cape Cod League Championship appearances and has captured four titles in the past 10 seasons (2004, 2006, 2007, and 2014).

The Cape Cod League features some of the nations most elite and competitive Division I baseball players from around the country. Athletes from powerhouse baseball programs such as UCLA, LSU, Tennessee, Missouri, U.C. Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton among others, competed for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox this season.

Cypress College Assistant Coach Brian Resnick also coached alongside Pickler this summer.

Pickler is headed into his 30th season as the head coach for the Cypress Chargers baseball program. He has led Cypress to five State Championships, seven Orange Empire Conference Championships and has helped more than 200 student-athletes receive scholarships.

More than 120 of his former players have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft — with 18 of those former Chargers reaching the Major League, including eight who are currently active.

Professor Cavin Published in Journal ‘Faith and Philosophy’

Greg Cavin
Greg Cavin

Greg Cavin and his colleague from the Philosophy Department of Skyline College, Dr. Carlos A. Colombetti, have a new article published on the philosophy of religion. The article is titled: “Evidence, Miracles, and the Existence of Jesus: Comments on Stephen Law.” It has been published in *Faith and Philosophy* (the Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers), in the April 2014 issue.

Cavin and Colombetti counter Law’s earlier publication which asserts that it’s not possible to “know that Jesus existed because the stories in the gospels attributing miracles to Jesus ‘contaminate’ the otherwise good evidence we have for his existence given in the gospels,” Cavin said. Cavin and Colombetti “use Bayesian probability theory to show that Law’s argument is invalid and that his conclusion that we cannot know that Jesus existed is false. We conclude on Bayesian grounds that our total available evidence — including the gospels — makes it highly probable that Jesus existed.”

Cavin also noted that he and Colombetti also expressed their gratitude to their respective districts “for their support in making the research for this article possible.”