Unscripted: Theater Professor Leads Student to USC, South Coast Rep

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Jennifer Franco, Cypress College’s 2012 graduate of the year, said she “might be dead” if she hadn’t come to Cypress and taken a class from theater arts professor Mark Majarian in her first semester.

“Without getting too emotional and talk about the past, I wouldn’t have made it,” she said. “I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning and be happy with what I’m doing with my life. I wouldn’t be me.”

Franco, who started attending Cypress in her late 20s, had no idea how far she would go academically, let alone what she wanted to study. A Cypress counselor suggested some beginning classes, and she ended up in Majarian’s American Ethnic Theater course.

“I didn’t really know anything about theater at the time,” she admitted.

A few weeks into class, Majarian announced he was searching for a stage manager for the College’s dramatic productions.

“I’m looking down and then this teacher’s like, Jennifer, how about you,” Franco said. “I’m pretty sure in that moment, I was shaking my head no, but the word that came out was, ‘Yes.’”

“It was my first semester and it kind of gave me the chance to meet some new people, see that I could maybe fit in here, and I kind of fell in love with theater. I fell in love with stage managing, and then not only that, it gave me a kind of reason to pursue other things in school.”

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Majarian, who has an equity stage management background, said he saw a “woman warrior” in Franco from the beginning.

“It was a good fit and she needed that collective sense of purpose,” he added. Majarian has been teaching at Cypress for more than 35 years.

Following her graduation from Cypress in 2012, Franco transferred to USC in their Bachelor of Fine Arts program. She graduated May 2016 and is now a stage management intern at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa.

“It’s nice to sort of pass on and and have your students actually take it to another level,” Majarian said. “I think that’s the greatest thing we have as faculty is when our students innovate beyond us, and I think that Jennifer’s done that.”

Listen to Jennifer and Mark’s story in their own words.

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Jennifer Franco with Mark Majarian and fellow Cypress alum Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds, Kill Me, Deadly) at the College’s spring 2012 commencement.

Read Jennifer and Mark’s Story Here:

MP: We are here with Jennifer Franco and with Mark Majarian, and could I ask each of you to just introduce yourselves briefly?

MM: Mark Majarian. Faculty, Cypress College. Curriculum Chair and currently department chair of Theater Arts. Been here, I don’t know, more than 35 years.

JF: Jennifer Franco, graduated in 2012. Transferred to USC, graduated from USC in May of 2016. Currently working at South Coast Rep as a stage management intern. I’m working for their whole season. It’s awesome.

MP: Jennifer, you’ve described Cypress College as being life-altering if not life-saving. Can you just kind of put that in context?

JF: Okay, well, when I decided to go back to school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I just knew that I had to go do something, and so I picked Cypress College. I saw the counselor, they told me to take some classes, and I took an American Ethnic Theater class—that’s what it was called at the time—to satisfy requirements. It was one class and you can knock out two requirements, art and diversity, and that was like, going to, you know, make me one step closer to transfer if I was going to do that. I had no idea if I would ever do that at the time.

But I took that class and the teacher was crazy intense, was always biting his thumb, really passionate about what he was saying, and I sat in the front, you know what I mean? And it was really cool. I didn’t really know anything about theater at the time and one day, I don’t know, like three weeks, I think, into class, he was like, I’m looking for a stage manager. Crickets, nobody said a word. You know what I mean? It was just like, it was in the morning, it was like a 9:30 class, no response, and then uh—so I thought class was going to go on and he…and I’m looking down and then this teacher’s like, “Jennifer, how about you? You know, what about you?”

MM: That’s very common in casting. It’s called pre-casting.

JF: You know?

MM: That whole first thing was just an opening, kind of just to, you know, get the drop on everybody and then, you know, you have it pre-casted.

JF: And it was kind of like wow, put me on the spot, right?

MM: That’s Hollywood. Very Hollywood.

JF: And I’m pretty sure in that moment, I was like shaking my head no, but the words that came out was “Yes.” You know what I mean? And it was my first semester and it kind of gave me the chance to meet some new people, see that I could maybe fit in here, and I kind of fell in love with theater. I fell in love with stage managing, and then not only that, it gave me kind of a reason to pursue other things in school. You know, I got involved in clubs, I was in clubs, I did Student Government. Like, Cypress, it basically was the start of like a whole new like, oh my God, you know? A whole new adventure. It was—it kind of helped shape me.

MM: She stepped into stage managing. She was on the treadmill.

JF: It was like—

MM: Show had to open and you’d learned all this—yeah.

JF: I thought that there was nothing for me. You know what I—it really, really is that. Like, I thought—

MM: She was on her journey.

JF: I thought there was nothing for me and then I found this. And it was all because I came to Cypress College, the counselor knew what to tell me, and I just kind of did it. And then, all along the way, you know, I was always encouraged to do other things, everything. I didn’t think I was going to transfer. I didn’t think I was going to get accepted into schools.

MM: Jenn, you always say this, but—

JF: What?

MM: But ultimately, the woman warrior in you—

JF: Right.

MM: Found your quest.

JF: Right. But it—

MM: Found it.

JF: Right, but I had to find it, and I found it here.

MP: Yeah, it’s totally awesome. I want to ask you, Mark, because this is kind of like the Holy Grail of teaching, right? To have a student come in and say, you changed my life. I want you to reflect on that for a minute and just kind of share how that makes you feel, to hear this kind of praise.

MM: Well, I think the theater is a transformative kind of art form. It’s a collective art form, you have to work with people. Strong personalities, a lot of differing points of view create one vision of something. In this case it was—what was our first production together? I don’t even remember.

JF: Three Musketeers.

MM: Three Musketeers, there you are. …To bring to life.

JF (Background): You don’t remember?

MM: She had a woman warr—you have a woman warrior in you and I could see that from the beginning. And that context of discipline coming to bear in a very creative, free-flowing—look at the way she talks, I mean, all over the place—but coming to a kind of distillation of what she feels, was a perfect fit for you as a stage manager. And I have an equity stage manager background, I was getting kind of burnt out doing that by myself without you, so…

[Laughter]

MM: I trained, I trained you to do it and she was pretty soon telling me what to do at rehearsals. Like “Mark, there’s a break.” “I don’t want to take a break”. “Yeah, you gotta take a break.” So, I thought it was great. It’s nice to sort of pass on and have your students actually take it to another level. I think that’s the greatest thing we have as faculty is when our students innovate beyond us, and I think that Jennifer’s done that.

MP: You saw this before she did. Almost a scripting of sorts, you made it happen.

MM: She needed to…it was a good fit and she needed that collective sense of purpose. But also being the social person that she is in a very creative, loving way, it was good for you because it was a good fit. You got to work with people, you could use your persuasive emotional intelligence to bring everybody together, and so… And she’s worked in LA, too, with Urban Theater Movement. She’s been up in LA, in equity waiver production, so that’s really up in…

JF: I did an internship up in CTG (Center Theater Group). I mean, it’s crazy. Spoiler alert, yeah, Mark is still my mentor, my life mentor. You know?

MM: Oh my.

JF: We’ve been doing this for what, since 2009. What year is it? It’s 2017, that’s like eight years. Wow.

MM: Yeah, and then, you know, and she, you know, you created that bridge to Los Angeles for the students, too. You and Alex Alfaro who was with us in our productions. And Luis, Kelly Duarte, are doing, getting their plays produced in LA and you’ve been part of that process. So as our students work into Los Angeles to succeed as artists vocationally, you’re part of that group and you’ve kind of helped them blaze the trail with them, doing productions in LA, too. So that’s good for our students currently. There you go.

MP: Jennifer, what was transfer like and how did your experience at USC kind of dovetail with your experience here?

JF: Well, actually, transferring, graduating, transferring, it was scary because you get comfortable, right? You get comfortable in a place…I was in a place where I knew everybody, I’d cultivated relationships with faculty, staff, students, everybody, you know what I mean? And I kind of liked being where I was. I could just walk in and be like, it’s Jenn op. So it was really, it’s like a safe place for me and I was going to LA, you know what I mean? Leaving everything behind and it was kind of intimidating because again, I was going to be the 30-year-old freshman. I did three years here and I chose to do a BFA program, which was going to be another four years. So like, essentially, that’s like seven years of education just to get this BFA, but it’s what I wanted, and so I knew I had to do it. It was kind of hard in the beginning because it’s like all these people, they had so much more, they were coming out of high school, but they were in school for theater all their life. You know what I mean? I was like, three years for me. It was crazy.

MM: But they had a lot of compliments for you when you started. Come on.

JF: Yeah, yeah. So it was kind of intimidating, but it was also exciting. But USC, I was very fortunate to be in this BFA program because there were many similarities. Like I didn’t just start, go to this big university and end up in a hundred-person classroom where I didn’t get to meet the teacher. I was in this program where we had intimate classrooms and the production manager for the school was our stage management mentor and it was really great. I felt like I was in a good place. I was nurtured there as well. I got to work on many, many productions. It was a very similar format. I don’t know, I loved, I loved being at USC. Football was awesome. I went to every football game, on top of being in rehearsal every night, took a full load. It was, it was really, really great.

They have a great network. It opened up a lot of other, more—more other, who says that?—other possibilities and opportunities for me. We had guest lecturers and guest teachers come from Center Theater Group teaching us about producing theater. I got to work with the company manager of “Bridges of Madison County” when it came to the Ahmanson in LA. I worked with Chalk Red Theater, like different organizations, you know what I mean?

MM: And Oliver Mayer, Oliver Mayer.

JF: Oliver Mayer, who actually is a huge reason—

MM: And a connection.

JF: And a connection, that I met, through Mark, that came here to Cypress, you know.

MM: He’s a professor at the playwright program. He’s a professor in residence as well at USC, and he’s a wonderful playwright himself, and you got to work with him.

JF: And he’s good. Yeah, and I got to work with him.

MM: And we’ve worked with him before at Cypress as a guest artist playwright, so that was a bridge into there as well, that Cypress has been so supportive in the past with, our new play festival every summer. There’s a plug.

JF: Yeah, yeah.

MM: Remember when we did that reading at USC together.

JF: Okay, okay.

MM: So talk about this.

JF: Here’s what’s crazy.

MM: This is a funny anecdote.

JF: This is the best thing.

MM: This is a funny anecdote.

JF: No, this was crazy.

MM: This was payback. Okay. Let’s go to something juicy.

JF: So here’s what’s crazy. So, four years. Went to Cypress, Mark was my mentor, he’s a USC—UCLA!

MM: UCLA Bruin.

JF: Excuse me, he’s a Bruin.

MP: I know, we’re killing him. We’re killing him here.

JF: He’s a Bruin, right.

MM: Let’s mention that.

JF: He got his MFA. It’s huge, he’s a UCLA Bruin, MFA, the whole nine. He’s a very proud Bruin.

MM: Okay.

JF: And I, about to graduate, right? Trojan, senior year, and at USC they always do this playwrights, a playwrights festival, new work festival for their third-year MFA playwriting students. There’s only three in their program. Anyways, they always bring guest directors in, right, and then the students, the stage management students, stage manage the reading and work with this guest director. And it’s like, a two-week process.

MM: Yep.

JF: Right? It’s a two-week process. You rehearse and then you do a reading in front of an audience and that’s it. Well, they hired Mark to do this reading, okay. This reading for this student.

MM: Always, you know, controversial.

JF: They hired Mark, right? They hired Mark to do this reading of this student and they asked me to be the stage manager. And so it was like, it was so, it was like, such a huge full-circle, déjà vu weird thing because I worked with—I mean, I worked with Jim for like two productions—but every show I did at Cypress was with Mark and I hadn’t worked with Mark since going to LA because, well, how can we? He’s teaching and I’m over here in class. And the last thing I did at USC was work with my mentor.

MP: That is really cool.

JF: Yeah.

MP: I want to put the spotlight on you a little bit here, Mark. I want to ask, hearing this kind of experience, I guess, two parts. One, is this what keeps you motivated as a teacher; and just on a personal level, what does hearing all this mean to you?

MM: I’m going to get all mushy here.

JF: Are you going to get mushy?

[Laughter]

JF: Are you going to get mushy because you love me?

MM: Yeah, he’s gone on to the mushy part.

JF: I’m like your other—I’m your adopted child.

MM: Yeah, another daughter of mine.

JF: Actually.

MM: Yeah, yeah. Another daughter. I have a daughter, but this is my other daughter. Okay, so, I think what really means a great deal to me is when these students go on to make a difference professionally in American Theater and in their own way, promote the evolution of it because it’s a, you know, evolving art form. And Jennifer is part of that wave that is happening now that has taken a long time coming in terms of just more and more successful students who are also in this generation, more diverse than ever. Bringing that unique perspective of diverse students, and this includes all races, all ethnicities. This, the millennials are, my gosh, the most diverse generation ever, and you’re part of that.

JF: Am I a millennial?

MM: Yeah, yeah, in my mind you are. You’re all—anyone under the age of 35 is a millennial. It’s just the way it goes.

So I think that’s exciting. They bring an energy, especially on the West Coast where there’s so much creative work done by so many diverse theater companies in LA, and to have you, have all of you that are moving on to be a part of it, you know what I mean? You a part of it.

To move along the evolution of theater-making in America, you know, and that’s exciting, when they’re part of that evolution. ‘Cause otherwise, what’s theater for, an art form for, if it’s not evolving? So we give you the tools, but then you take those tools to another level, you make them your own. So that’s what’s exciting for me. ‘Cause to me, that’s, that’s one of my greatest rewards in teaching is seeing them become the next artists working and promoting that evolution.

And of course, the campus is to be thanked for supporting our new play development and supporting what we do so that you folks can go on and make a living and forge those changes, those necessary changes to keep theater alive and vital.

Hey, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Hamilton. This generation, that bespeaks of them, the Tony Award-winning musical. Do you know what I mean? And not to mention Moonlight. I mean, we’re seeing huge changes happening that are really exciting, that are embracing everybody in a new way that I think is really exciting. So, that’s my reward.

And seeing her, you know, invested and you still call me in the tos and fros, occasionally, of things. Or she has to listen to me talking about the tos and fros of trying to—[inaudible] the funding issue of keeping the campus alive financially and we have a lot of growth money coming in from the state, so it’s all very exciting. So there you go. Being part of that.

MP: Definitely energizing. Jenn, maybe a good way to kind of go out here is just to ask you if you’ve pictured your life if you had not enrolled here at Cypress College.

JF: Oh my gosh, yeah.

MP: Have you done that?

JF: I have pictured it. You know what’s really funny? I also just realized, even though we’re opposites, UCLA-USC—obviously the better choice—

[Laughter]

JF: But—

MM: Oh, you’re killing me. You’re killing me.

[Laugher]

JF: Just kidding, I’m just kidding. Fight on.

MM: Our campus has more acreage, just remember that.

JF: Just kidding. Fight on. Just kidding. Fight on. Okay. No.

MM: We’re close to the ocean.

JF: But what’s crazy is we’re different in a sense, but we’re very much alike and I feel very fortunate to have, kind of in a way without even knowing that I was doing that, fallen into some of the things that Mark has done. When I found theater, when I was like, oh my god, theater is the thing. Because I came to Cypress, because I took Mark’s class, a friend of mine took me to South Coast Rep to see my first professional theater production. Up until then, until going there, it was all just in school, in school, everything was in school. I had never gone to a theater, sat in a seat, and watched a production. It’s always just been at school.

And so he took me to South Coast Rep and I saw “A Christmas Carol,” and it was mesmerizing because you see all the things that you don’t see in a school production because you’re the person that’s making it happen. Like the set moved by itself, you know, all these things, right? And I used to make a joke, maybe, or just like say it, but I was like, “I’m going to work here one day. This is where I want—I want to check this place out.” Because it was the first place that I went to see a production, right? And it’s like, it catches you, right? Well, I’m there now. I’m there—

MM: And she’s following in my footsteps.

[Laughter]

JF: And he went—he was there. That’s what’s crazy, right?

MM: When I got out of grad school, that was my first job South, Equity Stage Manager, South Coast, yeah.

JF: That was his first job out of school, and he knows the founder, the artistic, founding artistic

MM: Martin Benson and David Emmes. She’s carrying the torch. David said, she’s carrying—David Emmes, who’s now kind of an emeritus artistic director, he said she’s carrying the torch.

JF: And it’s crazy because he did go there and I’m there now. And, you know, I’m hoping I can stay there after this season. I really like it there, I’m okay there. And it’s funny, and I brought him to the first show that I did there, and so it’s like, these are all these things.

And so you ask me and you say, where would my life be if I didn’t come to Cypress, right? If I hadn’t chosen to come back to school or come to this campus? Well, to be honest, from where I was before coming here, I might be dead. I might be in an institution; I might not have made it. That’s really true, without getting too emotional and talk about the past, I wouldn’t have made it. I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning and be happy with what I’m doing with my life. I wouldn’t be me.

Another thing, I wouldn’t have met my husband if I hadn’t come to this institution because this is where we met. You know what I mean? So yeah, I think about my life and where I could have been and… I wouldn’t change a thing. You know?

MP: Mark, any closing thoughts?

MM: It’s good to see your face.

JF: It’s good to see your face.

[Laughter]

MM: I, you know…

JF: I just saw you last week.

MM: Yeah, yeah. It’s always good to see her face.

Labor and Love: Couple’s Journey from Students to Retirees

Feb 29, 2016
Photo 216
Assignment #2 - Head shot retouching

Ron and Nancy Miller quickly learned it’s not just photos that develop in darkrooms.

The couple met in spring 1972 during a Cypress College photo lab class, standing over the same developer tray. A little banter there led to exchanging notes before class over breakfast. Four years later, the couple married on leap day and celebrate their 10¼ leap year—41-year—anniversary at the end of this month.

Besides being the catalyst for their relationship, Cypress College has been a home away from home for the couple. Ron worked in the photo department as a lab technician and instructional assistant for over 35 years. Nancy started as a part-time worker in the Career Planning Center in ’93 and continued at the College for another 22 years.

The couple’s two sons are also Cypress alumni. To top it all off, their older son, Ryan, met his wife at the College. She had been working as an hourly employee with Nancy at the time.

“We were here a long time, but, you know, I think we put a lot of our heart and our soul into not only the people here, the work here,” Nancy said. “We’ve been part of this family because it had been, it has been a family of sorts for the many years being here, and we’ve watched a lot of comings and goings and people during that time.”

Listen to Ron and Nancy tell their story and reminisce about the College back in the day.

Read Ron and Nancy’s story here:

Marc Posner: Ron and Nancy Miller’s relationship started developing in a Cypress College darkroom 45 years ago. Through their time as students, employees, and retirees, they have maintained a connection to the Cypress College campus.

Briefly tell me when you met here.

Nancy Miller: Well, basically it was in the spring of 1972 – the spring semester. I had come back from San Diego State to finish up my AA degree and Ron was here to—he’d just started taking classes. This was his first experience with Cypress College, and I had been here since actually fall of ’70. He was petitioning a photo class and I was already enrolled in one because I needed an elective to finish up my AA degree.

MP: So they say a lot of things develop in the darkroom…

Ron Miller: Relationships as well as photos, yes.

NM: Yes, as it was, you had to petition the class…

RM: Right.

NM: …so it was interesting how the setup was because we had lab before we had lecture class. Basically one day we had met for breakfast before to exchange notes, and so that kind of was the start of things through working in the photography department.

MP: It seems like you were fortunate, one, that Nancy transferred back from San Diego State and two, that your petitioning both led you to the same class.

RM: Yeah, it’s tough to explain other than I guess it was mean to be. I had meant to come over here. I had heard they had a good program, and some other friends of mine went to OCC. It was a more established photo department and things like that. I was going, “Yeah, I don’t want to drive all the way down there.” You know, this was much more convenient. Even though I lived in Huntington Beach, I worked in Stanton and I got off in the morning. Cypress was more of a good place.

MP: Your early relationship, you have some unique elements to how your wedding came about and the wedding date. Do you want to talk about that?

RM: Well, at one point when we were students, we were sitting out in the little study cubicle areas in the building and Nancy ran into some friends from high school, and they were talking about a mutual friend that was going to be getting married. And Nancy happened to say, “Oh, they’re suckers for getting married so young. When I get married I’m going to have some suckers in my bouquet and I’m going to hand the sucker to the groom.” I wasn’t really part of that conversation, but I was at the table right next to them and for some reason I remembered it. And it was four years later in ’76 when we did get married. On the way to the church we stopped and I had to get one of those large Charms suckers. They used to have a thing if you would pick a winner you got to pick another one. They were a whole nickel in those days.

NM: They were the best.

RM: Yeah. But anyway, I had that and I had it palmed in my hand when we were up there and the minister was going to join right hands. Right as Nancy touched that she felt the crinkling of the cellophane and she just was busting up laughing, shaking her shoulders, biting her lip. There were friends of mine that I had known since junior high. John was there and he told his wife, “Oh, wow! I know that they really like each other, but I didn’t think Nancy would be getting that emotional.” And Carolyn hit John and said, “No, Ron did something. I just know it. Ron did something.” And sure enough. I think she actually exchanged all the vows looking at my best man; she couldn’t look at me.

MP: So he remembered the suckers—

NM: Oh, yeah, he did.

MP: Did you have any inkling at that point that he might be the groom when you said that?

NM: No, I had no clue, because we had basically dated off and on for four years and then we kind of figured eventually we were right for each other. The other interesting thing to the story is the date we got married, which was February 29. So now we’re coming up on our 10¼ anniversary.

RM: Right. Last year we had our official tenth anniversary – or for the math challenged it would be 40 years. This year it’ll be 10¼ or 41 years.

NM: So we had to do something unique. I had thought about getting married on Halloween. He was thinking of April Fool’s Day.

RM: April first.

NM: So we settled on February 29.

RM: Well, since we met in ’72, that also was a leap year.

NM: Yeah.

RM: I don’t think we really realized that right at first when we were looking at the calendar. It was more of—it was on a Sunday, that’s the date. Then we coordinated with the church and other places and made it happen.

NM: People ask us, “Well, when do you celebrate if there’s no 29th? Do you celebrate on the 28th or do you celebrate on the 1st?” I just say, “We just celebrate all year long.”

MP: I was going to suggest—I’ve known you both a long time; it seems like you celebrate all year round.

NM: All year round.

RM: It’s rough work, but somebody’s got to do it.

MP: Were you married before you started to work here?

RM & NM: Yes.

RM: And then I started—we got married in ’76 and I started working here in September of ’77. I retired a little over three years ago. Really good place to work, but I’m loving retirement.

NM: I started in ’93. We had two sons along the way and we also had a photography business, so I stayed home and did a lot of the background things for the photography business and raised the kids. And then when they got into junior high and high school is when I applied for just a part-time job to work while the kids were in school and I ended up working in the Career Center. I worked there 21 and a half years. And same thing – it was a great place and an even better place to retire from. So hang in there, everybody!

RM: And then since we’ve retired we’ve come back and we’ve taken a couple different photo classes that we never had the opportunity to take when we were working and kind of I didn’t really want to take classes while I was working here because I’d always get sidetracked to go do this or go and do that. My job was more, “No, I’ve got to be here to help the students complete what they need to do when I was the employee.” Now I have fun teasing the department people now, like, “Hey, no, I’m a student. You have to help me.” But it’s all good.

NM: It’s all in fun.

MP: What are some of your early memories of the college? I mean, you’ve really seen this campus change tremendously over time.

NM: Oh, boy, that’s for sure.

RM: When we were students here Tech Ed 3 was a parking lot. When I came back to work the building was up.

NM: When I had started they had a football team and very active cheerleading squad and Larry Mercadante was the football coach and I had friends that were cheerleaders and such. Over where the Adult Ed building is is where they had a lot of portable buildings at the time. One of them was more kind of a Student Center and they had big pep rallies every now and again back then because they had the cheerleaders. So then once football left they still had cheerleaders for basketball, but it wasn’t anything as elaborate as football was.

RM: It was also when we were in the early years from time to time there would be cows wandering in the area where it’s now the Maintenance building, around parking lot 9 there used to be a berm for the archery team so it wouldn’t go any farther. So yeah, just a few changes over the years.

NM: Yeah, watching a lot of the buildings going up over the years – there was a lot of changes and a lot of big changes going on. Back in the day there was the cheerleading. I was involved in student government here, too. I played on three sports teams while I was here. Things have really changed then because of the uniforms and women’s sports at that time [didn’t] have the notoriety where women’s sports is now. It’s amazing where it is now.

MP: What’s kind of the same?

RM: At its core there still is varying degrees of family and stuff like that. It’s changed just from time to time, department to department, but I think at its core there still is a lot of that, or they strive to maintain it.

NM: There’s just the whole learning atmosphere is a lot the same. A lot of challenges, but a lot of the same. There’s some good, excellent programs here, and moving on to some of the—with Mortuary Science going with the bachelor’s degree, there’s a lot of really good things moving forward. You have to, but it’s excellent.

RM: It would have been in spring of ’79 I decided OK I needed to finish up some of my General Ed classes that I never completed before when I was a student. And Nancy was pregnant with our first son, Ryan, and we were in the Astronomy class with Dottie Stout at that time was her name and she later married and became Dottie—no, it was Dottie Stellar at first. Then she became Dottie Stout later. But great instructor. One of the toughest but the most—she made it fun to learn, but she was not easy at all. She had a great sense of humor, so that way we got along real well. On the night of the final—we were living in Huntington Beach at the time—I had worked in the day, went back home to pick up Nancy and come back. We were about 15 or 20 minutes late for the final. Dottie thought for sure Nancy had gone into labor.

NM: Because I was about eight and a half, almost nine months pregnant.

RM: Well, it was about two weeks after the final that Ryan was born, and Dottie always referred to our son Ryan as Orion.

NM: We teased her and said, “Oh, yeah, we named him after the constellation Orion.” She was amazing.

MP: Since we’re talking about Dottie Stout, you know, you have obviously seen the cycle of life here at the college and I think that really makes this place part of your life. Why do you think that happens that you’re so deeply woven into the fabric here?

NM: Well, we were here a long time, but I think a lot of our heart and soul went into not only the people here, the work here, but we’ve been part of this family because it has been a family of sorts for the many years being here. We’ve watched a lot of comings and goings and people during that time.

RM: Well, then our daughter-in-law was an hourly student for Nancy. We didn’t know she’d be our daughter-in-law at the time. That’s where she met Ryan, her husband. But right at first they would tease one another quite a bit, and Nancy would say, “Hey, Amy, you need to—why don’t you go out with one of my sons? I don’t care; whichever one. They both need guidance.” And Amy was going like, “Yeah, right, like I’m going to go out with one of your kids. Can you imagine that?” Then because of Cypress College, again, that’s how they met and now we have two beautiful grandchildren, Sage and Wyatt. Again, all of these things wouldn’t have happened had it not been for our association with Cypress College.

MP: I can’t think of a better place to say this is an incredible story and I thank you for sharing it with us.

NM: You’re very welcome.

College’s 50th Anniversary Recognized with “Key to the City” of Cypress

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At the Cypress State of the City Luncheon on Wednesday, January 19, Mayor Paulo Morales (pictured above) presented Cypress College with an honorary “Key to the City” in recognition of the College’s 50th anniversary. Foam “#1” fingers with the name of the city and Cypress College, respectively, were also given out at the event. Officials from the College present at the State of the City included Executive Vice President Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhay, who received the recognition on behalf of the College, and Foundation & Community Relations Executive Director Raul Alvarez. Also attending on behalf of Cypress College were North Orange County Community College District Trustees Steve Blount and Barbara Dunsheath, Foundation Board Members David Shawver and Phil Wendel, and Cypress College Communications Director Marc Posner.

“We are humbled by the unexpected honor and presentation by Mayor Morales,” Posner said. “Our partnership with the City of Cypress has never been stronger thanks to the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager Peter Grant, as well as the executive team here at the College.”

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Cypress College will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary with a Festival and Reunion on Saturday, April 1, 2017.  To register for the event and receive further information on 50th Anniversary activities, please click here

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California Community Colleges
Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

A degree in mortuary science is rare. In fact, there are only two public programs offering associate degrees in the field in the State of California. For those seeking to advance in the funeral services industry, a bachelor’s degree is even less common. In fact, Cypress College’s selection to offer a baccalaureate degree in funeral services presents a unique opportunity since there are no other colleges or universities offering this type of degree in the Western United States.

Cypress College — like all 113 California Community Colleges — offers associates degrees in a wide variety of fields. Currently, there are 71 degree programs approved as part of Cypress College’s curriculum.

Related:

However, Cypress is one of the 15 California Community Colleges approved to offer a baccalaureate degree as part of a statewide pilot program designed to offer upper division coursework in disciplines not currently covered in the instructional programs offered in the California State University and University of California systems. Cypress College’s program — officially a bachelor’s of science in funeral services — will begin instruction in Fall 2017. This new degree will offer upper division academic and vocational instruction to students, as well as bring expanded employment opportunities to Southern California.

The overarching goal of the program is to enhance, not supplant, the current Associate in Science degree program at Cypress College. In fact, the program and strong alumni base will provide a robust pool of candidates for the baccalaureate degree.
While the concept of a community college baccalaureate degree is likely new to many — state legislation approving the program was passed in 2014 — Professor Jolena Grande has been working towards this moment since 1995. For more than 20 years, she planned, gathered information, and lined up support waiting for the opportunity. Since the program was selected, she has worked tirelessly for a successful implementation.

Announcing the 17th Annual Cypress College New Play Festival

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The Cypress College New Play Festival provides student actors and directors a place to help develop new plays with professional playwrights from Los Angeles. We are celebrating our seventeenth summer season. Our festival won the OC Weekly Best of 2008.

“Mark Majarian and the rest of this community college’s theater department deserve a chorus of hosannas for launching and growing a new-play festival as strong as any in Southern California. Many of the writers-and several of the plays-have subsequently received full-fledged productions at regional and off-Broadway theaters. They provide encouragement and incentive to playwrights, a strange breed of animal that chooses to work in an artistic field where recognition is hard to come by and financial compensation nearly impossible.”

Notable playwright collaborations have been with a reading and production of Oliver Mayer’s “Bold as Love,” Paula Cizmar’s “Venus in Orange” which was produced at the Victory Theater in Burbank, Jonathan Caren’s “Need to Know” produced at the Rogue Machine Theatre, Jennifer Maisel’s “@the speedofjake” produced by Playwright’s Arena, Erik Patterson’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” produced at the Theater of NOTE, Ruth McKee’s “Hell Money” produced at the Chalk Repertory Theater, Doug Cooney’s Long Story Short which won a design award and was invited as an “Invitational Scene” for the Region VIII, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also, Mickey Birnbaum’s “Big Death Little Death” (developed during the 2002 Cypress New Play Festival) which opened the inaugural 2005-06 season of the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company (in Washington D. C.). Mickey’s other play, “Bleed Rail,” (developed during the 2004 Cypress New Play Festival) was performed at the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena. Other notable past collaborations were with Cody Henderson whose play, “Cold Tender” won the 2002 OC Weekly award, Annie Weisman’s “Be Aggressive” which was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2001 and Robert Glaudini’s “Poison Tree” which was produced by the Mark Taper Forum in 2001 and Michael Golamco’s play “Year Zero” which went on to premiere at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in the fall 2009.

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Performances: Thursdays 7:00 P.M. (June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, @ 7 P.M.) through July 28th. There will be a discussion with the writer following each reading. Admission is $5.00 to support the festival.

Studio Theater, Theater Building 9200 Valley View, Cypress 90630

For additional information, please contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205, mmajarian (at) cypresscollege.edu

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This season’s line-up features the following productions: 

“Karina Played Pachanga Music” by Israel Lopez Reyes, Thurs. June 30th at 7pm. (4 men, 1 woman)

The play explores the underground world of techno-rancheras, poverty, and party crews in West Dallas. Katrina must escape a manhunt and save her missing brother from a dark party crew rival.

Israel Lopez Reyes | Short Bio

Recent acting credits include Concrete Orange: An American Fable (Guthrie Theater), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (UCLA) Life on the Praça Roosevelt (UCLA) Se Llama Cristina (Kitchen Dog Theater) The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Company of Angels) and The Taming of the Shrew (Long Beach Playhouse). Israel participated in the Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training (2015) and the LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble (2012). He was recently awarded a full-scholarship with the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford University.

His written plays include: the easterlies, Sir Dezmond the Black Knight of Inglewood Castle, bautista the real-life walking lowrider freak and the rodeo inside, Debunked Theories of the Burger King Party, Pigeons on the Greenline Headed Towards Norwalk, and BROKE (a cheap play for your broke ass).

“Pachucos of Palmdale” by Danny Herman, Thurs. July 7th at 7pm. (3 women, 4 men)

Pachucos of Palmdale is the farcical story of the blending of two cultures. Gabe, a whitewashed Latino Los Angeleno, gets stuck in the city of Palmdale. Gabe hopes to get back on the road to San Francisco, a place he believes could be home, his gay Mecca…until he has a run in with a Greek chorus of dating profiles that have other plans.

Playwright
Playwright Israel Lopez Reyes

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Daniel Herman
 | Short Bio

Danny Herman is an undergraduate BA Theatre Major at the University of Southern California. Pachucos of Palmdale is his second full length play written at USC.

“The Backroom” by Rebin Zangna, Thurs. July 14st at 7pm. (1 woman, 5 men)

A Lebanese-American student with high aspirations and his straight-talking, sometimes racist, Morrocan-American boss venture to make some extra money by buying a case of stolen phones. As they try to make extra side-money, they negotiate with the regulars of the cellphone shop. The day goes on and they are solicited by the student’s ex girlfriend, whom they both can’t resist and her boyfriend, who is highly terroritorial about what he feels is his. The pair’s relationship sours as they confront each other and others over matters of money, ownership, and what it means to do business.

Playwright Daniel Herman
Playwright Daniel Herman

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Rebin Zangana | Short Bio

Rebin Zangana is plawright and screenwriter from Columbus, Ohio. He is currently an MFA student at the University of Southern California. Rebin wrote and directed his first short film, Artifact, in 2016. He is currently developing a story for a feature film, set to film in 2017. During his time at USC, Rebin has had numerous readings, including two short plays as part of Feuchtwanger Refreshed, an event celebrating German writer Lion Feuchtwanger. His, and other plays from the event, will be published as a collection by USC. As a storyteller, Rebin hopes to bring to the stage and the screen a more authentic and inclusive vision of American life.

“Staying Where You Are” by Erik Patterson, Thurs. July 21th at 7pm. (2 women, 2 men)

Is a moving and dramatic tale about a family caught in the generational cycle of poverty in the Pico/Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. How do you overcome your challenges, your demons? Where do you start, especially when all options that would preserve your dignity seem closed to you?

Rebin Zangana
Playwright Rebin Zangana

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Erik Patterson | Short Bio

Erik is a graduate of Occidental College and the British American Drama Academy. His plays have been produced by Playwrights’ Arena, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Theatre of NOTE, Evidence Room, and The Actors’ Gang, and developed through the Lark Play Development Center, Moving Arts, Black Dahlia, Naked Angels, and the Mark Taper Forum. He has had monologues published by Heinemann and Smith & Kraus. Along with writing partner Jessica Scott, he has written screenplays for Warner Premiere, ABC Family, the Disney Channel, The Hatchery, and Universal. He won a 2010 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Children’s Script (Long Form) for Another Cinderella Story. He was nominated in the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series for “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”. His play He Asked For It was nominated for a 2009 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theater. It was nominated for a 2008 Ovation Award for World Premiere Playwriting, as well as being named one of the Top 10 Plays of 2008 by Frontiers Magazine. In 2003, his play Yellow Flesh Alabaster Rose won a Backstage West Garland Award for Best Playwriting and was a finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award. In 2004, his play Red Light Green Light was nominated for an Ovation Award for World Premiere Playwriting.

“Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire” by Brian James Polak, Thurs. July 28th at 7pm. ( 6 women, 6 men)

Fast-forward Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” 115 years. “Welcome to Keene, NH” is a three-act play telling the fictional story of a real American small town through the everyday lives of its citizens.

Playwright Erik Paterson
Playwright Erik Paterson

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Brian James Polak  | Short Bio
He was born and raised in New Hampshire, that little chunk of a state shoved between Maine and Vermont and eventually moved to Los Angeles and received MFA from USC. His play HENRY AND THE HIPPOCAMPUS was a semi-finalist for O’Neil Playwrights Conference and a recipient of The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award. WAR PROFITS received the Kennedy Center’s John Cauble Award and was recently presented in The Road Theater’s Summer Playwright’s Festival. A couple of his short plays have been published in Smith & Kraus “Best Ten-Minute Plays” anthologies, and another has been published by Commonplace Books. In 2013 Brian wrote a play called TALES FROM TENT CITY about a group of runaway teenagers and he had the opportunity to workshop it with undergrad students at USC as well as at Loyola Marymount as part of their Playwrights Center Stage program.

Playwright Brian James Polak
Playwright Brian James Polak

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For additional information, please contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205, mmajarian (at) cypresscollege.edu | #CypressCollege #Theater #Arts

#CYProud: Angel Garcia

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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

 

 

 

No Lines! License Plates Replace Physical Parking Permits

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

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

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

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

Cypress Parking System

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

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

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

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

LPR Parking Sign

#CYProud: Mallory Roa (Artist Profile)

Mallory Roa. Photo Credit: David Dugoncevic

As part of our ongoing student profile series (#CYProud), we’re pleased to highlight the extraordinary work of Mallory Roa, a Cypress College Class of 2016 graduate who will continue her art and photography studies on full merit scholarship at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute, School of Photography (founded by Ansel Adams and home to legends such as Annie Leibovitz, Lewis Baltz, and our very own Cypress College alumna Carly Cram).

Mallory is a brilliant talent – an artist in all respects. Her photos are vivid and real; not just beautiful images in and of themselves, but narratively compelling. In some sort of magical way, she is able to convey a sense of history and essence through imagery… a significance of place, past and person.

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Compelling narratives; frank exposures; implied complicity. 

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Original views of geometry, texture, light and skyscapes. 

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Visual tapestries; evocative captures of color and elements. 

Scrolling her beautiful Instagram feed, it’s clear that she puts much thought and time into composition and design, the use of color and shape, and the progression of images on a page. She has a great and rare instinct for both curating and creating.

We’re proud that she’ll continue to cultivate and showcase her artistry at one of the world’s very best institutes for creative talents.

Congratulations, Mallory, and best wishes!

#CypressCollege #Photography #Art

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Mallory Roa. Photo Credit: David Dugoncevic
Talented photographer-artist, Mallory Roa. Photo Credit: David Dugoncevic (who will also attend SFAI on merit scholarship)

Mallory Roa | Artist Statement:

I am a photographer from Southern California. I have also lived in Rome, Italy for a semester. Traveling has brought awareness into my life. I work primarily in the studio and extremely manipulated and controlled environments. I find comfort in control, predictability, and symmetry. My portraits are printed in large scale to aid in creating an intimate, intense, and overwhelming experience. The broad themes in my work are identity, intimacy, and socio-etc commentary. I am also interested in the body image, gender identity, sexuality, virginity, finality of death, introversion, depression and anxiety, HSP tendencies, aphasia, and interpersonal connections. I look forward to living in a place where I am free to pose questions like “How can I be a feminist if I am rejecting my gender?”

My practice is centered on interpersonal relationships and how we view, interact, and stereotype those around us. Social justice is a major theme in my work. “The Generations” are sets of portraits of generational gaps in a family’s lineage. It comments on the physical aspects we pass along and genetics, as well as formality and honor. “Smokin’ Lesbians” is a light-hearted project with a play on words focusing on a group of people who can feel extremely objectified in public. Inspired by Richard Avedon, “Private Moment. Public Space.” is a street portrait exploration of first impressions and the image I impose on a subject. One of my older works, ”Match The Couples” was a survey and study conducted in my local art program that asked survey-takers to blindly match portraits of people into coupled pairs. Given no information, the intent was to discover how prevalent heterosexism, a system of attitudes and biases in favor of the opposite-sex sexuality and relationships, is in a small part of our society. Conducted in the art department, I expect that the results are still generous at 17.9% of participants choosing two heterosexual and two homosexual couples.

I am drawn to artists that explore the human condition. I am drawn to someone oppressed by societal standards in Catherine Opie’s “Self-Portrait,” people designated different at birth in Martin Schoeller’s “Identical,” or those governed by life choices in Rineke Dijkstra’s “Mothers” and “Bull Fighters”. Richard Avedon’s “In the American West” and Diane Arbus’ practices have given me the appreciation of people, their diversity, and rituals of portraiture. Other influences stem from artist’s genuine and pure curiosity of the seemingly mundane, such as John Divola’s “As Far As I Could Get” and Bernd and Hilla Becher’s “Water Towers”.

We plan to profile Mallory’s extraordinary portfolio (and other standout student artists, alums and faculty) with a rolling video narrative come summer. Stay tuned.
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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. And85%+ 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

 

Gravitational Waves – Cypress students involved in groundbreaking research

Cypress alum and current CSUF Physics student Eric Muniz (center) creating a simple demonstration of gravitational waves. Photograph via the OC Register, Michael Golding.
STEM(2) students with CSUF Physics Professor Dr. Geoffrey Lovelace (center).
STEM(2) students with CSUF Physics Professor Dr. Geoffrey Lovelace (center).

The impacts of stars colliding into one another in the far depths of space, collapsing into black holes billions of years back can now be detected (and Cypress students played a part in the discovery!). This is a momentous breakthrough for physics; one that confirms Albert Einstein’s abstract, 100 year old intuition that gravity is impacted – though on an exceptionally small scale – by galactic events.

Like ripples on a pond, these cosmic excitations pool into our universe and traverse the cosmos as gravitational waves, bending both space and time in their travels. The impact had on our so-called reality is imperceptible… so extraordinarily small and subtle that Einstein himself couldn’t imagine we would ever have the capacity to detect their existence.

As of this year we do. Decades of research, billions of dollars in funding, tens of thousands of scientists from around the globe have developed two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories (LIGO) located here in the U.S. (Livingston, LA and Hanford, WA), equipped with an instrument sensitive enough to measure gravitational waves.

Cypress alum and current CSUF Physics student Eric Muniz (center) creating a simple demonstration of gravitational waves. Photograph via the OC Register, Michael Golding.
Cypress alum and current CSUF Physics student Eric Muniz (center) creating a simple demonstration of gravitational waves. Photograph via Michael Golding of the OC Register for the article “CSUF physics students explain their passion for astrophysics,” March 16, 2016.

Taking part in the cutting-edge research are two Cypress College scholars: recent graduate Eric Muniz and current Physics student Sam Rodriguez (Cypress College, Class of 2016). Through our STEM^2 Program’s summer research partnership with Cal State University, Fullerton, both Eric and Sam participated in theoretical modeling at CSUF’s Institute of Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy. Eric, for example, joined a team working in optics experimentation and scattered light characterization. In follow-up, both have chosen to continue their undergraduate studies at the Institute, working alongside renowned faculty like Assistant professor of physics Geoffrey Lovelace, a Ph.D. graduate of Caltech (and former student of legendary Nobel prizewinner Richard Feynman!) who has dedicated his career to studying the extreme space-time around black holes using supercomputers.

We are pleased and proud of Eric and Sam and wish them the very best in their future scientific pursuits. For us, it’s pretty awesome that in some small way our institution – via their contributions – is tied to this tremendous scientific discovery.

Dr. Lovelace’s incredible presentation to our Cypress College STEM^2 Program this past April will be posted within the week. He makes the science of gravitational waves – their formation and detection – understandable (lots of cool space visuals ;), and thus all the more mind-bendingly amazing.  To view a gallery of photos from the event, please access the STEM(2) FB album.

Gravitational Waves – a fascinating presentation by CSUF Professor Dr. Geoffrey Lovelace 

#STEM #Physics #GravitationalWaves #Discovery #CSUF
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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. And85%+ 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

Puente in Pasadena – “Fly” – Kay & Mal Bruce – We Heart

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Some of the most meaningful gifts are not those wrapped in pretty bows and packaging, but are instead experiences to be shared together. These are impactful gifts – ones that leave us with memories and new insights.

Thanks to the selflessly spirited generosity of one extraordinary couple, Kay and Mal Bruce, our Cypress Puente students were gifted an intangible – an experiential escape out on the town, a sophisticated night of dinner and historical theater in Downtown Pasadena.

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Puente Co-Director Dr. Therese Mosqueda Ponce with husband (left); Puente Co-Director Kathryn Sonne (Center); Kay and Mal Bruce (right).

The evening began indulgently at Bucca di Beppo, with multiple entrees, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts – all on the house courtesy of Kay and Mal.

Finished, our happy, yet overly satiated familia of 50+ students and staff made way to the Pasadena Playhouse for a special viewing of the theater hit “Fly.” This was a cultural experience to remember, one that allowed our primarily Latino students to better understand and connect with the African American experience in the US at the mid-point of the twentieth century – collective minority struggles for civil rights and basic human dignities.

Puente students at "Fly" - Pasadena Playhouse, February 2016.
Puente students at “Fly” – Pasadena Playhouse, February 2016.

Fly is a beautifully rendered artistic representation of one story in this period of time, that of the Tuskegee airmen, the first African-American aviators in the United States military. The play is set in 1943, a moment in dead-heat of world war, and also a time at which the U.S. military is segregated. A small cadre of brave pioneering pilots, the Tuskegee airmen, must fight two battles – with fascists abroad and bigots at home. Using just eight actors on one small stage the three-hour performance was impactful in its telling – incorporating interpretive dance and plays on light, song and sound to detail the pilots’ struggles, sacrifices and heroism. This was a gift to our students that will keep giving, an enriching experience of new knowledge gained and a compassion for struggle and respect shared.

Following the performance, students participated in an intimate Q&A with Fly’s cast and crew – all quite young, dynamic and inspirational.

Thank you again to our generous Cypress College Puente and Foundation benefactors Kay and Mal Bruce for such an impactful, extraordinary, intangible gift (and for the many years of laptops, supplies, donations and other quite tangible ones made to our deserving programs and students!). We <3 you ; )

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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. And85%+ 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

#CypressCollege #Puente #PasadenaPlayhouse #Fly