Grants Awarded to Saddleback College Will Enhance STEM and Behavioral Health Programs, and Student Civic Engagement

Mission Viejo, CA – Saddleback College was recently named a recipient of two federal grants: One that will enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and one that will promote behavioral health programming, and was also awarded a state grant to promote civic engagement among community college students.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College stated, “I am extremely proud that we were selected to receive these grants, which are a testament to our stellar STEM programs, outstanding behavioral health pipeline, and inspiring students who are motivating others to exercise their right to vote.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued its first-ever awards for the NSF INCLUDES program, a comprehensive initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering by improving access and broadening participation of underserved populations in the STEM fields. The $299,981 grant will expand Saddleback’s existing STEM Core Initiative – which provides intensive support to remedial math students and partners with employers to provide project-based internships – to 13 additional California community colleges and a community college district in the state of Maryland, directly serving more than 500 students.

Dr. Jim Zoval, professor of chemistry at Saddleback College, said, “This grant will allow Saddleback and other California community colleges to provide several excellent opportunities to student participants, including the facilitation of a very special social learning environment. I have seen this type of program make a big difference in the lives of Saddleback students in a previous grant program that focuses on engineering majors. This new grant will allow us to expand participant eligibly beyond engineering majors to also include students in science, math, and technology fields of study.

Saddleback College also received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program to enhance and expand the college’s behavioral health paraprofessional pipeline, which includes career pathways for students pursuing degrees and certificates in alcohol and drug studies, community-based corrections, human services generalist, and mental health worker. The $211,271 grant will be allocated to 90 students to cover the costs of tuition, fees, and supplies, resulting in substantial assistance to students in these fields.

Human services department chair and professor Kim Branch-Stewart, LCSW said , “Saddleback College’s human services department is honored to be selected as one of 34 new recipients nationwide of the BHWET grant, which will focus on training behavioral health workers in intervention, assessment, and treatment with children, at-risk youth, transitional age youth, and their families. The grant will permit the human services programs to expand and reach out to underserved and non-traditional student populations, including students with ‘lived’ mental health experience, to provide educational and career opportunities that might otherwise not be accessible to this student population.

Lastly, the Saddleback College Associated Student Government (ASG) was among 25 campuses in California selected to receive a grant from the California Community Colleges Civic Impact Project to increase civic participation among community college students. The $10,000 grant will allow ASG to deploy their campus action plan to inform and engage students on campus in the democratic process and increase student participation in the upcoming November election.

Lucy Hendrix, ASG president shared, “Saddleback College recently participated in a national study that showed us our aggregate student voting data. While the figures were similar to other colleges in the areas, they were nothing to be excited about. This semester, Saddleback’s ASG has focused on various ways to engage student voting through both registration and education. By receiving the Civic Impact Project grant, we will be able to fully fund all of our planned projects, as well as support new ideas.”

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides dynamic, innovative, and student-centered postsecondary education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 665,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 renowned degree, certificate, transfer, and lifelong learning programs to help students succeed in reaching their personal and career goals. For more information, please visit

Saddleback College Automotive Technology Program to Partner with Audi of America

The Automotive Technology Program at Saddleback College has entered into a partnership agreement with Audi of America to become part of the Audi Education Partnership (AEP). The AEP will assist the college in the training of technicians who will be able to diagnose and repair some the most advanced luxury vehicles on the market.

As part of the partnership, Audi of America is providing Saddleback College access to the resources, tools and equipment to train students including Audi vehicles for hands-on training. Once a student nears completion of the Audi service program, the college will provide a list of top graduating candidates to Audi for potential employment at various Audi dealerships nationwide.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, shared, “I am thrilled that the Automotive Technology program was able to provide this opportunity to our students. It is partnerships like these that will ensure our students are the best and brightest in the automotive technology field.”

Clifford Meyer, automotive technology department chair added, “This affords our students the opportunity to work on a major European automotive brand.”

“Audi of America has established the Audi Education Partnership to help meet the growing and predicted future demand for dealership technicians,” said Dan McGowan, technical curriculum design & recruitment specialist for Audi. “The purpose of the program is to attract skilled technicians to Audi dealerships across the country. The goal of the program is to increase awareness of the Audi brand among students in the automotive program at each participating school.”

The Saddleback College Automotive Technology program is designed to prepare students for employment as automotive technicians. Students also have the option to complete their Associate in Science degree requirements and prepare to transfer to a four-year college. The following five certificate options are available: automotive chassis specialist, automotive engine service specialist, automotive engine performance specialist, alternative fuel vehicle specialist and general automotive technician.


Orange County Board of Supervisors Recognizes Saddleback College’s VETS Center

VETS Center Staff Receiving Award from Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett

VETS Center Staff Receiving Award from Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett

The Orange County Board of Supervisors recognized the Saddleback College Veterans Education and Transitions Services (VETS) Center on Tuesday, September 13th for the department’s excellence in innovation in veteran services and for the positive impact it has on the lives of veterans. The recognition marks another accolade for the VETS Center, having just been named the recipient of the prestigious Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award, one of the highest honors in the California Community College System.

Last week, the VETS Center partnered with Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett to host the college’s 8th annual Veterans Resource Fair, which featured Assemblyman Bill Brough and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who spoke on civic leadership after military service. The event was also sponsored by Strength in Support, an organization that provides mental health services to military personnel, veterans and their families, individual and family therapy, and mentorship and education to address all areas of our heroes’ well-being. Additionally, over 70 exhibitors were in attendance.

Chairwoman Bartlett stated, “The Board of Supervisors recognizes the outstanding contributions the VETS Program has made in enhancing the lives of both our local veterans and their families. We further extend sincere best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors. It has been a pleasure partnering with the college and the VETS Program in serving our brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.”

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “The county’s recognition of our VETS Center is an honor. With the help of our terrific faculty and staff in our VETS Center, we will continue to provide important support for student veterans, active military and dependents on our campus and in the county.”

Established in 2009, the Saddleback College VETS Center was the first fully functional veterans resource center in Orange County and the third in the state. Serving over 1,300 student veterans, active duty military, and dependents each year, the program seeks to bridge the cultural divide between civilians and our military through inclusion; full integration of student veterans in campus life; and by providing training to faculty, staff, and management. With dozens of non-profits and government agencies as partners, the VETS Center also offers counseling and support at the School of Infantry Joint Education Center at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The thriving Student Veterans Council and Women Veterans Networking Group add to the resources for support on campus.

With the help of funding from a student equity grant awarded by the California Community College State Chancellors Office, the VETS Center will be able to expand its office to accommodate more students. Rose Adon, a U.S. Navy veteran and criminology major, noted that increasing the dedicated space for student veterans would have a positive impact on the experience of female veterans specifically. She said, “The VETS program is life changing. The staff genuinely care about your well-being and your success in and out of college. You can’t ask for a better team to help you succeed in your new life out of the service.”

For more information on the Saddleback College VETS program visit


Saddleback College Named a “Great College to Work For”


Saddleback College is a great college to work for, according to the results of a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities.

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s ninth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of 281 colleges and universities across the nation, with 93 of the institutions achieving the “Great College to Work For” recognition. The survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country and recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

Of the 281 institutions that participated in this year’s survey, 189 are four-year institutions and 92 are two-year institutions, with 68 four-year institutions and 25 two-year institutions earning the “Great College to Work For” recognition. Saddleback College was recognized in the Collaborative Governance and Compensation and Benefits categories.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “I am honored and thrilled that Saddleback has received the ‘Great College to Work For’ recognition, which is a testament to our high-caliber faculty, staff, and management, and the collaborative way in which we all work together to sustain a culture of excellence. Saddleback is indeed a great college to work for.”

Academic Senate President Kim D’Arcy stated, “Through the Academic Senate, the faculty voice at Saddleback College is strong and dedicated to our students’ success and our college mission. There is a common goal and sense of purpose between the staff, faculty, and management.”

Craig Connor, acting president of the Classified Senate, stated, “I’m immensely proud of our college to be receiving this award. Saddleback College is not just a place to work, but a close- knit community that shares in the passion of the success and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.”

The survey included a two-part assessment process: a survey administered to employees and an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies and practices from each institution. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, click here.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 250 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. Each year, Saddleback College adds more than 5,000 degree and certificate holders to the workforce, and transfers over 3,500 students to four-year colleges and universities throughout the nation. For more information, please visit

Commencement Ceremony Appreciation

On Tuesday, May 24th we celebrated the accomplishments of our students at Saddleback College’s annual commencement ceremony.  It was another smashing success with over 2,000 attendees and a program featuring terrific speeches from student Pontus Goeeransson, Goodwill CEO Frank Talarico, and Rabbi Heidi Cohen, congratulatory remarks from Board of Trustees President Tim Jemal and Chancellor Gary Poertner, a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by student Taylor Strickle, and introductions and presentations by Trustees Dave Lang, Marcia Milchiker, Terri Whitt, T.J. Prendergast, Jim Wright, and Bobbie Jay, Academic Senate President Blake Stephens, and ASG President William Vassetizadeh.  And of course the highlight of the day was seeing our glowing students and their proud friends and families.  The following link provides a video of the ceremony:

Added to the richness of the ceremony was the participation of our faculty, staff, and management.  While commencement celebrates the accomplishments of our students, it also celebrates the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and management.  As stated in my commencement remarks:

“Today we are gathered to celebrate the achievements of our graduates who recognized the importance of higher education and wisely chose to come to Saddleback College to succeed.  And succeed you have.  On behalf of our faculty, staff, and administrators, thank you for choosing Saddleback College on your journey, a journey that will now take you as far as you want to go toward your educational, professional, and personal goals and aspirations.  

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank all of our faculty who set the high academic standards that challenge and inspire our students and prepare them for the future.  These high academic standards are represented throughout the college in many ways, such as: 

  • Our impressive transfer numbers.  This year, over 3,500 of our students are transferring to four-year colleges and universities.  Over the past five years we’ve had a 19 percent increase in total transfers, including a 7 percent increase in transfers to the UC system, and a 43 percent increase to out of state and private colleges;
  • Our impressive honors program: Saddleback honors students have an 85 percent acceptance rate to UCLA, an 88 percent acceptance rate to UC Irvine, and a 100 percent transfer acceptance rate overall;
  • Our 100 career technical education programs that give our students a leading edge in the job market;
  • Our stellar nursing program that was recently placed first in the entire nation in license exam rates;
  • Our outstanding paramedic program, the official provider of paramedic education for south Orange County;
  • Our successful Cinema-Television-Radio program that sends students to Hollywood every year; 
  • Our nationally recognized WALL Literary Journal that won First Place by the American Scholastic Press Association;
  • Our Pathway to Law School program that is one of only 24 of the state’s 113 colleges which provides our students a direct pathway to six of California’s prestigious law schools including USC, UC Irvine, and UC Davis;      
  • Our many state and national athletic team championships, including our football and men’s basketball teams that each finished second in this year’s  state championships;
  • Our incredible student athletes, who continue to impress academically.  This year, 57 percent of our student athletes are transferring to four-year colleges and universities and are being awarded over $1.75 million in scholarships.   Moreover, 42 percent of our student-athletes were named to the athletic honor roll, and 11 percent of those have a perfect 4.0 grade point average;
  • Our nationally-recognized speech and debate team that recently placed fourth overall in the nation, and routinely competes and triumphs against teams from many of our nation’s finest four-year colleges and universities;
  • Our strong science programs, including Bridge to Engineering, which places students on an academic pathway to become engineers.  This year, three of our Bridge to Engineering students were accepted to NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and one was accepted to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;
  • Our Veterans Education and Transition Services program that provides resources and support to our student veterans, and which has become a model program for other colleges throughout the nation; and 
  • Our renowned dance, music, and theatre performances which have put Saddleback on the map as the arts and cultural center in south Orange County. 

It is for these achievements and many, many more examples that Saddleback College is recognized as a leading institution of higher education throughout California and the nation.  We owe most of this success to our outstanding faculty, as well as to our staff and administrators.  I want to personally thank our faculty, staff, and administrators for their tremendous dedication to students, and for their outstanding support and collaboration.”

Our faculty, staff, and management have helped these students succeed and set them on paths to achieve their goals and aspirations.  You have positively changed the lives of thousands, and we were honored and thrilled to have all of you there so that we could celebrate, recognize, and thank you.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank the faculty, staff, and management who worked hard on making the commencement ceremony a success.  Commencement Committee:  Erlynne Ballo, Erin Long, Emily Maynard, Tim Swiss, Madeline Hernandez, Abigail Freeman, Brooke Sauter, Rania Mesri, Leslie Humphrey, Jessica Cha, Michael Betzler, Steven Weibel, Mark Kruhmin, Jennie McCue, Marlene Sais, Sylvia Barley, Joyce Semanik, and Lurdes Casillas.  Volunteers:  Juan Avalos, Linda Hall, Emily Cramer, Gabrielle Landingham, Darline Arroyo, Patricia Nutting, Patrick Webster, Leanne Bean, Christine Swanson, Ruth Higgins, Thomas MacKenzie, Sandra Camarena, Vivian Nguyen, Sandra Cubillos Bezanilla, Vannie Pham, Brad McReynolds, Jeneffer Ramirez, Estella Castillo-Garrison, Doug Barr, James Rondeau, Sophie Miller-Gilliland, and Ryan Brook.  In addition, thanks to Jeanne Harris-Caldwell and her health center team, John Ozurovich and his maintenance and operations team, Tony Lipold and his kinesiology and athletics team, and Pat Higa and his campus safety team.  We also want to give a special shout out to Tim Swiss, because none of this could have been possible without his contribution overseeing the bulk of the set up and tear down of the event.  We also want to thank Mark Kruhmin for producing the video of the ceremony.

Congratulations to all students, faculty, and staff for another banner academic year at Saddleback College.


Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.

Employee and Student Recognition Ceremony

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Management, and Community Guests:

Yesterday we held Saddleback College’s inaugural student and employee recognition ceremony in McKinney Theatre. Over 200 people were on hand to recognize over 80 students, faculty, staff, management, and community members who received various awards and other distinctions this past academic year. Below is a list of all of the recipients who were recognized, and the entire ceremony can be viewed by clicking on this link:

2015 President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation

Classified Staff:
1. Howard Dwight – Senior Fiscal/Veterans Specialist
2. Nina Welch – Fine Art Public Information Officer
3. Kevin Dalla Betta – Accounting Officer
4. Shouka Torabi – Research and Planning Analyst
5. Mark Kruhmin – Media Production Specialist
6. Rania Mesri – Program Outreach Specialist
7. Mary Anstadt – CTE Grants Coordinator/CTE Transitions Project Director
8. Katlin Choi – Program Coordinator MSE
9. Jim Fagan – Athletic Equipment Specialist
10. Renee Barenbaum – Custodian
11. Michelle Weidenkopf – Sr. Administrative Assistant
12. Sherri Dadsetan – Administrative Assistant
13. Stephanie Reyna – New Media and Marketing Specialist
14. Albert Lao – Network Systems Technician
15. Raj Dhillon – Sr. Lab Tech Automotive
16. Ileana Grecu – Custodian
17. Emerson Abbott – Lead Groundskeeper
18. Matt Brodet – Media Production Specialist
19. Darline Arroyo – Disabled Students Program Specialist
20. Trish Fain – Executive Assistant Office of Instruction

1. Safiah Mamoon – Health Information Technology
2. Kim Stankovich – Speech
3. Sean Osborn – Human Services
4. Blake Stephens – Architecture/Drafting
5. Barbara Tamialis – Child Development and Educational Studies
6. Emily Quinlan – Business Law
7. Rebecca Knapp – Business
8. Jennifer Forouzesh and Patricia McGinley – Nursing
9. Ken Lee, Lisa Inlow and Kathleen Lunetto – Horticulture, Culinary Arts, Family and Consumer Science
10. Karyn Bower – Journalism

1. Estella Castillo-Garrison – Dean of Community Education, Emeritus Institute and K-12 Partnerships
2. Christina Hinkle – Director of Learning Assistance

New Tenured Faculty
1. Jack Beckham English Composition
2. Donald Bowman Accounting Instructor
3. Todd Brei Physics
4. Deidre Cavazzi Dance
5. Sarah Chang Counselor
6. Kathryn Damm Psychology
7. Stevie Daniels English as a Second Language
8. David Dixon Physics
9. Michelle Duffy Reading
10. Michael Engels Counselor
11. Monica Friedrich Biology
12. Esther Gravis Nursing
13. Georgios Kouritas Music (Instrumental)
14. Kenneth Lee Horticulture
15. William McGuire Theatre Arts
16. Bouchra Nadeau International Languages (French)
17. Orlantha Nin Transfer Center Coordinator/Counselor
18. Shellie Ochi English Composition
19. James Quigley Mathematics
20. Rick Reese Art (Printmaking/Drawing)
21. Kiarash Shafe Mathematics
22. Jeff Vogel Reading
23. Lydia Welhan
24. Ariel Alexander Librarian
National Athletic Awards
Mark McElroy – American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) National Coach of the Year
Brad McReynolds – 2016 National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Athletic Trainer of the Year for community colleges and small colleges

Classified Employee of the Year
Michelle MacDougall Jackson – Theatre Production and Operations Manager

Outgoing Academic Senate President
Blake Stephens

Outgoing ASG Officers
William Vassetizadeh, President
Pontus Goransson, Vice President
Apryl Boyd, Director of Honors, Transfer and Career Technical Education
Gregory Zaborski, Director of Veterans Affairs and Resources

Outgoing Student Trustee
Lemar Momand

Outgoing Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors President
Michael S. Hamilton

Professor of the Year
Steve Teh – Biology

Associate Professor of the Year
Jeff Oderlin – English

Emeritus Institute Professor of the Year
Lisa Messenger – Health

DSPS Faculty of the Year
Ken Lee – Horticulture

2017 Orange County Teacher of the Year
Claire Cesareo – Anthropology

Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC) Award for Educational Leadership
Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo – Spanish

Collaboration Champion Award
Mary Anstadt – CTE Grants Coordinator/CTE Transitions Project Director

American Scholastic Press Association 2015 Magazines – First Place
WALL Literary Journal – Editor-in-chief Matthew Durham and the following students: Meishel DeSouto, Jessica Wei, Stephanie Pagani, Jilly Pretzel, Ashleey Dean, Julia Cheng, Pamela Concar, Fran Masket, Sanbud Tehrani, Bradford Amos, Harun Shah, Kathryn Pohle, and Fatemeh Ayoughi. Faculty Advisor – Professor Gina Victoria Shaffer

1. Dr. Anthony Maciel – Director of Technology Services and Broadcast Systems
2. Dr. Roxanne Metz – Grants and Contracts Manager
3. Dr. Jeanne Harris-Caldwell – Director, Student Health Center
4. Dr. April Cubbage – Sociology Instructor
5. Dr. Linda Call – Nursing Instructor
6. Dr. Barbara Huggins – Nursing Instructor
7. Dr. Orlantha Nin – Transfer Center Coordinator
8. Dr. Michael Hoggatt – DSPS Counselor

Many people contributed to making this event successful, and we want to give special thanks to: Ryan Brook, Jacqui Franks, Tim Swiss, Matt Brodet, Kevin Mowry, Mark Kruhmin, Michelle MacDougall Jackson, Stacy DeMore, Jennie McCue, and Sophie Miller. We also want to thank Professor Lisa Inlow and the culinary arts program for superb appetizers and refreshments, and student pianist Melissa Murphy for her wonderful music.

Once again, congratulations to all of the 2015/2016 award recipients and thanks to all of our students, colleagues, family, and friends who joined us for this new annual tradition.


Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.

Saddleback College Recognizes 2016 Professors of the Year

Saddleback College named Professor Steve Teh, a full-time biology instructor, Jeffrey Oderlin, an associate professor of liberal arts, and Lisa Messenger, an associate professor of health and wellness in the Emeritus Institute, as the 2016 Professors of the Year. The instructors were nominated by their students and will be recognized at the college’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 24th.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Professors Teh, Oderlin, and Messenger are truly dedicated educators who have very positively influenced many lives. Congratulations to these remarkable instructors for the work they do every day for our students.”

The Professor of the Year is Steve Teh, who has been teaching at Saddleback College since 1999. Steve is beloved by his students for his evident passion for teaching biology, and fostering a family environment in his classroom that cements lasting friendships between students. His students love that he always incorporates fun into learning, inspiring many to major in Biology. It is his compassion, love for the subject, and encouragement that make his students say he epitomized what a professor should be.

The Associate Professor of the Year is Jeffrey Oderlin, who has been teaching English at Saddleback College since 2011. Jeffrey is well-known for genuinely caring about his students and their success, encouraging them to think critically and view all aspects when analyzing an issue. His students praise him for his engaging teaching style and compassion for his subject.

The Emeritus Institute’s Professor of the Year is health and wellness professor Lisa Messenger. Her students describe her as a rare gem who teaches with contagious enthusiasm. Students also shared that her teaching style contributed to their mental and physical health, vitality, and engagement to the world around them. Among her students, Lisa is considered one of the best teachers they’ve had throughout their academic lives.

Saddleback College’s Class of 2016 to be Recognized in Commencement Ceremony

Saddleback College will recognize its 1,833 graduates and 1,849 certificate of achievement recipients at its annual commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 24th at 9:00 a.m. in the gymnasium. The event will include the traditional processional and reading of the graduate’s names, and will feature Frank Talarico Jr., President and Chief Executive Office, Goodwill of Orange County, who will serve as commencement speaker. The 2016 student speaker is Pontus Goeransson.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Commencement is a special time at Saddleback College where we celebrate student completion and the accomplishments of our graduates. I am very proud of our students and the faculty, staff, and administrators who played an integral role in helping them reach their goals. Congratulations to the Class of 2016.”

During the ceremony, special recognition will be given to Professor of the Year Steve Teh, Associate Professor of the Year Jeff Oderlin, and Emeritus Institute Professor of the Year Lisa Messenger.

Students participating in commencement are candidates for Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees and certificates of achievement. More than 1,500 students will also be transferring to four-year colleges and universities to pursue their baccalaureate degrees. This year’s graduates will be transferring to four-year institutions such as USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach and San Diego State University, among many others.

South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees President Tim Jemal will lead the conferral of degrees along with Trustees Dr. Barbara J. Jay, David B. Lang, Marcia Milchiker, T.J. Prendergast, III, Dr. James R. Wright, Dr. Terri Whitt, and Chancellor Gary Poertner.

Of the students who are graduating from Saddleback College this year, 476 are receiving honors, including 29 summa cum laude (4.0 grade point average), 169 magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.99 grade point average) and 278 cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 grade point average). Showing the diverse range of ages at the college, the youngest graduate is 18 years of age, and the most senior graduate is 70 years of age. More than 543 graduates are age 20 or younger, and 67 graduates are over the age of 55.

Those not able to attend the ceremony will be able to watch the live stream provided by Saddleback College TV Channel 39 at


Saddleback College to Recognize 53 Nursing Graduates at Pinning Ceremony


The Saddleback College Nursing Program will honor 53 graduating nursing students in a symbolic candle lighting and pinning ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 pm in the McKinney Theatre. Each graduate will receive a time-honored pin, a symbol of a nurse’s service to others, and their induction into the nursing profession.

Nursing Program Director Diane Pestolesi, will welcome the graduating students, their family members and friends, dignitaries from the South Orange County Community College Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s office, college administrators, faculty members, and staff. A “Remember When” speech will be delivered by graduating students Dillon Scherr and Ramer Syquia. Professor Christina Bowles will then present the spring 2016 graduating class.

Each graduate will receive a symbolic pin from Professors Esther Gravis and Carrie Danko. The class pledge will be read by graduate Lacey Trytten. Graduating student Jenifer Chacon will give the farewell address to her fellow classmates. Graduate Tanya Villegas will read a message while Dr. Pat McGinley and Professor Phillis Kucharski take part in the lighting of the candles, symbolizing the “passing of the flame” from Florence Nightingale to each nurse.

Acknowledgements of a class gift will be presented by graduating student Christine Thompson, on behalf of the class of spring 2016. Professor Jodi Caggiano will formally bid farewell to the class.

The Graduating Class of Spring 2016 includes:

(All listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Cayla Alexander             Dove Canyon
  2. Brittany Anzlovar             Dana Point
  3. Kellie Atkins                     Mission Viejo
  4. Alison Baker                    Irvine
  5. Lauren Bendon                Irvine
  6. Elizabeth Hope Bright     Trabuco Canyon
  7. Julie Calkins                    Irvine
  8. Lauren Carlos                  Irvine
  9. Jennifer Chacon              Laguna Hills
  10. Nicole Christ                    Silverado
  11. Bailey Christopher           Rancho Santa Margarita
  12. Kayleigh Dawe                Laguna Beach
  13. Alejandra Doughty-Vilchez La Mirada
  14. Ashley Finiguerra             Dana Point
  15. Hannah Huebscher          Rancho Santa Margarita
  16. Marin Jensen                    Irvine
  17. Sarah Jun                         Mission Viejo
  18. Alexander Kathy               Aliso Viejo
  19. Angelica Keene                Orange
  20. Julianna Kimbrell             Costa Mesa
  21. Katie Knowles                  Costa Mesa
  22. Lauren Kornbluth             Costa Mesa
  23. Rachel Lang                    Capo Beach
  24. Joslyn Lapira                    Chula Vista
  25. Alexis Loos                       Dana Point
  26. Margarita Lopez                San Juan Capistrano
  27. Bao Ly                              Garden Grove
  28. Jesus Martinez                 Lake Forest
  29. April Mendoza                  Garden Grove
  30. Monica Mendoza             Orange
  31. Genevieve Miranda          San Clemente
  32. Chloe Nguyen                   Irvine
  33. Jessica Ochoa                 Mission Viejo
  34. Maria Ojeda-Guzman       Tustin
  35. Malorie Ortiz                     Newport Beach
  36. Stephanie Patton               Laguna Nigel
  37. Shannon Pink                   Costa Mesa
  38. Kimberly Pruitt                  Mission Viejo
  39. Heidi Rice                        San Clemente
  40. Taylor Saddington            Aliso Viejo
  41. Dillon Scherr                    Laguna Hills
  42. Matt Simms                      Foothill Ranch
  43. Julie Soria                        Costa Mesa
  44. Jordana Spangler             San Clemente
  45. Ramer Syquia                  Fullerton
  46. Christine Thompson         Laguna Hills
  47. Nicole Tomasso                San Clemente
  48. Lacey Trytten                    Rancho Santa Margarita
  49. Tanya Villegas                   Irvine
  50. Breanna Walker                 Aliso Viejo
  51. Rebekah Wells                  San Clemente
  52. Tiffany White                     Tustin
  53. Edith Zepeda                     Anaheim


Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. For more information, please visit