Saddleback College Journalism Students Excel at State Convention


Saddleback College journalism students, faculty and staff proudly display their awards from the 2016 Journalism Association of Community College’s state convention. (Front: Prof. Tim Posada; L-R: Julia Cheng, Kseniya Taranyuk, Matt Kirkland, Breanna Greenup, Nick Nenad, Instructional Asst. Ali Dorri, Prof. MaryAnne Shults, Mia Agraviador, Austin Weatherman)

Saddleback College journalism students representing Lariat news publication, Orange Appeal magazine and OCNewsNow video journalism took home seven awards at the 2016 Journalism Association of Community College’s 2016 state convention held March 17-20 in Burbank, California. Awards are based on from student-generated material selected by editors as well as on-the-spot contests in reporting across various media.
“Everyone was amazing,” Lariat Editor-in-Chief Kseniya Taranyuk said. “The Lariat winning the General Excellence award and multiple people winning on-the-spot competitions was so exciting.”
Students received the following awards:
• General Excellence / Lariat Staff
• On-the-spot contests:
    o Nick Nenad, First Place, Sports Writing
    o Breanna Greenup, Honorable Mention, Critical Review
    o Austin Weatherman/ Nick Nenad /Mia Agraviado, Honorable Mention, Video Story
• Write-in contests:
    o Emilie Christensen, Second place, Critical Review
    o Austin Weatherman / Hannah Cameron / Nick Nenad / Amarah Hernandez / Niko              LaBarbera / Jared Smith, Second Place, Video Story
    o Nick Nenad, Fourth Place, Webcast/Broadcast News
“I’m so proud of the students’ performance at the JACC convention,” said Tim Posada, journalism department chair and co-adviser to the student publications Lariat and Orange Appeal. “I’m particularly thrilled for Nick Nenad’s first place award in sports writing during his last semester on the Lariat staff and winning an award for general excellence, which speaks to the quality of the newspaper produced by the entire staff.
The annual conference brought nearly 400 journalism students, publication advisors and journalism staff together at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport. The event invites professionals to speak with students about real-life experiences in a varied assortment of workshops as well as keynote speakers.
This year a panel of four journalists shared their experience of covering the mass shooting in early December at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California when 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured in a terrorist attack.
On-the-spot contests offer students real world experience in reporting and JACC’s awards help set the standard of excellence for the community college experience.

Three Social Entrepreneurs Win “Shark Tank” Style Competition at Saddleback College

Dr. Burnett Moderating

Social entrepreneurs representing 11 start-up companies pitched their business plans that seek to address complex social problems at the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19th at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre. A panel of esteemed judges selected the first, second, and third place contestants, who will present their businesses at an investor-only symposium in Los Angeles on May 6th to win funding, customers, and business partners.

The event, which was organized by Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, was the second Orange County Social Entrepreneurship Competition, first hosted by Saddleback College in 2014, which awarded $17,500 in cash prizes to the first, second, and third place competitors, and offered coaching services to help all 11 finalists make their final pitches to social investors.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College and moderator of the event, stated, “The showdown was a culmination of over eight months’ effort to identify and support social entrepreneurs who are addressing social, environmental, and educational challenges around the world. Thank you to all of our finalists for their amazing leadership, diligence, professionalism, and devotion to making our world a better place.”

The panel of judges selected the first, second, and third place presentations:

First Place:
Takachar (Cambridge, MA)
Pioneered process for decentralized processing of agricultural waste into solid fuel.

Second Place:
codeSpark (Pasadena, CA)
codeSpark’s mission is to ignite curiosity about computer science and turn programming into play.

Third Place:
Desolenator (London, UK)
Desolinator produces an affordable, eco-friendly household water purification/desalination device.

The eight additional finalists included:

Colibri (Matagalpa, Nicaragua)
Colibri sells pay-as-you-go solar solutions to low-income, off-grid households.

COMPRA (Los Angeles, CA)
COMPRA is a foods-purchasing cooperative that serves as an alternative food distribution system in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Copilots in Care (Menlo Park, CA)
Copilots facilitates reflection and communication of patients’ medical wishes to their family members and physicians.

East Africa Fruits (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)
Using a franchising model to sell fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing losses suffered by farmers selling to meddlemen.

Music Lifeboat (Los Angeles, CA)
A music education program that began with a free music education app, BandBlast.

Microfarms (San Diego, CA)
A San Diego based, veteran-owned and operated farm that grows organic produce hydroponically in a solar-powered “FarmBox.”

MUrgency (San Franciso, CA)
A mobile app which connects people who need emergency response with their trusted network. Provides support that is currently unavailable in most developing countries.

Thrive LA (Encino, CA)
Ultra-affordable, off-grid tiny houses and jobs within the community. The first community will focus on returning veterans and homeless veterans. Winner of the Audience Favorite Award.

The panel of judges included:

Iosefa Alofaituli, Regional Director, Opportunity Fund
Douglas K. Freeman, Founder, National Philanthropy Day
Michael Hamilton, Chair, President, Saddleback College Foundation
Andy Horowitz, Entrepeneur and Advisory Board Chair, Chapman University Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Elsa Monte, Senior Vice President of Community Reinvestment and Community Development, Pacific Western Bank
Kyle Scrimgeour, Principal and Managing Member, Core Capital Management, LLC
Donald J. Voska, Chief Financial Officer, Goodwill of Orange County

Lead sponsors of the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge were Saddleback College, the California Community Foundation, and the Annenberg Foundation. Additional sponsors were Pacific Western Bank, Goodwill of Orange County, and the Southern California Slow Money Network.

For more information about social entrepreneurship, visit

Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge 2016


Saddleback College will be hosting the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19 in the McKinney Theatre. Watch 14 entrepreneurs, who are blending social purpose and profit, present their ventures to a panel of potential investors.

Session 1 will be held from 9:30 am to noon and session 2 will be held from 1 to 4 pm. Session 2 will include the awards ceremony. General admission tickets are $10, general admission with lunch tickets are $15. Students can attend for free by using promo code SESTUDENT. Free parking will be provided. For more information and tickets, please visit

Saddleback College Foundation to Host 16th Annual Gala – Alumna of the Year Will be Honored

Saddleback College invites all community members to its 16th annual foundation gala on Saturday, March 12th at 6:00 pm at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The gala, which raises funds for student scholarships and college programs, will feature a live and silent auction, dinner, gaming, and magic by Jim Eggold. Live music will be provided by the Saddleback Jazz Band and Commercial Music Ensemble.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, will honor the 2016 Saddleback College Alumna of the Year, Michelle Desilets, who has been recognized around the globe for her work in the protection of endangered orangutans and their habitat. Michelle, who is the founder and executive director of Orangutan Land Trust, developed an interest in anthropology when she attended Saddleback College in the mid-eighties. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English literature from Dominican University in San Rafael, and a teaching certificate from California State University, Long Beach.

During her years of teaching school she traveled extensively, and it was in Borneo in 1994 where she met her first orangutan, who stole her heart and changed her life. In 1997 Michelle and a fellow volunteer opened a rescue center in Central Borneo that is now the world’s largest primate rescue facility, and she later founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK and Orangutan Land Trust, which works to provide sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orangutan in the wild by ensuring safe areas of forest for its continued survival.

In addition to her charity work, Michelle has served as a consultant to international film crews from BBC, PBS, and Animal Planet, for the series Orangutan Island and Orangutan Diary. She is currently advising on a new film project for ITV (UK) and PBS. Her efforts have been recognized by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prince Charles, and her organization was honored by the BBC Wildlife Trust as one of the top ten UK charities working to save wildlife globally.

Top gala sponsors include:
Presidential Sponsors — Dr. Tod A. Burnett, Janet and Michael Hamilton, Follett Bookstore
Cardinal and Gold Sponsors — C. W. Driver, Hudson Pacific Properties, City of Dana Point, Neudesic, LLC, Capata & Co.
Gaucho Sponsors — AT&T, Audi Mission Viejo, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo, FLS International, Irvine Valley College, Liebert, Cassidy and Whitmore, Prendiville Insurance Agency, Rancho Mission Viejo and John Williams.

During the cocktail hour, Rancho Capistrano Winery will host a wine tasting, and Spa Girls Cocktails will host martinis for the guests.

To make a donation to the gala or to support scholarships, please visit the Saddleback College Foundation website at

The Saddleback College Foundation initiates and coordinates college and community fundraising in support of Saddleback College and its students. By raising funds for scholarships and other programs, which directly benefit students, the foundation is committed to increasing student success and the enhancing the excellent education offered by Saddleback College. Guided by a group of dedicated community leaders, the foundation strives to make higher education attainable for all in south Orange County. For more information, please visit