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This is the blog for Saddleback College President, Dr. Tod A. Burnett

Saddleback College Receives $2 Million State Innovation Award to Assist Veterans in Degree Completion


The California Department of Finance awarded Saddleback College $2 million under the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education program for the college’s Pathway to Completion – Veteran Articulation Track (V-CAT) initiative. The state awards recognize innovations in California’s colleges that help reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees and credentials and/or make college more affordable.

Currently, student veterans can only receive a few elective credits that contribute towards a degree, regardless of their technical and advanced training completed while on active duty. This extends the time it takes to complete a degree much longer than the 36 months of education benefits included in the federal GI Bill. The goal of the college’s multi-year V-CAT initiative is to reduce the time to completion for student veterans towards degrees and certificates based on their demonstration of knowledge and competencies, including skills acquired through military training, and appropriate prior experiences.

The V-CAT initiative will integrate the college’s award-winning Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program with an interactive “military to college completion” toolkit. The online toolkit will incorporate career and transfer planning as well as other resources to assist student veterans and active duty service members. V-CAT will develop an “online credit translator” linked with the college’s academic planning tool to help veterans determine what military training is eligible to earn credits towards their degree pathway.

Tod A. Burnett, Saddleback College president stated, “This is an incredible opportunity for Saddleback College and our student veterans to apply their prior military training towards a degree or certificate. These funds are a game changer for the landscape of higher education for veterans in our state.”

Kim D’Arcy, president of the Saddleback College Academic Senate, said, “Investigating ways in which we can support our student veterans and assist in completing their educational goals is not only the right thing to do, but what is in the best interest of our college and district. We look forward to this opportunity and are excited for the future.”

The V-CAT initiative will open opportunities for faculty at Saddleback College and the California State University (CSU) system to review and consider military training and curriculum. The college will partner with CSU Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, and the CSU Office of the Chancellor to implement best practices recognized by the California Community College Academic Senate and the American Council on Education (ACE). The college will be responsible for creating the model with the CSU system and later train other colleges and universities in the methods used, tools available, and credit articulated with the intent of applying earned military training for degree credit throughout the state.

Terence Nelson, the faculty VETS program coordinator and veterans counselor, explains, “Many of our student veterans come to us having amassed such a depth of knowledge and skills that it is difficult to tell them that our public institutions in California articulate very little to no actual credits towards their degree path. We aim to first investigate ACE guidelines and curricular standards in specific military training and experiences, then consider articulation agreements, and ultimately award appropriate levels of credit statewide in accordance with state law.”


Saddleback College Foundation 17th Annual Gala Honors Dr. Tod A. Burnett and Raises Record-Breaking Dollars


Dr. Tod A. Burnett accepting the inaugural Summit Award from Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors president Anthony Ferry.

It was a record-breaking night for the Saddleback College Foundation, as they raised nearly $300,000 at the 17th annual gala held this past Saturday, April 1st at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Over 450 guests helped the foundation raise record-breaking dollars through sponsorships, ticket sales, silent auction, live auction, and “raise the paddle” scholarship appeal.

Anthony Ferry, president of the Foundation Board of Governors said, “I am so proud of our Foundation and supporters for creating such a special event that enabled us to bring the needs of our students to the forefront of the community.”

The gala celebrated the exemplary nine-year legacy of Saddleback College president, Dr. Tod A. Burnett, who is retiring from the college this summer. He was awarded the inaugural Board of Governors Summit Award for his outstanding leadership in philanthropy and community advocacy.

During his remarks, Dr. Burnett stated, “The work of the Saddleback College Foundation is critical to our college mission.  The number one reason that many students do not succeed in college is due to personal financial hardships. I hope that next year’s gala surpasses our results tonight, and that over the coming years the Saddleback College Foundation continues to prosper and raises greater dollars than each year before. But in order for my hope, our hope, to become a reality, it will be up to each and every one of you, and up to all of our colleagues, friends, neighbors, and community partners who are not here tonight, to not allow the Saddleback College Foundation to wither or rest upon its laurels. The needs of our students and community are too great, and it is now your responsibility to ensure the future success of this foundation.”

The program also featured retired Marine Sergeant Juan Valdez, a recent alum, who received a standing ovation as he took the stage with his service dog Tank. Sergeant Valdez, who was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart, shared the impact that the faculty, administration, and foundation had on him during his time at Saddleback College. “Saddleback College stands for hope, and changes lives for the better,” he shared.

In addition, Dr. Heather A. Allen, a Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Department of Pathology at The Ohio State University, was presented with the 2017 Alumna of the Year award. Dr. Allen was a returning student to Saddleback College in the ‘90s when she learned about a special scholarship available to science students. That scholarship led to her future career as a scientist where she specializes in researching molecular organization, ion pairing, and hydration at aqueous interfaces. “Her career speaks to her incredible courage, persistence, and intelligence and to the power of a Saddleback College scholarship,” shared Dr. Burnett.

Dr. Burnett closed the night by saying, “It has been an enormous honor and pleasure to serve Saddleback and South Orange County for these past nine years. Thank you for your tremendous support of Saddleback and our students, faculty, and staff, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of me, and my vision to make Saddleback a model community college that excels in everything we do, beginning with student success. I came to Saddleback to make a difference, and on June 30th I leave with the satisfaction of knowing that together we made a lasting positive difference.”

The record-breaking night would not have been possible without the generous support of the following sponsors:

Saddleback College Emeritus Institute, Valedictorian Sponsor; Follet Bookstore, Scholar Sponsor;  Neudesic, LLC, Scholar Sponsor; GSM Auto Group: Audi Mission Viejo, Infiniti Mission Viejo and Volvo Mission Viejo, Scholar Sponsor; Dr. Tod A. Burnett, Scholar Sponsor; Angels for the Arts, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Anthony and Carie Ferry, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Associated Student Government, Saddleback College, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Capata & Co. – CPA’s, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; City of Mission Viejo, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Driving Miz Daisy Vintage Market, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Futek, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Goodwill, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Irvine Valley College Foundation, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; John Williams, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; South Orange County Economic Coalition, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Tilly’s Life Center, Cardinal and Gold Sponsor; Allen Family Automotive Group, Valet Sponsor; Rancho Capistrano Winery, VIP Wine Sponsor; and Orange Coast Magazine, Magazine Sponsor.

 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 or to make a donation, please visit www.saddleback.edu/foundation.

 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 www.saddleback.edu


Former Saddleback College Soccer Player Honored as Top Female Scholar-Athlete


Mission Viejo, CAFormer Saddleback College soccer player Danielle Scelsi was honored as the top female scholar-athlete for the 2015-16 academic year at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Scholar-Athlete Luncheon on Wednesday, March 29.

Scelsi was selected out of nearly 26,000 female student-athletes participating throughout the CCCAA. She posted a perfect 4.00 grade average while at Saddleback and earned both the Fair-Play Character Champion Award for sportsmanship and the college’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor.

Scelsi is a product of Mission Viejo High School and spent two seasons at Saddleback College. During her sophomore season in fall 2015, she served as the team’s captain and helped the Gauchos win a record 16 games while also reaching the post-season playoffs for the third consecutive season. Scelsi earned first-team all-Orange Empire Conference honors and went on to earn Academic All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NCSAA). She currently attends UC Santa Barbara.

Former Saddleback baseball standout Luke Jarvis was also honored by the CCCAA as one of nine male scholar-athletes on the CCCAA State Honor Roll.  Jarvis, a product of Clairemont High School in San Diego, posted a 3.94 grade point average.  While playing shortstop for the Gauchos, Jarvis was a first-team all-conference selection during the Spring 2016 season.  He was named as Saddleback’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2015-2016.  Jarvis currently attends Auburn University where he is a member of their baseball team.

Tony Lipold, athletic director stated, “This is the highest academic honor in the state. To have Danielle win this award is a huge honor and a credit to the work she put in.  And Luke’s inclusion on the CCCAA Honor Roll shows the emphasis we put on academics and the message we’re trying to get across.  You can be successful both as a student and as an athlete.”

In addition to these individual awards, the 2016 Saddleback College men’s golf team was honored as a top CCCAA Scholar-Team.  The team posted an overall team grade point average of 3.12 to be recognized as the top golf program in the state for this academic honor under first-year head coach Wayne Westling.

Tod A. Burnett, Saddleback College president added, “To excel on the field and off the field is no easy feat, so I am thrilled for our student-athletes who were honored, and I congratulate them on their achievements. I am also proud of the Program Assisting Student-Athlete Success (PASS) academic program offered in our Learning Resource Center for helping our student-athletes be successful in the classroom.”


Saddleback College Hosts Successful First Amendment Series

Over the course of the last month, hundreds of students, staff, and faculty turned out to participate in the #UseYourVoice: Understanding the First Amendment in the 21st Century series aimed at helping the community better understand the complexities of the First Amendment.

Hosted by the Associated Student Government, Pre-Law Society, Academic Senate, Classified Senate, and Saddleback College president Tod A. Burnett, the series featured the following four workshops:

First Amendment in the Digital Age – How application of the first amendment has changed since the onset of technology and social media. The featured speakers were Saddleback College professors Mike Reed, Kendralyn Webber, Christina Hinkle, and Frank Gonzalez.

Videotaping and the “Gotcha” – The impact of the increased frequency of public videotaping and the search for the “gotcha” moment. The featured speaker was Attorney Shawn Steel.

Protected Speech: What Does and Doesn’t Violate Our Campus Policies – An overview of the state free speech laws and what generally constitutes protected speech. The featured speakers were Warren S. Kinsler and Sharon Ormond of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo Professional Law Corporation.

Free Speech vs. Academic Freedom – A discussion on the differences between free speech and academic freedom, as well as the First Amendment from a national perspective. The featured speaker was UCI Law School founding dean Edwin Chemerinsky.

Dr. Burnett stated, “Free speech, especially at higher education institutions, has become a hotbed of contention in our country. The four workshops provided a clearer understanding of the First Amendment and how Saddleback College upholds these principles while preserving academic freedom and a safe learning environment for all. I am proud that our college community engaged in an open and respectful dialogue on this sensitive issue.”

Lucy Hendrix, president of the Associated Student Government shared, “Free speech has always been a highly contentious issue on college campuses, but I think that it has become even more relevant since the November elections. I found that many students, including myself, were having difficulty understanding the First Amendment- especially in a modern context. I hope that this series opened the conversation at Saddleback College, so that students, as well as faculty members and other employees of the campus, feel knowledgeable about their speech rights and better able to communicate within our increasingly diverse community.”

Raja Riahi, president of the Saddleback College Pre-Law Society added, “Throughout the event, we tried to provide the students with the opportunity to learn more about their freedoms and the boundaries. At the last event of the series, our club proudly presented the Saddleback Student Bill of Rights in one condensed piece, which shares with students the rights available to them. Hearing each of the speakers talk about freedom of speech, which is also an important part of the bill, was truly remarkable.”


Community Invited to Honor Dr. Tod A. Burnett at 17th Annual Saddleback College Foundation Gala

Sponsorships and individual tickets are still available for the 17th Annual Saddleback College Foundation Gala to be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

The year’s gala will honor Dr. Tod A. Burnett, who is retiring from Saddleback College after nine years of exemplary service as president. “I am humbled by the foundation’s honor and I am extremely proud of the unprecedented work they have done over the past nine years. Last year the foundation awarded the most scholarships in the college’s history totaling $793,719 benefitting 517 students. I have no doubt that the foundation and community will continue increasing the annual level of financial assistance and support for Saddleback students each year going forward.”

The gala will also feature musical entertainment by the Saddleback College Jazz Ensemble, silent and live auctions, and gourmet dinner. The Valedictorian Sponsor of the gala is the Saddleback College Emeritus Institute. Since 1976, the Emeritus Institute has been California’s largest, non-credit, older adult education program serving nearly 6,000 students throughout south Orange County.

The 2017 Alumna of the Year will be awarded to Dr. Heather A. Allen, a Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Department of Pathology at The Ohio State University. Her research specialization is in molecular organization, ion pairing, and hydration at aqueous interfaces. She began her professorial career at Ohio State in 2000, and has since received the following recognitions for her research accomplishments: Research Innovation Award from Research Corp., NSF CAREER Award, Beckman Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Ohio State Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award from Germany.

For gala sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please visit saddleback.edu/foundation/gala, call 949-582-4479, or email saddlebackfoundation@saddleback.edu.

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 www.saddleback.edu/foundation.

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 www.saddleback.edu.

Our Commitment to All, Following Executive Order Affecting Seven Countries

Yesterday, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley issued this statement regarding President Trump’s executive order:

Over the weekend the Trump administration issued an executive order that restricts the ability of students, faculty, and staff from certain countries from being able to enter the United States. The action caused great concern at colleges and universities across the nation. We also witnessed growing protests and confusion over the implementation of the executive order. As the California Community Colleges Board of Governors clearly stated, we support the ability of all students attending our colleges to attend without fear or intimidation.

During this time of confusing rhetoric and uncertainty, South Orange County Community College District, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College wish to reaffirm our values of inclusiveness and diversity. Our primary job is to educate all students who stand to benefit from higher education. We continually strive to create a welcoming environment where all people can learn and grow.

We are here to help all students. If you know of a student who may need confidential assistance, please contact our College Vice Presidents of Student Services: Dr. Juan Avalos, Saddleback College, at (949) 582-4566, javalos@saddleback.edu; or Dr. Linda Fontanilla, Irvine Valley College, at (949) 451-5624, lfontanilla@ivc.edu or visit the campus student services offices.

Dr. Debra L. Fitzsimons, Interim Chancellor
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President, Saddleback College
Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore, President, Irvine Valley College
C.M. Brahmbhatt, Interim Vice Chancellor, Business Services
Dr. David Bugay, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
Dr. Robert Bramucci, Vice Chancellor, Technology & Learning Services

California Institutions of Higher Education Issue Letter to President-Elect Trump Regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

November 29, 2016
President-Elect Donald J. Trump Trump Tower
725 5th Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Dear President-Elect Trump:

College and university leaders across the country, and here in California, are concerned about reports regarding potential actions you might be considering, including ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On behalf of DACA students currently pursuing their dream of higher education in the United States, we urge you to continue this important program and allow these young people to continue to pursue a college education and contribute to their communities and the nation.

DACA is rooted in the fundamental premise that no one should be punished for the actions of others. In order to be eligible for DACA, an individual must have been brought to this country as a minor, stayed out of trouble, and continued to pursue an education. These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants are as American as any other child across the nation, in all but in the letter of the law. Some never even spoke the language of their native land. They do not represent a public safety threat. In fact, they represent some of the best our nation has to offer. They voluntarily came forward, out of the shadows, to participate in the DACA program.

The University of California, California State University, and the California Community College systems each have thousands of DACA students studying at our institutions. They are constructive and contributing members of our communities. They should be able to pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported, or rounded up for just trying to learn.

There will be time for a vigorous debate and dialogue around immigration reform in the days ahead, and we look forward to engaging with you in a healthy and constructive conversation on this important issue. But now, as you continue to build your new Administration and appoint members of your Cabinet, on behalf of these Dreamers, we implore you to let them know they are valued members of our communities and that they will be allowed to continue to pursue the American dream.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano
University of California

Timothy P. White
California State University

Eloy Ortiz Oakley
California Community Colleges

Saddleback College to Recognize 59 Nursing Graduates at Pinning Ceremony

The Saddleback College nursing program will honor 59 graduating nursing students in a symbolic candle lighting and pinning ceremony to be held on Monday, December 5th 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.

Dr. Diane Pestolesi, nursing program director, 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 class remembrance speech will be delivered by graduating students Jeff Hennig and Don Johnson. Professor Christina Bowles will then present the fall 2016 graduating class.

Each graduate will receive a symbolic pin from Professors Jodi Caggiano and Carrie Danko. The class pledge will be read by graduate Hillary Nelson. Graduate Autum Estrada will read a message while professors Phillis Kucharski and Candy Nelson take part in the lighting of the candles, symbolizing the “passing of the flame” from Florence Nightingale to each nurse.

Acknowledgments of a class gift will be presented by graduating student Jenna Sherman, on behalf of the class of fall 2016. Dr. Pestolesi will formally bid farewell to the class.

The graduating class of fall 2016 includes:

(All listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Rowena Adams – Mission Viejo
  2. Yvette Barbari – Rancho Santa Margarita
  3. Tali Bard – Mission Viejo
  4. Neshat Bazilius – Palos Verdes
  5. Dino Beltran – Trabuco Canyon
  6. Jamie Bentley – San Clemente
  7. Stephanie Bierich – Mission Viejo
  8. Felicia Birney – Rancho Santa Margarita
  9. Ella Bledsoe – Laguna Niguel
  10. Ashlee Brock – San Clemente
  11. Mason Champieux – Laguna Hills
  12. Tessa Cicchella – Irvine
  13. Andrea Clark-Nemeth – Rancho Santa Margarita
  14. Ryan Deffebach – Lake Forest
  15. Wanda DeQuardo – Laguna Niguel
  16. Autum Estrada – Mission Viejo
  17. Mary Franke – Rancho Santa Margarita
  18. Chad Furman – Costa Mesa
  19. Elizabeth Galvez – Newport Beach
  20. Megan Gold – Rancho Santa Margarita
  21. Diane Goodpaster – Ladera Ranch
  22. Brittany Griffith – Rancho Santa Margarita
  23. Jack Guenard-  Irvine
  24. Debbie Harrop – Aliso Viejo
  25. Leah Hause – Mission Viejo
  26. Jeff Hennig – Laguna Niguel
  27. Vergel Herrera – San Diego
  28. Noorali Hirani – Irvine
  29. Kyler Holder – Huntington Beach
  30. Whitney Hollifield – Oceanside
  31. Roxana Houshmandrad – Aliso Viejo
  32. Ilona Islamova – Aliso Viejo
  33. Andrea Jensen – Rancho Santa Margarita
  34. Donald Johnson – Laguna Niguel
  35. Kyle Kelly – Laguna Niguel
  36. Marine Kerdiles – Irvine
  37. Christina Knapp – Mission Viejo
  38. Katherine Kuhlman – Foothill Ranch
  39. Lauren Lowe – Anaheim
  40. Baru Mansoory – Laguna Niguel
  41. Ashley Martin – Huntington Beach
  42. Alison May – Mission Viejo
  43. Nicole McCord – Newport Beach
  44. Sara Muniz – Lake Elsinore
  45. Hillary Nelson – Mission Viejo
  46. Linda Nguyen – Westminster
  47. Danielle Palas – San Clemente
  48. Jessica Ricci – Aliso Viejo
  49. Richard Samedra – Fullerton
  50. Jenna Sherman – Mission Viejo
  51. Stephanie Stangl – Costa Mesa
  52. Perla Tang – Mission Viejo
  53. Vanessa Velasquez – Lake Forest
  54. Kristinne Vicencio – San Diego
  55. Shelly Vincent – Mission Viejo
  56. Dana Weiss – San Clemente
  57. Teresa Wendland – Rancho Santa Margarita
  58. Matthew Zebrowski – Newport Beach
  59. Alexandra Zimmerman – Ladera Ranch

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 www.saddleback.edu. 

Saddleback College Hosts 9th Annual K-12 Partnership Breakfast


Dr. Tod A. Burnett with Kirsten Vitale, superintendent at Capistrano Unified School District, and Dr. Clint Harwick, superintendent of Saddleback Valley Unified School District.

On the morning of Wednesday, October 26th, Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, hosted his ninth annual K-12 Partnership Breakfast. The K-12 Partnership Breakfast brings together the members of the college’s High School Partnership Program, which includes Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) and Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD), to meet and discuss the importance of maximizing student preparedness and success.


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 www.saddleback.edu.