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 www.saddleback.edu/vets.

 

Saddleback College Journalism Students Excel at State Convention

SC-at-JACC16-Convention-Web

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 http://www.academies-se.org/.

Culinary Student Takes Second Place at Statewide Competition

Last Friday, culinary student Amber McGlynn placed second at the Shelton Farms Poultry Competition. This annual event is funded by the California Community College Chancellors Office of Family and Consumer Sciences and all California community colleges are invited to participate.

Amber was selected to represent Saddleback after winning in-house competitions. For placing second in the competition, Amber took home $500 and a bag of goodies from Shelton Farms and a trophy.

Congratulations Amber!

Congratulations to the 2013 Professors of the Year

Saddleback College named Dr. Scott Fier, a chemistry instructor, Farida Gabdrakhmanova, an interior design and computer-aided design (CAD) instructor, and Melinda Smith, a fashion instructor in the college’s Emeritus Institute as the 2013 Professors of the Year.  The professors were nominated by their students and will be honored at the April 29th meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

The students’ nominations of Professors Fier, Gabdrakhmanova, and Smith speak to the dedication they have to their students and the passion they have for teaching. Saddleback College has so many exceptional instructors that it is always difficult to select our professors of the year, but it is clear that these superb professors have very positively influenced many lives.

Saddleback’s Professor of the Year is Dr. Scott Fier, who has taught at the college since 1993 and was praised by one student as being “the greatest educator I have ever had in all my years in education.” His students also said that he is more than just a professor; he is a mentor who is there for them inside and outside the classroom.

Dr. Fier stated, “I am truly honored by this award. I feel very fortunate to teach at a school with a wonderful faculty that always puts students first, and with a great staff and administration that is always supportive. Students come to Saddleback College because they have goals and dreams, and for those in my classes I try to help them reach their potential. My favorite thing to hear from former students is how well they were prepared for university classes by Saddleback College.”

The Associate Professor of the Year is Farida Gabdrakhmanova, who began teaching interior design and CAD classes at Saddleback in 2011. Gabdrakhmanova’s nominating students used the words “compassion” and “caring” to describe her and said that they appreciate that she is tough on them when they need it. Students stated that her willingness to help promoted the success of her students.

Gabdrakhmanova stated, “I am so deeply honored to have been chosen as Professor of the Year. This award does not belong just to me. I share it with my colleagues, who were also my teachers at Saddleback. They challenged me to start teaching two years ago and continue to support and encourage me today. I share the award with my students, who inspire and motivate me every single day with their commitment and positive attitude toward learning. I teach to help my students grow, learn, and gain confidence in everything that they do. I am not an ‘easy’ teacher, but I have high expectations of my students because I believe in them and I want them to leave college prepared and ready to succeed in the real world.”

Emeritus Professor of the Year Melinda Smith has been teaching fashion classes for Saddleback College’s Emeritus Institute since 1999. Emeritus Institute classes are developed to provide older adults personal, social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits to positively impact their lives. Smith’s classes are some of the fastest-filling in the Emeritus Institute and it’s easy to see why when her students say, “I schedule my activities around this class so that I don’t miss any days because [Smith] makes each day exciting” and “She is so respected by the students you can hear a pin drop while she is lecturing.”

Smith stated, “It is truly a pleasure to teach what I love to such creative and enthusiastic students in the Emeritus Institute. I love the interaction and exchange of ideas that take place in the classroom. My students are delightful and I am so appreciative of this award.”

Congtatulations to Brooke Sauter, Classified Employee of the Year!

Photo Courtesy of Mike Sauter

At Classified Staff Development Day I was honored to announce Brooke Sauter as Saddleback College’s Classified Employee of the Year!

If you’ve been fortunate to work with Brooke, you know how deserving she is of this award, and if you haven’t worked with Brooke, you’ve undoubtedly heard about her excellent work ethic and infectious enthusiasm.  Brooke is a senior administrative assistant in the college’s division of counseling services and special programs where she is appreciated and admired for her professionalism, efficiency, skills, and willingness to help in all areas of the college.  Brooke’s service is instrumental in our Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program, where her ability to connect with men and women who have returned from military service helps them ease their stress and anxiety.  Brooke also offers her savvy skills to several campus-wide activities including commencement, senior day, and programs in our outreach and student development departments.  She is known as a person who gets things done and is sought for her vast knowledge.

To get an idea of just how respected Brooke is, take a look at some of the quotes included in her nomination packet:

“Veterans that I have had a chance to talk with have noted that Brooke is the ‘back bone’ of the VETS Center.  She is always attentive, alert, and willing to help any individual in any situation with any problem.”

“Brooke is resourceful, efficient, and willing and able to gather exact information in a timely manner, a trouble shooter, extremely courteous, and easily builds rapport with co-workers and students.”

“With my transition from military to civilian life Brooke has personally assisted me with that transition which in return has made me a better college student.”

“It is not uncommon to see Brooke actually run to answer a phone, allow a veteran to study in her office, or take the time to coach a student through a FAFSA application.”

“She carries herself in a way that makes you feel comfortable approaching her because she is open and willing to provide assistance regardless of how small or large the task is.”

“It is a pleasure to work with Brooke.  Her professionalism, sense of humor, willingness to work with others, honesty, and insistence on doing what’s best for all students makes her a natural leader.”

As you can see, Brooke is praised throughout our college for her tremendous service, and that praise is more than well-deserved.  Congratulations to Brooke for her outstanding contributions to Saddleback College, students, faculty, and staff.  We appreciate all that you do for us!

WALL Literary Journal Magazine Takes First Place in National Competition

Congratulations to the students and faculty who were involved in producing the 2012 edition of WALL Literary Journal, which was awarded First Place in a national competition sponsored by the American Scholastic Press Association, a New York-based organization that annually honors excellence in campus publications.

WALL 2012 staff: Ethan Baker, Denise Blike, Ambrose Cappuccio, “Jimie” Shiovan Cespedes, Matthew Devine, Shirley Eramo, Laurel Ann Glover, Karla Lara, Tyler Newman, Brianna Ortega, Conor Powell,  Steven Sheley, Bryce Sherman, Jerrica Sibley, and Faculty Advisor Gina Victoria Shaffer.

Now in its 13th year of publishing, WALL annually features the poetry, short stories, personal essays, artwork, and photography of Saddleback College students.

Students enrolled in English 160, a 3-unit class devoted to producing the journal, assume positions of leadership on the staff while learning the fundamentals of publishing.  Staff members are responsible for reviewing and selecting student submissions, graphic design, layout, publicity, editing, and proofreading.

The deadline for submissions for the 2013 edition of WALL is Monday, February 11. For details on submitting work, visit http://www.saddleback.edu/la/SubmissionGuidelines.html

-By Gina Victoria Shaffer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English

Spring 2013 Flex Week and the President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation

After another successful Flex Week, the spring semester is in full swing! Thank you to everyone who made presentations during the week and to those who attended the sessions. The sessions I was able to attend were informative and provided a great chance for two-way conversation and I heard the same about many of the other sessions. It was great to see so many faculty attending multiple sessions; I greatly admire your commitment to personal and professional development.

I want to give a special thank-you to Jane Horlings, flexible calendar program coordinator, who spent countless hours organizing the session topics, times, and locations. It is because of Jane that any of this is possible. Thank you to all the faculty, staff, managers, and administrators who made Flex Week a success.

One of my favorite things about Spring Flex Week is that we recognize the winners of the President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation. This year we had such a stellar group of nominees that I chose multiple winners in several of the nomination categories.

At the Presidents’ Faculty Breakfast, I announced two full-time faculty winners and a management winner:

Renee Bangerter co-chairs, with Associate Faculty member Dawn Lewis, the English Professional Learning Council, through which she established a partnership with high school teachers from the Capistrano, Saddleback Valley, and Laguna Beach Unified School Districts.  This council not only offers wonderful collaborative opportunities for Saddleback with our local high schools, but it directly and positively impacts our work on Student Success Task Force recommendation one, which directs community colleges to collaborate with K-12 to jointly develop new common standards for college and career readiness.

Working with the council, Renee has done amazing work partnering with Turnitin.com to write six common core rubrics using the English Professional Learning Council’s input, generating three rubrics for grades 9-10 and three rubrics for grades 11-12.  These rubrics are now used by teachers throughout the nation.  Also under Renee’s leadership, the council offered three webinars that garnered a national audience. Renee’s efforts have put Saddleback on the map in common core standards and has complemented our already expansive efforts in partnering with our local high schools.

College President Burnett, Kim Branch-Stewart, Academic Senate President Bob Cosgrove

Kim Branch-Stewart has accomplished a great deal in the three years she has been in her tenure-track faculty position.  Her accomplishments are especially remarkable given that all human services faculty, except for Kim, are part-time. Kim’s accomplishments include her leading role in having human services faculty identify core courses needed by all human services students, facilitating the process of curriculum change to help clarify critical content common in the field and encourage students to complete the core course before taking other human services courses linked to a specific certificate.  This has increased student readiness, increased the number of students completing certificates, and has encouraged students to complete multiple human services certificates.

Kim also led the implementation of the ASL-Mental health Innovation Grant from the OC Healthcare Agency, through which she established a partnership with the Recovery Education Institute , which offers Saddleback courses for credit.  She guided human services faculty to re-examine the Criminal Justice Program and celebrate its uniqueness by changing the name to Community-Based Corrections and now stands out as only a handful of such programs in the state.   And on top of it all, Kim is a superb and inclusive teacher who engages students in active learning.

Burnett and Christian Alvarado

Christian Alvarado has been at Saddleback for just over a year and, in that time, has overseen a more efficient Financial Aid Office. In Christian’s short tenure, he has transformed the slow, paper-heavy financial aid process into an efficient, automated system. The process for awarding financial aid used to take several months but, under Christian’s leadership, awards are approved in 30 days or less. These efficiencies help to get students the money they need in less time, helping them to cover their expenses and stay on track.

There were also two associate faculty members, which were named at the Presidents’ Associate Faculty Dinner:

Cosgrove, Abigail Astley, Burnett

Abigail Astley proposed and piloted a new Applied Psychology 1 course for international students, helping them through the matriculation process and creating their academic plans.  The class provides information to international students about various aspects of the U.S. educational system and the campus resources that are available to them.  The students who took the class demonstrated a higher level of knowledge and self-confidence, and the knowledge students acquire through the class helps them complete their academic programs within their duration of status and in compliance with immigration and college policies. The class also enriches the experience for students, helping them adjust their cultural lens and seek out activities to complement their scholarly pursuits.

Cosgrove, Brock Shermerhorn, Burnett

Brock Schermerhorn is commended for helping to elevate Saddleback’s real estate program as one of the top two programs in the state.  His successful outreach efforts have focused in part on newly-discharged veterans at Camp Pendleton, who have pursued careers in real estate after earning their certificates and degrees at Saddleback.  He has also developed a program to partner with real estate agents who are veterans to mentor Saddleback veteran graduates in the field.  Additionally, his work with local high schools has allowed students to begin taking real estate classes before they graduate from high school. Brock has also worked to develop a successful distance education program in real estate and has accommodated students by offering a staggered start date schedule.

Finally, at the Classified Staff Luncheon, I named two full-time classified winners and one part-time classified winner:

Burnett, Deborah Armstrong, Classified Senate President Donald Mineo

Deborah Armstrong‘s work in the Library’s transition to the new LRC was nothing short of extraordinary.  Through collaborative efforts, and while library faculty were mostly off-site, Deborah overcame several challenges to open the library to students on the first day of fall semester classes.  In a very limited time she found solutions to shelve our textbook collection, ensured that all technology was up and running, and worked effectively to streamline procedures when two service areas were combined into one.

Because of Deborah, the library was open to provide services to students on the first day of the semester.  And now that this urgent period is over and done with, Deborah continues to impress her colleagues through her work on the library materials security technology, integrating the stored collection, and finishing the discard process.

Burnett, Donna Pribyl, Mineo

Donna Pribyl is commended for moving the college brand forward by creating high quality graphic design work that is seen throughout our college campus and community in the form of banners, printed marketing materials, web design work, special event pieces, and other marketing collateral that frankly, make us look good.

She oversaw the updated design of the college’s stationery, and worked extensively with vendors to ensure that prices were kept to a minimum.  She also took a leading role in the college’s branding guide, overseeing everything from new logo guidelines to the design of new power point templates, including the one you’re looking at now.  Donna also took the lead in designing various pieces for the White House Economic Council visit, producing quality work in a very short period of time for this high-profile event.  On top of it all, Donna is an incredibly hard worker and possesses a courteous demeanor focused on  customer-service, always working to help others look good.

Jon Ginnaty is a ceramic artist who provides excellent support to our art faculty and facilities, and plays an active role in our surrounding arts community.  In addition to being an artist and a lab tech, Jon teaches a ceramics class here and at Chapman University.

Over the past year, Jon worked extensively with Keenan and Associates to develop safety standards for our art programs, and has been instrumental in coordinating several activities that bring the community to our campus, including the Printmaking Steam-Roller party, Happening/Unhappening, the Veterans Chili Bowl fundraiser, and the student holiday art sale. Jon always to take on additional duties and is appreciated for being a team player.  He is always quick to help and greets everyone with a smile.

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, the work you do is a huge part of why we are successful at helping students reach their goals!

Nominees:
Full-Time Faculty
Maryam Azary, Counseling
Barbara Cox, Business
April Cunningham, Librarian
Tom DeDonno, Office Information Systems
Barbara Huggins, Nursing
Rebecca Knapp, Business
Tony Teng, Accounting

Associate Faculty
Sam Abbas
Jenny  Clark, Biology
Narges Rabii, Social Science
Gordon Richiusa, English

Classified Staff
Catherine Beres
Juan De La Cruz
Mira Manchik
Tracy McConnell

Classified Part-Time
Trudi Baggs
Bradley Hoseith

 

 

Nursing Professor Phillis Kucharski Recognized for National Award

Congratulations to  Saddleback Nursing Professor Phillis Kucharski, MSN, RN, OCN, who was named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (N-OADN) Foundation. The N-OADN Foundation Educator of the Year Award recognizes overall excellence in associate degree nursing education and is the highest award given by the foundation.

Phillis was recognized at the January meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

It is a testament to Phillis’s excellence that she was nominated by several of her current and former students. Saddleback has one of the best nursing programs in the nation and it is largely due to the hard work and dedication of our nursing faculty who work tirelessly to ensure the success of our students.

Kucharski joined the Saddleback College Nursing Department in 2001 and teaches medical surgical nursing lecture and clinical, community health nursing, and pediatrics clinical. Kucharski served as an advisor for nursing students and helped increase the retention rate of the program to 93.5%. In addition to her role at Saddleback, she is the Oncology Educator for Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach where she teaches several nursing oncology courses.

Congratulations, Phillis!

Learning Resource Center (LRC) Wins Architecture Award

Recently, the Learning Resource Center (LRC)  won an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award, a prestigious design award that is given only twice each year.  Congratulations to gkkworks, the architectural firm that designed the LRC, and everyone who put in countless hours, sweat, and tears into completing this remarkable remodel.