Saddleback College Receives $570,000 National Science Foundation Grant to Provide Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Saddleback College’s innovative S-STEM Scholars Program has been awarded $567,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support academically talented and financially disadvantaged students who are pursuing degrees in a chosen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major. The program, which will begin in spring 2013, will provide comprehensive support to 14-20 students each year, including scholarships totaling approximately $9,200 per student for each academic year they are in the program.

L-R: President Dr. Tod Burnett; Dr. Jim Zoval, assistant professor of chemistry; Frank Gonzalez, assistant professor of mathematics; Cathy Arreguin, grants analyst; Dr. Chris McDonald, dean of mathematics, science, and engineering

“The S-STEM Scholars program provides an unparalleled financial and educational support system that will help our students transfer to a four-year college or university and will eventually lead them to lucrative career opportunities,” stated Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “This National Science Foundation grant will make college a reality for many who never thought higher education was possible.”

“At Saddleback College we take pride in our ability to develop innovative ideas to tackle the problems associated with attracting, recruiting, and supporting students in STEM fields,” stated Dr. Chris McDonald, dean of mathematics, science, and engineering. “The S-STEM Scholars Program presents a wonderful opportunity for us to provide financial support to deserving, capable, and highly motivated Saddleback students.”

“I am very excited about the difference this NSF grant will make in the lives of our students who will be awarded these scholarships,” stated Dr. Jim V. Zoval, assistant professor of chemistry. “I am also glad that we can offer students an opportunity to participate in the undergraduate research that will be funded by this grant.”

Dr. Zoval also added, “Cathy Arreguin has contributed to every step of getting this grant, including a large part in the writing of the proposal.”

The Saddleback College Division of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering offers nine associate degree programs that qualify for the S-STEM Scholars Program – astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, geology, computer science, engineering, and marine science. Current or future students who would like to apply for the two-year program and scholarship must meet a minimum GPA requirement and show a financial need. To find out more about the program, including how and when applications will be accepted, contact Frank Gonzalez at fgonzalez@saddleback.edu.

Automotive Technology Program Receives $50,000 Donation for Student Scholarships from Tuttle-Click

Saddleback College’s automotive technology program was awarded $50,000 for student scholarships thanks to a generous donation from Tuttle-Click Automotive Group. The Tuttle-Click Automotive Technology Scholarship,  a partnership through which students get on-the-job training at a local Tuttle-Click dealership while earning four certifications and their associate degree in automotive technology, awards students $750 per semester, a Matco starter tool set valued at $4,500, and job placement upon completion. This is the second year Saddleback has received the donation; the first was awarded in 2008 and 10 students have participated in the program.

(L-R) Math, Science and Engineering Dean Christopher McDonald, Foundation Board President Jim Leach, Service Director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Dale Sponseller, Automotive Technology Department Chair Clifford Meyer, Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science Dean Don Taylor

“This partnership with Tuttle-Click is an excellent example of how everyone benefits when the college and industry work together to train students for successful careers,” stated Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “The scholarships provide students the support to complete their education, and the jobs at Tuttle-Click get their careers started immediately following their graduation. It’s an ideal situation for our students.”

Dale Sponseller, service director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, stated, “Saddleback College’s automotive technology instructors have the same high standards for  their students that we do for our employees, so this partnership has been extremely beneficial to Tuttle-Click and Saddleback. Students who complete the program continue to move up the ranks at Tuttle-Click dealerships throughout the area.”

“Our outstanding automotive technology instructors work tirelessly to help our students exceed their academic and professional goals,” stated Don Taylor Saddleback College Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science dean. “This partnership provides students with a career goal that is not only viable but also profitable.”

“This is the perfect program for students who are interested in cars but who also want to start their careers quickly,” stated Clifford Meyer, automotive technology department chair. “I am extremely proud of the students who have completed the program and am happy to continue the partnership with Tuttle-Click.”

Most graduates of the program continue to work for Tuttle-Click and many are now senior technicians. When students complete the two-year program, they will have earned an associate degree and be certified in automotive chassis, automotive engine service, automotive engine performance, and general automotive. Students who are interested in the program must first apply as an entry-level technician or apprentice technician at a local Tuttle-Click dealership and then fill out a separate application for the scholarship. Prospective students who would like more information on the program may contact Clifford Meyer at cmeyer@saddleback.edu.

2012 Great Scholarship Giveaway Recipients

In May, Saddleback College’s foundation, outreach department, and financial assistance department announced the Great Scholarship Giveaway, a scholarship that would be awarded to graduating high school seniors attending school within the South Orange County Community College District service area. Selected students would each receive a scholarship for the equivalent of one full-time semester at Saddleback. The group was pleasantly surprised by the number of applications (50) and also very impressed by the high quality of the applicants. Because there were so many outstanding applications, the representatives from the foundation, outreach department, and financial assistance department had a tough time deciding on the recipients, but they managed to select 14 exceptional scholarship winners. An awards reception will be held in the fall to recognize the recipients.

The 14 recipients are listed below with their high school name, high school GPA, and intended Saddleback College major.

  • Amir Ali, Mission Viejo High School, 4.19, Business Management
  • Keatyn Bucknam, San Juan Hills High School, 4.0, Marine Science
  • Jacqueline Doan, Tesoro High School, 3.9, Biology
  • Erin Kelley, Capistrano Valley High School, 3.89, Child Development and Educational Studies
  • George Widdowson, San Juan Hills High School, 3.73, Engineering
  • Stephen Morris, Aliso Niguel High School, 3.72, Music
  • Sahra Agharezaei, Laguna Hills High School, 3.7, Political Science
  • Haben Mekonnen, San Clemente High School, 3.7, Engineering
  • Rebecca Azeltine, Mission Viejo High School, 3.6, Nursing
  • Austin Purmort, Mission Viejo High School, 3.45, Theatre Arts
  • Alyssa Franklin, San Clemente High School, 3.4, Psychology
  • Francesca Manzo, Capistrano Valley Christian High School, Undecided
  • Brenda Moreno, Mission Viejo High School, 3.3, Nursing
  • Jordan Rdarte, J. Serra Catholic High School, 3.3, Graphics

Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients! We look forward to seeing you next semester!

Saddleback Student Wins Outstanding Abstract Award at Statewide Honors Conference

Learon Inbar speaks to the plenary about her research

At the Honors Transfer Council of California’s (HTCC) annual statewide conference, Saddleback College student Learon Inbar was named as one of four winners of the Outstanding Abstract Award and took home a  $500 scholarship prize. Learon is in her second year at Saddleback and is studying a mix of art and theater, with an ultimate goal of becoming a theater costume and set designer. She is hoping to transfer to UCLA or Berkeley in the fall and, eventually, attend graduate school so she can teach and conduct research, in addition to theater work.

The HTTC conference took place at UCI on March 31 and involved students from member schools who were chosen by the council to present research in their field of choice. Learon presented the 400-word abstract and the results of her research to the council during the conference.

“I had taken the Honors Humanities 10A class with Professor Chattopadhyay and Professor Rosenberg, and that particular semester we had focused on the art and intellectual development of the Middle Ages in Europe; this led to my chosen time period for my research,” Learon said about her paper’s inspiration. She wrote about what textiles meant for people in the Middle Ages and found interesting connections between levels of power and a person’s evidence of wealth.

Two more students, Jonathan Fisher and Austin Burrow, were also honored as Exemplary Achievement scholarship winners at the event. Congratulations to all of our award-winning honors students!

Two of our students, Jonathan Fisher and Austin Burrow, are among these Exemplary Achievement scholarship winners

The Saddleback College Honors Program is an interdisciplinary effort to develop exceptional talent, ability, and scholarship in highly motivated students. It is not a club, service organization, or even a recognition of past academic achievement. It is, rather, a path to further and higher achievements. Any Saddleback College student may enroll in any Honors class. No special permission is required. If you would like more information about the Honors Program, visit http://www.saddleback.edu/honors/.

Community Invited to 12th Annual Gala to Raise Money for Student Scholarships and Campus Programs

Saddleback College invites all community members to the 12th annual foundation gala on Saturday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. in the college’s gymnasium.  Tickets include gaming, a silent auction, dinner, music, and no-host cocktails.  This year’s theme is “A Glamorous Night of Stars” and will feature a tribute to five local community “stars” who have significantly donated to the college: The Bernard Osher Foundation, Dorothy Marie Lowry, Kia Motors, Linda Richardson Rice, and the Saddleback College Associated Student Government.

The gala will highlight the work of Saddleback students:  Culinary arts students will prepare and serve appetizers and desserts, fine arts students will accompany music instructor Joey Sellers’ jazz band to provide entertainment, event décor is being done by students of the Entertainment and Theatre Technology program, there will be several pieces painted by students that can be purchased, and a graphics class designed several printed pieces for the event.

Tickets are $100 each, $800 for a table of eight, or $1,000 for a table of 10.  Sponsorships for the event are available at two levels, Gold ($5,000) and Silver ($2,500).   For sponsorship opportunities or to reserve your tickets, please visit the event’s website at foundation.saddleback.edu/gala, call 949.582.4479, or email scfound@saddleback.edu.

“One of the most important missions of the Saddleback College Foundation is to raise money for students and the annual gala has always been the cornerstone for student scholarships,” said Donna Varner, President of Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors. “We are so thankful to our many sponsors, especially our Gold Sponsors — Cox Communications, Mercedes Benz of Laguna Niguel and South County Bank — as well as to every individual and business that donated the wonderful items for the silent auction.”

Saddleback College’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year, Nico Melendez, will also be honored at the gala.  After completing his general education at Saddleback College, Mr. Melendez transferred to Chaminade University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in historical and political studies.  He then earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University in 2000. Currently, Mr. Melendez is a professional broadcaster/communicator working for the Transportation Security Administration. An officer in the United States Naval Reserve, Mr. Melendez was named the 66th Assembly District Veteran of the Year in 2011.

The Saddleback College gymnasium is located at 28000 Marguerite Parkway in Mission Viejo. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to (949) 582-4479, or email scfound@saddleback.edu. Business casual attire is recommended; no jeans, please.

Pell Grants to be Deposited Five Weeks Earlier than Expected

The Financial Aid Office (left to right): Claire Tracey, Javier Williams, Andrea McGinley, Lynn Martin, Dennis Stachelski, Tina Dang, Ruth Higgins, Quyen Dang, Pheolin Truong, Chris Alvarado

Thanks to the hard work of Saddleback’s Financial Aid Office, students will receive their Pell Grant money on January 12th,  five weeks earlier than expected. Slightly more than 2.2 million dollars will be disbursed to 2,050 students.

One of the main roadblocks to higher education tends to be financial challenges, moving this date up will undoubtedly lessen the burden for many students. Last year, Pell Grants were deposited on February 4th.

Additionally, the Saddleback College Scholarship application will go live on Monday, January 16 and will be an upgraded system with online requests and submissions.

To find out more about the many financial aid options offered at Saddleback, visit www.saddleback.edu/fao/.

Founding Faculty Member Endows $140,000 toward Student Scholarships

Linda Richardson Rice, a member of Saddleback College’s “first faculty” who started when the college opened its doors to students in 1968, endowed more than $140,000 for scholarships for students who are majoring in or planning a career in education. The first scholarship from Rice’s endowment will be awarded in May and will continue to support students for many years.

In the information provided to the Foundation, Rice wrote that she appreciated the scholarships she received while in college and endowed this money to give future students the same opportunity for a college education. Rice, who passed away in 2010, was a devoted teacher for more than 50 years and joined Saddleback in 1968 as one of the first faculty members, teaching secretarial science. She became an instrumental influence in computer information management, both originating and teaching many computer courses. She taught full-time at Saddleback for 27 years until she retired in 1995. Following retirement, Rice continued teaching part-time for seven years, and then taught emeritus courses until 2010.

Saddleback College Foundation Raises Over $1.5 Million for Osher Scholarship Endowment

Saddleback College is pleased to announce that the Saddleback College Foundation raised $794,562 under the statewide Osher Initiative for California Community College Students which combined with $397,281 in matching funds and a lead gift of approximately $335,588 provides an increase of over $1.5 million to the foundation’s scholarship endowment.

Saddleback was tasked by The Bernard Osher Foundation to raise $671,175 over the past three years to receive their matching fund gift, and the college exceeded this goal by raising an additional $123,387 making it one of only 33 colleges out of the 112 California community colleges that met or exceeded its fundraising goal.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, stated, “These scholarships mean the world to our students and I am very proud of everyone in our college community who personally donated and helped solicit donations to this worthy cause.  I am extremely thankful to our Saddleback College Foundation and The Bernard Osher Foundation for believing in community college students and the benefits of a community college education.”

Donna Varner, President of the Saddleback College Foundation, stated, “It is a joy to be able to award scholarships to so many deserving students every year.  This endowment allows us to positively impact more lives than we ever thought possible and everyone in the foundation is grateful to those who donated.”

As a result of this endowment, the foundation awarded 49 additional $1,000 scholarships to deserving students at the college’s annual scholarship ceremony in May, and expects to award over 80 of these scholarships next year and every year in perpetuity.

The Osher scholarship program is a result of an initial $25 million gift and $25 million in potential matching funds from The Bernard Osher Foundation to the Foundation for California Community Colleges to establish an endowment to provide permanent scholarship support to community college students throughout the state.  All told, this unprecedented gift resulted in a permanent scholarship fund that exceeds $67.7 million statewide, enough to fund more than 3,300 scholarships a year, forever.

A Record-Breaking $270,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Saddleback College Ceremony

President Burnett and Outstanding Student of the Year Cassandra Ong. Photo Credit: Jenny Loya

A record-breaking $270,000 in scholarships was awarded to 145 students at Saddleback College’s 35th annual Scholarship Ceremony on Thursday, May 12th.  More than 138 individual scholarships were donated by businesses, organizations, community members, and the Saddleback College Associated Student Government, which donated more than $82,000 in scholarships and underwrote the expenses for the ceremony. Forty-nine scholarships worth more than $43,000 were funded by the Bernard Osher Scholarship Fund.

The evening began with the presentation of the ASG President’s Award, which is bestowed to a student who has demonstrated excellent leadership at Saddleback College, and the Outstanding Student Award, which is presented to a student that has shown exemplary leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement. Cassandra Ong, who aspires to be an accountant, was presented the President’s Award by Dr. Burnett. Ms. Ong’s academic goal is to major in accounting in either the University of California or California State University  to pursue an accounting degree and currently holds a 4.0 GPA.  The Outstanding Student of the Year Award went to Tcharles Fagundes, who received his Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration at Saddleback College in 2009. Since graduating, Mr. Fagundes discovered a desire to help less fortunate people as a physician and changed his academic major to health care.

Ms. Varner presented the Donor of the Year Award to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley. AAUW has contributed to the scholarship program for 10 years, exceeding $30,000 in donations.  For the past three years, the group has also contributed to the Osher Endowment.

The Saddleback College Scholarship Ceremony is an annual event that started in 1976, when 45 donors contributed just over $12,000 to some 60 students. Thirty-five years later, more than $4 million in scholarships have been awarded to deserving Saddleback College students.