Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jonathan Noriega: Keeping his eyes on the prize during uncertain times

Jonathan Noriega Sandoval 

Jonathan Noriega Sandoval doesn’t want the journey to end. A Grossmont College scholar aiming to transfer to San Diego State University next fall, Noriega – brought without proper documentation across the border when he was a toddler – is protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program that could be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. 

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on Nov. 12.

“There is a lot of rhetoric going on right now about the DACA program,” Noriega said. “You hear people calling us ‘criminals,’ but you cannot be in DACA if you’re a criminal. We’re just trying to be the best we can, to contribute in a positive way. But I realize this is all out of my hands. You have to just go on about your day. I can’t let it get to my head too much. I can’t control what happens. What I can control is my work, helping my family, and doing well in school.”

Noriega has been doing well in school since he arrived at Grossmont College in spring 2017. His  grade point average is 3.7, including three semesters of nothing but A’s on his transcripts. He’s also a student ambassador to area high schools while helping his parents care for two younger sisters.

His efforts this fall yielded a Griffin Award of Excellence from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. Noriega will be among the scores of students honored at a scholarship reception in January.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cuyamaca College educator honored for dedication to economics

Cuyamaca College economics professor emeritus Anthony Zambelli has been honored by the California Council on Economic Education with its Excellence in Teaching Award, the latest in a string of recognitions Zambelli has earned during his more than four decades as an educator.

 The council cited Zambelli’s immeasurable dedication to economic education and innovative leadership through the San Diego Center for Economic Education, which is now based at Cuyamaca College. The Center disseminates programs that promote economic and financial literacy to teachers and students throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Under Zambelli’s leadership, the San Diego Center has conducted in-service trainings at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa to educate prisoners nearing parole on the ins and outs of managing their finances, holds financial literacy workshops for former foster youth, and recently launched the Federal Reserve Institute at the University of San Diego in association with five Federal Reserve Banks.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cuyamaca College Student Center celebrating grand reopening

Student Center lounge

Dubbed the “Heart of the Campus” at its first opening in 2007, the Cuyamaca College Student Center is beating anew with vigor and fresh energy.

A grand reopening is set for 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Nov 14, to show off the refurbished center that will provide space to better serve students, including expanded services to veterans and career and employment guidance. The public is invited to tour the refurbished center. RSVPs are welcome at

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Grossmont College has eye on Aspen Prize

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Grossmont College as one of
150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes — including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity — 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“We are gratified to be recognized for the second time in a row as the only community college in San Diego County for our efforts in improving student outcomes irrespective of college size,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, Ed.D. “As the major awards program among two-year colleges, the Aspen Institute recognizes the best of the best. We are honored to be in such an esteemed group, and look forward to one day receiving the Aspen Prize as we continue to improve our support for more equitable and higher rates of student success.”

Monday, November 4, 2019

Grossmont College OTA students have designs on helping those with disabilities

What can $25 do to help make life a little easier for the physically challenged?
Maricel Yap's device helps her father grip his pool cue

Students in Grossmont College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program have grappled with this question for the past two months and on Nov. 7, the public is invited to the 12th annual Assistive Technology Show, where dozens of low-cost contraptions designed and built by second-year students will be demonstrated. The free event is from 6:30-9 p.m. in the first- and second-floor lounges of Building 34, the Health Science Center.

Independence Through Innovation is the motto of the 23 students enrolled in instructor Darlene Cook’s class, Assistive Technology in Occupational Therapy, which introduces the OTAs-in-training to a broad range of assistive devices, from low- to high-tech. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Grossmont College recognized as Champion of Higher Education

For the second year in a row, Grossmont College is being recognized as a Champion of Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity for its work to significantly increase the number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer, an associate’s degree that guarantees transfer to a California State University institution.
“This award is an honor for Grossmont College.  It recognizes the diligence and partnership between the college and our students to help them reach their educational goals and full potential, including transfer to impacted California State University campuses,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh.
The award for the college’s achievements during the 2018-19 academic year will be given at a Nov. 14 formal reception in Los Angeles. Grossmont College was recognized, among other factors, for the third highest percentage of  ADTs awarded in California regardless of college size.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Grossmont College Alum Diana Berriel finds new career in respiratory therapy

Diana Berriel
Diana Berriel’s career path changed when her father, diagnosed with lung cancer, was undergoing treatment at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. “I just started talking to a respiratory therapist there, and I know it sounds cliché, but it was like a light bulb went off in my head,” Berriel said. “So I went back home and started researching the profession and found it was the perfect career.” 
The mother of four children, Berriel was 38 when she resolved to enroll at Grossmont College’s Respiratory Therapy Program, the only public program of its kind in the county. Three years later, the Spring Valley resident is now quickly progressing in a new line of work where she helps save lives almost daily. 
Berriel is one of more than 1,000 respiratory therapists who have graduated from the Grossmont College program since its inception 50 years ago this fall. Walk into any local hospital or medical center, and you’ll find a respiratory therapist trained at Grossmont College, said Rebecca Handley, the program’s director of clinical education. “We’ve had a big impact on San Diego County,” she said.