Thursday, May 26, 2016

An associate degree for Cuyamaca College dean Scott Herrin

Scott Herrin
Cuyamaca College dean Scott Herrin spent years going to college to get his bachelor’s and master’s degree, and ultimately a doctorate in educational leadership. He’ll be adding one more diploma to his wall next week: an associate degree from Cuyamaca College.

After a year of taking classes online, Herrin will be receiving an associate degree in lifelong health and well-being when Cuyamaca College holds its commencement on Wednesday. Herrin said he earned his other degrees to advance his professional career, while this degree was simply a learning experience – about both the subject and to delve into the student experience.

“What made me decide to do this is because I have fallen in love with the community college,” Herrin said. “Who we are and what we do is so important. If I am going to make a career working in this system, I thought it was super important for me to say that I also am a product of the community college.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Maysaa Madhat Ibrahim: Cuyamaca College graduate proves that nothing is impossible

More than 2,100 students will be receiving degrees and certificates at the Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College commencements on June 1 and 2. Here's the story of one amazing graduate.

Maysaa Madhat Najih Ibrahim
Maysaa Madhat Najih Ibrahim is all about overcoming challenges. Single mother. Refugee. No matter. Ibrahim is one of six valedictorians graduating at Cuyamaca College’s 38th commencement ceremony on June 1. She’ll be headed to San Diego State University in the fall on her way toward becoming a Spanish teacher. 

“I want to encourage students, single mothers and refuges to continue their education because nothing is impossible to achieve with hard work,” Ibrahim said. 

Mission accomplished. 

“She is a superb role model,” said Patricia Santana, Chair of the Cuyamaca College World Languages Department. “She is focused, persevering, and has a kind and humble demeanor. I could tell immediately that she would reach her dreams.” 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Iraqi refugee credits Grossmont College for reigniting her hopes for the future

Amaziing stories arise out of the graduating classes of Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges every year. Here's one about an Iraqi refugee whose images of her war-torn motherland are forever seared in her mind. They're what inspires her to want to help people.
Sandy Adwer is graduating from Grossmont College with an Associate of Science degree in human biology. In the fall, she will be attending the University of California, San Diego, where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree, also in human biology, with plans to eventually attend medical school to become a physician.

Nearly a decade has passed since the then-12-year-old and her family were forced to flee the turmoil and violence of Iraq, where they were in peril as sectarian crossfire ravaged their homeland. Sandy lived for the next five years in Syria. Her father ventured on his own to Sweden to try to find refuge for his family, only to be denied residency. He returned to Syria, which soon was thrust into the tragedy of its own civil war.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cuyamaca College graduate Rebekah Shtayfman: A lesson in overcoming adversity

Rebekah Shtayfman
More than 2,100 students will be receiving degrees and certificates at the Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College commencements on June 1 and 2. Here's the story of one amazing graduate.

Rebekah Shtayfman refused to give up.

 Even after dropping out of high school, becoming a single mom at 18, and – at times – sleeping in her car while looking for a permanent home for her and her daughter, Shtayfman persevered, never losing sight of her dream to pursue a higher education. 

Now, as a result of her determination and hard work, Shtayfman  is graduating with honors from Cuyamaca College. She has been accepted to UC Berkeley, where she will be majoring in physics beginning this fall en route toward her goal of earning a doctorate and becoming a college professor. 

She credits Cuyamaca College for playing a pivotal role in her journey. 

“The faculty is amazing,” said Shtayfman, who will be the student speaker at the Cuyamaca College Commencement on June 1. “It’s a tight-knit student community, and the teachers here genuinely care about your life and your future. The instructors here at Cuyamaca have genuinely provided me with more than what I would expect from school faculty. I had an incredible experience there that I wouldn’t trade for anything.” 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Commencement time for Cuyamaca, Grossmont colleges

A busy academic year highlighted by new leadership at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges culminates with commencement ceremonies June 1 and 2, where more than 4,200 degrees and certificates will be awarded.

With many students receiving multiple credentials, about 640 Cuyamaca students will receive more than 1,000 degrees and certificates at the college’s June 1 commencement, followed the next day by almost 1,500 Grossmont College graduates who will receive more than 3,200 degrees and certificates.

Both commencements begin at 5:30 p.m. Cuyamaca College, at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego, will hold its 38th annual ceremony led by President Julianna Barnes in front of the B building, the Communication Arts Center. President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh will lead the 55th annual ceremony in the Main Quad of Grossmont College, at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Both Abu-Ghazaleh, who started working at Grossmont College in July 2015, and Barnes, who started at Cuyamaca College in October 2015, will be leading their first commencement ceremonies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cuyamaca College lands $1.5 million grant for student success programs

Cuyamaca College was awarded a $1.5 million state grant this week that expands on the college’s innovative programs to dramatically increase student success by reducing the remedial pipeline and better preparing students for college level coursework. 

“Cuyamaca College is deeply committed to student success for all students.  This grant will allow us to build upon efforts that shorten the bridge between developmental education and college completion,” Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes said. 

More than three-quarters of California community college students who take assessment tests before enrolling are assigned to one or more remedial courses in mathematics or English. Relatively few of those students successfully complete college-level courses in those subjects and go on to earn a degree or certificate. However, studies have found that the students could have succeeded if they had been enrolled in college-level math and English courses.

       The Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation Program grant enables Cuyamaca and other colleges across the state to pilot innovative programs that better serve these students. The three-year grant to Cuyamaca College is among $60 million being distributed statewide by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.  It will enable Cuyamaca College to remain at the forefront in rewriting the rules for remedial education.

Monday, May 16, 2016

At 80, Cuyamaca College's oldest graduate is ready for more

Amazing stories come out of the graduating classes of Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges every year. Here's one about Cuyamaca's oldest grad who, at 80, isn't ready to call it quits.

Octogenarian Barbara Sue Adkins has the energy and grit that would put a person a generation younger to shame. 

That the 80-year-old is the oldest graduate of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Class of 2016 draws a chuckle and a contemplative pause  from the El Cajon resident, who has earned a certificate of achievement in Child Development from Cuyamaca College.]
Only a couple classes shy of a full associate degree, Adkins has every intention to return to the college to finish what she started in 2010. Then it’s onward to a bachelor’s, she said.