Tuesday, August 8, 2017

District builds its tradition of high marks for Prop. V construction program

The expansion of chiller plant at Grossmont College
For the third year in a row, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has received outstanding marks for providing open information about its Proposition V construction bond program.
The district received 24 out of 25 points possible from the San Diego Taxpayers Educational Foundation for the transparency of GCCCD’s Prop. V program. The taxpayers foundation released its annual transparency scorecard July 25 for the 23 school and college districts in San Diego County with active facilities bond programs.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cuyamaca College student on track for medical school

Niall-Conor Garcia

You won’t find too many students aiming to go straight from a community college to medical school. But not too many community college students are like Niall-Conor Garcia.

The Cuyamaca College scholar already has a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern California and recently secured a master’s degree in professional composition and orchestration through an online program offered by the University of Chichester in Sussex, England. He’s even tried his hand at musical theater and wrote the soundtrack for a few independent films.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Boot camp for students studying STEM being held at Cuyamaca College

  Talk about starting off with a bang. 

Lab tech Niall-Conor Garcia poses as a victim as
Professor Laurie LeBlanc points to evidence
A STEM Summer Boot Camp introducing a group of Cuyamaca College students to the dedication required in studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics got under way July 24 with a classic whodunit – the discovery of a “victim” felled by a bullet and a directive to work as a team in collecting blood samples, analyzing DNA and engaging in an abundance of research over the following three weeks to solve the faux crime.

       Call it CSI Cuyamaca College. Seventeen students are taking part in the boot camp, which runs through Aug. 11 and involves extensive lab work combined with a crash course in technical reading and writing.  


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cuyamaca College career education programs honored for boosting careers and earnings

      A trio of Cuyamaca College career education programs are being honored by the California Community Colleges system for providing students with the skills needed in new higher-paying jobs. 

Cuyamaca College Environmental Health & Safety class
       Cuyamaca’s Water & Wastewater Technology and Environmental Health & Safety programs were commended because virtually every student taking part in those career readiness efforts have found a job in their field of study and are boosting their earnings by 77 percent, according to data collected by the California Community Colleges. Cuyamaca’s Ornamental Horticulture program was commended because 76 percent of participating students working in the profession are earning the regional living wage.  

       “Cuyamaca College provides among the largest and most effective workforce development programs in East County, and we’re honored to be recognized by the California Community Colleges system for our efforts in providing students with the skills they need to find good jobs in a rapidly changing economy,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ford ASSET graduates to navigate new roads

Graduates of Cuyamaca College's Ford ASSET program
Last week’s commencement of the first Ford ASSET graduates at Cuyamaca College since 2013 was a double cause for celebration. The 16 students were the first to graduate since the program was brought back from a two-year hiatus and a new class is set to begin in the fall with online innovations designed to draw students from beyond San Diego County.
Cuyamaca College’s automotive technology program, which enrolls an average of 300 students each semester, is highly regarded because of its industry-recognized certifications. In addition to strong support from Ford Motor Co. for the ASSET (Automotive Student Service Education Training) program, which provides vehicles, tools and a partnership with Cuyamaca College dating back to 1986, the automotive technology program also enjoys industry backing from General Motors for the GM ASEP (Automotive Service Educational Program).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Register now for fall classes at Cuyamaca, Grossmont colleges

Grossmont College’s OPT program

With the start of fall semester Aug. 21, open registration begins next week for almost 30,000 students working toward university transfer, gaining workforce skills or broadening their knowledge at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.
The cost of the courses is $46 per unit, with most classes offering three units of college credit. Online registration for regular semester classes opens July 17 for all students and ends Aug. 18.
The two colleges are offering more than 2,560 class sections this fall, up more than 5 percent from a year ago, and the most for a fall semester since 2008.  Both campuses offer a variety of traditional, short-term, online and hybrid classes. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Coveted trophy caps a golden year for Grossmont College athletics

The Chet DeVore trophy is surrounded by others from 2016-17.
The Grossmont College Griffins have added more hardware to their golden year of athletics.

A state community college championship in baseball has vaulted the college to the top to win the coveted Chet DeVore Trophy for the second straight year as the most successful men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletic program in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

In addition to the becoming the first community college in San Diego County to capture a state baseball title, Grossmont netted conference or division titles in six sports to
garner its third DeVore  trophy in the award’s eight year history. It also earned PCAC’s top athletic honor in 2013-14 to claim the trophy named after the late Chester S. “Chet” DeVore, the founding commissioner of the 12-college conference.

Monday, July 10, 2017

'Treasure Island' goes hip-hop at Grossmont College

Grossmont College’s 4th Annual Summer Theatre Arts Conservatory features a musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's “Treasure Island,” a classic swashbuckling tale of pirates, hidden riches, swordfights and daring escapes modernized with hip-hop music and dance.
 Opening 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2017, at the Stagehouse Theatre in Bldg. 21, and closing with a 2 p.m. performance Saturday, Aug. 5, the production features local high school and college actors and other students who worked as costume technicians and stagehands under the direction of the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department. The two weeks of family-friendly performances cap an eight-week class in which students earn college credit and get a taste of working in theater while they learn from professional directors, choreographers and technicians.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New student trustees seated on college district Governing Board

Kyrie Macogay
Brandon Vivero
Two San Diego County natives, both honors graduates of local high schools with plans to transfer to San Diego universities from community college, were officially seated Tuesday as new student trustees on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board.
The student trustees, who are elected by their peers as non-voting board members, are Grossmont College student Brandon Vivero, and Cuyamaca College student Kyrie Macogay. The pair took their oaths of office for the one-year term at Tuesday night’s board meeting at Grossmont College.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Informational workshops for Grossmont College's OPT, allied health programs

Planning and orientation workshops for hallmark programs at Grossmont College in Office Professional Training and the health professions will be offered to the public starting this month.
Office Professional Training
 Job-seekers, including laid-off and dislocated workers, welfare recipients, single parents, and the long-term unemployed, should attend an informational meeting from 1-3:30 p.m. Monday, June 26 or from 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 25, for Grossmont College’s Office Professional Training program, which has trained thousands for office professional positions since the program’s inception in 1985. Seventy-five percent of graduates obtain full-time jobs at an average entry-level hourly wage of more than $12.
In addition to the informational meetings, a mandatory orientation is set for 8-11 a.m. Thursday, July 27.
To sign up for the workshops, and for parking and location information, call (619) 644-7247.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Grossmont College partners with OpenStax to promote free textbooks

Grossmont College today announced it is one of 11 schools chosen to participate in the 2017 - 2018 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to encourage use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks on campus.

Grossmont College was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating willingness to drive adoption of open educational resources (OER). Institutional partners will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of schools advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. Last year’s institutional partner schools have seen a 55 percent increase in the amount of students using OER, saving an additional $1.7 million in the coming academic year.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Graduates receive more than 4,830 degrees, certificates

Grossmont College commencement
The impact on lives that Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have is never more apparent than on commencement day, when speakers talk about their first steps taken in their academic journeys and the encouragement they’ve received along the way.

And so it was at last week’s commencements, where two alums and two new graduates told audiences their personal stories, giving compelling accounts of their college experiences. 

Cuyamaca College commencement

In addition to heartfelt speeches, commencement at both colleges was a day for the record books.  Beating a record set just a year ago, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges awarded 4,833 degrees and certificates to the class of 2017, a 13 percent increase over 2016.

With many students receiving multiple credentials, 1,581 graduates earned 3,744 degrees and certificates June 7 at Grossmont College. At Cuyamaca College, which held its commencement the following day, about 650 were awarded 1,089 degrees and certificates.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bachelor's degree in elementary education being offered at Cuyamaca College

Students looking to become an elementary school teacher can earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Cuyamaca College through a new partnership launching this fall with one of the Midwest’s top regional public universities. 

    Under the agreement, Valley City State University (VCSU) in Valley City, N.D., will provide instruction both online and at Cuyamaca College to students who have earned an associate degree at the Rancho San Diego campus. A VCSU counselor will also be stationed at Cuyamaca College to work with students in setting up an educational plan. 

          The new program at Cuyamaca College comes at an opportune time, as the number of elementary school teachers in California, excluding those focusing on special education, is projected to grow by nearly 10 percent in the decade between 2014 and 2024. Elementary school teachers in California earn an annual average salary of $74,270, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and $72,130 in San Diego County.  

          “Cuyamaca College is among the leaders in our region when it comes to workforce development, and partnering with VCSU will enable us to help fill a void in preparing students for careers as elementary school teachers,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “We’re excited for the opportunity to work with a university that has a long history and stellar reputation in educating elementary school teachers across the country.” 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cuyamaca College grad Fadya Basha proves age is just a number

Fadya Basha
More than 2,100 students are graduating from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in June. Here is the story of one of them.

You’re never too old to learn. Just ask Fadya Basha, an Iraqi immigrant who, at age 74, will be the oldest graduate walking across the stage at Cuyamaca College’s June 8 Commencement. 

“If you are learning, you are growing,” said Basha, who has learned her way to an associate degree in Arabic Studies and Communication and Language Arts – with honors. “You have to always grow. You should always be learning.” 

Said her youngest son, Firas Najeeb, a dentist living in Las Vegas: “I’m really proud of her. She is a true inspiration for everybody in our family.” 

Basha said she was just looking to improve her English when she enrolled in a Cuyamaca College ESL class about seven years ago. Before too long, though, the ESL course led to other classes, including public speaking, speech and debate, and composition.  Then came courses in Arabic and mathematics, art and exercise. She began her journey in 2011, and would have graduated sooner, but she took time off on several occasions for the birth of a new grandchild. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cheryl Mahone: Overcoming physical limitations to earn an associate degree at Grossmont College

Cheryl Mahone
Of the more than 1,500 graduates being celebrated at Grossmont College’s June 7 commencement, few have overcome the kind of challenges faced by 50-year-old Cheryl Mahone. 

Unable to walk and barely able to stand as her body yielded to the effects of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, Mahone kept pressing forward even after enduring two bouts of pneumonia and an encounter with the swine flu. Just getting to the El Cajon campus from her home in La Mesa meant a three-hour round trip aboard a special Metropolitan Transit System Access bus.  

No matter. Mahone graduates with a 3.98 grade point average, an associate degree in social and behavioral sciences and a ticket to San Diego State University, where she will enroll this fall as she moves closer to realizing her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition and launching a career as a registered dietician working with the disabled. 

“My attitude is, God gave me this body, so I’m going to do the best I can to keep moving forward,” said Mahone, who added she will forever be grateful for the help she received along the way. 

“I couldn’t have done it without the people at Grossmont College,” Mahone said. “I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received as soon as I enrolled. They give you all that you need, everything from workshops for adult learners who are going back to school to a wonderful EOPS program to a tutoring center, a writing center, counselors. You name it.”


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jovonda Reina: finding a home at Cuyamaca College

Jovonda Reina

More than 2,100 graduates will be receiving their degress and certificates from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in June. Here is the story of one graduate.

Jovonda Reina found her home at Cuyamaca College.  

She found her home at Cuyamaca College after being shuffled around so often as a foster child that she attended three different elementary schools in the second grade alone. She found her home at Cuyamaca College after serving for six years as a petroleum supply specialist in the Army National Guard. She found her home at Cuyamaca College after an epiphany led her on a path toward a career working with teens beset by mental health challenges. 

“I love the campus and I love the teachers here,” Reina said. “You really get to know your professors and they really get to know you. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure every student, no matter your background, feels at home and feels they are a part of the campus community. I can’t say enough about what Cuyamaca College has meant to me.” 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Grossmont College grad Sandra Navarro: One course changed her life

More than 2,100 graduates will be getting their degrees and certificates from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in June. Here is the story of one graduate.

Sandra Navarro
Sandra Navarro had long had an interest in sewing, so when the Grossmont College student came across a course on costume construction while perusing through an online class catalog, it didn’t take long for her to sign up.

She got more than she bargained for. Enrolling in the course set in motion a series of events leading to an associate degree from the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Technical Training Program, a costume shop fellowship with the San Diego Repertory Theatre, and acceptance to San Diego State University’s Theatre Arts program for a bachelor’s degree in Design & Technology for Theatre. Navarro’s longer-term vision calls for a master’s degree in the field from UCLA and a career as a costume designer in the movie and theatre industry.

“That one course changed my life,” said Navarro.

Grossmont College can do that.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Grossmont, Cuyamaca graduates to receive record number of degrees, certificates

Graduates of Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have done it again. The two East County colleges will award 4,833 degrees and certificates this year, a 13 percent increase from last year and another record high for the college district.

Much pride and celebration are in store as all eyes turn to commencement ceremonies for 1,581 graduates at Grossmont College June 7 and 656 the following evening at Cuyamaca College. With many students receiving multiple credentials, thousands of graduates will take part in the time-honored processionals. 

Both commencements begin at 5:30 p.m. President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh will lead the 56th annual ceremony in the Main Quad of Grossmont College, at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Cuyamaca College, at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego, will hold its 39th annual ceremony led by President Julianna Barnes in front of B building, the Communication Arts Center. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grossmont College classes unlock minds at Las Colinas jail

San Diego County Sheriff's Department photo  
The inmate journals tell the story best about renewed hope and aspirations that a new program offering Grossmont College classes at Las Colinas jail have brought to the women, the first ever to enroll in college at the facility.

Haydee described the epiphany of lessons learned in a counseling course on College and Career Success, one of three classes offered to inmates at the Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility in Santee. Pathways to Success Academy is a joint pilot program of the college and the jail that provides nine college credits, tutoring and financial aid information to inmates who succeed in the five-month regimen of instruction, homework and tests.

“My (lack of) self-esteem was a crucial part in my life that didn’t let me see anything other than feeling sorry for myself,” wrote Haydee, one of 21 inmates who signed up for the classes. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

10 tips to help you land a new job

 Are you graduating from college soon? Here are some tips from the career centers at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges on how to get a job.

The Great Recession is over. Unemployment is falling to lows that haven’t been seen in recent memory. But finding a job can be more complex than ever. Here are 10 tips that can help you land the position you want.

 1) Know where to look.  Plenty of opportunities are out there. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says well more than 5 million job openings were available nationally in the first quarter of 2017. But you must know where to look. Internet sites such as Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder are especially helpful. Employment links on local, state and federal office websites offer seemingly endless possibilities, along with trade magazines and local chambers of commerce. But don’t forget the obvious: Talk to your professors. Ask your friends. Let people know you are looking.