Friday, April 20, 2018

Annual Careers in Manufacturing tour set to depart from Cuyamaca College on May 3

Military veterans, college students and others looking at their job options are invited to take part in the East County Economic Development Council’s annual Careers in Manufacturing Tour and Panel Series co-hosted by Cuyamaca College on Thursday, May 3.

There is no cost for the event, but online registration is required beforehand.

The event’s purpose is to introduce job seekers to opportunities in the manufacturing sector, and the tour will include visits to both Taylor Guitars and Computer Integrated Machining, Inc. Cuyamaca College will host a complementary lunch and an employers’ panel. Job-training resources will also be available.

 The schedule is as follows:

  • 7:30 to 8 a.m. – Check in at the East County Economic Development Council’s table in Student Lot 5 at Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego, 92019.

  • 8:30 a.m. – Buses depart for tours at Taylor Guitars and Computer Integrated Machining, Inc.
  • Noon to 1:30 p.m. – Complimentary lunch and a manufacturers’ panel at the Cuyamaca College Student Center. Hiring personnel from local manufacturers will be on hand to answer questions.
Sponsoring the tour are Cuyamaca College, Bank of America, Comerica Bank, SDG&E, Silvergate Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
For additional information, contact Elizabeth Liddell of the East County Economic Development Council by calling (619) 258-3670, or by emailing


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

An Evening of Extraordinary Chamber Music

The Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre at Cuyamaca College will be imbued with the music of Tchaikovsky, Joaquin Turina and Juliusz Zarebski when pianist extraordinaire Jessie Chang and the internationally acclaimed Formosa Quartet perform in the penultimate concert of the inaugural East County Harmonics Organization (ECHO) Chamber Music Series on Sunday, April 22, at 6 p.m.

The ECHO Chamber Music Series has been bringing world-class musicians to Cuyamaca College for the community to enjoy. This is the fourth of five ECHO concerts scheduled during the spring.

Jessie Chang has collaborated with major orchestras such as the San Diego Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, among others. She also appeared at the Blossom Festival with The Cleveland Orchestra playing Mozart’s double concerto with her duo-partner and husband, Jahja Ling, the former music director and conductor at the San Diego Symphony. In addition, Chang has been featured at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium, Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium and at 92Y in New York.

Winners of both the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the London International String Quartet Competition, the Formosa Quartet has been described as among the best string quartets of its generation and has given critically acclaimed performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Library of Congress, the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, among other venues. It has recorded on the EMI, New World Records, and Delos labels. Members include cellist Deborah Pae and violinists Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee and Che-Yuen Chen.

Admission is $5 for students, $10 for staff and for those who make advance reservations, and $15 for general admission seats. Tickets can be reserved online.

The ECHO Chamber Music Series is underwritten by Sam Ersan, a vice chair at the San Diego Symphony’s Board of Directors who established the Sam B. Ersan Chamber Music Fund at UC San Diego and whose philanthropy includes founding two chamber music groups, the Camera Lucida piano quartet and the Myriad Trio.

Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego, 92019. For further information, call (619) 660-4288.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Multiple marketing, PR awards for East County college district

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Marketing and Communications Office has been bringing home the honors over the past month with numerous awards

recognizing exemplary marketing, communications, design and public relations efforts.

The district was honored Thursday with five PRO Awards from the Community College Public Relations Organization, a professional development and service organization that seeks to promote excellence in California's community college public relations and related professions. More than 350 entries were submitted from across the state.

The college district’s awards presented at CCPRO’s annual conference held this year in Sacramento:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Grossmont College broadcast student wins international award for radio documentary on disabled veterans

 Perales at campus radio station
Grossmont College broadcast student Alan Perales knows a good story when he sees it.

Accompanying his father on a hospital visit for a combat injury from the Vietnam War, Perales had the idea to chronicle the plight of injured veterans in a radio documentary for a Media Communications class.

 On Sunday, he picked up a first-place international broadcasting award in Las Vegas in the 2018 BEA Festival of Media Arts, billed as the world’s largest digital media and broadcast competition for students and faculty. The Broadcast Education Association is an international professional association for instructors, students and industry professionals in electronic media and multimedia enterprises.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival returns for its 25th anniversary

Up to 5,000 visitors will converge on the Cuyamaca College campus when the annual Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival returns for its 25th year on Saturday, April 28, as the college, The Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum present an array of family-friendly events featuring plant sales, craft vendors, wine tasting and more.

The Cuyamaca College nursery at the 2017 Spring Garden
and Butterfly Festival
The Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum are housed at Cuyamaca College, and all three have scheduled a bevy of activities. Cuyamaca College’s award-winning Ornamental Horticulture Department is hosting its biggest plant sale of the year, with proceeds supplementing the program’s operations. The Water Conservation Garden will be the site of butterfly releases, landscape consultations, a children’s story time with Ms. Metamorphosis, and a pollinator party with Ms. Smarty-Plants. The Heritage of the Americas Museum is presenting a Kumeyaay fire-making and artifacts demonstration, along with docent-led tours.  

“The Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival is a great way for the college, the Water Conservation Garden, and the Heritage of the Americas Museum to highlight the innovative programs we offer to the community,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “It’s also an awesome way to spend a Saturday.”
More than 80 vendors, craftspeople and artisans will be on hand at Cuyamaca College’s Grand Lawn and in the Garden. The Grand Lawn will also house information booths and presentations from nearly two dozen Cuyamaca College academic and student programs. The Child Development Department, for example, is organizing activities for small children. Graphic design professors will discuss pathways to rewarding careers. And computer information systems instructors will detail how Cuyamaca College is putting people to work in high-demand fields such as cyber security.

The popular event, one of the largest in San Diego’s East County, has its roots in the Spring Garden Festival launched 25 years ago by the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College. In 2017, it combined forces with the annual Butterfly Festival, which took flight after the Water Conservation Garden opened its Butterfly Pavilion in 2014.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Employers flocking to career fair at Cuyamaca College

The military will be recruiting at the career expo.
Polish your resume and practice your elevator speech. A record number of employers will be recruiting at the 26th annual East County Career Expo set for Wednesday, April 25, at Cuyamaca College. 

Free and open to the public, the expo is set for 9:30- a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is expected to draw at least 65 businesses, companies and industries looking to hire. In past years, nearly 100 attendees have left with job offers and nearly that many job interviews have been lined up, thanks to the popular event. Sponsored by Cuyamaca College, America's Job Center of California and the East County Career Center, the expo will be held at the  Student Center, Room I-207.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cuyamaca College students take top honors at Cesar Chavez scholarship competition

Iveth Estrada Reyes
Cuyamaca College student Iveth Estrada Reyes was honored at the March 26 Cesar E. Chavez Community Breakfast in Downtown San Diego with the top prize in a community college essay competition – a $1,000 scholarship and a new laptop computer. 

“It was an awesome experience,” said Estrada, a sociology major who has been accepted to several of the University of California and California State University campuses she’s applied to for this fall. “I’ve never entered anything like this in the past, but it’s been very motivating and I’m going to have to pursue similar opportunities in the future.”

Fellow Cuyamaca College student Likaa Mohamad took Honorable Mention in the essay competition; Estrada and Mohamad were the only two community college students who were honored.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Salsa Under the Stars: Grossmont College music scholarship fundraiser

Following last year’s successful debut that drew some 400 music fans and raised thousands of dollars for student scholarships, Grossmont College’s “Salsa Under the Stars” returns Friday, April 13, to the Main Quad.

Complete with free dance lessons at 5:30 p.m., the music department’s sole outdoor concert event of the year showcases the hip-swaying jazz and salsa sounds of music instructor and internationally known salsa bandleader, composer and recording artist Manny Cepeda.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture students blossom at national competition

The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture program is turning heads after yet another standout performance at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition.

Cuyamaca College OH students and instrcutor Donald Schultz (top right)
 Nine students took part in the 42nd annual event, and their average score topped the average scores for students at any of the 62 colleges and universities taking part in the competition at Alamance Community College in North Carolina. Competing against major institutions such as Brigham Young University, Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia, Cuyamaca College was the only school with three students finishing among the top 25 in total points.
Cuyamaca placed fifth overall nationally among the community colleges taking part in the competition. It finished ahead of numerous large universities, including Iowa State, Auburn, and Illinois State.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Scholar finds a home at Grossmont College

Debbie Oliveira
Debbie Oliveira moved from Brazil to pursue her dream of launching a career in engineering. Thanks to Grossmont College, the honors student is steadily moving in that direction.

“I love it here,” said Oliveira, who is on track to earn an associate degree that will prepare her for a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from San Diego State University. “It’s a beautiful campus and it has a lot to offer. The support services are really good, too. I feel like I get all the information I need whenever I ask for it.”

Oliveira has found her journey to Grossmont College rewarding in more ways than one. The president of the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she was recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.

Those her know her say Oliveira is deserving of the recognition.

“Throughout the year I’ve known Debbie as her English teacher and honors club advisor, she’s impressed me with her intense focus and commitment,” said instructor Catherine Sayre. “She constantly remains in control and committed to each of her many classes, clubs, and friends.”

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Former Cuyamaca College president donates $1 million to college district

         From his own experience as a community college student to his time as president of Cuyamaca College, Sam Ciccati knows firsthand the transformative value of education. 
          Through his $1 million gift to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District announced Tuesday night, scholarships and assistance will be offered to Cuyamaca College students for years to come.

Sam Ciccati
“I hope with this gift there will be students who would never get to college who will now get to go,” Ciccati said. “Then they’ll be successful and pass this on to the next generation.”  

         The gift, the largest ever received by the East County college district, was announced at the district’s Governing Board meeting. The agreement calls for Ciccati to fund the donation over 10 years, creating an endowment that will allow the college to receive the money in perpetuity.

        In recognition of the gift, the performing arts center at Cuyamaca College will be known as the Samuel M. Ciccati Performing Arts Center, and the theater will be called the Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre. The formal unveiling of the new name will be held at an event next fall during Cuyamaca College’s 40th anniversary celebration. 

          District Chancellor Cindy L. Miles noted that Ciccati’s gift will complement the college district’s effort to open the doors to higher education for more students through the Grossmont & Cuyamaca College Promise scholarship, which will offer a free year of college to first-time, full-time students beginning this fall.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jazz great Charles McPherson to visit Cuyamaca College

Here’s music to the ears of jazz fans: legendary jazz saxophonist Charles McPherson will give a free talk and music demonstration April 5 at Cuyamaca College.

 “Conversations with a Legend: Charles McPherson,” organized by communication instructor Lindy Brazil as part of her class, “Arts and Culture in San Diego,” is set for 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Cuyamaca College’s Digital Theater, Room B-101. The event is open to the public.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Four from East County college district receive national awards for contributions to community colleges

Three instructors from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and an administrator from the East County community college district are recipients of a national award recognizing community college teaching and leadership. Biology professor Michael Golden and German instructor Astrid Ronke of Grossmont College; math department chair Tammi Marshall of Cuyamaca College, and Associate Vice Chancellor Chris Tarman with the district office will be presented the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards March 21 at the Innovations 2018 conference in National Harbor, Maryland. 

The award is from the League for Innovation in the Community College, a consortium of nearly 500 community colleges and their districts worldwide. Launched in 2012, the award is named after two visionary community college leaders.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Uhmbaya Laury: Overcoming the Odds to Succeed at Grossmont College

“…One day, I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to do my homework without choking on the stench of crack smoke when I find myself staring at a pregnant teenage girl, stoned out of her mind and slumped in the corner. What will become of her baby? I wonder. What chance will it have in life?”

Uhmbaya Laury
Grossmont College student Uhmbaya Laury is more than a survivor. Coming of age as the crack epidemic began ripping through her Southeast San Diego neighborhood in the 1980s, Laury watched helplessly as the powerfully addictive drug transformed friends and family alike into a shell of their former selves. Determined to steer clear of the narcotic, Laury remained hopeful that her situation would improve – even while being forced to move 14 times in a seven-year period as her crack-addicted mother was evicted from home after home. 

Now Laury, who is helping other students through her job at the Grossmont College CalWORKS office, is telling her story through her new book, Why My Cup? How I Overcame Growing Up in a Crack House. She’s also on her way toward earning an associate degree in child development en route to a bachelor’s degree in social work or psychology.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

From Paris to Cuyamaca College, With Love

Wulfran Trenet was a successful composer working in Paris when he learned about Cuyamaca College, moved halfway across the world and enrolled at the Rancho San Diego campus to study the sciences. His life hasn’t been the same since.

After completing his studies at Cuyamaca, Trenet earned a chemical engineering degree from UC San Diego and is now applying to graduate school with hopes of being accepted to Johns Hopkins University. In the meantime, he’s 
Wulfran Trenet
back at Cuyamaca as a tutor working with students studying chemistry, engineering and physics.

“This college means so much to me, and I was missing it even when I was at UCSD,” Trenet said. “I love this campus, I love the location, I love the instructors. So I came back to pass on the knowledge that I learned here. I wanted to pay back what I had received.”

Trenet, 47, had never heard about Cuyamaca College while growing up in Paris and embarking on a successful career as a composer – he’s recorded more than 400 tracks in all – for a company that provides music for television shows, fashion events, movies and more.
The nephew of famed French singer and songwriter Charles Trenet, Trenet said he began to take an interest in neuroscience when his father was battling depression. “When you think about it, music has a lot in common with neuroscience,” Trenet said. “First of all, music is very mathematical – the distance and time between the notes and silences, for example. And the combination of notes in making a chord is very similar in many ways to how atoms combine to make a compound or molecule.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges laud winning faculty

Tom Bugzavich
Scott Herrin
Janet Gelb

Cuyamaca College instructors in health education and graphic design and an expert in online learning at Grossmont College have been lauded as among the academic year’s top faculty at the two East County campuses.

Janet Gelb, distance education coordinator at Grossmont College, received the President’s Leadership Award, one of the highest honors recognizing distinguished service to the college. At Cuyamaca College, Scott Herrin, a former dean who decided last year to return to the classroom as a health education instructor, received the 2018 Award for Teaching Excellence. Tom Bugzavich, a graphic design instructor, was the part-time faculty recipient of the same award.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cuyamaca College launches groundbreaking new concert series

An East County benefactor who has helped transform the San Diego chamber music landscape is underwriting a new series of concerts at Cuyamaca College’s Performing Arts Theatre featuring renowned international musicians who have impressed audiences as far away as the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow.

            The concerts are part of a newly launched ECHO Chamber Music Series, with ECHO being an acronym for the East County Harmonics Organization. The series begins Feb. 17 with Bomsori Kim (violin) and Drew Petersen (piano). Kim captured the 62nd ARD International Music Competition, a prestigious classical music event in Munich, Germany; Petersen won the 2017 American Pianists Award for classical music.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Black History Month at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

A presentation at Grossmont College that links educating African-American boys and men to the Black Lives Matter movement and a celebration at Cuyamaca College honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are among the events planned in February for Black History Month. 

San Diego State University Professor J. Luke Wood’s presentation at 2 p.m. Feb. 7 at Griffin Gate on “Black Minds Matter: The Findings” centers on a free, online public course he coordinated that addresses the experiences and realities of black males in education. The class, which features guest lectures, speeches, and interviews with key leaders in the field, draws parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and ways that black minds are engaged in the classroom.

The public course is an offshoot of the full course offered last fall to students in SDSU’s graduate program in education. The seven-part public course was recorded and is available for viewing on Youtube.

Karla Garcia Garduño: A promising future in limbo

Karla Garcia Garduño has dreams for her future: she wants to get her bachelor’s and law degree after she graduates from Grossmont College, then become an immigration attorney so she can help others who have come to the United States from another country. 

But Karla’s future is uncertain until the political controversy surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is resolved by legislators. Karla, 20, is a DACA student who doesn’t know if she’ll be able to fulfill her dreams or be forced to return to a country she doesn’t know. 
“I’m living my life in limbo,” she said.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fourth Annual powwow at Cuyamaca College

Cuyamaca College’s Native American Student Alliance is hosting its 4th Annual Powwow on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Communication Arts complex quad in the center of the picturesque Rancho San Diego campus. The free, public event celebrates American Indian culture with a variety of activities including bird singing, gourd dancing and storytelling steeped in spiritual significance.

“Today’s powwows really help bring an awareness of Native American culture to the surrounding community and help expose the larger population to the history of our people,” said Teka Tsosie, who helped organize the first Cuyamaca College Powwow four years ago and is a former president of the Native American Student Alliance. “It’s really gratifying to see how this event has grown over the years.”

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A homecoming for Cuyamaca College's new vice president of student services

Jessica Robinson
The first time Jessica Robinson stepped onto the Cuyamaca College campus some 20 years ago, she was, she recalled, completely unsure of herself. No one in her family had ever studied beyond high school, and she had no idea what kind of career to pursue.

Those doubts didn’t last very long. Within minutes, Robinson realized she had found a new home. She began connecting with instructors and counselors who guided her along a path that would lead to an associate degree at Cuyamaca College, and a bachelor of arts degree in social work, a master’s degree in social work and a doctor of education in educational leadership from San Diego State University, not to mention a career at SDSU that culminated with being named as Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
On Jan. 22, Robinson returned to Cuyamaca College as the new Vice President of Student Services.

Monday, January 22, 2018

College district's 14-year record of spotless independent audits remains intact

Continuing a winning streak that would be envy of any sports franchise, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s excellent fiscal practices have once again received top marks from independent auditors for the 14th straight year.
A rendering of the new Theatre Arts building at Grossmont.

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board was presented last week with unblemished reports detailing the district’s general audit, as well as independent reviews of the financials of the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, the district’s auxiliary, and the management of Proposition V, the construction bond funds approved by East County voters in 2012.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Grossmont Theatre Arts to open spring 2018 season

Grossmont College’s Theatre Arts Department will kick off its spring 2018 season with its 12th annual Inside the Actor’s Process production, this time focusing on classical theater.

Directed by Benjamin Cole, “Inside the Actor’s Process: Classical” will be offered to the public for one weekend at the Stagehouse Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 3, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Feb. 3. The play, which provides audiences a peek at the actors’ process of discovering their characters, features Grossmont College Theatre Arts students performing vignettes of classics penned by Moliere, Ibsen, Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Oliver Goldsmith in today’s modern language.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Cuyamaca College conference aimed at bolstering numbers of women in the water industry

          California Community Colleges Executive Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan, a nationally recognized workforce development leader, will be the keynote speaker at a Jan. 18 Cuyamaca College conference promoting career opportunities for women in the water industry – opportunities that will continue to flourish because of an aging workforce.       

         Cuyamaca College's new Center for Water Studies is working with the National Science Foundation to increase the number of women in the water and wastewater industry, and the Women in Water: Exploring Career Pathways symposium is the latest part in that effort.
             “Women are increasingly taking leadership roles in the water industry thanks to events like this one and the efforts of schools like Cuyamaca College to train a new generation,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “I’m confident that the industry and our communities will benefit from a workforce that includes a greater diversity of experiences, perspectives and problem-solving strategies. Women can – and should – be a vital part of that next wave.”
Van Ton-Quinlivan
            Women in Water: Exploring Career Pathways is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Cuyamaca College Student Center. A variety of water industry officials will lead panel discussions aimed at both those interested in launching a new career in the field and those who are already in the field but are looking for an opportunity to advance. Panelists will include women who have gone on to enjoy successful careers with water agencies and interns who are breaking into the field. Ton-Quinlivan, who was recently promoted to Executive Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Digital Futures, is set to speak at noon.
        “Van Ton-Quinlivan is known throughout California as a visionary with a laser focus on supporting programs that are impacting thousands of residents by creating and supporting career training, and we are honored to have her speak at the Women in Water conference,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “That she will be at this important event the same day we open our Field Operations Skills Yard really underscores the role that Cuyamaca is playing in driving the regional economy.”