Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cuyamaca College 'Diversity Dialogues' tackle discrimination, understanding

Religious intolerance, sexual discrimination and the female Latinx experience will be among the topics tackled during Cuyamaca College’s spring lineup of Diversity Dialogues, which gets under way Feb. 5 with a session focusing on Native American culture and tradition.
“Cuyamaca College is committed to a culture of inclusion, and Diversity Dialogues is among the efforts that have established our campus as a leader in building sparking discussion and understanding among various ethnic and religious groups,” said Dean of Student Affairs Lauren Vaknin. “We have lined up an array of experts in their field, and we encourage students, faculty, staff and members of the community to join us for this spring’s series of workshops.”

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Cuyamaca College student selected for prestigious NASA program

Rita Koda
Rita Koda was working as an insurance agent when she decided to give school another try. Good thing she did. Now in her second year at Cuyamaca College, Koda, 23, has been selected to take part in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars experience at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena this summer.
“I was pretty surprised,” said the physics major. “It was a very last-minute thing for me in filling out the application. But I’m really excited and really looking forward to it.”
Koda recently completed a five-week, online NASA course that included researching the Evolvable Mars Campaign, taking part in live video chats with NASA experts and completing several mission design challenges. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Koda will spend four days meeting with NASA engineers and researchers, touring NASA’s Pasadena facility, learning about internship opportunities and working with a team responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Road from Ethiopia to Grossmont College Leads to Success

Amanuel Mikre
Amanuel Mikre believes in creating your own destiny. With the help of Grossmont College – and a deep faith in God – he’s creating his.

“You could whine and complain when things aren’t going right, but only you can change your path,” said the 23-year-old finance major. “Nobody else can.”

Mikre speaks from experience. After an aimless first year of community college in Kansas, Mikre moved to San Diego, enrolled at Grossmont, found the support he needed, became a straight-A student, will graduate this spring, and is hoping to transfer this fall to San Diego State University en route to becoming a financial advisor.

His accomplishments resulted in Mikre being honored with an Osher Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. It is an award that is well deserved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

College District's 15-year streak of flawless audits remains unbroken

For the 15th year in a row, independent auditors who reviewed the finances of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and its Proposition V bond funding gave the highest opinion possible of the district’s fiscal practices.
Prop. V, a construction bond, received a flawless audit.

The Governing Board received the audit reports last week for the district, the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and the district’s auxiliary. At the request of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, a separate auditor reviewed the finances of Prop. V, the $398 million construction bond approved by East County voters in 2012, and also gave a positive report. 

“The spotless audit reports reflect our efforts to spend taxpayer money wisely and to be transparent in how we handle our finances,” said Cindy L. Miles, district chancellor. “This didn’t come easily. They are the results of lots of effort by our fiscal team and many people throughout the district.”

Friday, January 18, 2019

Center for Water Studies gives program more depth

It’s official. The Cuyamaca College’s Center for Water Studies is open for business and the program formerly known by the clunky title, Water and Wastewater Technology, is brandishing a new name.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art Field Operations Skills Yard and a newly renovated L Building complete with a water quality analysis laboratory, renovated classrooms and workshops for back flow, cross-connection controls and related hands-on courses, the Center for Water Studies was dedicated during a Jan. 17 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

“Nobody else west of the Rockies is doing what we’re doing here,” said Don Jones, who has overseen the transformation of Cuyamaca College’s Water and Wastewater Technology program into the Center for Water Studies.

The Center for Water Studies has been years in the making. In 2013, Cuyamaca College hosted a two-day meeting of water industry and community college managers to discuss how to train California's next generation of water industry professionals. What emerged was a strategy focusing on the importance of regional, ongoing partnerships between education and industry.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grossmont College's Theatre Arts launches 2019 spring season

The Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department’s spring season gets under way Feb. 1 with the 14th annual Inside the Actors Process: Monsters, Magic, and Mischief, followed by original productions of Spring Awakening in March and Failure: A Love Story in May.

Inside the Actors Process is an annual production that will be appearing at more than a dozen local high schools throughout the region as part of an ongoing effort at exposing teen audiences to the art of acting. Coordinated by Benjamin Cole, Inside the Actors Process: Monsters, Magic, and Mischief will be performed for the public at the Stagehouse Theatre on Feb. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Resilient Grossmont College student Quincy Hollings

Quincy Hollings
Quincy Hollings found himself at Grossmont College.

A product of San Diego’s impoverished City Heights neighborhood and raised by a single mom who worked two jobs to support him and his younger sister, Hollings said the backing he found at Grossmont College has set him on a path toward becoming an English teacher. Hollings, 21, is majoring in English, works as an English tutor, has a grade point average of 3.7, and has received acceptance letters from San Francisco State University and California State University Channel Islands while awaiting word from several University of California campuses, San Diego State University, and others.
“If I were to describe myself with one word, that word would be resilient,” Hollings said. “There have been numerous circumstances which have threatened to slow my progression as a person, as well as a student. Yet I am a full-time, first-generation college student who continues to strive for greatness.” His accomplishments in the face of diversity resulted in Hollings being honored with an Umoja Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges during a Jan. 12 awards ceremony at Cuyamaca College. He hopes the award will be the first of many that will enable him to complete his educational goals.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Scholarships awarded to more than 200 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students

Scholarship award winners
Almost $118,000 in scholarships were awarded to 216 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students on Saturday in a ceremony that highlighted the struggles many of the students have overcome and the bright futures ahead of them because of their education.

“We believe in you and we’re investing in you,” Sally Cox, CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, told the scholarship students at the event held at Cuyamaca College.

The scholarships were created from a variety of sources, including private donors who want to honor a deceased family member or colleague; businesses that want to assist college students with their education; or college departments that want to find another way to serve their students.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cuyamaca College Powwow set for Feb. 2

A participant in the 2018 Cuyamaca College Powwow
Update: Because of a prediction of steady rain, the Powwow will be held on the second floor of the Cuyamaca College Student Center.

Native American tribes from throughout the West will be well represented at Cuyamaca College’s 5th Annual Powwow on Feb. 2 – a free, public event celebrating American Indian culture complete with bird singing, gourd dancing, storytelling, and more.

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the powwow, which is scheduled to commence with singers at 10 a.m., followed by gourd dancing at 11 a.m. and the grand entry of inter-tribal dances at noon. The powwow takes place at the Cuyamaca College Student Center and continues until 8 p.m.

A variety of traditional Native-American food will be on menu, including fry bread and Indian tacos, and an abundance of Native-American arts and crafts will be on sale.

Serving as powwow master of ceremonies is Randy Edmonds, who hails from the Kiowa and Caddo nations of Oklahoma and who has served as a powwow emcee for more than a half century. Victor Chavez is the arena director, Robert RedBear Solis is the head man, and Katianna Warren is the head woman. The Asha Takuk Bird Singers will share the traditional song of the Kumeyaay, and the Calpulli Mexihca Aztec Dancers will perform during a dinner break.

The powwow is sponsored by Cuyamaca College’s Native American Student Alliance, the Division of Equity & Engagement, Student Affairs and Associated Student Government.

The word powwow is the Anglicized version of the Algonquian term pau-wau, or pauau – which means “he dreams” – and referred to a religious gathering of medicine men and spiritual leaders. The modern-day powwow is rooted in a Pawnee religious ceremony dating to the early 19th century. Southern California powwow tradition includes bird singing, which tells the history of the Native American people.
Cuyamaca College has a long history of supporting Native-American students and Native-American studies. Its name comes from the Kumeyaay phrase “Ekwiiyemak” – which means “behind the clouds,” “above the rains,” and “the place where the rains come from the heavens” – and the campus is located on traditional Kumeyaay territory. Cuyamaca College became among the first community colleges in California to offer a degree program focusing on the language, culture, and history of a specific Native-American tribe when it unveiled its associate degree program in Kumeyaay Studies in 2015.

In addition, Cuyamaca College at the powwow will unveil the Richard DeCrane Native Community Leaders Scholarship. DeCrane spent the early years of his life on the Crow Reservation in Montana before moving as a young boy to the Navajo Nation, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. A Navy veteran, DeCrane has long been involved in the Cuyamaca College Native American community. The Richard DeCrane Native Community Leaders Scholarship will be awarded each spring and fall. The $500 scholarship is open to all majors, but recipients must be a member of the Native American Student Alliance at Cuyamaca College.