Monday, August 2, 2021

Grossmont College Computer Science students Cyber Cup champs

Scott Graham and Gerald Wolf embody the excellence of the Computer Science and Information Systems program at Grossmont College. After all, what else can you say about a pair of computer programming students who, at the last minute, decided to enter the 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge and ended up taking top honors and winning $5,500 in scholarships for the college?

“Honestly, neither of us thought we’d do this well,” Graham said of the two-person Grossmont College team, dubbed Reverse Shells By the C-Shore. “I mean, there were only two of us. The average team had six to eight people. But it turned out to be an absolute success on so many levels.”

The 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge was held from February 15 through May 31. Sponsored in part by the Department of Defense, the 12th annual SoCal Cyber Cup is aimed at providing extensive training and mentorship to participating students interested in a future in the growing field of cybersecurity.

Fall 2021: Help for all students; more in-person classes for vaccinated students

Some Zoom Rooms will be added.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are preparing for the fall 2021 semester with the start of a return to the campuses that includes more in-person classes and a continuing focus on helping students face the impacts of COVID-19.

To safely return to in-person, on-campus classes and services, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has concluded that all students attending face-to-face classes or seeking access to in-person services on the campuses are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 16, 2021.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

CDC coordinator's career more than child's play

Maura Mehrian remembers the date clearly. “August 1, 1995,” Mehrian recalled. “I was a single mom raising two kids and going from low-paying job to unemployment to low-paying job. I opened up my mailbox, saw the government assistance check and said, ‘That’s it. There has got to be a better way.’”

Indeed, there was; Grossmont College was just down the street. Mehrian set up an appointment with a counselor and transformed her life through an educational journey that began with earning an associate degree in child development from Grossmont College and included securing a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in the subject from San Diego State University.

Today, Mehrian serves as the Grossmont College Child Development Center coordinator and embodies the impact Grossmont College has in the region as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this fall.

“Grossmont College saved me,” Mehrian said. “I am Grossmont.”

Monday, July 12, 2021

Topping out ceremony for Cuyamaca College's Student Services Building

A ceremonial topping out is set for Tuesday, July 13, at 9:00 a.m. for a three-story Student Services Building under construction at Cuyamaca College, a milestone representing nearly a decade’s effort to centralize student support at the campus.

The topping out marks that construction has reached its highest point. The public event will include an opportunity for members of the college community to sign a construction beam before it is lifted by a crane, along with an American flag and an evergreen tree, atop the frame of the 36,000-square-foot center. The tree is a construction practice that symbolizes good luck for the future occupants, continued growth, and a safe jobsite.

At a groundbreaking ceremony in February, President Julianna Barnes described the center as a welcoming campus gateway and a long-awaited hub for students to engage and receive support services, such as counseling, financial aid, admissions, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and CalWORKS.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Grossmont College holding virtual open house for Adult Reentry program

Returning to school years – even decades – after one’s last classroom experience can be a daunting experience.

Grossmont College’s Adult Reentry program, geared to help adult learners reacclimate and succeed as students, is conducting a virtual open house from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, in preparation for the fall 2021 semester starting Aug. 16. The free workshop is open to the public and will cover topics including:

·      Admissions and course registration assistance

·      In-demand program and short-term training

·      Financial aid and scholarship opportunities

·      Meeting college administrators and staff

·      Student services and resources

·      Exploring careers and majors

·      Student success stories

·      Taking a virtual campus tour

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Grossmont College grad turns 60 on same day as college's 60th commencement

 For Caesar Mazahreh, June 9, 2021 was a milestone: celebrating his 60th birthday and ceremonial tassel turn on the same day as Grossmont College’s 60th commencement.

 “I informed my daughter of the coincidence and she said, ‘Dad, you are as old as Grossmont College,’” said Mazahreh, who earned associate degrees in Business Administration, Economics and a certificate of achievement in University Studies with a 3.6 grade point average.

 Mazahreh first came to Grossmont College 41 years ago right after graduating from high school in Jordan. He lived with his brother, who was attending San Diego State University. After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Mazahreh’s brother returned to his home country.

 Alone and struggling academically his first time at Grossmont College, the young Mazahreh lost his financial aid and ended up dropping out, working odd jobs to get by.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Grossmont College offers free Office Professional Training

Candy McLaughlin
Office Professional Training, the free, one-semester program at Grossmont College that has produced more than 2,600 well-prepared office workers and placed some 85 percent into jobs over the past 35 years, is gearing up for its fall 2021 term.

Virtual information meetings are set for June 22 and July 13 for students interested in enrolling in the July 26-Dec. 19 online classes. OPT is a full-time, 20-week, free job-training program that teaches eight core subjects: business English; job search; keyboarding; Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook; social media basics and office procedures.  Students also select specializations in accounting, insurance, medical office, or office support.

“OPT is truly an amazing program,” said Candy McLaughlin, the Business Office Technology lab specialist who assists with OPT. “We pay for tuition and lend textbooks to students. We also have a career placement specialist and a licensed counselor who are solely dedicated to OPT. There is so much support for students.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Grossmont College grads show their drive

Driven to Succeed

Grossmont College grads celebrated June 8, 2021, with a drive-thru procession one day before their virtual commencement ceremony. 

The in-car event gave students an opportunity to show up in their regalia, decorate their cars and be greeted by faculty, administrators and staff lining the college's perimeter road.

Sister campus Cuyamaca College is scheduled hold a similar celebration June 9, the day before its virtual commencement.

Nearly 1,790 graduates from the two colleges are set to receive more than 4,850 associate degrees and certificates of achievement.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Celebrations to honor about 1,800 graduates

Melissa Shields, left, and Shanae James-May
 The graduating classes of 2021 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are holding their commencements virtually, with drive-thru processions the day before for more jovial -- but still safe – celebrations.

Almost 1,790 graduates from the two colleges will receive 4,854 degrees and certificates in virtual ceremonies to be held 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, for Grossmont College and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10 for Cuyamaca College.

Digital presentations of electronic slides featuring the accomplishments of individual graduates will take the place of the traditional processional. Because of COVID-19 safety protocols, the colleges opted for online commencements to protect the health and safety of the community. The drive-thru events give the graduates an opportunity to dress in their regalia, decorate their cars, have photos taken and be congratulated by faculty and staff along the route.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Melissa Shields: Grossmont College commencement speaker

Melissa Shields is proof that all things are possible for those who believe in themselves, especially when they work hard and get the support they need to succeed.

At age 53, the Grossmont College student commencement speaker is a first-generation, African American college graduate. But she didn’t always have the confidence in her academic abilities as she does today. As a young adult, Shields believed that she was unintelligent. After her parents’ divorce, she dropped out of high school at 18. Then, life happened, and she became a wife and  mom. As her children grew up, she realized that she had a limited ability to assist them with their homework. She was also embarrassed and ashamed to tell her children that she had not graduated high school.

Shanae James-May: Cuyamaca College commencement speaker

Shanae James-May is a Communications and Behavioral Science major at Cuyamaca College, where she has been selected as the commencement speaker for the June 10 virtual ceremony. She is transferring to San Diego State University to purse a degree in Urban Planning and Development.

Like many college students, in her five years at Cuyamaca College Shanae juggled a full-time job, a family with small children, school, and community volunteer work. She took a break from school, but persisted after finding a better way to organize her responsibilities, and with the support of her husband and family. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grossmont College's Hyde Art Gallery presents student art showcase

The relocated Hyde Art Gallery, now housed in Grossmont College’s new Performing and Visual Arts Center, is presenting its Spring 2021 Remote Student Art Showcase through June 17. 

This semester the gallery received more than 200 submissions from students currently enrolled in the various programs within the Visual Arts & Humanities Department. The artwork is available for viewing at

In addition to the virtual exhibit, the gallery is excited to present highlights from each class in the PVAC window display. The PVAC recently celebrated its completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center is expected to officially open in spring 2022, when in-person classes will be back in full and the facility is will operate as a lab facility for performance and visual arts programs and as a performance and art exhibit venue.

These are the first works to be displayed in the new gallery space and it represents the beginning of in-person exhibitions at Grossmont College. 

Although the campus is still closed, these works can be viewed along the pathway in front of the
Performing and Visual Arts Center building at the edge of campus in Parking Lot1. Just scan the QR code posted on the gallery window for more information about each piece displayed. 

As always, please use caution, remain appropriately socially distanced, and wear a mask when necessary.

Friday, May 21, 2021

College district support staff lauded for excellence

Nashona Andrade, Sam Rigby, Chancellor Neault, Natalija Worrell 

 A mentor for former foster youth, a key worker at a child development center and a professional development expert were lauded at a college district Governing Board meeting Tuesday night for epitomizing excellence.

Nashona Andrade, a District Services Professional Development specialist; Sam Rigby, Grossmont College  NextUp specialist; and Natalija Worrell, Cuyamaca College Child Development technician, each received the 2020-2021 Chancellor and Classified Senate Award recognizing the excellence of classified, or non-instructional, staff at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

“This annual award recognizes the exemplary work of the best of our classified professionals whose skills and collaboration help us to better serve students and the community,” Chancellor Lynn Neault said. “This year’s award focused on the districtwide commitment to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion within our institution. The three award recipients strongly reflect this priority in the work that they do.”

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center completion celebrated


Grossmont College celebrated the completion of the Performing and Visual Arts Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the new landmark structure on the El Cajon campus.

With its dramatic steel and glass exterior and soaring

roofline, the $44 million center at the front of the campus is aesthetically remarkable. What it means for the community as a new performance venue and for students in the college’s performing and visual arts programs is beyond measure. Its professional-grade features and size will encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration, promising to enrich Grossmont College’s arts offerings and to improve training for students on stage and behind the scenes.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Denise Whisenhunt selected as new Grossmont College president

Denise Whisenhunt
An educator with more than two decades of experience in higher education has been selected as the next president of Grossmont College.

Denise Whisenhunt, who now works as Vice President of Student Services at San Diego City College, was selected for the position by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Lynn Neault. She will start her new position July 1, pending contract approval by the Governing Board.

“With the many challenges facing our district as we emerge from the pandemic and build back enrollment, Ms. Whisenhunt will bring a fresh perspective toward building a strong future,” Neault said. “She has an engaging style of leadership and will work collaboratively with all groups to promote the best interests of the college.”

Whisenhunt has been in her current position since 2013. As Vice President for Student Services, she provides leadership for a wide range of programs, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, programs for disabled students, and veteran services. She also served for 14 months beginning in May 2106 as Interim President of San Diego City College until a permanent president was selected.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Ground broken for second phase of Grossmont College Science, Math and Career Complex

With the turning of shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony this morning, construction has officially begun at Grossmont College on the second phase of a science, math and career technology complex, which will also house a new Veterans Resource Center.

The much-anticipated $36.2 million project will greatly expand classroom, lab and office spaces for programs including Physical Geography and Oceanography, Human Geography and Social Sciences, Math and Geology.

Governing Board President Brad Monroe thanked East County taxpayers for supporting Proposition V, the 2012 bond measure that is financing the new building and other construction and renovation projects at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

“This building will demonstrate to the community that their investment in our college district through the passage of Proposition V was well spent,” Monroe said. “This building will serve tens of thousands of students in the years to come.”

Interim Grossmont College President Marsha Gable said she is excited about the new space for veterans, which will be a one-stop center providing counseling, tutoring and a social space for the college’s student veteran population.

“With a prime location on Griffin Drive, the new Veterans Resource Center will be an easily accessible space for Grossmont College to help hundreds of former and active military, reservists and their dependents reach their educational goals,” Gable said. The event was livestreamed on the college’s YouTube channel.

Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said the new center is a milestone project updating a cluster of aging buildings badly in need of renovation and reconstruction to accommodate new technology and other pressing student needs. It is targeted for completion by spring 2023.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges mark AAPI Heritage Month

May marks national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are hosting a series of virtual events starting with a May 4 AAPI Read-in and continuing through May 25 with workshops and presentations.

All events are free and open to the public, with links to Cuyamaca’s workshops posted on its Culture & Community Circle Workshops page and Grossmont College’s on its Asian Pacific Islander page.

“This year’s slate of events, along with a host of earlier workshops focusing on AAPI issues, are especially timely after the Senate’s passage this month of a landmark anti-Asian hate crimes bill,” said Daniela Sow, coordinator of Grossmont College’s event.

The Atlanta shootings in March of six Asian women and the rise of anti-Asian violence over the past year provided the momentum for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, sponsored by New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng and Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

East County college district wins statewide marketing awards

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s marketing efforts have garnered statewide recognition.

Anne Krueger, district Communications and Public Information Director, has been presented with the All Pro Award by the Community College Public Relations Organization, an organization that promotes marketing excellence among California’s 116 community colleges.

The All Pro award is a lifetime achievement award honoring the best in the business. Krueger, an 11-year district administrator, has been an active member of CCPRO, including two years as president and two years as past president.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee issues annual report

Cuyamaca Ornamental Horticulture Bldg
The bond-funded construction projects modernizing the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College campuses are highlighted in a citizens’ oversight committee annual report released this week.

The 2020 Annual Report by the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee highlights progress in the past year on the construction work funded by Prop. V, the $398 million bond measure approved by East County voters in 2012.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Registration now open for summer classes

Registration is now open for the June 14-Aug. 5 summer session and both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are adding resources to help students earn units to get a jump start on the fall semester.

Classes will continue to be offered mostly online for the summer with an eye toward an anticipated partial return to campus for the fall. In addition to the eight-week class sessions, two six-week sessions running June 14-July 22 and June 28-Aug. 5 are also being offered.

A limited number of summer classes will meet on campus, particularly career technical education and laboratory classes that are difficult to deliver remotely. Those classes include chemistry labs, cardiovascular technology, culinary arts, English as a Second Language, exercise science and wellness, orthopedic technology and theatre arts at Grossmont College. At Cuyamaca College, in-person classes include those in exercise science and ornamental horticulture.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

College and school district board reaffirm commitment to Alliance


The governing boards of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and two East County school districts held a joint meeting this week to reaffirm their commitment toward working together to provide students a clear path from high school to college and a career.

This was the second joint meeting of the boards for the college district, the Grossmont Union High School District and the Mountain Empire Unified School District. The first was held in 2019, and the 2020 meeting was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three districts have joined together in the East County Education Alliance, and board members from the three districts in their joint meeting, reaffirmed their  promise to fulfill the Alliance’s mission to help students have a seamless transition from high school to college and to prepare students for the workforce.

Grossmont Union High School District operates 13 high schools in East County, while the Mountain Empire district runs Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley. Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges serve about 20,000 students.

“The collaborative work of the Alliance is vital to provide our students a clear pathway to their futures,” said Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “As educators, we recognize our obligation to prepare students for  careers with sustainable wages and a promising future.”

Friday, April 16, 2021

Three finalists chosen for Grossmont College presidency

Three educators with extensive experience working at community colleges have been chosen as finalists to be the next Grossmont College president.

Grossmont College in El Cajon, with more than 15,000 students, is known for its high transfer rates to four-year universities and renowned career education programs such as Nursing and Allied Health, Administration of Justice and Culinary Arts.

The position of Grossmont College president opened when Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, who led the college since 2015, announced his retirement last fall.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival to celebrate 25th year

The Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival has special reasons to celebrate its April 26-29 run: its 25th anniversary and its return after a one-year COVID hiatus.

Although its comeback will be virtual in keeping with health protocols, the spirit and intent of the weeklong festival put on by the English Department’s Creative Writing program remain the same: to highlight poetry, memoirs, literature, and student writings, and to provide an opportunity to hear writers across the country talk about their inspirations and challenges filling blank pages.

The festival is free and open to the public. Writer bios, workshop descriptions and registration links are available at 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges celebrate a month of diversity

In keeping with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awareness Month at California Community Colleges, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are hosting a number of events highlighting the many forms of diversity at the East County campuses.

“Our district has had a longstanding commitment to recognizing the rich tapestry of its campus communities, but we are redoubling our efforts following the events of the last year,” said Chancellor Lynn Neault. “We are dedicated to promoting equity to help ensure all students have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.”

Diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation are celebrated through numerous events held throughout the academic year, including Cuyamaca College’s Powwow and its Middle Eastern Heritage Month; Grossmont College’s Dia de Familia; LGBTQIA events hosted by both colleges’ sexual orientation/gender identity student organizations and both colleges’ Women’s History Month and Black History Month events. Both colleges also offer specialized programs designed to help students from underserved communities.