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GeneConnection Returns to Skyline College to Start its 25th Year of Service to San Mateo County High School Students.

kim and JohannaOn Saturday, September 6, Skyline College helped GeneConnection celebrate its 25th year of existence by hosting a faculty kickoff at the Skyline College meeting rooms in Building 6.   The kickoff was doubly fitting because GeneConnection first started at Skyline College, and by hosting this event the Skyline College Biotechnology program is continuing to connect with local High School faculty and biotechnology companies that employ our students and graduates.

The 25th year celebration for GeneConnection was sponsored by BABEC, California Community Colleges Doing What Matters and North Valley Biotechnology center.  In the picture Johanna Anton (left) and Kim Hansen (right) are next to a plaque depicting an Assembly resolution of recognition for GeneConnection from our assembly member Kevin Mullin who is chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology.

The GeneConnection provides logistics, materials and support for an innovative biotechnology laboratory program for high school students in San Mateo County. This program engages over 11,000 students annually.  Over 50 Faculty from Bay area High schools attended the event, which included a talk from Genentech Senior Scientist Dr. Ingrid Wertz as well as talks and discussions about Next Generation Science Standards and how to introduce the concept of Cell Signaling to students in a fun and educational manner.

With the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Gene Connection has worked to correlate all of their mobile labs with NGSS. Aligning to the standards GeneConnection lets the faculty do what they do best, that is introducing students to rigorous biotechnology labs, without having faculty worry about the logistics of setup, procurement of consumables and if the materials that the students are using are going to cover and match the standards.

The Science Math and Technology Division and the Biotechnology Department hope to continue to support Biotechnology Laboratory education throughout the County and to continue to offer Professional development to local teachers and to collaborate with local high schools.

Article and Photo by Nick Kapp

Skyline College Warehousing Certificates presented at Goodwill Graduation Ceremony

Goodwill Graduates

From left to right: Jesus Medrano, Donald Gleason, Pablo Villa, Kenneth Aguilar, Miguel Martinez, Joshua Ruano, Lorraine Giordano (Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Funding) Marcus Mancini, Edward Moore, Marlon Smith, Darrell Shareef, Sunny Suppa (Sr. Manager, Workforce Development Operations), Jeremy Evangelista (Office Assistant II), Soledad McCarthy (Program Services Coordinator, CAA), Alpha Lewis (Warehousing and Logistics Course Instructor)

Goodwill Industries celebrated their graduation on September 25, 2014 and presented Skyline College Warehousing Certificates at their San Francisco headquarters. Alpha Lewis, Warehousing Instructor, Soledad McCarthy, Program Services Coordinator, Lorraine Giordano, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative and Jeremy Evangelista, Office Assistant II presented the certificates to our fall 2014 cohort. Skyline College’s Business Division and Workforce Development partnership with Goodwill Industries awards certificates in Warehousing to students wishing to reenter the workforce. For many of the Goodwill students, this is their first time entering a college environment.

As a result of the class, Kenneth Aguilar has enrolled at Skyline College in the CIPHER (Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research) Learning Community.

Past Goodwill Warehousing students have enrolled full time into the Career Advancement Academy in both Automotive Entry Level Technician and Allied Health.

Career Advancement Academy (CAA) provides stackable certificates in Automotive Entry Level Technician, Early Childhood Education Foundations, Paralegal and Allied Health (EMT, Medical Office Administration, and Sterile Processing).

For more information about the Career Advancement Academy or our Goodwill Partnership, contact, Soledad McCarthy,

Article by Soledad McCarthy | Photo by Alpha Lewis

Becalos Students Spend Labor Day in The Mission

Balmy AlleyOn Monday, September 1, 2014, Labor Day, several faculty and staff members took a group of the visiting international students from Mexico in the Becalos program, for a fun and informative outing to the Mission District in San Francisco. Professor Gary Fleener, from the Education Abroad program, walked the students to the Daly City Bart Station and showed them how to navigate BART to San Francisco. John Saenz, who works with the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development, and his lovely wife, Alicia also came along to guide, as did Raul Guerra from the Global Learning Program, as well as English Professor Lucia Lachmayr.

MaestrapeaceStudents were shown the murals of Balmy Alley, the Mission Cultural Center, several unique bookstores as well as the lovely murals of the Women’s Building, known as the “Maestrapeace” by many in the area. Students were even treated to watching an artist in the middle of creating a mural and who kindly stopped to answer questions from students. Four Skyline College Puente student volunteers, Antonio Quintana, Andressa Dos Santos, Daniel Del Castillo, and Yare Ozuna, helped guide the Becalos students on their tour throughout the Mission.

Article by Lucia Lachmayr | Photo by Raul Guerra

Award Winning Movie “Bella” Screened for Students

Students Watching BellaThe English Language Institute, ELI, and the Center for Student Life came together to screen the award-winning movie, Bella, for over fifty English-learners, mainly Becalos students, here at Skyline College. The students enjoyed the mid-day movie that won the top prize at Toronto’s International Film Festival and was honored by the Smithsonian, The Mexican Embassy and the White House for its contribution to the Arts and Hispanic Culture.

English Language Institute’s Christopher Rico, ESOL Professor Leigh Anne Shaw and John Saenz from the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development organized the successful event. Christopher Rico led a discussion after the screening as a way to engage students’ language learning skills and social skills.

One student said: “Since arriving here at Skyline College, my experience with people from different cultures and backgrounds has been great! People have been very welcoming and friendly. I’ve also learned that we are not so different from one another, and it does not matter whether you’re French, Chinese, Arabic or Mexican.”

Another student said: I really enjoyed the movie, Bella! It’s only a movie but it can happen in real life. It’s a reminder that your life can change forever in a second.

In director Alejandro Monteverde’s emotional tale of self-discovery, two people whose lives are changed forever discover that sometimes it takes losing it all to finally appreciate the things that truly matter. Starring Mexican superstar Eduardo Verastegui (Chasing Papi) and Emmy award winning Tammy Blanchard (The Good Shepherd), Bella is a heartwarming love story about life, relationships and our capacity for love in the face of the unexpected.

Another student said: “When I was a young boy in Mexico, I dreamed of coming to California. My parents are old but I always wanted to go to college. Now I am here in California studying at Skyline College. Dreams do come true!”

Puente Students Celebrate “Noche de Familia”

Noche De Familia 2On Monday, September 8, family members and friends of Skyline College Puente students attended the annual Noche de Familia (Family Night). The celebration recognized our Puentistas’ academic endeavors as family achievements, and focused on the family as a main source of support for continued student success

The evening’s program, filled with music and refreshments, allowed family members to gain insight into the academic lives of our Puentistas. Lucia Lachmayr, Puente Program Coordinator/ English Instructor, and Melanie Espinueva, Puente Counselor, conducted an orientation for attendees introducing the national Puente Program model and explaining its positive impact on Puente students’ academic performance. An informational workshop on FAFSA, BOGFW, Federal grants and scholarships was also presented by Jocelyn Vila, Financial Aid Program Services Coordinator.

The highlight of the evening was a dialogue that occurred between students and family members regarding ways to support academic success. The students gathered to discuss ways they felt their loved ones could support their academic goals while their loved ones worked together to create a list of ways they felt they could provide such support. Students, family, and friends ended the evening by committing to support each other’s academic goals and personal development.

A special thanks to Jocelyn Vila for the Financial Aid presentation, the Skyline College Center for Legal Studies and SparkPoint at Skyline College for providing informational flyers on the Legal Clinic and SparkPoint services, and the Language Arts and Counseling divisions for supporting the celebration.

Puente looks forward to launching this year’s mentorship program and providing Puente students opportunities to attend cultural events and 4-year university tours. For more information on the Puente Program, please contact Lucia Lachmayr or Melanie Espinueva

Article and Photo by Melanie Espinueva

Psych Services Will Partner with Art With Impact to Host “Movies for Mental Health”

Movies-for-Mental-Health-BannerSkyline College Psychological Services, along with Art With Impact, will host “Movies for Mental Health” on Wednesday, September 17 from 11:15am-1:15pm in Building 6, Room 6202. The event will screen several short films, followed by a guided discussion with local mental health experts and an open conversation with the audience. Lunch will be provided and participation slips are available.

Art With Impact makes available some of the very best in short films inspired by the knowledge that film is a powerful tool for creating connections and getting conversations started. Their mission is to connect people to global issues through art and media and provide opportunities to share their voices, time and talent in meaningful ways. The ultimate goal is to translate the powerful sense of possibility a viewer experiences immediately after a moving film into clear opportunities to act and concrete ways to engage.

The Movies for Mental Health event at Skyline College is a unique opportunity to experience great art with a clearly defined purpose and to engage with professionals in the field of mental health. Students can expect to see groundbreaking short films, experience enriching discussion, and get connected with volunteer opportunities that may help to shape their perspectives on mental health issues.

Event Details:
Movies for Mental Health
Wednesday, September 17
11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Building 6, Room 6202
Skyline College
Lunch Provided

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick

Introducing the Faculty/Staff Giving Advisory Committee

Faculty Staff Giving CommitteeOne of the goals as a college this academic year is to work with our Foundation more closely to really acknowledge, celebrate, and thereby further cultivate the culture of giving that is present here at Skyline College.  There is a strong culture of giving that exists here on campus and it attracts the generosity of the external community. Because we give, they give. Because our faculty and staff are quite generous when it comes to the President’s Innovation Fund and student scholarships, we’d like to both celebrate that and encourage others to get involved. The Foundation has recommended the formation of an advisory committee to do so.

A group of faculty and staff members were invited to be charter members of this newly formed Faculty/Staff Giving Advisory Committee. The first meeting was held on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 and the lively discussion brought much enthusiasm, ideas and insights on what motivates each of us to give. The conversation was invaluable and there is great potential for increased education on how to give and many great ideas on how to create additional avenues to make giving easier and even more rewarding. Twenty percent of faculty/staff on Skyline College campus currently give, so the foundation for giving is strong. The Foundation and college leadership look forward to continuing the conversation with this dynamic committee. Thank you for your enthusiasm!

Article by Cherie Colin

Spanish Students Participate in Skype Language Exchange

UTT LogoThe Spanish students of Spanish 110, 120, 220 and 230 at Skyline College have been participating in a Skype Language Exchange with students from Universidad Tecnologica de Tijuana (UTT) in Mexico. The weekly one-on-one communications, which take place over Skype video chats in the Language Lab of The Learning Center, pairs beginner and intermediate Spanish students at Skyline College with counterparts from UTT who have conversational English skills. The program is providing a unique chance for students to practice their language skills and the material they’ve learned in class with native Spanish speakers who are, in turn, improving their English.

The participating students at Skyline College are enjoying themselves and say that they are retaining the material better thanks to the personal experience. The Mexican students at UTT have said this is a great opportunity to enhance and expand their English vocabulary – and they’ve even said they hope to come and visit Skyline College in the future.

Professor Luciana Castro of Skyline College and Professor David Cooksey of UTT have worked closely together along with Hong Guo in the Language Lab to make the Skype Language Exchange a reality for their students. Thanks to their hard work, Spanish students at Skyline College and UTT are improving their language skills in a way that’s different, effective and fun.

Article by Luciana Castro

Free Textbooks for First Year Experience (FYE) Students

Students with On Course BooksFirst Year Experience (FYE) is a learning community that was created to support first year students, many of whom are first-generation, from low-income backgrounds, or have other characteristics that create barriers towards achieving their academic and career goals. FYE strives to provide support, information, services, and access to resources in promoting student success and goal attainment.

Towards fulfilling this mission, and with support of the College Success Initiative (CSI), institutional funding, and the help of Kevin Chak in the Bookstore, the FYE program was able to purchase over thirty COUN 100 textbooks, as well as several copies of the Math 110/120 textbook. As a further support to Skyline’s existing book rental program, all FYE students are provided a COUN 100 textbook for use during the semester and can borrow a math textbook as needed. This service helps to reduce the financial burden associated with the cost of enrolling in a class. FYE faculty have been working on this project for the past year and a half, and are very excited to see it come to fruition.

Article by Arielle Smith

Letter from Dean Angelica Garcia – Welcome Arash Daneshzadeh

Arash DaneshzadehAs we begin a new academic year, it is a time for new beginnings, the continuation of hard work, and the opportunity to reflect and thank those who have come before us. I would like to take this time to thank the Skyline College community for welcoming me so graciously over the past 9 months. I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Skyline College so far. It is important to recognize the good work of those who have come before us, paving the way for our current experiences. With this sentiment in mind, I want to thank past Interim Dean of Counseling, Nohel Corral for his leadership and work both as the Interim Dean and as the Director of TRiO Student Support Services. Please join me in wishing Nohel well, as he has accepted a senior administrative position at Long Beach City College last month.
In the spirit of new beginnings and a new academic year, we are fortunate to have a new Interim TRiO Director, Arash Daneshzadeh, join our Skyline College community. Arash joined us in July and brings a myriad of professional experience with student support programs, including TRiO—of which he is both staff as well as student alumnus. Most recently, Arash has served as Assistant Director of First-Generation Outreach at Stanford University, President and Chair of Education Programs on behalf of TRiO’s political action arm, WESTOP, and Director of Community Programs in the Mission District of San Francisco. Arash is also completing his dissertation towards his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, where the center of his praxis is focused on the relationship between Restorative Justice curricula and identity development among African American males in urban schools. His experience and dedication to empowering students to reach their educational and personal goals will serve our TRiO students well. Please join me in welcoming Arash Daneshzadeh to Skyline College!

Dr. Angelica Garcia, Dean of Counseling

Associated Students of Skyline College Hosts Club Mixer

Students at Club Mixer 2Students at Club Mixer 1Skyline College students took the opportunity to become more engaged in their campus community by attending this semester’s Club Mixer sponsored by the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) and the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development. The Thursday, August 28 event enabled students to learn about the many campus clubs available to them. Club representatives presented the mission and goals of their organizations to the attendees. After the presentations students were able to meet members and ask questions. Approximately 300 students attended the mixer. By the end of the day, clubs had many new members and everyone enjoyed the chance to network with others. It was a success, to say the least. Skyline College truly is home to a spirited student body.


Coming Up…

Friday, September 5, 2014 – Friday, September 12, 2014

• Double Vision: Photographic Portraits from Cuba & Ghana, Skyline College, Art Gallery, Building 1, Room 121

Saturday, September 6, 2014

• 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 25th Anniversary Celebration for GeneConnection, Skyline College, Building 6, Level 2

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

• 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Financial Aid Application Labs, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2117-B

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

• 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Financial Aid Application Labs, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2117-B

Thursday, September 11, 2014

• 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., An Evening with Dr. Cornel West, Skyline College Theater
Friday, September 12, 2014

• 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, Skyline College, Building 6, Room 6206

For the latest information on events and activities happening at Skyline College, please view our calendar.

If you would like to include your college event or activity on the calendar, please submit the event, date, time and location to Cherie Colin via email at

TRiO Student Support Services Accepting Applications for 2014-2015

Trio StudentsTRiO Student Support Services or SSS, provide a proactive environment for the college’s first-generation, low-income students to thrive. Services offered to students include:

  • Comprehensive assessment for all entering students and required placement into appropriate levels of pre-college courses in math, reading, writing, and ESL;
  • A cross-curricular emphasis on development of basic skills through structured first-year programs, accelerated curriculum, structured and course-specific tutoring, and culturally-oriented learning/leadership communities; and
  • A commitment to offering the financial assistance and coaching, college/university campus visits, guidance on the four-year application process, supplemental instruction and support that students need to reach their academic and career goals.

Since 1980, this successful program has grown in scope, now assisting 330 students per year. Thanks to the collective efforts of our counseling staff, tutoring coordinators, mentors, TRiO Club members, and TRiO Student Ambassadors, over 70 TRiO students graduated from Skyline College last spring. Each of these students successfully transferred into four-year institutions where they will further pursue their educational goals. This milestone is testament to the steadfast effort and unwavering dedication of our students and the learning partnerships they have forged with our committed TRiO personnel.

TRiO is now accepting New Student Applications for the 2014-2015 school year. Please support us by referring any students who may benefit from TRiO services, while spaces are still available.

Returning students who wish to continue their TRiO services are advised to complete a Returning TRiO Student Form in the Learning Center of Building 5, and to schedule their first counseling appointment for the fall semester.

For more information, please contact Judith Cheung—at, call 650-738-4144, or visit in person at the TRiO center located in Building 5.

Article by Arash Daneshzadeh

Skyline DREAMER Shares His Unaccompanied Journey

Darwin ValasquezDarwin Valesquez, a student at Skyline College, gave a powerful speech this week for the Latino Community Foundation, describing his emigration experience as an unaccompanied child. Valesquez emigrated from El Salvador at age 12, where he grew up in an impoverished community. He was born with cataracts, leaving him with limited vision. At his school in El Salvador, he learned only through listening and talking. However, after coming to the United States, he eventually learned to read and write through hard work and determination. He was a leader both in and out of the classroom.

Excited to continue his education after graduating from Washington High School, Darwin applied and was accepted to one of his dream schools. Unfortunately, upon finding out about his undocumented status, the college rescinded his acceptance. To Darwin, this felt like the end of his academic journey. However, he used this moment as motivation and decided to enroll at Skyline College, where he is now pursuing a degree in International Relations. Through programs like DACA and the SMCCD Office of Education Abroad, Darwin will become one of the first DREAMERS to study abroad in France this Fall.

The City of San Francisco’s Youth Commission named Darwin as one of their eight “Youth of Year,” an award given to those who display exceptional leadership and service to the community. Darwin also serves as an Outreach Ambassador for Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), a role through which he provided hope, inspiration, and valuable information to the undocumented community. Eventually, Darwin plans to go to law school to study International Law.

You can read Darwin’s powerful and inspirational speech at:

Article by Lezra Chenportillo

Skyline College Hosts Successful Welcome Week 2014

Students at Welcome Week 3Last week, the Associated Students of Skyline College, faculty and staff kicked off the 2014 Fall Semester in full swing. The tradition of Welcome Week aims to make new and returning students feel comfortable here on campus, and this year was no different. Music out on the quad, a Club Fair, and lots of free food all contributed to the great experience.

Students at Welcome Week 1 Students at Welcome Week 4The week began early Monday morning with a plethora of free coffee and donuts. Sleepy eyed students were most grateful for the delicious jolt. On Tuesday, information tables and a Tycoon Typhoon game where students had chances to win prizes had students in high spirits. On top of that, the student body enjoyed free pizza in the afternoon. Wednesday was all about campus involvement. School wide clubs and services set up shop out on the quad for the Program Services and Club Fair. While students explored their campus resources, they munched on a free BBQ lunch. Thursday morning, Skyline College staff and faculty had a blast serving students a free pancake breakfast. Welcome Week came to a sweet close on Friday with an ice cream social out on the quad. Looks like an excellent start to what will be another excellent semester!

Article by Emily Colby | Photos by Nicole Palmer, Marlon Gaytan, Margo Feldman, John Saenz