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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

SparkPoint at Skyline College Recognized 3 Times for Exceptional Leadership in California

Award CA Senate Recognition SPSC 2014In Ceremonies held at the United Way of the Bay Area’s Annual Regional SparkPoint Retreat, SparkPoint at Skyline College received a Certificate of Recognition from the State of California Senate stating, “SparkPoint at Skyline College has allowed many low-income families to be able to move from poverty to financial stability allowing for positive outcomes such as a livable income, good credit scores, the building of one’s savings, and reducing debt to below 40% of monthly income; therefore, be it resolved by Senator Ellen Corbett, that SparkPoint at Skyline College is commended on their long and distinguished record of community assistance and positive influence in the State of California.” Senator Ellen Corbett, District 10.

Award SparkPoint Challenge Goal 2014More great news from the retreat is that SparkPoint at Skyline College won a $5000 prize in the 2014 SparkPoint Challenge (among the eleven regional SparkPoint Centers located throughout the Bay Area) for serving the highest percentage of clients to achieve at least one long-term goal leading to financial self-sufficiency.

Finally, to expand the model which SparkPoint services are based upon, the Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream (ATD) has been tasked with coordinating the expansion of the model (Working Families Success Network – formerly Centers for Working Families) in additional states across the nation. SparkPoint at Skyline College was selected by ATD and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as the coordinating college in California which includes Cabrillo College, Cañada College and Porterville College. This three year grant award ($300,000) begins July 2014 and ends June 2017.

For more information about the model, please visit the Achieving the Dream Website at

Article & Photos by Dr. William Watson

Skyline College Wins Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award

California Community Colleges LogoSkyline College is the winner of The California Community Colleges Board of Governors Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award in the Faculty/Student Initiatives category. The Award was presented for The Green Gorillas: Student-led Waste Diversion Project, created under the leadership of Dr. Carina Anttila-Suarez, Professor of Biology. The students won $2500 in funding to implement the Green Gorillas project at the Be the Light of Change Sustainability contest last year, where their team presented the project.

The Skyline View reported that, “…The aim of this project was to enhance the efficiency in garbage disposal at Skyline. An eight-week study would be conducted to see how Skyline disposes of its waste and how we could make the process better. Also teams of students, …aptly named Green Gorillas would be trained to help others properly dispose of their waste.”

In another category, Proposition 39 – Self‐Generation, Cañada College was named winner for their Solar PV Installation

Congratulations to Skyline College – faculty, staff, students and especially the Green Gorillas – but great kudos and thanks go to Vice Chancellor José Nuñez and his Facilities, Operations, Maintenance team who work so hard to support and often lead our efforts in sustainability.

Article by Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud

Skyline College Success Summit Open for Registration

Success Summit LogoSkyline College’s Success Summit is coming up on Friday, September 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending this dynamic, solution-oriented event, or simply want more information, please contact Linda Bertellotti at 650-738-4325.

The Success Summit is a half-day forum designed to bring together business and civic leaders from all sectors to discuss innovative strategies for solving tough issues that affect San Mateo County businesses and residents. In dynamic breakout sessions, participants will meet face-to-face with key decision makers within the county, including elected officials, business and industry leaders, employers and educators and gain insight on how they can effectively work to shape the future of their community and their business.

The Success Summit is presented by the President’s Council of Skyline College. Breakfast and materials are included.

Keynote Speaker:
Dana Bloom, VP and GM, New Markets, Stella & Dot

Registration Fee: $75

Breakout topics include:
• What’s in it for us? Collectively addressing the socio-economic divide.
• City Manager Roundtable: “Innovations for our cities.”
• Hidden Gems, Hidden Opportunities: What’s unique, What’s possible?

To register, please visit

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick

Skyline College Present on the Green at SMCCD Foundation Golf Tournament

Skyline College at Foundation Golf Tournament 1On August 25, 2014, Skyline College was present at the San Mateo Community College Foundation Golf Tournament. In collaboration with Outreach, the Cosmetology Department, and MCPR, Skyline College was able to host a relaxing, kick-back themed hole for the donors that participated in the Golf Tournament. The main attraction was our Skyline College Prize Wheel, where everyone was a winner. The prizes consisted of five-minute massages, Skyline College golf balls, Skyline College Tees, and Skyline College wine glasses and a bottle of wine.

Skyline College at Foundation Golf Tournament 2The event was a great success with over one hundred donors participating at our table. This was a way to say thank you for all the donations given to the San Mateo Community College School District. Special thanks to the Office of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations, Cosmetology, the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center, and Outreach for coordinating this innovative event.

Article by Florentino Ubungen | Photos by Darrel Lee

ASTEP Hosts Successful Fall 2014 Retreat

ASTEP Retreat ParticipantsOn Friday, August 1, 2014, faculty and staff of the African-American Success through Excellence and Persistence program (ASTEP) at Skyline College held a unified meeting of the minds in the Oakland Hills, courtesy of Dr. Tony Jackson, to discuss plans for making this Fall 2014 semester the most memorable yet! Attendees included members of such departments as Cosmetology, Counseling, Math, Middle College, Biology, Psychology, and the President’s Office to name a few. The purpose of this retreat was to discuss key elements of how to best support ASTEP student success on campus. Such elements included the incorporation of Umoja principles into classroom curriculum, revisiting and refining strategies for recruitment, outreach, retention, and increased graduation and transfer rates for ASTEP students, course-linking between math and counseling courses, and finding meaningful ways to help ASTEP students carve out an esteemed space for themselves within the Skyline College Community.

New additions to the program included the implementation of bi-weekly ASTEP faculty and staff meetings in order to upsurge productivity. With Professor Nathan Jones taking the lead in coordination of the ASTEP program this academic year, there is much to look forward to including various ASTEP events such as ASTEP Family Night (October 6, 2014) and the Umoja Conference (November 20, 2014). We look forward to such events as the Black History Month celebration, the Brothers and Sisters Conference, and possible overseas opportunities for selected ASTEP students in Spring 2015. It was noted that effective support of students within the ASTEP learning community must stretch beyond academic support to accommodate the financial and mental/psychological needs of the student body. Two attendees had this to say about the retreat’s success:

“The ASTEP retreat was very collaborative, connecting African American faculty and staff from a variety of different departments and disciplines. Everyone present provided excellent ideas on how to better serve the African American student body population at Skyline College. ASTEP plans to make this upcoming school year memorable and pleasurable for all students who participate.”

-Kwame Thomas, ASTEP Counselor

“The retreat brought together a community of eclectic diversity and energy, bridging the old and new faces of ASTEP together to usher in a new direction.”

-Nathan Jones, Associate Professor and ASTEP Learning Community Coordinator

The ASTEP learning community welcomes students of all diverse backgrounds to join its ranks and strives to represent the experience of the African American community within Skyline College. For any questions about ASTEP, please feel free to contact ASTEP at 650-738-7037 or visit the program in Building 4.

Article by Chanel Daniels | Photo by Nathan Jones

SparkPoint at Skyline College Welcomes Kevin Eifler

Kevin Eifler SPSC OfficeSparkPoint at Skyline College welcomes Kevin Eifler, M.A., as our new Office Assistant II. Kevin will be working in the SparkPoint Welcome Office (Building One, Second Floor, Room 1214) and he will likely be the first point of contact for many who are new to SparkPoint at Skyline College. Kevin comes to us from College of San Mateo (CSM) where he most recently worked with the CSM Center for Student Life. Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, San Diego, and he pursued graduate studies in theatrical production and research to earn a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from the University of Texas. Please drop by the SparkPoint Welcome Office (Building One, Second Floor, Room 1214) and extend a warm Skyline College welcome to Kevin! He can be reached by phone at 650-738-7043 and his email address is

Article & Photo by Dr. William Watson

Facilities Welcomes New Operation Technician, Jessica Pulido

Jessica PulidoFacilities is proud to announce that Jessica Pulido has accepted the Facilities Operation Technician permanent position, effective Tuesday, September 2 at Skyline College.  Jessica has been with the Facilities Team since March 2011, and has served in a variety of capacities with increasing responsibility, including Student Assistant, Document Management Specialist, Staff Assistant / Temporary FOT at Cañada College, and Temporary Executive Assistant.  Jessica is nearing completion of her BS in Kinesiology at SF State, and looks forward to pursuing a Master’s degree upon completion of her BS.  Jessica is very excited to take on her new role.

Starting Tuesday, September 2, please contact Jessica at and/or 650-738-4115 for any Facility questions, concerns, work orders, and events.

Article by John Doctor

San Mateo County Community College District Assigned Highest Bond Ratings in the State

SMCCCD LogoThe San Mateo County Community College District received the highest ratings possible from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Rating Services—AAA and Aaa—and is the only public higher education institution in the State (UC, CSU and community colleges) to be assigned these ratings.

The College District, which operates Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College, is planning to refund approximately $120 million in general obligation bonds over the next several weeks. Based upon current rates, which could change before the refinancing, taxpayers would save approximately $17.4 million due to lower interest rates. High ratings help assure that the College District has lower overall interest cost for the refinancing, resulting in larger savings for taxpayers.

The Moody’s report cited the District’s sound financial operations, low debt burdens, healthy reserves and large and stable property tax base in their ratings analysis. Standard and Poor’s cited similar parameters in their review and added that the District’s general fund balances and new reserve policy are “very strong.”

Both agencies assigned a “stable outlook”—the most favorable possible—for the District which Moody’s attributed to its expectation that “the district will continue to maintain a strong overall credit profile reflected in a healthy financial position, above average socioeconomic indicators, large, growing tax base, and manageable debt levels.”

Article by Barbara Christensen