Georges Rizk was born in Lebanon during a time of war, and from an early age, Georges was exposed to the devastation that war brings. When Georges was only 14, he had to care for his ailing mother and younger siblings while his father worked tirelessly to support the family.
After his mother died, Georges and his family migrated to the United States. Georges remains positive and upbeat, and he is grateful for his job and the CalWORKs program at ARC. CalWORKs helped Georges when he returned to school to update his skills. Despite having a degree from his former country and years of banking experience, Georges decided to advance his career with an accounting degree from ARC so he can provide a better life for his family.
At Cosumnes River College, the MESA program provides math, engineering, and science academic development to underrepresented community college students. The goal is to help them excel academically and transfer to four-year institutions as science, engineering, and math majors. This support is crucial in helping students from low-performing high schools reach their academic potential and become technical professionals.
Thanks to generous donors, the MESA Program received a mini-grant from the Los Rios Colleges Foundation to help them attend the Student Leadership Retreat (SLR). The SLR is chance for community college students to interact, network, and build leadership skills with other MESA students. This leadership and skill-building conference features hands-on STEM sessions, including chemistry study, engineering design, and coding.
CRC student Jun Li says, "The MESA Student Leadership Retreat provided us a platform to expand our network beyond just our own community. I befriended students all over California. We collaborated to solve problems and learned about interesting subjects that we would otherwise not be able to learn. But most importantly, my fellow MESA members shared stories that resonated with my experience and motivated me to be a better leader."
Olesya's experience at American River College has been a stepping stone to a 4-year education and motivated her into declaring a major. Olesya says that math professor Anthony Barcellos' teaching style and dedication to his students led Olesya to choose mathematics as her major, and she aspires to graduate with a bachelor's degree from UC Davis and apply that to a career as either a high school math teacher or a college professor. She is proud of herself in staying on track and managing her time between work, school, and track and field.
One of CalWORKs brightest students, Yahaira Martinez, overcame many hardships on her path. When she was engaged in self-destructive behaviors, her young sons would stop her. She says her children were "my little heroes that inspired me to save my life.”
Yahaira is now doing well, especially considering the progress she has made toward a dream she has had since she was eighteen. Yahaira began to experience a miraculous transformation when she began reading psychology books, and she wanted to learn and become more. Yahaira attained her GED in six months, and afterward, she chose to attend ARC.
Yahaira decided to try for a certificate in Chemical Dependency. Most recently after attending a UC Davis Mentorship program that was co-sponsored by the American River College Pre-Med club, she aspired to become a doctor. In a step toward that goal, she recently received an interview for a highly selective and prestigious medical internship.
With Yahaira's steadfast determination and passion, more opportunities will surely come her way because she sees the bigger picture. She wants to be a force not only in her community but globally, where she can strive to help those who cannot afford better healthcare options. Yahaira hopes to show both generations of her family that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to without limitation.
Kesha is the mother of three children (ages 11, 9 and 5 years old) who are all excited for mom to start law school. Kesha will be the first in her family to become a lawyer. She currently enjoys doing motivational speaking because it helped her overcome many challenges to continue school and graduate. She says she has been homeless, married, divorced, involved with domestic violence and has never given up because, as she says, "giving up is not an option."
Tyrna Brown overcame near death, abuse, homelessness, and despair, but she had the courage to reinvent herself in the ARC CalWORKs Program. Tyrna was able to become a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa at ARC, a club for students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher.
Her journey to success started while attending a department of Human Assistance Job Club session. There, Tyrna heard a representative from ARC give a presentation about college that ignited her hopes for economic stability and personal growth. Once Tyrna enrolled at ARC, she never looked back.
When Tyrna found out that she was eligible for CalWORKs, she was so grateful. According to Tyrna, CalWORKs saved her life and gave her a chance to gain independence and take care of her son.
In the spring of 2012, Tyrna graduated from ARC, overcoming the fact that she had dropped out of high school at 16. Tyrna went on to Sacramento State where she pursued a degree in Counseling. Just before she received her degree from ARC, Tyrna proudly stated, "Now I am about to graduate! I've never graduated from anything, not even high school, and here I am. I can't believe it!”
Rebecca has had a unique experience at American River College, predominantly taking online courses, which she feels were of high quality with responsive and flexible instructors. She's enjoyed the atmosphere of those courses and has gained valuable information to continue her on her path to earning a Bachelor's of Science in nursing through Sacramento State University's RN to BSN program and eventually get into the Family Nurse Practitioner program at UC Davis to become a certified Nurse Practitioner.
Brenton's passion for trains and railroads has pioneered his choice of major, and American River College has given him the knowledge to apply this to his future career, as well as to his volunteer work at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento where he works as a signal maintainer. He has appreciated the quality of ARC professors and small class sizes at American River. In order to earn acceptance to UC Davis he had to complete rigorous requirements for his major, including physics sequences, linear algebra, and differential equations. After completing his bachelor's degree, Brenton wishes to become a manager of electrical systems for a railroad company.
I was born in Mexico, mechanically inclined thanks to my dad. Now, I work at Sacramento Regional Transit as a Tech A Mechanic trainee. I was sent to the diesel program as part of my training. Currently my major is diesel technology. I always wanted to learn more about diesel and the opportunity presented itself. What I enjoy best about the Mather program is taking in the knowledge as learning about what’s to come in the future. The program is certainly helping me with what I am seeing at work and also helping me with repairs at work. The Mather Diesel program is teaching us about the current new technology and the technology of the future. My future plan after finishing the program is to work for journey level at Regional Transit. My advice for current and future students who are interested in diesel program is to learn about it, take it seriously, and live a good life.
Life isn’t easy for Carlo Lopez. Like many community college students, his family struggles, and money, housing and food are mostly a daily focus. Determined, Carlo fends for himself by relying on hope, ambition and services available, especially the STEM Equity & Success Initiative (SESI), is a comprehensive, multifaceted program intended to increase the participation and success rates of Hispanic and low-income students in STEM fields and careers.
With SESI’s help, Carlo now knows the joy of academic achievement and wants people who are growing up in similar circumstances to know that joy too. His wish is for kids like him to hear what he heard at SCC: the sweet sound of a voice that says I have your back.
Even when Carlo was just in middle school, he knew a decent life was up to him. Nobody was around to expose him to life’s possibilities, so he took it upon himself to discover a world he knew little about. He applied for a library pass and researched jobs that require technology know-how. Yes, he was looking for a safe place, but he was also looking for an alternative to a destiny of limited choices.
That library pass opened a world of possibilities. Carlo taught himself to code by pouring over free tutorials. Best of all, he accomplished something, a reality that moved him to accept SESI’s help and try SCC despite his life’s brutal reality and an average GPA.
Now, Carlo is a full time student, studying computer science, and looking forward to earning a degree and transferring. He still plans on a career of helping people; beginning with those who think college is not for them. It can be done, Carlo tells those students. There is a way financially, and there is help academically. Follow your dream, think big and go to college.
Derrick has loved jazz music ever since he was a little kid. He has been playing both the Clarinet and Saxophone since he was in Junior High School and decided to pursue a music major and focus solely on the Saxophone after winning a top soloist award in high school. Even though Derrick lives in Vacaville, which is a considerable commute he chose ARC because the music program is renowned and considered one of the best in the state. His goal is to transfer to the University of Reno because the music faculty are great.
My major is Social Work and my dream is to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Undoubtedly, the Student Services personnel make the college stand out from other educational institutions. For me, CalWORKs is the program that changed my life completely. It helped me to believe in myself, and it became the second family that gave me love, great friends, and needed skills to grow in my future career. I'm thankful for all Student Services departments and I really appreciate their help. However, CalWORKs will always have a special part in my heart. Thank You, CalWORKs!
I am studying Psychology at ARC and, after obtaining my AA/AS here, I am planning to transfer to Sac State for my BA in Psychology. My goal is to obtain my Master’s degree in counseling and to become a counselor.
I really enjoy my time here at ARC both as a student and a student assistant. I love helping other people, especially when it is helping them with college-related issues. Since the first day I started working on campus, I have been given the opportunity to help others. Also, by working in different departments I learn new things every day and that is something that keeps me happy and encourages me to do my job in the best way it can be done. I like how the staff here are passionate about helping new and continuing students to achieve their educational goals. I am glad to be part of this incredible team.
A fun fact about me is that I have been doing photography as a side job and I will be pursuing it even more professionally by obtaining new skills in the ARTPH and ARTNM courses that are available here on campus.
For the first assignment in his public speaking class in fall 2016, 30-year-old Jeff Landay was instructed to introduce himself to his Folsom Lake College (FLC) classmates via a three-minute presentation. He began by showing a startling photo of himself taken in 2006 as a patient at Bethesda Naval Hospital. To him, this one snapshot encapsulated what he had endured and would also serve to motivate him for what was to come.
Following a tumultuous childhood, Jeff enlisted in the United States Marine Corps immediately upon graduating from Oak Ridge High School in 2004. In January 2006, his Camp Pendleton-based 3/5 unit (3rd Battalion, 5th Marines) was deployed half a world away to Fallujah, Iraq. During a routine patrol on May 21, 2006, the humvee he was traveling in struck a roadside bomb that left one member of his platoon dead and seriously wounded three others. Jeff was barely alive, but somehow summoned the strength to drive the battered vehicle out of harm’s way. "They all thought that was Jeff's last act, to get that truck back to safety to get his comrades out," his mother, Michelle Landay, said.
Marine Cpl. Jeff Landay was transported to a hospital in Baghdad, then to Germany, and eventually back to the States. Jeff was in a coma for nearly a month having suffered a traumatic brain injury in which they had to remove the left side of his skull to alleviate the swelling. “By every account, I should have died. Technically, I was clinically dead three times,” Jeff recalls.
Upon his hospital release and at the age of 19, Jeff returned to Citrus Heights and faced a long recovery that included relearning to speak, struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the physical and emotional toll of a cumulative 52 surgeries to repair his injuries. Jeff’s harrowing life-and-death story was featured in the 2007 documentary, To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports, and in a segment on ABC World News. The battle scars on his body became his badges of pride alongside the three Purple Hearts he had been awarded for his service to his country.
It was also during this time that Jeff began taking classes at Folsom Lake College using education benefits provided by the G.I. Bill and with additional support from the college’s Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) department. He appreciated that the structure and self-discipline that had originally been ingrained in him as a Marine also fit well with that of academia. Jeff quickly endeared himself to students and staff with his combination of brutal honesty and unbeatable optimism.
The natural class clown also found comradery and compassion from other student veterans that frequented FLC’s Veterans Success Center. He enjoyed helping the “kids,” as he refers to them, most only several years his junior, with their coursework. “Jeff has inspired many veterans and non-veterans here at FLC. His ability to look beyond his injuries and stay focused on the future inspires everyone he comes into contact with…including myself!” shared Veterans Success Center staff member and fellow veteran Ken Walker. “When students get overwhelmed, they can always think about how Jeff has the same commitments and does not give up or even skip a beat. He inspires others to stay in the fight and press on!”
It was also at FLC in that same communications course where he was tasked to tell his story that he discovered he had a knack for public speaking. After receiving an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Social & Behavioral Sciences in December 2015, he returned to FLC to earn a second degree in Communication Studies. He plans to transfer to Sacramento State and pursue a career as a motivational speaker to hopefully inspire veterans and civilians alike. “We all have struggles,” notes Jeff.
It was that first public speaking engagement that gave him the confidence to share his inspiring story with others. When asked who would play him if his story one day gets the Hollywood treatment, Jeff said with a laugh, “Ryan Reynolds, because it would have to be someone pretty.”
Brittany Tipton didn’t believe she was cut out for college. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to college, I didn’t think I would be able to get through college, so I joined the Marine Corps, ended up blowing out my knee and came home. [The Marine Corps] changed the way I thought about the world, the way I thought about myself as a person.”
After Brittany returned home, she decided to enroll in American River College, in large part because of the large veteran population. She credits much of her success so far at ARC to Mike Robinson and the Veterans Resource Center. “Mike Robinson is a huge support at ARC. I wouldn’t still be in school without him. [The] Veterans Resource Center helps students all the way through. Not many colleges have that.”
Despite the support she received from the Veterans Resource Center, Brittany unexpectedly found herself homeless and faced with the choice of paying bills or buying food. She applied for a grant from the Veteran Student Emergency Fund and was awarded $450 to help her buy food and move into safe housing. It allowed her to stop stressing and be able to focus on school.
“I encourage anyone who needs it to apply. Without that boost, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in school full-time and work full-time,” says Brittany. “I can get through the day because I know I have somewhere safe to sleep at night.”
Brittany expects to finish her degrees in Paramedics and Fire Technology in a few years, and then hopes to get hired at a Fire Department. With a few years of experience under her belt, she then plans to take the investigators exam.
Christian's passion lies in the field of Marine Biology, and he's appreciated the accessibility and enthusiasm of the staff at American River College in helping him to achieve his goals. He started college at age 16, and is planning to transfer to UC Santa Cruz to obtain a doctorate degree in Marine Biology. His time at ARC has been beneficial in preparing him for graduate school and his future responsibilities in forming a successful career.
I’ve been working in the field for a mom and pop shop for a while and have always had an inclination for mechanical things and fixing equipment. My original major has been changed due to trying different fields like the medical field, engineering, and ended up here on the technical side of things. I currently work for a diesel repair shop. What I enjoy best about the Mather Diesel program is the instruction of the various instructors who challenge me to engage my thinking process. I believe the introduction to industry partners is a big part of the program and it really helps get a foot in the door. Once I finish my degree, I hope to get a job in the agriculture industry or as a field mechanic. My words of inspiration to current and future students who are interested in the diesel program are to do what you enjoy and try to challenge yourself to study and expand your knowledge of the subject outside of the classroom.
Ariz Ebrat has an associate degree in nursing, is a registered nurse and a full-time student at Sacramento State. His career path is set and he is well on his way to achieving it. Ariz’s accomplishments are admirable, but what is outright inspiring is how he overcomes his extreme circumstances, follows his inner compass that always points positive, and makes a remarkable journey each day to get through school.
It’s no wonder why Ariz wanted to become a nurse. He’s essentially been one since he was 14. After his family escaped the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and migrated to America as refugees, Ariz and his mother have been trying to make a go of it, despite mom’s disabling poor health, financial difficulty, and little encouragement. In fact, Ariz was his mother’s sole caregiver throughout high school and still is.
Knowing he wanted to advocate for people like his mother, Ariz joined Sacramento City College’s (SCC) Allied Health Learning Community just two weeks after he graduated from high school (the first in his family to do so). While completing prerequisite courses, Ariz balanced his family obligations, studied, scrambled for scholarships, and worked part-time on campus as the lead student ambassador for the health learning program he had joined.
Ariz completed his general education units and attained an associate degree in nutrition and another in biology. And after volunteering at UC Davis Medical Center and observing first-hand his “dream” profession of nursing, he applied and was offered a spot in a collaborative project that helps nurses bridge the transition between SCC and Sacramento State.
Throughout it all, Ariz gives nothing but credit to the professors at SCC whom he says truly care about him and his experience, especially when life almost became too much to bear. They lent a much-needed hand when he needed it most, and were sincere in their interest in his success.
Ariz tells younger students that a college degree is the new high school diploma and so much more. The main purpose of college, he says, is to become educationally well rounded and discover a career path. He also confirms — without hesitation — if he can do it, others can too.
Brian's experience with American River College has been both intellectual and physical, as he juggles his computer science major with his extracurricular activities in track and field. He's proud of himself for getting into college, as well as for placing third in the 400M hurdles at the state competition, and hopes to use his skillset to achieve a bachelor's degree at a 4-year university and eventually work for Microsoft in creating new technologies.
Vinson has a lot to be proud of, as he received five scholarships from the ARC Foundation and is working towards transferring to a 4-year university where he plans to obtain a Bachelor's degree, followed by a Master's degree, and work for a reputable company. His time at American River has gained him skills in time management, troubleshooting, communication, and general leadership which he plans to use to benefit his career and the company he eventually works for.
I was incarcerated at 16 years old, and when I was released, I looked forward to getting out and seeing what the world had to offer. I had desires for other majors prior to my release, but was redirected after experiencing the harsh reality of possessing a criminal record in the workforce. So, I chose business as my major because it gave me the chance to create opportunities for myself that others insist I don’t deserve.
I find CRC very welcoming. Many of my professors have help motivate me and have influenced me to grab every opportunity I can. I have plans of being the first in my family to graduate college and hope to create my own business and provide jobs for struggling youth and adults.
I refuse to let any circumstance that I’ve endured get in the way of my happiness,” Dena added. “The fact that I’m not where I could be is more reason to take advantage of every opportunity that I once believed I’d never receive.
Angelica is extremely proud of her work as a student assistant in the Health Center at ARC and appreciates how the position has allowed her to interact with her peers and make lasting friends and memories. Her time at ARC has prepared her mentally for the National and State board exams, and after earning her AA in Science, she plans to successfully pass her exams and hopes to be a licensed funeral director and embalmer by age 21. She has gained both academic and personal skills and feels that her time and efforts at ARC have motivated her to be a better individual and to reach out to others.
Tanyaluck Chotshirapan is a strong and passionate woman who aspires to be a physical therapy assistant. In 1999, she came to the United States from Thailand at the urging of her siblings to embark on a quest for independence. Despite loving her parents dearly, she was treated as weak because she had been sickly as a child. She realized that if she were ever to be free to make her own decisions, she would have to leave home.
In America, Tanya had a daughter and for a time, suffered from an abusive marriage. Fortunately, after a two-month stay in a domestic violence shelter, she found the courage to leave without turning back.
After leaving her situation, Tanya found the CalWORKs program. Even though she had a business degree from her country, she could not use the degree in America. So, she had to start all over at the age of 40 which would have been unheard of in Thailand.
Since coming to ARC, she has worked on campus, helped other students, and continues to gain skills for the workforce. She looks forward to becoming a physical therapy assistant, which will, in turn, help her support her daughter's dream of attending Stanford University one day.
Tanya will be taking classes in the physical therapy assistant program to feed her nurturing spirit and to achieve her dreams. Tanya is far from the weak woman her parents once perceived her to be. Tanya is absolutely masterful at creating her own happiness. Today, she states without hesitation, "I believe in myself, and I will make it!"
Shelby has gained valuable experience in Theatre Arts in her time at ARC, working behind the scenes on multiple productions for the Theatre Department. Her proudest moment was working on Pride and Prejudice as the lead dresser for the entire show, and her work in costuming has inspired her to transfer to UCLA to complete her Bachelors of Arts degree and eventually go on to do costuming for shows, specifically Broadway productions.
I chose CRC because it offers a degree in my specific field.
I am 21 years old, and I decided to give my college education a second try. Originally, attended a four year university in my home state, Mississippi, straight out of high school. I changed my major several times until I realized I had to find a school with classes I felt engaged in. I needed to tap into my passions for video creation and media communication, so I moved to California to give myself more opportunities.
Seeing my interests in the arts, my sister recommended I check out CRC’s website, and that’s where I found Radio, TV, & Film Production. I was surprised to find it covers all of the areas I’m interested in.
I chose CRC, because it offers a degree specifically tailored to all of the things I love to do!
My advice is that no matter where you come from or what struggles you have faced in life, it is possible to chase your dreams. It is never too late to return to college and better your education.
I found the perfect program for me. CRC’s Radio, TV, Film Production is 100% something I’ve always wanted to do—I just didn’t always know it existed. It has literally changed my life. I get to learn in the classroom and at my job on campus, exactly what I need to know in order to obtain a job in my desired field. And I am learning those skills at industry standard. And that’s one of my favorite things about CRC. We have such a broad range of majors and degree programs available to students here. There is really something for everyone.
If you have the desire and dedication to make your dreams come true and to secure your future, the right opportunities will open up to you.
Maintaining my happiness has been the main motivation for pursuing my goals. I want to feel fulfilled in my career and know that I am successful in something I am passionate about. I truly believe education is the way to success and that helps me stay motivated each and every day.
I am also driven by the desire to put myself in a position where I can make a difference. I want to bring awareness to people’s opportunities, especially in the arts. I want to make opportunities in the arts available on a broader spectrum, because it was something that was not available to me in my previous education.
I struggled a lot in my past, and I want to be able to make a difference for others in the futures.
Marianna was a babe in arms when her mother graduated from Sacramento City College’s hygienist program. And now a mother herself, Marianna is hitting the books 17 years after her last math class. At the beginning, Marianna felt that most of the students were half her age. But then she figured out that at community college you can customize your experience – if you root for yourself, are clear about your goals, and speak out to people willing to advocate for you.
Sacramento City College provides Marianna a place to practice and learn to be better. She is merging her visual, creative, and leadership skills with a new understanding of the value of relationships. She even went out and established enough of them to get her elected to student body president – then student representative to the Board of Trustees. Marianna knows life can get tough. But she says she has professors that tell her about opportunities and keep her on a trajectory, and that’s the true value of community college.
Susana Barraza has a plan. She has specifics and a timeline and is oozing with confidence that it will happen. She wants to gain experience in Washington D.C. (where she interned with the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute), reach the PhD level, return back home and run for public office.
Susana’s plan is especially remarkable because when she graduated from high school (barely), she had no plan at all. She’s the eldest in an income insecure immigrant family, and her parents expected her to work after high school. She entertained the idea of community college only because her best friend was going, so she enrolled at SCC.
Susana’s ambitions changed when she was selected to attend the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities' (HACU) Capitol Forum as a SCC representative. Each spring, SCC students at this forum lobby their elected Congressional representatives hoping to shape and promote future legislation that will benefit all students, particularly those in underserved communities. SCC is the only campus in the region to expose students to these opportunities.
Attending the HACU Capitol Forum changed Susana’s view of what she could dream and even impacted her entire family. Susana understands now that growing up in an immigrant household doesn’t predispose her to the types of jobs her parents have, and she is worthy of the opportunities offered to anyone with an education.
Now that she has her AS in Business Administration from SCC and a degree in economics at Sac State, Susana is giving back at SCC. She is working with the HSI-STEM Equity and Success Initiative Project, a federal grant made available to recognized, Hispanic-serving institutions. Her job now is to support/mentor underserved and low-income students in school by being an advocate for them and an advocate for equity.
Through education, Susana learned that her heard voice can be heard, and she can advocate for herself, her family and her community. Barraza for Congress? Why not?
My major at ARC is General Science and my educational and career goal is to work in the Heath Administration field. There are many reasons why I like ARC. Being a student at ARC has allowed me the opportunity to become a Student Help in the Career and Pathways Support Services office. This has been a wonderful experience for me because I have learned to be helpful and supportive for other students. I have gained so many work skills such as customer service, student support, and strong clerical abilities. Also, this allow me to interact with people from different countries and with different backgrounds. I am very grateful that as a student I have the opportunity to be part of the CalWORKs program, which helps me succeed with my future career. This program is so important for students with families to become independent. I enjoy reading books in my leisure time and my favorite novel is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.
I have been a student in the Mather Diesel program for the last two semesters. I am taking diesel courses to improve my skills for my career in diesel where I work at Sacramento Regional Transit. I am in the A mechanics apprenticeship program. I am using these courses to aid in my training. I am majoring in Diesel Technology. I have been interested in this field since I began working at Sacramento Regional Transit as a service worker. What I enjoy best about the Mather Diesel program is Learning about new and up and coming technologies and applying what I’ve learned to my current position at Sacramento Regional Transit. The program is providing me with hands on experience as well as in the classroom training that is applicable to the industry. The Mather Diesel program is preparing me for the future by providing me with the necessary skills required to be successful in the industry. This includes providing information regarding current technologies and hands on experience.
Danielle has been involved in many beneficial programs at American River College, including the Umoja Sakhu Learning Community and working for two years for the Journey Program assisting students in overcoming their obstacles. She has gained practical skills in studying, creating resumes, writing, and mathematics that are propelling her towards her goal of earning a Bachelor's of Science from UC Davis.
I am a Mathematics major here at ARC. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and am looking at options for further formal education. In my spare time, I can be found tending my garden, cooking something delicious, or curled up in a comfy chair while knitting. I love the sense of community here at ARC and appreciate the support systems that exist for students. I have met many different students, professors, and other faculty with diverse past experiences. I have learned as much from others at ARC as I have though my actual college coursework.
Anthony Hopkins was six years out of high school and sporting several failed attempts at college. Even dead-end jobs were elusive. He was 24 when he returned once again to Sacramento City College, this time placed on academic probation due to his poor GPA. He knew he needed a confidence boost in his ability to learn.
So, Anthony changed the equation. This time he found “family” support at RISE. RISE (Respect, Integrity, Self-determination & Education) is an SCC campus organization that welcomes students with a holistic set of support services. RISE staff and classmates were there for Anthony socially and emotionally, along with study techniques and tactics to adjust his mindset toward academics.
Anthony was and continues to be motivated to solve racial disparities in society. He reengaged with college at SCC because he says he had professors who he felt represented him and truly cared about his success as a man of color. He knew he wanted to study social systems to ponder why Black and Brown people weren't succeeding at the same rate. Anthony chose the field of education where he could make the most impact.
Anthony received his AA in sociology from SCC, a BA in American studies/education at UC Berkeley, and an MA in social studies teaching and curriculum at New York University. And he studied photography along the way too.
After a decade of schooling and working in New York, Anthony has come full circle and returned to RISE, this time as a professional in a paid position. He is grateful to the organization that gave him his start and savors the opportunity to pay it forward by helping students — who he understands to be walking a similar path.
My major at ARC is Psychology. My educational goal is to obtain an A.A. in Psychology here at ARC, transfer to obtain a B.A., then continue to receive a Masters degree, and become licensed as a therapist/counselor. My career goal is to become a counselor or a therapist.
I get a kick out of helping people, so I'm extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work here. I like to be the person who students can rely on to receive accurate information about the resources we have here at ARC. I understand the frustrations some people experience of not quite understanding how to navigate campus or the website, so being a student employee gives me the ability to help from an active student point of view.
Umoja Sahku has shown me so many things I was convinced were impossible. It is by far the best community I've ever been involved in. They make sure you have no excuses as to why you cannot demonstrate and produce excellence. Aside from school I like to play soccer, work on motorcycles, and dance with friends and family - Salsa, Rumba, Timba, and Changui are just a few I was taught growing up. However my most favored hobby is playing Xbox live. GT: Rocket 1100
Shea's experience at American River College has been motivational, encouraging, and has propelled her towards her goal of earning a Ph.D. in International Studies and becoming a college professor. In her time at American River, she has served as President of the Model United Nations club for a year, and interned at the non-profit SHARE Institute, run by ARC anthropology professor Dr. Soheir Stolba. Shea has enjoyed working with other motivated students here at American River, and is looking forward to her spring transfer to UC Berkeley in 2014.
Breece Phipps’ life is on the up side. And for someone whose life has experienced more than its share of downs, his journey is quite remarkable. Breece graduated recently with degrees in mechanical/aerospace engineering, mathematics and interdisciplinary studies. The first-generation college student even plans to someday assist in the advancement of multi-planet exploration. He credits maturity and tenacity for his success, and the new beginning he found at Sacramento City College (SCC).
As a teenager, Breece became a statistic of America’s battle with opioids. Like so many others, his addiction was leading him down a path of self-destruction. Bad decisions led to dropout status at college — and for a while — even incarceration.
Breece now says college is the catalyst to changing the trajectory of his future. And when he looks back at his years at SCC, he realizes that his success came not just from his own persistence to learn, but also from the community he found there. He loved hearing the multitude of languages on campus and learning of the different ethnic backgrounds of his fellow students. He looked forward to getting on campus every day because he knew everybody there was supportive and cheering him on. For Breece, SCC provided the faculty, administration and vast amount of resources he needed to thrive throughout his time there, and he says, it felt like family.
I am a new diesel technician. I came to the Mather Diesel program through my job at Sacramento Regional Transit. I’ve learned a lot and I am currently pursuing my A.S. degree. My major is diesel technology, but it is not something I have always wanted to do. However, it is an opportunity that presented itself through my current employer. I am currently working in the diesel industry at Sacramento Regional Transit. What I enjoy the best in the Mather Diesel Program is the combination of both classroom and hands on lab instruction. The Mather Diesel Program is helping me succeed by teaching me theories in the classroom that give me a more in-depth understanding of the industry. Also, the hands on training gives me the fundamental training for success in the industry. The Diesel program is teaching me a lot about the diesel industry and it is complimenting my on the job training.
Yowty has gained the necessary skills to apply to his future career as a nurse practitioner and developed personally as a student, individual, and active member in his community. He plans to transfer to a 4-year university, earn his Bachelor's degree, and eventually work as a nurse practitioner, but his passion lies in helping villages in Thailand, Laos, and Southeast Asia. After receiving his degree, he wishes to volunteer overseas in those villages and improve the health of their inhabitants, providing general medicine services. In his time outside American River, Yowty volunteers as a tennis coach, is a music instructor at his church, and will be teaching English in China during summer 2013.
Jason Ward, an amateur psychologist who always wondered why people do what they do, wanted to broaden his small-town view of things. So, he became a student at Folsom Lake College. And through his participation in several on-campus clubs and social events, Jason was offered an opportunity to study abroad via the Los Rios Study Abroad program.
As he toured the sights and observed the people in Rome and Florence, Italy, his worldview changed. " The most important lesson I learned from studying abroad, is that life is full of opportunities. Opportunities can be easily overlooked and then they pass. It would have been easier to stay in the comfort of my home in Placerville. But then I would not have walked the streets of the Renaissance, not seen The David, not made new friends and not experienced life in a foreign country," Jason shares.
Back home with world travel tucked under his belt, Jason was excited by opportunities that stretched ahead and where his college education could take him. He had a plan.
Jason believes that his degree from FLC in psychology will give him an edge when it comes to getting into UCLA, law school, and his desire to practice criminal law. He says the supportive staff, faculty, and student-led clubs he discovered at FLC, “a community hidden gem,” has given him the tools he needs to make big leaps in his education and career.
Jason advises that community college is a great place for someone who wants to explore everything the world has to offer. Community college is the perfect place to start, Jason says, it’s easy to get the classes you need, has a relaxing atmosphere, and is just a stop along the way to your bigger career ambitions.
Becky Yang is on a mission. She wants everyone to have access to a dentist and understand the importance of taking care of their teeth. That’s why she went to Sacramento City College and earned an associate degree in dental hygiene. Her hope is to find a job helping her community by offering her newly acquired expertise and find a work family like the circle of friends she counted on at Sacramento City College.
Community college rescued Becky from heartbreak and gave her the support she needed to pursue her goals. She says her counselors at SCC were extremely helpful by encouraging Becky to persevere, even after two rejections to the dental hygiene program and the unbearable grief of losing her parents during that time. Becky gives credit to the open-door policy of counselors, where she often went to simply have a good cry. When Becky was considering college, she knew she wanted to stay home. Her parents needed her, and money was certainly an issue. Becky is the oldest of eight children, and she grew up in a home where English is a second language and her dad’s earnings were stretched thin. She needed to help them, and she needed extra help at school. Becky did finally get into the dental hygiene program.
Every step of the way, counselors, instructors, the staff, and colleagues supported her through all her difficult circumstances. Becky is so grateful for their empathy and caring, and their offers of a shoulder to lean on while insisting she not fall behind in school. And now Becky is a role model for her seven younger brothers and sisters. She can stand tall and prove to them that if she can overcome all the obstacles she faced while earning her degree at SCC, they can too. It will be special moments for Becky when her siblings, one by one, walk the stage to receive their degrees. She’ll be there, representing her parents who would be so proud.
Andrew is on the road to success as an automotive technology major with plans to work at a local dealership or independent repair shop after graduating, and to eventually become an ASE Master Technician. His time at American River College has gained him experience and confidence in his field, as well as winning the Early Ford V-8 Club and Osher Scholars scholarships and maintaining a 4.0 GPA, preparing him for the future and his long-term goal of opening his own automotive repair business.
I’ve been working in the field for a mom and pop shop for a while and have always had an inclination for mechanical things and fixing equipment. My original major has been changed due to trying different fields like the medical field, engineering, and ended up here on the technical side of things. I currently work for a diesel repair shop. What I enjoy best about the Mather Diesel program is the instruction of the various instructors who challenge me to engage my thinking process. The instructors are providing information that will help me have a basis of understanding in the field. I believe the introduction to industry partners is a big part of the program and it really helps get a foot in the door. Once I finish my degree, I hope to get a job in the agriculture industry or as a field mechanic. My words of inspiration to current and future students who are interested in the diesel program are to do what you enjoy and try to challenge yourself to study and expand your knowledge of the subject outside of the classroom.
April is a dedicated student who manages her academics alongside her extracurricular activities as a former Treasurer and current President of the Accounting Society Club, as well as being an active member of the Honors Club and volunteering for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA). Her experience in the Accounting Society and working in the Business and Computer Science department at ARC has prepared her to transfer to a UC, with UCLA being her first choice. After obtaining her BA in Business Economics, April plans to take the CPA exam and become a Certified Public Accountant.
Evelina Rybin is one of the lucky ones. Even in high school, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. Evelina was going to go to American River College (ARC) and become a paramedic. She knew but didn’t care that college was going to be hard – but what she didn’t anticipate was a predisposition against community colleges coming from (of all people) a high school teacher, and a bias against her career choice harbored by her family and friends.
Yet, Evelina persevered. She enrolled at ARC after finishing high school and went to work on her prerequisite courses. But one of the preconditions for the ARC paramedicine program is a year of first-responder field experience as an emergency medical technician. Undeterred, Evelina found an EMT internship class that sent her to a few Cosumnes Fire Department stations. At the fire stations, Evelyn learned all about a fire internship offered at Los Rios’ Cosumnes River College. She took a fire technology class and was hooked!
Evelina is planning to graduate with an associate degree in paramedicine, one in fire technology, and another one in foreign language studies. She hopes to get hired at a local fire department, and she wants to pursue a bachelor's degree in fire science; maybe even a master's. While fighting fires, Evelina envisions teaching fire tech for the Los Rios Community College District, a place where she found shared passion, friendship, and a place to belong.
The doubters in Evelina’s life who disapproved of her choices have come around to accept Evelina’s determination to follow her passion, and are even proud of her accomplishments. And to the high school teacher who snubbed community college? Tell your students there are options for everyone at Los Rios, so they should enroll in classes, find an interest, and follow their hearts – Just like Evelina did.
I graduated in spring 2019 with an AA in Social Science and plan to transfer to UC Davis in the fall to double major in Political Science: Public Service and Sociology: Law and Society.
My main goals with political science and sociology are to greatly influence and enhance the education system, as I strive to make all campuses ones that are conducive and equitable for all students no matter what walk of life they are from. My goals are to get my Masters in Divinity and PhD in Education so I can be a positive role model, political powerhouse, and youth pastor, as I have a gift for helping people navigate their purpose by turning their pain into passion.
As an Achieve peer mentor, community intern for UNITE, and Vice President of Umoja I get to help and encourage students on a daily basis and implement the things I want to change within the education system, without waiting for my degree to solidify my destiny, which in turn allows me to be the change I wish to see. A couple fun facts about me: I am extremely goofy and currently my favorite book is called Battlefield Of The Mind by Joyce Meyers.
Dr. Sommer is responsible for the development, marketing, implementation, and administration of comprehensive innovation and training programs, working with industry partners, campus departments, and community agencies to ensure success of Workforce Development initiatives. Her work includes the college's new mobile simulation laboratory.
Humankind has come up with some pretty clever stuff over the ages – but our greatest invention, by far, is language. Language – communication – is the essence of our humanity; it allows us to connect with each other and cultivate ideas and grow! Every career field, from accounting to veterinary technology, relies upon communication in order to function effectively. The skills one acquires in the Communication major, including conflict resolution, leadership, and critical thinking, are highly sought after by employers.
My advice is simple: don't quit. No matter how crazy your life may get, stay enrolled – even if it's only for 3 units! Once your car stops visiting campus, it gets harder and harder to come back. So stick around. You'll be glad you did. That, and buy a tiny stapler to keep in your backpack. Your professors will love you for it.
I love that my discipline so readily lends itself to effective teaching. A lot of good teaching is good communication – so by modeling effective communication skills, I become a better teacher. I also love how technology has expanded my discipline. Communication once took place only face-to-face. Before we knew it, we were communicating in writing and via telephone and radio and television, and now much of our communication takes place via computers and text messages. It's fascinating to see how the media affects the message.
I have been very fortunate to be heavily involved in both service-learning and AmeriCorps programs, so I've had many proud moments with students. My students have done everything from build houses for Habitat for Humanity to revamping music rooms at The Boys and Girls Club to teaching underprivileged kids to read. On a day-to-day basis, however, my proudest moments probably happen in the Public Speaking course. I've had hundreds of students, literally, who thought they would freeze up or pass out or throw up - and that has never happened once! It's wonderful to see someone do the thing they thought they couldn't do – and to feel like I helped them in some small way.
Paula Haug has her B.A. and M.A. from CSU, Fresno.
One thing that I want my students to walk away with in their experience with music at CRC is growth in confidence and community. I want them to grow in confidence with their music and with learning about themselves. And I also want them to be mindful of learning about community. I want students to know that they are the future of their industry—working together with new people means that they will have new friends and new colleagues for the rest of their lives.
My favorite aspect about the arts is that it really is this sort of place where students from all backgrounds come to share their own personal stories. Artists are story tellers. And every single student has a story to tell. They have something that they can offer to other students, to the world. And the arts really help us delve into those subjects and find the best way to communicate.
This is a really incredible place for new possibility. A lot of our students come from this region and beyond and they’re not really sure what the possibilities are for them. They’re not sure how they fit in finding a career in the arts or finding a career anywhere. And I think that CRC really provides an intimate educational setting in a way that students can really work with their professors to really pursue those dreams in ways that they might get lost in other campuses. We are a family here at CRC.
I have the best of both worlds! I meet with students to aid them in planning out their courses, majors, possible careers, and to address issues that might affect their progress in school. I then work with students in the classroom where I am a part of the process and journey that they undergo as they become critical thinkers, educated members of society, and leaders in their communities. It is an honor to be able to be trusted by the students so that they disclose some very personal issues and concerns to me. I am not in the business of solving students' issues, but working with them to uncover possible solutions, identify steps needed to address them, and empower them to act. That way they are armed with the knowledge of doing rather than have it done for them.
Be open to the journey that is higher education. Allow yourself the flexibility to be unsure about your major and career and to take courses that you have an interest in. Explore options, take the classes that interest you, and those that may intimidate you. You may find a totally new way of thinking, a direction, a passion!
I love being on a college campus – just walking around, I become energized about the amount of learning and discovery that takes place here – you can almost hear that energy buzzing! And working with the students keeps me feeling young!
When I hear a student say that my class was eye opening for them. That they were challenged to think differently than they were used to – that they look forward to coming to class…that is amazing!
Juan Flores has his B.A. and M.S. from CSU, Sacramento.
The best advice I could give is to learn how to be a college student. The key here is engagement. If you push yourself to become engaged in the material you will learn several skills critical to being a college student. It may take a semester or two, but engagement will teach you how to study and keep yourself focused on your greater goal.
Engagement doesn't stop at the classroom though. Get involved with on-campus activities and use as many of the provided resources as you can. College is an experience that you will gain more than book smarts from. You will learn life, job, and communication skills; and so much more, but you have to be engaged in order to truly benefit from it.
I call this the epiphany moment. It's the moment when you realize that what you thought was the best you could do, really wasn't. I went through this myself in college and found that engaging myself in the college experience was key to my academic success. Go to office hours – even if you do not need help. Utilize the tutoring center, or better yet become a tutor. The college experience does not stop once you leave the classroom.
My final piece of advice is to never pursue money. It's understandably easy to get caught up in the pursuit of a six figure job; however you should never sacrifice your quality of life for it. Do what you love and the money will come. If you don't know what you love, get out there. Do internships, contact companies, ask for informational interviews. Of course this all ties back to engagement; if you love what you do then you'll be great at what you do.
The variation. There is always something new happening, some new problem that needs solving. It keeps me on my toes and I love it. Best of all, it brings me back to the college experience that I loved so much.
The proudest moment is seeing my students transform from individuals first learning how to hold a needle, to professional Medical Laboratory Technologists. It's amazing what our program manages to accomplish in such a short period of time. Our program has a steep learning curve and engagement is pretty much a requirement for success. Seeing our students enter into the medical field with professional licensure and a passion for what they do has to be one of the best feelings in the world.
Well it's one of the first Medical Laboratory Technician programs in California. Also interesting is all MLT programs are governed by California law, which mean a few unique criteria are put upon us here at the college. For instance all MLT instructors, at minimum, must be current California-licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientists. As you can imagine, keeping up with these unique criteria brings some interesting, but solvable, challenges to our campus.
Furthermore, we set our standards very high for our program and its students. Laboratory professionals play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. We set our standards so high because as a patient you expect your medical team to be the best and the brightest, and that is what we aim to provide with this program.
Jason received his B.S. in Microbiology from UC Davis and is a State and Nationally Licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist.
As an adminstrator, Arata is commited to providing administrative support to ensure efficient operation of the WEXP program. The program offers students the opportunity to develop technical skills, explore possible career choices, build confidence, network with people in the field, and transition into the world of work.
From the first day and throughout the semester, I take the position of “anyone can do it.” One of my first lectures, especially in ENGWR 101 and below, is about how writing is not simply a natural born talent, that it is a skill anybody can develop through practice and hard work. This gives many students who have for such a long time believed they cannot write and therefore hate writing a slight hope that maybe the class won’t be so painful. What they find out is that it is a difficult challenge if taken seriously, but most of my students tell me at the end of semesters after they took my classes that they learned more in my class than in most others. These testimonies are passed on from student to student, which gives many students the confidence they need to succeed.
Throughout the semester, many students have panic moments; this usually hits around mid-term time. Many students come to my office, which I encourage them to do. This is part of them developing the confidence they’ll need throughout college. They need to connect with their professors, and when they do, they often grow in new ways. They are taking initiative to help themselves, and this is them taking responsibility for the outcome of their goals. Many students go through their trials on their own, and while many find their way, there are also many who sink in isolation. As a result, I encourage students to talk to me during office hour. In my developmental writing classes, I actually schedule one-on-one conferences with each student for a chance to connect with each student individually and give them feedback based on their individual performance. These meetings also allow me to help guide the students so they can move in the direction of progress for the remainder of the semester.
One option I give my students in all of my classes is the opportunity to revise any one essay for a better grade. This also gives students confidence that they didn’t have to get it right the first time, and just in case it didn’t all sink in on that first try, they have some recourse. This often makes some difference in their grade, and ultimately makes them feel like they made these choices for themselves, which in turn gives them a greater sense of self.
A new college student has a daunting transition to make, and there are several things a new college student can do to ease that transition. First, at the college level, it would be wise for the new student to attend college orientation to find out about college resources and programs that he or she might qualify for. Most students are fairly unaware of all of the things they can do to improve their experience and outcome. Hence, in my class, I am informative in my syllabus by listing contact information for the Reading and Writing Center, DSPS, EOPS, etc., just in case the students didn’t learn about these outlets in another context. Fortunately, because I teach mostly basic skills classes, I have been working closely with the counselors, who have visited the class to further guide and direct students, talking about survival skills and whatnot.
On a personal level, I encourage new students to see college as life-changing and allow the experience to give them new insights and perspectives about their lives and those of others. This requires some commitment to independence and being an individual, as this is their lives, not their parents. They are no longer children, and since most incoming freshmen are around the age of 18, this advice is significant because they are claiming their lives as their own. For re-entry students who are new to the campus, the personal transition is much different, as these students are torn in many directions. A good schedule is necessary for all students, but especially for re-entry students who have families, work full-time, and are trying to get a college education. Set aside time for your studies everyday, but don’t forget to sometimes have time alone for just yourself. Balance is key for all.
There are two things that make teaching a career I could not replace with anything else. First, I love being in the classroom, facilitating students’ ideas in group discussion, answering questions and clarifying ideas, and generating connections between students from different backgrounds. I see the classroom as a mini-version of society: people from different backgrounds with diverse experiences sitting together and having to co-exist and find a way. Even though it is not always a happy ending, something positive can come from this situation, as it forces each individual to pause and listen.
The second thing I love about teaching goes hand-in-hand with the first: seeing students’ growth. Even though most students learn something and change in some way by the end of a semester, it is rare that there is a significant transformation. But, every now and then, I get to work with a student whose transformation is profound, and this is one of the most rewarding experiences as a teacher.
I have had many proud moments as a professor, and what they all have in common is a cohesion in the classroom between the students and me. We are all bouncing ideas off of each other, expanding our ideas as individuals and as a group, learning from each other, being challenged in new ways, considering new ideas genuinely, sincerely, and in the end, walking out with a feeling of fulfillment and energy. This is what many teachers call the “aha-moment.” But, I’d like to extend that to the entire group because when our students have that experience, somehow we do too. That is what makes me proud to be a teacher. There aren’t too many professions that instill that kind of growth and understanding, and I’m proud to be in a profession that does make a difference sometimes.
Lisa Sapra has her AA from Orange Coast College and B.A. and M.A. from CSU, Long Beach.
This is an investment in yourself. So, really invest in yourself while you’re here. Put that time in. Put that time in to studying. Put that time to going out and networking—networking is huge.
And when you find faculty you connect with, they can help you with networking to get that job you want. They can help you get that internship or be a reference for you. So, just be out there and know that everyone here has been through this, or is currently going through this process.
So be that person that asks one question. One question can lead you into meeting a counselor, a great mentorship, or something you hadn’t thought of that can help you get to your goal.
I want people to know there’re so many different avenues you can choose in Kinesiology—it isn’t just sports. Studying Kinesiology at CRC, you’ll start to see all of these different paths you can take. And what’s great is that at CRC we even offer a class where students get to learn all the sub-disciplines you’ll be using as a kinesiologist.
You can begin to see what you would enjoy and what you wouldn’t. So in taking different courses we offer,
One thing that I want everyone to know is that CRC cares. Our faculty, our administration, and our classified staff all care. That’s the biggest point I would love everyone to know. If you’re someone who’s thinking about coming to Cosumnes River College, or you’re someone who’s already here, I want you to know there are so many resources here for you. We’re all here putting these resources putting these resources out just so you can have the best experience and find the best way to get to your goal. And we care about you as an individual.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you feel lost, either physically, emotionally, or intellectually, there are plenty of people around who want to help you.
I love working with the students and sharing my love of theater with them.
I feel the most proud when a show opens and the set is finished, the lights are hung, and the costumes are made. I am always impressed by how much the students are able to accomplish.
As a high school student, I was drawn to design, because I got to be able to create new and different environments. I had a great many mentors and teachers along the way and now I am excited to be able to mentor others in the field of theater design and technology.
Yes, it is so exciting to see young people getting excited about theater. I have designed and built hundreds of platforms over my career and it makes me happy to see someone want to stay after class to finish building their first platform.
When I was in the fourth grade, my parents took me to see The Wind in the Willows at the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis. I remember sitting in the darkness as the house lights went down and the stage came to life. I remember some of the stage magic, where an actor jumped down into a trap in the stage and came back up and spit water out as if he had jumped into a pool of water. That was really exciting to me.
Ian received his BFA in Drama from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts, and his MFA in Theater Design from UC San Diego.
Biology is the study of life. I am interested in all living organisms but since I started teaching I have been fascinated by how people learn. This interest in education is coupled with my training as a bench scientist and the study of the unseen microbial world. Microbes play a critical role in our ecosystem and impact all aspects of the earth and its residents. Yet they are often labeled as “dangerous germs”. The more we understand about the microbial world the better we are able to evaluate the role they play in our quality of life. The vast majority of microbes are beneficial and just a small percentage, known as pathogens, cause disease. If we consider the impact of just three diseases: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, we can appreciate how devastating infectious disease is on a global level. I am interested in helping students understand this dichotomy as they learn about microbes.
Firstly, be open to learning and the process of discovery. Let it excite you the way it did when you were a toddler. Get involved, don’t be passive, engage your mind. Find what interests you, pursue it passionately and learn at a deep level. In the field of infectious disease there is so much we talk about in the classroom that then is heard in the current news. Everything from drug resistance, MRSA, nosocomial infections, mad cow disease to H1N1. These topics come alive when you relate them to your own life and their impact on society. Patricia Cross states that “passive learning is an oxymoron; there is no such thing”.
Secondly, pace yourself. Science classes are rich in content. Do NOT cram for an exam the night before. Disaster will follow. Keep up with the material, whether you are reading or writing or thinking. Consider running a long distance marathon, you have to put in regular training to achieve ultimate success. There is an anonymous quote that captures both of these suggestions: “If you study to remember you will forget, but, if you study to understand, you will remember."
I care about my students and my subject area. I am inspired by Parker Palmer, a highly respected writer and teacher: “[teachers] are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.” I get excited when students see the relevance of the material in my classroom. I love it when students ask to borrow books to read and when they bring in articles they found in the library or in the newspaper. If I can play a small role in the lifelong learning process then my job has meaning.
Plus, I get summers off to travel with my family. This past weekend I was in Monterey with two days in the world famous aquarium, a few weeks ago I was in Yellowstone National Park. Last summer I explored the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. A teaching job has its perks if you like to travel and maintain a love of learning!
There are many rewards each semester. I would find it difficult to choose a “moment”. I love to hear that students who have previously been intimidated by science find it fascinating and fun. Recently a student completed the class and then wrote a rap song inspired by gas gangrene. She sent me the YouTube link. Another student was accepted to vet school in Scotland. Many microbiology students go on to careers in allied health, particularly nursing. Some plan to work in health clinics in Africa or Mexico. I am humbled that I get to be a part of their career plans. I often joke with my students that if I am their patient one day I want to know that they really understand key elements of infection and disease.
Linda Abraham has her M.Sc. from University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and her Ph.D. from University of British Columbia, Canada.
As a CAST member, Josef is devoted to direct the ARC community toward successful methods to prevent isolated and patterned behaviors, which may cause a risk to the individual or the campus community. Among his many contributions, Josef strongly supports the creating of a campus culture that can encourage and empower students in order to boost campus health and wellness.
The ESL students who come into my classroom at the Rancho Cordova Center, the Folsom Lake College main campus, or the El Dorado Center are here because of their overwhelming determination to improve their lives. They have overcome the challenges of leaving their own country and making a new life in the United States – with a new language and culture. Their ages range from eighteen to eighty, and it is not uncommon to see two or three generations from the same family taking classes. They know the value of education and appreciate the opportunity they have to attend the community college.
I can identify with their experience and empathize with them in many ways. Having lived, worked, and traveled in many different countries, I know what it's like to adjust to a new culture and learn a new language. I understand their vulnerability, their fears, and their humility. And, I recognize and admire their passion to achieve their dreams and succeed.
I believe in setting high standards and expectations in my classroom. I stress the value of education and tell my students: "You can lose everything else, but you will never lose your education." And, most important of all, I think kindness, support, and encouragement are essential.
Get to know people on campus. Network with your classmates so that you can make friends and establish a support system. Join a club and get involved in college activities. Find people on campus that you can talk to when you need help or advice – one of your professors, a counselor, or a staff member. Find a place on campus where you feel comfortable and like to hang out – a spot in the library, the cafeteria, or a gathering place. This will give you a sense of belonging; you will not feel so alone; and you will have a much more satisfying and successful experience.
I enjoy meeting students from so many different backgrounds, and I love to hear their stories. There is always something new to learn. It is also wonderful when you have students from twenty or more different countries and language backgrounds in your classroom working together, overcoming their fears and prejudices, forming bonds, and ultimately learning that their commonalities are so much greater than their differences.
I think one of the proudest moments was seeing five of my former ESL students walk across the stage at graduation. They had started in the beginning level ESL classes at the Rancho Cordova Center, transitioned to the main FLC campus, and completed their requirements for graduation. I was very proud of them.
Bernadette Anayah has her B.A. from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and her M.A. from San Francisco State University.
Our Nutrition program is great, because our students get a fuller experience by working with other departments. For example, we partner with our Horticulture program, so that we can provide the students with food that’s grown and processed from the ground—students are able to experience eating the food that they harvest.
Having the ability and flexibility of doing collaborative work with other departments, both inside and outside of the classroom, is really wonderful. I think the students definitely benefit and they can begin to see many avenues with a start in college with a degree in Nutrition.
What I love about teaching nutrition, is the opportunity to see the lightbulb turn on as I share all this new information with them. I love to see the transformation in their thinking as they gain the ability to decipher fiction from actual facts. They develop the ability to critically analyze what is based on science and what is more for a profit.
So, being able to help my students learn to decipher fact from fiction is really enlightening for them and rewarding for me as an instructor.
So, what I wish and what I would actually recommend for my students is that they make a connection. I think if they are able to make a connection with a faculty member, a fellow student, or with a student club, then they now feel like they belong. They can feel and know that we want them here and we want them to feel welcome.
I encourage students to remember we are all here to help them. We have all of these resources available for our students, and I really want them to take advantage of these opportunities so they can make these important connections.
The Work Experience and Internship Program is an experiential academic program which allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to a work environment while earning college credit. We are also available to assist you in coordinating efforts to develop internship sites in your industry field.
I have worked as a community college counselor for over 20 years. As a counselor, I provide academic, career, and personal counseling to students in addition to teaching classes in the area of Human/Career Development. Additionally, I serve as the campus transfer services coordinator.
I love what I do. My interest within the counseling field began after having been inspired by a mentor/college counselor while I was a student at West Valley College. Counseling students at the community college provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with individuals of incredibly diverse backgrounds, life experiences and with a broad range of goals. This makes for a very exciting work place!
Give yourself time when deciding on a major! Often, students limit themselves (and their natural interests) by choosing common majors because they believe they can get a good job with that degree. Often, these students don’t care for the coursework and end up doing poorly in their studies as a result. Students should find their passion (and this takes time) and study what they enjoy! It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of undergraduate college degrees will not lead you to a job in a specific field. Students who study what they enjoy can pursue work experience opportunities (such as internships or cooperatives) at the university level to gain experience in areas that pique their interests. The college degree coupled with work experience makes for a powerful combination when interviewing for jobs.
Students who are undecided may consider taking some of our career exploration classes such as HCD 310, 318, 330, or 335. Additionally, taking introductory courses in various disciplines is a great way to get exposure. Classes such as PSYC 300, BUS 300, SWHS 300, ADMJ 300, and ECE 300 provide nice introductions to certain fields.
When I receive letters or e-mails from students who have transferred on to a four year college and share what is going on in their lives.
That’s a tough one, as I have many. I have a favorite scenario that occurs with many students which makes me so thankful and proud. That is seeing students move forward with their educational and personal goals who didn’t have the grades or confidence in themselves while attending high school. Coming to the community college gives students an opportunity to begin with a “clean slate” and start over. It is incredibly powerful to watch these students transform and empower themselves through their community college experiences and education.
Chris Clark has his A.A. from West Valley College and B.A. and M.S. from San Francisco State University.
CRC is very welcoming. The very first time I stepped on campus, which was in 1999, I felt welcomed here immediately. And that’s something special about CRC.
I think CRC is special because we focus on our students. Here we make the students the top priority. Every decision that is made here at CRC is made with the students in mind. How many classes we’re going to schedule, or what time or where—every decision that I make as an instructor, is for the students.
What draws me to math is that it’s very objective. And for me, as a mathematician, I think math is in everything. It’s in business. It’s in science. It’s in nature.
My favorite stories are of former students who reach out years later to let me know that because of taking my classes, it gives them more confidence in life. And from there that they just have the drive to go out and get the jobs they want. My advice is to gain the skills you need here so you can get whatever it is you want in life.
I really just hope that CRC students get what they came for. Whether that would be a degree, or a certificate, or to transfer. Taking these classes can give you the skills to do the job you want.
My advice would be mostly to just keep going and don’t give up.
I encourage students to stick with it.
Sociology incorporates aspects of many disciplines (including History, Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Anthropology, Humanities, Media Studies, and so on) to help students discover more about themselves and how they are connected to others through a bigger picture of historical and social processes. Classes cover everything from the micro level (such as emotions, identity, and intimate relationships), to the societal level (such as divisions by race, social class, gender and sexuality; politics; media; environment; and social movements). Sociology makes visible the way societies are structured and the complex reasons why things are the way they’ve come to be. More importantly, Sociology encourages us to question our assumptions about the world, to break down stereotypes and systems of inequality, and to be active in the many ways that change happens. Being exposed to all this will help students be more informed and better members of their families, their work, and their local and global communities.
Be yourself, work hard, and don’t give up. Breathe. Connect to other students. If things get hard, get help. We have excellent resources at the college dedicated to student success – use them.
The students are the best part of my job. Every semester is exciting because students bring new and different ways of thinking about the material. I also love finding interesting hands-on/active learning activities to help explore a concept or process. When students get to “play”, learn something at the same time, and grasp the connection to the class – that rocks!
I am the very most thrilled when I have students who at the beginning of the semester may have been unaware or even resistant to thinking about multicultural issues and inequalities, who then later in the semester resolve to use their privilege and dedicate themselves to work for change in whatever arena they will be. This happens every semester, so I never cease being thrilled!
Diane Carlson has her B.A. and J.D. from University of Arizona and M.A. from UC Davis.
To me, CRC feels like home, and the community feels like my extended family. So, for me, the supportive environment cultivated by all the people here, from those in leadership positions to the each and every student, is what makes CRC special.
What I hope for my students is that by taking my class, they get closer to achieving their goals. If they do this simply by satisfying a requirement for a degree or for transfer (or whatever), that's fine. And I hope that, in addition to meeting their goals, my students learn critical thinking skills that can help them to effectively make decisions that will promote their success. For me, taking a class in philosophy here at CRC is what thrust me onto a path that allows me to flourish—this is what I hope my classes will do for my students.
I want students to know that the community at CRC is invested in them succeeding and is prepared to do whatever it can to promote their success. But what I most want students to know, is something about themselves—I want them to know they have what it takes to succeed, and the CRC community is a resource to help them do just that.
Don't try to plan your entire life. Allow for unplanned opportunities to guide you a little. This happens by getting involved in on-campus and off-campus activities: joining student organizations, finding jobs and internships, getting to know your professors, volunteering, and finding work that needs doing in a world with so many underfunded organizations that need your time and talent more than ever.
I have two favorite parts: First, meeting with students who are so motivated and hopeful in their quest to get work experience and start their career that they inspire me and secondly, networking with employers who are on-board with creating opportunities for these students. I've had the good fortune of working with several local professionals from companies like SMUD, Intel, and Vanir Construction Management who want to come on campus and mentor students with no other motive other than to outreach to their community and give back.
At Sac State I worked with members of the student chapter of the Power Engineering Society. Over the course of four years, their officers sought me out as a resource in planning their industry panels. These students were so committed to serving their peers, so good at networking, reaching out to faculty and staff, and always created exciting career events. I nominated them for a leadership award sponsored by the Student Organizations and Leadership office and they won. I was really proud of them – their level of commitment, hard work and service to their peers and the university.
As an undergraduate I did have access to a campus career center. I remember asking to do an interest assessment and they had me sit at a computer and answer a bunch of questions. I don't remember getting to meet with a real person who could help talk me through the results of that assessment. Later I found the counseling office and they offered career counseling. That experience was so much more valuable. I think a career center is only effective if there are real people available to guide students and help them in the self-exploration and research process.
Yes. Career development isn't something people do once in their lives and that's it. It can and should be cyclical throughout one's lifetime. Due to rapid changes in technology and the way organizations operate in today's marketplace, it's been said today's workers will experience between seven and eleven job changes over their lifetime. A viable occupation today could be obsolete in a decade so individuals need to be flexible and open to change. The FLC Career & Transfer Center is dynamic in the way it serves its student population, offering the latest career resources, advice and industry information.
Julie earned her master's degree in counseling at Sacramento State University.
Make up in your mind that you will not give up. No matter how challenging, no matter the obstacles you may face, do not give up. This is a life lesson as well. A graduate of Valley High School, James chose to attend CRC, where he played basketball. After receiving his A.A. degree, he attended the University of West Georgia on a full athletic scholarship. James is now back at CRC where he inspires student athletes to achieve whatever goals they may have. Understand that you have support here at CRC, we have an abundance of resources available for our students, and faculty and staff that are eager to help and mentor our students.
Being a sports guy and former student athlete, to now teaching Kinesiology and working as the Head Coach for Men’s Basketball, I have come full circle. I have always being intrigued with the human body and how it functions. Essentially that is kinesiology. Our department and discipline can lead to many different and interesting professions within the larger field.
Our kinesiology and sports programs are unique because a majority of our student-athletes desire to be in the kinesiology and health professions. We do an exceptional job of creating opportunities and mentorships for not only our immediate student-athletes, but the general student body as well.
American River College has received a $700,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor's Office to launch an innovative new accounting apprenticeship program. Working in partnership with government and industry partners, ARC will start a new career pathway designed to meet pressing local, regional, and statewide labor market needs in the financial services sector. "This grant creates an exciting opportunity to build sustainable financial services professional pathways for the people of our region," said Frank Kobayashi "This apprenticeship-to-new-career pipeline also provides upward mobility opportunities to workers from disproportionately impacted communities underrepresented in financial services occupations."
Tiffany Mpagazi is passionate about creating a clear transfer path to help students graduate and achieve academic success. She aims to help students successfully transfer and earn a credit through high school/ROP agreement by improving career education programs, and integrating academic and career-technical instruction.
I'm honest with students about my own struggles as a writer- both when I was a student and even now. I often tell students about an experience I had in 6th grade when I was put into "remedial writing" and had to leave class with several other students to learn about writing while the rest of the class got to watch movies. Then, in junior high, I failed my 7th grade English class because I refused to turn any work in. It wasn't that I didn't want to do the work – I did complete all of it – it was that I didn't have the confidence to turn it in. My experience the previous year made me so uncertain about my abilities as a writer, that I didn't want to take the risk of letting someone else read it. Fast forward twenty-something years, and here I am, a college English professor, and I still feel that lack of confidence almost every time I have a writing task. An email, a poem, a writing assignment prompt – all of these still require several drafts before I'm comfortable sharing them. I won't even tell you how many times I rewrote my answers to these questions!
My philosophy is that there is little I can really do to help students develop confidence except to show them, by example, that writing is difficult for everyone. Beyond that, all I can do is offer honest feedback.
Don't give up. I failed or dropped 3 out of my first 4 college classes when I started as a student at American River College. It was my fault completely; I took on too much, and I didn't devote the time I should have to the courses. That, and life happened! I had other priorities, and school had to take a back seat. I almost didn't come back to school, but I finally decided to give it one more shot. Thank God I did.
I know my story isn't typical of many college students, but all of us deal with outside pressures – family, work, etc. – and school, though it's important to us, can't always be our number one priority. My advice: give yourself permission to make other things your priority. That might mean you earn a C on a paper because you had to make a cake for your child's birthday. Or you didn't do well on a test because you had to work overtime to pay your rent. Life happens. But, whatever comes your way. Don't give up. It's your life, your education, and that means it's your responsibility.
Making connections with people I would otherwise never get a chance to meet. Think about it, every semester, I'm surrounded by hundreds of new students. I can only think of a handful of them over my seven years of teaching that I would have taken the time to get to know if they hadn't enrolled in one of my classes. And, more times than not, I'm so glad to have made their acquaintance.
My proudest moment happens every time I see students at the beginning of the semester who have little or no confidence in their writing, but, by the end of the semester, they recognize that their words have value. Most people aren't what I would call "good writers," but most everyone can produce a "good" paper, at least sometimes.
My creative work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Fugue, Poetry Now, Calaveras Station, The American River Review, and other journals. I won a number of awards when I was a student, including a Bazzanella Award from Sacramento State.
Tina Royer has her B.A. and M.A. from CSU, Sacramento.
As an Outreach Specialist, Roxanne Luppino is commited to organize and manage programs and initiatives that promote community wellness. Her aim is to identify the needs of the college as well as identify services that are necessary for special populations.