Former Student Wins Citywide Competition, Thanks Professors Bordbar and Dr. Dorsey
Former Los Angeles Mission College student Oscar Aguayo and his team at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), Small Business Strong, won first place for their idea of a traveling small business resource center, and $25,000 in the 2016 Mayor’s Cup.
More than 100 teams representing Los Angeles universities applied for the competition with the top five teams competing at the finals.
“The future of entrepreneurial innovation is right here in Los Angeles, and Small Business Strong and the other competitors show that our colleges and universities are full of creative people with ideas that can change lives,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “What’s special about the Mayor’s Cup is that we can harness their imagination and skill to achieve something we all believe in — making local government work better for all Angelenos.”
Mr. Aguayo, a 2015 transfer student to CSULA, acknowledged Mission for providing him with the “amazing” education and caring professors, whom he said played a huge role in his educational journey.
Mr. Aguayo reflected on two key people in his life, Professor Jason Bordbar and Norris Dorsey, EdD, who led him to be a part of The Mayor’s Cup:
“I remember being in Professor Jason's Business Law Class in front of the class speaking to students about my current event, most of the time it was about technology. I was very shy, but now I’m on stage pitching in front of the Mayor of Los Angeles, audience, and Tech judges and this is all because of professors that care about their students like Professor Bordbar and Dr. Dorsey. These are two great professors that care about Los Angeles Mission College and their students.”
Ludi Villegas-Vidal, Diana Bonilla Graduate from National Hispanic Leadership Program
By Deborah Manning
Los Angeles Mission College’s Ludi Villegas-Vidal, Dean of Student Services and Diana Bonilla, Professor of Counseling recently graduated from the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) 2016 Leadership Fellows Program. They are also participating in a yearlong mentorship that is a major component of the NCCHC program.
NCCHC President Maria Harper Marinick presented framed certificates to 22 Hispanic community college officials from around the nation including Ms.Villegas-Vidal and Ms. Bonilla at a brief ceremony that celebrated the completion of their intensive study program. After the ceremony, the graduates participated in the NCCHC Leadership Symposium. The ceremony and symposium were held in Costa Mesa, California.
The NCCHC Leadership Symposium is a captivating event that is attended nationwide by luminaries in the educational field and a huge number of NCCHC alumni. Los Angeles Community College Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, PhD, spoke to the audience of over two hundred professionals in higher education about the significance of the NCCHC and expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the graduates.
Chancellor Rodriguez recognized Ms. Villegas-Vidal and Ms. Bonilla in the audience and praised them for their participation in the program, and also Dr. Christopher Villa, EdD, Vice President of Student Services for his attendance at the symposium. Chancellor Rodriguez stated his desire for the other LACCD colleges to apply to next year’s program.
Last March, Los Angeles Mission College President Monte Perez, PhD, and Vice President Villa, EdD, supported Ms. Villegas-Vidal’s and Ms. Bonilla’s applications to the NCCHC program. One of the application requirements for the NCCHS involved each candidate writing a paper about their educational philosophy. Notification e-mails from NCCHC arrived in early May; Ms. Villegas-Vidal and Ms. Bonilla were thrilled to be accepted into the acclaimed program.
Prior to the symposium, Ms. Villegas-Vidal and Ms. Bonilla attended workshops provided by the NCCHC 2016 Leadership Fellows Program. The program also included group project presentations that challenged the fellows to apply a different leadership theory to a hypothetical problem involving stakeholders and budget issues. The fellows, who were from various states in the country, collaborated on the projects during the summer and early fall by way of phone, e-mail, and Skype.
On the second day of the NCCHC program, the groups gave their presentations, some of which were highly creative with one group presenting a skit and others visual displays. The fellows learned from one another about the various methods that one could approach leadership and the subsequent outcomes.
Ms. Villegas-Vidal said that Dr. Ted Martinez, Executive Director of the NCCHC, volunteered his time and expertise to coordinate the leadership program that was hosted by the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences.
One of the outstanding highlights of the program is the mentorship provided by state chancellors, college presidents, and vice presidents. Dr. Martinez connected mentors to fellows early in the summer with the agreement of the mentors and fellows working together until June 2017.
Ms. Villegas-Vidal, who began her career as an academic counselor when Mission College was established on its permanent campus 25 years ago, is the senior-most dean at Mission College with eight years of experience. Ms. Villegas-Vidal believes the NCCHC program is the best staff development program she has ever experienced.
“The program is very structured,” Ms. Villegas-Vidal said. “We were asked to shut off our cellphones and completely concentrate our attention on the workshops. For eight hours a day, we were bombarded with inspiring information and always wanting to hear more as each new speaker entered the room.”
Ms. Villegas-Vidal was impressed by the high caliber of the speakers, many of whom have authored books on leadership. She said one common thread she noticed about the speakers was their humility. None had big egos. Moreover, she stressed that the highly sought after speakers, volunteered to participate in the NCCHC program.
“Many of the speakers expressed in their presentations that it is imperative to give back to your community as they acknowledged there were many people who supported them throughout their careers,” Ms. Villegas-Vidal said. “One of the workshop speakers told the fellows that no one can whistle a symphony, it takes a whole orchestra to play it.”
Ms. Villegas-Vidal recalled some of the main points in the workshop by Dr. Terry O’Banion: Always be interested in learning more. Be humble no matter what position you achieve in your career. In leadership positions, you will make mistakes. Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them. Involve people in the shared governance process and keep in mind that there will always be people who are not happy with your decisions. He emphasized that “Decisions should always be made in the interest of the students.”
After the first day of the workshops, Ms. Villegas-Vidal said that she and Ms. Bonilla happened to encounter and then decided to socialize with some of the other fellows and presenters, including Dr. Reyes Quezada who is a professor at the University of San Diego. During one of the conversations, Dr. Quezada and Ms. Villegas-Vidal discovered that each shared a rare experience last January 6, 2016. They each walked through the Holy Doors at the Vatican that lead to St. Peter’s Cathedral where they participated in the mass as the Pope led the service. In his workshop presentation the next day, Dr. Quezada told the fellows the value of enriching one another’s lives with the art of conversation and sharing one’s experiences as he had with Ms. Villegas-Vidal.
Diana Bonilla has been a counselor at Mission College for 10 years, including two years as a department chair for the Counseling Department. She is currently the Employee Assistant Program (EAP) representative for Mission, one of the California Community Colleges Success Network (3CSN) representatives for the Los Angeles area, and a mentor for the LACCD Project Match program. She has worked on the Achieving the Dream program including being one of the originators of Mission’s Fall Kickoff. During the NCCHC program and symposium, she said she enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting and engaging new colleagues.
Ms. Bonilla said, “The leadership program was an uplifting experience and especially having the opportunity of listening to and learning from the speakers who were brilliant in their presentations, so generous and dedicated to helping us.”
In particular, she recalled a book, The Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz that was discussed at one of the workshops. The four agreements are as follows: Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.
Ms. Bonilla said that she went to college with Dr. Ruiz’s son. She said she recalled that Dr. Ruiz wrote the book when his son and she were in college.
“Now my experience of being on the other side of education, I see the impact this book has made on humanity,” Ms. Bonilla stated.
One of the most poignant take-aways Ms. Bonilla said she experienced at the NCCHC program was the workshop on cultural proficiency by Dr. Reyes-Quezada.
“This is such a great moment in time to bring this to the forefront of education to become culturally proficient. It begins by having a willingness to learn about other people’s culture, belief systems, and values. But more importantly to be self-reflective which cultivates self-awareness about our own cultural biases so that we can reach proficiency as Dr. Reyes-Quezada explained at the workshop,” Ms. Bonilla stated.
Ms. Bonilla said she was deeply impacted by Dr. Reyes-Quezada’s presentation and inspired to get training on Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL). She recently attended an introduction to CRTL workshop at Pierce College with ten other LAMC faculty and staff. Her goal is to become a trainer of CRTL and to bring this awareness to Mission.
High-Achieving Students Recognized During Honors Ceremony
More than 100 students attended the Honors Ceremony and received congratulations and honor awards for their outstanding academic achievement.
President Perez presented the President’s Award to recipients as Dean of Student Services Ludi Villegas-Vidal announced their names. Faculty members Janice Silver, Jesse Sanchez, Margie Long, and Thomas Folland, PhD presented and announced the Dean’s Award.
Associated Student Organization President Melissa Ramirez; Alpha Gamma Sigma President Jocelyn Rodriguez; and President Award recipient Cathrine Dalirian spoke at the ceremony. Academic Senate President Leslie Milke emceed the ceremony.
More than 200 students earned the President’s Award and more than 750 students earned the Dean’s Awards for the Spring 2016 semester.
Former Student Credits Counselors for Her Success
By Deborah Manning
You gain a clear understanding of the heart and soul of what a community college is all about and the positive impact it can have on students when you speak with former Los Angeles Mission College student Dana Yarbrough.
Known for her serene and friendly manner, she lets you know emphatically how important her experience at Los Angeles Mission College was for her maturity, personal growth, and achievement. She especially lets you know the importance of the support she received from counselors and how they inspired her to academic and career success.
From her personal history, Ms. Yarbrough, who received her Associate in Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Mission College, stresses the value of preparing high school students academically for higher education. During her first semester at Mission, Ms. Yarbrough faced the challenge that her high school had underprepared her for college level work.
Like many students in similar situations, she felt discouraged and thought she could not achieve the degree she desired. Little did she know in her moments of despair and uncertainty that her intelligence, abilities and determination would prevail and encouragement for her hopes and dreams would come from counselors.
Counselor Joanne Kalter-Flink gave Ms. Yarbrough validation. Ms. Yarbrough remembered how her counselor greeted her on campus one day and that Ms. Kalter-Flink specifically called her by her first name.
“She knew who I was and made me feel like I mattered,” Ms. Yarbrough enthusiastically said.
Her counselor began to play a major role in empowering Ms. Yarbrough, giving her guidance and affirmation that she could succeed in college. Ms. Kalter-Flink, who has since retired from Mission College, would be pleased to know that her former student, Dana Yarbrough, earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from CSUN and a master’s in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University.
Another counselor who was a source of inspiration and a springboard for shaping Ms. Yarbrough’s career choice was Sherrie Loper, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Mission College. After Ms. Yarbrough graduated from CSUN, she worked with Ms. Loper in a program at Mission that collaborated with Vaughn International Studies Academy in Pacoima. The program offered high school students, who were interested in allied health and general education courses that could give them a head start with college pre-requisites.
“I was impressed by Dana and that she had an instant rapport with the high school students,” Ms. Loper said. “She was likable, reliable, and helpful.”
Likewise, Ms. Yarbrough observed Ms. Loper’s interaction with the Vaughn high school students and liked what she saw. Working with Ms. Loper proved to be a defining time for Ms. Yarbrough as she decided that she wanted to be a college counselor.
Last spring, Ms. Yarbrough competed with hundreds of applicants for an internship with the award winning Project Match program that is sponsored by the Los Angeles Community College District. Project Match, which promotes quality instruction and diversity, matches interns with faculty mentors based on the intern’s particular subject area.
Ms. Yarbrough received a Project Match internship and matched with Diana Bonilla, Professor of Counseling at Mission College. Project Match is highly beneficial to the interns as it includes job shadowing. Ms. Yarbrough observes, learns, and participates as Ms. Bonilla conducts counseling sessions with students.
Ms. Bonilla, who is in her second year of mentoring Project Match interns, said “Ms. Yarbrough is very articulate. Her calm way of speaking helps students feel at ease. She is clear with her words and is able to present her ideas with compassion and professionalism.”
Ms. Yarbrough said she enjoys Ms. Bonilla’s teaching style and appreciates the patience and respect she shows her as well as making her feel comfortable about asking as many questions as she likes during the counseling sessions. Ms. Yarbrough is learning about counseling techniques, Student Educational Plans, IGETC, CSU forms, and the many other responsibilities that counselors handle.
During the summer, Ms. Yarbrough completed a key component of Project match: an intensive training program where she learned foremost about teaching methodology. This fall, she had an opportunity to put her training into action when she prepared a lesson plan that she presented in Ms. Bonilla’s Counseling 17 class, College Survival Skills.
“Ms. Yarbrough is a natural at teaching. She is a former student at Mission and relates well with our students,” Ms. Bonilla passionately said.
As part of the mentoring process, Ms. Bonilla encouraged Ms. Yarbrough to apply for an adjunct teaching position. Ms. Yarbrough applied and was offered a position to teach Counseling 17 at Mission. She is excited about the opportunity and looks forward to teaching this coming spring.
Currently, Ms. Yarbrough works as a classified staff member in the college Financial Aid Office. She welcomes students with her warm and supportive demeanor and helps them maneuver through the financial aid process. She collaborates with faculty, staff, administration, the LAMC Foundation, and community leaders to coordinate the scholarship application process. One of her goals is to streamline the application by making it super easy for students to enter their contact information, essay, and other requirements online to compete for scholarships.
Ms. Yarbrough also finds time to volunteer as a summer camp counselor for Angel Tree, an organization that sponsors children of parents who are incarcerated. There is resounding compassion in her voice as she reveals how the camp experience, which is held on a ranch with activities such as horseback riding, is life changing for the children. You quickly get the message that Ms. Yarbrough makes the children feel like they matter and that she will influence their futures in a positive way.
Ms. Yarbrough readily gives back to her community as she realizes the contributions of many people in her life including her mother who helped her become the person she is today.
As a role model for our current and future students, Ms. Yarbrough personifies success that stems from the community college experience that she acknowledges and appreciates. She is prepared to be a top counselor with her quality education, vital work experience, excellent internship, and enduring empathy. In essence, her wide-ranging accomplishments express our hopes for all of our students. One day soon, she will be the counselor and teacher who inspires and guides her students on their journeys to success.
Celebrate the Holidays with the L.A. Mission College Choir
Enjoy holiday music from around the world and let the Los Angeles Mission College Choir sing to you in Latin, Spanish, French, German and English! Featuring Hanukkah tunes and African Noel!
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Culinary Arts Institute (Arroyo Room)
For more information, call 818.833.3357.
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Los Angeles Mission College will present the world premiere of Wildwood, a new play by student Valentine Curiel on Friday, November 18.
Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, Robert Cucuzza, this fast-paced physical comedy follows the Wild Wild Wildwood Circus on the eve of its 25th anniversary spectacular where Quimby the Ringmaster sells out the circus to a local mobster in a last-ditch attempt to win back his longtime paramour, Wilma, from Ferocious Freddy the Lion Tamer. One simple love letter turns a love triangle into an octagon, and tensions flare, lions roar, and mayhem ensues, all under the faded big top.
Los Angeles Mission College Officially 'Breaks Ground' on New Sunland-Tujunga Campus
TUJUNGA, CA – Los Angeles Mission College administrators, along with leaders from the L.A. Community College District, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, and the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council formally broke ground today on a new satellite campus, which will serve the communities of Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley and Pacoima.
L.A. Mission College President Monte Perez outlined college plans to transform the new satellite campus located at 7200 Foothill Boulevard into a modern learning environment that is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of courses.
“Improvement efforts will begin immediately so we can create a SMART classroom that can hold up to 40 students and host the courses this community is asking for,” Dr. Perez said.
While the school is currently finalizing the list of courses that will be available for spring 2017, Dr. Perez did share that the community has indicated an interest in Foreign Languages, Career Technical Education, and courses that are transferable to the University of California and California State University systems.
In an effort to make sure the campus reflects the needs of the community, L.A. Mission College has worked closely with the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and Assemblywoman Patty Lopez.
“I am absolutely delighted that students in the Sunland-Tujunga area will now be able to further their education at a highly-respected institution such as Los Angeles Mission College,” Assemblywoman Lopez said.
“The local community expressed a need for the new campus, and I am proud to work alongside Dr. Perez, Nina Royal, David Barron and Liliana Sanchez to help see this project to its completion.”