November 2001


Aero Club Scholarships Awarded

Walnut, CA … Three Mt. San Antonio College Aeronautics students are the recent recipients of $1,000 Aero Club of Southern California scholarships. Commercial flight students Michelle Bathalter, Gena Brown, and Jeff Parker were awarded Aero Club scholarships.

Bathalter, a resident of San Dimas, was awarded the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Flying Association’s 2001 SAFECON Top Female Pilot award. Bathalter plans to graduate in 2002 with an associate’s in commercial flight from Mt. SAC and a bachelor’s in technology and operations management from Cal Poly Pomona.

Brown, a resident of Covina, is the vice president of the Women in Aviation Mt. SAC chapter. She plans to graduate in 2002 with an associate’s in commercial flight.

Parker, a resident of Anaheim, plans to graduate with an associate’s in commercial flight and then pursue a bachelor’s in aviation management from Southern Illinois University.

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Mt. SAC Students Awarded Transfer Scholarships

Walnut, CA … Mt. San Antonio College students Chris Dissanayake, Amber Nguyen, and Benjamin Surmi are recipients of $500 scholarships from the South Coast Higher Education Council.

Dissanayake, a resident of Walnut, is a food and nutrition major and carries 3.9 grade point average. Nguyen, a resident of Diamond Bar, is an economics major and carries a 3.9 grade point average. And Surmi, a resident of Ontario, is an honors student, is active with the forensics team, and carries a 4.0 grade point average.

The scholarship is made available to community college students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. The South Coast Higher Education Council represents community colleges and four-year colleges.

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Mt. SAC Professor Honored with Consumer Award

Walnut, CA … Mt. San Antonio College Family and Consumer Sciences Professor Joann Driggers was honored with the Excellence in Consumer Education award at the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business’ October 18 annual awards banquet in Torrance.

Driggers, a resident of Fullerton, has taught at Mt. SAC for 27 years. She teaches the consumer and life management classes at Mt. SAC, which enroll approximately 600 students.

"We teach people to make better decisions as consumers," said Driggers.

The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business includes professionals in education, government, business, and nonprofit organizations. The award acknowledges excellence and achievement in the area of consumer affairs and education.

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Students Receive UCLA Scholarships

Walnut, CA … Two Mt. San Antonio College honors students were recently awarded UCLA scholarships, which combined total more than $8,000.

Student Christine Marapao was awarded a $4,000 UCLA Wasserman scholarship, and student Shirley Torres received a $4,000 Goodman scholarship offered through UCLA. In addition, Marapao was awarded a $500 UCLA Alumni Association Community College Transfer scholarship.

While at Mt. SAC, Marapao, a resident of Duarte, carried a 3.8 grade point average. She was a member Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and was involved in community service, volunteering for the America Reads program and the City of Hope. Torres, a resident of La Puente, carried a 3.75 grade point average as a sociology major. She also served as a peer advisor in Mt. SAC Summer Bridge program and served an internship last spring with the Department of Defense.

The scholarships, effective for the fall 2001 semester, assisted the students as they transferred to universities.

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Mt. SAC Students Hired as Air Traffic Controllers

Walnut, CA … Four of Mt. San Antonio College’s Aviation Science 2001 graduates have recently been hired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as air traffic controllers.

Mt. SAC graduate Mark Villanueva was assigned to the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center, Tyson Shakespeare was assigned to the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center, Jeremy Dietsch was assigned to the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Lisa Pesiri was assigned to the Camarillo Control Tower.

Shakespeare, a resident of Walnut, also was the recipient of a Aero Club of Southern California scholarship last year and the Jim Clarke Air Traffic Control scholarship. Dietsch, a resident of Claremont, has six years of experience in air traffic control with the United States Navy. In addition to earning his associate’s in Aviation Science, he also earned a bachelor’s in Technology and Operation Management from Cal Poly Pomona last year. Villanueva, a resident of Huntington Beach, has previous experience in aviation doing air traffic control work for Papillon Helicopters, which operates tours of the Grand Canyon. Pesiri, a resident of Ontario, previously worked at the NASA Ames Research Center in Advanced Air Transportation and interned at the Moffett Tower. She also worked at Ontario Airport in Airfield Operation and is currently working as a coordinator in Airfield Operations at Los Angeles International Airport.

The students were part of the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI), a partnership between the FAA and select colleges to serve as a local-recruitment, local-hiring program for air traffic control specialists. Mt. SAC, which signed into the partnership in October 1997, is one of only 13 colleges and universities approved for air traffic control training in the nation.

More than 90 percent of Mt. SAC’s Aviation Science graduates who have met the requirements of the CTI program have been offered positions by the FAA.

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Son's Gratitude Drives Achievement at Mt. SAC

Walnut, Calif....In El Salvador, Elmer Rodriguez waited and waited, and finally the word came - he and his two siblings would rejoin their mother in America.

Rodriguez' mother had worked for the past ten years, seeing Elmer only twice, to save enough money to send for her beloved children and offer them a better life. Today a college student at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), Elmer Rodriguez of Baldwin Park, works hard so he may someday offer his mother a better life in return.

"As soon as I get my bachelor's degree, I want to work hard so my mom doesn't have to," he explains, referring to his mom's years of hard, physical labor working as a hotel housekeeper.

Hard work and high aspirations are familiar to Elmer Rodriguez, who was twice honored nationally by the Clinton White House for high academic achievement. Nominated by his Bassett High School teachers, Rodriguez excelled despite the fact that he had not spoken one word of English prior to high school.

"Elmer completed his high school diploma in two-and-half-years, whereas most of our students take four years or more," says Bassett High School Counselor Hector Armas. "I recall Elmer being eager to learn and showing a lot of initiative. He was a hard-working, disciplined individual."

At Mt. SAC, Rodriguez performs well, despite his struggles with English, reports Patricia Maestro, educational advisor for Mt. SAC's Bridge Program, a program that was instrumental in Rodriguez' transition from high school to college.

"Elmer is a student role model. He spends countless hours in the tutorial center, lab, and is employed as a Peer Advisor for the Bridge Program."

Starting off in the Bridge Summer Student Success Academy in 2000, Rodriguez began to associate with a peer group with which he had much in common. As at-risk, first generation college students, Rodriguez' class of Bridge students stuck together through their first year of college and beyond.

Rodriguez completed the Bridge Program's Freshman Experience, which builds upon the Summer Academy, and ultimately, he was selected for the Bridge Leadership Retreat, after which he became a Peer Advisor to others in the program.

Rodriguez' involvement branched out into college-wide activities such as the Transfer Club and the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. Traveling to the University of California-Berkeley just weeks ago with the college's Advising Center, Rodriguez' eyes were opened to the possibility of transferring there.

"I have three years left here and after, I hope to transfer to Berkeley for a degree in Business Administration," he explains.

Next week Rodriguez will be accompanied by six other Mt. SAC students to the National Conference for Community and Justice's "Latino/Latina College Leadership Institute," held in Glendale, California.

As one of 175 students statewide, Rodriguez will participate in an intensive leadership program designed specifically for freshman and sophomore Latino college students. Augmenting the training he received via the Bridge Leadership Retreat, the statewide training is well targeted to Rodriguez who already takes the lead in helping and inspiring others.

"As he completes a class, Elmer helps his fellow Bridge students with that course," explains Maestro. "The responsibility he feels to help his mother and family carries over into his work at Mt. SAC. He tries to help the other students."

A sentiment echoed by Armas at Bassett High, Rodriguez is clearly focused on helping others succeed.
Speaking of his gratitude to his mother Rodriguez summarizes: "I want to buy her a beautiful home and provide for her living expenses. It is my duty, my responsibility." He aspires to work as an accountant or a business manager, once his undergraduate work is completed.

For more information about Mt. SAC's Bridge program, please call (909) 594-5611, extension 6231.


Mt. SAC Athletes Team-Up with Seniors

Walnut, Calif..... Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) athletes James Colby of El Monte and Bryson Haynes of Pomona are not afraid to show a softer side. Each was part of a community service project in which 20 male athletes visited with residents of the Regent Senior Living Facility in West Covina.

As part of a new counseling course titled, "Student Success Strategies", the visitation reinforced a mutual appreciation and respect between the students and senior citizens.

"This kind of program bridges the gap between the younger and older generations," explains Marcia Hawkins, activity director for the Regent Senior Living Facility.

"Several of our residents voiced how pleased they were to have the community come in, especially the guys. Here were these big guys pushing wheelchairs around and having conversations - the residents really enjoyed it!"

"It was a nice experience," explains Erica Ledesman, program coordinator for WIN, a Mt. SAC program that offers athletes tutoring, computer access, study groups and other services to help them succeed academically.

"It was good for the players and the residents to see things in a different light, to see more than they are accustomed to seeing," she adds.

Serving as a physical instructor for the senior facility - in addition to her Mt. SAC position - Ledesman orchestrated the visit so students could fulfill the required community service component of the course.

The objective of "Counseling 2 - Student Success Strategies" is to broaden students' perspectives, responsibilities and well roundedness and strengthen their focus on goal setting, resume building and time management, according to course instructor Camille Filardo.

"It was an altering experience," says Filardo, who teaches a special section of Counseling 2 just for athletes. "I was so proud of them when we left - so proud of them!"

"I was a little nervous, but then I got situated and began to feel comfortable," says Haynes, a freshman basketball player and Pomona resident, of his experience at the senior facility. "We talked about the stuff they've been through in their lives."

"They were happy when we left," explains Coley, a freshman football player from El Monte. "I hope to go back to make them happy. We walked them around and talked with them about their families. I like to help people out and make them smile."

As a first time course offering for Mt. SAC's athletes, "Student Success Strategies" is part of a broader commitment the college makes to its student athletes. Dedicated to helping them score big points on and off their respective fields and courts, Mt. SAC's WIN program offers students a center, where they may focus on their studies and future goals.

The senior facility and college say that, given the enjoyment and learning that occurred when the athletes and senior citizens got together, it is likely that this was the beginning of an ongoing relationship that promises to enrich the lives of all those involved.

For more information about Mt. SAC's WIN Program for athletes, call (909) 594-5611, extension 4239.


Mt. SAC Alumnae, Best Friends Help Others Succeed

Walnut, Calif..… The secret is out: Something more than textbooks and testing has been going on at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). During their community college experiences at Mt. SAC, alumnae Ana Serrano and Romina Yepiz learned that it is not enough to personally succeed, one must also bring others along on the pathway to success.

Now transfer students at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and California Polytechnic University-Pomona, these alumnae found the services they needed to get through tough times, as well as a real sense of family at Mt. SAC.

In addition to being longtime best friends, Serrano and Yepiz have much in common. Each was enrolled in Mt. SAC's Bridge Program, which recruits at-risk, first generation college students from local high schools and provides counseling, tutoring, workshops, university tours, a close college connection and much more. Each also served as a Bridge Peer Advisor, an opportunity to help others like themselves.

Yepiz, a junior in Cal Poly Pomona's Teacher Preparation Program, hopes to return to the community college to teach. "I think the community college is where you need to give the most attention. Students there don't have the money for a university but want to move on," she says.

Planning to pursue graduate school, Yepiz will again have something new in common with her friend, Serrano. Serrano is a political science major at UCLA, with her sights set on law school after graduation.

"I want to go to law school and focus on immigration issues," says Serrano, who herself found immigrating to the United States quite difficult. "I overcame the obstacles I faced as an immigrant, and I want to help others overcome them too."

An English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) student until high school, Serrano's current language skills exemplify her determination. "She has transitioned from an ESL student to an honors student," says Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, vice president of Student Services at Mt. SAC.
As Peer Advisors for other Bridge students, Serrano and Yepiz could exercise their leadership abilities to inspire others.

"She relates well to other students and is respected by faculty as well," says Yamagata-Noji in a letter of recommendation for Serrano. "She is able to encourage, support and motivate others … students look up to her and reach out to her for strength." As a recent honoree of the College, Serrano is one of Mt. SAC's "Students of Distinction", an award celebrating her personal contributions and academic achievement.

These alumnae say their accomplishments, having made it to the university level despite their hardships, inspire a strong sense of motivation to share what they have learned at Mt. SAC - that obstacles are conquerable.
In addition to their personal determination and intelligence, each says the Bridge Program made all the difference. "Mt. SAC's Bridge was a great help," explains Yepiz.

"The program gave us support. They told us what was available and how to get there."

"Without Bridge, I would have been totally lost," says Serrano. "I felt like I always had someone to back me up, a place to go, somewhere to study. I fit in."

"We provide a family-type environment," says Patricia Maestro, educational advisor for Bridge at Mt. SAC. "Bridge is about having somewhere to hang out between classes, somewhere to go for help. It's about having someone to talk to. We have an open door policy here."

For more information about the Bridge Program, please call (909) 594-5611 extension 6231.

New Managers Hired at Mt. SAC

Walnut, CA … Mt. San Antonio College employee Arnita Myricks was named Small Business Employee Development Project Director at Mt. SAC, and former Mt. SAC Admissions and Records Supervisor Patricia Montoya was recently named Admissions and Records Assistant Director.

Montoya, a resident of Chino, started at Mt. SAC in Admissions and Records in 1989. In 1995, she was named Admission and Records Supervisor and was responsible for implementing a staff training procedure for the data conversion project involving the College’s new computer system. She also managed the College’s international student admissions and special enrollment registration. She holds memberships in the California Association of Community College Registrars and Admissions Officers, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, and the Latino Leadership Association.

Myricks, a resident of Glendale, began at Mt. SAC with the College’s Educational Service Center in 1987. She also worked as Job Developer with the Workability III program through the Disabled Student Services Department. In 1996, she was promoted to Placement Specialist/Coordinator, and provided career counseling for students and developed outreach strategies. She served on the College’s 2020 Vision Task Force and as President of the Classified Senate. In 2000, she was honored with the Excellence in Education award by the Inland Valley News.

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Mt. SAC Spring Registration Begins Nov. 28

Walnut, CA … New and returning students can register for Mt. San Antonio College's 2002 spring semester credit classes by telephone beginning November 28 through January 2.

To register by touch-tone telephone, students may call (909) 595-6722 to add classes, drop classes, and make scheduling changes. The service is available 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. To use the telephone registration system, students must check their permit to register. Students will not be allowed to register before the date and time on their permit.

New students need to submit an application for enrollment to the college's Admissions and Records Office located on the lower level of the campus Student Services Building. The Admissions Office is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students who are new to Mt. SAC must also contact the Counseling Office to sign up for an orientation session.

Schedules for Mt. SAC's spring semester, which begins January 7, are available at local public libraries, the Mt. SAC Admissions and Records Office, the college administration building reception desk, the Mt. SAC library, and the campus bookstore. The schedule is also available at the Mt. SAC web site at

For more information on registration for the spring semester, call the Mt. SAC Admissions and Records Office at (909) 594-5611, ext. 4415.

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Voters Pass Mt. SAC Bond Measure

Walnut, CA … Voters passed Mt. San Antonio College’s facilities bond measure, Measure R, by just over 58 percent during the November 6 general election. The bond measure needed 55 percent voter approval to pass and passed by a vote of 18,722 to 13,461.

"Mt. SAC’s future begins today," said college president Bill Feddersen.

The $221 million bond measure will be used to renovate and replace the college’s aging and deteriorating buildings, and to accommodate Mt. SAC’s growing enrollment. With more than 40,000 students, Mt. SAC is California’s largest single campus community college. That enrollment, according to projections, could grow to 66,000 by 2013. But the facilities bond will help as Mt. SAC prepares for the challenges of the future.

"The college will be transformed over the next 10 to 12 years because of the bond," Feddersen said.

A recent survey of campus buildings found that 67 of the college’s 78 buildings need renovation or replacement. Leaking roofs, earthquake safety concerns, antiquated heating and air conditioning systems, faulty plumbing, and foundation cracks are among the problems facing Mt. SAC’s facilities.

Some of the projects that will be funded through Measure R include a Science Laboratory Building, Workforce Training Center, a Business and Computer Technology Center, an English as a Second Language Building, and a Health Careers building. The projects are part of Mt. SAC’s 2020 Vision Master Plan for the campus.

Measure R becomes the second bond issue in the college’s history. In 1947, just after Mt. SAC opened, voters approved a $1.75 million bond measure.

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Event Planned for Management Institute Awareness

Walnut, CA … Mt. San Antonio College business students will hold a special event to promote awareness of the college’s Management Institute on Wednesday, November 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in front of the Mt. SAC Student Life Center.

The event, part of a business class project, is being held to provide information about Mt. SAC’s Management Institute, the different business degree programs offered, and business certificate programs. Information booths will display program information, and a free lunch will be provided for students.

The Management Institute was established last year as a pathway for students working toward their associate degree. The institute benefits students in several ways by forming a community of learners who proceed through classes together.

For more information about this event or the Management Institute, call Business Professor Ralph Jagodka at (909) 594-5611, ext. 3945.

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Foundation Inducts New Directors

Walnut, CA ... The Mt. San Antonio College Foundation recently welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors, Huey-Min Yu of Hacienda Heights and Spencer F. Lyon of Hacienda Heights. Both will serve three-year terms with the Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises supplemental funds for scholarships and special projects for Mt. SAC.

Yu is the President of Platinum Realty, Inc. located in Diamond Bar. He served on the Board of Directors of the American International Bank in the City of Industry from 1994-1998. He is an active member of the Hacienda Heights Chinese Association, the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce, and the Chinese Joint College Alumni Association of Southern California. He has a masters degree in accounting from the University of Houston, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A & M University. In addition, he has coordinated and developed construction projects in Texas and California.

Lyon, a 1966 graduate of Mt. SAC, is a retired sales manager from Reynolds Buick. He has 30 years of service with Reynolds. He is a member of the Baldwin Park Methodist Church, and has special interests in aviation and U.S. geography and history.

The Mt. SAC Foundation is led by a volunteer board of community members. Heinz Gehner, General Manager of the Shilo Hilltop Suites, will serve his second term as president of the organization this year.

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Writers' Day Series Presents Performance Poetry

Walnut, CA ... The Mt. San Antonio College Writers' Day Series will present an evening of performance poetry, "From Song to Slam and Back Again," featuring the Venice Slam Team Plus One on Tuesday, November 6, 8 p.m., in the college's Social Sciences Auditorium, 26B-101. This event is free and open to the public.

Reading and performing will be Derrick Brown, Brendan Constantine, Elizabeth Iannaci, and June Melby. Brown, a creative director for Invision Studios, has won national awards in poetry. He also serves as the co-director for the Teen Poetry program through the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Foundation. Melby has performed the Bumershoot Arts Festival in Seattle, CBGB’s in New York, and other venues abroad, including sold-old performances in London, Munich, and Amsterdam. She was featured at the Seattle Poetry Festival, and her work has been heard on national public radio. Constantine, a nationally published poet, is a director with The Valley Contemporary Poets. His work has appeared in numerous local magazines, and he is an avid supporter of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. Iannaci also serves as a director with The Valley Contemporary Poets. Her first book of poetry was recently published. She is a founding member of the award-winning theater company The Wilton Project. Her work has appeared on the television series Ghost Stories.

This presentation is made possible by the Mt. SAC Writers’ Day Committee, the Mt. SAC English Department, and the Mt. SAC Associated Students.

For more information on this Mt. SAC Writers' Day Series presentation, call (909) 594-5611, ext. 4712.

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Mt. SAC Program Bridges 'At-Risk' Students to College Success

Walnut, Calif.... Earning a bachelor's degree from a top Southern California university was the last thing on Joey Reyes' mind in high school. While attending Pomona High School, Reyes was not known for his college aspirations, but rather for his purple Mohawk hairstyle and break with convention. Today, however, he awaits a response to his admission application from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

Planning to simply "find a job" out of high school, Reyes did not think his love of writing could develop into a career. Yet while enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), through the college's Bridge Program, Reyes found a new perspective.

"Focusing on becoming a serious student was an incredible change for Joey, but one for which he was ready," explains Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, vice president of Student Services at Mt. SAC. "In fact, his high school teachers and administrators marvel at the progress he has made. According to our college faculty, Joey is bright, articulate and an eager learner - a true delight to have in class."

Key to Reyes' new awareness of his academic potential, however, was staying in school. This is where Mt. SAC's Bridge Program came in: "Bridge provided me with mentors and friends to keep me in college," says Reyes.

As denoted by the name "Bridge", the program provides a safe crossing for at-risk, first generation college students to the world of higher education. Initiated through recruiting activities in local high schools, Bridge focuses on early intervention through consistent and targeted student-faculty-staff communication.

"There's a real sense of family here," explains Patricia Maestro, educational advisor for the Bridge Program at Mt. SAC. "When students do not show up for a Bridge activity, we notice, and the students know we know. They sense that we care about them."

Many students begin their college experience via the Bridge Program's Summer Student Success Academy, a six-week academic and social experience leading into the freshman year. "Up to 70 percent of our Summer Academy students choose to go into our Freshman Experience," says Maestro.

A major focus of Bridge's Freshman Experience is developmental reading, English and math, coupled with college retention and success activities provided by Bridge. The program's services that encourage college transfer, such as counseling, workshops, university field trips, tutoring and more, paid-off for Reyes, who now plans to continue his education and teach high school English and college-level literature.

A culmination of Bridge's retention activities is leadership training for a subset of the program's 200 students. Selecting 25 students each year, Bridge faculty and staff administer a two-day leadership retreat from which the program's next Peer Advisors emerge. With up to nine Peer Advisors serving as critical communication links back to Bridge, the development of these advisors is important for Bridge student success.

As for Reyes, he awaits word on the next step in life as he works on publishing his first collection of poems and short stories. "I write about the personal struggles in life - those I go through and those I have endured," he explains
"Joey took a good, hard look at himself and decided he wanted something different in life," says Yamagata-Noji. "He wanted to learn…to really learn - not like the time he spent in high school. He wanted to read, to write. He wanted to make something of himself."

For more information about Mt. SAC's Bridge Program, please call (909) 594-5611, extension 6231.