February 2003


Mt. SAC to Hold 26th Writers' Day Festival

Walnut, CA . . . Novelist and screenwriter Loraine Despres will be the featured speaker for Mt. San Antonio College’s 26th Annual Writers' Day Festival on Saturday, March 29, 10 a.m. to noon , in the College's Social Sciences Auditorium, 26B-101. This event is free and open to the public.

Despres is the author of The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc, a comic love story set in the South at the beginning of the civil rights movement. The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc was picked as Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection. Despres, who currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA and serves as an international screenwriting consultant, is the winner of the Deep South Writers’ and Artists’ Conference Awards of Honor. She has written for television shows such as Family, The Waltons, Dynasty, Knots Landing, and wrote the "Who Shot JR?" episode of Dallas.

The festival also includes the presentation of awards for the Writers’ Day contest, a Mt. SAC student contest. This year’s contest winners are in fiction, first place William Nones for "Painting Caves," second place Joseph Lustre for "Sagres," third place Elenita Leandra for "The Look," and honorable mentions Alex Martinez for "Time and Time Again" and Michael Bayer for "Vendetta: Man Behind the Mask"; in poetry first place Elder Zamora for "Who I Am," second place Stacy Lanyon for "There Was a Time When Innocence Possessed," third place Rolando Razo for "I Want a Poem," and honorable mentions Denese Boyer for "Morning Glory" and Carlos Cabrera for "Angeles Burning"; in critical essay first place Jamie Love for "According to Saint Thomas Aquinas," second place Stacy Lanyon for "Obstructions to Happiness in Sense and Sensibility," third place (tie) Grace Zhao for "An Invisible Violence, a Living Tragedy" and Kathryn L. Nelson for "Wonderland: Forever Young or Forever Disillusioned?," and honorable mentions Dense Boyer for "The Drowning Duck" and Jem McCool for "Socrates Dissatisfied: A Study of Truth and Happiness through the Eyes of a Cynic"; in personal journal first place Tina Madden for "The Gate," and honorable mentions Georgina Ware-Ramirez for "Free at Last" and Kitty Li for "Scene 1."

For more information about Writers’ Day, call Writers’ Day Coordinator Lois Cole at (909) 594-5611, ext. 3947.

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Mt. SAC Flying Team Headed to Nationals

Walnut, CA . . . The Mt. San Antonio College Flying Team won the Top Community College trophy and second place overall at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Flying Association's SAFECON 2003, a regional airmeet competition featuring flying teams from colleges and universities in the Western United States, held in San Diego, February 14-16.

With the second-place finish, the Mt. SAC Flying Team will advance to defend its title as Top Community College Flying Team in the nation at the national intercollegiate airmeet at the University of North Dakota in May. Mt. SAC has won the Top Community College trophy at the regional competition every year since 1989.

Mt. SAC placed second in the overall competition behind first-place Embry-Riddle University from Prescott, Arizona, and ahead of third-place San Jose State University. Other colleges competing included Cypress College, Christian Heritage College, and California Institute of Technology.

The Mt. SAC team also won the Team Safety trophy.

The Mt. SAC Flying Team consistently earns top honors as one of the best collegiate flying teams in the country. Mt. SAC won the Top U.S. Community College award at the Intercollegiate Flying Association's national airmeets in 1984, 1985, 1995, 2000, and 2002.

Only the top two college teams at the regionals advance to the national competition.

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Mt. SAC Fuller Teaches Students to Leap Over Obstacles

Walnut, CA .....When D'Mitri Starks met Professor Maria Luisa Fuller at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) in Pomona in 2000, little did he know that she would reenter his life two years later, and this time at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). In a world where students typically move from a community college into a university, Starks found himself moving in the opposite direction - albeit temporarily. Fuller, now new to Mt. SAC as a writing and study techniques professor, has been a source of inspiration for Starks each step of his way. Today, he credits her: "If it weren't for Ms. Fuller, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at today." His story is just one in a history of students positively directed by Fuller over the past 16 years.

Starks, like many others, struggled with the academic rigors of college. He entered Cal Poly as a freshman, enrolled in the Educational Opportunity Program for low income, first generation college students. Battling with mathematics, Starks switched from Cal Poly to Mt. SAC, where he utilized Mt. SAC's Learning Assistance Center (LAC), where Fuller works. There he honed his math and study skills, empowering him to meet the mathematics requirements for transfer to four-year universities. Today, Starks attends the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Ms. Fuller taught me that, along the way in my college career, I will have a few days that will not always be in my favor," explains Starks. "She told me to never give up, no matter how hard the situation got, because if I did give up, I would never know if I would have succeeded."

"Ms. Fuller taught me that teaching is not all about degrees, credentials and intelligence, but also about the interpersonal relationships with students," says Starks. Fuller concurs by describing Starks as a friend and mentee - someone who never stopped keeping in touch. "I am so proud of him!" she exclaims.

The LAC at Mt. SAC helps students upgrade their skills and improve their self-awareness and confidence so they may better manage the demands of college. The Center delivers pre-college level math, English, writing, and reading courses, as well as study techniques and skills development.

Fuller says that it takes lots of work to keep the LAC students going, due to the school, work and family demands they juggle everyday. There are also financial considerations, she says, explaining that many struggle to find money for books. Despite their obstacles, Fuller tells her students that, if they are serious about learning, she will do everything she can to help them succeed. "Motivation is something that has to come from within," she concludes.

Fuller took the position at Mt. SAC this year, choosing to teach 100 percent, rather than split her time between advising and teaching at the university level. Among the many "pluses" of Mt. SAC, she says the diversity of students is refreshing: "I love working with the diverse students at Mt. SAC. There are high school students through adult, returning students."

Other former students of Fuller's say the skills they acquired through her classes serve them well beyond college, too. Loreal Tatone, Fuller's student at Cal Poly, says that she learned to "trouble shoot," multitask and prioritize - skills that help her perform well in her human resources job. "She taught us to reach for the low hanging fruit - the things that require the least amount of time but offer the biggest benefit," says Tatone.

Starks says that Fuller personalized her classes, making it easier for students to understand and apply the material. "She did not hold back her personal hardships and the obstacles she ran into as a student. She was very willing to share her ups and downs," he says. "Throughout my life I have heard the saying, 'never give up,' but what Ms. Fuller did differently is she helped me apply it."

Fuller earned her bachelor's degree at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. After relocating to Southern California for her husband's job, she attended Azusa Pacific University for a master's degree in education with an emphasis in English as a second language. She spent 13 years at Cal Poly, and now embarks upon her Mt. SAC career with much enthusiasm.

For more information about Fuller's courses taught via Mt. SAC's Learning Assistance Center, please call (909) 594-5611, extension 4300.

New Professor Makes Chemistry Fun, Preps Students for Transfer

Walnut, CA . . . Chemistry at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) is not only rigorous, but also strong preparation for university study, according to Dr. Jody Williams Tyler, professor of chemistry and new to Mt. SAC this year. Focusing on the communication of science, Tyler says that Mt. SAC is preparing students for university study by requiring scientific paper writing and public speaking. With the majority of chemistry majors planning to transfer to universities, lab report writing, presentations and other chemistry communication projects set Mt. SAC students on a pathway to success.

Universities' requirements for chemistry majors are well known to Tyler, as her previous experience includes teaching positions at the University of California at San Diego and Chapman University. Recognizing the emphasis on research at these institutions, Tyler yearned to teach more and found Mt. SAC to be a good fit for her experience and career aspirations. Prior to her teaching positions, Tyler was busy earning degrees from the University of Evansville in Indiana and the University of California at Irvine.

As a woman in the male-dominated field of chemistry, Tyler appreciates that the majority of chemistry professors at Mt. SAC are female - something she did not
encounter while she was a student. Reflecting on her college days, Tyler says, "About 20 to 30 percent of the chemistry students were female. But most of my professors were male."

Tyler teaches general and introductory chemistry classes at Mt. SAC this semester. "General Chemistry is a pre-requisite for any science major and Introductory Chemistry is often taken by nursing students and pre-health professionals," she explains. With a reasonable number of pre-medical majors in her classes, Tyler emphasizes that chemistry is a strong major for the future study of medicine.

Emphasizing creative teaching techniques aimed at making chemistry fun - the impression of far too few students - Tyler incorporates application-oriented material into her lessons. "Students learn how things work. They end up saying, 'Oh, that's neat!'" she explains.

Application-oriented as well, Mt. SAC's new Chemistry Technician Program will be offered in the fall 2003. The two-year program will prepare students to run instruments, prepare solutions and samples and conduct analysis - skills that lead to jobs in biotech and research firms throughout Southern California. Tyler will teach an integral component of the new program, Analytical Chemistry.

Tyler says that Mt. SAC's students and faculty members are a great fit for her. "The students here work very hard. Many of them have jobs and families. These students are very appreciative," she says with admiration.

For more information about Mt. SAC's Chemistry Program, contact the Division of Natural Sciences at (909) 594-5611, extension 4600 or visit the College website at www.mtsac.edu.
Award Winning Los Angeles Fiction Writer Joins Mt. SAC

Walnut, CA .... A group of actors performed works by John Michael Brantingham at the Beverly Hills Library this past September - the month that the New Short Fiction Series dedicated to this award winning, Los Angeles-based fiction writer. Brantingham, new to Mt. SAC's faculty this year, has over 50 publications of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism that have won him much acclaim around LA and beyond.

"It is simply a celebration of one writer's work," explains Brantingham, referring to an evening event comprised of actors reading the works of one writer.

"There have been many professional Los Angeles writers associated with it. I think the biggest were John Fante, Wanda Coleman and Gerald Locklin." Brantingham's featured stories at the New Short Fiction Series, five in all, focused on the loss of a family member. A collection titled, "The Appearance of Hope" includes these works, which filled two hours of dramatic reading time.

Brantingham teaches freshmen composition, creative writing, and literature at Mt San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) this semester. When asked how his extensive writing experience and recognition lend to the students' learning, he explains: "What I really think helps the students is that I am writing all the time. I think my evaluation of my own writing helps me to evaluate theirs. Maybe what helps the most are the rejection letters … once I have been rejected painfully, I am more careful and considerate about the way I critique my students' writing."

A leader among the nation's English professors, Brantingham will present a paper and chair a discussion at the Popular Culture Conference in New Orleans next April. "I will be presenting an article that I have written titled, 'Using Current Los Angeles Writers in the Classroom'," he explains. "I will also chair a panel of four writers and lead a discussion on the poetry of Gerald Locklin, another LA poet." Attended by English professors throughout the country, the conference connects those who seek to creatively teach, write, and publish.

Joining the faculty at Mt. SAC this year, Brantingham brings a bachelor's degree in English from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a master of fine arts in creative writing-fiction from California State University, Long Beach to the job. He worked previously as a writer in a capacity different from fiction: he was a technical writer for a variety of engineering firms.

With an array of subjects covered - from technical descriptions to poetry about human experience - Brantingham helps students compose written works in clear and concise, yet interesting ways. "Mostly, my students are on the general education track, but since I mainly teach freshmen composition, I usually have a mix of students," he says.

For his creative writing students, however, Brantingham's success provides a remarkable level of insight and inspiration. "I don't think that publishing affects my teaching as much as writing does. I suppose that it does two things. First, it helps my credibility among my students, especially the creative writing students. Second, … I am able to help students publish their fiction. Many students are concerned with how to publish a story, and several of mine have."

For more information about Brantingham's courses or the English Department at Mt. SAC, please call (909) 594-5611, extension 4570 or visit the College website at www.mtsac.edu.



Mt. SAC Students Win 16 Medals at VICA Regionals

Walnut, CA . . . Mt. San Antonio College students won 10 gold medals and six silver medals at the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America's (VICA) regional competition held January 25 at Cal State L.A.

Mt. SAC students Daniel Fuller (Hacienda Heights) won the gold medal in the electronics technology competition, Cristy Foster (Chino) won the gold medal in the electronics applications competition, and Rick Hodson (Hacienda Heights) took the gold medal in the robotics automation technology category.

Students Christian Calbes (Fontana) won the gold medal in the computer maintenance competion, while Alvaro Garzon (Azusa) and Alan Hilton (El Monte) took silver medals in computer maintenance.

In the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) competition, John Stalker (Pomona) won the gold medal, while John Apodaca (Pomona) and Paul Flores (Montclair) took silver medals in the HVAC events.

In the welding competition, Steve Santana (Riverside), Cory Schwebel (Covina), and Daniel Titus (Upland) won gold medals, while Marjorie Uy won a silver medal.

Other Mt. SAC students who won gold medals included Jeff Michaels (Chino Hills) and Bradley Williams (Chino Hills) in the technical drafting competition, and Mark Staley (Diamond Bar) in the technical computer applications competition.

The gold medalists at the regional competition will advance to the VICA State Skills competition to be held April 10-13 in Riverside, while silver medalists go to the state competition as alternates. The top finalists at the state level then go on to compete at the VICA National Skills competition, which will be held in June in Kanas City.

VICA is a nationally affiliated vocational club representing secondary and post-secondary students in the trade, technical, and health education fields. The vocational education organization represents more than a quarter million students in over 13,000 chapters.

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Mt. SAC Student Awarded Nursing Scholarship

Walnut, CA . . . Mt. SAC Nursing student Matthew Poore is the recent recipient of a $500 scholarship from the San Gabriel Valley Nursing Consortium.

Poore, a third semester student at Mt. SAC, used the scholarship for his books and college fees. He is a resident of Diamond Bar and carries a 3.0 grade point average at Mt. SAC.

The San Gabriel Valley Nursing Consortium is an organization that promotes the nursing professional and addresses issues related to nursing education and practice.

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747 Engine Donated to Mt. SAC

Walnut, CA . . . Mt. San Antonio College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology Department recently received a large addition to its facilities this January when an air freight company donated a 747 jet engine valued at $3 million to the department.

The JT9D Turbofan Engine was donated by Polar Air Cargo, which operates Boeing 747’s, and moved into the department’s building on January 23. The jet engine will give Mt. SAC Aircraft Maintenance Technology students the hands-on experience needed by professionals who service aircraft in the airline industry.

"With this, we’ll be able to train students with engines that are currently being used in the airline industry," said Aircraft Maintenance Technology Professor Bob Burton.

The donated jet engine, referred to as a "high bypass" turbofan engine, weighs 9,000 pounds, is eight feet in diameter at the fan portion of engine, and is 13 feet long. The JT9D engine delivers up to 47,000 pounds of thrust and burns 3,000 gallons of fuel per hour at takeoff power settings.

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Mt. SAC Business Professor Elected IMC Committee Chair

Walnut, CA . . . Mt. San Antonio College Business Management Professor Dr. Ralph Jagodka was recently elected Chairperson of the Management and Operations Committee for the Industry Manufacturers Council (IMC).

Jagodka, who began as the chair in January, has been a member of the IMC since 1990 and has served on the IMC Management and Operations Committee since 1997.

Jagodka joined Mt. SAC as a business professor in 1997, and previously he served as the Director for the Center for International Trade Development at Citrus College from 1989 to 1997.

His professional background includes international marketing and sales, product development and marketing with a German industrial machinery and engineering company, general manager experience with rental/retail operation in Los Angeles, and licensing experience in Far East with ties to the Disney products line.

In 1998, he received the statewide Ed>Net Center's faculty award for International Trade Development for his work in international business and his work with the state's International Trade Development Committee.

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Cultivating Green Thumbs at Mt. SAC

Walnut, CA.... For those who enjoy spending time "on the green," a career in golf course management may be a hole in one. Bringing years of experience in turf grass management and landscape contracting to the job, Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) alumnus and Agricultural Sciences Professor Brian Scott instructs hundreds of students in landscape design, arboriculture, soil science, and yes, turf grass management, among others. Scott's students number in the hundreds and travel from cities all over the Southland to partake in Mt. SAC's program.

"Our typical student is a night student, who works during the day," explains Scott, who teaches four evenings per week. "A lot of our students work for cities, school districts, or in the nursery industry." Scott adds that Mt. SAC's Agricultural Sciences Program also trains students to work as arboreatists, as well as managers for golf courses and athletic fields.

The program's fully functioning nursery makes it particularly useful to students. "We run a profitable nursery here at Mt. SAC," says Scott, noting that all profits are parlayed into equipment purchases for the program. This past Christmas 2002, students sold 2,200 poinsettia plants - a typical sales year for the program. The students are now preparing for the annual Mother's Day Sale, which primarily features indoor houseplants, all at wholesale prices. The program also produces plants under a contract agreement with a local nursery.

Students may earn associate of science degrees in horticulture science, equipment technology, park management, or floral design. With a focus on horticulture in urban environments, the program does not teach crop management, but rather emphasizes skills that lead to local jobs. In so doing, several certificates are offered in such specialties as interior landscapes and landscape design and construction. With the completion of nine to 10 classes, students may finish the program in as little as one or two years.

After completing his two-year degree at Mt. SAC, Scott went on to the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona for a bachelor's degree. He says that a four-year degree can put graduates in the upper echelon of landscape professionals. Nonetheless, Mt. SAC's program is strong preparation for a multitude of jobs in the landscape and nursery industries, among others.
Scott is among a distinguished set of horticulture professors, each one bringing experience as landscape and nursery professionals to the job of teaching.

"Everyone who teaches here has a lot of contacts in the industry," says Scott, listing the owners of an irrigation store and a nursery among his colleagues. Scott's business, "Brian Scott Landscape Services," specializes in custom design and installation services, such as laying "hardscape," waterfalls, and plant and irrigation systems.

"Today, I prefer to do custom residential work," explains Scott, citing his experience in a variety of landscape environments. Over 20 years, he has worked in landscape design for commercial real estate, nurseries, maintenance, and turf management.

Scott hopes to put his expertise in turf grass management to good use in the creation of a new club on campus - the Turf Management Club. Scott plans to initiate the club to hone students' skills and interests in golf course and sports environments. Students also participate in the Horticulture Club, which attends trade shows to demonstrate what Mt. SAC offers in the field.

To find out more about Mt. SAC's Agricultural Sciences Department, call (909) 564-5611, extension 4540.

Mt. SAC Attracts Teachers Nationwide

Walnut, CA .... "Everybody has heard of Mt. SAC," states Professor Karen Schnurbusch, referring to her colleagues back in Illinois - the state from which she moved to take a job at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC).

"The good things I heard about this college have all been true," she adds. Schnurbusch is a faculty member within Mt. SAC's renowned Department of Physics and Engineering - a department that has garnered national awards, giving the College a far-reaching reputation.

"Those who have watched our record since 1994 know that we have received several million dollars in grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense," explains Larry Redinger, dean of Natural Sciences at Mt. SAC. With national recognition from such prestigious organizations, Mt. SAC's Natural Science Division programs stand strong, transferring close to 1,000 students to four-year universities annually.

High enrollments in Mt. SAC's physics and engineering classes serve as testimony that students, too, appreciate the quality of the program. "We have never advertised the program, but the engineering and physics classes are packed full," says Redinger. Classes are so full, in fact, that more space is needed to avoid turning students away. To the rescue comes a new science complex, including a brand new
building and a remodeled one, together totaling 200,000 square feet of instructional space.

The newly hired Schnurbusch cited the new science complex in her list of compelling reasons to relocate from Illinois to Southern California for the job. Even better, the science faculty at Mt. SAC had a lot of input toward the building's development, says Schnurbusch, who teaches Physical Science, Physics I, and Engineering Physics. Since laboratory work is a critical component of her classes, Schnurbusch and her students will heavily occupy the new building, 85 percent of which is lab space.

"It is a very creative process," says Redinger, speaking of the faculty's contribution to the building's design. He credits them with designing a mobile teaching space - movable "benches" that include electricity, water and other functions. "Teachers can change the configuration of the classroom as needed," he explains.

Aside from teaching and collaborating on the new science complex, Mt. SAC's natural science professors maintain close ties with the universities, working to enhance students' preparation for transfer. With a notably high transfer rate, up to 20 percent of the physics and engineering sequence students may transfer each year. Schnurbusch adds that students in her course, Engineering Physics, tend to transfer to high-level universities.

Schnurbusch herself attended high-level universities, earning her bachelor of science in creative studies with a physics emphasis from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her master of science in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For more information about Mt. SAC's Department of Physics and Engineering, call (909) 594-5611, extension 4425 or visit the College website at www.mtsac.edu.