June 2006

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2006

Mt. SAC Alumni Selected for Fulbright Fellowships

WALNUT, Calif.—Former Mt. San Antonio College students Katrina Sitar and Blair Pleason McGregor have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships to continue their fields of study in either a teaching or research capacity. The Mt. SAC alumni are just two of a record 15 Pitzer College students to receive Fulbrights this year.

Under the Fulbright program, Sitar will study contemporary visual representations of the Roma people in Moldova, formerly part of the Soviet Union. A student in the New Resources program at Pitzer, she plans to use her experience in Moldova in her future art history studies. Sitar, a resident of Claremont, was formerly a history major at Mt. SAC and carried a 3.93 GPA.

Pleason McGregor will teach English in South Korea as part of his Fulbright experience. Also a resident of Claremont, he is an international intercultural studies major at Pitzer who plans to pursue a law degree focusing on international law. At Mt. SAC, he was a political science major and carried a 3.69 GPA.

Students are chosen for Fulbright Fellowships based on their academic achievements and the quality of their proposed research. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government flagship for international educational exchange. Fulbright grants are made available for a variety of educational activities, including advanced research, teaching and graduate study.

FRIDAY, JUNE 02, 2006

Seven Surgeries Don’t Stop Mt. SAC Grad

WALNUT, Calif.—To say that John Bobie has overcome a few obstacles on his way to becoming a college graduate is an understatement. To say that he is determined just doesn’t seem to do him justice. Even seven operations to remove a brain tumor couldn’t stop the 49-year-old Pomona man from joining Mt. San Antonio College’s Class of 2006 during the commencement ceremony on May 19.

“It took me two-and-a-half years and seven operations, but I persevered,” said John, who underwent the seven surgeries in one year.

He had already returned to college after being away for more than 20 years when he was diagnosed. He was enrolled at Mt. SAC as an Alcohol and Drug Counseling major in 2003 and was doing well in his studies when treatment for a benign tumor on the outside of his head took a turn for the worst and a neurologist told him he had two days to live.

“Can you imagine being told you have two days to live? What do you do?” he asked.

A seven-hour operation by a two-man team ensued and was followed by six more surgeries and radiation related to the tumor, which turned out to be cancerous. The operations even earned John some notoriety as a case study.

“I’m currently in the medical books for having the biggest tumor ever taken out of a human head,” he said.

But despite complications from the operations, including a steel plate that his body rejected, John continued with his studies as best he could. At one point, he had 45 straight days of doctor’s visits, but it finally took a motorist running a red light to stop him––albeit temporarily.

“I had a green light and was turning left,” John said of accident in July 2005. “And when I woke up, I had no speech and no mobility on my right side.”

During the accident, he had hit his head, which further complicated his condition, and unable to continue to continue his studies, he started a three-day-a-week rehabilitation regiment to regain his speech.

“Seven operations couldn’t take my speech away from me, but this accident did,” he said.

His rehab lasted five months. He regained his speech, but was hesitant about what to do next. He thought about coming back to Mt. SAC.

“It was hard to come back to school because I can’t write now,” said John. “But I’m not a quitter, and I decided to come back to school and finish what I started.”

Together with his own determination, encouragement from faculty in the Alcohol and Drug Counseling Program, and assistance from Disabled Students Programs and Services, John returned to his studies.

“The department faculty told me, ‘You have only a few classes to finish to get your degree, why don’t you stick it out?’” he said. “My instructors were in my corner all the way.”

Through Disabled Students, he was granted the use of scribes who would take notes for him in class and made it possible for him to continue.

“I can’t thank Disabled Students Programs and Services enough,” he said. “They have been just fantastic.”

Today, John, while permanently disabled, is looking forward to continuing his studies and wants to work or volunteer in counseling. He received his associate degree and a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, and he plans to transfer to Cal State Fullerton and hopes to help others at Loma Linda University Behavioral Center, where he completed his internship.

He said that now, with all that he has been through, he has an overwhelming desire to give back to people in any way he can, and you can bet that despite whatever obstacles are in his path, John Bobie is sure to overcome.

Mt. SAC Honors Director Wins Paragon Award

WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College’s Honors Program Director Charis Louie received the 2006 Paragon Award for New Advisors at Phi Theta Kappa International Convention held recently in Seattle. Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the international community college honor society. Student membership is based on academic achievement.

Nearly 500 PTK chapters competed for awards that recognize excellence in programs promoting scholarship, leadership and service.

Louie has completed her first year as the director for Mt. SAC’s PTK chapter, which is one of the largest community college honor programs in California. A resident of Arcadia, Louie has taught psychology at Mt. SAC for six years.