#CYProfessional: Deann Burch, Career Center Coordinator

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Career Planning Center Coordinator Deann.

What was your path to Cypress?

In many ways, Cypress has always been part of my path. I was born in the early ‘60s and lived in Anaheim, while many of my relatives lived in Paramount, Artesia, and Lakewood. Every Sunday we traveled to various family homes, and drove past the multitude of dairy farms, cows, pastures, and layers of fog that hugged the streets. One day, my mom pointed at the sign that said, “Future Home of…” and she was so happy to know there would be a junior college nearby. Dad looked at me and my siblings and said, “Hey, you might want to go here when you finish high school.”

Then in the early ‘70s my dad’s karate dojo rented the gym to host tournaments. I was the scorekeeper and back-up timer so, technically, I worked at Cypress College when I was 10 years old. In the late ‘70s my mom, in an effort to help a recently widowed friend get involved with the community, took a job as an adult hourly during registration. Mom’s friend eventually found work elsewhere, but mom loved the college environment. She worked as an hourly in Admissions and Records until a permanent position became available in the Athletics Division. Mom worked with the athletes and coaches until she retired from Cypress College in the late ‘90s. She maintained close friendships with many of her Charger friends until she passed in 2011.

I began my educational journey at Cypress College in the fall of 1979, and then met my future husband in a class during the spring of 1980. That June, a position became available in the Admissions and Records Office, and my mom suggested I apply for the job and get some interview practice. Lo and behold, two hours after the interview, I received the call that I was hired. Yes, this was a life-altering moment for me and set me on the path of a truly fulfilling career. It also established lifelong friendships that I cannot imagine my life without.

I met my husband at Cypress College in the Psych 120 course in February 1980. We were married exactly two years later in February 1982. We are happily married to this day. Perry retired in August, and I will be retiring in November [2019] so the two of us are starting a new journey together.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?

I always wanted to be a teacher. I played “school” as a kid and assigned homework to my sister and friends. When I was in sixth grade, my teacher had each student stand up in class and share what we want to be when we grew up. I stood with pride and said, “I want to be a teacher.” The look on his face was unforgettable, and in retrospect, unforgiveable. He said with a disapproving sneer, “Oh, there won’t be any teaching jobs available when you graduate college.” My career dreams stopped at the very moment. I continued to excel in school, but I didn’t have a dream or a hope for what I wanted to “be.” I didn’t have a direction in mind, so when the position became available in the Admissions and Records Office, I saw it as a job, not a career. And then, something shifted. I liked the work I was doing. I enjoyed knowing the work I did, and assistance I provided, was helping other students along their path. I enjoyed the sensation of happiness, and fulfillment when students thanked me for being kind to them, for answering their questions, and for encouraging them to keep going.

After five years in A&R, I was then hired to work in the Career Planning Center. Chalk this up as the absolute best career-move I could have made. I cannot begin to adequately share the joy I had when connecting with and contributing to the field of career development. I learned about myself and how my interests, strengths, values, personality, and skills aligned with this career. Many of the tasks I enjoyed when I “played school” were now part of my daily adult life. I love research, making connections, pulling together data, and most of all, seeing students attain their goals, experience success, and learn about themselves without ever feeling the disapproving sneer that had discouraged me at a young age. What inspires me? Happy, content, fulfilled, supported students inspired me each and every day.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

Although I could be considered a workaholic, I actually have a very full and rewarding life that has worked in conjunction with my career. My family and friends keep me balanced. My studies of meditation practices have helped me to keep my mind, body, and spirit in harmony. My eclectic interests and desire to learn about these in depth have kept me involved with exploring, expanding, and evolving my thoughts and beliefs. I do volunteer work that keeps me informed and reminds me of the strong, loving foundation of my family that I never take for granted. I am happy and am able to infuse this happiness into all my pursuits.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

After 39+ years at Cypress College, I have decided to retire. I adore my work, the people I work with, and still get excited by the upcoming innovations. I originally thought I would be at my desk another 10 years, but then a little switch in my brain suddenly turned on and told me, “It is time.” I have no regrets, but am a little disappointed that I won’t be in the thick of the Title V Grant, rebranding our Center to the Majors and Careers Program, or seeing Guided Pathways fully embedded into the experience of our students. But I do know that I have contributed to these things. I served on committees, I gave a voice to and for classified employees, I demonstrated leadership, and I made a difference. I am now looking forward to exploring my meditation and spiritual studies, and perhaps will teach others as I had dreamed of when I was a child.

Is there any other information you’d like to share?

I am proud of my achievements, awards, and accomplishments. I am grateful for the friends I met on my first day in A&R and am still embracing these friends in my life today. I value the difference career professionals have made to bettering the field of career development. But most of all, I am inspired and in awe of the strength, fortitude, and motivation our students display on a daily basis. As Dr. Don Bedard told me on my first day of work, “Never forget. We are here for the students.” I have honored that throughout my career.

Former HRC Instructor Meets Challenges on ‘Chopped’

Blackmarket Bakery owner Rachel Klemek can work under pressure. She runs three bakeries, has four kids, and counts herself as a former Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary Arts faculty member of Cypress College. And now, she can call herself a “Chopped” episode champion and season finale runner-up.

We asked her a few questions about her experience. She offered an inside glimpse of the popular cooking competition show, as well as some sound advice that works in and out of the kitchen.

How did you get involved in being on the show “Chopped?”
Back in October of 2018, I received an email from a casting company requesting that I apply to “Chopped.” At that time, I hadn’t seen more than a few snippets from “Chopped” over the years but thought I should just give it a try anyway. My family strongly discouraged me, given how challenging it looked. Being an optimist, I filled out their app online and submitted a few videos of myself baking. A Skype interview and a more in-depth phone interview followed. Even then, I didn’t think I would get cast. Then, a producer called to schedule my “bio-pack,” where a crew filmed in the bakery location. But the producer warned that nothing was decided. Then, three weeks before the first episode filmed, they emailed to say that I was cast in a dessert episode and needed to get to NYC! I memorized and tested as many “fast” recipes as possible, not knowing what kinds of desserts I would be making.

At the start of the “Sweets Showdown: Cake” episode, you said your philosophy on the show was to “Keep Calm and Cake On.” Is this your motto for everyday life, too?

I think I came up with that on the spot, at the producer’s prompt to have a tagline. But in essence, I aspire to follow that advice. Freaking out about stuff is not productive, but sometimes it still happens!

You called one of the judges on the show, Sylvia Weinstock, a legend. Did that make you more nervous?
The whole process of filming was completely nerve-wracking, but I don’t know if any particular judge made it any more so. Sylvia Weinstock was a trailblazer in exquisite sugar flowers and incredible tiered cakes, so I was familiar with her stature in the industry but decided that being overly intimidated would be a handicap so tried to act as normal and confident as possible.

Squid-ink toffee — what inspired you? It was very popular!

Toffee is basically sugar, butter, water and a bit of salt. Since the salt is necessary to balance the sweetness, the saltiness of the squid ink seemed like it would work well. My mistake was adding the squid ink before the toffee was completely cooked, since I relied on the color to tell doneness. Luckily, I was able to guess when the toffee reached temperature (before burned and turned bitter) by the bubbles. Plus seafood and butter made sense to me!

You said the other contestants’ Bundt cakes were simpler. Do you think your more complex take helped you?
I think substituting the tomato soup as part of the liquid in the cake was the key to my surviving that round. Adding ganache and caramel, which seemed like a good idea for a dessert, was perceived by the judges as going overboard…

What did you win for being the best chef of that episode?
For winning the Chopped Cake episode, I won the chance to go back and compete in the Sweets Finale. And the ability to claim that I am a Chopped Champion. That’s it!

For the finale, the pressure seemed stronger. And did the ingredients seem weirder?
The ingredients were pretty weird in all six of my rounds (in both shows), but in every round there were at least two items that were easier to address. With Martha Stewart judging and that $50,000 on the line, the pressure was more intense in the finale.

It appeared as if the closer the show drew to the end, the more camaraderie there was among contestants. Did you feel that way?
Not particularly. In between rounds, there was a minimum of conversation between contestants. We were all coping with a very stressful situation together, but since we were still in it, I think we all kept pretty focused and to ourselves.

What was the most intimidating/challenging thing in that episode? What was the best?
Making a dessert to flambé was really tough for me. A new experience! I considered using the cotton candy machine but hadn’t done so before and didn’t want to count on it without any prior experience. The high point was making desserts for Martha Stewart and hearing positive feedback. One of my favorite cookbooks as a young baker was Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts, so I am a huge fan!

You got good feedback on your flavor. And your flambé looked so pretty! Judge Alex Guarnaschelli said you are “such an unbelievable baker.” Is that how you were able to walk away saying you were “feeling like a winner for sure”?

Going into the whole “Chopped” experience, I had no expectation of getting through even one round. So winning one episode and being the runner up in another constitutes a big accomplishment in my view. Being a business owner, I spend lots of time on office stuff like marketing, hiring, accounting, scheduling, etc and not much in the kitchen anymore. So I was proud to have gotten as far as I did!

Is there anything you learned from the experience that you might bring back to your students?

My take-away from filming two “Chopped” episodes is:
1. Practice, prepare, and be as ready as possible (for life, for baking, for anything)
2. Trust your instincts
3. Do work you are proud of
4. Remember to have fun and not take yourself too seriously

Hospitality & Culinary Students Tour Marriott

In late October, Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts students toured Marriott Anaheim to hear from professionals in their field and see where a degree or certificate from the HRC program could take them.

The field trip included students from the Hospitality Law class and the Hospitality Leadership class. Marriott gave an orientation and walked students and faculty, including professors Jeannette Jones and Lisa Clark, through the heart of the house to hear from managers and key associates.

“It was especially fun to hear from the Banquet Chef, Patrick Duralde, former Cypress alumni,” Clark says. “We have dozens of students working for Marriott with many more over the years. Marriott is a long-standing educational partner. They serve on our advisory board, offer field trips, guest speak, attend career fairs and, of course, hire and develop our students.”

Professor Jones also works on call with Marriott. Clark calls her connections “invaluable” in coordinating these opportunities.

Instructor Exhibits in Louvre Museum

This month, Cypress College art instructor Paul Paiement exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris during a special event. Annual art fair Le Carrousel du Louvre took place October 18-20 and included artists selected by a committee, based on nominations. Paul’s European art dealer Adelinda Allegretti submitted his work for consideration.

“It’s a huge honor to exhibit my paintings in the largest and most prestigious art museum in the world,” Paul said. “Drilling a screw into the same walls that house Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ was an incredible experience.”

Paiement selected four paintings from his Nexus series to exhibit. He was able to complete these paintings during a sabbatical from teaching at Cypress, a period in which he says he was “more prolific than I’ve ever been.”

The resulting work was well received at the show; Paul says the pieces created a lot of dialogue among visitors, and his painting ‘Nexus — Ronan, Montana’ was selected and published in the exhibition catalog.

“It was all very real,” Paul said. “By real, I mean tangible. I’ve read, seen documentaries, and heard stories about the Louvre. It’s has a ‘larger than life’ mythology. It has the largest and most comprehensive art collection the world has ever seen. Assisting the museum staff in the installation of my artwork was very real.”

The work exhibited in Paris was painstakingly created. Paul says during the school year, one of his paintings can take anywhere from 3-14 months to complete; during his sabbatical, his goal has been to complete one painting a month — based on a 40-60 hour week. The sabbatical continues until spring 2020 but even when Paul returns he will find a way to continue on this creative streak.

“I don’t find time to create — I create time to create art,” he says. While teaching, he commits to working in his studio three to five days a week.

Paul’s Nexus series bridges natural backdrops and engineered structures. It incorporates the elements that inspire him.

“I draw inspiration from concepts and questions about our reality. Questions like who are we? Who am I? What is nature? Am I part of nature? I hope these concepts are communicated to the viewer in my paintings.”

To view more of Paul’s exhibited work, click on his Carrousel du Louvre link here. You can see additional paintings by visiting his personal website here.

AC&R Program Passes Accreditation

Cypress College’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Program passed a reaccreditation visit on Oct. 3, ensuring its accreditation for six more years.

Members of validation group HVAC Excellence, which sets educational program standards and verifies their fulfillment, met with Cypress faculty Doug Sallade, Carlos Urquidi, and Richard Hock to tour the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration facilities and review curriculum.

The Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program offers an associate degree and nine certificates, ranging from core knowledge to a four-semester long comprehensive certificate. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges job placement rate reports that 93% of recent program graduates were hired in their field. The US Department of Labor projects a 15% growth in employment by 2026 for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers.

The photo above shows the faculty and HVAC Excellence team. From left to right: Sallade, HVAC Excellence Accreditation Specialist James Crisp, Urquidi, Esco Group Director of Technical Education & Standards Eugene Silberstein, Hock, and HVAC Excellence Accreditation Specialist Steven Allen.

#CYProfessional: Marcia Jeffredo, Locksmith, Maintenance and Operations

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessionals like Maintenance & Operations’ Marcia.

What was your path to Cypress?
I was a licensed contractor, running a lock-and-safe service I’d started 15 years earlier when an acquaintance — who had the Cypress College food-service contract at the time — told me about the job opening. At first I was afraid it might be boring to be “stuck” at one site. What I found instead was a family-like work environment and seemingly unlimited opportunities for mutual enrichment between myself, students, and colleagues.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?
I can relate to and empathize with students who aren’t sure of themselves, especially ones who feel marginalized for whatever reason(s). I loved school, but when it came to higher education, my parents were not on board, because it was unfamiliar territory. Plus, even though I was nurtured by wonderful teachers and staff, I spent my school years fearful of being perceived as gay. That journey goes into a whole other long story, but I have on many occasions been a speaker on campus in classrooms and in forums, enlightening some people and affirming others about how damaging it is to try to be someone you’re aren’t because you’re fearful of what consequences you might suffer if you come out.

In addition, I have five decades of experience studying foreign languages. About five years ago I had a teacher who kept telling our class it’s difficult to learn a language after the age of 8. I didn’t agree and that motivated me to start some study groups and do some tutoring to prove that with the right approach and mindset, learning a new language can be fun and doable at any age.
I’ve had some memorable times working with the NOCE Independent Living Skills students too. They used to have a job-shadowing program and it was very rewarding bringing them to my shop and taking them around campus, teaching them how to be good employees. I also was a guest speaker on the topic and we had a lot of fun because I know how to reach them.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?
In my time at Cypress College I’ve been trusted by managers and administrators to prioritize my work, creation of new projects, and shared-governance activities on my own. I like to be busy, and allowing me to have such autonomy has been the ultimate way to get the most out of my energy, experience, ideas, organizational skills, and time management skills. Outside of Cypress College I’ve volunteered for numerous organizations since my teens. I feel a responsibility to be actively involved wherever I am.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
I had been working on designing and managing ADA and mechanical and electronic access control projects campus-wide and a smaller project at NOCE Anaheim. It took years of building relationships in order to get the support, especially the funding, to make these things happen. All of those people left last year and the momentum got stalled. We have a lot of new colleagues bringing their own ideas to Cypress College and I’m preparing for retirement, so it’s time to pass the torch. Meanwhile I have plenty to keep me busy. With the new construction, I’m starting to make all of the new keys and pretty soon I will be pinning up all of the lock cylinders for the contractors to install.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.
I am forever grateful that I landed here almost 19 years ago. Life is good. I will miss being surrounded by students all the time, but there are some I’ve stayed in touch with and I’m so proud of them. We all have grown so much.