Halloween Parade, 2019

DSS Expo, Fall 2019

Annual Cup and Bowl Sale 2019

UndocuAlly Painting

Concrete Casting

National Coming Out Day 2019

Dia de los Muertos 2019

Superintendent Breakfast, Fall 2019

Club Carnival 2019

Timely Warning: Laptop Stolen in Strong-Arm Robbery

Primary Cypress College Logo

Timely Warning

October 7, 2019

A student reported that two men stole a laptop as the student walked through Lot 9 this morning. Campus Safety and members of the Cypress Police Department are investigating the crime as a strong-arm robbery because of the threat of force used in the crime. The incident happened today at about 10:40 a.m.

The suspects were in a blue 1990s Honda Civic with sun damage on the driver’s door. The men were described as being Hispanic, in their 20s and the passenger wore a white shirt, dark khaki pants, and had a goatee.

Campus Safety and Cypress Police are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information about the incident or about the suspect should contact Campus Safety at (714) 484-7387. Imminent threats should be reported to 911.

Students and employees are reminded to report incidents or suspicious behavior to Campus Safety and/or Cypress Police immediately. Additionally, students are reminded that Campus Safety can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (714) 484-7387, and that it is important to program that number into their mobile phones for quick access.

Timely warning notices are issued for any situation or incident involving a serious or continuing threat. Timely warnings are intended to promote safety within the campus community. Additional information is contained in the college’s Annual Safety and Security Report.

Cypress College issues Timely Warnings in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act. For more information, visit: cypresscollege.edu/services/campus-safety/

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Spring 2019 Emergency Lockdown Drill

About the Drill

Cypress College will participate in a lockdown drill on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. All members of the campus community are required to participate in drills.

The drill will be held at 10:15 a.m. There will be no alarm to start the drill. Faculty and managers will be asked to play a video (see below) in their classrooms and work areas. There will be no evacuations this year.

Instructions and Resources

  • The drill will commence at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
  • The drill will commence with a video broadcast on campus via the college’s phone system and over the P.A. system.
  • We ask that you play the video in your class.
  • Participation in the drill is required.

Important Resources:

Drill Video:

This is the video from Ready Houston to play during the lockdown drill.

Text Alerts and Emergency Notifications

Students are encouraged to utilize myGateway to update their personal information for text alert messaging in the event of an emergency. Students must provide their personal information in myGateway to receive these text notifications.

Follow these steps to verify that your cell phone and email address are entered and current:

  • Sign into myGateway.
  • Go to the “Personal Information” channel under the “Student” tab.
  • Click on the item “Set Text Message Alert Preferences.”
  • When clicking on “Set Text Message Alert Preferences,” the next screen will allow you to enter your cell phone information, the cellular service provider, the level of messages you wish to receive and the campus or campuses you want to be notified about.
  • After entering your information, click on the “Submit” button.

Our experience has proven Twitter to be a reliable method of emergency communication. In addition to asking you to sign up for text messages (see above), please help out by signing up to follow the college on Twitter. You can do so by visiting twitter.com/CypressCollege and clicking on the “follow” button.

Muralism Presentation 2019

#CYProud: Felicia Cleaver, Psychology

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Felicia Cleaver

Felicia Cleaver grew up a Los Angeles native who graduated high school with honors, but did not immediately pursue higher education. At the age of 25 and as a single mother of two, Felicia found herself drawn to pursuing a degree for her children and out of curiosity. Felicia received her associate degree in psychology and liberal arts with an emphasis in social and behavioral sciences in May 2019. She started an outreach program for young women in Hawaiian Gardens, along with a recreation program for special-needs youth. She is transferring to California State University, Fullerton in fall 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in communications.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born and raised in the ghettos of Los Angeles, California. While growing up, I showed leadership skills in all school activities, but was caught in the whirlpool of dysfunctional family life. My focal point became a goal to get grades that would allow me to enter college and be able to choose a career. I pulled myself up, pushed through the family deterrences, graduated high school with honors, and am now a first-generation college student. I have and will achieve any goal I set my mind too. Currently, I’m striving to enhance my communication and motivation skills while keeping a GPA above a 3.5 as a full-time student, which can attest to my drive and ambition in completing my educational goals, along with raising two beautiful children. If you’re reading this, just know, anything is possible if you believe in yourself!

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose to come back to college for one main reason: curiosity. My greatest motivation for returning to college is my two children. In the beginning, I was a little hesitant and only took one course because it had been almost eight years since I last stepped foot in a classroom. In all honesty, I never thought or was certain if I was ever going to go back to school. Then I stumbled across Cypress College simply by driving by it. Something sparked inside of me (curiosity), and I enrolled. It was the best decision I ever made, and Cypress College, in turn, has been the best community college I could have asked for! I enrolled in Cypress College in the spring of 2017, and at the time I was a 25-year-old single mother of two, but desperately decided that I needed to take action to get an education I deserve.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

Curiosity got me in the door, but my motivation has pushed me through my past two years at Cypress College. Only having a part-time job working eight hours a week, it is hard financially, but going to school and understanding financial aid and being part of the EOPS and CalWORKs programs has made all the difference. Similarly, I am a participant in the CARE program and have found the networking events, grants, seminars, and scholarship opportunities all beneficial. I have utilized my time well at Cypress College and the programs set in place to help students succeed is what makes this college great.

I will also recognize the Learning Resource Center and endless tutors in the math and English centers for all their help! Spring of 2019, this is my last semester and the first semester that had child care open up at Cypress College. Those two days and eight hours every week are really beneficial for a single parent, and I could not be happier about the direction that this college is going. If it was not for these programs, it would be very difficult to get to school when having two children. My curiosity turned into motivation, then determination. In my last semesters, I have been able to broaden my net and be involved in clubs such as the Psychology Club and obtain the title of president of Psi Beta on campus, which is a national honor society for students attending two-year colleges.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I have a profound interest in the studies of the mind, so my career goal is in studying psychology. The purpose and passion of my life is to discover a greater understanding of the universe and its people. Specifically, I plan to better grasp the beauty and miracles of this world and share them with each person I come in contact with. I know my doctoral degree is further in the future, but I’m doing everything now to obtain practice in this field. I am also starting an outreach program to young women in the city of Hawaiian Gardens as well as a special needs recreation program for the youth.

Everything I do in my time now is free of charge. I am gaining experience in this field on top of my book work. I am a bright and intelligent student whose potential is endless. I want to help people who need help, who need support, or who need resources, are neglected, or otherwise at a disadvantage in life. If I can help 1 out of 10 people then I know I made a difference in the world and a difference in the life of that individual. You don’t have to be a superhero to have a mission!

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

A student’s accomplishments are directly related to the daily efforts of faculty and staff at any college. I am pleased to say there is an abundance of great faculty and staff at Cypress College and I couldn’t have done this without them! There are so many that have made my journey a successful one, I want to shout out to:

  • EOPS/CalWORKs/CARE – Connie Boehler, Lili Perez, Leena Acosta
  • English Department – Nicholas Gil, Stephanie Tran
  • Psychology Department – Brandy Young, Randy Martinez, and Carlos Sandoval

Thank you all for being there for me, being guides, mentors, and writing references for me. You are all wonderful! You groomed me to be a sound professional and made working with you an interesting and memorable experience. I will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

Right now I need to put my full focus on receiving my two associate degrees from Cypress College and pursuing my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Cal State University, Fullerton. Then I hope to get into a doctoral program. I will increase my communication and writing skills, while enhancing my understanding of human behavior. I’m just at the beginning, but I am a perfectionist and always strive for success.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goal is to obtain an applied doctorate and eventually become a professor at a college. I aspire to give back to students during their educational journey and encourage them the same way multiple individuals have done for me.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my time spent on pursuing scholarships. I have currently won two scholarships just through Cypress College. I will obtain two associate degrees and my bachelor’s degree from CSUF all on scholarships, not including my financial aid award. Saving money is a must, and everyone should be applying for scholarships. They are out there; you just have to do the work!

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: College will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Be sure to get the best of both worlds and find the healthy balance between the studying, and contributing to your school, all while utilizing resources on campus. Finally, the best piece of advice I could ever give, and have ever received, comes from my statistics teacher in Psychology: “Take everything one… step… at… a… time.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

For anyone to really open a challenge within themselves they have to believe they can really do it, and, above all else, really want it (self-fulfilling prophecy)! Believe in yourself. You are your own rainbow!

#CYProud: Holly Herrera, Mortuary Science

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Holly Herrera

Holly Herrera worked as an EMT until she decided she wanted a career focusing on the surviving family members of a trauma. Committed to working in the funeral industry, she returned to school to pursue an education in mortuary science while working full time and raising a family. Holly is now a licensed funeral director and registered apprentice embalmer at a funeral home in Corona. She also hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in forensics or criminalistics to one day work as an investigator for a coroner or in a similar medicolegal career.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Like most people, my childhood wasn’t ideal, but I am forever grateful for the experiences that have shaped me into the adult I am today. I currently live in the Inland Empire with my husband, our three children, and the most beautiful and talented fur-baby you have ever seen! I am also a licensed funeral director and a registered apprentice embalmer for a funeral home in Corona, California.

Professionally speaking, I come from a background of emergency medicine. During my time as an EMT, I encountered every aspect of humanity. I have seen the ugly, the terrifying, the promising, and the innocence of life. After some time, I felt compelled to move on to a new chapter of my career, this time focusing on the surviving family. It is a privilege to help families celebrate the life of their loved one.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Once I had committed myself to working in the funeral industry, I began to research schools. When I found that Cypress was not only within a commutable distance, but also regarded as having one of the leading Mortuary Science programs, I knew it was meant to be. Returning to school after a hiatus of raising children and working in a different career path was daunting. I felt intimidated and unsure if I could do it. My first meeting with a counselor reassured me that I was making the right choice and just how lucky I was to attend Cypress.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

It wasn’t until the third semester of my program that students and faculty were able to establish the Sigma Phi Sigma chapter here on campus. The purpose of our fraternity is to educate the public about the funeral industry and shed light on a field that is often misunderstood. I encourage all students to enhance their educational experience by participating in clubs and fraternities. You really owe it to yourself to give it a try.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

Not to sound cliché, but I am passionate about life. Since working in the funeral industry, I have come to appreciate just how little time we have on this earth. Witnessing firsthand how unpredictable death can be has put my own life into perspective. Time flies by. It is a precious gift that many of us take for granted. Spend the time you have with careful words and a forgiving heart.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Each faculty member of the mortuary program has positively contributed to my time here.

Professor Grande has become a mother figure to me, whom I hold in high regard. In an industry that is historically made up of men, she has worked her way to the top and is single-handedly the most knowledgeable person of funeral law. Jolena Grande is a force to reckon with, and I admire her tenacity and appreciate her nearly impossible homework load. Professor Grande, I thank you.

Dr. de la Cruz is an aristocrat of mortuary science. He is truly a student’s advocate and holds our best interests at heart. Not surprisingly, he is also one of the most generous people I have ever met. There is never a dull moment in a DLC class. He has created a drive in all of us to become the best we can possibly be, and to do so with unfailing integrity. Dr. de la Cruz, I thank you.

Professor Collins, the fashionista of mortuary science, has the best attitude and sense of humor, both of which are desperately needed in this industry! Her door is always open to students and she takes time to hear us out and find solutions to our problems. She relates to her students and her desire to help us succeed is genuine. Professor Collins, I thank you.

Professor McCament. There are not enough sweet words to describe this man. He is the most selfless soul, commuting unthinkable miles, all in the name of teaching. When my cohort first heard that he was retiring, we legitimately felt sad. There is no end to this man’s patience. I could not have asked for a better instructor and I feel confident in my own skillset thanks to his guidance. Professor McCament, I thank you.

Lastly, but certaintly not least, Professor Nichols. Even though we had a short time with you face-to-face, you managed to get us all excited for restorative art. Even though your days are spent outside of the classroom, you are always reachable and ready to help us with any concerns. More importantly you taught us not to take ourselves seriously and to enjoy our work. Professor Nichols, I thank you.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am currently in a two-year apprenticeship for my embalmer’s license. I will continue to work both as a registered apprentice and a licensed funeral director. I look forward to applying what I have learned here at Cypress.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My plan is to begin my undergrad in forensics or criminalistics while I am completing my apprenticeship. My aspirations are to work in the capacity of an investigator for a coroner, or in another medicolegal position.

What are you most proud of?

I will be completely honest, when I received notification that I was selected to be recognized, initially I did not feel as if I deserved it. There have been many times during the duration of my program that I wanted to give up. Through the challenges of having a family, working full-time, and attending school full-time, I questioned my choice daily. However, I stuck with it, and I refused to back down. I am proud that I am just a few weeks of completing this chapter of my life and look forward to the next challenge.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

I’d like to speak directly to those who find themselves wanting a change in careers, or who have spent their lives being a caretaker and now want to do something for themselves: You can do this. No matter what field calls your name, once you make that commitment, see it through. Life will throw all sorts of obstacles your way. There will be times that you will find yourself in tears questioning your decision. Those are the times that define us and show us just how fierce we are. Take the time to shed your tears, gather your thoughts, and move one foot in front of the other.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to personally thank all the members of my cohort. We have been through some difficult times together, and I am honored to have stood alongside every one of you. I hope you all have learned something from me as I have learned from you. I wish you well and I hope to see you once again.

#CYProud: Abby Omolafe, Political Science and Dance

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Abby Omolafe

Abby Omolafe was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. She grew up in La Palma and graduated from Kennedy High School prior to starting her studies at Cypress College. Initially, she pursued an education to become a registered nurse, but later reevaluated and realized she was most passionate about working for the government and enjoyed dance. She advocates for orphans and foster youth as the current Miss High Desert Hills, and earned her associate degree in political science and dance. She transferred to California State University, Long Beach in fall 2019.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Nigeria, Africa. I came to America when I was 12 years old. I am now graduating with my associate degree in political science and dance, which is a dream come true. This feels like the first step in achieving my goal of serving my community. I lived in La Palma, which is about 10 minutes away from Cypress. I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. I am currently a Disney cast member, as well as the current Miss High Desert Hills.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because it was close to home, as well as cheaper than four-year universities. I am transferring to California State University, Long Beach debt free because of financial aid. Cypress also has intimate class settings, as well as great professors who are always open and willing to help students however they can.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I started as a registered nursing major at Cypress; however, the more I took classes the more I realized it wasn’t for me. After that, I talked to a counselor to explore other options. Through all this, I took dance classes and I was a part of the dance concert every semester. I found that I was most passionate about working in the U.S. government, so I started the process to get my associate degree in political science, as well as dance.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I have the honor of being part of the Miss America Organization. I have been working as a local title holder on my platform which is “Until They All Have Homes: Advocating for Orphans/Foster Youths.” With this platform, I work with organizations like Olive Crest, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Together We Rise to help foster children find loving homes and safe environments. I also do suitcase drives all over California to provide foster children with suitcases filled with toiletries, stuffed toys, books, and blankets. I am most passionate about my platform because I am also an orphan. I was adopted by my maternal grandmother and brought to America after I lost my parents at the age of 10. Unfortunately, the environment I was put in after I was adopted was highly toxic and abusive, so I know what it’s like to not have anyone to stand up for you. I am determined to make a difference in the lives of foster children.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Professor Maha Afra has been an amazing role model to me. She is one of the most caring and dedicated professors at Cypress College. Knowing my story and background, she always makes sure to ask about my health. She is always encouraging and gives me hope whenever I feel like giving up. Maha always asks after the well-being of her students and even has pillows in her office to make sure we have a safe space we can escape to. She goes above and beyond to make sure we are successful in our educations while we have healthy bodies and minds.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am transferring to the California State University, Long Beach for a bachelor’s degree in political science. After getting my bachelor’s degree, I would like to take the LSAT and go to law school.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My career ambition is to become a prosecutor at a district attorney’s office and eventually work in the U.S. Congress.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact that I now live on my own, but I am still able to take care of myself and go to school to achieve my dreams. As an orphan, I have found my own family in my pageant sisters, my fellow cast members, my fellow dancers, and the amazing men and women who have helped me in one way or another. I pulled myself out of a toxic and abusive environment with the help of my aunt and all my supporters.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world. For current and future Cypress College students, my one advice is to never give up just because the road is hard. The path to success is not a short one. Learn from your mistakes, celebrate the little achievements and always remember you can achieve anything with discipline, optimism, resilience, and hard work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If I can do it, you can too!

#CYProud: Minh Nguyen, Chemistry

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen graduated high school in Vietnam, then moved to the United States to pursue higher education, with sights on becoming an emergency doctor and medical researcher. “I will be able to contribute my work to improve the quality of life for people who, unfortunately, do not have the basic rights and benefits as others,” he said. After encountering some health setbacks of his own, Minh became heavily involved on campus in the (STEM)2 program, Chemistry Club, and as a supplemental instruction leader. In 2019, he was named the the college’s American Chemical Society, Orange County Section’s Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year. He is transferring to University of California, Irvine in fall 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

After graduating high school in Vietnam, I started my new academic journey in the United States. Everything was on the right track after I got accepted to Cypress College until I was brought to the emergency room at Orange Coast Memorial Hospital for a surgery; my life was crumbling down again. It was a hard time for me when I had to keep doing great in my first semester at school while suffering from my hurting wound every single day. The hospital bills were stacking up in the mailbox and my homework due dates were coming one by one. I could not sit or walk normally, so I lay on my bed with my vocabulary and science books. Countless hours were spent in my room trying to understand the English words and science concepts that I missed. After a massive amount of effort, I finally got a constant 4.0 GPA at Cypress College. I got over that extremely difficult time of my life and nothing could hold me back now.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I visited many community colleges in Orange County: Golden West College, Cerritos College, Coastline College, and Cypress College. I was impressed by the clean and beautiful campus with a lot of trees at Cypress, especially the ducks by the pond in the middle of the campus, which gave me a feeling of comfort. It motivated me even more when I contacted the international office for more details. They are very friendly and very open to welcome students. I felt like this would be my second home in my college life; therefore, I decided to take this journey together with Cypress.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?
When everything went back to normal, I started to get involved in our campus. Based on my good performance at Cypress College, I was chosen as be a one-on-one tutor for math, chemistry, and physics in the Learning Resource Center in spring 2017 and was accepted as a supplemental instruction (SI) leader for Calculus II in fall 2017. After two semesters of my great efforts, I got promoted to be a mentor for SI in fall 2018.

I have been a (STEM)2 scholar since fall 2016. Based on the (STEM)2 program, I had a chance to conduct hands-on research at University of California, Irvine in summer 2018. This was when I got a step closer to my dream. The research was about biomedical engineering techniques. Along with my research group, we contributed to engineering a mechanical device that tested effects in collagen density from fibroblast production due to applying mechanical stress. The research has given me even more motivation to study and work harder for this major.

Also during that summer, I got elected to be the Chemistry Club president for the next two semesters. As a campus club, we provide the environment for students who are interested in STEM fields to work with professionals, conduct outreach activities, promote chemistry, and inspire young generations about science. It is also my best and most memorable moment when I was nominated by Professor Robin De Roo for the American Chemical Society, Orange County Section’s Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year 2019.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I came from Vietnam where people must work as hard as possible just to barely earn their daily bread. Like other developing countries, we have a low education system, corruption, and one of the worst medical systems. Health is the priority. Without health, nothing can be done. My final goal, which has been the ambition and inspiration of my life, is to be an emergency doctor and a medical researcher. I will be able to contribute my work to improve the quality of life for people who, unfortunately, do not have the basic rights and benefits as others. I will be able to use my abilities to explore new things or invent useful things for the future of mankind.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Words cannot fully describe how thankful I am to all of the amazing faculty and staff at Cypress College. They are all sharing a big, warm heart with the students. Especially, I would like to give a huge thanks to:

  • Professor De Roo, who is my favorite organic chemistry professor. Her enthusiasm and kindness have inspired me in chemistry. I always want to be in her class every single day no matter what. Thank you so much for being an awesome professor!
  • My coordinator, Janelle Salinas and my mentor, Francisco Perez. They are the most wonderful staff I have worked with. They are always there when we need it the most. They are always there to make us better. Without their help, I could not become a strong and skillful leader as I am now.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

For now, I will spend my summer reviewing the past materials before I transfer to UCI. I will also take some summer classes there through the Transfer Edge program. And definitely, I will reward myself by traveling and exploring new places in the summer.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I will first start with a biomedical engineering major. I am transferring to UC Irvine in fall 2019. After graduating from UCI, I will apply for medical schools to earn the M.D.-Ph.D. degree in eight more years.

What are you most proud of?

From the bottom of my heart, my biggest pride is my mother. She is the one and only person who I will always work my best for. In the past, she had lived in misery from an unhappy marriage. Domestic violence had been killing her every day for more than 14 years. Even though she suffered a lot in her life, she is always fighting for the best for her kids, me and my sister. My mom has spent her whole life for us. Now, it is my time to do the best for her.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

You have nothing to lose, so do not hesitate. Dr. Rajab, my biology professor, said, “When in doubt, ask about.” Yes, be ready to let your curiosity glow. I am definitely sure it will take you somewhere good. You may not even imagine how you got there so easily.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“Be awesome and join Chemistry Club!”

#CYProud: Jolene Gazmen, Communication Studies and English

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Jolene Gazmen

In high school, Jolene Gazmen didn’t apply to any colleges because she didn’t think she would ever be good enough. After becoming a mother, she was determined to be someone her daughter would be proud of, so she took the step to return to school and pursue a degree. Though she initially intended to focus solely on her studies and raising her young daughter, she ended up joining the college’s Forensics Team and even took over as captain. Jolene is transferring to University of California, Berkeley to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in creative writing. She dreams of one day writing and starring in her own show.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

My name is Jolene Gazmen. I’m a Leo and love long walks on the beach… No, but in all seriousness, I am a California native, born and bred. Honestly, it’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I am so happy that I’m finally here. I am a returning student, having graduated high school a decade prior. I sometimes feel out of place, but then I remind myself that everyone lives by their own timeline, and I continue to push through. About 15 years prior, I shut down because of situations in life I wasn’t equipped to deal with at the time. They left me with confidence that could be measured in teaspoons and a head full of self-doubt. I drifted through life, not really trying, hardly even living. But when my daughter was born, I decided to make a change. I had been out of school for so long at that point, but I was determined to become someone that my daughter would be proud to call her mother. So I returned to school, enrolling in Cypress in order to pursue some of my passions.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College because I needed a fresh start, and I’m so glad I did! Cypress is not only a beautiful campus, but such a welcoming environment! The staff, counselors, and especially professors helped to empower me, encouraging a girl with crippling self-doubt like me to go for what she wants. When I was in high school, I didn’t even bother to apply to colleges because my lack of confidence convinced me that I would never be good enough. But this time around, I had so much support, so many people in my corner rooting me on, and I had the courage to apply to my dream UC! I’m pleased to say that I’ll be attending Cal beginning fall 2019! It’s something I’d only dreamed of, but Cypress helped to make that dream a reality.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in the Cypress College Forensics (Speech and Debate) team. It’s not something that I was planning on becoming a part of. As an older, returning student, my primary objective going into school this time around was to minimize my social life, to just get through school while raising a toddler and working. I thought my plate was full and that anything else would be too much. Plus, like many students out there, the idea of speaking as solely myself in front of a room full of people seemed like a terrifying thought. Thankfully, I had a truly spectacular COMM 100 professor who convinced me that it was something I could excel in. She empathized with everything I had going on and worked with my schedule, but still pushed me to find strengths in myself that I didn’t even know that I had. I’m proudly the captain of our growing Forensics Team and have even gone on to win awards, which is something I would have never thought I could do when this first began.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

My passions are two-fold: writing and acting. When I was at my lowest in life, it was those things that gave me a sense of purpose and saved my life. They provided me with an outlet, a way to sort through things that I couldn’t make sense of. These things are some of my loves in life, and I don’t know where I would be if I ever had to give them up.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The counselors at this school are some of the best I’ve ever encountered. They don’t feel dismissive nor are they judgmental when you tell them where you’ve been or what you want to do, even if your previous track record wasn’t that great (such as it was for myself). They encouraged and reassured me that nothing was out of reach, and that I wasn’t “behind” in life because there is no right or wrong time to go for what I want, just so long as I go for it.

I’ve also been fortunate to have some of the best professors. They are knowledgeable, empathetic, helpful and, most importantly, passionate. None are just going through the motions of teaching, but rather, really taking pride in what they do. Their passion helps me to feel excited for what’s to come! (A special shout out to Jen Page and Josh House, who went above and beyond in all they do for their students and the Forensics team.)

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

Like I mentioned prior, I will be entering as a junior at University of California, Berkeley this fall 2019. I am planning on majoring in English and minoring in creative writing, but I’ve also been flirting with the idea of double majoring in ethnic studies, which I just recently found a passion for thanks to another one of my ever-inspiring professors.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals include the pursuit of my passions and the enhancement of my craft, which would be writing and acting. I’m striving to incorporate both into whatever future endeavors I choose to pursue, in one aspect or another. My dream would be to write and star in my own show.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my daughter. She is the reason I do all of this, the reason I work so hard both academically and to become an overall better person. I can truly say that I’ve pushed myself to grow beyond the girl who was just resigned to her depression into someone who seeks help, who pushes past her comfort zone to find parts of herself she didn’t know she had. I have become an overall better person with her around, and I hope that by working so hard and following my dreams, it teaches her to do the same. My biggest hope is that I make her proud.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

My advice to any current or future Cypress College students would be to utilize all the resources available to you. Cypress College offers some of the most wonderfully supportive staff and programs, all of which are designed to help you throughout your journey through Cypress. I hadn’t had the best experiences prior to coming here and I was hesitant about asking for help, but this second time around, I took the leap and I’m so glad that I did!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Not at the moment, but thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you have the best day, whoever you are!

#CYProud: Timothy O’Connor, Mathematics

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Timothy O’Connor

The loss of a close family member is a difficult situation for anyone, but for Timothy O’Connor, it was an event that led him on a downward spiral into poverty, homelessness, and addiction. After receiving help to get himself back on his feet, Timothy chose to pursue his passion in electronics. He is transferring to University of California, San Diego to continue his studies in electrical engineering. He hopes to work in control systems or power generation, and is interested in clean energy.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Orange, California. My father worked in the defense industry and my mother was a computer programmer. Growing up, I played a lot of sports and musical instruments. I played golf, football, and baseball, as well as the saxophone and snare drum. After high school, my father passed away, and I was deeply affected by it. I took a long absence from school, and worked in the restaurant industry, until I finally decided to commit to getting my associate degree and transferring.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress because when I decided to come back to school, I didn’t have a car, and Cypress was close enough to ride the bus to and cheaply commute using Uber if need be.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in the (STEM)2 program here at Cypress, I was an SI leader for Physics 201/210, and am now currently a tutor for math and physics in the Learning Resource Center and Math Learning Center.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about figuring out how things work, especially cars and electronics. I love taking things apart and building little gadgets. I have a few Raspberry Pis that I’ve made to emulate retro games and practice ethical hacking. I also love anything to do with space exploration. I have a replica of the Saturn V rocket that took us to the moon, built from Lego, in my bedroom.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

My calculus and physics professors had the most profound impact on my time here at Cypress. Professor Morvan taught me how to conceptualize calculus and clearly articulate what I was doing in my work. Professor Nusbaum showed me how interesting series and integrals could be, and always made class interesting by showing interesting proofs and giving challenging problems for extra credit. Professor Plett always brought such a pleasant energy to her classes and made some extremely difficult topics palatable and digestible. Professor Mercado put me on the right track toward being able to understand physics on a conceptual level. Dr. Armale made mechanics fun with his in-class demonstrations and pop culture references. Dr. Subramaniam pushed me to always perform my best and to not give up. She would show me where my weaknesses were, and it forced me to confront and conquer them. Dr. Hall made things very interesting in the topics of waves, optics, and thermodynamics. He would show us tools such as Taylor series approximations and helped me link together what I learned in calculus with what I was learning in physics. All these professors made a truly profound impact on my time here at Cypress, and I am so grateful to have been one of their many pupils.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I plan on transferring to University of California, San Diego to continue my studies in electrical engineering. I support myself by working in restaurants, but I want to continue tutoring part time in calculus and physics. The opportunity to do that has kept my mind sharp, reminds me of what I have forgotten, and forces me to relearn things, keeping my skills sharp for more difficult courses.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I want to work in either control systems or power generation. I would love to be able to design better controls for cars, airplanes, or satellites. I also feel as though efficient and clean energy generation is crucial for our success as a society. I feel as though the topic of clean energy gets too politicized for there to be ample progress. One day, I hope to assist in creating something that will help our planet, society, and future generations to come.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of beating addiction. After my father died, I developed a severe issue with substance abuse. I was homeless at times, broke, jobless, and at the true nadir of my life. I was finally able to get some help and pull myself out of it. I am now able to pursue my dreams and have taken care of myself the whole time since.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

One is that the world does not owe you a thing. You can only control how you react to situations, and when you can understand that, you will have strength to persevere through tough times with your family, classes, jobs. Things won’t always go the way you want them to go, but you don’t ever have to give up. I’ve always tried to reassess my part in how things might not have gone my way and improve my future attempts at pursuing my goals as best I can.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would just like to tell people to dream big. Even if you fall a little short, you’re destined to do something good.

#CYProud: Vy Vu, Business Administration

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Vy Vu

Vy Vu grew up and worked as a travel agent in Vietnam before coming to the United States. Intent on finding success in the States, she chose to pursue an education at Cypress College, not imagining that she would be in a position to transfer to a four-year university after just two years. She aspires to open her own travel agency to promote cultural tourism between Vietnam and the United States. She is transferring to University of California, Irvine to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a combined master’s degree in finance.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States from Vietnam four years ago. When I came here, I realized that the best way for me to be successful in the United States was to attend college. Like other foreign students, I started taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, which helped me improve my academic writing and communication skills. From there, my experience at Cypress College has exposed me to and offered me opportunities beyond anything that I imagined. Cypress College has been my personal ‘movable feast’.

When I first started at Cypress College, I had not imaged that two years later I would be applying to transfer to a University of California. I did not think I was good enough. And I never imagined that I would be offered the opportunities and the resources to adapt to life in a new country all while building an educational foundation that would allow me to matriculate to the country’s premier public university system. However, my family and Cypress’ professors encouraged me to try my best, and this encouragement was a large component of my motivation to set my sights high. It took a little finagling. Due to scheduling conflicts I had to take a couple of math classes at another college in order to meet the UC transfer requirements before the application deadline. This included taking one of the classes as an intersession course and the other at the same college because the intersession course did not finish until after my last semester at Cypress had already started. Through it all, the professors and counselors at Cypress completely supported and encouraged me. I was so proud of myself and of the education that I received at Cypress when I got my acceptance letter to University of California, Irvine. From here, it’s up and away as I focus on my interest in business and lay the foundations of building my own business, a business that I envision also as a cultural catalyst.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I still remember the first time I visited Cypress College. When I entered into the Student Center, I just looked around because I did not know who I could ask for help. One of the Cypress staff members instantly recognized that I was a new student and came to help me fill out the application form. I really appreciated her assistance. It made me feel that Cypress’ commitment to students was exceptional and that the staff was there for each and every student with a helpful and friendly outlook. My choice to attend Cypress College was an easy choice to make!

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I have been involved in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) for three years. I attended transfer workshops and went on field trips to visit Cal State Fullerton and UCI, organized by EOPS. In addition, I joined the Business Club at Cypress College, which has given me opportunities to see the inside workings of local businesses such as Boardriders. It was exciting to see how the company worked and to have a chance to speak directly with the company representatives in order to look for an internship. Furthermore, I also participated in the 2019 Digital Innovation & Ideathon Competition at Cypress College where I had the opportunity to learn to create an app to help students cope with mental health problems that may challenge them or their friends and colleagues. Participation in these events very much enriched my experiences and education as a student at Cypress College, and I really enjoyed the social and intellectual aspects of the competitions, career fairs, and extracurricular activities that Cypress College organized, supported, and made available to me as a Cypress student.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping other people. I used to work as a receptionist at an assisted senior living facility. When I worked there, I had a chance to help a number of residents who did not have family or relatives. They were lonely and needed help. Sometimes, they just came to the front desk because they needed someone to chat with them and listen to their stories. Day by day, I felt that I started to think of them and love them as I do my family. I enjoyed helping them in whatever ways they needed help, and I realized that I was filling a role that was especially valued by the Vietnamese residents who could not speak English. By the time that I had to give up the job to focus on my studies, I realized that I actually wanted them to come to the front desk to bother me so that I could see them and make sure that they were fine. For me, the residents at assisted senior living were my second family.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

The faculty and staff at Cypress College are wonderful. First, I appreciate my EOPS counselor, Leena Acosta. She assisted me to make a good educational plan to achieve my goals and encouraged me to apply for Cypress Foundation scholarships. Second, professors Samantha Simmons and Alison Robertson in the ESL Department, and Professor Kendyl Covey in the English Department helped me improve my academic writing and also gave me good advice whenever I needed help. Last but not least, I cannot forget Professor Ann Solis in the Accounting Department and Professor Sidhu Parwinder in the Economics Department. They shared success stories to inspire me and also encouraged me to transfer to UCI. Without the strong support of the Cypress faculty and staff, I could not have done so well in school. They have contributed a lot to my success today, and I was extremely lucky to be their student.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

The first thing I will do after I have graduated from Cypress College is go on vacation to reward myself. Then, I will apply for a summer internship to earn experience in management before my fall term starts at UCI. I will work with UCI counselors to make an educational plan at the four-year university. I will also participate in activities, clubs, and social events at UCI in order to make new friends and create networking in school.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

Because I worked as a travel agent before leaving Vietnam, my dream job is to open a travel agency here. My goal is to create a connection between Vietnam and the United States. I envision using my contacts with travel agencies in Vietnam to bring Vietnamese tourists to the United States. I want to organize special tours for elderly Vietnamese living here who want to go back to their homeland to visit their families and friends. I also want to link the newer generations of Vietnamese Americans, who have never traveled to Vietnam, to Vietnam by creating opportunities for them to discover the beauty of their patrimony. Vietnam is not just a series of locations — Halong Bay, Son Doong Cave, or Hoi An; it is a culture — traditional, current, diverse and evolving. It touches one through all of one’s senses: eyes, ears, tongue, heart, mind, and memory. The business that I imagine creating is my dream of creating a future. It is my goal of entrepreneurship. It is my desire to create the cultural, family, heritage, and generational bridges that would be lost in time if not for the vision that I dream.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family. I was raised in a Catholic family. We trust in God. My great grandfather passed away one year ago at 107 years old. He always smiled and said “Good! Good! Thank you,” when his children, nieces, and nephews did something for him. He taught us how to love people, how to share with people, and how to forgive people, as God teaches us. My family always gathers and comes together whenever anyone needs help. They always support me in school and in my efforts to achieve my dreams. Therefore, I want to share my success with my family, make them happy, and make them proud of me.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Be an active student both in class and in school. There are a lot of good opportunities for students to expand knowledge and improve life skills. Do not be shy to ask for help. The faculty and staff at Cypress are willing to help students achieve their goals. It does not hurt if you try. Never give up on your dream. If you fail, just do it again, again, and again. Your success is Cypress’ success. “WE TAKE THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“You don’t have a life, because you have a future” – Jennie Beltran.

Don’t be stressed. Do your best. Forget the rest.

#CYProud: Leah Nakahara, Elementary Education

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Leah Nakahara

Leah Nakahara was born and raised a Southern California girl who is passionate about helping and teaching people, particularly children. She successfully completed the Puente Program at the college, and served as a Student Ambassador representing the college at outreach and other on-campus and community events. Leah is transferring to California State University, Long Beach to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and earn her teaching credential.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Cypress, but moved to Lake Elsinore in the third grade. After high school, I decided to move back and go to Cypress College. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College for the calm and peaceful environment, the small class sizes, and the connections with local Cal States.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

At Cypress College, I was involved in the Puente Program and am currently involved in the Teacher Prep and Student Ambassador programs.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I love helping people whether that be children at the elementary schools I volunteer at or the adults I help while being an ambassador.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

Every professor or faculty I have had an encounter with at Cypress has had an impact on my life; however, Kassandra Abreu has had a big part in getting me to where I am today. She has become a mentor, friend, and someone I know I can always go to for advice anytime.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After Cypress, I am going to transfer to California State University, Long Beach where I hope to receive my bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and my teaching credential. Hopefully my master’s degree, too.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals are to get my master’s degree and have my own classroom.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of graduating from Cypress College in two years with high honors. These past two years have been some of the toughest, and I could not have accomplished this without the support of my family and friends.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Advice that I would give to current and future Cypress College students is to not give up. Also not to skip class.

#CYProud: Musab Awad, Registered Nursing

Student success comes in many different forms, and Cypress College is proud to recognize and celebrate the variety of paths our students take to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution, or receiving an associate degree or certificate and heading into the workforce, we want all of our students to know we are on this educational journey with them and are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProud students for 2019.

Musab Awad

Many times, education is a family affair. Musab Awad followed in his mother’s footsteps when he chose to attend Cypress College. Interested in science and the human body from a young age, Musab, one of four sons to a single mother, graduated from the college’s Registered Nursing program. He currently works at Hoag and and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at California State University, Fullerton.s

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up here in Orange County, but we traveled out of the country many times during my childhood. My interests were mainly toward science and the human body. My mom is a single parent and when we moved back to the States in 2008, my mother was stuck with four kids, an apartment with no steady income to pay rent, and no college education. She found out about Cypress College and attended full time while working to support us. She was in EOPS, which provided her with much-needed support and relief. She motivated us to always move forward with our education and never settle for simple things in life. She taught us to aim high and work hard for everything we do in life. She introduced me to nursing and helped me to become the nurse I am today.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

Nursing was a competitive major and most programs were impacted and some were expensive. I applied to many nursing programs, but Cypress College had a great nursing program. It was also near my place of residence.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

I wasn’t involved very much since most of my time was spent toward earning A’s on my prerequisite nursing classes and supporting my mom while she was out working. I helped manage the house, cook dinner, laundry, any kind of chores that would bring relief to my mom when she got back from work.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am passionate about helping others in their worst times.

Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?

All the Registered Nursing and EOPS faculty and staff!

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

I am currently working at Hoag and pursuing my bachelor’s degree in nursing at California State University, Fullerton.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I plan to continue to work and experience the different areas in nursing. I plan to go for my master’s degree afterward. I aspire to be the best nurse I can be and continue to serve people in need.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my class for becoming registered nurses.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Make good connections and make new friends. It’s hard tackling things alone.

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.

Veterans’ Resource Fair

9/11 Remembrance Event 2019

Institutional Research Director Philip Dykstra Stands In Front Of College Complex Building

Philip Dykstra, Institutional Research and Planning Director & Accreditation Liaison Officer

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 Institutional Research Director Phil.

What was your path to Cypress?

I graduated from Cal State Fullerton back in 1995 with a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in urban planning. During my final year there, I started an internship as a researcher with Santa Ana College. That led to a job as a part-time researcher there and then a full-time position through 2000. I then worked as a research analyst at El Camino College and Cerritos College from 2000-2004. In February 2004, I came to Cypress as a classified professional serving as the college’s research analyst. In 2012, I was promoted to the Director of Institutional Research and Planning and the rest is history.

What inspires you as an education facilitator?

I am an inquisitive person by nature so being a researcher really appeals to me. I like trying to get to the bottom of things and determining whether things are working and more importantly why or why not. My work in the field for the last 25 years has allowed me to do just that.

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

It can be challenging especially during certain times of the year. Having a team with two amazing classified researchers really helps. I am only able to take on additional tasks here at the college like accreditation and helping our District Management Association because our team is so wonderful and dedicated. It also allows me the opportunity to take on other opportunities that are important to me personally, like serving as a Puente mentor, because I know our team has a good handle on things.

Institutional Research Director Philip Dykstra Stands in Front of Campanile

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

My last big project prior to my retirement in October is the review of the college mission, vision, and core values. This is a semester-long project that is an important part of the college’s accreditation. This process happens every two or three years where we come together as a college and see if we want to make any changes. With all of the changes at the state level, it will be interesting to see how we end up changing our mission statement to reflect those changes.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

Over the course of the last 15 years here at Cypress, it has been a wonderful experience. I have gotten the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people, and many times those interactions have turned into friendships away from the office. When I look back on my time here at Cypress I feel a sense of joy and accomplishment in all the things that the Research Office has undertaken with the goal of helping our students be successful. And for that, I am eternally grateful to all of my colleagues for allowing me to be a part of our students’ educational journey along with them.

Club Rush 2019

Welcome Back, Fall 2019

Fall Opening Day 2019

New Student Welcome Night, Fall 2019