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.

Psychology Students, Alumni Go to UCLA for Scientific Research Study

On March 15, a group of psychology students—David Su, Felicia Cleaver, Alejandra Lopez, and Jessica Rojas (shown left to right in the photo above)—from Psychology Club and Psi Beta took a field trip to UCLA to take part in a scientific research study, thanks to Cypress College alumnus Nadia Dellawar.

Dellawar also ensured students received a behind-the-scenes look at the UCLA Dish (Diet, stress, and health) lab and were able to have a personal Q&A session with current UCLA students, including Brooke Cullen, Dellawar, Maria Ocampo, Lauren Arriola-Sanchez, and Nick Pearson (also shown in the photo above) who had transferred from various community colleges.

Retired Professor Publishes Book on Equestrian History of San Juan Capistrano

A love of horses combined with a knack for storytelling made Donna Friess’ most recent book a natural project.

Capistrano Trails: Ride for the Brand takes a look at the equestrian history of San Juan Capistrano through first-person narratives, and photography and illustrations.

“San Juan is often called the ‘Horse Capital of the West Coast’ or the ‘Horse Capital of Orange County,’” she wrote in a blog post dated August 28 on her personal website. “The community seems to have defied all odds and preserved its historic character and equestrian culture. How is that possible?”

She continued, “That’s when the idea struck me. If I hurried, I could gather up the lived experience of those involved with horses before their stories were lost. Perhaps, I could find the answer to the mystery as to how San Juan has remained a charming Western enclave while the rest of Southern California has succumbed to concrete, glass, and steel.”

Friess is a retired communication studies professor who taught at Cypress College for more than 40 years. She has published several other books, including her debut novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest, in 2015, and 1993’s Cry the Darkness, which won the National Indie Excellence Award and has been published in seven languages.

For more information about Capistrano Trails and other books by Friess, visit her website at