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Focus on People

AWARDS, RECOGNITIONS AND NEWS ABOUT MISSION COLLEGE STUDENTS AND STAFF

By all accounts, the recent election set various voter turnout records. Mission College student Rose Nuñez deserves a share of the credit. By her estimate, Nuñez, a Chicano Studies major, registered at least 200 new voters for the November election. "I always carried registration forms in my car so that even if I was just shopping, I’d be ready to sign up someone," she said. Nuñez began the effort by joining the AFT-sponsored voter registration drive. Soon, she was out on her own, asking instructors to let her speak to their classes for five minutes, stopping students on the Quad, and, in the evenings and weekends, going door-to-door in her neighborhood. When daughter Valerie Loy (also a Mission College student) joined the effort, the pair found a whole new group of recruits among Valerie’s "recently turned 18" friends. Nuñez said she was motivated by budget cuts which are driving poor students away from higher education. "Political involvement and registration are the only ways to address that," she said. Noting that a number of Mission College students not only registered for the first time, but also signed up to serve as poll workers, she said, "It’s really exciting to know that community college students are getting more involved and expressing their concerns."

When Mission College announced last month that it had been awarded two grants totaling $2.8 million, only a handful of people thought to congratulate Young-Ji Lee. One of those was Edgardo Zayas, dean of academic affairs. “The way these grants are announced, it almost seems like they fall into our lap,” he said. “Many people aren't aware of the hard work that goes into the application.” Zayas said Lee contributed significantly to the two applications that won the college a five-year, $2.5 million grant to fund academic improvement programs under Title V and a three-year, $322 thousand grant to guide students into the bio-medical field. The U.S. Department of Education awarded both grants. What's the secret to successful grant writing? Persistence, said Lee, noting that the bio-med grant was funded on the fourth try. “Sometimes there's nothing wrong with the application but it's just not the right fit that year for the funding agency. The next year, it is!”
Mission College Chef Rudy Garcia has done it again. Just one month after being named "Chef of the Year" by the Chefs de Cuisine Association of California, he brought home a new honor to the campus. Garcia won an individual Bronze Medal at the 21st International Culinary Exhibition, or "Culinary Olympics," held in Erfurt, Germany last month. Garcia won in the category of cold foods presentation, offering a menu of Southwestern dishes. Known by its German name, Olympiade der Köche, the quadrennial Culinary Olympics was first held in 1896 and remains one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world.
Gateway Science and Engineering is involved with Mission College in a big way: as LAMC’s Project Management firm for Proposition A and AA. But now, it’s reaching out directly to students. Company president Art Gastelum recently announced textbook scholarships for students Veronica Garcia (far left in photo) and Zarina Gallardo (far right). Gastelum had an opportunity to meet and congratulate the two students personally at an informal tea arranged by college President Adriana Barrera.
Six Mission College students have a little extra change in their pockets these days – and a lot more know-how – thanks to internships sponsored by Siemen’s Building Technologies. The students recently completed the program designed to better prepare them for careers in engineering and management. Because the classes prevented the students from working during the summer, they were given a stipend. Photo, left to right, shows interns Joseph Freedman, John Hanson, and Cesar Martinez with Computer Club president Alex Kucenski. Interns not pictured are James Arias, Matt August and Alex Lui.

[ Photo courtesy of UNLV ]
An alum of the Mission College Culinary Arts Institute is making his mark in the world. Stephen Gillanders, now a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently cooked his way to the national title of "Almost Famous Chef." To claim the award, Gillanders had to face regional winners from the nation’s top culinary schools. One observer praised Gillanders for his creativity and grace before a tough panel of judges. "The heat of the competition helped me learn a lot about my own capabilities under incredible pressure," he said. His rewards include a trip to the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Italy, numerous culinary products, a $1,000 prize and an appearance on NBC’s Today Show.
Mission College staff members are remembering Dr. William Norlund, former college president, who passed away on November 7. A lifelong educator, Dr. Norlund began his career in the classroom as an adjunct physics instructor at Pierce College in 1967. After becoming a full time instructor, Dr. Norlund served in a number of administrative positions, including Vice President of Administration and Vice President of Academic Affairs. In 1995, he was named the Acting President of Mission College and, two years later, President. He held that position until his retirement in 1999 but continued to serve as an acting administrator at various colleges. Pierce College President Dr. Tom Oliver, who served alongside Dr. Norlund, credits the late educator with helping to pull Mission College through tough times following a mid-90’s budget crisis and drop in enrollment. Donations may be made in Dr. Norlund’s name to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.