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Former Student Credits Counselors for Her Success


By Deborah Manning

You gain a clear understanding of the heart and soul of what a community college is all about and the positive impact it can have on students when you speak with former Los Angeles Mission College student Dana Yarbrough.  

Known for her serene and friendly manner, she lets you know emphatically how important her experience at Los Angeles Mission College was for her maturity, personal growth, and achievement.  She especially lets you know the importance of the support she received from counselors and how they inspired her to academic and career success.  

From her personal history, Ms. Yarbrough, who received her Associate in Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Mission College, stresses the value of preparing high school students academically for higher education.  During her first semester at Mission, Ms. Yarbrough faced the challenge that her high school had underprepared her for college level work.

Like many students in similar situations, she felt discouraged and thought she could not achieve the degree she desired. Little did she know in her moments of despair and uncertainty that her intelligence, abilities and determination would prevail and encouragement for her hopes and dreams would come from counselors.  

Counselor Joanne Kalter-Flink gave Ms. Yarbrough validation.  Ms. Yarbrough remembered how her counselor greeted her on campus one day and that Ms. Kalter-Flink specifically called her by her first name.  

“She knew who I was and made me feel like I mattered,” Ms. Yarbrough enthusiastically said.

Her counselor began to play a major role in empowering Ms. Yarbrough, giving her guidance and affirmation that she could succeed in college.  Ms. Kalter-Flink, who has since retired from Mission College, would be pleased to know that her former student, Dana Yarbrough, earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from CSUN and a master’s in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University.  

Another counselor who was a source of inspiration and a springboard for shaping Ms. Yarbrough’s career choice was Sherrie Loper, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Mission College.  After Ms. Yarbrough graduated from CSUN, she worked with Ms. Loper in a program at Mission that collaborated with Vaughn International Studies Academy in Pacoima.  The program offered high school students, who were interested in allied health and general education courses that could give them a head start with college pre-requisites.  

“I was impressed by Dana and that she had an instant rapport with the high school students,” Ms. Loper said.  “She was likable, reliable, and helpful.”  

Likewise, Ms. Yarbrough observed Ms. Loper’s interaction with the Vaughn high school students and liked what she saw. Working with Ms. Loper proved to be a defining time for Ms. Yarbrough as she decided that she wanted to be a college counselor. 

Last spring, Ms. Yarbrough competed with hundreds of applicants for an internship with the award winning Project Match program that is sponsored by the Los Angeles Community College District.  Project Match, which promotes quality instruction and diversity, matches interns with faculty mentors based on the intern’s particular subject area.  

Ms. Yarbrough received a Project Match internship and matched with Diana Bonilla, Professor of Counseling at Mission College.  Project Match is highly beneficial to the interns as it includes job shadowing.  Ms. Yarbrough observes, learns, and participates as Ms. Bonilla conducts counseling sessions with students. 

Ms. Bonilla, who is in her second year of mentoring Project Match interns, said “Ms. Yarbrough is very articulate.  Her calm way of speaking helps students feel at ease.  She is clear with her words and is able to present her ideas with compassion and professionalism.”

Ms. Yarbrough said she enjoys Ms. Bonilla’s teaching style and appreciates the patience and respect she shows her as well as making her feel comfortable about asking as many questions as she likes during the counseling sessions.  Ms. Yarbrough is learning about counseling techniques, Student Educational Plans, IGETC, CSU forms, and the many other responsibilities that counselors handle.  

During the summer, Ms. Yarbrough completed a key component of Project match:  an intensive training program where she learned foremost about teaching methodology.  This fall, she had an opportunity to put her training into action when she prepared a lesson plan that she presented in Ms. Bonilla’s Counseling 17 class, College Survival Skills.

“Ms. Yarbrough is a natural at teaching. She is a former student at Mission and relates well with our students,” Ms. Bonilla passionately said.

As part of the mentoring process, Ms. Bonilla encouraged Ms. Yarbrough to apply for an adjunct teaching position.  Ms. Yarbrough applied and was offered a position to teach Counseling 17 at Mission.  She is excited about the opportunity and looks forward to teaching this coming spring.  

Currently, Ms. Yarbrough works as a classified staff member in the college Financial Aid Office.  She welcomes students with her warm and supportive demeanor and helps them maneuver through the financial aid process.  She collaborates with faculty, staff, administration, the LAMC Foundation, and community leaders to coordinate the scholarship application process.  One of her goals is to streamline the application by making it super easy for students to enter their contact information, essay, and other requirements online to compete for scholarships.

Ms. Yarbrough also finds time to volunteer as a summer camp counselor for Angel Tree, an organization that sponsors children of parents who are incarcerated.  There is resounding compassion in her voice as she reveals how the camp experience, which is held on a ranch with activities such as horseback riding, is life changing for the children.  You quickly get the message that Ms. Yarbrough makes the children feel like they matter and that she will influence their futures in a positive way.  

Ms. Yarbrough readily gives back to her community as she realizes the contributions of many people in her life including her mother who helped her become the person she is today.  

As a role model for our current and future students, Ms. Yarbrough personifies success that stems from the community college experience that she acknowledges and appreciates.  She is prepared to be a top counselor with her quality education, vital work experience, excellent internship, and enduring empathy.  In essence, her wide-ranging accomplishments express our hopes for all of our students.  One day soon, she will be the counselor and teacher who inspires and guides her students on their journeys to success.

Celebrate the Holidays with the L.A. Mission College Choir

Enjoy holiday music from around the world and let the Los Angeles Mission College Choir sing to you in Latin, Spanish, French, German and English! Featuring Hanukkah tunes and African Noel!


7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016


Culinary Arts Institute (Arroyo Room)

For more information, call 818.833.3357.

Premiere of 'Wildwood' - Friday, Nov. 18 @ 8 p.m.

Los Angeles Mission College will present the world premiere of Wildwood, a new play by student Valentine Curiel on Friday, November 18.

Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, Robert Cucuzza, this fast-paced physical comedy follows the Wild Wild Wildwood Circus on the eve of its 25th anniversary spectacular where Quimby the Ringmaster sells out the circus to a local mobster in a last-ditch attempt to win back his longtime paramour, Wilma, from Ferocious Freddy the Lion Tamer. One simple love letter turns a love triangle into an octagon, and tensions flare, lions roar, and mayhem ensues, all under the faded big top.

This show is available THIS WEEKEND ONLY and you don't want to miss out. Visit the event page for ticket information.

Friday, Nov. 18 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19 - 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Los Angeles Mission College (Campus Center Main)
13356 Eldridge Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342

Robert Cucuzza, 818-833-3405

Interested in a Health Career?

Sign up for one of our free Informational Sessions where you will learn about:

   Our state-of-the-art facility where you receive excellent instruction and hands-on training in our labs. 

   The health career choices available to you. 

   Our affordable and fully accredited classes. 

   How you can earn an Achievement Certificate that helps you gain employment in the health care 


   Financial Aid resources. 


Click here to view announcement

UC Priority Application Deadline for Transfers Still Nov. 30

The University of California has extended the deadline for transfer applications to January 3, 2017 for most majors.

However, L.A. Mission College's Transfer Center reminds students that the “priority application deadline” for transfers to UCs is still November 30, 2016.

After that date, UC will announce which campuses and majors still have openings for applicants and will then continue accepting applications until January 3, 2017.

For more information about the UC application deadline, please contact the Transfer Center, 818.364.7827.

Marrow Donor Registry Drive - Thursday, Nov. 17

What: Consider becoming a marrow donor. Patients need you. For thousands with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia, a marrow transplant is their only hope for life.

When: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016

Where: L.A. Mission College (Campus Quad)
13356 Eldridge Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342

Contact: Janet Higgins, 323.646.1509

Los Angeles Mission College Officially 'Breaks Ground' on New Sunland-Tujunga Campus

TUJUNGA, CA – Los Angeles Mission College administrators, along with leaders from the L.A. Community College District, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, and the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council formally broke ground today on a new satellite campus, which will serve the communities of Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley and Pacoima.

L.A. Mission College President Monte Perez outlined college plans to transform the new satellite campus located at 7200 Foothill Boulevard into a modern learning environment that is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of courses.

“Improvement efforts will begin immediately so we can create a SMART classroom that can hold up to 40 students and host the courses this community is asking for,” Dr. Perez said.

While the school is currently finalizing the list of courses that will be available for spring 2017, Dr. Perez did share that the community has indicated an interest in Foreign Languages, Career Technical Education, and courses that are transferable to the University of California and California State University systems.

In an effort to make sure the campus reflects the needs of the community, L.A. Mission College has worked closely with the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and Assemblywoman Patty Lopez.

“I am absolutely delighted that students in the Sunland-Tujunga area will now be able to further their education at a highly-respected institution such as Los Angeles Mission College,” Assemblywoman Lopez said.

“The local community expressed a need for the new campus, and I am proud to work alongside Dr. Perez, Nina Royal, David Barron and Liliana Sanchez to help see this project to its completion.”

Two-Faced Student Paintings on Display in the Eagles’ Landing Student Store

By Professor Barbara Kerwin, Art 300


Introduction to Painting students present their first two paintings of the 2016 semester:  Black & White Portrait, and then Neutral Color Portrait, here shown together at Eagle’s Landing Bookstore, in a show called Two-FacedTwo-Faced refers to the juxtaposition of the two portraits side-by-­side, and also shows the development of their painting process.


First, they learn to blend the volume of the head, nose, and mouth and eyes as if it were an egg, but just with black and white values. In the second portrait, they delve into color, using opposite or “complementary” colors.  When combining any two complementary colors, it cancels the brilliance of each color, offering a neutral color they can use for a skin tone. The students then add white to the neutrals, and blend as they did with the first portrait, only now blended with color.


Please stop by the Eagles Landing Bookstore to enjoy the students’ Two-Faced exhibition, now through the last week of instruction.  Special thanks to Anthony Humano for his installation. 


Exhibiting Student Artists:


Alejandro Acosta

Robert Ambriz

Justin Ayala

Joceleyn Colocho

Anna Colon

Jose Godinez

Gabriela Luna

Evona Mejia

Taniamari Real

Alejandro Ruiz

Van Vu

Andrea Post

Raven Yule

Helina Zarookian-Khoongi

Chef Eguaras Retraces Steps in D.C.

Chef Louis Eguaras visited Washington D.C. on Monday to attend the White House's Filipino American History Month Celebration.

Chef Eguaras, department chair for Professional Studies/Culinary Arts, was involved in many of the activities conducted by the White House to honor Filipino Americans and Asian American Pacific Islanders.

He was able to reconnect with his mentor, White House Chef Patrice Olivon. He also met hip hop recording artist apl.de.ap, who is very involved in Filipino American issues.

"It was a great opportunity to comeback and visit the White House, meet new people and hopefully help our students with the possibility of working at the White House one day," Chef Eguaras said.

METAS Summer Bridge 2016

Mission's Excellence Towards the Advancement of Students (METAS) program is funded by a $2.6 million five-year Department of Education Title V HSI grant. METAS is a student success program that assists first-year college students in transferring to a four-year university within two to three years. To better achieve this, students undergo the Summer Bridge program, a component of METAS that eases the difficult transition from high school to college that first year students often experience.


Click here to view announcement

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