Mesa Scholarships 2018

Every year San Diego Mesa College offers more than $200,000 in scholarships to Mesa students.  This year we just wanted to take a moment to highlight a few magnificent students who have contributed to our Classroom Tutoring and Peer Navigator Programs, and acknowledge their efforts to assist Proyecto Exito in reaching their grant objectives.

Let us start with our Classroom Tutoring Program.  Part of the grant objectives for this program include increasing the student success rate (earning a C or better) for specific courses, and increasing the placement levels of students for other courses.  Our classroom tutors are instrumental to these objectives with their dedicated support to assisting students in understanding the material for their courses and succeeding in their specific course objectives.  We love the opportunity to display how they model success, and receiving scholarships is one way they achieve that.  Three of our classroom tutors are recognized SEEDS scholars, and one of them, Hy Truong, was also recognized for two other scholarships.


Scholar-SYBC                              Scholar-BSPE

Next we have our Peer Navigator Program.  For anyone unfamiliar, our Peer Navigators (PNs) are mentors to incoming students; committing to their student success for their first academic year on campus.  A few of the things that the PNs provide are: peer-to-peer support, monthly informational workshops, and movie or game nights to promote self-care and a balanced lifestyle.  Their commitment to sharing their experience for the benefit of other new students assists with another grant objective in increasing the percentage of participants who indicate feeling a strong connection to the campus and their peers.  Three of our Peer Navigators are receiving scholarships this year.


Scholar-VR    Scholar-QWScholar-AB


CT’s Efforts to Enhance Student Experiences

Once again, our Classroom Tutors (CTs) are embracing opportunities to go above and beyond for our students’ experiences.  Of course, it is not just our CTs doing this, but all tutors here at Mesa College.  As the Classroom Tutoring Program becomes institutionalized through the Mesa Tutoring and Computing Center (MT2C) it is awesome to behold how our CTs are growing professionally with additional training and opportunities for expansion of the program.  The MT2C hosts “All Tutor Training” days three times each semester to offer tips, tricks, and best practices that will enhance all of our tutors ability to connect with and support our students.  While these training began as optional for the classroom tutors, they are now mandatory training for all tutors; however, the tutors bring new material all of the time, eager to share what has worked for each of them, that may also work for their fellow tutors.  This increasing collaboration promises to increase the effectiveness of classroom tutoring by enhancing the experience for the students utilizing these programs and erasing the stigma that once kept them from the service.

Approximately five years ago, 3CSN’s Learning Assistance Project, (a community of practice focused on raising the professional profile of post-secondary tutoring), produced an annual conference “Tutor Expo,” by and for tutors and other educators to showcase effective practices in tutoring, supplemental instruction, and a wide variety of learning assistance programs and services within the community colleges of California.  In 2016, under the direction and guidance of Mark Manasse, Mesa’s Instructional Learning Assistance Coordinator, Mesa tutors began attending this important conference for professional learning.  This year’s Tutor Expo will be taking place in Orange County at Santiago Canyon College, and a few of our gifted classroom tutors will be facilitating training sessions.

Classroom Tutors Jose Rojo and Ramzy Oncy, have teamed up to facilitate a training session on “A Growth Mindset.”  This session will focus on how students can be stagnated by a fixed mindset that traps them on a path of uncertainty or self-doubt.  However, adopting a growth mindset will allow students to overcome mistaken beliefs of limits on their abilities and expand their capacity and understanding across any variety of disciplines.

Classroom Tutor Cole McDaniel has paired with Writing Center Instructional Assistant Nicholas Crumpton (Niko) to facilitate “Johari Mountain Training.”  The Johari Mountain framework combines the knowledge categorization of the Johari Window with the timeline progression of the Zone of Proximal Development to create a model for comfortably guiding tutoring sessions in the realm of the uncomfortable. At the top of the mountain is the discovery zone, where tutor and tutee or teacher and student are interchangeable roles that help each other reach new heights.

Winter Mathletics 2018


Winter Mathletics 2018-3
President Luster revisiting the ‘Basics!’

This winter, we piloted our second round of Mathletics to further support students as they go into their next math course. With the passing of AB 705, we felt that it was necessary to support those students who were in the gateway courses (e.g. Math 104, 116, and 119) as well as our pre-transfer students. In all, 38 students showed up to our 4 day program, varying from Beginning Algebra all the way to Applied Calculus. Our program this winter was a bit different; we cut down the 6 hour daily event (from summer) to a 4 hour daily event and reduced the amount of time allocated for speakers. We maintained the same structure for our process however: the first 30 minutes was an icebreaker or guest speaker followed by 90 minutes of math stations where each station had a specific topic.

Winter Mathletics 2018-4After a brief lunch break, we reconvened to continue our ALEKS program remediation. The students expressed some strong feelings, providing us with great feedback about our programs.  We caught up to Catherine Cannock from HSI Title III, who was able to conduct some interviews with students that participated in the Winter Mathletics.  She was able to share with us her perspective from Mathletics.  She described an atmosphere of high energy, collaboration, and inclusion.  When speaking to the students, she was told time and again how comfortable everyone felt regardless of their level of Math.  Sounds like the very values of Mesa College in action: Excellence and Equity.  We wrapped up by asking Catherine one of her own questions:  What was the best part of Mathletics for her?  This is what she had to say:

“I think the best thing about Mathletics is the team work and camaraderie that gets built between faculty, staff, and students.  You get a really good feeling, and actually, this is why students utilize the STEM Center.  Hands down, all I get (from students) all day, and MathleticsWinter Mathletics 2018-2 provided the same atmosphere for them.  It’s because when you come and you feel accepted and feel like you’re a part of something bigger and you’re working together to continue your growth, I think that was probably the best; the energy and the fact that you could tell that all of our students were engaged, and all of the faculty were engaged, and all of the staff were engaged, and really working together to kind of level out the playing field.” ~CC

Something new that we implemented this semester was that for our four days, our general topics across the board were expressions, equations, and graphing. The fourth day, however, we gave students practice exams. As this installment of Mathletics came to an end, we informed students that we would be offering weekly workshops:

MATH WORKSHOPS_spring 2018
Please note our location change:  Workshops are being held in MS201.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Hope to see you there!

Our goal for Summer Mathletics 2018 is to open the program up to all students at all class levels and obtain 80 participants.  The more we are able to grow this program, the greater the network for students in need of support for all levels of math.  If you participated in either of the prior Mathletics Programs, we invite you to share your suggestions with us.  If you just happen to be reading this and hearing about Mathletics for the first time, we would love to hear your ideas, too.  Reach out to Professor Juan U. Bernal:

What’s Happening in AVANZA?

So glad you asked:

AVANZA furn-4Pardon any mess or inconvenient closures of the center this semester!  Honestly, it is all with you, our students, in mind.  As some of you may recall, AVANZA has been a work in progress and it was always the plan to develop a student friendly space to meet your needs.  We’ve been updating the technology and now we are updating the physical space.  “Out with the old, and in with the new,”AVANZA furn-1 as they say.  We just received new furniture and in the coming months there will be some construction to complete the project.  As you can already see, we will have an amazing workshop room for our Campus Conexiones Speakers, Peer Navigator Workshops, and various other events.  As for the rest of the center, we have consciously opened up the space to allow for fabulous natural light and versatility for you to make yourself comfortable.  Be sure to take advantage of the suggestion box to let us know how else we can improve your AVANZA Center experience.

AVANZA furn-3       AVANZA furn-2      AVANZA furn 5

We have a tentative schedule for the construction of the space below.  It is our goal to complete the AVANZA Center make-over by the end of the summer so that we will be fully functional and open for the fall semester.  We truly appreciate your patience, understanding, and flexibility.  If you haven’t done so already, please come by and check us out.

AVANZA Construction



Campus Conexiones IS Inspiration

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“For me school was a safe haven and I was good at school.  It taught me about being a woman and being a Latina Woman.”

What does it mean to be a Hispanic Serving Institution?  That can be answered in so many ways.  Here at Mesa, one of the ways we represent “Hispanic Serving” is by creating support systems and networks for our Hispanic and underrepresented student population that will encourage them to push through their struggles and overcome their obstacles, transcending even their great hopes and dreams for themselves.  One of the ways we attempt to do this is through our Campus Conexiones Speaker Series every semester.

We have often “heard” from our students, and the majority of our speakers have also described, that they did not see many men or women of color or diverse ethnic backgrounds in positions of leadership, authority, or power.  They have further revealed what a difference it has made in their lives once they did see someone, someone who “looks” like them, in one of these positions.Camp Con 3-13-18 1

Our speaker series was designed in the spirit of this shared experience.  We have created an opportunity for students to connect with staff and faculty who “look” like them and may have shared some of the same struggles along the way.  This intimate experience breaks down the barriers that often separate students and professors or staff as being unable to relate to each other.  It opens the doors to build personal relationships.

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Who gets you up in the morning?                              ~ “My family. . .they have taught me to fight.  I wouldn’t be here if not for them.”

Just when we thought our speakers could not come any more vulnerable than they already do, in walks our very own, Yolanda Catano, HSI Title III Administrative Technician.  Yolanda held nothing back as she described her own journey into her identity and how her roles as a daughter, a sister, and a student impacted that journey.  She explained how her identity has evolved with her life experiences, redefining and reshaping how she viewed identity and what it means to her.  She also shared how important her family has been throughout her accomplishments, even when they did not fully agree with her plans or purpose.

Camp Con 3-13-18 3Everyone needs a little inspiration in their lives sometimes.  Yolanda shared the things and people that inspired her in life, and in doing so she inspires all of us who witness her strength and resilience in being so open and authentic in such a public forum.  She is a leader who does not forget where she came from and is not willing to leave anyone behindYolanda Quote as she reaches back to help the next person step up that ladder of success she climbs.  Yolanda makes no qualms about the difficulties along the way she simply explains how everything is possible with people who believe in you.

For those of you who missed this powerful installment in our speaker series.  It is not too late.  We have one more speaker for this semester coming up on April 4th, 2018.  Rather than attempting to read an inadequate description of what it means for us to be “Hispanic Serving” come, experience it and be inspired.


Winter/Saturday CRUISE 2018

Winter CRUISE 2018 -2Hooray for another successful CRUISE program.  San Diego Mesa College hosted its second annual Winter and Saturday CRUISE events in January 2018.  As some of you may recall from last year, we expanded our CRUISE program to include a Winter and Saturday CRUISE in order to support early graduates, nontraditional students, and our International Student population.

We hosted approximately 63 students for our Winter CRUISE, with Saturday CRUISE bringing in an additional 15 students.

Some highlights of the event include:

  • The English faculty piloted something newWinter CRUISE 2018 -1 and created a whole new agenda to make it more engaging for the students. Overall, the students really enjoyed both the Math and English workshops.
  • Since this is our second time doing Winter CRUISE (and Saturday CRUISE), it went really smoothly! Very few concerns came up.
  • We piloted having both the Classroom Tutors and Outreach Ambassadors (CT’s and OA’s) assist the Peer Navigator’s on the first day. To implement this we provided a training for the CTs/OAs prior to CRUISE, which seems to have been very helpful in showing them what to expect and how to collaborate during CRUISE.
  • We offered Jersey Mike’s sub sandwiches for the first time and it was a great hit. Much more popular among students than the previously used ‘Apple Spice’.
  • Winter CRUISE 2018 -4Our ‘Meet & Greet’ activity went well. However, since our population for this CRUISE is mainly international students, we made sure to be more conscious this time in having departments present who will be relevant and beneficial to them.

Additionally we piloted a registration workshop to assist CRUISErs to register for classes and get short term Education Plans.  Unfortunately, we received no response, and the lack of attendance has us reconsidering whether or not this is an actual need for our students.

Winter CRUISE 2018 -3Saturday CRUISE was held in the AVANZA Student Engagement Center which was super successful with everything being centralized. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use the patio for our lunch break in light of the beautiful San Diego weather.

Highlights-February Campus Conexiones


What an amazing sprint off the starting line for our first Campus Conexiones spring 2018 speaker series.  We had a phenomenal turnout with 30 attendees ready to hear from Sara and Lauren.  We certainly wish to applaud their willingness and courage to share so openly about their journey growing up multicultural and bilingual.  I imagine everyone in attendance would agree that these two young women are AMAZING!  We would also like to throw a shout out to the increased number of staff and faculty who attended.  It was a wonderful Lauren-quoteaddition to hear their perspective and their desire to be able to connect more fully with their own students to make a difference.

Anyone who was unable to attend certainly missed out.  However, lucky for them, this was just the beginning of a semester full of marvelous events.  Be sure to save the date for out March installment, featuring our very own LatinX Alliance member and Title III STEM Conexiones, Administrative Technician, Yolanda Catano.  She will be regaling us with her journey on Tuesday, March 13th, 12-1 pm.  You definitely do not want to miss out on this.  If there is someone you would like to hear from and nominate for our future speaker events, please contact the LatinX Alliance.

Camp Con 1 2-21-18