Santa Ana College President Attends U.S. Department of Education Think Tank on College Completion Jan. 30 in Washington, DC

January 30, 2012
"The Santa Ana College President Erlinda Martinez, Ed.D."

Erlinda Martinez, Ed.D., president of Santa Ana College, attends symposium on college completion on Monday, Jan. 30, in Washington DC.

Erlinda Martinez, Ed.D., president of Santa Ana College (SAC), has been invited to attend a one-day symposium on college completion on Monday, Jan. 30, in Washington DC. Martinez will join 23 higher education leaders, 16 well-known researchers, and eight policy experts to identify evidence-based best practices that work to increase college completion. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will address the gathering and ask participates to think about innovative, affordable ways to substantially boost college completion.

In recent years, Santa Ana College has been recognized for innovative measures that increase student retention and college completion. They include:

  • Freshman Experience: The program, which helps students learn how to study, take notes, manage time, and take exams, has resulted in a college completion rate of 82 percent for its participants. The statewide Academic Senate for Community Colleges selected SAC’s Freshmen Experience to receive its Exemplary Program Award as an outstanding community college program of 2011-2012.
  • Santa Ana ¡Adelante!:  The initiative guarantees that all Santa Ana Unified School District students who graduate from high school, enroll at SAC, and complete all academic requirements and application paperwork will be admitted as transfer students to California State University, Fullerton or to University of California, Irvine. Recently, the Lumina Foundation provided a total of $600,000 over a four-year period to help fund the Santa Ana ¡Adelante! program.
  • Santa Ana Partnership: The partnership dates back to 1982, when the institutional members of the partnership first gathered to jointly analyze barriers to student success in the Santa Ana area. More recently, community-based initiatives including Padres Promotores have encouraged college entrance and completion.
  • According to Community College Week, SAC ranks 25th among the top 100 associate degree producers for “total minority” students in the nation. In addition, among the top 100 associate degree producers nationwide, SAC ranks 13th for Hispanic students and 20th for Asian American students.

Celebrate Youth Entrepreneurship on Thursday, January 26

January 23, 2012
"Young female and male business people"

The Youth Entrepreneurship Program is hosting a YEP 2.0 Networking Event, “Your Business Makeover 2012,” on January 26 at 6:00 p.m. at 2323 N. Broadway, Room 107, Santa Ana, CA 92706.

Entrepreneurship is on the rise. With Orange County’s unemployment rate at 7.8 percent and jobs still hard to come by, it’s no wonder that so many young people are launching their own businesses.

To help young entrepreneurs ages 18 to 27 succeed, the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP), an economic development program of Rancho Santiago Community College District, is hosting a YEP 2.0 Networking Event.  “Your Business Makeover 2012” is slated for 6:00 p.m. at 2323 N. Broadway, Room 107, Santa Ana, CA 92706.

“This free event will help aspiring young entrepreneurs get 2012 off on the right foot,” said Maricela Sandoval, YEP coordinator.

The event will feature a presentation by serial entrepreneur Oscar Garcia, OG Branding Education founder. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in web development, marketing and software development.  At a young age, he helped create a marketing company that reached the Forbes 500 list in its first three years in business.

“Your Business Makeover 2012” will also feature:

  • Refreshments and appetizers;
  • A “pitch it” corner where participants will be able to share their entrepreneurial ideas and receive expert feedback;
  • A young entrepreneurs business expo;
  • The presentation of the high school fast pitch contest winners;
  • Upcoming opportunities to assist young entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, including the “Entrepreneurial Marketing and Management” seminar on February 10, valued at $300 to be offered free to qualifying businesses

Registration is free at Educators and business service providers are welcome. For more information, contact the Youth Entrepreneurship Program at (714) 564-5533.

Orange County SBDC Client Receives Google Uptick Award

November 16, 2011
"Four people are smiling in front of a medical manikin"

(From left to right) Genesis Medical Education Consultants C.F.O. Richard Birdsall, Richard’s mother and co-owner Sherri Birdsall, Orange County SBDC director Leila Mozaffari, and Richard’s wife and office manager Nicki Birdsall celebrate the company's national honor.

Genesis Medical Education Consultants (GMEC), a Brea-based continuing education provider for California’s health care professionals, was recently honored by the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) and Google with a Google Uptick Award. GMEC is one of five small businesses nationwide selected for this honor. The Uptick Award contest invited businesses to submit a 350-word essay outlining how they used Google products to grow their businesses.

GMEC offers certification and renewal classes in IV therapy for RN’s and LVN’s, advanced cardiovascular life support, American Heart Association CPR certification and renewal, and more. The enterprise has relied on Gmail, Google Adwords™, Google Analytics™, and Google Maps™ as go-to business tools. They were encouraged to use and leverage Google tools to expand their reach by Orange County Small Business Development (SBDC) consultant Manal Richa.

“Working with the Orange County SBDC consultants like Manal Richa and Mark McCallick has helped make our company much sounder financially and structurally,” said Richard Birdsall, GMEC C.F.O.

After each consulting session with the Orange County SBDC, the GMEC management team—Richard Birdsall, Richard’s mother and co-owner Sherri Birdsall, and Richard’s wife and office manager Nicki—has work to do. They take their assignments seriously and since GMEC’s launch in 2007, the family-owned business has grown from its original three full-time employees with the addition of eight part-time employees. Its revenue has increased by 328 percent in four years.

The company attributes much of its growth to its increased online presence. They worked closely with Orange County SBDC consultant Richa who helped them begin using Google Adwords.The heightened search engine presence is boosting company referrals. Because of the increase in demand for their services, they have added a Long Beach location, and plan expansion to Santa Barbara soon. As they grow, they will continue to take the Orange County SBDC advice to heart.

“It is difficult to find someplace that you can trust and that’s worth working with,” said Richard Birdsall. “I now understand how many things can fall between the cracks. The SBDC is the first place I tell anyone to call when they want to start or grow a business.”

For more information about the Orange County SBDC, call (714) 564-5200 or visit The Orange County SBDC is an economic development program of Rancho Santiago Community College District.

Santa Ana Student Selected to Design Robotic Rover for NASA

October 26, 2011
"Patricia Sullivan in NASA t-shirt with standing next to a telescope"

Santa Ana College scholar Patricia Sullivan will travel to Huntsville, Ala., to take part in NASA's National Community College Aerospace Scholar program.

Santa Ana College (SAC) student Patricia Sullivan has been selected as a National Community College Aerospace Scholar (NCAS). Sullivan is one of 48 students from 25 states who will travel to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for a three-day program Nov. 8 through 10. There, alongside her peers, NASA scientists, engineers, astronauts, and administrators, Sullivan will establish a team and create a company infrastructure to design and develop a rover.

She is the only Orange County student tapped for this honor; there are a total of seven from California. Fewer than 300 students have been selected to take part in NASA’s prestigious National Community College Aerospace Scholars program since its inception in 2009.

For the 50-year-old Orange resident, who plans to graduate in June 2012 and transfer to California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), being named by NASA is a dream come true. For years, the mother of six and grandmother of four concentrated her attention on raising her children. Prior to returning to college in 2010, her role was as a mother and a wife. But even back then, she dreamt of running shows in a planetarium.

“The spark for my love of astronomy came from watching the Apollo 11 launch on TV,” says Sullivan.

A second-year student at SAC, Sullivan, who carries a 4.0 GPA, was in Dr. Steve Eastmond’s Astronomy 110 “Introduction to Stars and Galaxies” class when she learned of the NASA program.

“Patricia is the most motivated and engaged student I have had in my 38 years of teaching astronomy at Santa Ana College,” says Steve Eastmond, Ph.D., SAC professor, physical science.

Students were selected by a NASA panel based on an application, letter of recommendation and project evaluation. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and currently pursuing their degrees at community colleges and have an interest in mathematics, science, engineering or computer science.

To get accepted by the NASA program, Sullivan had to design her concept for a manned space mission to Mars. Working independently
over the summer, she had eight weeks to turn in an abstract, create a timeline, and write a full-blown proposal for a robotic rover complete with a line drawing of her rover.

“At the beginning of the summer, there were 240 individuals under consideration, but after the summer projects were reviewed
and graded, there were 48 named to go to Huntsville,” says Sullivan.

The cost of Sullivan’s proposed four-year mission would be $805 million. The mission’s goal is to assess the possibility of life on Mars.

Today, Sullivan is working on an associate of arts degree in business management with an emphasis in astronomy. After finishing her bachelor’s degree at CSUF, she hopes to work in management for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

She talks enthusiastically about how she will put her NASA experience to work for the community. As the president of MANA de Orange County, a national Latina organization, Sullivan will share her NCAS experiences with the girls who attend MANA’s annual Adelante Conference. “I hope I can encourage more of them to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields,” she said. She also plans on making presentations in the Santa Ana schools.

And as Sullivan sees it, everything comes around in a beautiful circle. In May, she will be trained and ready to run three shows on her own at Tessmann Planetarium.

Santa Ana College Foundation Receives $10,000 Gift from U.S. Bank

October 25, 2011

"money coming out of water faucet"The Santa Ana College (SAC) Foundation has received a $10,000 donation from U.S. Bank. This charitable gift will provide resources to train, educate, and conduct one-on-one counseling in financial literacy for returning military veteran students.

“We are excited about this partnership with U.S. Bank,” said Kristin Crellin, president, SAC Foundation Board of Directors and executive director, school and community relations at SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. “Returning veterans need financial literacy education to adjust to civilian life. They need to learn how to manage the cost of living, including covering the costs of rent, mortgage payments, food, utilities, transportation, insurance and medical coverage—all things that the military provided for them.”

The financial literacy program will teach veteran students basic skills such as balancing a checkbook, understanding a credit score and its effects on future loans, understanding credit card APR’s, how various loans work, and how to anticipate time gaps in GI benefits funding and civilian employment paychecks.

“U.S. Bank is delighted to partner with the Santa Ana College Foundation and the Veterans Resource Center to play a part in easing
veterans’ transition from combat to classroom. We believe it is vitally important that returning veterans learn to make informed and effective decisions about their finances to better plan how to attain their ultimate educational objectives,” said Eric M. Alderete, member of SAC Foundation Board of Directors and vice president and senior corporate counsel at U.S. Bank.

Santa Ana College serves nearly 400 veteran students through its Veterans Resource Center (VRC).  The college’s VRC provides the
following services:

  • Access to a Certifying Official to assist veterans with accessing Veterans Assistance (VA) educational benefits,
  • Specialized academic counseling to develop educational plans to meet VA benefit requirements,
  • Customized orientation and academic skills workshops for veterans, and
  • Quiet study area with access to computers, the Internet and a printer.

Santa Ana College, Fullerton College, and Cal State Fullerton Celebrate $5.9 Million ENGAGE in STEM Grant

October 10, 2011

(From left to right): Kristy Haffner; Fullerton College graduate and current California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) mathematics student; Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez; and Saul Meza; Santa Ana College graduate and current CSUF engineering student; celebrate the five-year $5.9 million STEM grant.

On Friday Santa Ana College (SAC) hosted a launch event to celebrate the announcement of a five-year $5.9 million federal grant to increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) in three Orange County institutions of higher education.  The grant is a funded by the U.S. Department of Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program.

The partners in this grant–Santa Ana College, Fullerton College, and Cal State Fullerton– are all designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). To be an HSI, an institution must have at least 25 percent of its student body classified as Hispanic.

The grant will also develop model transfer and articulation agreements between the partner institutions, enable more data-based decision-making, and increase the number of math and science teachers. The grant will also focus on creating two STEM pathways for students—one in engineering and the other in earth science—leading to a teaching credential. Additionally, the STEM centers and STEM teaching centers at each institution will be expanded.

“By increasing the number of Hispanic and low-income students who transfer and obtain their baccalaureate degrees, this grant is helping us to literally transform the face of our STEM professionals, leaders and teachers of the future,” said Micki Bryant, Ph.D., SAC dean of counseling. “We deeply appreciate the support that Congresswoman Sanchez has provided in making these grant funds available, which propels our work forward.”

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, 47th District of California, was in attendance to help launch the grant program.

Congresswoman Sanchez talked about how her father impressed upon her the importance of mathematics from an early age. She said that math and science ae the building blocks of a good education.

Representatives from the partnering organizations that were present included Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustees Arianna P. Barrios;  R. David Chapel, Ed.D.; and John R. Hanna; Fullerton College Director of Special Programs Karen Rose; and Cal State Fullerton Acting Director Center for Careers in Teaching Amy Cox-Petersen, Ph.D.

Soldiers to Scholars Reception Benefits Veterans Programs at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges

August 30, 2011
"Raymond Nava in his military uniform carrying college textbooks"

Raymond Nava, one of 532 returning veterans enrolled at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges, depends on the Veterans Resource Center to answer questions and provide essential support.

As Americans remember the tragedy of 9/11 on its tenth anniversary, military veterans returning to Orange County are struggling to transition to civilian life. Many of them are taking advantage of Veterans’ Assistance educational benefits. Last year, there were 532 veterans enrolled in classes at Rancho Santiago Community College District‘s colleges, Santa Ana College (SAC) and Santiago Canyon College .

To raise funds to provide needed services for these returning veterans, the district is hosting the Soldiers to Scholars Reception on Thursday, September 15 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Santa Ana College
Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy, 15991 Armstrong Ave., Tustin, CA, 92782.    

Among the district’s veterans is 25-year-old Raymond Nava, a veteran of
the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as a lance corporal in the infantry. Now at Santa Ana College, Nava has his sights on earning an associate degree in business administration and entering the college’s Fire Academy. He then wants to transfer to Cal State Fullerton to get a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

For Nava, as with many returning veterans, the transition to life as a college student has been hard. “In the military, they micromanage you—they tell you what to do,”says Nava. “As a student, you have to figure out what to do.”

When he first enrolled at SAC in 2009, the Veterans Resource Center, which opened in 2010, was not yet available. He says it took him about three days to get his bearings—to figure out how to sign up for classes and how to obtain his benefits.

“Today there’s a lot more guidance,” he says. “All the questions a veteran has are answered and if the Veterans Resource Center does not have the answer, they will contact the Veterans Administration and get the answer. It makes the process go a lot smoother. We have regular meetings and counseling sessions. You get to see familiar faces—fellow veterans—who have experienced some of the same things you have.”

The colleges’ Veteran Resource Centers provide the following services:

  • Access to a Certifying Official to assist veterans with accessing Veterans Assistance (VA) educational benefits,
  • Specialized academic counseling to develop educational plans to meet VA benefit requirements,
  • Customized orientation and academic skills workshops for veterans, and
  • Quiet study area with access to computers, the Internet and a printer.

The Soldiers to Scholars Reception will include live music, a
short program featuring veterans, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, wine tasting, and hors d’oeuvres. Reservations are available for $50 per person; corporate sponsorships are available for $5,000.  The title sponsor, which generously donated $50,000, is SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. For more information, contact (714) 480-7450 or visit

Santa Ana College Holds Cable TV Auditions on August 23

August 11, 2011
"female news anchor being interviewed on camera in a TV studio"

Auditions for SAC-TV's news programs will take place on August 23 at the Digital Media Center.

Auditions for Santa Ana College’s cable television news programs, Around and About Orange County (AAOC) and Noticiero Latino del Condado de Orange (NLCO), are scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, at 11:00 a.m. News, sports, and entertainment anchors and reporters are being sought. Auditions will be held at the SAC-TV studios located in the Digital Media Center, 1300 S. Bristol., Room 103, Santa Ana.

No previous broadcasting experience is necessary to try out for the behind-the-scenes crew or on-camera talent seen weekly on Time Warner Cable channels throughout Orange County and on Facebook. Candidates need to be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from September through December when the shows are produced.

All cast members are required to enroll in SAC’s Television/Video Communications course 130: Principles of Broadcast News. These students will have the option of continuing with advanced courses and earning the program’s certificate.

In its 28th year, AAOC is the oldest, continuous running cable show in Orange County.  More than 400 alumni have found full-time employment in media-related fields. Among them are Tony Cao, a producer of who and has also been a cameraperson for Little Saigon TV, along with Hai Doh, cameraperson, and Tawny Hoang, reporter, for Little Saigon TV.  Alumni also include Joe Rodriguez, producer of international soccer for Fox Sports, Eliana Moreno, helicopter reporter for KTLA-TV, and Will Ferrell. Most recently, former AAOC producer David Esch landed a job as producer/reporter at WVII-TV, the ABC affiliate in Bangor, Maine.

For more information, contact (714) 241 5778.

Santa Ana College Students Raise $2,700 for Japanese Earthquake Relief

July 22, 2011
"Students present big check to the Red Cross"

(From left to right) SAC President Erlinda Martinez, Ed.D., joins Red Cross representative Susan White and Haruka Ikegawa, international student from Japan; Bipna Tuladhar, international student from Nepal and president of ISA; Mika Matsui, international student from Japan; and SAC international program specialist Junko Ishikawa at check presentation of $2,700 to the Red Cross for Japanese earthquake relief.

After an earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, the International Student Association and Japanese international students at Santa Ana College (SAC) wanted to help the disaster victims.  The students developed a fundraising campaign themed,” To Japan with love.”

The International Student Association (ISA) contacted the SAC Student Life Office and the American Red Cross to ensure that they complied with all campus and Red Cross fundraising requirements.

More than 20 student volunteers staffed a donation station on the SAC campus.  The group’s last fundraising effort took place at SAC’s commencement ceremony at the Santa Ana Stadium on May 20. In total, $2,700 was raised and presented to the Red Cross on July 14.

“As international students, we believe that it is our responsibility as global citizens to help each other and the people who have to go through the tough time caused by a natural disaster. Moreover, sharing our love and caring at such a difficult moment will be great relief for the victims,” said Bipna Tuladhar, ISA president from Nepal.

Tour Child Development Centers at Santiago Canyon and Santa Ana Colleges on July 26 and 27

July 21, 2011
"Young smiling girl in child care center"

Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges are enrolling young children in their Child Development Centers.

Rancho Santiago Community College District Child Development Services, providing quality child care for 41 years, is hosting open houses for families considering enrolling their children in the district’s Child Development Centers. The two centers with open enrollment are located on the campuses of Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges. The Early Childhood Education Center at Santa Ana College accepts children ages six months to five years and the Child Development Center at Santiago Canyon College enrolls children ages two to five years.

Open House: Santiago Canyon College Child Development Center
Tuesday, July 26, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
8045 E. Chapman Ave., Building C-1
Orange, CA 92869

Open House: Santa Ana College Early Childhood Education Center
Wednesday, July 27, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
1530 W. 17th St., Building V-100
Santa Ana, CA 92706

The open houses will feature guided tours of the state-of-the-art facilities, educational activities for children, demonstration of curriculum, and light refreshments. Both centers offer low teacher to student ratios, individualized developmentally appropriate curriculum, and are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In addition to providing care and education to young children, the centers provide an opportunity for human development students to gain experience and understanding in working with young children.

For more information about the Santa Ana College Early Childhood Education Center, contact (714) 564-6894 or visit To learn more about the Santiago Canyon College Child Development Center, contact (714) 628-4891 or visit

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