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Home Explore MiraCosta College Transforming Lives Newsletter - Spring 2022

MiraCosta College Transforming Lives Newsletter - Spring 2022

Published by MiraCosta College, 2022-06-03 17:41:32

Description: Newsletter of the MiraCosta College Foundation


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V O L U M E XX X I S P R I N G 2 0 2 2 MiraCostaTransforming Lives OFAUNTFUOTRHCEEUS Inspiring Stories of Student and Alumni Perseverance

Friends of MiraCosta College: The days are longer, the nights become warmer, and at MiraCosta College we know spring is upon us when we start gearing up for the many celebrations and commencement ceremonies honoring our students. Needless to say, spring is my favorite season! As we emerge from the global pandemic, we learned that there are many benefits in trying new approaches. This edition of Transforming Lives is no exception. Rather than focusing on some of the exciting themes underway within the District, we share the stories of our students—current and alumni—who overcame challenges ranging from food insecurity and family loss to responsibilities inside and outside the classroom. Regardless of their struggle, all were resilient and triumphant. As you read through these pages, I know you will appreciate the importance of our generous community donors and our innovative and dedicated employees. It is through this blend of support that our MiraCosta College students received the academic and holistic support to overcome obstacles in their educational journey. MiraCosta College continues to be steadfast in our mission through innovative teaching, learning, and support services, and by offering degree, certificate, career education, adult education, transfer, and life-long learning opportunities. These efforts have recently been recognized by the Aspen Prize for Excellence in Community Colleges, one of the nation’s highest awards honoring achievement and performance of America’s community colleges, where we were nominated out of 1100+ to apply for the final prize. My sincerest appreciation to the entire MiraCosta College community for your continuous partnership, financial support, and engagement. Thanks to the faculty, classified professionals, administrators, and Board of Trustees for your commitment and courage, dedication, tireless service, and innovation helping us to rise to the moment in support of our students and our community! Sunita V. Cooke, Ph.D. Superintendent/President MiraCosta College

Our new Student Services building at the Community The award-winning MiraCosta, Learning Center offers indoor and outdoor spaces to Transforming Lives is published meet and study under blue skies and warm weather. by the MiraCosta College Office of Institutional Advancement. We greatly appreciate the participation of those who allowed us to share their stories. V O L U M E XX X I S P R I N G 2 0 2 2 MiraCostaTransforming Lives OFAUNTFUOTRHCEEUS Inspiring Stories of Student and Alumni Perseverance On the Cover For students like Inaya Abdulmateen, receiving a scholarship from the MiraCosta College Foundation allows them to focus on transferring and their future careers. Read Inaya’s story on page 16. Editorial Director Kristen Huyck, Ed.D. Art Director/Photographer Alex Karvounis Contributing Writers France Cruz, Ed.D. Victoria Do Tori Fishinger Kristen Huyck, Ed.D. Jeanne Koschwanez Christi Middlesworth Justin Nunez Susan Walker Contributing Photographers Zac Benson Haley Nelson Stephen Whalen Learn More at C o mme n t s o r Q u e s t i o n s 760.795.6777 Office of Institutional A dva n c eme n t Shannon Stubblefield Vice President Foundation Board Raye Clendening President David M. McGuigan Vice President Bruce Bandemer Treasurer Shannon Stubblefield Executive Director Matthew Adams Julie Ames Alec Babiarz Bill Cardoso Jimmy Figueroa Barry Johnson Janice Kurth Stephen M. L’Heureux Karen Pearson Sudershan Shaunak Tim Snodgrass Denise K. Stillinger Kimberly Troutman Valencia Warner-Saadat Sharon Wiback

JAWSAONNG The Definition of Hard Work and Focus Before Jason Wang came to the United States in 2019, he had never received a B grade. Throughout high school, Wang was top of his class and his education was something he valued dearly. When he moved from China to a new country, his ambitions in the classroom remained the same. There was only one catch—he didn’t know any English. Wang still remembers how he felt when he received his first physics worksheet. “I was desperate, simply because I couldn’t understand any of the English procedures,” recalled Wang. “Ever since then, I have worked hard to learn English.” With a dictionary never far from reach, Wang started to memorize hundreds of words per day. For at least two hours every day, he would study new words and review the ones he already learned. He also recorded himself to identify any mistakes and perfect his speech. Looking back on those early days, he explained, “It was an arduous process not only because of the quantity but also because of my terrible memory. I thought about giving up, but I knew that success could never exist without effort.” Little by little, Wang became more confident with English and now speaks fluently. Today, his grades rank at the top of his class and he uses the lessons he learned to help others around him. 4


“I thought about giving up, but I knew that success could never exist without effort.” In addition to taking 18 units per semester as a first-year student at MiraCosta College, Wang spends his time uplifting his peers as a Student Ambassador on campus. From helping people fill out grant applications to explaining his own college experience and providing basic counseling support, Wang tries to make his fellow students feel welcome and comfortable at MiraCosta College. “Even though it’s a job, I consider being a Student Ambassador more of a volunteer service because I love helping people,” shared Wang. “I understand how frustrating it can be when some problems cannot be solved on your own. I always want someone to help me when I am in need.” As a Student Ambassador, Wang serves as support for his peers and helps them manage their time, giving them the same kind of guidance he received. In addition to his unwavering work ethic, Wang acknowledges that he wouldn’t be where he is without the support of generous donors. “I am a college student with the same financial burdens as everyone else. It is hard to pay for everything while maintaining high performance in the classroom.” Thanks to the MiraCosta College Foundation, specifically the Winski Scholarship, Wang notes that he doesn’t have to worry as much about life's essentials and can focus on school instead. Started by generous donors Nancy and Mark Winski, this scholarship is a renewable opportunity that awards $500 per semester with a maximum of $2,000 over four semesters. With his eyes on the future, Jason Wang is currently majoring in mechanical design and has plans to transfer to the University of California, Berkeley, where he wants to finish his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He hopes to use his degrees to secure a job with a company that is protecting the environment through smart, eco-friendly design. n 6

Wendee Mason After almost 20 different jobs and teacher, and college business professor. a lifetime of overcoming personal This led to her career as an author and adversity, including an abusive national speaker, leading seminars on upbringing, leaving home at 17, and escaping everything from sales and business, a near-death encounte, Wendee Mason, a to communication skills and dating Carlsbad resident since 1981, is still finding strategies. She has also been on stage as new ways to challenge herself. Wendee a stand up comedian and hosted her own went to community college as a teenager San Diego radio show. “This was much in the early 70s, and 50 years later she is more fun than crunching numbers as a at MiraCosta College as a retired business financial analyst,” explains Mason. owner taking art classes. Mason is finding new ways to stay When asked what still motivates her, Mason’s active and challenge herself. Since 2018, she has been answer is enthusiastic. “Life presented me with extreme enrolled in MiraCosta’s design and art classes. Today, she challenges. Fortunately, I have always embraced change is an interior designer and enthusiastic artist who has and looked for new opportunities to make my life better. been featured in MiraCosta’s Expressions magazine for the My 50-year career was more of a winding road than a older adult Continuing Education Program. straight path.” Mason started out as a server at various restaurants, a tennis instructor, and a seamstress while “Your biggest adversities will propel you to the next going through community college, all while taking care exciting stage of your life, if you embrace the opportunity of her younger sister who also left home. “We were barely for change and growth. Community college has been surviving and trying to feed ourselves,” she continued. pivotal in my life path, as a broke teenager, a young adult in my thirties, and now, as a senior in my sixties.” Living on grants and scholarships, Mason earned her associate degree and her bachelor’s in finance and The passionate and generous planned economics. Hired, then fired as a financial analyst, she gift made by Wendee Mason will change realized a career in finance was not a good match for her and transform the lives of future MiraCosta outgoing personality. Mason went back to California College students. State University, Fullerton and received her MBA in Learn more about how to make a marketing and sales, then moved to Carlsbad to become planned gift by contacting Tori Fishinger a pharmaceutical representative in the San Diego area. at [email protected] or by phone at 760.795.6652. In 1984, Mason decided to enroll in MiraCosta College real estate classes to become a broker. “I wanted DONATE TODAY a change from pharmaceutical sales, and enrolling in MiraCosta changed the trajectory of my life,” explains Mason. “It put me on a path of buying investment properties, as well as helping other people become homeowners. It also increased my income tenfold. These real estate classes 40 years ago allowed me to retire at a young age, travel the world, and try my hand at other professions, just for fun!” Mason spent five years in Hawaii in the 90s and became a newspaper humor columnist, high school

ON THE HORIZON Sheila Robles is Creating the Roadmap for the Rest of Her Family Now a MiraCosta College alumnus, Sheila Robles is the only person in her family to graduate from college and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in accounting at San Diego State University. “There are a lot of struggles people don’t see behind my success,” noted Robles. “The world doesn’t stop just because you’re going through hardships. I try to be brave and continue for myself and my family.” That mindset is a large reason why Robles has been able to overcome a lifetime of obstacles that most people wouldn’t be able to manage. When Robles was three years old, she immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her mom and brother. Her mom was always a hard worker, but as an undocumented parent, she faced countless challenges while working every day and raising two children in Oceanside. On top of that, the family lived in a neighborhood where drugs and violence were prevalent, making it difficult for Robles and her brother to avoid the vices of the community. “I am a very different person now compared to who I was as a kid,” shared Robles. 8

Sheila Robles and her mother, Nereida, stroll the beach in their hometown of Oceanside, California. 9

“There are a lot of struggles people don’t see behind my success.” 10

“I was a rebellious child and because of who I hung out with “The reason I went to MiraCosta was because I wanted in my area, I ended up with a juvenile record.” to reapply myself and prove that my immigration status and juvenile record should not define me. I may not have pictured In fact, Robles said that if you told her she would be a myself going to college when I was younger, but my brother college graduate back then, she wouldn’t have believed you. always told me I needed to be a strong, determined, and independent woman. This is my way to do that.” That all changed when her older brother got deported. After going down the wrong path, he was sent back to Mexico. Today, Robles is thriving. She graduated from MiraCosta Years later, another tragedy struck Robles' family; her brother College with a 3.9 GPA and is on track to graduate from was murdered in Tijuana. San Diego State University in two years. Her younger cousins now look up to her as an example of what’s possible. While she “When he died, I felt like a piece of me left. Growing up still faces uncertainty as an undocumented student, she hopes wasn’t easy for us, but I looked up to my brother because he that her school achievements will help her remain in the only always made sure I was taken care of.” country she knows. Because of her immigration status, Robles was unable to “I know the road ahead won’t be easy,” noted Robles, see her brother after he was deported and couldn’t say goodbye but I’ll continue to strive and overcome any obstacles or when he died. It has been two years since he was killed and, hardships in my life.” n with his memory never far from mind, Robles is doing her best to carry on his legacy by paving a new path for her family. 11

TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND BEYOND MiraCosta Alum Nick Gulino Reflects on His Journey to Recover Born and raised in Encinitas during the height of the opioid epidemic, MiraCosta College alumnus Nick Gulino was surrounded by addiction in his community. Multiple friends lost their lives to overdose when he was just a teenager and countless other peers and family members spent years in and out of rehab. As a result, Gulino’s childhood was fraught with challenges. Despite being a voracious reader, Gulino never seemed to succeed academically. He was known to act out in middle school, and as a freshman at San Dieguito High School Academy, he failed more classes than he passed. When he was sent to a continuation high school, commonly known as a “last chance high school,” few would have predicted what came next for Gulino. “There have been so many points in my life where it would have been easy for me to get derailed,” recalled Gulino, now a law school graduate and founder of his own company. “I have been very fortunate in my life to have people in my corner; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do much of what I’ve done.” While attending the continuation high school, Gulino found himself in an environment that helped him thrive. He was able to develop his own working style and quickly turned his grades around. Soon after, Gulino set his sights on MiraCosta College. “I heard of MiraCosta College through my high school guidance counselor but didn’t fully know what to expect as a full-time student. I still remember walking into one of my first 12


classes at MiraCosta College and being intimidated.” “I saw a gap “That first semester was really about process development that my for me—how to take notes, how to be in a classroom setting, community how to navigate college,'' commented Gulino. needed filled and decided to Within months, Gulino settled in on campus and quickly do something established himself as one of the top students in his class. He became president of the Associated Student Government and about it.” also made time to help his community as a support group leader for kids at his previous high school. Learn more about Nick’s company by scanning the QR code above or “I just feel incredibly grateful that I was able to start at visiting MiraCosta College,” explained Gulino. “Growing up in the area, I always knew of the school, but I never realized how good the college was until experiencing it firsthand. It provided me exactly what I needed at the time.” Never one to stop growing, Gulino set out to accomplish another academic goal when he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to major in rhetoric. At Berkeley, Gulino flourished and went on to graduate with honors while also completing multiple internships and fellowships at the White House and State Department. Gulino wasn’t done there. He applied to and was accepted at Yale Law School. He continued his work with government agencies and found himself on the policy end of the addiction issue that he knew all too well as a child. That’s when he felt the gravitational pull of home. After he left for college, Gulino’s friends and family still struggled with addiction, and he saw for himself how poor their treatment was when seeking help. He knew he had to act. “I saw a gap that my community needed to be filled and decided to do something about it,” shared Gulino. “The state of addiction treatment in this country is bad and has grown worse because of the pandemic.” Along with a fellow classmate from Yale, Gulino founded Recover, a company committed to fighting addiction through effective and affordable telemedicine treatment. “You solve the problems you know. I’ve witnessed the addiction problem for a very long time, with many people around me going in and out of rehab and treatment. I know how flawed the system can be.” Today, Gulino is proud to be working on an issue that hits close to home. He is quick to attribute his success to the early struggles he experienced and the many people who believed in him during those years. “I know my life may seem linear when looking at it now, but I wouldn’t be here without the support of so many people at MiraCosta and others along the way.” n 14



EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES Inaya Abdulmateen Gains the Confidence to Do More When second-year student Inayah Abdulmateen talks During her first semester in 2020, Abdulmateen signed about her academic and career aspirations, it’s hard not up for a host of leadership roles within MiraCosta College’s to feel inspired by her drive. programs and was also named to the President’s List in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement. A self-described average student in high school, Abdulmateen is one of the most active and engaged members “Receiving that honor was a special moment for me,” said of the MiraCosta College community. In addition to serving Abdulmateen. “I was never the strongest student in high school as a Student Ambassador for the college and Director of in terms of grades, so that gave me the confidence to do more.” Legislative Affairs for the Associated Student Government, Inayah is co-president of the Black Student Union. Since then, Abdulmateen has continued to pave her own path to success. In addition to her roles for the Black Student On any given day this past semester, Abdulmateen could Union and Associated Student Government, Abdulmateen be found juggling a full course load with her extracurricular was invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and commitments: planning the Annual United Black Student currently serves as a co-college project coordinator. She is Conference, preparing for the Student Senate for California also an award-winning author after receiving a gold medal Community Colleges General Assembly, and much more. for her original essay Islam in America in the NAACP Local Act-So Competition. “It’s definitely hard to manage my time, but I enjoy every minute of it, especially when looking back on how different my “Each of these experiences has helped shape who I am and life is now compared to high school,” explained Abdulmateen. what I want to do,” said Abdulmateen. Two years ago, Abdulmateen was like most high school She sees her roles within the Black Student Union and students: unsure of what to do next. She knew she wanted to Associated Student Government as critical to the well-being become a lawyer, but she didn’t know what steps would make of her peers. Every week, Abdulmateen uses her position to it happen. That’s when she decided to take a cue from her advocate for her fellow student colleagues. It’s something she family’s experiences. hopes to carry forward during her career as a lawyer. “My mother’s pathway to success always stuck with Never one to stop pushing for success, Abdulmateen is me and really guided my own academic journey,” shared also committed to graduating debt-free, which is a big reason Abdulmateen. “The same goes for my older sister.” why the Osher Scholarship she receives is so important. As she explained, the scholarship is playing a long-term role in her When Abdulmateen was in elementary school, she future education and career plans. watched as her mother enrolled in the community college system before transferring to a university and moving up “The Osher Scholarship means everything to me,” shared in her career. Similarly, Abdulmateen’s sister studied at Abdulmateen. “As someone from a single-parent, low- MiraCosta College and found success within the welcoming income family, I don’t have the financial means to support my campus community. academic needs without going into significant debt. Without the scholarship, I would have to spend more time working After seeing how much success they had, Abdulmateen and less time pursuing my academic goals.” decided that MiraCosta College presented the perfect opportunity to get a solid foundation before enrolling at a Today, that’s exactly what Abdulmateen is doing— four-year university. focusing on her goals. “My mother always taught me to never let anything With a full schedule of classes and extracurriculars, as well stop me,” shared Abdulmateen. “That mindset is embedded as the backing of scholarship support, Inayah Abdulmateen is in my family and was a big reason why I decided to enroll at on her way toward transferring to a university where she plans MiraCosta College and get involved right from the start.” to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before becoming a lawyer. n 17

game on Carter Plousha doesn’t have much free time— And he’s fine with that Most days, Plousha is either buried in a textbook while preparing for an exam, studying the stock market to earn extra income as a trader, or sweating it out on the court as one of MiraCosta College’s star basketball players. A graduate of Carlsbad High School, Plousha decided to enroll at MiraCosta College to pursue his dream of playing collegiate basketball at a university. He had always wanted to go to a four-year school but after an injury hindered his senior season in high school, he knew he would need more experience to accomplish his goal. Located just a few miles down the road, MiraCosta College presented Plousha with the perfect opportunity to further develop his skills while continuing his education. But that first year was no walk in the park.

“I’ll be honest. My freshman year I wasn’t that good,” explained Plousha. “I had never before played with teammates who were that skilled.” During Plousha’s first year on the team, he was a self- described role player, someone who plays a particular duty on a basketball court. He averaged a few points per game but never really stood out as a leader or star player. Fortunately, the coaches and the team saw his potential and a few of Plousha’s teammates took him under their wing. “The coaches at MiraCosta have been such an important part of my growth,” said Plousha. “If I have problems on or off the court, I come to them and know that they are always going to be there for me.” As time went on, Plousha began improving his position on the squad and by the end of the first season, he had 19

become one of the top players for the “The coaches at upcoming year. MiraCosta have been such an important Then the pandemic hit and Plousha’s part of my growth.” plans were confronted with a massive roadblock. With no certainty of a second season, he was left with an important decision: give up or use the year off to keep growing? Never one to dwell on the negative, Plousha chose to focus on what he could control. “Looking back, the COVID-19 year was one of the best things that could have happened to me,” noted Plousha. Every day during the pandemic, whenever he wasn’t working, he would train on his own in hopes of coming back even stronger than before. Plousha’s determination and focus was developed as a young child when his father instilled in him the importance of hard work and practice. Whether it was in the classroom or on the basketball court, Plousha had a strong sense of self- discipline and self-motivation. Eventually, his hard work paid off when he returned this past year and became one of the team’s leading scorers. Now Plousha is once again planning for what’s next. With a 4.0 GPA and a successful basketball season behind him, Plousha is hoping to transfer to a four- year university on scholarship so he can fulfill his childhood dream of playing collegiate basketball. Carter Plousha and the MiraCosta College men’s basketball team were amongst the eight teams in the State Championship playoffs. n 20



“I know my worth, Sitting in a statistics classroom at MiraCosta I’ve paid for every College, you’ll find future data scientist Anri Le Roux. Like many of her peers in the ounce of it.” class, she has ambitions to pursue a bachelor’s degree within the University of California system, and it’s evident from her energy that she is passionate about numbers and data analysis. What you won’t see at first glance is how much Le Roux had to overcome to be sitting in that classroom. Before she became a straight-A student at MiraCosta College, and before she was on track to become a data scientist, Le Roux wasn’t sure if she would even complete her high school diploma. To understand how impressive Le Roux’s success story is, you have to go all the way back to when she was just a child. When she was 10, her family immigrated to the United States from South Africa. It was then that she last saw her father, and those first few years were far from easy, especially for a child trying to get by in a new country. Due to a variety of family challenges, she spent her early teenage years in foster care. Years later, when Le Roux started high school, she became homeless and crashed on friends’ couches just to get by. She also found herself in a long-term abusive relationship, one that still impacts her to this day. “Honestly, I do not think I should really be alive at this point,” shared Le Roux. “That was a very difficult time in my life.” Through all of her challenges, Le Roux was working full time to cover basic expenses. However, it became harder and harder to balance education and work. By her senior year, Le Roux decided to drop out of high school to focus on her job. Around the same time, her mom got sick and needed around-the- clock care. “I watched my mom deteriorate from a fully healthy adult to not remembering how to eat or drink all within three years,” shared Anri. “I was working to make a living but also to cover the cost of care that was required for her while I was working.” By the age of 19, Le Roux had already faced more hardship than most people experience in a lifetime. “I was just doing what I could to make it. I would never have guessed I would be where I am today.” 23

Then in 2019, Le Roux’s life took a turn. She was 23 years old What does a when a couple of colleagues urged her to finish her high school data scientist do? diploma. By summer, she was a high school graduate and already considering her next move. That’s when she decided to enroll at Data scientists examine which MiraCosta College. questions need answering and where to find the related data. When Le Roux first started at MiraCosta College, she They have business acumen and had no knowledge of the resources and services available on analytical skills, as well as the ability campus. She had a friend in one of her classes who helped to mine, clean, and present data. her adjust, but her past experiences still made it difficult to Businesses use data scientists to be around others. source, manage, and analyze large amounts of unstructured data. “Before I arrived at MiraCosta College, I struggled Results are then synthesized and with severe agoraphobia and PTSD,” explained Le Roux. communicated to key stakeholders “The trauma from my previous relationship made it hard for to drive strategic decision-making in me to be around large groups and I had a really hard time the organization. seeking help from anyone.” SKILLS NEEDED It wasn’t until professor Sam Shooshtary told her about the extent of campus offerings that she really started to thrive. Programming skills (SAS, R, Python), Halfway through her first semester, Le Roux learned about statistical and mathematical skills, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and storytelling and data visualization, Resources & Assistance for Former Foster Youth (RAFFY). Hadoop, SQL, machine learning After joining the EOPS Program, Le Roux started to use Credit: University of California, Berkeley School its computer lab as a way to stay on campus longer. For her, of Information it was a safe and secure setting that was less crowded than everywhere else on campus. Over time, she got more and more comfortable at MiraCosta College. “Before EOPS, I would only come to campus for my two classes and my student worker job. EOPS and RAFFY helped me become more comfortable with being on campus and it opened me up to learning more about other ways to be involved.” Since then, Le Roux has joined Associated Student Government and regularly helps out with events across campus. When asked what changed, she is quick to point out the community and environment that MiraCosta College fosters for all students. “MiraCosta College has been a place where I could go and no one judged me based on my past. I am a first-generation college student, former-foster youth, and homeless youth, but when I’m on campus those things don’t matter. I am a student like everyone else and can be myself.” Four years ago, Anri Le Roux wasn’t even sure she would get her high school diploma. Today, she is planning to transfer to the University of California, Berkeley and pursue her passionas a data scientist. And when she looks back on her achievements and hardships together, there is one quote that she loves to cite— “I know my worth, I’ve paid for every ounce of it.” n


PEOPLE & PERSPECTIVES: Christina Rangel’s Path to Public Service When Cristina Rangel decided to enroll at MiraCosta Rangel will often focus on school assignments during College last year, she did so with a purpose. her lunch break at work, then complete a paper while waiting for her children to finish their boxing class. As a senior office specialist with the City of Carlsbad, Whenever she has extra time, she’ll spend it helping victims Rangel cherished the opportunity to serve her community of human trafficking in North County San Diego. but didn’t always see herself in a leadership role until her supervisor planted a seed. While the two were discussing When asked what keeps her going, she attributes much her desire to go back to school, he told her that he always of her success to the community around her, the scholarship saw her as someone destined for more than a secretary role. support she receives from the MiraCosta College Foundation, and her own resilience. “The older I get, the more I want to make an impact and break down barriers,” shared Rangel. “I hope to be an During the pandemic, Rangel watched as her father example not only for my daughters, but for other young battled cancer and spent months in the hospital. Even on women as well. MiraCosta College is putting me on a the toughest days, she persevered knowing that she will soon pathway to do just that.” present her diploma to her mom and dad to show how their sacrifices and hard work helped lead to her accomplishments. When she was younger, Rangel wanted to go to college After completing her coursework at MiraCosta College and but she didn’t know how to make it happen. While many of finishing her degree, Rangel plans to combine her her peers were pursuing degrees, she entered the workforce local government training and education to better serve and started a family. As she grew older, her responsibilities her community within public works. at home and work made it harder for her to balance her goals. Yet the dream of education was always in the back “The reason I chose to pursue liberal arts and ethnic of her mind. studies is because of people. Through liberal arts, I get to connect with many different people and perspectives, which Now a mother of two young daughters and a stepmother is exactly what I love most about being a public servant.” n to a teenage boy, Rangel is finally making her dream happen. As a student enrolled at MiraCosta College, Rangel juggles her responsibilities in the classroom with her commitments as a full-time employee, mother, and volunteer. “I learned early on that everything ends up coming together. In the beginning, I tried to separate the work I do at home, at my job, and at school. But now multitasking is an everyday part of life.” 26


MKONTOHWESR BEST (and in Kristy Moyes’ case, her sons do too.) For Kristy Moyes and her family, comparing the past to the TCI Engineering Technician Program, where they would present is like night and day. take classes together. Five years ago, Moyes was working as a food server to “I still remember the anxiety I felt when I walked into the support her husband and five children. A series of health classroom for the first time. Most of the other students were challenges forced her husband out of his job, so she spent closer to my son’s age and I was scared to open my mouth to most of her time working to provide for the family. While her ask a question. I mostly sat in the back of the classroom and income kept the family afloat, they still had to make sacrifices. kept quiet.” With limited financial resources, the Moyes family could no longer afford their house and had to move into a motorhome Over time, Moyes got to know her instructors and gained on her sister’s property in Valley Center. more confidence. Little did the Moyes family know, it was all about to “Any time I needed extra help, my professors would sit change. At the time, Moyes’ two oldest sons were enrolled down with me for 30 minutes or an hour until I understood in the Technology Career Institute (TCI) Engineering the concepts. Having people invest in me like that made all Technician Program at MiraCosta College. One day after he difference.” class, her second oldest came home and recommended that she consider enrolling too. He told her, “This is the type of stuff During the next few months, Moyes thrived in the you do every day—problem solving and making little fixes.” classroom. She continued to work to support everyone at home, taking shifts whenever she wasn’t in school and working on the “The reason why I was able to go to MiraCosta College was weekends if the family was struggling and needed extra food because we were basically homeless already,” recalled Moyes. on the table. But thanks to MiraCosta College, that would “If I had to cover our extra living expenses, there’s no way soon change. I could have afforded to take that extra time off work to go to college.” With the help of a professor, Moyes secured a paid internship that allowed her to receive school credits. Months At that time, the family had already been living in the later, upon graduation, her internship turned into a full-time motorhome for 18 months and they all agreed that they could job making high-tech satellite components. make it another four months while their mom took classes. Thus, a plan was put in place. Today, Moyes can support the family on her single income and they now live in an apartment in Vista. Every week, Moyes would drive to campus with her youngest son, now the third Moyes child to enroll in the “MiraCosta College has really changed my life, as well as my kids’ lives, for the better,” said Moyes Before attending MiraCosta College, Moyes was spending 28


most of her time working at a restaurant with little-to-no free Kristy with her children (left to right) time to spend with her family. Today, she cherishes the extra Ryan Moyes, Kaelan Moyes, freedom that comes with having a full-time, well-paying job. and Jon Isham. “I didn’t get to see my kids grow up,” said Moyes. “But now, we have a closeness that we didn’t have before. I’m able to be more present at home and my kids don’t have to struggle like I had to struggle when I was their age.” Although she’s no longer enrolled on campus, Moyes knows that the support from MiraCosta is never far away. If she ever has a question about a new skill or project at work, her first call is to her professors and mentors at MiraCosta College. “MiraCosta College is like a safe place. I know my MiraCosta College professors are always going to be there to help me for the rest of my life.” n 30

A Message from MiraCosta College Foundation Board President Raye Clendening As the newest MiraCosta College Foundation Board President, it is an honor to DONATE TODAY introduce myself in a publication so focused on our students’ holistic support and success. I never expected what it would mean to be given this incredible opportunity to work diligently at MiraCosta to make real the hopes and dreams of the students who have attended in the past, are enrolled now, or plan to enroll in the future. I’m Raye Clendening, a retired educator and former junior college attendee. I understand firsthand the value of a community college education. My mom moved to California so that her children could access two years of college at a low cost to our struggling family. I attribute much of my career success to my early experiences at Pasadena City College. When I did not have the money to go straight to a four-year university, community college provided a bridge for me to complete my degree and pursue my passion as an educator. Additionally, it was community college that provided the avenue for my mother to gain her GED after raising six children and knowing that she wanted the satisfaction of being a high school graduate. Encouraging, empowering, and educating the community is my life’s work and why I am serving as MiraCosta College Foundation Board President today. So many of the students with whom I have worked as a teacher or administrator have benefitted from attending MiraCosta. It has been their pathway to success. The stories found in this edition of Transforming Lives demonstrate the holistic student support provided by MiraCosta College. Much of this support comes by way of student scholarships, emergency grants, and financial assistance that enhance the academic programs offered. May the stories you’ve read serve to inspire you to give to MiraCosta. An annual donation of $50, $500, or $10,000 will impact the lives of many. Including MiraCosta College Foundation in your will or trust will enhance our community in perpetuity. For more information, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at [email protected] or call 760.795.6652. FENUDOTWIUNGROUER It’s easier than you might think. Help continue our work Contribute today through a gift to our endowment. by contacting The purpose of our endowment is to Tori Fishinger at financially sustain the mission and work of [email protected] our organization. You can make a significant contribution to endow our future…and it’s easier than you might think.

1 Barnard Drive Photo by Stephen Whalen Oceanside, CA 92056 n CRUISE THE 101 DOWN TO CARDIFF If you haven’t visited the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff recently, stop on by and check out the new Student Services building, remodeled library, and updated landscaping.

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