NEWS ARCHIVE​​​​​​
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MARCH


March 27, 2006

Indie Filmmaker/Faculty Member Goes International

Between grading student papers and projects, it is a wonder how College of the Canyons animation department chair Sheila Sofian manages to make time to feed her creative urges. But all the work has paid off, as her fifth independent film “A Conversation with Haris” has been invited to participate in Fundacia “La Caixa,” a contemporary art and animation exhibit in Spain and France during June 2006 until April 2007.

“I am really excited and honored to have my film included in this exhibition among artists such as William Kentridge and Philip Hunt,” said Sofian. “Typically independent films are screened in festivals and have a limited distribution, but this exhibition will allow my film to be seen by a wider audience as both projected film and as a video installation.”

A painting-on-glass animation, “A Conversation with Haris” is a “touching documentary narrated by an 11-year-old Bosnian immigrant as he recounts his experiences in the war in his homeland. The film is beautifully made using painted animation, and set against Haris’ thoughts on the war and the deaths of so many of his close family, the film illustrates how startlingly adult a child’s thoughts can be,” said Mark Rabinowitz from indieWIRE.com.

The selection of the films focuses on its narrative as well as metaphorical and critical aspects, as well as the addressing of social, cultural and political issues.

The exhibit will be in Caixa Forum Barcelona from June to September 2006, Sala Rekalde of Bilbao from October 2006 to January 2007, and in Le Fresnoy Center from January to April 2007. Other artists participating are William Kentridge, Sven Pahlson, Feng Mengbo, Philip Hunt and Magnus Wallin.

Neus Mira, Juan Antonio Alvarez Reyes and Laurence Dreyfus will be the curators of the exhibit.

Another animated film by Sofian, “Faith and Patience,” will be included in the Museum of Modern Art’s tribute to CalArts, and will run in MOMA’s theater from late May through August. Screenings of the film will be from July 26 to July 30.

A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Sofian’s award-winning work has been televised on WHYY’s “Independent Images,” WYBE’s “Through the Lens” and WTTW’s “Image Union.” Her animation is also featured in the film “Closetland” and the titles for “10 Things I Hate About You.”


March 21, 2006

Another NASA Scientist to Speak at Conference

With the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s successful entry into orbit around Mars on March 10, it seems appropriate that almost a month later, four women scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena — Deborah Bass, Ashley Stroupe, Jaime Waydo and Ruth Fragoso — be the luncheon keynote speakers for the College of the Canyons Women’s Leadership Conference on April 11. The conference's mission is to help women gain practical knowledge and draw inspiration from women leaders and pioneers. Former Los Angeles Laker Jamaal Wilkes will also speak.

Bass is the deputy project scientist for the Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, scheduled to launch in 2007. Bass conducts independent research on the Martian water cycle, focusing on surface-atmosphere interactions in the North Polar Region. Bass was also the science operations system engineer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project and as the MER deputy science team chief. Bass received her bachelor's degree in Geology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in planetary geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. A self-proclaimed dog lover, Bass became interested in geology in high school.

“The neat thing about geology is that you look at the big picture,” she said. “You combine a little physics, a little biology, a little chemistry and a little history. You look at how things interact with one another.”

In college, her interests expanded to planetary geology. “It was like taking the big picture of geology and making it even bigger — look at a whole planet, rather than one system.”

Stroupe is a robotics engineer and works as a rover driver with the Mars Exploration Rover project, building sequences of commands to drive the rover and deploy scientific instruments. Stroupe received her bachelor of science degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College, a master of science degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University and another in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She received her Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Waydo is a mechanical systems engineer at JPL. In her NASA career, Waydo has led a series of entry, descent and landing tests for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which landed twin rovers successfully on Mars in January 2004. Her current assignment is leading the mobility team for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, a rover scheduled to launch in 2009. Waydo received her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University and her master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Fragoso is responsible for the training and readiness of mission operations flight teams, conducting mission operation simulation exercises of various scenarios, facilitating the execution of training modules and ensuring flight team certification.

Fragoso received her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Former Laker Wilkes will also be a keynote speaker at the conference. Wilkes has enjoyed success in the real estate and mortgage industries and is currently the founder and president of Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors, offering comprehensive investment planning and management services to foundations, business owners/entrepreneurs, affluent professionals and non-profit organizations.


March 17, 2006

Scholarships to Leadership Conference Offered

The City of Santa Clarita is offering 25 scholarships to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference on April 11 to high school students interested in learning what it takes to be a leader.

“The future of our community rests with the youth in this valley,” notes Adele Macpherson, community services superintendent for the city. “The city is pleased to support student leaders who want to broaden their understanding of leadership by attending this important conference.”

The Women’s Leadership Conference will bring together women from business and the community, as well as entrepreneurs, who want to learn more about how to be more effective leaders on the job or in their personal lives.

Speakers include Jamaal Wilkes, former NBA Laker and president of Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors; a team of women scientists from the JPL-NASA Exploration Program; and Janet Choi, enterprise reporter for KTLA News. A full agenda with keynote speakers, breakout sessions and networking opportunities is planned for the event at College of the Canyons.

“Women are a powerful and influential force in our community,” Macpherson said. “Nationally, 60 percent of women participate in the U.S. labor force, representing 47 percent of the total labor force. One in every 11 adult women in the U.S. owns a business, and female entrepreneurship has been growing at twice the national average since 1977. Exposing our students to the important role of women leaders is critical to their future and to our community.”

Ann Kerman, executive director of the School and Business Alliance, agreed. “We are thrilled to bring the conference to junior and senior high school students in this valley,” she said. “Fostering the development of our youth by connecting them with the other women leaders attending this conference is an innovative approach to preparing students for life beyond high school.”

The scholarships will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.


March 17, 2006

Study-Abroad Trips to Nicaragua, Costa Rica Planned

College of the Canyons is offering its students the opportunity to study abroad in Nicaragua and Costa Rica from Aug. 6 to 17. Students can earn up to nine units studying Spanish, history and biology during their seven-day stay in Nicaragua and five-day stay in Costa Rica.

“Studying abroad goes beyond academic enrichment,” said Claudia Acosta, instructor and program coordinator. “It is a transforming experience for students to realize that their social contributions are not limited to Santa Clarita alone, but can extend to the entire globe.”

The 44 students on the last trip were invited to a National Youth Symphony Concert at the National Palace. This year students will attend a cultural event at the National Palace hosted by the secretaries of education and culture. Students will also visit the World Heritage Site; the Ruins of Leon; Granada, the oldest city in Latin America; and San Juan Del Sur, a beach on the South Pacific coast.

In Costa Rica, students will stay in Tabacon Hot Springs, Tortuguero, visit museums and take a boat ride to the Caribbean Tropical Rain Forest.


March 17, 2006

Performing Arts Center Offers Musical Variety

From a gold-digging blonde aboard a cruise in the roaring ‘20s in the musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” to three gifted classical musicians out to prove they play just as well as they can teach in “A Faculty Recital,” or simply “Just Mozart” with the Santa Clarita Master Chorale, the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center will be bursting at the seams with musical fusion during the end of March.

The fun begins on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. with “A Faculty Recital.” The first half of the concert features pianist Polli Chambers-Salazar and violinist Sharon Harman playing an Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2 by Johannes Brahms and Duo Concertant by Franz Liszt. The second half features guitarist Joe LoPiccolo accompanied by Larry Steen on Bass, performing original work.

General admission is $10 and $5 for students, senior citizens and children under 12.

Saturday, March 25 will be the cat's pajamas when Winwood Production’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” takes the stage at 8 p.m. The musical is about the adventures of chorus girl Lorelei Lee-a role made famous on screen by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s-en route to Paris aboard the Ile de France with her partner in crime, Dorothy Shaw. The musical is packed with lively tunes such as “A Little Girl from Little Rock,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and, of course, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Tickets start at $25.

On Sunday, March 26 the Santa Clarita Master Chorale presents “Just Mozart” at 3:30 p.m. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, the Chorale will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Great Mass in C Minor” with full orchestral accompaniment. Guest soloists Desiree Hassler, soprano; Caroline McKenzie, soprano; Jonathan Mack, tenor; and Michael Gallup, bass, will join the Chorale. There will be a free pre-concert lecture at 2:30 p.m. by artistic director Allan Robert Petker. For ticket information visit their website at www.scmasterchorale.org.

For more information, please visit the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center website at www.CanyonsPAC.com


March 16, 2006 

California Community Colleges Honored for Helping Hurricane Victims
                                                       
The Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) awarded the “Uncommon Courage Award” this year to California’s 109 community colleges for their cumulative efforts to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.  

“Like the rest of the country, California Community colleges looked on with horror as Katrina left a massive toll of devastation and human suffering,” said ACCCA President Lisa Sugimoto, Vice President for Student and Learning Services, Pasadena City College. “I am proud to be associated with the students, faculty, and administrators who have contributed greatly to ease the suffering of those impacted by the one of the worst U.S. natural disasters in modern times.” 

Chancellor Marshall (Mark) Drummond accepted the ACCCA award on behalf of the community college system. “The award symbolizes the generosity of thousands who aided Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi citizens,” Chancellor Drummond said. “While public higher education policy options how to provide aid and relief were being explored at the high levels of state government, you donated money, gave food, contributed clothes, and even paid the tuition of displaced Gulf Coast students.” 

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit, Louisiana natives Edward J. Valeau, Superintendent/President, Hartnell Community College District, and Ned Doffoney, President, Fresno City College, launched efforts to raise money for relief efforts. They triggered a $1 million “Make a Difference” fundraising effort from the California community college system. Pleased to learn of the ACCCA award, Superintendent/President Valeau and President Doffoney were also proud of the funds raised, donations collected, and staff who volunteered to go to the impacted areas. 

“When we look at the cumulative efforts of the Chancellor’s Office and the community colleges, we saw compassion, understanding, and a commitment to help Katrina victims,” said Superintendent/President Valeau. “So even though California community colleges has much to shout about, we still have much to do.”

Chancellor Drummond concurred. “We’re not finished with the job of helping Hurricane Katrina victims,” said Chancellor Drummond, encouraging everyone to give to the charity of their choice. 

“We salute the California Community Colleges for their quick and caring response to help the victims of these devastating hurricanes with 2005 ‘Uncommon Courage Award,’” said ACCCA Executive Director Susan Bray, who presented the award to Chancellor Drummond earlier this afternoon. 
(See photo of Chancellor Drummond and Executive Director Bray, holding the “Uncommon Courage Award,” at www.cccco.edu.)

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office provides guidance for the 72 districts and 109 colleges that constitute the California Community Colleges system. The largest system of higher education in the nation, the California Community Colleges provided educational, vocational and transfer programs to more than 2.5 million students during academic year 2004-2005. More information about the system can be found at www.cccco.edu​.


March 15, 2006

Study-Abroad Program Offers Italian Summer

College of the Canyons is offering students another opportunity to study abroad this summer in Italy from July 5 to 16. For 12 days and 10 nights, students will be able to take Western Civilization I and II, and U.S. History I and II, all while being immersed in the vibrant and picturesque cities of Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples and Pompeii.

History professors Brad Reynolds and Robert Cleve will be the tour guides and instructors.

“Studying these subjects in Italy allows students the amazing opportunity to visit historic places such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, rather than relying on pictures in textbooks that cannot fully convey their grandeur and historical immortality,” said Reynolds.

Some historic sites students will visit are the leaning tower of Pisa, Michelangelo’s frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and the Pantheon.

The trip costs $2,995 per person and includes 15 meals, transportation and transfers by private, deluxe, air-conditioned motor coach in Italy, and sightseeing tours, including the services of local guides and admission fees to museums, as well as 10 nights accommodation in first-class hotels.
Students must pay a $300 deposit by the end of March, and final payment is due by May; space is limited.


March 13, 2006

Double Vision: Presentation Peers into Depths

“The brain loves to be convinced,” says College of the Canyons math professor George Rhys of his experiments in viewing the third dimension from 2D photos via stereoscopy. “Just how depth perception is accomplished by the brain is something worth pondering.”

Rhys explores the science of stereoscopy — a technique invented in 1838 to view three dimensions from photographs — with equipment of his own creation and presents examples of his work along with a discussion of the brain’s inner workings during his scholarly presentation entitled Double Vision: Depth Perception and the Brain, taking place in the Performing Arts Center on April 4 at 4 p.m.

Rhys began dabbling in the field of stereoscopy more than a decade ago, creating the ability to add depth to landscapes and developing portraits of his children that spring to life.

“The technique of stereoscopy is as old as photography itself, but has many modern uses,” said Rhys, “from the ViewMaster to NASA’s photographs of Mars.”

His hobby turned into a fascination with the subject, and led to researching the theories behind depth perception and the way the brain processes depth.

“My best guess is that the depth effect is based on the brain’s inability to make a single image out of binocular input,” said Rhys.

Attendees will be able to view many of Rhys’ photographs and will learn how to create their own stereoscopic device.

“Its surprisingly simple,” said Rhys.


March 10, 2006

Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ Debuts March 17

Conflicted lovers struggle to find bliss with often hilarious results in the College of the Canyons Theatre Department’s presentation of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy As You Like It, opening Friday, March 17 at the Performing Arts Center.

Directed by John DiMita, who has helmed numerous plays at the college including last season’s critical hit “Rumors,” As You Like It follows the fortunes of star-crossed lovers Rosalind and Orlando as they try to overcome banishment, death — or worse — in their pursuit of happiness in the magical forest of Arden, and in each other.

The character of Rosalind is played by Meaghan Boeing. Originally from Boston, Boeing has performed regionally and locally in Don Juan: The Trickster of Seville (Aminta), The Misanthrope (Jennifer), The Sound of Music (Maria), As You Like It (Phebe), Sunday in the Park With George (Celeste #1) and many other productions. She also travels nationally with a one-woman show educating youth about relationship violence.

Orlando is portrayed by Louis Steele. This is Steele’s first leading role in a play. Previously he performed in an Irish version of Romeo and Juliet at Valencia High School, in which he played the bagpipes as well as the character of Pastor John. Most recently, Steele worked with the Canyon Theatre Guild as Scrooge’s nephew Fred in its production of A Christmas Carol. He also worked backstage on the COC production of Little Shop of Horrors. 

Currently, Steele is a full-time student and part-time math tutor at College of the Canyons, and plans to transfer to a university in Fall 2007.

Also performing in the play is William S. Hart School District Board member Paul Strickland, who will play the role of Adam, a servant of Orlando’s brother Oliver.

As You Like It opens Friday, March 17 at 8 pm and runs again at 2pm and 8pm on Saturday, March 18 and finishes with a 2 pm show on Sunday, March 19. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors, children under 12 and students with valid student ID.

For more information, please visit the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center website at: www.canyonspac.com.


March 9, 2006

Women of Science to Speak at Leadership Event

Four women scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena — Deborah Bass, Ashley Stroupe and Jaime Waydo — will be the luncheon keynote speakers for the College of the Canyons Women’s Leadership Conference on April 11. The conference’s mission is to help women gain practical knowledge and draw inspiration from women leaders and pioneers. Former Los Angeles Laker Jamaal Wilkes will also speak.

Bass is the deputy project scientist for the Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, scheduled to launch in 2007. Bass conducts independent research on the Martian water cycle, focusing on surface-atmosphere interactions in the North Polar Region. Bass was also the science operations system engineer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project and as the MER deputy science team chief. Bass received her bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in planetary geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. A self-proclaimed dog lover, Bass became interested in geology in high school.

“The neat thing about geology is that you look at the big picture,” she said. “You combine a little physics, a little biology, a little chemistry and a little history. You look at how things interact with one another.”

In college, her interests expanded to planetary geology. “It was like taking the big picture of geology and making it even bigger — look at a whole planet, rather than one system.”

Stroupe is a robotics engineer and works as a rover driver with the Mars Exploration Rover project, building sequences of commands to drive the rover and deploy scientific instruments. Stroupe received her bachelor of science degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College, a master of science degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University and another in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She received her Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Waydo is a mechanical systems engineer at JPL. In her NASA career, Waydo has led a series of entry, descent and landing tests for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, which landed twin rovers successfully on Mars in January 2004. Her current assignment is leading the mobility team for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, a rover scheduled to launch in 2009. Waydo received her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University and her master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Former Laker Wilkes will also be a keynote speaker at the conference. Wilkes has enjoyed success in the real estate and mortgage industries and is currently the founder and president of Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors, offering comprehensive investment planning and management services to foundations, business owners/entrepreneurs, affluent professionals and non-profit organizations.


March 6, 2006

Vital Express Seeks End to Naming Agreement

Vital Express has asked the College of the Canyons Foundation to terminate its $2 million sponsorship and naming rights agreement for the college’s performing arts center.

The foundation’s Executive Committee voted unanimously today to forward a letter of request to dissolve the pact, as well as a recommendation for termination, to the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees for action, and to the full College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors for ratification.

Citing a changing business climate, unanticipated business costs and a revision to their business plan, Vital Express owners Lisa and Dan Boaz said they regret having to pull out of the agreement, but loyalty to their business and employees dictated the move.

“I think of everything Lisa and Dan Boaz have done for us over such a short amount of time, and I am amazed,” said Dr. Dianne Van Hook, the college’s superintendent-president. “The college district was honored by the courage it took for these entrepreneurs to step up and help the college for all the right reasons at a time when the college really needed someone like them — to raise the bar on philanthropy in this valley — and to give it their best shot.

“The nature of the world we live in requires all of us to manage change on a frequent basis, and nowhere is change occurring faster than in the business world,” Van Hook said. “The Boazes have made the best decision for themselves, their employees and their company, and all of us associated with the college thank them for their efforts and wish them the best.”

Termination of the agreement will have no impact on the operation of the performing arts center. Shows will continue as scheduled, and the college is currently putting together next season’s performances.

During the agreement, Vital Express completed $74,359 in payments to an endowment fund for the center. Vital Express said when the letter of termination is accepted, it will remit an additional $25,641, bringing the total to $100,000.

The center will now be called the College of the Canyons Center for Performing Arts.

“We expect that other donors will step forward in the near future to take advantage of the opportunity to attach another name to the facility, helping us complete the endowment fund we have set up to support performing arts education and fine programming in the center,” said Kathleen Maloney, executive director of the COC Foundation.


March 2, 2006

Scholarship Established in Cougar Football Player’s Name

sandneswebphoto
Mike Sandnes was an exceptional student athlete, a natural leader and an inspiration to those whose lives he touched. Above all else, he was a determined yet compassionate person, a loving son, and a vibrant young man whose life was just beginning to blossom when cancer claimed him at 21.

Twenty-seven years after they buried their son, Richard and Marian Sandnes have established a scholarship in Mike's name at College of the Canyons.

Richard Sandnes readily acknowledges that they could not have afforded such a tribute at the time of Mike’s death. But times change, and Richard is now a successful businessman. Two years before Mike died, Richard launched Mr. Stax Inc., a Valencia company that has grown and prospered to the point where it now operates 46 IHOP restaurants in six states from coast to coast.

“Marian and I always wanted to do something for Mike and the college,” he said. “We thought about it for many years, and we’ve reached a point in our lives where we can honor Mike and help others in the process. We’re confident this will help many College of the Canyons students in the future.”

The Santa Clarita couple have donated $100,000 to the College of the Canyons Foundation to create the Michael “Mike” Sandnes Memorial Scholarship, an endowed scholarship fund that will live on in their son’s name in perpetuity.

Mike Sandnes attended College of the Canyons from 1975 to 1977, maintaining good grades while excelling on the football field in his position as a defensive safety. His first year out with the Cougars was 1975, a distinguished year for both Mike and the fledgling football program. It was the team’s first championship season, and Mike was named to the All Western States Conference Team.

He was offered a scholarship to the University of Washington but became ill and was diagnosed with cancer shortly after graduating from College of Canyons. He died March 20, 1979.

“There are people that you meet and never forget because they add something to your own life. Mike is like that,” then-Football Head Coach Larry Reisbig said as he delivered Mike's eulogy.

“I would like to tell you how Mike has truly added something to my life and the lives of so many young men who have known him and heard about him,” Reisbig said. “Mike had a dedication to excellence. He always wanted to be the best he could be at everything he did. And yet he had a compassion and understanding for those who were searching and striving for this same dedication. This above all else made Mike the leader he was.”

Mike’s short but remarkable life so affected Reisbig and others at the college that the Mike Sandnes Award for Most Inspirational Player was created in 1978, to be awarded annually to the football player who best shared Mike’s inspirational excellence.

“Mike stands for everything I have spent my life trying to teach my young men,” Reisbig said. “Mike taught us all through example. That is why I wanted to honor the one Cougar each year who is the most like Mike  a leader, an inspiration, a friend and a teammate.”

The award was designed to be the highest honor anyone on the football team could achieve, Reisbig said, adding, “It is a tribute to Mike’s parents that they nurtured and developed all the wonderful qualities that made Mike the person he was.”

As fate would have it, the college’s football program was dropped several years later. Although it was revived in 1998, some 17 years later under a new college administration and football coach, the intervening years obscured the memory of that most inspirational player award.

The recognition has now been restored and will be given to the Cougar player who best exemplifies the inspirational traits of Mike Sandnes, said present-day Football Head Coach Chuck Lyon, who acknowledged that the award from the previous football program was simply forgotten.

“We are thrilled that students will benefit from the generosity and foresight of Richard and Marian Sandnes,” Superintendent-President Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said. “Their amazing tribute to their son will ensure that hundreds more students will benefit for years to come.

“And, I am pleased that we can resurrect the Mike Sandnes Award for Most Inspirational Player,” Van Hook said. “It means a lot to Richard and Marian, their son’s memory, and to all of us. I can’t think of a more appropriate person for this award to be named after.”

The merit-based scholarships for fees and books will require candidates to be full-time students maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA while enrolled in physical education programs and athletics.

“We hope this scholarship will be meaningful and help quite a few students down the road,” Richard Sandnes added.

The scholarship funds will come from accrued interest earned from the initial $100,000 donation. Actual scholarship amounts have yet to be determined. The scholarship should be available in about 12 months. Prospective candidates will be able to apply at the college’s Financial Aid Office.
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