Thursday , April 27 2017
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Tag Archives: epcc

YISD, EPCC Announce Two New Early College High Schools

The Ysleta Independent School District and El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced the designation of two new early college high school programs by the Texas Education Agency during a press conference Thursday morning.

Parkland Early College High School and Ysleta High School Early College Academy joins Valle Verde Early College High School as the second and third early college high school programs in Ysleta ISD, with both schools opening the 2017-2018 school year.

Both programs have already accepted students to their respective early college high schools. Ninety-four students will begin ninth grade at Parkland ECHS while 103 freshman willbegin at Ysleta High School Early College Academy.

The early college high school model has proven to be successful in the El Paso community. YISD’s Valle Verde ECHS has received numerous accolades from the TEA, including receiving all seven distinction designations and being named as a model campus. In addition, Newsweek and US News & World Report named Valle Verde ECHS among the best high schools in the nation and the top high school in El Paso in 2016.

The addition of the Parkland Early College High School and Ysleta High School Early College Academy will increase options for students to earn an associate’s degree from EPCC while simultaneously earning a high school diploma.

The “school within a school” model at Parkland and Ysleta will also provide students the opportunity to enjoy traditional high school activities such as athletics, fine arts and JROTC while taking dual credit courses.

GECU, EPCC Open Student-Run Credit Union

Greater El Paso Credit Union (GECU) along with El Paso Community College (EPCC), celebrated the Grand Opening of the first EPCC student-run credit union on Wednesday, April 26th at EPCC’s Valle Verde Campus Student Services Center at 919 Hunter Drive.

Crystal Long, GECU President and CEO stated, “Collaborating with El Paso Community College supports our similar goals of providing higher education and financial literacy to students. These opportunities pave the way to financial freedom and success, which will further elevate our community. We’re excited to grow our relationship with EPCC and look forward to providing financial education and our convenient services to students right on campus.”

The new location is a full-service branch, including an added Virtual Office available for new account openings, loan applications and processing, and more.

“The opening of the GECU branch on the EPCC Valle Verde campus reflects the important partnership between business and education by providing our students work experience in the financial industry, and at the same time offering accessible services to our community,” stated Dr. Myshie Pagel, Instructional Dean of Education and Career and Technology Education.

The credit union is staffed by a team of existing GECU employees and EPCC student positions. The EPCC branch is open to the public, an added convenience to nearby members who live and work near campus.

Annually, GECU provides a $10,000 scholarship donation towards El Paso Community College students. The branch will further emphasize the importance for all students to become financially fit by learning how to budget and manage their money. The GECU/EPCC location at Valle Verde will serve all students, faculty and staff.

EPCC Tejanos Open Food Pantry for Students

On Monday, El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Student Government Association (SGA) celebrated the grand opening of the Tejano Food Pantry.

The new pantry will be serving students from EPCC via the location at the Valle Verde Campus.

The Tejano Food Pantry will be open once a month on the third Monday of each month from the hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The student would receive food for a month until they can come again and collect more food. The food pantry will be supplied by student donations, club donations, and SGA funds allocated for this purpose.

Pictured from left to right: Bryan Mena, Andrea Porras Portillo, Christal Tucker, Hugo Mejia
Pictured from left to right: Bryan Mena, Andrea Porras Portillo, Christal Tucker, Hugo Mejia

“In speaking with students and listening to their concerns, we heard that many had dropped out or were contemplating dropping out in order to get a job to provide food for their family,” Christal Tucker, President of EPCC Student Government Association said. “SGA saw that food was a drastic need for many students, therefore we contacted other community colleges and began the process of establishing the food pantry.”

Currently, SGA will open one food pantry that will be located at the Valle Verde Campus in room C-102 and plan to expand to other campuses in the future.

As SGA represents all campuses, any EPCC student with a valid ID can receive food from the pantry regardless of what campus they attend.

For more information, please call (915) 831-2096


EPCC VP Smith Selected as an Aspen Presidential Fellow

Steve Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education has been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a highly selective leadership program aimed at developing a new cadre of outstanding leaders capable of transforming student success at community colleges across the U.S. The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington,  announced Thursday morning that Smith joins the 2017-2018 class of Aspen Presidential Fellows.

“Mr. Smith is an inspirational leader and dedicated role model to students, faculty and staff at El Paso Community College,” Dr. William Serrata, President said. “He understands the higher education needs of the border region, Texas and our nation and we are proud to have him participate in the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.”

Smith and the 39 other Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a year-long fellowship in July 2017.

Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative and top community college leaders, the program focuses on a new vision of leadership and aims to guide new and aspiring community college presidents to dramatically change student outcomes in four areas: learning, completion while in community college and of bachelor’s degrees after transfer, employment and earnings after graduation, and equitable access and success for underrepresented minority and low-income students.

“The Aspen Institute is widely known as doing outstanding work with community colleges at the national level,” Smith said. “I’m honored to participate and look forward to bringing best practices back to EPCC.”

Smith was selected through a rigorous process that considered his abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access. He has been Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education since 2012, where he leads the daily instructional, workforce and continuing education operations of EPCC’s five campuses, two centers and nine Early College High Schools.

During his 27 years at the college, Smith has also served as a Dean of Math, Science, Career & Technical Education and was a faculty member in Computer Information Systems. In addition to his professional achievements, he has been recognized for his academic leadership and commitment nationally by receiving the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award in 2016. In 2015, he was the recipient of the Chief Academic Officer Emerging Leader Award by the National Council of Instructional Administrators.

“Vice President Smith’s passion for student success and creating a better quality of life for the residents of El Paso County is evident and motivating,” Serrata said.

The 2017-2018 Aspen Presidential Fellows hail from 24 states and 38 community colleges of varying sizes.

For more information, visit:

TEA approves Socorro ISD’s Trailblazers Early College

Trailblazers Early College, the Socorro Independent School District’s fourth early college program, has been designated as an Early College High School for 2017-2018 by the Texas Education Agency.

SISD’s three other early college programs also were re-designated by the TEA for the coming school year.

The new Trailblazers Erarly College will be housed at Americas High School, and will welcome 135 students during its inaugural year. Eighth-graders in the Americas feeder area may apply to the program, which offers students an opportunity to earn an associates of arts in a comprehensive high school environment.

“We are proud to have the official designation for our fourth early college high school program,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “This new program is another one of the endless opportunities we are offering our students to prepare them for college, careers and life.”

Early college high schools are innovative programs that provide dual credit courses at no cost to students; offers rigorous instruction and accelerated courses; provides academic and social support services to help students succeed; increases college readiness; and reduces barriers to college access. Inclusive of its early college high schools, SISD students earned 16,921 college credit hours saving families more than $6 million in college tuition in 2015-2016 alone.

Team SISD, in partnership with El Paso Community College, offers the most early college high school programs in the region. Mission Early College High School was the first early college high school to open in the region. Socorro Early College became the district’s first campus-based program in 2015. In 2016, the district opened Rams Early College.

Trailblazers Early College, in collaboration with EPCC, will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony June 5 at Americas High School.

From Student to Staff Member, Mayra Cordero leads EPCC’s Recycling Effort

The next time someone says, “One person can’t really make a difference in the care of our environment,” you can respond by simply saying, ‘Ask Mayra Cordero at El Paso Community College.’

Cordero has been working for El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an Environmental Specialist for 7 years.

Born in Mexico City and raised in Delicias, Chihuahua, she came to EPCC as a student and attended English as a Second Language (ESL) courses where she was invited to attend a class for Student Leadership. As part of the leadership class, Cordero had to present a project and through much research, she discovered that recycling would save a lot of money for the college.

She presented this project to former EPCC President Dr. Richard Rhodes, he told Cordero that it was an excellent idea.

Cordero knew this was an opportunity to help recycle and create a better environment for this institution. “I noticed there was a need in the college and I thought I could help develop a plan for EPCC.”

One year later she was hired as EPCC’s Recycling Coordinator. The Recycling Program started in September, 2009 at the Valle Verde Campus and at the Administrative Services Center (ASC). The program had a very good response from the students, faculty and staff so it was extended to the remaining campuses a couple of months later.

“In a few weeks I knew that I had a real leader in Mayra,” said Richard Lobato, EPCC Executive Director of Physical Plant, “Mayra made sure that all EPCC personnel were aware of the changes she was implementing.”

The Recycling Program has helped other organizations to either start their own program or to grow it; one of them is The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). At the beginning of her research, Cordero went to UTEP to find out how they were recycling. At that time UTEP was only recycling cardboard. When she took charge at EPCC and the program started to show very good results, representatives from UTEP sat down with her to find out more about her successful program.

“The main reason why this program has been very successful is because the janitors have done an excellent job,” Cordero said, “also the support from EPCC staff and faculty who were eager to start recycling.”

Since Cordero started the program, EPCC has recycled 840 tons of paper, cans and plastic bottles. The program has expanded and now it recycles toners, batteries and office supplies as well.

EPCC has received many honors, one of them being the Green Business Challenge Award, which is a customizable national model that local governments can use to engage local businesses to save money, energy, water, and waste, improving their business’ environmental performance.

Cordero continues to educate even more students, staff and faculty on the award-winning recycling program.

History! EPCC Forensics Team Sweeps Three National Tournaments

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Performance Studies and Debate Team made history by becoming the only school ever to win all three American Forensic Association (AFA) National Tournament Gold Overall Team Sweepstakes Awards in one season.

EPCC won its third Gold Sweepstakes award competing at the 2017 Phi Rho Pi National Tournament April 11-15 in Washington DC (previous wins were the National Individual Events Tournament and the Pi Kappa Delta Tournament).

Other awards won by the team at this event were Gold Individual Events Team Sweepstakes Award and Bronze Debate Team Sweepstakes Award.

“While EPCC has won this top team award six times at Phi Rho Pi, this win was bigger in number of individual awards as well as special awards recognizing the great work the college does in the area of Performance Studies and Debate,” Director Keith Townsend said.

The 18 individual awards won by EPCC are:


Sabas Del Toro, Gold Medal

Hannah Perches, Gold Medal

Erick Canales, Silver Medal

Jordyn Catanach, Bronze Medal

Jaeme Orfanos, Bronze Medal


Salvador Mendoza, Gold Medal

Diego Oropeza, Gold Medal

Sabas Del Toro, Bronze Medal

Erick Canales, Bronze Medal


Jaeme Orfanos, Bronze Medal

Jordyn Catanach Bronze Medal


Diego Parada, Bronze Medal


Sabrina Bustillos, Silver Medal


Sabrina Bustillos, Bronze Medal


Diego Martinez & Sabrina Bustillos, Bronze Medal


Diego Martinez, Bronze Medal


Diego Martinez, Top Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Diego Oropeza, Phi Rho Pi Student Service Award

Mexican Consulate Recognizes EPCC Students

El Paso Community College (EPCC) students named Siemens Technical Scholars earlier this year were honored by the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

Consul General of Mexico in El Paso, Marcos Bucio welcomed students Bryant Muñiz, Lizet Navarro and Adrian Morales to his office for a ceremony where the students shared their educational experience and pride in their Mexican heritage.

“El Paso Community College’s programs of excellence are important to Mexico,” Bucio said. “The Siemens Technical Scholar Awards show the academic quality that the college has and we are proud to work together.”

EPCC received five of the 51 scholarships awarded nationwide by Siemens. Muñiz, Navarro and Morales are current students majoring in Medical Imaging Technology-Radiology. Other scholarship recipients, Javier Casillas and Angelica Muñoz, are recent graduates.

“Without a doubt, I think being in this EPCC program, we are the most prepared students here in the Southwest,” Bryant Muñiz said. “The program prepares us for our registry, so we go into clinics feeling confident knowing exactly what we’re doing.”

The Siemens Technical Scholars Program recognizes exemplary community college STEM programs, like EPCC, that deliver exceptional training for technical STEM jobs in areas ranging from power plant technology to healthcare and awarded scholarships to students.

300 ppi _Mexican Consul_Group 300 ppi_Morales receives Award

EPCC EMT Students have New Tool for Simulated Training, Echoing Real-Life Experience

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic students have a new tool for “real-life” training.

As part of a $123,000 grant from the Texas Association of Community Colleges– Texas Success Center, EPCC has installed a $40,000 state-of- the-art Ambulance Simulator in its classrooms at the Mission del Paso Campus.

“The EMT and Paramedic program is required to train and educate students in a variety of lifesaving treatments and assessment techniques,” said Tony Ayub, Program Coordinator Emergency Medical Services Paramedic. “Simulation has been used successfully in a variety of healthcare related training programs as it allows students to practice and test in a realistic environment.”

Practice with “real-life” simulators enriches the student’s training experience.

300 ppi Ambulance Simulator _1Accreditation entities recognize and allow the use of medium and high fidelity simulation for clinical training.  Paramedic student Kenya Martinez says the simulator training really enhances the program, “I like to help people; I know I can make a difference in their lives.”

Ambulance simulators allow the student to practice treatment of critical patients while in transport with all of the restrictions that are associated with working in small, enclosed environments.

The Texas Success Center has launched a statewide strategy focused on building capacity for community colleges to design and implement structured academic and career pathways at scale, for all students.

This project is intentionally designed to dramatically contribute to the state’s strategic plan of increasing credentialed young Texans to 60% by 2030.

EPCC Forensics Garners Yet Another 1st Place in AFA Season

For the second week in a row, the El Paso Community College (EPCC) Forensics and Performance Studies Team won 1st Place during the American Forensic Association national season.

“To succeed, students must have a foundation in current events, social issues, politics, economics,foreign affairs, literature, basically all of the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Keith Townsend.  “Seeing our students not only possess the knowledge, but seeing that they can take that knowledge, operationalize it in competition with their peers and win these national competitions speaks volumes about not only their talents as performers, but also their abilities as academic scholars.”

The team won the Community College Team Sweepstakes Award at the 2017 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) held April 3rd at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. The El Paso team competed against the top 79 universities and colleges in the nation at this prestigious competition.

This year’s win is EPCC’s 5th NIET Top Community College National Champion Team, winning the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 in addition to the 2017 award, the only community college team to win this recognition more than three times as well as winning it five years in a row.

The AFA-NIET is considered to be the most competitive national tournament and the most challenging for participants to qualify. To compete at this national competition, students must place in the top final rounds at three different qualifying tournaments during the invitational competitive season, which runs September through February each academic year.

The national EPCC’s Team in March won an Individual Events Sweepstakes Honor, Community College Sweepstakes Honor and an Overall Combined Team Sweepstakes Award at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament held at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The team competes at their final tournament, the Community College Phi Rho Pi National Tournament, April 11 th and 12 th in Washington DC.

Competing for the El Paso team at this year’s NIET was Diego Oropeza, Erick Canales, Sabas Del Toro, Jordyn Catanach, Jaeme Orfanos, Sarah Curtis, Hannah Perches, Salvador Ali Mendoza, Cesar Hernandez, Diego Parada, Sabrina Bustillos and Carla Rodriguez. The team is directed by Professor Keith Townsend, Assistant Coach Joel Anguiano and Student Coaching Assistant Christina Del Marquez.

EPCC Highlights Student Achievements during National Community College Month

El Paso Community College joins two-year colleges nationwide to celebrate National Community College Month. During April, EPCC highlights its important achievements as well as accomplishments of its students, faculty and staff.

“With a long history of success and excellence. EPCC is providing accessible, affordable and quality education.” said Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President. “We are delivering opportunity to students, to coordinate our workforce, to our partners, to our region.”

EPCC is proud of its accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom. Many of our health programs, such as Physical Therapist Assistant, Medical Laboratory Technology and Medical Assisting Technology, have received 100% pass ratings in state and national exams.

Students like Bryant Muñiz, Lizette Navarro and Adrian Morales from the Medical Imaging/Radiography program were three of 51 nationally named Siemens Technical Scholars. The Performance Studies and Debate Team continued their successful record by winning the 2017 PI KAPPA DELTA National Tournament.

For the 10 th year, EPCC has been named the #1 grantor of associate degrees to Hispanic students by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine. In the past, EPCC won Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine and was named Military Friendly by Victory Media and Military Advanced Education.

EPCC Forensics Dominate National Tournament

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Performance Studies and Debate Team continues their successful record by winning the 2017 PI KAPPA DELTA National Tournament held at Boise University in Idaho March 23-26. This event was attended by universities and community colleges from across the country.

The Team will take an impressive 37 national qualifications into the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIETD) being held at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois April 1-3.

This is more than any other school in their AFA-NIET District IX in which they compete.

Team Awards:

– Excellent Community College Team Sweepstakes Award

– Excellent Individual Events Team Sweepstakes Award

– Excellent Combined Overall Team Sweepstakes Award

Individual/Duo Awards:

– Diego Martinez/Sabrina Bustillos- Parliamentary Debate National Champion, Superior Debating Award

– Diego Oropeza- Top Individual Showcase Performance Award in Dramatic Interpretation

– Salvador Ali Mendoza- Top Individual Showcase Performance Award in Poetry Interpretation

– Stephanie Avila, Salvador Ali Mendoza, Diego Oropeza, Sabas Del Toro and Hannah Perches- Awards in Prose Interpretation

– Erick Canales/Sarah Curtis and Salvador Ali Mendoza/Jordan Catanach- Awards in Duo Interpretation

– Sabrina Bustillos: Award in Extemporaneous Speaking

– Diego Oropeza and Sabas Del Toro- Award in Program Oral Interpretation Performance

– Erick Canales and Sabas Del Toro. Awards in Dramatic Interpretation

– Stephanie Avila, Sabas Del Toro, Diego Parada and D. J. Oropeza- Awards in Poetry Interpretation

At the National Convention, which is part of the National Tournament, EPCC coaches were elected to leadership roles in the Pi Kappa Delta Fraternity.

EPCC Director of Performance Studies & Forensics Keith Townsend was re-elected as Governor of the Lower Mississippi Provence which includes the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi.

Assistant Forensics Coach, Joel Anguiano was elected a Pi Kappa Delta’s National Council At-Large Representatives.

Townsend and Anguiano said,”this year is EPCC’s best showing at this prestigious national competition.”


EPCC to Present at Duke University in May

El Paso Community College (EPCC) was accepted to present an innovative proposal at the Construct 3D, a conference to be held at Duke in May 2017.

Dr. Aditi Sarkar, Project Director, Architecture HSI STEM Grant, will present the Discovery Corner (DISCO). DISCO is a digital design fabrication lab that is under construction at the EPCC Valle Verde campus.

“We have students and members of the community, with no training in digital fabrication, make all the furniture for an entire new building,” said Dr. Sarkar.

“The goal and hope is to engage and educate students in the field of digital design fabrication by letting them make human-scale everyday objects that they will use and in turn be excited to be autonomous makers themselves,” Dr. Sarkar added.

DISCO has developed a program to provide students, who may think of fabrication machinery to be elusive and complicated, an opportunity to realize their inner maker with the help of the CNC Router and 3D printers.

EPCC Faculty Member Awarded Librarian of the Year

The Border Regional Library Association (BRLA) has named Lorely Ambriz its Librarian of the Year for 2017.

Ambriz is an El Paso Community College (EPCC) Assistant Professor of Library and Research Instruction as well as a Librarian at the EPCC Northwest campus Jenna Welch and Laura Bush Community Library.

“Being selected as Librarian of the Year by peers means a lot, because they consider you an outstanding librarian making a difference in the field,” Lorely Ambriz said. “Being a faculty member at EPCC means giving my best to the students and the community I serve.”

Ambriz is also a candidate for the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Global Council in the Americas Regional Council as a delegate representing the Academic and Community Colleges division. The election results will be publicized in April, 2017.

EPCC Students Named Siemens Technical Scholars

Five students at El Paso Community College (EPCC) were named 2017 Siemens Technical Scholars by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (CEP) and the Siemens Foundation.

Current students Bryant Muñiz, Lizette Navarro and Adrian Morales plus graduates Javier Casillas and Angelica Muñoz were among 51 exceptional community college students selected from some of the nation’s strongest community college programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology.

“EPCC offers excellent college programs that deliver first-rate preparation of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields,” Steve Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce said. “It’s an honor for EPCC’s Nursing and Radiologic Technology programs to be among the top community colleges nationally that deliver exceptional training for STEM jobs and to be awarded with Siemens Technical Scholars scholarships for students.”

The Aspen Institute projects that jobs in STEM fields will grow at almost double the rate of non-STEM occupations. Community colleges like EPCC are playing a huge role in working to meet this demand.

More than half of all STEM jobs across the United States require an associate’s degree and pay wages that average more than $50,000 annually. Individuals with a postsecondary education earn 74% more than those with just a high school diploma.

“Watching the students grow every day, you see them advance and by the time they graduate, they are ready for the real world,” Christl Thompson, Coordinator of the Radiologic Technology Program said.

“They are not only a reflection of their education or the college, they are a reflection of us.”

The Siemens Technical Scholars selection committee identified exemplary community college STEM programs, like EPCC, that deliver exceptional training for technical STEM jobs in areas ranging from power plant technology to healthcare.

Five students, Bryant Muñiz (Radiologic Technology), Lizet Navarro (Radiologic Technology), Adrian Morales (Radiologic Technology), Javier Casillas (Radiologic Technology), Angelica Muñoz (Nursing), will receive scholarships of between $3,500 and $10,000 to continue their education.

As a progressive leader, EPCC has a vested interest in El Paso and is committed to creating access to education and the support services necessary to increase the number of college graduates. As a result, students and graduates are prepared to excel in the job market.