El Paso Community College (EPCC) and The National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) announce Marisa Pierce, EPCC Executive Director of Outreach and Transition Services, is participating in the prestigious NCCHC Leadership Development Program as a 2017 Fellow.
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent EPCC as an NCCHC Leadership Fellow,” Pierce said. “Through this learning experience I hope to build a strong leadership tool kit and become a greater advocate for Latin(as)os in higher education leadership roles.”
Pierce is one of 22 members of the 2017 Fellows cohort selected from community college candidates from around the country.
EPCC’s trendsetting role in the area of education to Latin(as)os has been recognized by many national publications. “Being a Hispanic in a leadership position affords me the opportunity to be a role model for our students. In our roles we are the real life examples of Latino(as)os that have made it.” Pierce said. “As we work to foster our students’ success, we may very well be planting the seed that influences their own future academic and career possibilities.”
The program is designed to develop a pool of highly qualified Latin(as)os whose career interest focuses on assuming increasingly responsible administrative positions, with the ultimate goal of becoming a community college president.
“Thanks to our Texas Mutual Insurance Corporation partners, and now with our partnership with the OSHA Alliance, the EPCC Risk Management Institute will be able to reach out and offer training to more industrial employees than ever before,” said Barry Bogle, Director of EPCC Law Enforcement Training Academy Security & Special Officers. “By combining our resources and assets. the ability to receive quality safety training will open to nearly everyone in the industries within our region.”
The two-year alliance will expand access to OSHA’s 10- and 30-hour training courses to promote understanding of the workplace safety and health rights and responsibilities of workers and employers in the El Paso metro area.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
For details on OSHA partnerships and alliances, please call OSHA’s toll-free hotline 800-321-OSHA (6742) or OSHA’s El Paso Area Office at 915-534-6251.
During the annual State of the College Address, Dr. William Serrata, President, shared El Paso Community College’s successes and vision for the future with students, faculty, staff and the community.
Dr. Serrata highlighted many programs and faculty that successfully prepare students to transfer to university or enter the workforce; recognized multiple staff members and departments; described the college’s healthy financial trajectory with sound fiscal management and the strategic plan that will guide EPCC into the future.
“We will continue our focus on EPCC—Engagement, Partnerships & pathways, College-going culture and Completion,” Serrata said to a live audience of more than 500 people at the Administrative Service Center along with hundreds of others streaming it online or watching it at one EPCC’s five campuses.
Throughout the address, Serrata spoke of EPCC’s numerous accomplishments throughout 2016-17 school year. He proudly spoke of some of EPCC’s national recognitions including being named #1 for the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic Students by Hispanic Outlook Magazine.
He also spoke about EPCC’s mention in the New York Times for being ranked 5th out of two year colleges for students moving up two or more income brackets after completing their degrees
In 2017 EPCC awarded nearly 4,500 degrees and certificates, had a 6.2% increase in full-time graduation rates and made advancements in finding innovative ways to keep students on their pathway to graduation.
Dr. Serrata also talked about EPCC’s growing Early College High School Program where there are now 12 throughout the city at each of the large school districts. “Our Early College High Schools are remarkable because the national graduation rate is 24%, we are far exceeding that rate with 74.2% of EPCC’s Early College High School students completing their Associate’s Degree at 74.2%,” Serrata said.
Some of the faculty, staff and programs from across the district for their roles and impact, just a few examples were:
The opening of EPCC’s Architecture Building, an $8.3 million state-of-the-art facility and innovative program between EPCC and Texas Tech
Olga Valerio, whose students were one of 10 finalists for the National Science Foundation Renewable Energy Program Award
Maria Alvarez, whose successful RISE program has resulted in EPCC graduates successfully continuing their education with nearly 90 students getting B.S. degrees, 17 Master’s degrees, 7 PhDs and 4 MDs
Tony Ayub and Emergency Medical Technician Dual Credit students earned first place and other awards at the Health Occupation Student of America International Leadership Conference
The Men’s Half Marathon Team named Academic Team of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and all six EPCC teams had a combined GPA of 3.0.
Athletic Director Felix Hinojosa was named Coach of the Year after the Women’s Cross Country Team won 3 National titles in 4 years.
Librarian Lorely Ambriz was named Librarian of the Year by the Border Regional Library Association
Finally, the presentation wrapped up with a look to the future of EPCC. Serrata described innovative construction projects at each of the campuses which will begin in the upcoming months. He restated EPCC’s commitment to helping more students complete their degrees and certificates.
EPCC will continue to offer affordable, high quality education that will meet the job demands of the 21st century where the majority of new jobs will require some sort of certificate or degree. “College is the only way to the middle class,” Serrata said. “EPCC students are amazing and they can compete anywhere.”
Staff Report September 1, 2017NewsComments Off on Veterans Recognized for Building Own Computers, Completing Related Classes353
Thanks to a partnership between EHN’s Veterans One Stop Center, El Paso Community College and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission several El Paso area veterans or their qualifying dependent recently completed a free, 60-hour course where they learned how to build and operate their own computer, then are able to call it their own.
“We are so proud to be a part of this initiative. Computer technology is priceless in our day and age, so the fact that these veterans not only learned how to build a computer, but also learned the ‘ins and outs’ of operating that computer is such a valuable tool for these individuals,” said Noe Vargas, EHN Veterans Services Manager.
“What made this program even better is the participants were able to keep the computer and have it for their personal use.”
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission provided the funding for the three week course offered by EPCC as Computer Hardware, Employability Skills Training.
“We want to thank everyone involved in this program because these are skills that can be used out in the workforce, and we also want to recognize our veterans who committed to investing in their future,” added Vargas.
Participants received a Certificate of Completion from EPCC and displayed their newly-constructed computers at a ceremony held Friday afternoon.
The Workforce Solutions Borderplex, along with El Paso Community College, City of El Paso, and Texas Workforce Solutions are hosting their 2nd Annual Accessibility Summit Wednesday at EPCC’s offices in East-Central El Paso.
Local business owners, managers, human resources and administrative personnel will benefit from this event which provides information on assistance technology, company benefits, resources regarding accommodations, and gain access to motivated employees.
For more information about the summit call Workforce Solutions Borderplex Business Services at 915-887-2332 or email them at email@example.com.
Where: El Paso Community College, 9050 Viscount Blvd., Building A (behind Fountains at Farah)
Employer Workshops from 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m.
Employer Lunch and Setup from 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Job Fair from 12:00p.m. to 3:30p.m.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) Summer Theater continues its 2017 season with A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing.
A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing is a play about a Broadway producer who wants to write the next comedy hit. He hires a writer who is suffering from depression and no one knows why. They try to make him happy so that he will write the next hit show.
The play is written by Robert Caisley and directed by EPCC Theater Instructor, Matthew Smith.
Performances will be held July 7th and 8th at 8:00 p.m. and 9th at 2:30 p.m. The EPCC Summer Theater performs at the EPCC Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North.
General Admission is $15, Non-EPCC students and military are $10 and EPCC students/staff and senior citizens are $7. Tickets are available at the door. The box office opens two hours before each performance.
All proceeds from the EPCC Summer Theater benefits student scholarships.
Staff Report June 27, 2017NewsComments Off on EPCC EMT Dual Credit Program Wins National Championship985
The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Dual Credit program placed first, second and fifth in different categories at the Health Occupation Student of America (HOSA) International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida.
The 2017 EPCC EMT Dual Credit class at the EPISD CCTE consists of all female students.
“The culture is changing,” said Tony Ayub, EPCC EMT/Paramedic District Coordinator. “Dual Credit, EMT Dual Credit is tangible real-life training for their lives; this is an ideal career for women.” Completing the EPCC EMT program, the students are eligible to sit for the EMT Registry.
The EMT Dual Credit students are part of the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) Center for Career and Technical Education (CCTE) program.
The Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) captured the championship competing against international health occupation student teams. The MRC participants were Chantal Guillen, Monica Ponce, Kelley Ricks, Tiana King, Amber Ledesma and Malia McNair. The MRC presented a portfolio of projects to better their community.
The project that was highlighted by the judges was an EPISD districtwide plan to raise the safety level of school buses by updating first aid and spill kits.
The other two teams sent to the HOSA Conference also excelled. The Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) team placed second. This team consisted of Esmeralda Ponce and Paola Quiroz. The team of Sofia Williams and Mofo Tah placed fifth in the category of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
EPCC engages students inside and outside the classroom which prepares students with marketable skills for gainful employment.
Staff Report May 31, 2017NewsComments Off on EPCC President Elected to AACC National Board of Directors886
El Paso Community College President (EPCC) Dr. William Serrata was elected to serve on the national Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
AACC is the leading proponent and the national voice for community colleges, representing nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree–granting institutions and more than 13 million students.
Community colleges are the largest and fastest-growing sector of U.S. higher education, enrolling close to half (45 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates.
“It is an honor to be elected to serve on the AACC board with esteemed leaders from across the nation who are committed to advancing America’s community colleges,” Serrata said. “Through advocacy and a focus on student success, the AACC Board of Directors will help lead community colleges in their goals to meet 21st-century education and employment needs.”
Serrata, a nationally recognized leader, will offer important insight and perspectives to the 32-member AACC Board of Directors.
He is also a board member for Excelencia in Education, the Higher Education Research and Development Institute, the Texas Student Success Council, the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Texas Success Center Advisory Board. Locally he serves on the boards of the Hospitals of Providence East Campus, Workforce Solutions Borderplex and United Way of El Paso County.
Under his leadership, EPCC has received numerous national accolades including being recognized as one of the Top 10 Colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute in 2015, a recipient of the 2016 AACC Excellence Award for Student Success and name by Hispanic Outlook Magazine as the #1 granter of Associate Degrees to Hispanic students among many others.
Serrata was an Aspen Ascend Fellow, a McDonald’s Hispanos Triunfadores for Education honoree and a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award recipient which represent just a few of his accomplishments.
There is no question that cyber security is a concern and a priority in today’s world. Technology has become more advanced, allowing us to have online access remotely and 24/7 in the palm of our hands.
We can communicate and conduct business with a few keystrokes or a series of simple finger taps. While these additions have improved our accessibility, they’ve arguably increased the threat of potential attacks in our virtual and daily lives.
The University of Texas at El Paso and California State University, Stanislaus have formed a consortium with their community college counterparts, El Paso Community College and Merced College, to help address this national concern. The group is utilizing a $3.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation over five years to increase enrollment and diversity in cyber security degree programs through a scholarship program called S-STEM. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
“Everyone needs security integrated within their networks and information systems, and equally important, everyone needs professionals who are able to develop and implement protective measures for these systems vulnerable to attacks,” said Claudia Casas, S-STEM manager at UTEP. “The demand for cyber security experts with excellent ethical values is high.”
El Paso Community College sophomore Rocio Cardona is one of the scholarship recipients.
“This scholarship and all the opportunities that it represents means better educational preparation, which will help me to succeed in the field,” Cardona said. “I think that the financial help will allow me to put aside the need of a job, allowing me to focus more on my studies … and I’ll have the time to attend all the professional workshops, competitions and research that come with this scholarship.”
Through the S-STEM partnership, students interested in studying computer science receive assistance for their first year at their community college, then transfer to the corresponding university. Professor and Chair of the UTEP Computer Science Department Ann Gates, Ph.D., said collaborating with community colleges is critical in the industry with the current demand in cyber security and the need for diversity in that skilled workforce.
Students funded at EPCC and UTEP will follow the Secure Cyber-Systems track at UTEP and complete a B.S. degree in computer science.
“We recognize that in order to increase the number of students in STEM fields, especially computer science, we have to look at the pathways to a four-year college like UTEP,” Gates explained. “We really feel it’s important to build these tracks and help the students thrive when they come to UTEP. We want to get them excited by increasing student engagement early in the program.”
At the core of the S-STEM program is competency in cyber security, and it is enhanced by professional development skills like interviewing, team communication, marketing and critical thinking, as well as involvement in professional internships. Funded students will participate in extracurricular activities, such as workshops and competitions that will enhance their knowledge in cyber security and enhance their professional skills.
“What we hear a lot nationally in the industry is that students who graduate with a computer science degree are technically good students, but it’s the soft skills that a lot of the time are lacking,” said Salamah Salamah, Ph.D., software engineering program director and the S-STEM grant lead.
UTEP Junior Elsa Gonzalez-Aguilar knows there is demand in the cyber security industry, but knows preparing to work in that field will not be easy.
“I am interested in cyber security because I find it to be one of the most challenging areas in computer science, requiring me to think both logically and creatively,” Gonzalez-Aguilar said. “It also requires me to keep learning new things every day, and thus allowing me to grow as a professional.”
As a UTEP alumnus, Christian Servin, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at EPCC, understands the value of the S-STEM program on multiple levels.
“As a graduate from the computer science department at UTEP, I was lucky to work in many different research areas with many outstanding faculty,” Servin said. “Several of them were in the cyber-security area. As a former EPCC student, I was also aware of challenges that students have as freshmen and in the field of pre-engineering … I also have learned about the current demand in the computing fields. These experiences have helped to construct pathways between different entities in the academic area, this includes the S-STEM Scholarships and cyber-security areas. I know these partnerships between UTEP and EPCC are pillars for future collective efforts that will impact future generations in computing.”
Future industry experts enrolled in S-STEM are already thinking about the impact they’ll have.
UTEP sophomore Eduardo Herrera aspires to work for the CIA or National Security Agency defending the nation against cyber attacks.
“I was always interested in how technology works, especially in what you can do with it,” Herrera said. “I found cyber security fascinating because of how people find back doors to the technology to make it do what they desire. I see hacking as a kind of power in a world full of technology. Unfortunately, there are people in the world with intensions to do harm using this capability. My goal is to work for the government to protect information, not letting it fall in the wrong hands.”
El Paso Community College sophomore Briana Sanchez is looking forward to continuing her studies at UTEP and has great aspirations herself for developing future industry experts.
“I hope I will get the chance to open a recreation center in a low-income community where I can teach and introduce young minds to this field or any computer science field,” Sanchez said. “This degree has already impacted my life so much that I would like to give back to the community.”
Scholarship recipients can receive funding for up to four years. The S-STEM application for fiscal year 2017-18 will close on June 26, 2017.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) Summer Repertory begins the 2017 season with Banging the Bell. All proceeds from the EPCC Summer Repertory benefits student scholarships.
The play is written and directed by Ted Karber, Jr., EPCC Drama Instructor. “What a great experience to hear my words spoken by such capable and devoted actors,” Karber said. “When I wrote Banging the Bell, I didn’t have any expectations that the show would be performed for El Paso audiences.”
Banging the Bell is a comedy about a group of women who plan to be the belles of the ball at the annual cotillion, but infidelity, a corpulent corpse and a dim-witted deputy could get in their way.
Performances will be held May 26th, 27th, June 2nd and 3rd at 8:00 p.m. and May 28th and June 4that 2:30 p.m. The EPCC Summer Repertory performs at the EPCC Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North.
General Admission is $15, Non-EPCC students and military are $10 and EPCC students/staff and senior citizens are $7. Tickets are available at the door. The box office opens two hours before each performance.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) held its annual recognition dinner and award ceremony to celebrate and recognize outstanding faculty and staff for their contributions to the college.
“Our faculty and staff are vital to our mission of supporting our students in pursuit of the educational goals and dreams,” said, Steve Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education. “These awards are a small recognition of the incredible work they do each day.”
The event was held on May 5th at the Coronado Country Club. Invited guests included recipients, Board of Trustees, Faculty-Professional Development Committee, Administrators, and the college staff.
Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award Dr. Nader Rassaei, Pharmacy Technology, Rio Grande
Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award Heather Fowler, Nursing, Rio Grande
Keith Townsend, Speech, Valle Verde
Dr. Rebecca Escamilla, Biology, Northwest
Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Achievement Award Sylvia Aguilar-Zeleny, English, Valle Verde
Marcia Clark, Speech, Valle Verde
Melissa Aguilera, Speech, Valle Verde
President’s National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award Felix Hinojosa, Athletic Director, Valle Verde
Professional Staff Association (PSA) Full-time Employee of the Year Award Carmen Wages, Accountant, Administrative Services Center (ASC)
PSA Part-time Employee of the Year Award Michelle Chavez, Coordinator, Diversity Programs, Valle Verde
Classified Staff Association (CSA) Full-time Employee of the Year Award Raul Lucero, Grounds Foreman, Valle Verde
CSA Part-time Employee of the Year Award Perla Renteria, Resource Development Asst., Foundation, ASC
Staff Report April 4, 2017Local NewsComments Off on EPCC Highlights Student Achievements during National Community College Month513
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.
Staff Report March 7, 2017NewsComments Off on UTEP, EPCC Partner with California Institutions to Strengthen Cyber Security Pipeline833
The University of Texas at El Paso and California State University Stanislaus have formed a consortium with their community college counterparts, El Paso Community College and Merced College, under a $3.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The group will utilize the funding over five years to increase enrollment and diversity in cyber security through a scholarship program called S-STEM.
Under the partnership, students interested in studying computer science will receive assistance for their first year at their community college, then transfer to the corresponding university. Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department Ann Gates, Ph.D., said collaborating with community colleges is critical in the industry with the current demand in cyber security and the need for diversity in that skilled workforce.
Students funded at EPCC and UTEP will complete a B.S. degree in computer science with a Secure Cyber-Systems track at UTEP.
“We recognize that in order to increase the number of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, especially computer science, that we have to look at the pathways to a four-year college like UTEP,” Gates explained. “We really feel it’s important to build these tracks and help the students thrive when they come to UTEP. We want to get them excited and increase student engagement early in the program.”
The consortium is looking at course alignment, coordination and sharing of best practices.
“We’re hoping to develop models that other universities can look at,” Gates said.
At the core of the S-STEM program is competency in cyber security, but it is enhanced by professional development skills like interviewing and communication skills, marketing, critical thinking and professional internships. Funded students will participate in extracurricular activities, such as workshops and competitions that will enhance their knowledge in cyber security and shape their professional skills, as well as skills necessary to function within a team.
“What we hear a lot nationally in the industry is that students who graduate with a computer science degree are technically good students, but it’s the soft skills that a lot of the time are lacking,” said Salamah Salamah, Ph.D., software engineering program director and the lead of this S-STEM grant.
Salamah added that providing the financial support for students may also help them gain more experience. Students who are awarded the scholarship can receive the money for up to four years.
“Giving them this money will hopefully allow them to work less and spend more time as students,” he said.
The scholarship application and selection process has various steps and requirements.
The program has already established the first cohort of students at all four institutions this spring semester, with a new cohort selected at the beginning of the new academic year.
Staff Report February 28, 2017NewsComments Off on EPCC Students Named Siemens Technical Scholars911
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.
Staff Report February 22, 2017NewsComments Off on EPCC Recognized Nationally for College Completion822
El Paso Community College (EPCC) was ranked number one in the nation for granting associate degrees to Hispanic students by two-year schools.
“EPCC is focused on engaging students, growing community partnerships and fostering a culture of excellence with measurable outcomes,” said EPCC President, Dr. William Serrata. “We are proud to be a nationally-recognized leader in getting students on a pathway to graduation.”
The honor, as well as profile of EPCC is featured in the current issue of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine.
“The lessons I learned from EPCC and my professors prepared me for the real world. To have that kind of support and see an institution striving for excellence in the Hispanic community, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride,” said Sean Diaz, EPCC graduate who successfully
transferred to and attends Western Kentucky University.
The publication annually surveys two- and four-year institutions in their serving of Hispanic students. This is the tenth year in a row that EPCC has been recognized with this honor.
EPCC’s work in educating the community is also featured on the front cover and centerspread of the magazine.
Since the first degrees were awarded in 1972 until December 2016, EPCC has granted 70,842 degrees. Nearly 80% or close to 55,000 of those degrees were earned by Hispanic students.
This is the tenth year in a row that EPCC has been recognized as the top associate degree grantor for Hispanics.
For more than 25 years, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine has been a top information news source and the sole Hispanic educational magazine for the higher education community.
Visit The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s digital edition for complete rankings.