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Thursday , October 18 2018
Home | Tag Archives: el paso community college

Tag Archives: el paso community college

EPCC to Host Earth Science Day at Transmountain Campus

El Paso. A city of endless desert vistas, mountains, dark skies, and mild winters. A beautiful city to those that call it home.

But how much do we really know about weather and climate, natural resources, planetary and other geological processes that affect living and decision making in the El Paso region?

That’s why El Paso Community College would like to invite you all to their Transmountain campus for a free evening of fun and learning at their first ever Earth Science Day.

Back when I was a student there, I loved learning about the ecology and geology of this borderland region. Now, EPCC wants everyone to learn more about our regional geology through presentations and demonstrations. They’re going to take you on a journey into the past where you can experience our rich geological history through performances by EPCC Dance and explore our environment with the EAR 1 rover.

You’ll get to interact and engage with demonstrations in Augmented reality (AR), seismology, and more! In this way, you’ll learn about the environment using hands-on technology. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Admission is free and open to the public. So, join us Wednesday, October 17th from 5pm to 8pm in the Library and Mall area of the Transmountain Campus located at 9570 Gateway North Boulevard.

Contact John Olgin at or call 915-831-5058 for more information.

EPCC Women’s Cross Country Team Tops In New Mexico Meet

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Women’s Cross country team finished first at the New Mexico Junior College Invitational in Hobbs, New Mexico. The men’s team took second place at the meet.

This accomplishment comes on the heels of the national ranking of both teams by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Poll; the women placed second and the men fourth in the ranking.

Individually at the NMJC Invitational, EPCC’s Everlyn Kemboi won the race with a time for the 5K of 14:43. This was the second fastest time in the history of the race.

Leading the men was Dennis Kiptoo who finished second with a t time of 21:40 for the 7K men’s race.

EPCC’s next race will be on October 19 at the UCR Highlander Invitational in Riverside California.

EPCC Cross Country Teams Nationally Ranked

Both of El Paso Community College (EPCC) Cross Country teams – men and women – are ranked at the same time on the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Poll.

The women are ranked 2nd and the men 4th, thanks to their performances at the Lori Fitzgerald Open on September 15th, the men finished in 1st place and the women in 2nd place. The best competitors individually were Gideon Cheplak, finishing in 1st place for the men, and Everlyn Kemboi, finishing in 5th place for the women.

“Most important is that they all excel academically,” Felix Hinojosa, EPCC Athletic Director and Cross Country Head Coach said.  “Each team member is a leader and they depend on each other to excel.”

The next competition for the EPCC teams will be the NMJC Cross Country Invitational at Hobbs, NM on September 28th. This will be the next to last race before getting to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) regionals in the last week of October, and national championships in the first two weeks in November.

The teams are looking to repeat last year’s achievements, where the men finished in 2nd place and women in 1st place at the NJCAA regionals.

For complete rankings, visit the ustfcca website.

Video+Story: EPCC President William Serrata Shares State of EPCC with Community

During the annual State of the College Address on Thursday, Dr. William Serrata, President, shared El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) successes and vision for the future with students, faculty, staff and the community.

Serrata highlighted many programs, faculty and staff that successfully prepare students to transfer to university or enter the workforce. He also described the college’s healthy financial trajectory with sound fiscal management and the strategic plan that will guide EPCC into the future.

“EPCC works hard to facilitate success of our students,” Serrata said. “The college raises the bar, not lower it.”

Serrata emphasized the college’s Master Plan that has begun to transform the five campuses with building construction at each. Classrooms, labs and student spaces will accentuate the student success and life.

Student success is always a hallmark to the president.

Serrata highlighted student accomplishments and recognized many departments. He talked about efforts to engage students right away, saying “if you do not engage students early on, they might not complete.”

The address also previewed the upcoming 50th anniversary of EPCC.

Dr. Serrata spoke of activities being planned by a special 50th Anniversary committee. Large events are scheduled through the year as well as ongoing events that will have a 50th anniversary flare.

The State of the College Address was also the launching point for the golden anniversary logo to be used during 2019.

El Paso Community College Unveils Mural Promoting Art and Education

It started with the idea of a tree and grew into a wonderful work of art. The Menagerie of Art mural now adorns a classroom at the El Paso Community College (EPCC) Northwest campus.

The mural was the vision of English Instructor, Tony Procell. Procell is the mentor for The Glass Menagerie, student art and literary club.

“Students are young and still learning and they have a creative side,” Procell said. “We want our students to be inspired by this.”

Procell enlisted the exceptional talents of EPCC Art Instructor, Rudy Castro.

Castro worked throughout the summer to create this spectacular mural. Their collaboration brought to life the theme of celebrating art through the seven forms of art.

A reception for EPCC faculty and staff was held on August 23rd to unveil the artwork.


EPCC VP Receives Administrative Leadership Award from Texas Association of Community Colleges

Corpus Christi, Texas – El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Mr. Steven Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education, was presented the 2018 Carl M. “Cheesie” Nelson Administrative Leadership Award in Corpus Christi during their annual awards luncheon.

Conferred by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), this award recognizes administrators with outstanding leadership qualities who have made a significant impact on higher education.

“Vice President Smith has consistently been a driving force behind our institution’s efforts to provide excellent education and support services to our students,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said.  “His outstanding leadership has resulted in measurable results.”

Smith was selected for this competitive award out of nominees submitted from all 50 community colleges across Texas.  Smith who describes success as seeing students walk across the stage to receive their degree at commencement has worked at EPCC for nearly 30 years.

In his current role he oversees all of the instructional, workforce and education programs at EPCC’s five campuses that serve around 30,000 students.

“This award celebrates exemplary commitment to Texas students, leadership, professional decorum, collaboration and community engagement,” Jacob Fraire, TACC President and CEO said.

EPCC Dual Credit, Early College High School Program Recognized as Example of Excellence Finalist

On Wednesday it was announced that EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program has been recognized as a finalist in the Examples of Excellence in the associate level.

“EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School programs are having tremendous results in getting youth in our region on a path to higher education,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “The data shows that students who take just one college course in high school are more likely to pursue a college degree and be successful.”

The EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program gives students opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school.

EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program was one of only 21 finalists selected from more than 139 nominated programs from 27 states, DC and Puerto Rico.

The four 2018 Examples of Excelencia will be announced October 11th at the Celebración de Excelencia in Washington, DC.

“We are honored that Excelencia in Education has selected El Paso Community College’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Program as an Example of Excelencia.  This nation-wide recognition highlights the work we are doing to provide students in our region the opportunity to take college courses while in high school,” Tonie Badillo, Dean of EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Programs said.

“These students have the opportunity to save time and money by getting a head start on their college career.”

Since being established more than a decade ago, EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program has addressed the region’s low educational rate in comparison with Texas and the Nation.

The program has become a nationally recognized model for its success rates. Students in EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College programs have high graduation and completion rates in the courses they take and when they continue to 4-year institutions. The data shows that 58 percent of students who take just one college course in high school pursue an advanced degree versus 33 percent for those who do not.

Students in EPCC’s Early College High School Programs have a 75 percent success rate in completing their associate degree while still in high school which outperform the national and state averages which are less than 30 percent.

EPCC offers Dual Credit in the majority of area high schools. There are 12 Early College High Schools spread out through area school district partners including Canutillo ISD, Clint ISD, El Paso ISD, Fabens ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD.

¡Excelencia in Education! is an organization that works to accelerate Latino student success, enhance our workforce, leadership, and economy. Examples of Excellence recognizes institutions and practices that bring attention to evidence-based practices that work for Latino students in education.

White House Honors EPCC Dean with Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Joshua Villalobos, current Dean at the Mission del Paso Campus and former Geology Professor, is one of 27 individuals that the White House has named as a recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

“The PAESMEM award highlights, not only my work, but the remarkable opportunities that EPCC offers for both students and faculty,” Villalobos said.  “Very few community colleges support activities that allow their faculty to apply, run and be successful in research programs that promote research for community college students.”

PAESMEM recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America.

Villalobos was recognized for his work to bring an Associate of Science in Geology degree back to EPCC as well as his engaged role in mentoring students.

“As a result of his efforts, EPCC is now produces more than 8 percent of all associate geology degrees in the country and our students now have a clearer educational pathway to transfer to UTEP and other institutions,”  Steve Smith, EPCC’s Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education said.

“Additionally, Mr. Villalobos has served as a dynamic and engaged mentor who has guided our students for academic and research growth.”

Villalobos was nominated for the award in 2014 but the awards were not announced until today and says he is honored to be a recipient.

PAESMEM recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America.

“The mentoring that takes place at EPCC between our faculty and students transforms lives,”  Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said.  “We are very proud of Dean Joshua Villalobos for receiving the White House Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring along with the work he does every day to give students the guidance and inspiration they need to learn and succeed.”

Villalobos will receive his presidential certificates at a recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. later this week.

EPCC Opens Veterans Lounge at Transmountain Campus

On Monday, officials with El Paso Community College (EPCC) hosted a Grand Opening of its new Transmountain Veterans Lounge.

“The opening of the Veterans Lounge affords and opportunity for veterans to come together as comrades and fellow students in an area to call their own,” Arvis Jones, EPCC Director of Student Leadership and Campus Life.

One of the biggest challenges facing combat veterans is the social isolation they feel when they return from combat.  Many veterans have difficulty adjusting to civilian life, much less adjusting to the academic rigor and social atmosphere of a college.

To help ease that transition, the new lounge offers computers, a printer, snacks and an informal place to study or socialize with other veterans.

EPCC officials added, “EPCC’s goal is to embrace the veteran, military service member and family members to ensure their success at EPCC.”

This is the second such veterans’ area opened by EPCC, as the first Veteran’s Resource Center opened on the Valle Verde campus in 2016.

The Transmountain Veterans Lounge is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

EPCC Students Selected for University of Alabama Pre-Law Program

The University of Alabama School of Law has announced the selection of two El Paso Community College (EPCC) Criminal Justice students to their Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program. Evelyn Barraza and Adriana Franco were two of thirty chosen nationwide for this high honor.

The PLUS program will run from June 3rd through June 29th at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They offer students this great opportunity free of charge and a stipend for living expenses.

“The PLUS admissions committee was very impressed with both EPCC students,” Daiquiri J. Steele, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Law in Residence said. “Approximately 72 undergraduate institutions were represented in the applicant pool, so for El Paso Community College to have two students selected is remarkable.”

left to right are Evelyn Barraza and Adriana Franco.

PLUS will ready attendees with the skills to apply for law school as well as preparing for exams and career options. “Managing time during the rigors of law school will be one of the areas I plan to gain experience,” Adriana Franco said. The courses will familiarize students with the American legal system.

Both students graduated from EPCC this May with an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and plan to attend the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in the fall. They will continue into law school with Barraza wanting to work in criminal law and Franco to become a prosecutor.

The EPCC program offers an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security.

Professor Michelle Watkins, Ed.D. and Instructor Jeffrey Brockhoff have mentored Barraza and Franco through their time at EPCC. “Being able to connect with the professors at EPCC is most important,” Evelyn Barraza said.

Tough Choices Lead EPCC’s Valenzuela to Success On and Off the Track

With graduation just around the corner, Merari Valenzuela’s future in cross country – and college -was uncertain.

In 2016, during her senior year at El Paso High School she had torn her ACL during basketball season and split her meniscus.

Merari was faced with the decision to either go through surgery – with the looming challenge of learning how to walk again before she could tie up her laces and race competitively in a 5k – or wait until basketball season was over.

With a full cross-country scholarship on the line – she chose surgery in the hopes of being better by the start of the cross-country season.

Then, the lengthy healing process began.

“Most institution usually opted to drop the student athlete, which is within the bounds of the National Junior College Athletic Association policies,” said Cross Country Coach Felix Hinojosa. “However, our program takes a different approach. We would rather work with the student athlete.”

For the first 6 months, Valenzuela could not run, but EPCC honored her scholarship and she was able to complete her education, while being red-shirted on the cross-country team for her first season.

“It was frustrating at times because you want to be with your teammates,” she said. “It’s like you see them running and you want to go but your leg doesn’t let you because it’s still trying to recuperate and heal. I had to learn how to walk again and learn all the basics,” Valenzuela said.

“We incorporated multi-joint movement training patterns, water running, woodway curve treadmill intervals and sport specific strength training,” Hinojosa said. With this additional strengthening and conditioning exercises from Cross Country Coach Felix Hinojosa,

Valenzuela was able to make a full recovery and run with her teammates in the women’s half marathon in 2017. The team placed second at the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship in Topeka, Kansas.

Throughout her training and healing process, Valenzuela also maintained a 4.0 GPA, which has earned her an Out of State Competitive Award of $15,579 per academic year at New Mexico State University.

Additionally, she was awarded the 1888 Leadership Transfer Scholarship which amounts to $2,500 per academic year.

“EPCC has helped me maintain a high GPA because our coach emphasizes the fact that we are students before athletes,” she said. “He expects us to maintain a high GPA because it opens up opportunities to receive academic scholarships. Having a high GPA allows us to be noticed more when it comes to honor societies as well.”

Valenzuela said since she started at EPCC, she decided to major in Biology in preparation for becoming a Neonatologist, or a doctor who works with newborns.

In 5 years she hopes to be finished with medical school and starting her residency. Valenzuela credits her success as a runner and as a student to her coach and EPCC. “Here at EPCC, you are close to home, but you are also independent, and athletically it helped me become a new runner and find out what are my strengths and weaknesses.”

EPCC Tejanas Playoff Games to Be Streamed Live

EPCC Tejanas fans will be able to follow all the action live starting Friday, as their run to NJCAA Championship will be broadcast online.

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Tejanas Softball Team will take part in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region V playoffs in Lubbock, Texas, May 4th through 6th.

The Tejanas are seeded sixth and the playoff is in a double-elimination format. The games will be streamed live by the Texas Sports Radio Network (TSRN) online.

EPCC’s schedule for the first two games are:

May 4, 12:30pm (MDT) vs. Odessa
Win Game 1:  May 4, 5:30pm vs. Clarendon
Lose Game 1: May 5, 10:00am vs TBA

EPCC Medical Building, Parking Garage Signal Start of Rio Grande Campus Upgrades

On Wednesday, El Paso Community College unveiled the $32 million EPCC Rio Grande Academic Facility and Parking Garage set to be built at 919 Oregon Street in Downtown El Paso.

The single-level parking lot will become a multi-use, 7-story building with academic spaces and a parking garage, using double helix angle parking to accommodate the most parking possible.

Officials say, “The uniqueness of the Rio Grande Campus, in comparison to other El Paso Community College campuses, is that it is the only campus in an urban setting and sits within neighboring historic areas and neighborhood associations. Remaining wall stones from a historic home site will be accommodated into the structure.”

A state-of-the-art Simulation Suite will cater to health professions programs such as nursing, EMT, phlebotomy, radiology, and physical therapy. This building also allows EPCC to create a new Associate of Applied Science program in echocardiography. The campus will promote interactive, interdisciplinary learning strategies.

The skills lab, which will replicate real-life facilities and hospital spaces, will help ensure that the graduates are job-ready. The 400-space parking garage will alleviate the lack of parking on the campus and currently results in students parking throughout the neighborhood streets.

The final design, by Parkhill, Smith & Cooper (PSC), incorporates intriguing character reflecting the Sunset Heights neighborhood, with a landscaped pedestrian plaza that provides a social gathering space that also connects the campus to various campus buildings on the western side.

“This facility is addressing various campus challenges, such as lack of parking and academic spaces,” said Mary Stills, Senior Associate / Architect at PSC. She was the architect and project manager. “The building represents the investment that EPCC is making in the students to educate them and prepare them in real-world scenarios so they can be career-ready. It’s a privilege to design a building that will be utilized to its maximum potential for years to come.”

Construction is planned to be finished by the summer of 2020.

Microsoft Selects EPCC’s Clint Early College Academy for New Partnership

El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Clint Early College Academy was selected to a new partnership with  Microsoft’s Technology, Education, and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs through partnerships between classroom teachers and technology industry volunteers.

Edmond Martinez, Principal of Clint ISD Early College Academy, a school that has long embraced the need for strong science, technology, engineering, and math programs, sees the teaching of computer science as a duty to the next generation, and encourages local technology experts step up to volunteer.

“We have a responsibility to create pathways for our students from high school, through college, and to professional positions,” Martinez said. “Technical knowledge and skills prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, to solve serious problems, and create new opportunities for humanity. It’s my hope that many of those in our community who have technology training will sign up to volunteer with TEALS this fall. What could be more rewarding than passing on your skills the next generation of innovators?”

“Our region is fortunate to have terrific schools, which will be even stronger with the addition of a program that teaches one of the key skills young people will need to be successful in our increasingly technology driven world,” said J.J. Childress, the El Paso manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark program to foster greater economic opportunity and job creation in six communities in the United States.

“We know teachers want to teach computer science, but it can be challenging to find the time and resources to learn the subject. TEALS addresses this by putting trained technology volunteers into classrooms to teach students, while helping teachers prepare to teach the subject on their own.”

The program will launch this fall at Clint ISD Early College Academy.


EPCC, Artists, Community Members Shine During Saturday’s Lights Festival

A student competition at El Paso Community College to construct light sculptures put a spotlight on the artists, the school and the community Saturday night.

“The Lights at EPCC is a festival of creative art light structures representing the inspirational culture of El Paso,” Dr. Kenneth Gonzalez, EPCC Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services said.

“EPCC wants to reach out to the community and be a major hub for community gatherings and events,” he added.

The festival included live music, food, family fun and games. The festival goers were able to learn about EPCC while being amazed by a fantastic light show.

The Lights at EPCC was held at the Valle Verde Campus Americana Village and approximately 1,000 community members were in attendance Saturday night.

The exhibition showcased approximately 40 designs created by EPCC Art and Architecture students.