Pathways to Success

VVC Career Education programs offer many ‘Pathways to Success’

Pathways to Success

The 2020 Pathways to Success event filled the SBC Fair with more than 3,000 high school students who connected with local manufacturers and Victor Valley College representatives to learn about various career opportunities.

The annual event was held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, featuring dozens of exhibits highlighting some of the region’s top industries.

A handful of the information tables at the event represented VVC career education programs, including automotive, aviation, criminal justice, medical assistant, restaurant management and respiratory therapy.

“The message we share with students is to try different things … We want to aim them toward a career,” said Automotive/Industrial Technologies faculty member Steven Coultas. “We’ve gotten a lot of exposure to new students, particularly those at high schools without an automotive program.”

Pathways to Success

According to a statement on First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood’s website, the aim of Pathways to Success is to both “broaden the awareness” of manufacturing in the High Desert and to establish networking between business leaders, training providers and students. 

VVC aviation instructor Ricardo Flores said the event allowed him to connect not only with students, but with local school district officials as well.

Pathways to Success

“There have been a lot of faculty members from other schools interested in learning more about our programs, which is great,” Flores said. “We’re sharing with them and with students what our programs are, what to expect and what opportunities it can lead to.”

The restaurant management program from VVC was also a popular table, where Department Chair Tyler Busch and student volunteers were handing out samples of chips and salsa along with brochures to students who stopped by.

Pathways to Success

“This event is a lot bigger than it was a few years ago, and that’s so cool to see for us in Career Education,” Busch said. “It’s so important to us for students to know they don’t have to go to a four-year college and spend six years of their life and lots of money … to have a successful career. They can go into a trade — that’s the backbone of this country.”

Administration of Justice Director Rand Padgett said that students were more engaged than ever and very “inquisitive” throughout the event this year.

Pathways to Success

“One of the best things is that some of them who’ve come up are already enrolled in our dual enrollment classes for criminal justice,” Padgett said, noting that Adelanto, Granite Hills, Oak Hills and Victor Valley high schools all offer college-level criminal justice classes.

Patrick Schlosser, Assistant Superintendent for Apple Valley Unified School District, said the district had about 300 students at Pathways to Success, an event they prioritize each year.

“A lot of vendors here today are industry partners for us … This sends our students back to school with a sense of purpose,” Schlosser said. 

Pathways to Success

Larry Porras and Michael Everett, principles of Oak Hills and Hesperia high schools, respectively, echoed the same sentiment, adding that the event allows students to meet real people from various industries.

“It’s important for our students to have that face-to-face time with different career opportunities,” Evertt said.

Porras added that “the interaction they have opens their minds” to paths they may not otherwise have considered. 

Sean Cullen, a clinical instructor of respiratory therapy at VVC, noted that many of the students he spoke with during the event didn’t know what respiratory therapy was.

Pathways to Success

“When most people think about entering the medical field, they only think about nursing. So we’re able to open their eyes to another opportunity and give them some insight about our program,” Cullen said.

Violet Rodarte, a student volunteer representing VVC’s medical assistant program, said they had a lot of students express interest in their program at the event.

Pathways to Success

“I love the way they light up as we’re talking to them,” Rodarte said. “For me, I know that when I was younger, I would have taken this class a lot sooner if someone had told me about it.”

Pathways to Success is part of the “Made in the High Desert” showcase, which is put on in collaboration by San Bernardino County and Victor Valley Motors.

panel

Poverty Awareness Month brings panel to VVC

panel
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Story by Brian Woods

In support of National Poverty Awareness Month, Victor Valley College partnered with San Bernardino County to host an informational screening and panel discussion calling attention to intergenerational poverty and discussing strategies to combat it.

The event, held on January 23 in the Student Activities Center, was a collaborative effort between community partners, county representatives and VVC staff. The panel sought to provide information and resources on combating homelessness and poverty both on and off campus. 

panel
Photo by Fabian Guillen

County Departments of Behavioral Health, Child Support Services, Public Health, Transitional Assistance and Veterans Affairs were present, as well as the 2020 Census Bureau and local entities such as High Desert Homeless Services.

VVC Superintendent/President Dr. Daniel Walden began the event with a message about community and support.

“I think most, if not all of us, have food on our table and a bed to lay in at night… but there are people who do not have enough.. This makes this kind of event so much more important,” Walden said. “Some people just don’t quite have the height to reach the apple sitting atop the tree. We need to provide that lift for them.”

Shortly after, a CBS News Sunday Morning segment entitled “Homeless College Students: Out in the Cold” was screened, which highlights the severity, statistics and real-life testimonies of homeless college students across the country. 

According to the segment, college students are the fastest growing demographic impacted by poverty today. An estimated 68,000 students claim to be homeless on their FAFSA, according to Federal Student Aid reports. 

During the panel discussion after the screening, county department representatives spoke on their current efforts and overall missions to combat homelessness. Recurring topics included campus outreach programs, child care, housing initiatives, nutritional education and transitional assistance. 

panel
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Focus then shifted to the different networks on campus meant to provide stability, support and resources for at-risk or low-income students. This included the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services, Next-Up foster youth program, Veterans Resource Center and “The Peak” food pantry.

“We were able to open (the food pantry) with the help of departments across campus … We are giving away around 140 packs of food a day,” Homeless Youth Liaison and Financial Aid specialist Elaine Navarrete said. “It’s open to all students who are enrolled… It’s something they really needed.”

The discussion concluded with representatives emphasizing the importance of risk prevention and resource education, including behavioral, mental and nutritional health. A Q&A portion followed, allowing audience members to engage with county representatives regarding community concerns and ways to strengthen support on campus. 

To learn more about resources available both on and off campus, students can contact Elaine Navarrete at elaine.navarrete@vvc.edu. More information on resources available through San Bernardino County programs can be found by visiting www.SBCounty.gov.

Studyathon

VVC students supported by on-campus tutoring

Studyathon
Photo by Julio Manzo

Story by Julio Manzo

It’s the week before finals. You feel a familiar tingling of panic as you realize that you are not prepared for your math final.

As your eyes begin to cross from staring at the same problem for the last hour, you ask yourself, “Who thought it was a good idea to put letters in math? I need help.”

But who can help? Answer: The Tutoring & Academic Support Center at Victor Valley College.

In December, the Center hosted the Stress Less Study-A-Thon in conjunction with VVC’s Math and English departments. The event was designed to assist students in comprehending subjects that have plagued them all semester.

Studyathon
Story by Julio Manzo

“The whole purpose is to make sure the students are well-prepared when they walk into their final,” said Anh Weis, VVC math instructor and head of the Math Success Center.

The event gathered tutors for math, english, psychology, biology, chemistry and political science from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to give students a chance to learn subjects in a more personal setting.

Math Center
Photo by Julio Manzo

Desiree Thomas, a student at VVC, said the one-on-one approach has helped her tremendously. “Someone stops for a second and sits down with us and they break it down, then we can help each other from there,” Thomas said.

Willa Vault, Desiree’s study partner who she met in the Math Center said she would have dropped her class if it hadn’t been for the help she received in the Center.

“If there’s a concept I don’t understand, I have to go to the math center,” Vault said.

Both Thomas and Vault said that Fall 2019 was their last semester of math. Desiree hopes to be an ultrasound technician and to major in psychology, while Vault wants to major in nursing.

Students at Studyathon
Story by Julio Manzo

This is Weis’ third year coordinating the Study-A-Thon and she has big plans for the Math Success Center. Over the past three years the Math Success Center’s utilization has risen 30%, with more than 11,000 sign-ins and 17,000 hours spent in it by students.

Weis is constantly looking for new ways to improve the student experience. For example, she noticed that many students taking Math 85 do not know how to use their calculator, so next semester she is planning to hold a workshop that shows students how to use their calculator for basic math and statistics.

Studyathon
Story by Julio Manzo

Her mission in the Math Success Center is to make sure the students feel comfortable so they can build a support network.

“Give them the support but at the same time let them work together,” she said. “Because when they’re willing to work together that knowledge expands bigger than anything you can imagine.”

Visit vvc.edu/tutoring-services/ to learn more about the tutoring and academic support services available to VVC students.

comedy magic

‘Comedy & Magic’ show at VVC will feature world-famous entertainers

comedy magic

Victor Valley College will host An Evening of Comedy & Magic, a crowd favorite show featuring world-famous performers on January 18th, 2020. The event will start at 7:30 p.m. in the VVC Performing Arts Center (Bldg. 54).

Sponsored by the Associated Student Body, this family-friendly show will include entertainment from a fantastic array of magicians, including comedy magician and host Chipper Lowell.

With an unusual blend of stand-up, improvisation and twisted visual magic, Lowell has twice been honored with “Comedy Magician of the Year!” by the International Magicians Society. 

Accompanying Lowell are three other accomplished performers: Pop Haydn, Elliott Hunter and Ryne Strom & Company.

Whit “Pop” Haydn was named Stage Magician of the Year in 2015 at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood. He has opened for Jerry Seinfeld and the Smothers Brothers and served as the chief magic consultant on Norman Jewison’s major film “Bogus,” starring Whoopi Goldberg. 

Hunter is an international award-winning magician and sleight of hand artist. He has been seen performing on the Las Vegas Strip, under the Saint Louis Arch and even on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

Finally, illusionist Ryne Strom will amaze show-goers as he “turns dreams into reality” in a theatrical experience featuring mind-boggling magic, hilarious comedy, audience participation and stunning illusions for the entire family.

VVC promises a show unlike any you’ve seen before at An Evening of Comedy & Magic on January 18th, 2020. The show has sold out for the past 10 years, so make sure to get your tickets early!

Regular admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for children and $10 for current VVC ASB cardholders (ASB discounted tickets will not be available at the Box Office). Tickets are available online at www.vvc.edu/tix or at the Ticket Office in the Student Activities Center (Bldg. 44) Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VVC is located at 18422 Bear Valley Rd. in Victorville. For more information, call (760) 245-4271 ext. 2395.

Nursing Class of Fall 2019

Victor Valley College celebrates Fall 2019 nursing graduates

Nursing Class of Fall 2019

VICTORVILLE — Last week, 35 Victor Valley College nursing graduates participated in a pinning and candlelight ceremony to celebrate their completion of one of the nation’s most elite nursing programs. 

The ceremony was held at High Desert Church in December to honor the nursing class of Fall 2019. Dressed in traditional white uniforms, the future registered nurses each recited the International Nursing Pledge.

Part of the pledge reads: “I will endeavour to keep my professional knowledge and skill at the highest level and to give loyal support and cooperation to all members of the health team.”

Interim Director of Nursing Renate Longoria explained that the ceremony symbolizes the end of the many challenges that the students overcame throughout the strenuous program. She said the knowledge they gained has not only enabled them to become registered nurses, but has also made them “more confident individuals.”

Longoria introduced various notable figures present at the ceremony, including the VVC Board of Trustees, and thanked the family and friends of the graduates for their continued support.

Reyna Monroy, vice president of the California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) for the class, recognized the cabinet members of CNSA and shared some highlights of the program. 

“The purpose of the CNSA is to prepare the future leaders of nursing, by ‘advancing the transition from student nurse to a professional nurse through leadership, education, mentorship and advocacy,’” she said. “This year we participated in many events that gave back to the community.”

Among these events, the class collaborated with the Victor Valley Rescue Mission to serve hot meals and provide health care services in the community, assisted the Hesperia Leisure League in collecting clothes for senior citizens at Spring Valley Post Acute and worked with the VVC Associated Student Body in placing 3,000 flags in honor of the victims of September 11th, 2001.

Monroy also introduced instructor Diana Sisk, who was honored with the Fall 2019 “Make a Difference” award.

As a class, the students voted on one staff member who they felt helped them make it through the program.

“(Diana) was available all year round,” Monroy said. “She personally came to sit with you when you didn’t understand something and sat with you until you understood.”

Class of Fall 2019 President Adrian Gonzalez-Carrillo also spoke before his peers, sharing some of his favorite memories from the program as well as the challenges faced throughout.

“This nursing program has shaped us all into people that we could have never imagined, and though getting to this point was not easy, I want to say thank you to everyone who stood by us and for seeing us through,” Gonzalez-Carrillo said. “…As all of us go out to step foot into our new careers and with some of us going on to continue our education, I want to say no matter what you do or wherever this amazing career takes you, continue to strive, continue to succeed, and continue to aspire to make a difference.”

Student Achievement awards went to four graduates with the highest grade point averages: Aleksey Sebryakov, Emily Rodriguez, Ashley Hay and Reyna Monroy.

Clinical Excellence awards went to Irina Cruse for medical surgery, Brittany Robinson for advanced medical surgery, Adrian Gonzalez-Carrillo for maternal/child, Luis Rosas for pediatrics and Dawn Jabonillo for mental health. The Student Leadership Award went to Justine Gómez. 

VVC’s nursing program is among the nation’s most elite. In California, it is ranked among the top 5 programs by several surveys, including RegisteredNursing.org, which ranks it as No. 4 and praises it for producing graduates who are “ready to work.”

The entire graduating class of Fall 2019 is as follows: Amanda Agrusa, Ashley Alberts, Rosalinda Anguiano, Angela Buck, Carmira (Karma) Cortez, Irina Cruse, Me’Shell Davis, Gretchen Dennison, Nathalie García, Sean Fall, Naomi Flores, Brandon Foster, Michael García, David Gaul, Justine Gómez, Adrian Gonzales-Carrillo, Ashley Hay, Audrey Hayes, Dawn Jabonillo, Melissa Jaramillo, Cassidy Jones, Jonette Kruk, Jessica Maley, Reyna Monroy, Jennifer Porón Barrios, Brittany Robinson, Christina Rodriguez, Emily Rodriguez, Luis Rosas, Aleksey Sebryakov, Elizabeth Seidler, Shana Strathmann, Gladys Thompson, Rhiannon Torres, Jennifer Will.

bishop johnson

Trip to Nashville connects VVC student with family history

rashad
Photo by Fabian Guillen

While in Nashville for a student leadership conference, an ASB Council member visited a cultural center dedicated to his historically significant relative: Bishop Joseph Johnson, the first African American to attend and graduate from Vanderbilt University.

Rashad Johnson, 26, is the Fine Arts Senator for VVC’s ASB Council and the great-great-nephew of Bishop Johnson. He was able to visit the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center while in Nashville, Tennessee to attend the American Student Association of Community Colleges’ (ASACC) annual conference earlier this month.

“I knew I had a distant relative who has a building named after him. Then when I saw we were going to Nashville, I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” Rashad said. “I had no idea how many people knew about him. He inspired a lot of people.”

Rashad described the Center as a “mini museum” and a place for students to socialize and study. It features an auditorium, study lounges, a seminar room and more. 

It was dedicated at Vanderbilt in 1984 to honor Bishop Johnson, who received his Bachelor of Divinity from the university in 1954 and his Ph.D. in 1958. He was also the first African American elected to serve as a full member of the university’s Board of Trustees in 1971.

Photo by Fabian Guillen

“It’s great to be my age I am now and know I have somebody in my family that inspirational,” Rashad said. 

Rashad graduated from VVC in Spring 2019 and is continuing to gain units to transfer to a four-year university, where he plans to study cinematography.

rashad
Photo by Fabian Guillen

He said that his new knowledge about his family history has motivated him to work even harder in school and in his future career.

“It’s cool to know I have somebody who has a legacy like that, to lead me,” he said. “I know people say you don’t always have to live up to your family, but I do want to make them proud.”

award ceremony

VVC student awarded for designing Food Collaborative logo

award ceremony
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Story by Jacob Nobles

The High Desert Food Collaborative (HDFC) recently hosted a logo competition, rewarding $1,000 to the winning design at an award ceremony held Nov. 15th.

The competition was specifically catered to Victor Valley College graphic art students, 18 of which submitted new designs.

VVC’s partnership with HDFC allows the student food pantry on campus to remain stocked and ready to hand out packages of food to students in need each day.

The contest was held through a partnership between Christina Keneti from the High Desert Second Chance food distribution center and the Kaiser Foundation, which donated the prize money. Besides the prize money, the Kaiser Foundation has previously provided a $10,000 grant and donated hundreds of Meals-Ready-To-Eat (MRE’s) to The Peak.

“This contest will not only bring awareness of The High Desert Food Collaborative and our efforts in fighting food insecurity in the High Desert to your students and faculty, but will also show how VVC plays an important part in it,” Keneti said.

Out of the 18 submissions, 34-year-old graphic art student Andre Higgins’ design was picked and unveiled as the new logo.

Higgins’ design partly consists of a heart-shaped red apple with two green leaves sitting atop the apple and a white backdrop. The greater design details the words “High Desert Food Collaborative” with the slogan, “From us to you.” The words, “High Desert” are printed in an earth-tone green with a Joshua Tree sprouting out of the “I.” The words “Food Collaborative” are a pastel orange and the slogan matches the earth-tone green.

Higgins is self-taught in photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and has been influenced by his uncle, who has had an established 20 year career with Sony Motion Pictures. Higgins even built his own computer at the beginning of the semester, so his winnings will go toward paying off the leftover expenses at Best Buy.

Higgins plans on graduating from VVC with three certificates and a degree next year.

“My major includes 3D modeling, animation, motion picture special effects, and filmmaking. I actually self-taught myself Photoshop … when I used to be involved in the hip hop world under the name Diggy Dre,” Higgins said. “I am hoping that my future includes working with my uncle at Sony Motion Pictures.”

VVC is one of 65 partners of HDFC and the only community college partnership. The Peak food pantry, located on the second floor of the Student Activities Center, opened in Fall 2017 and hands out approximately 135 food packs a day. 

Elaine Navarrete, Financial Aid Specialist and Homeless Youth Liaison for VVC, said the college is grateful for the continued partnership with HDFC, noting that the logo competition was a very special opportunity.

“This is something to be proud of,” Navarrete said. “This is an example of how strong community partnerships can help create other awesome opportunities for our VVC students.”

Fire

VVC students receive emergency response training during Multi-Discipline Day

Fire
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Story by Charity Lindsey & Julio Manzo

First responders in training received valuable preparation for their future jobs during Victor Valley College’s Multi-Discipline Day on Nov. 14th.

The biannual event is filled with roughly 45 drills meant to give VVC’s nursing, law enforcement, fire technology, emergency medical technology, and paramedic students a taste of real scenarios that they may encounter in their careers. 

“Several scenarios have been set up around the Regional Public Safety Training Center to expose students to realistic police and corrections situations and investigations to assist them in their learning experience,” said Rand Padgett, Director of Criminal Justice at VVC. “Students will be putting the skills they have been taught to work through situations and investigations.”

Nursing
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Nursing students ran the, “VVC Trauma Center,” which simulates Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. There were students covered in special effects makeup including realistic lacerations, burns, and other wounds.

“They’re learning the principles of emergency medicine,” said VVC nursing professor Terry Truelove. “It’s teaching them triage protocol during an emergency, like a natural disaster.”

Students from Academy for Academic Excellence (AAE), Academy for Career Exploration (ACE), Options for Youth, and Oak Hills, Sultana, Yucaipa, and Hesperia high schools observed as VVC students utilized their newly learned skills.

Every single one of the 250 high school students who attended also gained a life-saving skill while visiting the RPSTC: How to perform CPR.

CPR
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Emil Kennås, a foreign exchange student from Sweden who is a senior at ACE, was pleasantly surprised by the events that took place.

“The most surprising thing was how realistic everything was. I have never seen something like this in Sweden so it was so cool to see,” Kennås said. “My biggest dream is to be a doctor in my home country, Sweden. So seeing this was so inspiring.”

Fire
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Amid the hospital simulation, fire technology students were battling vehicle and dumpster fires and extricating victims from the wreckage of a car accident. Scenarios went on throughout the afternoon, including a police riot and active shooter training.

The RPSTC holds these training days twice a year; once in spring semester and once in fall. Along with providing important real-life learning for VVC students, it allows high school students in the region an opportunity to get a glimpse of college-level training.

High school students
Photo by Fabian Guillen

Joseph Alexy, a senior at AAE, said the “experience was amazing.”

“Being able to see behind the scenes and witness what training is involved to be able to become a firefighter, EMR, or a police office was such a unique experience,” Alexy said. “They really do training for anything which shows just how dedicated they were.”

auto

VVC hosts high school automotive competition

auto
Photo by Fabian Guillen

The second annual Victor Valley College High School Automotive Technician Competition was held on November 1st and received with much enthusiasm from local students and teachers.

Seven schools were represented by student technician teams — two of which were all-girl — competing in various stations and being scored by volunteer VVC auto students.

“I’m glad we’re here because it’s really preparation for the future,” said Shaun Kittrell, automotive instructor for Silver Valley High School. “We spent an hour yesterday (preparing), which helped a lot. It’s a great experience for them.”

The stations of the competition included timed tire rotation, an engine compression test, building a functional LED circuit on a breadboard, engine parts identification and two types of writing activities.

Joshua Mennicke, one of Kittrell’s students from SVHS, described the challenge of working with small, individual parts during the breadboard activity.

auto
Photo by Fabian Guillen

“You’re looking at little red and white wires and there’s a lot of tiny details,” Mennicke said. “You have to be very careful and diligent.”

The students also had to pay attention to detail while performing an interactive service writer exercise by completing a Bureau of Automotive Repair legal work order. 

The seven participating schools — Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Oak Hills, Silver Valley and Sultana high schools — represented teams of about five student technicians each.

auto
Photo by Fabian Guillen

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 2.1 percent of auto mechanics are female, making the two all-girl teams, from Adelanto and Hesperia high schools, especially significant.

“We have terrific automotive programs in our district, and we’re very proud of these young women for representing that so well,” said Kris Reilly, spokesman for VVUHSD. “It was wonderful to see such interest and we hope this inspires other girls who might be interested in the automotive field.”

auto
Photo by Fabian Guillen

The highest scoring student from each school was awarded with a VVC automotive uniform shirt, safety glasses and Mechanix gloves.

Oak Hills High School earned the highest cumulative school score and was awarded with an annual perpetual trophy to display until next year’s competition and a diagnostic scanner worth about $900 donated by AESwave.

OHHS automotive instructor John Boulanger said his classroom “could absolutely use” the scanner, which he described as a handheld tool that allows them to interface with and diagnose vehicles.

“I thought the competition went great,” Boulanger said. “New technology is coming out all the time so the more competitions we can participate in the better.”

Dakota Appelhof, who was the top-performing student from OHHS, said the competition was “very interesting.”

“It’s something to show off our skills and what we’ve learned,” Appelhof said. “It tested both our speed and accuracy.”

OHHS will display the trophy for a full year until VVC’s next annual High School Automotive Technician Competition.

trophy
Photo by Fabian Guillen


Ludymar Cester

VVC student spotlight: Ludymar Cester grows through challenges

Ludymar Cester

Story by Jacob Nobles

From a small town in Italy called Codigoro, near Venice, Ludymar Cester, a third year VVC student, has learned that challenges and failure bring opportunities.

When her family moved to California, Cester had to learn English. “It was really, really, really hard when I got here. I felt isolated and I couldn’t speak the language,” she said. “I was homesick. I could not memorize anything.”

Eventually, she overcame the barrier, learning English through music, television, and lots of reading

During her 2017 Silver Valley High School graduation ceremony, as Salutatorian, Cester spoke about failure.

“I learned through people that there is no such thing as failure but (rather) opportunities, and you all have made this adventure worth while,” she said, according to a Daily Press newspaper article.

She found this to be true at Victor Valley College. Originally, Cester was accepted to Cal State Fullerton, but due to financial reasons, she could not attend. This setback brought to light a new opportunity: VVC.

While attending, Cester continued her accomplished philanthropy and scholarly work. She began by enrolling into the first cohort of the First-Year Experience (FYE) program. The FYE program supports first year students through guidance classes, tutoring, and monthly progress reports.

“It was a great experience because it helps guide students who are kind of lost in the beginning,” Cester said. “They are constantly looking out for you.”

Later, in January 2018, Cester applied for the ASB position of Sciences Senator, then laterally moved to the position of Treasurer. From her experience in ASB, she learned how to organize events, complete purchase orders, effectively communicate, and prioritize tasks.

Cester plans on graduating with three degrees from VVC: Math & Science AS, Math & Science AA, and Behavioral Science AA. In addition to being a student, Cester is a student worker at Excelsior, Barstow campus extension.

On the weekends, she volunteers at the Red Cross as a case worker. When incidents happen, such as a house fire, the fire department will send in a captain and disaster assistant services will help families with supplies needed like blankets and food. Days later, the case worker calls the families and connects them to organizations that donate supplies.

“Sometimes clients are mean to you, sometimes they’re grateful, and sometimes they don’t answer. But it’s a good experience to know how to communicate with people who are in need,” Cester said. “They are frustrated in that moment so you can’t take things personal.”

In addition to working with the Red Cross, Cester works with COPE Health Solutions, located in Riverside. Here, she gains experience inside the emergency room and trauma room at Riverside Community Hospital.

“You see a lot of bleeding, bones out, bones in,” Cester depicted. “Just being there and observing everything, you learn a lot.”

Due to the unpredictability of the medical field, and for the betterment of those who are suffering, Cester wants to pursue medicine. In her experiences, the medical field is a career that combines both communication and action. She thoroughly enjoys the adrenaline and discovery of new methods.

“It is hard. I know what I’m up against, but hey, bring it on,” she said. “I accept the challenge. I’m not someone who gives up easily.”

After VVC, Cester wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. She has applied to a handful of colleges, and has her eyes on UC Riverside. After she acquires her bachelor’s, Cester plans to enlist into the U.S. Air Force. Whatever happens next, she knows that any future roadblocks will only bring new and exciting opportunities.