Wednesday, December 31, 2014

International School of Monterey to hold open house

International School of Monterey, a charter school, will host an open house from 9:30 to 11: 30 a.m. on Jan. 10. The public will get a close look on how the school operates.

School administrators are also accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year for grades K-8. Applications will be received until 5 p.m. Jan. 27, and a lottery will be held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 for the spots available. All events will take place at the school at 1720 Yosemite Ave. in Seaside.

For more information, call 583-2165 or click here.

CSUMB’s first class of nursing get their pins

CSUMB’s first class of 10 nursing graduates participated in a pinning ceremony on Dec. 20. Their commencement ceremony will take place in May.

The ceremony marked a milestone for the students and for the university. The idea of a nursing program was discussed in CSUMB’s early days, but actual planning did not started until 2008. The first students were admitted four years later.

“As a pioneer, I feel like I have helped lay the foundation for future nursing classes,” said Jennifer Riccobono. “The students in our graduating class have set the bar high.”

The ceremony is a tradition in nursing that dates back to the days of Florence Nightingale, when a pin was a way to identify a nurse. At the pinning ceremony, nurses receive pins unique to their program.

CSUMB offers the only bachelor of science in nursing degree in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. The program started in 2012 in collaboration with four regional community colleges. Students begin their education at one of the two-year schools, spend time in a "blended" learning environment, and then complete their studies at CSUMB. They receive an associate degree in nursing degree from their community college and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from CSUMB.

In the summer of 2014, a second track was added that allows already-employed nurses with associate’s degrees to earn a BSN while continuing to work. Classes are offered on campus, online and at local hospitals to make it easier for working nurses.

Interested in attending Millennium Charter High School? Apply now

Millennium Charter High School is accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year. Deadline to apply is 5:00 pm on March 31st. Millennium officials anticipate that there will be more applicants than spaces available for next year’s ninth grade class, and under California Education Code, charter schools that have more applicants than spaces available must hold a public lottery.

The lottery will be held at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 in the Black Box Theater at the Monterey County Office of Education, 901 Blanco Circle, Salinas.

Millennium will hold an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 21 at its facilities at the Sherwood Community Center, 940 N. Main St., Salinas.

For more information, call 758-7952 or click here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A happy ending for the housing problems of international students at CSUMB

You may remember I reported about the housing woes faced by international students at CSU Monterey Bay, who complained administrators were charging them more than U.S. students. You can find the full story here.

Students met with CSUMB administrators last week, and there's a happy ending to the story. Students who ended up sharing a small room -- to the tune of $525 each -- will get a $600 refund.

"I am very pleased to tell you that we were able to find a solution," German student Moritz Bartsch wrote in an email. "Vice president Dr. Higgs and Provost Bonnie Irwin were very cooperative. For the first time since all this started we were talking to people that took our concerns seriously."

Students were able to voice their concerns during a two-hour open forum, Bartsch said.

"I am confident that the CSUMB learned from this experience and the next International students will not have to deal with injust housing policies," he said.

Ronnie Higgs, vice president of student affairs, also said students were satisfied with the solution.

"They felt that the administration responded fairly and heard their concerns," he said in an email. "I received several positive compliments from the international students regarding the resolution."

Cyberpatriot season is over

And the future computer programers did great!

Hartnell College faculty and students mentored approx 65 high school students in the national cybersecurity competition program, CyberPatriot, reports computer science instructor Joe Welch. The teams spent hours learning about networking, operating systems, and computer security, in preparation for three competition sessions held in November and December.

Mentored teams and mentors are listed here:

William Starling mentored the King City High School team, Wendy Fernandez the Gonzales High School team, Jennifer Westerbeck the Alisal High team, CPO Israel Gonzalez, USN was in charge of the Everett Alvarez High NJROTC team, and finally, Liz Koenig was in charge of the Notre Dame High School team.

Welch said staff, faculty and teaching assistants from Hartnell College worked tirelessly in mentoring high school students towards studies and careers in computer science fields. A big shout out to all of them!

Not to be outdone, three of the Seaside High School teams qualified for the silver tier, and one team qualified for the gold tier, reports teacher Tessa Brown. She'll find out how the teams placed going into the regional round of the competition this week. "All of the students continue to have a great time learning cyber security," she said. "It is amazing to see how their skills have improved over the past few months. They are already talking about how competitive they will be next year."

It's fun to see these kids get into computer science. I can't wait to see how far they go next year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pacific Grove Unified rethinks idea of merging elementary schools

Last month I reported about a proposal at Pacific Grove Unified to merge its two elementary schools and make one K-2 and the other 3-5.

It's an idea that had been floated before and went nowhere. Officials were hoping to give it plenty of time for community discussion before actually bringing it to a vote.

But the resistance was still there, and this time, there was not even a formal discussion about it. Adminstrators pulled it off the agenda before the meeting took place. Here's an explanation of what happened directly from Superintendent Ralph Porras.

"We met with the teachers from both elementary schools regarding the reasons and timing of reconfiguration. This was important because they are the educational experts and are responsible for delivery of curriculum and instruction, which are both at the heart of the reconfiguration model. It was clearly communicated that the time and conditions were not right for this significant change. Community members from both elementary schools also communicated this same sentiment the District and Board. The Board accepted this message and pulled that discussion from the agenda. Our schools are providing excellent service to students and families, and are continuing to address the challenges presented by progressive educational reform. We will continue to support that effort in ways that best suit all stakeholders."

So there you have it. Robert Down and Forest Grove will remain as the are for the considerable future.

Chess tournament for young ones at Seaside

The good members of Victory Temple and the NAACP are putting together a chess workshop followed by a tournament for children ages 5 to 18 this Saturday, Dec. 13. Open to all!

The game of chess will help students to develop abstract thinking, build self confidence, think before acting, strengthen critical and analytic thinking, learn sportsmanship and have fun!

Workshop begins at noon at Del Monte Manor Community Center, 1466 Yosemite, Seaside. Followed by the tournament. Sounds like tons of fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Just in time for the storm, MPUSD board meetings to be broadcast

Let's say you live in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, and you've been dying to go to the board meetings but you can't find a babysitter. Or it's raining cats and dogs and you don't really want to get wet.

Now you'll have no excuse.

Beginning this week, MPUSD began broadcasting their meetings live on Comcast Channel 24 or on the web here.

The meetings will also be rebroadcast on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and the Tuesday following the board meeting at 7 p.m.

Board members began discussing the possibility of broadcasting the meetings a few months ago, as part of their efforts to show the community they're committed to transparency. Hopefully, many community members will take advantage of the service. See you on TV!

Sixth graders from all over Monterey County visit CSUMB

A slew of sixth graders descended upon Cal State Monterey Bay in the last few days to learn more about what the university has to offer them.

It was five days of about 2,000 students coming to get a taste of the university life. Sixth graders from the Alisal Union, Gonzales Unified and Salinas City Elementary school districts visited CSUMB. Since the program began in the spring of 2009, more than 12,000 Monterey County sixth-graders have visited campus.

The students promise to do well in school, work hard, get good grades, graduate from high school, and pursue a college degree.

In return, Interim Coordinator of TRiO Student Support Services Omar Murillo promised that the university will save a spot for them if they complete high school and meet other basic requirements. As part of the promise, the university will work with the students and their parents to help arrange financial aid.

Each student received a poster that explains what they need to do to prepare for college on a year-by-year basis starting in the sixth grade; a certificate for them to sign acknowledging their promise to prepare for and attend college; information on the outreach and support programs available at CSUMB; and a letter to their parents explaining the event and asking them to frame and display the certificate.

And they got to take pictures with Monte Rey, the university's mascot. What joy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Stevenson's Chapman Caddell makes impression at national cancer surgeon's gathering

Chapman Caddell, a junior at Stevenson School, had the unprecedented opportunity as a high school student to present at the national Musculoskeletal Tumor Society’s Annual Meeting and speak before a room of roughly 200 of the country’s best cancer surgeons.

While interning at the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in 2013, Chap attended multiple surgeries and clinics every week, and commenced research regarding the best surgical approach to address metastatic femur fractures as a consequence of metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

“This was my first time conducting clinical research,” Chapman said. “I obviously learned a lot about clinical research in general and the topic at hand, but the best thing I got out of it was knowing that my research would have a real-world impact. I want patients to benefit from my conclusions, and I really think they will.”

Following his retrospective analysis of more than 10 years of surgical records and follow-up for 56 patients, Chapman took the lead in drafting a paper summarizing the results and proposing the best surgical method. In early 2014, Chapman completed the paper, entitled The Treatment of Diaphyseal Femur Fractures in the Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma. The paper, co-written with MD Anderson Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Valerae Lewis, and several other MDA surgeons, was submitted for podium presentation to the 2014 Musculoskeletal Tumor Society’s (MSTS) Annual Meeting.

This spring, Chapman learned that out of 160 abstracts, his paper was one of 30 selected for podium presentation. And last month, Chapman delivered his team’s presentation at the 2014 National MSTS Annual Meeting -- and underwent questioning on the dais.

According to Dr. Lewis, while it was probably the first time a 16-year old had ever made a podium presentation at a national surgical conference, Chapman’s presentation and handling of difficult questions were excellent.

“Chapman did an excellent job working with the Department of Orthopedic Oncology at M.D. Anderson. It was commented that his composure and maturity far exceeded his chronologic age. His intelligence and hard work was noted by several of the faculty members with whom he had the opportunity to work. Not only was his presentation well received, but he did an excellent job of fielding questions from the audience," said Dr. Lewis.

Congratulations, Chapman. Very impressive accomplishments for such a young man.

story contributed by Stevenson School public information office.

CSUMB students also gather top honors during SACNAS conference

Not to be outdone by their Hartnell peers, CSU Monterey Bay students took first and second places during the recent conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

SACNAS is a 40-year-old nonprofit organization that fosters Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists from college students to professionals.

The annual conference showcases work aimed at fostering scientists from Latino and Native American backgrounds, who are often underrepresented in the sciences.

CSUMB was represented by 15 undergraduates, four graduate students and four students from other schools who were part of last summer’s Monterey Bay Regional Ocean Science Research Experience for Undergraduates based at CSUMB. They presented research posters in ecology and evolution, general biology and marine biology.

Awardees were:

• Alison Aceves, marine science major, took first place in ecology and evolution. She spent last summer working at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University, studying host-parasite interactions of salmon in the Columbia River.

• Emily King, marine science major, took second place in marine biology. She also spent the summer at the Hatfield Center, researching larval fish behavior.

• Briana Becerra, biology major, took second place in ecology and evolution. She spent the summer at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, researching forest ecology

• Danielle Perry, a participant in last summer’s Ocean Science REU at CSUMB and a student at the University of New Haven, took first place in marine biology. She spent the summer working at Elkhorn Slough.

“The conference attendees I spoke with were highly complimentary of our students in how they presented their research, the quality of their work and their overall professionalism at the conference,” Corey Garza, associate professor in the Division of Science and Environmental Policy told the Cal State Monterey Bay News.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa tweeting from the White House!

CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa is in our nation's capital to take part on the White House College Opportunity Day of Action, an initiative of President Barack Obama to support students across the country to increase college attainment.

And he's tweeting! Follow him here.

During White House College Opportunity Day of Action, participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A spokesperson for CSUMB said the university's commitment to increasing the number of graduates in STEM fields involves its CSIT-in-3 program with Hartnell College, which allows students to earn a computer science degree in three years through year-round study.

Ochoa served as assistant secretary for higher education in the Obama Administration before coming to CSUMB as president in 2012. He was invited to the event by Cecilia Munoz, President Obama’s domestic policy adviser, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

CSUMB sees freshmen applications jump more than 5 percent

Freshmen applications for Cal State Monterey Bay went up 5.3 percent this year over last year, with approximately 15,391 first-time freshmen applying for admission next fall.

The university’s total number of applicants is 12 percent higher than two years ago when 13,753 applied, said Ronnie Higgs, the university’s vice president of student affairs and enrollment services.

CSUMB also had 3,713 upper-division transfers apply, an increase of 1 percent.

It is the first year that the university will limit enrollment, with first priority given to students in the three surrounding counties of San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz. Approximately 44 percent of the applicants will receive admission letters to the university.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hartnell students take top honors at science conference

Two Hartnell students were recognized for outstanding research presentations during SACNAS conference, the largest STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) diversity event in the country.

There were 918 undergraduate student presentations total with 99 awards given in eight multidisciplinary categories.

The 2014 SACNAS Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Awardees from Hartnell were:

* In Biochemistry/Biophysics - Jazel Hernandez, “Quantifying Butanol Production of a Genetically Engineered Halophile”

* In Engineering – Jhanic Ramos, “PV Cleaner Robot”

Both students participated in the Hartnell College STEM Internship Program. Jhanic Ramos was part of the group of students working with a team from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Baskin School of Engineering. This was a joint effort between UCSC and Hartnell as part of the National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education program.

Jazel Hernandez was part of the team of students from UCSC, Baskin School of Engineering, iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team. Jazel’s team also participated in the iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, Mass., where they earned a bronze medal. The Giant Jamboree competition celebrates university students as they showcase their achievements in Synthetic Biology.

Jhanic Ramos is in the process of applying to transfer to UC Berkeley and UC Davis and wants to specialize in neurosurgery.

Jazel Hernandez plan is to attend UC Santa Cruz in the fall and go on to medical school to specialize in pediatric oncology.

Way to go, ladies!

Christmas program at Madonna del Sasso

Madonna del Sasso School will be having its annual Christmas program,"The Christmas County Spelling Bee" on December 17 at Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St., Salinas

Although there is not admission charge, donations will be collected to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. There will be two performances: a dress rehearsal at 11 am and an evening show at 6 pm.

All Madonna del Sasso students (preschool through eighth grade) perform in this pageant, and they're enthusiastic about sharing their talents with the community.

Carmel mock trial team shines in San Francisco

You may remember I wrote about the Carmel mock trial team and their participation in the Empire Mock Trial in San Francisco, an elite competition where participation is limited to a select few teams. Read the article here.

The competition took place Nov. 20-24, and the Carmel team did not disappoint. It was the first time they participated in the tournament, and they earned forth place among 24 teams that came from different parts of the United States and abroad, teacher Bill Schrier reported.

"We went against schools from Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Ohio; Canada; and a Southern California team. We won three of those four trials, and one of our witnesses, Mindy Morgan, won a trophy for being one of the best witnesses in the tournament. Each team member also showed tremendous personal improvement," he wrote in an email.

Way to go, team! Now, let's get ready for the Monterey County competition!