Motherhood and Me

Becoming a mother at 17 was scary to me. I thought that I would ruin my children’s lives before they ever had a chance. Following in the footsteps of my mother and determined to break a cycle. Just a teenager not knowing myself or even who I would be. I did not understand the responsibility that I was taking on, not for just one child, but six.

I had to strive to be better than I’d ever been and understand that mistakes would potentially put me and my children in a bad position. It was up to me, and only me, to ensure that my children had everything under the sun, no matter the curve balls thrown in my path.

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Journalism and Communications: Reaching your Dream Career

In this 8:22 minute video, Journalism and Communications: Reaching your Dream Career, viewers hear from KFBK reporter with iHeart Media, Nikka Magahis, and Sierra College Communication Studies professor and consultant, Tara Franks, PhD, on their paths into journalism and communications careers. Each describes their unique journey into an evolving field that touches on radio, writing, multimedia, performance, teaching, and higher-education.

 

Hayley Repetti is a Journalism major at Sierra College. She served on the Editorial Team of Roundhouse News & Review in fall 2020. She plans to transfer to CSU Sacramento in fall 2021 and continue in the major.

Video by Hayley Repetti 

 

Community, Clubs, and Covid

The picture of a student crumpling under the normal pressures of higher education is a worn cliché. Yes, being a college student is difficult in the best of circumstances, but couple the confusion of the freshman experience plus a global lockdown caused by a deadly pandemic and no one would blame a student for caving under the strain. But not Elijah Mendez, a first year history major at Sierra College and an aspiring teacher. He isn’t letting the pressures of COVID-19 overtake him:

It’s a test if anything, to make us stronger, to build connections through all this, to pass our first two semesters of college online.

Mendez has a surprisingly upbeat attitude for a student dealing with all of life’s challenges, and thankfully he is not alone. He has found a great Sierra family to guide him through the strange early stages of higher education by joining one of the once many, now few, Sierra College student clubs. This is where I met him and the rest of his Sierra family.

Stronger Together in the Sierra Puente Club

Sierra College has a long history with successful and active clubs, not only on campus but also in the general community. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the forced isolation of students has stripped much from these organizations, which now suffer in the pandemic alongside everyone else.

For Mendez, these effects arose in his own club, the Sierra College Puente (Spanish for bridge) club. An organization geared around guidance, fostering student leadership, and educational success, especially in  communities underserved by the education system.

During one of their twice weekly meetings Mendez, the rest of his club, and co-advisors addressed the worst of their Sierra family’s adversities under lockdown. “Generally we have significantly more [students]. We have, you know, the whole lounge area full at the Student Engagement Center (SEC) when we have our Puente club meetings,” noted Darlene Preciado, one of the clubs co-advisors. “But that’s been the biggest challenge, attracting and drawing those Puente students in from the Puente classes, the Puente cohort, into the club now that it’s virtual.”

The many students described by Preciado that would gather in the SEC has dwindled to seven, with six arriving for this weekly meeting to share their perspectives. Alexander Garcia, the club’s vice president, highlighted the face to face nature that the Puente club is used to, with roundtable discussions and leadership workshops being a core part of their club’s communication.

Marixia Beber Piceno, the club’s past publicist, discussed how students’ course loads and the transition into online schooling could have driven some away from the club, denouncing the myth that online schooling is less effort. Piceno said, “It’s more work you have to do, more dedication that you have to input.”

Though most of them shared this feeling, everyone always came back around to how they’re staying positive together with their smaller, but closer than ever, familia. There was nothing in the zoom call but smiles and support for one another, as they discussed their passion for the organization they are keeping alive.

“It’s difficult to find the positive to everything when everything seems to be falling apart,” said Mendez. “But in reality, everything is sort of just building its way back up again … Like, the Puente Club is a great example of that. Still sticking together through what seems to be the worst thing possible.”

Overcoming Challenges for Members

The Puente Club’s plight is not wholly unique; other clubs have been facing similar challenges. Women in Tech Club CEO Heather Moore directly cited how her club would be much larger if students were rubbing elbows on campus.

“That’s mostly been the thing is getting the word out,” lamented Moore. “It’s difficult in a pandemic, even though email is all around you, it’s not the same thing as in person to advertise it.”

Still, a global pandemic didn’t slow her or her club down one bit and the Women in Tech Club was established right in the middle of student isolation.

Moore talked about how she wound up joining the startup, describing her response to Professor Malena Prizing offering her a position in the fall of 2020 as a resounding, “yes, please sign me up!” With the message of the club drawing her attention first, empowering women in a field that has historically not supported their involvement, she ultimately discovered more than that. She found others with her vision and a community to share the important message and goal.

“I’ve never been in a club before I joined this one,” Moore said. She explained:

I didn’t understand what the big draw and the big deal was, and now I get it. The sense of community, that sense of belonging, is absolutely wonderful: especially in a time of a pandemic.

She continued, “And I mean, what’s not to like? You get to hang out with your friends, you get to meet new people and you get to learn about opportunities and support one another in something that’s traditionally not considered a woman’s field.”

While the Women in Tech and Puente clubs discussed struggles with COVID-19 and its dampening of social interactions, another club has forged a unique mindset around its opportunities in the pandemic.

New Outlooks through Isolation

Christian Kenjee Koh surprised me with not only his enthusiasm for the completely online setting, but his opportunistic story on starting the Sierra College Young Investors Club. Koh said, “I really wanted to create a community for people with interest in investing and economics and business.

I saw the whole going online thing as the perfect opportunity, I don’t think I could have started at any better time.

Clubs like the Women in Tech and Puente Club have utilized the lockdown as well, with discussion programs like Discord and Zoom becoming their new highway for interaction, but Koh has taken the idea of isolation to another level, adding enthusiasm to the distancing.

Koh credits this unique intersection of interaction and isolation as the catalyst for his club’s quick success, even with how fresh the Young Investors are, and centered online interaction at the core of his club. Koh explained how his members are often active 24/7 and fostering a “different kind of discussion” through use of the constant contact between members, not limited by strict meeting times and places. 

Like the clubs previously, Koh and his Young Investors realize the importance of in person interaction. Once he has students involved, keeping the engagement going is the easy part, though Koh does lament, “It’s very hard to get students involved with the club. Getting the word out there, it’s a bit difficult.”

Even though Koh concedes that getting everyone into a physical space is the “kind of interaction missing” for his club, he still rejoices that his club is, “blessed to be able to have it [club discussions] through Discord.”

Clubs and Community, even through COVID

These clubs, and many others, have taken the opportunity to build community despite of Covid-19’s challenges. They’ve built friendships, fostered discussions, and even formed second families all while being isolated away from one another. But, many clubs are still struggling. In March of 2021 the Sierra College website was updated to have an accurate list of all active student clubs, dropping from 36 actively listed student clubs to only nine. Though that number has been rising, back to 17 in total as of April 14, this is still only half of the pre-pandemic total.

The beauty of these Sierra clubs is that any student can join one. Any student can create one. Any student can reestablish one. When asked about what students hesitating about joining a club should do, Koh laughed and encouraged students to:

Just jump into it. It doesn’t really have risks, so to say.

Heather Moore described the process of building a club as like, “Climbing a mountain. You don’t have to climb the mountain all in one go.”

Adriana Lopez, a Puente Club co-advisor, described the Puente Club as, “A welcoming environment for students, one that they enjoy coming to and one that they feel safe coming to.”

For more information about all of the Sierra College clubs, like where to join one, students can visit the Sierra College Campus Clubs page or through the Sierra College app under Student Services.

Written by Johnathan Rutz

Johnathan Rutz is a Journalism major. He plans to transfer to Sacramento State in 2022.

Is it Worth it: College Without the Experience

Thirteen years of schooling spent looking forward to the dream “college life.” Meeting new people, experiencing new things, finding ourselves, and grasping for a small amount of freedom. What none of us expected was a global pandemic causing those 13 years of schooling to lead up to sitting behind screens. Continue Reading

Covid-19 through Older Eyes

In this 15:17 minute podcast, Covid-19 through Older Eyes, three people from the local community: Erny (67), Anna (72), and Judy (70s) share their experience. They explain making changes in their lives to stay safer, working at Walmart and Door-Dash, missing spending time with friends, and care-giving elders themselves through the pandemic.

While to some, the pandemic is an inconvenience or something that others need to worry about,  many over the age of 55 are worried about their heath and have made changes to prevent getting Covid-19. This is why their perspectives and what they are going though is so important. We all have family, friends, neighbors who are older and for some of them, it has been life threatening.

Their perspectives matter. Understanding their experiences can help others feel connected and have a better understanding of what the pandemic has been like for older generations. 

 

Susan Stewart is from a small town in North Dakota. She is a Communication Studies major at Sierra College and plans to earn a Masters degree in the field.

Podcast by Susan Stewart 

 

 

 

Dancing the Filipino Debut in 2020

Katelyn Vengersammy in fancy red dress with three girl cousins and red roses behind her for Debut party.

COVID-19 has forced us into a new world. We all knew that technology was going to play a big part of our lives in the near future, but no one expected it to happen so suddenly. It has become the new normal to integrate technology into milestone events, such as graduation, weddings, funerals, and so much more. One thing that greatly affected me is my eighteenth birthday.

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Career and Transfer Connections: Changing with the Times

Many students on campus are already aware of the various resources available at their disposal, such as the library or financial aid. However, one area that less people know about is Career and Transfer Connections. Since Sierra College is a career-based school, it only makes sense to have a team of people who help students with their plans after they graduate. Whether a student wants to transfer or go into the workforce, this team is here to guide them.

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Traveling & Tourism Post Coronavirus: What Now?

Brandenburger Tor, Berlin, Germany

Starting in early March, 2020, many countries went into lock-down due to the Coronavirus. Schools closed, people started to work from home, you could not go anywhere without a mask and sanitizer, and takeout became many people’s safest way to shop for food. Then on March 14th, a travel ban was placed on the United States to 26 European Countries. Many businesses and industries were, and are, severely impacted by this pandemic. While online shopping started to be the main source of shopping for many people, one business suffered immensely, and that was the travel industry. 

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Bike Messenger: Tasha Rose

legs of cyclist, Tasha Rose, by pink bike

Growing up around San Francisco, you see messenger bikers constantly. The speed, style, and rebellious nature was always fascinating to me. There are messenger bikers in almost every major city in the world, but none work harder than San Francisco’s. Brutal weather conditions, constant rolling hills, and some of the most hectic traffic on the planet, create a perfect ecosystem for talented cyclists to prove their skills.

I was lucky enough to photograph and speak with some of these messengers for this story, and interview Tasha Rose. Rose is a sponsored cyclist riding for All-City Cycles and King Kog Shop, and a full-time messenger with the Candlestick Courier collective. If there is a single person in the industry that people are inspired by, it is absolutely, Tasha Rose.

I decided to interview Rose due to her local recognition, her amazing attitude, and because she is very well-spoken. She provided me with a lot of information about being a bike messenger, and explained some struggles they face on a day to day basis.

Rose is a strong and inspiring woman on and off the bike, and continues to drive for added support for WTFs; women, transgender, and femme cyclists. She set aside some time to chat with me at her apartment on November 11th. In our conversation, we focus on her work in 2020. 

 

Thomas Edgington is a Journalism major at Sierra College. He plans to continue his studies in documentary and photojournalism.

Written and photographed by Thomas Edgington | Audio edited by Leonor Bright

Playing at a Different Level: The Success of the Sierra Football Program at Moving its Players to the Next Level

Four Sierra College Alumni. (Top Left) Brandon Aiyuk WR 49ers, (Top Right) Vince Mayle TE Browns/Cowboys/Ravens/Chargers, (Bottom Left) Devin Gray WR Falcons, (Bottom Right) Devante Bond OLB Buccaneers/Bears. Graphic by Alex Huddleston.

For most young athletes, the dreams and aspirations for their athletic journey end with performing their craft at the professional level. This journey can take many twists and turns. After high school, many highly scouted football players might get scholarships to play at a big name NCAA Division I University.

However, some of those Friday night lights heroes can be overlooked by the big schools and end up starting their college football career at a local community college. From there they have to work as hard as they can in order to be able to transfer to one of those big name schools.

According to the Sierra College Football official website, there have been ninety-three players who have transferred from the Sierra football program to a four year university since 2013. This does not include those who have or are planning to transfer after this year.

Four of these talented players not only made it to the next level, but they achieved their goal of playing at the top level in the NFL. On October 9th, I spoke over Zoom to Sierra’s own head football coach and the biggest fuel tank that pushes this program to its success, Coach Ben Noonan, about what his involvement is with getting these players to the next level.

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