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CHANCELLOR’S MESSAGE For more than 50 years, the Los Rios Community College District has provided life-changing educational opportunities to students throughout the Capital Region. We are proud of this great tradition as well as the many, many accomplished Los Rios alumni that help to make our communities flourish. Los Rios and its four colleges serve nearly 75,000 students from every possible background and walk of life, and our thousands of dedicated faculty and staff are committed to helping all of them reach their fullest potential. We are continuously seeking new and innovative ways to provide even better service to students and eliminate barriers to their success. This year will be an exciting one at our campuses. We have welcomed new presidents at two of our colleges. Efforts to help students reach their academic goals more quickly and more efficiently are well underway. Two of our colleges have launched successful Promise programs, part of a commitment to ensure that cost will not be an obstacle for prospective students. There’s never been a better time to enroll in classes! On behalf of the Los Rios Board of Trustees, I’d like to thank you for your continued support of public higher education and our students.

Brian King, Chancellor

Los Rios Matters is published by the Communications Office of the Los Rios Community College District. Copyright © 2017 Editor Gabe Ross Contributing Editors Scott Crow, ARC Kristie West, CRC Kristy Hart, FLC Kaitlyn MacGregor, SCC Contributors Joan Kudin, ARC Danielle Weast, CRC Matthew Battershell, FLC Jane Crandell, FLC Teri Gutierrez 3fold Communications Graphic Design Jennifer McLane, FLC Los Rios Community College District 1919 Spanos Court Sacramento, CA 95825 (916) 568-3041

AMERICAN RIVER COLLEGE 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, CA 95841 (916) 484-8011 ·

COSUMNES RIVER COLLEGE 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA 95823 (916) 691-7344 ·

FOLSOM LAKE COLLEGE 10 College Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630 (916) 608-6500 ·

SACRAMENTO CITY COLLEGE 3835 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95822 (916) 558-2111 ·

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Cosumnes River College Alumna Brittany Cox Combines Medicine and International Relations to Find Clear Path

Being able to help those without basic medical care around the world is what

motivates Cosumnes River College (CRC) alumna Brittany Cox, 23, to complete her degree in the medical field. “I’d really like to go to Africa and Central Asia - two regions where conflict seems endless - and help people who haven’t been able to access even basic medical care,” Cox said. “Knowing how these regions descended from order to chaos and understanding the people who are there is important and it

also motivates me to learn more about them as I contemplate a future with an international nongovernmental organization like MSF (Méddecins Sans Frontières).” The Lodi High grad is currently a biological sciences/ premed student attending Stanford University and minoring in international relations. She is also an emergency room technician at Stanford Hospital. “As an ER Tech, I am able to work one-on-one with patients in a hospital setting, learning from Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017 3 

physicians and nurses alike,” she said. “I am so fortunate to be working at such an amazing hospital with such intelligent people who care enough to take the time to teach me about patient care and so much more.” In addition to her studies and work, she is also doing an internship as a researcher based out of San Francisco State University. She is focusing on liver cells, enzymes, and how genealogy impacts conditions. Cox is one of a handful of transfer students admitted into Stanford last year. The schedule keeps her extremely busy, but Cox is excited to be on a path that, thanks to her time at Cosumnes River College, has become crystal clear. “I felt that my major had been decided since I was a child,” she said. “I always enjoyed the sciences more than any other discipline, but it wasn’t until I sat down in a government class at CRC that I thought about changing my major.”

“It doesn’t matter how you get to your goal, but that you arrive.” Cox had recently taken a semester off to join a medical mission trip to Guatemala where she was able to assist on surgeries and work one-on-one with the community. After taking the government class, she discovered a way to tie international relations to medicine. “During a lecture on U.S. foreign policy, with the case study being Guatemala, my eyes were opened to the realities of our world and I was so bothered by what I had learned, I felt compelled to tie international relations into medicine,” Cox said. Cox says her time at CRC not only prepared her to transfer to Stanford University, but encouraged her to reach beyond just attending class. “I was shocked at how willing (CRC) faculty were to still give me their time and advice on work I’m doing in my international relations classes at Stanford,” she said. “Professors (Gabriel) Gorman, (Martin) Morales, and (Elizabeth) Huffman helped prepare me with their academic excellence. I sacrificed my 4 Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017

social life to some extent, but at the same time, gained a family. My classmates became new friends and we are closer than ever because we had common ground and would constantly push each other in our academic lives.” Cox says advice she received from Political Science Professor Elizabeth Huffman is something she will take with her wherever she goes.“She told me that it was ok to rest and recover, that school wasn’t as important as my health,” Cox said. “She also told me I was strong and that it was okay to be weak sometimes for the sake of recovering and rebuilding yourself and that it was okay to ask for help.” After she receives her undergraduate degree in biological sciences, Cox plans on applying to medical school. Her first choice would be into the University of California, San Francisco. Post medical school, she plans to become a surgical intern. “At this point, I am stuck between cardio thoracic and trauma surgery, but that might change as soon as I am an intern,” she said. “After residency, I will join Méddecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for a six month mission based in Africa. I am not drawn to any specific region on the continent, I am just sure that Africa is the first on my list of many places around the world I would like to provide services and patient care.”

Her biggest inspiration is her mother. “My mother inspires me every day to achieve my goal to become a physician,” she said. “She has faced so many obstacles in her life and she has always been the one to show me that education is never something to give up on, it’s something you only work harder at.” No doubt, Cox will continue to work hard to achieve her goals. “It doesn’t matter how you get to your goal, but that you arrive,” she said. “Wake up every day knowing you are going to do everything within your power to take a step towards your goal, whether that be just showing up for class, sacrificing a few hours of sleep to study harder for that exam, or even stepping foot inside a very intimidating professor’s office to let him/her know what you’re going through in life. Take advantage of what your school has to offer. Education is limitless and has no bounds.” The world may inspire Brittany Cox, but she continues to inspire those around her.  To learn about more great student success stories like Brittany’s, and to find out ways you can help other students achieve their dreams, visit the Los Rios Foundation website at

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SCC’S WITHERSPOON RETURNS TO NORCAL WITH 49ERS Football wasn’t his first sport or even his second when he arrived at Sacramento City College (SCC),

but with his great talent and drive to succeed Ahkello Witherspoon would be drafted by the San Francisco 49ers just four years later. “You could tell he was going to have extreme success, no matter what he did,” remembers SCC Football Head Coach Dannie Walker. An SCC Panther for the 2013 season, Witherspoon embraced football, learning the principles and fundamentals of the game under Walker. He took to the game, quickly adjusting to college-level athletics. “For some kids, it seems like it just comes easy and he was one of those kids. He was just a natural,” said Walker.

Walker expects to see Witherspoon playing professionally for a decade to come. 

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PHOTO CREDIT: San Francisco 49ers

When he finished his first season with SCC, Witherspoon transferred to the University of Colorado in the PAC 12, where he starred for the Buffaloes for the next three seasons. His hard work was rewarded when he was drafted by San Francisco in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft.


ARC Star Signs with UCLA

American River College (ARC) Water Polo star Hannah Zari was named 2016 California Community College Women’s Water Polo player of the year, and is widely recognized as the best center in the state. Her all-around excellent level of play was recognized and honored by the Big 8 Conference and NorCal Coaches, setting ARC records along the way. Zari has committed to UCLA, where she will play water polo for the Bruins this year. UCLA is one of top programs in the nation, having finished ranked 2nd in the country in 2017 (the Bruins barely lost to their PAC 12 rival Stanford in the NCAA Championship in May). Zari had multiple offers but chose the Bruins, saying, “UCLA was a great fit and I know I will be constantly challenged both academically and athletically.” 

CRC Pitcher Signs with the White Sox

Former Cosumnes River College (CRC) pitcher, Kyle Von Ruden signed a pro contract to play with the Chicago White Sox earlier this year. Von Ruden was raised in Elk Grove and joined the CRC baseball program as a student athlete in 2014 to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a professional baseball player. The program helped shape Von Ruden’s philosophy on and off the field. “I think the baseball program created a culture and mindset for me that has guided me to where I am today,” Von Ruden explains, “Bloomie (Coach Bloomfield) did his part in making sure we brought our best selves every practice and every game.” After baseball, Von Ruden is considering a career as a firefighter. 

FLC Men’s Golf Team Goes the Distance

Following their 2017 Big 8 Conference championship win and second place Northern California regional championship finish, the Folsom Lake College (FLC) Men’s Golf team capped off their season with a fifth place finish in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state championship tournament. FLC sophomore Mason Troike, a two-time Big 8 Conference MVP, ended his Falcon career with a fourth place individual finish to make the prestigious AllState Team, a first in the program’s history. “In spite of a difficult season, this team looked beyond it and achieved at a very high level,” shared Coach Barry Zarecky.  Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017 7 

LOS RIOS COMMUNITY COL es Los Rios colleg have educated El Dorado Center

N O I L L I M 5 1.2 STUDENTS ! ...and counting



El Dorado Center 80

Folsom Lake College


Natomas Center

American River College

Davis Center



Sacramento City College 80

ty Coun ty n rado El Do ento Cou m Sacra

Rancho Cordova Center West Sacramento Center


m ento Co.

Yolo Co.

Cosumnes River College

Elk Grove Center



Solano County Yolo County


2,400 square mile service area





Lake Tahoe

6,865 total employees


ive r

River can i r e m






493 different certificate, degree,

“We are working to increase the number of students who successfully reach their educational goals by focusing on creating an improved student experience that would allow students to complete faster saving them both time and money.” - Ed Bush, President of Cosumnes River College Pollock Pines

or transfer programs



“We are committed to supporting the success of all of our students by providing an inclusive, welcoming environment for a very diverse community.” - Thomas Greene, President of American River College

9.9% 8.2%



18% 14.3%

26.7% 22.8%



.6% .6%


y Pass Hw son Car

6.6% 4.4%


Californians with a college degree will earn









Students who earn a degree or certificate from a CA Community College nearly

$400,000 DOUBLE more in their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma

their earnings in three years

source: California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

TAKING THE HELM Folsom Lake College and Sacramento City College Welcome New Presidents

Pictured left to right: Whitney Yamamura, President of Folsom Lake College, and Michael Gutierrez, President of Sacramento City College 10 Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017

NEW PRESIDENTS College Presidents Michael Gutierrez and Whitney Yamamura share a passion for higher education and a mutual respect for the institutions they now call home. Michael Gutierrez is the first Latino president in the 100-year history of Sacramento City College. “A community college institution that is 100 years old is unusual. Being a part of a college that has history, has tradition, and has a community that is deeply connected to it is something that I gravitated to. Its diversity is also a pride point for the college. By definition, a community college will always look like the community it serves,” Gutierrez shares. With 21 years in higher education, the Princeton University graduate most recently served as the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success at Eastfield College in the Dallas Community College District. “Sacramento is a beautiful area and it’s one that reminds me a lot of my hometown. I grew up in San Antonio, which is also very large in terms of area but keeps that small town atmosphere. That’s something that immediately made me feel like I was home,” said Gutierrez.

“By its very definition, a community college will always look like the community it serves.” - Michael Gutierrez With his appointment as President of Folsom Lake College, Whitney Yamamura has the distinction of having now worked at all four Los Rios colleges during his twenty-eight year tenure with the district. “The four colleges are very different. They pride themselves, quite properly so, on their unique cultures and these almost anthropomorphic personalities that have developed over time. We

need to honor the individualism and strength of each of the colleges and understand how that fits within the family of Los Rios as we try to build a more cohesive face to the public.”

“We need to honor the individualism and strength of each of the colleges and understand how that fits within the family of Los Rios.” - Whitney Yamamura Having most recently served as Interim President of Sacramento City College, Yamamura has also worked as Vice President of Instruction at Cosumnes River College, the founding Dean of American River College’s Natomas Center, and began his tenure as a member of the American River College faculty teaching Economics. The fourth generation Sacramentan also has ties to the local four-year universities as an alum of Sacramento State and a current doctoral candidate at UC Davis. So what can these two learn from each other? Yamamura shares, “Michael brings fresh eyes. Having built a career with community colleges in another state, he has a different way of seeing how the world works. So having someone come in, someone who has had different experiences, who can say ‘why do you guys do something that way?’ Where they make you consider, ‘oh boy, I don’t know why we do that. Let’s think about that.’” Adds Gutierrez, “Whitney has incredible savvy. He has a real way with people and I think people gravitate to him and that’s a really good way to approach leadership.” With their vast combined experience, commitment to student success, and optimism for the continued support of community partners, the future of Los Rios is in good hands. 

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Folsom Lake College Dance Group Shares the Spirit of the Dance

Folsom Lake College’s (FLC) MOSAIC Dance Company hit the road this summer for a performance tour culminating in a show at Disneyland. The all-student group performed on Disney’s famed Fantasyland stage for a 25-minute performance on May 23. The eleven family-friendly pieces selected to perform were culled from the group’s well-regarded “Evening of Dance” events held twice a year at the Harris Center for the Arts, located on the college’s Main Folsom campus.


Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: © StyleMediaGroup Inc.

The vision of the group, first launched in 2008, was to extend the vision of a “mosaic” of dancers (i.e., all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, and religious backrounds) beyond the classroom. FLC Dance Professor and MOSAIC Founder Debi Worth shares, “I believe that dance is powerful, not just for performers, but for spectators as well.” 


SCC Photographer’s Life Behind the Lens

Two years ago, Hui-Chun Chung was starting her first classes at Sacramento City College (SCC), determined to find her life’s passion and pursue

it. Today, she is not only exhibiting her own photography at SCC’s Russ Solomon Gallery, but was also the spark that inspired the reunion of Matrix, a Sacramento workshop of women artists, for a July show at SCC’s Kondos Gallery. The show pulled together pieces from 25 Matrix members, many of whom came to the opening to celebrate and reunite. “Photography is another language that connects me to the world. Whenever I look through the viewfinder, I feel involved.” Chung graduated in spring of 2017, but hopes to spend the coming year working in photography at SCC through an optional training for international students. 

ARC’s Jazz Ensemble Hits a High Note

American River College’s (ARC) Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Art LaPierre, has been

selected as the community college vocal jazz representative at the 2018 California All-State Music Education Conference. Recently featured on NPR’s Insight and KOVR’s Good Day Sacramento, in the past two years the Ensemble has won two national DownBeat Magazine awards, recorded two CDs, performed at the Jazz Educators National Conference in New Orleans, and received two invitations to sing at the Monterey Next Generation Festival. Future performances include FLC’s Harris Center for the Arts and the Western Regional American Choral Directors Association Conference. 

CRC Theatre Alumna Makes Sacramento Laugh

Justine Lopez was an art student exploring a career in graphic design when she decided to audition for her first play,

This Is Not What I Ordered, at Cosumnes River College. “The CRC theatre was the place where my life really began,” Lopez said. “It was a new start that I was looking for. If it wasn’t for my first acting class, I wouldn’t have met my friends that started our improv troupe, Home Improvment.” After several comedic plays at CRC, Lopez says, “I knew comedy was what I wanted to do.” “The CRC Theatre program is full of great people,” she said. “I made lifelong friendships in the tight-knit CRC theatre community.” Lopez currently writes and performs on the mainstage at The Sacramento Comedy Spot, every Friday and Saturday. 

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A SHORT HAUL FROM CLASSROOM TO CAREER It’s not every day you meet a professor who is so committed to promoting the students in his program that he sends biographical books of graduating classes to hundreds of industry leaders in an effort to help them find employment. American River College (ARC) Professor Craig Weckman is that kind of leader. Weckman oversees ARC’s award-winning Diesel/ Clean Diesel Technology and Automotive Collision Technology programs based at the Mather Center – interconnected disciplines that have recently joined forces to better serve students and partner industries. Weckman’s career at ARC began 10 years ago in a facility that resembled an empty shell. Since then, his vision is now a reality bursting at the seams with students and state-of-the-art equipment. Due to Weckman’s efforts to build partnerships that benefit his students, the program’s burgeoning facilities are now used to train students and industry personnel consecutively. Keeping course offerings relevant and industryready is made possible by relationships fostered 14 Los Rios Matters | FALL 2017

with the likes of Tesla, Volvo, and more. Degrees and certificates are offered in Automotive Collision Technology and Diesel Technology, along with other related certifications. Partners call Weckman weekly seeking to hire students. “We have to be careful and limit this or we’ll lose all our students before the semester is over,” Weckman said with a smile. The basic program is nine months long, and on a typical day at 7:30am, every seat in the class is filled. The future looks bright, with the largest electric school bus fleet training coming soon. But Weckman’s greatest passion is enabling a bright future for all of his students. 


The Los Rios Community College District is one of the nation’s most respected learning institutions and the second-largest community college district in California. You are welcome to attend any of the District’s four colleges: American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake, and Sacramento City colleges, as well as any of our education and outreach centers in Davis, Elk Grove, Natomas, Placerville, Rancho Cordova, and West Sacramento. A - Offered at American River College You may choose to attend the college that offers the courses in your area of interest or the college closest to your work or home. Most courses are offered at all four colleges, although some are offered at only one or two campuses. The choice is yours!

C - Offered at Cosumnes River College F - Offered at Folsom Lake College S - Offered at Sacramento City College

For a complete list, please go to: and click on “Programs of Study.” 3D Animation A S Accounting A C F S Administration of Justice A F S Administrative Assistant A C Advertising A C S Aeronautics S Agriculture/Ag Business C Air Traffic Control/Air Dispatcher S Allied Health C F S American Studies C F Animal/Equine Science C Anthropology A C F S Arabic S Architectural Design Tech. C Architecture/Green Bdng. Design C Art A C F S Art History A C F S Art New Media A C Art Photography A C Astronomy A C F S Automotive Collision Technology A Automotive Mechanics Tech. A C Biology A C F S Biotechnology A Broadcast Journalism C Building Information Modeling C Building Inspection Technology C Business/Business Tech. A C F S Cantonese S Chemical Dependency Studies A C Chemical Technology S Chemistry A C F S Child & Adolescent Development S Commercial Music A F S Communication/Speech A C F S Community Studies S Computer Info. Science A C F S Note: There are many CIS options, please see college catalogs

Construction/Construction Mgmt. C Cosmetology/Nail Technology S Culinary Arts Management A C Customer Service S Deaf Culture/ASL Studies A S Dental Assisting/Dental Hygiene S

Design Technology A Desktop Publishing A C Diagnostic Medical Sonography C Diesel/Clean Diesel Technology A Dietary Service A Digital Media C Early Childhood Education A C F S E-Business C Economics A C F S Electronics Technology A S Elementary Teacher Education A C S Emergency Medical Tech. A C F Energy/Solar Technology A Engineering A C F S Engineering Design Technology S English A C F S English as Second Language A C F S Environmental Literacy S Environ. Studies/Sustainability C F Ethnic Studies C S Family & Consumer Science C S Fashion A S Fiber Optics A Field Ecology S Film/Dig. Cinema/Media Studies C Finance C Fire Technology A C F Floristry A French A F S Funeral Service A Game Design S Geographic Information Sys. A C F S Geography A C F S Geology A C F S German A S Gerontology A F S Graphic Communication S Graphic Design/Illustration A Greek S Health Care Information Tech. C Healthcare Interpreting A Health Education A C F S Health Information Technology C Heating, Cooling, & Refrigeration S History A C F S

Honors A C S Horticulture A C F Hospitality Management A Human Career Development A C F S Humanities A C F Human Lactation A Human Services A C F S Information Systems Security A C S Intercultural Studies S Interdisciplinary Studies A C F S Interior Design A International Studies A S Italian A S Japanese S Journalism A C S Korean S Kinesiology/Physical Ed. A C F S Note: There are many PE options, please see college catalogs

Landscaping A C Legal Assisting A Liberal Arts C Liberal Studies C F Library A C F S Management A C F S Management Info. Systems C S Mandarin S Marketing A C F S Mathematics A C F S Mechanical/Electrical Tech. S Mechatronics A Medical Assisting C Medical Assisting/Administrative C Music A C F S Natural Resources A Nursing A S Nutrition & Foods A C F S Occupational Therapy Assistant S Office Administration A C F S Paramedic A Persian S Pharmacy Technology C Philosophy A C F S Photography A C F S Physical Science A F

Physical Therapist Assistant S Physics A C F S Plant Science C Political Science A C F S Pre-Allied Health & Nursing S Project Management A F Psychology A C F S Public Management F Punjabi S Radio Production C Railroad Operations S Real Estate A C F S Recreation A S Respiratory Care A Retail Management A C S Robotics A Russian A S Science A C F Sign Language Studies C F Small Business Mgmt. A C F S Small Engine Repair C Social Science A C Sociology A C F S Spanish A C F S Speech/Communication A C F S Speech/Language Pathology A Statistics A C F S Student Government A C F S Surveying/Geomatics S Sustainable Landscape/Irrigation C Tagalog S Teacher Prep. Program A C F S Technical Communications A Telecommunications A Television Production C Theatre Arts A C F S Theatre Arts & Film S Veterinary Technology C Vietnamese C S Wastewater Mgmt. F Welding A C Women’s Studies C F S Work Experience A C F S Updated 8/2017

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Los Rios Matters - Fall 2017  
Los Rios Matters - Fall 2017