April Newsletter – Issue #4
Grateful for a Path to Nursing
By: Matthew Haskett, MJC Class of 2000
I graduated from the MJC Nursing Program in 2000 and immediately began working as a Registered Nurse. During my time at MJC I was inspired by many excellent faculty, but none more than nursing instructor Lisa Riggs, who was an excellent role model. She demonstrated compassion, competence, and humanity. After transferring and graduating from CSU, Stanislaus with my bachelor’s degree, I was privileged to return to the MJC Nursing Program as a clinical adjunct instructor. I went on to earn my master’s degree in Nursing and now work at a local hospital teaching other nurses, as well as patients. Thanks MJC for making it all possible!
Making a Difference through Research
By: Amy Rectar-Aranda, MJC Class of 2005
I discovered my love for learning at MJC. In my youth I had done well in school, but never really cared. I did the work to get through, not really paying attention to the importance of my education. Through courses at MJC like geology and anthropology, I realized how exciting and life-changing it was to learn about the world and our place in it. I wanted to be a better person and do more to help others to enjoy learning. I was a non-traditional student, employed, with small children at home. It took me a few years to finish my associate degree in 2005. I went back to school full time in 2010. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 2012 from Northern Kentucky University, my master’s degree a year later in Educational Studies from the University of Cincinnati, and I’m on track to get my Ph.D. in 2015. I study Educational and Community-Based Action Research, focusing on issues of social justice in education. I’m a first generation college student. My family couldn’t afford to send me to a university. If I hadn’t gone to MJC, I might never have made it this far. MJC empowered me to want to make a difference in the world, and hopefully I will.
Perseverance Pays off for Local Teacher
By: Ry Kea, MJC Class of 1992
In 1984, at the age of 21 I arrived in San Jose as a Cambodian refugee from the Philippines Refugee Processing Center. Five months later I moved to Modesto as a migrant worker picking fruits and vegetables. I realized that I could not live my life this way. There was no future for me. I needed to go to school even if I did not understand what the teacher might say. I decided to learn English to become an auto mechanic. When I tried to enroll at MJC, I had to pay a non-resident fee since I had been in CA less than a year. I could not afford it but this did not stop me. I had friends who were taking ESL classes at MJC so I went with them. I sat in in the back of the class every day as an observer, to learn English. When I was finally able to enroll I took general education and vocational classes to complete my GE and transfer requirements at the same time. I spent seven years at MJC and my effort paid off. I passed my GED test and received a diploma in 1987, graduated with an associate degree in auto mechanics in 1990, and transferred to Cal State Stanislaus in 1992. I received my bachelor’s in 1995, completed a teaching credential program in 1996, and started working for Modesto City Schools as a teacher in 1997. My two MJC instructors were not just teachers but counselors and listeners. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Mr. Martin and Mr. Christopherson for helping me. Modesto Junior College provided me the opportunity to find who I am through the values of hard work and honesty. My wife and I have three wonderful children and our oldest son attends MJC. I tell my sixth grade students “you can find success before work only in a dictionary and if you graduate from high school and cannot afford to go to a four-year college MJC is the best place for you.” That is where I began my new life journey in America, the land of opportunity.
MJC Helps Guide Life in Leadership
By: Chris Fuzie , MJC Class of 2000
I started college right after high school in 1978 then dropped out to work. After serving in the Navy and returning to Modesto I graduated from the Police Academy at MJC and joined the Modesto Police Department. I worked as a police officer for 18 years and then returned to MJC to finish my degree. I also wanted to finish it before my kids caught up to the “old man.” In 2000, I graduated with an associate degree. I wanted to go further so I started a bachelor’s degree program in Organizational Leadership at Chapman University and then completed the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Because of my education I was promoted to sergeant, then lieutenant. While working at MPD, I was asked to teach at MJC and have been doing so since 2007. I’m working on an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and continue to teach and develop classes for MJC. I also own my own consulting company teaching leadership theory and practice to police, fire and other community service organizations, including MJC Community Education. I guess you could say MJC is a very big part of my life. Thank you for allowing me to share it.
The community college in America has been called “democracy’s college” and the “open access” college. There are 1,167 community colleges in the United States. 112 of those are in California where we serve 2.4 million students annually. Whether we are the “first choice” or the “second chance” for a higher education, community colleges are a great start for the students we serve.
If you made your start here, please share your MJC story with us. Our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends are very encouraged by these stories. They remind us why we support these very important institutions…like MJC
I invite you to join us as we build a deep and lasting foundation of alumni involvement at MJC. Call me at (209) 575-6714 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
George Boodrookas, Ed.D.