November 2017

November 2017


November 2017 Newsletter


Confronting Myself with Help from a Mentor

Paula Martin, Class of 2006 & 2007

When I started the process of enrolling at MJC I had been clean and sober for about 90 days and out of prison for about 8 years. I was disabled, living in a sober living house and in drug court. I had no intention of getting an education, I simply wanted the check. This meant that I needed to take a full case load of 12 units to get the most money.

Since I was in recovery, I decided the best area of education for me was chemical dependency. My first class on that Monday was “Drugs and Alcohol in Society.” What an easy A I thought because there was not a drug or drink I had not consumed while in society. I walked into my class to find an African-American woman getting ready to teach the class. As a racist I thought “oh wow what could this black woman ever teach me?” However, Dr. Kimberly Kennard saw something in me I didn’t see in myself and began to push me. First she had to meet my racism face to face and help me see that everybody had something to teach everybody.

Dr. Kennard and I began to develop a strong relationship and she always pushed me to continue my education. She also encouraged me to become the president of the Human Services Club. This was a huge turning point in my life as I learned I was a good leader and that I had a passion for helping the less fortunate in my community. Taking on the role as President of the HSC taught me that I could juggle several different roles in my life and still be the same person at heart.

I earned three AA degrees before transferring to Stan State and receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work. This is where I realized I wanted to work with the mentally ill and help to develop an understanding within the community and teach people how damaging and incorrect stereotyping can be.

As time went on, I ended up working in a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility because my past prevented me from getting many jobs in the area of mental health. Kim taught me if you cannot get in through the front door; there is almost always a back door. So today I am opening my own outpatient drug and alcohol counseling center which I hope will soon fund a program that will assist the dually diagnosed in getting clean and sober. I want my program to work with other local programs and assist these people in getting into housing, finding employment, taking care of medical, food and clothing needs. All of these programs working together can help these individuals get back on their feet and teach them other ways to maintain a healthy, clean and sober lifestyle, while minimizing the stereotyping of this population.

In Memoriam
Dr. Kimberly Kennard-Lyke
1964 – 2017
MJC Professor of Human Services
2001 – 2017


A Deep Sense of Pride

By Dustin Parks, Class of 2017

I began my studies at Modesto Junior College in 2012. I had no idea what my major would be until I started taking business administration and office administration courses. I did very well in the office administration offerings. I had no educational plan but I went online and researched the various degrees, certificates, and skills recognition awards. One stood out to me. I met with one of the professors of office administration and she told me that I already had completed some of the courses and was well on my way. She said that she believed I would do well with this goal.

It was hard getting certain courses and I struggled a bit. I decided to submit a Certificate of Achievement application. I think it was July, 2016 when I registered for my final class…an 8-week offering. The class was a pretty hard one. Finals came around and I didn’t think I would pass. I nervously awaited my final grade. Grades were posted and I got a B in the course. I was so happy.

By December, 2016 I had finished the requirements for the Certificate of Achievement in Office Computer Applications. I was awarded the certificate in February of this year. I was thrilled!  My parents threw me a party.

I challenge each person to do their research and go for a goal that interests them. You can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it.  I’m even thinking about the possibility of a degree myself.

One thing I didn’t mention is that I am a disabled individual. This was a big accomplishment for me. I am so proud of myself.  Thank you to staff, family, and friends who encouraged me throughout this journey.




Inantha Johnson-Lyman

The Moser Family

Four Generations of MJC Pirates

Our family’s MJC story starts with my maternal grandmother Inantha Johnson-Lyman attending in the late 1920’s when classes were first opened to women to take secretarial courses. Family life prevented completion but she later took coursework at UC Berkeley.

In 1976 my mother in-law, Emma Moser graduated at age 59 with a degree in Nutrition and worked in food service for Doctors Medical Center. The following year, 1977, I completed an AS Degree in Nursing and just celebrated 40 years in the nursing field.  My most memorable teacher, Lynn Hansen, who taught physiology, encouraged me to get through the nursing program. My career included 12 years in acute care settings and 28 with school health services for Head Start Preschools and private child care programs.  Currently I consult with child care program health and safety services in the Central Valley.

Emma Moser

My husband Ray Moser graduated in 1978 with a degree in Electronics, obtained his electrical contractor’s license and has operated his own business for 34 years, while serving 23 years in the Army National Guard retiring as a Sargeant Major.

In 1979 my mother, Marilyn Lyman Smith-Birt, enrolled and started working toward a degree in communications. She was a part of the MJC Speech Team that competed and won National Titles in 1979 & 80 under the direction of Jim Johnson. Sadly, during the fall of 1980 theater production of the “Lemming Condition” she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in the spring of 1981.

Marilyn Lyman Smith-Birt

As a family we instilled a deep desire for educational, athletic and musical pursuits in our children.  Our oldest, Denise Moser, completed a B.A. in Medical Management from the University of Phoenix.  Our son Brian attended Stan State and now operates his own electrical business.

Two of our daughters are currently MJC employees.  Susan Moser-Rodgers attended MJC, dually enrolled at Stan State, and completed a B.S. in Wellness Management in 3.5 years.  She has been teaching fitness classes for 12 years at MJC.  Brenda Moser played volleyball for the Pirates for two years while completing agriculture studies.  She transferred to Stan State, getting a degree in Ag Economics, then received a Master’s in Coaching from Concordia University in Irvine.  Brenda’s love of volleyball has taken her from coaching at local high schools to operating a travel volleyball club and now serving as the Pirates head volleyball coach.

Left: Brenda Moser Right: Susan Moser-Rodgers

Living in the country near the MJC West Campus, we’ve watched the campus evolve into a beautiful site.  As our children grew up we would ride our bikes on the campus utilizing the exercise stations and visiting the many animals raised there.  Thank you for what the community college system has provided to our family…and the Central Valley.

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MJC Speech and Debate Team wins sweepstakes awards at three tournaments

The Modesto Junior College Speech and Debate Team swept up First Place Sweepstakes awards at their first three tournaments of the 2017 fall semester!  MJC out-spoke both two-year and four-year institutions to win the coveted top prizes.

MJC started the competitive season by winning the First Place Sweepstakes Award at the Golden Gate Opener held September 22-24, 2017 at San Francisco State University.

 During the three day event, more than 270 competitors from 18 colleges and universities competed in a gauntlet of both speech and debate events, and when the dust settled on Sunday, the MJC team had collectively earned 174 sweepstakes points to be crowned champion and took home the top team award.

The MJC squad swept up another first place sweepstakes award at the Santa Rosa Invitational Forensics Tournament held October 6-7, 2017, at Santa Rosa Junior College. Teams earn sweepstakes points when individual competitors break into final rounds. After two long days of debate, platform speaking, oral interpretation and limited preparation, the ten competing MJC team members brought home 19 awards.

MJC continued their winning streak at the Biggest Little City Classic on October 20-22, bringing home both First Place Individual Events Sweepstakes and First Place Overall Sweepstakes awards.  The event, held in Reno, NV, was MJC’s third tournament of the season.

The MJC team included 14 students competing in debate, platform speaking, oral interpretation and limited preparation events, bringing home 19 awards. Individual competitors earn sweepstakes points when they break into final rounds, and MJC accumulated enough points at this tournament to win the top team award.

Coach Ryan Guy said, “I couldn’t be more proud of our squad. Their work and perseverance have not only made them fierce competitors but also earned them the respect of the entire forensics community.”

On November 3-5, MJC Speech and Debate traveled to Stockton for another round of competition. For more information about the team including travel schedule and results,





MJC recently hosted a very successful visit by our accreditors.  You can feel the positive spirit at our college.  Everywhere we look there are signs of growth, improvement and success.  Our students, as you can see, have diverse backgrounds and stories.  Regardless of background or preparation, there is something for every member of our community at MJC.

At MJC, over 80 degree programs prepare a wide range of students for university, jobs, promotions and life!  MJC students also participate in theater, dance and music performances, on award-winning teams in Dairy Judging and Speech and Debate, and in student government, two honor societies, 25 student clubs and 21 competitive sports teams.

Is it time for you to come back to college?  Even if you have a degree, there’s likely something here for you, regardless of your age.  In addition to a wide array of credit courses, MJC’s Community Education program serves 7,000 people annually in not-for-credit offerings ranging from knitting to motorcycle safety; from backyard composting to medical coding.  They offer exciting, educational trips and tours too.  Go to or call 575-6063. Our Modesto Institute for Continued Learning (MICL) serves more than 250 members in a “learning in retirement,” emeritus college taught by members, retired teachers and professors. No tests, just learning for learning’s sake.

MJC has remained a vibrant, higher education launching pad for 96 years.  And a place for lifelong learning as well!  Thank you for supporting this important community treasure.


So, what’s your story?
Tell us: or

George Boodrookas, Ed.D.

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