Student News

IVC is sponsoring a bridge program for ESL and developmental English students, full details are below (Applications are Due by December 16)!

Improve your English skills!
Sign up for Winter Bridge, designed for students bridging from ESL classes to English classes.
The program will run Monday through Friday, Jan. 5 through Feb. 5 from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The program is FREE! And if you attend regularly and complete tests as required, your books (up to $100) for a Spring 2016 ESL or English class will be paid for!
There is no credit, no homework, and no books needed. Classes will include English grammar, College Reading, College Writing, and Study Skills.
Pick up an application in the English/ESL office on the second floor of the 2700-building. Applications are due by Dec. 16.

The Winter / Spring 2016 Course Schedule Information is now online!

For those of you looking to get a head start researching the classes you'd like to take in the Winter / Spring, you can now browse the printable version of our Winter / Spring 2016 schedule.

(Reprinted with permission of the Imperial Valley Press) By MARIO RENTERIA, Managing Editor IMPERIAL — Imperial High senior Marie Alvarez, 17, is still trying to decide if she's going to San Diego State University in San Diego or Biola University in La Mirada. On Wednesday, she and her senior classmates at Imperial met 30 different college and university representatives and recruiters during Higher Ed Week put on by the Imperial County Office of Education at Imperial. Biola and SDSU were among the 30 schools. "I think it's very helpful and I love that they do this for the community because not everybody has that opportunity to do it for themselves," said Alvarez. "Having this at the high school, it's a really great chance for students to know more about their colleges and know more about what they want to do with their lives." The event at Imperial is one of several the ICOE is holding this week, with the event visiting Brawley Union, Calipatria and Southwest high schools today. It has already been to Central Union, San Pasqual Valley in Winterhaven on Tuesday and Holtville and Calexico highs later in the day Wednesday. "It's been a great success," said Denise Cabanilla, director of Higher Education and Adult Learning at the ICOE. "We have students asking a lot of fantastic questions, our recruiters are excited and enthusiastic about promoting their colleges and higher education in general." In its 11th year, the event provides information directly to students about tuition, grades, transfer requirements and anything a student might ask as he or she prepares for life after high school. "It helps you see how the colleges are going to be like as a freshman, what it's going to cost, everything you need to do to get into that college," said Imperial senior Omar Ahmad, who is planning to attend the University of California, Los Angeles. "I'm originally from LA … my sister is going to UCLA already."

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Imperial Valley College Dean of Counseling Ted Ceasar explains the changes that are in being made inside the Casbah in the college, which is being transformed to house the college's veterans center to help provide several services to veterans or active-duty personnel studying at IVC. Listening to Ceasar is IVC Student Success Specialist Tara Wells on Friday. MARIO RENTERIA PHOTO

Veterans will soon have a place to call their own at Imperial Valley College, a home away from home, if you will, as the campus strategizes a plan to boost numbers of students and eventual graduates who are military veterans or active-duty personnel.

With funding provided from the Student Success Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 1456), the former Casbah Room in the Student Center has been transformed into a place where military veterans and active-duty personnel can get the help and support they need to successfully navigate college life. Staff will include a student success specialist to oversee the center, including a counselor dedicated to working with veterans, along with clerical staff and student mentors.

A specially designated student success specialist and counselor have been appointed and will be staffing the center along with an office assistant.

"Once these positions are in place we will start hiring peer mentors and tutors and start seeing veterans in the center, possibly in two or three weeks," said Ted Ceasar, IVC's dean of counseling.

A grand opening is planned for Veterans Day on Nov. 10.

The college has long been aware of the need to better-serve veterans, but it takes money to do so, and while previous grant applications were filed, they were also declined. Then along came the Student Success Act, which is intended to address student equity and achievement gaps, enabling colleges throughout the state to level the playing field for first-time students.

Before IVC could tap into any funding, it had to identify achievement gaps based upon the following criteria: ethnicity, gender, age, veteran status and the economically disadvantaged.

"Five things needed to be considered, based on how numbers at the college represent the community population," Ceasar said. "Those are access, course completion, degree completion, transfer to upper division programs and basic skills classes and ESL."

"We're working to address the gap," Ceasar said. "This part of the plan is focused on vets."

As the data was collected, "We found first that veterans are considered under-enrolled. We found that veterans do well at course completion but don't have comparable degree completions and transfers," he said.

In addition, "We found the numbers of initial interest are higher than the numbers of those who initially enroll," said Jose Carrillo, IVC's director of institutional research.

A first step has been to get the information out to veterans and active-duty military personnel, through the local Naval Air Facility El Centro, agencies that serve veterans, veterans' groups themselves and other entities.

"A major objective is to recruit veterans or make them aware of the advantages of coming to IVC for their education," Ceasar said.

Dubbed "Operation AT*EASE" (Academic Transition and Employment Access for Student Excellence), the veterans center will provide a holistic approach to meet the emerging needs of local veterans by creating pathways for their transition from military to college to work.

The project will build on IVC's 64 programs of study, which will provide veterans with a wide array of choices of vocational, technical and academic programs, which will meet their career needs.

"The plan is to develop goals and activities to close the gap," Ceasar said.

The center will provide assistance with academics, health and wellness and camaraderie.

The peer mentors will be hired through work-study programs.

"We're striving when possible to have veterans serving in these positions," Ceasar said, part of the "Hire a Hero" portion of the plan that will bring community awareness for veterans while promoting the available internships and hiring opportunities for them.

As for the center itself, Ceasar said, "We want it to be a really warm, comfortable and inviting place."

It includes a lounge area and computers to use for registration, enrollment and projects, with specialized software designed to help non-traditional students with academics.

There will be a connection through the health center with programs and health fairs targeted to assisting returning vets and their needs.

Added Ceasar, "We want them to have that place that is their spot, where they can feel comfortable."

The Fall 2015 Course Schedule Information is now online!

For those of you looking to get a head start researching the classes you'd like to take in the Fall, you can now browse the printable version of our Fall 2015 schedule. We've also gone ahead and broken down the schedule into individual sections as well to make it easier to print just the information you need!

Graduation starts on Saturday, June 13,2015 @ 10 AM. We have 500 graduates that will be walking this year!

The Summer 2015 Course Schedule Information is now online!

For those of you looking to get a head start researching the classes you'd like to take in the Summer, you can now browse the printable version of our Summer 2015 schedule. We've also gone ahead and broken down the schedule into individual sections as well to make it easier to print just the information you need!

Reprinted with permission of the Imperial Valley Press

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Nursing student Mariann Nilson (left) gets instruction from optical manager Lisa Gonzales, Advanced Eye Care Optometry, to get an eye examination Tuesday during the Imperial Valley College health fair in Imperial. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO

Imperial Valley College student Gabriella Jaimes checked her blood pressure, eye sight, weight and even tested her blood on Tuesday.

This all took place at the annual health fair held on campus, in collaboration with Pioneers Memorial Hospital and El Centro Regional Medical Center. Thirty agencies participating provided information on programs and services.

"It's amazing. I come every year," Jaimes said. "The services they bring are very helpful."

The fair is held twice a year in an effort to give college students an opportunity to learn what services are in the Imperial Valley. Agencies included Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program and many others.

"Students, especially coming out of high school, are now responsible for their own health," said Richard Morales, ECRMC public relations specialist. "They need to understand what resources are available to them."

"We want them to have a brighter, healthier lifestyle for themselves," he added.

Socorro Calderon, a volunteer for Relay for Life and a representative of the American Cancer Society, was there to promote cancer prevention, but found that many students shied away from her booth.

"They don't want to talk about it," she said. "They're probably afraid to know."

She presented information about eating healthier as well as avoiding tobacco, which is the worst thing a person can have when it comes to prevention.

Imperial County Public Health Department Health Educator Raul Martinez gave out information about the effects of tobacco, specifically e-cigarettes.

"A lot of students are using electronic cigarettes because IVC is a smoke-free campus," he said.

They don't know the consequences, he added, stating that e-cigarettes are not FDA-approved and they have unsafe chemicals in them.

Lalita Hermosillo, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo case manager, presented information about another side of health — HIV.

"(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends everyone should have one HIV test in your lifetime, even if you're not sexually active," she said. "HIV doesn't discriminate … it can just take that one time."

Clinicas provided education and the tools to be sexually safe, Hermosillo said.

Planned Parenthood was on site giving free HIV testing, chlamydia testing and gonorrhea testing.

Other testing at the event was blood testing from the Pioneers Memorial Hospital. They tested for magnesium, iron, hemoglobin, glucose and more to see how healthy a person is, said Kyle Counce, of the PMH lab.

IVC student Victor Ruby Jr. said he thought all the resources were really helpful.

"They do it every semester. It's pretty good," he said.

Staff Writer Krista Daly can be reached at 760-337-3445 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Rigoberto Ponce, of Educational Talent Search, assists Imperial Valley College student Josue Arreguin at the Cash for College workshop at IVC Saturday. SANDY SIERRA PHOTO

IMPERIAL — With financial documents in tow, potential and current college students swarmed Imperial Valley College to receive assistance during the Cash For College workshop Saturday morning.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide free, one-on-one professional financial aid assistance to families completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, Middle-Class Scholarship and California Dream Act application.

"We have five computer labs available as well as one for those who choose to bring their own laptops. Our main purpose is to provide computers and one-on-one support, especially to first-generation, low-income students," said Martha Singh, San Diego and Imperial County Cal-SOAP assistant director.

The event gathered staff from the Imperial County Office for Higher Education as well as from IVC's Financial Aid Support Services, IVC's Talent Search and Early Academic Outreach Program.

"It's a countywide event that is open to all high school and college students. Another thing that's going on is that when they fill out an application, they are automatically entered for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship," said Denise Cabanilla, ICOE director.

Cabanilla added that this is an important event for students to accurately and promptly turn in all the paperwork necessary to become eligible for financial assistance.

"Oftentimes, students will start filling out the forms but they don't realize that they don't complete it until they start school and don't have that aid," she said. "Today's an opportunity for that. You also see students and parents working together and that's great to see."

Calexico High School senior Daniella Patino was accompanied by a family member. Her older sister, Rosalinda, helped guide her through the process. They spoke about Obama's State of the Union address where he proposed the idea of free community college, which has caused much debate about whether it is too lofty of a goal.

Both agreed that the intention brought much-needed attention to the cost of higher education.

"It's sad to see people who want to study but can't because they can't afford it," Rosalinda said.

Daniella added, "I think what the president said was excellent. There aren't a lot of people that have the opportunity to spend money on their education."

17-year-old Forrest Ramos believes that unburdening students financially can only spell out good things.

"I think it would be nice not to worry about paying back loans and instead focus your energy on figuring out what you want to do," he said.

Calexico High School student Ian Ortiz finds Obama's speech motivational for college students.

"I think it's a great idea because it'll motivate youth to pursue their dreams and move forward," the 17-year-old said.

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Calexico High graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra is heading off to Croatia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. MARIO RENTERIA PHOTO

Calexico High 2012 graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra has a big dream and he's going all the way to Europe to pursue it.

The 20-year-old Imperial Valley College student is hoping to be a professional soccer player with a big club team in Europe and he's starting in Croatia later this month.

"I hope to gain experience and for Croatia to be a stepping stone for me to go to a bigger club, bigger league, to play in a big division league club in Europe," said the former forward for the Bulldogs.

He's only days away from traveling to a country he's never visited, a trip that started soon after graduating high school.

"I started looking for teams to improve my game. Thankfully, I found this school that is affiliated with Atlas of Guadalajara in Mexicali," he said.

The school is Centro de Alto Rendimiento Proyect Talents A.C., where he played from August 2013 through last year. He attended a tournament in July with the school in Guadalajara, where he garnered interest from other scouts.

He returned in November to Guadalajara, where his immediate future was set.

"They already have links with some teams (around the world)," Vizcarra said. "They asked me if I wanted to go play in Croatia or Bosnia, I chose Croatia."

On Jan. 18 he'll head back to Guadalajara, where he will meet with his agent and another player from Mexico. The three will make the trip across the North Atlantic Ocean to Croatia on Jan. 20.

"It feels like (I'm) close to a big accomplishment, but I don't let that (drop) me into a comfort zone," he said. "I want to have missions, go for more and hopefully one day play in a big top club."

Vizcarra is putting his education on hold to pursue his dream. He's close to graduating from IVC with a degree in administration of justice. Should the pro career not pan out, he'll pursue his bachelor's degree.

In Croatia, he'll find out what team he will play with.

For now, he's leaving the comforts of home, family and friends for a few months to pursue a dream in a country that can put a freeze to his dreams or open doors for his future.

"Everyone is so accustomed to the Valley that they fear going away," he said. "If you have a dream, go for it, only you can stop yourself."