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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!

Read more: Fall 2015 Printable Schedule Now Available

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!

Read more: Summer 2015 Printable Schedule Now Available

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 e-mail 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."

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A new program that allows qualifying Imperial County jail inmates to study alongside Imperial Valley College students has wrapped up its first semester.

The Inside/Out College program is the first of its kind in the state and is offered through a collaboration with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, Imperial Valley College and the Imperial County Probation Department.
Fourteen "inside" students from the jail and nine "outside" students from IVC met weekly at the Imperial County Day Reporting Center to complete a one-unit college course in the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program, focusing on life skills development.

Incarcerated students not only gain education but also are more likely to continue their education once they leave while the students not incarcerated gain a different perspective on the criminal justice system.

"This was a great experience," according to instructor Aruna Patel. "This is what education is all about – discovering how we can work together for a better future."

Inside/Out College Program coordinator Gaylla A. Finnell and sheriff's Sgt. Robert Wilson attended a week-long training last year in Michigan as part of the program.

"We were determined to get the training necessary to insure we had the best chance possible for success," according to Finnell. "We knew we were trying something different, and we wanted to make sure we were establishing a quality program for Imperial County."

Incarcerated students participating in the program will be low-risk offenders selected through a screening process to ensure their type of offense isn't violent and that they are ideal students for the program, Finnell explained.

All the students completing the class were honored during a special ceremony at the center on Wednesday.

The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is the first sheriff's office in the nation to offer this course.

"The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is proud to be a part of this innovative and ground-breaking program. In the few short weeks that this program has been in existence, I have seen significant change in not only the perception of the inmates themselves, but the perceptions of the outside students," according to Sheriff Ray Loera. "This is the type of program that will benefit the community by helping people re-integrate as productive members of society."

For more information regarding the Inside/Out College Program, contact Finnell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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FROM LEFT: Joe Cortez, Francesco Cortez and Yolanda Machado help put on the sash on Evangelina Jackson during the pinning and lamp lighting ceremony for licensed vocational nursing Friday at Imperial Valley College in Imperial. Jackson's son, Francesco Cortez, is also graduating from the registered nursing program the same day at IVC. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO

By KARINA LOPEZ Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — About two years ago, Evangelina Jackson began the vocational nursing program at Imperial Valley College, while her son, Frankie Cortez, began the registered nursing program, also at the local college.

While their paths never crossed during class or rotations at the local hospitals, they both shared in the late-night study sessions and struggles of going through the rigorous programs.

Now, the two are also celebrating together as Friday (December 12) marked both their graduations from their respective programs.

Jackson graduated during a 3 p.m. ceremony were she was pinned by her sons and vice versa during Cortez's ceremony later Friday night.

Cortez said it was hard to put into words what it meant to graduate from the program and see his mother fulfill her dreams at the same time.

"She always wanted to be a nurse because her mother was a nurse in Mexico," Cortez said. "It was a later revelation for me."

Cortez described the past two years as a rigorous wrestling match that could have gone either way.

"I think that's the best way I can describe it," he said with a laugh.

Susan Carreon, associate dean of nursing and allied health at Imperial Valley College, saw the two go through the programs and said it is really special to see Jackson and Cortez achieve their degrees together because each of them has succeeded in a very difficult and challenging program of study.

"I know they are very close and so proud of what each other has accomplished," she explained.

In addition to succeeding in challenging areas of study, Carreon said they both had the qualities needed in great nurses.

"Both of them exemplify a 'caring' concern for their patients to an outstanding degree," she explained. "It is what we expect from all our nursing graduates, but Evangelina and Francesco are special -- it must have started with their family values. They both have a giving spirit that has been recognized by our faculty and staff here at IVC."

Jackson was selected as the outstanding VN student at IVC's Student Award Banquet last spring and Cortez served as a tutor for the pre-nursing students and is the first to volunteer to help with department events Carreon said.

"They are both high energy and technically skilled as well and will make outstanding nurses," she said.

Both Jackson and Cortez overcame significant obstacles to get to their ceremonies on Friday, Carreon explained, saying Cortez was the first to tell others that he epitomized the "bad boy" with his actions and attitudes in his earlier years.

"I did get into trouble," Cortez said with a laugh.

Yet now that both Cortez and Jackson have achieved their goals , the only thing left for them to do is begin helping patients.

"We definitely want to stay in the Imperial Valley and help our families and our community," Cortez said.

Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

No parking permit for students required during these dates: 12/10/14 – 01/08/15

Online parking permit: $15.00 per vehicle
Additional vehicle: $10.00
Motorcycle: $12.00

IVC Campus Safety & Parking Control Office will begin ticketing for parking violations in student spaces on January 9, 2015.
Note: tickets are issued for reserved (faculty/staff), disabled, metered, 15-minute, and no parking spaces year around.

How do you buy your Parking Permit Online?

Have you ever had to wait in line in order to buy your parking permit for IVC? Well, now you don't have to!

The Campus Safety and Parking Control Department is proud to announce a new online parking permit ordering and delivery process. This system, provided by Parking Plus, enables our students to order their semester parking permit online and have the permit mailed directly to them.

From the IVC Homepage, follow these steps:

  • Click on For Students
  • Click on the WebSTAR link (you'll have to login at this point with your G#/PIN)
  • Click on the Student Services Menu
  • Click on Student Records
  • Click on Order Parking Permit

When you order your permit, please be prepared to enter the following personal and vehicle information you will be using the permit with:

  • Student ID #
  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Vehicle make
  • Vehicle model
  • Vehicle year
  • Vehicle color
  • Vehicle license plate
  • Credit card information

Summer permit fees are $15 for vehicles and $12.00 for motorcycles.

Note: Immediately after purchasing your parking permit online, you have the option to print a temporary 10-day pass while you wait for your parking permit to arrive in the mail.

Please contact the Campus Safety and Parking Control Department at 760-355-6308 if you have any questions or encounter any parking difficulties.

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