Lancer Life

#WeRemember! Would you like to honor our

#WeRemember! Would you like to honor our PCC veterans? Click to learn about Pasadena’s Memorial Day event!

#weremember! Would you like to honor our

#weremember! Would you like to honor our PCC veterans? Click to learn about Pasadena’s Memorial Day event!

PCC in the Palm of Your Hands

The PCC Mobile application offers mobile access to campus maps, schedule of classes, event calendars, the latest news, sports schedules, and more.

Pasadena City College constantly strives to be a “Global Community College.” As a part of this ongoing commitment, the college rolled out “PCC Mobile,” an application that allows users to access vital information pertaining to the college in the palm of their hands.

PCC Mobile, which was developed by Blackboard Mobile Central and is compatible with IOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad), Blackberry, and Android devices, helps students and staff to stay connected to PCC whether they are on or off campus. The IOS version of the application was released in mid-February, while the Blackberry and Android versions were released in late April. Recently, PCC’s mobile team released “Phase II” of the application, which includes a campus tour, as well as information about various services and business hours on campus.

“We want to offer our students and other members of our community the best in technology and access, and that means making PCC services and information available to mobile users,” said Leslie Tirapelle PCC interim Director of Distance Education.

“Introducing a mobile application supports a key “Educational Master Plan Signature Goal” to offer cutting-edge learning environments,” explained Leslie Tirapelle, PCC’s interim director of Distance Education. “PCC’s mobile presence will allow learners, educators, and the community to have instant access to the information they need. It will allow them to accomplish goals and engage in an education experience anytime, anywhere.”

Currently, the application offers mobile access to campus maps, class schedules, event calendars, sports schedules, campus news, and a staff directory. Additionally, students are able to access many of their courses through the “Canvas” component in PCC Mobile.

Patrick Gonzaga, a third-year student studying television and radio, downloaded PCC Mobile on to his iPod Touch and Android phone as soon as it was released.

“I use the app about once a week to make sure that class is in session for the following week or to look up a professor’s contact information. I also use it to access my Canvas Classes,” Gonzaga said. “I use the directory application the most because I like to know how or where to find a certain professor and their office hours.”

According to Tirapelle, the application’s capabilities will be greatly increased after the college implements its new Administrative Information System. “With improved technology, we will be able to offer such mobile features such as admissions, registration, and access to academic records,” she said.

Since its launch earlier this year, the mobile application has been run over 41,000 times – 62% IPhone, 16% Android, 11% IPod and 10% IPad.

PCC Mobile Features:

  • Maps: Search campus buildings by name, pinpoint them on the map, and see their location relative to your own.
  • Courses: Browse and search courses for current and future terms, see course descriptions, times, locations, and availability, and even contact the instructor directly from within the app.
  • Learn: Get instant access to all of your Canvas course content on the go. Check grades, post to discussion forums, view important class announcements, read and download assignments, and more.
  • Staff Directory: Get in touch with anyone campus-wide, and add that person directly to your phone’s address book.
  • Calendar: Find and keep track of a wide range of PCC events, from concerts and art exhibits to lectures and athletics.
  • News: Keep up with all the happenings on and off campus with news.
  • Library: Easily find library resources including location and call number, and even see current availability.
  • Emergency: Get access to important numbers and information when you need them. Call to report an emergency or sign up to receive emergency alerts.
  • Connect: Connect with PCC using your favorite social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and more!
  • Places: Everything you need to know about every place on campus right on your device including Dining, Computer Labs, Student Services Parking and Transportation, ATM and Bank Locations, and Community Resources.
  • Canvas: Provides access to PCC’s learning management system to access online course content.
  • Campus Tour: A virtual tour of the entire facility.

To Download: IOSBlackberryAndroid

PCC: Leading the Pack in Sustainability and “Green” Practices

PCC and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have partnered over the past two years to offer low-cost public transportation passes to 8,800 students each semester. The TAP pass allows full-time students enrolled in at least 12 units to ride the Metro for $30 per semester.

Long before “going green” was the hip thing to do, Pasadena City College began the process of becoming more environmentally responsible and using fewer natural resources. From cutting back on energy use to streamlining its architecture and landscaping, the college has made strides in every way to become a greener player in the global community.

PCC’s ongoing effort to reduce its environmental impact has made it an exemplary institution in the state of California and across the nation. In fact, the college has picked up half a dozen awards honoring its good deeds from local and national admirers, including a national award in Outstanding Climate Leadership from the American College and University Climate Commitment and the Model Community Achievement award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

A Transformative Decade at PCC

For the past decade, PCC has been gradually transforming its campus, curriculum, and policies to reflect its deep commitment to the environment. One of the college’s early efforts involved installing Capstone 60-kilowatt turbines to heat the swimming pool. The project replaced traditional pool heaters with remarkably efficient and clean natural, gas-fired turbines that not only heat the pool, but produce 120,000 watts of electricity simultaneously in a process called co-generation.

Another installation utilizing co-generation is the bank of four turbines in the Bonnie Avenue Parking Structure. The turbines produce 240,000 watts of power, and the waste heat is converted into chilled water that helps cool campus buildings through an absorber chiller.

Over the past decade, several acres of asphalt on campus have been removed and replaced with walkways, sitting areas, landscaping, water features, and other areas meant to make the campus more conducive to learning. During this time, more than 500 trees have been planted, transforming PCC into a student-oriented campus, rather than a vehicle-oriented one.

PCC was the first institution in the city to install “Thermal Energy Storage” systems.  This technology uses electricity at night, when statewide demand is lower, to produce vast quantities of ice. The ice is then melted during the day, when electricity demand is at its highest, to satisfy air-conditioning demands.  One system was installed when the Shatford Library was built in 1994, and another was installed to serve the Community Education Center on Foothill Boulevard in 1995.

Additionally, PCC has replaced aging and inefficient central chillers and heating units with highly efficient modern ones, installed computer systems that control energy and chemical usage, and refurbished and upgraded rooftops and windows where needed.

Even though PCC has already made tremendous changes to lessen its environmental impact during the past 10 years, the institution refuses to rest on its laurels. Transitioning from fluorescent to LED lights, offering students economically and environmentally viable alternatives to driving to campus, and installing cutting edge nanotechnology are just a few more ways that PCC continues to go greener each and every day.

Whereas fluorescent lamps typically last for two to three years, depending on use, LEDs have a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours – typically 10-12 years.

Seeing the Light: Transitioning from Fluorescent to LED Lights

Earlier this year, PCC began working with Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) to partner in a massive fluorescent-to-LED light conversion project. PWP recently completed an engineering and feasibility study to determine total costs and expected electricity usage reductions.

Whereas fluorescent lamps typically last for two to three years, depending on use, LEDs have a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours – typically 10-12 years. LEDs produce a fraction of the heat created by fluorescent lights and virtually no heat compared with mercury vapor, sodium, metal halide, and traditional incandescent bulbs.

The estimated savings in carbon dioxide emissions is more than 5,600,000 pounds per year – equal to the carbon effect of planting 1,100 acres of trees per year. The use of mercury is very harmful to the environment, and mercury vapor in even small quantities can cause serious health problems when inhaled. This technology will do away with the need for mercury on the campus and will make PCC a healthier place.

MTA, PCC Partner to Offer Students Affordable Transit Passes

PCC and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have partnered over the past two years to offer low-cost public transportation passes to 8,800 students each semester. The TAP pass allows full-time students enrolled in at least 12 units to ride the Metro for $30 per semester. Students can visit PCC Student Business Services in Room B203 to purchase a pass.

To ensure the program’s success, PCC will continue to provide shuttle service to the Metro Gold Line in Pasadena to encourage students to use public transit.

The TAP is valid on Metro buses, Metro Rail lines, and Foothill Transit seven days a week. Students can use the pass for all other transportation needs, including work, shopping, or recreation. Because they are saving transportation costs, students may be encouraged to take additional college units and can invest the free travel time public transit affords them to study or rest.

Pasadena City College Taps into Greener Energy Source with Nanotechnology

PCC was outfitted with energy-saving nanotechnology by AMAX Incorporated, a locally-based technology research firm. The new technology, also known as SEBGA energy wraps, was installed in every campus building with a heater or broiler in early 2010. The Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium did not receive SEBGA energy wraps in order to serve as a control in the energy saving experiment.

The SEBGA energy wraps fiscal impact has been staggering. The natural gas bills for the month of October 2010 showed a 43 percent reduction in overall cost, which equated to $14,175.62 in savings.

PCC was chosen as one of the first recipients of SEBGA energy wrap technology by one of AMAX’s officers. “Every day after school, he drives his son to the PCC pool for the Swim Pasadena program,” Yuan explained. “PCC’s large swimming pool inspired him to work with the college to conserve energy usage on campus.” Although the SEBGA nanotech wraps are already installed in several locations across North American, PCC is the first public school to use them.

For the past decade, AMAX has privately funded nanotechnology research and development. After years of work, the research finally bore fruit, and the SEBGA energy wraps became available on the market about five months ago.

PCC was honored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) with the Clean Air Award. The award honors visionaries in the region who have helped in the fight for clean air through innovation, leadership, and exemplary service.

PCC Recognized as a Leader in Sustainability 

PCC walked away with two awards for sustainability at the 2011 Higher Education Sustainability Conference this past July held at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, the conference is the only one of its kind in the state that brings together the University of California, California State University, and the California Community Colleges, as well as private colleges and universities both as organizers and attendees.

PCC received a nod for its “Innovative Waste Reduction,” along with UC Davis and CSU Chico. The college was also recognized for “Campus-Community Partnerships” for its Institution Pass Program. Other awardees in that category included CSU Monterey Bay for its Chinatown Renewal Project and UC Riverside for its Cultivate “R” Space.

Additionally, PCC was honored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) with the Clean Air Award. The award honors visionaries in the region who have helped in the fight for clean air through innovation, leadership, and exemplary service.

PCC was selected in the category of “Model Community Achievement” for its green policies on campus, including environmentally sound energy usage, encouragement of public transportation, and lighting upgrades.

Other honors bestowed upon the college include the 2011 Leadership Award from Green California and the 2010 Outstanding Climate Leadership honor from the American College and University Climate Commitment.

PCC is committed to fully serving the community’s educational needs and satisfying its responsibility to the Earth and to the future generations of its inhabitants.

PCC: A Safe Haven for Student-Veterans

Scene from the Veterans' Resource Center (VRC) ribbon cutting ceremony.

For students who have served in the military, transitioning from combat to the classroom can be an uphill battle. Pasadena City College offers a plethora of services, programs, and classes that not only ease veterans into student life, but also arm them with the skills necessary to succeed in life outside of PCC.

With more than 30,000 troops returning to California annually, the number of veterans attending PCC has increased by 20 percent each semester. The influx of new students is expected to increase as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end.

According to Patricia D’Orange-Martin, the coordinator of PCC’s Veterans Resource Center and a veterans counselor, “Many veterans are completely lost on a college campus.” In addition to feeling confused by the myriad of forms, rules, deadlines, and procedures required to attend college, some suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

After serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years, Nathaniel Kemnitz arrived on PCC’s campus this past fall looking for a fresh start. He had tried college two years prior at another institution, but dropped out due to depression and PTSD. In addition, he did not have use of his right arm and was blind in his right eye. “Nobody understood my pain,” he recalled.

His college experience thus far could not be any more different than his first go round. “When I came to PCC a couple months ago, I was amazed with the veteran support. I was welcomed instantly and was no longer alone in my struggle because I found so many other veterans who were battling the same issues.”

PCC is firmly committed to providing support to returning veterans, whose needs are immense and well beyond the scope of traditional educational programs.

Veterans Resource Center: A Safe Haven

One of the most critical services available to student veterans is the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), which provides academic, transfer, and career counseling, as well as referrals to agencies off campus.

“Transitioning from combat to classroom was a little rough in the beginning,” said Li-Ming Liu, an Army veteran who enrolled at PCC summer 2009. “There were many things to take care of: FASFA, admissions, registration, the G.I Bill. Once you start your classes, you have to get your mind right; it’s hard to get your head in a school mentality.”

Liu found the support that he needed at the VRC. From computers to counseling to legal referrals to VA benefits, the tools that Liu needed to succeed in school and in life were at his disposal at the Center.

In addition to assisting student veterans in navigating campus life, the VRC also connects students to services available in the community.

“We get veterans all the time with an array of issues – from transition issues, psychological and health issues, learning difficulties, and benefits problems to homelessness and substance abuse,” D’Orange-Martin said. “You can’t do well in school if you are having panic attacks, are sleeping in your car or on the street, or if your benefits are not coming in and you can’t pay your bills.”

The VRC does everything in its power to assist these students and to help them get back on track academically.

“Students thrive here, unlike on other campuses, because we have their back. We help out when they’re in trouble, refer them to appropriate help, facilitate counseling for them, mediate with other faculty when there are problems, and create an atmosphere that is mutually supportive,” said Harold Martin, PCC adjunct associate professor of psychology and counseling. “The number one determinant of whether a veteran will succeed or fail is whether they have social support, and we try to make sure they have it.”

The Veterans Learning Collaborative, From Outdoor Retreats to “Boots to Books”

PCC developed the Veterans’ Learning Collaborative (VLC) this past fall to help veterans adjust to the challenges of higher education and overcome the physical injuries and lingering anxieties from military service.

“The fundamental mission of the program is to enhance veteran student learning through the development of learning communities that foster academic and social connections,” D’Orange-Martin said.

The program begins with an outdoor retreat, where former service members are given the opportunity to learn about one another and to bond as college students, and not just veterans. “We sleep in tents, go hiking, cook outdoors, get away from civilization,” explains Martin. “It’s very helpful for many veterans to get back to nature. They also enjoy the camaraderie and getting to know one another better by being together 24/7 for a few days.”

Following the retreat, the cohort of students is enrolled in a series of four classes together that are exclusively for veterans. The veterans-only classes include accelerated basic skills English (English 100), Physical Anthropology Introduction to College, and “Boots to Books” (Counseling 12). Each VLC class is led by a faculty member who has been oriented on veterans issues. The VLC faculty team members collaborate in their teaching to provide integrative learning, which helps student veterans see interdisciplinary connections. They work together to make these classes meaningful, challenging,
and relevant.

One of the most popular classes is Martin’s “Boots to Books” transition course. The class examines military transitional issues such as combat grief, substance abuse, self-esteem, “battle mind,” PTSD, and suicide.

“Boots to Books made me feel more comfortable at school, knowing and seeing familiar veteran faces around campus,” Liu said. “It taught very useful skills to use in school, which made the transition much easier.”

Martin, who is a combat infantry veteran, served 20 years with the Army, National Guard, and Reserves. He draws from his own experiences to help teach the course. Apart from dealing with readjustment issues, the class includes multiple assessments, and referrals to the Employment Development Department, as well as other agencies.

“I have had students that applied for jobs or promotions and got them, but told me they wouldn’t have tried if it weren’t for my class,” Martin said. “Students tell me they communicate better with their spouses and significant others because of my class. They seek professional help that they otherwise wouldn’t have sought. They are friendlier and are more successful socially than without the class.”

Veterans Week: Honoring and Recognizing Student Veterans

Veterans Week, which took place on campus from Nov. 7 to 10, honored student veterans and promoted positive relations within the greater PCC community.

Veterans Week, which took place on campus from Nov. 7 to 10, honored student veterans and promoted positive relations within the greater PCC community.

Events on campus included an informational fair, where community service providers connected with veterans and their family members; a screening of the movie “Restrepo,” a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley; a brunch to recognize PCC’s faculty, staff, and student veterans; and a special service at the PCC veterans memorial wall.

Former boxing world champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini also participated in Veterans Week by visiting the VRC. Mancini’s movie production company is currently producing a documentary about Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning home with PTSD and TBI.

Pasadena City College Named a “Military Friendly School”

PCC’s dedication to providing student veterans with a world class education hasn’t gone unnoticed. For the past two years, G.I. Jobs magazine has named PCC a “Military Friendly School.” While this exclusive list recognizes the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students, it ranks PC in the top 6 percent. “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the greatest opportunity and overall experience. Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans,” D’Orange-Martin explains.

Student-Run Lancer Radio Making Waves on the Air

From left: PCC students Zack Elkhaldy, Bryan Hoyos, and Justin Bernal have a roundtable discussion during “The Play-By-Play” weekly sports talk show.

Since its modest beginnings in 1934, the Pasadena City College radio broadcast program has developed into a point of pride for both the college and the community. What began as a monthly broadcast from the Pasadena Presbyterian Church’s radio station has since grown into a full-fledged, student-run station with a loyal local and online audience. Rich in history and tradition, the PCC radio broadcast program is truly world-class and unlike any other curriculum offered at the community college level.

A Peek into the Past

Just a decade after Pasadena Junior College was founded, students and staffers began taking their voices to the radio waves. In 1934, the college started monthly broadcasts over KPPC, the Pasadena Presbyterian church’s radio station. These early broadcasts, featuring the biological science and music departments of the college, were given in place of the regular “Civic Hour” from KPPC.

The college began offering coursework in radio and broadcasting in 1936 with the addition of a radio production and technique course to the curriculum. More radio courses were eventually added each semester, eventually forming the Radio Division.

In 1942, the Radio Division classes featured an experimental program every Monday night on KPCS. In conjunction with the Chronicle, they produced a program called “Presenting Pasadena for Pasadena Preferred.” The program featured Pasadena history. Other Radio Division classes included PJC musical and dramatic groups. Students also participated in the CBS This Living World radio series during 1943-44.

With a student body tremendously interested in the medium, the college established its first radio studio in 1947. The station afforded students greater opportunities for creative expression and provided an additional means for advertising the school and its activities to the community. The initial AM radio studio consisted of a studio classroom, engineering room, work room, and reception room. As the college had no transmitter or broadcasting license, the studio fed programming to local radio stations for broadcast.

An FM station (KPCS) was added a decade later in 1957 with a transmitter purchased from KWKW. The studio and transmitter were located on campus and its signal reached metropolitan Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. It held the distinction of being one of the few FCC licensed stations in the nation operated by a two-year college.

KPCS won dozens of national and local broadcasting award during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Reflecting the fact that the station was no longer under the auspices of Pasadena City Schools, the call letters were changed to the more appropriate “KPCC” at the end of 1971.

The campus radio station entered an unprecedented decade of growth in 1988, when the college replaced the low-power transmitter and radio tower that originally sat on top of the C Building with a modern, high-power transmission facility on Mt. Wilson. KPCC’s studios and offices abandoned their cramped quarters in the C Building in 1993 when their new facilities opened in the New Media Center. KPCC’s service area expanded to cover the area between northern San Diego County and Ventura County.

In 1999, the college contracted with Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), a subsidiary of Minnesota Public Radio, to manage the day-to-day operations of the station. Most music and some local programming were replaced by network programming from National Public Radio.

As a result of the change in management, KPCC’s role as a teaching institution changed. Although a handful of students from the Communications Division continued to serve internships in the technical side of the station operations, fewer and fewer students were actually heard “on air.” To compensate for this disappearing student voice, the college started a student-run, one-watt radio station (88.9 FM) in 1998. Also known as Lancer Radio, the station serves the educational needs for radio broadcast students.

Bruna Nessif, a senior communications major with an emphasis in broadcast journalism at Cal State Fullerton, found her passion for media while studying at PCC.

A Glimpse into the Working Classroom

Through a combination of traditional coursework, hands-on training, and a dose of field work, PCC students are given a rigorous education not usually found or expected at a two-year institution. Additionally, students learn and work in a state-of-the-art facility once occ

upied by the number one radio station in Southern California. Studying radio broadcasting at PCC is as close to working at a real-world radio station as it gets.

“What sets PCC’s radio broadcasting program apart from those at other colleges is that we put students into practical, hands-on situations almost immediately,” said Scott Carter, a radio broadcasting instructor.

There are currently four classes that provide programming and operations to the station. TVR2B is an operations course that gives students the opportunity to operate the board for live shows and to program the station’s automation system. TVR14A and 14B are radio production classes that provide weekly music, talk shows, and news to the station. Finally, TVR120 is a radio workshop class that facilitates students’ weekly shows and teaches the writing and production skills needed to deliver live shows via podcasts.

Lancer Radio recently inherited KPCC’s studio after the station moved to a new facility off campus. “Our move over into KPCC’s old space has made it possible for our students to run two live shows at once, while also giving students the ability to edit and mix pre-recorded pieces for upcoming shows,” said Sarah Barker, instructor of television and radio production and co-faculty advisor for Lancer Radio. “In that sense, we are operating much like a commercial radio station. This kind of experience and sense of real broadcast “pacing” is invaluable in preparing our students for the “real world” marketplace in a very competitive industry.”

PCC currently offers Occupational Skills Certificates in Radio Broadcast Operations and Radio Production, Certificates of Achievement in Radio Production and Broadcast Journalism, and official certification by the Society of Broadcasting Engineers.

On-Air Programming

“I think one of the most remarkable things about Lancer Radio is that it is truly a student-operated station,” Barker said. “We are not affiliated in any way with National Public Radio or American Public Media, which means everything you hear on Lancer Radio is student-

produced, -written, and -performed.”

In addition to the four courses that provide programming for the station, students who have completed required courses are able to produce their own shows as well. Lancer Radio’s schedule currently includes more than 10 shows, one of which is produced and hosted by PCC faculty. In addition to student programming, Lancer Radio Station Manager Valentino Rivera provides sports coverage at various PCC sporting events.

The current Lancer Radio line-up includes several music shows featuring up-and-coming bands. The musicians are invited into the studio for an interview and performance. “Voice of America,” which is hosted by John Samuel, is a weekly talk show addressing veteran’s affairs. “Over Coffee,” which is hosted by Dot Cannon, as well as “The Connor Bubble, which is hosted by PCC faculty member Joe Connor, are two weekly current affairs programs. “The Play-By-Play, currently hosted by Justin Bernal and Zack Elkhady, is a weekly sports talk show.

“Although a student-operated station, the radio courses offered at PCC are exceptional and prepare these students to produce good radio and good content,” Barker said. “I have had several experiences with listening to my students’ programming and thought to myself that this is something I might hear on a public radio station.”

Alums on the Air

“Many employers are absolutely blown away at how much experience and familiarity with procedures and equipment PCC students have when applying for jobs,” Carter said. “PCC teaches hands-on performance with industry-standard audio editing and automation software, as well as common broadcast hardware. Lancer Radio puts the classroom training into actual on-air experience.”

Bruna Nessif, a senior communications major with an emphasis in broadcast journalism at Cal State Fullerton, found her passion for media while studying at PCC. She was initially drawn to psychology, but quickly switched gears after taking a br

Nicky G., another former PCC radio broadcasting student. Here she is with actor Channing Tatum at a Power 106 event.

oadcast news writing course. “That class changed everything; I felt like I finally found my niche,” Nessif said. As she delved deeper into broadcast journalism, she began taking radio classes as well. As a student in Carter’s radio workshop, Nessif had her own half-hour show, “The Dish,” that was broadcasted live each week. “It was primarily about love, sex, and dating,” she said. “It was definitely a class that has impacted my life to this day and Scott Carter, who instructed the workshop, has become my mentor.”

Nessif recently interned with E! News and is currently freelancing for E! Online. She also serves as the vice president of the Society of Professional Journalists Fullerton chapter. After graduating from college this spring, she hopes to land a job as a television and radio personality.

“Studying radio at PCC changed my life,” said Victoria Martinez, another former PCC radio broadcasting student. While studying history at the college, she interned at KPCC and KOST. “Once I got the basic radio skills from PCC, I was able to slide into a position at KFI, Los Angeles’ number one talk station.” With the skills that Martinez acquired at PCC, she was able to support herself while finishing her bachelor’s at Cal State Los Angeles. Following graduation, she landed a job in Portland working on a morning show and hosting her own Saturday morning show.

Proud Past, Global future

From a rigorous curriculum to cutting-edge technology training, graduates from the PCC radio broadcast program receive an unparalleled education. This skill set not only translates to success on the job, but to solid achievements in the real world as well. PCC is extremely proud to instill students with the skills to succeed and to redefine employer expectations at every turn.

PCC Math Team Quietly Racking Up Awards

Members of the PCC Math Team (first row, from left): Tianshi Bai, Zihao Yan, and Dr. Jude Socrates; (back row, from left) Devin Corr-Robinett, Yile Zou, and Huan-Pong Tseng.

Pasadena City College is well-known in the community for its Tournament of Roses Honor Band, the success of the women’s basketball team, and its impressive transfer rate to four-year institutions. While all of these achievements deserve the spotlight, it’s about time that one of the college’s lesser-known and equally winning traditions is showcased.

Meet the PCC Math Team.

Led by Dr. Jude Socrates, PCC professor of mathematics, the college’s Math Team has placed first in the nation at the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges Student Math League Competition (AMATYC) a total of eight times in the past 22 years (1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, and 2008). Additionally, the team has placed in the top three every year since it began competing.

Members of the team have transferred to the nation’s top colleges, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, Caltech, and M.I.T. to earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. With so many impressive accomplishments under their collective belts, it’s surprising that they’ve flown under the college community’s radar for so long.

The Field of Competition

Founded in 1974, AMATYC is the only organization exclusively devoted to providing a national forum for the improvement of mathematics instruction in the first two years of college. AMATYC has approximately 2,500 individual members and more than 100 institutional members in the United States and Canada. The national competition is comprised of two “rounds” that are held in November and March with approximately 160 schools participating in each.

The Home Team

Socrates has been serving as PCC’s team moderator since 1994. He joined the faculty of PCC a year prior after finishing his Ph.D. in math at Caltech. “The moderator is in charge of receiving the exam materials, organizing the administration of the exam, recruiting the students, and making sure that all of the rules are followed,” Socrates explained. “Students have exactly 60 minutes to answer 20 mostly multiple choice questions at the algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus level.” The topics covered include logic, counting, probability, algebra, graphing, trigonometry, and open-ended problems. While upwards of 30 to 90 students participate in the AMATYC at PCC, only the top five students in each round are chosen to represent the school as the math team.

“My colleagues and I recruit students from the upper-level math classes that we teach,” Socrates said. “Students from trigonometry onwards are encouraged to participate, although the students who eventually score are usually in the calculus level.”

Hongyue Zhang, a chemistry major at PCC, has been a member of the Math Team for the past year. “I love math and I wanted to challenge myself,” Zhang explained as his reasons for joining the team. “There are always things that I can learn from other team members.”

With such a talented and hard working pool of students to draw from, and a moderator with a keen sense for talent, it is almost certain that the PCC Math Team will continue to thrive in the future.