Workshop Offers Inside View of Little-Known Voice Jobs

April 7, 2010

SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD: Cathy Kalmenson has run a successful voice-casting company for 17 years and shares the secrets to success in this competitive field in a campus workshop. (Photo by Richard Kontas)

These days, it’s impossible to watch television or listen to the radio for 10 minutes without hearing a commercial in which Kalmenson and Kalmenson has cast the voices.Cathy Kalmenson, who cofounded the voice-over casting company with her husband, Harvey Kalmenson, in 1993, held a workshop on March 25 in SC 212 that provided insight into the voice-over industry. The workshop began at noon and attracted an audience of more than 100, resulting in a standing room crowd.

Kalmenson, a voice casting director who has worked in the industry for 30 years, introduced the audience to the world of voice acting by playing voice auditions and voice tracks that have been used for actual commercials.

To begin the workshop, Kalmenson offered advice on how to prepare for jobs in the field. She particularly emphasized acting and improvisation skills.

“You’ve got to get your acting chops going on because it’s not about vocal quality, it’s about interpretation,” she said. “You need to be able to be loose and improvise in case the director asks for a take two or take three.”

She also advised against submitting “premature demos,” many of which she has received via email and CD, and most of which she said she would give a “C” if they were graded.

“Cs are average…. We can’t afford to spend any time with average. It’s got to be above average.”

Premature demos also serve as the lasting impression of the actor.

When producers contact Kalmenson and Kalmenson for voice actors, they typically provide “specs” for the gender, age range and personality type of the role they want to fill. The voice casting director noted that vocal quality was a “spec” that was not identified.

“The truth is, [voice over] is not about vocal quality,” Kalmenson said. “If you are blessed with a fabulous [voice], super. That’s great. But truthfully, [vocal quality] rarely comes up.”

Kalmenson also talked about “truth casting” which she explained by giving an example of commercials requiring certain accents. For these commercials, the company would select natives who possess the accents, rather than non-natives who can portray the accents.

She added that fluency in another language is also an advantage in the voice over industry.

A highlight in the workshop was a mock audition in which Kalmenson asked for two volunteers to read a script for a Ford Flex commercial. She asked them to read lines in a voice that had an urban feel, had a little edge and was not super refined. The voice also had to be intriguing, confident, conversational, and self-assured. The actor additionally was advised to recite the lines as though talking only to one person.

“Even though you’re going to be talking to millions of people out there in TV land, the truth is it’s one set of ears at a time,” Kalmenson said, “and it’s quite intimate, and those [intimate reads] are the [ones] that win the job.”

Following the mock audition, Kalmenson played the track that won the spot for the Ford Flex commercial so the audience could examine how the voice actor portrayed the given profile.

She subsequently went into further detail about demos, which normally run around one minute. Within that minute, actors must be able to effectively portray a personality that voicecasters can profile.

“Your mission with the demo is … to say, ‘Here’s who I am,'” she said.

To illustrate this point, Kalmenson played two demos that managed to effectively portray personalities in one minute.

Toward the end of the presentation, Kalmenson played four seemingly different JC Penney commercial tracks. She explained that although there appeared to be subtle differences in each of the tracks, the only difference in each was the background audio. She said that the voice track was the same used in each commercial, but that the varying background audio resulted in an audio illusion.

The workshop concluded with final emphasis on importance of acting and improvisation skills. Kalmenson played a few audition tracks of two couples that role- played for a commercial spot. While the audience generally agreed that the script read by the couples for the audition tracks was entertaining, a completely different script was used for the commercial spot.

Among the students satisfied with the workshop was Kameron White, who found the presentation “very nice” and “very informative.” He also said he found voice over a “very exciting field to look into.”

Kalmenson and Kalmenson is based in Burbank. The company currently has 23,000 voice actors on file, many of whom are from Los Angeles. They have cast voices for many prominent commercials, including the original Budweiser frogs and the current Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

For more information, call (818) 377-3600 or visit


Dawn Lindsay Happy With Her 1st Semester

Dec. 9, 2009

INTERIM PRESIDENT/SUPERINTENDENT: Dawn Lindsay is finishing her first semester in a challenging new role. (Photo by Richard Kontas)

2009 may be coming to a close, but Dawn Lindsay’s journey as the interim superintendent/president of Glendale College has just begun.

Since stepping in office this July, following the departure of Audre Levy, Lindsay has approached her job with passion and enthusiasm.

Though bound by a busy schedule, Lindsay sat comfortably in her office on a Thursday afternoon to take time to reflect positively on her first semester.

“I love it,” she said of her job. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying working with the faculty and the staff. I’m enjoying making the contacts out in the community. I’m loving the receptivity that we’re getting back in the community as far as the welcome and the desire to be collaborative .… I’m very proud of the work that we’re doing and I’m very proud to be able to represent this college.”

Barely six months into her term, Lindsay has already engaged in efforts to encourage college growth.

“We really are working hard to get people out in the community so people hear and see Glendale College on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

To help address budget cuts, she said that the college has been “working so hard to look at various grants and collaborative efforts and really doing some very strong lobbying at the state, but even more so at the federal level.”

Even with the current deficit, Lindsay said that GCC is so committed to students and the community that it has an estimated 3,000 full-time equivalent students for which it receives no state funding.

Despite drastic funding cuts Lindsay does not appear to view the economic downfall as an obstacle: instead of worrying too much about the problem, she has diverted her focus on ways the college can secure additional funding.

In October she visited Washington D.C. to work with a federal lobbyist to help Glendale get in touch with people who make major decisions about budget appropriations.
Lindsay said that the constituent groups she met with were “very pleased with the collaborative relationships that we’ve got with our community .… ”

She is scheduled to visit Washington D.C. again in February to continue lobbying efforts.

The interim president expressed how proud she is of the college and noted attributes that make it stand out from other community colleges.

“We’ve got an amazing transfer curriculum, we have an amazing general education curriculum, we are really, really building up our career and tech education program [vocational programs],” she said. “But I think what really, really allows this college to stand out from probably any other college I’ve worked in, and I’ve been in five … the faculty and the staff and the administration at this college are so committed to the success of our students.

“There’s passion, there’s drive, there’s love. This college is in people’s hearts and souls. That’s how deep it goes. And I’ve never been in any other institution where I’ve seen that degree of dedication. It’s amazing.”

Lindsay started working at community colleges on the east coast in 1991. Since moving to California in 1994 she worked at Saddleback College for 8 1/2 years and at Riverside Community College for 3 1/2 years.
“[A] community college, in my opinion, is just a very, very special place to work,” she said.

With her experiences at community colleges, Lindsay said she prefers them over four-year institutions.

“Once I got my foot in the door of a community college, I never wanted to leave,” she said.

She obtained her doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, holds a master’s degree in educational counseling, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and obtained a bachelor’s of social work degree from Western Maryland College.

Lindsay expressed pride in the successful partnership between the college and Glendale Water and Power, which resulted in creation of the Glendale Water and Power Academy.

“Glendale city had a problem, and the fact that they were having a hard time keeping their workers employed because they were losing them to outside agencies. So they came to us with a concern,” Lindsay said.

Together the college and Glendale Water and Power applied for funding to create the academy.

Twenty spots are open in the program, 17 of which go to unemployed Glendale residents.

“That’s just an example of working with the community to get people back, employed, where they’re contributing and living and staying within this community and continuing to give back,” Lindsay said.

Perhaps one contributing factor to Lindsay’s energetic approach to her job is servitude leadership, a humble form of leadership by which she abides. Under this principle, the higher one ranks in an organization, the more that people that person serves.

“It’s my whole training, ” Linsday said of the leadership principle. “It’s my whole background. It’s about respecting differences of opinion and being open to different ways of thinking about things.”

She added that servitude leadership is “not [about] what you keep, it’s what you give away.”

As she wraps up her first semester as the college president, Lindsay looks forward to continuing to serve GCC.

“It’s really nice to come to work with people that are just so much fun to be with. And with students that are so directed and so driven and so given,” she said.

With the holidays just around the corner, Lindsay is looking forward to spending time with her family and friends.

She also wishes everyone a “wonderful holiday season.

“We’ve done a lot and we have a lot to be proud of. We have a lot to be thankful for, a lot of successes that we can talk about, and I think it’s time we celebrate.”

Increased Enrollment Makes Gym Crowded

Nov. 25, 2009

FEEL THE BURN: A long line of students wait to sign up to use equipment in the Verdugo Gym fitness center. (Photo by Shaun Kelly)

On a typical weekday morning at the Lifestyle Fitness Center, it’s hard to ignore the whirring of the rotating belts of treadmills, the blaring upbeat music and the faint panting of exhausted students.But, it’s especially hard to ignore the mass of students that crowd into the fitness center at the Verdugo Gym for morning workouts.

Enrollment for physical education classes at the college has increased by an estimated 600 students. The number of students enrolled normally averages from 1,000 to 1,200, said Jon Gold, division chair of Health and Physical Education. This semester, however, nearly 1,800 students use the facilities.

With enrollment cut backs at Cal States and UCs, GCC has experienced an increase in student enrollment, Gold said.

“The fitness center has been a class that students have been able to enroll in because of the flexibility to attend the class. There is never a time conflict [within] [their] schedule,” he said.

The fitness center is open to students enrolled in physical education classes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Facilities are used by disabled students, used by staff and employees and undergo maintenance during 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which hours the center is closed to students.

The fitness center is an open-entry/open-exit class that allows students to enroll at any point in the semester as long they are able to complete required hours.

If students get dropped or withdraw from a class but still require units for financial aid, for insurance or to fulfill foreign exchange student requirements, “the center has been that safety net to get into to help these students,” Gold said.

With an estimated 50 to 60 percent more students enrolled in PE than usual, equipment at the Verdugo Gym is in constant use.

Gold estimated that 300 to 400 students use the center’s facilities daily.

“That’s a lot of people coming through here and using the center, and that means those machines are just on 24/7,” he said.

There are currently three treadmills, three cross trainers, a rock climbing machine and one bike that are defective at the fitness center.

The center did not have a lab tech during the summer and Gold said that it continued operating without one for five months. It currently has a lab tech that has ordered replacement parts for the non-functioning equipment.

A lab tech maintains and services fitness equipment, and inspects equipment prior to its use every morning.

The average lifespan of cardio equipment in gyms is about four to five years. Machines at the Lifestyle Fitness Center currently range from 2- to 17-years old.

The physical education division has been working to systematically replace one or two pieces of equipment a year for the past five to six years.

“If we waited until the equipment died we could be running into the tens of thousands [of dollars] to replace the equipment,” Gold said.

So far an estimated six treadmills, one cross trainer, two stationary bikes and one recumbent bike have been replaced.

To use facilities in the cardio section of the fitness center, students are required to sign up for the machine they wish to use. Students are limited to one name per sign-up sheet and 20 minutes per machine.

“Somebody might come in here and want to use the treadmill for an hour, but [they] can’t because that means for two sessions, [they] bump two people off,” Gold said.

With machines down, Gold said that students who could be using them end up waiting.

Instead of being able to use the machines when they want, students have to use other equipment until cardio machines free up.

Christine Andreasian, who oversees the sign-up sheets in the morning, said that the fitness center tends to get full from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Students have noted that the increased number of those enrolled in physical education classes, coupled with non-functional equipment has, at various times, resulted in a crowded gym.

Hospitality management major Mohamed Mahdy said that the gym tends to get crowded and noisy after 10 a.m.

Sociology major Angelica Kyrukchyan, who completes her workout four days a week between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., noted that the gym is generally crowded during this time. She also said that she often experiences a 10-minute wait before she is able to use equipment.

Student Chanel Secreto said that of the machines in the fitness center, “the treadmill is really hard to get on.”
“One time I went [to the fitness center] and there [were] no more slots [on the sign-up sheets],” she said. “All of the slots for the treadmill [were] filled up and I couldn’t get on that day.”

Secreto has waited 40 minutes to get on a treadmill.

Students who complete 32 hours at the gym per semester receive one unit of PE credit; 48 hours earn students 1.5 units; 64 hours earn two units; and 80 hours earn 2.5 units.

P.A.C.E. Program Helps Working Students

Nov. 25, 2009

Imagine working full-time, caring for your children and being a full-time student.

Imagine that even with all these responsibilities, it’s possible to graduate with general education requirements necessary to transfer to a four-year college or university and earn an associate’s degree within four to five semesters.

The Project for Adult College Education, better known as PACE, allows students to do just that.

PACE Director Bob Taylor said that a typical evening student who works toward an associate’s degree or transfer by taking from three to six units per semester may be going to school for a minimum of four to five years. Students enrolled in PACE, however, may complete this same goal in less time.

“It offers a viable alternative to the evening student, to the working adult,” Taylor said of the program.

The program, designed for working adults, allows those enrolled to complete an associate’s degree and general education transfer requirements to Cal States and private universities within a reasonable time frame. PACE students may also opt to transfer to UCs, though it is not a viable option for working adults.

According to Taylor, most UC classes run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. He said that unless working adults are willing to yield their jobs for their studies, there are virtually no undergraduate evening programs offered at UCs. Cal States and private universities on the other hand, offer complete evening programs.

Students enrolled in the program attend classes one evening per week and every other Saturday throughout the full semesters. They take four classes each semester, generally by completing two classes per eight weeks, and are able to complete 12 units per semester. Week night classes run from 5:45 p.m. to 8:12 p.m. and from 8:20 p.m. to 10:47 p.m., while Saturday classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

While PACE is designed for working adults, it is open to all students, regardless of age, who may only be able to attend classes in the evenings.

The program currently offers degrees in liberal arts and business to students.

Though the concept of completing 12 units per semester by devoting a weeknight and every other Saturday may sound nice on paper, the curriculum is not necessarily easy.

“I tell people … ‘this is not easy, but it’s doable if you apply yourself,'” Taylor said.

Cyndee Whitney, head of organization development and training for the city of Pasadena, participated in the program from 1998 to 2000. Since graduating, she has earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate in human and organizational systems.

Whitney worked full time and traveled for her job while she was enrolled in PACE. With all her responsibilities, it was not always easy for her to keep up with the program.

“One night, it was 10, it was freezing cold, it was raining, I was walking up heart attack hill [to the upper parking lot] with a big giant book bag and an umbrella that turned inside-out in the wind,” she said. “I was frozen to the bone, and I just screamed out, ‘what the hell am I doing this for?’

“I drove home, and that night, I [watched a video for] our economics class [which was] about the Great Depression. And when I turned it on I saw my grandmother’s time, and I learned about what her life was like … and I thought, ‘that’s why I’m in this program, because I didn’t know this before.'”

Whitney enthusiastically recommended the program to working adults and to those with time constraints.

Because the program allows students to reach their academic goals within a reasonable time frame, it has become popular at GCC, with 400 students currently enrolled.
Taylor noted that one of the strengths of PACE is that students move through classes together as a group.

“They’re together for four or five semesters. So they can kind of form study groups, and they can kind of have like an external family,” he said. “Most of the students at Glendale College … take a class for 18 weeks, but chances are after that semester’s over, unless you see them on campus, you’re probably not going to take another class with them.”

He found that students that move through classes together “really increases graduation probability and expectations because students kind of feel that they have an identity, and they want to continue with their peers and graduate.”

Whitney said that the family she formed with her PACE peers affected her positively.

“You move through something difficult together; it’s a support system that you have,” she said. “This is your unique family because these people know what you’re going through.”

Instructor Libby Curiel, who taught a Speech 100 section in PACE in October, said that students in the program were unique.

“The one thing I can say about all of them is that they really were very engaging,” she said. “They’re there, they’re focused, they’re really interested, they want to learn, they’re self-motivated.”

Although Curiel had to devote weekend nights and Saturdays to teaching PACE students, she was positive about the whole experience.

“Teaching at nights and on the weekends for me is so rough, because … I’m a single mom,” she said. “It was a commitment for me, but … I made it, and I’m glad that I did. It was a great experience.”

Curiel also remains in touch with her students.

“They’re my friends on Facebook now that their grades are in,” she said.

PACE was originally started in Detroit, Mich. as a program for auto workers. It came to Southern California in the early ’90s, and was introduced at Glendale College in 1998 by former Vice President of Instructional Services Chris McCarthy, who passed away this September.

For more information, call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5153.

Guild Strives to Minimize Adjunct Wage Cuts

Nov. 11, 2009

Adjunct faculty at GCC have sustained a 3.76 percent decrease in salary due to scarce funds allocated to California community colleges. State community colleges were originally scheduled to receive an estimated $130 million in federal stimulus money this year, but funds were reduced to $37 million and a further cut to $35 million. Glendale’s share amounted to $549,000. There are an estimated 600 adjunct faculty and 220 full-time faculty at Glendale.

Because part-time faculty account for the majority of teachers, the Glendale College Guild is working to negotiate with the Glendale Community College District to prevent any further cuts to the wages of part-time faculty. The guild represents both full-time and part-time faculty at the college, and is responsible for negotiating the salaries, benefits and working conditions of its members.

“We are discussing cutting full-timer salaries so that part-timers do not sustain any further cuts,” said Guild Chief Negotiator Isabelle Saber.

Saber said that the guild has committed to exempt part-timers from any further cuts due to the significant cuts they have already sustained.

The reduction in parity funds for part-timers resulted in the cut to part-timer salaries.

Instructor Denise Robb noted that part-timers receive no benefits, earn just a few hundred dollars a week and get paid only for the hours they teach.

“I might spend seven hours creating an exam …. I might spend an entire weekend … grading papers. You don’t get paid for that,” she said. “You only get paid for the [hours spent] in the class.”

Robb works full-time by teaching part-time at GCC, Pasadena City College, L.A. Trade Tech and UC Irvine. She teaches Political Science 106 at GCC.

The union recently submitted a proposal to the district that would have, among other conditions, reduced the salaries of full-time faculty by 1 percent. The combined reductions from the salaries of all full-timers would have then contributed to the pay of part-timers.

The proposal was rejected by the administration, so the guild is currently in the process of negotiating another proposal to submit to the district.

With the college currently under a hiring freeze, the retiring of full-timers also presents a problem because the college cannot hire full-timers to fill open positions.

According to Guild President Ramona Barrio-Sotillo, “The district has been wanting to get [full-time faculty] to retire so [full-timers] are retiring.”

To make up for lost full-time faculty, the college has to add more adjunct faculty, though the cutting of classes results in the cutting of adjuncts.

“It’s a really vicious cycle,” Barrio-Sotillo said. “But it’s not exclusive to Glendale. [California community colleges are] all in the same boat.”

Guild budget representative Sarkis Ghazarian said that adjuncts at Glendale have also lost hours.

“Every time a class is cancelled or not offered, the teacher who was going to teach that class is not going to get paid. And most of these cuts have affected adjunct faculty,” Saber said.

Though full-time faculty have not sustained as significant a cut in wages as adjuncts have, they are also affected by the budget crisis.

“The hit for full-timers has been that our wages have not kept pace with inflation for the last several years,” Saber said. “The last real raise was in 2006 to 2007. Since then we have had no increase … and now [the district] wants us to actually [impose] a reduction in our salaries.”

Because full-timers receive priority in teaching classes during the shorter semesters, both full-timers and part-timers are left to compete for the classes they wish to teach. The decline in class offerings during the short sessions has also affected full-timers who are left with fewer courses to teach.

Full-timers were scheduled to receive a 1 percent pay increase last year, but because the college district claimed a fiscal emergency, the raise has been deferred.

Though the guild has gone through previous economic downturns, Barrio-Sotillo and Saber both said that the current economic situation is one of the worst in the guild’s history.

“The closest we encountered to this was when Proposition 13 passed in 1978,” Barrio-Sotillo said. “We had people that lost their jobs. But since then, even the recession in the early ’90s, isn’t like this.”

‘Stepfather’ Should Not Get Visitation Rights

Oct. 28, 2009

Put together a man obsessed with finding the perfect family and the compulsion to kill women and children who can’t meet the man’s idea of a perfect family, and say hello to “The Stepfather.”

“The Stepfather” tells the story of David Harris, portrayed by Dylan Walsh (“We Were Soldiers,” 2002), and his encounter with the Hardings, a family he doesn’t kill despite the fact they don’t turn out to be his perfect family.

David meets newly divorced Susan Harding, portrayed by Sela Ward (“The Guardian,” 2006), at a grocery store, and they become engaged within a few months of their encounter. David gets along well with Susan and two of her children, Sean and Beth.

Conflict arises when Susan’s eldest son, Michael, portrayed by Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”), returns from military school.

Michael meets David and is more suspicious than anyone else in the family about him, unsure if the man his mom is about to marry is a genuine person or if he has a hidden agenda.

Michael’s suspicions escalate when his neighbor suggests that David strangely resembles Grady Edwards, a criminal featured on America’s Most Wanted for killing his family.

Susan’s ex-husband, Jay, comes in to the film for a short time.

When Jay learns that David tried to choke Sean as a means to discipline him, Jay lashes out at David. This starts the two men off on the wrong foot.

When Jay has to leave town for a while, he stops by to bid his children goodbye. However, he is unable to do so because David murders him before he has the chance to get up to his kids’ room.

The climax of the plot takes place on a stormy night when Michael, more suspicious than ever, decides to snoop around David’s belongings in the basement.

David catches Michael intruding and the two eventually end up in a battle on a rainy rooftop that evening. They both fall off the roof, but David escapes before police arrive while Michael ends up in a
one-month coma.

As a remake of the 1987 film, directed by Joseph Ruben and Warren Carr, this rendition is better in some aspects but falls short in others.

With the given storyline, Director Nelson McCormick (“Prom Night,” 2008) fails to bring anything new to the table. The suspense portrayed in the film is so predictable that it’s hardly suspenseful. More disappointingly, “The Stepfather” is far from being a horror movie.

In an attempt to create suspense, the movie does not even come close. For instance, in scenes where characters need only to climb down a staircase or peer a little further down into the basement to witness David’s true colors, they abruptly, and for no apparent reason, decide not to pursue those actions.

Many such unrealistic situations occur throughout the movie, plugged in to make the film “suspenseful.” Most audiences, however, will easily be able to predict that the antagonist’s cover won’t be formally revealed until near the end of the film.
The movie desperately lacks frightening visuals and relies much too heavily on audio to convey the horror it fails to present to its audiences.

In scenes where a character opens the door to find David simply standing there, the accompaniment of startling sounds typical in horror movies hardly contribute to the goal to scare viewers. Such ineffective combinations of average scenes with booming horror audio demonstrate the story’s incredibly unconvincing plot.

The original does a much better job with visuals. It shows murdered victims with fair amounts of blood surrounding the corpses, while McCormick’s version tends to keep blood to a minimum.

McCormick’s version has been adapted to appeal to today’s generation by including a heated romance between Michael and his girlfriend, while the equivalent of Badgley’s character in the 1987 film did not have such romantic moments.

Both films ended similarly with the families still alive despite being unable to meet the stepfather’s ideals of a perfect family. The events leading to the conclusion of

McCormick’s film, however, were unrealistic.

Both Michael and David fall off the roof on the evening they fight. With Michael having gone into a one-month coma after the fall, David quickly managing to garner enough strength to escape before police arrived is an implausible event.

None of the actors deliver any notable performances, they but aren’t really required to because the characters in the story are generally quite dull.

“The Stepfather” is one sad excuse for a horror movie. With an improbable story line, obvious reliance on audio to mask the shortcomings of the plot, lack of horrifying visuals, and no compelling performances, this movie is not worth a nearly two-hour time investment.

If you’re looking to watch a movie with a “Gossip Girl” hunk, a horror movie rated PG-13 for sensuality more than disturbing images or violence, or one to boost your thought process because you’ll be busy figuring out how the movie is supposed to be a suspense/horror film, then you won’t want to miss “The Stepfather.” Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Foundation Seeks to Boost Awareness of College

Oct. 14, 2009

With state budget cuts depleting the amount of money available to the college, the Glendale College Foundation is working hard to soften the economic blow by raising funds for students and departments at Glendale Community College.

The foundation, established in 1983, is a tax-exempt charitable organization recognized under government law as a 501c3. Although it is a separate entity from Glendale College, it directs its funds to students and various departments at the school.

Under the leadership of Lisa Brooks, the foundation has remained on top of its goals, innovating new ways to raise funds for and increase community awareness of GCC.

Brooks, the foundation’s executive director, has served on the board for the past eight months. Though a relatively new member, she has already begun to work on meeting the organization’s goals. Brooks recently implemented a new community relations committee to improve the college’s publicity.

Dianne Endsley, who has served on the foundation board for 15 years, was appointed the committee’s chair.

“Our main goal is to attract maximum visibility and resources to the college through the foundation,” she said.

“We think that there’s a lot of people that even live in Glendale that don’t even realize that Glendale College is as large and as wonderful as it is. So we kind of want to get the word out.”

The committee is composed of 17 members throughout the community with various areas of expertise.

With the trend of online social networking, Brooks is also looking to work with the marketing department to create an online presence for the foundation.

She created a causes page on Facebook and has managed to raise about $600 for the foundation this way.

Each year the organizationgives out $300,000 in scholarships to students and sponsors a different department of the college.

According to Susan Borquez-Dougherty of the scholarship office, the foundation sponsored 236 of the 500 scholarships disbursed by the school.

Student outreach coordinator Henan Joof was one student who benefited from the scholarships in the spring of 2004.

“The most important [way the scholarship helped] was my transfer applications,” Joof said.

With Cal-State and UC applications nearly $50 each, the scholarship helped Joof. He was an international student at the time and could not qualify for waivers. The scholarship also helped Joof pay for books.

To raise funds for students and departments, the foundation relies on developing long-term relationships with individual donors and corporations.

“Fund raising is relationship building,” Brooks said.

Despite the current economy, Brooks emphasized that maintaining good relationships with donors is crucial.

“[Donors] might be going through financial trouble right now, but we’re looking at our relationship with [them] over a lifetime,” she said. “That’s what makes good fund raising. You can’t focus on short-term gain.”

The organization is also looking into the creation of planned giving, a program that would honor the lives of donors who leave money to the foundation after their deaths.

The foundation is also funded through grants and voluntary payroll deductions from faculty and staff.

Among the contributions the foundation has made to the college include funding for the nursing center, observatory, the football field, scoreboard and refurbishments to the tennis court.

Brooks perceives the next two years to be “tough” as GCC is affected by state budget cuts, higher unemployment, and more students seeking to attend the college.

Overall, funds donated to the foundation tend to be designated for specific causes.

“One of my hopes is to build a bigger pot of money that is unrestricted, and that way we can respond every year to urgent needs on campus,” Brooks said. “For us to be able to respond to urgent needs, we really need some money that’s unrestricted.”

The organization is governed by a 35-member board of directors, composed of community members who are nominated based on their connections and position to raise money for the college.

Board members include businesspeople, marketing people, and one member from the Glendale News-Press.

Those interested in donating may do so by visiting the foundation office in AD 149, through phone, in cash or check, by volunteering payroll deductions (for faculty and staff), through the foundation’s Facebook page and online at

AB 540 Students Lift Their VOICES

Sept. 30, 2009

David Garcia was just two years old when he crossed the border. Having been raised in California virtually his entire life, Garcia has no memories whatsoever of his life in Mexico City.
Garcia currently resides in Canoga Park. A normal commute to Glendale College takes him approximately three hours on three different buses. If he had a choice he would drive to school. The only problem is that he can’t obtain a driver’s license because he doesn’t have a Social Security number.
Like an estimated 400 others at GCC, Garcia is an AB 540 student.
The AB 540 law, which passed in 2001 entitles undocumented students to resident tuition fees in California public colleges and universities given that they have attended a California high school for at least three years, graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent (such as a GED) and completed an affidavit with the institution they are attending, stating that they are in the process of legalizing their immigration status or will legalize their status as soon as they are eligible to do so.
As undocumented immigrants, AB 540 students are ineligible for federal aid. The lack of financial aid for these students inspired the creation of Voices Organizing Immigrant Communities for Educational Success at GCC in 2005.
VOICES seeks to provide financial assistance to AB 540 students and to increase AB 540 awareness on campus.
The club’s co-adviser, Greg Perkins, estimated that 20 to 30 of its AB 540 members receive an average of $150 in VOICES scholarships each semester. These students may also qualify for the AB 540 Community Service Scholarship, the GCC Dream Scholarship, and the Book Assistance Program.
Though the club primarily serves AB 540 students, its members also include U.S. citizens and residents.
“There’s been quite a few that have not been AB 540 [students],” Perkins said of the club’s members. “But they’re very sympathetic. It’s really nice that these students feel so strongly that this is the right thing to do, that they work hard to raise money so that their fellow students who can’t get financial aid can get scholarships.
Frank Luna, a new member to the club, is not an AB 540 student.
“I want to help people, immigrant [AB 540] students. They might come to college and not have the money for it. If they have the chance to get money for free, I want to help them,” he said.
Major efforts of the club are currently directed towards pushing forward the DREAM Act, legislation which would eventually provide AB 540 students a path to U.S. citizenship. It would also make financial aid available to these students.
VOICES is also affiliated with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the California DREAM Network. Both organizations actively participate in measures to promote the DREAM Act.
VOICES also serves as a support group to AB 540 students.
Being without legal status is sometimes difficult for these students.
“I’ve been here since I was one year old. I practically grew up here, so I don’t know any other place,” sophomore Leticia Lopez said.
With many others in the same boat, AB 540 students are thankful to have people to fall back on.
“We didn’t only become a club, we became like a family. We know the trouble that everyone’s going through so we feel like we’re part of a family. There are a lot of people willing to help. You go to the club meetings and when it’s done, we actually get together on the weekends,” VOICES co-founder Omar Moreno said.
While unprecedented challenges lie ahead for these students in reaching their goals, Garica said the group will be unafraid in meeting those obstacles.
“There is that little fear because we are putting ourselves out there,” Garcia said of advocating issues important to AB 540 students. “But we’re out here letting you know that we exist and that we have needs and that there is a type of oppression that we have trouble with.”

Music Teachers Watched Fire From Home

Originally published on Sept. 16, 2009

It was the first time that GCC music professors Byron and Clare Delto had been so close to a fire. But from their home in Sunland the Deltos had front-row seats to the blazing flames of the Station Fire on Aug. 29.

A voluntary evacuation was issued to residents in the Tujunga area that Saturday morning. The Deltos had prepared for the possibility that the evacuation would become mandatory. They had packed all their necessities and personal belongings and had placed them by the door.

“We were nervous for a couple of days. It was only about a half-mile from our house, so we had everything ready to go just in case,” Byron said.

Even as the fire seemed to threaten their neighborhood, the evacuation in the Tujunga area never became mandatory. They opted to stay and brace themselves for the possibility of the fire coming into contact with their home. It never did, but, they did experience some minor repercussions of the fire.

One effect of the fire was excessive ash fall in the area.

“It was like being in a smoke cloud. It was very bad, and it was pretty thick,” Byron said.
With large quantities of ash fall, the Deltos were essentially breathing smoke for the next three days. Although the couple did leave the air conditioning on while the fire ravaged the area, this only filtered the smoky atmosphere and did not help in actually clearing it.

“We were watching the fire every minute we were home,” Byron said of the days that the fire affected the area, which proved stressful for them.

The stress affected Clare in the evenings, as she was constantly thinking about the danger the fire posed.

“It was very hard to sleep at night, especially because I had a view out my bedroom window of the fire. I would finally fall asleep then wake up to check if the fire moved,” she said.

When the fire stopped burning in the Tujunga area, the Deltos spent four to five hours cleaning up the ashes that polluted their residence. Ashes coated their patio, deck and all outside furniture.

Despite the stress they experienced from their proximity to the fire, both Byron and Clare were optimistic about the entire situation.

“Sometimes we have unfortunate events that happen and we just have to be prepared,” Clare said.

The Deltos just bought their home in Sunland this past April, and while there is the continual threat of fires in their area, they recognize that fires can happen anywhere. They have fire insurance for their residence, and are fond of their house and neighbors.

The Deltos’ home is now out of danger, but the couple repeatedly emphasized how they felt that the fire’s impact on them was relatively minor compared to that on others, including GCC’s own Ken Gray, who unfortunately lost his home Big Tujunga Canyon.

Students Talk About Race This Fall

Sept. 16, 2009

Hoover Zariani, director of the Center for Student Involvement, helps students learn how to facilitate the STAR Program. (Photo by Allan Beglarian)

In the fall of 2008 a Hispanic population dominated Ms. Loretta Mayer’s class at Washington Irving Middle School. At the time, the young teenagers in this virtually homogeneous group were far from aware of the harsh realities of racism that face much of the world today. These students had Hispanic family members, Hispanic classmates, and Hispanic friends.

So what was it about racism they had to be concerned about?

Ms. Mayer’s students initially couldn’t care less when two Glendale College students volunteered to visit their classroom for eight weeks. To the class it hardly mattered that college students were going to talk about societal problems; all that mattered was that they wouldn’t have to sit through another class period with Ms. Mayer.

The process was gradual, but by the end of the eight weeks Ms. Mayer’s students had become more cognizant of critical societal problems. They realized that they too were affected by and guilty of acts of racism, sexism, and stereotyping.

Without the Students Talk About Race program, countless students like those in Ms. Mayer’s classroom would not possess the knowledge they have about societal issues facing the world today.

Established in 1990, STAR began as a project of the People for the American Way, a nonprofit organization that “promotes tolerance and respect for diversity and respect for constitutional rights, especially the freedom of expression.” The project was introduced in California in 1992, and implemented at GCC in 1996.

GCC’s STAR chapter is currently sponsored by the Associated Students of Glendale Community College.

The STAR program seeks to provide a place for students to share experiences and thoughts, and to improve civic participation. It also seeks to help students identify and handle the social effects of racism, become tolerant of and accept different people, and improve cross-cultured communication skills.

At GCC the program is hosted by the Center for Student Involvement. It runs for eight weeks and takes place during the fall and spring semesters. STAR involves college student volunteers facilitating discussions with middle and high school students throughout various schools in the Glendale area.

GCC students are divided into groups of two to three, and each group devotes one hour a week to hosting discussions and interactive activities as outlined by the STAR handbook. Discussions range from less personal topics, such as stereotyping, to more personal ones, such as racism and homophobia.

Overall GCC’s STAR chapter has received positive reviews not only from the high school students who benefit from it, but also from GCC students.

Marian Mikhail, 18,enthusiastically shared her positive experience at Marshall High School. “It was fun and exciting to see the students participating and engaging in the lesson,” she said of the first week.

The STAR handbook outlines the first lesson to cover stereotyping. During this lesson the middle or high school class is asked to determine the intangible aspects of their facilitators based solely on appearance, such as race and favorite things.

“I’m Egyptian,” Mikhail explained, “and that’s not something they usually would assume because there aren’t many Egyptians in Southern California. They thought I was either Persian, Mexican. Someone said half black half white.”

Mikhail also explained that the wide racial diversity of her class at Marshall High School contributed to the success of the students’ understanding of the program.

“It was very diverse and I think that’s why it was easy for them to understand some of the things that we were saying. They see the prejudice, they see the racism, they see the stereotypes.”

Though she enjoyed facilitating the program, Mikhail also encountered challenges while facilitating STAR. Among her group of students at Marshall High School included three who were blind. This made it crucial for her to communicate precisely.

“When we went there I had to make sure that whatever I was saying was clear. I always had to make sure they understood what I was saying.”

GCC psychology major Sally Morgan, another STAR veteran, developed such a fondness for the program that she has already participated in it twice. She also intends to take part again this fall.

Morgan described her first experience as a positive one. However, the second time she participated in the program was not her favorite experience. This negative session took place at Hoover High School.

“Half of them wouldn’t pay attention. They wouldn’t do the activities that we asked them to do. I literally had to beg for them to give us answers,” she said. “There were only five students that would raise their hands. But other than those five no one else would participate.”

Like Morgan, sophomore Inessa Ranchpar participated twice in the program where she had two opposite experiences.

She first volunteered at Marshall High School where she felt the students were good.
“They listened to me and actually understood everything,” Ranchpar said. “They learned a lot. I felt like every week I went they were learning.”

The second time around Ranchpar participated at Eagle Rock High School.

“They never understood what the [program] was for. They just didn’t understand the lessons.”

Ranchpar also noted that her second group of students were ruder than her first.

In spite of the ups and downs of facilitating STAR, Mikhail, Morgan, and Ranchpar all agree that the gains outweigh the negative aspects of the program. All three also remain enthusiastic about participating in STAR.

“I think the fact that I can really deliver a really important message to these students, that really gives me a good feeling and makes me want to keep doing it,” Morgan said.

“You’re not only teaching, you’re learning too,” Ranchpar said.

High school students and teachers also reacted positively to the program.

“If I see someone getting picked on because of his or her race, I will try to stop it. I’ve learned how to respect people and not judge them by the way they look. I really liked the program because I think that it’s important for, especially teenagers, to know not to make fun of people’s race or the way they look,” one high school participant said.

“The program was much needed and had a strong impact on the kids. For some kids, a seed was planted. For others, they seemed thoughtful about the content. The students looked forward to the next visit,” a teacher at Glendale High School said.

While students may receive extra credit in certain classes for participation in the program, they may also participate for their own benefit.

Ranchpar said that she initially participated in the program for extra credit, but that she voluntarily participated in it her second time.

Director of the Center for Student Involvement Hoover Zariani, noted that, “This past year was the first year that the majority [of students] have been just doing it for themselves.”

Students interested in participating in STAR can find out more information by contacting the Center for Student Involvement, located at the Sierra Madre Building in Room 267. Students may also contact the Center for Student Involvement via phone at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5580 or via email at