Highlights and Good News about Ohlone! - About Ohlone College

At Ohlone we are proud of the accomplishments made by our dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We are pleased to share several of the highlights of the past year at Ohlone, which are a mere sampling of the great things that are going on at Ohlone.

Student Accomplishments

Ohlone Engineering students Nicholas Gaul and Alex Shambaugh gave a student poster presentation at the prestigious IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference held in San Jose in October 2013. Ohlone College was the first and only community college to have ever presented at this international conference, which is attended by participants from all over the world. The project theme was “Engineering for Humanitarian Crisis.” A team of five Ohlone Engineering students, including Duane House, Nicholas Gaul, Areli Vazquez-Munoz, Mario Jones, and Alex Shambaugh, developed an “Eco Gym” system using an old bicycle and building a circuitry that converts the mechanical energy from the turns of the wheels to electrical energy that powers different electrical appliances. The power generated from the bicycle could charge a mobile phone, power a 100-watt speaker, light a 40-watt bulb, and charge a rechargeable battery all at the same time. This system was developed for both developed countries and third world countries as an alternative source of renewable and sustainable energy and also a motivation for people to exercise and reduce the obesity epidemic in the world. This project was well received at the conference and Ohlone has been invited to return for the next conference. Congratulations!

2014 graduate with an Associate in Arts degree in Administration of Justice and Ohlone’s 2014 AJ Student of the Year, Senior Safety Officer James Keogh has been selected by the Community College League of California as one of 68 top community college students for the 2014 Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team. Team members are selected on the basis of grades, leadership, and community service. Congratulations James!

Ohlone’s KOHL radio students are heard around the clock on Bay Area radio and beyond in a wide variety of formats. We are currently able to track 273 Ohlone radio broadcasting students to nearly 1000 unique positions in the broadcast industry. Available data indicate that Ohlone students have the skills to maintain successful, long-term upward mobility in a highly competitive environment.

The Monitor earned an impressive nine awards at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ Statewide Convention in Burbank in April 2014, including four first-place finishes and the coveted General Excellence Award. Ohlone College journalism students competed against 43 community college newspapers around the state. Ohlone newspaper delegates received first place awards in all three categories. In the Publication Contest, Monitor Photo Editor Tam Duong, Jr. won first place for Feature Photo and Sports Photo; Editor-in-Chief Louis LaVenture won Sports Writing; and Duong and LaVenture jointly won first place for Inside-Page Layout. In addition, Ohlone received second place for Sports Game Story and News Photo and third place for both Front-Page Layout and Informational Graphic. Congratulations Monitor!

Ohlone’s Theatre and Dance production of Jesus Christ Superstar received seven meritorious achievement awards from the American College Theatre Festival for costume design, direction, lighting design, scenic design, projection design, sound operation, and sound design. Congratulations!

The Ohlone Speech and Debate Team had another very successful year, with numerous wins in several competitions. The competition started in September 2013 when the Team competed against 21 other schools at San Francisco State University in various events including oral interpretation, limited preparation, and parliamentary debate. All of the Ohlone students took home awards in each of their events and out of a total of 22 schools Ohlone took third place in an overall sweeps award. The Team participated in a tournament at Diablo Valley College in October 2013 where they competed against 22 other schools in various events including oral interpretation, limited preparation, and parliamentary debate. The Team was incredibly successful as all of the students received awards in each of their events. In February 2014 they had the first of a series of championship tournaments at San Joaquin Delta College where they participated in Nor Cal Champs. They competed against 15 other northern California schools in various events including oral interpretation, limited preparation, and platform speaking. Ohlone was incredibly successful, receiving awards in four out of six events resulting in Ohlone proudly walking away with a third place sweeps award! The Team participated in the National Phi Rho Pi tournament in Denver, Colorado in April 2014. The Team competed against 57other community colleges in various events including oral interpretation, limited preparation, and platform speaking. With an average of 70 students entered into each individual event, Philip Enguancho received two Silver awards for his Poetry and Program Oral Interpretation programs and Sarah Dorman received a Bronze award for her Informative speech. Ohlone hosted the NCFA (Northern California Forensics Association) Spring Fling Speech Tournament in May 2014. Nicole Sandoval’s Oral Interpretation of Literature students won several awards for Ohlone. In Dramatic Interpretation Jasica Gill won first place and Kim Yee won second place; in Poetry Interpretation Jennifer Chang won second place and Joanne Nguyen won sixth place. Congratulations to Nicole and her outstanding students!


The 2013-2014 competition season was one of perseverance and recognition. Out of the 11 intercollegiate sports offered at Ohlone, four moved on into the post season. Congratulations to the student athletes and coaches of the Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Basketball, and Women’s Softball teams. Graduated Sophomores Katelin Weger, Women’s Softball, and LJ Kalawaia, Baseball, were honored as the 2012-2013 Male and Female Athletes of the Year during the 29th Annual Ohlone College Golf Tournament, which was held on September 23, 2013.

The Ohlone Women’s Soccer Team posted a record of 9-4-6 to earn the eleventh seed in the Northern California State Playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive year that the women have seen a post season berth. The student athletes and coaches have had to deal with being off campus as the new soccer field has not yet started construction. Their show of patience, dedication, and desire to do their best is second to none.

Even though the Men’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, and the Men’s and Women’s Water Polo teams didn’t make the playoffs this year, they all had some notable matches that brought great joy and excitement to all that watched, both spectators and student athletes alike. We are very proud and hopeful that all three teams will continue their growth, both in the classroom and in their competitive venues.

Ohlone’s Men’s Basketball finished the season with a record of 23-7 and a conference record of 8-4. The 2013-2014 season was extremely successful with the team advancing to the Northern California Super-Regionals as the sixth seeded team.

Women’s Basketball finished the season with a 10-2 record in conference and a 19-10 record overall. The team advanced to the first round of Regional play as the twelfth seeded team in the North.

The Women’s Softball Team had another great season as they finished second in the conference and made it all the way to the super regionals in post season competition. The team posted a very respectable record of 13-5 in conference competition and 28-14 overall.

The Ohlone Baseball and Swimming Teams had very competitive years, but ultimately did not make the cut for playoffs. With their success on the field, they had even more success off the field. Both teams honored multiple players for conference, regional, and state level recognitions.

Way to go, Renegades!

Alumni Accomplishments

Deaf alumnus Isidore Niyongabo was the keynote speaker at the Ethnic Art Festival hosted by Student Activities during May 2013. Isidore, who was an Ohlone international student from Burundi, is the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization International Deaf Education, Advocacy, and Leadership (IDEAL), which supports, educates, and empowers Deaf children and youth around the world.

The Biotechnology Department had a unique way to celebrate students earning an associate’s degree or Certificate in Achievement in Biotechnology this year. They invited back six alumni from the Biotechnology program for a panel discussion about what they have done since graduating. There was also a speaker from Kelly Scientific, a recruiting/placement agency, who spoke about the process of getting hired by biotech firms.

Five professionals from the field of lighting and design visited Ohlone College students on behalf of the Entertainment Design and Technology Program in the Theatre Department. All of the professionals are former Ohlone Entertainment and Design Technology students. The professionals fielded questions on how to start a career in the industry and shared the latest industry trends.

Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Rick Arellano, recently retired Computer Applications and Occupational Technology Professor, was honored by Assembly member Bob Wieckowski at the Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony on October 11, 2013 at Newark City Hall. Rick has been an active member of Avanzando, a non-profit in Newark. Avanzando helps to bring educational resources to Latino families and students and actively encourages science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in elementary schools.

Dr. Tom Holcomb, Deaf Studies/ASLProfessor, was the keynote speaker at the Northern California Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference on November 2-3, 2013 hosted by the Division Studies Division. Participants to the conference came from all over Northern California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

Shelley Lawrence, Deaf Studies/Interpreting/American Sign Language Professor, received the Outstanding Service Award for training interpreters for over 30 years at the Northern California Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference.

Deborah Lemon, Spanish Associate Professor, was selected to participate in the 2013 Radical Innovation Summit, which took place June 2013 at the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. The event is sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation and provides the 35 participants with opportunities to share best innovative practices in the field of education and exchange ideas on how to integrate radical innovation into pedagogy.

Donna Runyon, Women’s Softball Coach, was awarded the highly prestigious 2014 California Community College Coaches Association’s Coaching Achievement Award at the CCCCA Convention in Los Angeles in May 2014. This award is about Coach Runyon’s lifetime of dedication and achievement as a coach and mentor to her players, as well as the service and leadership provided to the community and to Ohlone College. Coach Runyon has led community college softball for the past 35 years, with 27 of those spent at Ohlone College, and has earned 875 wins. Her crowning achievement is an astounding nine consecutive years of Conference Championship titles from 2003-2011, as well as claiming titles in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1997. Under her guidance, the Ohlone Renegades softball team has qualified for post season play for 25 seasons.

David Topham, Computer Science Associate Professor, was selected for a fellowship through the Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education during summer 2013. This summer fellowship program is a unique professional development opportunity for educators to gain hands-on math, science, and technology experience while working side by side with the Bay Area’s leading industry, research, and university professionals. Teachers who have participated in this fellowship in the past report that they return to school revitalized and full of new ideas, curriculum, and teaching strategies to share with their students and colleagues.

College Accomplishments

In 2012-2013, Ohlone awarded more degrees and certificates to its students than in any of the past ten years. Thirty-eight of the 816 program awards went to students who earned one of the new Associate Degrees for Transfer.

Ohlone students who transferred to a CSU in fall 2012 persisted to fall 2013 at a 90% rate, above the statewide community college transfer persistence rate of 87%. Additionally, those 343 Ohlone transfer students had an average first-year CSU GPA of 3.07, compared to the statewide average of 3.03.

The Ohlone College Northern California Biotechnology Training Center was one of two nominated by the City of Fremont’s Economic Development Agency for the Education Innovation award. Supported by grant funding since 2008 from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the center has worked hand-in-hand with Ohlone College’s academic program and collaborated with other colleges in the region to prepare a well-trained workforce for the life science industries in the Bay Area, maintain a steady pipeline of science students transferring to universities, and offer professional development to secondary education and community college faculty.

In partnership with Department of Labor, local Workforce Investment Boards, and regional colleges, Ohlone has received a $300,000 one-year grant with an option for additional years to assist in curriculum development and workforce training needs in the life science industry. The grant is also designed to improve Biotechnology career pathways between high schools and community colleges.

The upgrade to TV Control Room A on the Fremont campus is nearly complete. Students can now send a live HD video signal from both campuses to the new control room via 4G technology—a feat so cutting edge that even Verizon had to write new firmware for it. By Fall 2014 the college expects to broadcast three live programs in HD, totally student produced, to Comcast, the Internet, Facebook, and YouTube every week during the semester.

The Community Education Department was awarded the “Program Recognition Award” for the Cisco Western Academy Support and Training Center Program from the Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE). Only two schools in the state received awards this year. Ohlone received it for providing an innovative program that supports and trains Cisco academies across California, Nevada, and Arizona, using a self-supporting fee-based model with strong retention from year to year.This is the second ACCE award Ohlone has won in two years, the first being for “Model Program” for the Ohlone for Kids and Teens program.

The Community Education and Computer Networking and Emerging Technology (CNET) programs received an Exceptional Support Service award from the industry-wide CISCO Network Academy. The CISCO Academy Initiative provides curriculum professional development opportunities to local kindergarten-12th grade and community college faculty to teach Information and Computer Technology courses. These courses prepare students to transition to community college and transfer to baccalaureate universities to pursue computer science or engineering degrees.

The Deaf Studies Division has been awarded a $200,000 grant as part of Rochester Institute ofTechnology’s $4.5 million grant to work with high schools and community colleges to increase the number of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students in the STEM fields. Ohlone’s Deaf Studies faculty will begin working with Ohlone’s STEM faculty who have Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students in their classes with a goal of increasing the likelihood of the students’ academic success.

Ohlone’s KOHL radio program was featured prominently in a November 2013 Billboard Magazine. The article focused on career-relevant approach.

The number of international (F-1 Visa) students was up from 352 to 402 for Fall 2013, the highest fall total ever. The breakdown includes 103 new degree seeking students; 39 former English Language Institute students now seeking degrees; 210 returning degree seeking students; and 50 new or continuing English Language Institute students.

The Ohlone for Kids and Teens Program has won several awards in the past year. During 2013 they won Best Teen Focus Summer Camp from Parent’s Press. In May 2014 Ohlone for Kids and Teens was named “Best Summer Camp” in the Macaroni Kid Fremont Gold Daisy Awards.

The Puente Program is a learning community comprised of a solid group of thirty students and is taught by faculty members Mike DeUnamuno and Rick Flynn. The strong sense of community and family has kept participation and attendance rates at nearly 100%. During the 2013-2014 academic year the Puente Program began its collaboration with Ohlone’s Environmental Studies Department and their Kaiser Sustainable Garden grant, with a purpose of promoting healthy eating. The Puente students learned how to plant an organic garden and are now managing two garden beds for the rest of the school year. One bed’s vegetables will be for the Puente students to take home and the other will be donated to the Newark Avanzando Group to be distributed to families at Musick Elementary School.

The Respiratory Therapist program has been recognized as one of the top five in the nation for continually high success rates on the national certification exam. RT students are required to pass a state certification as well as a national certification.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal has named Ohlone among the top 10 colleges and universities in the area ranked by headcount of students enrolled for 12 units or more.

Community Outreach

On September 21, 2013 several chamber ensembles selected from the Ohlone Wind Orchestra played for the grand opening of Whole Foods in Fremont.

On October 4, 2013 the Physical Therapist Assistant, Registered Nursing, and Respiratory Therapist students attended the Newark Senior Center Health Fair. The PTA students assessed attendees in balance and walking ability; the RN students gave flu injections; and the RT students performed pulmonary function tests.

In association with Kaiser Permanente and LEAF (Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont), the Environmental Studies Department helped facilitate the exchange of information among Fremont’s five prominent ethnic groups about healthy eating by providing ten raised-bed gardens and hosting workshops and dinners. The project goals include inspiring residents of Fremont, including ethnic minorities, to grow vegetables locally and helping them to learn the fine points of successfully growing various plants; facilitating cross-cultural learning about healthy eating; and building cross-cultural community.

College Events

For a second consecutive year the Human Resources Department offered employees a six-week American Sign Language (ASL) course. Approximately 24 employees participated in the course and expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to learn basic ASL and incorporate this knowledge into their daily work and interaction around campus.

On October 22, 2013 the first ever Newark Campus Health and Fitness Fair was held. This event was a student and faculty collaboration between Registered Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Health and Wellness, and the Student Health Center, and provided blood pressure screening, seasonal flu shots, healthcare information, body fat analyses, depression screening, pulmonary function testing, smoking cessation help, and an overview of the Ohlone College Fitness program.

The Deaf Studies Division hosted its annual Welcome Back Day to meet Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students, as well as ASL and Interpreting students. Welcome Back Day was held at the Pond on the Fremont campus on September 26, 2013. Representatives from a dozen Bay Area organizations serving Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals staffed information booths, providing information about their services and resources. Half of the community booths were staffed by former Ohlone Deaf students!

The Deaf Studies Division, in cooperation with the Japanese ASL Signers Society in Tokyo and the Nippon Foundation Scholarship Program, hosted an international video conference in February 2014. The conference was broadcast from the Ohlone Deaf Studies Lab on the Fremont campus to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan and to Washington, D.C. Members of the Ohlone DeafTec Program presented their first Project Access workshop to 14 enthusiastic Ohlone faculty members and deans. The workshop focused on Universal Design and ways to make instruction accessible to all students. The DeafTec program is sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation and is administered by the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Ten teams from six Bay Area high schools competed in the Ohlone College LAB Program Quiz Bowl in February 2014. These students are enrolled in the Learning Alliance for Bioscience (LAB) Program at Ohlone, which engages them in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses.

The Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2014. High school students from all over northern California, including Fremont and the extended Bay Area, participated in this event. The 2014 Theatre Festival had the largest number of attendees, with 27 high schools and 846 students registered. The High School Theatre Festival is the largest in northern California and second largest in the state.

Ohlone’s Gay Straight Alliance club sponsored The “Other” Prom in the Cafeteria on the Fremont campus on May 2, 2014.

Sixty Newark junior high school students participated in the Fifth Annual STEM College For a Day event on May 9, 2014 at the Newark campus. STEM College For a Day seeks to show students that science is fun and that anyone can be a successful science major. The students are always very engaged in this successful event.

On April 30, 2014 the Ohlone Health Center sponsored a “Day of Dialogue” on mental health issues. Ron Travenick, Vice President of Student Services, and Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison were keynote speakers followed by two breakout sessions where faculty and students were able to dialogue about many aspects of mental health and identify campus resources to help with these issues. This event was sponsored by Ohlone’s Step Up grant.

[From the Ohlone College Catalog, 2014-2015.]