Inspiring, Empowering, Igniting
Volume IX, Issue 1, February 13, 2023
For 2023’s first issue, SMC in Focus is proud to celebrate a professor, a counselor and an analyst who inspire and empower those they come in touch with, as well as students/alum who turn their life’s experiences and skills into fodder for growth while making an impact here at Santa Monica College and beyond. They make us #ProudToBeSMC.
Life as Collage
Oxana Safronova—filmmaker, artist, sculptor, writer—has been given “a brilliant opportunity to grow” by SMC. But it is this extraordinary person, who fled Russia as an asylum seeker, who is rewriting her own life—in spite of every heartbreak and obstacle.
The Happiest, Most Fortunate Professor
A first-gen college student who grew up in a provincial Panamanian town, Spanish professor Alejandro Lee found his way to a city he loved, teaching something he loved, at a job that felt like “the best birthday present.”
Committed Counselor, Change Agent
Black Collegians counselor Tyffany Dowd works with students and fellow educators to foster academic success, holistic student support and create greater opportunities for the underrepresented.
Interacting & Making CicLAvia Special
Two SMC professors combined disciplines and brought students together to enhance student learning and community members’ experiences at CicLAvia recent open-street festivals. Students reflect on what they gained from the project.
SMC Dance instructor Kealiʻi Ceballos and his hālau hula ensemble nominated for a Grammy. Political Science prof. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein reelected to the SMMUSD board. Emeritus instructor Matthew Hetz’s “Sarajevo Cellist” performed at Carnegie Hall.
Falling into Her Destiny
Helpful, friendly personnel analyst Olga Vasquez talks about how she found her way to SMC, her childhood and formative experiences, and what she loves most about working here.