Volume VII, Issue 6, December 14, 2021
In SMC in Focus’s final edition of 2021, we are thrilled to share several examples of those who make Santa Monica College the kind of place where true empathy is ever on display: two international students, one who also helped rebuild Beirut; a network determined to help men of color at SMC thrive; two STEM peer mentors; and a multi-day event that ensured hundreds of food-insecure students had a lovely, nutritious holiday meal. Happy Holidays!
A Builder from Beirut
Draped over a wall in SMC student Antoine Aoude’s Mar Vista apartment: a Lebanese flag. It has special meaning: everyone on the construction rebuild site where he volunteered in the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut explosion, had signed it.
STEM of Success
Jacqueline Castellanos remembers being told she “couldn’t do math.” Today she is not just a math wizard but a computer science one, too. Joseph Spracklen changed careers at SMC. They both help their peers master the complexities of STEM.
Giving Thanks & Empathy, in Action
Over 150 volunteers showed empathy over a multi-day event, “Giving Thanks(giving), packing and distributing 1,470 holiday feasts. SMC & the SMC Foundation, plus dozens of sponsors, helped ensure SMC students didn’t have to go without.
When Emilio Albir learned UC Berkeley had accepted him, the first person he called was Jonathan Ng, his SMC’s Men of Color Action Network mentor. Founded by Dr. Paul Jimenez and Dennis Funes, the network connects students to mentors—and lasting friendships.
A counselor/Disney Fan has raised $35,000 to help feed Disney cast members & hospitality workers. A Dance department is chock full of faculty members whose excellence & artistry is widely known. Plus, degrees earned, books written, and presentations.
Coming Back, Looking Forward
Kota Hashiyama did not imagine his path back to the U.S. would begin on a laptop screen. When he didn’t get into his top choice, he would quickly learn that his second choice—SMC—was the best choice. And he’s begun giving back, to his fellow international students.