Volume IX, Issue 2 | April 17, 2023

Bragging Rights: April 2023

Theatre Arts’ dept. chair serves as Hindi language consultant for “Secret Garden.” A photography prof. is named to a prestigious list. Communications & Media Studies dept. is named a Model program.

SMC In Focus


  • Theatre Arts department chair Perviz Sawoski served as the Hindi language consultant on the “Secret Garden” production at the Music Center, and was featured in an LA Times article about her work. She helped rewrite parts of the Hindi portion, and rehearsed with the actors on the correct pronunciations. "I suggested placement of certain syllables in the orchestration to match Hindi speech a bit better. “The director Warren Carlyle was very happy and eager to make these changes, and the changes we made will now be in the new definitive script of this musical for future generations,” Perviz wrote.

  • Photography Professor Craig Mohr has been named to YourDailyPhotograph.com Hot 100 of 2022. Craig was selected from 4,800 artists from around the world to take home the prestigious honor. Craig is an awarding winning still-life and abstract photographer who most recently completed a Sabbatical Project Portfolio joining the influences of photographer Imogene Cunningham and Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. YourDailyPhotograph.com is the industry’s leading online journal for international collectors of fine art photography. Artists named to the influential list are selected by a panel of experts based on quality of the work produced.

  • Department Chair of Communication & Media Studies Dr. Nancy Grass shared with great pride that SMC's Communication and Media Studies Department was this year's recipient of the Western States Communication Association Model Communication Studies Program Award announced at the WSCA Annual Convention. Among the many highlights presented by Nancy and her colleagues at the convention included the following: SMC has one of the most comprehensive offerings of Communication and Media Studies course offerings of any community college; an award-winning film program; an award-winning debate team; an award-winning student newspaper; and a diverse faculty serving a diverse student population; and a commitment to equity and excellence in teaching.

  • Film instructor Robin Daniels is pleased to report that she is the recipient of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges’ Emancipation Through Education award, which is presented to a FACCCmember “who demonstrates leadership in advancing diverse voices, perspectives, and cultures of both students and faculty in the quest for social justice and equity.” Robin wrote:  “I enjoyed the four years I volunteered on FACCC Board.  As a faculty member, I traveled around the state encouraging other faculty members to join FACCC and enlightened many legislators about the work faculty members do to improve the work of faculty members, and to improve education for students all over the state.  I've traveled to Washington D.C., with other FACCC members to ask legislators to support faculty members . . . ” Congrats, Robin!

  • SMC Art Professor Marc Trujillo is in the current issue of American Art Collector. He gave a visiting artist talk at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and will also be showing work and giving a talk with a writer Jurriaan Benschop in The Hague this spring. Jurriaan's new book on painting is currently in Dutch and will be published soon in English.

  • Trustee Susan Aminoff along with colleague Marlene Wagner have facilitated autobiography workshops for the last ten years.  Hundreds of participants have written life stories in response to the thematic prompts they have created. Susan and Marlene’s newest book, Thematic Autobiography: A Unique Way to Write Your Life Story, will be published later this spring. This book contains the methods and materials used in their workshops.  They encourage individuals to use the book to begin their autobiographical journeys, while professionals will be able to use these materials to start their own workshops. Aminoff and Wagner have also co-edited two volumes of autobiographical writings, Themes of Our Lives and What’s in A Name.  

  • English professor Carol V. Davis’ fourth book of poetry, Below Zero, was just published by Stephen F. Austin University Press. The book is centered on poems about Siberia, a region near the Mongolian border, where she taught at Buryat State University. She was due to return to Siberia for a 3rd time as a Fulbright Specialist in 2020. She postponed twice because of COVID-19 rates and then the war broke out and all Fulbrights in Russia were cancelled.

  • Spanish professor Alejandro Lee, along with his colleagues Sarah Harmon (Cañada College), Cristina Moon (Chabot College), Nancy Meléndez-Ballesteros (Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles), presented “Tarea Libre: A First-Year Spanish OER Homework Ancillary” at the third annual Language OER Conference on March 11. The conference is sponsored by the Open Language Resource Center at the University of Kansas and the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Music instructor Megumi Smith is delighted to share that she has joined the DragonFlyPercussion Artist family as an endorsed artist. “I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity to share the wonderful products with my students,” she wrote. “Already, many SMC students have been using Dragonfly Percussion products, and it is easy to develop percussion techniques with them. I am pleased to use these mallets with my SMC students.”

  • Psychology professor Dorothy Chin served as moderator for a webinar on February 3 entitled "Racial trauma among Asian American and Asian immigrant communities: Historical contexts and mental health impacts," featuring speakers Russell Jeung of Stop AAPI Hate, Dr. Sherry Wang of Santa Clara University, and Cruz Chan of Richmond Area Mental Health Services in San Francisco. Listen to the recording of the webinar.

  • Life Sciences professors Alexandra Tower (co-PI), Sue Lee, and Garen Baghdasarian have been collaborating with colleagues at UCLA, CSU Fresno and Glendale College on a $1 million California Learning Lab Innovation Grant (2020-2023). They have created modular lessons to deconstruct cutting-edge research seminars in Biology and Chemistry for both majors and non-majors. Ongoing assessment suggests that this approach improves student learning, scientific thinking and builds confidence, which translates to greater retention in STEM disciplines. The instructional content will be made widely available. Pictured in the photo in the slideshow: Some members of the Science Deconstruction team at the Learning Lab Convening in October 2022 (L-R): co-PI Shelley Thai (GCC), Casey Shapiro & co-PI Ira Clark (UCLA), co-PI Chris Meyer (CSU Fresno), co-PI Alexandra Tower (SMC).

  • Kevin McKeown, conductor of the SMC Wind Ensemble, presented at the California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC) on February 17th, 2023 in Fresno, CA. He directed the California Band Director Association's (CBDA) concert band reading session, sponsored by JW PEPPER.

  • Theatre Arts Associate Adjunct Professor and Lessac Master Teacher of Bodyvoice, Crystal Robbins, travelled on a research grant to the University of Pretoria in South Africa over winter break.  She spent three weeks working with international colleagues and participants and two weeks traveling.  Her research centered on applying embodied voice facilitation while de-centering English as primary, with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility, and decoloniality in voice standards.  

  • Nursing faculty member Poy S. Yamada published an article entitled “Asian Americans suffer within-community discrimination related to COVID-19” on Nursing Outlook.

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