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CPA shares how San Jac taught her more than academics

Written by staff. Posted in Schools

 SJC PaulissenAnn Paulissen looks back on her time at San Jacinto College and realizes she graduated with more than just a degree. Photo credit: Calyn Hoerner

Ann Paulissen started taking classes at San Jacinto College when she was offered a music scholarship. The College was a perfect fit since it was close to home, cost effective, and Paulissen’s best friend would be attending as well. She expected her time at San Jacinto College to be the perfect transition to a larger university. What she did not expect, however, was to learn more than just academic lessons. Paulissen attended SJC out of her love for music, but found there a love for accounting and the love of her life.

While studying at SJC, Paulissen was torn between two degree paths. “I was going to major in music,” said Paulissen. “But as I thought more about it, I didn’t want to move away from home for my job.” Paulissen, who always had a love for numbers, decided to completely shift education paths and earn a degree in business to work toward becoming a Texas Certified Public Accountant.

“There was a good market in that field, and I was able to take a lot of my basic classes at San Jacinto College,” said Paulissen. Other members of her family have attended the College as well. It’s also the place where she met her husband, Tim, who would later become the mayor of League City.

Since graduating with an associate degree in business from SJC and a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Houston - Clear Lake, Paulissen has enjoyed a very successful career and pushed herself to continue learning. “I have taken different management and leadership classes, mainly leadership,” said Paulissen. She hopes to teach accounting in the future.

“San Jacinto College taught me organization skills and the flexibility to see more than one viewpoint,” said Paulissen. “When you’re young you don’t know a lot. The professors at San Jacinto College would teach us life lessons and recount their own experiences.” She explains that she learned to treat people with respect and how to understand the steps to success at San Jacinto College.

SJC offering maritime engineering courses ahead of January 2017 deadline

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SJC MaritimeSan Jacinto College maritime student Phillip Morales interned with Higman Marine last summer. Some of his duties included work in the vessel engine room. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng Mansyur, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

The San Jacinto College maritime program is offering engineering courses to help mariners meet new U.S. Coast Guard regulations that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.

The following courses are now being offered: Engine room Resource Management, Leadership and Teamwork, Leadership and Managerial Skills, Designated Duty Engineer (DDE) 4000 Horsepower, Designated Duty Engineer (DDE) 4000 Horsepower, Qualified Member of the Engineering Department Oilier and Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment.

Additional maritime engineering courses are under development. The following courses are expected to be offered by the January 2017 deadline: Rating Part of an Engineering Watch (RFPEW) Motor only Assessments, Officer In Charge of an Engineering Watch Motor, OICEW Auxiliary Machinery, OICEW Basic Electronic and Electricity and OICEW Instruments and Controllers.

All San Jacinto College maritime courses are taught in the new Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus, located at 3700 Old State Highway 146 in La Porte, Texas.

Students train in maritime engineering using equipment that includes refrigeration, electrical controller, desktop simulation, comprehensive pump, hydraulic and pneumatics trainers.

All classes are USCG approved. Upon successful completion students will receive their certificates, which will then permit them to gain employment in the offshore workforce.

San Jacinto College offers the maritime program for working mariners to update their USCG certifications, an associate degree program in maritime transportation for those who are new to the industry and an associate degree for cargo handling/logistics, transferable to the Texas Southern University maritime logistics program and the University of Houston College of Technology logistics program. Introduction to Ships and Shipping courses are included in the College’s business administration associate degree, transferable to Texas A&M University in Galveston through an articulation agreement.

For more information, visit

San Jac grad lends a helping hand

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SJC Helping HandFrom her career plan to her volunteer work, Jessica Garcia helps other every step of the way. Photo credit: Calyn Hoerner

While earning her degree at San Jacinto College, Jessica Hazen Garcia volunteered with the Halo House Foundation. Garcia spent four and a half years volunteering with the foundation, and decided to continue her work with nonprofits after graduating with an associate degree from San Jacinto College and a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and foods from the University of Houston. Garcia knew that helping people was the path she needed to take.

“Once I graduated, a company that worked for nonprofits recruited me,” said Garcia. “So now I work with nonprofits to establish fundraising.” Garcia has a passion for nonprofits and loves working in that environment. Her end-game, however, is to have a job in nutrition.

“I have a lot of passion for nutrition,” said Garcia. “The nutrition field is a great field to be in, from career advancement to job placement; there is a lot of growth.”

Garcia hopes to obtain her Registered Dietitian Nutritionist certification (RDN) and work with the Women, Infants and Children program as a nutritionist. “I am excited to help with mothers who need help with nutrition for breastfeeding and child nutrition,” said Garcia.

Recently, Garcia interviewed for and received a position as a nutritionist. “I can officially say that I am using my degree,” said Garcia. .

Even when moving forward with her career in nutrition, Garcia has not lost sight of her passion for non-profits. She is the co-chair for the Halo House Foundation gala, which will take place in November. This will help raise money for the charity to bring cancer patients into Houston for treatment. “Events like the gala will always remain near to my heart, and I don’t think I will ever stop organizing fundraisers like this,” said Garcia

Garcia recalls how San Jacinto College helped her in several ways, especially in the transition from high school to a four-year university. “San Jacinto College had much better class sizes,” said Garcia. “This allowed me to be more dedicated to the classes because I was in a much smaller group and had more of a relationship with my professors.”

Garcia remembers that at times she had to really push herself to reach her goals. It was not easy, but she was able to work hard to reach her goals.

“Sometimes it feels like you aren’t even close to getting to your goals, but there’s a huge sense of pride in the accomplishment when you get your degree,” said Garcia. “Stick to it.”

Eclectic lecture series invites lifelong learners

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UHCL Admin Prof ConferenceHouston area office professionals break into small groups to analyze their daily work routines as part of the first Administrative and Office Professionals Summit offered this spring through University of Houston-Clear Lake’s School of Human Sciences and Humanities. The summit is one of the new community continuing education offerings provided through the school, which will also launch a Friday Morning Continuing Education class series beginning with a mixer 9-11 a.m., Aug. 26, at the UHCL Patio Cafe, Bayou Building, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston.

Whet your intellectual appetite with the Friday Morning Continuing Education series, kicking off this fall at University of Houston-Clear Lake. The new series, offered through the university’s School of Human Sciences and Humanities, will be introduced through a mixer to be held 9-11 a.m., Aug. 26, at the university’s Patio Café, Bayou Building, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston.

This addition builds on an already strong list of ongoing educational opportunities provided throughout the university.

From vampires to astronauts, the Civil War to the Amazon, each session in the series will offer a choice of topics featuring fascinating information presented by expert speakers, said Christine Paul, director of the UHCL foreign language program and continuing education programs.

“People want these classes to expand their consciousness and awareness,” said Christine Paul. “We want to build a community of people who establish relationships in an academic framework the Clear Lake area is such a diverse and educated community.”

Membership for the fall series of Friday Morning Continuing Education costs $26 plus an additional $18 course fee for each individual session participants select to attend. In addition to access to the courses and course materials, membership also grants borrowing privileges at Alfred R. Neumann library, discounts at the UHCL bookstore and other benefits designed to enhance the educational experience.

Offerings in the new Friday Morning Continuing Education series are based on responses to surveys about the types of events that community friends want, said Paul. This year will feature a mix of topics and talks, and expects to refine and adjust the program based on attendance and feedback. Of the 256 respondents to a survey distributed about continuing education opportunities in general, Paul said 86 percent wanted continuing education opportunities on campus.

Friday Morning Continuing Education is the latest in continuing education offerings from the university. Earlier this spring, UHCL’s School of Human Sciences and Humanities hosted its first Administrative and Office Professionals Summit, a successful event also coordinated through Paul’s office, and showed office professionals from throughout the Houston area ways for improving communication, efficiency and productivity in the workplace. The summit is already set to be held again in 2017.

Since 1985, the Foreign Language and English Enhancement Program also offered through the School of Human Sciences and Humanities has been successfully providing classes to people wishing to learn a new language or foreign professionals who want to strengthen their English skills.

Other UHCL continuing education opportunities include courses through the Center for Educational Programs offered by the School of Education, which provides extensive professional development for teachers, principals and other educators. The School Business houses the Center for Executive Education, which offers courses and certifications for managers and supply chain professionals as well as numerous examination prep courses.

The annual spring UHCL Physics and Space Science Seminar Series from the School of Science and Computer Engineering features speakers from all over the country discussing current topics in the sciences, and the Cyber Security Institute offers weekend classes for careers in networking and information security. UHCL’s Clear Lake Association of Senior Programs and its “Visions in Our Midst” Distinguished Speaker Series presented through the university’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations also provides lifelong learning opportunities for area residents.

Continuing education is vital to UHCL’s mission and its role in the community, said Paul. The university’s most recent forays in continuing education are the first of many valuable and varied additions.

“The goal is to get people on campus,” said Paul.. “Once they get on campus, they don’t want to leave.”

For a full schedule of upcoming Friday Morning Continuing Education sessions or to register, visit or call 281-283-3033.

Three students take to Rice University labs for research

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SJC RiceProgram Quyen Vu works in the lab of Dr. Aryeh Warmflash at Rice University as an intern with the Rice University Summer Undergraduate Research Programs. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng Mansyur, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations and government affairs department.

Quyen Vu will admit that the thought of attending San Jacinto College did not bring with it visions of stem cell research alongside Rice University professors. However, that’s exactly how Mikaela Guevara, Kevin Fuentes and herself are spending their summer as part of the Rice University Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

The three SJC students will showcase their research at a poster symposium at Rice University in the BRC Event/Exhibition Hall.

“I would never have thought that as a community college student I would be able to do research like this,” said Vu, who is working in the Rice University lab of Dr. Aryeh Warmflash and researching stem cells and development. Vu graduated from SJC in May, free of college debt thanks to scholarships, work studies and a Pell Grant. “My San Jacinto College professors helped me get to this point with everything from time management to how to keep a great lab notebook and deal with any challenges that came my way.”

Guevara is working in the lab of Dr. Daniel Wagner and researching zebrafish as a model system for develop and genetic basis of disease. Fuentes is working in the lab of Dr. K. Jane Grande-Allen and researching tissue and cellular responses to heart disease.

They were three of only 12 students in the nation invited to participate as interns in the Rice University Summer Undergraduate Research Program this year. Each participant receives a stipend for the 10-week internship with an option to stay in Rice University housing. Participants attend lunch meetings and seminars to discuss research topics related to multi-scale bimolecular networks. Other topics include graduate school and career options and how to prepare an effective poster and an academic workshop. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation.

“The Rice University Summer Undergraduate Research Program is world class and offers some of our brightest students the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research,” said Christopher Wild, department chair for chemistry, engineering, geology and physics at SJC. Both Guevara and Vu are former students of Wild.

“The experience at Rice will likely change their lives and academic trajectory as they get a sense for what it is like to push the frontiers of science,” said Wild. “Having the opportunity to work with some of the world’s greatest minds in a research setting is not often thought of when the community college experience comes to mind. We at San Jacinto College are grateful for the leadership at Rice that have made this summer research program available to our students.”

Vu plans to transfer to University of Texas to study chemical engineering. Guevara plans to transfer to a university to study biochemistry, and Fuentes will study engineering.

The San Jacinto College STEM Council supports all science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related research opportunities available through the College. For more information, visit

Scholarships provide tuition-free truck driving training

Written by staff. Posted in Schools

SJC TruckScholarshipTruck driving students like Jaime Gomez receive well-rounded training at San Jacinto College. The College recently received an $80,000 grant that will allow qualifying students to take truck driving courses tuition free. Photocredit: Jeannie Peng Mansyur, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations and government affairs department.

Students who want to learn truck driving have a golden opportunity to receive training at virtually no cost.

In partnership with San Jacinto College, Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions is offering $80,000 in scholarships for qualifying individuals interested in becoming truck drivers. The scholarship funds will provide $3,200 per student, allowing qualifying students to take truck driving courses tuition free. Students who qualify for the scholarships would only have to pay for their learner's’ permits and commercial driver’s licenses.

The scholarships will fund training for 25 San Jacinto College students, and will be available only until December 31, 2016.

Anyone interested in applying must contact one of the area designated Workforce Solutions offices to schedule an information session, any time between 1:30 and 4 p.m. The contact information, locations, dates and times of the information sessions are as follows:

• Cypress Station Office, 70 FM 1960 West #A, Houston, 77090, phone: 281-891-2850, Thursday, Aug. 18, 1:30 to 4 p.m.;

• Northline Office, 4424 North Freeway, Suite A, Houston, 77022, phone: 713-692-7755, Thursday, Aug. 25, 1:30 to 4 p.m.;

• Southeast Office, 12148-B Gulf Freeway, Houston, 77034, phone: 713-576-2580, Thursday, Sept. 8, 1:30 to 4 p.m.;

• Astrodome Office, 9315 Stella Link, Houston, 77025, phone: 713-661-3220, Thursday, Sept. 15, 1:30 to 4 p.m.

SJC truck driving program began in 1980, making it one of the oldest truck driving schools in the area. After a six-week course, entry-level drivers can test for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the State of Texas and begin a career. The program prepares students for the Class A CDL, drivers are qualified for a full variety of loads and vehicles.

Truck driving is a high-demand career in the greater Houston area. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, employment for truck drivers in the region is projected to grow 23 percent by 2022. The average annual salary for truck drivers in the region is $46,815 or $22.51 per hour.

To find out more, please visit