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Student Success Stories

Kim Canisso Excels at Merced College

Congratulations to Kim Canisso, our December Student of the Month. Kim chose Merced College because of its low cost but has stayed because of the advantages of small classes, flexible class times and the different ways that we are able to help her on campus. She started out as a Liberal Arts major with an interest in high school special education but has become interested in Math. She is planning to major in Mathematics and attend CSU Stanislaus to complete her B.A. in Math. She plans to be a math teacher and water polo coach. Roger Putnam, her instructor, says she is a natural teacher!

Currently she plays water polo, swims, coaches, and volunteers in a kindergarten classroom as well as maintaining a 4.0 GPA. In fact, she was on the on winning All Coast Conference team and was voted the “Most Inspirational Player” by her team. She also received the Coach’s award.

Roger Putnam, an instructor of Geology and Physical Science, says that she is one of the “brightest, kindest and most helpful students” he has ever taught – in any of the four institutions at which he has taught.


Tiphanie Ros is Our Student of the Month - November 2016

Tiphanie came to Merced College a little over two years ago determined to make a change in her life and in the lives of others. She enrolled in the Spring of 2015 with an interest in business and has chosen to continue as a business major. After she completes her Merced education, she plans to enroll at either CSU Stanislaus or CSU Fresno and complete her B.A. in Business. She plans to take that business degree and pursue a certification as a natural childbirth coach or doula. She says that “it’s not where you come from that matters, only where you are going” and she has big plans.

With her great GPA and her membership in Alpha Gamma Sigma, she will go far. She was part of the Puente Program and then followed that with an SI position with Mike Barba, her English Instructor. Mr. Barba said he was disappointed when her schedule changed and she was unable to continue in this position in his ENGL 85 and ENGL 01A classes beyond two semesters. He describes her as a “driven…wonderful and committed student” with excellent study skills and who is always prepared for class.


Melissa Land Studies Agriculture Education

Melissa Land was born and raised in Mariposa. She grew up as an active member of 4-H and graduated from high school at 17. She attended the Kitchen Academy and graduated with honors.

After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving away, Melissa returned to Mariposa in 2010. She helped to open a restaurant in Mariposa but realized that she wanted more for her life and for her family.

Melissa decided that Merced College was where she wanted to be. She is currently pursuing her AA in General Agriculture and an AS in Animal Science. Melissa plans to continue on to Fresno State University to study Agricultural Education. She plans on acquiring her Master’s Degree at CalPoly and then teaching agriculture.

Melissa wants to teach her children and her community “how important agriculture is and how it brings communities together."


Congratulate our 2015-2016 Student of the Year: PangKou Chang

PangKou Chang was born and raised in Merced. She has a 4.0 average and is studying to become an RN. She has been an (AVID) tutor for Merced Union High School District, received the Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award and the Community Health Corps Award. She was involved in the health care field as a member of the Merced/Mariposa County Asthma Coalition and helped to educate the community about asthma. She looks forward to being able to give back to the Merced Community and especially to those who may not speak English. She grew up speaking Hmong and wants to continue to work with our Hmong population in Merced. An interesting fact about PangKou is that she is one of not only a set of twins but she also has another set of twin sisters in her family!

Dr. Coburn commends PangKou for asking “probing and relevant questions” One of the things he most enjoys is that she challenges him to make his lectures clearer to students. She takes her time to answer questions and makes sure that she fully understands her assignments before submitting them.

Congratulations to PangKou as our Student of the Year for Merced College 2015-2016.


Maria Andrade is April's Student of the Month

Maria is a hard working student who was nominated by two different instructors for Student of the Month. She will be graduating in May and her goal is to transfer to UC Merced to continue her education with a degree in Public Health. She wants to become a nutrition educator and give back to her community. In many ways, she has already met this goal. In the Spring of 2014 she not only participated in the Foods and Nutrition Department’s 5th annual culture and cuisine event, she took a leadership role by introducing 30 high school students to the Merced College Campus. She again was a leader in the Spring 2015 event including organizing an additional cultural event.

Will Baker, one of her instructors, says that Maria was the spark that ignited his ENGL 1A class students by mentoring the younger students and drawing older students into both mentoring younger students and becoming involved themselves.

At the end of Fall 2015, Maria volunteered at Make Someone Happy, a county outreach program that targets low income families providing nutritional education. One of her activities was to give food presentations. She participated in the Sweet Potato Festival in Livingston where she planned, prepared and presented a cooking demonstration. She also was able to work with the Registered Dietitian at Public Health – which is the area she is interesting in pursuing at UC Merced. Michelle Pecchinino says she has represented Merced College well in all these endeavors.

Maria believes that there are a number of career opportunities that will be open to her after her education is completed and that her activities here at Merced College and in the community have allowed her to get connected with potential employers. She says “This is my last semester at Merced College. I am excited, and also sad because I’m leaving this great college.”

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