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February 26
IVC Human Development Program Gives Library Assistant Valuable Insights for Program Design

Theresa Olah .jpgTheresa Olah already had a career when she started taking courses at IVC in fall 2019. She signed up for classes because it had been years since she earned her bachelor’s degree, and she was a bit rusty when it came to school. She wanted to be ready when she started the master’s degree program at San Jose State University the following year.

It turns out, IVC did more than oil off the rust for Olah. It gave her knowledge she could use immediately in her work and put her on the path to another degree she hadn’t been planning on.

Olah is in her second career, as a library assistant for Orange County Public Libraries, where she has worked for eight years. Her professional journey began at AMC Theatres, where she worked for 16 years after earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

She left her job with the theater to run an online music hardware and software business with her husband. After their son was born, Olah took time off to be home with him. When he was about 7 years old, during one of their regular trips to the library, Olah spotted a sign at the checkout counter: The library needed helpers.

“I thought that would be kind of fun to work at the library,” she recalled.

She applied for and landed the position, which required her to fill in when people were out sick or on vacation. A couple of years later, Olah moved into a full-time position as a library assistant, and then began to consider the next step: becoming a librarian, which requires a master’s degree in library and information science.

In fall 2019, after doing her research, Olah decided to move ahead and applied to San Jose State’s Master of Library Science and Information program. That’s when she decided to register for classes at IVC, to get back into the habit of studying and also to learn more about topics of interest. She signed up for courses in human development and library.

“I work in Children’s Services, so we do a lot of story times and programs for children,” Olah said. “I’ve just been really interested in learning about early childhood development and education. It will help me in my job at the library.”

She enjoyed the initial classes and decided to take more human development courses at IVC during the spring and summer before her fall 2020 start at San Jose State.  

“My original intention was just to take classes at IVC and once I got into San Jose State, I was going to stop taking the classes at IVC,” Olah said.

But the information Olah was learning was helpful, so she signed up for more human development courses, even after she started her master’s courses at the university. She has completed half of the courses she needs to earn an associate degree in Human Development.

This semester, she is taking 10 hours between both colleges, while juggling work and homeschooling her now 16-year-old son. Donna King, chair of IVC’s Human Development Department, describes Olah as “an exemplary and contributing member of her classes.”

“I have experienced her as one that takes new ideas and integrates them into her life and her work,” King said. “Specifically, I have seen her take on a deep inquiry into the work of renowned children's author/illustrator Eric Carle and bring that to her work in the library. I am always excited to see Theresa take what she has learned and build upon it in her work.” 

Olah explained the knowledge she has gained from her human development classes at IVC have given her more intentionality in how she presents programs and story times to children. For example, she became more aware of the importance of using repetition in programming for young children.

Her experience at IVC has shown her the value a community college education provides. Olah recalled that when she attended high school, there was always a lot of push toward getting students into a four-year university.

“Community college was seen as for those kids who weren’t ready for four-year university, so I was very impressed when I started IVC,” Olah said. “The teachers are excellent. I really appreciate the smaller class sizes that you wouldn’t get at a university.”

A big plus was the fact that two professors whose classes she has taken earned their own master’s degrees in library science from San Jose State University, giving her valuable resources to tap into to learn more about the program before she started it.

To learn more about IVC’s courses in language and literacy, creative development in young children, developmental psychology, principles and practices in early education and others, visit IVC’s Human Development Department.

February 26
IVC Names Performing Arts Center Main Stage as Rezanoor Stage

Irvine Valley College (IVC) and the Irvine Valley College Foundation are proud to announce the first-ever naming gift for the IVC Performing Arts Center. Masoud Rezanoor, an Irvine resident, pledged $250,000 to provide enrichment opportunities for the music department at IVC. To acknowledge Mr. Rezanoor’s generosity, the Main Stage of the Performing Arts Center will be renamed the Rezanoor Stage.

Mr. Rezanoor is a longtime Irvine resident and retired CPA who loves the community he lives in. His connection with IVC first started when his daughter attended and graduated with her Associate in Arts degree in 2000. When the Covid-19 stay-at-home mandate was implemented, the college campus became a special place where he took long walks to exercise and to calm his mind each day.

When asked what inspired him to make such a contribution, Mr. Rezanoor said, “Irvine Valley College means so much to the community. Over the years, IVC has provided so much for my family and me. This is our way to reciprocate as well as to leave a legacy of our own. I hope this will be a new beginning for the IVC Foundation and to see more community involvement in its mission.”

The gift was made through an irrevocable bequest. Once realized, the funds will make a significant impact by establishing an endowment enabling the Department of Music to bring in guest artists, performers, and lecturers. 

“The arts at IVC showcase our dynamic and talented students, faculty, staff, and community,” IVC President Dr. John Hernandez said. “This $250,000 contribution to name the stage and create the Rezanoor Guest Performer Endowment further enhances IVC’s music program by providing resources to facilitate learning opportunities between our students and expert artists. The very existence of the stage provides a way for students to not only develop their interests but also to pursue their dreams of becoming the performers and teachers of tomorrow.” 

Since opening in the fall of 2007, the IVC Performing Arts Center has been a home for engaging performances across multiple disciplines including music, theatre, dance, and the communication arts. ​

February 01
IVC Alumnus Releases Second Album

NicholasSitton.pngIrvine Valley College alumnus and musician Nicholas Sitton has released his second album, Necessary Empathy.

Sitton says he wanted to create a piece of work that encapsulated and interrogated his personal experiences at this time in his life, but also takes into account the political and systemic contexts in which they occurred.

“I was inspired musically and conceptually by St. Vincent, Beach House, Little Dragon, and Solange, to name a few, all of whom have unique and poignant takes on their experiences and how they intersect with larger ideas,” he says. “I believe that honest storytelling in music has great potential to inspire and teach empathy, self-reflection, and critical thought. I also believe that these skills are desperately needed during this time of political and social upheaval.”

Sitton has been developing his album since he left IVC four years ago. “In this time, I was able to take what I had learned at IVC and apply it and refine it. On this album you can hear how I took the tools I was given and ran with them,” he says. “I recorded, performed, arranged, and produced everything you hear on the album myself in my bedroom studio, so it is an intimate as well as expansive experience.”

His compositions also explore other facets of his life, he says.

“I believe that the unflinching and brutally honest reflection of my experiences as a queer person, imbued into my music, is an important and necessary step to take to expand and color the stories of the human experience,” he says. “My music exists to be enjoyed and to be engaged with critically, in both the beautiful and consonant as well as the ugly and discordant.”

Sitton attended IVC from 2013 to 2017 and began his music major in 2015.

“I learned so much at IVC,” he says. “The professors and staff in the music department were highly skilled and offered a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience. They went out of their way to offer growth opportunities and challenge me and my peers. They used their real-world experience to support and encourage growth and love of music. I felt very lucky for this access and, with the drive to learn, was able to build a foundation that still sustains me today.”

Sitton says he fully devoted himself to his musical growth when he was 19. The following year, he started studying music at IVC, during which time he wrote and recorded his first album, Some Days.

ArtbyBeverlySalas2.pngSitton cited the training and mentorship by several IVC faculty as being critical to his success and self-discovery. Sitton says that within the music program, Professor Daniel Luzko’s “passion for music and mentorship of students created a space for musical growth and exploration.” He also cited Dr. Matthew Tresler, “who challenged me and gave me a foundation that serves me well past my time at IVC.”

Sitton also studied the life sciences while at IVC. He says he “encountered the same level of care, passion, and dedication from the professors in that department. My curiosity and interest were matched and returned in equal measure.”

Specifically, he cited faculty members including Justin Wright, “whose passion and care for the world and its creatures is contagious,” and Dr. Devon Bradley, “whose resolve and kindness shapes every space she’s involved in for the better.”

He also became involved with the BEES Garden Club, which he lauded for creating both a literal and figurative space for him to connect to nature and his peers.

“My years at IVC were formative for my identity on a personal level as well as a musical and professional level,” Sitton says. He encourages current and prospective IVC music majors to appreciate the expertise and resources available to them in the program.

“Whatever kind of music you like or want to play, there is something to learn from everything they have to offer,” he says. “And make sure you’re applying what you’re learning to expand your musical creativity in some way. The best musicians are those that are in love with the magic and language of music.”

To listen to Necessary Empathy, visit Spotify or YouTube, or find it on any other music streaming service. Learn more about Sitton and his work on Instagram at @boybloom or visit for more information.

January 19
IVC Electrical Technology Program Giving This Alum a Path to Personal, Professional Development

Picture1.pngLearning new skills on a regular basis has become a necessity in our ever-changing world of work. The days of earning a degree and launching into a career for decades to come without earning any additional credentials along the way is a thing of the past. 

Irvine Valley College alum Victor Gonzalez could tell you that. He’s worked for a multinational semiconductor company in Irvine for nearly 11 years, currently as an engineering aide who tests microchips used in electric meters. Just last semester, he finished the last of the courses he needed to earn a Certificate of Proficiency as an Electrician Trainee​, through IVC’s Electrical Technology program.

“I got my associate degree back in 2000 from Saddleback College, and I have just been keeping up on my education, which helps with my current job,” Gonzalez explained. “It’s my way of continuing my personal development.”

Gonzalez works in a laboratory chock-full of electrical wires and electronics, sparking the desire to want to learn more about electronics. IVC is just a few blocks away from where Gonzalez works, and he could apply some of the coursework he took at Saddleback to the Electrician Trainee certificate.

The last course he completed was Professor Massimo Mitolo’s Residential Wiring course, giving him the credits he needs to obtain the Electrician Trainee certification, which gives students the skills needed for entry-level work in the electrical industry. The certificate program also requires courses in basic electric circuits I and II, OSHA 10 and commercial and industrial wiring.

Professor Mitolo explains that IVC’s electrical program is a fundamental resource not only for those new to the electrical field but also for seasoned professionals who want to update and upgrade their understanding of the electrical theory, code requirements and laboratory practices related to the installation of residential, industrial and commercial electrical systems.

Gonzalez, a father of two, started down a different path before realizing he wanted to pursue a college education. He worked in construction for five years.

I realized that without a degree in something, I was not going to be successful in my professional life,” he said. “When I was doing construction, I did not even have a regular high school diploma. I had to get my GED. It was very exciting when I realized that having not attended regular high school I would still be able to earn an equivalent certificate in order to enroll in the community college.”

December 18
Tips on Mastering Your Elevator Pitch
They say that great leaders are great communicators. Learn quick tips on how to improve your elevator pitch from IVC Professor John Russo, who heads up IVC's entrepreneurship program​, in our very first episode of the Flashcard Series.
FlashCard Video.png

December 04
IVC Gave Her the Chance to Explore Her Career Options – Now She’s a Step Away from Being a CPA

Shiva Maggard photo.jpgAfter she graduated high school, Shiva Maggard explored her career options before setting her sights on medical school. She enrolled at IVC and picked biology as her major. Maggard planned to transfer to a four-year college, and like the majority of American college students, she changed her mind along the way.

She decided med school wasn’t for her. She dropped out of college and found work in the restaurant industry, as a bartender. She made decent money in that job, she said, but after a few years realized it wasn’t what she wanted long term.

Maggard found herself once again exploring her career options. That led her back to IVC. She re-enrolled, this time declaring a major in business. She discovered the potential of an accounting career when she took a class taught by instructor Donald Bradshaw.

“It wasn’t until I took [Instructor] Bradshaw’s class that I figured out I was going to major in accounting,” Maggard recalled.

She saw Bradshaw as a mentor. She remembers how he talked about his experiences in accounting and spoke highly of the field as one with good opportunity and lots of stability. Maggard, the first in her family to attend college, wanted the kind of job security Bradshaw described, and she liked the potential for long-term advancement within the field. 

“There’s a clear path of upward mobility, and that’s what attracted me,” she said.

Maggard attended school full-time during the day while tending bar at night to pay for her college education. IVC was an affordable college option that came with the benefit quality teachers and smaller class sizes.

“The quality of teachers there is so good, especially on the business side,” she said. “I loved my teachers at IVC.”

Maggard graduated from IVC in 2015 with an Associate of Arts in Business Administration, with an emphasis in accounting. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in accounting and finance, at California State University, Fullerton, in 2017.

And, in November, she celebrated a major professional milestone: She passed all four parts of the CPA exam and plans to attain her license to become a certified public accountant in 2021.

What a ride. 24 months of blood, sweat, tears, and copious amounts of Starbucks,” Maggard shared on her LinkedIn profile. “This exam was challenging to say the least, and I’m so glad I stuck with it because there were many times I wanted to throw in the towel.

Each part of the four-part CPA exam is four hours long, and each section takes about 150 hours of studying, on average, said Maggard, who is an audit senior at an Orange County-based public accounting firm. In her job, she audits the financial statements of privately held and publicly traded companies to make sure their financial statements are accurate for financial-statement users.

Maggard said likes the career she ultimately chose because of the challenges it presents. She enjoys “fostering client relationships, as well as coaching staff and working in a collaborative team environment.”

“I like being challenged,” she said. “There’s a lot of upward mobility, so if you’re good at what you do, there’s just so many opportunities, and it opens so many doors.”

As Maggard looks back on her time at IVC, she says the college provided her with great mentorship and a solid foundation in accounting, so she was well-prepared for the courses she took at CSU Fullerton, as well as the social opportunities. She served as chair of the Accounting Society at CSU Fullerton, working to recruit students to the organization, which provided resume-building services, networking opportunities, peer mentorships and other benefits.

“People think ‘Oh community college, it can’t be that good,’ but I have to disagree,” Maggard said. “I was super impressed with the teachers I had and the education I received, and so I urge people not to overlook community college. I think it’s a great way to start your college career, especially if you’re unsure, because if you change your mind it’s a lot cheaper at a community college than at a four-year. It’s a great way to explore your interests, too.”

​Learn about the programs offered by IVC’s School of Business Sciences, including Accounting, Business Management, Computer Information Management, Entrepreneurship, Paralegal Studies and Real Estate.​

November 30
IVC Model United Nations: Excelling Through Transformational Leadership

MUN_Group Pic.jpg

The Irvine Valley College Model United Nations (MUN) program overcame the learning and logistical challenges posed by the pandemic to have another outstanding semester, winning a total of 16 awards at two conferences. Students developed transformational leadership skills by learning how to negotiate and engage with students from around the country and world in a virtual environment. They mastered complex information in new formats,  innovated collaboration techniques, and creatively developed solutions to a number of pressing and timely global problems, such as the rights of protestors, halting biodiversity loss, and promoting gender equality in entrepreneurship, amongst others.

From October 24 to 25, students participated in the College of the Canyons Model United Nations conference virtually, competing against 100 delegates from 15 colleges and universities from around the country and Colombia. Representing 17 countries, students won a total of six awards in five committees.

From November 6 to 8, the team participated in the National Model United Nations Conference, where they won eight awards for skillfully representing Ecuador and Kenya on five committees. Eleven students persisted through a grueling three days of online competition, sitting in front of their computer screens for 10 to 12 hours a day, to win the top awards of Outstanding Delegation for both countries as well as five-position paper awards and an Outstanding Delegate award. The team competed against almost 650 students from over 40 colleges globally and placed in the top 5% of those in attendance.

Although the recognition of excellence bestowed by the awards is a great honor, the real reward lies in the personal and academic growth opportunities that this experience provides. Student delegates participating at MUN conferences have the unique opportunity to develop leadership, public speaking, negotiation, and multicultural skills.

As stated by returning team member Tomas Castro, “I could not have been prouder to participate in IVC’s Model United Nations program during this historic semester. Each conference is a unique opportunity in itself to learn about global issues, but this year I was honored to be part of the IVC team as we overcame a pandemic and still managed to bring forth our penchant for diplomacy, negotiation, and problem-solving.”

According to IVC MUN President Bryant Larson, “Model United Nations has taught me that true leadership, just like in the international system, is about inclusivity and about making sure everyone's ideas are heard, which I have been able to refine over the three semesters that I have been a part of this program.”

Prior to attending the conference, IVC MUN students developed position papers on key issues such as the financial inclusion of underserved communities and confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, among others. At the conference, students simulated the workings of the actual UN by advocating and negotiating for the interests of their country in committee meetings. Additionally, by engaging with students from different countries, IVC MUN student delegates work across cultural and linguistic differences, experiencing a multicultural learning opportunity like no other.

The following students participated in the conferences: Aryan Agahi, Diego Beltran, Tomas Castro, Amulya Chava, Sarah Cortez, Joyce Hahn, Ethan Knoll, Bryant Larson, Haley Luong, Melody Mirghavameddin, Sarah Nishioka, Gabriela Pinho DeMoraes, Arman Raeisian Nejad, Zain Raja, Jagjoban Singh, Davit Tadevosyan, and Jadon Wong. Congratulations to all!​

November 19
IVC Team Takes First Place in National Business Pitch Competition

heliopod mockup (1).jpg
In August, the Irvine Valley College entrepreneurship department​ partnered up with the College Leap organization​, a national non-profit founded by UC Berkeley students to increase the leadership opportunities for transferring community college students. The event they were hosting was their national business plan pitch competition.

Ten IVC student teams from different disciplines of study entered the competition, with seven teams pitching in the first round which was hosted by IVC. After more than a month of preparation with guidance and mentorship from Professor John Russo, the lead of the entrepreneurship program at IVC, the first round produced some excellent business concepts with great student pitch decks and presentations. The first round was judged by serial entrepreneur and IVC Professor Michael Sawitz, along with IVC entrepreneurship alumni Maryam Edah Tally, and a UC Berkeley alumnus.

The teams included a migraine detection and relief app created by Sara Sharifzadeh, an innovative emergency backpack developed by Yuki Kitamura, a pantry food ingredient recipe and cooking app by Rachel Nellis, Ester Kim, and Rachel Kim, The Good Apple Initiative, a farmer's market food collection and distribution company by Sunmeet Singh, Fable Stable, a storytelling app to bring generations closer together by Raghavi Mavuduri. HelioPods, a gel pod sunscreen packaging by Kimberly Rayner and Apoorva Gunti, and GiveMind, a mental health app by Jay Trang and Yasaman Nassab.

After the first round and top winner going to HelioPods, three of the IVC teams were invited to pitch into the regional round against other community colleges in Southern California. In the regional round, again top honors went to HelioPods to move on and compete in the final round. 

November 7 was the final round of the College Leap national business plan pitch competition. The competition started with 80 teams from all over the state of California and Washington. In the final, the IVC team HelioPods, of Kimberly Rayner (business major), and Apoorva Gunti (bioengineering major), pitched against 7 other teams. It was a tough competition with some great presentations and prominent judges from the Haas Berkeley School of Business, California Community College State Director, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. The IVC team presented their sunscreen pods idea wonderfully and took 1st place in the competition. A big congratulations to Kimberly and Apoorva for all of their hard work and dedication in this competition. They are looking to take their idea to the next level and ultimately bring it to the marketplace. ​

November 13
IVC Speech Team Thrives in October Despite Being Virtual

The IVC Speech Team finally had a chance to test their skills at their first tournament of the academic year at the 2020 PSCFA Warm-Up Tournament held October 3 - 4. Twenty-four colleges and universities came together to compete at the event with 11 students representing IVC.​ Despite the usual challenges of being virtual, IVC Forensics came out ahead by winning 9 awards in debate, platform speaking, and limited preparation events. Among the most notable awards were the top speaker in Open Informative Speaking and the top speaker in Novice Persuasive Speaking.​

On October 10, the team gave back to the community by participating in a tournament directed by Magnet Learning Academy. The tournament was open to elementary, middle and high school students to compete in Lincoln-Douglas (individual) or Public Forum (team) Debate. IVC Forensics served as judges for the event and provided valuable feedback and speaking tops to the 112 young participants.

On October 11-25 the team participated in an unprecedented event: a completely asynchronous speech tournament. The NCFA Asynchronous Tournament was attended by 15 colleges and universities. IVC competed in persuasive and informative speaking, as well as extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. At the conclusion of the tournament IVC Speech dominated by receiving 6 awards including a 1st place in Senior Persuasive Speaking by Seadona Taloma and a 2nd place in Novice Impromptu Speaking by Gowtham Krishkumar.   

Finally, the team hosted two California Proposition showcase debates. The second of the three-part series covered affirmative action, Proposition 16, while the third discussed Proposition 22 on app-based drivers.   

The team is looking forward to their next events including more tournaments and a public showcase debate with the Rwanda National Debate Team on November 23rd. Those interested in joining the IVC Speech Team are encouraged to contact Jules French at or Bill Neesen at​ 

October 29
Cast Your Vote at IVC

Have you found a polling location yet? The IVC Gym will serve as a designated Vote Center this election, starting on Friday, October 30. Orange County elections are being run differently than before now with Vote Centers, offering a full-service voting experience. You can cast your ballot at any location. 

If you visit the IVC Vote Center, please enter the campus from Irvine Center Drive and park in Lot 9

IVC's Vote Center Hours:

October 30 - November 2
8 am - 8 pm 

November 3- Election Day

7 am - 8 pm 

For more information about voting resources and other polling locations, visit the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

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