Discovering diverse departments

Colleges have one chance at a first impression, and while Pierce College was not at the top of some high school students’ list, “Discover Pierce” shed some light on any misconceptions they might’ve heard.  

High school students had the opportunity to tour the campus, meet Pierce administration, enjoy some games and get a free meal from Falafelicious Catering.

Dean of Academic Affairs Donna-Mae Villanueva said Discover Pierce was running very smoothly and that everyone was having a great time.

“Looking at the foot traffic along the Mall and throughout the classrooms, I think the event was a success,” Villanueva said. “The students seemed pretty engaged with all the activities laid out for them today.”

With so many activities and booths displayed, Villanueva thought there wasn’t enough time for students to enjoy the event.

“The faculty wished they had more time with the students because some of the students were pretty excited and wanted to ask questions, but they didn’t have time in the tours to allow them to stay and linger to ask questions,” Villanueva said. “If only we could have made this from 9 to 5, there would have been more time.”

In addition to the tours, rows of tables from different clubs and departments were organized alongside the Mall, passing out flyers and treats to students who were interested in learning about their department.

Across the Mall, The Great Hall was filled with administration from the Student Health Center and Student Services and counseling and financial aid, informing high school students what Pierce has to offer.

Director of the Student Health Center Beth Benne said they heard great compliments from students and high school faculty about the campus.

“It’s been fabulous. We’ve seen a couple hundreds kids today,” Benne said. “We had one kid who didn’t even consider Pierce until today. He said it was very eye opening.”

Benne said she received positive feedback about Pierce College and was glad to see students enjoying the campus.

“What I love is that the schools brought them,” Benne said. “They were kind of a captive audience, and I think some of them didn’t want to come, but I think they had a great time.”

After students had the opportunity to tour the campus and ask general questions about transferring, they were able to receive a free lunch meal by Falafelicious Catering.

Although the lines to receive a free meal were out the door, Falafelicious Catering owner Ofir Bass said they’ve received great feedback and thought the students enjoyed the food.

“It was really busy. They got out of here pretty quick,” Bass said. “Everything went smooth. Looks like everyone was pretty happy with the food.”

Bass said he was glad the college chose to go with the cafeteria food rather than ordering any outside catering.

“We make everything fresh. All of our sandwiches were made as we go,” Bass said. “It was a big success in my opinion.”

Jehan Ibrahen, a Granada Hills Charter High School student, said she enjoyed the Pierce College atmosphere and is considering attending in fall.

“I actually really liked it. I wasn’t really planning on coming, but actually coming here, a lot things got cleared up,” Ibrahen said. “Talking to the different counselors and the people in The Great Hall answering all our questions, they were really clear in what they were saying and actually really helping me in what I want to do.”

Ibrahen was accepted to the University of California, Merced and Cal. State University Northridge and was not planning on attending Pierce; however, her mind was changed when she heard how easy the transferring process is.

“There’s this stigma about attending a community college, but after touring the college, it [Pierce] actually feels like a better option,” Ibrahen said.

Nathalie Ohanian, a Granada Hills Charter High School student, thought the tours were really helpful and is planning on transferring to University of California, Los Angeles from Pierce College.

“I’m for sure coming to Pierce. I met so many people who were proud of their clubs, and they shared good information about their clubs that made me want to join,” Ohanian said. “They all made it seem fun. I also got exposed to different buildings that I didn’t even know about or even existed.”

Pierce College career counselor assistant Akadina Amrekhasadah was helping students take photos in the photo booth that the Counseling Center created to get the students involved.

“We’re having so much fun. We’re having students take a picture and post it on their own Instagram and tagging us so we can get the word out and show how awesome Pierce is,” Amrekhasadah said. “We’re trying to get everybody together.”