Campus News

Six L.A. Pierce College Students Named Semifinalists for Prestigious Cooke Scholarship


Six scholars from Los Angeles Pierce College have been named semifinalists for the highly selective Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship 2020 by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Simon Alam, Juan Becerra, Sarkis Chrikjian, Harrison Kotik, Colin Melendez and Fatima Sheyda, all honors students, were selected. Cooke Transfer Scholars are chosen based on their exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service to others, and leadership.

“You are already successes, and I congratulate you on making it to this point of the process to be named semifinalists,” Pierce College President Alexis S. Montevirgen told the group of students as they met in his office.

President Montevirgen pointed out that it was not easy to achieve what they already had accomplished, and asked them how they planned to contribute to their various fields.

"I've always been passionate about the environment and I firmly believe that engineering is my path to making a difference in the world,” Colin Melendez responded. “I'm excited by the prospect of transferring to an institution where I can collaborate with like-minded people and put my ideas to the test."

These six students join 456 semifinalists chosen from a pool of nearly 1,500 applicants attending 311 community colleges throughout the nation. Through this award, the Foundation supports high-achieving community college students as they transfer to some of the best four-year institutions in the country to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The semifinalists from Pierce, who are majoring in fields ranging from Engineering to Philosophy, are in the process of applying to transfer to some of the nation’s most highly regarded colleges and universities.

Counselor Shelley Tadaki said, “What sets these students apart is that they don’t see the application process as something that begrudgingly must be done, but they embrace the hard work required as an opportunity to reflect on their academic and personal growth and articulate the future path that they envision for themselves.” 

She went on to explain that the Cooke Scholars program encourages institutions to take a closer look at community college transfer students, recognizing how their unique and diverse perspectives enhance the learning environment for all students.  

Two of the semifinalists were also selected by the Pierce College Honors Program to present their original research at the University of California, Irvine Community College Honors Research Conference this spring.
Juan Becerra will present “How the News Media Frames Victims of Police Shootings,” stemming from research he did this past summer at Northwestern University. Sarkis Chrikjian will present titled, “The Impact of Fatigue Relief Intervention on Pain and Sleep Disturbances in HIV+ Latinx Individuals.” 

Pierce College Honors Program Director, Yeprem Davoodian, said “The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship allows a platform to for students to get involved on campus, to conduct research and present at conferences, highlighting their interests and strengths.”


Semifinalists represent the top third of all applicants, and 61 scholarships were awarded in 2019. The highly competitive national scholarship will provide recipients with up to $40,000 annually for a maximum of three years to complete their bachelor’s degree.

In addition to the monetary award, the new Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising from Foundation staff to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their careers.

President Montevirgen told the scholars, “When you go off and become the successes in each of your chosen fields, I hope you will think of Pierce College and consider coming back and serving as mentors and inspirations to future students.”

For more information on the Pierce College’s honors program, visit Honors Transfer Program.


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will additionally provide opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of nearly 2,500 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni. For more information visit JKC Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.  Finalists will be announced in April.



Pierce College Hosts Voting Center February 29-March 3 in Building 600

L.A. Pierce College is hosting a four-day Voting Center on campus. We encourage students, faculty, staff and the public to come in and get registered to vote. The center, staffed by volunteers, will be open Saturday, February 29 through March 3, 2020, Sunday included.


Sat 2/29    7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun 3/1     7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Mon 3/2    7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tue 3/3      6:00 am – 9:00 pm


LOCATION: Faculty & Staff Center, Building 600, near the Library and Parking Lot 7

PARKING:   Free/no citations

Even though the official deadline to register to vote for the March 3 Primary Elections is Tuesday, February 18, 2020, latecomers can still not only register, but vote onsite. California law provides a safety net called Conditional Voter Registration, or Same Day Voter Registration for those who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election.

Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process to register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. Voters can also register to vote online, but will need to bring their email confirmation with them to vote. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.

To determine your status as a registered voter, or to register/re-register, go to either of these sites:

Each of the nine colleges of the Los Angeles Community College district will host a Voting Center in collaboration with L.A. County Registrar of Voters.

“We want to make voting as easy and convenient as possible for students and all members of the LACCD community.  With so many critical issues on the March ballot, I hope that everyone will participate in this election.  Our democracy depends on it,” LACCD Board President Andra Hoffman said.

So, remember these important dates, Hoffman said, and use the online links provided here to register to vote and ensure your voice and your vote counts. 

LACCD Board Vice President Steven Veres said, “The District is working directly with Los Angeles County to make sure each college has a voting center that our students and the public can access.  Every election has issues that are of great concern for students and public education.  We cannot stress enough the importance for everybody to cast their ballots.  Not only is voting our right and duty, but we must seek to enable easy access to the ballot for all voters whenever possible."

Statewide voter guide and other general information about the election process in California can be found at:

General Information about the election process in Los Angeles County can be found at:


Spring Ahead at L.A. Pierce College to Achieve Your Goals


The year 2020 has arrived, with it comes Spring Semester, which begins February 10. Don't wait to spring out of the old and make 2020 the year you get on board to achieve your goals.


Now is the time to register for Spring. Winter Intersession is underway, but it will be over soon so sign up for Spring classes today.


See the Spring Schedule at’ll also find other useful information there, such as the Spring and Winter 2020 Calendars and the General Catalog.


You can also just log on to the Student Information System (SIS) to search for open classes and then Register at


When you sign up for Spring classes at Pierce College, you are on your way to achieving the degree, certificate or transfer opportunity that has the power to change your life from this point forward. Let it happen to you in 2020!


Need to Apply? Start here:



Associate Degree for Transfer Now Available in 30 Majors at Pierce College

How does an ADT work?

You start at Pierce College and finish with a bachelor’s degree from a California State University (CSU) while saving time and money. Each major has a set of specific required courses to complete. They are spelled out by subject on the Associate Degree for Transfer website at Los Angeles Pierce College and in the current General Catalog. In addition to the courses for the major, students must complete one of the following General Education Plans:  IGETC (37 units) or CSU GE (39 units), and additional CSU-transferrable courses to meet 60 units.

With an ADT, you get priority consideration from a CSU campus of acceptance into your major or a program deemed similar. Not only that, you are just 60 units away from your bachelor’s degree.

What are the benefits of an ADT?

·       Guaranteed admission to the CSU system to earn a B.A. or B.S. degree

·       Priority consideration for acceptance into your major (or one deemed similar)

·       Transfer after completing only 60 units 

·       Enter the CSU system with junior standing

Choose from 30 Majors:

1.     Administration of Justice               

2.     Agriculture—Plant Science

3.     Agriculture—Animal Science

4.     Anthropology

5.     Art History

6.     Biology                                  

7.     Business Administration

8.     Communication Studies                 

9.     Early Childhood Education

10. Economics      

11. Elementary Teacher Education

12. English

13. Film, Television, and Electronic Media

14. Geography               

15. Geology

16. History

17. Hospitality Management (new) 

18. Journalism   

19. Kinesiology

20. Mathematics           

21. Music

22. Philosophy   

23. Physics

24. Political Science       

25. Psychology

26. Social Justice Studies

27. Sociology

28. Spanish         

29. Studio Arts   

30. Theatre Arts


Start by visiting the website at to review the degrees and required courses. Then make an appointment with a Pierce Counselor by visiting the Counseling Center in the Student Services Building, 1st Floor, or go to

The ADT only applies to CSU transfer students.  If you are planning to attend a UC, please see a Counselor first and ask about UC transfer pathways.

See the current schedule of classes and catalog at



Pierce Weather Station Makes the News At 70th Anniversary Celebration


CBS-TV and ABC-TV news crews covered the 70th Anniversary of the Pierce College Weather Station on Oct. 16, 2019, capturing footage of President Alexis Montevirgen’s introduction of the ceremony and a lively talk and demonstration of weather equipment by Geography/Meteorology Professor Jason Finley.

NBC-TV was on its way, but called to apologize that their van broke down. THAT’S how important our weather station – and its consistent, long-running collection of data in one spot for 70 years – is to the world.

“Not only does this station help collect data for our unique microclimate of the western San Fernando Valley, but it also helps contribute to our understanding of global climate change,” said Finley.

The automated online station reports detailed weather statistics in 10-minute increments, features a net radiometer, sonic wind sensor, online databases and much more. These data are used by colleges, universities, governments and private industry throughout Eurasia, Africa & the Americas.

“Some students aspire to be meteorologists, and the weather station helps them learn more about the weather and climate,” Finley explained. “Students who choose meteorology as a career will get hands-on experience with weather instruments, which is useful in getting a meteorology degree.”

Locally, the National Weather Service, LA County of Public Works, Los Angeles Fire Department, and other governmental agencies rely on the weather data from the Pierce station. It’s also used by students and community members. Students use the station to complete assignments and laboratory exercises in meteorology and physical geography classes.

Todd Hall, Senior Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Los Angeles and Oxnard, told the group that at Pierce College, “For 25,567 days someone has taken and written down a record of observations, then manually submitted that information to the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles Office. On behalf of the National Weather Service, I extend heartfelt gratitude to Pierce College for their hard work, diligence, and effort and 25,567 thank yous for every observation that they have recorded each day… We look forward to 70 more years of observations.”

Get Woodland Hills weather updated in ten-minute increments at Visit the Weather Station web site at

Dream Resource Center Debuts at L.A. Pierce College

Staff leader Kimberly Castillo takes a moment at the opening of the Pierce Dream Resource Center, as (from left) LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, Board of Trustees 2nd Vice President Gabriel Buelna and Pierce College President Alexis S. Montevirgen look to the future.


An historic day was marked Sept. 26, 2019, as L.A. Pierce College celebrated the opening of its Dream Resource Center to welcome and serve undocumented students. Key speakers at the ceremony were our new president, Dr. Alexis Montevirgen, followed by the LACCD Chancellor, Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, Board of Trustees 2nd Vice President, Dr. Gabriel Buelna, and Dream Resource Center Lead Kimberly Castillo.


Alluding to the current tensions and hostility in the political discourse on immigration and undocumented status at the national level in his welcome, President Montevirgen set the stage for the significance of the center's opening with, "As I stated back on the morning of Opening Day, Pierce College must be an example and strive to be a shining beacon to show that we can and must be better as a nation.


"Today’s formal opening of the Dream Resource Center is one example of how we are leading the way in that very effort.  It is for me, yet another reason why I am #PIERCECOLLEGEPROUD!"


The new center is a private space located next to the ASO 5100 on the first floor of the Library Learning Crossroads building, easily accessed from the courtyard. It will be a safe haven for Dreamers to gather, study, use computers, and receive assistance in many ways – including with their CA Dream Act Application – to help them pursue their goals at L.A. Pierce College and in this country.


Castillo said, “As the lead of the DRC, I am honored to be in this role where I can empower and support our undocumented student population. I am so excited to have a dedicated space where our students can feel comfortable to ask their questions, share their concerns, gain information and feel heard.”


Other resources available to Dreamers are one-on-one meetings, AB 540 residency support, educational workshops, peer mentoring, a student support group called the I.D.E.A.S. club, scholarship information, local immigration legal services and further opportunities to help them succeed. If you would like more information, contact Kimberly Castillo, instructor special assignment, at or (818) 712-2692. Dreamers can also visit the website at or email



No More Excuses to Delay Degree Now that Two Years of College are Free

TV host Lisa Remillard wants to know if it’s true – two years of college — free?

“It’s absolutely true,” Will Marmolejo, Dean of Student Services at L.A. Pierce College, reassures her.

“Any high school graduate, first time in college, who commits to being a full-time student, can earn an AA degree, which you can do in two years, for FREE, at any community college in California.”

Carlos Amezcua and Lisa Remillard, co-hosts of the Carlos & Lisa show on KDOC-TV Los Angeles, were chatting with Marmolejo about free college under the College Promise program. What is it, and how do students get it?

Marmolejo spells it out – everything students and their parents need to know about how to get a free two-year college degree at Pierce College or any of the LACCD or California Community Colleges. Watch the eight-minute clip, which aired Sept. 17, 2019, at

Describing all of the benefits to becoming a Promise student, Marmolejo adds that Pierce College goes above and beyond waiving tuition, using some of the funds to give students the option for transportation, food, or even books. The College Promise “provides a level platform for students to just focus on education,” he says, emphasizing that since tuition and other barriers have been removed, now students have no excuses not to get their degrees.

Amezcua says, “You are creating a success path that’s very clear.”

“At Pierce College our transfer rates to UCs like UCLA and (CSUs like) Northridge are some of the highest in the state of California because students are really able to be engaged,” Will said.

Carlos Amezcua became well known as the anchor of the KTLA-TV Morning News in Los Angeles from 1991 to 2007.  He co-anchored KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego with journalist Lisa Remillard for four years prior to the two starting the news and lifestyle “Carlos & Lisa” show in May 2019.


Welcome to Fall Semester 2019 at Pierce College


We are glad you have made the smart choice to enroll at Los Angeles Pierce College and look forward to serving you.


Remember you can find information about your classes and more on the Student Information System (SIS) portal at

Fall Session runs from August 26-December 15, 2019. There’s a whole world of opportunity waiting for you at Pierce College, where great futures begin.


Pierce Welcomes Dr. Alexis S. Montevirgen as New President

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Alexis S. Montevirgen, Ed.D., the new president of Los Angeles Pierce College, who took the helm on July 1, 2019.


LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said, “We are delighted that Dr. Montevirgen has agreed to join our District as Pierce’s next President.  His credentials and experience are in strong alignment with our mission to serve all who seek a two-year college education, professional certificate or successful transfer to a four-year university."


Dr. Montevirgen said he was honored to have been selected by Chancellor Rodriguez to join LACCD and the Pierce College Teams.  “Pierce has an outstanding reputation as a premier two-year college and I look forward to working with the faculty and staff in service to our students and the surrounding community.  This is an exceptional opportunity and I’m ready to begin once the Board confirms my appointment,” he said.


Montevirgen was most recently the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Indiana University Northwest, in Gary, Indiana, a position he has held since December 2014.  His appointment caps a year-long nationwide recruitment and selection process.  


Dr. Montevirgen has many years of prior experience with the California Community College system.  From August 2009 to November 2014, he served at the College of Alameda in the Peralta Community College District, Alameda, Calif., as Dean of Enrollment Services before becoming Vice President of Student Services.  Prior to that, from November 2006 to July 2009, he was Director of Student Life for the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District.


He worked for the California State University (CSU) system for several years and held internship positions with both the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, San Diego.  He has a doctorate in education from CSU’s San Francisco State University; a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from U.C. San Diego.


As the first in his family to go to school in the United States, Montevirgen said he is particularly proud of his strong foundation and life-long commitment to transformative educational leadership, social justice, equity, access, retention and student success.

About the Los Angeles Community College District

LACCD ( is the nation’s largest community college district, educating about 250,000 students annually at its nine colleges that serve the residents of more than 36 cities and communities from 900 square miles of Los Angeles County.  Since 1969, the District has been providing an important learning pathway for students seeking transfer to four-year colleges or universities while also offering two-year degrees and certificated training programs to Southern California’s diverse workforce in many specialized trades and professions.

Summer Is Coming -- Will You Be Here?

Register now for Summer at Pierce! Summer Classes are posted for three short sessions at Pierce College. Choose from hundreds of classes offered the morning, and get out by noon so you can hit the beach. Two Sessions begin June 10, and the third on July 15, 2019.


Summer Session 2019 dates are:

Session A:  June 10 – July 14 (only 5 weeks)

Session B:  July 15 - Aug. 18 (only 5 weeks)

8 week Session: June 10 - Aug 4


Visit, click on Summer 2019, Online Searchable Schedule of Summer Classes.


Continuing Students can begin to register on April 11. Check your email for your registration appointment, or log into the


We want you to pursue your dreams—and reach them. You can do it this Summer at Pierce College.