Campus News

Candidates Jim McDonnell and Bobby Shriver to Highlight Day of Politics


Drug testing of doctors and clean drinking water are two of the hot topics to be discussed at Pierce College’s Oct. 20 Day of Politics in the Great Hall. In anticipation of the November California elections, DOP is a free all-day forum to get to know the candidates and issues on the upcoming ballot. Each hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., a different candidate will take the stage or a proposition will be presented by our professors and students.


L.A. Sheriff Candidate Jim McDonnell, appearing at 2 p.m., has served as Chief of Police for the city of Long Beach since March 2010.  He previously served as the second in command in the Los Angeles Police Department. Chief McDonnell began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a graduate from the Los Angeles Police Academy. Over nearly three decades, he held every rank in the LAPD, including First Assistant Chief and second in command to Police Chief Bill Bratton.  


At 3 p.m., meet Councilman Bobby Shriver, Candidate for L.A. County Supervisor, 3rd District. The oldest child of R. Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver was born in Chicago in 1954 and is a Yale Law School graduate. In 2004 he was elected to the Santa Monica City Council by the highest percentage of voters in that city's 120-year history. While a councilmember, he worked to balance budgets and helped retain the city’s AAA bond rating.  Shriver also served as Mayor in 2010 and continued his leadership to create housing and services for homeless people, cleaned up the Santa Monica Bay and supported veterans and small businesses.


The list of propositions to be discussed, many presented by students, are Prop 1 for Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water; Prop 2’s Rainy Day Fund; Prop 45 for Health Care Insurance Rate Changes; Prop 46 for Drug & Alcohol Testing of Doctors; Prop 47’s Criminal Sentences changes (a student debate); and Prop 48 to Overturn Indian Gaming Compact.  Deputy district attorney and candidate for county assessor, John Morris, will also appear.


Day of Politics is led by Pierce Professor Denise Robb and the Department of Political Science in cooperation Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the GE Path Program, Politics Club, Feminist Club, Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Business and Economics Student Association, Sociology Club & ASO. For more information contact Professor Denise Robb at


Free, Fast and Confidential HIV Testing Begins Oct. 27 at Pierce College


October brings AIDS Awareness Month and time for Pierce College’s annual Fall AIDS/HIV Awareness Weeks. As in previous semesters, we have two weeks that Being Alive, our fabulous HIV positive speakers bureau, will be available to speak in classrooms, to clubs or committees.


The second week is filled with four days of free, confidential, rapid HIV testing available to everyone on a walk-in basis in Parking Lot #1. This is a great opportunity to encourage safer behaviors at zero cost. Join us in helping our community be smarter, safer and successful.

Free & confidential HIV Testing
October 27 –30, 2014
No appointment needed

Oct. 27:   2-7pm
Oct. 28:   9am-3pm
Oct. 29:   9am-2pm
Oct. 30:   2-7pm

For more information contact the Student Health Center at 818-710-4270.

Suspect in Custody after Pierce College Evacuation Thursday

Los Angeles Pierce College was evacuated Thursday morning, Oct. 16, 2014, after the Sheriff's Department notified college president Kathleen F. Burke that a threat to the campus had been issued through social media. After a suspect, 26-year-old Sergio Castanon, Jr. of Northridge, had been arrested, President Burke reopened the school for night classes.

"Our top priority is always the safety of our students, faculty and staff," President Burke said. "The evacuation was conducted orderly and professionally, and was only lifted after we were assured the threat no longer existed."

It is believed that the suspect, a former Pierce College student, was never actually on campus Thursday. Detectives obtained a search warrant for Castanon’s residence where an assault rifle, handgun, several rounds of ammunition and illegal high capacity magazines were recovered. Castanon was booked at Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, charged with criminal threats, possession of high capacity magazines and illegal ammunition.  He is being held on $50,000 bail.

Castanon had last attended Pierce in 2011. When he posted a threat on his facebook page, two facebook friends became alarmed and reported it to authorities. For more details, view a video of the press conference given at Pierce by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Cheryl Newman-Tarwater and President Burke by The Roundup News, click their Multimedia site here:


Drama “For This Moment Alone” to be First Play of Season at Pierce


Los Angeles Pierce College Theatre’s 2014-2015 Season premieres on October 24 with the moving drama about a family coping with the aftermath of the holocaust, “For This Moment Alone,” written by Marcia Kash. Performances begin Friday, October 24 and continue through Sunday, November 2 in the Temporary Performing Arts Complex. 

Set in Toronto in 1948, a Jewish family, struggling to recover from the horrors of the holocaust in Europe, finally has cause to rejoice. Ruth is about to be reunited with the only surviving member of her immediate family—her brother Freddie. But when she goes to meet him she is faced with the most devastating shock of her life. This engaging drama about life, love, guilt and redemption follows the paths of Ruth and the rest of the family as they come to terms with what it means to accept, to forgive and to survive.

LAPC Theatre’s production of For This Moment Alone is directed by Robert Cucuzza. The cast features Steven Alpert, Hessel Evelaar, Laura Goldstein, Brian Robert Harris, Marilyn Lazik, Ryan Lisman and Jessica Lynn Verdi. Scenic and lighting design is by Curtis Le, costume design by Gabriella Villalobos and sound design by Edward Salas. Lyndsay Lucas is the stage manager. For This Moment Alone is produced for LAPC Theatre by Michael Sande.

For This Moment Alone opens on Friday, October 24 at 8pm, and continues on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 8pm, Sunday, Oct. 26 at 2pm, Friday, Oct. 31 at 8pm, Saturday, Nov. 1 at 8pm and Sunday, Nov. 2 at 2pm. Tickets are priced at $12 for students and seniors and $15 for general admission. Free parking is conveniently located in parking lots #7 and #8. 

Subscriptions are still available for LAPC Theatre’s 2014-2015 Season, which also includes the Tony Award-winning musical Cabaret (December), the hilarious new comedy Cheese (March, 2015) and the classic American story To Kill A Mockingbird (May). Subscriptions range in price from $37-$60. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 818-719-6488, or online at


UPDATE: The Campus is Now Open, Thursday Oct 16, Night Classes are On

Pierce College is now open and evening classes have resumed as of 3:30 p.m. today, Thursday, October 16, 2014, with limited student and business services open on the campus.

Pierce College was evacuated Thursday morning around 8:00 a.m. after the Sheriff's Department notified college president Kathleen F. Burke that a threat to the campus had been issued through social media. After a suspect, a 26-year-old former Pierce student, had been arrested, Dr. Burke, backed by the Sheriff's Department, reopened the school for night classes. It is believed that the suspect was never actually on campus Thursday.

"Our top priority is always the safety of our students, faculty and staff," Dr. Burke said. "The evacuation was conducted orderly and professionally, and was only lifted after we were assured the threat no longer existed."


Open Letter From Dr. Shapiro in Support of Walking Shield Indian Reservation Children

“Since 1976 my students have been helping those less fortunate in providing food, clothing and school supplies.  Since 1987 we have been helping the poorest of Americans located on several impoverished American Indian Reservations.  I want to thank all of you who have helped in the past and hope you will continue to find solace in knowing that you made a difference in the lives of so many who have so little.  


“This year we will be helping the Spirit Lake Tribe reservation and the Siseton Wahpeton Sioux Bands located in East Central North Dakota. There are approximately 4435 residents on the reservation and the unemployment rate is just under 50%.  The children we assist are those who stay in school. We try and motivate them to learn, to make a better life for themselves.  Those children who stay in school from August thru December are presented with a stuffed backpack. We include warm clothing, school supplies, toiletry items and a toy. 


“If you would like to assist this year we have “adopted” 300 children.  Ashley Gomes is this year’s pre-veterinary club’s Walking Shield coordinator.  She can be reached at and can provide you with a name, gender, clothing sizes of a child(ren) you would like to assist. Our deadline for collection of all stuffed backpacks is November 4, 2014. We are transporting the backpacks to Walking Shield headquarters on Saturday, November 8th and shipping to the reservation on that same day. I am thanking all of you in advance for your continued support of this worthy program.”

Dr. Leland S. Shapiro, Chair,  Agriculture Department
Director, Pre-Veterinary Science Program


Rapid Job Growth Projected For Veterinary Technicians in LA



CBS News Online interviewed Pierce College’s Veterinary Technology Program Director Elizabeth White about the uptick in jobs for trained veterinary technicians. The Oct. 6, 2014 article, by CBS reporter Sharon Raiford Bush, appears below.


Spurred by a growing demand for veterinary technicians in such areas as public health and animal safety, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of job opportunities for these specialists is projected to skyrocket by 30 percent in coming years. Experts say higher-skilled technicians are already replacing assistants at private clinics, laboratories and animal hospitals throughout Los Angeles, where employment prospects are richly supplied.



“In a large metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, a veterinary technician can secure a dynamic career in a wide array of veterinary practices, from general practice clinics, to high-tech specialties and holistic medicine,” said Elizabeth White, a professor and director of the veterinary technology program at Pierce College. “Veterinary technicians can also find rewarding work at an animal shelter, a zoo, sanctuary, research facility, or in sales.”


The veteran educator said her institution is preparing prospective registered veterinary technicians (RVT) for a worthwhile vocation in the field of veterinary medicine.


“Pierce College offers both lecture classes and hands-on laboratories to provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to become a successful RVT,” White said. “We also have a 400-acre farm with a variety of livestock and horses to give our students a unique experience with animals.”


How has the field grown in recent years?

“Several large, multi-specialty, 24-hour emergency and critical care practices have opened in the L.A. area since 2010. These facilities have a high demand for skilled RVTs.”


How will this marketplace change by 2022?

“Veterinary medicine will see an emphasis on preventative and palliative medicine, including hospice care.”


What defines an accomplished RVT?

“In addition to demonstrating academic vigor and discipline, an effective veterinary technician must be motivated by a love for animals and a desire to provide compassionate health care to them.”


What is your advice to aspiring RVTs?

“I encourage them to shadow a veterinary technician for a week and find out what it is really like to work in a veterinary practice, and take a general biology class with a lab to make sure they love the medicine as much as they love the animals.”


Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to For more news and information about employment and education, visit Let's Get To Work Los Angeles.

Drop Cover and Hold On for Thursday’s Great ShakeOut

This Thursday October 16, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.  we will join with more than 25 million people participating  in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills worldwide, in K-12 schools, colleges, businesses, government agencies, other organizations, and households.


We are requesting that you, the Faculty and Staff of Los Angeles Pierce College practice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in this year’s ShakeOut drill, so that all of us will be more likely to be safe when the “big one” strikes. To aid Faculty in bringing this information to their students in the classroom A ShakeOut instructional guide and 4-slide PowerPoint presentation are available by using this link


·        DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),

·        COVER your head and neck with your arms and seek additional shelter by getting under a sturdy desk or table if nearby; and

·        HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.


If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible get next to an interior wall of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not move to another location or run outside.  Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. These are guidelines for most situations; go to to learn what to do in specific settings.  Paul M. Nieman, Director Of College Facilities, (818) 710-4121 


Learn to Navigate the Most Popular Majors at Pierce in Workshop

Attending a “Major Matters” workshop is a must if you are considering one of most popular majors at Pierce College. The first workshop of the Fall Semester 2014 is on Pre-Nursing, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Workshops will follow on that and Business, Engineering and Pre-Med majors during the semester (see flyer). All take place on the first floor of the Student Services building in the CTC Room.


Completing requirements for an associate degree or transfer can be complicated and frustrating. The counseling faculty is offering these discipline-specific workshops to inform you of the resources and course sequencing that will save you time and money. Pierce wants to help you navigate your way through the community college to your desired goal. No reservation is required but workshop space is limited so arrive early. Contact Counselor Norine Fine at 818-710-4341 for more information.



Pierce Excited for Return of Science Imaging & Astronomy Expo Sat. Oct. 11




It’s out of this world, it’s fun, free and growing:  the Science, Imaging & Astronomy Expo (SIA) will return to take over campus with twice as many science-based exhibits and events as last year.  SIA Expo is an all-day extravaganza of science and technology activities guaranteed to bring the thrill and intrigue of the universe to the community for the purpose of education and entertainment. It lands at Pierce College on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., concluding with a Star Party. People of all ages will enjoy exploring and participating in the feast of hands-on activities.


DATE:              Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014
TIME:               10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
COST:              Free—plus free raffle ticket & free food with Student ID
SCHEDULE:      Updated Schedule below

LOCATION:      Pierce College, Library Building, 1st Floor, Mall & Center for Sciences
                        6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91371
                        Enter Campus off Victory & Mason-- Free Parking in Lot 7

A new highlight this year will be students and faculty members of Pierce College’s Career & Tech Ed degree and certificate programs, which provide real-world skills for today’s job market. Visit with representatives and see demonstrations from Architecture, Auto Tech (Electric Car), Code & Programming, Engine Emission, Engineering Design (3-D printing), Industrial Tech, (Media Arts, Nanotech, Nursing and more. Pierce’s Chemistry Department will feature a student chemistry demonstration. The Robotics Club will roll out student robots on the Mall.


Science Imaging & Astronomy Expo: Pierce College  Updated Schedule Oct. 11, 2014




10 am–3 pm

10 am–5 pm

10 am–4:30 pm

Solar Telescope Use, hands-on.

Rocket Launching with JPL

Face Painting for all ages.   Buy Raffle Tickets for great prizes.

on Mall

on Mall

Exhibit Hall*

10:30 am

11 am–5 pm

Planetarium Show, donation $3                             

Make Constellation Map & Planisphere with National Park Rangers

CFS* 92044    

Exhibit Hall  

10 am–5 pm


David Steinfeld, JPL Scientist  Mars & Moon soil; Rover models,

3D Mars model. 

Exhibit Hall

11 am–12 pm


Speaker: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute. Scientific Research: Life in the Universe. After Talk, Q & A: Exoplanets

CFS 91126

11 am-4 pm

SMC’s Photography Instructor Dutch Meyer teaches portrait photography

Exhibit Hall 51xx

11 am-4 pm

Free Fall Family Portraits on Hay Bales with Pumpkin Patch

on Mall

11:30 am–5 pm

“Microcosms” with host Jeff Wood. Kid-friendly Microscopes: fossils, meteorites, bugs, pond water, minerals.

Exhibit Hall   

12 noon

12:30-3 pm

Planetarium Show, donation $3

Watch Robots Fly with JPL & Robots Roll with Pierce Robotics Club

CFS 92044

on Mall

1 pm-2 pm

The Mars Talk--Mars: 50 years of Exploration

CFS 91126

1:30-4:30 pm

Pierce College’s Career & Tech Ed Degree & Certificate Programs: Architecture, Auto Tech (Electric Car), Code & Programming, Engine Emission, Engineering Design (3-D printing),  Industrial Tech, Media Arts (Photo Show & Contest), Nanotech, Nursing,—plus Chemistry demo

Exhibit Hall 51xx

1:30-2:30 pm

Photography: A Universal Language with Instructor Rita Nisan

CFS 91125

1:30 pm

Deep Sky Imaging—DSLR Image Processing with Victor Jimenez

CFS 92047

1:30-4:30 pm

Photo Contest Exhibitions. 1.  Pierce College Students

2. Shoot The Moon from WH Camera. You Vote



Santa Clarita Brass Band plays space tunes

Rocky Young Park

1:30 pm

1st Free Raffle

Exhibit Hall


2 pm

Speaker:  Stephen Ramsden, Identifying Solar Features.

Planetarium Show, donation $3

CFS 91125

CFS 92044

2-3 pm


Speaker: Anthropologist Erin Moran “New Discoveries in Human Evolution”

$10,000-$15,000 in prizes will be given in 5:30 raffle.

CFS 91125 

Exhibit Hall

3-4 pm

Zooniverse: What Really Big Numbers Mean in Astronomy & Biology

CFS 91125

3:30 pm

2nd Free Raffle

Exhibit Hall

4 pm

4-5 pm

Planetarium Show, donation $3

Make Constellation Map & Planisphere w/National Park Rangers            

CFS 92044

Exhibit Hall   

5 pm

Basic + advanced telescopes & cameras on display.

Exhibit Hall   

5:30 pm


$10,000 Prizes Raffle: Amazing Prizes, and many to win. Exhibit of Cameras and Telescopes.

Exhibit Hall   

6-9 pm

Open Scopes Individual & Club Sky Viewing

Parking Lot 7

6:30 pm

Planetarium Show, donation $3

CFS 92044

7:30-9 pm


Night Sky Star Party (Technology: Mallin Cam) Learn scope use, see objects. Sunset 6:27 pm, Saturn Set 8:10 pm. Moon Rise 9:08 pm Daylight time

CFS 92047

Observing Platform

*CFS – Center for Sciences (inc. Planetarium at the Blue Dome & Observing Platform)

*Exhibit Hall –Library Learning Crossroads Building First Floor                                                                                                             


Also new this year is an exhibit on Zooniverse, the online community of citizen volunteers who are crowdsourcing scientific research. View the stars through the largest telescopes in the world—online. The latest technology in telescopes and imaging will be on display featuring optics, lightweight scopes, design finders, and telescopes sensitive in different wavelengths. A large outdoor area of solar telescopes will be available to view the sky.


See our natural world under microscopes with Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope’s Jeff Wood. Make a constellation map with the National Park Rangers. Enjoy exhibits of astonishing robots, moon rocks, the moon in 3D, flying rockets from JPL, meteorites, cutting-edge telescopes and cameras. Have fun with face painting, games, contests, music, food and three raffles culminating in the $10,000 Prizes Raffle. 


World-renowned astronomers return to present lectures and answer questions, including SETI Institute’s Seth Shostak to talk about extraterrestrials in “Life in the Universe,” and JPL’s David Steinfeld to discuss Mars, the moon and rockets. Meet scientists from JPL and NASA, and representatives from prominent science organizations. Talk to individuals involved in science education and public outreach programs, such as Stephen Ramsden, founder and director of the world’s largest solar astronomy nonprofit.


Pierce College’s professors will offer the following presentations: “Photography, A Universal Language” from Photographer Rita Nisan; “New Discoveries in Human Evolution” from Anthropologist Erin Moran; “What Really Big Numbers Mean in Astronomy and Biology” from Astronomer Carolyn Mallory.  Santa Monica College’s Photography Instructor Dutch Meyer will conduct ongoing classes on portrait photography. Times and campus locations for all presentations will be posted at the event.


Experience “Hubble Vision II” and “Voyager Encounters” shows in Pierce College’s 50-seat Planetarium ($3 donation). As dark falls, view the night sky and deep space objects in two locations:  Open Scopes in Parking Lot 7 and the Star Party on the Planetarium observing deck. Woodland Hills Camera is offering free Fall Family Portraits on hay bales decorated with pumpkins, plus photo shows, two photo contests, portrait photograph class with live models, 3-D printing, and a satellite dish with a live NASA broadcast.


Students at any grade level, their friends and families are especially encouraged to attend, and everyone will get a free raffle ticket for a chance to win valuable prizes of professional level telescopes and cameras shown at  Bring any student ID to get free food. The Santa Clarita Brass Band will play space tunes, and food and drinks are available for purchase. Cadets from Civil Air Patrol squadrons will assist visitors for the day. The Expo’s jammed-packed schedule of activities is featured on the updated schedule above.


SIA Expo, from co-sponsors Pierce College and Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope, drew 1200 enthusiastic attendees in its 2013 debut. Visit for the latest details on these and more stellar activities for the science and astronomy minded.


Pierce College is recognized as one of the most respected community colleges and transfer institutions in California. Located on 426 acres in the western San Fernando Valley, the two-year community college combines state-of-the-art technology and learning with the picturesque beauty of its rolling hills. The college serves 21,000 students in a diverse and dynamic mix of career, technical, transfer, workforce education and general interest programs. Visit the college website at


SIA Mission Statement

SIA Expo is an education and entertainment event with a mission to increase science and astronomy understanding and knowledge of our communities by participation in demonstrations and hands on experiences. We aim to encourage persons of all ages to explore and increase their awareness in all areas of science and technology