New hires to uplift student life

By Gabriel Quiroz, Staff Writer

There are new and returning faces on the Contra Costa College staff and faculty this semester and all are eager to work with students and each other to make CCC not just a better campus but a better community overall.
There are over 10 new hires that have been either promoted from within the college or are joining CCC as first time hires.
New hires and position promotions can be found everywhere, from new professors and counselors, to maintenance and administrative workers that will hopefully bolster and ease the overall college experience.
New hires and position changes include athletic facility assistant Denine Colbert, program coordinator Christina Craig Chardon, administrative assistant Yvette Escobar, science lab technician Alden Gaines, counselor Jared Romero, administration of justice professor John Sanford, Dean of Enrollment Services Andre Singleton and building service maintenance worker Aaron Taylor.
One thing all of the new staff have in common is that they want to help students at this college succeed in their pursuit of education.
Everyone in this new employee class says they are very excited to be part of the community and work with the students on campus.
“The people and the environment, the students sharing their perspectives on what’s going on at CCC and how they engage and aren’t afraid to do so,” said Senior Executive Assistant Lorena Cortez when asked about what she enjoys most about being part of the campus community.
Cortez mentioned Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks and his many contributions to CCC, including Coffee with a Cop, when speaking of contributions to the community that reach beyond education.
Cortez seemed particularly excited about her new position and her expanded duties in the administrative process. She embraces being a resource, coordinating meetings and helping President Katrina VanderWoude in her duties.
Cortez continued to speak about her experience with the district and the importance of community colleges. In years past, Cortez took a class at Diablo Valley College in order to graduate from Saint Mary’s College.
The new and promoted staff are very happy to be part of the community at CCC with palpable excitement about their new positions and enthusiasm toward student outreach.
Financial Aid Specialist Patricia Herrera said, “I have been in the district for six years and attended DVC. I enjoy helping students and seeing their progression through their time at CCC and seeing how they change and adapt.”
Herrera’s duties include reviewing financial aid, verification of email, speaking with students about their financial aid and numerous other tasks.
She was promoted from administrative assistant and for a while held both positions before she was officially chosen as senior executive assistant in August.
The teaching faculty at CCC are some of the best in the state, as many work for years perfecting what they do to help students become better and better as they grow and transfer.
“Honored, excited, inspired, and energetic. We have incredibly talented, dedicated staff on this campus,” assistant music professor Jennifer Griest said. “Our students are passionate and dedicated. This is a wonderful place to work. I hope to support not just the music department and its students, but the college community as a whole in this new position.”
Griest is now full time after being at CCC for over a decade as part-time professor.
Her new position includes teaching beginning piano, continuing piano, theory and musicianship and beginning choir courses.
She also does individual work with music majors.
The new and promoted staff and faculty are all around campus to help make CCC better and it’s only the beginning of the semester.
Students can look forward to changes and innovations throughout the campus whether it be in the classroom, the administrative experience or even just how the college looks.