Michelle Vogel-Trautt

Written by Jason Klingerman and published May 5, 2014.

This article originally appeared in The Telescope, Palomar College’s award-winning, student-run newspaper.

There is a curious little spot in Parking Lot 12 where a steel post harbors an aluminum sign that reads “this space reserved for Distinguished Faculty of the Year.”

Each year the winners, one full time and one part time, choose a spot on campus they would like to park and it becomes theirs for an entire year. When Adjunct Professor Michelle Vogel Trautt learned she was the 2014 recipient of the esteemed title, she said she did the following:

“The young child inside of me did the happy dance in (my) public parking spot. That was an interesting moment for me because I don’t normally do that in public,” she said.

Playful as it may be, this spirited act illustrates some of the qualities that students find so appealing about her. “Her perseverance during and outside of lecture hours and endless energy in class is what makes her the perfect candidate for (this award),” said Jessica Holden, a student in Vogel Trautt’s 4:30 p.m. Behavioral Statistics class.

And it’s a perseverance shared across many campuses (she currently teaches two courses at Cal State San Marcos, two at Palomar, and one at Mira Costa) and many organizations (She advises two academic societies at CSUSM and sits on two committees at Palomar), making her one of the busiest worker bees in the business.

“Working hard leads to working smarter,” Vogel Trautt said.

That is a mentality she carries into her classroom as well. Her classes can be challenging for students, since she directs them similar to the way she directs her own life, that is, with purpose and grit and a bit of fun.

But when students reach out to her she does whatever it takes to help them succeed. When Holden struggled with a topic, Vogel Trautt spent four days brooding over how she could adjust and alter her teaching process to help Holden understand.

When they met next, a light bulb went on for Holden. She was so impressed she persuaded Vogel Trautt to explain this new approach to the class. “I piloted, so to speak, that explanation with (the) class, and they were like ‘oh man, I wish you would have said this like two weeks ago!’” Vogel Trautt said.

Vogel Trautt not only uplifts her students (through her own determination and dexterity as an educator), she inspires them with her humor and creativity, or what she calls “edutainment.”

“I can’t think of a time the class hasn’t left lecture without laughing from Professor Trautt,” said Holden, adding that the class roared during one lecture when their teacher started head banging to metal music.

Whether it’s hypothetically surveying vampires to find out what blood type they prefer or singing Christmas carols for students who make it to the end of the course, she makes sure the learning environment is fun and engaging.

“She can take a subject that you hate and make it something bearable,” said Sarah Zabihi, a Criminal Justice student.

Vogel Trautt said when the students get lost in the humor the numbers don’t seem as intimidating, making it easier to understand.

“Half the time I’m just a load of ridiculousness,” she confessed, “but it’s enough to get them to learn.”

Vogel Trautt get’s her well-deserved parking spot in the summer.

Robert Sedillo

Spotlight on Robert Sedillo

Written by Lloyd Bravo and published April 13, 2014.

This article originally appeared in The Telescope, Palomar College’s award-winning, student-run newspaper.

Every year Palomar chooses a faculty or staff member and presents them with the Employee of the Year award. This years winner went to Information Services Support Specialist Robert Sedillo.

Sedillo was humbled when hearing the news of his award, and only a single word came to mind when asked about his feelings.

“Honored is the best word,” Sedillo said.

The nominations for the award are given to a diverse group of faculty and staff members around the campus, Sedillo was very surprised about the nomination and especially after the win.

“It’s nice to be recognized and it means a lot,” Sedillo said.

Recognition seems to be in line “unclear” for the tremendous amount of work that Sedillo and his co-workers do for Palomar. To most, being a information services support specialist can seem complicated and overwhelming, but it makes more sense as Sedillo breaks down.

“It is called tier one support for e-services, network, technical services, computer, laptop, website issues and you wouldn’t believe what else kind of calls we get,” Sedillo said,“we refer to ourselves as help desk, but we do a lot of different things. We run the switch board operator as well as the help desk for primarily staff and faculty but students as well because they’ll have issues with email or e-services.”

It’s not hard for Sedillo to relate, considering that he has spent most of his career at Palomar.

“I have been here since I was eighteen years old. As a student I networked with everybody. I like everyone I work with and I try to treat them with respect,” Sedillo said.

Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Human Resource Services John Tortarolo only had respect for Sedillo and was happy with his achievement.

“He is a very collegial, very courteous and friendly person. He will do anything he can to help his colleagues, no matter where they are or what they need in terms of information services support,” said Tortarolo.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with him and l think he is a terrific guy and the award for what he does for the college is well deserve. I one of his customers, friends and colleagues and he is a magnificent person,” Tortarolo added.

There are many emotions that go with such an accomplishment, however, Sedillo takes the award with humility and describes his feeling in one word.

“Empathy. I was a student here starting, I have dealt with services department and I stated servicing students and did well in that because I knew what it felt like not getting the service you need,” Sedillo said.

For the future, Sedillo is currently working on his Masters Degree in Information Technology, and inspires to be in management, before paying his dues a in a technician level position.

Palomar College has been an excellent stepping stone for Sedillo as he only has respect for the school that has molded him through the years.

“I’m a product of Palomar college and I love Palomar College and I think its a great institution,” said Sedillo.

When asked what he was looking forward to after the award he answered, “it will be nice to read about myself in The Telescope.”

Laurel Anderson

Distinguished Faculty Award 2014 Recipient

Written by Marissa Milloy and published May 5, 2014.

This article first appeared in The Telescope, Palomar College’s award-winning, student-run newspaper.

Assistant Professor of Child Development Laurel Anderson has been named the recipient of Palomar’s 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award for full-time faculty.

“I am speechless…it’s humbling,” Anderson said.

She was nominated once before in 2010 and was considered as a finalist for part-time faculty. This time, the grand prize is hers for the taking. The award is received only once during a professor’s lifetime of teaching.

“I am humbly in such gratitude for the fact that they, or someone, thinks enough of me to make that nomination. Someone took the time to nominate, it was just really exciting and i’m just so honored, so honored.”

Anderson began as an adjunct professor at Palomar in 2003 and she’s been full-time for the last three years.

Her extensive teaching career includes teaching secondary education, English as a second language and teaching at the University of Minnesota.

In 2001, Anderson moved to California from Minnesota with her two young children in tow and hasn’t looked back since. She has worked at several colleges all around the county, but found her bearings here at Palomar.

“I can’t believe I get to land here, the faculty are so embracing and so supportive of one another. And the more I’ve been able to root here, the more nurturing I see the place become, it’s such an amazing community,” she said.

Anderson said the most powerful part of her job is making connections with students through teaching.

“I care that they see the value in education, that they see the value in themselves and what they can do with their education,” she said.

As the full-time faculty honoree, Anderson will be the speaker at commencement; she is excited about the opportunity and views it as a good platform to send a broader message.

“Maybe i’ll touch someone out there beyond the four walls of my classroom…,” she said.

She is equally elated about the prime designated parking space she will receive for a full year as well.

“365 days, are you kidding? I feel like I want to come here on the days I don’t even teach just to get the parking space,” she said.

Anderson has two children. Her son is a doctor and daughter a lawyer practicing family law in San Diego.

“My children are why I do what I do,” she said.

Outside of work, Anderson is an avid runner. So much so, that her office is decorated with several bibs she’s worn in the multiple marathons and races she has competed in.

“I run everyday, that keeps me sane. I encourage my students to be healthy, so I live it,” she said.

At the end of the day, teaching is truly a passion for Anderson.

“I’m just so grateful to everyday do something that I love so much.”