News and Views From Your Community CollegeJuly 2012
Village of Riverside honored at special Triton event
Guiding students in the right direction
Educating Our Youth
Guiding our veterans toward a successful transition
Supporting student success at Foundation's Annual Golf Outing
Alumni Spotlight on Tyara Simpson
Triton College recognized statewide and nationally as leader in sustainability programs
Professional growth, project collaboration all part of Leadership Academy experience
Looking for ideas, items to share for Triton's 50th Anniversary
Celebrating Triton's Accomplishments

 July 28 

Super Saturdays at the Cernan Earth and Space Center. See complete details at

 Aug. 2 

Success-A-Palooza: All Access Granted! registration event, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Student Center

 Aug. 25 

Super Saturday registration event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Student Center

 Sept. 18 

Future Focus 2012 college fair, 7 to 9 p.m., Robert M. Collins Center

 Oct. 6

 Fall Family Fun Fest, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Botanical Garden 

Triton College featured on AACC website
The spotlight is on Triton College! The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) featured Triton in a college profile on their website.

The profile provides enrollment data as well as examples of Triton College's commitment to success and emphasis on offering programming aligned to today's job market.
Triton College implements limited summer hours to save energy

From now until Aug. 5, Triton College General Office Hours will be 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Student Support Offices located in the A-Building will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.


The limited hours are implemented to yield energy savings on Triton's campus. For more information, call Triton College at (708) 456-0300, ext. 3130.




Triton College students reach the finish line at commencement



At one time, Triton College student Erskine Boddy wasn't sure if he'd be well enough to walk the stage with his fellow classmates to receive his diploma in Engineering Technology. Boddy was diagnosed with cancer in December 2011, and after months of chemotherapy, is now a survivor.


"I'm excited to be healthy and able to receive my degree," he said. His mother, Evelyn Craig, felt similarly. "I'm very proud of him. He was still able to maintain his grades and was on the Dean's list. He never stopped pursuing his degree."


More than 1,800 students determined to successfully complete their educational goals graduated with a degree or certificate from Triton College in May. About 400 of those students took part in the college's 46th Annual Commencement on May 19 at Akoo Theatre in Rosemont, walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, greeted with thundering applause from family and friends.


Triton College Student Association President Minerva Fuentes encouraged the graduating class to never forget their Triton experience. "This is a very special day," she said. "It's a day that marks our new beginnings... But we can't go away without remembering our time at Triton that has provided us a light through the darkness. So let's promise to take Triton's vision with us."


Triton College President Dr. Patricia Granados recognized several graduates and their inspiring stories. "Students, beyond today, no matter where you've come from or where your journey leads you, you will always be part of Triton College," she said. "You will possess an extremely valuable gift - a quality education - and I know you will use it well."


Disabled student veteran Aaron Reaves had been out of school for about 20 years until his job as an independent contractor with the U.S. government underwent changes. He attended Triton to retrain in Computer Information Systems. "Triton opened my eyes, and I anticipate it opening doors for me in the job market," he said upon receiving his certificate.


Graduate Matteo A. Ribaudo proved it's never too late to pursue a higher education. At age 69 and retired from the printing industry, the Sicilian-born student graduated with an associate's degree in general studies. He credits Triton's instructors for his accomplishment and drive to continue learning.


"The teachers challenged me and left me with a positive impression of the college," said Ribaudo, who plans to take more classes at Triton. "I enjoy coming to Triton; this is where I feel comfortable."


Congratulations to the class of 2012!

Honoring the accomplishments of all Triton graduates


Completing one's studies was a common theme across various departments at Triton College in May and June.


Nurses from the Allied Health Department were

Students at the 2012 Triton GED ceremony.

pinned for completing their program. Graduates of 

the TRiO program that provides academic support to low-generation and first-generation college students, as well as the Access to Literacy program were recognized with a reception. English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED students of the Adult Education Department achieved success in seeing their education through to completion. And kindergartners of Triton's Child Development Center Lab School sang and danced for their audience during their graduation ceremony.


All of these accomplishments were recognized by the Triton community which couldn't be more pleased and proud of the opportunity to celebrate so many successes.



ESL & GED Completion


For the ESL Commencement, about 145 students from 26 different countries were recognized for completing the program from fall 2011 through spring 2012.


Triton student Carlos Cerezo was one of the graduates. He emigrated from Guatemala in Dec. 2009 looking for a new start in life and knew very little of the English language. But he quickly understood that in order to achieve his goal of pursuing a college degree, he would have to learn. "My goal is to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering, and now that I can understand how to read, write and speak English, I can be successful in the courses toward my degree at Triton," he said.

ESL Speaker Rosa Hernandez.


Many graduates of the May 23 ESL Commencement and the GED Completion ceremony received scholarships toward classes at Triton and several were inducted into the National Adult Education Honors Society that recognizes the outstanding grades earned by students. 


Also in the Adult Education Department, the number of GED graduates almost doubled over last year. While about 50 students participated in the June 21 GED Completion ceremony, 164 students completed the program from fall 2011 through spring 2012. The increase, said Dean of Adult Education Dr. Virginia Cabasa-Hess, can be attributed to Triton's increase in outreach efforts and people realizing they need to improve their skills and education to compete in today's job market.




 Triton's Kindergarten Program


kinder_12Six-year-old Ariana Polito now joins her older sister Mia, 10, as a graduate of Triton's Kindergarten program. Mom Vicki Polito spoke highly of the program. "The teachers are phenomenal, and the program is top notch," she said.


Ariana was among the seven young Trojans who graduated from Triton's Kindergarten program on May 24. The children, dressed in white caps and gowns, thanked administration and parents for their support and received their "diplomas," feeling prepared to take on first grade in the fall.



Access to Literacy


The students and volunteers of the Access to Literacy program were celebrated with a luncheon on June 27, with State Rep. Karen Yarbrough as the keynote speaker.


State Rep. Karean Yarbrough awarding Catherine Young on her achievements with the Access to Literacy program.

The state-funded program, which is designed to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and computing skills, recognized the accomplishments of about 100 students and the volunteering efforts of more than 50 tutors.


Student Catherine Young received a certificate for being the most improved. Young was raised in Mississippi and dropped out of school at an early age. At age 62, she sought the help of the Access to Literacy program so that she can take the GED test to earn her high school diploma. When she entered the program in January, she didn't know the alphabet; today, she can read at the first-grade level.

"We commend the hard work of all our students and praise our volunteer tutors for their efforts," said Program Coordinator Darlene Boyd. "This program is an example of community and what good can come from working together."


Awarding Scholarships

Scholarships were also awarded to 64 Triton students at the Foundation Scholarship Breakfast on May 1. About $111,000 in scholarship monies from 37 donors, including Triton faculty and private donors, was distributed to thankful students pursuing a higher education.

Mary Ann Gonzales-Lespinasse was awarded Triton's Mid-Manager's Association Union Scholarship. "It was such a huge financial relief for me," she said. "Now I'll be able to attend National Louis University."


Award Winner Kristina Kravchenko 

Triton's Scholars Program provides an additional opportunity for students to receive scholarships. Student Kristina Kravchenko was awarded a two-year scholarship to Elmhurst College where she'll study psychology. She credits the scholarship for being able to continue her education.


"Without this scholarship, I was going to take out multiple loans to pay for my education, and it would have financially strained me," she said. "But now I am able to focus more on my education and put more energy into learning... I'm grateful to know that Elmhurst College and Triton College gave me this opportunity that proves how much these schools care about the success of their students."


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Village of Riverside honored at special Triton event 


Triton College honored its partnership with the Village of Riverside during a special event on May 2 held on Triton's campus. This Honor Day recognized Village President Michael Gorman, the Riverside community and the symbiotic relationship Triton shares with the town that has offered real-world career experiences to Triton's students, while also providing a service to the Riverside community.


Triton's Horticulture students had the opportunity to develop their skills by working with the internationally renowned landscape designs of Frederick Law Olmsted found throughout Riverside. And Triton's Architecture class was tasked with proposing a plan to redesign Riverside's youth center.


Students involved with the projects attended the Honor Day event to share their experiences. Triton Architecture student Mina Rezaeian saw the opportunity as a great way to learn about the industry hands-on. "It validated my passion for architecture even more," she said.


Pedro Macias, also an architecture student, said he learned that presenting an idea to a classroom of peers is vastly different from explaining it to a client. "This experience brought a whole new perspective to working as an architect for me," he said.


Student Amanda Becker worked with the Village of Riverside in a different capacity. She helped organize Riverside Arts Weekend, the village's summer juried arts show. "I've learned a lot from the experience that will help in my career," she said.


Village President Gorman received a plaque and spoke on the importance of the shared relationship. "It's been a successful partnership," he said. "It has allowed us to promote career-related opportunities, as well as share who we are as a village and what we can offer to the greater Triton community."


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Guiding students in the right direction

Triton College explores changes to its registration process to help more students succeed in their courses

Students are responsible for completing their class assignments and committing to complete their studies to graduate with a degree or certificate. But the Triton College community is responsible for guiding students along the right path in getting there, ultimately leading them to successfully achieving their goals.


To do that, Triton has analyzed success rates in courses based on when a student has enrolled in classes. New students who enrolled three weeks prior to the start of the semester did significantly better in their courses (with a C average or better) than new students who enrolled the week classes had begun or later.

Triton College is currently exploring changes in the registration process to encourage students to get a head start on enrollment to ensure course success. A taskforce has been developed to look at the impact of ending late registration on college policies, procedures and enrollment, as well as identify possible steps to successfully implement a late registration policy.


Taskforce Co-Chair and Mathematics Faculty Shelley Tiwari said studies show that students who register late have lower GPAs and are more likely not to complete their studies. "Implementing a late registration policy will benefit students and improve their success rate," she said.


Another example of how Triton has taken the extra initiative in guiding its students through their higher education journey, even beyond Triton's offerings, is its University Center. The University Center provides an opportunity for anyone with at least an associate's degree to pursue their bachelor's or master's degree through partnerships with four-year universities without leaving Triton's campus.


Students may choose from a select list of degrees available through University Center partners National-Louis University, Benedictine University, Governors State University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Eastern Illinois University.


Recently, the University Center was relocated to the first floor of the Student Services Building to increase the center's visibility and accessibility to students. Triton's Director of Special Initiatives and Community Relations Lindsey Westley expects this new location will encourage students to continue their higher education and strengthen the college's relationships with the partner universities.


"The new location will help students realize that the journey doesn't have to stop at an associate's degree," she said. "They can earn their bachelor's or master's degree without leaving Triton. It's partnerships like these that allow us to further contribute to our students' educational goals."  


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Area youth explore career possibilities at inspiring events on Triton's campus 


Middle and high school students experienced what it's like to be a chef, catch a criminal and have a career in construction or the healthcare industry through two opportunities held on Triton College's River Grove campus.


On April 26, the Triton community hosted its STEM Fair that allowed more than 180 area middle school students to explore high-demand career possibilities in forensics science, healthcare and architecture. With each hands-on activity led by Triton faculty and students,stem_fair the youth learned the important role higher education plays in obtaining a career in these fields as well as discovered that they can begin their studies close to home at Triton.


In the architecture activity, Evanysa Oquendo and Essa Gercone, both eighth graders at Mannheim Middle School in Melrose Park, discovered how difficult it is to hammer in a nail. "It's fun learning about these different subjects outside of the classroom," Gercone said. Oquendo agreed. "It's awesome to be able to come here and experience new things."


Cayla Greer, a sixth grader at MacArthur Middle School in Berkeley, may have found her future career. She enjoyed analyzing evidence and interviewing subjects to determine the culprit in the forensics activity. "It was exciting," she said. "And when we figured it out, I felt proud."


Deborah Wiegandt, a science teacher at Pennoyer Elementary School, took notice of how the activities inspired cooperation and learning. "To a lot of our students, learning is from computers and textbooks. Here, they're learning through hands-on, engaging situations," she said. "This is a fantastic event."


A week later, the culinary skills of high school students were showcased in Triton's 

Hospitality Industry Administration (HIA) Department's 2012 Des Plaines Valley Region Culinary Cook-Off. The competition tasked students with the challenge of creating several dishes within an hour in Triton's kitchen/classroom lab.


Students from East and West Leyden high schools in Franklin Park and Northlake, respectively, and Proviso West High School in Hillside participated in the competition that was developed three years ago to build an interest in culinary arts among teens.


Triton College HIA Faculty Chef Ched Pagtakhan said the competition gives students an understanding of the stress, but also the sense of accomplishment that can come from cooking in a fast-paced setting. Plus, he added, "With the opportunity to practice their culinary skills in a college setting, we hope it inspires them to pursue a higher education in culinary arts."


First-place winners were Myrail Harris and Mario Munoz of Proviso West High School. They were awarded a three-credit hour Triton scholarship and culinary and baking knife kits.


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Guiding our veterans toward a successful transition


Triton College continued its outreach to veterans through several on-campus events that provided access to businesses and organizations that can aid in their transition.


Veterans gained an all-access pass to various resources at the first-ever Veterans Resource Fair on April 19. Veterans on campus and in the community received information on educational benefits available to vets and their families, Triton's degree and certificate programs and community resources from such places as Mayslake Ministries, Oak Park Veterans Center, Hines VA Hospital, Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality, Vision of Restoration and

veterans_fairothers at the free, well-attended event.


Gene Fischer of Forest Park, a former Triton student, attended the resource fair to network and find information on available jobs. "I want to try to change my life around, and I like how this resource fair has everything in one place," he said.


Student veteran Jennifer Gomez' concerns about her health benefits at Hines VA Hospital were addressed at the resource fair. "I got my questions answered right here on campus," she said. "I think it's wonderful that they have this event for veterans."


The following month, veterans received job search assistance from experts at Triton's Career Services Center during a Veterans Open House event, which in turn prepared them for the Maywood IDES Veterans Job Fair on May 17 held on Triton's campus.


Richard Weber, who coordinates services for veterans at the Maywood IDES office, said a total of 39 employers and service agencies, including Triton College, participated in the Job Fair which had a turnout of 110 veterans.


At the event, exit interviews were conducted with employer participants and job-seeking veterans. "I am pleased to report that we received a very favorable response from our participating employers and attending veterans," he said. "Employers informed us that many follow-up interviews were scheduled for open positions."   


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Supporting student success at the Foundation's Annual Golf Outing


Approximately 240 golfers came out to show their support of student success at the 15th Annual Triton College Foundation Golf Outing on June 20 at White Pines Golf Course in Bensenville. The fundraising event brought in more than $45,000 in scholarship funding - one of the highest amounts in the event's history!


College Board of Trustees Secretary Diane Viverito was proud to see the event so well attended. "I'm very pleased to see such a lovely turnout despite today's economy. It really shows how much individuals care about higher education and student success," she said.

Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone said the fundraiser was a win-win opportunity for all. 


"Not only are we coming together to help raise funds for Triton's students, but it gives municipalities the opportunity to network," he said. "This is one of the best golf outings I've been to in 13 years!"


Sponsors American Digital's Mary Galvanoni and Jimmy Caporusso of the West Central Municipal Conference agreed that the golf outing was a "great event for a great cause."


State Rep. Michael McAuliffe is already looking forward to next year's event. "It's great that so many people came out to raise money for scholarships because so many young adults out of high school today need financial help in getting their higher education, and Triton is a great step for them."


Steve Hancock of Ellucian enjoyed his time on the links with his fellow coworkers. "We're a big partner with Triton College and being that our company is a supporter of higher education institutions, we're proud to be part of what Triton is about."


Triton College President Dr. Patricia Granados and Triton College Foundation Board President David King addressed the audience during dinner following the 18 holes of golf.


"I want you to be aware that your contributions mean a lot to our students," she said, recognizing a Triton scholarship recipient.


King added, "You being here shows your support for our students who are achieving their educational goals." 


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Alumni Spotlight on ... Tyara Simpson


Scholar student Tyara Simpson, of Stone Park, shares her wealth of knowledge with others

Putting forth a strong dedication to her school work paid off for Tyara Simpson of Stone Park. A member of the Scholars Program at Triton College, Simpson consistently studied hard and stayed on track to earn her Associates in Arts degree in fall 2008, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. Her intelligence and persistence earned her a full tuition scholarship to continue her education at East-West University in Chicago, before obtaining her master's degree in Educational Studies-Instructional Leadership in the summer of 2011 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From her bachelor's degree in English/Communications to her masters, she graduated both times with a 4.0 GPA. Simpson is currently an adjunct professor at East-West University teaching courses that gives entering students an introduction to the university.


Triton College recognized statewide and nationally as leader in sustainability programs


Triton College is making great strides in offering educational courses with a sustainability focus that have been recognized with a national certification and a nod by Gov. Pat Quinn.


In May, Triton was certified as a Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU) institution by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and out of 71 identified institutions, is one of only two certified HSACUs in Illinois. The certification recognizes Triton as a qualifying Hispanic-

serving institution (HSI) that offers accredited degree programs in agriculture-related fields.


Triton was also named a Bronze level recipient of the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact by Gov. Pat Quinn and the Green Governments Coordinating Council for incorporating sustainability into campus operations, academic and research programs, student activities and community outreach.


"Triton College's commitment to sustainability is a model for Illinois, and those green practices will help save money and conserve resources," Gov. Pat Quinn said. "Triton students will also benefit from classes that prepare them to enter the green industries that are going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the next century."


The Triton College Sustainability Center, along with the students and staff of the Horticulture Department, planted a rain garden on the campus mounds.

Triton College currently offers a Sustainable Landscape Practices certificate that is a precursor to an associate's degree in Sustainable Agriculture Technology, expected to be open to enrollment in 2013 and will be the first of its kind available at any community college in the Midwest.


Students can pursue an A.A.S. in Horticulture at Triton, as well as certificates in floral design, grounds maintenance and landscape design. Students may register immediately for the fall 2012 term by calling the Admissions Office at (708) 456-0300, ext. 3130 or visiting


The college also educates members of its surrounding communities on sustainability practices through programming and materials available through its Sustainability Center. Recent activities include hosting Sustainable Thursdays in April with workshops open to the community on a variety of topics; installing energy-efficient lighting on campus; and collecting more than 5,000 pounds of electronics at a May 5 recycling event held on Triton's campus.


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Professional growth, project collaboration all part of Leadership Academy experience


Though the academic year is over for the Triton College 2012 Leadership Academy, the 20 members continue to affirm their ongoing commitment to addressing the college's needs while growing as leaders in their departments.


Involving Triton College staff and faculty, the academy experience is intended to encourage professional development and collaboration through leadership-building exercises, workshops and group projects.


Triton's Director of Special Initiatives and Community Relations Lindsey Westley said the program helps college employees reach their leadership potential, as they learn they don't have to be in a high-level position to be a leader. "The academy challenges them beyond what they're used to and allows them to flourish socially among their peers," she said.


Each year, members of the academy are tasked with addressing an issue or need on Triton's campus by presenting long-term projects and goals to pursue during the year and beyond. The 2012 members identified two projects for implementation: the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) program to improve college readiness and the development of a commemorative wall for the 50th Anniversary celebration in 2014.


The ACE program is intended to serve students who are at high risk of failing, including first-generation students, underrepresented minority groups and students attending college for the first time years after obtaining their high school diploma. Additional research will be presented to faculty and staff in the fall.


Triton College President Dr. Patricia Granados said, "The Leadership Academy is a unique professional development opportunity for Triton faculty and staff to engage in meaningful learning experiences in order to grow and explore their leadership potential. Group projects developed by academy participants each year benefit students and the entire campus community. I sincerely appreciate their many contributions to the college and the opportunity to develop leaders within our institution."


The members thoroughly enjoyed the academy experience, including the friendships they've made.


"The President's Leadership Academy was an incredibly rewarding experience for me," said Purchasing Director Alida Carpenter. "The various speakers and topics enhanced my knowledge of leadership styles and traits, as well as allowed me to reflect on my own leadership skills and readiness."


"The academy inspired me to get more involved in campus events," said Cynthia Romanowski, Director of Library Systems and Technical Services. "I met so many great people from different areas of the college that I probably would not have ever met, if not for the academy."


"I am both honored and inspired by President Granados' and the board's commitment to empowering leaders from within and giving us various platforms to lead and serve the college and the community," said Eugene Muhammad, Faculty of the Behavioral Science Department. "This is actually indicative of the kind of leadership that we have on our board and in our president."


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Looking for ideas, items to share for Triton's 50th Anniversary


Triton College celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014 and plans are underway to make it one of the community's most memorable events. Individuals are encouraged to get involved by suggesting ideas for the year-long celebration, spreading the word and volunteering to help with the activities that will take place.


Triton memorabilia, such as t-shirts, buttons, ID cards, photographs, publications or articles, is currently being accepted with plans to showcase Triton's past in a display open to the public. Items can be provided on loan or donated to the college.


Those interested are encouraged to contact the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee at


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Celebrating Triton's Accomplishments

Providing a higher education for students to develop skills and obtain a job is the foundation of all colleges and universities nationwide. But Triton College goes the extra mile in providing an affordable, quality education with programs that reflect the changing job market. Under the 11-year, student-centered leadership of Triton College President Patricia Granados, many new programs have been added to respond to students' interests and to keep up with the pace and demands of our ever-changing society, making our students more competitive to employers. Plus, with innovation in mind, some of the programs offered at Triton aren't available at any other community college in the state!



Ever-expanding educational opportunities 

More than 30 new programs have been added to Triton's
curriculum in the past decade. These programs include Visual Communications, Beverage Management, Independent Building Contractor, Facilities Engineering Technology, Sustainable Landscape Practices, New Media, and Digital Photography. 


Triton's Criminal Justice Administration is recognized as one of the largest criminal justice programs in the state. And the program continues to grow with Stress Management in Law Enforcement (S.M.I.L.E.), a new fall 2012 course that will educate students on how to handle job-related stress, while preparing them physically to pass the physical agility test required of all Illinois law enforcement candidates to enter the police academy. 




Triton also offers an associate's degree in Ophthalmic Technology, the only such degree in the state. The program is part of Triton's Health Careers and Public Service Department, which includes many other accredited programs, including Nursing, Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Radiologic Technology.  




For students seeking to learn the English language or earn their GED, Triton offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED preparation courses through its Adult Education Department, and at Triton's community center, Nuevos Horizontes in Melrose Park. The free courses provide an important first step to success that encourages students to continue their education by pursuing a certificate or associate's degree. 



To provide flexibility for students, Triton has enhanced its online registration and added more than 80 online courses to its curriculum over 10 years.



To see all the varied programs Triton has to offer, visit


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From the Triton College President's Office