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Santiago Canyon College Honors Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award Winners


(Orange, CA) – Recently, Santiago Canyon College (SCC) presented their 2016-17 Distinguished Faculty and Staff awards. Those honored included Lisa Camarco, Reyes Vazquez, Karen Hersom, Jessica Garcia, Clarice DaFonseca, and Isabel Garcia.

Lisa Camarco received the Faculty Excellence award for the 2016-17 year. Camarco has always wanted a career in education. Becoming a professor in the department of kinesiology, a department chair, and the head softball coach has lead Camarco to a lot of joy in her life. She has served students in multiple aspects, from academic rigors in the classroom to life shaping experience on the softball field. Since the inaugural year of SCC’s softball complex and team, Camarco has been front and center. Camarco has lead the softball team to a state championship in 2016 and an Orange Empire Conference (OEC) title in 2014. Her accolades include being a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s (NFCA) Cal JC Coaching Staff of the Year, OEC Coach of the Year, and OEC Female Sports Coach of the Year. Camarco received her Bachelor’s in physical education from Point Loma Nazarene University, California; her Master’s in exercise science with a concentration in performance enhancement and sports injury from California University of Pennsylvania; and her doctorate in sports management from Northcentral University, Arizona.

Reyes Vazquez received the Distinguished Classified Full-Time Employee Award for the 2016-17 year. Vazquez first joined the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) in 1989 and she began her career at SCC in 2011 in the Division of Math and Sciences. A philosophy she takes into her life is a quote by Mark Twain, “Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” Vazquez expressed that this award is a culmination of everyone who has taught her something in her life, she said “Without them, I would not be where I am today.” She is currently a curriculum specialist in the curriculum office at SCC. She received an associate degree in liberal arts from Santa Ana College; a Bachelor’s in child and adolescent studies from California State University, Fullerton; and a Master’s in elementary education from California State University, Long Beach.

One of the recipients of the Adjunct Faculty Excellence award for 2016-17 year was Karen Hersom. Hersom started working at SCC 18 years ago. Through her work as an instructor and counselor, she has been able to maintain her passion of helping students pursue their dreams. When it comes to counseling, Hersom views herself as a holistic counselor to help students with not only academic but personal growth. Recently, Hersom was in a counseling session where a student told her that she had a mother who was sick so the student could not leave her mother to attend class. Hersom referred the student to psychological services on campus, who then offered her contact information for Orange County social services. While counseling students, she not only gives advice but she also refers students to additional sources when they need them. “I believe we are a team that collectively works together to bring about positive changes for our students,” said Hersom.

Jessica Gilbert received the Distinguished Classified Part-Time Employee Award for the 2016-17 year. After 23 years out of college, Gilbert returned to college at SCC. While at SCC working on her Associate in liberal arts she worked part-time as a student assistant for the office of institutional effectiveness and outcomes assessment. Gilbert also survived breast cancer after five years while attending classes at SCC and graduated in 2014. She is now pursuing her Bachelor’s in liberal arts at California State University, Fullerton. One prominent memory that Gilbert has of her graduation day, “After the ceremony had ended for the graduates, the faculty form a column to congratulate the students and cheer us on,” she said, “I ran through the column with the biggest smile on my face, high-fiving and hugging all of those faculty and staff members that had supported and taught me along the way. I was so proud to have made it to my graduation after coming so far.”

Clarice DaFonseca was the second recipient of the Adjunct Faculty Excellence award for 2016-17 year. DaFonseca is an adjunct faculty and bilingual counselor in continuing education for SCC. She has previously worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) adjunct instructor and an ESL adjunct coordinator for SCC. As an educator and counselor, one of DaFonseca’s main focuses is to encourage students to keep going with their educational and career goals no matter what challenges present themselves. DaFonseca likes to use a Mary Pickford quote to encourage students which is, “Failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” She received a certificate in teaching English to students of other languages (TESOL) from University of California, Riverside; a bachelor of arts in English, comparative literature, and teaching English as a foreign language from Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil; and a master of science in counseling, marriage and family therapy from California State University, Fullerton.

The recipient of the Spirit Award is Isabel Garcia for the 2016-17 year. Garcia works in outreach in the division of continuing education as a high school and community outreach specialist. Also, she has worked in the division of continuing education as a test proctor and instructional assistant. “Meeting my English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, Sherry Allen, changed my life because she gave me the opportunity to join the RSCCD family,” said Garcia, “She taught me the principles of student services and encouraged me to reach my full potential.” At SCC, Garcia serves on several committees including OEC Leadership, SCC Budget, AB 540, SCC Web, and OEC Commencement. She received her high school diploma from SCC and completed her general education at Santa Ana College.

For more information about the awards, call (714) 628-4930.

Lisa Camaro receiving distinguished faculty award  

SCC Distinguished Faculty Award Recipient

Left to right: Lisa Camarco (center) is pictured with Santiago Canyon College Interim President Dr. John Hernandez, Foundation Board President Larry Cohn, 2016 Distinguished Faculty Recipient Barry Resnick and Academic Senate President Michael DeCarbo.

Reyes Vazquez receiving Distinguished Classified Award  

SCC Distinguished Classified Award Recipient

Left to right: Reyes Vazquez (center) is pictured with Santiago Canyon College Foundation Board President Larry Cohn and 2016 Distinguished Classified Recipient Ashley Jensen.

About Santiago Canyon College

Santiago Canyon College (SCC) serves about 17,000 students each semester. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and careers, and provides courses for personal and professional development, as well as customized training for business and industry. The college is recognized for its adult education program which keeps the working adult - and seniors - in mind by offering flexible schedules, and community locations. Serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park, SCC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

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Media Contact:
Judy Iannaccone
Phone: (714) 480-7503​