The Nevada County Campus is YOUR local college in Grass Valley. Our students, staff and faculty are passionate about success. Read some of their stories.
In the Spring of 2013, I completed my general education and transfer requirements at the Sierra College – Nevada County Campus while earning Associate of Science degrees in Social Science and Administration of Justice and graduating with honors. I will be able to transfer to Sacramento State University as a college junior. My interest in the criminal justice system, advocacy, and being an agent of change within my community has inspired me to pursue an education in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science. Returning to college as a working mother with four children and a husband was not always the most manageable task.
While attending Sierra College, I received scholarships – Women of Opportunity Award, Soroptimist International of Grass Valley; the Matt Redding Memorial Scholarship; and the Ladies Relief Society Scholarship – affording me the financial support I needed to continue my education. The staff at the Nevada County Campus – particularly faculty members Blair Spaulding and Joan Merriam – guided me and helped me find my independence, voice in the crowd, and inspiration to persist regardless of obstacles.
The many growth opportunities I have had over the last two years at Sierra College have been too many to count. The relationships I have built are unparalleled by any other life experiences I have had to date. I have grown as a community member and apply my new skills in my work place – Community Recovery Resources - an organization that encourages innovation and provides services for an under-served population in our community. I have been inspired in more ways than one by the support and desire to educate that the Sierra College - Nevada County Campus staff provide for students like me who are re-entering the educational system after a long absence. I now have the skills, ambition, and opportunity to fulfill a rewarding academic and personal life.
Most people understand that a college degree can be helpful in building a career. But what many people may not know is that there are other shorter paths for career advancement through Sierra College known as Certificates of Achievement and Skills Certificates. These certificate programs typically require only three to eight classes of career technical education courses and focus on one career field (such as Accounting, Applied Art and Design, Computer Information Systems, Drafting/Engineering Support, and Welding). Unlike complete associate degrees, these certificates do not require general education classes such as English, mathematics or in the sciences.
In addition to being achievable in much less time, these certificates can be very powerful in qualifying a person for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs. Many job postings list “some post-secondary education” as a requirement. Certificates fit this requirement. They show that students have training and skills in a specific career field and are ready to hit the ground running rather than needing to be trained from scratch. And many of these careers pay well. For example, the department that I teach in is called Mechatronics, which is the term used to describe the field of robotics and industrial automation. Our certificates require eight classes and our students spend about two hours in the lab for every hour of lecture, so we are a very hands-on, learn-by-doing program. Students completing these certificates have gained employment as technicians in our local area with starting wages ranging from $15 to $30 per hour, plus benefits.
Sierra College offers certificates in 19 different career fields as diverse as accounting, graphic design, fire technology, fitness training, automotive technology, fashion merchandising and watershed ecology. At tuition costs of only $46 per unit, Sierra College and the other community colleges in California offer an excellent educational value and at the lowest college tuition cost in the United States. This cost is a fraction of what most private “career colleges” advertised on television charge. So if you are ready to get started on a new career where you can use your brains as well as your hands, or are in a career field and want to broaden your skill-set, a certificate from Sierra College may be just what you are looking for, at a price you can afford.
My name is Jason Giuliani and I am a Professor of Chemistry at the Sierra College Nevada County Campus. Our campus offers many general education science courses that provide students with a better understanding of the natural world. In fact the college offers classes in all general education subject areas. Classes are taught emphasizing active and collaborative approaches to student learning. These general education transfer-level classes prepare students well for four-year colleges or universities or to earn their associates degrees. Students build confidence and solid academic foundations that prepare them for success.
Dream. Learn. Do. At Sierra College we use our motto “Dream. Learn. Do.” to describe the pathway we present to our students. Students come to our campus at every stage of this process and it is our job to be a catalyst in them moving forward. Whether you are dreaming, learning, or doing, the faculty and staff at Sierra College create a supportive environment conducive to helping you succeed.As a Professor of Physical Education at Sierra College, I have had the opportunity to work with students in our brand new fitness facilities funded by the bond measure funded by this community. Students are educated on how to improve and maintain their health through instruction and participation in a wide variety of Physical Education courses. The Physical Education curriculum has courses that work to meet the needs of a spectrum of individuals including students needing adapted physical education instruction, those looking to improve overall health, and even the elite athlete.
New additions of course offerings to the Nevada County Campus that I am thrilled to be teaching are part of the Nutrition and Personal Trainer Certificate Program. This is a program that previously was only offered at the main campus in Rocklin. The certificate program includes a series of eight courses in Nutrition and Physical Education. Although the design of this program is to prepare individuals interested in working in the fitness field as a professional, many students are finding the courses are beneficial to take for their own health while they pursue other courses of study. Students often realize that exercising regularly and maintaining good nutrition and health helps them do better in the classroom by managing stress, better sleep, and improving their focus. This program also includes a preparatory course for the American Council on Exercise national certification exam for Personal Trainers. In alignment with the philosophy of “Dream. Learn. Do.” Sierra College also has established an agreement with 24 Hour Fitness that states that any students holding the certificate from Sierra College will be granted an interview for employment possibilities. These course offerings are a great pathway also for students looking to transfer to four-year universities and pursue degrees in Kinesiology. The coursework provides them with the educational material needed to be marketable for employment in the field while they complete their degree.
My instruction in the Health Education course has allowed me to get involved in the community especially with our Film and Lecture Series events. My film/lecture events cover the whole spectrum of health including such topics as nutrition, fitness, stress management, psychological health, addictions, and relationships. In the classroom students are challenged to identify and implement a behavior modification to improve their health. We also have discussions in which we address campus, regional and even global issues facing us today. Each semester I have had the opportunity to reach out and work with local organizations in the community such as CoRR, Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County, NEO, and others in what have been shown to be great learning opportunities for all involved. Gaining knowledge is really only the first step in education. Applying this knowledge is where the real education begins. Without taking action, information is simply that, material that we file away. Learning to use the information to improve your life, your community, and impact the world around you is being “truly educated”. This is why I know Sierra College is the place for me. The students, staff, and administration are here to help students not only be successful academically, but to inspire them to make a difference wherever they may go from here. This community truly embodies the spirit of “Dream. Learn. Do.” The education you will receive here at Sierra will prepare you for your academic or occupational endeavors. Education beyond the classroom happens with activities like the Film and Lecture Series, student club functions, and collaborative community events. Through these activities and events students take education outside of the classroom to tackle today’s tough issues with intellect and critical thinking.
At the age of twenty-nine, I had graduated college eight years earlier and was pursuing a successful career in publishing, but I had come to a place in my career where I needed additional skills to continue to be competitive in my field. I was fortunate enough to travel only fifteen minutes from my home to find the Media Arts classes I needed at Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus. I was able to attend class while still working forty-hours a week. I was impressed to find a vibrant, cross-generational, collegiate community excited about learning and sharing their own diverse life experiences with one another.
From baby boomers foregoing retirement to start new careers to eighteen-year olds proud to be the first in their family to go to college, I was amazed to find just how many diverse groups of students Sierra College serves.
The entire experience was deeply profound and one of the many reasons I continue to support Sierra College in any way I can. I firmly believe that just as community colleges are the backbone of America’s higher education system; Sierra College plays an essential role in the success of the Nevada County local economy and community.
Sierra College is a vital community asset that provides an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit, a place to obtain a vocational skill, to earn certification or other training for a career change, and to develop life skills. By supporting Sierra College you are creating a stronger, more vibrant community and a better place to live.