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Santa Paula Employees Help Students Fulfill Dreams

A Dynamic Team Committed to Student Success

Nestled in the Santa Clara River Valley is a haven for learning—Ventura College’s East Campus in Santa Paula. There, Sabrina Canola-Sanchez, Maria de la Luz Flores, Maiya Rodriguez and Beatriz Zizumbo, among many others, take the guiding principles of Ventura College to heart each day: students come first, and collaboration, communication and mutual respect are integral to the campus environment.

This dynamic quartet represents 60 years of personal commitment and professional experience to serve a student body that’s nearly 80 percent Latino and largely comprised of re-entry adult students and students who are the first in their family to attend college. “It’s such a rewarding experience working with the students and seeing their influence on their siblings and family as a role model and inspiration to others,” says Sabrina Canola-Sanchez, who’s been the administrative assistant at the East campus since 2008.

“We’re a one-stop shop,” says Rodriguez. She mentions how the dedicated team provides personalized attention to about 1,000 students each semester, helping them navigate class schedules, financial aid and graduation requirements, among other things.

Ventura College Foundation Ambassador Canola-Sanchez notes that she has seen first-hand the impact of the Foundation’s programs on the lives of the students. “The Textbook Lending Library, scholarships and Promise Program are important resources to assist students at both Ventura College and the Ventura College East Campus.” Without it, many of the area’s students wouldn’t be able to go to college due to the expense, she says. The Foundation’s Textbook Lending Library, where students can check out up to three textbooks for the whole semester, is also critical to student success at the campus, she says.

Santa Paula Employees Help Students Fulfill Dreams
  • Maria de la Luz Flores, academic counselor, comes to East Campus from Oxnard College, and her dedication to students is evident in the number of students who continue, persist and complete their goals.
  • Beatriz Zizumbo, academic counselor, began at Ventura College as an English as a second language student and became an office assistant, obtained her master’s degree in counseling and is now a full-time counselor.
  • Sabrina Canola-Sanchez, is an administrative assistant and an ambassador to the Ventura College Foundation “to help students connect to opportunities at the Foundation.”
  • Maiya Rodriguez, student services assistant II, is a VC alumna and has worked at East Campus for 26 years. She is the one-stop shop for students, assisting with admissions and the matriculation process.

This corps of employees at that site, including Canola-Sanchez, Flores, Rodriguez, and Zizumbo, recently partnered with the Foundation to create an employee payroll deduction-funded scholarship for Ventura College students who are residents of the Santa Clara River Valley communities of Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru.

“This is a way we can share our passion for helping even more students achieve their dreams of a college education,” notes Flores.

With a goal to award $1000 in the first year, the first scholarship will be given spring 2018 to a Santa Paula, Fillmore or Piru resident with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

“We’re excited for the scholarship and to see where it takes us,” explains Zizumbo. No doubt, even more exciting will be seeing how far the scholarships take the students who receive them.