Dean of Student Services
Growing up in a single parent household since the age of three had its challenges. My mom had to work full-time to make sure I had the basic necessities of life, which meant sometimes we would get those notifications from PG&E saying "Power will be SHUT DOWN in 48 hours."
We were constantly moving from apartment to apartment, so I was used to adapting to new surroundings, but that also meant that I never had enough time to really call a room MY room.
Unfortunately, school became a non-priority resulting in my poor performance in high school. Taking an evening class and early morning class my senior year to make up the credits for all my failed classes, so I can at least say I graduated from high school.
What’s next? Well, college was never discussed in my household, nor was it even a thought in my brain, so I started working at a cardboard manufacturing plant right after high school. Graveyard shift for three long years, which meant I really never saw the sun, so if you see me my sunglasses hanging from my dress shirt, now you know why. This was my normal.
For three years I would fall asleep when the sun was rising and would wake up when the sun was setting. “There had to be more to life than this” is what I would tell myself, hoping to see the sun one day. It was an honest job, but it wasn’t a career. I didn’t even know what the difference was between a career and a job, but the one thing I did know was that I wanted to have a job that made me smile when I woke up in the morning, and a job that didn’t constantly want me to look at my watch hoping it was break time.
“Knowledge is Power” are the words I wrote on the box that would travel with me from apartment to apartment. These words will forever shape my future. I held the power to change my normal and create a new normal, one that meant I could go to college, and get that desired career I always dreamed of. As I type this, I am sitting as the Dean of Student Services, fully humbled by the seat I occupy, understanding that I have a responsibility to do the best I can for students, so they can one day have a job where they are smiling when they wake up, and a career where a clock has no numbers.
EOPS Counseling Faculty
"People sometimes compliment me on how well I write or speak English, but that wasn’t
always the case. My mother, sisters and I came to the U.S. as refugees from a war-torn
Viet Nam in 1975.I went from living in a comfortable household in a tropical climate to being very
low-income and enduring the winter snows of Nebraska. One memory that still stays with me is, as a six year-old, I was trying to ask for
some tape, but I didn’t know the word. I grunted and gestured, but the nice woman
trying to help me couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. I felt incredibly
frustrated and helpless. Maybe that’s one reason why I’ve been drawn to helping others,
especially those who have faced obstacles and/or are learning another language, like
many of the students in EOPS.
One thing that has helped me tremendously throughout my life has been my interest in reading. I often tell students that there is a strong correlation between how much one reads and how well one writes, and that they should read as much as possible. Even in the days when I spoke broken English or couldn’t verbally express my thoughts, I always had the power to read, and that was something that I could control. It doesn’t matter if one is low-income, is learning English as a second or third language, or hasn’t previously done well in school; get in the habit of reading! It’s a solid investment, and the more you do it, the richer your pay-off will be."
Niall T. Adler
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
My family has always valued education, specifically writing. My great great grandfather, Bill Cuddy, was an editor for the Oregonian, my grandmother helped design one of the first libraries in my hometown of Albany, CA and was also an editor/writer and my other grandmother, Regina Zimmerman Kelly, wrote historical children's books and was a high school teacher for decades in Chicago. My mother was a lifelong learner, receiving her two degrees later in life and my father paid for night law school by working during the day. All valued learning.
The greatest thrill in my career has been seeing the shy freshman, graduate and someday "figure it out"-- being drafted by a major league team, representing their country at the Olympics, getting married, having a family-- to see one of your "kids" on TV has always been a proud moment, knowing how far each has come.
My advice for our Mission College students: Be curious. Don't accept good enough. Know there are people around you willing to help you succeed. And know that from this other end, many times, we don't realize the impact we've had. We do it because we love watching you succeed.
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