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 Northwest Vista College Library
1st Floor, Redbud Learning Center (RLC)
3535 N. Ellison Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78251
Mon - Thur: 7:30am to 6:00pm

NVC Alumni and Friends Update - Vol. 5, Issue 1

In this issue:


Message from Dr. Ric Baser

Dr_Ric_Baser_NVC_180Hello NVC Alumni and Friends,

Spring is a time for celebration in San Antonio.

The city comes alive with the vibrant colors of Fiesta and Spurs fans gear up for another successful run at the NBA Championship. Here at Northwest Vista College, we’re experiencing our own time of excitement and focus, as students, faculty and staff prepare for final exams and we prepare to welcome our newest NVC alumni – the class of 2016, in May.

Celebration comes from recognition, and the more Vista Alumni I meet, the more I’m greeted with the words, “NVC is the best!”

Why are we the best?

They say it’s because we have a campus that promotes learning in a caring and supportive environment. Some say it’s because NVC faculty and staff go beyond their expectation and really know how important it is to help a student in need. Others say it’s because people take so much pride in being a part of Northwest Vista College. Many say, it’s because Vista graduates go on to do great things.

The NVC Alumni and Friends newsletter was created as our way of sharing news about graduates and events that help make NVC the best. However, to celebrate your accomplishments, we need to hear from you. Tell us why you think NVC is the best or send us your good news.

Remember that you can also volunteer at the Alumni Scholarship graduation fundraiser, or visit campus for family events such as the showing of the new Star Wars movie on May 4. We welcome your involvement.

Get in touch at

Dr. Ric Baser


Jessica Perrotte - Class of 2010


(Photo by Jessica Fraley) 

 Jessica Perrotte says she was “blown away” by her experience at NVC when compared to other community colleges she had previously attended.

“My schools prior to Northwest Vista felt like I had merely crossed into the ‘13th grade,” she said.

“NVC felt like an institution that genuinely strived to provide higher education opportunities for students through numerous resources and activities, as well as through the presence of talented and dedicated faculty members.”

Since graduating from NVC in 2010, with an associate of arts in psychology, Jessica has gone on to earn her Master's degree in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Jessica shared that she is now working toward a doctorate degree from UTSA and is “happy to be alive and well” after completing her first semester.

Her passion for psychology and research, which she says was discovered at NVC, was pivotal in also helping her obtain a teaching position at UTSA.

“Dr. Liz Wright(at NVC)invited me to assist her on a research project she was working on at the time, examining conscious environmental behaviors/choices in students,” explains Jessica.

“From that experience I was ‘accidentally’ introduced to the scientific processes underlying psychological findings. I was hooked, and have enthusiastically pursued a scientific/research course ever since.”

Through her in-class teaching experiences, Jessica says she was able to incorporate many of the active “learning techniques she witnessed at NVC.

“When I finish my Ph.D., I plan to seek an academic position so that I may conduct my own research while also teaching. I firmly believe my experience at NVC has inspired this trajectory.”

Jessica is currently pursuing two lines of research. Independently, she is focusing on her future doctoral dissertation which involves health risk behaviors in Latino college students (e.g. alcohol use, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors).

She is also examining multiple factors associated with aggression in active duty military workplaces.

“I am working on a large-scale project with several faculty members and graduate students exploring this topic,” she said.

Jessica says that she encourages future graduates to take their time at NVC seriously.

"The education that can be attained here (at NVC) are equal to (and sometimes greater than) the education gained at a larger institution. This school can be a fantastic platform; take full advantage of what it has to offer!"


Q&A with Jacqueline Herrera - Class of 2013

(Pictured: Jacqueline Herrera and Mary Zocchi, NVC Faculty)

Major or Study/Degree:
Associate degree in Teaching 
Current Employer or College:
I just graduated from Texas A&M University-San Antonio, majoring in interdisciplinary studies. I currently work as an AVID Tutor at NISD. During the summer I am Girl Scout camp counselor.

Please share with us what you are doing now?
I am working towards finding a full time teaching position. In the meantime, I am AVID tutor at Sul Ross middle school. I have been looking at going back for grad school to be a counselor. I would like to attend Texas A&M University or Texas State.

What stood out for you most at NVC?

I remember being so terrified the first day of class and doubting myself. The first week I wanted to quit and told myself this was impossible for me. Now I look back at the moment and realize...I DID IT! I have more confidence and truly the sky is the limit for me.

Who/What do you remember most about NVC?
I enjoyed my government class with Lydia Beaver. I took her class during the last elections and learned how important and valuable each person's voice is.

I also enjoyed my fundamentals of math for teachers with Mary Zocchi. This class was a challenge, you had to be open minded and enjoy learning. This course was one of the toughest courses I took at NVC. Completing the class with in A made me feel proud and accomplished. I left Dr. Zocchi's class loving math and wanting to learn more ways to explain the concepts to my students.
What has your Associate degree done for you? 
My associate degree was a milestone and taught me to keep pursuing my education. I didn't come from a privileged family, in fact I came from the courts with a single mom working 2-3 jobs trying to make ends meet. The day I graduated from A&M my mom reminded me that when I was little, I told her I would go to college and finish. Earning my degree gave me hope that I could achieve my childhood dream of being the first in my family to graduate from college. I will say it wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

How has your time at NVC influenced your academic, personal life and career?
NVC provided me with an opportunity to get my feet wet in attending college. I am the type of learner who needs to take a task or challenge one step at a time. This opportunity helped me grow as a student and future educator. This reminded me that I am capable of learning, but everyone learns differently.

Do you have any advice for current NVC students?
My advice for current students at NVC is keep going, because at the end of it all, the reward of having your education is something that can't be taken away. Every day now I wake knowing I accomplished what I thought I was never capable of, a college education. I started a new tradition for my family that my little nephew and sister can follow. They are the ones that motivated me to finish this journey.

There's this saying from Friday Night Lights the TV show, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" whenever I was faced with a challenge I would say this to myself. This reminded me that as long as I give my all, I can't lose. Even during my stumbles it still was a lesson to learn.


NVC Grad to Compete at National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament

Alex Rios Jr

Northwest Vista College alumnus, Alex Rios Jr., is one of two San Antonio boxers scheduled to compete at the 2016 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions to be held May 16-21 in Salt Lake City.

The 25-year-old middleweight, and son of former pro-boxer, Alex Rios Sr., recently won his title bouts at the Texas State Golden Gloves tournament in Fort Worth.

His natural talent and success in the ring have many local boxing fans watching his amateur career closely.

Alex graduated from Warren High School and while at Northwest Vista played basketball for the college. He has also played NAIA basketball at Carl Albert State College in Poteau, Oklahoma.

Alex says NVC was the “best” and provided him with an affordable and quality education.

“The small class sizes at NVC allowed for a more one-on-one learning environment, where you can ask questions and get the help you need.”

NVC was all about “quality over quantity for me” he said.

Alex graduated from Northwest Vista with an associate degree, concentrating in science. He has gone on to earn his bachelor’s in sports medicine from the University of Texas at San Antonio.


Vista Alumni Needed - Scholarship Fundraiser


Graduation is Monday, May 16, at 7:00 pm inside the Joe Freeman Coliseum.

We need volunteers to help us sell ‘Celebration Carnations’ at the ceremony.

This will be the forth consecutive year that NVC Alumni and Friends has raised funds for scholarships. Last year we raised nearly $500.

Help support future students!

Contact or call Manny Martinez at 210-486-4688 if you would like to volunteer.


May the 4th be With You at NVC
Join us for a FREE outdoor showing of Star Wars - The Force Awakens


Food Trucks
FREE Popcorn and More!
Come Out and Bring Your Family!
More info on Facebook

May 4 is considered Star Wars Day by fans worldwide.


NVC Sports Teams Shine
 2016 NVC Basketball Champs 

The Northwest Vista College basketball and volleyball teams did a superb job of representing NVC both on the court and in the classroom this year.

The men’s basketball team ran away with the Texas Collegiate Club Sports League championship game, winning against Southwest Texas Junior College 102 - 90. Rolando Villalobos won the tournament MVP with 38 points in the game. This is the second year in the row, the Vista men’s team has won the championship.

The men’s win caps an impressive season with 19 wins and just one loss, under Coach Curtis McGlown, who received the league’s Coach of the Year. The women who fell to San Antonio College by just four points in the playoffs, also capped a good season with 15 wins and just three losses. The women’s coach, Daniel Johnson, also received the league’s Coach of the Year award. The women’s volleyball team, coached by Annette Berain, also went to the league playoffs with seven wins and five losses.

Daniel, who oversees the NVC sports programs, said what’s impressive about this year is that the majority of the volleyball and basketball players, had a GPA of 3.0 higher. The league requires only a 2.0 GPA, but NVC requires 2.50 GPA.

Every member of the volleyball team had a GPA of 3.05 or higher. On the women’s basketball team, nine out of 10 players had a GPA of 3.08 or higher. For the men’s team, six out of 12 players had a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

In addition to the men’s success, player Alan Del Valle recently accepted a full basketball scholarship to Miles College in Alabama, a NCAA division II school.

Two New Associate Degrees Announced


Northwest Vista students will have the opportunity this fall to receive an Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technology, and an Associate of Applied Science in Customer Service/Sales Operation.

Both degrees have to go to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for final approval within the next 45 days.

For more information, call 210-486-4410. Below is some information about the programs:


Artists Help Students Create Mural


Two prominent local artists, Vincent Valdez and Alex Rubio, recently visited with students and families to present a lecture on their lives and work, and help students paint a large-scale mural that will hang in the lobby of the Palmetto Theater.

Valdez is an artist, whose works often depict awareness of the Mexican-American struggle and racial inequalities. At the age of 9, he painted his first mural under the direction of Rubio, also a well-known muralist. Rubio also mentors students after school and during summers, for an arts education program by Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. The event, entitled “ArtWave SA,” is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tim Jones, chair of the NVC Fine and Performing Arts and Kinesiology program, said together and individually, Rubio and Valdez have created numerous opportunities for young artists in San Antonio, and continue to be ambassadors of our art and culture.

“Internationally recognized artists, Alex Rubio and Vincent Valdez, both began as talented, inner-city students in SAISD,” Jones added. “As teacher and student, their passion for their art and dedication to the community created an artistic bond of friendship, as well as an interest in building a future for young artists.

On March 12, Friends of the Arts at NVC (FANs) hosted a reception for students, families, and educators at the Palmetto Center for the Arts to present the final piece - which was a replica of Vincent's shipwreck piece, titled "Til Then." 


Leaders Share Secrets of Success in Starting a Business, Getting Hired

(Pictured L to R: James Lawrence, Deserae Navarro, Ruben Lopez) 

Seven business leaders gave their top tips on getting hired and starting a business during two speaker panels for the NVC Business Student Organization last week in Pecan Hall.

The panelists, consisting primarily of members of the NVC Business Council, discussed strategies and suggestions with a combined audience of more than 80 students.

Speakers on the topic of “What Employers Are Looking For in a New Hire” included Reina Perez, customer service supervisor of Wells Fargo; Shelah Simmons, Ph.D., CEO of Genesis Professional Solutions; Jakeup Rios, human resources manager, recruitment at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa; and Jeremy Pancoast, director of Entertainment Services of SeaWorld San Antonio.

Panelists discussed “Starting and Owning Your Own Business”. In addition to NVC Business Instructor Michael Goeken, who has started eight businesses, the panel included James Lawrence, owner of Artscapes Professional Services; Deserae Navarro, independent agent at State Farm; and Ruben Lopez, advisor with the University of Texas at San Antonio Small Business Development Center.

The speaker panels and presentations are a project of the NVC Business Council, a membership organization which actively seeks partnerships and collaborations with businesses and their leadership for NVC and its students. Membership dues for the council support NVC scholarships.


Students, Donors and Alum Bring Message on Giving

 Scholarship Breakfast Feb 2017
(Pictured L to R: Rosantina Aranda, Stephanie Medrano, Gary Degerstrom, Sandi Degerstrom, Lisa Ramos, Dr. Jackie Claunch, Dr. Ric Baser)
Northwest Vista College celebrated its annual scholarship recognition breakfast for donors and students on Feb. 12 in the Huisache Hall Banquet Room.

A captivated audience of nearly 50 guests enjoyed a morning meal and listened to first-hand accounts from three students, an NVC Alum and two donors on how scholarships have impacted their lives.

NVC President Dr. Ric Baser welcomed guests in attendance and explained how scholarships personally helped him succeed as a first-generation college student.

Stephanie Medrano, a political science and criminal justice major with plans to transfer to UTSA, said there is proof awards such as her San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Scholarship directly impact academic success.

“Ending my second semester, I had a 2.8 GPA and this last semester it increased to a 3.4,” she said. “This is proof that the scholarship benefited me and helped prepare me for transfer to a university and to be academically competitive.”

Vanessa Alvarez, a liberal arts major and recipient of the Semmes Foundation Scholarship said, “If it wasn't for the scholarship, I would have never grown from where I was before.”

Vanessa added that having received the Semmes Scholarship provided a positive influence for her own family.

“One of my older siblings saw how I was being successful little by little and decided it was time for him to go back to school as well,” she said.

Lisa Ramos, a business administration major and recipient of both the Greehey Family Foundation and Student Leadership Institute scholarships, said her awards provided the financial security needed to focus entirely on her studies rather than having to work part time.

Lisa shared that she has recently been accepted to an undergraduate degree program at Georgetown University.

Julien Mahler, an NVC alumnus, discussed how scholarships make a difference. He said the awards he received while at NVC helped him be more engaged on campus and allowed him to focus on his coursework.

Julien added to the morning’s celebration by sharing that he is now on his way to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's Medical School. He was one of 50 applicants accepted from a pool of 3,000.

From a donor’s perspective, Gary and Sandi Degerstrom, who established the Ashley Lynn Degerstrom Scholarship in memory of their daughter, delivered a heart-felt message about what it means to donate, and how their scholarship helps to ensure Ashley’s dream of being a teacher can be passed on to future generations of NVC students.

“NVC has become a part of our family,” the Degerstroms said.

They told how their oldest daughter, Jennifer, declined two full-ride scholarships from four-year universities to attend NVC.

The Ashley Lynn Degerstrom Scholarship has so far awarded over $14,000 and helped nine NVC students.

The Scholarship Recognition Breakfast is an annual event of the Community Development Department to recognize donors who support NVC scholarships and scholarship students. To date in this academic year, 297 NVC students have received more than $170,000 in scholarships.

To learn more about supporting scholarships at NVC, contact Lynne T. Dean at or call 210-486-4135.

Friends of the Arts at NVC (FANs) Elects New Board

FANs Board 2016

Christine Crowley, actress, director and board member of the Boerne Community Theater and the Cailloux Theater in Kerrville, has been elected president of the Friends of the Arts at Northwest Vista College (FANs). She is a former dean of the NVC library.

Others elected to the board of directors include Marcia Caballero, vice president; Eliot Lee, secretary; Bryan Chase, immediate past chair; and at-large board members are Keiko Adcock, Margarita Benavides, Yumiko Kukral, Jacob Valenzuela, Trevor Chauvin; and Deborah Keller-Rihn. Jay Estrada serves as NVC Student Representative on the board.

Tim Jones, NVC Chair, Fine and Performing Arts and Kinesiology, serves as faculty liaison for the organization and Lynne T. Dean, NVC director of institutional advancement, serves as staff liaison. Rey Cardenas, NVC auditorium manager, provides technical assistance.

FANs activities take place at the Palmetto Center for the Arts on the NVC campus and the group’s vision is to develop the center into San Antonio’s leading collaborative arts education center.

Additionally, the mission of FANs is to support NVC students in the arts as well as arts events and activities at the college. Annual membership dues in the organization range from $25 to $1,000 and a special Student membership is available for $10 per year. Currently, the group has 134 members.

Membership dues support scholarships for student artists and performers, arts programs, the permanent art collection and guest artists.

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Next issue will be out July 2016 - Tell us about your new job, degree or what you've been up to.  

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Manny Martinez
3535 N. Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251

Office Location: MZH-104D

Phone: 210-486-4688