Fall semester begins at Sierra College | TheUnion.com

Fall semester begins at Sierra College

Eileen JoyceAlisa Garza (right) talks to her friend Barb Thomas after her first day of classes at Sierra College Monday. Garza graduated this spring from Nevada Union High School.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

“Covering your textbooks” in college requires a computer, not tape and scissors.

Jared Eckholt of Grass Valley and Ryan Jones of Nevada City started their fall semester Monday morning in Sierra College-Nevada County Campus’ computer lab.

“We just bought the books,” Eckholt said. “Now we’re transferring money to our checking accounts to cover the purchases.”

The pair, respectively a 1999 Nevada Union High School and a 2000 Bear River High School grad, have been business majors at the community college the last two years.

The college in Grass Valley, which started Monday for 1,300 students, is “about the same as high school, except it’s two miles away,” Jones said.

“It’s all the same people because it’s a small town,” Eckholt said.

But for students completing any one of the 23 associate of arts or associate of science degrees or certificates, the sky’s the limit, said Tina Ludutsky-Taylor, provost of the Nevada County campus.

Students who complete the requirements for admission to the University of California or state university system are guaranteed a spot in the system, Ludutsky-Taylor said.

For $11 a unit, students get teachers who want to teach, not graduate students or professors more interested in research, she noted.

Classes in general studies that meet UC and CSUS requirements are far smaller than the 400-student classes many college grads recall, she added.

Since the Nevada County campus opened in 1996, enrollment is up from the equivalent of 170 full-time students to 1,300. An additional several hundred students take classes at both the main campus in Rocklin and the Grass Valley campus.

“The campus is like a child,” Ludutsky-Taylor said. “It’s moving out of its infancy and into its toddler stage.”

About one-third of the current study body is recent Nevada Union or Bear River high school students, such as Samantha Brammer of Nevada City.

As she stood in the book-buying line midday Monday, Brammer outlined her plans to become a children’s author and illustrator.

The 2002 NU grad hopes to attend an art institute in Phoenix. She’s beginning her college studies at Sierra with English, creative writing and ceramics.

Most students are more like 26-year-old Hallie Carrigg of Grass Valley, a wife and working mother who hopes to become a veterinarian.

“It’s great having something (close to home),” said Carrigg as she filled out forms in the Gerald C. Angove Administration Building. “It’s so much better than commuting to Rocklin.”

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