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Awards Dinner:

Congratulations to the
2015 IVC Celebrating Excellence
Award Honorees

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, Irvine Valley College (IVC) hosted its Celebrating Excellence Foundation Awards Dinner at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana. At the dinner, the IVC Foundation celebrated the exceptional contributions made to the IVC campus by students, faculty, community partners, administrators, veteran students, classified staff and alumni.

  • Community: Edwards Lifesciences Corporation
    • Edwards

      Edwards Lifesciences Corporation

      Community Award Recipient

      Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients, the company partners with clinicians to develop innovative technologies in the areas of structural heart disease and critical care monitoring, enabling them to save and enhance lives. In 2004, the company established what is now the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation to support advancements in knowledge and improvements in quality of life. The foundation focuses on supporting underserved heart valve and critically ill patients, as well as strengthening the communities in which Edwards employees live and work. Additional information about the company and its foundation can be found at

  • Administrator: Karima Feldhus, PhD
    • Karima

      Karima Feldhus, PhD

      Administrator Award Recipient

      Dr. Karima Feldhus leads three Irvine Valley College schools with aplomb and grace, earning the respect and trust of faculty and staff.

      As dean of the schools of Humanities, Languages and Learning Resources, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Feldhus “is a keen observer and a compassionate listener, always responsive to the personal and professional concerns of her staff and faculty,” one colleague wrote.

      "She analyzes situations from many different angles and makes decisions that are best for both the students and the institution," wrote another, adding that "the faculty appreciates her honesty, integrity and ethical behavior."

      Dr. Feldhus, a native of Algeria, first started at IVC in January 2005, after having worked at the École Normale Superieure in Algiers, the University of Algiers, the University of Kansas, Emporia State University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the University of Houston, the University of Houston – Clear Lake, St. Thomas University, and Long Beach City College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Algiers and a master’s degree in linguistics and a doctorate of philosophy in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kansas.

      Dr. Feldhus has been a member of the Exchange Club of Irvine for four years and serves as president-elect. In her spare time, Karima enjoys playing golf with her husband, Phil. She is the proud mother of three daughters.

  • Classified Staff: Alice Griffin
    • Alice Griffin

      Alice Griffin

      Classified Staff Award Recipient

      Alice Griffin joined Irvine Valley College’s Student Success Center in 2011 as a part-time English instructor, becoming a full-time lab technician a year later.

      Her job entails overseeing a staff of more than 50 students and running a front desk that processes more than 3,000 IVC students annually for more than 10,000 tutoring appointments.

      In the Student Success Center, Griffin also creates a welcoming and safe environment for students with disabilities, getting to know almost every student, remembering their names and unique circumstances.

      "Instead of just scheduling appointments for these special students, she serves as a support resource, which increases retention and student success," a colleague wrote of her work.

      Griffin says her greatest joy is helping students succeed and reach their educational goals.

      She also collects food for the veterans’ holiday food drive and contributes toward other fundraising events. "Whenever there is a bake, plant or any fundraising sale on campus, Alice participates," her colleague wrote. She also volunteers for Senior Day.

      Originally from Riverside County, Griffin earned a master’s degree in English, rhetoric and composition from California State University, San Bernardino.

  • Current Student: Michael Chan
    • Michael Chan

      Michael Chan

      Current Student Award Recipient

      Michael Chan is a second-year student at Irvine Valley College majoring in computer science. This is his last year at IVC, and he plans to transfer to the University of California, Irvine or the University of Southern California in the fall.

      He has served the Associated Students of IVC as a Commissioner of Student Development and Recruitment and as the Vice President. Chan is passionate about representing students and has served as the ASIVC Representative on the college’s Budget Development and Resources Planning Committee, Academic Planning and Technology Committee, and Academic Senate.

      "I am amazed by his commitment to go above and beyond what is expected of a VP of ASIVC and the many hours he puts in to make IVC a truly student-centered campus," a professor wrote of his dedication.

      Chan also enjoys participating in outreach, and each week has the pleasure of speaking to high school students planning to attend IVC. He also spends time tutoring in the IVC Student Success Center, taking an individual interest in students’ academic success. While his time at IVC has been relatively short, he is proud of what he and his colleagues in student government have accomplished in this short time.

  • Current Veteran Student: Benjamin Bischer
    • Ben Bischer

      Benjamin Bischer

      Current Veteran Student Award Recipient

      Benjamin Bischer, who served in the US Marine Corps as a scout sniper, is known in Irvine Valley College’s Veterans Services Center for his kindness and generosity.

      He has excelled at IVC, maintaining a 4.0 GPA as he took 37 units and completed his English transfer requirements, college-level math and two semesters of Chinese. The latter will help him because, as he told a college official, he "wants to build a sustainable business economy in Africa and work in China to build infrastructure."

      Bischer grew up in Western North Carolina, enjoying tennis, hiking, hunting and camping. He enlisted at 19 and served in numerous theaters including Afghanistan and parts of Africa.

      At IVC he found a multitude of support systems, including the services for veterans, headed up by Nancy Montgomery, and the caring instruction of his professors. He has worked diligently each day in the Veterans Center doing homework and collaborating with his fellow veterans. He intends to transfer to a four-year university in the fall to study finance.

      Montgomery wrote of him, "His resiliency is unbelievable and his positive attitude in assisting others, especially those in other nations and the less fortunate, is a quality that not every person exhibits but is evident in every step Ben takes at our college and in his life goals."

  • Faculty: Cale Crammer
    • Cale Crammer

      Cale Crammer

      Faculty Award Recipient

      Cale Crammer’s colleagues say he has contributed much to Irvine Valley College through his many activities.

      Since becoming a part-time faculty member at IVC five years ago, he has raised more than $34,000 for IVC’s Model United Nations team and the political science department’s programs, allowing students to attend competitive conferences and the department to fund yearly scholarships.

      Crammer, a doctoral candidate working on his dissertation, insists on high and exacting standards while maintaining a great rapport with students, his colleagues wrote. With his help, IVC’s MUN team reached 30th in the nation in fall 2013, and was the only community college in the top 50 that year. In fall 2014, the team was the most awarded at the National MUN Conference in Washington, DC. He has been involved with MUN for more than 10 years, both as a student and an advisor. As chairman of the SoCal MUN Conference, he collaborates with other institutions, such as University of California, Riverside and California State University San Marcos. The conference has been held at IVC for two years in a row, raising the college’s profile in the community.

      Crammer is also part of a work group creating a departmental instructor evaluation tool to be given to students.

  • Alumna: Nicolette Ward
    • Nicolette Ward

      Nicolette Ward

      Alumna Award Recipient

      Nicolette Ward, who attended IVC from fall 2000 to summer 2003, earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Berkeley, with a 3.78 GPA. She earned her juris doctor degree almost four years ago from Cornell Law School and now works in the San Francisco office of DLA Piper, a global law firm, as an international arbitration and litigation associate. Ward passed the New York State Bar in 2012 and the California State Bar in 2014, and is a member of the New York City Bar Association, American Bar Association and Young International Arbitrators Group.

      Ward has worked on cases involving millions to billions of dollars, conducted an internal investigation of a subsidiary’s accounting practices and successfully represented an applicant for asylum. She also has worked with a nonprofit on intellectual property matters and has been a mock interviewer for Dress for Success, a global nonprofit that promotes economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools.

      She was on Allen & Overy’s Associate’s Council from 2011 to 2012, and was selected as a mentor to junior associates and summer associates. She served in the Peace Corps in KwaMhlanga, South Africa, from 2006 to 2008.

      Faculty who nominated Ward said they couldn’t think of a more deserving student who has succeeded in her pursuit of her educational endeavors.




Elissa Oransky
Executive Director

Melissa Martinez
Director of Annual Giving and Development Services

Karen Martin
Development Associate 

Karen Orlando
Development Assistant

T: 949-451-5290
O: B200 Building, Room 251

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