All posts by CSN

CSN Welcomes Students Back for Fall Semester

The final date to enroll is September 2

Aug. 24, 2018 – The College of Southern Nevada is ready for tens of thousands of students to hit our campuses on Monday with a Welcome Back Crew and all the information they’ll need to navigate the start of a new semester.

Classes start Monday, August 27, and we’ll deploy faculty, staff and students who know their way around our three campuses to help new students get where they’re going. This year, there will be something a little different on each campus: The construction of new student unions has begun, and they’re set to open in the fall 2019 semester.

Students can still sign up for classes through September 2, but for those who can’t, our Department of Recruitment and College Connections is hosting several information sessions for those who want to learn more about the state’s largest college. They’ll cover the degrees and certificates available, answer questions about financial aid, and show off the campuses to those who are interested. For more, visit

What:             CSN First Day of Classes

When:             Monday, August 27

Where:           CSN Charleston, Henderson and North Las Vegas campuses

New CSN President Takes Helm

Dr. Federico Zaragoza

Dr. Federico Zaragoza will focus on student success and workforce development

August 15, 2018 – Dr. Federico Zaragoza today began his tenure as the ninth president of the College of Southern Nevada, saying he feels like he is where he is supposed to be.

“Education is the great equalizer,” Zaragoza said. “That’s what has always driven me, professionally and personally. Community colleges provide access to higher education for everyone, no matter their background.”

As he assumed the presidency of the state’s largest college and a major economic engine in southern Nevada, Zaragoza said his initial focus will be twofold: student success, retention, achievement and completion, which includes graduating or successfully transferring to a four-year college or university, attaining employment, and responding to the needs of business and industry to help grow the state’s economy.

The new president, who had been the vice chancellor for economic and workforce development at Alamo Colleges District in Texas for 14 years, said community colleges must ensure that workforce programs remain aligned with local industry and stay nimble as business needs change.

“Businesses and industries rely on community colleges to a great degree for their workers,” he said. “Today’s workforce is a sophisticated, largely technical one. Our region’s economic competitiveness depends on our ability to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies”

With 34,000 students per semester and hundreds of thousands of alumni who have remained in southern Nevada, CSN has a nearly $1 billion economic impact on the region annually. Its Division of Workforce and Economic Development works hand-in-hand with local businesses to respond to their needs.

Zaragoza said he is joining a college that is already very good; he wants to make it great. “We need to close the achievement gap, raise the graduation rate, and make CSN the best community college in the country,” he said.

Zaragoza was unanimously chosen to lead CSN in May by the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. CSN faculty, staff and stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the decision. He succeeds Acting President Dr. Margo L. Martin, who will assist in the leadership transition.

CSN Adds Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Studies for Interpreting

The new degree will be one of seven four-year degrees offered by the college

LAS VEGAS, August 1, 2018 – The College of Southern Nevada is pleased to announce a new bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies, designed to help overcome a critical shortage of nationally certified interpreters in the state.

Both the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents have approved the new degree.

“We are thrilled to add this important program that supports those with hearing disabilities in our region,” said CSN President Margo Martin. “This will help eliminate the shortage of interpreters for the deaf, who often need assistance with legal, medical, educational and social service matters.”

CSN was the first college in Nevada to offer a degree program for sign language interpreters back in 2002. The college has previously offered associate degrees in Deaf Studies and Interpreter Preparation. The interpreter degree will be replaced with the new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Deaf Studies with an emphasis in American Sign Language/English Interpreting. To obtain national interpreter certification, interpreters for the deaf are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to qualifying for testing. There are fewer than 100 nationally certified interpreters in Nevada to serve more than 39,000 people with hearing disabilities.

The new Bachelor of Applied Science degree program will launch this fall. It will be one of seven bachelor’s degrees offered at CSN, each of them in areas with high needs, including emergency services, dental hygiene, medical laboratory science, project management and cardiorespiratory science.

CSN Launching Mobile App Development Classes

Courses in Swift programming language will teach students to make iOS apps from scratch

LAS VEGAS, July 9, 2018 – The College of Southern Nevada is about to make it easy for just about anyone to make an iPhone or iPad app. Launching this fall, new classes offered by the Division of Workforce and Economic Development will teach Swift, Apple’s open-source programming language.

The public and media are invited to join CSN officials and business and community leaders at our Everyone Can Code launch event, scheduled for 1-3 p.m. July 12 on the CSN Charleston Campus.

“We’ve designed these courses to accommodate students who come to app development with little or no experience,” said Clarissa Cota, CSN interim vice president of academic affairs. “Preparing southern Nevadans for high-demand jobs in STEM fields will always be one of our top priorities. As Nevada’s economy diversifies, CSN will be at the forefront, training the next generation of skilled workers.”

CSN is among a growing number of community colleges nationwide teaching Swift programming as the app industry continues to grow, creating jobs and transforming the software development industry. Popular apps built with Swift include Lyft, LinkedIn and Airbnb.

Industry leaders have expressed their support for CSN’s new courses.

“Switch supports the CSN Division of Workforce and Economic Development’s Apple Swift coding program because it opens a world of opportunity for students of any race, age, or gender to learn to code in order to prepare them to meet the challenges of the ever evolving, fast-paced world of technology,” said Missy Young, chief information officer for Switch. “This program truly leverages the talent within our state and helps secure Nevada’s future economic strength and growth by preparing a workforce for the jobs of the future.”

Classes start in September. For more information or to register, visit

What: Everyone Can Code launch event
When: 1-3 p.m. July 12
Where: CSN Charleston Campus, B Building lobby

CSN Announces New President

Dr. Federico Zaragoza has extensive experience in higher education & workforce development

LAS VEGAS, May 11, 2018 – The College of Southern Nevada announced today the appointment of Dr. Federico Zaragoza as its ninth president.

Zaragoza has been the vice chancellor for economic and workforce development at Alamo Colleges District in Texas since 2004. He will begin his tenure at CSN on August 15.

“CSN is positioned to really be an institution of greatness and prestige,” Zaragoza said. “I feel privileged and honored to be given this opportunity. I want this community college to be the best in the country.”

Zaragoza was recommended to the Board of Regents by a Nevada System of Higher Education presidential search committee and an advisory committee comprised of CSN students, faculty and staff, as well as community members. The Board unanimously approved the recommendation today.

CSN faculty, staff and stakeholders overwhelmingly said Zaragoza would be a good fit for the college presidency after a series of on-campus forums this week, describing him as driven, passionate and approachable. He succeeds Acting President Dr. Margo L. Martin. Martin, who has served since the retirement of President Dr. Michael D. Richards in February, will return to her position as vice president for academic affairs.

Zaragoza comes to CSN with more than 30 years of experience in higher education and workforce development. In his current position, he has focused on ensuring that programs at the Alamo College District’s five colleges align with industry demand in the San Antonio area. He is credited with helping to more than double the graduation rate in the district.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised in the United States, Dr. Z, as he is often called, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in vocational education, and an educational specialist degree in industrial and technical education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and a doctorate in urban education and administrative leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He and his wife Laura have two children and two grandchildren.

CSN Students Receive 14 Emmy Award Nominations

Short films produced for CSN classes emphasize real-world skills

LAS VEGAS, May 9, 2018 – Students from the College of Southern Nevada’s Videography & Film Program received 12 Student Production Emmy Award nominations and two overall Emmy Award nominations, the Pacific Southwest National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced.

News of the nominations follows a national record 14 Emmy wins in 2017 for CSN students. CSN students are required in many film and videography classes to produce a short film. The program puts a heavy emphasis on practical production skills, focusing on getting graduates into the industry.

“Our students consistently produce some of the best work in the country,” said John C. Aliano, Program Director of CSN’s Videography and Film Program. “I am extremely proud of every one of them for what they’ve accomplished.”

Students honored with the nominations are:

Overall Emmys:

  • Patrick Wirtz for “No Greater Odds,”Director – Non-Live (Post-Produced)
  • Fernando Nava for “Remembrance,” Director – Short Form

Student Production Emmys:

  • Violet Baldwin for “Icantkeepquiet,” Student Programming Short Form (Fiction/Non Fiction)
  • Marquis Marasigan for “Spent,” Student Programming Short Form (Fiction/Non Fiction)
  • Dontae Carter for “Paul & His Cartoon Pals,” Student Programming Long Form (Fiction/Non-Fiction)
  • Elisabeth Hatzimarkos for “Just A Normal Girl,” Student Programming Public Service (PSAs)
  • Gabriella Vizcarra for “Intertwine,” Student Programming Long Form (Fiction/Non-Fiction)
  • Billy Ward for “Rhino Shield: South Africa,” Student Programming Long Form (Fiction/Non-Fiction), Student Craft – Photographer and Student Craft – Director.
  • Raul Saldivar for “Runner,” Student Craft – Photographer.
  • Marco Tavares for “Who’s OPER,” Student Craft – Editor.
  • Leynyn Navarro for “Checkmate,” Student Craft – Editor.
  • Ari Lowenthal & Eugenie Dufloo for “Mantis,” Student Craft Photographer.

Award winners will be announced at a ceremony June 16 in Palm Springs, Calif. For more information, visit

CSN Kicks Off Student Union Construction

Dozens of CSN students, faculty and staff were joined by members of the community today on the college’s Henderson Campus to celebrate the upcoming construction of the college’s new student unions.


The buildings, which will begin construction this summer, will feature food courts, large and small meeting rooms, study space, courtyards, student government offices, advising offices and more. Virtually identical buildings will be built on each of the college’s three campuses. They are expected to be open for the fall 2019 semester.

CSN student body president Elizabeth Zuniga joined the CSN Coyote to celebrate the construction kickoff of the college’s new student unions.
CSN Acting President Margo Martin is joined by the CSN Coyote, Henderson City Councilwoman Gerri Schroder, CSN student body president Elizabeth Zuniga and construction and architect representatives

CSN Acting president Margo Martin said the new buildings will benefit students by giving them their own space to study, hang out with friends, or just be by themselves. She said the unions will make CSN more “sticky,” meaning students will be more likely to stay around. Research shows this to be true. The more students like their school, the more likely they are to come back.

Students overwhelmingly support adding student unions to the campuses. Current study body president Elizabeth Zuniga and last year’s student body president Jill Robinson both attended the event and spoke in favor of the unions.

The Board of Regents previously approved plans for the $80 million construction project, which will be paid for through student fees that were voted on and approved by students.

For renderings and plans, visit

The MGM Foundation Awards CSN to Support the Nevada Promise Program

For Immediate Release:

Contact: K.C. Brekken, CSN Foundation Executive Director, 702-651-7535 or

The MGM Foundation award will support the tuition-free, last dollar scholarship at CSN.

LAS VEGAS, March 9, 2018 – College of Southern Nevada Acting President Margo Martin announced Friday that the MGM Foundation has awarded CSN’s Promise Program $80,000 to support the implementation of the tuition-free scholarship at the college and provide low-income Promise scholars with dollars for textbooks.

“We are incredibly grateful to the employees at MGM Resorts International and the MGM Foundation for their support of this important program. They are our Promise champions,” Martin said. “This award is critical to ensuring that CSN can successfully implement this scholarship and expand the college-going pipeline in Southern Nevada.”

The CSN Foundation submitted a proposal to the MGM Foundation’s Community Grant Fund competition this fall. The grant will help pay for background checks for mentors, a new online program to facilitate mentor-mentee interactions and textbooks for low-income students who receive the Promise scholarship this fall.

“We believe education bridges the divide between poverty and progress in America,” said Shelley Gitomer, Vice President of Philanthropy & Community Engagement for MGM Resorts International. “We are proud to help the Nevada Promise Program succeed in its inaugural year.”

The 2017 Legislature created the new Nevada Promise Scholarship Program, which allows any high school senior an opportunity to obtain tuition-free college at any of the state’s public two-year institutions. To earn the scholarship, students must apply and then complete two college trainings, 20 hours of community service, the federal financial aid application and meet with a mentor before May 1 of their senior year, among other requirements once at CSN. Lawmakers approved $3.5 million to cover eligible Promise recipients’ tuition and fees, minus any other financial aid they receive. However, it did not provide dollars for colleges to implement the program and required activities in the legislation including background checks for the mentors can be costly.

“Mentors are key to the success of Promise scholars. With this award, we will be able to purchase a new cloud-based software program that will allow our volunteer mentors to engage their Promise scholars once they are at CSN in a monitored online environment,” said Maria Marinch, CSN’s Executive Director of Inclusive Learning and Engagement. “That way, even when they cannot meet with their students in person, they can use this platform to regularly check in on their students to ensure they’re staying on track.”

The program is expected to increase the college-going rate of high school graduates and the number of federal financial aid dollars coming into Nevada to pay for postsecondary education and workforce training. In Southern Nevada, more than 5,200 high school seniors are working to obtain their Promise scholarships to attend CSN this fall as part of the first cohort of Nevada Promise scholars.

About the CSN Foundation:

Founded in 1971, the College of Southern Nevada is the state’s largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution. CSN is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and specializes in two-year degrees and workforce development that lead directly to high-demand careers or transfer to a university. It also offers four bachelor’s degrees in specialized fields and is the state’s largest provider of adult basic education and literacy training. CSN is a Minority Serving Institution and Nevada’s first Hispanic Serving Institution.

The CSN Foundation supports the strategic initiatives for CSN by raising funds for facilities and capital improvements, scholarships, educational programs and faculty requirements.

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