Our very own Professor Neelam Canto-Lugo will retiring very soon. When asked about how she feels about retiring, her program Crossing Borders, Building Bridges and how she feels about her career at Yuba Community College, here is what she had to say:
Why are you retiring?It is time to do other things. However, I still enjoy teaching very much.
How long have you worked at Yuba Community College?Since 1973, it’s the only job I’ve had.
Have you enjoyed your years here?Very, very much. I’ve especially enjoyed the students.
What classes have you taught?Starting out I taught English and reading. I started the Punjabi language course. Now, I teach speech courses.
How did you get Crossing Borders, Building Bridges started?I always wanted to have an activity to where outstanding speakers of different races, cultures and backgrounds could enlighten students outside of the classroom. Because we have a rich diversity of cultures in the Yuba-Sutter community, we decided to utilize the expertise of the community members and because of that, two wonderful things happened. The students began to benefit from the knowledge based off community experts, and it started to bring the community and college closer together.
What is going to happen to the program now that you are leaving?I will still be working here full time until June 2010. When I do retire, I am still going to be active in the program. When the time comes, I will pass on the program to someone who is committed and who will volunteer their time to continue it.
How did you begin to do volunteer work?The first time I ever volunteered was in India. There was a war between China and India, and I helped feed and take care of children. I really just came from a family that just loves to volunteer and do things that will help others.
Now that you are retiring, what do you plan on doing with some of your free time?I am still going to continue to volunteer. I do plan on gardening in the mornings, traveling, spending time with family and friends and working.
Do you have any encouraging words to your students and co-workers?Set your standards high and work hard to meet them, and you can accomplish whatever you want. I always like to remember and practice these words that have been said by Al Gore, Dr. Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra: “Do something little for someone each day,” and I encourage my students and colleagues to do the same.