Commencement Speaker Bios
Debbie Lee, Math Instructor
Debbie Lee has been teaching math at Foothill College since 2007. She is also chair of the math and computer science departments, and a co-director of the Honors Institute. Under Lee’s co-leadership, the Honors Institute has sharpened its focus on inclusiveness and educational equity for all.
Lee was born and raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown. She is an active member of Foothill’s Asian Pacific American Network (APAN). As part of APAN, she has coordinated the Rites of Passage ceremony, organized talks on immigration stories, held book club discussions on topics including the model minority stereotype, self-hatred and assimilation and power structure.
A first-generation college student, Lee received her A.A. from City College of San Francisco before transferring to San Francisco State University where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies and an M.A. in Mathematics. Prior to her tenure at Foothill, Lee taught K-8 for the San Francisco Unified School District.
Lee loves to teach and enjoys seeing the “ah-ha” moments on her students’ faces. Her proudest moments are watching students connect the lessons from her classes to events in their lives. In her free time, Lee enjoys spending time with her husband, a faculty member at another community college.
She wishes to congratulate all the graduates and wishes them the best of luck with their future endeavors.
Matthew Bodo, Vice President, ASFC Senate
Foothill College students can achieve anything that they want to when supported by others. After a few rough quarters, Matt Bodo wasn’t sure if he was fit for college. He now plans to transfer to UCLA to major in linguistics and psychology.
“I didn’t expect to attend college when I finished high school. I didn’t think that I would get my GED,” Bodo said. “One of the faculty at the Adult Education Center convinced me to go to Foothill, and I figured I would try.”
Bodo didn’t immediately succeed in college. His first quarter’s GPA was a 0.0. During his second year, he became homeless. This led him to discover the college’s support services. With the right resources, Bodo flourished and became an incredibly active student.
“I really didn’t think I could do it,” Bodo said. “But I didn’t want to give up.”
Bodo has been a part of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), the Associated Students of Foothill College (ASFC), and has spent countless hours working to support homeless community college students.
He still finds himself shocked at where he’s ended up. “I couldn’t have ever pictured myself in the position I’m in today, and I know that I’ve become the person I want to be,” he said.
Bodo hopes to inspire students experiencing homelessness to succeed. He thanks EOPS, ASFC and Foothill’s faculty and staff for the guidance and support that helped him so much.
This Year's Theme: Service Leadership