TimesOC: Teen hospital patient/intern credits Vanguard stipend for helping set him on career path

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 24 , the day before Thanksgiving 2021. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of news and events.

At the tender age of 4, Nolan Torres began a long association with Children’s Hospital Orange County, where he
spent long hours as a child receiving treatments and therapy for primary immunodeficiency (PI) and a complex cystic brain mass.

At 19, he still receives care at the institution and has been a philanthropic spokesperson for CHOC for some time. But he’s also just completed an eight-week internship in the hospital’s Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute program that was made possible by an unusual stipend arrangement Vanguard University — where the Corona resident is a sophomore — has set up for its students.

Reporter Sara Cardine interviewed Torres and people associated with the stipend program that offers $2,000 in payments for students who want to follow a STEM career but are stymied by the prospect that most internships are unpaid.

The Vanguard stipends are made possible through a $2.9-million federal grant program the Costa Mesa college received as a Hispanic-serving institution to fund programs that support minority and low-income students throughout the next five years, Cardine reports.

“A lot of times, internships are unpaid, so that discourages students to pursue programs they need for their careers,” Vanguard career development adviser Enrique Rodriguez told Cardine.

Torres is appreciative of the opportunity he was given to intern at CHOC, during which he learned he might want to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant.

“It’s extremely helpful,” Torres said. “You don’t think participating in an internship would cost you anything, but you have to eat and drive there and be clothed in the proper attire.”

Nolan Torres, left, with Children's Hospital of Orange County's Physician Assistant Tony Adkins during a summer internship.
Vanguard University’s Nolan Torres, left, with Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s Physician Assistant Tony Adkins during a summer internship.
(Courtesy of Nolan Torres)


— As had been expected, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to approve a majority Latino district for its five-member board. Our colleague Hannah Fry has the story and reports it’s been 15 years since there was a Latino representative on the board, which oversees a roughly $7.7-billion budget.

— A monument to the Korean War, the only such installation on the West Coast, was unveiled in Fullerton on Veterans Day. According to our colleague Anh Do, the $1 million need to make the memorial come to fruition came from thousands of Koreans, from Seoul to Southern California. It is the first monument, Do reports, to include the names of all 36,591 Americans who died in the war from 1950 to 1953.

 Jai Youn Kim, 91, attends an unveiling ceremony for a Korean War memorial at Hillcrest Park in Fullerton on Veterans Day.
Jai Youn Kim, 91, attends an unveiling ceremony for a Korean War memorial at Hillcrest Park in Fullerton on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. Kim is a veteran of the armies of South Korea and the United States, and served during the Korean War. The new memorial features five large marble stars inscribed with the names of more than 36,000 combatants who died in what has become known as “The Forgotten War.”
(Luis Sinco)

— The owner of Old World German Restaurant in Huntington Beach who suffered severe burns and brain damage when an underground transformer exploded during a 2019 Oktoberfest celebration has reached a conditional settlement with Southern California Edison Co. and General Electric Co., according to a report by City News Service.

— A lawsuit filed by the city of Costa Mesa to halt construction of a $32-million performing arts complex at Estancia High School, on the grounds school district officials failed to provide public review of the proposal, has been denied. In a tentative ruling filed earlier this month, Orange County Superior Court judge Randall J. Sherman sided with Newport-Mesa Unified.

— A neighborhood on the north side of Laguna Beach where the residents want power lines out of sight got a boost in that direction last week when Laguna’s city council voted unanimously to establish a fund and set aside money for the proposed Fairview-La Brea underground utility assessment district. The city’s policy on forming such a district requires at least 60% of the affected property owners to petition the city and $500 cash deposits from each of those petitioners.

— Three to five men, including one witnesses say was armed with a handgun, entered the patio of Seasons 52 in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza Monday evening and ordered patrons to get down on the ground before stealing a purse and fleeing, police said. As of Tuesday the hunt was still on for the suspects.


— The Orange County Soccer Club on Saturday captured its first Western Conference title, sending it on to next Sunday’s United Soccer League championship game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Tampa, Fla. “We wanted to build a world-class organization that’s competing every year in the playoffs,” James Keston, who bought the club five years ago, told the L.A. Times. “But to get to this point — stadium completely sold out, people excited all over the area — it’s really so far ahead of what we expected we would be.”

Orange County Soccer Club fans are full of enthusiasm during the semifinals of the USL Championship in Irvine Nov. 13
Orange County Soccer Club fans are full of enthusiasm during the Orange County Soccer Club versus Oakland Roots Soccer Club in the Western Conference semifinals of the USL Championship at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine on Nov. 13. A week later, their team won its first Western Conference title.
(James Carbone)

— Top-seeded Newport Harbor High School boys’ water polo team, playing in their home pool, beat No. 3-seeded Mater Dei 10-6 to win the CIF State Southern California Regional Division I title.


— As previously noted, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. In case you’re looking to wow family or friends with the best pie set out on the groaning board, consider these four “fabulous” recipes the L.A. Times pulled together for the occasion, Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie (spicy!), Bourbon Pecan Pie with No-Roll Crust, Malted Pecan Pie and an apple pie that’s a cut above the rest. There’s still enough time to make this happen, people!

Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie.
Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie. Food Stylist by Ben Mims / Julie Giuffrida and propped by Samantha Margherita at Proplink Tabletop Studio in downtown Los Angeles.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

— Looking for a unique party venue? Laguna Beach resident Donnie Crevier, long associated with Crevier BMW in Santa Ana, which he ran until 2011, keeps his personal collection of vintage automobiles in a storage facility that has become a de facto car museum and event center in Costa Mesa. Formerly located on Clinton Street, Crevier purchased a new and larger property on Airway Avenue and recently secured permits to host events for up to 300 people.

— Good news for area library patrons who sometimes forget to return borrowed materials on time: The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 16 approved indefinitely eliminating late fines at O.C. Public Libraries, asserting the removal of the fines will further provide free and equal access to library services. The new policy went into effect Tuesday.

Julie Davey shows the aisles of the children's corner of the Laguna Niguel Library.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors has implemented a policy that eliminates late fines at O.C. Public Libraries.
(Don Leach)