Channels guru leaves newspaper to follow family tradition in medicine

Michael Mebratu

Channels newspaper staffers refer to the previous production assistant as an Adobe InDesign god, but his era here has come to an end in order to pursue a nursing career.

After five years spent mastering his craft, and countless hours in The Channels newspaper lab, 35-year-old UCLA graphic design graduate Zach Gillon is leaving City College to continue his education in nursing at CSU Channel Islands.

“When you take something that’s very complicated like InDesign and simplfy it for students, you can see the point where they get it,” Gillon said. “A freedom shows up that you can see in their eyes. That’s when I don’t have to teach them anymore, I have to push them.”

But now a new chapter will begin for Gillon in the CSU Channel Island nursing program.

“Nursing and medicine runs in my family,” Gillon said. “My father works at Cottage hospital, and my sister is a nurse.”

Gillon will leave City College with an Associate’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on medical sciences.

The Santa Barbara-native is lyrical when he speaks about City College, as he has spent a total of 19 years at the institution.

After high school he attended City College. He then transferred to UCLA to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in graphic design.

But he found himself working for The Daily Bruin as a co-design editor.

“I applied seven times before I got in,” he said. “It was fun because all my friends went to work for the Bruin.”

Gillon came back to City College and was recruited onto The Channels by a previous editor-in-chief.

After two days of being on staff, he applied as photo editor and then became the production assistant.

His job consisted of working with journalism students by helping them with graphic design, photography and art problems. But he also became a mentor.

Patricia Stark, Journalism Department chair, professor and The Channels adviser, shared some comments that past students have made about Gillon.

They have referred to him as “reliable,” “selfless,” and “the go-to guy for everything,” she said.

Gillon was not only the production assistant for The Channels-he was an instructor for the Survey of Multimedia Tools class for a semester.

“Not many professors have that privilege to teach one on one,” Gillon said.

He describes his time at The Channels as a wonderful experience, and said he has worked with astonishing people. Gillon enjoyed watching his students grow into journalists.