Friday, October 30, 2015

SAgE student farm receives a $13,000 grant and begins farm-to-campus program

Students working at the Sammamish Valley Student Farm
The Sustainable Agriculture (SAgE) Sammamish Valley student farm is blazing the trail by launching an innovative farm-to-campus program that will be utilizing a HUB system for delivery, in collaboration with Edmonds Community College’s Horticulture department. The off-campus, four-acre farm supports the SAgE curriculum at Edmonds Community College.

The funds from the grant recently received aim to:

  • establish an on-campus weekly farmer’s market starting this October,
  • establish a wholesale relationship between Edmonds CC Food Service and Culinary Arts with the new peri-urban SAgE student farm in Woodinville,
  • create a system for using the Puget Sound Hub for aggregation and distribution to reduce the carbon footprint of food production, and  
  • hire two Edmonds CC students for positions as Project Assistant and Project Manager.

The farm-to-campus project will provide several learning opportunities to students such as: organic farming practices, farm-to-market procedures, farmland conservation and preservation, environmental conservancy, sustainable transportation, food safety, and food security, access, equity, and ethics.

“The hands-on experience that this program will offer to SAgE students that are interested in growing food to sell to restaurants or at farmers markets is invaluable and will set them on a path to greater success,” said Marni Swart, SAgE Program Assistant and Edmonds CC Urban Agriculture alumna.

“It will also act as an advocacy and educational tool by increasing the visibility and knowledge of sustainable food production versus our current industrialized food system to the general student and staff population at colleges.”

Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, beets, leeks, herbs and lamb are just some examples of the delectable and local organic foods that are being grown and raised at the farm.

In addition to produce sold, approximately 40 percent of the vegetables grown at the farm and unsold produce from the farmer’s market will be donated to local food banks and community kitchens.

“Often produce that may not be picture perfect is still nutritious,” said Perry Acworth, SAgE Farm Manager. “It is entirely edible and well worth donating to those in need.” Targeted community kitchens and local outlets are the Lynnwood Food Bank, Concern for Neighbors Food Bank in Mountlake Terrace, and Food Life Line in Shoreline.  

Edmonds CC food services and culinary arts will be reducing its carbon footprint by purchasing local produce through the Puget Sound Food Hub, which uses an environmentally friendly business model. The Puget Sound Food Hub is an aggregation and distribution organization that serves Puget Sound farmers, bringing their products to wholesale accounts using re-chargeable electric, refrigeration vehicles.

“I don’t know of any community college that is using a farm to grow, deliver, and use a hub distribution system for their agriculture education,” said Perry Acworth, SAgE Sammamish Valley Farm Manager and Educator.

2015 marks the first season that students have grown and raised food at the SAgE Sammamish Valley Student Farm.

On-farm experience will be available to all students enrolled in the Urban Agriculture program and several classes will take place at the farm including Urban Farming and Business Planning I, Postharvest to Local Market Operations, and Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture.

For more information visit:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I-CATCH receives $15 million grant over five years & Celebration of Accomplishment

Edmonds CC President Jean Hernandez presents a CATCH student with her certificate. From left: Charlie Crawford, Edmonds CC Executive Vice President for Instruction; Charles Thompson, CATCH Director; Dr. Jean Hernandez, Edmonds CC President; Terri Webb CATCH Administrative Assistant.
Edmonds Community College’s Innovations in Creating Access To Careers in Healthcare (I-CATCH), recently received a five-year $15 million healthcare training grant in partnership with Everett Community College and Skagit Valley College.

Through CATCH, students can gain in-demand health care skills along with computer and information literacy, study, critical thinking, problem solving, financial literacy, and communications skills.

CATCH is a multi-year, multi-million dollar federally funded initiative that began in 2010. It is managed by Edmonds Community College and boasts a rich local partnership.

The program’s goal is to serve 250 individuals each year; 120 at Edmonds CC, 80 at Everett CC and 50 at Skagit Valley College.

The demonstration project has two main goals:
    1. Provide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals the opportunity to obtain career pathway education and training for healthcare occupations that pay well.
    2. Provide the local healthcare industry with additional well-trained workers to meet labor shortages and high demand occupations.
“I am honored that Edmonds CC has been selected to continue working with the Office of Family Assistance in the Health Profession Opportunity Grant,” said Charles Thompson, CATCH Director, Creating Access To Careers in Healthcare.

“I am excited to have this new opportunity to use what we have successfully learned in the first five years of CATCH to expand our reach and open doors for others across three colleges and three counties in I-CATCH.”

The project serves TANF recipients and other low income (< 200% of federal poverty guidelines) individuals in Snohomish, Skagit, and Island counties for healthcare education and training from Edmonds CC, Everett CC and Skagit Valley College.

Healthcare training programs include, but are not limited to, nursing assistant, patient care technician, EKG technician, medical assisting, licensed practical nurse, registered nursing, phlebotomy technician, pharmacy technician, alcohol and chemical dependency prevention specialist, and medical billing specialist/medical office.

In addition to the three colleges, other partners include: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, WorkFirst, Workforce Snohomish, Business Access (an in-home learning technology provider), Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest, TRAC Associates, and over 100 other regional healthcare employers.

To address barriers of poverty that keep many individuals from having access to quality healthcare training, I-CATCH provides wrap-around case management support, utilizing regional community-based organizations, digital literacy and home technology, peer support cohorts, academic supports, and intrusive interventions to identify problems that keep students from completing.

Financial support is available that leverages or provides resources, including first quarter and emergency tuition, computers, uniforms, textbooks, transportation, and limited emergency support.

Employment navigators are tasked to work with local employers to identify job openings, assist participants in applying for positions, and provide additional job skill training.

The five-year, $15 million partnership is financed by a Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) from the Office of Family Assistance, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

I-CATCH recently held a Celebration of Accomplishment event on Wed., Oct. 21st, 6 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre.

The event honored 61 students from the last year who completed at least one healthcare certificate, although most have earned two or three. Some examples of the certificates earned are: Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician, EKG Technician, and Patient Care Technician.

Approximately 150 people, including students and their families, were in attendance. Guest speakers included: Dr. Jean Hernandez, Edmonds CC President; Dr. David Beyer, Everett Community College President; Charles Thompson, CATCH Director; a student selected from Edmonds CC and Everett CC, and keynote speaker, Erin Monroe, CEO of Workforce Snohomish.

To learn more visit:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marine Corps Support Group Scholarship Recipient

The Veterans Resource Center and Edmonds CC have selected Marine Corps Veteran, Maldus Alver as the first recipient of the Marine Corps Support Group (MCSG) Scholarship! Alver is a former Marine Sergeant in the Engineering program here at Edmonds CC.
Maldus Alver, Edmonds CC Engineering Student

The scholarship, made possible through the generous support of the MCSG, awards $1500 over 3 quarters to a Marine or Fleet Marine Force Corpsman. Alver will be formally recognized and presented with the scholarship at the MCSG Marine Birthday Celebration on Nov. 14 at the Bellevue Hilton. Join us in congratulating Maldus Alver! 

Photo from left: Chuck Temple, MCSG; Chris Szarek, Edmonds CC Veterans Resource Center Director; Maldus Alver, student at Edmonds CC; and Ed Doyne, MCSG.

Edmonds CC Instructor meets President Obama to accept award for involvement with Clemente Course

Lela Hilton, Edmonds CC English Instructor
Lela Hilton, part-time English Instructor at Edmonds Community College, got the chance of a lifetime to meet the President of the United States and the First Lady, when she joined colleagues to accept the National Humanities Medal for her involvement with the Clemente Course.

Hilton has been the National Program Director for the Clemente Course for the past three years. The Clemente Course received the medal for improving the lives of disadvantaged adults. The educational course has brought free humanities education to thousands of men and women, enriching their lives and broadening their horizons.

President Obama conferred the medal in a September 10 ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

“The President and the First Lady were very engaging and seemed very happy to be meeting all of us,” said Hilton. “It was humbling and we felt incredibly honored.”

The Clemente Course was one of ten recipients of the 2014 National Humanities Medal.

The medal honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) manages the nominations process for the National Humanities Medal on behalf of the White House. The National Council on the Humanities, NEH’s presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.
Earl Shorris, the founder of the Clemente Course, believed that low-income adults could benefit just as much as Ivy League freshmen from learning about the humanities — and that they should have the same access to them.

To qualify for the course, students have to be at least 18 and have an income of less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line, and be able to read a newspaper. The course is made up of the following five classes: philosophy, literature, art history, American history, and critical thinking and writing.

“The course is not graded and is not a competency requirement — it gets them to think more critically about their own lives without the pressure of a graded course,” said Hilton. “If they go into college, they are more successful in basic classes.”

To increase access to this course, students who enroll pay no tuition, and receive the books for free. They also receive transportation vouchers and free childcare during class, removing common obstacles to attendance.

Hilton studied Adult Education and earned her Bachelor of Arts from Antioch University.

She has been teaching at Edmonds CC since 1999. “I have used a lot of what I have learned from teaching in a Clemente classroom in my classes at Edmonds CC and vice-versa,” said Hilton. “It has been symbiotic and I love teaching.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Edmonds CC students selected to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center Oct. 25-28

Edmonds Community College students Ben Nguyen and Rebekah Waligorski have been selected to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center October 25-28, to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS).

“Both students represent the great work that STEM students are doing here at the college, and will represent Edmonds CC well when they visit NASA Johnson Space Center,” said Rachel Wade, Edmonds CC Physics Instructor.

Nguyen and Waligorski have been selected as two of 160 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS.

Edmonds CC student Ben Nguyen
“It should be a fun learning experience and I welcome all the possibilities that can arise from this opportunity,” said Nguyen.

“Ben is an excellent student, who is always curious about physics and engineering topics. His interest in the NASA Aerospace program stems from this curiosity,” said Wade. “I expect that Ben will provide much needed technical understanding to his team during the NASA site visit.”

Nguyen is currently pursuing the Associate in Science - Track 2 - General Engineering and would like to transfer to the University of Washington.

Edmonds CC student Rebekah Waligorski
“This is something I really wanted,” said Waligorski. “I was speechless, as I was just out of high school and already being chosen for something like this is an honor.”

“Rebekah approached me at the beginning of the quarter, interested in ways that she could get involved beyond the classroom. She was particularly interested in the NASA opportunity after hearing from one of last year's NASA Aerospace Scholars,” said Wade. “By the end of the quarter, I knew she was a great candidate because of her personal drive and excellent management skills. I expect that Rebekah will emerge as a team leader during the NASA site visit later this month.”

Waligorski is studying mechanical engineering and would like to transfer to Washington State University. 

Nguyen and Waligorski were chosen to represent Edmonds CC out of nearly 300 students based on their achievement in the (NCAS) online session.  

In this five-week online learning session, they studied the past, present, and future of Mars exploration, took quizzes, attended lectures by NASA subject matter experts, read a technical paper, and submitted essays and a final mission proposal in order to qualify for the onsite workshop.

The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering.

While at NASA, students will form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.

The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

NCAS is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP), which is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to sustain a diverse workforce.

With this project, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs. It is directly tied to the agency's major education goal of attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s future missions, which include missions to Mars and beyond.

For additional information, please contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars by email at or by phone at 281-483-0493. For more information, visit:
For more on MUREP visit:

Friday, October 2, 2015

Edmonds CC honeybees yield honey with program collaboration

Edmonds CC students and faculty extract honey
Edmonds Community College’s honeybees had a fruitful summer and yielded a bumper crop of delicious honey. The honey was extracted on September 10th with some assistance from the engineering department’s recent contribution of a hand-crank extractor.

“We are now in our fourth year of beekeeping at the college and I think it is now safe to say the program is a success. We love all of the partnerships that have been formed across campus as a result,” said Mary Whitfield, Edmonds CC Chemistry instructor. “We're involved in undergraduate research, with the community garden and we recently partnered with the engineering club to build an extractor.”

Students built a hand crank extractor using a 3-D printer, recently acquired as a result of a deal that the Boeing Co. made with the state to execute the assembly of the future 777X jetliner in Everett. As a part of the deal, the state injected $17 million into education and training of future aerospace workers.

The engineering department is not the only one to get involved in assisting with the honeybees — former Edmonds CC graphic design student, Ryan Neff designed the label for the jars that are used to sell the honey.

Edmonds CC students get involved in the honey sale that takes place as a part of the campus sustainability day and learn about pricing and marketing the honey.

“Of course our annual honey sale is widely anticipated across campus and beyond, and it's been fun to get students involved in the process. They do a great job selling the product,” said Whitfield.
“All of this takes place within our broader mission of promoting sustainability on campus and beyond. Bee populations are still in decline, so it's important to keep people aware of the role that honeybees and other native pollinators play in our agricultural system.”

The honeybees have assisted with research projects for the college’s biology department, provided service-learning opportunities, and have provided hands-on experience for students.

“Having honeybees on campus has been a rewarding experience, not only because I learned about them, but I also became part of the community and had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research,” said Jessica Pal, Edmonds CC alumna.

“Having the honeybees in our community college garden has helped me learn about the environment, bringing me closer to the community and allowing me to conduct two undergraduate research projects, for which posters were made and presented at the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2014 and at the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) in Portland in 2015, giving me the opportunity to meet students from around the nation who came together and presented their research.”

Whitfield, Edmonds CC chemistry instructor and hobbyist beekeeper, helped bring the honeybees to campus in April 2011 as part of its Earth Month celebration. The two hives are located near the college’s vegetable garden.

“Bee populations are still in decline, so it's important to keep people aware of the role that honeybees and other native pollinators play in our agricultural system,” said Whitfield.

“What many people don't realize is that many store-bought honeys are processed, pasteurized and even contain high fructose corn syrup,” said Stephanie Bostwick, Edmonds CC Engineering Instructor and beekeeping partner.  “The health benefits of consuming raw, unprocessed honey are enormous and here at Edmonds CC we produce the real deal. Our students maintain the hives by frequently monitoring for pests and by ensuring the bees are fed in the fall.”

Facts about Edmonds Community College’s honeybees:
  • The honeybees may travel up to two miles in search of food.
  • Honey can be harvested from the hives once or twice a year; the college’s hives may produce as much as 40-50 pounds of honey per hive.
  • The starter honeybee colonies cost $80 each and the hives and set up equipment about $400.
  • The honeybees come from California, where bees are seasonally in demand to pollinate the state’s extensive almond crops.
  • Maintaining the honeybee colonies takes about an hour a week to inspect the condition of the hive and make sure the queen is laying.
  • Each hive has a starter colony of 10,000 bees including a queen. The colonies can produce honey in time for a fall harvest.
  • Honeybees travel in a swarm to move to a new location if they outgrow their hive or dislike their home. They will rest in a swarm and send scouts out to look for a new home. Bees are typically docile when swarming. Spot a swarm? Call 425.640.1272.

Find out more

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Edmonds CC students, staff and faculty attend the Global Leadership Summit in South Africa

Global Leadership Summit 2015 in South Africa
Edmonds Community College expanded its horizons by sending seven students, two staff members and one faculty member to the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) held at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa from July 5-17.

More than 100 international delegates from various universities in Asia, the United States, and Europe, as well as 40 student delegates from the University of the Free State were in attendance.

Edmonds CC was the only community college in attendance at the GLS.

The international conference was an exchange of ideas and experiences regarding diversity, racism, racial integration, social justice, and reconciliation within the higher education system.
Panel discussions and workshops focused on gender issues, citizenship and leadership, race relations, and interfaith leadership.

Keynote speakers included: Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, professor at the UFS;  Zelda la Grange, former private secretary to Nelson Mandela; and Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President for Marketing at New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Tonya Drake, Edmonds CC Vice President for College Relations and Advancement; Marisa DuBois, Edmonds CC Director of ABE and ESL Student Services; and Gem Baldwin, Edmonds CC anthropology instructor and seven Edmonds CC students were all in attendance.

Dr. Drake and Baldwin presented on deconstructing race. “I felt a level of honor and privilege to be presenting at the GLS,” said Dr. Drake.

How did Dr. Drake describe her experience at the GLS? “I loved that South Africa was intentional about building community and that is something I strive to continue to build here at Edmonds CC.”

Through the generous funding of the Associated Students of Edmonds CC (ASEdCC),  Edmonds CC students were provided the opportunity to travel to the GLS. As a part of this opportunity the students were to create a project reflecting their time at the GLS.

The students were placed into cohorts where they debriefed and debated after lectures to deconstruct what they had heard and experienced.

The cohorts also created videos about leadership and diversity. The videos were then judged and cohort one won for best video.

“My time at the Global Leadership Summit completely opened my eyes to many shared social justice issues between South Africa and the U.S.,” said Andrew Ruiz, Edmonds CC student.  “Beyond the lectures, hearing real stories from South Africans and how the stories shaped their lives was my greatest take away from the Global Leadership Summit.”

DuBois is responsible for the relationship between Edmonds CC and the UFS. In 2012, DuBois went to Bloemfontein as a visiting student affairs scholar, to support the Leadership For Change (LFC) initiative. As a result of DuBois’s visit, Edmonds CC brought students from UFS here to visit classes, departments and areas within the community in September 2013.

What did DuBois think of the Edmonds CC students experiences at the GLS? “They were so excited and grateful for the opportunity. Their world has been broken open and I want them to continue that.”

What does the future hold for this beautiful new relationship that has been formed? Edmonds CC will be hosting students from the UFS in January 2016.