Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Edmonds CC students build an environmental educational facility in Florence, Italy

Two graduates from Edmonds Community College, Antonio and Kiersten Baiamonte, are building a sustainable educational study abroad facility named, Bio-Monte, “Retreats, Tours, and Education in Tuscany, Italy.”

The Baiamontes, a married couple, want to connect with students and educators to transform the land they have found in the Chianti region of Italy into educational organic vineyards, olive groves, vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, and medicinal herb gardens.

The profit gained from the products they produce will go towards scholarships to bring students to study at their facility.

They are currently running one-week tours and retreats for students and eco-minded tourists, but plan on expanding their program to provide a longer and more in-depth study abroad experience.

The Baiamontes signed up for the Edmonds CC study abroad program spring quarter 2011 with assistance from Jesse Aspree, Associate Director for Global Engagement and Contracted Services for the International Student Services department.

“Jesse helped make our study abroad possible through endless encouragement and a plethora of options on how to make study abroad affordable and attainable in our careers as students,” said Kiersten Baiamonte.

While studying abroad, the Baiamontes were inspired by the landscape and the culture. When they returned to the U.S., they immediately wanted to go back to Florence.

With perseverance, they returned to Florence in May of 2013 and found an agriturismo (a combination of the words for "agriculture" and "tourism" in Italian - a style of vacationing in farm house resorts) which consisted of three charming farmhouse style apartment buildings or mini villas and a grand main house. The property was run by a knowledgeable Tuscan married couple, who loved their idea of turning the facility and its forty acres into a place for people to come and learn about the Tuscan way of life and how their direct relationship to the earth is such an essential part of this life style.

The Baiamontes knew they had found the perfect location to bring students and guide them in a life changing experience like the one they had been blessed with.

Part of the program will consist of specialized retreats and eco tours of the Tuscany region including wine, cooking, yoga, and wellness, which are all focused on giving their guests authentic, cultural interactions and experiences so that they leave Italy having learned the universal languages of food, wine, and culture.

They are both currently seniors at Western Washington University completing their studies in urban planning and sustainable development.

“Our end goal is to become a completely self-sustaining facility and leave zero carbon impact/footprint,” said Antonio Baiamonte. 

Contact Antonio or Kiersten about study abroad oppurtunities at aebaiamonte@aol.com

Friday, March 27, 2015

Katie Johnson: a success story

Katie Johnson was born in Seattle and attended Inglemoor High School. Katie found herself in a similar situation as many other young teenage girls do nowadays. She was faced with being a teen mom. She had her first daughter at the age of eighteen and was working as a bartender. By 2009 she had three children.

She decided to go back to school and began talking to Karen Townsend from the social/human services department with Edmonds Community College about her dreams and aspirations. Karen said, “if you have the opportunity, go on and continue - you are plenty capable so if you’re gonna do it, do it.”

In Winter of 2010 she enrolled at Edmonds CC. During her time at Edmonds CC, there were a few teachers, namely, Tui Lindsey, Paul Anconca, and Townsend who really went out of their way to answer questions and to reassure me if I had self doubt.  “Their belief in me was what gave me the confidence. I had a passion there that I didn’t know was there; that passion is what carried me through when I didn’t think I could go on anymore,” said Johnson. “Karen, Tui, and Paul were instrumental in me realizing that I had the drive, passion, and brains to achieve my dream of being the first college graduate on both sides of my family!”

In addition to being a teen mom, she has had to face other adversities while pursuing her degree. She barely walked away from a near-fatal car accident that left her unable to walk for three years along with five surgeries to repair the damage. She also had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in her back. She went through all of this while raising her three daughters and three step kids, and helping her disabled Iraq veteran fiancee.

Amidst all of this adversity, her daughters kept her going. She never wanted to be a statistic. “The whole point of life is to improve the life of your children. If I wanted to give my children the life I never had, I knew I had to wake up and sacrifice for them. That was what drove me- to show them that you have to work hard- you have to go to school and college there is no other option,” said Johnson.

Johnson graduated from Edmonds Community College in June 2012.

Johnson graduated Magna cum Laude in August 2014 from Central Washington University with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Family Studies!

Johnson plans on applying to Seattle University to earn her Masters of Arts in Existential and Phenomenological Psychology (counseling) and wants to be a licensed mental health counselor.

Now accepting applications for the Global Leadership Summit at the University of the Free State in South Africa July 4-19

Edmonds Community College has been invited to send seven students to the Global Leadership Summit conference at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa from July 4-19.

The international conference, will be an exchange of ideas and experiences regarding diversity, racism, racial integration, social justice, and reconciliation within the higher education system. International delegates from institutions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia will have an opportunity to understand South African society, and how university students are being looked to as the country’s future leaders.

International airfare (roundtrip Seattle – Bloemfontein), travel insurance, and some meals are funded by the Associated Students of Edmonds Community College (ASEdCC). The University of the Free State is covering all remaining costs — housing, most meals, local transportation, and summit fees.

The deadline to apply is April 17, 5 p.m. To review conference requirements and begin the application process, go to: http://goo.gl/forms/Wa25fziu1B.

For students that are transferring to University of Washington, Bothell, beginning summer quarter, there is an opportunity to apply through their program. The Global Leadership Summit is offered as a Summer Term A course, which requires tuition and all international travel costs (financial aid and scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis). The deadline is April 3. To apply go to: http://www.bothell.washington.edu/globalinitiatives/abroad/featured/southafrica-summer2015

If selected students do not have a passport, they will need to apply immediately.

Specific conference components include:
  • introducing international delegates to challenges and successes at the University of the Free State;
  • faculty/departmental lectures, research seminars, and discussions regarding collaborative projects;
  • dialogue groups for students and staff hosted by various UFS units/divisions;
  • two to three day visit to the UFS rural campus in Qwaqwa (in the Eastern Free State region); and
  • excursions to local attractions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Linda Pendergraft: former student and current employee at Edmonds CC

Linda Pendergraft was working in the retail management field when she decided she wanted to go into the field of social work. She enrolled at Edmonds Community College for summer quarter 2012 and graduated in June 2014 with her Associate of Technical Arts transfer degree in Social and Human Services.

Some of Pendergraft’s favorite instructors were Karen Townsend, Christina Cioro, Tiu Lindsay, Meg Connelly, Tiffany Ledford, and David Bread.

“My entire time here as an older student has been enjoyable and refreshing. The teachers are phenomenal, totally supportive, and focused on our success; I have had some great mentors.”

In winter of 2014, she applied at the Career Action Center (CAC) and got a position as a part time office assistant. Pendergraft answers phones, makes appointments, and alleviates fears of students coming into the office by talking about her own time here at Edmonds CC.

“Sometimes people just need a little encouragement,” said Pendergraft.

The CAC offers help with: funds for returning students, figuring out a plan of study for people in worker retraining and worksource, resumes, and cover letters. They also offer classes on resume critique, LinkedIn, interviewing techniques, and collegecentral.com (a website that helps students get jobs).

Pendergraft grew up in Brier, WA. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of applied science in applied behavioral science at Seattle Central College. Ultimately, she wants to be a navigator at Edmonds CC.

When speaking about the environment at Edmonds CC, Pendergraft said, “it really is a community.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015