Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Charles Thompson presents at the annual HPOG (Health Profession Opportunity Grants) Meeting

Charles Thompson, Director of Edmonds Community College’s Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare (CATCH), presented a 5-minute Lightning Talk entitled, "At Risk Students: Do I belong and am I good enough?" at the HPOG (Health Profession Opportunity Grants) Annual Meeting held on December 2-3, 2014. Thompson referred to the research of David Yeager from the University of Texas, and presented information on how CATCH utilizes three keys – high expectations, community, and collaborative technology – to combat these questions.

Thompson discussed how many at-risk students experience doubt as they go through the program and often interpret what happens to them in negative and defeating ways. As a key to combatting students' doubts, high expectations provide students with tools of empowerment to realize their strengths. Building a community is another key of the CATCH program. Collaborative technology, such as hybrid online courses, an early alert online system, and broadband for internet access, allows for innovation and flexibility.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Edmonds Community College’s Kristyn Whisman takes first place in Strongman competition yet again

Whisman deadlifted a Toyota Yaris nine times!

Third time is a charm? For Kristyn Whisman, it’s more like the fourth time — fourth win that is! Whisman, Edmonds Community College’s Dean of Corrections Education at the Monroe Correctional Complex, recently took first place for the fourth time, in the North American Strongman Championship competition in Reno, Nev. this past October. However, the four wins is not the most impressive thing about her. Whisman has found a way to incorporate these competitions into her life, while still being a mom to a 20-month old, a devoted wife and a dean at the college.

The Strongman competition first caught the eye of Whisman during her freshman year of college at Whitman in Walla Walla, WA. She saw the Worlds Strongest Man & Woman competition on TV and just knew she had to take part in the sport. In 2006 she met a trainer who had experience in bodybuilding & power lifting. She competed in her first contest in May 2006. At the end of 2006, she worked with Jesse Marunde, Worlds Strongest man who lived in Sequim and coached her for a few months leading up to a contest in early 2007. She tried different coaches, but found that at times it was best to take the training into her own hands, which she did by setting her own personal goals, schedule and listening to her body.

Whisman overhead presses a 100-pound keg
Whisman taking her training into her own hands is just part of what makes her such a strong person on the inside and not only on the outside. Her role at the Monroe Correctional Complex is by nature emotionally draining & impacts her ability to workout both for the positive & negative. “I do my work because I care for the people who are here. Every soul here is a redeemable soul.” Amidst the challenges of Whisman’s job, she finds a way to overcome the stresses of the day in order to work out hard and contend in the Strongman competitions.
On December first, she teamed up with Stephanie Tropea, a fellow Strongman competitor, for a nutrition program, who also works out with her.  Some may not understand why she would train with a fellow competitor, but that is again part of what makes her so strong on the inside. “I compete with people I don’t compete against them,” stated Whisman.

After her son was born in 2013, she found some fellow training partners, Andrea Anderson and Christina Cowin. They are the reason she can be so successful post pregnancy. Christina came to nationals as her support mechanism. “You can’t buy that love there is no substitution,” said Whisman of her fellow training partners.

In addition to her training partners acting as a support system for these competitions, with each upcoming competition, she sets personal goals by comparing her time from last time to this time, to see how she can improve. “I can’t control what others are doing, but I can control what I am doing.”  Instead of worrying about how others are doing, she celebrates others improvements. When asked what her favorite part of the Strongman competitions is, Whisman replied, “the camaraderie.”

Whisman is gearing up for the 2015 Arnold Sports Festival, held in Columbus, Ohio on March 6-8. Aside from her Strongman goals, when asked about her career goal, Whisman replied, “I would like to have more systematic educational opportunities to inmates. As an administrator there is a bigger opportunity to make that happen, which is one of the reasons I took an administrative position.” We are all lucky to have such a “strong” woman both inside and out as the Dean of Corrections Education for Edmonds Community College.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Edmonds CC alumnus Chester Curtis honored with fourth annual Transforming Lives award

Alumnus Chester Curtis
Edmonds Community College alumnus Chester Curtis is one of five community college students statewide to earn a $500 “Transforming Lives” award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.

The fourth annual Transforming Lives award — which will be awarded to Curtis at a ceremony on Jan. 28 in Olympia — honors students and graduates who overcome barriers to achieve their higher education goals, demonstrating how Washington's 34 community and technical colleges help transform lives through education and support.

Each college fielded a nominee. In addition to Curtis, others selected were Raymond Power, Bates Technical College; Angela Gates, Lower Columbia College; Yadira Rosales, Skagit Valley College; and Sukhdip Singh, Whatcom Community College.

A year after graduating from high school, Curtis joined the U.S. Army. He left his hometown of Crestview, Florida at 19 and spent four years in the U.S. Army as a Combat Engineer, including a 12 month deployment to Afghanistan — where he went on hundreds of missions and earned a Combat Action Badge.

"I have found that veterans are very unique in character and have a great deal of versatility," said Curtis. "They're accustomed to uniform policies and structure but can adapt to dynamic situations. They tend to possess leadership and teamwork skills and are committed to the organizations to which they belong."

While in the military, Curtis sustained combat injuries resulting in hearing loss and back pain. He realized he would not be able to return to construction work after he was discharged.

Curtis decided to take advantage of education benefits and enroll in the Energy Management program at Edmonds CC to learn skills that would augment his construction knowledge and lead to a new career. His first year was a reality check, as he learned that in addition to his physical injuries, he also suffered from PTSD and other invisible wounds.

"Rather than focus on my injuries, I sought the help I needed and looked for opportunities to lead and make a difference," said Curtis, who served in leadership roles in student associations and was the first community college student to serve on the National Student Veterans Council.

Curtis happily volunteered to participate in the Edmonds CC Foundation's Boots to Books and Beyond fundraising campaign. Through his work in the campaign, he helped improve the college's Veterans Resource Center and encouraged the college to implement gap funding to support student veterans financially during breaks between quarters.

"I knew that this posed a significant financial challenge for all student veterans," said Curtis.

"In generously sharing his experience and knowledge, Chester was able to articulate his struggles as a student veteran into a framework for change," the Edmonds CC Board of Trustees wrote in a letter nominating Curtis. "Current student veterans at Edmonds CC are already benefiting from Chester's vision and work — 18 students have already received almost $14,000 to cover their living expenses during the breaks between spring and summer and summer and fall quarters this year."

In addition to being a leader, Curtis was a quiet and purposeful advocate for change. He helped change policies in the Edmonds CC Math department for student veterans who were taking Bridge math classes and also lobbied to allow ornamentation for student veterans during the annual commencement ceremony.

Curtis graduated in 2013 with an Associate in Applied Science-T degree in energy management and a certificate in project management. He works as a Project Engineer at McKinstry and has plans to earn a bachelor's degree and a Master's in Business Administration in Leadership from the University of Washington.

"When I first set foot on campus, I never imagined I'd have such a positive experience," said Curtis. "Edmonds CC not only gave me stability and camaraderie, it gave me an outlet where I could serve, lead, and make an impact."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Ethics Challenge Snapshots

The 2014 Ethics Challenge commences

Paralegal students, Tony Hart, Crystal Edwards Neal, Keith Landis, Carrie Lim, and Sara Reed (left to right)

Accounting students, Yi Fan Zhang, Chia-Hsuan Shih, Dan Zahlmann, Shu Su, and Jin Chang (left to right)

             Business Management students, Gabriel Ludlum, Simon Yabowerk Haile, Christian Clarete, Leah Carter, Michael DiGiovanni (left to right)  

The students intently discuss ethical solutions

The participants toured Boeing Dec. 5

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bravo to Information Security and Digital Forensics students!

Kudos! Students Richard Leickly, David Angell, Rob Matthews, Kyle Derrick, Leslie Berntson, Donna Robeck, Braden Heil, and Quincy Powell worked literally hundreds of hours of their time to retrieve data from Oso mudslide victims' personal technology items. Read more about the story in the Everett Herald.

2014 Ethics Challenge Winners Announced

Here's an update to a story published 11/6 about an Ethics Challenge: 

Five teams face off during the Ethics Challenge.

The winning team discusses an ethical dilemma.
Twenty-five Edmonds Community College students from various academic programs recently competed in an Ethics Challenge sponsored by the college’s Business Management program and Workforce Development and Training, in partnership with The Boeing Company.

“This hands-on exercise allows students to immerse themselves into real-life scenarios they could potentially encounter in the business world,” said Edmonds CC President Jean Hernandez. “I want to thank Boeing for its great partnership in this event.”

In the competition at the Black Box Theatre on campus, five teams of five students discussed ethical strategies through two rounds of live scenarios. Each team — using teamwork, communication, and critical thinking skills —  was given seven minutes to discuss its given scenario and three minutes to present solutions.

Both Edmonds CC and Boeing supplied the 10 judges.

The winning team consisted of Debbie Ryden, Mika C. Rozenberg, Maria L. Smith,
Herman Velasco, and Marcus Martinez all from Business Information Technology.

Michael DiGiovanni, Gabriel Ludlum, Leah Carter, Simon Yabowerk Haile and Christian Clarete all from Business Management took second place.

Other students who participated — all who had ethics lessons this fall quarter — were:

  • Accounting: Yi Fan Zhang, Jin Chang (alternate in place of Anne Mulholland), Chia-Hsuan Shih, Dan Zahlmann, Shu Su
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Benjamin Kong, Tyler Long, Nancy Travis, Leandra Dicken (alternate in place of Abdirazaq Abdulla), Chris Dresnek
  • Paralegal: Carrie Lim, Joe McArdle, Tony Hart, Sara Reed (alternate in place of Sajia Salehin), Crystal Edwards Neal

Participants toured Boeing in Everett on Dec. 5.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Edmonds Community College honored as a Champion of Sustainability by McKinstry and Seattle Seahawks

Kevin McKay and Stephanie Teachman accepting the award
Edmonds Community College will be recognized as a Champion of Sustainability at the Seattle Seahawks game on Nov. 23 for demonstrating a commitment to sustainability by the Seattle Seahawks and McKinstry, a Seattle-based consulting, construction, energy, and facility services company.

According to McKinstry, Edmonds CC has demonstrated actions to upgrade buildings' infrastructure and reduce energy consumption.

"Through our partnership with Edmonds CC and the Washington Department of Enterprise Services, we have been impressed with the college's continued investment in energy conservation projects," said Stephanie Pitts, Brand Manager for McKinstry. "The college is not only reducing its carbon emissions, but it is providing safer, more comfortable learning environments for students and staff."

Kevin McKay, Vice President for Finance and Operations at Edmonds CC, will receive the award prior to kick-off this Sunday on behalf of the college. All recipients are hosted by McKinstry at each Seahawks home game this season and presented with an award.

"We are honored to receive this recognition, " said Dr. Jean Hernandez, Edmonds CC President. "We are committed to infuse environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable practices throughout all aspects of the college's operations."

McKinstry has partnered with the Seattle Seahawks to recognize local companies and colleges who have committed to doing their part to reduce the global impact of their facilities. Some examples of this include innovating sustainable practices, driving out waste, influencing positive changes in behavior, and acting as community stewards.

The recognition program is a part of the Defend Your Turf campaign initiated by the Seahawks and Sounders FC in 2012. The campaign grew out of an energy efficiency upgrade and solar array installation that McKinstry performed at CenturyLink Field and Event Center in 2011. It reinforces the teams' commitment to operating a sustainable community asset that can serve as a model for sports stadiums across the country.
Learn more about the college's commitment to sustainability at www.edcc.edu/sustain. Find out more about McKinstry's Champions of Sustainability program and the Defend Your Turf campaign at www.centurylinkfield.com/defendyourturf.