Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Edmonds CC Salsa Band to heat up Havana with your help

Edmonds Community College Jazz and Salsa Band students will travel to Havana, Cuba, in March to listen to and learn la musica salsa from world-renowned salsa musicians during the Fiesta del Tambor, or Festival of the Drum.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to be one of the first collegiate bands from the U.S. to visit Havana, Cuba,” said Edmonds CC band instructor John Sanders. “We will attend the Fiesta del Tambor, which features the best Cuban ensembles from all over the country.”

Students and staff salsa to the music of the Edmonds CC Jazz and Salsa Band
in September at a campus talent show.
The memorial festival is one of the largest Afro-Cuban music festivals, where legendary salsa bands like Los Van Van, musicians like Paquito D’Rivera, and bands from across the island of Cuba come to honor Guillermo Barreto, a Cuban drummer and timbalero.

“This experience will change the lives of our students and the minds of the Cuban people when they meet these great kids from South Snohomish County.”

Sanders said the viability of the trip depends on fundraising contributions, and he and his students are trying to raise about $44,000 toward costs for 18 students, himself, and a couple of chaperones.

The students will host To Cuba! A Fundraiser for Our Music Ambassadors, their largest fundraising event, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the college’s Black Box Theatre.

Salsa band members will showcase their talents along with a guest accompaniment by Grammy award-winning salsa singer Carlos Cascante.

Sanders said many of his students have been “bit by the Afro-Cuban bug,” and the festival will give them the opportunity to hear rarely-encountered levels of musicianship.

“They’re going to hear the music they’ve been hearing on the radio or from albums, that they’ve been talking about and playing in the band,” Sanders said. “They’re going to hear the authentic styles right in front of them.”

Saxophone player Chester Przybysz joined the band about a year ago, and said the Latin rhythms of salsa captivated him.

“When I first joined I couldn’t get the two three clave [a foundational Latin rhythm] out of my head,” Przybysz said smiling, “and I still can’t. These rhythms are stuck in my head all the time, and it’s a really fun and invigorating experience.”

Przybysz and fellow band member and piano player David Ballard credit Sanders with inspiring a passion for salsa, and musicianship, in his students.

When Ballard auditioned with Sanders for the jazz/salsa band, it turned into a lesson about half way through.

“At that moment, I decided I would stay here until I learned everything that man has to teach me,” Ballard said.

Sanders has taught music at Edmonds CC for 14 years, and in 2014, he took a professional sabbatical to pursue his 30-year passion for salsa in Puerto Rico.

“I don’t know why Latin music spoke to me,” Sanders said, “because I’m an Irish dude from Seattle.”

Sanders spent four months living with a family in Puerto Rico, studying piano, and composing and arranging music.

When he returned, Sanders launched the college’s combined jazz and salsa band, which is now in its third year.

He received a Global Engagement Grant last year and was able to travel to Havana in August, and is eager for his students to experience the music of Cuba, as well as the culture.

“Culturally, Cuba is a complicated place,” Sanders said. He said music adds richness to the daily life of the Cuban people, but due to decades of trade embargoes, poverty is widespread in the tiny Communist country.

“They say that it hasn’t been touched by the outside world since 1959, since the Cuban Revolution, and so there isn’t any sense of modernity,” he said. “There isn’t even a Cuban version of a 7-11.”

Stores are sparsely stocked, and although it is colorful, it feels gray, he said.

Although Cuba could be seen as poor in terms of material goods, Ballard said the Cuban people have learned to take pleasure in the company around them and social activities like music and dance.

He’s excited, not only for the musical experience, but for the opportunity he and his band mates will have to be cultural ambassadors.

“So few Americans have the opportunity to go to Cuba,” Ballard said. “Now is such an important time in our lives to see as many different ways of living as possible, so we can measure for ourselves where we want our country to go, where we want our society to go, and how to treat each other.”

As musicians, Przybysz said music will serve as a common language wherever they go.

“If you’re a musician, you have that common connection and the common language of music,” he said, “and you’re able to connect with people so incredibly well through that language.

“If nothing else, that experience is amazing.”

For To Cuba! tickets, go to blackboxedcc.org or call 425.640.1448. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. Not able to attend, but still want to donate? Go to http://bit.ly/2dQoSIy. The deadline for contributions is Dec. 9.

The Black Box Theatre is at 20310 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, WA. For directions and a campus map, go to edcc.edu/campus.

Monday, October 3, 2016

First international students in U.S. to earn digital forensics certification

Two Edmonds Community College students from Saudi Arabia are the first international students in the U.S. to be certified as cyber security forensic analysts by the CyberSecurity Institute.

Ahmad AlMegren, 42, and Faraj Alqahtani, 39, traveled from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. to study information security and digital forensics at Edmonds CC. Both are employed by Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil and gas company, and work in the company’s cyber security investigation department.

(from left to right) Edmonds CC student Faraj Alqahtani, Computer
Information Systems instructor Steve Hailey, and student Ahmad AlMegren.
“My employer had a one-year sponsorship program for selected employees to pursue career development,” AlMegren said. “I found Edmonds CC to be one of the unique colleges in the U.S. to offer a one-year certificate for international students with such a highly qualified staff and instructors specialized in the information security field.”

After a year of study, Alqahtani earned an Information Security and Digital Forensics Associate of Technical Arts degree. Between them, Alqahtani and AlMegren earned four Computer Information Systems certificates, and 10 certificates of completion in information security, digital forensics, and ethical hacking.

Each earned the CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst (CSFA) certification after completing a rigorous, three-day proctored exam where the certification candidates process a digital forensics case from start to finish and submit a comprehensive report on their findings.

Depending on the scenario the candidate receives, they may also need to create affidavits, declarations, search warrants, and/or assist with the creation of verbiage for subpoenas and motions in order to obtain additional items related to the case.

I will definitely use this certification when I get back to my job as a cyber security investigator,” AlMegren said. “It should boost my expertise and skills in handling cyber threats and conducting investigations.”

Alqahtani said the program “builds your knowledge with practical, real cases, challenges your skills, and builds your confidence.”

Edmonds CC Computer Information Systems instructors and CyberSecurity Institute founders Steve Hailey and Mike Andrew created the CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst (CSFA) certification to fill the need for a competency-based certification in the field of digital forensics.

Now, over a decade after creating the exam, Hailey and Andrew were able to award the first international students in the U.S. with the CSFA certification.

Hailey said the CSFA is an industry-standard certification exam that requires an FBI criminal background check. He and Andrew worked with Aramco to have an FBI-equivalent background check conducted.

“Ahmad and Faraj have proven themselves to be extremely capable and knowledgeable information security and digital forensics professionals,” Hailey said. “The work they completed at Edmonds CC was always of the highest quality, and they both earned academic honors.”

As international students, both AlMegren and Alqahtani said they valued the quality and professionalism of the Edmonds CC program and faculty, as well as the sense of community.

“This was one of the best experiences,” Alqahtani said. “You have a very professional program. I’ve been in the industry for many years, and from my experience, it’s like you are going to the MIT of digital forensics, but paying for a community college experience.”

AlMegren and Alqahtani returned to Saudi Arabia on Sept. 7.

The CSFA exam is held at Edmonds CC a few times a year. Edmonds CC students working towards the Information Security and Digital Forensics ATA Degree or the Digital Forensics Certificate have the $750 examination fee waived.

Hailey and Andrew are internationally recognized experts in the field of information security and digital forensics, and are cyberterrorism subject matter experts for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cyberterrorism Defense Initiative.

For more information, visit infosec.edcc.edu or edcc.edu/cis. To see a complete list of Edmonds CC students who are CSFA certified, go to cybersecurityforensicanalyst.com/certified.html.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Edmonds CC kite team set world record in 1980

In 1980, members of the Edmonds Community College Kite Team became the world record holders for the largest kite ever flown to date.

The team successfully flew the world’s largest kite, measuring 52 by 70 feet and weighing about 400 pounds, on Oct. 3, 1980, at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

The kite flew to an altitude of 300 feet for two minutes and 47 seconds in 15 mile per hour winds, beating the previous record holder – Shirone Kite Association of Japan – by 78 feet.

That flight landed the team a spot in the 1980 Guinness Book of World Records.

The parafoil kite was made by Edmonds Community College faculty and students in the college’s Needle Trades Department who volunteered to work on the project.

Team director and department coordinator Harry Osborne collaborated with Domina Jalbert, the world-renowned inventor of parafoil, on the design and construction of the kite.

In the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, apparel production technologies were rapidly advancing, and the college added a Needle Trades Technology Program to its Occupational Education Department, offering commercial power sewing, commercial power sewing machine mechanics, and apparel management.

Students from the program worked for months to stitch together over 2,000 yards of nylon to form the kite and attached 80 lines to the fins of the kite.

News of the Edmonds CC Kite Team and its historic flight made it into the June 1982 issue of the Smithsonian in a story titled, “For some jobs, go fly a kite.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sustainable agriculture student brings produce from farm to campus market

A tomato from the grocery store might look just like one that was homegrown and picked fresh from the vine, but when it comes to taste, one Edmonds Community College student said there’s no comparison.

David Prisbrey, Edmonds CC SAgE student
“If you have them straight off the vine and they’re home grown, it’s like an entirely different thing than you’ve ever had,” said David Prisbrey, an Edmonds CC Sustainable Agriculture student.

“They’re just so much better.”

Prisbrey, 32, stood next to a table piled high with colorful produce in the Edmonds CC courtyard.

A variety of heirloom tomatoes were nestled next to bunches of dark green kale and kohlrabi, purple Islander bell peppers, Crookneck and Patty Pan squash, and fresh-cut flowers.

The names of some of the produce sound exotic, but the produce did not come from a faraway land. It was grown and harvested at a local farm.

Prisbrey said he and other students from the college’s Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) program harvest all of the fresh, organic produce from a student-run farm in Woodinville on Wednesdays for market the following day.

Wednesdays are known as “big harvest day,” and the students work from early morning to late evening – digging, picking, washing, and packing the produce.

“It’s eye opening to know exactly what it takes to go from a harvest day to a market day like this,” Prisbrey said, “like how much harvesting and time it takes to get enough goods to have a well-filled out stand.

“It takes a lot of work to fill up a stand like this. Carrots alone, we had 150 pounds of them.”
Edmonds CC Farmers Market is open on Thursdays.

Harvest days begin around 7 a.m. and end around 9 p.m. Prisbrey works alongside other Edmonds CC students in the college’s Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) program to harvest hundreds of pounds of produce at the four-acre SAgE Sammamish Valley Student Farm in Woodinville.

“The SAgE program is a unique program,” Prisbrey said.There’s no other program in the area, in the state really, that is like this.”

The program is a collaboration between three colleges – Edmonds CC, Seattle Central College, and Skagit Valley College – and 21 Acres and Viva Farms, two local nonprofits.

A college grant allows for Prisbrey to be employed part-time as the farm’s production manager and for two other part-time student employees. Through a farm-to-campus initiative and the SAgE program, students participate in hands-on farming and agricultural practices, coursework in sustainable practices, and internships.

For Prisbrey, the program offers a glimpse into what a career in urban farming could be like.

“Edmonds Community College, in particular, has the classes set up in a way that is much more hands on, and there’s a lot more direct classroom interaction time,” he said. “Fruit and vegetable classes run consecutive quarters – fall, winter, spring – and you follow what you’re planting through the seasons.

“You start seeds, and they progressively lead you through planting and harvest and garden planning, and how to rotate things and why that’s important.”

Prisbrey hopes to put all he’s learned into his own farm-to-market business on south Whidbey Island after completing a certificate in Urban Agriculture Systems.

The SAgE Farmers Market is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursdays from June through November in the courtyard of Lynnwood Hall. The last market day this season is Nov. 3.

Pre-purchased farm share boxes are now available. Boxes are packed with seasonal, fresh produce and can be picked up during the Thursday market. For more information, visit sagestudentfarm.weebly.com.

Edmonds Community College is at 20000 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood, WA 98036. For directions to campus, visit edcc.edu/campus.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Edmonds CC student trustee known as an ‘agent of change’

The Edmonds Community College Board of Trustees selected its fourth student trustee, who many on campus see as an agent of change.

Edmonds CC student Lia Andrews, 23, was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve from July through June 2017.

Center for Student Engagement and Leadership Director Wayne Anthony said Andrews is a “change agent with a vision of improving the student experience.”

Anthony mentors student government officers and provides leadership coaching. He said Andrews has impressed him with her ability to see “the big picture” and build relationships with those she works with, and the way she uses those skills to create change.

Andrews’ position on the board will have a direct impact on students, as the student trustee is one of six voting members of the board.

Andrews said the board members are the policy makers for the college, and “implementing a student position reflects a progressive outlook on their part.”

“Having a student on the board can offer much-needed insight into what students are actually thinking and what students are actually wanting and needing from the college,” she said.

For Andrews, the position carries a lot of weight, but ultimately, she said it is a position of service.

“I’ve always approached this kind of work, whether it’s student government or student trustee, with that mindset,” Andrews said.
She comes to the board with previous experience on the college’s student executive board and as an outreach coordinator for the campus environmental sustainability team.

As a student government officer, Andrews became familiar with the board’s work and had a growing interest in the role Edmonds CC plays in the community and the region.

“I have had many opportunities to interact with state and federal government officials and promote civic engagement,” Andrews said.

In early 2016, she attended the 2016 Legislative Academy in Olympia, Wash. as an advocate for student issues, including the cost of tuition and textbooks, and funding for a proposed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics building at Edmonds CC.

Andrews has also done undergraduate research as a student, and later as a volunteer, through the college’s Center for Service Learning.

While working on a plant and wildlife monitoring project, she discovered a passion for environmental science.

Andrews has devoted many hours to the project, which is a collaboration between the Snoqualmie Tribe of Indians and the college’s Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field School.

The tribe would like to build a cultural center on land that was set aside by the city of Snoqualmie. The site is adjacent to a wildlife corridor, and Andrews and her team monitored and recorded the types of plants and wildlife there so the tribe could adhere to its desire to develop the land conscientiously.

Andrews presented her findings in 2015 at a national conference for community college undergraduate research.

She said her approach to finding a major has been to take classes that look interesting to her.

“I started out with myriad interests and narrowed to one based on what I liked the most,” Andrews said.

She also emphasized the importance of being involved in the campus community and student activities.

“It is important, not only as a student, but also to becoming a more well-rounded human being, to get involved, not just in your academics, but also in your college community,” Andrews said. “I’ve found that coming to college and embracing the opportunities that have been presented to me, and also being able to recognize when you have a resource that you can take advantage of has really helped me grow exponentially, like on a logarithmic scale.”

Andrews will complete her Associate in Arts degree in winter 2017. She would like to transfer to the University of Washington and pursue a bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Resource Management.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pokémon Go fans come to campus, build community

Edmonds Community College student Lia Andrews’ face lit up with a smile as she caught a rare Pokémon on July 27 outside of the campus library.
Edmonds CC students Choi Jae and Scott Tan

Andrews wasn’t alone. Richelle Thompson caught a wild Butterfree, too, and held out her phone to show a group of students in the courtyard.

Since the launch of Nintendo’s augmented reality game Pokémon Go on July 6, Edmonds CC students and employees, and community members have been spotted using the free cellphone app to explore the campus and catch virtual creatures, called Pokémon.

“It’s really fun to go out and see people playing the same thing,” Andrews said. “It creates instant solidarity.”

Center for Student Engagement and Leadership Summer Events Coordinator Andrew Prom organized a campus meetup on July 27.

“A lot of people are playing it – college students, young people, old people – everyone is playing it,” Prom said.

“Pokemon is like a game mostly nerds play, but I know friends with social anxiety who would never go out in public to talk to people, but as soon as this game came out, they’ve been all over the place, catching Pokémon, traveling, and talking to people.

“It was really an eye opener, because you’d never think this could get people out and talking.”

Thompson agreed and said the game brings people together and builds a sense of community.

The game uses GPS and cellphone cameras to lead players, or Pokémon trainers, to places where Pokémon could be caught.

Prom said players are lead to spots, or PokéStops, on campus that they might not have been to or noticed before. There are about 10 stops on campus and many nearby. The Lynnwood Ice Center and the Elks Lodge are both stops.

Notable stops on campus include: the Veterans Boots to Books and Beyond Memorial, artist Lorna Jordan’s Reach sculpture, and even shrubs on campus that attract certain Pokémon.

The campus courtyard serves as a PokéGym, where trainers go to battle their Pokémon against others for control of the site.

Scott Tan gathered in the courtyard with other trainers on July 27. He is taking summer classes online and said the game and the meetup drew him onto campus.

“It’s nice for online students, because it gets you out,” Tan said.

The game has been known to drain cellphone batteries, rendering the phones useless for catching Pokémon, but Tan has a solution.

He started carrying a spare charger and even purchased an extra battery so he could continue to play.

Tan said the game blew up fast, and he would continue to play if Nintendo keeps it interesting by adding new features.

Playing alongside Tan on Wednesday was his friend Choi Jae. Jae lives in on-campus housing and was quickly heading back to his apartment to recharge his phone when it ran out of battery.

While his phone was temporarily dead, Jae said the Pokémon hype “won’t ever die off.”

Want to catch your own Butterfree Pokémon at Edmonds CC? Head to campus at 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, WA.

After you catch’em all, remember to refuel with a stop at Triton Espresso in Mukilteo Hall or Mountlake Terrace Hall for Pokémon-themed drinks like a Zapados, Articuno Mocha, Electabuzz Latte, or a Pikachu Italian soda.

Edmonds CC to launch The Facility, a makerspace for the community

Edmonds CC will launch the Rapid Proto Lab on Aug. 15.
Edmonds Community College embraces the maker and Do It Yourself movements with its official launch of The Facility, a DIY space for the community.

The Facility will host a free launch event from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, to debut the Rapid Proto Lab, which offers DIY access to laser cutters, 3D printers, 3D scanners, and a CNC router.

“There’s a lot of money invested in this building, and it’s a really great set of equipment,” said David Voetmann, designer of The Facility.

The event will include a tour of the 11,000-square-foot space that houses over $1 million in state-of-the-art high-end technical equipment used in the production of composites, aerospace, and consumer products.

There will be equipment demos, hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to connect with other makers –  artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators, hobbyists, side-giggers, tinkerers, and world changers.

“The college’s mandate is two-fold,” Voetmann said, “We’re custodians of public resources, so our job is to promote those resources and the utilization of those resources as efficiently as we possibly can, which means making them available to more people.”

The Facility is housed in Monroe Hall, Edmonds CC’s on campus training center for students in the college’s Engineering Technology programs. The building will continue to serve, first and foremost, as a learning environment for students, and second, as a makerspace.

“Edmonds CC really introduced me to the idea that this could be a gym for people who make things,” Voetmann said. “The reason I go to the gym is because I don’t want 10 ellipticals in my garage, right?

“The reason I come here is because I don’t want $1 million of equipment in my garage, so it’s very much the same concept.”

As a maker himself, Voetmann said The Facility offers access to equipment that is not affordable for most individuals to own.

The goal of The Facility is to be a place where individuals, or makers, can turn thoughts into things. Makers will learn how to convert pen and paper ideas into 3D concepts using modeling software, and complete two-hour introductory classes on how to safely operate the equipment.

Voetmann said it’s a place for entrepreneurs to take the next step and rapidly prototype and refine a concept.

If you don’t have an idea yet, Voetmann said that’s even better. Come in with a problem and work to create a solution. Become a maker.

“The future belongs to makers,” Voetmann said.

If you’d like to attend The Facility launch, RSVP by Aug. 8 to http://bit.ly/2asWtnf. The Facility is at Edmonds Community College, Monroe Hall, 6606 196th St. SW, Lynnwood, WA.