Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Edmonds CC trustee attends White House Community College assembly

Edmonds Community College Board of Trustees member Emily Yim attended the White House Community College Convening on Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.

Yim has served as an Edmonds CC trustee since 2007. She is also the chair-elect for the national Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Board, a nonprofit representing 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the U.S. and beyond.
(from left to right) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Edmonds CC Board of Trustees member Emily Yim, and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House Community College Convening on Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.
The convening featured a retrospective of the Obama Administration’s accomplishments on behalf of community colleges and of the College Promise Campaign’s six-year effort to build broad support to guarantee free community college education to hardworking students across the country.

The campaign is a national, nonpartisan, local, and state-led higher education initiative. Yim said it is a critical and necessary part of a strategy to break down barriers and provide universal access to college education.

“The College Promise Campaign is an important step in ensuring that all students have access to a post-secondary education,” she said. “The reality is we have about 31 percent of Washington high school students who go on to earn postsecondary credentials by the age of 26. However, we are going to need a lot more than a third if we are going to meet the growing economic needs in our region.”

In Washington state, there is a projected 740,000 job openings in the next five years. The majority of those jobs will require a post-secondary education or training.

To Yim, universal access to basic education, which includes the necessity for post-secondary education like certificates, apprenticeships, or two- and four-year degrees, is critical to the economy.

“This is a workforce development strategy and an investment back into our economy,” she said.

Community colleges are uniquely positioned to help close the skills gap by providing affordable post-secondary education to diverse populations.

“What makes community colleges so unique and relevant are the students we serve,” Yim said. “We have the honor of serving returning veterans, single moms, displaced workers, and those struggling with food insecurities and homelessness.

“We serve the young, the young at heart, and everyone in between.”

There are more than 150 College Promise programs across 37 states that offer free tuition in varying degrees through partnerships with industry, philanthropy, local government, and school districts.   

Yim said the current presidential administration has offered support on a national level and shined a spotlight on community colleges, and Second Lady of the U.S., Dr. Jill Biden, has served as “an incredible advocate for the momentum, excitement, and necessity for universal access.”

Biden has been a professor at Northern Virginia Community College since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2009 after her husband, Joe Biden, was elected vice-president and a champion of community colleges.

Yim said regardless of the presidential election, the call to action remains the same: Stay committed to the work.

“If we want to help people earn livable wages, fill and compete for those career jobs, and grow our economy, we need to invest in our students,” Yim said. “We cannot afford to do otherwise.”

ACCT is a major voice of community college trustees to the presidential administration, U.S. Congress, the Departments of Education and Labor, and more.

The Board of Trustees ensures the accountability of Edmonds Community College. Each member must reside within the college's district boundaries. The trustees also serve the statewide system of community and technical colleges responsible for creating opportunities for students across the state on the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.

For more information about the college’s Board of Trustees, visit

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Edmonds CC instructor, poet to read from latest collection, 'Halve,' Nov. 30

Edmonds Community College English instructor and poet Kristina Jipson will read from her latest collection, “Halve,” on Nov. 30 as part of the college’s Convergence Writers Series.
Kristina Jipson, Edmonds CC instructor

The poems in “Halve” explore the chaos of mourning by peeling back the layers of narrative order that would attempt to tame it, exploring the poet’s experience of loss and grief after the death of a loved one.

“I started working on this book the night my brother was killed,” Jipson said, “and that was 14 years ago.”

She said she’s not fond of the word “closure,” but publishing the book “marks one gratifying end of a long, strange process.”

The Convergence Writers Series invites the public to celebrate Jipson’s first full-length collection with a reading and reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the College Cafe in Brier Hall.

Jipson holds a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Her poems have appeared in "American Letters & Commentary," "At Length," "Chicago Review," "Colorado Review," and "DIAGRAM."

She is also the author of two chapbooks: "Lock, Means" (Dancing Girl Press, 2011), and "How Void of Miracles" (Hand Held Editions, 2009).

For more information, visit or email “Halve” is available from Tupelo Press at

The Convergence Writers Series is sponsored by the Arts, Culture and Civic Engagement (ACCE) program at Edmonds Community College.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Edmonds CC Library offers more than books, computers

Check out the Edmonds CC Library's Top 5 facts:

  1. Cell phone dying, and no charger? Don't panic! The library has chargers for Androids and iPhones for you to check out. All you need is a valid EdPass, and you’ll be back to snapping selfies in no time.

  1. Is a laptop on your college wish list? Until you have your own, head to the library to check one out for up to four hours. They’re loaded with Microsoft Suite and other programs you’ll need to ace your assignment. Valid EdPass required. See a librarian for details.

  1. Edmonds CC Librarian Haley Benjamins said librarians are like bulldogs when it comes to unanswered questions, so don’t be shy when faced with a challenging question or project. The college librarians love a challenge, so go ahead … ask them!

  1. Shh. Don’t be the person talking away in the Quiet Study area. There’s a reason for the word “quiet.” And, if quiet isn’t, well, quiet enough, Silent Study rooms are now available on the fourth floor.

  1. The library now has Group Computing Spaces with KVM switches! Excited? You should be. Eight new workstations are equipped with these switches which allow you and your classmates to plug in your laptops and collaborate on one monitor. Presentation planning just got way easier!

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 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 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

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 or To see a complete list of Edmonds CC students who are CSFA certified, go to

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

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