Friday, April 30, 2010

Advice for students: Treat school like a job

Treat school like a job: Arrive to class early, hand in projects early, do extra credit, type all assignments, and sit front and center of every class for full access to the instructor. — student, Walker Dodson

Energy Management student Walker Dodson and Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Counseling student Melinda Longsine have received the Washington Award for Vocational Excellence.

In better economic times, Walker ran his own custom steel fabrication and glass work business. Then, he made ends meet as an iron worker. But with a young family to support (he has two children ages 3 years and 15 months), he wanted to give himself more options. "I felt pigeonholed as a steel worker and I lacked the skills necessary to be a viable candidate for the jobs that I wanted," he said.

At Edmonds Community College, he's focused on his strengths and updated his skills. He's studied Construction Management and Project Management and is earning an Energy Management degree. "I'm preparing for a career in energy conservation. Studying a field that puts so much emphasis on conservation and sustainability is a perfect match for me. I’ve always been a strong advocate for ecologically sound activities and environmental responsibility," he said.

Next, he'll look for work at a local utility and one day would like to go into business as an energy entrepreneur — advising developers on energy use and indoor air quality for new construction and retro-fit projects.

He's ready to put what he's learned to work and optimistic about his future. “Returning to school was one of the best decisions of my life," he said.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Advice for students: Do what you love

Do what you love, and do it with a strong sense of conviction and pride. If you are taking classes in subjects that you are genuinely interested in, and engage in the community, you will be more likely to succeed.  — student Valerie Topacio
If you think this sounds like good advice, consider how well it has served Valerie. She'll graduate in June with her Associate of Arts degree and just found out that she's a recipient of a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship — a prestigious award given to less than 50 students nationwide. She also recently received a Region 10 Mark of Excellence Award from The Society of Professional Journalists for news writing.

The philosophy "do what you love," brought Valerie to college after working for awhile in the insurance industry. "I was itching to get back in school because I did not feel proactive or fulfilled by just working to live. I felt that getting an education was the only thing that could help foster and develop interests that I was already passionate about, such as writing and publishing," she said.

At Edmonds Community College, Valerie has played on the basketball team, been editor of the student newspaper, and participated in service-learning projects.

"A Foundation scholarship helped me to keep my part-time jobs at school while helping me to focus on studying at school. Without the scholarship, I might have had to work off-campus. But because I was able to keep myself more active and engaged in the Edmonds CC community through classes and jobs at school, it allowed me to focus and succeed during my time at Edmonds," she said.

Valerie recommends Rob Harrill's Feature Writing, Journalism 135 class and Tom Murphy's LEAF School (a series of Human Ecology, Anthropology classes). "Both opened up my world to new opportunities and offered me different perspectives of how I can fuse my passion for writing and the environment together, as well as use journalism as a tool to connect with different environmental organizations around the community," she said.

After attending Edmonds CC's commencement, she's headed to Gonzaga University for her bachelor's degree and to work toward a goal of becoming an environmental journalist. "I would really like to pursue environmental law and politics, and hope to go to law school," she said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another good read for poetry month: The Art of Folding

English instructor Sarah Zale's poetry collection The Art of Folding is out from Plain View Press. The book was inspired by Sarah's travels to Israel and Palestine with the Compassionate Listening Project. She was a 2009 Fellow to the United States Institute of Peace and earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry from Goddard College. Her work also appears in the anthology Come Together, Imagine Peace (Bottom Dog Press), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award 2009 (along with works by fellow English instructors Holly Hughes and Martha Silano). 

Read one of the poems from The Art of Folding here.

She will give a reading with Silano, author of the poetry collections What the Truth Tastes Like and Blue Positive, 7 p.m., April 29 at Northwind Art Gallery in Port Townsend.

Take English Composition, ENGL 101, from Zale this fall.  

Oustanding instructors: Take PE classes from a bodybuilding champ

When we say you'll learn from experts in their fields, we mean it. At Edmonds Community College, our instructors include:

• Ph.D's who love to teach: Patrick Averbeck, mathematics; Susanne Bohmer, sociology; Tracey Miller, biology; Tom Murphy, anthropology; and ESL instructor Marcos Valle to name a few;  

Visual Communications instructor Minh Carrico who worked as an art director for clients including 3M, Atlantic Records, Detour Magazine, Annie Leibovitz, and MTV;

English instructors who are published poets including Holly Hughes, Amanda Laughtland, and Sarah Zale; and

Information Security/Digital Forensics instructor Steve Hailey who developed the CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst (CFSA) certification and teaches for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cyberterrorism Defense Initiative.

There are many outstanding instructors across the college, but one of the most remarkable has to be Physical Education instructor Janet Guenther. A former Ms. Rodeo Washington, Jan has been bodybuilding for more than 25 years and uses the sport to help manage Type 1 diabetes.

She's a reigning champion in natural bodybuilding and has won more than a dozen championships in the past four years, most recently the 2010 Emerald Cup Over 50 Master’s Overall Bodybuilding Champion.

She's taught full-time at the college since 1978 and received the Echelbarger/Sherman Exceptional Faculty Award for outstanding instruction last year. Think she could teach you a thing or two about Sports-Fitness or Women's Body Conditioning? Sign up for one of her classes this summer. 

Do anything for Earth Day? We built a windmill.

Materials Science Technology students completed a windmill project in time to display it at the college's Earth Day Fair. Students designed the windmill, made tooling, and constructed the windmill in 15 weeks. It took some serious teamwork and project management skills to complete the work quickly. 

Students designed the windmill to operate in low wind speed conditions (what's normal on campus). The idea for the basic design comes from an air speed indicator (anemometer) that has been scaled up to create electricity. To allow the windmill to spin freely, the students placed the shaft on a magnetic bearing, so that the moving parts float on a magnetic field. They also designed and built the generator to create electricity from the windmill, allowing the windmill to convert relatively slow spinning speeds into electrical energy.
The windmill blades are made from carbon fiber. Students created the tools to form the blades and then built the blades by placing carbon fiber into a mold and adding resin to bond the fibers together. Each of the composite blades weighs less than two pounds.

The windmill project, with its focus on renewable energy, is part of the college's sustainability initiative. We're
preparing students for green-collar jobs. To find out more about green jobs, get the 2009 Washington State Green Economy Jobs report.

Edmonds Community College's Earth Month celebration continues with events across campus focused on sustainability through May 15.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Five journalism students win regional Mark of Excellence Awards

The Society of Professional Journalists announced the Region 10 Mark of Excellence Award winners for the 2009 calendar year. This year, the contest received more than 3,600 entries.

The honorees were awarded certificates on April 10 during the Region 10 SPJ Spring Conference in Seattle, Wash. First place regional winners will advance to the national round of judging. National winners will be announced in early May and will be honored at the 2010 SPJ National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas.

Award-winners from the staff of Edmonds Community College's student newspaper The Triton Review are:
  • Valerie Topacio, editor-in-chief, who received a first place award in General News Reporting for her story “Freedom of speech or harassment?”;
  • Peter Sessum, immediate past editor-in-chief, who received a first place award for In-depth Reporting for his story “Bad blood: Campus may ban blood donations” and second place in General News Reporting for his story “Part-time faculty gets full-time win.” Peter transferred to the University of Washington this winter;
  • Joel Hameed, who received a first place award in Editorial Cartooning for his cartoon, “American history, not black history,”;
  • Sandra Chansa, who received a first place award in Sports Writing for her story “Sean Higgins uses experience to influence good character,” about our men's basketball coach; and
  • Brett Miller, sports editor, who received a second place award in Sports Writing for the article “Seattle’s prodigal son comes home.”
Take a journalism class at Edmonds Community College and write for The Triton Review.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alum news: Cooking teacher develops devout following

Since The Herald article, "Marysville cooking teacher develops devout followers," doesn't mention the connection, leave it to EdmondsSphere to point out that Le Cordon Blue trained chef Michael Aspen got his start in Edmonds Community College's Culinary Arts program. Michael's become a popular instructor for the city of Marysville's parks and recreation department.

He came to Edmonds after a career in the U.S Navy to pursue an interest in Culinary Arts. At Edmonds he earned an Edmonds Community College Foundation Scholarship and a Washington Award for Vocational Excellence, while completing his Associate of Technical Arts in Culinary Arts. He went on to study pastry arts at Le Cordon Blue in London on a scholarship from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

His next class for parks and rec will be European Pastry-Introduction to Petits, 6-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 27 at the Barn - Jennings Memorial Park, 6915 Armar Road. Cost: $30. He also teaches at Gretchens in Mount Vernon and runs a personal chef service, A Taste of the Good Life.

To find more alumni connections in the community, just head to the college art gallery and check out our new exhibit "La La Land." Artist Timothy Cross, who earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, got his start in art classes at Edmonds Community College. His exhibit shows through June 14.

Another great place to connect with Edmonds Community College alumni is on the college's LinkedIn group.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Read this for poetry month: English instructor's "Postcards to Box 464"

Looking for a good read for poetry month? Try Postcards to Box 464 the latest collection from Edmonds Community College English instructor Amanda Laughtland just out from Bootstrap Productions. Amanda's brother Charlie Laughtland, art director at Wilmer Communications in Edmonds, designed the book. It is illustrated by Jen May.

Amanda is also the adviser for the college's art and literary journal Between the Lines. An Edmonds Community College alumna, she went on to earn her bachelor's in English and then Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, poetry, at the University of Washington in 2004. Her chapbook, I Meant to Say, was published by Overhere Press in 2007. She publishes small books and zines under an imprint called Teeny Tiny, This spring, Amanda is teaching online sections of Intro to College Writing, ENGL 100, and English Composition I (a hybrid class), ENGL& 101 at the college.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Student speaks out: Education is the foundation to everything

"Education is the foundation to everything. It’s empowering. Everybody needs to know it’s available. Education provides opportunities to get out of poverty, gain confidence, and be able to say, 'I’m employable. I’m valuable.'"
— Cynde Hall, Information Security and Digital Forensics student

Cynde will speak on behalf of Edmonds Community College students at the Edmonds Community College Foundation auction 6 p.m., Sat., April 24 in Triton Union 202. The auction is the college’s biggest fundraiser in support of access, success, and excellence for students, faculty, and staff at Edmonds Community College. It helps fund the Foundation's scholarship program.

Cynde, a single mother of five, is passionate about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to attend college. She's earning her degree in order to support her family and inspire her children. After graduation, she plans to look for work in the computer information systems industry and would like to use her computer skills to help other women attain education and economic independence. She plans to volunteer for organizations such as YWCA Pathways for Women and Housing Hope.

At the auction, Cynde will speak from her heart and hopes to inspire the community's strong support of the college. Support student success at the auction. Join us!

Look for these theater students to shine in CWU shows

Congratulations to theater transfer students Janice Fix (The Night of the Iguana, As You Like It, and The Man Who Came to Dinner), Julie Hoang (The Man Who Came to Dinner and Nickel and Dimed) and Chad Oswald (As You Like It and The Man Who Came to Dinner), who all auditioned for and were accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts: Theatre Arts Performance Program at Central Washington University. Brenda Hubbard, CWU’s Performance Head, said they, “were the best prepared of all the folks we saw.” Julie starts in the program this spring. Janice and Chad will begin their studies this fall.

For new theater students at Edmonds Community College, Julie recommends Theatre Production, DRMA 178, her favorite class, "...because I love rehearsing for weeks in preparation for a production. I value being directed and learning what I need to improve on. It's definitely a unique classroom environment. I have a lot of "A-ha!" moments there." and Janice recommends taking Acting: Realism I, DRMA 151. "I realized a lot about my acting style in that class as well as how to make my acting seem more realistic. I truly feel like I made great progress in that class," she said.

Both suggest getting involved with the Theatre Arts Student Organization student club (the club is putting on Alice in Wonderland in June). "Participating in a club or organization on campus really helps make college an even better experience," Janice said.

The next opportunity to see what the drama program at Edmonds Community College is all about is the spring production of The Rocky Horror Show, the stage version of the cult classic. Join us 7:30 p.m., May 13-15 and 20-22, and 2 p.m., May 16 at the Black Box Theatre in Mukilteo Hall. Tickets are $12 general admission, $8 students and seniors. Get tickets!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Facilities director supports food bank volunteers

Edmonds Community College's Associate Director of Facilities Kao Saeteurn is also the owner of Flying Dragon Chinese Cuisine in Shoreline with his wife Ming Choi. When the restaurant has extra food, they cook it and provide lunch to volunteers at food banks in Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood to thank the volunteers for their good work. Kao and Ming were featured in an article, April 1, 2010, "Shoreline restaurateurs pay back past help," in The Herald.