Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Skagit Valley Champions of Diversity in November 2007

Champions of Diversity Awards
Opening the doors to college was an unrealistic dream for many high school students in Skagit, Island & San Juan counties. That is until caring college representatives created a celebration - Champions of Diversity - that now brings hope and thousands of scholarship dollars to young people who thought college was out of their reach! Since 1999, more than 400 high school students have been nominated by school counselors, teachers, and employers in recognition of their contributions to diversity. Each November, nominated 15- to 18-year-olds walk to the stage as over 300 family and friends in the audience hear how the young people have mentored and tutored other students; worked to provide income for their families; volunteered at local hospitals and senior centers; and provided leadership in school diversity clubs and local service clubs.
The excitement builds in the second half of the program – when admissions representatives from all six of Washington’s public universities and Skagit Valley College offer scholarships to eligible seniors. While recognizing diversity achievements, the underlying desire has been to encourage students to go to college. Most of these young people are the first in their family to go to college; in the early years of Champions of Diversity, grade-point-averages were not always high and some students did not meet core requirements. As the number and size of the scholarships has grown, however, high school students’ aspirations have risen – and so have their achievements! In 2007, over $77,000 of scholarships were awarded to 34 seniors. The next Champions of Diversity Awards Ceremony is already planned for November 13, 2008.
Washington State University has been a major contributor to Champions of Diversity for five years. The Coordinator of the WSU Learning Center – Skagit, Island & San Juan is on the planning committee and provides printing and marketing for the event. WSU’s Division of Student Affairs, Equity & Diversity offers four seniors a $1500 scholarship along with great WSU sports bags, hats & wool scarves. This prestigious introduction to WSU reaps huge rewards in the Skagit, Island & San Juan counties as students realize dreams of college are really within their grasp!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Full Immersion Spanish at Wenatchee, Washington

The Full Immersion Spanish Institute in Wenatchee, Washington kicked off for their 10th year on the 16th of June. This summer there are 30 participants. We also have the opportunity to have two different instructors from WSU. Adriana Solis-Black from Costa Rica and Marlon Valencia from Columbia. Nan Cuvas returns for her 8th year as an instructor. The student from the most distant location is Monica Acton from Haines, Alaska. We also have several return participants from the Eastmont School District and are happy to have them back to increase their language skills.

Here is a photo of the class, in the hallway of the new Wenatchi Hall at Wenatchee Valley College. The classes are being held in this facility for the first time and participants are enjoying the new diggs! Two of the participants this year are from Wenatchee Valley College and this is where they work so easy to go down the hall to class!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Luke Fidge of Walla Walla receives WSU's Crimson Spirit Award

On Monday, October 15th, Luke Fidge, Senior Media Technician at the WSU Learning Center and a WWCC grad, was awarded the WSU Crimson Spirit Award by Dr. Randy Baldree, the SE District Director for WSU Extension. The Crimson Spirit Award is a special monthly commendation for superior efforts in quality service and outstanding commitment. Dr. Baldree presented the award to Luke on behalf of WSU President, Dr. Elson Floyd. Also there to show their appreciation for Luke’s fine work were Marilyn Galusha, Director of Walla Walla Community College’s Health Sciences Education program, William Storms, Director of WWCC’s Technology Services, Dr. Rebecca Cardell and Anne Mason, WSU Nursing faculty in Walla Walla, and other members of WWCC’s Technology Services team. Dr. Rob McDaniel, Associate Dean of Extension, congratulated Luke via an ITV hook-up to the WSU President’s Office in Olympia.

Thanks to the collaboration between Walla Walla Community College and Washington State University, both institutions together offer the Walla Walla community several pathways to higher education. One of those pathways makes it possible for students to take Certified Nurse Assistant training and an Associate Degree in Nursing at WWCC, and then transfer on to WSU’s Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs in Nursing. To date, 27 local students have received their Bachelor’s in Nursing degrees through this program and 7 have completed a Masters in Nursing.

WSU nursing classes are offered via interactive videoconferencing technology here on Walla Walla Community College’s campus. For the last three years, Luke Fidge has been responsible for making sure that close to 40 hours per week of WSU courses are received and broadcast in optimum conditions. To achieve this, Luke works closely with WSU media staff throughout the state, with Walla Walla Community College’s technical personnel, with WSU College of Nursing and other WSU faculty, and with the students attending the classes. This summer, Luke assisted WWCC with ITV room designs and installation in both their new Nursing buildings (in Walla Walla and Clarkston), as well as in the new Water Center. Luke has carried out all of these responsibilities with great skill, and has created an atmosphere of respect and trust with those with whom he interacts. The Crimson Spirit Award was given to Luke in recognition of his exceptional performance.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Entrepreneurial Spirit of WSU

Kathleen Weedman – WSU Grad and Local Entrepreneur

It took a lot of people believing in Kathleen Weedman to make her believe in herself. As a student at Lower Columbia College, she took three years to complete a transfer degree as a Business major. Jeff Waybright, an LCC instructor and Kathleen’s advisor at the time, told her that she should look beyond a two-year AA degree in Business and instead focus her sites on a four-year degree. This was when she began visiting the WSU Learning Center in Longview on the LCC campus. Kathleen met with Mary Stender, WSU Vancouver Business Advisor, in the Learning Center and discussed her remaining lower-division requirements. She was working in the LCC Finance office at the time as a workstudy student and enjoyed that aspect of business. Even when the occasional class was frustrating and life was getting in her way, her supervisor in the Finance Dept., Debbie Karjola, told her that quitting wasn’t an option. She owed it to herself to continue.

Kathleen began taking business classes through Washington State University Vancouver on the LCC campus while finishing up her required courses at LCC. The WSU Learning Center had initiated a contract with the WSUV Business Dept. to offer all core business classes via distance technology (WHETS) on the LCC campus. Most of these classes were offered in the evenings, which enabled Kathleen to continue working for LCC during the day. Kathleen had amassed enough credits to apply for the 13 credit petition, so she was allowed to transfer in the maximum number of credits.

Kathleen continued to use the WSU Learning Center as she began to complete the upper-division coursework necessary to earn a TRIPLE major in Business – Accounting, Finance and Accounting Information Systems. She credits her WSU Vancouver instructors in making her believe that she could do anything she set her mind to do. When she began her career at WSU, she was intimidated by the fact that she was one of the older students in many of her classes. Her WSU instructors (most notably Claire Latham, her advisor and occasional instructor) helped her to get over her self-proclaimed hang up. Kathleen said that Claire “really gets behind” all of her students and helps them to succeed, both in school and afterwards. It was Claire and another instructor at WSUV who encouraged her to take some time off after graduation, if she could; to take a break and really find out what she might want to do. It was their belief in her that made her think that this might be possible.

After another three years and her subsequent graduation from WSU Vancouver, Kathleen decided to use the equity that she had accrued in her home to start up her own real estate business entitled Equity Matters. She purchased a couple of homes and spent the next few months doing a complete renovation on one of them, mainly by herself. The transition was a bit of a buffer between her life as a student and life out in the real world because she felt that she was going from one learning environment to another. The experience she gained doing research for her classes at WSUV was invaluable to her as she researched and learned the skills required for her new business. She also learned at school that the key to success was knowing the right questions to ask and the right people to ask them of, and these facts were reiterated during the first years of her business.

Equity Matters has since added property management, income tax preparation and personal finance consulting to its agenda. Kathleen finds great fulfillment in utilizing the skills she learned in school in continuing to build her successful business. She credits her instructors with instilling the confidence in herself to believe that she could actually be her own boss. They recognized that she had the drive, and gave her the hard skills to enable her to realize her dreams.

Monday, March 05, 2007

WSU Learning Centers Celebrate 10 Years

WSU Learning Center coordinators spent an evening aboard the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Traveling from Renton to Woodinville, they enjoyed a delicious dinner and hearty conversation. They were amused by the actors passing through on their way to the Murder Mystery Tour in the adjoining car. After a stop at the Columbia Winery, they made their way back to Renton for some rest before the next day’s meeting.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Skagit Valley College Transfer Students Visit WSU

WSU recruiters often say “If we can get people to campus, they will become a student!” Our recent experience holds great promise of proving that statement correct. The WSU Learning Center – Skagit, Island & San Juan applied for and received a combined Diversity/Recruitment grant to fund a three-day trip to Pullman by several Skagit Valley College transfer students of color. Four members of the SVC “Calling All Colors” club were invited on the trip; Xochil Hernandez, Daniel Andrade, Maria Barragan, and Sam Rivera.

The four ate at several campus dining halls, exercised at the Rec Center, visited and talked with faculty in the degrees of choice of the students - Criminal Justice, Business, and Communications. Tours of campus – of course including ice cream at Ferdinand’s - and long talks with WSU students and staff in the Chicano Latino students organization rounded out the visit. Senior Advisor Kristopher Baier arranged the trip and was their host.

The effect on the students? Each of them wrote a letter of thanks and noted the impact of the trip. Xochil Hernandez wrote: “Before this visit, I thought that I would never think about going to WSU because it is so far away and I thought it would be kind of ugly – hot and without any trees. But after this visit to WSU my mind changed – it is beautiful! I was glad to see Latinos at the college too.” Mary Barragan noted “When I got back, I could not stop talking about Washington State University. Everyone on campus is there to help you and is passionate about WSU. I am convinced WSU is my number one choice!”

Daniel Anrade explained: “This trip definitely was an extraordinary method to answer my questions regarding my education. Thanks to Kristopher Baier and all the great people that I met at the campus, now I certainly have a plan. I now know I will go to WSU after Skagit Valley College.”

In addition to his letter, Daniel, a DJ on the SVC Spanish-language radio station, raved about his experience at WSU on the air, mentioning the support services for Latino students and the passion that faculty and staff have for the university.

The world-class faculty and the passion of the students and staff made a big impact on these high-achieving students. Three days and personal attention helped these west-side students realize the value of Washington State University!


On April 29, 2006, Washington State University’s Collaborative Teacher Education Program (CTEP) held commencement exercises for 25 future teachers. CTEP is a cohort based 2+2 program in partnership with Grays Harbor College that enables local residents of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with K-8 certification.

The class would like to thank those who helped make it a special day: Dr. Ed Brewster, Grays Harbor College, Susan Ball, Christine Sodorff, Gloria Tinder, Washington State University faculty and staff.

Back Row, left to right: Melanie Garrett, Leah Moore, Amber Melville, Christopher Cady, Timothy Webb, Teresa Holt, Derek Rask, James Chase, Tifanie Kelly.

Middle Row, left to right: Pamela Beeler, Stacy Hunt, Shawnie Graham, Drew Homchick, Alicia Blundred, Marci Martin, Danielle Hyde, Rita McManus.

Front Row, left to right: Larena Lake, Mary Heyting, Lyssa Hogarty, Shari Girts, Heather McCleary, Tove Reibel.

Not pictured: Dee Busse, Adria Hay and Elizabeth Barton.

Elizabeth Barton was a member of this class when she passed away on September 21, 2005. She was remembered by her fellow classmates, faculty and staff, by awarding her honorary degree to her son, Drew Homchick, who is also a 2006 graduate.

The Washington State University Learning Center for Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, located on the Grays Harbor College campus, increases opportunities for life-long learning through credit, non-credit, certificate and professional development programs. The Distance Degree Programs are degree completion programs designed primarily for students who have completed the equivalent of the first two years of college. Degrees include: Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, Humanities, Criminal Justice, Business Administration – Management and Operations or Management Information Systems, Human Development, Elementary Education and Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses. For more information please contact the WSU Learning Center at 360.538.4242.

This May four local residents of the Twin Counties will graduate from Washington State University Distance Degree Programs. Graduates are: Chanda Robertson, Bachelor of Arts in Human Development, Tracy Shawa, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Jodi Hodges Bachelor of Arts in Human Development, and Karen Jackson-Wise Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences.