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WCC Awarded over $770,000 in Aerospace and Healthcare Grant Funding

wcc student nursesThe Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) approved grants for healthcare and aerospace training totaling more than $770,000, which will go to expand aerospace and healthcare programs at Whatcom Community College to support workforce needs.

Aerospace - SBCTC’s Aerospace grant

SBCTC awarded WCC $320,000 to fund 40 additional full-time students, expanding capacity for the engineering transfer program. Currently, 86% of WCC’s transferring students attend WWU, located just five miles away. WCC and WWU have a vibrant transfer relationship and the university fully endorses this proposal. Through this expansion project, WCC will serve as the only comprehensive engineering transfer program north of Everett and will offer pathways in aeronautical engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing, plastics and composites, and more.

Healthcare - HEET 11 grants

WCC will lead a new Hospital Employee Education and Training (HEET) grant project as the lead college with a partnership with Highline College. It will continue ongoing projects with Bellingham Technical College and Spokane Falls Community College. WCC’s awarded grants across the three projects totals $477,311.

In partnership with BTC, WCC will expand nursing pathways for incumbent workers and partner with Lake Washington Institute of Technology and WCC to meet industry demand for registered nurses and nursing assistant certified (NAC) employees with enhanced skills. In its third year, this grant will establish new pathways for practical nurses to gain registered nursing licensure; assist other healthcare workers to enroll in nursing programs, NAC, and nursing program prerequisite courses; and continue development and implementation of courses in acute care, behavioral health, and aging populations.

Spokane Falls CC and Whatcom will continue the fast-track 15-credit Chemical Dependency Professional certificate online program by offering two new cohorts of students, over three quarters – Fall 2018 through Spring 2019. The project provides chemical dependency education to established mental health professionals to meet industry demands.

Whatcom Community College Foundation Newsletter - September

Robotics, Rockets and Orca Food Pantry community shopping day

Post Date:08/28/2017 3:50 pm

The Whatcom Community College Foundation Newsletter is sent on a regular basis to keep you current on news and events at Whatcom Community College. We hope you'll join us on campus soon!

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Doesn’t the year really start when school begins? We’re excited to see the campus get busy. New students finding their way through Laidlaw, faculty returning refreshed and recharged, staff connecting services to students…this is why we love what we do. We are so lucky to live in this community that values education. Education is a value we all can embrace.

Meet one of our amazing alums

Marco MoralesMarco Morales Mendez of Mt. Vernon is a first generation college student and alumnus of Whatcom. He gave the commencement address at his Western Washington University graduation, and is headed to the University of Heidelberg in Germany this fall to pursue a masters in American Studies and perhaps a Ph.D.

“I had really good experience with the faculty. Whatcom really prepared me for Western. I was worried that a four-year school would be a lot harder, and in my experience, I didn’t find that to be the case,” said Marco.

Marco didn’t go to college until he was 23. He says he lacked the focus needed for school. After getting sick and being unable to work, he decided to try Whatcom. “I chose Whatcom because it was a challenge,” he said. “I was nervous. My first class at Whatcom was with Charlie Tompkins, an amazing instructor. He got me interested in sociology right from the beginning.”  He also cites exceptional faculty who affected his time here, like Ian Stacy, Reed Kurt, and Jeff Klausman, and staffers Betsy Hasegawa and Laura Singletary as “huge helps outside the classroom.”

Marco plans to become a professor. He advises someone considering Whatcom to “give it a shot! If you never try, you’ll never know how far you could have made it. Education can be a rewarding, fun experience. I see the world a lot differently now.”

Visit Marco’s GoFundMe page to support his studies:

September 16: Food Co-op raises money for Orca Food Pantry

Orca Food PantryLike many college campuses, about one-third of WCC’s students go hungry (and many are also homeless). The Orca Food Pantry provides easy meals and snacks for students who must choose between paying rent or buying groceries.

On September 16, the Community Food Co-op’s three locations will donate 2% of sales that day to the Food Pantry. All month long, customers can round up their grocery order and donate to the Pantry. We collect food from 12 buildings on campus, and as soon as the shelves fill up, they empty. We are grateful to be one of this year’s Coop Community Shopping Day Program recipients. To learn more:

Robotics and chemical analyzers: The community steps up to provide costly learning tools

Alcoa LogoThis summer, WCC received major donations totaling $56,000 from local businesses Alcoa and Chemco.

The Alcoa Foundation, through Alcoa Intalco Works in Ferndale, awarded $25,000 to our expanding engineering program. The one-year grant delivers equipment and materials for pre-engineering classes. This investment includes state-of-the-art robotics and circuit lab kits, laptops for student checkout, a laser cutter to bring projects to life, and more. These will complement the College’s investment in engineering instructional space and 3-D printers, resulting in a multi-purpose lab and maker space.

With these hands-on tools, students can successfully prepare for transfer and tomorrow’s workforce. Within just one year, 150 students are expected to benefit from this significant investment by Alcoa. Engineering is one of the college’s top priorities, as we launch three new engineering transfer options.

Tommaso and Mark

Chemco in Ferndale is a worldwide leader in sustainable wood products, such as fire resistant wood for exterior construction. Chemco responded to our appeal for help in finding an important piece of equipment for our chemistry lab: the high performance liquid chromatography system. This equipment, along with a differential scanning calorimeter, is used to analyze a variety of complex mixtures, from pesticides to vitamins.

Chemco donated more than $31,000 in used equipment to Whatcom. With this in place, our students will be exposed to techniques and methodology they will likely encounter in their professional careers as scientists, engineers, and technicians. It also enables them to do university-level research at Whatcom. More than 160 students each year will benefit.

We are immensely appreciative to Alcoa Intalco and Chemco for their partnership and support for our STEM programs. 

Pictured above is chemistry faculty member Dr. Tommaso Vannelli and instruction classroom support technician Mark Price with the Chemco donation.

Rise of the Rocket Girls

“Rocket Girls” author Nathalia Holt on campus Oct. 5

As one of our 50th anniversary events, we are highlighting STEM in October by hearing firsthand about the women who worked on projects to carry our country into space. Author Nathalia Holt joins us to discuss her book, “Rise of the Rocket Girls” on the Chuckanut Radio Hour October 5 at Heiner Theatre, 6:30 p.m. Details:

Meet one of our 230+ scholarship recipients

Diana PowellDiana Powell (pictured here, at right) received this year’s Anna Rosemary Harris Memorial Chuckanut Writers Conference Scholarship. This scholarship was established in the memory of Anna Rosemary Harris, a gifted young writer and WCC alum. 

After a successful career as a journalist, Diana was laid off in 2002. She struggled to find work in her field, or any work at all. Now she is completing the rigorous pre-requisite course work required to enter the physical therapist assistant program. Pursuing a radically different career path at 49 is challenging, she admits, but the opportunity to build a new, financially sustainable career is invigorating. She is an avid volunteer and has served as a youth mentor, suicide and domestic violence hotline counselor, reading tutor and someone who handles supervised, court-ordered visits. She was selected as one of 25 people nationwide to be mentored by an established author under the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Writer to Writer.

Anna Rosemary Harris’ parents, Tim and Ellen Harris, told us, “A key criteria of the Anna Rosemary Harris Memorial Chuckanut Writers Conference scholarship is to support a student who financially otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend the conference. In helping Diana further her love of and skill in fiction writing, the scholarship is providing the kind of assistance that we envisioned when we created it in honor of Anna. We wish all the best to Diana in her further endeavors in writing and physical therapy!”

As of this writing, about $365,000 has been awarded for student scholarships. More info:

Congressman Rick Larsen holds 2017 Hackathon at WCC Oct. 7-8

Congressional App ChallengeHigh school students with a yen to create apps can join 2nd District Congressman Rick Larsen on campus Oct. 7-8, as he hosts the 2017 Hackathon. This educational event is for students who plan to participate in the Congressional App Challenge. No formal coding skills are required, and WCC staff will teach several coding lessons on both days. Students will be able to work on their apps with a mentor and present them to Rep. Larsen, peers and staff.

The App Challenge encourages high school students to pursue coding and computer science with an intent to bridge the gender, geographic and racial gaps in tech. Winners and prizes will be announced by Congress in early December.

300 high school students will prep for college success with $3.1 million grant

A $3.1 million grant from the Department of Education will help prepare 300 local low-income high school students for college success. WCC is the only awardee of the Upward Bound Trio grant in northwest Washington.

Sixty students each year from Ferndale, Windward, Mt. Baker and Nooksack Valley high schools are eligible to participate if they receive free or reduced price lunches or would be a first generation college student. The grant’s purpose is to encourage students to plan for college and receive the support to make it a reality. The grant runs for five years.

The support includes tutoring, individual education plans, mentoring, milestone checks, plus a six-week summer bridge program, and a tuition-free two credit course for seniors. More information:

Pottery platters and Chautauqua conversations

Pottery Party Chautauqua

We welcomed two lively groups to campus this summer. The first came to a Pottery Party, spending a pleasant afternoon in July at Roe Studio, under the expert tutelage of WCC’s art instructor Rob Beishline. Guests learned pottery basics and each produced a platter to take home.

A few weeks later, we hosted our second annual Chautauqua, a day of four mini-classes taught by some of our most creative and far-thinking faculty (Ben Kohn, right). Join us in the wonderful world of learning; visit

Presidents Circle emblem-colorBeyond the Dewey Decimal: WCC’s library hosts Sept. 15 President’s Circle

The library of card catalogues and hushed voices is evolving. President’s Circle members are invited to join us on Friday, September 15 to learn about the libraries of today and tomorrow, including a student panel on how they interact with libraries. (And yes, you will be able to enjoy light refreshments in the library that evening!) RSVP:

Thanking our faculty and staff partners

WCC volunteers at Vista MS, Ferndale Tour de Whatcom

Pictured above, from left: Marisa Ellis, Mary Vermillion, Cindy Hoskins, Keri Parriera, Mei Luu at Tour de Whatcom; Tour leaders John Pedlow, John Stewart and Chuck Robinson.

A special thanks to faculty and staff who kindly support Foundation activities by donating their time and expertise to make events memorable. For Chautauqua: Bob Winters, English; Heidi Ypma, Division Chair/Math; Tran Phung, Physics; Lee Singleton, Math; Ben Kohn, Humanities; Kaatje Kraft, Geology. For Pottery Party: Rob Beishline, Art. For Magic of Whatcom: Russ Sherif, Math; Laurie Starr, Admin. Asst., Instruction; Heidi Wassan, Coordinator, International Programs; John Fasler, Business; Willy Grimes, Custodian. For Simpson Intercultural Center: Betsy Hasegawa, Dir., Intercultural Affairs/Leadership; Tara Villalba, Program Asst., SIC, Kelly Kester, Dir., International Programs. For Tour de Whatcom: Marisa Ellis, Dir., Communications & Marketing; Keri Parriera and Laine Johnson, WCC retirees; Melissa Talbot, Program Coordinator, Business & Law, Social Sciences; Trish Newbold, Workforce Education Coordinator; Jan Adams, Coop Ed and Internships; Margaret Vlhahos, Counselor, Cindy Hoskins, Admin. Asst., Admin. Services; Mei Luu, Math. For President’s Circle: Howard Fuller, Library Director.

We are building futures together

Your gifts to students, faculty and staff, and college programs inspire us to do more. Dream bigger. Provide opportunity. Invest in our community. Join us! | 360.383.3320 | Visit our website

WCC Foundation Board of Directors

Kurt Anderson, chair; WCC President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown, vice chair; Dr. Brenda-Lee Karasik, vice chair; John Stewart, secretary/treasurer; Troy Wills, immediate past chair; Dr. Lynne Masland, past chair; Phyllis Self, past chair; Victoria Dahlgren, at-large; Kira Bravo, Anne-Marie Faiola, Dr. Ron Kleinknecht, Mike Langey, Andrew Moquin, Susan Sandell, Satpal Singh Sidhu, Robert M. Tull, Bob Winters, College leadership representative; Tim Douglas, Trustee representative; Caite Holman, WCC Foundation director

Advancement Staff

Sue Cole, executive director for college advancement; Marisa Ellis, communications and marketing director; Caite Holman, Foundation director; Stephanie Schmitt, Foundation operations manager; James Zyon, senior graphic designer; Kate Imus, Foundation program specialist; Laura Going, graphic designer; Corrie DenHartog, administrative assistant

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