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Whatcom Community College Foundation Newsletter - May

Post Date:05/30/2018 9:30 am

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Group of people in counseling sessionResponding to a Crisis:
Whatcom Launches Chemical Dependency Professional Certificate and Program

The opioid crisis locally and nationwide has resulted in a shortage of skilled behavioral health professionals to provide counseling and treatment to those in need.

With high demand from local employers for certified Chemical Dependency Professionals (CDP), Whatcom is offering a new Chemical Dependency Professional Associate in Science degree and certificate beginning this fall.  This program is for students who are interested in entering the behavioral health field as CDPs to provide assessment, counseling and treatment to individuals experiencing substance use disorders. These new offerings build on the college’s current 15 credit online CDP Alternative Training Certificate of Proficiency. This “fast track” program provides a pathway for eligible licensed professionals working in the mental health field to obtain a CDP state credential, in order to treat co-occurring clients. WCC has had 20 students complete this training, with an additional 24 set to graduate this June. 

Whatcom is currently accepting applications for fall 2018. Students trained as CPDs may find work at Catholic Community Services, SeaMar Behavioral Health, Lake Whatcom Residential & Treatment Center, Pioneer Human Services and others. Students in the Alternative Training program have come from many local and regional behavioral health employers, including Compass Health. Visit our website for more information about the behavioral health programs at Whatcom.


Governor Inslee helps kick off the Self Learning Commons project

Learning Commons groundbreaking with trustees, benefactors and Governor Inslee
Construction is underway for the Phyllis and Charles Self Learning Commons. Groundbreaking on April 11 (from left): Foundation Board Chair Brenda Karasik, Trustees John Pedlow, Tim Douglas, Rebecca Johnson; Washington State Rep. Luanne Van Werven; Trustee Wendy Bohlke; County Executive Jack Louws, President Kathi Hiyane-Brown, Associated Students of WCC President Lauren Besthoff, Charles and Phyllis Self, Governor Jay Inslee.



WCC staff clearing trailsCommunity Engagement Fellows Build Campus-Community Partnerships

Whatcom Community College's mission is to contribute to the vitality of its communities, and one exciting way we're doing it is through Community Engagement Fellows. This year, over 20 WCC faculty are involved in this program. They are working together to create opportunities for practical and meaningful learning experiences for students that address pressing community issues. 

Whatcom already dedicates many hours to serving the community. Students, faculty and staff contributed more than 50,000 hours in 2017. Community Engagement Fellows is helping grow our numerous partnerships and establish new ones, and helping Whatcom collaborate more closely with our surrounding higher education institutions. The program is co-hosted by Whatcom's Service Learning Office and WWU's Center for Service-Learning. Over 200 community leaders have been involved in the past three years, and the program is recruiting new Fellows for next year. Those interested should contact Kristine Smith.

“Being involved with CE Fellows has afforded me the opportunity to move beyond the academic bubble and get to know more people in my community,” Kaatje Kraft, Geology faculty member, said. “As a result, I feel like I have much more nuanced understanding of the community and region in which I am a resident and educator. I have developed deeper connections and partnerships than I ever would have in the other work I do at my college.”

Learn more about Community Engagement Fellows at


Whatcom students attend the 5th annual Students Leading Change Conference

WCC students at the Students Leading Change conference

WCC students pose with Wash. Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu after she delivers the keynote address at the Students Leading Change conference, May 12. The student-organized conference focuses on social justice, equity and pluralism. Learn more at

WCC students studying

TRIO Upward Bound Partners with Three Local High Schools

High school students in Ferndale, Nooksack and Mt. Baker school districts have additional resources and support from Whatcom. The college’s TRIO grant of $1.3 million from the US Department of Education targets 60 low-income high school students, who would be the first in their family to attend college, and who may need additional resources. 

Fernando Morado, Upward Bound program director, said, “I know a lot of these kids have the potential to be successful at college and have thought about going to college, but it’s such a foreign thing it doesn’t seem real. They don’t know where to start or how to do it. This program will help.” For the 60 students, he added the program will be transformative.

Saturday workshops, tutoring and mentoring, individualized student education planning plus milestone checks are included. During the summer, those in grades 9-11 attend a six-week summer program on the WCC campus. High school seniors attend their own summer program, taking a tuition-free two credit college course to aid their transition to college. Assistance will be given for college course selection, financial aid and college applications.  With campus visits and cultural events, Upward Bound will focus on helping students learn what a college experience is like, what they might envision doing for a living, and what type of education they plan to pursue. Students who attend post-secondary options also break a cycle that impacts future generations, as students whose parents attend college are more likely to pursue college themselves. Learn more about Upward Bound here.



Sam BarrowMeet One of Our 230+ Scholarship Recipients 

Samuel Barrow, a Dean’s List student, plans to pursue a degree in biochemical engineering, a major to satisfy his desire to contribute to society while utilizing his strengths in math and science. His strong work ethic and desire to give back are inspired by his mother, who was diagnosed with a brain disease when Samuel was still in high school.

“For my entire life prior to this, both my parents were in good health, had solid jobs, and were financially well off. With my mom now unable to work, drive, cook or do chores around the house, these things became largely my responsibility. It taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned: true happiness comes from selflessness and the act of serving others.”  While school, work, and family take most of Samuel’s time now, he also participates in a church youth group and plays volleyball. He is past President of Whatcom’s Engineering Club that designed the 50th anniversary time capsule project.

He was awarded the Judy and Joe Coons annual scholarship.  They said, “Since we started giving scholarships at WCC, we’ve met students like Samuel, pursuing careers that are essential, creative, or simply hopeful. All had great common denominators: a desire to learn and a real commitment to their education. Seeing them succeed has been thrilling!”  

Samuel also received a SEECRS scholarship. SEECRS, or STEM Excellence through Engagement in Collaboration, Research, and Scholarship grants are funded by the National Science Foundation.  We have 36 talented low-income students who are recipients of these scholarships, which employ strategies to successfully complete their STEM work. Our deep appreciation to WCC friends like Judy and Joe Coons for their support of our exceptional students.



Annual report coverGet your copy of the 2017-18 annual report that tells more about Whatcom and the great things happening here? 

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WCC Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Brenda-Lee Karasik, chair; WCC President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown, vice chair; Dr. Ron Kleinknecht, vice chair; John Stewart, secretary/treasurer; Kurt Anderson, immediate past chair; Susan Sandell, at-large;  Troy Wills, Dr. Lynne Masland, Phyllis Self,; Kira Bravo; Anne-Marie Faiola; Mike Langey; Andrew Moquin;; Satpal Singh Sidhu; Robert M. Tull; Bev Jacobs; Josh Summers; Sandra Hughes; Carolyn Simpson Scott; Bob Winters, College leadership representative; John Pedlow, Trustee representative; Sue Cole, executive director for College Advancement; 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; Jonathan Dymond, development officer; Kate Imus, Foundation program specialist; Laura McGowan, communications manager; Brenda Chomiak, assistant graphic designer

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