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Whatcom Community College Foundation Newsletter - September

Worldwide mayors, kneaded dough, grant dollars, saluting humanities

Post Date:09/26/2018 9:30 am

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Sister Cities mayoral summit comes to WCC

Sister Cities eventWhatcom hosted a business luncheon for Bellingham’s seven Sister Cities this month. President Kathi Hiyane-Brown discussed how colleges can work together with business and government to provide job training and skilled workers. The seven sister cities are Tateyama, Japan; Port Stephens, Australia; Vaasa, Finland; Tsetserleg, Mongolia; Nakhodka, Russia; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Cheongju, South Korea. Bellingham has had a 60-year relationship with its first sister city, Tateyama.

Guests from Sister City Tsetserleg, Mongolia (left). 


National Science Foundation (NSF) awards WCC five grants totaling almost $5 million

Five grants totaling almost $5 million from the NSF are focused on improving STEM education and cybersecurity.

Whatcom, home of CyberWatch West (CWW), one of four centers nationwide that provides cybersecurity education training to other colleges and universities, will be the lead in a $3.6 million grant with five fully funded scholarships for student veterans or students with prior bachelor’s degrees who are interested in cybersecurity. A total of six community colleges will participate, with the goal to increase the number of cyber professionals working in federal jobs.

A $232,000 grant will fund improvement of undergraduate STEM education by using 3D printed models and hands-on activities to enhance student learning. This grant asks “if 3D models can help a student in math gain skills they can use in other STEM courses, will they be more likely to succeed in STEM?”

The third grant of $720,000 funds the CyberWatch West Resource Center, led by Corrinne Sande, WCC’s Director for Computer Sciences and Information Systems. This helps position the college for future national center status. CWW supports American colleges to develop or enhance their cybersecurity educational programs and strengthen the cyber workforce. Supplemental funding for CWW of more than $261,000 expands this mission.

Finally, nearly $145,000 for the college’s existing grant program will be used to investigate the most effective ways to teach cybersecurity modules.


Knead(ed) dough from Avenue Bread? Yes!

Throughout the month of October, 25 cents of every loaf of bread sold at all four Avenue Bread locations (Railroad Avenue, Lynden, Fairhaven, James Street) will benefit hungry students at our Orca Food Pantry. Great bread, great cause.


All College Day kicks off new school year

All College Day

Ron and Tomoko Singleton, Accounting faculty, at a faculty workshop (left).

People who work in education love to learn, and WCC is no exception. Every fall, the college takes a full week before students arrive on campus to participate in workshops and learn skills to build student support and success.

On All College Day, faculty and staff come together for updates from the president and her cabinet, welcome from trustee Tim Douglas, intros of 68 new employees (including 12 full-time and 21 adjunct faculty), and announcement of excellence award winners, including classified employee Snezana Buric from the Business Office.

A student panel shared why they chose Whatcom --- for Juan Serrano, it was a Foundation scholarship that allowed him to attend; for Adib Taufek, an international student from Malaysia, a government-funded scholarship sent him here; for Heather Bergeson, it was the opportunity to attend Running Start and choose from a bigger selection of classes; and for Julie Connell, it meant returning to school after farming in Skagit Valley for several years.

Lunch was prepared and sponsored by the college’s Combined Fund Drive team, with donations to Animals as Natural Therapy and other nonprofits in the area, raising over $1,700.

Several workshop by faculty and staff included becoming a better speaker, preventing suicide, exploring WCC’s student success data, deconstructing plagiarism and cheating, and introducing The Equity Project. The day concluded with ice cream and raffle prizes donated by the area’s generous merchants. Learning is ongoing for everyone here!


President’s Circle salutes the humanities

Presidents Circle group

From left: Sandy McIntire, Mamiko McIntire, President Kathi Hiyane-Brown, Bob Tull, Betty Tull, Jeanette Morse, Bob Morse.

STEM gets plenty of attention these days, but where would we be without the creative arts and humanities? The President’s Circle gathering of the college’s most dedicated donors showcased student and faculty art, dance, music, and literature. Guests had a “Have a Blind Date with a Book,” selecting a mystery book, with a few tantalizing clues as to its content. Heritage Bank and Tiger Construction were sponsors for the evening.

Arts and Humanities Division Chair/English faculty member Rhonda Daniels told guests, “The arts and humanities makes us human, and this is an absolute requirement today given our current technological advances and global concerns. Through the humanities, we learn empathy and compassion. This in turn fosters social justice and equity, and we begin to see how people, ourselves included, try to make moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of the world. And when necessary, because of the skills we learn in critical thinking, we are able to challenge the powers that may affect our humanity.”

 Presidents Circle_Bev and Cole Presidentc Circle_Art student

 From left: Bev Jacobs and student Cole Simpson; student Francia Orozco with a sampling of her art.


Meet one of our 230+ scholarship recipients

MannyEmmanuel Valencia, recipient of the Joyce and David Morse Scholarship, is working towards his associate’s degree in mechanical engineering, planning to transfer to the University of Washington. He is an active member of WCC’s Society of Women Engineers, and a math tutor in the Learning Center.

“I come from a humble beginning: my father was an auto body technician, and my mother worked at a café for about a decade,” he said.  “Growing up, I saw many of my friends follow paths that I didn’t want to pursue. When I turned 18. I enlisted in the US Navy for six years, ultimately stationed at NAS Whidbey.  I deployed to the Middle East for over eight months.  After honorably finishing my enlistment, I took another leap of faith and decided to pursue higher education. 

“I did all this as a first generation: first generation sailor, and currently first generation student. My parents or siblings didn’t have the opportunity to attend some prestigious institution, or have the luxury to sit down and absorb the knowledge that the world has to offer --- it’s been an unaccompanied journey, but there are always great people who have supported me. I am very thankful for this great opportunity.”

Aaron Booker, former Foundation board president, explained how Joyce and David Morse’s children and grandchildren honored their philanthropic legacy.

“What if MY generation could step up and our parents could match us? I’m the eldest of ten grandchildren, and our grandparents generously funded college savings accounts for all of us, and deeply believed in the value of education. I reached out to my cousins and siblings and asked each of them if they could come up with $1,000, and ask their parents to match them to fund an endowment in our grandparents’ names. My family got pretty excited about it, and the scholarship came together in just a few weeks.”

Since 2004, 14 students have received Morse scholarships. The endowment will continue into perpetuity, as its earnings fund the awards each year. We are grateful for the far-sighted and generous Morse family.


And more grants to support College initiatives

WCC also received $260,000 in four grants recently to support student success and career preparation. Grants play an important role in helping us build and expand programs. These fill current and future workforce needs, as well as reaching out to at-risk populations.

  • Locally, WECU (Whatcom Educational Credit Union) awarded a $2,500 grant for the college to expand its Scrubs Camp. This camp, coordinated by the Area Health Education Center of Western Washington, housed at Whatcom in partnership with the University of Washington, incudes hands-on and lecture sessions for students to learn about medical careers at no charge, from emergency medicine to phlebotomy.
  • At the state level, a $34,000 grant from the Washington Student Achievement Council helps build WCC and the region’s programs for youth in the foster care system. WCC will lead a consortium of schools serving this at-risk population. It provides financial incentives to foster youth and parents, creates marketing materials to serve current and potential students, and develops a database for tracking student participants so they don’t fall through the cracks.
  • The state Department of Commerce awarded WCC a Skilled Worker Awareness grant of $27,000. This funds a part-time recruiter/student support advisor for the college’s new Chemical Dependency Professional program, responding to community need.
  • I-CATCH, or Innovations in Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare, addresses barriers to quality healthcare training in the region. This nearly $200,000 Health Profession Opportunity grant from the US Department of Health & Human Services, provides healthcare education and training to low-income individuals in Whatcom and northwest Washington counties. The grant also includes funds for direct student costs, such as lab supplies, tuition, textbooks, transportation, and more.


And finally…

  • Prof-Tech Advisory Council Dinner, Thursday, October 18, 6 p.m., Syre Center
  • Donor Appreciation Breakfast, Friday, October 19, 7:30 a.m. Bellingham Golf & Country Club



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

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; 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; Brenda Chomiak, assistant graphic designer; Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator

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