Thursday, December 13, 2012

Steps to Success ~ Ad Astra Per Aspera

Welded sculpture serves as teaching tool and inspirational decor.

Many people go their whole lives without thinking about welding. It might surprise them to know that welding affects an estimated 50 percent of the US gross national product. Without welding, skyscrapers, bridges, cars, rockets and ships would not exist. (Cary, 1998)
Ad Astra Per Aspera means 'a rough road to the stars'

Welding, at its core, is a way of bonding two pieces of metal together. But for Sam Devere, it's much more than that. Having earning an associate degree in welding, as well an associate in arts transfer degree in economics, he's focused on tutoring students in the welding lab, while nurturing his artistic streak.

As president of the Lower Columbia College Welding Club (which he started in January 2011), he was tasked with creating a sculpture for an evolving space in the Student Center. He and the other club members strategized how to visualize the college's brand by incorporating symbols of learning, higher education, and the 'higher and hire', slogan.

The theme of 'steps' emerged, together with 'books'. Sam felt that books as physical objects were dying, and he wanted to memorialize them.

"Ten years from now, kids will wonder what books looked like", he explained.

From left: Tim Rose, Sam Devere, Stephanie Bradford
and Marjorie Ganos in front of 'Ad Astra Per Aspera'. 
Sam and the welding students practiced essential welding skills while creating the sculpture in LCC's welding lab, then painted it with repurposed colored paints left over from previous projects. They named it 'Ad Astra Per Aspera', a Latin phrase meaning 'a rough road leads to the stars'.

"That phrase is engraved on the memorial plaque commemorating the Apollo 1 spacecraft, and has been associated with many historical characters and events," Sam explained.

"It seemed to fit this project because we are all striving towards something bigger."

Sam plans to pursue his bachelor's degree by transferring to a four-year university at some point in the future. The skills he's learned at LCC in the classroom, by working with people, and by pursuing creative endeavors, will serve him well.

"I'm having fun," he says,"and people are cool with it [the sculpture]."

The Steps to Success ~ Ad Astra Per Aspera sculpture is located on the first floor of the Student Center, just inside the West entrance (doors closest to the Quad).

Sam is passionate about what he's doing, while pursuing his dreams. For that, we salute him!

Cary, Howard B. (1998) Modern Welding Technology. 4th Edition. Ohio: Prentice-Hall.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Digital Forensics Certificate Program Begins Winter Quarter

Computers play a prominent role in almost every workplace today to manage financial, and personnel records and communications.

On television and in real life, records and data from electronic communications devices - computers to cell phones - are used to solve questions and crimes. Just like physical evidence at a crime scene, this virtual data must be properly handled to stand up in court.

Lower Columbia College will offer a new certificate program in Digital Forensics starting Winter Quarter 2013 for computer science students, working computing specialists, law enforcement, and security professionals who want to add this specialized training to their resumes.

Businesses, government and non-profit organizations, and law enforcement all need computing specialists trained to handle issues related to these digital activities as they apply to policy, ethics and law.

The four-quarter sequence of courses is designed for individuals with some computer network training or security work experience.

The 18-credit certificate can be used to complete an Associate in Applied Science degree in Information Technology Systems or as a stand-alone certification for those with previous computer network skills.

Students will learn how to:
  • Apply digital legal requirements related to the handling of evidence in an investigation.
  • Demonstrate proper handling of possible evidence related to investigations following identified digital forensic procedures.
  • Demonstrate skills in acquisition, recovery, analysis, and documentation of digital data from digital devices and systems.
Courses will be offered in online and in evening hybrid formats to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

To determine if you qualify to begin the program this winter, based on work experience or college coursework, please contact the LCC Entry Center and ask for Computer Science Instructor David Rosi.

Instructor Bio

John Leech is a senior instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He is currently assigned to the Technical Operations Division/Digital Forensics Branch, where he is the program coordinator for the Mac Forensic Training Program (MFTP) and the co-coordinator for the Mobile Device Investigations Program (MDIP). John was previously employed as a Computer Forensic Senior Professional with Computer Sciences Corporation. In that capacity, he was assigned as an instructor for the Department of Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy (DCITA). At DCITA, John developed and delivered courses for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies engaged in the investigation of high technology crime and intelligence gathering. He has also taught college courses in the areas of Information Technology and forensics.  

Mr. Leech is also a retired law enforcement officer. A veteran police officer with twenty years of service, John spent ten years, as a detective, investigating major crimes. During the course of his career, he acquired more than twenty commendations and letters of appreciation.

John is a Certified Technical Instructor (COMPTIA) who holds many forensic certifications from both government and industry. Mr. Leech also holds a Master's of Science degree in Forensic Studies (IT), a B.S. in Information Technology and an A.A.S. in Interactive Media.

John is a member of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, the Northern Ohio Information Technology Roundtable, InfraGard, the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA), and the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Business Student Defies Odds; Puts 2nd Chance on Fast Track

Following a serious logging accident on Valentine’s Day 2007, doctors told Jeremy Fralick’s parents to plan his funeral. Two weeks later, when he awoke from a coma, they told Jeremy he would never walk or talk again. Life, as he knew it, was over.

But Jeremy recovered from his injuries and wasted no time in taking full advantage of his second chance.

A desire to help others led him to become a volunteer firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Castle Rock Fire Department. He also completed an internship with the Longview Fire Department. In addition, he decided to earn a college degree.

Fortunately, the online Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management at Lower Columbia College is a perfect fit for busy adults.
Online business degree student Jeremy Fralick talks with
Longview City Manager Bob Gregory
at the annual LCC Foundation Scholarship Social.

“It has been a blessing to be part of LCC and a part of the online courses due to my extremely busy schedule,” Fralick said.
 A top student, he received the Baker Lumber Scholarship to help complete his studies in just 18 months and is on track to graduate at the end of Fall quarter.

Students learn the same skills covered in traditional classroom sessions, including accounting, economics, human resources, marketing and other business-related topics. Many of the online courses are offered two or more quarters each year helping students enroll in the classes they need without waiting. Several are also available in an evening hybrid format that includes a once weekly classroom lesson with online work for the remaining assignments.

Business instructor Tim Allwine reports the lion’s share of his students prefer hybrid or online classes. According to his class evaluations, over 60% report working half-time or more and 95% have high speed Internet access at home.

Anyone who has used a Smartphone or made a purchase over the Internet has the computer skills to take his online business courses, Allwine says. “It’s that simple.”

The key to success with online classes is the student’s ability to be self-directed in completing work on time, he notes.To help, Allwine provides assignment deadlines throughout the quarter and makes them clear well in advance.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: Machinist Benjamin Perrigo Gets Hired!

"LCC is a small school with a great vocational program," Benjamin Perrigo, Class of 2012.

Benjamin Perrigo operates equipment in LCC's
Machine Trades lab.
Benjamin Perrigo is a grateful graduate, and excited about his new job at The Leatherman Tool Group in Portland, Oregon, where he's been hired as a Level 2 production machine operator. In his new position he will operate punch presses, grinders and milling machines used to make blades that go into Leatherman tools. 

Benjamin attended LCC on the GI-Bill after serving as petroleum supply specialist in the Army. His job consisted of mechanical work, a field he wanted to continue after leaving the service.

LCC's Machine Trades program was a logical fit. Benjamin wanted to hit the ground running once he obtained his degree, and he'd heard the program gave graduates good preparation for the workforce.

Manufacturing jobs have changed over the last decade, going high tech and requiring workers to have more training and computer skills. It's estimated that within five years as many as 3 million manufacturing jobs will come back to the USA from foreign soil. But they won't be the old-style labor jobs. They'll be high-skill, high-demand positions, the kind that require at least a community college degree.

Which puts LCC's Machine Trades program center stage. Benjamin earned his two-year associate in applied science degree, while learning (and practicing) many of the computer skills that have become necessary in today's manufacturing environment.

"Employers want people who can program, set-up and operate computerized machine tools", Benjamin explained.

Machine Trades instructor Kam Todd continues to enhance the college's reputation for training machinists who, upon graduating, enter the workforce with competitive skills designed to give them an edge.

At the end of Spring quarter Benjamin was voted 'Outstanding Machine Trade Student' for 2012. He also credits LCC for assisting him with his Post-9/11 GI-Bill benefits, without which he would not have been able to reach his educational goals after serving his country.

"I got amazing help from Financial Aid staff. LCC is a Veteran-friendly college" he said!

Learn more about Veterans Services at Lower Columbia College.
Learn more about Machine Trades programs at Lower Columbia College.
Benjamin Perrigo operates computerized machinery
Benjamin Perrigo and a student work in the lab.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: LCC-City U Education Grad 'Going Home' to Teach

As early as 8th grade, Tim Shampoe was inspired by his own teachers to consider a career in education.

Tim Shampoe and son Jaiden visit the City U offices at LCC.

But life intervened. He served in the military, traveled the world, got married and became the father of three sons. Tim was successful at a variety of jobs in sales and volunteered as a motivational speaker for military groups and schools, to steer young people away from addictive behaviors.

Shortly after the family moved to Longview, he lost his job due to the economy. A friend recommended LCC as a college that was very supportive of veterans.

Thanks to a partnership between LCC and City University of Seattle, Tim is realizing his dream of teaching. After finishing his associate degree at LCC, in Fall 2010 he became part of the first cohort to enroll in the new Elementary Education and Teacher Certification program.


Ready for His New Job

Tim completed his CityU coursework this spring and has already found a job teaching fifth grade and coaching the Knowledge Bowl team at the same White Salmon Elementary School he attended as a youngster.
“It’s like going home again!” he said.
The eight-quarter program met locally on Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturdays. Students also completed online assignments and lessons.
“The evening and weekend classes allowed more time for my family, plus I didn’t have to drive a long distance,” Shampoe said.
Classes were taught by area teachers who held master’s degrees.
“The local teachers with expertise in Special Education, Math and History really knew their stuff!” Tim said.
He also praised the staff at Castle Rock Elementary, where he completed student teaching, for helping him succeed.

Students chose either Elementary Education or Special Education and then selected a second area – Elementary Education, Special Education, Mathematics, Reading, or English Language Learners. The second endorsement qualified graduates to teach classes in those subjects through grade 12.

Two Endorsements

“The dual endorsement really increases the marketability of the graduates,” Tim said.
15 of the 17 students who began the program two years ago graduated with other CityU students at a regional ceremony in Seattle on June 16.

Students interested in joining the next CityU cohort in Elementary Education at LCC may contact: Ann Williamson at 360.442.2892, or Paul Denhert at for more information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: 4th grade visit inspires Dakota White

Dakota White smiles, remembering his Barnes Elementary 4th Grade class’s visit to Lower Columbia College.

Dakota White
“The thing I remember most was walking into a Chemistry lab—I think Adam Wolfer was doing the demonstration—and watching potassium burn in water, and thinking it was awesome. That, and playing with the clay in the ceramics lab….”
This year, the Kelso High School junior is a Running Start student at LCC, taking Wolfer’s CHEM 163, third in the General Chemistry sequence for science majors.

The future chemical engineer was also the main event for the Chemistry part of Barnes Day 2012. In Wolfer’s chemistry classroom, Dakota demonstrated a “Briggs-Rauscher Reaction,” combining three chemicals to set off a showy series of color changes, flashing back and forth.
“The first time I saw this, it was so amazing, I thought it had to be PhotoShopped.” (It’s not.)
When Dakota and his own class visited LCC for Barnes Day seven years ago, he was already thinking science was the way to go. The chemistry included in his seventh grade science class encouraged him, and high school chemistry was great too. “I realized that I really enjoyed it, and that I was good at it.”

College was definitely on his horizon.
“I wanted to grow up, go to a 4-year college, get a good job and have a career. As a person, I like to have a plan.”
This year, he took honors classes at KHS, and Chemistry at LCC. Next year, he’ll take Calculus and Organic Chemistry at LCC. Next, he hopes to finish his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington, then add an MBA.

Chemistry is all around us, Dakota points out.
“It’s in our everyday life, right down to washing your dishes; what kind of soap you use. Science is pushing forward and it will keep going and going. In areas like energy, these things have to be found, and people have to find them. We need more people going into science and progressing.”
Dakota is looking forward to working as a chemical engineer.
“It’s very hands-on. You’re always learning and finding new things."
Every spring, fourth-grade students from Barnes Elementary School visit Lower Columbia College to see the campus, meet faculty, and watch demonstrations. They even get to meet the President!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: Noah Smith, future small business owner

Submitted by Amber Lemiere, Program Coordinator, Admissions & Testing

In June of 2011 Noah Smith visited Lower Columbia College for the first time, anxious about the task before him. He'd been turned down for a promotion because he never graduated high school, and he'd kept it a secret from his family and friends for years.
Noah Smith

Weeks later, Noah stood at the testing window again, awaiting the results of his first two tests.

"I was scared to death," he said, "I remember throwing up in the parking lot before I got here."

I thought he was kidding when he warned he would burst into tears if he passed his tests. Noah proved me wrong in an exciting display of emotion and relief. It was a fun twist of events that seldom occurs in testing. He called me around to the window because he "just needed a hug," and proceeded to explain what a big deal this was. He was going to be a dad soon, and he couldn’t believe he was going to be a college student, setting a great example for his future child.

Since my initial encounter with Noah, it's been a joy getting to know him and watch him grow and inspire others.

Heidi Bauer, who taught Noah’s first English course at LCC, explained:

"Noah is one of the most enthusiastic students I've had. He took the lead in the classroom by organizing study groups, initiating class discussions, and even planning a field trip that complimented what they'd been studying in class. He is a student we all kept our eye on as someone who will surely succeed."

After Noah earned his GED, he visited testing on a regular basis. Even though initially we'd had to encourage him to "sit down and breathe," he now walks by and asks us how we're doing. He always makes sure to sit down and visit with us about life, college, goals, family and more.

Noah works in the Transfer Center and helps out in the testing office. Recently we were setting up for GED testing by preparing the classroom and writing on the whiteboard. Noah was wiping down the desks when he stopped to say he can barely look at that board without getting tears in his eyes. He can’t believe how far he's come. He's been on the President’s List for the last two quarters. He's on top of the world!

A year ago, Noah came clean with his family and himself and wrote down his life goals, including earning his GED, enrolling in college, starting a business, and having a healthy baby girl. A month ago, he celebrated his accomplishments by opening the envelope and rejoicing over everything he's accomplished.

Noah plans open his own business, a BBQ joint called "Hickory Hogs," where he wants to hire individuals in the community who have not earned their GED and mentor them (and possibley even fund) the initial steps of their education.

He is an inspiration. Plain and simple!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saving time & money: Lacey Seidl gets ahead with summer classes!

Lacey Seidl, 2011 LCC alum,
West Texas A & M transfer student
Summer classes saves transfer student time and money.

"To be able to come home over the summer and take classes at LCC is a blessing because I am able to be with family and friends while working towards my education.

It is also a lot easier financially to take classes at a community college over the summer than it is to take them at a university!

LCC has allowed me to reach my aspirations more efficiently by allowing me to take classes during the summer."

~ Lacey Seidl, 2011 LCC Grad and West Texas A & M student.

Learn how you can save time and money with summer classes. Don't delay. Registration begins soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: I-BEST Job Training Leads to Great Job for Deaf Student

“I’ve been using all of the skills I learned in my classes at LCC and really enjoy my job." ~ Chris Cayton, LCC graduate

Chris Cayton was a good worker, doing window tinting, and later package handling and training for Federal Express Ground, but he wanted more.

Chris built on his I-BEST Manufacturing
Occupations certificate with Welding and
Machine Trades degrees.
He wanted a college degree (his fiancé has a bachelor’s degree) and a better job so he could support his son. It took the right college—Chris is deaf—and patience, but Chris got everything he was looking for, and more.

Chris lives in Vancouver, but chose LCC because friends told him LCC’s Welding Program was really good, with lots of personal attention from the instructors.

His friends were so right! “I was surprised,” he says. ”I got very nice help from Randy (Byrum), Allan (Evald) and Jim (Coyne). They helped me a lot, showing me how to weld.”

That personal attention was vital for Chris. He can carry on a good conversation, between lip-reading and his cochlear implant, which picks up and processes sounds, transmitting them to his inner ear. However, he needed a sign language interpreter in class, where he couldn’t always see the speaker’s face.

Extra Boost from I-BEST

LCC goes further, though. While Chris had attended the Washington State School for the Deaf and graduated from high school in California, his reading and math skills weren’t quite good enough to be successful.

The Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program provides an extra instructor who attends all certificate classes and helps students with their reading, math and other college skills. I-BEST is available for LCC’s Manufacturing Occupations, Health Occupations, Nursing Assistant, Early Childhood Education, and Business Technology—Administrative Support certificate programs.

LCC helped the state's community and technical colleges pioneer I-BEST, which has received national attention for helping students succeed in their job training programs.

Building on I-BEST Certificate 

Chris started with a one-year certificate in Manufacturing Occupations, and discovered that he really liked welding. “It’s fun, it’s hands-on, and I get to work independently.” He added a year of Welding classes to earn his Associate in Applied Science degree.

He plunged into college life and was especially active in the Welding Club, assisting with the high school welding competition, and helping to build sturdy steel hog pens for the county fairgrounds. A work-study employee, he also helped with various maintenance projects around campus.

When he graduated, the job market was still very poor, so he stayed on at LCC, adding a degree in Machine Trades.

Happy Results

It all paid off late last summer, when Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 290 hired him as an apprentice.

Chris is ecstatic. “I’ve been using all of the skills I learned in my classes at LCC and really enjoy my job. The money and benefits are great, and I’m getting between 50 and 60 hours a week. I couldn’t be happier.”

A special bonus: a baby daughter born in October.

For more information about I-BEST, contact Jill Yates.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: I-TRANS Shaves a Year Off Mandy Pastor's Degree Plan

“With a student like me, there were no boundaries to how far I could go.
All the limits went out the window.”
~ Mandy Pastor

Mandy Pastor shows off the "chocolate chip
cookie" cover on her report on making your
work appealing.
Mandy Pastor is completing her AA Transfer Degree spring quarter—a year earlier than expected, thanks to I-TRANS, which pairs a multi-level English or Math course with another college course that puts students’ growing skills to use.

Starting at LCC the Fall of 2009, she got bad news when she took her placement tests.  

“They told me it would take me four years to get my transfer degree, including my pre-college English and math work.”

I-TRANS students progress at their own rate, getting extra help as they write essays and papers, prepare speeches, or do the specialized math for a science class. Not only do they progress at their own rate, but they can earn college credit before their English or math skills are at college level.
The I-TRANS format was perfect for Mandy, who struggles with ADHD. Going back and forth between the two related subjects helped her to stay interested and concentrate.
“With a student like me, there were no boundaries to how far I could go,” says Mandy. “All the limits went out the window.”

Mandy trimmed off a year in one quarter (Winter of 2010), advancing from English 065 to an A in English 101, while also earning Humanities I credit. She also did well in I-TRANS Math, earning MATH 099 and Physical Science 109 credit.

“I never understood math or science,” she says. In fact, it was her third try at Math 099. “When they put those two subjects together like that, something clicked! For the first time in my  life, I was enjoying and excelling in both subjects.”

Mandy graduates this spring, and will march in Commencement June 15 with several friends—and her own rooting section. Friends are another benefit of I-TRANS. Since students are taking two classes together, they grow close.

Next comes a teaching degree. She’s been accepted at her dream college, Mississippi State University (MSU), a couple hours from where she grew up. “They would never have accepted me if I had applied right out of high school.”

Mandy wants to teach junior high school. “That’s when I really fell through the cracks.”

For more information about I-TRANS, contact Jill Yates.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Business-Education Partnership Roundtable

Ensuring a highly-skilled workforce takes commitment from many players—leaders in the public and private sectors, the education community, and the workforce development system, as well as workplace learning professionals. ~ American Society for Training & Development.

Help Cowlitz/Wakhkiakum Counties prepare to fill this workforce gap by attending the:

Second Biennial Business-Education Partnership Roundtable
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
7:30 - 10 am
Cowlitz PUD Auditorium

Space is limited! Reserve your seat online
or call 360.442.2610.

Alla Saverchenko loves her ceramics classes!

"Trudy Woods is the best! It's so easy to learn from her, and she makes it fun!" ~ Alla Saverchenko. 

Alla also enjoys cake decorating--fancy cupcakes are a specialty, and would love to have a "fairy tale bakery" someday. Alla has several businesses in mind, but wants to prepare herself well first.

The full-time Running Start student finished her high school dual credit work last year, and is working on her Business transfer degree. The youngest of nine children in a Russian immigrant family (and the only one born here), Alla relishes the flexibility, independence and personal responsibility of college.

Note: Trudy Woods teaches ceramics classes at Lower Columbia College.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: James McBride discovers new self-confidence and purpose in life

"When I started at Lower Columbia College, my two boys and I were homeless." ~ James McBride

In June 2011 James became the first in his family to graduate from college and earn a degree. He and his two sons now live in a two bedroom apartment of their own, and the boys continue to thrive thanks to LCC's Head Start program.

James McBride and his two sons.
James served in the U.S. Army under Operation Desert Storm, then made several tries at college. In 2009 he and his boys were homeless, living in his parents' home, when he received a postcard saying the boys qualified for Head Start.

That was the first step.

"Head Start allowed me to grow as an individual and learn leadership skills I never dreamed I could learn."

Through James' involvement he was elected to the LCC Head Start Policy Council board all three years that his children attended. He was elected to the Executive Committee first as the Vice President, and then as the Head Start State Representative to the Washington State Head Start Association, where he advocated for children and families.

"Through the LCC Head Start program I have gained a passion for advocacy. I advocate for children and families not only in Washington State, but nationally as well."

In 2010 James was awarded Head Start's National Father of the Year, and in 2011 he graduated from Lower Columbia College with an associate degree in Automotive Technology.

"I have gained so much from attending Lower Columbia College. I have regained independence for myself and my family, and I have a new-found confidence that I can accomplish anything I set my mind and my heart too. I am proud to call myself an LCC Alumni and look forward to giving back to the college that has given me so very much."

In January 2102 James was nominated for the Transforming Lives Award by the Trustee Association of Washington Community And Technical Colleges. Here's James' story of determination and success in his own words.

LCC is very proud to have played a part in James' new-found independence, self esteem and hope for the future.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: Travis Colby Takes Off, Helping Boeing Build Its New Planes

"I would like to thank you for your interest in me, and my family's future, in my new career," ~ Travis Colby, Welding and Machine Shop graduate

Travis Colby demonstrates some of the new CNC
Machine Equipment in LCC's Machine Shop
Travis Colby is grateful, and excited about his new job at The Boeing Company’s Auburn plant. Starting today (Jan. 6), he makes parts for an eagerly anticipated new plane—a union job that starts at $19.75 per hour.

Boeing Recruiting
Boeing executives visited LCC in October to discuss the company’s training needs with our faculty, and brief students on the aerospace industry and how to use Boeing’s Human Resources website.

Travis attended, and handed his résumé and cover letter to Harris Sullivan, Human Resources Manager for the Fabrication Division, Commercial Airplanes. Sullivan called him from his car on the way back, recommending a couple jobs for which he was qualified. “I have my English 110 instructor, Gary Meyer, to thank for knowledge I put to good use designing my résumé,” says Colby.

Machine Trades Instructor Kam Todd reports that several other LCC students are right behind Colby in the Boeing job queue.

Machine Shop Instructor Kam Todd shows some of the
College's CNC milling equipment to Harris Sullivan, Human
Resources Manager for the Fabrication Division,
Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company.
Lay-Off Proofing
Colby came to LCC after being laid off from his job at a rock crushing plant, hoping that strong credentials would make him less susceptible to layoffs.

He had experience welding, fixing equipment, and moved quickly into LCC’s Welding program. As a part-time student employee, he helped out in the Welding Shop and worked for LCC Campus Services.  “I’d like to thank the LCC Maintenance Crew for the maintenance knowledge they shared with me, and my new supervisor there, Ken Noble, for his strong leadership and down-to-earth attitude toward his employees. I will never forget any of them.”

After finishing his Associate in Applied Arts Degree in Welding, Colby continued at LCC, working toward his degree in Machine Trades. He’ll finish that degree Winter Quarter, with work experience credit for his new job. He held a 3.9 GPA, graduating with highest honors.

"Travis was and will continue to be a good learner," said LCC Welding instructor Randy Byrum. "Boeing hired a fine man."

Grateful Heart
“Randy (Byrum) and Kam (Todd) have the type of character I will always strive to instill in myself,” Colby wrote in a December letter of thanks. “They will always be in my life one way or another.”

Colby also thanked the Financial Aid staff, writing: “I just wanted to thank Betty (Sjoblom), Ronda (Manick), Marisa (Greear), and everyone in the Financial Aid Office for everything you have done for me and my family while I attended LCC. You all have done a wonderful job in a very tough department.

“I will do my best to keep in contact with you and give you reports on how things are going at Boeing.  LCC students are lucky to have such a hard-working and dedicated team pulling for those who want to succeed.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Inspiring Success Story: Sarah Vilardi Finds Her Niche, Organic Chemistry

“I got very excited about chemistry, especially organic. That’s when I switched my major.” ~ Sarah Vilardi, LCC graduate

Sarah Vilardi was training for a career in ballet when an injury sent her looking for a new dream. She found—and followed—it at Lower Columbia College.

Sarah had always liked science. Exploring different fields at LCC, she was an excellent student and became a math, biology and chemistry tutor in the Learning Commons. Thinking she would become an MD, she took every science class she could. “I got very excited about chemistry, especially organic. That’s when I switched my major.”

Taking her tutoring work to the next level, she led Supplemental Instruction sections in chemistry. Sarah was active in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and helped with judging at Science Olympiad events.

Next step: Willamette University
“As I found my niche in chemistry and teaching, I went to Willamette University and said, ‘Hey, this is a great school for me; a great fit.’” Chemistry Instructor Armando Herbelin, her advisor, helped her with her scholarship application, and he and fellow instructor Adam Wolfer both wrote letters of recommendation.

She got that scholarship, and the transfer went great. “My credits from LCC transferred so well! I actually had enough math at LCC that it was feasible for me to get a math minor.” The math is especially valuable to her as a researcher. “I have to commend the LCC Math Department. I took a lot of math from Dawn Draus, and she is incredible.”

Today, Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Willamette University, with a minor in Mathematics, and is working toward a PhD in Chemistry, doing research in at the University of Utah.

“I really enjoyed my undergraduate lab research at Willamette. It was a big leap for me…I received excellent instruction, both at LCC and at Willamette. I know what research is like, and they really prepared me and pushed me toward what I need to be successful in grad school.”
Sarah took every science class she could at LCC, and led
special Supplemental Instruction groups in Chemistry.

Working on her PhD
At Utah, she’s a teaching and research assistant, grading papers, helping in the lab, leading discussion sessions, staffing open office hours, and helping with research projects. She just finished her first semester. After two years, she will have enough credits and have done enough research to receive her master’s degree.

Sarah has already zeroed in on her doctoral research area: organometallic chemistry. She will use linear algebra to predict chemical reactions, saving time and expense in designing the best catalysts.