Bee Campus Talk and Tour

Biology Professor Steven Clark shows staff a bee he caught in the wildflower garden.

Thanks to Clark’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) for organizing a Bee Campus Talk and Tour with Steven Clark, biology professor and Bee Campus project manager on June 5.

The Teaching and Learning Center sent this invitation to faculty and staff: “We are buzzing with excitement to invite Biology professor and Bee Campus project manager Steven Clark back to spread the good news about Clark’s status as a Bee Campus. Want to learn more about what that means and how to get involved? Want to know how Clark students have participated in this very cool work? Want to learn fun things about bees and go for a stroll in a beautiful garden? Me, too! We will see you there.”

First, faculty and staff gathered in PUB 161 to learn so many interesting bee facts from Steven Clark. When Professor Clark asked people how many types of native bees live in North America, the lowest guess was 3. The highest was 300. What’s your answer?

Q: How many types of native bees live in North America?

A) 3
B) 80
C) 300
D) More

Professor Clark shared the answer: More than 600!

After sharing bee facts, bee habitat, bee life cycles, and much more about bees, Professor Clark led the group across Fort Vancouver Way to the bee garden outside the T Building. Clark’s campus has several bee gardens, thanks to Professor Clark’s leadership.

He caught a few types of bees and other pollinators in jars so that participants could get an up-to-close look. It was an amazing opportunity to learn more about bees and see our gardens of lovely wildflowers.

Clark students have contributed to our Bee Campus by performing bee surveys, building mason bee houses, creating information signs, and more. There are now interpretive signs at the bee gardens explaining and sharing of fun facts about bees.

If you haven’t seen the campus bee gardens yet, make time to do so. It’s best to visit on a warm day when it’s not raining. Professor Clark explained that when it’s cold and rainy, bees go dormant awaiting warmer temperatures.

Learn more

Bee Campus:

Professional development opportunities: employee training and development calendar.

Secretary of State Hobbs visits Clark’s campus

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs made two stops at Clark’s campus on June 4.

Veterans Center of Excellence

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs visited Clark’s Veterans Center of Excellence on June 4.

The secretary, who is an Army veteran and is an active lieutenant colonel with the Washington Army National Guard, first stopped in Clark’s Veterans Center of Excellence. Secretary Hobbs met VCOE staff and current student veterans, who had gathered for a barbecue to celebrate graduating student veterans. Secretary Hobbs shared his story about his working-class roots, military service, and his work as secretary of state.

He learned the value of hard work and education, but there was no money for college, so at age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel with the Washington Army National Guard. He served in Kosovo and Iraq and was mobilized to command 750 service members during Washington’s COVID-19 response. As state senator, he worked with service members to develop legislation ranging from help in education, finding good family-wage jobs, and protecting veterans’ rights.

With help from the G.I. Bill, he was able to pay for college. He received an associate degree from Everett Community College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science and public administration, respectively, from the University of Washington.

He is the first person of color to serve as secretary of state in Washington and only the second in state history who was born in Washington.

Donna Larson, associate director of the VCOE, said, “We were thrilled that Secretary Hobbs took time to visit our students. Being a veteran, he was able to connect with our students and offer insights into transitioning in public service.”

ASCC Leadership

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs met with ASCC leaders on June 4.

Next, Hobbs sat down with ASCC student leaders to talk about what the Secretary of State does, the myriad services his office provides, the responsibility of being an elected official, the important role of youth voting, and about ensuring Washington’s election security.

A Running Start student who is 18 said she will be voting in her first presidential election in November.

Director of Student Life Sarah Gruhler, who had arranged the secretary’s visit, said, “The visit was a great opportunity for students to learn about the role of the Secretary of State. We really appreciated him encouraging students to vote.”

Learn more here:

Art Student Annual 2024

Dozens gathered at Archer Gallery for the opening reception of the Art Student Annual exhibit on June 4.

Archer Gallery was packed, animated, and noisy as dozens of student artists stood in front of their creations and talked to art appreciators about their work. The opening reception and awards ceremony for the Art Student Annual exhibition of Clark College art students drew students, faculty, staff, family members and the community on June 4.

This annual juried exhibit features Clark College art students’ work created in the past year chosen by their Clark College art professors. The strength and breadth of this artwork reflect the hard work, dedication, and unique voices of Clark students.

“This year’s exhibit received 100 more submissions and features almost twice the pieces compared to last year’s exhibit,” said Archer Gallery Director Kendra Larson. Students created their work in the past year. Their art professors curated the work.

Grant Hottle, art professor and head of the art department, said, “I’m absolutely stunned by the level of craft, emotion, passion, and sheer creativity on display this year. We have a superb group of student artists who are producing work at an exceptional level and their hard work and energy is palpable in Archer Gallery.”

“Clark art students contributed some stunning artwork to this year’s exhibit,” said Larson, “The creativity and craftsmanship was top notch. The opening reception was a great way to celebrate all their hard work this year.”

2024 Art Student Annual by the Numbers:

  • 250 submissions
  • 122 pieces chosen for the exhibit
  • 69 student artists included
  • 17 awards
  • 15 sponsors

2024 Awards

  • Best Painting: Hana Lowenthal
  • Second in Painting: Casey Maomay
  • Third in Painting: Lindsey Bross
  • Best Drawing: Maddy Bisila
  • Second in Drawing: Yuliia Umanets
  • Third in Drawing: Ally Rounds
  • Best Ceramics: Raina Perkins
  • Second in Ceramics: Mara Schwenneker
  • Best in Printmaking: Lee Weselmann
  • Best Graphic Design: Gretel Schmidt
  • Best Silver Gelatin Print: Raiden Concannon
  • Best Photography: Oliver Romero
  • Second Photography: McKeena Green
  • Third Photography: Olivia Smith
  • Best in Metals: Lindsey LaPore
  • Best in Show: Esmirna Zeledon
  • Most Ambitious: Maddy Bisila

Awards prizes were provided by Gamblin Paint, BarbaMingo Restaurant, Clark College Bookstore, I’ve Been Framed Art Supply, Collage, Georgie’s Ceramics, Blick Art Materials, McClain’s Print Supply, Independent Publishing Resource Center, Blue Moon Photo, Pro Photo, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Contemporary (Ox), and Niche Wine Bar.

Exhibition Schedule:

  • Dates: June 4-14
  • Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday until the closing reception and “Phoenix” unveiling from noon-3 p.m. on June 13.

Learn more at

2024 OSWALD Awards

Clark’s Student Ambassadors receive OSWALD Awards.

Clark College students were recognized for their outstanding achievements during the annual OSWALD Awards on May 30 in Gaiser Student Center. These students were selected because they are Outstanding Students With Academic Leadership and Development Skills (OSWALD).

Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards welcomed the students and their families. She told the students who will graduate in three weeks: “I’m incredibly excited for you. Don’t let anyone minimize your accomplishment. Congratulations!”

To all the award winners she said, “I want you to know how happy I am for you. Know that you are always a part of Clark College. You can wear your Penguin proudly.”

More than 100 awards were bestowed on Clark students in these categories: Academic Award, Outstanding Student Employee Award, Outstanding Student in a Department Award, Outstanding Student in an ASCC Club Award, and Outstanding Student in an ASCC Program Award.

The Penguin Award

Running Start student and ASCC Vice President Elizabeth Swift receives the 2024 Penguin Award from Dr. Edwards.

The final award was the Penguin Award, awarded annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the Clark College community. This award is based on the student’s performance in the following areas: academics, leadership, community, and college service. A committee of staff and students reviews nominations and selects the student for this award.

Penguin Award Nominees

  • Stephanie Crocker
  • Melina Doan
  • Ziyad El Amrani
  • Sienna Hahn
  • Emily Subroto

Penguin Award Winner

  • Elizabeth Swift, ASCC Vice President

Academic Award

  • Jasmina Camacena, Communication Studies
  • Pamela Crawford, Communication Studies
  • Dorji Damdul, Communication Studies
  • Joshua DeWees, Communication Studies
  • Tysson Dykes, Communication Studies
  • Sidney Exum, Communication Studies
  • Vella Hongel, Communication Studies
  • Avery LeCocq, Communication Studies
  • Carolina Lovato, Communication Studies
  • Emma Mady, Communication Studies
  • Ian McCuen, Communication Studies
  • Cassandra McDaniel, Communication Studies
  • Natalie Perdun, Communication Studies
  • Angeline Stefanyuk, Communication Studies
  • Kimberly Troncoso, Communication Studies
  • Elliott Vazquez, Communication Studies
  • Spencer Venable, Communication Studies
  • Kristina Zubrovych, Communication Studies
  • Cameron Steiger, Communication Studies/College 101
  • Mieta Branch, Early Childhood Education
  • Vanessa Herrera, Early Childhood Education
  • Vash Martinez, Early Childhood Education
  • Brenden Prothe, Physics
  • Paige Cook, Sociology
Joshua DeWees with his supporters at the photo booth.

Outstanding Student Employee Award

  • Anna Bondar, Child and Family Studies
  • Olena Bondar, Child and Family Studies
  • Mia Caggianese, Child and Family Studies
  • Grace Chen, Child and Family Studies
  • Jozi Eller, Child and Family Studies
  • Cindy Ildefonzo, Child and Family Studies
  • Kristen Jensen-Minkler, Child and Family Studies
  • Aspen Mallory, Child and Family Studies
  • Uliana Rudoi-Kostyshyn, Child and Family Studies
  • Ami Teramura, Child and Family Studies
  • Naomi Lauser, Environmental Health & Safety Dept.
  • Cassandra Williams, Environmental Health & Safety Dept.
  • Jessie Donehey, Library
  • Paden Geddings, Library
  • Preston Hagan, Library
  • Daniel Diego Hernandez, Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Mentors
  • Tracy Fung, Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Mentors
  • Leonardo Miguel Gallardo Dextre, Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Mentors
  • Mercy Kariuki, Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Mentors
  • Susanna Sixto, Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Mentors
  • Zachary Pfenning, Transitional Studies
  • LilyAnna Babien, Tutoring Services
  • Caroline Campbell, Tutoring Services
  • Hailey Cassell, Tutoring Services
  • Anna Chaffee, Tutoring Services
  • Jessica Clark, Tutoring Services
  • Gurraj Dhami, Tutoring Services
  • Hana Feldheger, Tutoring Services
  • Eric Holtz, Tutoring Services
  • Grant Hovik, Tutoring Services
  • Kennadi Jones, Tutoring Services
  • Nicholas Le, Tutoring Services
  • Emma Mady, Tutoring Services
  • Michelle Nguyen, Tutoring Services
  • Ambrosia Stringer, Tutoring Services

Outstanding Student in a Department Award

  • Lindsey Bross, Art
  • Tanya English, Early Childhood Education
  • Sarah Timmer, Early Childhood Education
  • Ian Arellano Mendez, Music Department
  • Lana White, Music Department
  • Casey Nichols, Pharmacy Technician
  • Eduardo Ramírez, Spanish Department
  • Rohan Benda, Tutoring Services

Outstanding Student in an ASCC Club Award

  • Colton Coughran, Japanese Club
  • Jessie Mendoza, Japanese Club
  • Sydney Phanthamath, Japanese Club
  • Braedon Pitman, Japanese Club
  • Zoe Rojas, Japanese Club
  • Yaksi Amezcua, Spanish Club
  • Ayden Borgoyne, Spanish Club
  • Justin Cayambe, Spanish Club
  • Nathan Gauna, Spanish Club
  • Carolina Lovato, Spanish Club
  • Eduardo Ramirez, Spanish Club
  • Emily Subroto, Spanish Club
  • Stephanie Wagner, Spanish Club
The Spanish Club gathered in the photo booth for a fun keepsake photo.

Outstanding Student in an ASCC Program Award

  • Justin Cayambe Molina, Activities Programming Board
  • Hanna Colwell, Activities Programming Board
  • Austin Newton, Activities Programming Board
  • Jaelyn Sayler, Activities Programming Board
  • Mia Autumn, Aerospace & Robotics
  • Alex Kari, Aerospace & Robotics
  • Ethan Walter, Aerospace & Robotics
  • Emma Sturm, ASCC Student Government
  • Kathryn Johnston, Model United Nations
  • Chela Donaldson, Orchestra
  • Hana Feldheger, Orchestra
  • DayAn Le, Orchestra
  • Jackie Steidel, Orchestra
  • Ziyad El Amrani, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Michael Harrison, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Mary Harter, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Addison Johnson, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Natalie Perdun, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Nikhil Sahgal, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Fennic Tatum, Phi Theta Kappa
  • Connor Slattery-Piatt, STEM Nerd Girls & Engineering Program
  • Johanna Wagner, STEM Nerd Girls & Engineering Program
  • Madi Beck, Student Ambassadors
  • Kaden Cole, Student Ambassadors
  • Ziyad El Amrani, Student Ambassadors
  • Jude Georgeades-Tambara, Student Ambassadors
  • Mary Harter, Student Ambassadors
  • Tiffany Lounsbury, Student Ambassadors
Award recipient Ziyad El Amrani takes a selfie with Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards at the OSWALD Awards.

Learn more at  OSWALD Awards (

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

2024 Tenure Reception

Left to right: Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards, Bruce Elgort, Heidi Fay, Mackenzie Loyet, and Clark College Trustee Suzanne Donaldson.

Four newly tenured faculty members were honored at the 2024 tenure reception on May 28 in PUB (Penguin Union Building) 161. Clark’s Board of Trustees, President Dr. Karin Edwards, faculty, staff, and families gathered to celebrate the achievement of the recently tenured faculty.

During her welcome message, Dr. Edwards said, “Some have described the tenure process as a three-year professional development plan. It’s an intense process and a journey for all of you. Congratulations on your achievement.”

The following faculty members were honored:

Bruce Elgort, Computer Technology

Left to right: Computer Technology Professor Dr. William Baker, Gayle Elgort, Professor Bruce Elgort, Network Technology Professor Dwight Hughes, Dean of WPTE and STEM Theo Koupelis, and Computer Technology Professor Adam Colman.

Dean of WPTE and STEM Dr. Theo Koupelis presented Professor Bruce Elgort with his certificate.

Feedback from Professor Elgort’s students:

“You can tell he has real passion for the field and for teaching students.”

“He keeps the class engaged and he is very responsive to our needs. He is respectful, providing clear instructions and pathways to success.”

“Bruce connects with each student individually… He remembers every student by name and makes sure to address each one during the lesson. I never feel alone in his classes. He always checks if everyone is keeping up with his speed (which can be challenging at times, to be honest). Rest assured; you won’t fall asleep in his lessons!”

“Throughout my time studying at Clark College, I have not encountered a more engaging teaching style.”

“He is amazing when it comes to technology and people… He continues to help and support many of his students even after they graduate.”

Heidi Fay, Pharmacy Technician

Dean of Business and Health Sciences Dr. Scot Headley with Professor Heidi Fay, Pharmacy Tech.

Dean of Business and Health Sciences Dr. Scot Headley presented Professor Heidi Fay with her certificate.

Dr. Headley said, “Heidi is caring, competent, and committed. She has exceptional technical skills, teaching skills, and administrative skills. She maintains good relationships with our external partners, who provide our students with externships, and later, jobs.”

Feedback from Professor Fay’s students:

“Heidi provides detailed feedback on your work and how you are achieving course outcomes. She answers all questions and makes certain that all her students fully understand before moving on.”

“You can tell that Heidi wants all her students to succeed. She makes certain that her students have a full understanding of the coursework and know about available resources.”

“Heidi made it possible to understand the material well and to practice doing the work in order to be able to make a career.”

Mackenzie Loyet, Biology

Left to right: Mackenzie Loyet with fellow Biology Professor Dr. Catherine Crosby.

Dean of WPTE and STEM Dr. Theo Koupelis presented Mackenzie Loyet with her certificate.

He read comments from her colleagues, including: “Mac is an excellent instructor. She’s positive, well-organized, patient, knowledgeable, communicative, energetic, kind, caring, respectful, and very supportive of her students, who love having her as their Human Anatomy and Physiology professor, as evidenced by the glowing comments on her student evaluations.”

Feedback from Professor Loyet’s students:

“She has amazing knowledge of the content and can seamlessly explain anything you need to know. She teaches in a way that is easy to understand. Easily the best professor I’ve had at Clark.”

“She ensures her students comprehend the complex material. Her knowledge and expertise in the subject matter are evident, allowing her to effectively convey information and answer questions with clarity. What sets Professor Loyet apart is her ability to create

an engaging, enjoyable learning environment. She utilizes various teaching strategies, incorporating interactive activities, visual aids, and real-life examples to enhance understanding and retention. This approach fosters a deeper comprehension of the subject matter and keeps the class motivated and eager to learn. Professor Loyet’s approachability, teaching methods, and commitment to student success make her the best teacher I have encountered during my time at Clark.”

Heather Reynolds, Nursing

Dean of Business and Health Sciences Dr. Scot Headley presented Professor Heather Reynolds with her certificate. Associate Dean of Health Sciences Jennifer Obbard accepted the certificate on Heather’s behalf.

She said, “Heather is an exemplary faculty. She speaks up, has vision, and contributes to the department and students in so many ways that make a difference. She is a leader among faculty in the department who brings ideas that lead with equity and inclusion… Heather’s students express that she creates a safe environment, leans into challenging conversations, and supports students to deepen their learning. Heather conveys passion for teaching and genuine care for students and their success.”

Feedback from Professor Reynolds’ students:

“Professor Reynolds has been the best teacher I have experienced. She is thoughtful, funny, receptive, and shows vulnerability which provides an enriched learning environment. She makes you feel heard. She’s a good one!”

“She inspired and empowered me. I loved the personal, detailed feedback she gave for each assignment. She is thoughtful and kind with her approach.”

Learn more

Read an earlier story about Professor Elgort’s tenure here.

Read an earlier story about the tenure of professors Fay, Loyet, and Reynolds here.

BUILD 2023-24

Jennifer Obbard, Heidi Summers, and Dr. Tina Redd present their project to an audience of their peers.

The fifth class of Clark’s Broadening Understanding, Intercultural Leadership and Development program (BUILD) presented their projects to the college community on May 20 and 23. The BUILD cohort’s graduation was May 24.

BUILD is a nine-month cohort-based program designed to develop intercultural competency and equity in leadership amongst Clark College staff, faculty, and students. The program encourages participants to explore power, privilege, and inequity and their implications through awareness, learning, and practicing social equity.

Our BUILD program challenges faculty and staff to work together for nine months to go through the equitable decision-making process leading to the creation of a thought-provoking project proposal that challenges the status quo and has the capacity to make a difference in the equity work at the college.   

Below are this year’s eight teams of the BUILD Silver Cohort and their projects:

Project: Microaggressions: Recognition & Response

Team: Dr. Tina Redd (Office of Instruction), Jennifer Obbard (Nursing), Brad Avakian (Human Resources), Sudha Frederick (Information Technology Services), Heidi Summers (Transitional, English, Communities & Humanities)  

Description: Create a community of practice around speaking up when microaggressions occur based on a basic assumption and strategies to interrupt.

Project: A Tool for Increasing Access to PPI Training

Team: Mike Arnold (Physical Education), Thao Schmidt (Human Resources), Cole Timpone (Entry Services), Stacie Murdoch (Office of Instruction)

Description: We have created a Microsoft Form survey that can be sent to all Clark employees and will capture helpful scheduling information to help increase inclusion and campus-wide allies.

Project:  Accessibility – Accessible Document-Making Tool

Team: Donna Potts (Nursing), Vanessa Bural (Human Resources), DJ Scates (Student Success Programs), Billie Trimbo (Child & Family Services), Dan Palow (Clark College Foundation)

Description: Using accessible technology is vital to the success of all members of our college community. Equip yourself with this Accessible Document Making Tool to make your communication more accessible for your audience.

Project: Understanding the challenges and triumphs of ESL students at Clark College: A learning, reflecting, and action session for faculty and staff

Team: Rocio Rodriguez (Office of Instruction), Olga Lyubar (Health Information Management), Tyler Frank (Career and Academic Preparation), Emily Meoz (Advising), Justin Stokes (Clark College Foundation)

Description: Staff and faculty are invited to participate in an interactive learning and reflection session about how to better support current and alumni ESL students in Transitional Studies. Hear real student stories and reflections on what successes they had and why, what challenges they faced, and what could have been better.

Project:  Social Justice Canvas Shell

Team: Tre Sandlin (Teaching and Learning Center), Tosha Big Eagle (Workforce Education Services), Cecelia Martin (Planning and Effectiveness)

Description: The project centers on a Canvas Shell meant to help student employees at Clark explore Social Justice issues asynchronously and learn about the various populations of students they’ll support here.

Project: Proposal to implement an I-BEST model for Allied Health (AH) 100 to recruit and retain more English Language Learners in the allied health pathways.

Team: Amy Castellano (Phlebotomy), Alejandra Maciulewicz-Herring (Medical Assisting), Hudson Fox (Disability Support Services) Grace Spadoro (Advising)

Description: Creating a list and canvas page of resources and supports at Clark College. Also creating a list and template of classroom modifications to implement in the classroom.

Project: Using I-Best to Help English Language Learners Succeed in Allied Health Programs

Team: Donna Larson (Veterans Resource Center of Excellence), Angie Bailey (Nursing), Aaron Campbell (Advising), Kelly Eagan (Transitional Studies), Sarah Kuzera (Medical Assisting)

Description:  Proposal to implement an I-BEST model for Allied Health (AH) 100 to recruit and retain more English Language Learners in the allied health pathways.

Project: English Conversation Groups: Connecting ESL Students to Clark College

Team: Karl Bailey (Chemistry), Sara Gallow (English as a Second Language), Lauren Wooten (Economic and Community Development), Lucy Mackintosh (Libraries)

Description: An event that connects instructors and staff from outside the ESL program with students in the ESL program. The purpose is to increase students’ knowledge of the college and to encourage them to continue their education after they complete their CAP classes.

Employees hold up stop signs when they recognize microaggressions.

Learn more:

  • Because BUILD is a leadership and development program, the true value is the inward reflection needed for outward action and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism work.
  • As with most leadership development programs, a foundational component is learning that before one leads others, there is great importance in leading oneself. This means intentional self-reflection to better understand one’s values and beliefs while also doing internal work to expand knowledge and understanding to grow.
  • During the BUILD program, participants complete a series of ODEI antiracist trainings to build knowledge and skills toward equity leadership and intercultural competency. 
  • Upon completion of the program, folx are expected to serve as equity ambassadors in their respective areas to advocate that policies, processes, procedures, decision-making, communications, and services are developed, implemented, and assessed equitably and in ways that center student and employee populations that most often experience inequitable outcomes in learning and workplace environments. 
  • The ODEI team adds graduates to a BUILD Graduates listserv, which allows folx to reach out to these graduates to serve on a committee, workgroup, and so on. The college community, and beyond, continues to have a high interest in growing in intercultural leadership and development.

Apply to join the 2024-2025 BUILD Yellow cohort: View the application here.

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

Disability Luncheon

Dana Quintana and her husband Alberto Quintana at the Disability Luncheon.

Dana Quintana, Clark College student, employee, and disability rights advocate, shared her story with Clark students, faculty, and staff at the Spring Disability Luncheon on May 16 in a presentation titled “Disability Rights: It’s Not All About Ramps and Restrooms.”

The free event is presented each term by Clark’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The purpose of the luncheons is to allow students and employees to hear inspiring stories, connect with faculty, meet new friends, consider different career paths, and identify community resources and potential mentors.

Quintana is a peer mentor in Clark’s Disability Support Services office. Last academic year, she held the same position for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Not so many years ago, Quintana says, “I was healthy. I was running marathons. Lifting weights.”

She had thrived in her nursing career, which was physically demanding. But after running the 2014 Portland Marathon, something changed. Her body was very sore. Months later, the soreness persisted, and she began to have health problems. Over the years, she has been diagnosed with multiple diseases and chronic conditions. Eventually, she retired from nursing due to her health.

For her safety, Quintana gets around in a wheelchair. She demonstrated that she can walk slowly with a cane, but it takes great effort, and she could collapse or faint at any time.

At Clark College, she advocates for people with disabilities, and she encourages them to advocate for themselves.

After retiring from a rewarding career as a nurse administrator in 2015, she embarked on a new journey, pursuing computer science and engineering as a second career, and plans to earn a doctorate in biomedical engineering.

Advice from Dana Quintana

Quintana encouraged students who would benefit from accommodation to contact Disability Support Services.

“You do not need a doctor’s note to receive accommodation. Hear my words: You are worth getting accommodation.”

“Part of advocating for yourself as a handicapped person is you must be forceful. You have to advocate. Do not ask. Tell.”

“The worst thing that can happen is being told ‘No.’ But if you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘No.’”

Clark College Disability and Support Services

Photo: Clark College/Susan Parrish

Black Student and Family Night

Panelists (left to right) Ezekiel Wells, Chishayla Kimmons, Dr. Debi Jenkins, and Chris Smith answered questions about their experiences in college and at Clark.

Clark College graduate, social worker, and restorative justice champion Ezekiel Wells presented an inspiring keynote address at Black Student and Family Night on May 14 in Gaiser Student Center. The event was presented by the college’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Guided Pathways.

The purpose of the free event is to provide opportunities for Black students, and folx of the African diaspora, of all ages, their families, and community to learn about the ways Clark College can be a pathway to college, careers, and beyond. Students and their families learned about Running Start, financial aid, various programs at Clark, and career opportunities. Attendees also learned about available community resources, such as the NAACP and iUrban Teen, among others. A delicious catered dinner of soul food was served. Entertainment for the youngest potential penguins was provided by Nikki Brown Clown.

Dr. Debra (Debi) Jenkins, a tenured professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education/ Psychology and department chair of Early Childhood Education, was an honored presenter. She shared her journey that began as a student at Clark, where she earned an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. She then achieved a bachelor of arts degree and her first master’s degree in Human Development specializing in Developmental and Bicultural Development. Next, she acquired a second master’s degree in Psychology and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration.

She was first hired at Clark as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology, Sociology, and Early Childhood departments. Now she is a tenured professor and chairs the college’s Early Childhood Education department. Dr. Jenkins has been an influential member of Clark College for 32 years and was the first African American woman to receive tenure at Clark College.

The event’s emcee was Kevin Thomas, Director of Workforce Education Services. In attendance were Clark College Board Vice Chair Denise Gideon and Trustee Marilee Scarbrough as well as Clark College President, Dr. Karin Edwards, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Vanessa Neal, and Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Michele Cruse.

Other presentations included:

  • Professor Earl Frederick (a.k.a. “Chef Earl”) represented the college’s culinary programs. He shared his own story, the grandson of Black sharecroppers whose education ended in fifth grade. He applied for 150 scholarships and told the students: “Don’t think you can’t get scholarships. Apply for every scholarship you can.”
  • Gaby Posteuca, an admissions recruiter, discussed Clark College programs and told the high school students: “Your story matters.”
  • Professor Carol Hsu presented an overview of Clark’s engineering specialties and encouraged students to register for Clark’s free Guided Pathways STEM camp June 27-28.
  • Hernan Garzon, a recruiter for the Automotive Technology program, talked about the program’s hands-on learning opportunities, paid internships at local dealership shops, and the 100% employment rate for the program’s graduates.
  • Lisa Barsotti, a recruiter for Allied Health programs, gave an overview of Allied Health programs and said, “We really need more people of color in the health care field. If you want a job in high demand that pays well, go into health care.”
  • Chelsea Perrone explained the various types of financial aid and encouraged students and their parents to complete either a FAFSA or WASFA.
  • Dany Depuy-Grobbel talked about Running Start and invited the students to check out Clark’s new Penguin Early Center (PEC).
  • Panelists professors, alumni, and students: Dr. Debi Jenkins, Chris Smith, Chishayla Kimmons, and Ezekiel Wells answered questions about their experiences in college and at Clark.

Some highlights of the panel discussion:

  • “When we talk about motivation, we consider hopes, wants, and needs. In Black and brown communities, hopes and wants are not something we get to. It was about survival. What would bring me the biggest paycheck?”
  • “My mom always said: ‘They can’t take away your education.’”
  • “My advice to someone who is afraid to speak in class is: Speak up! Be bold.”
Roman Eliezer Gonzalez talked to students about opportunities with Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA).

The event’s success was immediately apparent. A high school student approached Professor Hsu and asked for details about the STEM camp. Professor Hsu offered her a flyer about the camp and then gave her several more to take to her friends.

A woman who has worked in her field for more than 22 years told Vanessa Neal that listening to the speakers had impacted her so deeply that she was inspired to go back to school to learn about STEM fields. She told Neal: “I know a lot of people in the community, and I can’t wait to tell them about tonight and the programs Clark offers. There are many people I work with hoping to finish their education, and I will bring them to Clark.”

Another high school student stepped up to Gaby Posteuca’s table and asked how to apply for Clark College. Posteuca smiled and was happy to oblige.

About Keynoter Ezekiel Wells

Ezekiel Wells responded to adversity by vowing to be the change he wanted to see in the world. First, he got an education. He is a first-generation college graduate who earned an associate degree at Clark College and then a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Washington University. Learn more about his work in restorative justice here.  

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

Women in STEM Tea

Mechanical engineer Amelia Palmer Hansen demonstrates a tool that measures the temperature at air vents.

Amelia Palmer Hansen, an experienced mechanical engineer, sat at a table with five female Clark College students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

Palmer Hansen described her work inspecting building projects seeking LEED certification. “My job is super interesting, and it pays well.”

She also spoke about the difficulty of engineering courses. “It’s hard to go to school to be an engineer, but it will open so many doors for you. I feel very fortunate to have my engineering degree.”

Palmer Hansen was among five women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers who shared their expertise with Clark College women pursuing technical degrees during the Women in STEM Tea on May 15.

Experienced women engineers answer questions posed by engineering students at the Women in STEM Tea.

The event is organized by Professors Tina Barsotti and Carol Hsu. At last year’s event, a panel of Clark alumnae working in STEM fields sat at a table at the front of the room.

Professor Hsu said, “Always looking to improve and create more interactions to help our students network, we decided to try a different format this year: speed networking.”

The speed networking format proved a useful way for Clark College students pursuing STEM careers to mingle and connect with women who paved the way by earning degrees years and even decades earlier. Students formed groups and every 15 minutes, they rotated to another table to converse with other professionals.

Some high school students and women from the community also attended.

Participating STEM professionals were:

  • Lisa Barsotti, Clark College Allied Health programs
  • Melanie Handshaw, ConMet
  • Amelia Palmer Hansen, Glumac
  • Cynthia Stewart-Irvin, H.B. Fuller
  • Susan Wagner-DeBusman, Kaiser Permanente
A group of engineering students listen to Cynthia Stewart-Irvin, a senior scientist with H.B. Fuller.

The advice given and comments made by the professionals included:

“The communication, collaboration, and team-building skills that women have are assets in STEM fields.”

“As a woman studying engineering, don’t beat yourself up if you’re getting B or C grades. I’ve rarely seen men questioning their ability. Be patient with yourselves. It takes a while to get there.”

“Get involved in professional development and networking groups, even as a student.”

“It’s exciting to see young women going into the engineering field because we need innovation.”

“The industry could use more diversity today.”

The format worked. Students interacted with the professionals, who offered advice and answered questions. Connections were made.

STEM at Clark College

In Clark’s STEM programs, students gain hands-on, real-world experience—doing everything from studying microbes to designing rockets to troubleshooting computer networks. With an emphasis on innovation, collaboration, and creative problem-solving, our programs prepare students for a rapidly changing global society.

Learn more

Clark College STEM programs:

Clark’s state-of-the-art STEM Building:

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

Spring Career Connect

Chelsea Jacobson and Mayra Najera of Educational Services District 112 talk to Clark student Yaki and future student Leticia about job opportunities.

Clark students, alumni, community members, and local employers participated in Clark’s Career Connect event geared for students enrolled or interested in programs in the college’s Public Service, Society and Education area of study on May 7 in PUB 161.

Advising Services, Career Services, and Student Success Coaches worked together to staff the event and assist students. These departments partnered with faculty to coordinate timing for the event that would make the most sense for Education student participation.  Faculty also participated in the event as one of the important supportive resources for students in this area of study.

The Career Services team organized the event: Emily Meoz, Trisha Haakonstad, Niira Krupnick, and Alex Kison, with support from student employee Liz Knapp. Kison led logistics.

In 2023, the Career Services team hosted a large-scale Career Fair in Gaiser Student Center that included all the college’s departments and programs. This year, the team is creating smaller events called “Career Connect” focused on only one or two areas of study per event. The first Career Connect in March focused on the Business and Entrepreneurship area of study.

Emily Meoz, director of Advising and Career Services, said, “After hosting two Career Connect events in the last few months, we are optimistic that the format of these smaller scale and more focused area of study events will create tangible opportunities for students and community members to make meaningful career and academic connections. We plan to offer Career Connect events for every area of study at Clark during the 2024-2025 academic year.” 

Connecting with Clark’s services

BASTE Student Dana Bunnell talks with Student Success Coach DJ Scates.

During the Career Connect event, Clark student Dana Bunnell chatted with DJ Scates, one of Clark’s three Student Success Coaches who work with students on time management, study skills, goal setting, and more.

Bunnell graduated from Clark College with an associate degree in early childhood education in June 2023. Now she has nearly completed her first year in Clark’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education (BASTE) program. It’s the next step on her career path to become a teacher.

Like most Clark students, Bunnell has become an expert multitasker who squeezes time for schoolwork between caregiving for family members, household responsibilities, and more. But even an experienced multitasker can learn new practices to make her more productive and her life less stressful. Scates stepped up to help.

Connecting with employers

As students checked in, they were given a list of sample questions that make it easier for students to practice talking with a potential employer about opportunities. Questions include:

  • What qualifications do you typically look for in candidates?
  • What type of college major or degree/certificate is valuable in this industry or typical positions you hire for?
  • Are there professional organizations or connection events/opportunities that you suggest I know about?

Students also received a Career Connect BINGO card that identified specific tasks to complete at the event. These included having a conversation with an employer, learning about a job opportunity, and receiving guidance from an academic advisor.

Then, with questions and BINGO cards in hand, students entered PUB 161, where local employers were ready to talk with students about job opportunities. The following employers participated in Career Connect:

Simone Thomas of iUrban Teen spoke with students about opportunities in early education via its Future Teacher Pathways Fellowship.

  • Vancouver Public Schools talked with students about paraeducators to work with children in a variety of settings, from classroom to playground.
  • Educational Services District 112 spoke with students about job opportunities including special education paraeducators, bus drivers, secretaries, and more.
  • Washington DSHS Behavioral Health Administration talked about 250 positions the agency will hire to work at a new residential treatment center opening in spring 2025 near WSU Vancouver.
  • Educational Opportunities for Children & Families (EOCF) talked to students about positions including Early Head Start teacher assistant, preschool bus driver, preschool teacher assistant, and more.
  • iUrban Teen shared their Future Teachers Pathway Fellowship program with students. This paid work-based learning opportunity for young adults to provide academic support and mentorship to elementary and middle school students is in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation, Vancouver Public Schools, and other local school districts.

Make connections

Advising Services: or (360) 992-2345 or GHL 108
Career Services: or (360) 992-2902 or GHL 108
Student Success Coaches: Schedule a session here

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish