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.

Winter 2024 Classified Staff Excellence Award

Congratulations to Lucy Mackintosh, Library and Archives Paraprofessional, Access Services. Lucy is the recipient of the Winter 2024 Classified Staff Excellence Award.

Excerpts from Lucy’s nomination:

“Lucy is dedicated to making our college a more diverse and inclusive place. She is currently in the B.U.I.L.D. (Broadening Understanding, Intercultural Leadership and Development) program, and she is bringing those ideas into her job as a library technician and student employee supervisor. Lucy leads discussions and reflections on inequality in libraries as part of a training program for our student employees. She also applies these ideas in her everyday work. Lucy advocates for fair policies and decision making in Access Services. Her passion for diversity and inclusion is making a real impact in how we actually do things here.”

“Lucy’s contributions to the college community are most evident in her role as the supervisor of the library’s work study student employees. Lucy exemplifies a level of dedication and compassion that significantly enhances the experience for our students. Her leadership in fostering a positive and inclusive environment for our student employees is truly commendable. Lucy’s exceptional coaching skills shine through as she demonstrates a keen understanding of each student’s unique strengths and challenges. She not only motivates them to perform at their best but also ensures they feel valued and supported in their roles. Lucy’s empathetic approach creates a space where our student employees are comfortable being themselves, fostering a sense of belonging within the college community. She is an invaluable asset to the library and our institution.”

A student employee who is supervised by Lucy wrote: “Lucy is the star of the workplace when it comes to work spirit. Always offering to lend a hand whenever possible, even though inconvenient, and with a smile on her face, Lucy’s consistently positive spirit is inspiring. Always encouraging us student-workers to achieve high proficiency in our tasks by keeping us accountable with training, she still never forgets to be personable. The difference between her and other bosses that I have had is that she has always made me

feel like a human. I’m not just another worker-bee for her, zooming across the library with endless book shelving. I can remember multiple occasions during training where she would take time out of her busy schedule to just check in to see if I had any questions or feelings. She strives in her position of managing all student employees at the Cannell Library because she takes the energy to get to know us as people.”

We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the other nominees:

  • Jami Crawford, IT Customer Support, IT Services
  • Adrianne Langit, IT Customer Service Technician, IT Services
  • Karina Sanchez, Program Specialist 3, Financial Aid
  • DJ Scates, Tenure Support Supervisor, Office of Instruction
  • Jessica Wehrman, Program Specialist 2, Enrollment Services

About the Classified Staff Awards

Established in 2005, the Classified Staff Excellence Award recognizes classified staff who have demonstrated exemplary work performance, a positive and cooperative spirit, special achievements, or contributions to the college community, and supports individual and organizational diversity and inclusion. Through the support of the Clark College Foundation, the recipient will receive a $400 cash award.

Nominees must be a current classified employee who has been in their current position for more than six months. Award recipients will not be eligible for another award for three years. Visit the Clark College Employee Recognition page to learn more about this award and other ways to acknowledge the value and dedication of our staff and faculty.

A history of Classified Award recipients

2023: Manda Levie (winter), Cheryl Davenport (spring), Heather King (summer), Andra Spencer (fall)

2022: Chris Chaffin (winter), Svitlana Havrylyuk (spring), Christopher Layfield (summer), Papel Popov (fall)

2021: Jennifer Shadley (winter), Damon Grady (spring), Jordan De Van (summer), Denise Rotellini (fall)

2020: Jennifer Stone (winter), Silvia Marinova (spring), Connor Cantrell (summer), Pedro Hernandez (fall)

2019: Sarah Seyller (winter), Amanda Brown (spring), Heather Adams (summer), Bryton Williams (fall)

2018: Eben Ayers (winter), Shelly Williams (spring), Sherry Smith (summer), Ian Beckett (fall)

2017: David Sims (winter), Aleksandr Anisimov (spring), Rebecca (Becky) Udwary (summer), Jessica Beach (fall)

2016: Judy Healy (spring), Joanne Emel (summer), Carmen Roman (fall)

2015: Jeri Kemmer (winter), Marianne Luther (spring), Thor Tesdale (summer), Vanessa Meyer (fall)

2014: Janice Taylor (winter), Sally Demos (spring), Derald Richards (summer), Heather White (fall)

2013: Scott Black (winter), Tim Pliska (spring), Gayle Lee (summer), Jessica Bateman (fall)

2012: Audra Rowton (winter), Debra Robinson (spring), Kira Freed (summer), Catherine Keane (fall)

2011: Carey Wolley (winter), Marci Wedemeyer (spring), Debra Hentz (summer), Tonya Potter (fall)

2010: Beverly Brosius (winter), Ian Thomas (spring), Naomi Kay (summer), Scott Coffie (fall)

2009: Denise Rotellina (winter), Glenda Cunningham (spring), Scott Root (summer), Lindsey Walling (fall)

2008: Vicki Presley (winter), Francisco Ramos-Medrano (spring), Susan Muir (summer), Amy Waite (fall)

2007: Susan Harding (winter), Mark Owsley (spring), Samantha Lelo (summer), Paul Caggianese (fall)

2006: Nell Gladson (winter), Joy Horning (spring), Lynn Schinzing (summer), Ann Hansen (fall)

2005: Lucy Shao (fall)

Healthy Penguin Nation

Spring campus photo with people walking under cherry trees

The Healthy Penguin Nation wellness program conducted by human resources and the college well-being team has been awarded the Zo8 Award for 2024 by the Washington State Health Care Authority. The award is given to employers who promote wellness to support employees and their families by sharing resources and conducting wellness initiatives focusing on enhancing health, reducing health and injury risks, and improving overall health and well-being.  

This is the second time Clark College has received the wellness award. The college last won a Zo8 award in 2016.  

Each year, Washington Wellness honors organizations with the Zo8 award for their achievements in building, growing, and maintaining an effective health program. Organizations are invited to apply to highlight their institution’s wellness program and initiatives throughout the year to Washington Wellness.  

Clark College received the Zo8 award by promoting health and well-being through the College’s Healthy Penguin Nation program to the college community through newsletters, events, discounts, presentations, fairs, campus emails, promoting programs such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and SmartHealth, a Washington Wellness program for eligible PEBB (Public Employees Benefits Board) employees, which offers employees an annual $125 wellness incentive.   

About Clark’s Healthy Penguin Nation wellness program

The Healthy Penguin Nation program is a college-wide initiative to create a culture of well-being in support of the state of Washington’s initiative to promote healthy lifestyle practices in the workplace. 

We aim to engage, educate, and empower the Clark College Community in healthy behaviors by developing, implementing, and supporting various wellness activities based on solid research and best practices. As the Wellness Team, we encourage the Clark College Community to thoughtfully consider their relationship to health and prioritize well-being for each other. 

We do this by adhering to a holistic model of well-being that focuses on the whole person—offering a wide range of resources that support employees on their wellness journeys in Eight Dimensions that influence overall well-being. 

Find upcoming Healthy Penguin Nation wellness events: CalendarLearn more here. 

About the Zo8 Award 

Each year, Washington Wellness recognizes organizations with our Zo8 Award for their achievement in building, growing, and sustaining an effective wellness program. A wellness program aims to help employees and their family members be their best through positive behavior changes. These changes focus on enhancing well-being, reducing health and injury risks, and improving overall health. Washington Wellness encourages organizations to use the SmartHealth Workplace Wellness Roadmap. It is an eight-step process based on industry-preferred practices to help build the infrastructure for a sustainable wellness program. The roadmap can help organizations plan for and target key areas for success. The Zo8 award represents the organization’s commitment to its employees’ well-being.  

To learn more about the Zo8 award visit the Washington State Healthcare Authority website

What do Zo8 award winners receive? Washington Wellness celebrates Zo8 award winners during an annual recognition ceremony. Winning organizations receive a physical award, certificates for contributing members, and a logo to use in publications, signature lines, and websites to recognize their achievements.  

About the Zo8 logo  

  • Name Zo: In Greek, it means “live.”  
  • Number 8: The eight steps in our wellness program project plan guide. 
  •  Logo shape: Flower of Life pattern is known to inspire.  
  • Colors: Based on the four elements that support life (air, earth, water, and fire)

Eight Dimensions of Well-being 

chart with colored backgrounds and icons depicting the 8 dimensions of well-being listed.

  1. Physical 
  2. Emotional 
  3. Occupational 
  4. Environmental 
  5. Intellectual 
  6. Spiritual 
  7. Financial 
  8. Social 

Students of Color Luncheon

Chef Earl Frederick has cooked elegant meals for discriminating diners—from a former president to Club Med movers and shakers.  

But the Clark Cuisine instructor’s roots started with humble, downhome cooking. As a boy, he learned to cook alongside his grandmother, Susie Lovely Lewis in her kitchen in small town Ellenville in upstate New York. 

Chef Earl shared his story—and his delicious food—with Clark students, faculty, and staff at the Winter Student of Color Luncheon on February 6. The free event is presented each term by Clark’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Multicultural Student Affairs. It provides opportunities for students to be encouraged by inspiring stories, meet faculty and new friends, consider different career paths, and identify community resources and potential mentors. 

Chef Earl designed the luncheon menu to represent Black History Month—with a nod to his beloved grandmother and her specialties: fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, and red velvet cupcakes. To that, he added some of his favorites, including pork loin and Jambalaya with Cajun sausage.  

The delicious meal was prepared by Clark’s Cuisine students under the watchful eye of Chef Earl, who emphasizes cooking from scratch with no shortcuts. His students smoked pork loin and made Cajun sausage.  

Cooking with grandmother 

While appreciative Clark diners savored the meal, Chef Earl shared family photos and told his story. A child of separated parents, he divided his time between the big city of Yonkers, New York, and small-town Ellenville. Family is important to Chef Earl. His grandmother had 13 siblings, so he was surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins.  

One uncle got him interested in sports, encouraged him to play basketball, and got him to consider college. Another uncle modeled growing your own food and being sustainable.  

Because his father was a preacher, he says he grew up in the church. “I’m a preacher’s kid,” he said. “Church wasn’t just Sunday for me. It was every day—and all day on Sunday.” 

In the church kitchen, he helped his grandmother prepare meals for the congregation.  

He said, “At one point, I realized I was the only boy helping in the kitchen.” 

But he didn’t care. He liked to cook. And he was good at it. 

He shared an old photo of the church choir of his youth. He said, “All of those people never made it past sixth grade. On her deathbed, my grandmother told me to get an education. No one could take it away from me.” 

He did follow his grandmother’s advice to get an education, but his educational journey included bumps in the road and detours. 

Navigating rough patches 

When he was in high school, like many teens, he made some choices that did not please his family, particularly his beloved grandmother. Eventually, he was missing so many credits that he would not be able to graduate with his class. 

He was introduced to the local alternative school and told: “Either you don’t graduate, or you go here.” 

So, he enrolled in Ulster BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Career & Technical Center. One of the selling points was its culinary program.  

“This place saved my life,” Chef Earl said. 

Chef Earl holds a baking and pastry diploma from Oregon Culinary Institute, a certificate in hospitality administration from University of Hawaii at Manoa, an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Warner Pacific University. He also is a certified American Culinary Federation executive chef. 

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University at age 19, his first job was working in the kitchens at Walt Disney World. Throughout his career, Chef Earl has worked in kitchens in Intel, Club Med, and Nike, and taught culinary skills to Job Corps students and The Portland Kitchen, an after-school culinary and job skills program. 

Paying it forward 

Chef Earl has volunteered his expertise to many nonprofits focused on food, including serving on the board of directors for Vancouver Farmers Market.  

In 2017, Chef Earl returned to the alternative school where he entered the pathway to become Chef Earl. He visited the culinary arts classroom, shared his expertise, and led a food preparation demonstration. It was a full-circle experience for him. He advised students to never destroy relationships they could benefit from later. Read about his visit here. 

In 2022 he was named a NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Leadership Fellow through the Association for Career and Technical Education. 

Chef Earl has been teaching Cuisine students at Clark College since 2016. What he enjoys the most about teaching at Clark is “engaging with the students. I also enjoy when they come back and visit and tell me how successful they are!”  

His grandmother would be proud of his achievements. 

Most memorable meal 

Although he has prepared countless delicious meals, one of the most memorable was when he was a chef at Club Med Crested Butte, a ski resort in Colorado.  

“I had the opportunity to cook for former President Jimmy Carter, then with the Carter Foundation. I made Duck à l’Orange, a classic French dish,” he said. “I still remember that day. Jimmy Carter told me it was the best he’d ever tasted!” 

Chef Earl’s words of wisdom 

  • “Food is my life. Bringing people together. Breaking bread together. Community.” 
  • “When I was young, I went through a time when I was getting into trouble. My grandmother said, ‘You represent my name. Don’t put any bad ju-ju out there with my name.’” 
  • “On her deathbed, my grandmother told me to get an education. No one can take that away from you.” 
  • “I’m a preacher’s kid. Church wasn’t just on Sunday for me.” 
  • “There’s nothing you can do about the past, but you can change the future.” 
  • “Never burn bridges because you never know if you need to cross them again.” 
  • “Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.”  

Advice to students 

Building relationships is important. You never know how that person can help you in the future. 

Be persistent. I applied for more than 150 scholarships in the days before the internet. I applied for many scholarships where I thought I wouldn’t have a chance to get it—but I got it because I was the only student who applied. I got 53 scholarships. I applied for this teaching job at Clark College three times before I was hired. Don’t give up. 

Fun Facts about Chef Earl 

  • He writes and performs spoken word poetry 
  • Favorite spoken-word poet: Earl Simmons aka DMX 
  • Favorite dish to make: Jamaican curried oxtail with rice and peas  
  • Favorite food to eat: New York pizza or fresh pasta 
  • Favorite restaurant: Cochon in New Orleans, LA 
  • Go-to comfort food: Cast-iron fried chicken, braised collard greens, rice and cornbread 

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

Author Heather McGhee POSTPONED

NOTE THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER. Check back for more information about a new date and time.

This year Clark College’s annual event honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a presentation by and conversation with Heather McGhee, The New York Times bestselling author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. 

All faculty, staff, and students are invited: The New York Times bestselling author Heather McGhee will be the keynote speaker during Clark College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Gaiser Student Center. The event is presented to the college community by the office of the president and funded by Clark College Foundation. The book is available for purchase at the Clark College Bookstore for $16.50. 

About Heather McGhee

McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. During her career in public policy, she has crafted legislation, testified before Congress, and helped shape presidential campaign platforms including the idea of debt-free college. McGhee holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. She chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.  

About the book The Sum of Us:  


Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the 2008 financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism, but not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy, and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crisis that grips us all. Learn more about McGhee’s book here. 

Media reviews

  • “The book that should change how progressives talk about race.” — The New York Times 
  • “Required reading to move the country forward.” — The Chicago Tribune 

The book’s Clark College connection:  

McGhee’s book tells the story of Clark College employee Susan Parrish (writer in Communications and Marketing) on pages 95 and 96.  

Here’s what Susan says: “In The Sum of Us, author Heather McGhee shares my story of “cascading loss and downward mobility” in the aftermath of the Great Recession. In a short period, I got divorced, was laid off from my job, had to sell my house at the lowest point in the housing market, claimed unemployment for the first time in my life and had to reinvent my career—and my entire life.” 

The Inaugural True Voice Award

photo: Greg Parkinson

Professor Katherine Goforth, who teaches voice lessons at Clark College, has been named the inaugural recipient of The Washington National Opera’s True Voice Award for transgender and nonbinary singers. Goforth will perform at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C. in May 2024.

A talented, celebrated opera singer, Goforth has performed in several countries and in several languages. For years, Goforth had been singing tenor in male roles, but it was a struggle to identify with the male characters.

While an undergraduate at St. Olaf College, a private Lutheran college in Minnesota, Goforth reached self-realization that she was queer and that this included her gender identity.

However, Goforth was unsure how to move forward in an authentic way. From where she stood at the time, transgender and other gender-diverse people did not get to participate in the world of classical music or opera. She had so many questions: How could she continue pursuing her dream of singing classical music and opera? Would she ever be offered roles again if she presented as a woman?

Eventually, Goforth told a small number of people she trusted. But she continued presenting male, using her birth name, and singing male roles, even though it did not feel authentic.

A decade passed before Goforth started to live her life authentically. She came out publicly as a woman January 2020, shortly before the pandemic lockdown.

Her Beginning

Goforth grew up in Vancouver in a home where “music wasn’t art—it was a part of everyday life. Part of my family’s life,” she said.

Encouraged by her parents, especially her musician father, Goforth began singing before she could remember and she first performed at 3 years old. She loved singing and she enjoyed performing, whether hymns at church or in a variety of choirs.

She explained: “I got serious about singing because I liked the positive attention I received from adults, especially from people outside of my family. Participating in music was how I navigated social situations, how I made friends, how I felt like I was worth something.”

At 14, when Goforth was a student at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (VSAA), she started taking private voice lessons at her choir teacher’s recommendation.

“VSAA gave me the space to develop my own creative voice,” Goforth said. “We did tons of concerts and performances, but the projects that we designed ourselves are what most sticks with me, and the teachers who taught me to think critically and creatively.”

She said, “As I work to make spaces where we can deconstruct white supremacy and patriarchal domination, where all artists can show up authentically, I’ve found myself using those creative skills – creating opportunities where I can thrive, where others can thrive.”

At VSAA, she participated in vocal music, theater, and she played the clarinet. She also co-created a mural and wrote an opera for her senior capstone project. She graduated from VSAA and went to college to focus on singing. She received her bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College, Minn., and her master’s degree from The Julliard School, N.Y.

Since then, Goforth has performed around the U.S. and in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. She has performed in French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, and Polish.

Goforth has excelled at thriving—despite the barriers.

Her Accomplishments

In the Pacific Northwest, Goforth has performed with Portland Opera, Bozeman Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Opera Bend, Harmonia Seattle, Opera Theater Oregon, Sound Salon, Artists Repertory Theatre, Fuse Theatre Ensemble, Pink Martini and more.

She was a member of the International Opera Studio of Opera Köln. She attended the Franz Schubert Institut in Austria, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in England, Heidelberger Frühling Liedakademie in Germany, Georg Solti Accademia in Italy, and the Boston Wagner Institute in the U.S.

Goforth received the Career Advancement Award and was a featured speaker and performer at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s fourth Women in Classical Music Symposium, 2022.

Outside of opera, she played the role of Rebbetzin Tzurris in a reading of Dan Kitrosser’s “Why This Night?” for Artists Repertory Theatre Mercury Festival and played Emily Webb in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” for Fuse Theatre Ensemble, both in Portland.

Most recently, she appeared in Philip Venables and Ted Huffman’s The F****ts and Their Friends Between Revolutions that premiered Summer 2023 at Manchester International Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Bregenzer Festspiele, some of the biggest arts and opera festivals in the world.

Goforth advocates for the self-determination of trans and nontrans people. A member of the Trans Opera Alliance, she has lectured for Renegade Opera, published an essay in Opera Canada Magazine, was quoted in Opera America Magazine, and been a guest speaker for Boston Conservatory and the League of American Orchestras, among others.

In the years since Goforth the undergraduate student realized her authentic self, she says there are more transgender opera singers now.

“More people had the courage to come out during/after the pandemic lockdown, but they aren’t necessarily working in the industry yet,” Goforth said. “Now I’m working on coalition building. We aren’t organized enough to change the industry yet.”

photo courtesy of Katherine Goforth

We met up with Professor Goforth during Fall term finals week. She made time in her schedule to sit down with us in Penguin Union Building to talk about her journey, her passion for singing opera, and her values she shares with her students.

Q & A with Katherine Goforth

Q: What was it about opera drew you in and made you say, “Yes, I will sing opera!”

KG: Because I was good at it. I wish that my answer was more about how much I loved it. I was definitely obsessed, especially at first, but I got a lot of privileges when I started winning singing competitions. I didn’t learn to love classical music until much later, when I was in my early twenties.

Q: In your biggest and bravest dreams, did you ever imagine you’d be singing at the Kennedy Center?

KG: Always. Not necessarily the Kennedy Center, but I always imagined that I’d be on the biggest stages. That was what made singing feel valuable to me. That’s also what made it hard to come out. What if I lost access to these big stages, the reason I’d been pursuing music in the first place? Who am I without the privileges that music has given me? Those were really important questions for me to ask myself and working (continuing to work) on my answers to them has finally helped me grow.

Q: What was your reaction to receiving this award—and being the first recipient?

KG: It’s very difficult to be the first person to do something. There are opportunities, but there are also limitations. It’s felt important to push for the True Voice Award to be as expansive as possible, so that the next winner doesn’t have to be anything like me, so that they can push on the award to make space for them. It’s felt like a huge opportunity, because representation can be validating, but it can also be a way of limiting, of saying, this is the one acceptable way to be this kind of marginalized person. Especially as a white trans person, it’s important to me to push back on that. To say, I’m not the definition of what it means to be trans, I’m one of many.” Q: How long will you be at Kennedy Center? What are your criteria/thought process for choosing the pieces you will perform at The Kennedy Center?

I’ll be in residence at the Kennedy Center for a week, and I want my performance to lay a foundation that is going to be broadening instead of narrowing. We have a narrative in the opera field that when trans women participate, they sing male parts and present as male onstage. I want people to know that there’s no such thing as one kind of trans woman, and we’re not all okay with playing male roles, so I want to present a variety of other images. Definitely female roles, but maybe a male role in female presentation. Some songs that don’t require the singer to have any particular gender identity.”

When I was at Juilliard, Melissa Harris-Perry came to give a talk for Martin Luther King Day. She talked about the “I Have a Dream” speech and told us that one reason King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial was because of Marian Anderson’s performance at the same place in 1939. Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial because the Daughters of the American Revolution would only allow white artists to perform at D.C.’s Constitution Hall, where Howard University wanted to host her concert. I will never forget the way Professor Harris-Perry described Marian Anderson as “preparing the Lincoln Memorial as a site of resistance.” I may only be able to resist in tiny ways, but my dream for my performance at the Kennedy Center is that it might prepare the True Voice Award as a place of resistance against all that is imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal in our lives.

Q: In the last year, you decided you will no longer perform male roles. You said you came to this conclusion after having the opportunity to play female roles, including Emily Webb in “Our Town.” How did you come to this decision? How did playing female roles resonate with you?

KG: When I came out, I expected to keep playing male roles. That was the space that existed for trans women in opera. But when I had my first chance to play a male role with a major company after coming out, it was a painful experience. And then I had my first chance to play a female role, and it was so easy. I could relate to the character, I could react intuitively to my scene partners and my emotions, and for once, no one told me that I looked or sounded wrong. And in 2022, it became increasingly clear to me that I couldn’t continue to have parts of myself stuck in the pre-coming out and parts in the post-coming out. I would need to step forward with every part of myself, and I would have to leave behind the things that were holding me back, or I was never going to be able to move forward.

Q: What is your essential message—as an opera singer and as a voice teacher?

KG: First, the question: When we have a stage, what do we do with it? And when I say that, it comes with the understanding that every action, every conversation is a platform as much as any concert program. That we can act consciously or unconsciously just like we can choose the song we want to sing both consciously and unconsciously. That our choices in music and in life can be made in or out of alignment with our values.

And also, that we always have the power to think for ourselves. It’s like when bell hooks discusses the book, Powers of the Weak in Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center: we have the power to disbelieve what others tell us about ourselves, and to believe our own stories. We have the power to think critically, and to develop our critical thinking skills. We have the power to listen to our bodies and to act on that information.

Q: What are the values behind your career and your teaching?

KG: I’m always reading Black feminist and liberation theory and try to choose actions that are in alignment with what I’ve learned. For me, there’s no point in living if your life isn’t yours, and I found that my life wasn’t mine when I didn’t come out, when I don’t tell my truth. I think about when Audre Lorde’s daughter said, “Tell them about you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent,” and Lorde wrote, “the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid.” I think about this quote because that has been my experience. That reminds me of what it felt like to be closeted.

So, I’m always hoping that I can connect my teaching to my real life, and to my students’ real lives. Maybe they don’t realize it now, but they’ll realize it in ten years. I’ve had that experience, where I only realized what I learned in retrospect. And maybe they’ll never realize that I had a positive impact on their

thinking, and that’s good too, because what’s important is that the impact happens, and they think for themselves, and live a life that they feel is worth living. And even if I have a negative impact on an individual, maybe they learn what they don’t want, and how to be in a better situation in the future, or they learn to walk away from a situation that doesn’t work for them. Because my negative experiences can be important to my learning as well, and I have struggled to walk away from detrimental situations, and helping a student learn to do that might be the most important thing they learn at all.

Q: How do you instill the love of singing in your students? Is this different from how you were taught?

KG: This is a very complex question. To begin, I don’t think I was taught to love in any facet of my life. I hope that wouldn’t be hard for anyone who has been part of my life to hear, and I’m sorry if it is, but I don’t think love was part of the majority of my life.

To talk about love, we have to start by defining what we’re talking about. I find that, over and over, when I talk about love with another person, it means something different to each of us. bell hooks had two main definitions of love: that it is “a combination of six things: care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust,” and, quoting M. Scott Peck, that it is “the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth.” When we look at love like this, it might not apply as directly to singing.

In addition, we have to talk about what we mean by the word “singing.” If you had asked me at 18 whether I loved singing, I would have said yes. But what I would have meant was that I was addicted to how good it felt to be onstage, to be applauded, to feel superior to others, to feel a sense of self-worth through my accomplishments.

So, I would say that I hope I’m teaching my students not to get addicted to adulation, and instead to develop a personal relationship with singing. To me, singing isn’t something that we do on a stage. It’s something that’s done in private, alone, day in and day out, when it’s easy, when it’s not. It’s connected to forming a relationship with one’s own body: how do I feel today, how does my voice feel, can I understand why I’m feeling those things, what do I like, what do I not like, what do I want to change, what changes can be immediate and what changes will take time? It’s not only how I feel in this moment, but it’s connecting what I experienced today to what I experienced a week ago, next week, etc.

Q: What’s next for you (not including Kennedy Center)?

KG: I’m going to Boston in March to give a recital for the Boston Wagner Society, returning to Opera Bend to do a production of La traviata where we’ll adapt a tenor role into some kind of female and/or trans presentation, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Vancouver Symphony in June, and work on creative projects. And hopefully some other projects that I can’t announce quite yet!

Learn more about Katherine Goforth

Walktober Challenge

Congratulations to the 84 Clark College employees and students who participated in the 2023 Walktober Challenge! They walked a total of 23,344,718 steps and an average of 277,913 steps. Yes, you read that right. Clark peeps walked more than 23 million steps in October!

Notable achievements

  • Department with the most participants: Dental Hygiene – 12 participants
  • Department with the most steps: Dental Hygiene – 3,472,767 total steps
  • Department with the largest average steps: Veterans Center of Excellence – 536,981 average steps

Special congratulations to those who logged more than 400,000 steps:

  • Sydney Brahmavar, METR: 812,535
  • Terri Anderson, Dental Hygiene: 623,862
  • Aaron McPherson, Facilities: 575,229
  • Donna Larson, Veterans Center of Excellence: 567,893
  • Megan Anderson, Veterans Center of Excellence: 506,069
  • Josh Nichols, Central Services: 492,525
  • Cecelia Martin, Assessment & Institutional Research: 482,449
  • Veronica Brock, Dental Hygiene: 471,100
  • Ronald Anderson, Security: 457,917
  • Cath Busha, Student Affairs: 448,530
  • Andrew Shaman, Library: 433,319
  • Gene Biby, Theatre/Drama: 423,977
  • Wende Fisher, Advising Services/Student Affairs: 416,035
  • Jennifer Dean, Library: 405,467
  • Kevin Damore, Communications & Marketing: 405,395
  • Nicole Marcum, OOI: 401,481

Clark competes in the Walktober Challenge with WSU Vancouver (WSUV) and Lower Columbia College (LCC) in Longview. The winner is determined according to which college has the largest number of average steps. This year, WSUV took first place, LCC took second place, and Clark took third place.

1st place: WSU Vancouver

  • Participants: 15
  • Total Steps: 4,358,294
  • Average steps: 290,553

2nd place: Lower Columbia College

  • Participants: 15
  • Total Steps: 4,357,888
  • Average steps: 290,526

3rd place: Clark

  • Participants: 84
  • Total Steps: 23,344,913
  • Average Steps: 277,913

“Clark College came back this year after being away from the Walktober Challenge for the past two years,” said Vanessa Bural, Human Resources Consultant, Talent Development. “There was heavy participation amongst the whole Clark community. While the challenge is a fun competition with Lower Columbia College and Washington State University Vancouver, I believe the challenge was just as I had anticipated, the penguins sticking together and taking this challenge as a collective team. Way to go, Penguin Nation!”

Prizes consist of Clark College merch and a gift card to either the Clark College Bookstore or McClaskey Culinary Institute. The winning department wins a celebration lunch. Special thanks to collaborating departments who assisted with this event, The Clark College Foundation, ASCC, and Communications & Marketing.

Fall Classified Staff Excellence Award

Andra, fourth from the left, with other Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff during an Opening Day event.

A warm congratulations to Andra Spencer, Equity Professional Development Program Manager from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as the recipient of the Fall 2023 Classified Staff Excellence Award.

Excerpts from Andra’s nomination:

“Andra’s passion for equity and education is contagious. She dove into creating a PPI training on recognizing and disrupting antisemitism this summer and introduced many to a body of knowledge previously undiscussed at the college. Her sessions at Teaching and Learning Days and Fall Faculty Focus were packed and received overwhelmingly positive feedback and demands for a part two!”

“Equity is at the center of everything Andra does. Recognizing a gap in knowledge at the college, Andra spent time over the summer doing intense research on antisemitism and how to disrupt it, and developed a training for both Teaching and Learning Days and Fall Faculty Focus that was presented to PACKED rooms! Andra also developed training on creating inclusive learning environments, bringing her teaching expertise into her role here at ODEI and developing training specifically targeted to faculty, something that ODEI hasn’t done before.”

“Andra is well connected throughout the college – attending every event she can and volunteering to help out in any way. She collaborates with others on the team to execute projects and is always one of the first people there to set up and one of the last to leave after cleaning up. Her cooperative spirit is evident in her leadership on the Teaching and Learning Days Committee, the NWREC planning team, the O-Squad, Level Up, and many other cross-college initiatives.”

We also would like to acknowledge the contributions of the other nominees:

  • Becky Lindsay, Program Specialist II, Dental Hygiene
  • Nichole Maruca, Program Specialist II, Enrollment Services
  • Shelly Williams, Program Coordinator, Fine Art Division
  • Tani McBeth, Technical Training Consultant, eLearning
  • Teresa (Terry) Haye, Program Manager A, BASTE Bachelor of Teacher Education

About the Classified Staff Awards

The Classified Staff Excellence Award was established in 2005 and recognizes classified staff who have demonstrated exemplary work performance, a positive and cooperative spirit, special achievements or contributions to the college community, and supports individual and organizational diversity and inclusion. Through the support of the Clark College Foundation, the recipient will receive a $400 cash award.

Nominees must be a current classified employee who has been in their current position for more than six months. Award recipients will not be eligible to receive another award for three years.

Visit the Clark College Employee Recognition page to learn more about this award and other ways to acknowledge the value and dedication of our staff and faculty.

Quality Matters Award

Dr. Kathy Chatfield has been recognized for her outstanding efforts toward improving digital learning at Clark College.

Chatfield, who leads the college’s eLearning and instructional design department, has received the Ron Legon Leadership Award for Quality Digital Education bestowed by Quality Matters and MarylandOnline. The award is reserved for singular contributors to the mission of continuous improvement in digital learning.

Quality Matters is an international leader for quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. Chatfield is among five award recipients who have demonstrated an exceptional dedication to quality in digital learning.

Chatfield’s work of improving online experiences for students includes building sustainable quality assurance processes at the institutional level. Clark College began offering online classes in 2005. Online classes were the first to fill and the first to put students on a waitlist.

Quality Matters stated: “The Ron Legon award acknowledges the impact Chatfield’s leadership has had on faculty, staff, students and the educational landscape at large through her steadfast devotion to the pursuit of quality assurance.”

In their recognition, Quality Matters added: “Chatfield represents a strong voice at both the college and state levels, where she helps sustain support for the importance of quality standards in online learning. At Clark College, she works to maintain the culture of professional development she has built among the institution’s faculty. As a member of the Washington State eLearning Council, she has championed statewide adoption of effective policy on digital learning.”

“I am very honored to have been selected as the recipient of this year’s Leadership Award for Quality Digital Education,” Chatfield said. “The rigor and dedication to quality that is involved in education and peer-reviewed course design through the Quality Matters organization inspires us to always strive for better, stay on a path of continuous improvement and seek greatness in our students’ learning. I am proud to represent Clark College in this endeavor.” Chatfield will accept her award at a ceremony during the QM Connect Conference Nov. 5-8 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. She has been asked to speak about what the award means to her.

“I’m diligently working on my speech,” Chatfield said. “My aim is to inspire others to leadership in eLearning and to recognize Clark College as being a leader, itself, in this field.”

Chatfield has served in higher education for 34 years at eight institutions. She has worked at Clark College since January 1995. She has taught part-time in person and online. She has served full-time in the eLearning and Instructional Design department since 2006.

About Quality Matters

Quality Matters is a global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations. QM certification marks on courses or programs means they have met QM course design standards or QM program review criteria in a rigorous review process. Learn more at here.

Opening Day: Award Recipients

Clark College employees gathered on September 18 to kick off the 2023-24 academic year during Opening Day festivities at O’Connell Sports Center. During the event, the following staff members were recognized for their service to the college.

Years of Service Awards

Brad Avakian, vice president of human resources, presented the years of service awards to employees with 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service by reading their names. Employees with service more than 25 years were invited to come to the front to receive certificates. All years of service awards also come with monetary compensation based on the number of years served.

Vice President of Human Resources Brad Avakian presented years of service awards.

5 years:

Foundation: Dan Palow

Human Resources: Carrie Ann Gallagher

Information Technology Services: Yaremy Clara

Instruction: Kyle Anderson, Michiko Anderson, Bryan Blehm, Gabriele Canazzi, Jennifer Capell, Virginia Davidson, James Demartini, Charlotte Derkacht, Jason Eversman, Tyler Frank, Monte Gantka, Dr. Douglas Harris, Shawn Henderson, Christina Howard, Nami Inoue, Rachel Irvin, Ryan Jeannet, Dr. Soohyon Ji, Dr. Alan Koenig, Sarah Kuzera, Martha Lewis, Robert Long, Lucas Martin, Petra Redinger, Samuel Robinson, Christina Smith, Brogan Sullivan, Heidi Summers, Elizabeth Van Buecken, Katarina Wallis, Dr. Michelle Walty, Patricia Witherspoon

NWACC: Alexandra Young

Operations: Zhong Chai, Cody Claassen, Kevin Damore, Bradley Hansen, Bellamy Holt, Jeffrey Kaliner, Daniel Lane, Christopher Layfield, Lindsey Mckim, Julia Perdue, Seumas Ross, Katlyn Simpson, William Thompson

Student Affairs: Jorge Argueta, Yuliya Demyanyuk, Kimberly Forbes, Tisha Pasquinelli, Torin Tashima, Carley Willis

10 years:

Instruction: Dr. Roberto Anitori, David Benedicktus, Sascha Blocker, Bruce Elgort, Melanie Hendry, Grant Hottle, Garrett Hoyt, Deborah Jack, Chad Laughlin, Kenneth Luchini, Michael Ludwig, Sarah Luther, Dr. Nick Macias, Dr. Mika Maruyama, Natalie Miles, Deane Morrison, Kelly Pfeifer, Kristin Sherwood, Dawn Steele, Janice Taylor, Adriana Thomas, Caleb White, Beth Wulf

ODEI: Degundrea Harris

Operations: Eben Ayers, Julie Donovan, Tanya Kerr, Johann Langley, Everett Yu

Student Affairs: Kimberly Blahnik, Jessica Hash, Kevin Thomas

15 years:

Instruction: Robert Abrahamson, Sheldon Atwell, Scott Bailey, Angie Bailey, Marci Bohac, Rebecca Boyer, Tammy Boyer, Tony Chennault, Cheryl Davenport, Michael England, Jason Herz, Dr. Philip Jones, Timothy Kent, Dr. Shon Kraley, Michelle Mallory, Kaye Manchester, Ruby Moore, Erika Nava, Ying Nollette, Michiyo Okuhara, Archer Parr, Joshua Patrick, George Salos, Nicoleta Sharp, Suzanne Southerland, Jennifer Ward, Kristin Woitte

Operations: Vickie Malcolm, Richard Nevis, Jennifer Shadley

Student Affairs: Marla Derrick, Dr. Sabine Falkenberg, Michelle Mussen

20 years:

Information Technology Services: Alan Logsdon

Operations: Brandi Roberts

Instruction: Aaron Campbell, Lisa Conway, Jill Darley-Vanis, Deena Godwin, Karina Gress, Dwight Hughes, Lynne Nolan, Sherry Smith, Samuel Triebs, Wayne Utehs

25 years:

Instruction: Grace Anukam, Dr. Marylynne Diggs, Mary Evens, Christine Krug, Kathleen Mitchell, Douglas Smith, Mitchell Sott, Jeanette Steinmueller

35 years:

Instruction: Dr. Kelly Fielding

Operations: Jonni Hattershide

Exceptional Faculty Awards

The award honorees were announced at Commencement in June and were honored at Opening Day.

Dan Alberghetti, Network Technology: A student wrote: “I was struggling to find a ‘place’ in the field. I often felt discouraged because some material wouldn’t click. But Dan encouraged participation, and stopped to give well-thought-out answers that helped us grasp the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how.’ The more I learned, the more excited I became about what I was learning. And I finally felt like I had a place and that I belonged.”

Exceptional Faculty Award recipient Dr. Jacob Funk with Dr. Wilkins-Luton and Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Jacob Funk, Music: A student wrote: “Dr. Funk creates an open learning environment to instill the joy of music in his students. He is fun to work with and a joy to sing with. His enthusiasm to help each student achieve their best voice is evident not only in class but also during concerts.

Exceptional Faculty Award recipient Chef Earl Frederick serves up BBQ during Juneteenth 2023.

Chef Earl Frederick, Cuisine: A student wrote: “Chef Earl’s lectures include the history and exploration of different cultures through food. He is very attentive and conversational about how different people may have different dietary needs based on medical, cultural or religious protocols. My time with Chef Earl Fredrick has been very expansive, both in technical skill and professional development.”

Exceptional Faculty Award recipient Becky Herman with Dr. Wilkins-Luton and Dr. Edwards.

Becky Herman, Dental Hygiene: A student wrote: “Becky goes above and beyond for us in the classroom. She provides us with many different ways to learn and encourages us to reach out should we need it. Her door is always open, and she is always willing to help those who need a little extra.”

Exceptional Faculty Award recipient  Dr. Julian Nelson with Dr. Wilkins-Luton and Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Julian Nelson, English department: A student wrote: “As an adult learner from Ukraine, I really appreciated his flexibility and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances, always with care for individual student needs and my academic success. His supportive feedback and messages made me feel that he wasn’t some robot behind a screen, but a genuine human who cared for my wellbeing. This kind of human interaction motivated me in times when I felt depleted, confused or had anxiety.”

Exceptional Faculty Award recipient Michiyo Okuhara with Dr. Wilkins-Luton and Dr. Edwards.

Michiyo Okuhara, Japanese language: A student wrote: “500 characters is not enough to describe Okuhara sensei and the impact she has on each of her students’ lives. I am extremely lucky to have her as a teacher and so many students feel the exact same way. Personally, I was taking an oral assessment when I messed up the sentence. She took the moment to teach me correctly, allowed me to study and retake my assessment. She uses constructive moments to build her students up instead of giving them a poor grade and moving on. We are lucky to have her.”

Exceptional Classified Staff Award

Exceptional Classified Staff Award recipient Cheryl Davenport with Dr. Edwards.

Cheryl Davenport, Library & Archives Para 4, Libraries: Cheryl realized that outdated, biased vocabulary in the online catalog’s subject headings, such as the biased subject headings describing the LGBTQIA+ community, does not reflect the college’s inclusive views. Thanks to her efforts, Clark Library now uses Homosaurus, an international linked vocabulary of LGBTQIA+ terms in our online catalog. This helps ensure the bibliographic records use subject headings representing the inclusive terminology used by the LGBTQIA+ community to describe themselves.

Exceptional Classified Staff Award recipient Jennifer Lea with Dr. Edwards.

Jennifer Lea, Program Specialist 2, Business Division: During the pandemic lockdown, Jennifer took the lead in shaping our BASAM (Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management) program so it would meet requirements to move fully online. When that adversely affected our veteran students, she helped restructure the modality, so it met VA requirements and allowed our veteran students to receive their full funding.

Exceptional Administrative Exempt Award

A portait image of Vanessa Watkins.

Vanessa Watkins, Director of Entry Services: Vanessa was recognized for fostering a positive, collaborative, and supportive environment for her Entry Services team. She works behind the scenes to support and uplift her employees, which ensures they have a welcoming, supportive demeanor as they assist students and prospective students.

Lora Whitfield Social Equity Award

Lora Whitfield Social Equity Award recipient Ezekiel Wells with Dr. Edwards.

Ezekial Wells, Program Specialist 3, Workforce Education Services: Ezekial was recognized for his work making positive impacts for students by creating a welcoming environment, a safe, inclusive space and removing barriers for students so they can receive college and community support and move forward on their educational pathway.

After Dr. Edwards handed Ezekial his award, shook his hand, and led the staff in clapping, she said, “I am thankful to each of you. I am pleased to see our colleagues recognized for their tremendous work. Congratulations to all our award winners and our employees who have demonstrated their dedication to Clark College over the years.”