Celebrating Pride 2024

Alyssa Montiminy, far right, with students at the Second-Annual Gender-Affirming Clothing Swap organized by the Queer Agenda June 4.

Clark College raised the Pride flag to celebrate Pride Month in June. The college community had many opportunities to engage in various Pride-themed activities on June 4.

Pride celebrates members of the LGBPTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit +) community and honors the impact Queer and Trans individuals have had on history, culture, and our communities. Pride is celebrated in June every year to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which is now viewed as a critical tipping point in the fight for LGBPTQIA2S+ rights in the United States.  

While Pride is meant to be a celebration of identity, recognition of resilience, and a time for a community to gather, we must remember that in many spaces and places, it remains unsafe to be Queer or Trans. It is more important than ever to hold space for community and celebration. Pride events are largely safe spaces for those of us who identify as members of the LGBPTQIA2S+ community to be our authentic selves, to have these identities celebrated, and to honor those who have done the work before us. 

Pride activities around campus included:

The Pride flag was raised on the flagpole southwest of the Penguin Union Building and Archer Gallery.

Queer Student Luncheon: The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Multicultural Student Affairs invited the community for a delicious lunch and an opportunity to hear two student speakers share their own stories and lived experiences, then followed up with a robust Q&A interacting with the audience.

Second-Annual Gender-Affirming Clothing Swap organized by the Queer Agenda. People donated clean, gently used clothing and exchanged “new” clothing. Others simply choose some “new” clothing to take home.

Clark’s Bakery offered pride-themed treats including colorful cupcakes and a sundae Pride bar featuring three ice cream treats: Bohemian Raspberry, I Want to Break Free, and Find Mi-So-mebody to Love.

Clark’s Bookstore provided colorful sidewalk chalk and encouraged people to create Pride-themed messages outside the north entrance to Gaiser Hall.

Cannell Library featured a display of Pride-themed books.

PPI (Power, Privilege, and Inequity) Training – Safe Zone: Participants were introduced to the intricacies if the LGBPTQIA2S+ community, reviewed definitions and vocabulary, and discussed heterosexual/cisgender privilege. Participants also learned how to put these concepts into practice at Clark College.

Counseling and Health Center set up a table at Andersen Fountain on June 4. Staff offered candy and fidgets along with information about the center.

The Teaching and Learning Center screened the 1992 “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Outcast” featuring themes related to ethics, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, conversion “therapy,” legal practices, logic and argumentation, and conformity. Then participants had time for discussion and lesson planning.

White Anti-Racism Education Employee Resource Group (ERG) of faculty and staff centered its meeting on the Intersectionality of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and Queer/Allied Communities.

Upcoming Pride events:

Saturday in the Park Pride: July 13 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Esther Short Park, 301 W. 8th Street, Vancouver https://www.visitvancouverwa.com/event/saturday-in-the-park-pride/18868/

Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade: July 20-21, Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 Naito Parkway, Portland, OR: https://portlandpride.org/

Learn more about Pride:

Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/campaigns/celebrate-pride-with-us

Southern Poverty Law Center: How to Be an Effective Ally https://www.splcenter.org/hopewatch/2024/05/31/how-to-be-effective-lgbtq-ally




Cascadia Manufacturing Partnership Symposium

A group brainstorms during a breakout session at the Cascadia Manufacturing Partnership Symposium at Clark College.

At the Cascadia Manufacturing Partnership Symposium on May 30, Clark College hosted manufacturing industry leaders from all over the region. The Cascadia Manufacturing Network is focused on identifying opportunities facing the manufacturing sector and developing solutions for talent development, marketing, advocacy, and more.

The cross-agency talent team of the network has identified specific focus areas as part of their goal to build career pathways to high-wage, in-demand jobs. As Clark’s Director of Guided Pathways and Partnerships, I serve as a convener for the team and work with industry partners to develop a talent needs survey, and to identify strategies for fulfilling the workforce needs of manufacturing.

To guide this work, we use the Next Gen Sector Partnership Model, a structured framework for connecting businesses, colleges, workforce development, and other community organizations to meet the needs of industry.

Multiple employees from local community colleges, nonprofit agencies, and workforce development organizations attended the symposium to learn about the project’s goals and to learn how they can support career pathways. The conversation included a mix of ideas including career exploration and preparation, job fairs, and internships. Clark College’s new Career Connected Curriculum Liaison, Stephanie Leeper, was on hand to listen and gather ideas related to the college’s Title III grant and career-connected learning initiative.

This project illuminates the high-level possibilities of working directly with employers to create strategies related to career-connected learning and high-wage, in-demand career pathways for students.

Partnerships with our local workforce board, Workforce SW Washington, allow the college to leverage relationships with businesses and employers, and contribute to the regional Quality Jobs framework.

Learn more

Workforce Southwest Washington Quality Jobs Initiative: https://workforcesw.org/investments/quality-jobs




Juneteenth 2024

Clark College Trustees Denise Gideon and Marilee Scarbrough, Dr. Karin Edwards, poet Sylvia Welch, Vanessa Neal, Dr. Michele Cruse

Clark College celebrated Juneteenth on June 6 by gathering during lunchtime for soul food, experiencing a poetry reading by Sylvia Welch, and celebrating community. The event was organized and sponsored by the college’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) and culinary programs. Clark College will participate in the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on June 15 at Esther Short Park and all are encouraged to come out to honor Juneteenth and celebrate our shared journey towards freedom and equality.

ODEI intentionally scheduled this event early in June to ensure it doesn’t conflict with other community celebrations, demonstrating our utmost respect for all commemorations happening around us.

Soulful flavors: Chef Earl Frederick and his team of students and instructors prepared a delectable feast of soul food, provided at no charge to our students, faculty, staff, and community partners. People headed to the line in Culinary to be served, and then made their way to the Gaiser Student Center for the main event.

What is Juneteenth?

From its Galveston, Texas origin, Juneteenth is a federal and a state holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. Celebrations take place across the U.S. and beyond with focus on community and family gatherings, reflection, cuisine, and continued solidarity toward social justice.

Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”) is a federal holiday observed each year on June 19. Juneteenth was first celebrated in Texas, where on June 19, 1865, after the Civil War, enslaved people were declared free under the terms of the earlier Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021, making it the 11th official federal holiday. Since 2022, Juneteenth also has been recognized as a state holiday.

Reading from Poet Sylvia Welch

Local poet Sylvia Welch read selected poems from her book, “This, That, and the Other: As I Age into Understanding,” which was published in 2023. The poems included in this collection are diverse in style and nature, evoking decidedly different emotions taking us through different pathways and doors from different times in our lives, moving us along in our thinking and becoming.

Vanessa Neal added, “We were excited that Sylvia Welch provided an inspiring poetry reading. Through her powerful voice, Sylvia connected us all to the depths of her work and how her experiences connect to Juneteenth and its relevance today.”

Poet Sylvia Welch reading her poems during Clark's Juneteenth celebration.

Welch began writing poetry at the age of 73 and published her first book at 75 and is working on her next poetry book. Sylvia grew up in the 50s, during a time of obvious racial inequities and attended college in the middle 60s when racial, social, and political injustices were prevalent, and the times were only slightly better for most African Americans.

Welch said those times produced lessons and experiences that have led to emotions, feelings, and actions that have helped her age into understanding. Her hope is to continue to do so because she has learned that understanding, like the light of day and darkness, doesn’t come all at once.

A portrait image of Sylvia Welch.

About Poet Sylvia Welch

Sylvia Welch lives in Woodland, Washington and is a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, great-grandmother, a world traveler, adventurer, a fabric artist, and last but hardly least, an author and poet.

She retired after working for 35 years as an education administrator at Warner Pacific University, Portland Community College, and in Germany for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Welch earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio University in interpersonal and organizational communications and her master’s degree from Portland State University in communications with an emphasis on intercultural communications.

Chef Earl’s Juneteenth Menu

Juneteenth Chef Earl and crew.

Delicious soul food was prepared by Chef Earl Frederick, Culinary Arts Professor in the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute at Clark College, and cuisine staff and students. The meal was offered free of charge to all diners and included:

  • Marinated Pork
  • Grilled Coho Salmon
  • Grilled Chicken Thighs
  • Shrimp Gumbo with Rice
  • Braised Greens
  • Southern-Style Cornbread
  • Sweet Tea
  • Sorrel Punch
  • Mini Velvet Cupcakes

Chef Earl on Barbecue

Chef Earl smiling in his chef uniform.

Cuisine instructor Earl Frederick said, “Barbecue is recognized as a Black contribution to American culture. It was slaves who passed through the Caribbean, cooking animals over pits on sticks. This style of cooking called barbacoa translates now into what we know as Southern barbecue. They also picked up seeds from hot peppers in the Caribbean, which became an important flavoring for the pork in the South.”

Frederick said his maternal grandmother, a sharecropper from North Carolina, told him stories about the significance of barbecue.

“My grandmother told me that barbecue is something that Blacks and whites in the South share. When tobacco was harvested in the fall, it was all-hands-on-deck with Blacks and whites working together doing the harvest.”

Workers hung tobacco leaves in tobacco barns that have slats to let air through. To prevent spoilage, this work had to happen quickly, so a big oak fire was built to cure, dry, and smoke the tobacco. Throughout the night, workers stoked the fire, which accumulated hot coals.

Frederick explained, “The tradition developed to roast a pig using those hot coals. People dug a hole in the ground, put hot coals in the bottom of the pit, put a grate over the coals, and put a butchered pig on the grate to slowly cook the pig. Everybody—black and white—ate the pig together. Something that didn’t happen any other time.”

Learn more about Juneteenth

We encourage folx to research how to get involved with organizations and community events to celebrate Juneteenth and get involved in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism. To learn more, read the “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth” online article. For any questions or further information, feel free to reach out to diversity@clark.edu.

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish




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 https://www.clark.edu/campus-life/arts-events/archer/.




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 (clark.edu)

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish




Phi Theta Kappa Spring Induction Ceremony

PTK incoming and outgoing officers along with co-advisors Heather Leasure (far left) and Darci Feider (far right).

Congratulations to the 144 Clark students who became members of Alpha Sigma Phi, Clark College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society during spring term. PTK celebrated these new members with their families at the 2024 spring term Induction Ceremony on May 28.

The official honors society for two-year colleges, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) recognizes the academic achievement of college students and provides opportunities for its members to grow as scholars and leaders. Students are invited to join PTK when enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and achieve a minimum 3.25 grade point average. Clark’s PTK co-advisors are Darci Feider and Heather Leasure.

During her keynote address, Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards said, “I am confident Clark’s PTK chapter will continue to make an impact on our community.”

Dr. Edwards continued: “To our graduating students, I want to extend my congratulations. Your resilience and passion have brought you to this moment… Access to a good education is life changing. Education is a great equalizer. Never forget the power of education. Never stop learning.”

Incoming PTK officers for the 2024-25 school year.

During the event the 2024-25 PTK officers were sworn in:

  • Alexander Chastain
  • Beheshta Eqbali
  • Deserea Franz
  • Jude Georgeades-Tambara
  • Em Geromichalos
  • Malina Siharath

The outgoing 2023-24 officers are Ziyad El Amrani, Mary Harter, Addison Johnson, Fennic Tatum, and Natalie Perdun.

Outgoing PTK President Ziyad El Amrani spoke about the chapter’s accomplishments in the past year, including receiving three international awards, a first in the chapter’s history.

El Amrani said, “Together, we have achieved what seemed impossible…It’s more than joining an honor society. It’s about volunteering, service, and yes—having fun.” He added, “The PTK family is forever. Let’s continue this journey together.”

PTK outgoing President Ziyad El Amrani presents Dr. Karin Edwards with honorary PTK membership.

Then he announced the chapter was bestowing honorary PTK membership to Clark President Dr. Karin Edwards.

Clark College has recognized Phi Theta Kappa as an official honor society since 1991. In addition to recognizing students’ academic success, PTK also provides them opportunities to develop professional and leadership skills, earn scholarships, explore career paths — and make their worlds a lot bigger. Learn more about Clark’s PTK chapter at https://www.clark.edu/campus-life/student-life/ptk/

PTK 2023-24 Highlights

PTK International Awards

  • 2023-2024 REACH Rewards Chapter
  • 2023-2024 Top 100 out of 1,247 chapters
  • 2023-2024 Distinguished College Project Award. Read more here.

PTK Regional Awards

  • Honors in Action project, second place
  • Honors in Action theme, second place
  • College project, third place

PTK Individual Recognition

Four PTK scholars from Clark College were named to 2024 All-Washington Academic Team and were recognized at a state ceremony in April.  Read more here.

  • Alexander Cole
  • Addison Johnson
  • Ethan Mahan
  • Lisa Segretto

About Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the international official Honors Society for two-year colleges. PTK has a presence on almost 1,300 community college campuses in 11 nations. Phi Theta Kappa recognizes the academic achievement of college students. It provides opportunities for its members to achieve academic and career success through scholarships and leadership training. More than 3.5 million students have been inducted into PTK. There are about 250,000 active PTK members in the nation’s community colleges.

Learn more at https://www.ptk.org/

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




Veterans Center of Excellence Celebration

Bill Erickson, General Council Secretary of the Cowlitz Tribe (left) accepted an award recognizing the crucial support of the Cowlitz Foundation. Pictured above (left to right) with Dr. Karin Edwards, Cheree Nygard, and Donna Larson.
Photo: Monica Patton

Generations of veterans connected to Clark College gathered to celebrate how the college and its partners have impacted veteran students over the years. The May 21 event in Gaiser Student Center celebrated 10 years of the Veterans Center of Excellence (VCOE) at Clark College. The college has offered unique resources for veterans for much longer than a decade.

Several speakers shared the history of the Veterans Center of Excellence at Clark and reflected on how the VCOE has changed lives.

Cheree Nygard, chair of Clark College Foundation Board of Directors, a veteran, and a long-time supporter of the center said, “Reflecting on the inception of the VCOE fills me with pride and nostalgia. A decade ago, we embarked on a journey filled with hope and determination to support our veterans. Over the years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of the VCOE on veterans’ education and their successful integration into civilian life. Together, we’ve achieved significant milestones and made a tangible difference in the lives of our military-affiliated students.”

Nygard added, “Today, I stand before you as a testament to the resilience and determination of our veteran community. The VCOE has been more than just an educational resource; it has been a lifeline, providing guidance, mentorship, and a sense of belonging to so many of us. As we celebrate our past achievements, let us look towards the future with optimism and determination. Clark College remains steadfast in its commitment to serving and supporting our military-affiliated students, ensuring they have the necessary resources to succeed.”

A video highlighted Clark College student veterans sharing their stories and talking about how the support of the VCOE impacted their lives and their ability to succeed in school.

William (Bill) Erickson, General Council Secretary of the Cowlitz Tribe, contributed a land acknowledgment and shared the importance of veterans to his tribe. A high percentage of Cowlitz Tribe members are veterans.

Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards and Donna Larson presented appreciation certificates to those who have made substantial financial contributions to the VCOE.

Photo: Monica Patton

Jane Hagelstein (pictured above receiving recognition from Dr. Edwards), a founding member of Clark’s Veterans Advisory Board, began supporting Clark Student Veterans in 2011 with a scholarship. She continued supporting student veterans by providing funds to build out the Veteran Resource Center for facilities, staffing, and emergency grants. Her overall support of veterans with scholarships and emergency grants, along with facilities and staffing support has totaled $300,000 from 2011 to 2019. Without her generosity and belief in helping student veterans, there would not be a Veteran Center of Excellence today. She was a founding member of the Veterans Advisory Board.

The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation contributed $250,000 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the VCOE to expand basic needs and to provide needed technology devices student veterans needed to transition to remote learning.

People had opportunities to write thank-you notes to veterans and to meet others who are connected to the VCOE.

Donna Larson, associate director of the VCOE, said, “This event was truly a celebration for student veterans, alumni, staff, and supporters of the VCOE to celebrate this important milestone. The atmosphere felt like a tight-knit family gathering.”

She added, “A short history of the VCOE was shared, along with several inspirational student stories. The highlight of the event was presenting Clark College student coins to Jane Hagelstein and Bill Erickson of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in appreciation for large donations to support the VCOE. After the program, employees, students, partners, and honorees mingled while they enjoyed coffee and festive cupcakes and cake.”

About Veterans Center of Excellence

The center assists military-affiliated students with their educational journey. Focused on supporting veteran student success, the center provides a single point of contact to coordinate comprehensive, individualized support services that address the academic, financial, physical, and social needs of Clark College’s student veterans. A Clark College veteran is any military-affiliated student at Clark: veterans, active duty, or a military dependent, either spouse or child.

The center’s staff can connect student veterans to agencies, programs, and support. The center also provides tutoring, help with books and calculators; useful workshops; a study area with computers and printers; a lounge and games for relaxation; networking with other veterans, and more.

Monica Patton, Program Coordinator, and Megan Anderson, Veterans Educational Planner. Photo: Carly Rae Zent.

Connect with VCOE:

Timeline: Veterans Center at Clark College

  • November 2013: Clark College President Bob Knight began a new tradition: a college-sponsored celebration honoring veterans held the Thursday before Veterans Day in Gaiser Student Center. At that event, Knight announced the college would one day have a Veterans Resource Center on campus.
  • At that same Nov. 2013 event: Jennifer Rhoads, president of Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, announced in honor of the foundation’s 30th anniversary, they would donate six grants of $30,000 each to help alleviate poverty. The first grant was for Clark College to create its Veteran Resource Center.
  • March 2014: First open house at new Veterans Resource Center at Clark College—less than four months after the CFSWW announced the grant, the center held its first public event to welcome student veterans and the college community
  • Feb. 2021: The Veterans Resource Center received a $449,460 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success over three years. Clark was one of only two community colleges in the state to receive the grant. Focused on supporting student success, the Center will provide a single point of contact to coordinate comprehensive, individualized support services that address the academic, financial, physical, and social needs of Clark College’s student-veterans.

Read previous stories about the VCOE




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