McClaskey Culinary Institute

Chef Aaron tastes all nine soups at the Battle of the Chefs fundraiser. Photo by Kim Hash of SHARE

Clark College’s own Chef Aaron Guerra competed in the Soup’s On Battle of the Chefs fundraiser for SHARE at Ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Chef Aaron was one of nine celebrity chefs who created a delicious soup for the event. Each chef prepared about 20 gallons of their soup, which was sampled by more than 800 soup tasters who lined up, bowls in hand. Everyone had an opportunity to vote for their favorite soup, bestowing the winning chef with the Golden Ladle. The winner was Chef Joe Reid, Hudson’s Bar & Grill for his beer cheese soup with rye croutons and brisket burnt end sausage.

Before the event doors opened, all nine chefs sat down for a soup tasting. Each voted for their favorite. They were not allowed to vote for their own soup. Chef’s Choice Award was a four-way tie between the chefs representing AC Hotels Marriott, Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen & Tap and Kuya’s Casa Kitchen. Heathen Brewing was awarded the top soup by the presenting sponsor.

Alas, Chef Aaron did not win the Golden Ladle Award this year, but his delicious corn and crawfish chowder was eaten up by appreciative soup tasters.

Chef Aaron used these ingredients: crawfish, butter, flour, white onion, fresh roasted corn, milk, heavy cream, bell peppers, red potatoes, celery, garlic, Italian parsley, green onions, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, chives and bread croutons.

He said, “My team of students and I made everything from scratch with the freshest ingredients. We roasted ears of corn and made corn stock with the cobs and student-made croutons.”

It took a large volume of ingredients to make enough chowder for 800 people. Chef Aaron and his team used 24 pounds of crawfish meat. They roasted 40 pounds of corn on the cob, then cut a quarter of the corn from the cob and made stock from the cobs.

SHARE’s Soup’s On celebrity chefs and their soups:

  • Aaron Guerra, Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute at Clark College prepared crawfish and corn chowder
  • Tanner Genck, AC Hotels Marriott prepared Deadpool’s chimichanga soup
  • Michael Garafolo, Heathen Brewing Feral Public House prepared Hulk’s smashed squash soup
  • Joe Reid, Hudson’s Bar & Grill prepared Guardians of the Gourmet beer cheese soup with rye croutons and brisket burnt end sausage
  • Fernando Martinez, Kuya’s Casa Kitchen prepared Levanta Muertos (revive the dead) soup
  • Ryan Ziegler, Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen & Tap prepared coconut chicken curry soup
  • Bobby Rasaphangthong, Nom Nom Restaurant & Grill prepared wonton soup
  • Micheal Castaneda, Woody’s Tacos prepared hearty beef stew
  • Brandon Edgerton, Wyld Pines Public House prepared lobster bisque
Left to right: Chef Aaron Guerra, Eric Morton, and Justin Lein from the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute.

About SHAREand its Soup’s On: Battle of the Chefs event:

SHARE’s Soup’s On event began in 2002 and originally was called Share-a-Bowl.

SHARE’s Executive Director Amy Reynolds said, “The event first began as a way for community members to better understand the experience people have each day when they wait in a ‘soup line,’ just as hundreds of our neighbors do each day at SHARE’s Hot Meals kitchen.”

She added, “SHARE has done incredible work in the community for the past 45 years and with so many people living outside and experiencing food insecurity, there is clearly much more work to do.”

SHARE provides food for all ages—including through its backpack program for kids, operates four shelters, provides rental assistance with case management to help clients secure affordable housing, and assists people living on the streets as well as those in risk of losing their home. Learn more here.

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.

Board of Trustees

Marilee Scarbrough joins the Clark College Board of Trustees.
Marilee Scarbrough joins the Clark College Board of Trustees.

Clark College welcomed a new trustee and said farewell to an outgoing trustee at its June 7 Board of Trustees meeting. 

Board President Paul Speer and Clark President Dr. Karin Edwards welcomed Marilee Scarbrough to its governing board and thanked Trustee Rekah Strong, who has served on the board for a decade. She is the executive director of Educational Opportunities for Children and Families.  

Rekah Strong, left with Dr. Karin Edwards at the Legislative Breakfast in January.

Dr. Edwards said, “Rekah has been a champion for Clark College. She cares deeply about students and their families and promotes education as an equalizer for those who have been marginalized. Her intentional actions and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion have fostered meaningful cultural change during her tenure here.” 

Marilee Scarbrough, an attorney, has been general counsel for the Vancouver School District since 2011. Previously she served as the policy and legal services director for Washington State School Directors’ Association, and attorney for the Washington State House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee. Scarbrough holds a Juris Doctor from University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Whitman College.  

“I am excited to serve my community in this new role,” said Trustee Scarbrough. “I look forward to working with the Clark College board and administration to inspire learners to excel, transform lives, and strengthen our increasingly diverse community.

The Board of Trustees Commencement Ceremony. Left to right: Cristhian A. Canseco Juarez, Denise Gideon, Marilee Scarbrough, Paul Speer, and Jeanne Bennett.   

2023-24 Board of Trustees 

  • Chair Paul Speer
  • Vice Chair Cristhian A. Canseco Juarez 
  • Jeanne Bennett  
  • Denise Gideon 
  • Marilee Scarbrough 

About Clark College Board of Trustees 

Each of the five members of the college’s Board of Trustees is appointed by the governor of Washington and serves a five-year term. They must live within the college’s service district, which includes Clark, Skamania and western Klickitat counties. 

The board seeks to ensure the quality and relevance of college programs and provides stewardship of public resources. The board is responsible for strategic planning, development and approval of college policies, and approval and oversight of the operating budget. Learn more here

Photo: Clark College/Jenny Shadley

New tenured professor

Bruce Elgort with a robot.

Bruce Elgort, a professor in Clark College’s Computer Technology department, was granted tenure unanimously by the Clark College Board of Trustees on May 24. 

Tenure is awarded by the college’s trustees based on professional excellence and outstanding abilities in their disciplines. The granting of tenure is based on the recommendations of tenure reviews committees to the vice president of instruction, which are then forwarded to the president, who presents a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Recommendations are based on evaluations by the faculty member being considered, the tenure review committee, students, supervisors, and peers. The final decision to award or withhold tenure rests with the Board of Trustees. 

Bruce Elgort earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. He earned his Master of Science in engineering management from New York University, New York.  

Experience in the field 

Prior to teaching, Bruce worked for more than three decades in the field, including Elguji Software (founder/CEO); Sharp Microelectronics (strategic business operations, IT manager), and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (office services and IT manager, manager of marketing and communications, and electrical engineer). In addition, he was an independent international consultant for more than a dozen clients including Price Waterhouse Cooper, US Social Security Administration, US Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Transportation, Honda and more. Bruce is recognized by IBM and Amazon Web Services for being an innovative thought leader in cloud and artificial intelligence technologies. 

Bruce joined Clark College in 2012 as a Computer Technology instructor. He serves on the Universal Design committee and Advanced Manufacturing committee. He is called on by staff and faculty as an accessibility expert. Bruce has received the Exceptional Faculty Award twice. 

Teaching philosophy  

You’ll find this technology professor working hard to inspire and challenge his students with meaningful web development and programming experiences. Bruce loves to tinker and test the boundaries of existing and emerging technologies, to then guide hungry minds through memorable, educational journeys to showcase with passion the ever-evolving innovations of society.  

Photos provided by Bruce Elgort

New tenured professors

Granted tenured faculty smiling as they pose for a group photo.
Left to right: Marisol Moreno Ortiz, Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski, Thomas Olsen, Kathryn Anastasi, Amy VahnDijk, Jesse Kysar, Alejandra Maciulewicz-Herring, and Wade (William) Hausinger.

Nine outstanding educators were granted tenure unanimously by the Clark College Board of Trustees. They were honored at a college reception on May 16. These newly tenured faculty members are:

  • Katy Anastasi, Libraries
  • Dr. Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski, Women’s Studies
  • Wade Hausinger, Welding
  • Mark Keats, English
  • Jesse Kysar, Engineering
  • Alejandra Maciulewicz-Herring, Medical Assisting
  • Marisol Moreno Ortiz, Libraries
  • Tom Olsen, Digital Media Arts
  • Amy VahnDijk, Nursing

Tenure is awarded by the college’s Board of Trustees based on professional excellence and outstanding abilities in their disciplines. The granting of tenure is based on the recommendations of tenure review committees to the vice president of instruction, which are then forwarded to the president, who presents a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Recommendations are based on self-evaluations, tenure review committee evaluations, student evaluations, supervisory evaluations, and peer evaluations. The final decision to award or withhold tenure rests with the Board of Trustees.

Katy Anastasi, Libraries

Katy Anastasi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota and her Master of Library and Information Studies from Queens College (City University of New York) in New York City. She began her career working in community college libraries in 2018 as an adjunct librarian and Open Educational Resources (OER) fellow at Borough of Manhattan Community College. After moving to Oregon in 2019, she began working at Portland State University as a reference librarian and OER publishing assistant.

Katy joined Clark College in Fall 2020 as a tenure-track reference and instruction librarian. She co-leads Clark College’s OER steering committee and serves on the library’s user experience committee, as well as the Clark College Faculty Excellence Award committee. Since 2020, she has worked collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to develop culturally relevant academic library collections and library services for incarcerated students and their instructors at Larch Corrections Center. She received Clark’s Faculty Excellence Award in 2022.

Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski, Ph.D., Women’s Studies

Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin Parkside, Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2001 and her Master of Science degree in college student personnel from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston in 2003. She earned her Ph.D. in education policy, organization and leadership with a focus in social and cultural foundations coupled with certificates in gender and women’s studies and Latino/a studies from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. She supervised, advised, and mentored students and co-created programs in residential life, Greek life, orientation, and cultural programs at Eastern Illinois University and at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2001-2008.

Tanya has diverse experiences teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, creating department level curricula and assessments, and teaching interdisciplinary undergraduate/graduate courses in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies and Latinx studies from teaching, advising, and mentoring students at Illinois State University and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Over the last three years, Tanya has published peer-reviewed articles in The Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, and The Journal of Lesbian Studies.

Tanya started teaching at Clark College in Fall 2020. She completed the Teaching Squares program in 2021 and the college’s BUILD Program in 2022, a yearlong employee development program providing intensive training in power, privilege, and inequality.

William (Wade) Hausinger, Welding Technology

Wade Hausinger has worked in the welding industry for his entire career. He first learned welding, drafting and blueprint reading as an Evergreen High School student. At Clark College he earned his GED and completed leadership skills training. He has worked in the welding industry since 1989 and was certified for industry-related professional training on the job. He starting as a welding fabricator and working his way up to pipe fitter/welder, pipe shop foreman, shop welding foreman, and metal fabrication foreman. His former employers include Christensen Shipyard, Electro, Cascade General Shipyard and GI Welding.

Wade began teaching welding at Clark College in 2017 as an instructional technician and became an instructor the following term. He made tenure track in 2020.

Mark Keats, English

Mark L. Keats earned his Associate of Arts degree in English from Howard Community College. He then earned a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese language and literature and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park. He began teaching at Howard Community College and taught for six years before returning to graduate school, where he earned a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from Texas Tech University. He taught for one year at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas before accepting a job at Clark College.

He began teaching at Clark College Fall 2020 as a tenure track candidate. He currently serves on the literature committee. He has participated in English and campuswide professional development and training.

Jesse Kysar, Engineering

Jesse Kysar earned an Associate of Science Transfer degree in physics at Lower Columbia College in 2011. He transferred to Washington State University in Pullman, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and a Bachelor of Science degree in material science and engineering, both in 2014.

While he was enrolled at WSU, he worked as a student researcher. After he graduated, he worked as an engineer I, industrial applications at nLight, which produces high-power semiconductor lasers and fiber lasers. He also worked as a mechanic and heavy equipment operator in the construction industry.

Jesse began teaching at Clark College as an adjunct faculty member in Fall 2018, then worked as temporary full-time faculty before starting his tenure journey in 2020. In addition to teaching in the engineering department, he also teaches materials science in the welding department. At Clark, he serves as the department lead in program outcomes assessment. He is one of two faculty experts on the advanced manufacturing curriculum leadership team.

Alejandra Maciulewicz-Herring, Medical Assisting

Alejandra Maciulewicz-Herring earned her Associate of Arts degree in pre-nursing at Clark College. She also earned a Certificate of Proficiency, medical assistant, Concorde Career College, Portland; Certificate of Proficiency, emergency medical technician, Linn-Benton Community College, Albany, Oregon; and an American Association of medical assistant certification.

Her career in the healthcare industry includes working as a medical assistant, pediatrics medical assistant, and an administrative medical assistant in internal family medicine, physical therapy, and pediatrics clinics. Her former employers include Allergy Clinic, Internal Family Medicine, Columbia Asthma & Allergy, Creekside Medical, Stargait Physical Therapy, and Miller’s Family Pediatrics.

Alejandra began teaching full time at Clark College in Fall 2020. She is involved with outreach events to promote the college’s Allied Health programs.

Marisol Moreno Ortiz, Libraries

Marisol Moreno Ortiz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Oregon State University in Corvallis, a Master of Arts in English from Portland State University in Portland, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisianna. Before entering her full-time library position at Clark College, Marisol worked part time at the library at Linn-Benton Community College, where she also taught information literacy and supported student learning.

Marisol began her current full-time position at Clark College as reference and instruction librarian in Fall 2020. She serves on a tenure committee and is a supportive member of the OER steering committee. Marisol is a mental health advocate, privacy advocate, and focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in librarianship.

Thomas Olsen, Jr., Digital Media Arts

Thomas Olsen, Jr., earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Oregon, Eugene, and his Master of Fine Arts degree in film and television production (emphasis in film and television producing) from Chapman University, Orange, California. He is a documentary film producer through his company Anchor Pictures. Thomas also has taught at Portland Community College, Portland State University, Warner Pacific University, and The Art Institute of Portland.

Thomas began teaching at Clark College in Fall 2020 as a tenure-track professor. He serves as the advisor for the college’s Cinema Club and on the digital media arts advisory board. Thomas also volunteers for the Cannon Beach Historical Society and Museum.

Amy VahnDijk, Nursing

Amy VahnDijk earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Washington State University Vancouver and her Doctor of Nursing Practice as a family nurse practitioner at Washington State University. Before entering the teaching profession, she worked as a family nurse practitioner at The Vancouver Clinic. Amy has more than a decade of professional nursing experience.

Amy began teaching at Clark College in 2020 as a tenure track tenure candidate. She currently serves on the nursing library committee and nursing tenure track hiring committee.

Photo: Clark College/Jenny Shadley

Rocket Breaks Record

Penguins fly!

Or rather, one “Little Penguin” rocket flew on April 28, with the help of four Clark Aerospace students.

Every spring, the college’s Aerospace program travels to the scrappy sagebrush landscape of Brothers, Oregon, a premier launch site for high-altitude rocket projects, 40 miles east of Bend. Their mission: Launch the rockets they have built during the academic year.

Clark’s team arrived in two cars filled with rockets, tools, four students, and Xiunu “Sophie” Lin, physics professor and director of Clark’s Aerospace Program.

First, student Tyler Lawrence launched his rocket, and it was safely recovered. This achievement marked Tyler’s L1 High Power Rocket Certification.

Great outcome!

Next, the team launched their rocket, dubbed “Little Penguin,” which is 12 feet long, 5 inches in diameter and weighing about 45 pounds. According to the team’s simulations, the rocket with an M-1939 motor could potentially reach a high point of about 16,000 feet (called “apogee” in rocket lingo).

Little Penguin: All Systems Go!

Following a simple countdown, the team launched Little Penguin around 5 p.m. Wow, did that Little Penguin fly!

Professor Lin said, “It took off with tremendous power, producing a shock wave that could be felt 500 feet away from the launch site. The rocket soared straight into the blue sky with a beautiful straight line before disappearing.”

After a rocket is launched, it’s crucial for the team to follow its trajectory visually, so they later can find where it lands. When they lose sight of a rocket, the team uses a radio receiver to follow the signal of a radio tracker attached to the rocket’s nose cone.

But the signal they picked up was weak, indicating that the rocket must have drifted far from the launch site. The students, Professor Lin and the team’s mentor, Jack Caynon started driving, and stopping every few minutes to check the signals and direction before driving forward.

After driving for an hour or two, they eventually picked up a stronger signal. It came from a sagebrush-covered field behind a barbed wire fence. The sun had already set. The team crawled beneath the fence and walked uphill for a mile, where they found Little Penguin 11 miles northeast of the launch site.

Little Penguin broke Clark’s record

From left to right: Ethan Lloyd Walters; Samuel Remus Banceu;  Tyler James Lawrence (team leader); Jackie L. Caynon (the team mentor); Xiunu Sophie Lin (program director); Vyacheslav Timofeyevich Lukiyanchuk

Keith Stansbury, the prior director of the college’s Aerospace program, said “an 11-mile recovery is a record for Clark. Eleven miles and we got it back! Phenomenal!”

“Recovering the rocket 11 miles from the launch site is almost a miracle,” said Professor Lin. “The recovery may not have been successful on our very first flight test, but we collected our first set of flight data to analyze and improve our rocket for future flights.”

The team examined the errant Little Penguin and discovered that an insufficient weld led to the bulkhead detaching from the fin cans, causing the rocket to drift in strong winds. The team plans to scrutinize the flight data to glean further insight.

Their next mission: competing at the SpacePort America Cup competition, the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition, held June 19-24 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

“Our students learned good lessons from this flight,” said Professor Lin. “The perseverance they showed during the search of the rocket was impressive and amazing. As a team, we are determined to fail as many times as necessary before we can succeed at the SpacePort America Cup competition.”

Watch the Rocket Launch.
Photos by Carla Caynon, courtesy of the Rocket Club.

Student Art Show

Art student Lizette Torson winner of best painting with Grant Hottle chair of art department.

Archer Gallery was buzzing 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.

Although the gallery’s student art show returned to an in-person event last year, it was subdued. This year, it was noisy. The space was filled with conversations and people connecting over art.

“This is the first student art exhibit that feels like we’re back,” said Grant Hottle, art department chair. “We have an astonishing level of work here. Our art faculty are great. We have an extraordinary group of students who work hard.”

There were 150 submissions of student work for this year’s show; 65 pieces were chosen, said Archer Gallery Director Kendra Larson. Students created their work in the past year. Their art professors curated the work.

“The strength and breath of this artwork reflects the hard work, dedication, and unique voices of our amazing Clark Students,” said Larson. “It was a fun celebration of all the art students and their hard work.”

Artwork will be on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday until the closing reception on June 9.

Awards prizes were provided by Blick Art Materials, Georgies Ceramics and Clay, Gamblin Paint, Clay Art Center, PICA, McClain’s Printmaking, Collage, ProPhoto Supply, and Blue Moon Camera and Machine.

Student Syd Ness with his award-winning digital art.

Award Winners

The awards juror was Prudence Roberts, writer, curator, and art historian. Here are her choices:

  • Most Ambitious – Samantha Garcia Ortiz, for “Wine & Cheese Glasses Master Study”
  • Solo Show Award – Lissette Torson
  • Most Poignant – Syd Ness, for “Self Portrait”
  • Best in Photography – Richard Cole, for “This Too shall Pass”
  • Second in Photography – Tahnee Calderon Hernandez, for “Win a Prize”
  • Third in Photography – Julia Smook, for “Lab”
  • Best in Drawing – Colin Johnson, for “A Quiet Place”
  • Second in Drawing – Chelsie Cannon, for “10 things I Thought Were Good Ideas at the Time”
  • Best in Painting – Lissette Torson, for “Growth”
  • Second in Painting – Juan Carlos Garcia, for “Civilization”
  • Best in Ceramics – Denise Ostlund, for “Beyond Belief #2”

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish

2023 All-Washington Academic Team announced

Left to right: The 2023 All-Washington Team Alexandria (Lexi) Kneipp, Bruce Adams, and Ella Merusic

Three Clark College students are among those being recognized for their academic excellence and community service.  

Alexandria (Lexi) Kneipp overcame her social anxiety by stepping up to be a leader, first in high school and now as a Phi Theta Kappa officer. Volunteering has helped her become more connected to the college and her neighborhood community. She enjoys leading and assisting others in navigating difficulties or making someone’s life easier. After she graduates this spring, she will transfer to Western Washington University to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. 

Lexi received another PTK honor by being selected as a Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a bronze medallion. She will be recognized at the PTK International Conference and the All-Washington Academic Team ceremony, both in April.  

As one of the top 16 award recipients of the PTK’s All-Washington Academic Team, she will receive a $750 scholarship from Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECC). 

Bruce Adams was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. It significantly impacted him and his ability to do his job as a lab courier. His new career goal became to have a career again. He is determined to earn his degree. As he returned to college, Bruce initially was concerned about online learning, but the resources available for virtual learning eliminated his fears. He will graduate this fall with honors in the Health Information Management program and looks forward to returning to the workforce. 

Ella Merusic was motivated by her parents, who worked hard to overcome difficulties in life for her benefit. They gave her the support she needed to improve her life and future. Ella is looking forward to graduating with honors in Biological and Biomedical Sciences this summer. She plans to transfer to Washington State University to continue her studies to become a software designer/engineer who can better others’ lives through her work. 

The top three recipients will be announced at the Washington State Conference. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Association of College Trustees (ACT). The ceremony will be livestreamed via the SPSCC YouTube channel

Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley

Phi Theta Kappa at Clark College Wins Regional Awards Again 

Group of students outside smiling at the camera.
Clark College Phi Theta Kappa students received multiple awards at the PTK Greater Northwest Region Spring Conference in Poulsbo on March 5, 2023. Left to right: Tahnee, Lexi, Eliza, Natalie, David, Alex, Jasdeep, Lizbet, Tucker, Charissa, Kaylee and Meridian.

For the second year in a row, the Clark College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for community colleges, was ranked first place in the region and received the Distinguished Chapter Award. Three of its PTK members were nominated to the All-Washington Academic Team, and the chapter took top honors in PTK’s regional Hallmark Awards. 

Clark College also ranked first place in two other categories: 

  • First Place College Project – First Generation College Student Day 
  • First Place Paragon Award for New Advisors – Heather Leasure  

“Being a PTK and Clark College alumni myself, I am excited to receive the Paragon award for new advisors,” said Leasure, Student Communication & Retention Manager and PTK co-advisor. “I look forward to all the wonderful things we will be doing in 2023, including winning distinguished chapter again and more.”  

Awards presented at the conference include the Distinguished Chapter Award for being a 5-star chapter and honored the work of the leadership team: Lexi Kneipp, Kaylee Bathe, Eliza Buttars, Lizbet Jimenez, Meridian Bonser, Jasdeep Atwal, and Leo Sanchez. The awards can be seen in the PTK display case in Hanna Hall.

Photos courtesy of Heather Leasure

Dr. Edwards named a Paragon President

Dr. Karin Edwards
Dr. Karin Edwards. Craig MItchelldyer for Clark College Foundation.

Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards was recently named a Paragon President by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK). The award recognizes college presidents who have shown support of student success initiatives leading to stronger pathways to completion, transfer, and employment. They have taken an active interest in supporting students, including high-achieving students and developing student leaders on campus.  

“This award is especially meaningful to me because I was nominated by our students,” said Dr. Edwards. “Nomination and selection for this award is recognition that PTK and other students know they have my support.” 

To be eligible for this award, college presidents and CEOs must be new in their role, having served less than three years. Recipients are nominated by students on their campus and are only eligible to receive the award once. These 20 recipients were selected from among 426 college presidents, chancellors, and CEOs eligible to receive this award. 

“These college presidents have students-first leadership styles and have made it a priority to keep students engaged throughout the pandemic,” said Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Their nomination is evidence of the gratitude their PTK students feel for supporting them and students like them—even during the most difficult times.”  

All PTK Paragon Presidents will be recognized during PTK Catalyst 2022, the Society’s annual convention in Denver, Colorado, on April 7-9. 

About Clark College 

Founded in 1933, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Clark serves a wide range of students including high school students, displaced workers, veterans, parents, non-native English speakers, and mature learners. Approximately three-quarters of its students are in the first generation of their families to attend college. Learn more at  

Clark College expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, citizenship, immigration status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal in its programs and activities. Learn more at

About Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.8 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 countries, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges. Learn more at