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




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




Women in STEM Tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Participating STEM professionals were:

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

The advice given and comments made by the professionals included:

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

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

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

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

“The industry could use more diversity today.”

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

STEM at Clark College

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

Learn more

Clark College STEM programs: https://www.clark.edu/academics/programs/science-technology-and-engineering/

Clark’s state-of-the-art STEM Building: https://www.clark.edu/academics/programs/science-technology-and-engineering/SBG.php

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish




Professional Baking Capstone

Gage Gwynn was pursuing a general associate degree at Clark College when he mentioned to his math professor that he enjoyed baking and had heard positive reviews of Clark’s Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program. His professor talked so effusively about it that Gwynn eventually enrolled in the program.

Gage Gwynn holding a loaf of sourdough focaccia.

“I’m really good at math,” he explained. “And I also like baking. They go together.”

Gwynn was one of eight second-year baking students who presented their capstone project to the college community and their families on May 9 in the McClaskey Culinary Institute Food Court in Gaiser Hall.

An enthusiastic crowd of Clark students, staff, and community members waited in a very long line for an opportunity to sample artful and delicious baked goods prepared by the students.

The much-awaited annual event is the culmination of their capstone project. They spent the first five weeks of spring term creating their final presentations. Each student chose their focus: bread, plated dessert, or viennoisserie (laminated doughs).

Before the ravenous crowd was allowed to storm the bakery tables, all the baked goods were judged by professional bakers who examined the baked goods, asked students questions about their techniques and ingredients—and then tasted everything.

Finally, the judges finished. By this time, the crowd was growing restless. The line snaked through the food court, down the hall, and nearly to the north entrance of Gaiser Hall.

Alison Dolder, center, stands with the judges who volunteered to rate the student’s work.

Then Alison Dolder, Professional Baking and Pastry Arts instructor stepped to the front of the waiting crowd and introduced the 2024 capstone project. She stepped aside as people made a beeline to tables where baking students stood behind mouth-watering displays of their baked goods. 

The bakers patiently offered samples of pain au chocolat, tiramisu, cambozola cheesecake Napoleon, salted caramel cream puff, chocolate babka, and much more to the eager tasters.

Students prepping for their final project in the McClaskey cake room.

Real-world experience

These students have completed their classes at Clark. Next, they will get hands-on real-world work experience immersed in internships in professional bakeries in Vancouver and Portland. During the five-week internships, students must work a minimum of 24 hours per week. Some will work more.

In June these students will earn an associate in applied technology degree in Professional Baking and Pastry Arts Management.

First-year students help the bakers get their pastries plated for presentation.

Meet the Bakers

Miranda Kirby

Capstone focus: Viennoiserie (laminated doughs)
Internship: Bakeshop in Portland

Isabella Alvarez

Capstone focus: Individual desserts
Internship: Di Tazza Gourmet Coffee and Café, Vancouver 

Max Harrell

Capstone focus: Viennoiserie (laminated doughs)
Internship: Forevers Bakery, Hazel Dell

Genesis Skjeie

Capstone focus: Viennoiserie (laminated doughs)
Internship: Di Tazza Gourmet Coffee and Café, Vancouver 

Annika Davila

Capstone focus: Individual desserts
Internship: Farina Bakery, Portland

Emily Baker

Capstone focus: Individual desserts, particularly petit four
Internship: Chandelier Bakery, Vancouver 

Jessica Ray

Capstone focus: Individual desserts
Internship: Dream Cakes, Portland

Gage Gwynn

Capstone focus: Artisan breads, particularly sourdough
Internship: Fleur De Lis Bakery & Cafe, Portland

View photos on our Flickr page: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBpucE
Photos Clark College/Jenny Shadley




The Swift Literary Journal

For many authors, this was their first time reading their work publically.

The Clark College community celebrated the annual publication of The Swift, the college’s student-run literary journal at a release party that included student readings, coffee and pastries, and stacks of the 2024 issue on May 9 in PUB 161.

As people entered the room, they picked up the journal, sat, and began reading. Many who attended were published in this issue. For some, it was their first time being published.

The event had a very supportive and attentive crowd for the newly published authors.

The Swift’s contributing writers and poets are Clark students and alumni. This edition features the work of 23 writers and includes 10 poems, 10 works of short fiction, and 6 works of short nonfiction. The annual journal was edited by first-time student editors.

In 2023, Clark published the first issue of The Swift. Formerly, Clark College featured art and literature in a single magazine Phoenix, which now focuses strictly on art: www.clarkphoenix.com. This is the second annual volume of The Swift.

Dawn Knopf, Clark English professor (pictured above) and advisor of The Swift, welcomed the guests and invited the writers to take a turn reading their work at the podium. What followed was a lovely time of students reading their work aloud for the appreciative audience.

Poet Colin Sandberg (pictured above) introduced his poem, “Rock and Stone” by saying, “This is my first published work. It starts with an epigraph from Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook.”

As he read, all listened intently. When he finished reading, they clapped. Then the next published writer walked to the podium.

About The Swift

Funded by the Associated Students of Clark College (ASCC), The Swift: Clark College Literary Journal is dedicated to publishing skillful and inventive creative writing by Clark students, alumni, and staff. The journal is student-run and supported by faculty and staff from the Art and English Departments. Students enrolled in English 277 start the production of the journal each Fall Quarter. An editorial staff of literary students continues production work during winter term with the publication and distribution of the annual journal occurring spring term each year.

Learn more

Submit your poem, fiction, or nonfiction short piece for publication: The Swift: accepts submissions from the Clark College community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. For submission guidelines and timelines contact theswift@clark.edu.

Get involved as a staff member: Contact faculty adviser Dawn Knopf, Director of The Swift at dknopf@clark.edu or theswift@clark.edu

Become a better writer. Sign up for a writing class offered during the 2024-25 academic year:

  • English 121: Intro to Creative Writing
  • English 125: Fiction Writing
  • English 126: Poetry Writing
  • English 127: Creative Nonfiction Writing
  • English 128: Graphic Fiction Writing
  • English 277: Literary Publication

View photos from the event on our Flickr page https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBpz2q
Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley




Spring Welcome Week

Spring Welcome Week kicked off on Monday, April 8. Students returning to campus for spring term were greeted by blossoming trees and flowers—and a plethora of Clark staff members volunteering at information tables inside buildings around campus. Helpful volunteers answered students’ questions, offered directions, provided campus maps and more. These information tables were successful in helping students feel welcomed by the many staff and faculty who volunteered to help Clark students.

Warmer, dry weather invited students to gather outside to sit on benches or walk the paths around campus, and particularly to view and take photos of the blooming cherry trees. Inside Gaiser Hall, students congregated in their favorite gathering spots to catch up with friends and classmates.

Student Involvement Fair

Gaiser Student Center bustled with activity as students, staff, and faculty gathered for Clark’s Spring Term Involvement Fair on April 10. Students stopped at the tables that filled the hall to ask questions and to learn more about the college’s support services, student clubs, and programs.

Clark College wants to ensure students know about and can access wrap-around services, including Penguin Pantry, Disability Support Services, Counseling and Health Center, and more. The Student Involvement Fair, which is held during the first week of every quarter, is an excellent way for students—particularly new students—to learn more about these programs, services, and opportunities. Standing at the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion table, Rosalba Pitkin offered flyers and information about the Students of Color Luncheon, Noche de Familia, and other upcoming events. At the Counseling and Health Center table, students could learn about free health and counseling services and the center’s new sensory room, which has been popular among students.

At Clark’s ASCC student government table, student leaders answered students’ questions and shared information about getting involved with student government. Students stopped by the Activities Programming Board table to learn about upcoming opportunities to connect with fellow students—including making a Swiftie-themed bracelet, crafts, movies, free pizza and ice cream sundaes.

Students connected with peers with shared interests by stopping at many student club tables where club members talked about practicing speaking in Spanish to creating comics to bingeing on Korean K-dramas and more. At the Columbia Writers Series table, Professor Dawn Knopf chatted about the upcoming event with author Andrew Leland on April 26. At the Spanish Club table, students learned about opportunities to practice speaking in Spanish and participate in activities to immerse themselves in Hispanic culture. At the Clark Aerospace Club table student Ethan Walters showed off the club’s new rocket, dubbed “Emperor Penguin” and talked about their April 27 test flight in Brothers, Oregon.

Students also connected with representatives from various useful community resources. Volunteers from Clark County Food Bank offered flyers with food pantries and housing resources around the county. At the League of Women Voters of Clark County table, volunteers assisted students to register to vote. At the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program table, students who need legal assistance could find help.

Eight financial institutions participated in the event: Bank of America, Columbia Credit Union, IQ Credit Union, Key Bank, OnPoint Community Credit Union, Rivermark Community Credit Union, Umpqua Bank and US Bank.

In addition to helpful information and connections, the event also provided opportunities for students to pick up useful items at no cost. At the Activities Programming Board table students Hannah Colwell, Austun Fuerstenberg and Austin Newton offered reusable bags filled with travel-size toothpaste, shampoo and more.

They had placed many other free items on another table. Pointing to an electric air pump to inflate an air mattress, Hannah Cowell said the goal is to provide useful items that students can use and that might not be in their budget. Almost immediately, the air pump was snapped up by a student.

All around Gaiser Student Center, Clark students were making connections, learning about opportunities and receiving free items that will make their lives easier. Another Involvement Fair that lived up to its name.

Students can find all these resources and more at Support Services (clark.edu)

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish




PTK Brings Home Awards

Left to Right: PTK co-advisor Heather Leasure, Mike Harrison, Ziyad El-Amrani, Fennic Tatum, Natalie Perdun, Mary Harter, PTK co-advisor Darci Feider.

Leadership from Clark’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) student honor society traveled to the national PTK Catalyst conference April 4-6 in Orlando, Florida, and brought home a trophy. Clark’s chapter was among 34 chapters selected to receive the Hallmark Award for Distinguished College Project. There are 1,247 PTK chapters nationwide.

PTK Co-advisor Heather Leasure said, “We also were honored as a top 100 chapter out of 1,247 chapters, so that is exciting as well.”

Catalyst National Conference

A slide from the conference announcing their standing in the top 100 of 1,247 chapters.

PTK Catalyst is Phi Theta Kappa’s annual event that brings together members, advisors, and their supporters for professional development and to celebrate the accomplishments of the PTK community. The event includes opportunities for personal and professional development, college transfer guidance, inspiring speakers, and opportunities to network and learn from other members of the PTK community.

Clark College PTK leadership who attended the conference are Ziyad El-Amrani, president; Natalie Perdun, vice president of scholarship; Mike Harrison, vice president of service; Fennic Tatum, vice president of fellowship and Mary Harter, director of history and records. Additionally, both PTK advisors, Heather Leasure and Darci Feider attended the conference with the students.

“Catalyst is not just the culmination and celebration of the whole year and being awarded for your hard work,” said Heather Leasure. “It is also a time to connect with other chapters and pull ideas from their success. This reinvigorates the officer team to come back with energy to train their successors for the next academic year.”

College Project Award

The purpose of the PTK’s college project is to establish or strengthen a supportive relationship between the chapter and the college administration. Clark’s PTK chapter president met with President Edwards to discuss needs at Clark College and to determine a project that supports Clark’s mission. Then the PTK members discussed the project and how they would implement it.

This academic year, PTK’s project was two-fold:

  • Supporting and assisting with Penguin Pantry, and,
  • Backpacks and school supplies for Clark students

Both projects support the college’s strategic plan tenet of Equitable Student Experience through priority two which is to remove barriers and provide inclusive support to increase student success.

Project 1: Supporting Penguin Pantry

PTK leaders advertised volunteer opportunities with the Penguin Pantry—including packing boxes with food, distributing food boxes to students in a drive-through format, scheduling volunteers, and volunteering at pantry events.

  • 32 volunteers
  • 196 volunteer hours
  • 31,890 pounds of food packaged and distributed
  • 3,775 people served

Project 2: Fall term backpack and school supply giveaway

PTK members worked with Monica Knowles, Clark College Bookstore manager, who provided ideas for backpacks and school supplies and provided the products at cost. Then PTK asked Dr. Edwards for permission to hold a school supplies fundraiser on Opening Day, she made their request to Executive Cabinet and they approved it. PTK created advertising. Dr. Edwards published it in her weekly newsletter to the college and in her Opening Day invitation.

On Opening Day, PTK placed multiple donation barrels. Clark College Foundation set up a way for people to donate funds for the project. The Clark community was generous.

  • 116 backpacks filled with school supplies and Clark College water bottles
  • Distributed to 116 Clark students in need

Each chapter’s project entries were scored at the international PTK headquarters. Winners were announced at the Catalyst national conference.

Clark’s PTK chapter attends the national conference every year. The trip was funded by services and activities fees through the Associated Students of Clark College (ASCC).

In March, Clark’s PTK chapter received three awards at the Great Northwest Spring Conference on March 23 at Bates Technical College in Tacoma:

  • Honors in Action project, 2nd place
  • Honors in Action theme, 2nd place
  • College project, 3rd place

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for two-year colleges. PTK recognizes the academic achievement of college students and provides opportunities for its members to grow as scholars and leaders. Clark’s PTK chapter is Alpha Sigma Phi. Students are invited to join PTK when enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and achieve a minimum 3.25 grade point average.

Photos courtesy of Heather Leasure.




2024 All-Washington Academic Team

Left to right: Alexander Cole, Addison Johnson, Ethan Mahan, and Lisa Segretto.

Congratulations to the four outstanding students who will represent Clark College at the 27th annual All-Washington Academic Team ceremony on April 25 at South Puget Sound Community College in Lacey. The event recognizes students from Washington State for their academic excellence and community service. The All-Washington Academic Team is a program of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges.

The four Clark College scholars are:

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

These Clark students are among 92 students from across the state named to the All-Washington Academic Team. They are pursuing transfer and workforce pathways at Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges.

Alexander Cole

Alexander D. Cole

Alexander D. Cole did not attend school until he was 15 years old. With determination, he taught himself to read and write and graduated from high school. While learning to repair his car, he found his future career. Alexander is enrolled in the T-TEN automotive technician program at Clark College and is apprenticing at a local Toyota dealership garage. After he earns an associate of applied technology degree in June 2025, he will be a full-time repair technician at the same dealership. His dream career is to work on vehicles for Toyota.

Addison Johnson

Addison Johnson

Addison Johnson’s mother and grandmother encouraged her to work passionately toward her goals. The Running Start student will earn her diploma from Camas High School and her associate degree from Clark College in June. She plans to transfer to Oregon State University to earn a baccalaureate degree in bioengineering. Next, she plans to pursue medical school and a career as an orthopedic surgeon.

Ethan Mahan

Ethan Mahan

Ethan Mahan’s high school teacher inspired him to pursue a career in healthcare. Ethan will earn an associate in applied technology degree in Medical Assisting with an additional certification in Phlebotomy from Clark College in August 2024. He plans to work as a medical assistant, gain healthcare experience, and eventually, continue his education to become a physician’s assistant. It has been challenging balancing work, assignments, and a phlebotomy internship, but it is worth it as he prepares to begin his career.

Lisa Segretto

Lisa Segretto

After breaking free from generational cycles of abuse and neglect, Lisa Segretto was inspired by her daughter to seek therapy and attend college. She’s graduating from Clark with a 4.0 and her associate degree and plans to attend either Portland State University or Washington State University to pursue a Bachelor of Psychology. She dreams of earning her Master of Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Psychiatry, eventually opening a mental health practice for children and adults who have experienced childhood trauma.

All-Washington Academic Team Ceremony

The ceremony’s keynote speaker is Governor Jay Inslee. The event will be livestreamed at 12:30 p.m. on April 25 on the SPSCC YouTube channel.

Each student will receive a medal and a $250 scholarship from Key Bank. They also are eligible for additional scholarships from private sponsors and transfer scholarships for four-year colleges and universities.

Program sponsors are Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges, Washington State Association of College Trustees, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges.

Scholarship sponsors:

  • KeyBank: $250 awarded to every team member
  • Washington State Employees Credit Union: $750 awarded to the top 16 members
  • Washington State Association of College Trustees: $1,000 awarded to the top 3 team members

Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley




Air Force ROTC

Students and Veterans Center of Excellence staff meet with University of Portland Air Force ROTC at a luncheon.

The Veterans Center of Excellence at Clark College (VCOE) hosted an informational session with Lt. Col. Natasha Waggoner, Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructor from the University of Portland on February 5. More than a dozen Clark students participated in this opportunity to learn about the AFROTC program and options available to them.  

The AFROTC program at University of Portland has consortium agreements with Clark College and more than a dozen other colleges in the Portland-Vancouver metro area that allow students at those institutions to participate in the University of Portland’s AFROTC program at no additional cost to the student. Students who participate in AFROTC must attend weekly AFROTC classes at the University of Portland. 

The Air Force is interested in recruiting cybersecurity professionals. Professor Dwight Hughes, the director of Clark College’s Cybersecurity Bachelor of Applied Science program, joined Lt. Col. Waggoner in talking with students about opportunities for collaboration between the college’s Cybersecurity program and AFROTC, including career development, military job opportunities and Air Force ROTC guest speakers in cybersecurity classes. 

Full-time students may be eligible to join the AFROTC program at University of Portland, whether they are enrolled in a bachelor’s program at Clark or completing a bachelor’s degree at another college where AFROTC has an agreement.  

About AFROTC 

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC): 

  • Must be a full-time college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree 
  • Eligibility is determined by Air Force ROTC 
  • Opportunity to become an Air Force officer after completing a bachelor’s degree 
  • Designed to prepare the student for active duty as an officer with increased responsibility year after year 
  • AFROTC offers numerous programs and scholarship opportunities leading to an academic degree and a commission in the Air Force as a second lieutenant 

Learn more about AFROTC at University of Portland: 

About the Veterans Center of Excellence 

The Clark College Veterans Center of Excellence coordinates comprehensive support services for veteran students. These support services address academic, financial, physical, and social needs for student veterans and include math, science, and English tutors; textbook and calculator loans; textbook purchase; quiet study space; computer lab with printers; practical workshops; break area with comfortable furniture, piano, air hockey table, TV screen and more. To learn more, click here or visit PUB 015. 

Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley