DRIVING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS 06 | IMMIGRANT TO PRESIDENT President Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia’s childhood shapes how she fosters a culture of learning.
10 | LEAVING A LEGACY Non-traditional automation engineering student moved to the U.S. to further his college education in manufacturing.
14 | FOLLOWING HIS PASSION River Falls native goes from high school academy to welding program to Tesla Gigafactory after CVTC graduation.
CVTC MAGAZINE A PUBLICATION FOR ALUMNI & COMMUNITY FRIENDS NOVEMBER 2021 | VOLUME 12 | ISSUE 1
A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT As the new President of Chippewa Valley Technical College, people have asked me: Why CVTC? I’m happy to answer that question. The love of service to others that has inspired me to instruct at nearly every age group now fuels me to lead one of Wisconsin’s most innovative and dynamic colleges in a growing region. We consistently deliver high-quality instruction that meets the community’s needs despite the challenges of the pandemic, and that speaks to the heart of this institution. We are relentless in our desire to see students succeed. That is my why.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED FOR ALUMNI AND THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.
DR. SUNEM BEATON-GARCIA PRESIDENT
I’m passionate about meeting students where they are to foster their lifelong learning. My dedication to providing opportunities for all who seek to fulfill their dreams through a postsecondary degree or credential is rooted in my own experiences. Therefore, I also understand the need for academic supports. Not everyone has the same circumstances, but we all have unlimited potential. Understanding our students and meeting them where they are makes sure everyone can succeed and thrive. Choosing CVTC is just the beginning. We recognize walking through that door takes a lot of courage. There may be some people in our students’ lives that say college is not for them – that they do not belong – but we show them otherwise. We envision new ways to help them cross the finish line. Everyone's work is a part of their success, from our faculty to those that maintain the wonderful spaces in which we learn. That does not happen by chance. It happens because we care. When students graduate, their journeys do not end and neither do our roles at CVTC. We are happy to support the more than 92 percent of graduates who get jobs in their fields each year. We create opportunities to reskill, upskill, and relearn as industries change and evolve. We provide crucial, affordable education at a moment when training the talent pipeline has never been more urgent. As our former students and community partners have the need for continued education, we are where the need is. We are committed to being where our partners are to make it easier for their employees to gain extra skill and knowledge. CVTC alumni touch your life many times a day. They are your teachers, nurses, respiratory therapists, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, chefs, farmers, truck drivers, fabricators, information technologists, accountants, cosmetologists, and beyond. We have prepared them and equipped them for the needs of the workforce. We are a part of the community’s ecosystem. When our community is successful, we are successful. Gratefully,
Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia
PRESIDENT Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS, RECRUITMENT, WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS & CONTINUING EDUCATION Joni Geroux EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT Karen Kohler CONTENT STRATEGIST & WRITER Alyssa Van Duyse GRAPHIC DESIGNER Mackenzie Slattery
CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701-6162 715-833-6200 800-547-CVTC cvtc.edu
Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, ncahlc.org. Issue Date: November 2021. Published biannually. © 2021 Chippewa Valley Technical College. All rights reserved.
CVTC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment, admissions, programs, or activities. General inquiries regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Director of Human Resources • Chippewa Valley Technical College • 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701 • 715-852-1377 • WI Relay: 711
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS: THE KEY TO SUCCESS Within her first few weeks as Chippewa Valley Technical College President, Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia made it clear by her actions that she would not be leading the college from behind a desk. Throughout those weeks, the former Floridian had given a tour to Governor Tony Evers of the CVTC sponsored Career Exploration Center at Farm Tech Days, toured and met with CVTC alumni at the new Hy-Vee grocery store and accepted a new car alongside CVTC faculty for the automotive program thanks to the generosity of the Chilson-Subaru administrators. It wasn’t by chance. Beaton-Garcia wants western Wisconsin communities to know that we are all in this together — educating people to obtain great jobs in the region, which helps families and communities. It’s a cycle worth being a part of, said Beaton-Garcia.
When the businesses and
“We are a reflection of the community. We’re providing the training and we’re helping each other. We’re just a different part of the equation.”
industries in our communities are
When people engage in a lifetime of learning, the whole community benefits, she said. Continued education has been shown to lower crime and provide upward economic mobility. But Beaton-Garcia’s excitement to connect isn’t just about community partners, it’s about following our students and alums through their educational journeys.
successful, we are successful. - Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia
“When I went to Hy-Vee (as it was being built) I was able to connect to our former students,” she said. “They were utilizing the skills they were taught at CVTC to build and wire this incredible building that will be used to give people jobs and feed people in the community. I was so proud to watch our graduates working with passion and skill.” Recently, Beaton-Garcia toured businesses in River Falls with CVTC District Board Member, Mike Noreen. Beaton-Garcia is passionate about having boots on the ground to listen to businesses throughout the CVTC district. The goal in meeting with businesses is to understand employment needs and skills throughout the district and then to tailor programs and continuing education to fit those needs. “The plan is to get out there to listen to all of the communities in our 11-county district – it’s an opportunity to get know each other,” Beaton-Garcia said. “This is a huge team effort, and I’m happy to lead it .”
TURNING A SECOND CHANCE INTO SUCCESS Ginger Liddell rocked back and forth from one foot to the other. She wrung her hands. The 17-year-old Chippewa Falls woman, newly enrolled in the Liberal Arts program at Chippewa Valley Technical College, was nervous to tell her story. Yet she felt compelled. “My mom and dad are both addicted to meth,” she said. “My mom is in prison for attempted homicide.” The words didn’t come easily. She looked up from the ground to gauge the response. It wasn’t long ago Liddell was also headed down a troubled path. At 15, Liddell dropped out of school. She was charged with theft and assault. She spent time in the Northwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center, and that’s where things started to turn around. The opportunities offered to Liddell through the center’s 180-Program, which focuses on educational and therapeutic programs, prepared her for the transition back into the community. “I’m not dumb,” she said. “I’m actually pretty smart.” She just needed people to believe in her. Shayne Gerberding believed in Liddell. In fact, Gerberding said Liddell was the “picture perfect applicant” for Western Dairyland’s Chippewa Fresh Start program, which helped Liddell turn her life around. Gerberding is the Fresh Start program manager. The Fresh Start program provides education, employment skills, and career direction for at-risk young adults by involving them in constructing
NOVEMBER 2021 | CVTC.EDU
houses in the Chippewa Valley. When complete, the houses are sold to income-eligible families in the community. “Ginger realized the road she was going down wasn’t the one she wanted to continue on,” Gerberding said. “She really just needed that extra support. That’s what we were able to give her. She was motivated and wanted to make changes – that’s Ginger for sure.” Liddell joined the program in May and was released from the detention center in September. She received her high school diploma at age 17 – a year early. Quite a feat for someone who dropped out of school at age 15, Gerberding noted. Then she applied for college. “I’m the first person in my family to go to college,” Liddell said with a smile. “I wasn’t so sure of my path a couple months ago. This is a huge milestone. I always wanted to go to CVTC. I like helping people.” Liddell is enrolled in the Liberal Arts program. Her ultimate goal is to become an addiction specialist. “I realized I’m not that kind of a person anymore,” she said of the girl who makes bad choices. “I was put on this Earth to help people.”
A FRESH START Shayne Gerberding has been the program manager for Western Dairyland’s Chippewa Fresh Start program for less than a year. But even in that time she’s witnessed many uplifting moments.
WHEN YOU SEE THAT THEY ARE PROUD OF THEMSELVES, THAT'S REALLY AWESOME. - SHAYNE GERBERDING “When people are with us, half the time is spent building homes. But they’re not just building homes, they’re building those good habits,” Gerberding said. “We are here to teach them to maintain a job for the future.” The Fresh Start program has been helping clients in need of a new path since 1998. The program works with 16-to 24-year-old, at-risk young adults who need employment skills and career direction. Western Dairyland offers education on-site. If clients are already done with high school, post-secondary education or career prep is a focus, Gerberding said.
you're here - remind yourself of your purpose. - Sami Melssen
For 15 years, Sami Melssen worked at bedsides without much fanfare. The respiratory therapy manager at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals was working with all ages of patients – people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, those who need nebulizer treatments, chest therapy and ventilator support – the list goes on. But never in her 15 years did she think she would have to deal with a virus like COVID-19, which would cause a worldwide pandemic. “I think everyone in health care questioned what they’re doing here,” Melssen said. “But you have to take a step back and remember why you’re here – remind yourself of your purpose.” As a member of the first Chippewa Valley Technical College graduating class of respiratory therapists, Melssen said college prepared her for this trying time. Her instructor, Theresa Meinen, continues to teach the respiratory therapists of tomorrow at CVTC with fellow instructor Donald Raymond.
Meinen said she talks about COVID-19 every week with her students. First and foremost is their safety. “My students directly care for COVID patients. We have to,” Meinen said. “When we think about COVID, we think about the safety of our students with N-95 masks and being properly fit-tested. But the other thing is being proponents of the vaccine because we’re so front and center." It’s difficult to see a silver lining for the pandemic, but Meinen said now students are participating in procedures they may have never even seen prior to graduating, pre-pandemic. This time in health care is also the worst of the worst. They may never see anything as deflating and heart-wrenching as what they’re experiencing in health care right now.
HELPING SICK PEOPLE
Meinen said her number one goal is student success, which is a layered approach of teaching evidence-based practices and offering diverse clinicals. Those approaches include critical care, ramping up dialogue about infectious diseases and making sure caring for their mental health is at the forefront of many discussions.
“We are front and center at the bedside with COVID. That is what we do,” Meinen said of respiratory therapists. “We talk about infectious diseases quite often … but COVID was a game-changer.”
“They have seen the sickest of the sick, and we’re involved in trying to make those patients better,” Meinen said. “They get to use advanced skills and advanced practices. They are learning to soak up every bit of knowledge they can.”
Because respiratory therapists are needed now more than ever, the need for service makes most respiratory therapists and health care workers lean in, Melssen said. And it makes organizations like CVTC figure out how they can offer more of what the community needs. CVTC started offering the program at its River Falls Campus this fall to meet the high demand for respiratory therapists. “Someone once said we are the paramedics of the hospital – the breath of life," Meinen said. "I stumbled across this field, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE MAGAZINE
F R O M I M M I G RAN T T O
NEW CVTC LEADER’S CHILDHOOD SHAPES HOW SHE FOSTERS CU
I want them to know I see you. I get you. I've been there.
When Sunem Beaton-Garcia took over as president of Chippewa Valley Technical College on July 1, she broke the mold, the glass ceiling, and new ground as she walked through the door. It’s not difficult to see that the 46-year-old Latina woman with a doctorate in education is different from her predecessors. Beaton-Garcia’s background sets her apart from those who led before her. Her passion for lifelong learning, community collaboration, and helping people achieve their educational goals is on par with the foundation former presidents have set. “I am representative of our students,” she said. “I’m proud to look different, but this role is based on hard work, dedication, and track record. It has no bearing on what we look like or where we come from. This institution has been at the forefront of that change.”
NOVEMBER 2021 | CVTC.EDU
A COLLEGE PRESIDENT IN THE MAKING Beaton-Garcia knows struggle. Her past gives her a perspective that she believes helps her guide students and meet them where they are to foster lifelong learning. At the age of 5, Beaton-Garcia’s parents were forced to leave their homeland of Cuba during the Mariel Boatlift – a mass emigration of Cubans to the United States in 1980. Her dad was a political prisoner asked to leave. “We came at night in our pajamas. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to anyone,” she said. “We were in a new country. It was what was meant for us in our journey.” After a harrowing boat trip, they found themselves in south Florida, recognized for its significant Latin population. Still, Beaton-Garcia’s mother knew staying in that area would not
PR E S I D E N T
ULTURE OF LEARNING do them any favors. Beaton-Garcia remembers the struggle. She was a number – a statistic. She couldn’t speak the language. That start alone could have set the tone for the rest of her life. But determination stepped in. Her grit shined. Experiences like that gave Beaton-Garcia a unique perspective on the need for academic support. She said not all students are coming from the same place emotionally, economically, and educationally. “I understand that where you come from, where you were born, or the zip code you live in is not indicative of your success,” she said. “We all have unlimited potential, but it looks different from person to person. We have to have a more personalized view to help students get there. That’s equity work.” Her own educational journey, she would say, is typical of what many people experience. She wasn’t a 4.0 student. She didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She didn’t know what her path would be, and as a result, she spent unnecessary money and time without direction until she sought out career services at a two-year community college.
SETTING KIDS UP FOR SUCCESS Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia shared how she and her husband, Carlos Garcia, frame the idea of lifelong learning to their elementary school-age son, Gabriel. “When we talk with him about education, we don’t talk about it like it is a terminal thing,” Beaton-Garcia said. “We talk about skills and competencies and life-long learning. We don’t talk about a degree.” As Gabriel, 8, acclimates to education in Wisconsin, Beaton-Garcia said she and her husband will continue to help him hone the skills that he may need for careers that interest him. Beaton-Garcia said we need to think about what students are going need for future work – perhaps even careers that do not exist yet. How can students amass educational passports with skills required for professions that appeal to them? “Before, it was longevity that made a person valuable. Now it’s workforce skills,” Beaton-Garcia said. "Workforce skills will put you above others if you have mastery.”
“You can’t be a nurse if you pass out when you see blood,” she said with a laugh. “I had to change my path.”
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO:
It wasn’t until a great school advisor turned her down the road of education. Her passion was ignited.
Start the Conversation
“I offer my story to students to understand we want them to explore in a structured way and graduate on time,” she said. “Sometimes students think things were so easy for others. I want them to know I see you. I get you. I’ve been there.” Beaton-Garcia’s career includes 12 years of instructional and administrative experience in higher education. Her accomplishments are impressive and include a culture of collaboration, transformational academic programs and innovation in student support, community engagement and stewardship.
Ask your children what they want to be when they grow up, then hone those skills but also many others because when they grow up, they likely will not have the same profession their entire lives.
Instill Lifelong Learning Help foster curiousity, and be ready to jump on educational opportunities that pique your child's interest.
And for students questioning their path, her message is powerful.
Foster Additional Life Skills
“I am you. If I can be here, so can you,” Beaton-Garcia said. “The same girl that came in a boat is here doing this. You have to put in the work, but we are here. We will help you do what you need to do to get there.”
Set sights on workforce skills that can transfer to many different professions. Cultivate creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills — all of which are needed in any profession.
SO MUCH MORE THAN A
Day of Caring
SEVERAL GROUPS OF CVTC COLLEAGUES GIVE BACK BY PARTICIPATING IN THE UNITED WAY'S DAY OF CARING.
Josh Myers believes in the combined mission of Chippewa Valley Technical College and United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley. That’s why the CVTC marketing colleague has been on the College’s United Way committee for the last three years and is now the committee chair. “It’s more important than ever to give back to the community and share our time and talents with those who can benefit most,” he said after spending a Friday morning volunteering to do tasks at the Chippewa Youth Hock- JOSH MYERS ey Association’s ice rink during United Way’s Day of Caring. The volunteer service day is set to help local organizations in the Chippewa Valley. In addition to helping clean up the ice rink in Chippewa Falls, another CVTC employee team assisted with various tasks including painting, power washing, and weeding at Positive Alternatives in Menomonie.
and many different types of people within those communities,” Kohler said. “We’re both unique in that we don’t have a singular focus. We help people in their journeys, and that looks different with every person that comes to us.” “We have similar outcomes in that respect.”
IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.
CVTC has been partnering with United Way for decades. The partnership is a win-win for both organizations, said Karen Kohler, CVTC executive director of institutional advancement. “Like CVTC, United Way impacts many different communities
NOVEMBER 2021 | CVTC.EDU
Throughout the last three years, United Way has supported CVTC with microgrant scholarships geared towards jobs that are high paying and in high demand, and funding for the dental clinic – all to the tune of $338,475. “The show of commitment to service is an important way to demonstrate how interrelated we are,” Kohler said. “The more we support each other, the more support we can provide in our communities.”
Myers agrees. That’s why he vied for the committee chair position. “As a partner organization, CVTC has been especially grateful for all the support the United Way provides to our organization,” Myers said. “Their generous gifts allow us to support our students in many ways – one of which is to provide microgrants directly to students in need. “It is my goal to do what I can to help lead us from a 'me' society, to a 'we' society.”
Rachael Schintgen started at a four-year university in her home state of Oregon, but in her third year, she experienced a life-changing event when she was the victim of crime. She dropped out and said it weighed heavily on her confidence, leaving her searching for answers.
I chose to start my career as an instructor with CVTC because of the opportunity to mold future public servants. CVTC provides a cohesive, welcoming learning environment to anyone who wishes to better themselves through education.
ROBERT TEUTEBERG CRIMINAL JUSTICE INSTRUCTOR
“Dropping out is not an easy decision and it kind of takes a toll on your confidence,” she said. During her time away from school, she worked on her case. She drew praise from the local justice community for her abilities and passion and was encouraged to pursue a career in law. After meeting her fiancé, she decided to move to the Chippewa Valley and enroll in CVTC’s Paralegal program. Schintgen put her energy into the experience by joining the Paralegal Club and becoming President of the Student Association. She says this allowed her to engage with students and faculty and help her navigate coming back to school. Since graduating, Schintgen has created a scholarship for students going through similar experiences, and joined CVTC's Alumni Association Board of Directors. “Without CVTC, I wouldn’t be where I am, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” she said.
LISTEN TO RACHAEL'S FULL STORY AT:
CVTC.EDU / FORYOUFORLIFE
“I fell in love with CVTC because it’s clear to me that we change lives. Because we change lives, we change families and communities. This position gives me the opportunity to connect the passion I have for CVTC to the love I have for the Chippewa Valley.”
KAREN KOHLER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT
Eager to Learn
Automation student left his homeland for an opportunity of a lifetime. Zaid Abdullah opened the cabinet and strung red colored wire through the electric box. He weaved it around a notch and through an opening, then he started on the next. Abdullah, 33, an automation engineering student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, only has one semester of classes under his belt, but he swiftly strung the box with accuracy. He was excited to start the fall semester at CVTC in this new country he loves and in a program that he believes provides him great promise. “I’m hoping to get a job in this field. CVTC instructors have good experience. I love to be involved with them and be happy and proud of myself to complete this degree,” Abdullah said. “I want to leave a legacy.”
ZAID ABDULLAH, AN AUTOMATION ENGINEERING STUDENT, CAME
PURSUIT OF AN END GOAL Growing up in Iraq, Abdullah thought about which countries had the best education, economy, jobs, and people. The United States ranked high on his list. When the idea of moving to the United States was suggested by a captain in the U.S. Army National Guard with whom Abdullah was working in 2008, it got his wheels turning. At that time, Abdullah was also going to school in Iraq for mechanical engineering. He admits he was too young to leap – at age 19 or so. But the idea stuck. The thought of building onto his mechanical engineering education motivated him. In 2015, he started filling out paperwork for a visa to enter the U.S., but it was slow going.
“If you work hard on something, at the end, you will get it. You need to show you are hardworking, and you have to be patient and work through it.” Like many CVTC students, Abdullah already had an impressive
NOVEMBER 2021 | CVTC.EDU
He had a degree in mechanical engineering. He knows at least four languages fluently but still participated in CVTC’s free English Language Learning program before starting classes for his degree. He wanted to make sure he was ready. He was ready, said Juli Baker, English Language Learning instructor.
NEVER GIVE UP. IF YOU FAIL THE FIRST TIME, TRY AGAIN. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE IN THIS WORLD.
“The process of immigration - ZAID ABDULLAH is not easy,” Abdullah said. “The waitlist and clearance and security checks – it took four years. It was worth it.
educational and work history under his belt when he began the automation program earlier this year.
Zaid took ELL classes in fall 2020 and jumped into a full semester course load in spring 2021. “It was a challenge for him, but he adapted quickly and is very successful in his program classes,” Baker said. “Zaid is eager to learn, and he’s hardworking. He welcomes a challenge and rises to it.” Baker said coming to a new country, refining his language skills, beginning a program online during a pandemic, and having success “says a lot about his fortitude and determination.”
Not only is Abdullah in a new country, but he’s working full time at a warehouse in Chippewa Falls, and he has received A-grades in all classes taken so far – including an eight-week
“Zaid (Abdullah) has a strong mechanical background with previous experience helping in the Middle East,” Husby said. “Working with large power systems in his home country, he found an interest in learning more about electrical and automation.” After graduation, Husby said Abdullah will be able to work in a variety of manufacturing jobs with careers that include maintenance, engineering, electronics, field service technicians, sales, PLC programmer, and technical representative. “Automation graduates are highly compensated for their desirable skills and knowledge,” Husby said. “The instructors in the program have worked in the automation engineering field and many have graduated from the CVTC program. Currently there are many job opportunities available for graduates in the area,” he said. Abdullah’s main goal is to graduate from the program in December 2022 – a semester early. With support from his instructors, he’s confident he can do it. The final step is to secure a job that he loves while utilizing his robotics skills. TO THE UNITED STATES FROM IRAQ FOR BETTER OPPORTUNITIES.
“Honestly, CVTC welcomes all students and will help them,” Abdullah said. “They teach you, and they help you understand the concepts. They build skills in you. I really appreciate their efforts.”
physics course this summer, which he impressively completed in seven. “I work 10 to 12 hours at a time, but I don’t say I’m tired or stressed,” he said. “There’s difficulty in everything. Never give up. If you fail the first time, try again. Nothing is impossible in this world.” Mark Husby, automation instructor, said Abdullah is always eager to learn more and willing to ask questions.
DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. Zaid Abdullah is quick to reveal his motivation for working so hard. When asked who he looks up to in business, he will promptly tell you Henry Ford and Walt Disney, but it isn’t simply because they created successful empires. “I like these guys,” he said. “They had some failures, but they worked it out. They have big influence on my character. “I want to be something in the future. I want to leave a legacy.” Abdullah hopes it’s with an organization like NASA or a large company dealing in robotics. “I’m always looking for the biggest opportunities to demonstrate my skills,” he said. “To be successful, you have to work hard. I like to work hard.”
Accolades & Awards The learnig op rtuni es for student s using virtual simul ation are endl s . -Deanna Hoyord
$1 MILLION SAVED IN TEXTBOOK COSTS
CVTC DEBUTS VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATOR
Chippewa Valley Technical College saved students more than $1 million in textbook costs last school year, thanks to the school’s affordable learning program.
Chippewa Valley Technical College health care students will be transported from the classroom to the patient room soon with the College’s new virtual reality (VR) simulator.
Many instructors and courses have switched to using free textbooks called open educational resources, or OER, instead of traditional, commercially-published textbooks that are often high cost. Last school year, more than 4,000 CVTC students experienced at least one course with no textbook cost for an average savings of approximately $246. “Using OER has been a big win for our students who are often hit hardest,” said Vince Mussehl, director of library services and executive member of Community for Open Wisconsin. CVTC hopes to see these trends in cost savings and student success continue.
CVTC rolled out the virtual reality project in September. CVTC’s VR simulation is brand new and will be offered to students in a strategic way and in addition to other ways of learning to make sure they receive the best education possible. “Virtual reality is an innovative technology that replaces physical simulation mannequins with virtual patients in virtual environments like a hospital room, emergency room, clinic, or home environments," said Kim Ernstmeyer, CVTC director of the Open RN project. The VR simulations used by CVTC were created by a Wisconsin Technical College System consortium project led by CVTC. The project, called Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN), is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Education. The Open RN project team, comprised of faculty and simulation professionals throughout the state, is in the process of creating 25 open-source virtual reality scenarios and establishing five virtual reality centers at CVTC, Gateway, Madison, MPTC, and NWTC.
CVTC INSTRUCTORS THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX TO BRING COST SAVINGS & TOP-NOTCH EDUCATION TO STUDENTS
JERRY GOODSON, CVTC AUTO COLLISION REPAIR & REFINISHING
INSTRUCTOR, PRESENTS DURING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
INSTRUCTOR AWARDS At Chippewa Valley Technical College, all of our instructors are outstanding. Here are a few that received top honors with recent annual excellence awards
INTERNATIONAL PRESENTER Jerry Goodson knows the ins and outs of the auto repair industry. The Chippewa Valley Technical College Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Instructor has been in his students’ shoes looking ahead to an uncertain future. But Goodson also knows how far skill and passion can go.
JOHN FRANK OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD
JOHN FRANK OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD
Christianson's teaching philosophy is to train every student for the career that they dream of and to provide real-life learning.
Novek said she gives students ownership over their learning, which is a powerful tool.
His own technical college education gave him the foundation to become an instructional designer and trainer for the first all-aluminum frame Corvette in 2006, travel to Germany countless times for Audi, and become an I-CAR trainer working on vehicles like Land Rover. “I can show my students, ‘You are graduating with a tech diploma in auto repair. The foundation of what I know started there,’” he said. When International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) connected with Goodson to be a panelist during a breakout session September 2, he quickly agreed. During the 30-minute presentation, Goodson and four other presenters discussed automotive repair, technology, the skill of graduates entering the field and mentoring opportunities. People in the auto industry joined to hear the panelists’ thoughts.
DOMER NEW FACULTY TEACHING AWARD
PAUL AND KAREN KOHLER ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR EXCELLENCE AWARD
Martin has shown leadership which helped her department navigate challenges related to the pandemic.
Severson is dedicated to all of her students and takes her time to thoroughly teach the subjects needed for graduation.
Goodson, 53, graduated from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton with a one-year technical diploma in automotive collision repair in 1987. “The collision repair industry is diverse. While in school, you’re going to get a pretty good dose of repairing damage, painting, welding, and estimating and even customer service – there are so many different avenues students can take their careers.”
CRE ATING A
CVTC GRAD LEAPS FROM WELDING PROGRAM TO TESLA
NATHAN KELLY, 20, GRADUATED FROM CVTC'S WELDING PROGRAM IN MAY 2021. HE BUILDS AND PREPARES AUTO LINES AT A TESLA PLANT IN TEXAS.
Nathan Kelly said he’s living on caffeine and music. The 20-year-old Eau Claire man is working 80 to 90 hours a week. Others might complain at a fever pitch, but for Kelly, it’s an opportunity to hone his skills in the trade so he can progress in his field. That field is welding, building and fabricating for Comau, a company that contracts with Tesla for robot programming at its new “Gigafactory” in Austin, Texas. The massive factory is a $1 billion plant on 2,100 acres of land and will employ 5,000 people. As Tesla starts to add employees to the plant, Kelly continues to prep the plant for several automobile lines.
NOVEMBER 2021 | CVTC.EDU
His degree in welding and metal fabrication from Chippewa Valley Technical College got him there.
FOLLOWING HIS PASSION Kelly moved from Michigan to River Falls when he was 10. He graduated from River Falls High School and then moved to Eau Claire to attend CVTC. He was introduced to his passion for welding as a sophomore at River Falls High School and participated in CVTC's high school welding academy. He even came up with his own coursework for an additional welding class because he wanted to further develop his skills.
“After my first class in high school, I wanted to keep doing this, practicing it,” Kelly said. “So I talked to my principal, and I’d heard of different people creating their own classes. I created a schedule of what I would be doing – an independent study.” Kelly used his early education in welding to fix things throughout the school, like bleachers or other metal structures, that would otherwise have caused administrators to hire out the work. After getting a taste of welding in high school, he knew he wanted to continue that path at CVTC. “From what I heard, CVTC was one of the best trade schools,” he said. “There have been plenty of instances where I’ve wondered, ‘Where will I use the things they’re teaching me?’ Now I’m using what I’ve learned on a regular basis, and it’s pretty rewarding.” After two years of education at CVTC, he graduated from the Welding Fabrication program in May 2021. In June, he accepted a traveling welder and builder position with Comau, the international industrial automation and robotics company. Now Nathan finds himself helping to build auto lines in the new Tesla plant. Kelly appreciates his education from CVTC more every day. “At the time when I was learning some of these things, I was completely confused as to why we needed to know it,” he said of his CVTC coursework. “I never thought I’d use some of it. But now, being here, I feel very prepared for this job. There have been plenty of times where my colleagues don’t know how to go about doing something – something I was taught – and it makes me feel good to make suggestions and show them what I’ve learned.” Nathan also said current students in the welding program should consider themselves lucky to work with such modern equipment. “I can definitely say that being able to fully understand the new equipment is key,” Kelly said. “In the long run, you should also be able to go up to any machine or metal and use it to your advantage or fabricate whatever you need. I’m able to do that because of CVTC.”
Thanks to you and our combined vision for our community’s educational future, portions of our Manufacturing Education Center have been updated. Our new Transportation Education Center and Emergency Service Education Center addition and remodel are also coming along, both slated to be completed in 2022. CVTC’s mission is closely tied to the workforce needs of the region and helping people realize their dreams for a better life. Training current and future professionals for the emergency service and transportation fields is critical to the safety and prosperity of the region. At CVTC Foundation, Inc., we are actively working with our business partners, community members, and investors to secure financial support for programming, upgraded equipment, long-term technology upgrades, and supplies. A related capital campaign, Building Our Future Together, has begun to raise awareness and support. Several commemorative naming opportunities are available, as well as other ways to support these projects. “We offer a variety of ways for community members to get involved, from donating equipment and supplies to offering pledge gifts that are spread out over a designated period of time,” said Holly Bembenek, CVTC Major Gifts Officer. “We want to be as inclusive as we can in this campaign by making participation available for everyone and allowing options that align with donors’ philanthropic goals.” To learn about commemorative naming opportunities and other ways to support this project, contact: Karen Kohler | firstname.lastname@example.org Holly Bembenek | email@example.com
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