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[ Spring 2012 ]

The Clark College Foundation Magazine

[ Summer 2012 ]


Tour of Duty

Why Veterans Choose Clark College Plus: Restoring a Dental Tradition Student Succeeds Against All Odds

Honoring heroes, expanding our reach

Good oral hygiene leads to better overall health. Clark’s Dental Hygiene program trains students to be skilled professionals who help improve the health and well-being of our community. Having up-to-date accredited programs that meet patient privacy standards is essential. I’m happy to report that the project is underway and is expected to be completed in 2014. Whether they are dental hygiene, elementary education or accounting students, those who come to Clark following military duty are special in my heart. They have served their country and they deserve a top-notch education. They come to Clark, they tell me, because it is affordable and they like the small class sizes and variety of ages sitting in those classrooms. In this edition of Partners, you’ll read about two veterans who combine their GI Bill with scholarships, allowing them to focus on their studies full time. Providing those scholarships is our donors’ way of honoring local heroes. Lisa Gibert President/CEO Clark College Foundation

Foundation Staff

Partners Production

Lisa Gibert, president/CEO Terri Lunde, executive assistant to the president/board Ara Serjoie, senior vice president Daniel Rogers, chief financial officer Karen Hagen, director of advancement services Kimberlie Lee, administrative assistant/accounts payable Vivian Cheadle Manning, director of annual fund and alumni relations Chris Mildner, director of research Rhonda Morin, director of communications Gary Oyer, accounting manager Sam Pollach, development assistant Shirley Schwartz, stewardship & scholarship manager Rowena Tchao, annual fund specialist Tammy Wilson, research-database specialist

Editor Rhonda Morin Copy editors Karen Hagen Vivian Cheadle Manning Chris Mildner Graphic design Wei Zhuang Photography Jenny Shadley

Partners Magazine Clark College Foundation 1933 Fort Vancouver Way Vancouver, WA 98663-3598 360.992.2301


President’s Message

The campus is hopping with activity this summer. There are multiple renovations underway including improvements to the dental hygiene building. In June, the Firstenburg Foundation announced a $1.5 million gift that will add more clinic chairs and refurbish old classrooms into a lab and radiology suite.

Partners Magazine is published three times a year (spring, summer and winter). We welcome your comments by email, or by phone, 360.992.2301. Join us on Facebook at

[ Summer 2012 ] Volume 13, Issue 2 Copyright 2012 by the Clark College Foundation Printed by Panther Printing Inc., Salem Ore.

4 Tour of Duty

Veterans come to Clark for the personalized attention.

6 Restoring a Dental Tradition Firstenburg Foundation delivers $1.5 million to Dental Hygiene.

Smiling impressions............................................. 7 Student succeeds against all odds......................... 8 Alumni spotlight.................................................. 12

Cover: U.S. Army veteran J.R. Martinez, who was badly burned while serving in Iraq in 2003, congratulates Sara Gilbert ’12, an Air Force veteran and Clark dental hygiene graduate, and Navy veteran Richard Corbin ’12, a computer network administrator graduate. Martinez delivered the keynote address during Clark College’s commencement ceremony in June.

The Royce E. Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden was dedicated during the annual Sakura Festival, April 2012.



“I wanted to go to a college that had diversity, not just culturally, but ages too. I thought I’d fit into Clark.” With six quarters under his belt, Loo knows he made the right decision. He likes the small class sizes and accessibility to professors.

Veterans come to Clark for personalized attention and academic opportunities

“If I can’t absorb a concept, it’s not difficult to clarify it in class, and my professors remember me,” said Loo who is majoring in business and intends to pursue a CPA credential and become a public accountant. He says he feels fortunate that so many people at Clark have helped him. The MacAskill and Schwab scholarship, together with his GI Bill, allows Loo to focus on being a full-time student at the age of 26. As a result, he will transfer to the University of Portland in the fall and double major in finance and accounting.

Affordable degrees Keri Miller also spent time in the air during her 10 years in the United States Navy.


t was a handful of years after 9/11 when Eric Loo was still in high school that he made the decision to join the Army.

Trained as a ground and flight mechanic, Loo’s first overseas mission was in Pakistan in 2005 where he helped supply basic food, clothing and supplies to earthquake survivors. Despite the struggles of local residents in the wake of the earthquake’s destruction, he holds fond memories of the landscape. “Pakistan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The mountains are huge, green and the tops are all snowcapped,” said Loo, who today is a second-year Clark College student and a recipient of the Anna C. MacAskill and Dwight L. Schwab Sr. Scholarship.

Jane Hagelstein believes strongly in the sacrifices that veterans make to the United States. “They give a tremendous amount to [citizens]. I want them to have the best opportunities because they deserve the American dream,” she said.

“The quality of education is superb at Clark. Students get a solid technical education that allows them to move right into the work force and into a good paying job.”

Hagelstein’s grandfather was a veteran of both World Wars. Between conflicts, the San Antonio, Texas, resident continued to serve in the National Guard. The memory of her grandfather’s service, coupled with her belief that Clark College provides students with a solid educational foundation, prompted Hagelstein to provide scholarship funds. “The quality of education is superb at Clark. Students get a solid technical education that allows them to move right into the work force and into a good paying job,” she said.

A portion of Miller’s tuition and books are covered through a Jane Hagelstein Scholarship, and the rest,

College Focus


American dream

Miller finished her tour of duty in January 2011, and moved to Washington with her sons and fiancé, a Marine she met on base in New Orleans. She looked at a few area colleges but found them too expensive as an out-ofstate resident. She picked up a Clark College catalog and happened to see a section about veterans’ options. Miller found she could afford to pursue the pre-requisites for a degree in elementary education at Clark College through a combination of her GI Bill and scholarships.

Two more missions took him to Iraq where he spent most of his time at his company’s post with the occasional flights into Mosul or Taji to repair downed Blackhawk helicopters. His intensive Army training prepared him to work on helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. He rose to the level of a technical inspector—someone who ensures that work is done correctly.

Partners | Summer 2012

Miller is thankful for what the scholarship offers her. Now in her third quarter, Miller praises Clark for its knowledgeable instructors. “Everyone is very helpful. The professors make themselves available and I appreciate that,” she said.

~ Jane Hagelstein Stationed in New Scholarship donor Orleans, the mother of two boys served as an aviation warfare systems operator on the P-3 Orion and C-12 Huron aircrafts. Her duties included listening for submarine activity using underwater sonar and observing fishing vessels for possible narcotics transport. Her unit sometimes flew to Central America on counter-narcotic operations.

“I felt a genuine American call to serve my country,” he said, adding that once in the military he was there to do a job no matter where he served. “I am proud of what I did.”

After six years of service and with honorable discharge papers in hand, he began looking for a college that could suit his higher education aspirations. He found it at Clark.

including a housing stipend, is covered by the GI Bill. The financial assistance allows her to attend Clark full time and focus on her studies.

Eric Loo, who is studying business at Clark, will pursue a CPA credential in his quest to become a public accountant. The Army veteran served in Iraq and Pakistan.

Keri Miller intends to be an elementary school teacher and finds Clark to be affordable and welcoming for veterans. Her 10-year Air Force career took her to Central America on counter-narcotic missions on board C-12 Huron aircraft like this one.


Partners | Summer 2012



Restoring a Dental Tradition

Smiling Impression

Maggie Hodges came to Clark because of the program’s stellar reputation and because the state of Washington has allowed dental hygienists to place fillings for more than 30 years.

Dental Hygiene facility on tap for $1.5 million face lift

Growing up without fluoride in the water or an understanding of what sugar does to teeth, Alex Yanchuk ’12 found he had a mouth full of cavities.

Oregon added the procedure following legislative approval in the mid-2000s, but some surrounding western states, such as California, Montana and Idaho, have yet to integrate the socalled restorative process to their higher-education curriculums, according to Donna Wittmayer, Clark’s dental hygiene director who retires in August after 25 years of service.

So when he left the Ukraine in 2001 at age 11 and moved to the United States with his family, Yanchuk had to endure three root canals and 11 fillings. It was a painful lesson that he wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yanchuk, 21, decided to pursue an associate degree in dental hygiene at Clark College so he could help others avoid his mistakes. He graduated in June.

Hodges, 34, is enrolled in Clark’s 3-year curriculum option— students have a choice of a 2-year or 3-year program to accommodate busy work and family schedules. She’s currently in her second year of study, and in late spring, was awarded the Ann Doyle scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

When Yanchuk returns to campus to visit over the next two years, he’ll hear the whir of carpenter tools over dental drills as more patient chairs and a digital radiography suite are added to the facility. In June, the Firstenburg Foundation announced that Clark College would receive a $1.5 million gift to expand and enhance the 44-year-old program.

What he saw in Honduras appalled him. “We were working near a field where kids sucked on sugarcane all day. Their teeth were rotted to their gums,” he said. Education, according to Yanchuk, is the remedy. “A lot of what these kids do is because they don’t know any better. Education is our greatest tool.”

Clark’s dental hygiene program is very popular— there’s a standing waiting list to get into classes— and nationally recognized for excellence. As such, the physical space is in need of upgrades so it can continue to provide a rigorous curriculum and realtime clinical experiences.

Clark’s Dental Hygiene Clinic provides the education and access to oral health care to residents of the Southwest Washington region who otherwise would not have regular care. The clinic fills 3,200 appointments for 2,000 patients annually. Clark’s students serve the greater community by participating in oral health programs in area schools and caring for patients at the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, Clark County Skills Center, and Share, a homeless service. Additionally, students and instructors team up with the Clark County Dental Society each year for Children’s Dental Health Day to provide hundreds of children with free care.

Yanchuk smiles broadly as he talks about his time at the college. “I’ve received the best dental hygiene education in the nation. Hands down, Clark is well respected in Washington and the whole United States. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” said Yanchuk, who was the recipient of the Nancy Barry Scholarship during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Education is key He’s a determined man. Yanchuk attended a dental assistant program through Clark County Skills Center, was a Running Start student at Clark while he attended Battle Ground High School and signed on twice with Medical Teams International to travel to Honduras and assist with a dental service program.

Partners | Summer 2012


The 12-hour days are long and the coursework is rigorous. “This is a really hard program and you have to work your tail off, but it’s worth it,” said Hodges. As a fledgling hygienist, she finds it rewarding to help people steer their overall well-being into a healthy direction. “I like how such a small part of the human body has such a big impact on human health,” she said. Maggie Hodges, a former rafting instructor, praises Clark’s Dental Hygiene faculty for their wealth of knowledge and compassion for students.

Refurbishing Clark’s facility includes adding six patient chairs to its existing clinic, transforming classrooms into a lab and digital radiography suite, adding paperless charting computer software and ensuring that the clinic is up-to-date on federal patient privacy standards. Alex Yanchuk ’12 cleans a child’s teeth in Honduras and later gathers with the children outside a make-shift clinic. Growing up in the Ukraine with no dental care compelled him to study dental hygiene at Clark.

The work is expected to be complete in 2014.


Partners | Summer 2012



Touched by Compassion, Student Succeeds Against All Odds

arol Erwin ’11 believes events in life happen for a reason. When she lost her job in early 2009, she chose not to wallow in despair. “I couldn’t. I was a single mother with no financial reserves who had to find a way to support my 12-year-old daughter,” she said. Carol qualified for unemployment and, by the fall, had learned about a state-assisted retraining program. The 38-year-old jumped at the chance to go back to school in order to “make myself a little more recession proof.” Additionally, to help with tuition costs, Clark College offered her a H. Dale Twing Scholarship.

Participants of the retraining initiative are required to choose a career path that is in high demand in the state. Jobs in health care are projected to be one of the fastest growing fields over the next eight years. More than 5.6 million jobs are expected to be added nationally – with registered nurses, home health and personal care aids being the most needed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As Americans gray, their demand for health services will spike. Clark County’s 65 and older population grew by 11 percent in 2010. Nationally, this age group is expected to comprise 19 percent of the total U.S. population by 2030, according to U.S. population projections.


Hourly Mean Wage

Annual Mean Wage

Employment Increase 2010-2020 (Nationally)

Dental Hygienists




Registered Nurses




Medical Records & Health Information Technicians




Pharmacy Technicians




Medical Assistants




Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wage/salary data based on Vancouver, Wash., and Portland and Hillsboro, Ore. *Washington is one of the top five paying states for this occupation. There are a number of careers that are projected to grow by up to nearly 40 percent in the next decade that require an associate degree. Among them are dental hygienists, pharmacy technicians, medical records and health information technicians, medical assistants and nurses. By offering these programs, Clark College is enriching the lives of community members.


Carol has ventured into a field that promises a bright future. She chose the pharmacy technician track because she was convinced she could easily “pour and count pills.” But she soon learned the job went far beyond the obvious. She had moments of uncertainty, such as questioning whether she had the skills to keep up in class. Stephanie Robinson, her medical vocabulary instructor, instantly put her mind at ease.

High-Demand Jobs

Partners | Summer 2012

Confidence blossoms

“I hold lots of love, admiration and respect for every teacher who I came into contact with during my education [at Clark].”

Photo by Vlad Semenyuk, Clark College student


Moreover, the rise of technology has placed new pressures on medical systems to provide state-ofthe-art services such as electronic medical records, imaging and pharmacy.

~ Carol Erwin ’11

“I was scared and on unfamiliar ground, but I felt confident around Stephanie. Something about her helped me realize I could truly do this,” said Carol. By spring 2011 she had appeared on the honor roll four times and was welcomed as a member of Alpha Sigma Phi, Clark’s chapter of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Carol was making progress and rebuilding her foundation. Then the boss from her old job with YRC Freight in Portland called to rehire her. She was faced with two choices. “I could say no and lose my unemployment and not be able to complete my education, or say yes and find a way to make it all work.” She decided to take the night shift at YRC Freight.

Touched by kindness In addition to the pressures of work and school, Carol had given birth to a second daughter, Jorja. Now she needed child care, so she boarded up her home in Orchards, Wash., and moved herself, her adolescent daughter and the newborn in with her parents in Ridgefield. A typical week consisted of classes, weekend internships, a night work shift, volleyball practice for her daughter and four hours of sleep.

Carol Erwin and her daughters, Maria (left), and Jorja. “Clark truly helped me out in a time of need when I was uninsured and had very little money,” said Carol. She was supported financially, emotionally and programmatically as she studied for a pharmacy technician certificate.

Her tenacity paid off. Carol received a pharmacy technician certificate in 2011 and moved back into her home. She now works the day shift, but aspires to find a good-paying job as a pharmacy technician with either Kaiser Permanente or Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. In a moment of reflection, Carol is struck by the enthusiasm and passion of Clark’s faculty and staff. “It is the goodwill and kindness of every staff member I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to or working with that has had the most impact. I hold lots of love, admiration and respect for every teacher who I came into contact with during my education here,” she said while tears spilled from her eyes.


Partners | Summer 2012

“Today the need for advanced education is great, but it is too expensive for many young people. Those of us who have the financial means should help aspiring

Donation Form

students. Nowhere can they get a bigger bang for their buck than at Clark Name(s)_________________________________________________________

College. That’s why I’m happy to invest $100,000 in Penguin Promise.” — Mason Nolan, retired CPA and VP of finance for The Columbian Publishing Co.

Penguin Promise at Clark College

To make a donation, visit us online at or complete and mail this form to Clark College Foundation, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598.

You can inspire the dream of a college education and prepare youth in Southwest Washington to graduate from high school, enter and succeed at Clark College, and become productive and caring members of the community. Be one of the first 35 to give the promise of a bright future. Contact Mr. Ara Serjoie, senior vice president 360.992.2428

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Penguin Promise is a college preparatory and scholarship partnership between Clark College and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington.


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What is Your Legacy?

Address_________________________________________________________ City______________________ State_________ Zip_____________________

Planned gifts through estate and financial planning can fulfill your charitable goals while providing financial and tax benefits to you and your family. There are many options from which to choose. People of all ages, incomes and financial situations can create their legacy through a planned gift. ❖❖ Charitable Gift Annuity

❖❖ Deferred Charitable Gift Annuity ❖❖ Charitable Remainder Unitrust

❖❖ Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designation ❖❖ Bequest

❖❖ Life Insurance Beneficiary ❖❖ Lead Trust

Contact Mr. Ara Serjoie, senior vice president, for a confidential meeting with no obligation. 360.992.2428

NL S13

Helene Schoen, singer, horticulturist, business woman and philanthropist. Helene’s legacy is enriching the lives of generations of Clark students through scholarships.

“Helene believed in the Vancouver community and helping people succeed. Clark College is a quality institution that offers an abundance of opportunities for people of all ages. It pleased her to support both of these efforts with her charitable planned gift.” ~ Randy Garner, Schoen Enterprises LLC

Clark College Foundation Board of Directors Rick Takach, chair Greg Wallace, vice chair Jane Cook Bruce E. Davidson Larry Easter Patricia W. Eby

Jeanne Firstenburg Edward R. Geiger T. Randall Grove Glen Hollar Keith Koplan Tim Leavitt

Clark College Board of Trustees

Clark College Foundation Board Ex Officio Members

Jada Rupley, chair Royce Pollard, vice chair Jack Burkman Sherry Parker Rhona Sen Hoss

Lisa Gibert, Clark College Foundation President/CEO Robert K. Knight, Clark College President Royce Pollard, Clark College Board of Trustees Jada Rupley, Clark College Board of Trustees Paul Scarpelli, Penguin Athletic Club George Welsh, Clark College Alumni Association

Rob Nielsen Cheree Nygard Christine Wamsley

Clark College Foundation 1933 Fort Vancouver Way Vancouver, WA 98663-3598

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Ridgefield, WA Permit No. 94

Alumni Spotlight Alumni Spotlight

[ Spring 2012 ]

Margaret Colf Hepola M

argaret Colf Hepola ’61 remembers sitting in class when she was in her 40s, her stomach churning as she waited anxiously to take an adding-machine test. Her younger classmates seemed unfazed by the impending exam. “I realized then that I probably should’ve started younger,” recalls the 95-year-old from her home in Woodland, Wash. She eventually overcame her nervousness and ascended to the top of her class with a 4.0 grade point average. Later in life, Margaret attended classes through Clark’s Mature Learning program, but the demands of her bookkeeping job for her son’s business—Colf Construction— consumed much of her time for 37 years, so she didn’t take as many as she had wanted. She was 88 years young when she retired, but that didn’t mean she took to sitting in a chair to knit. “I keep my mind busy and I move around,” she said adding, “I have a Snoopy mind. I always want to learn something new,” referring to the Peanuts cartoon character. A love for learning, history and writing has kept Margaret sharp. She claims to have written 500 articles and some are published. One piece, titled “Water Babies,” is her childhood recollections of the 1930 damming of the river in the North Fork Lewis River Valley. The story is online at The community has honored Margaret for her commitment to heritage preservation through several accolades, among them the first-ever Heritage Award from the Clark County Historical Society in 2006. She is also a philanthropist. This year she received the Lifetime of Giving award from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and she’s a 2002 Women of Achievement honoree. As a life-long learner, Margaret believes Clark serves those who might otherwise get lost at large universities. “Clark is a wonderful college, particularly for local kids,” she said.

Partners Summer 2012  
Partners Summer 2012  

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