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A Publication of Connors State College

V O L U M E

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A Season Of

GIVING


C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E WARNER CAMPUS 700 College Road Warner, OK 74469

Inside this issue V O L U M E

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M US K OGE E WEST CAMPUS 2404 W Shawnee Ave Muskogee, OK 74401 T HR E E R IV E R S PORT CAMPUS 2501 N 41st St E Muskogee, OK 74403

A D M I N I S T R AT I O N PRESID ENT Dr. Tim Faltyn S E N IOR V IC E PRESID ENT FOR ACADEMIC & STUDENT AFFAIRS Dr. Ron Ramming

F E AT U R E

V IC E PRESID ENT FOR FISCAL SERVICES Mike Lewis

COMMUNITY

CONNECTION CONT RIBUT ORS Cindy Anderson Dr. Ryan Blanton Wayne Bunch Von Castor Jonathan Dallis Mike Jackson Ami Maddocks Stacy Pearce Lindsey Taylor Lisa Wade

C O W B OY FA M I LY AT H L E T I C S E D U C AT I O N CAMPUS LIFE

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M D H S Gra n t Se a so n o f Gi vi n g 4 5 Sch o l a r sh i p s Awa r d e d Ve ts H o n o r e d • WISH Eve n t M e e t M o n h o l l a n d , Bu tl e r, Lynch & Sm i th Ba ske tb a l l Ti p s Off • R o d e o Wraps U p Fa l l Se a so n • Pa tr i o ti c Night Pe r si ste n ce & C o m p l e ti o n Program • Sch o l a r sh i p s fo r Stu d e n ts • Faltyn Ta g g e d a s H L C R evi ewe r • Pearce Pr e se n ts to C h e r o ke e N a ti on SGA • Am e r i ca n FFA D e gr ee R e ci p i e n ts • C 4 Eve n t • Where’s C o n n o r s?

Social Media #CONNORSSTATE facebook.com/ connorsstate

twitter.com/ connorsstate

youtube.com/ connorsstatecollege

instagram.com/ connorsstate

Connors State College, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. This publication was printed and issued by Connors State College as authorized by the Director of College and Community Relations. The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination or endorsement is intended by Connors State College.

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feature

Muskogee Difference Healthcare Scholarship Receives $300k Grant

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onnors State College’s popular Muskogee Difference Healthcare Scholarship (MDHS) will continue to benefit Nursing and Allied Health students for the next three years, thanks to the generous and continued support of the City of Muskogee Foundation. The Foundation’s board voted to approve a $300,000 grant over the next three years to support the MDHS scholarship program. In a letter thanking the City of Muskogee Foundation Board of Directors for continuing to fund the scholarship, Kelvin Gomez, a 4th semester nursing student from Muskogee, wrote: “This scholarship has made my dreams a reality. The comfort of knowing that I will graduate with the least amount of debt made it possible for me to focus on learning and to enjoy this wonderful experience. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and to give back to our community. I will strive to serve this community with pride and joy and make a difference in the lives of others. Again, thank you for investing in my life and my dreams.” Under the leadership of CSC President Dr. Tim Faltyn, MDHS was created in 2012 to help local students earn degrees in nursing and allied health fields. The scholarship helps pay tuition, fees and books for qualified students from Muskogee County, and offers a $500 per semester stipend to offset other educational costs. In return, students promise to work in healthcare in Muskogee County for at least two years. The innovative idea is to help both students and the community by promoting local healthcare workforce development. “The MDHS scholarship has helped ease some of the stresses that come

with college over the last two years,” said nursing student Blake Yarbrough, who has participated in the MDHS program since its inception. “It not only helps financially, but I also get to give back to my community.” From July 2012 through November 2014, the MDHS program has benefited more than 50 students with a nearly $195,000 City of Muskogee Foundation investment in their future. The scholarship amount varies for each student based on their “expected out-of-pocket contribution.” In other words, after all state and federal aid and other scholarships are applied, MDHS covers the rest. Thanks to the continuation of the City of Muskogee Foundation grant, CSC will receive $100,000 in grant funding per year for the next three years to support the MDHS scholarship program. The MDHS program has experienced a surge of interest and competitiveness during the 2014-15 academic year. For the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters, the program received more than 100 applications with approximately 25 students receiving funding each semester. To be eligible to apply, students must have at least a 2.0 GPA or a 19 on the ACT, be enrolled in 12 credit hours, have completed the FAFSA and be pursuing a nursing or allied health degree. Previous MDHS recipients who continue

to meet the grade and credit hour requirements are funded first. Second priority goes to those students admitted into the nursing or allied health programs with the highest GPAs. Due to limited funds and increased competition, the program has moved away from funding new pre-nursing majors. Nursing and Radiologic Technology are the most popular majors among MDHS recipients. Beginning in 2015, students may also pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, with Physical Therapy Assistant being offered in the near future, as well. Connors has one of the top-rated nursing programs in the state and collaborates with Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee to provide the Rad Tech and OTA degrees in allied health. Lauren Hatcher, a student in the Rad Tech program, sees big benefits from the scholarship. “Thank you so much for continuing the scholarship and allowing Radiology Technology students to be a part of the program,” said Hatcher. “Thank you for helping me achieve my dreams! The Muskogee Difference has made a HUGE difference in my life!” For more information about MDHS, or to apply, visit www.connorsstate.edu/md or contact MDHS Director Lisa Wade at (918) 684-5447 or lisawr@connorsstate.edu.

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Community

Students Give Back This Holiday Season

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mid final projects, activities and tests, Connors State College students, faculty and staff took time to support a variety of organizations this holiday season. From feeding the hungry to collecting gifts for children, the Connors campuses were a buzz of holiday activity. “I encouraged our student organizations to come up with a community service project,” said CSC President, Dr. Tim Faltyn. “They exceeded my expectations. I am so proud of the effort and passion they put into helping others this year.” The Connors’ season of giving started with members of the Mu Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa serving the homeless food at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The men’s basketball team partnered with Soles4Souls to collect new and used shoes to help the poor and needy. All shoes collected were delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty

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organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts. The men’s baseball team participated in Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. The baseball players collected items to fill shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement. The boxes were then distributed to needy children around the world. The women’s softball team participated in the Salvation Army’s 2014 Angel Tree program, purchasing gift items that will provide children in need with a gift under the tree this holiday season. The Student Government Association took a stand to help feed local families this holiday season through a canned food drive. This year’s goal was set to match last year’s donations, 15,000 cans. The CSC Phi Beta Lambda chapter collected winter hats, gloves and scarves

to help local families prepare for the cold winter season. “I am so proud of our students,” said Faltyn. “Their hearts are in the right place and they truly care about helping others.”


CSC Presents 45 Scholarships Connors State College recently awarded 45 scholarships at its annual Counselor Roundup Event, a media release states. The scholarships were given to participating counselors to award to a deserving student at their local school. “Counselor Roundup is an event we host each year that allows us to meet faceto-face with counselors from local high schools,” said CSC Recruitment Director Logan Knapper. “It gives us a chance to communicate, build relationships and network with the counselors about Connors and what we have to offer to their students.” This year’s event hosted 45 counselors who heard from keynote speaker Jose Dela Cruz, coordinator for Academic Affairs Projects for the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education. Dela Cruz discussed the many benefits of concurrent enrollment, a program allowing high school juniors and seniors to take college level courses and get a jump start on their college career.

Veterans Honored at West Campus

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he Cowboy Nation marked Veterans Day on November 11, with more than 250 American flags flying on all three campuses, and a ceremony at the Muskogee West Campus auditorium. Sergeant Dennis Morton, Vietnam Veteran and guest speaker, delivered a powerful message on the historical meaning of the holiday and provided insight into his own military service. At the conclusion of Morton’s speech, Beverly Wilcoxon, CSC Veterans Advisor, presented a medallion to all veterans in attendance, in recognition and in support of their service. This inaugural Connors State College

commemoration at the West Campus had more than 60 students and staff in attendance. Jonathan Rowe, Coordinator of Residential Life, sang the National Anthem and led the Pledge to the American Flag. “The best part of the event, for me, was when our students, staff and faculty thanked the veterans for their service,” said Mike Jackson, Director of Campus Life. “We honored these heroes for making one of the ultimate sacrifices a citizen can make for our nation, and we also remember all those who have not yet returned home.” This was the third CSC event honoring veterans this semester.

WISH’S Domestic Violence Awareness Day Speak Out

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n an annual Domestic Violence Awareness Day event sponsored by Muskogee’s Women in Safe Homes (WISH) nonprofit organization, Connors State College won an award for most participants. On October 22, advocates against domestic violence walked from the Muskogee County Courthouse to Arrowhead Mall in high heels, taking a literal application to “walking a mile in her shoes.” The program then began amidst the silhouettes of the fallen victims of domestic violence. Dr. Tim Faltyn, CSC President, and head

baseball coach Perry Keith spoke to the audience of more than 250 people about the costs of domestic violence and the impact it has on all persons. Other speakers included District Attorney-Elect, Orville Loge; Muskogee Rougher head football coach, Rafe

Watkins; Muskogee police officer, Seth Parris; Muskogee City Attorney, Roy Tucker; and WISH President, Mike Jackson. Students, faculty and staff from all divisions of CSC have participated in this event for the past three years.

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Cowboy Family

Cathy Monholland, Instructor

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athy Monholland has been with Connors State College for more than seven years, instructing Humanity, Art Appreciation and English Composition courses. She received her bachelor’s from the University of Missouri in 1974, she has since earned a master’s in Victorian literature from the University of Tulsa; a master’s in Victorian history from Rice University and worked toward a Ph.D focusing on the Romantic era at TU. Monholland began teaching as an assistant while pursuing her master’s at TU. Her passion for education and literature has been with her since the beginning and has lead her to educate generations of students throughout the mid-west. “From the first time I stepped in front of a classroom full of students, I knew I had found my calling,” said Monholland. “I love teaching, and learning, too, and just hope I can pass that along to my students.” Monholland loves interacting with

students and learning what interests them, she often allows the student to choose their own topics for writing assignments and presentations in hopes their artistic creativity will flow. Monholland published an article previously in the Journal of Cherokee Studies and a poem on Cherokee history both in 2011 in an anthology of Cherokee writers. Her latest article will be published either in December or early 2015 and is entitled “Considerable Capacity for Self-Deception: Robert Anderson Letter, Cherokee Agency, August 28, 1838.” “This letter concerns an Army officer, Robert Anderson, who, from 1838 to 1841, served as aide-de-camp under MajorGeneral Winfield Scott to remove the Cherokee Nation from its eastern homeland,” said Monholland. “In August 1838, Captain Anderson wrote to his mother about his observations of Cherokee removal. My coeditor and I edited the letter

and wrote lengthy annotated endnotes for this letter describing Cherokee removal.” Monholland and her coeditor/coauthor, Nancy Morgan, are also working towards publishing a journal written by the Reverend Samuel Austin Worcester in the early 1800s. To say Monholland is an asset to the college is an understatement. Her passion for education, literature and history will take her to new heights and the Connors State College faculty, staff and students are grateful to work alongside her.

Jody Butler, West Administrator

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ody Butler, the Executive Assistant to the President for the Muskogee West campus has been with the Connors State College family for a year and has also recently become the Administrator for the same. Butler says she chose to accept the position because of the great team of people whom she has the pleasure of working with. A graduate from Checotah High School, Eastern Oklahoma State and Northeastern State University, Butler has earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Meetings and Destinations Management.

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Recently Butler was trained as an Academic Advisor and so far has thoroughly enjoyed her interaction with the students. Butler will teach an Orientation class next semester and trusts it will be a rewarding experience. “I just enjoy learning ‘the big picture’ and the way everything works within the higher education system,” said Butler. “We have a terrific leadership team at Connors. It’s very exciting to be part of a process that is always looking for ways to move forward and be the best.” Like most, Butler is uncertain of what the future holds for her, but it is clear she “knows who holds her future”. Only

time will tell where Jody Butler ends up, perhaps pursuing her master’s degree. For now, she enjoys her position and role within the college and Connors is excited for the future together.


Alumnus Clarence Lynch

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eginning as a member of the Cowboys basketball team in 1950, Clarence Lynch served Connors State College for 33 years as both a teacher and coach. Lynch is the Cowboy’s first junior college basketball All-American, that honor coming in 1952. Lynch, along with teammate and 2012 CSC Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Lou Henson, led the Cowboys to seventh place in the NJCAA National Tournament in 1952. Following graduation, he attended East Texas State University and, later, spent time in the military. At ETSU, Lynch earned All-Lone Star Conference first team honors and was named NAIA All-American in 1955, leading the Lions to the NAIA National Championship. He is a member of the East Texas State Hall of Fame. He took his first coaching assignment

with Dustin Junior High, and became the high school coach in 1958, posting a 28-1 record. Moving to Gallup, N.M., Lynch led that team to a 23-6 record. Lynch returned to Connors in 1961 as the assistant football and head men’s basketball coach, compiling a 206-87 record in 10 seasons. He also coached baseball and founded the softball and tennis programs. His men’s tennis teams won four regional titles, while the women won three titles. His softball team was 167-49 and captured two regional championships. He also served as the CSC athletic director. Lynch was inducted into the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. Lynch and his wife, Mary Jean, have two sons, Steve and Kevin.

Mallory Smith, PLC President

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allory Smith, a sophomore at Connors State College has been part of Connors community for a few years now. Smith starting taking concurrent courses as a student at Stigler High School, where she was class president. Now at Connors she holds the position of President’s Leadership Class President and is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa. After graduation, Smith plans to pursue a degree in chemistry from Northeastern State University with aspirations of working in the world of Pharmaceuticals. “At Connors, they really want you to complete your education,” said Smith.

“They offer courses that will help you in your future careers, which was the best thing about coming to Connors.” Around the Warner campus you may see Mallory working alongside other members of the PLC while setting up the hospitality room during home basketball games, assisting during graduation commencement and doing fundraisers which help beautify the Warner campus. “I love every single teacher and faculty advisor I have. It was hard going to my high school classes and college at the same time, but the advisors and instructors worked with me and my schedule to help me succeed.”

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athletics

Basketball Teams Tip Off Season Play

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he 2014-2015 Connors State College basketball season is well underway. During pre-season practice, both teams tore up the road traveling to scrimmages, in hopes that they would be well prepared for this season’s tip-off. COWBOY BASKETBALL Through the first eight games of the basketball season, the Connors State Cowboys have posted a 7-1 record and are ranked 27th in the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings as they enter Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The lone Cowboys loss was to Region II member Arkansas Baptist on the road in Little Rock, Arkansas, 84-83. Despite the one loss, Cowboys Head Coach Bill Muse is encouraged by the play of his squad thus far.

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“We have played well at times, but we still have a lot of work to do going into conference play,” said Muse. “Our offense needs to pick up and we need to play better defense. “Our conference is one of the strongest in the country and it won’t be easy to reach the Region II Tournament in March. Several teams can win the conference and since we are the defending champions we will have a bulls-eye on our backs. We know what is ahead.” Ronnie Boyce leads all scorers, averaging 20.9 points a game. Boyce is a 6-4 sophomore guard from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Four other Cowboys are also scoring in double-figures during the early going of the season. Phabian Glasco, a 6-7 sophomore from Tulsa who transferred to Connors from

the University of Central Arkansas is averaging 16.3 points an outing. He is also the Cowboys leading rebounder with 10.4 caroms a game. Corlbe Ervin, a 6-3 guard from Oklahoma City is scoring 15.4 points a game and is joined by Deven Simms, 6-5 guard from St. Louis, who is averaging 12 points a game and Arlando Cook, 6-9 forward from St. Louis, Missouri, is draining 11.4 points a contest. Just missing double-digit scoring is Kayshaune Spencer, 6-1 sophomore guard from Toronto, Canada, who is averaging 9.7 points a game. COWGIRL BASKETBALL First year head coach Rusty Laverentz has led the Connors State Cowgirls to a 4-2 record, just one victory away from last season’s five-win year.


Wallace, Ogden & Jackson Earn Top Spots at NWOSU Rodeo

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he Connors State College Rodeo Team competed at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma, the weekend of October 31-November 2. Britten Wallace, a freshman from Allen, Oklahoma, won first in the long go of the breakaway roping and fourth place overall. Preston Ogden, a sophomore header from Quinton, Oklahoma, and Clint Jackson (OSU), CSC alumnus from Warner, Oklahoma, placed fifth in the short round and fifth overall in the average of the team roping.

The main reason for the Cowgirls early success has been sophomore transfer Christina Devers from Bixby, Oklahoma. Devers comes to Connors from Arkansas Baptist where she led Region II in scoring. The 5-9 guard has picked up right where she left off. Devers is averaging 29.4 points a game and has the No. 2 scoring average in the National Junior College Athletic Association. “Christina is a special player and is just going to get better,” said Laverentz. “Our team has played pretty well so far, but we are still getting to know each other. “I am still learning about our players on the court and the girls are getting to know my coaching style. I’ve been happy with their effort and hustle so far.” Philicea Mack, 5-10 freshman forward from Spiro, Oklahoma, is also scoring in double figures with a 15.7 point average.

NIRA STANDINGS After competing in four rodeos this fall, the women’s team currently claims seventh overall in the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association standings. The men’s team sits at 13th on the leader board. “The veteran sophomores on the team are starting to compete back to form, and the rookies are developing faster than I thought,” said Head Rodeo Coach Jake Lawson. “I would say there’s two or three potential all-stars in the group. In addition to the teams’ overall placings, several members have earned individual spots in the Central Plains Region’s top 15. “Our students have really positioned themselves well to make a run for the finals next June at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming,” said Lawson. “I look forward to the spring rodeo season and anticipate that we will continue to improve.” Three CSC sophomore rough stock riders have broken into the NIRA Central

Plains Region standings: Kole Bowman, of Wolco, Oklahoma, is ninth overall; Jarod Shane Taylor, of Canadian, Oklahoma, sits at 12th; and Dakota Macom of Stigler, Oklahoma, is 15th. In the team roping division, Ogden and Jackson have earned seventh overall. Steer wrestling CSC alumnus Michael Edgmon (NWOSU), of Walters, Oklahoma, stands at ninth overall, while fellow alum tie down roper William “Humpty” Whayne (NWOSU), of Tulsa, sits at seventh in his event. Meghan Pohlman, a sophomore breakaway roper from Gatton, Queensland (AU), has landed in third place in the Central Plains standings at the halfway point in the season. Fellow teammate Wallace sits at 14th in the event. CONNORS CONNECTION

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Basketball Patriotic Night Honors Area Service Men & Women

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onnors State College held its Annual Veteran’s Day Recognition during the Nov. 10, Cowboys’ home basketball game. Honoring approximately 30 individuals who served in the armed forces, ceremonies took place during halftime of the men’s game. Lt. Col. James W. Sanders of the U.S. Marine Corp., retired, began the event at CSC in 2003. The recognition ceremony included a presentation of the colors by the Muskogee Junior ROTC, singing of the National Anthem, a prayer, the introduction of each service man and woman, and the presentation of a memento, by CSC President Tim Faltyn, as a small gesture of thanks for their service.

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“I think it’s important to do these events because students need to understand that freedom is not free,” said Sanders. “Someone has to pay the price.” Sanders, who served as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corp. for 27 years, believes it is important to honor Veterans for their service and to teach students the importance of their sacrifice. “I am pleased that Col. Sanders was able to join us and help us with this event,” said Faltyn. “I agree that our students need to be reminded that freedom is not something to be taken for granted. Recognizing our veterans is one way to connect a face to our freedom. It’s a very important lesson and reminder for our students.”


Education Connors Develops HLC Persistence & Completion Program

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he Higher Learning Commission selected Connors State College, among 11 others, to participate in a four-year program to improve persistence and completion of students. The goal will be to help increase student retention and keep students on track to graduate. “We work together with mentors and other institutions through interactions, in person and online, to promote sharing of information and solutions,” said Robin O’Quinn, Division Chair of Communication & Fine Arts and Developmental Education from Connors State College. “Our goals include: designing and implementing processes for collecting and analyzing

information on student persistence and completion, addressing interrelationships among student persistence and completion, and assessing student learning, and applying program review efforts.” A Connors committee has been formed to review classes offered, class schedules, and resources for students. A student focus group will participate and help provide a “student” perspective. “At Connors we want to take students where they are and do all that we can to get them where they want to be,” said O’Quinn. “In order to do this effectively and efficiently we, as an institution, need to find strategies and solutions that are

unique to our students and their needs. We are working to find what it is that our students need from us to make them more successful.” The collection of data over four years will provide the committee with insights on best practices and strategies for maintaining student success. “We will analyze what works while making continuous adjustments for improvement,” said O’Quinn. “Everyone working across the campuses will help us to continue to grow relationships within our faculty and staff and connect us more closely with our students and their endeavors to complete their degree.”

Scholarships Allow Students to Pursue their Dreams

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his past year three Connor’s students received scholarships to help them financially as they pursue degrees. Kory Zehr, Wagoner sophomore, received the Regents Distinguished Transfer Waiver from Oklahoma State University. She was required to have at least 24 transfer hours and a 3.25 GPA. “I met these requirements by making sure all my credits would be able to transfer before I enrolled in my classes, and I kept my GPA high by making sure my assignments were turned in on time, studying for tests, and working diligently in class,” said Zehr. She found scholarship information for transfer students on the OSU website. “There is a section specifically for transfer students, and it tells all the information you need to know about transferring, including admission requirements, housing options, student organizations, and also scholarships,” said Zehr. Zehr is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Mu Chi and is part of the Peer Mentoring program. Colleen Noble, Retention

Specialist and Co-Advisor to Phi Theta Kappa encourages students to be involved and active in the community and on campus. “Receiving this scholarship will help to offset the costs I will be faced with while attending OSU,” said Zehr. “I am very grateful for that.” Noble believes Zehr received the scholarship because of her excellent academic record and involvement with Phi Theta Kappa. “This scholarship will benefit Kory as she pursues her education degree at Oklahoma State University,” said Noble. “It is a wonderful achievement, and she is to be commended for her scholastic endeavors. She will be an excellent educator.” Stephanie Hunt was awarded the Smart Choice Plus Scholar scholarship from Northeastern State University. The scholarship at $1,500 is dispensed at $750 a semester and is used for her educational expenses. Noble, said Hunt is an excellent student.

Hunt applied on the last day for the scholarship. “I told Stephanie to check with Michelle Farris, the NSU advisor for the Muskogee campus, about scholarship opportunities,” said Hunt. “Michelle directed her to the website for the scholarship application. Interesting fact – Stephanie found out about the scholarship opportunity on Nov. 7 (the last day to apply). She immediately completed the application and sent it off, and was rewarded with this great opportunity.” Hunt will have to maintain a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled for 15 hours a semester to keep the scholarship. Mallory Smith, Stigler sophomore, received the George and Donna Nigh Leadership Scholarship to assist her as she pursues her Associate’s degree in Allied Health and becomes a pharmacist. Smith is currently a valedictorian and is an active member of the President’s Leadership Class.

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Faltyn selected as Peer Reviewer for Higher Learning Commission

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ne of the largest two-year college systems in America is the Maricopa Community College District, located in Phoenix, Arizona. Serving more than 250,000 students annually, the MCC System is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in educational excellence. Even the biggest and best need to be assessed to ensure quality and integrity. Just like Connors State, MCC is held to the same standards of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Evaluators of such things are selected by the Higher Learning Commission as peer reviewers. A very prestigious assignment. Coming from all over the 19 state service area covered by the Higher Learning Commission, there is a peer corps of more than 1,300 educational professionals. These reviewers are an integral part of

ensuring academic quality and effectiveness. They research, review and visit each accredited college to confirm that the standards that make our educational system one of the best in the world are being met and hopefully exceeded. Dr. Tim Faltyn, president of Connors State College, was recently selected and agreed to act as a peer Reviewer for a college within the MCC System. “It was an honor and a lot of work to be a reviewer of such a prestigious organization as Maricopa and specifically Paradise Valley Community College. I was particulary inspired by our Chair Dr. Kim Linduska who led a very comprehensive, efficient, and transparent process. The entire team was made up of all-stars and I was humbled to be part of such an excellent group of people. It was also a

Pearce Presents at Cherokee Nation Conference

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onnors State College’s Creative Services Specialist, Stacy Pearce was a featured presenter on social media at the 2014 Cherokee Nation Conference of Community Leaders. Pearce also is frequently called upon by Muskogee’s Nonprofit Resource Center to conduct marketing, design and social media

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trainings. At Connors, she is responsible for the design of campus publications and marketing collateral. Pearce is the adviser to the Collegian and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and instructs classes in agricultural communications, photography, layout design and journalism.

rare and fortunate learning experience to interact and evaluate an organization with such a successful reputation. The feeling was apparently mutual, Dr. Kim Linduska the HLC Comprehensive Visit Chair that lead the review and visit said of Faltyn, “It’s always a privilege to have a college president on my team and Dr. Faltyn is one of the best. He demonstrated a unique ability to engage faculty, staff and students in discussions about key issues at the college. I really appreciated his interactions with the community, the Board of Directors and the system’s Chancellor.” Taking place in mid-November, the three day visit is bookended by a great deal of preparation and documentation by the college and the review team before and after, culminating in a recommendation to continue or not continue an institution’s accreditation. With stakes so high, one may think that the process would be tense, but both Linduska and Faltyn mentioned that the hard work was fueled by the collegiality, respect and sense of humor that created a very positive atmosphere. “Everyone kept saying how much they were learning, but I have to say that the people, the college and the system were wonderful to work with, I learned as much, if not more, from them during the experience. It was something that will help me learn and hopefully become a better leader for those whom I serve,” said Faltyn. The final results of the work done by Faltyn and the team will be made public late in the Spring 2015 Semester.


Campus Life

The Student Government Association

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he Connors State College Student Government Association (SGA) has an active slate of priorities for the 2014-15 academic year. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT SGA Officers and Senators have attended three leadership development opportunities this fall semester. From the Student Leadership Retreat, sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, to the “Serious Fun” teambuilding course, students gained new tools and insights for effective leadership. Aaron Goldner, SGA vice president,

attended both. “The Student Leadership Retreat taught the fundamentals necessary to lead effectively, while also helping students find motivation and confidence as we prepare for our careers,” said Goldner. “The Serious Fun training provided methods of working as a team with focus on communication and commitment to one’s team by means of FUN!” Three SGA members participated in the Oklahoma Student Government Association Fall Congress at the State Capitol on Nov. 1. From the inside of the state House of Representatives chamber,

students from across the state debated and voted on legislation pertaining to higher education. Brandie Center, SGA secretary, joined Aaron Goldner, Nella Worthan and SGA Advisor Lisa Wade at the day-long session. “Fall Congress was an enjoyable, interactive learning experience,” said Center. “It was great being able to collaborate with other students from across the state through discussion and voting on pieces of legislation that could possibly be presented to those in higher power. I learned much more about legislation through this experience because the CONNORS CONNECTION

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material presented was engaging and it not only affected other students, but also me personally. It is important to know that our opinions are considered valuable and that we can make a difference in the future of education.” Due to the positive experience, the SGA officers and senators are eager to participate in the two-day OSGA Spring Congress that will be held early next year at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. COMMUNITY SERVICE Part of SGA’s charter is to actively engage in and promote service projects that benefit the campus and the community. This year SGA is organizing the campus-wide canned food drive with an ambitious goal of collecting 15,000 cans to help feed hungry families in the Warner and Muskogee areas. Sophomore Nella Worthan chairs the SGA Canned Food Drive project and sees it as a valuable way to lend a hand to neighbors in need. “Ronald Reagan once said, ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone,’ and I believe that to be so true,” said Worthan. “We may not be able to solve all hunger needs, but we most certainly can try and keep trying. Food drives are a wonderful opportunity to get involved with helping those in need within the community, and allow them to have a good holiday meal that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to have.” The SGA Canned Food Drive runs through Friday, Nov. 21. As added incentive, this year challenges have been issued between CSC groups and organizations and the top three donating teams will receive a pizza party. The group that 14

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donates the most food will also receive a $100 donation from SGA. SUPPORT FOR OTHER CAMPUS ORGANIZATIONS AND CLUBS In an effort to encourage consistent SGA participation by other organizations, SGA this year is offering a $500 grant to officially organized, active CSC groups and organizations. These funds may be used to support the programming and projects related to each individual group’s mission. Half the funds will be received in the Fall semester, with the other half available in the Spring semester if the group has regularly and actively participated with SGA. For the CSC SGA to work most effectively, the active participation of other groups and clubs is essential. OTHER SGA PRIORITIES This academic year SGA will also work to improve communication with and between clubs and students and faculty/ staff; support CSC programs related to improving student retention, persistence and graduation rates; identify a signature project to allow the current SGA to leave its mark on the campus in a positive way that will benefit future students; and develop innovative and fun spring socials and fundraisers for student participation. SGA meets the first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:45 p.m. in the Warner LLC ITV room and at the Port Campus in Room 18. Student Senate applications are accepted year-round. For more information, contact SGA Advisor Lisa Wade at (918) 684-5447 or lisawr@connorsstate. edu. The CSC Student Government Association also has a new Facebook group; please connect there to stay informed of SGA happenings.

Ronald Reagan once said, ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone,’ and I believe that to be so true. - Nella Worthan


MEET THE SGA OFFICERS VICE PRESIDENT Aaron Goldner, Jr., (photo, center) was born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, grew up in Gore, Oklahoma, and graduated high school in Wichita Falls, Texas. in 2008. Aaron joined the U.S. Navy as a a Navy Corpsman and completed two combat tours with the United States Marines in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning home, he ran his own locally operated business until attending Connors State College as a business major, where he is actively involved with SGA and the Science Club. TREASURER Branda Gamble is a 2013 graduate of Warner High School. She moved to Warner, Oklahoma, from Arkansas at the beginning of her junior year. She is currently a sophomore at Connors State College majoring in psychology and is

the trainer for the girls basketball team. Upon graduation from Connors, she plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and to ultimately become a pediatrician. SECRETARY Brandie Center (photo, right) graduated as salutatorian from Warner High School in 2013. She is a sophomore psychology major at Connors State College. In addition to SGA, Brandie is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Upon graduating Connors, Brandie plans to continue her education to become a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in child play therapy.

will take place at the regular SGA meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Sophomore Nella Worthan (photo, left), the current SGA Canned Food Drive director, has indicated her intention to run for SGA president. Other qualified students are invited to run, as well. The next regular SGA officer elections will take place in April 2015 for the following academic year.

PRESIDENT The originally-elected president recently resigned the position due to other obligations. Elections to fill the vacant position

CONNORS CONNECTION

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18 Students Earn American FFA Degree

E

ighteen Connors State College students recently received the American FFA Degree, the highest level of membership one can achieve as an FFA member. The American FFA Degree is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA. New members were recognized during the Eighth General Session of the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo in November. Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year, 3,765 American Degrees were awarded. The following current and former students of Connors State College were selected to receive the American FFA Degree at the 2014 National

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FFA Convention and Expo October 29-November 1 in Louisville, Kentucky: (photos top, left to right) Cassidy Allread, Union City; Cody Dawson, Haileyville; Kendall Golden, Morris; Jacob Green, Muldrow; Sarah Harris, Webbers Falls; Bryce Hauenstein, Pryor; Linzie Hollingshed, Checotah; Ridge Howell, Checotah; Reba McCarty, Kellyville; Tommy Miner, Checotah; Joel Reimer, Claremore; Jodi Rose, Webbers Falls; Callie Shannon, Mason; Wyatt Smith, Adair; Ross Taylor, Okemah; Langston Upton, Wister; Trent Waugh, Laverne; Zane Webster, San Simon, Arizona. “The American FFA degree is the highest and most prestigious degree available from the National FFA organization,” said CSC Agriculture Division Chair Debra Golden. “We are very proud of these students who have gone above and beyond in their SAE programs and their communities to achieve this level of success.” Sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta as a special project

of the National FFA Foundation, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $7,500 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own or hold a professional position in an existing agriculture enterprise. Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement. Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and a certificate after being recognized on stage at that national convention. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 14 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


Phi Theta Kappa Urges Students to Commit to Graduate

CONNORS CONNECTION

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PTK’s Community College Completion Corps (C4) Event Commits Students to Graduate

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n Wednesday, November 19, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Connors State College hosted a Commit to Graduate seminar at the Muskogee West Campus, with guest speaker Robin O’Quinn. Dozens of students, faculty and staff attended the seminar along with their family and pledged to “Commit to Graduate.” Each person in attendance either pledged to graduate or to assist a student in completing graduation. In 2011, the national Phi Theta Kappa organization launched the Community College Completion Corps (C4), a student led, campus-based effort to increase student success by informing all students about the benefits of completing a credential/degree and the consequences of not. The PTK “Commit to Graduate” event was part of the C4 inititative. O’Quinn, CSC’s Interim Assistant Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs - Academic Support, spoke of her life, growing up with the passion to teach, even going as far as teaching her stuffed

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animals an elementary education as if they were students in a classroom at the age of six. Her dream in life was to become a teacher. She recalled at an early age begging her mom and dad to buy her a chalkboard so she could learn to be a teacher. It was important to her and she knew education was in her future. After high school, O’Quinn attended Connors State College and received her associate’s degree, then transferred to Northeastern State University where she obtained her bachelor’s. Later O’Quinn received her master’s degree, while working and being a full-time mom. Although she worked her way through college, it was no easy task, she knew the end result would be worth it, so she kept going in order to obtain her dream career. Once she received her master’s she began teaching and truly living her dream. “You right now have the opportunity of a lifetime, you need to remember, unless you take advantage of it, you won’t achieve,” said O’Quinn. “Commit to complete. Continue, get your education. I’m living my

dream – we’re all in my dream – you need to be determined and work and make your dreams reality.” The students in attendance listened to O’Quinn’s speech with eagerness and a desire to complete their education, leaving the auditorium excited for the spring semester and ready to take on their future educational goals and achieve their dreams. As a result of the national C4 campaign, hundreds of thousands of community college students have pledged to Commit to Complete – accepting responsibility for completing their credential/degree and promising to help at least one other student complete.


WHERE’S

CONNORS

I

t’s been said your college years are always with you. While this is true we want to know where you are taking Connors State College! Send us a photo of yourself wearing your CSC gear – we want to see where Connors travels. Wear it on vacation, to your holiday parties, out to dinner … anywhere you go! Photos will be featured in the next issue of the CONNECTION and uploaded to Facebook. The image with the most votes will win a prize. Start taking Connors wherever you go and send in those photos to: dearconnor@connorsstate.edu.

Shelby Wilson was this month’s “Where’s Connors?” winner. She received 4 tickets to see the Swon Brothers live in concert.

Dr. Gary Grady

Nella Jean Worthan

Blake Miller

Amanda Christine Handley CONNORS CONNECTION

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C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E 700 College Road | Warner, OK 74469

Festive lights adorning buidlings and barns, alike, keep the Warner Campus aglow during the holiday season.

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VOLUME 4 NUMBER 7

Connection: Volume 4, Number 7  

A publication of Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma -- the Connection: Volume 4, Number 7.

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