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Johnson County Community College


Open Petal June 2015

Basketball team savors national win

Long bus ride delivers student to ‘where he belongs’

Jane Lynch, Peter & Paul lead lineup in Yardley Hall

The Open Petal | 1


Open Petal June 2015

The open petal is a symbol of JCCC’s openness to new concepts and ideas as it strives to serve each member of the community.

Editor Diane Carroll

The View From Here

Interim Executive Director, Marketing Communications Christy McWard Senior Graphic Designer Randy Breeden



Photographer Susan McSpadden Writers Anne Christiansen-Bullers Tyler Cundith Writer/Editor Tim Curry

The Open Petal is published four times a year by Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210-1299. It is produced by Marketing Communications and the Office of Document Services. To find the magazine online, go to and search for “The Open Petal.” To subscribe or to offer a comment, call 913-469-8500, ext. 3886.

Stay in touch with JCCC by visiting, or like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at @JCCCtweet. Or you can connect by visiting and clicking on “Connect with JCCC,” where you can also subscribe to JCCC Update, an email newsletter sent twice a month.

When planning your estate, please remember Johnson County Community College. For more information, call the JCCC Foundation at 913-469-3835.

Barbara A. Larson


hose of us who work in community colleges know how vital our institutions are to the communities we serve. Johnson County Community College’s mission, to inspire learning to transform lives and strengthen communities, is evident each day. I began at JCCC more than a year ago, my career having taken me to several of the country’s great community colleges. Perhaps more than at prior institutions, I have observed at JCCC an overwhelming commitment among faculty and staff to our students’ success. Whether one teaches in the classroom, maintains our beautiful campus or assists students needing financial aid, there is a deep understanding of our purpose. This awareness is especially heightened during commencement season as we take pride in the joy our students and their families experience through their achievements. How do we best ensure that this commitment to our students persists long into the future? Over the past 18 months, the JCCC community has engaged in a campus-wide strategic planning process. This work is vital for us to sustain our innovative spirit and provide essential programs and services to the community. The word “sustainability” often comes up when we talk about the need to continue quality curriculum and experiential learning opportunities. I came to my role as a college administrator through a nontraditional route, having majored as an undergraduate in environmental economics. During my studies, we learned that sustainable development is often defined as development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In many respects, this same concept may be applied to sustaining JCCC’s financial future. How JCCC ensures that it is adequately supporting its students, while planning for those who will walk through its doors five or even 20 years from now, has become part of daily discussions. JCCC’s strategic plan is our foundation for a sustainable future. The collective efforts of faculty and staff have focused on how to optimize college resources to increase student success, respond to changing community needs and manage our finances effectively and efficiently. JCCC’s future is bright. And given this collegial commitment, there is little doubt that our next generation of students will continue to thrive from the focused strategies we set forth today.

8 Features 4 Overcoming self-doubt

6 Twins dream big

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Duo plans to open hometown bakery.

8 From Mexico to here

International student transforms his life.

In Every Issue

2 The View From Here

12 Alumni/Foundation Check out the performing arts season. 19 JCCC gives back Hundreds attend Free College Day.

10 High-schooler cashes in

22 Campus Life

24 Sports Lady Cavs relish championship win.

She discovered free tuition at JCCC.

14 Class turns into crime lab

Students dust for fingerprints.

26 Worth a Look Back

16 Becoming a pilot

On the Cover

Would you ride a bus for two hours one way just so you could attend JCCC?

Take the first step at JCCC.

17 Finish faster

Barbara Larson Executive Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services

Student builds confidence at JCCC.

Grant benefits technology students.

That’s what Kevin Robertson does four days a week.

21 He wanted high grades

Perseverance pays off.

Photo by Susan McSpadden

The Open Petal | 3

Hours on bus ‘worth it’ for JCCC student By Diane Carroll


our mornings a week, Kevin Robertson leaves his home in Kansas City’s Northland at 6 a.m. and walks four blocks to a bus stop. He boards the bus and then transfers to another. And then another. The third bus delivers him to the front door of the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community. The travel time? About two and a half hours. Robertson could be attending a community college closer to where he lives. But he says he is willing to spend more than two hours traveling one way because he believes JCCC is where he belongs. “When I first walked into the Student Center, it felt like I had been there already. It was a feeling that just came over me. Like wow! This is where I am supposed to be. I didn’t get that at any other community college.”

Campus caught his attention Growing up, Robertson suffered from dyslexia. Some students teased him about it. “I was picked on a lot, called names and stuff,” Robertson said. “It was hard to like school with all of that going on.” Robertson did not even consider college. He worked at a clothing store and a car rental business but his main interest was photography. When someone from his church told him a couple years ago that JCCC had a good photography program, he got excited about it. He took a trip to campus. What he saw surprised him. The campus was as clean and well kept as the brochures showed. “That really stood out to me,” he said. “It means that people here take pride in the place.” He also was surprised by the diversity. He had expected to see mostly white students but quickly realized that the campus reflected a melting pot of people from around the world. He filled out his application and began the process of getting financial aid.

Self-doubt returns But then, fear sank in. Self-doubt returned. In grade school and high school, teachers had helped him out. That’s not going to happen in college, he told himself. And how would he pay for his classes? How would he even get to the college? He went back to shooting weddings and birthday parties and working on a documentary that he is putting together about homelessness from the point of view of those who are living on the streets. But the idea of college tugged at

him. He wanted more out of life. “Your confidence level plays a big part in how you perform in life,” Robertson said. “If you have low confidence, you have very low self-esteem and you perform on that level. I noticed that in myself so I had to change that. I told myself to find the good in me and embrace that. I thought about my photography. ‘You have a good eye,’ I told myself. ‘Embrace that. You’re a good listener and good at helping others. Embrace that.’ It allowed my confidence to grow from there.”

Attitude changes Robertson began taking classes at JCCC in January. He plans to major in public relations and pursue a four-year degree. On Mondays and Wednesdays, his first class is at 3 p.m. But he still needs to take the 6:10 a.m. bus because his JO route stops running midday for a couple of hours. “It’s a huge sacrifice because I could be at home getting much-needed rest, but I have to do what is needed to succeed,” he said. On those days, because his last class runs too late to catch the buses, his sister or a friend gives him a ride home. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, his last class ends just in time for him to catch the bus. Those days, he’s on the bus for more than four hours. When asked if he was planning to get a car, he said, “I hope to purchase a vehicle by the fall if my finances will allow it,” but that seems unlikely. After being out of school for a number of years and with his learning disability and a tough schedule, school can be stressful at times, he said. “But in the end,” he said, the effort “will all be worth it.” His photography class with adjunct professor Craig Sands is great, he said, and he loves his class with journalism professor Gretchen Thum. He will be taking another class with her this fall. “Kevin has blossomed as a student at JCCC,” Thum said. “He has discovered that he possesses outstanding public relations skills and has seen that this type of work comes naturally to him. I know that nothing will stop Kevin from achieving his goals. We can expect great things from him in the future. Robertson appreciates Thum’s confidence in his abilities. “She has been a great encourager and supporter and friend. She just makes you want to learn.”

Kevin Robertson wishes he could afford a car but tuition comes first for now.

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The Open Petal | 5

Twins pursue dream of opening a bakery in their hometown By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


f you’re going to be driving through Parsons, Kansas, in the year 2020, be sure to stop in to Benjamin and Caleb Newton’s renowned bakery and coffee shop.

It isn’t there yet. But thanks to the entrepreneurship degree the 20-year-old identical twins are earning from Johnson County Community College, it will be. When they were 12 years old, Caleb fell in love with baking. He knew immediately that he wanted to open a bakery when he grew up.

“You don’t have to like what you’re doing to get satisfaction from a job well done,” Caleb added.

Studying together When they decided to come to Johnson County Community College, they had another decision to make: attend culinary school, or sign up for entrepreneurial study instead?

Caleb won him over. By 14, they were on the same page, dreaming of owning a bakery, coffee shop or patisserie in their hometown of Parsons.

“We debated that all through high school …” said Benjamin. “… for quite some time,” Caleb finished.

Sticking together The two of them had little doubt they’d run the business together. Ever since toddlerhood, the Newton twins have stuck together. In fact, even during adolescence, when many twins feel a need to grow apart and claim individual interests, Benjamin and Caleb did almost everything together. They even continued the tradition their mother started when they were babies; they dressed alike, but Benjamin wore blue, and Caleb wore red. “She did that so it was easier for people to tell us apart,” Caleb explained. “Benjamin, blue – both Bs, she thought that would help.” The two were homeschooled by their mother, who has taught all of the family’s eight children. Their father instilled in them the importance of serving others and treating all people with kindness and respect. They learned the value of hard work at an early age. The teacher for that particular lesson was their grandfather, who ran a pest control business in Parsons. By the time they were middle-school aged, they said, they were crawling under houses and digging trenches to control termites.

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They also learned the value of all work, whether it was fun or not. “You don’t have to enjoy what you’re doing to do the job for a while,” Benjamin said. His brother nodded.

Benjamin, who also loved to bake, wasn’t completely sold. The two had a lot of other shared interests, too: music, photography and genealogy. Why limit themselves?

“Small towns need new businesses,” Benjamin explained. “And for Parsons, and for other small towns in the area, there are opportunities there. You just have to be able to identify them and take steps to pursue them.”

Caleb Newton, left, and his twin, Ben Newton, plan to open a business.

for money, we went out and earned it ourselves. And that mindset has stuck with us.”

“If we were willing to work hard, he was willing to pay us well,” Benjamin said. “Instead of asking our parents

“We finally decided that we did have some experience baking and cooking for other people, and we knew the baking side we could learn on the job. But the business side – even if you’re an excellent baker but you aren’t a good business owner, then your business will still fail,” Benjamin said. “That was a big part of it. With an entrepreneurship degree, it would allow us flexibility moving forward. We could open a bakery, but it also leaves the option open for other opportunities,” Caleb said. Even so, a bakery will allow them to work hard and be creative – two goals they wanted from a business. “We’re both very creative, and any outlet we have for creative energy is something we enjoy,” Caleb said. “We also enjoy making things,” Benjamin said. “There’s something very satisfying about taking raw materials and putting them together into something that’s a finished product. We also enjoy the way food brings people together.” Donna Duffey, professor and chair of entrepreneurship, said the Newtons’ positive attitude and work ethic have been wonderful for the program.  “It is not just the faculty team in JCCC’s entrepreneurship program but the students in each of the classes who have enjoyed the opportunity to learn from and with Benjamin and Caleb,” she said.  “Several students have even suggested to me that we should all take a field trip to Parsons, Kansas.” If they wait a few years, they can all have coffee together… The Open Petal | 7

First, he learned English, now he’s studying to become an interpreter

Hugo Ximello Salido practices his language skills by volunteering at a clinic in Kansas City.

By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


ine years ago, Hugo Ximello Salido emigrated from Mexico, unable to communicate in English. Soon he could graduate JCCC with a 4.0 GPA.

Hugo Ximello Salido owned a hair salon in Mexico in 2005. He knew no English and had only the vaguest idea of Kansas. Ten years later, he’s a Johnson County Community College student, an artist and a volunteer, a man with many interests who intends on pursuing them all. Ximello is attending JCCC to become a healthcare interpreter. He’s also studying his third language – French – to eventually become trilingual. “It requires a lot of work,” Ximello said. “Whoever said they (Spanish and French) are similar – that’s not my opinion. They are very different. Every language requires time and study.”

Being in America And he should know. When he arrived in Kansas City in 2006, he’d had less than a year of English at a British school 8 | The Open Petal

in Guadalajara when he was 13. At the time, he was relatively uninterested, so his knowledge of English was next to nothing.

Outside the conference area, Ximello displayed 20 or so pieces that reflected his Mexican heritage and celebrated the upcoming Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

He learned English, he said, “by being obnoxious.”

“It was such a great response,” Ximello said. “It was terrific, really terrific.”

“I didn’t have a formal program for learning English, until I went to JCCC in 2013. Basically, if you were talking, I would say, ‘Say that again. Use it in a sentence. Let me hear that again,’ just asking questions and being obnoxious,” he said. When he began at JCCC, he enrolled as an international student and met Patricia Donaldson, a coordinator in International and Immigrant Student Services.

Art as a passion Donaldson suggested Ximello show his art as part of Diversidad, a conference that focuses on attracting Hispanic students to higher education. Teachers, counselors and admissions personnel from across the area have attended the conference at JCCC for the last two years.

Both his mother and his aunt are artists, and Ximello is a self-taught painter. His works have appeared in First Fridays and in charity auctions. This spring his works were on view at the Mattie Rhodes Art Center in Kansas City, Missouri. His art is abstract impressionism, with a nod to bold colors. Even though he’s also had exhibitions in Mexico, he considers painting a passion, not a profession.

Interpreting as a profession He instead chose healthcare interpreting. To gain experience, Ximello volunteers three or four hours a week at the KC Care Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I feel rewarded because I’m doing something that is not for me,” he said. “Being unselfish – if that is a word – because I am exposing myself to all kinds of germs, going through training, confidentiality. It is a lot of things you have to consider.” Ximello said he’s willing to take the risk, especially when he remembers what it feels like to be cut off from services due to a language barrier. “I say, ‘I am glad I am here, because this person could have been taking his medication two times a day, and if I hadn’t been here, he could have been taking two pills a day, twice a day, just because he didn’t understand – stuff like that. So many numbers. Imagine that plus the language barrier. That’s why I picked this interpreting program.” Since Ximello started JCCC, he’s maintained a 4.0 gradepoint average, making the president’s honor roll every semester, and won two scholarships. He plans to complete his health care interpreting certificate in August 2015 and his associate degree in general studies in December 2015. The Open Petal | 9

By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


o you know what Alexa Summers did last summer?

She took CPR and anatomy from Johnson County Community College. What’s so great about that? She enrolled between her sophomore and junior years at Blue Valley Northwest High School. At only 16, she took on college-level classes. And guess what? They cost her no out-of-pocket tuition. Yep. Free tuition. But more on that later.

Keeping busy “I like having something to do,” Summers explained. Oh sure, she had a job. (She works part-time in an optometrist’s office.) She had hobbies. (She has won prizes for her woodworking. She also loves photography and theater.) But when she heard at a college clinic that she could take classes at JCCC even before graduating from high school, she added JCCC to her list. “The classes have been wonderful,” Summers said. “During the summer, I’d be in the anatomy lab from noon to 10 p.m. The lab aides were fantastic.” While fellow classmates were at the pool, she was memorizing the names of bones. While they hung out and watched TV, she was studying models of the digestive system. Why? “Because I want to go into forensic science, and I figured those classes would help me in my future career,” she explained.

Second thoughts Summers finished high-school anatomy when she was a sophomore, and she took a chance at the college-level class. It was hard. So hard, in fact, that she wanted to quit the class after the very first session. Nobody talked to her. She was not the type to just strike up a conversation. So, knowing no one, being much younger

than them, she told her mother, “Mom, I want to drop out.” “She wouldn’t let me,” Summers said. “Now, of course, I’m glad I stayed.” She became part of an anatomy class study group. Group members ranged in age from 18 to mid-40s, yet her youth didn’t matter when they all struggled together.

Here’s the free part To pay for the class, she cashed in on the little-known Senate Bill 155, passed in 2012. It’s also called Excel in Career Technical Education (CTE). For classes that meet certain criteria, tuition is free for the student. “A lot of students don’t realize this opportunity exists,” explained Shelia Mauppin, dean of career and technical education transitions. The credits may count toward degrees or transfer the same as any other college class. Summers came back to JCCC for the spring 2015 semester. She enrolled in Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation (ADMJ 154), which was free under the CTE program, and Fencing (HPER 175), which was not. (She paid for the one credit herself.) Both meet in the evening, allowing her to stay at Blue Valley Northwest during the day. “I took the fundamentals class because it’s something that I’m very interested about and is related to my goal of forensic science,” she said. “I took fencing because it sounded fun. And it is fun!”

JCCC in her future Summer’s career path in forensic science follows many female role models in the medical field. Her mother is an X-ray technician, her aunt is a doctor and her sister is enrolled in pharmacy school. Her plan is to continue to take credits throughout high school, a class or two at a time, and then enroll full-time at JCCC after graduation. “I really love it here,” she said. If someone said she couldn’t come to JCCC anymore? “I’d cry,” she said. “I’m all for opportunities, and JCCC has been a great one.”

Alexa Summers plans to attend JCCC after she graduates from high school.

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The Open Petal | 11

Jane Lynch, Peter & Paul mark 25th anniversary at JCCC By Diane Carroll


Peter & Paul

ane Lynch, Peter & Paul, Jim Brickman and a parade of other stars will appear in Yardley Hall during the coming year as Johnson County Community College celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Performing Arts Series.

The lineup, which includes Arlo Guthrie and the smash stage show Blue Man Group, ranges from comedy to music, dance, classical and nostalgia. New Dance Partners will be back with the Oklahoma City Ballet, and the classical genre will feature five events, including the Bach Collegium Japan Orchestra (a partnership with Friends of Chamber MusicKansas City) and the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra from Poland with an all-Beethoven program. When the college’s Performing Arts Series began in 1990, JCCC presented about 50 events in the Carlsen Center with a total attendance of 12,000 or so, said Emily Behrmann, general manager of the series. Since then, more than 2 million people have walked through the doors, with an average of 200 events annually. From world-class artists as part of the series, to local dance studio recitals and student performances and graduation ceremonies, the variety of events presented and the positive reputation of the facility is a testament to the vision of the trustees of the college and the support the college has continued to provide to the venue for the past 25 years, she said. “What I’m excited about this season,” Behrmann said, “is the three-pronged approach we’ve taken to programming. With the classical artists and returning performers like Arlo Guthrie, we’re paying tribute to our past. With the dance performances and new headliners like Jane Lynch, we look 12 | The Open Petal

to the future and connect with students. And with artists and genres from all points on the globe – China, India, Ireland and Argentina – we reflect the increased diversity present in Johnson County today.” Nostalgia will be in the spotlight in a number of tribute shows. Classic Albums LIVE will present Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” the Australian Bee Gees Show will recreate the iconic disco sound of the Gibb Brothers and Under the Streetlamp features the Chicago cast of “Jersey Boys,” sharing songs of Frankie Valli, the Four Seasons and others. Season ticket packages (any five or more shows) are on sale now. They carry a 10-percent discount. To place your order, go online or call the JCCC Box Office at 913-469-4445 Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you prefer to purchase on an event-by-event basis, tickets for individual shows go on sale June 1. For as little as $50, anyone can become a Friend of the Series and get perks such as an additional 5 percent off a season package. For more information, visit Adding another dimension will be performances from several cultures, including “Peking Dreams,” featuring the National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China and “Spirit of India,” featuring the Bollywood Orchestra and Dancers of India. Danu will return for St. Patrick’s Day and Pablo Ziegler will bring his Quartet for New Tango to Polsky Theatre.

Jane Lynch

Blue Man Group

Events take place in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall unless otherwise noted. Here’s the schedule: July 9, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Peter Yarrow & Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary $48-$135

Oct. 10, 8 p.m. Saturday, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble Polsky Theatre $30

Nov. 14, 8 p.m. Saturday, Classic Albums Live: “The Dark Side of the Moon” $25-$35

Feb. 13, 8 p.m. Saturday, The Australian Bee Gees Show, A Multimedia Tribute Concert $32-$42

Aug. 30, 3 p.m. Sunday, Wichita Grand Opera presents “Turandot” $48-$58

Oct. 18, 7 p.m. Sunday, Arlo Guthrie presents “The Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour” $42-$125

Feb. 20, 8 p.m. Saturday, The Romeros $30-$40

Sept. 12, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jane Lynch $55-$175 Heartland Men’s Chorus will entertain before the show.

Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Friday, “Spirit of India” $30-$40

Dec. 5, 8 p.m. Saturday, Reduced Shakespeare Company presents “The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)” $32-$42

Sept. 25-26, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, New Dance Partners: “The Ultimate Collaboration” $25 Oct. 9, 8 p.m. Friday, “Peking Dreams” by The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China $20-$30

Oct. 25, 7 p.m. Sunday, Igudesman & Joo: And Now Mozart Polsky Theatre $35 Oct. 30, 8 p.m. Friday, Bach Collegium Japan Orchestra and Chorus $30-$40 Nov. 7, 8 p.m. Saturday, Urban Bush Women $20-$30

Dec. 12, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jim Brickman, “Comfort & Joy: The 2015 Holiday Tour” $40-$100 Jan. 22-Jan 24, 8 p.m. Friday; noon and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Blue Man Group $55-$135 Feb. 6, 8 p.m. Saturday, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo $40-$50

Feb. 27, 8 p.m. Saturday, Danú $30-$40 March 5, 8 p.m. Saturday, Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra $25-$35 March 19, 8 p.m. Saturday, Ballet Hispanico $30-$40 April 2, 8 p.m. Saturday, Pablo Ziegler and the Quartet for New Tango $35 May 21, 8 p.m. Saturday, Under the Streetlamp Polsky Theatre $25-$45 The Open Petal | 13

Practicing forensic scientist teaches students about fingerprinting, blood spatter and good science By Anne Christiansen-Bullers Students Scott Shipley and Megan Duffy learn what crime-scene technicians do.

Instructor Kelly McGill Carroll, right, works with Amber Redeker.


n TV shows, crime-scene technicians brush black powder on a doorknob to reveal a fingerprint. Moments later, the same technician has found a matching print on a database, and gruff, guntoting cops leave to question their prime suspect. Ask Merissa Delgado how realistic that is. “It’s a lot harder than that,” she confessed. Delgado, a student in ADMJ 221, Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation, took the class because she’s interested in a career in the justice system. In fact, a lot of students, fueled by the popularity of television shows like “CSI,” “NCIS,” and “Forensic Files” have signed up for the class because they want the answer to, “How do they do that?” and “How can I do that, too?”

Taught by a forensic professional The class is taught by a “real” forensic scientist. Kelly McGill Carroll has been teaching ADMJ 221 at JCCC for eight years. It’s an evening class because McGill Carroll spends her days at the Johnson County Criminalistics Lab, the crime lab of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. McGill Carroll specializes in DNA identification at the lab. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in forensic science. On a recent evening, students dusted for fingerprints. The whiteboard and students’ cellphone screens proved to be prime hunting grounds for the loops, whorls and arches that comprise a fingerprint type. Getting prints off soda bottles, doorknobs or other rounded surfaces proved more difficult. “It’s definitely not how TV shows it to be,” said student Dan Jermolenko. He and partner Lauren Houston worked to lift prints from the classroom door with mixed results. The prints from the window were stellar; the prints around the handle (which would probably be the most important in a real criminal case) were smudged. “I can definitely see where this would take practice,” Houston said.

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Hands-on practice makes it fun McGill Carroll tries to get the students as much hands-on “lab work” in each night’s class as she can, usually the last hour of a three-hour class. “The labs here are really fun,” said Megan Duffy, a student and “Forensic Files” fan. “This is probably one of my favorite classes for that reason.” Fingerprinting was Duffy’s favorite lab, “but blood spatter was fun, too,” she said. She described how they learned about force and direction of blood in an attack – in the only class on campus where saying such words with enthusiasm doesn’t seem the least bit creepy. Word’s gotten out that the class is pretty cool. McGill Carroll used to teach the class only once a year, in the spring, and now the class fills both spring and fall.

Science mixed with patience As McGill Carroll makes the rounds between tables, she helps students get that fragile finger pattern on clean white paper. “I think the hardest part is the tape,” Delgado calls out, and a chorus of students agree with her. If the technician mangles the tape in any way, the fingerprint is no longer useful. It’s a cautious coaxing of powder to paper. The best make it look easy, while the rest – well, the rest will blow black powder out of their noses for a few days. McGill Carroll said she loves teaching ADMJ 221. “Some of the students are into science, some law. Others want to be police officers or work for the justice system,” she said. She tells all of them, first and foremost, to be a good scientist. “I like to pique their interest, but I like to dispel some of the myths that television perpetuates.” For more information on classes offered by the administration of justice department, check online or contact Kay King, associate professor and chair of administration of justice, at 913-469-8500, ext. 4704. For information on policing as a profession, review the Johnson County Regional Police Academy information online. The academy is located on the western side of JCCC’s campus. The Open Petal | 15

Federal grant helps students finish faster By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


ow do colleges quickly and successfully graduate students in high-demand industries? A four-year, $2.5 million federal grant will offer funding so Johnson County Community College can show how students can benefit. The grant, called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, will fund innovative ideas for getting students to complete programs faster and preparing them to meet employer expectations.

Partnership leads to professional pilot degree

Because of the long, but accurate, grant name, most just call it by its acronym, so “tact” at JCCC isn’t just about good manners – it’s about good jobs.

What is TAACCCT? And ACTTS? At JCCC, the TAACCCT grant targets four programs: • Computer information systems/computer programming • Information technology networking • Web development

By Anne Christiansen-Bullers

• Health information systems

JCCC is partnering with Kansas State University-Salina and Air Associates of Olathe to offer a professional pilot degree.


nterested in becoming a professional pilot? What if you could do so in the heart of Johnson County?

Starting in the fall semester of 2015, that wish will become a possibility. Kansas State University-Salina will partner with Johnson County Community College and Air Associates of Kansas in Olathe to offer a professional pilot degree in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Students enrolling in the program will receive flight training from Air Associates while taking their core degree courses online from K-State Salina and general education credits from JCCC. Once they graduate, students will receive a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical technologyprofessional pilot from Kansas State University. Right here in Kansas City. The idea of a partnership between K-State Salina, JCCC and Air Associates arose in 2013, shortly after new federal 16 | The Open Petal

regulations for airline first officers went into effect. Under the regulations, first officers, or co-pilots, are required to have at least 1,500 hours of flying experience, which was increased dramatically from a previous 250 hours of flight time; however, with a four-year degree, the flight hour requirement is reduced to 1,000 hours. Air Associates saw this as an opportunity to expand its flight training offerings and approached K-State Salina’s wellknown collegiate flight program about making an aviation career more obtainable for students in the Kansas City area. JCCC came on board because of the general need within the Kansas City area for transportation and logistics training. Adding an aviation option expands the school’s program in this area. For more information on the professional pilot degree, visit JCCC’s academic counseling and advising office on the second floor of the Student Center or call 913-469-3809.

These programs, already in place at JCCC, will be adjusted and augmented to help ensure student success. This process at JCCC goes by the name of Accelerated Collaborative Technology Training Services (or ACTTS). Each program is using grant funds differently. For example, in Web development, the TAACCCT component will be a series of classes that students all take together. This “cohort” concept – where students stick together from beginning to end – may prove that there’s a social or “family” tie to finishing a program. In computer information systems and programming, students may be able to accelerate in a “bridge” programming course with prior programming experience. That’s because TAACCCT is providing the funding to create an accelerated system that allows students to show what they already know. Those students therefore might not have to take a full class. “If I have 10 years in the computer science field, I’m hoping I won’t need to take two years of classes in computer science,” explained Gretchen Sherk, grant program director for ACTTS.

“We’re working on an accelerated-learning model and other pathways for students to be successful.” In the IT program, students will have access to a NetLab, a virtual, off-campus learning resource that complements the on-campus lab experience and supplements faculty support.

Help from career coaches The grant also will fund salaries for career coaches, Sherk said. Unlike academic counselors, who work with all students on course selection and personal problems, or the Career Development Center counselors, who help students explore their interests and land a job, these career coaches guide students specifically in career pathways in technology. “The role of the career coach will be to assess the students’ knowledge and background in technology. Then they’ll ascertain what those students see themselves doing in the future. The model the career coaches will be using is designed to be pretty intrusive,” Sherk said. How intrusive? Coaches will work with instructors and attend classes. They’ll also be able to provide classroom presentations to support faculty. They’ll also act as the liaison between the college and potential employers, helping students ease gracefully into awaiting jobs. “Ultimately, the role of a career coach is support,” Sherk said.

Who should apply? Classes attached to the TAACCCT grant are open to anyone, but students with previous computer science/technology work experience (either in the military or in the private sector) are especially encouraged to apply. For more information on the application process, go to and search for “Computer Information Systems – ACTTS.” More detailed information on each program area is also available there. Already this national grant has gained traction in other colleges throughout the United States. JCCC joins in Round 4 of the program, so many of the precedents have been set, Sherk explained. Now it’s time for JCCC students to benefit from them, she said. The Open Petal | 17

This class focuses on creating inexpensive craft projects.

Free College Day draws hundreds to campus By Diane Carroll


ecause Pat Smith of Overland Park went to Free College Day, she now knows how to make her own croissants.

Because Chad Perry of Merriam went, he has a better idea of how to handle his boxer named Bentley, who jumps all over someone he knows but runs and hides from a stranger. And John Henn of Olathe, who visited the green Galileo Pavilion, now has some new ideas on how to live lightly on the Earth.

This group listens as the instructor shows them how to enhance their cheekbones.

Biennial event features all kinds of classes Hundreds of people turned out on Saturday, April 15, for the biennial event at Johnson County Community College. Faculty and staff who volunteered taught more than 100 classes in their areas of expertise. The event, accompanied with cookies and lemonade, has always been free and open to the public. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the community,” said Julie Haas, associate vice president for college and community relations. “It also gives the public a chance to explore the campus and get a taste of a subject or hobby that they might want to pursue further.” Haas created the event in 2009 when the college was celebrating its 40th anniversary. The event rapidly became a campus tradition every other spring.

This instructor demonstrates how to design a silk arrangement from start to finish.

18 | The Open Petal

Most classes started at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. and lasted for 45 minutes. Pre-registration was required to help the college organize the event, of course, but also so attendees would know where to go when they arrived on campus.

From making jewelry to making croissants The classes ranged from art metals and silversmithing (students in adjunct professor Sydney Pener’s class made their own charms for a necklace) to homemade crafts (Sheri Barrett, director of Outcomes Assessment, showed her class how to make a hostess gift without spending much money) to the basics of how to apply makeup (Cheri Nelson, adjunct assistant professor of cosmetology, demonstrated how to enhance your cheekbones and play up your best features). Smith, who took the class on making croissants, said she enjoyed learning from pastry chef Doug Flick, professor of hospitality management. “He told us why we should do something – like why we need to let the dough sit. And of course we got samples. Yummy.”

…to teaching Bentley the boxer to behave In the dog behavior class, Gay Hintz, supervisor of desktop publishing, explained how to be your dog’s pack leader. Perry said he now plans to take Bentley on regular walks – one technique that Hintz says is a must – and also will work on being the leader. Something as small as requiring your dog to walk by your side or behind you rather in front of you shows the dog that you are the leader, Hintz said. Henn, who visited the Galileo Pavilion, said he has taken a number of classes at the college over the years and appreciates what it offers. He’s also a regular on Free College Day. “I come back every year to see what’s going on,” Henn said. The Open Petal | 19

Rusty English skills pose extra challenge for determined student By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


f you’re having a tough time in class, where things just aren’t coming together, what do you do? Drop out? Try again? If you’re Belal Kattan, the answer is no – and yes.

Kattan, a student at Johnson County Community College, is taking some of the same classes over again. As an American citizen who spent 13 of his 20 years in Syria, he thought his English was rusty but acceptable. JCCC instructors were about to show him otherwise. “Classes were a challenge,” he said. “I thought I had good English, but it was not as good as I thought – definitely not as good as I thought.”

From Arabic to English Growing up in Damascus, speaking Arabic, Kattan said he was a good student, a “straight-A student” who balanced athletics with academics. He played handball seriously since seventh grade, and he even tried to introduce the sport to his JCCC friends. “It was not really clicking with them,” he said. Things did seem to click, however, at Johnson County Adult Education. It took him only three short weeks to pass his general education development (GED) test, he said, so his college classes’ level of difficulty came as an unwelcome surprise. “I had no idea how college would be,” he said.

Keeping at it Rather than quit, Kattan remained in his classes, slogging his way through assignments he only sometimes understood. Belal Kattan grew up in Damascus speaking Arabic.

20 | The Open Petal

Kattan finished, but his grades – for him – were not

acceptable. He knew he could do better. So rather than continue with classes in the prescribed sequence, he went back to the same classes, and in some cases, the same teachers, to see if he could do better. Still, he contributed to class. He did the work. “I don’t give up for anything,” Kattan said. “I still tried.”

Getting support When he got dejected, he said he depended on counselor Dave Ellis and a group of his supportive teachers, friends and family. He also credits Linda Kozacek, a transition coach for Johnson County Adult Education, for her unwavering support. “Linda was amazing,” he said. Kozacek returned the compliment. “Belal’s attitude is what sets him apart. I am sure he escaped from some dangerous situations, but he would never tell you that. While the family anxiously awaited for the arrival of his sister (from Syria), he continued his studies with a steadfastness and unwavering confidence that it would all work out,” she said. “He is so even-keeled and feels confident that he can achieve whatever goal he has despite any obstacles that might arise,” Kozacek said. “He never seemed to worry about how long it would take him; he just keeps moving in the direction of his goal.” Kattan, who goes by “Wolf” amongst his friends, said he’s ready to attack the next challenge, leading to a career in computer science and maybe one day to medicine. “My English is always getting a little bit better,” he said. “Already I’ve improved my GPA.” The Open Petal | 21

Find it online

CAMPUS LIFE Datebook July 24, New and readmit students are encouraged to apply for admission by this date to ensure enrollment by the start of the semester.

Aug. 3, Staff on 10-month contract return.

Aug. 10, Web enrollment reopens at 9 p.m.

Aug. 10-14, Professional Development Days for faculty.

Here are some stories featured recently on our home page. To read more, go to and search for the words in the headlines.

Aug. 14, Credit enrollment for

Sept. 14, Last day to drop a

Nov. 25, Classes not in

Dec. 12, Saturday classes

students eligible for the 60+ tuition rate begins at 8 a.m.

full semester course without a withdrawal “W” on the student’s permanent record. Deadline is 11 p.m. for drops completed on the Web.

session. College offices closed.


Nov. 26-27, Thanksgiving Day holiday. Classes not in session. College closed.

Dec. 13, Sunday classes end.

Aug. 15, Special Saturday hours: Success Center open for enrollment 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Aug. 17, Enrollment Reminder: Students must be enrolled in a course no later than the first day the class meets.

Aug. 17, First day of fall 2015 semester.

Aug. 24, Last day to drop a full-semester course and receive a 100-percent refund. Sept. 7, Labor Day holiday. Classes not in session. College closed.

October, Spring enrollment. See the spring 2016 academic calendar. Oct. 1, Transcripts required from other colleges and schools are due.

Oct. 15, Application deadline for fall graduation.

Nov. 16, Last day to request a pass/fail option or to withdraw with a “W” from a fullsemester course.

Nov. 28, Saturday classes will not meet.

Nov. 29, Sunday classes will not meet.

Dec. 1, Deadline for faculty to submit grade changes for “I” grades assigned in spring or summer.

Dec. 7-13, Final exams. Dec. 11, Last day for staff on

Dec. 13, Last day of fall semester.

Dec. 14, Grades entered online by professors by 5 p.m.

Dec. 16, Grades available to students by noon on the Web.

Dec. 21, Last day for staff on 10-month contract.

Dec. 24-Jan. 1, Winter break. Classes not in session. College closed.

9-month contract.

On stage For tickets and information about these and other events sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, visit or call the JCCC Box Office at 913-469-4445.

A few years ago, Derek Boyd was working in a warehouse, out of high school and not really considering college. Megan Gladbach was in high school, staring at the choice of what she wanted to do next and knowing she didn’t want the move-far-away university experience. Both landed at Johnson County Community College, and both were recently named to the All-Kansas Academic Team.

Finding his true calling

As a high school student, Jean Cantero was not sure what he wanted to do with his life. His counselor suggested that he start at JCCC. “He suggested that it would be the best place to learn what I really wanted to do, and that’s exactly what happened,” Cantero said.

Earthquake, uncertainty and birthday cake On April 25, JCCC student Ada Thapa was waiting for a call from her parents to wish her a happy birthday. Instead, she got a call from a friend telling her that a massive earthquake had hit Nepal, just a few miles away from where her parents lived. Suddenly, Thapa’s only birthday wish was to make sure her family was alive.

Engaging student veterans

When Christopher Chance transitioned from the Army in July 2013, he knew Johnson County Community College would be an excellent way to return to civilian life. “I was in the Army seven years ... and I was nervous when I got out.” But JCCC has been “a really great place,” he said.

Miss Kansas USA

Alexis Railsback was taking classes at Johnson County Community College, working a part-time job, and fitting in workouts all in hopes of becoming Miss Kansas USA for 2015. That dream became reality in November 2014 when Railsback won the coveted crown in a three-day ceremony in Wichita.

Planting time

Peter and Paul 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9 Yardley Hall

Jane Lynch 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 Yardley Hall

Arlo Guthrie 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18 Yardley Hall

At the Nerman These three works created by Amir Fallah, Rodolfo Marron and Mark Cowardin will be on view through Sept. 27 at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. For more information, visit

Amir H. Fallah “Mother of the West,” 2015, Acrylic, collage, colored pencil and spray paint on paper mounted to canvas, 72" dia. Courtesy the artist 22 | The Open Petal

All-Kansas award winners

Rodolfo Marron III “Thank You For Your Love,” 2015, Poke berries, bill berries, maiz morado, gouache, ink, pressed flowers and buckeye butterfly on book cover, 5.5 x 8" Courtesy the artist

In conjunction with UPS, students and staff plant trees along the south side of the baseball field this spring. They planted hedge, eastern red cedar and hackberry trees. Lilac, milkweed, and asters were also planted for pollinators.

Mark Cowardin “Cloud Group #2,” Cast aluminum, paint, porcelain, wood, gold leaf, shelf, 48 x 20 x 9" Courtesy the artist Photo by Susan McSpadden

The Open Petal | 23


Lady Cavs claim championship! The close game brings fans to their feet.

Alexis Brown drives to the basket.

The trophy makes the national win official.

Coach Ben Conrad, right, after the win.

By Tyler Cundith Alexis Brown, who sank the winning shot, celebrates with her teammates.


ast March, Johnson County freshman guard Alexis Brown knocked down a buzzer-beater jumper as time expired to give the Lady Cavaliers a 66-64 victory over top-ranked Parkland College in the 2015 NJCAA Division II Women’s National Championship at JCCC’s Gymnasium. Brown’s gamewinning shot sent a wave of students onto the court for a celebration. That celebration has carried over for head coach Ben Conrad, his staff and athletes. The team appeared on several local television programs, held a championship T-shirt autograph session and was recognized by the JCCC trustees. The team also was asked to appear at the Kansas Capitol and Conrad was named the 2015 Spalding® NJCAA Women’s Division II National Coach of the Year. “I think it has been a whirlwind for our kids and I think they enjoyed the attention this spring,” Conrad said. “Honestly, I spent the first couple weeks waking up thinking I had dreamt it all. I would wake up with a deep feeling of disappointment, then I would move around and realize I was in bed and we did win it. It is the Holy Grail for college coaches. Most of us never even sniff one. The truth of it is

24 | The Open Petal

you have to be good, but you also have to be lucky.” This was Johnson County’s second national championship and the first for head coach Ben Conrad, who also picked up his 300th career win in the process. Tied at 64-64 with 21 seconds remaining, freshman Kayonna Lee grabbed a crucial offensive rebound, giving the Lady Cavaliers the opportunity to take the final shot. After a timeout, freshman guard Erica Nelson found Brown on the right wing. She dribbled right, stepped back and let it fly. During the timeout Conrad said he debated between having Nieka Wheeler, Brown or even Nelson take the final shot, but ultimately chose Brown. “I just felt Lex in that closely guarded situation was our best chance,” Conrad said. “We ran a little box iso (isolation) play we used to run a lot. She made a big time shot in the biggest moment of her basketball life.” Brown finished with 14 points off the bench for the Lady Cavaliers. She was 5-for-13 from the field with two 3-pointers, and 2-of-3 at the line. Johnson County was led offensively by Wheeler’s 16-point effort. She was 5-of-14 from the field, with two treys,

and hit 4-of-5 free throws. She averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in JCCC’s four games and was chosen the tournament’s MVP. “She is a special kid, special person, great leader and warrior,” Conrad said. “She will be a successful person in her life because of her character.” Nelson finished with 11 points and five assists, and Lee was the game’s top rebounder with 11, including six on the offensive end. Lee also grabbed a key offensive board and kick out that led to a Brown three-pointer that gave Johnson County a 64-61 lead with 1:38 to play. Johnson County shot just 37 percent in the first half, but hit six of its nine 3-pointers in that half to build a 10-point lead with six to play. Parkland fought back and JCCC only led 34-31 at halftime. The first four minutes of the second half saw the Cobras erase its 3-point deficit and turn it into a 5-point advantage, but from there the two teams exchanged six lead changes and four ties. “Parkland was an extremely difficult team to play in that final,” Conrad said. “They are one of the tougher teams both

mentally and physically I’ve personally faced in my career.” Johnson County’s victory ended Parkland’s 35-game winning streak – the team had not lost since its season opener. Nadine Vaughn led the Cobras with 20 points. She was 7-of-9 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 at the line. Alltournament picks Laura Litchfield and Hannah Wascher followed with 16 and 14 points. Johnson County won its final 12 games of the season and finished with a final record of 34-2, setting a new season mark for victories. Conrad now has a record of 207-32 in seven seasons at JCCC and has strung together six consecutive 30-win seasons. “This was special not only for our players and coaches, but for the students and fans that came out and supported us, and this campus community,” Conrad said. “All of Johnson County and Kansas can be proud of what our kids did in this tournament. But we don’t define our teams based on what happens in 40 minutes in March, never have and never will. We’ve had some special people it did not work out for in March. That being said, it is special and such a validation of our process and how we approach our day-to-day work in this program.” The Open Petal | 25

THE REAR WINDOW Theater students rehearse for “Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, which played May 1-3 in the Carlsen Center’s Polsky Theatre.

Members of a horticulture class spend part of their day planting a variety of flowers within the Kansa earthwork sculpture on the west side of campus.

JCCC outstanding students, shown here with President Joe Sopcich, received kind words, lunch and awards.

Representatives from the national VFW office tour campus and learn about JCCC’s new Veteran and Military Student Resource Center. Donuts were $1 and all the funds went to the Student Veteran’s Club.

The Kansas Studies Institute, in cooperation with the Center for Sustainability, hosts a small prairie burn on the west side of campus. Volunteers ignited the grasses within Kansa, the earthen sculpture near the red barn.

Photos by Susan McSpadden

Worth a Look Back


he winter semester of 2015 brought Shakespeare, a (planned) prairie fire, the planting of flowers, recognition for outstanding students and the opening of a veterans’ center. And it wrapped up with, of course, graduation. Congratulations to all of the graduates.

Jean Claude, JCCC’s Cavalier mascot, joins students at Campus Craze in May. Representatives from regional colleges offerred information on their schools.

Graduates happily smile for the cameras during commencement ceremonies on May 22, at the JCCC Gymnasium.

For more photos, visit Follow us on Instagram @johnsoncountycommunitycollege and on Twitter @JCCCtweet. 26 | The Open Petal

The Open Petal | 27




Johnson County Community College


The Open Petal - June 2015  

Johnson County Community College

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