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TIMES READY FOR ANY EMERGENCY
IN THIS ISSUE P6:
SIMULATED SCENARIO VILLAGE P16:
ALUMNUS OFFERS A TASTE OF JAMAICA
BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN STUDENTS
A PUBLICATION OF CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
JUNE 25-27 2020
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PRESIDENT’S Message TO OUR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) proudly serves communities and individuals across Northeast Ohio. Thousands depend on us for connections to education and training that lead to personal and professional growth. We are fortunate that residents throughout Cuyahoga County recognize this and continue to support the College in its efforts to create a more prosperous future for all. The College’s focus on serving students and the community is unparalleled. It can be seen and felt by anyone who spends time on a Tri-C campus. This issue of Tri-C Times highlights various people and programs that bring this service focus to life. At the Western Campus, the new Simulated Scenario Village serves those who serve others by providing intensive, hands-on training for first responders in Northeast Ohio and beyond. The goal is to provide training that leads to safer streets, safer neighborhoods and a safer community. Metropolitan Campus counselor Linda Lanier embodies all that Tri-C represents. Her relentless energy and positivity inspire students to hold themselves to higher standards in the classroom, as well as at home and work.
THE COLLEGE’S CULTURE OF SERVICE ALSO TAKES ROOT IN OUR STUDENTS, WHO OFTEN CHOOSE PATHS THAT LEAD THEM TO SERVE OTHERS — IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Adam Smith discovered an interest in community service. Complex Questions, a think tank he started at the Metro Campus, provides an opportunity for veterans to continue making a difference as civilians. Culinary graduate Omar MacKay serves others — in the most literal sense of the word — at Irie Jamaican Kitchen, which just opened its second location in Cleveland. And alumna Kim Foreman’s work to combat lead poisoning in Cleveland is helping our children live healthier lives. Of course, none of this would be possible without community support. As a public institution with great responsibility to its stakeholders, the College strives each day to provide the highest quality, most affordable education and workforce training in Northeast Ohio. At Tri-C, we are ready and waiting serve you. Sincerely,
Alex Johnson, Ph.D. President
IN THIS ISSUE:
John Horton MANAGING EDITOR
Mary Gygli COPY EDITOR
Beth Cieslik WRITERS
Erik Cassano Beth Cieslik John Horton Jarrod Zickefoose PHOTOGRAPHERS
Lisa DeJong Tamara London Jason Miller Victoria Stanbridge Cody York
TABLE of CONTENTS President’s Message.......................... 3 Upfront.............................................. 5 Simulated Scenario Village................. 6 Student Profile: Adam Smith..............14 Alumni Profile: Omar McKay...............16 An Outdoor Classroom.......................20 A Running Success............................23 Faculty Profile: Linda Lanier................24 Institute for Poverty...........................28 One Last Thing..................................30
FOLLOW TRI-C Tri-C Times is published by Cuyahoga Community College’s Integrated Communications Department for its friends and constituents. Feedback and story ideas are welcome. Send correspondence to Tri-C Times, 2500 E. 22nd St., Cleveland, Ohio 44115, call 216-987-4322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 4
Upfront ARTISTRY IN MOTION The Dance Academy at Cuyahoga Community College allows Cleveland’s youth to unlock the talent within themselves. See what they found during a year-end dance gala — Soar — at Playhouse Square. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5, at the Connor Palace. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at playhousesquare.org. Last year’s show sold out. The gala is made possible through generous support from the Cleveland Foundation’s Arts Mastery initiative.
FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE There’s an epidemic in Cleveland that a Tri-C alumna vows to defeat. As executive director of the nonprofit Environmental Health Watch, Kim Foreman, Class of ’97, is on the front lines battling the lead paint crisis poisoning the city’s youth. Her work over the past two decades built a foundation for last year’s historic legislation in Cleveland targeting homes coated with lead-based paint. She’s also working on the issue at the state level with Ohio’s Lead Advisory Committee.
RING 2020 QUICK STUDIES Members of the women’s cross country team at Cuyahoga Community College aren’t just fast runners. They’re fast learners, too. As a team, Tri-C posted a 3.816 GPA for fall semester — third-highest in the nation among NJCAA Division I schools. Six Triceratops earned Scholar All-American honors from the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association. The academic success followed one of the team’s best seasons in running spikes. Tri-C placed 13th at the 2019 NJCAA championships, the second-best showing in program history.
IN FIRST RESPONDER TRAINING, THE SIMULATION OF REAL-LIFE EVENTS IS ESSENTIAL TO PROVIDING AN AUTHENTIC ON-THE-JOB EXPERIENCE. THE NEW SIMULATED SCENARIO VILLAGE AT TRI-Câ€™S WESTERN CAMPUS IS ONE OF THE FEW PLACES IN OHIO THAT CAN PROVIDE IT.
Erik Cassano Jason Miller
IT TAKES A
LLAGE SPRING 2020
ou are about to come along with the Parma Police SWAT team to serve an arrest warrant at a residence. The target is a two-story house with an attached garage, situated at the end of a cul-de-sac — a typical suburban home.
As the shield-holding officers lead, the group creates a small phalanx, edging toward the door. Several SWAT members stay behind, taking up position behind the van and MRAP. They will provide cover fire if needed.
A large Humvee drives up first. The armored monster, once used by the U.S. military in the Middle East, is a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle. On its tail is a long black van. The MRAP takes a position on the right side of the cul-de-sac. The van — windowless save for the windshield and front driver and passenger windows — takes a position on the left. The house is now boxed in.
The driver of the MRAP repeats his command over the loudspeaker: “Residents, this is Parma Police! Come out of the front door with your hands up! Do not have anything on your hands as you exit!”
After a tense pause, a message thunders over the loudspeaker on the MRAP: “Residents, this is Parma Police! Come out of the front door with your hands up! Do not have any weapons or anything on your hands!”
Finally, they reach the porch. Another pause, and the command is given to breach the front door. The SWAT team enters single-file and fans out, looking for their suspect. In less than a minute, he is apprehended and escorted out.
The side door of the van slides open, and nearly a dozen Parma SWAT team members climb out in full gear — helmets, weapons and shields. They exit on the side of the van opposite the house, using the van’s steel body as a shield in the event of a hostile response.
Under normal circumstances, the SWAT team would clear the area and quickly take the suspect away for processing. But this isn’t a normal warrant service. This is a simulation at Simulated Scenario Village, part of the KeyBank Public Safety Training Center at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus.
WE WANTED THE MOST DETAILED, COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING ENVIRONMENT, BOTH FOR OUR STUDENTS AND THE AGENCIES WHO USE THE FACILITY.” —Clayton Harris, dean of public safety
A PLACE TO LEARN Simulated Scenario Village is a training complex constructed like a large movie set, with indoor and outdoor components. It provides a realistic stage on which to simulate events that police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel will encounter on the job. The complex has a twofold mission: Enhance the education of Tri-C Public Safety cadets and serve as a training facility for police and fire departments throughout Northeast Ohio. Opened in late 2019, the village consists of an administrative center and four staged scenario buildings — the house, a two-story commercial building, a three-story commercial/ office building and a single-floor building with a circular drive. The layout is based on input from various law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies around the region. It also drew inspiration from other facilities around the country, including Hogan’s Alley, the FBI’s training complex in Quantico, Virginia. “We had an advisory group with representatives from all around the area,” said Clayton Harris, dean of public safety at Tri-C. “We wanted the most detailed, comprehensive training environment, both for our students and the agencies who use the facility.”
The ability to customize the layout is one of the village’s biggest advantages. It means it never delivers the same training experience twice. During their visit, Parma’s officers gathered after each exercise to discuss details, review techniques and identify any mistakes. “We have to be prepared for the unexpected in this line of work,” said Commander Jamie Tavano of Tri-C’s Basic Police Academy. “The moveable walls allow us to create many different scenarios, which keeps everyone sharp. You can’t simply anticipate the layout here.” The ability to customize the training experience extends beyond the walls of the buildings. The entire village — arranged along an approximately quarter-mile two-lane street — allows law enforcement agencies and Tri-C cadets to train for virtually any situation they might encounter on the job. That ranges from SWAT calls and hostage situations to domestic disputes and routine traffic stops. “It’s not just about training once you’re in the building,” said Officer Tom Desmarteau of Parma Police. “It’s about what goes on in the surrounding area. Here, we can go through a simulation of just about any experience. You’re pulling up to a building or a car, surveying the scene and mentally preparing yourself. It’s a high-stress environment, and you want to come as close as you can to the real thing.”
Each of the four staged scenario buildings has an open interior with concrete floors. The ceiling on each floor is lined with a grid of tracks, upon which hundreds of wall panels can be manually shifted into countless arrangements simulating rooms, closets, offices and cubicles. SPRING 2020
ADDITIONAL TRAINING As Parma SWAT served their arrest warrant, more training was taking place about 100 yards away. While the loudspeaker on the MRAP issued its mandates, this training was silent, concealed in the shadows on the ground floor of the village’s two-story building. Two snipers peered through their sights as the SWAT team stormed the house. The building provided an ideal vantage point from which to scan the entire scene for trouble. “There are a lot of things to consider when finding a sniper position, especially in a wooded or urban setting, and this village offers both,” Desmarteau said. “You have to consider how to conceal yourself, how to get the best possible vantage point and whether you will have to stand or lie down. We were on the ground floor for this exercise, but the village also has rooftops at different heights so you can give snipers different perspectives for their training as well.” Two of the structures — the house and the two-story commercial building — are also equipped with smoke generators. The machines produce “theater smoke” — thick white smoke capable of obscuring the entire interior of a building, creating an environment of near-complete blindness while still being breathable.
The smoke machines allow police to simulate an entry involving the use of tear gas. They also create an ideal training environment for cadets in Tri-C’s Fire Training Academy. “In the burn buildings adjacent to the village, we’re actually burning material, which means everyone, including the instructors, has to use SCBAs [self-contained breathing apparatus] for breathing,” said Dan Waitkus, director of the fire academy. “It makes communication more difficult. The burn buildings are still essential for advanced training, but now, we can train our first-year cadets in zero-visibility search and rescue without the need for instructors to wear masks.” The buildings can be used for other fire and EMS training, including proper ventilation, ladder use and extraction of victims from confined spaces. Police, fire and EMS can even conduct joint training. “If you have an active-shooter situation where paramedics have to get into a building to tend to victims while police are engaging the suspect, we can act that out here,” Tavano said. “We can also utilize the street for scenarios where you might need crowd control, where the police are dispersing people while fire and EMS have to get in and tend to those injured. “The type of training we can offer here is almost limitless.”
ADMINISTRATIVE CENTER The villageâ€™s centerpiece is its administrative center, which houses classrooms, a control center with a full view of the village, a physical activity room with a padded floor, a fully equipped jail cell, a dispatch training center and a video simulator. Located on the second floor, the control center operates much like an air traffic control tower. During exercises, instructors can monitor activity, give directions, and control smoke and lighting effects. Across the hall, the dispatch training center allows instructors to integrate dispatchers into the simulated scenarios outside. The basement contains the padded activity room and jail cell, which can be used to train corrections officers on how to properly secure, search and detain an inmate. But the most technologically advanced room in the administrative center is the video simulator. In the simulator, five floor-to-ceiling rear projection monitors surround the trainee, each with its own speaker system, immersing them in any of hundreds of situations. Itâ€™s all controlled by an instructor sitting at a computer in the next room.
“It teaches you to think on your feet,” Desmarteau said. “You could be walking up to a couple of kids drinking out in the woods, and then suddenly a couple more of their friends come out behind you. You have to quickly ascertain the situation and react.” The instructor can add distractions, such as barking dogs or planes flying overhead, to create additional stress. In addition, trainees may wear a belt that delivers a small electric shock as another stress element.
“Previously, we had one single-floor building, or we’d use a vacant school building,” said Lt. Shawn Smith, the officer in charge of training for the Cleveland Police Academy. “Now we have a facility in town where we can change the layout and keep the training from getting stale. Cleveland Police has always had a great relationship with Tri-C, and this will strengthen it even more.”
“The distracting sounds can come from the side or behind you, since each screen has its own speakers,” Tavano said. “The indoor simulator, much like the outdoor simulations, teaches you how to process information amid stress and distractions.”
“IT MEANS A GREAT DEAL TO OUR STUDENTS, AND TO EXTERNAL AGENCIES, TO HAVE THIS WORLD-CLASS FACILITY NEARBY,” —Clayton Harris Instructors can alter the video scenario based on the trainee’s reaction.
Prior to the village’s construction, finding a suitable training location could often be luck-of-the-draw for local agencies.
“If they’re asking the right questions, staying aware of their surroundings and de-escalating the situation, they’ll have a suspect who likely complies,” Desmarteau said. “If they’re hesitant, don’t notice things or aren’t keeping control of the situation, we can alter the scenario so the suspect becomes noncompliant or even violent.”
“Usually, you’d have to find a vacant house or some other location, negotiate its use with the owner … it can just be pure chance that you find a location to use that you can afford,” Desmarteau said. “Now, we have everything we need right here in town.”
LONG-TERM BENEFITS Simulated Scenario Village brings nearly every aspect of first responder training into one complex, not only providing Tri-C cadets with the best possible education, but saving area law enforcement agencies money in their training budgets as well. In addition to Parma Police, Cleveland Fire, Cleveland Police and Cleveland State University Police have used the village for training thus far. The Cleveland Police Academy used the village for several days of training in early February. About 70 cadets participated.
“So much credit goes to Chief Harris for having the vision to create this, and to everyone who was involved in designing and building it,” Tavano added. “Even now, we’re only scratching the surface of what this village can become.” Harris said the investment Tri-C made in the village’s construction aims to achieve one goal: To staff local communities with well-prepared first responders. “It means a great deal to our students, and to external agencies, to have this world-class facility nearby,” Harris said. “Tri-C has always had the best instructors in public safety. Now we have the best facility to go along with it. It’s a combination that is going to make us even more sought-after as a training destination.” SPRING 2020
TRI-C STUDENT PROFILE
ADAM SMITH WANTED TO REDIRECT HIS DESIRE TO SERVE FOLLOWING A COMBAT INJURY. HE FOUND NEW FOCUS AT TRI-C. Standing atop a mountain outcrop in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, the unmistakable hiss of danger stabbed at U.S. Army Sgt. Adam Smith’s senses. He barely had time to move before the incoming warhead arrived. The concussive blast from the explosion launched Smith into the rocks below. He shredded both elbows and busted multiple body parts while slamming back to the ground. That day in 2014 ended his military career. It also made him realize what it means to need help.
ANSWERING A NEW “I’ve been at a very low point,” the 34-year-old said. “So when I see other people suffering, when I see someone struggling or feeling hopeless, it hurts me. I want to make things better for them. I want to make things right.” Achieving that goal brought Smith to Cuyahoga Community College and Tri-C’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center, where there’s a focus on civic engagement and leadership. He’s driven by the same ideal — a desire to serve — that prompted him to enlist in the Army after graduating from Ashtabula County’s Grand Valley High School. Smith became a paratrooper in the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division during his decade in uniform. He deployed to Afghanistan twice and spent a combined 31 months in the combat zone before being wounded. After returning home to recover from multiple surgeries, Smith looked around Northeast Ohio and saw a new way to direct his energy. He began by volunteering with Safe Passages, an initiative designed to connect opiate addicts with treatment. The program is run in partnership with local police departments. Smith said he has shepherded 38 people to treatment. STORY BY
John Horton Tamara London
TRI-C STUDENT PROFILE
“That really got me into my ‘I-have-to-dosomething’ mentality,” Smith said. He rode that momentum into Tri-C. Smith enrolled last year after visiting the Veterans Education Access Program office at Metropolitan Campus, where he found an energy level that matched his own. The connection to the Mandel Humanities Center at Eastern Campus soon followed.
CALL OF DUTY
Along the way, he co-founded a “veterans think tank” called Complex Questions at Metro Campus to discuss community issues and — more importantly — develop action plans to create solutions. “The idea of serving isn’t something that disappears once you leave the military,” Smith said. “This is a way for us, now as citizens, to continue making a difference.” Smith is working toward an Associate of Arts degree at the College with a focus on history. This spring, he’ll begin an internship at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Cleveland Public Square. (His work as a Mandel Scholar connected him to the post.) The internship fits with Smith’s ambition to someday work as a historian at a museum. Smith expects to graduate from Tri-C in 2021. He hopes to continue his education at Case Western Reserve University through the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative, a partnership between the institutions. Along the way, he plans to continue finding ways to lift his community. One idea involves planting orchards on vacant lots around his Garfield Heights neighborhood. “Problems represent opportunities,” Smith said. “It’s just a matter of taking action and realizing that small steps can lead to big changes. Why do I feel like I have to do it? Well, someone has to … and it might as well be me.” SPRING 2020
TRI-C ALUMNI PROFILE STORY BY
Erik Cassano Cody York
ISLAND TRI-C CULINARY GRADUATE OMAR MCKAY IS LIVING HIS DREAM WITH IRIE JAMAICAN KITCHEN, BRINGING THE FOOD OF HIS NATIVE COUNTRY TO CLEVELAND 16
TRI-C ALUMNI PROFILE
FOOD HAS BEEN AT THE CENTER OF OMAR MCKAY’S LIFE FOR AS LONG AS HE CAN REMEMBER. “My father is a chef who now works in London, and even at home as a kid, I remember watching my mom cooking in the kitchen,” McKay said. “That is how I developed my passion for food and cooking. It got into my blood.”
When he moved from Jamaica to the United States at age 13, he brought those memories with him. They carried him through his education at Warrensville Heights High School and soon thereafter into the beginning of a culinary career, working at various Cleveland-area restaurants. “I worked everywhere — fast food, fine dining, country clubs,” he said. “I did it all. There was a lot of on-the-job learning.” But McKay always dreamed of owning his own restaurant. And it’s that dream that led him to enroll at Cuyahoga Community College in 2007 to pursue a professional culinarian certificate. When he graduated in 2011, he was finally on the verge of realizing that dream: Irie Jamaican Kitchen.
“I WORKED EVERYWHERE — FAST FOOD, FINE DINING, COUNTRY CLUBS. I DID IT ALL. THERE WAS A LOT OF ON-THE-JOB LEARNING.” —Omar McKay, owner, Irie Jamaican Kitchen
TRI-C ALUMNI PROFILE
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS McKay, 41, was a seasoned restaurant veteran with a wealth of kitchen experience when he entered Tri-C’s culinary program. But he didn’t yet know how to visualize a restaurant concept and develop a plan to make it a reality. “At Tri-C, I learned a lot — not just how to be a better chef, but how to be better at the business end of things,” McKay said. “With what I learned there, I started to really be able to see the possibilities of opening a Jamaican restaurant.” The local food scene is full of fast-casual, counter-service restaurant concepts covering a wide range of cuisines — Mexican, Italian, Asian and Middle Eastern, to name a few. But there were no fast-casual Jamaican restaurants in the area. McKay saw the gap and came up with a plan to fill it. In 2013, he opened his first restaurant at Richmond Town Square in Richmond Heights. But in spite of his initial success, there were still some hurdles to clear.
McKay quickly encountered a fundamental problem in bringing Jamaican food to American palates: With few exceptions, Americans don’t like bones in their food. “I was still making bone-in chicken, which is traditionally how it’s prepared in Jamaica,” he said. “But people didn’t really like that. They weren’t used to it.” It was a lesson McKay took with him when he moved his restaurant to its current location at 621 E. 185th St. in Euclid in early 2016. He began cutting the meat for his stew chicken and jerk chicken dishes into bite-sized pieces, similar to how it’s served at other counter-service restaurants. He also changed the name of his restaurant. Until then, it was called “Irie Patties,” named for the Jamaican beef patty, a staple of the country’s cuisine. “People thought it was a burger place,” he said. “So I started thinking back to childhood and the joy of being in the kitchen, and I came up with Irie Jamaican Kitchen.”
TRI-C ALUMNI PROFILE EXPANSION PLAN With a new name and menu modifications, McKay began to see his dream bear fruit. Irie quickly became a neighborhood favorite at its Euclid location, serving other Jamaican dishes including curry and jerk variations of beef and shrimp, oxtail, vegetarian entrees and sides including rice and peas, cabbage and fried plantains. A full menu is available at iriejakitchen.com. The restaurant was such a hit, McKay began thinking about expansion. He was established on the east side of the city, so the next logical step was to expand to the west side. This past December, McKay opened his second Irie Jamaican Kitchen location at 4162 Pearl Road in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood. “A lot of my customers were coming from the west side, so it made sense to open a restaurant closer to them,” he said. “And it just expands the brand further, opening it up to more people, which was always the goal.” McKay hopes to continue adding Irie locations in different parts of the city. He credits much of his newfound enterprising spirit to what he learned at Tri-C. “You need more than just good recipes to make it in the restaurant business,” he said. “You need a plan, and you need to be able to manage a lot of different responsibilities. You need to understand how to oversee a staff and provide a great customer experience. Those are all things I learned at Tri-C. The instructors there take you through every aspect of the food service business.” His time at Tri-C also taught him that a dream can become reality with enough hard work. It’s a lesson he wants to pass on to future restauranteurs. “If there is something you want to do in life, go out and educate yourself,” he said. “Find teachers and mentors along the way, and prepare yourself to work hard. If you do that, you can reach your goals.”
IRIE: AN ADJECTIVE USED IN JAMAICAN ENGLISH MEANING “NICE,” “GOOD” OR “PLEASING.” A GENERAL TERM OF APPROVAL.
Erik Cassano Cody York
AN OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
WESTSHORE CAMPUS STUDENTS AND FACULTY SEEK TO REINTRODUCE AND PRESERVE NATIVE HABITATS AFTER CONSTRUCTION When traveling to Cuyahoga Community College’s Westshore Campus in Westlake, one thing stands out immediately: There are a lot of trees. Both driveways into Tri-C’s newest campus weave through thick woods that partially obscure the buildings from Clemens Road. The setting reflects the time in which the campus was built. It’s a product of an era of conservation, when maintaining surrounding natural habitats was of increasing importance to the College and the surrounding community. One goal and requirement for the original construction a decade ago was to maintain native natural habitats as they would have existed on the site hundreds of years ago, before the area was settled, farmed and urbanized. Some of the tree growth is original, while other portions consist of reclaimed forestation. The property was a vineyard prior to campus construction, and parts of the land still indicate where rows of grapes once stood. Since purchasing the land, the College has successfully merged reclaimed land with native forestation to create an educational environment unique among Tri-C’s campuses. It’s why members of the Westshore Campus community seek to further the preservation of these natural habitats and native species and utilize them for education on campus.
“WE HAD ALL OF THIS NATURAL SPACE, AND WE WANTED TO USE IT INSTEAD OF JUST TEACHING BIOLOGY INDOORS, IN LABS AND CLASSROOMS. THAT’S WHERE THIS ALL KIND OF STARTED.” —Erica Stevenson, associate professor, biology
OUTDOOR CLASSROOM In spring 2019, as construction of the Westshore expansion neared its final stages, members of the biology faculty began thinking about what the campus would look like post-construction.
The biology faculty and club members worked to secure $1,500 in funding through the office of Robert Searson, dean of learning and engagement at Westshore Campus. The first phase of the outdoor classroom — completed last summer — threaded a walking path through the wooded areas.
“We had all of this natural space, and we wanted to use it instead of just teaching biology indoors, in labs and classrooms,” said Tri-C biology professor Erica Stevenson. “That’s where this all kind of started.”
The new path brought opportunity to reintroduce indigenous plants to the grounds. A visit to a native plants sale at Cleveland Metroparks led to species such as Christmas and ostrich ferns, hairy alumroot, swamp milkweed and Canada waterleaf returning to the site.
Stevenson and colleague Elizabeth Vaidya began to work on a plan to create an outdoor classroom, with walking trails and a wide range of native plant and animal species available for observation.
The reintroduced plant life should, in turn, attract a wide range of animal life to the area. Distler said her club will be able to do more work this spring and summer, with the benefit of a full planting season.
At the same time, the campus’ Environmental Club was developing a similar vision.
“We started kind of late this year,” she said. “We’ll be able to start planting on time next year.”
“We started thinking about some of the other features an outdoor classroom can have,” said Anne Distler, faculty advisor for the club. “Things like bat boxes to address the mosquito problems in the summer, a reptile and amphibian habitat, a butterfly habitat.”
But current chemistry and biology students will still get to experience the classroom in its formative stages. Along with reintroduced plants by the walking trails, the outdoor classroom includes a pond that allows for the study of aquatic life — plants, amphibians, fish and microorganisms. “We’ll be able to go out to the pond for classes, take samples of pond water and examine them,” Stevenson said.
NOT JUST FOR SCIENCE CLASSES In the longer term, Stevenson would like to see the outdoor classroom used for more than science work. Nature has applications in all areas of study, and she’d like many different classes at Westshore Campus to utilize the outdoor classroom in some form.
“We’ve had great support from [Campus President Terri Pope] and our campus leadership to do this project, and I think they really believe in this as something the whole community can use and enjoy as well,” Stevenson said. “We’re looking forward to watching all of this come to fruition,” Distler added.
“It could be, for example, an English class using the outdoors as inspiration for writing,” Stevenson said. “A business class could draw ideas for new products from nature and figure out ways to market them. There are tons of applications for the space. It’s a big asset for our campus.” Stevenson and Distler would also like to see it become an asset for the community.
“WE’LL BE ABLE TO GO OUT TO THE POND FOR CLASSES, TAKE SAMPLES OF POND WATER AND EXAMINE THEM.” —Erica Stevenson
This story is one in a series highlighting the people and initiatives supporting sustainability practices at Tri-C campuses. This series shows how Tri-C strives to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to it, both now and for future generations. Visit www.tri-c.edu/sustainability to read more.
A RUNNING SUCCESS NINETEEN NJCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 2000 DEFINE THE DOMINANCE OF TRI-C’S INDOOR TRACK PROGRAM In with the new and out with the old: That’s the trophy case plan of action nearly every spring for Don Cox, women’s track head coach at Cuyahoga Community College. The Triceratops left the NJCAA Region XII Indoor Track Championships in February with yet another title. It marked the fifth straight year Tri-C toted home the large wooden plaque given to the victors — and the 19th time since 2000. The Triceratops ran, jumped and threw their way to first-place finishes in 12 events at this year’s regional meet. The overall performance was slightly more dominant than in 2019, when Tri-C won 11 events at the indoor championship. The year-by-year feats come from a roster stocked almost entirely with local track talent. Cox recruits from Lorain to Ashtabula, making a point to watch every high school compete at least once every track and cross country season.
He said his goal is to find “the diamonds” left behind by four-year colleges. The track program also puts an emphasis on bringing in strong students. Tri-C routinely ranks among the top teams in the nation for grade point average. “It’s not just a matter of getting the best runners,” Cox said. “I want the best kids. If you fill your team with that type of student, special things happen.” The team’s indoor success typically carries over to the outdoor season, where Tri-C has won all but one regional title since 2000. The Triceratops are also reigning regional champions in cross country. Which brings us back to the problem Cox routinely faces. “I’d love to have every plaque on display,” he said, “but there’s only so much room.” STORY BY
John Horton Cody York
TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE
A LINDA LANIER
TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE STORY BY
Beth Cieslik Victoria Stanbridge
COUNSELOR LINDA LANIER HELPS TRI-C STUDENTS CULTIVATE SUCCESS IN COLLEGE AND IN LIFE
Linda Lanier loves people. It’s evident in her welcoming smile; in the way she talks about students she has counseled, even years later. Students whose names she never forgets, whose faces appear in graduation photos tacked proudly to her office wall. Her seemingly effortless ability to connect with others is what led Lanier, a former bank teller, to become a licensed social worker and counselor. What many don’t realize is that, like many of her students, she needed help uncovering her true potential.
A WAKE-UP CALL Lanier enrolled at the University of Akron after graduating from East Cleveland’s Shaw High School. The newfound freedom was invigorating — unfortunately, it also allowed studying to take a backseat to socializing.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Lanier switched her major from nursing to social work and joined a sorority. There, she met someone who would change her outlook on school and on life in general: her best friend, Kathie Slaughter.
“I didn’t go to class because I was too busy watching people,” she admits.
As quiet and studious as Lanier was fun-loving and boisterous, Slaughter’s sense of responsibility and knack for organization started to rub off once the two became roommates.
Lanier failed all but one of her courses, and the university prohibited her from re-enrolling. Spurred into action, the former honor student fought with all her might to get back in — a fight she eventually won.
“Skipping class was no longer an option,” Lanier said. I’d ask her to go to a party with me, and she’d say, ‘Sure, if you go to the library with me.’ Being around her helped me concentrate and apply myself.”
TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS Lanier shares this experience with many of the students who come to her office at the Metropolitan Campus Counseling Center. “Your circle makes a difference,” she tells them. “If your friends don’t care about school, you won’t either.” Students who get in with the right crowd have a much higher chance of success — a scenario Lanier has seen play out repeatedly. Zeke’s story is one of the most inspiring. A younger student from inner city Cleveland, he needed structure and discipline to thrive in college. After helping him ease into the routine during his first semester, Lanier proposed a more challenging schedule for his second.
“I told him, ‘I need you to do this because if you have too much time, you’re gonna go back to the streets,’ ” she said. Zeke encountered Dave, a suburban dad in his 50s, in the campus library. Recently laid off, Dave was nervous about providing for his family and unsure of his decision to go back to school. The two men may have seemed an odd pair, but they struck up a friendship that led to study sessions and mutual encouragement. Dave soon re-entered the workforce. Zeke, who had once celebrated C grades, became an A student. “That, to me, is Tri-C,” Lanier said. “There’s such a rising-up here.”
“YOUR CIRCLE MAKES A DIFFERENCE. IF YOUR FRIENDS DON’T CARE ABOUT SCHOOL, YOU WON’T EITHER.” —Linda Lanier, assistant professor, counseling
TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
One group of students she is especially passionate about supporting in their rise to success is African American women and girls. To that end, Lanier spearheaded the Black Diamonds Initiative. It guides women of color toward well-paying careers that match their personal interests and strengths.
Throughout her life and career, Lanier has learned that simply taking the time to be kind and to connect with another person can make all the difference.
Too often, Lanier meets women who believe their only career choices are teaching or nursing. Through Black Diamonds, she aims to spread awareness of career options beyond these stereotypically feminine roles. Now in its third year, the initiative comprises an annual twoday conference, a mini-conference and a variety of events focused on career development, educational opportunities, health and wellness, and financial empowerment.
Richard Neal, a staff member at the University of Akron, paid one third of Lanier’s tuition out of his own pocket so that she could return to school. To this day, she remembers the exact amount: $289. Though she eventually repaid him, she still considers herself in his debt and has worked to pay that kindness forward ever since. Without Neal, Lanier may never have realized her potential. And without Lanier, many Tri-C students might never realize theirs. “He planted a seed in me,” she said, “and it’s still growing.”
“We have to expand what women see — what they know to be possible.”
2019 BLACK DIAMONDS WOMEN’S CONFERENCE BY THE NUMBERS
800+ Participants 70 Sessions 48 Speakers 23 Resource Fair Vendors
View the video recap at bit.ly/2SObat8.
BLACK DIAMONDS UPCOMING EVENTS Lanier is currently working with a small group of colleagues to start 2Gen, an educational support program for mothers and daughters, at the College. “Tri-C is perfect for 2Gen, because girls can take CCP [College Credit Plus] courses on campus while their moms get their GED or complete a certificate program,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing on my heart to do — to bring in the mothers and daughters.”
Second Annual Executive Suite Mini-Conference June 13, 2020 Fourth Annual Black Diamonds Women’s Conference Oct. 16-17, 2020 Visit tri-c.edu/blackdiamonds for more information.
“I THINK THE BIG THING IS DESTIGMATIZING THE IDEA OF POVERTY.” —Courtney Clarke, associate dean of social sciences 28
MANY COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS MUST OVERCOME HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS. TRI-C’S INSTITUTE FOR POVERTY AND URBAN EDUCATION GIVES THEM THE TOOLS TO ESCAPE FINANCIAL INSTABILITY AND FIND ACADEMIC SUCCESS.
Rajah McQueen-Smiley spends each Friday at a desk in the Student Life office on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus. During any given shift, she sees a handful of students come in to use the food bank. The boxes, cans and jars tucked in backpacks help the students quell hunger and better focus on their classes. Students continually empty the shelves. Last year, more than 4,000 nonperishable food items flowed out of the campus pantry. “This is definitely a necessary service,” said McQueen-Smiley, a senator-at-large in student government. “They need the items that we have.”
“I think many at the College felt a call to action,” Krevans said. The institute has three focus areas: researching and tracking long-term outcomes of Tri-C graduates; establishing resource centers on Tri-C campuses; and helping students understand social capital, the unspoken rules of culture that help or hinder success. The last area is particularly critical. Many students in poverty don’t understand how to network or how to conduct themselves in a job interview — essential skills for career building, Clarke said.
This is not news to representatives of Tri-C’s Institute for Poverty and Urban Education. For many students, where to find their next meal is a worry. So are housing, transportation and other basic life needs. The institute formed four years ago to find short- and longterm solutions for Tri-C students struggling to get by. Its ultimate goal is to help lift those students out of poverty, providing the boost to help them reach the middle class by middle age. “We’re aware that we have students who are in poverty,” said Courtney Clarke, associate dean of social sciences at Western Campus and associate director of the institute.
The institute’s initial research found that 90% of Tri-C students had no LinkedIn account. Even more — 95% — had never applied for a summer internship.
And if they’re here within our walls, we have the obligation to help them.”
Through hands-on workshops, the institute hopes to change those current realities. There’s also hope of establishing campus support centers that provide everything from food to legal services to financial assistance.
The effort began with conversations, both casual and intellectual, about the relationship between education and intergenerational poverty, said Julia Krevans, associate professor of psychology and director of the institute.
“I think the big thing is destigmatizing the idea of poverty,” Clarke said. “A lot of students have that in their lives. We can help them, and we should help them.”
Issues raised during the 2016 election cycle — including growing income inequality, the loss of real wages by those already struggling and the negative social consequences of economic decline — accelerated the creation of the institute. SPRING 2020
ONE LAST THING
SHERI OLIVER SEES MUCH OF HER JOB IN BLACK AND WHITE. The digital imaging coordinator at the Tri-C College Archive helps preserve the history of the institution though the preservation of photographs. Thousands of images catalogued by Oliver — including those on this page — offer a mesmerizing account of campus life over the years. “Every picture is a moment frozen in time,” Oliver said. “When I look at these, I see the story of Tri-C.” Much of the collection can be found online at collegearchive.tri-c.edu, where visitors can scroll through snapshots in time or peruse old yearbooks, commencement programs, course catalogs and other ephemera. Visitors are also welcome to visit the archive, located on the fourth floor of the Student Services building at Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland. 30
Culinary • Film • Game Design • Music • Performing Arts • Recreation • STEM Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) Summer Camps are designed for children ages 4-18. Camps run June 7-July 31 and range in cost from free to $575. Whether your child is a young performer or a budding engineer, Tri-C Summer Camps will help them discover their passions and talents.
For more information, or to register, visit www.tri-c.edu/summercamps
700 Carnegie Ave. Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Where futures begin. SM
Learn what you need | Earn what you deserve | Save more than you think
www.tri-c.edu/startnow â€˘ 216-987-6000 Eastern Campus, Highland Hills | Metropolitan Campus, Downtown Cleveland Western Campus, Parma | Westshore Campus, Westlake 19-1326
19-1326 ICD Tri-C Times Fall 2019 7.875x10.875 Enrollment Ad.indd 1
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