Tri-C Times Magazine Summer 2019

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ACCESS CENTERS TRI-C JAZZFEST IN THE CLE TURNS 40 A PUBLICATION OF CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

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Workforce training to fill in-demand jobs

Tri-C’s Transportation Innovation Center offers training covering the complete logistics cycle.

Programs • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL-A) • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL-B) — Accelerated Training • Forklift Operator/Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) — Basic and Advanced • Certified Logistics Associate/ Certified Logistics Technician

Program Highlights • Training provided in work-like conditions • Hands-on experience using industry standard equipment • Small class sizes • Complete a program in just weeks • Job placement for immediate openings

Facility Highlights • • • • • •

Interactive classrooms Driving simulator Tractor-trailers Driving pad Warehouse State CDL testing site

Location 24881 Rockwell Drive Euclid, Ohio 44117 Information 216-987-3226

www.tri-c.edu/transportation

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PRESIDENT’S Message TO OUR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) is where futures begin — and this is never more apparent than at commencement. On May 16, Tri-C celebrated the academic achievements of nearly 2,900 petitioning graduates. The total number of degrees and certificates awarded this spring reflects the College’s commitment to student success and building a stronger community through education. Commencement is an inspiring time at Tri-C because it reminds us of the power of education and proves that the work we do every day impacts real people in incredible ways. The graduates featured in this issue of Tri-C Times have risen above circumstances out of their control — physical, financial, political or otherwise — to attain their academic goals. Their success is a testament to the value of hard work, dedication and purposeful engagement. Tri-C grads take what they learn here and use it to serve the community in countless ways. From saving lives as a firefighter or nurse to helping run a family business or starting their own, their stories will inspire and invigorate you. The College recently joined the #EndCCStigma campaign, which seeks to dispel myths surrounding the value and quality of community college education. Started at Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio, the social media campaign has spread quickly across the country.

MANY PEOPLE KNOW THAT TRI-C, DESPITE OFFERING THE LOWEST TUITION IN THE STATE, PROVIDES EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCES ON PAR WITH THOSE AT A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY. OUR PARTICIPATION IN #ENDCCSTIGMA ALLOWS US TO SPREAD THAT MESSAGE THROUGH NORTHEAST OHIO AND BEYOND. One of our best-known cultural experiences, Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, celebrated 40 years of jazz performance and education in June. This year’s festival honored Cleveland’s own jazz history, with tributes to Bobby Womack and Tadd Dameron featured on the roster of performances by a sensational assortment of local and national acts. Cuyahoga Community College is a dynamic institution that prepares individuals to make their mark on the world. Our students work hard to learn, grow and achieve, and they deserve our best efforts to support and encourage their success. Their futures are bright, and they started here at Tri-C. Sincerely,

Alex Johnson, Ph.D. President

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IN THIS ISSUE:

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EDITOR

John Horton MANAGING EDITOR

Mary Gygli COPY EDITOR

Beth Cieslik WRITERS

Erik Cassano Beth Cieslik John Horton Katie Utrata Jarrod Zickefoose

TABLE of CONTENTS President’s Message.................................3 Upfront........................................................5 Tri-C Commencement................................6 Graduate Spotlight: Brendaliz Vargas........8 Graduate Spotlight: Brett Todd.................10 Graduate Spotlight: Adolphe Musanga... 12 Graduate Spotlight: McDaniel Siblings....14 Faculty Profile: James Badal....................16

PHOTOGRAPHERS

#EndCCStigma Campaign.......................21

Mychal Lilly Tamara London Jason Miller McKinley Wiley Cody York

Tri-C Access Centers.................................22

DESIGN

#MyTriCStory............................................30

Bill Reid

Alumni Profile: Lauren Phillips.................24

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Alumni Notes............................................27 Tri-C JazzFest............................................28 MeetMe@Tri-C..........................................30

FOLLOW TRI-C Tri-C Times is published by the Cuyahoga Community College 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 editorial@tri-c.edu.

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Upfront NATIONAL-LEVEL LEADERSHIP The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has turned to Tri-C President Alex Johnson for leadership, selecting him as chair of its board of directors for the 2019-2020 term. The organization advocates for nearly 1,200 two-year institutions that collectively educate more than 12 million students — nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates. The board acts as a guiding force for member colleges, working to create and maintain a vision for AACC that sparks continued student achievement. Johnson’s term began July 1.

GROWING CAREER PROSPECTS The top landscape and horticulture student in the country attended Cuyahoga Community College. Frank Vareska won the 2019 National Collegiate Landscape Competition, finishing with the leading score among nearly 800 competitors at the annual event. His performance led Tri-C’s team to a third-place overall finish at the event, which attracted more than 60 of the nation’s top programs from two- and four-year schools. Tri-C placed first among community colleges. Vareska graduated in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

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Brooke

A PERFECT PAIR Perfection became the norm for Tri-C softball pitchers in 2019. Lyndsey Baglia tossed the first perfect game in the team’s history on April 5 in a 12-0 win against Edison State Community College. Less than three weeks later, teammate Brooke Crider matched her with a no-hit, no-walk performance from the mound in a victory against Kent State University at Tuscarawas. Those arms helped lead the Triceratops to the 2019 NJCAA Division II National Championship tournament to end the season.

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TRI-C STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES

2019

CLASS OF

READY FOR

THE WORLD What does the future look like?

STORY BY Erik Cassano PHOTOS BY Jason Miller AND Cody York

For those who filed in to the Cuyahoga Community College 2019 Spring Commencement on May 16, it looked like a sea of smiling faces in teal caps and gowns. A few years ago, these 2,900 graduates were just beginning their college journey. Some came to Tri-C straight out of high school. Some enrolled while still in high school. Some arrived while transitioning to civilian life after a military career. Some were looking to change careers. All had a story to tell.

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TRI-C STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES

In the following pages, you’ll read some of those stories: The high school student and aspiring neonatal nurse who earned an associate degree through Tri-C’s High Tech Academy. The longtime construction worker who sought a way to stay in the industry after a major injury. The emigrant from Congo who became a published author. The siblings who plan to use their College Credit Plus degrees to help run their family’s business. The graduates featured in this issue, and thousands more like them, are ready for the world. They are a testament to the ways in which hard work — and support from an institution like Tri-C — can change a life and improve the outlook for an entire community.

Visit tri-c.edu/commencement for videos and stories featuring the Class of 2019, or to watch the full graduation ceremony. 5 pages 8-1

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT STORY BY Katie Utrata PHOTO BY Tamara London

FINDING HER FUTURE AT TRI-C HIGH TECH ACADEMY ALLOWED BRENDALIZ VARGAS TO EARN A COLLEGE DEGREE BEFORE GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL Brendaliz Vargas looked at her finances and did not see college in her future. Despite a flawless 4.0 GPA her freshman year at Cleveland’s John Marshall High School, the teen wondered how she could take the next step and become the first college graduate in her family. She found her answer at Cuyahoga Community College. Vargas began taking classes at Tri-C her sophomore year through High Tech Academy. In May, she crossed the stage at the College’s Spring Commencement and received an Associate of Arts degree. “Tri-C helped me find my identity, and it changed my mindset,” she said. I learned to think to the future.” A high school counselor pointed Vargas toward High Tech Academy, a collaboration between Tri-C and Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The free program prepares students for technical careers while allowing them to earn college credit in high school. At first, Vargas found it difficult to balance her college courses with high school studies and activities plus a part-time job. Her days often started at 6 a.m. and extended late night with homework. “I never gave up because I had self-motivation, God and the understanding that good things were waiting at the other side of the struggle,” Vargas said. Vargas was one of 12 High Tech Academy students who earned a Tri-C degree before their high school graduation. That group joined dozens of other high school students who received Tri-C degrees through dual enrollment programs such as College Credit Plus. Vargas will return to the College in the fall to begin working toward a nursing degree and a career in Northeast Ohio’s world-renowned health care industry. The ASPIRE Nurse Scholars program provided her the opportunity to continue her education. In August 2018, she shared her story from the podium at Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Leadership Summit. Vargas talked about how Tri-C’s programs helped her put dreams within reach. Her goal is to become a nurse specializing in postpartum care in a neonatal unit.

“I WANT TO LEAVE A FOOTPRINT IN THE WORLD. TRI-C HELPED ME TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE.”

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT STORY BY Jarrod Zickefoose PHOTO BY Tamara London

BUILDING

A NEW CAREER

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT

BRETT TODD EARNS DEGREE IN CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING FOLLOWING WORKPLACE INJURY Brett Todd was on a job site cutting concrete when his life changed. He made a wrong move and tore pieces of cartilage in both of his shoulders. Todd, 35, had plied the construction trade for 10 years. He had dropped out of high school and found a niche cutting concrete. He had worked on First Energy Stadium and the Innerbelt. He said he loved “making a difference” in the city he grew up in. But then, in an instant, he was rendered incapable of working. He knew years of recovery awaited. What he did not know was how he would earn a living after three surgeries and rounds of physical therapy. That’s when someone at the Bureau of Workers Compensation recommended Cuyahoga Community College and its Construction Engineering Technology program. The program offered Todd a way to stay in the industry despite his injuries. He graduated from Tri-C in May with an Associate of Science degree and entered a growing field. Federal employment forecasts show an above-average increase in construction engineering and manager jobs in the coming years. “I am excited about my future,” he said. Todd enrolled at the College in 2017 and took most of his classes at Western Campus, where he had once done construction work. He lives in Parma with his wife and two daughters, just a few miles from campus.

“JUST BEING AT SCHOOL, I HAVE LEARNED QUITE A BIT ABOUT MYSELF. WHEN I DIDN’T THINK I COULD DIG ANY DEEPER, I FOUND A LITTLE BIT MORE AND A LITTLE BIT MORE.” Particularly when it came to math courses. Working in engineering means being proficient in math — never a strength of Todd’s during his high school years. He overcame that at Tri-C by using tutoring labs at Western Campus and seeking help from his professors during their office hours. He said he learned that if he set goals, he was capable of reaching them and succeeding in an academic atmosphere. Sheer determination helped, too. “Math is very, very challenging for me,” Todd said. “I credit a lot of my success to the staff here at Tri-C. They were supportive and encouraging. If I was willing to get help, they were willing to help me.”

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT STORY BY Erik Cassano PHOTO BY Tamara London

AN AMERICAN DREAM

SEEKING A BETTER LIFE, ADOLPHE MUSANGA’S JOURNEY TOOK HIM THOUSANDS OF MILES TO THE U.S. — AND TO TRI-C Adolphe Musanga knew he couldn’t stay in Congo. “By the time I got to high school, I realized there was a lot of nepotism and corruption,” Musanga said. “If you wanted to get a good job, move up in life, you had to know somebody. That’s not a position my family was in, so I knew I couldn’t stay.” That was in 2015. Four years later, Musanga graduated from Cuyahoga Community College with an Associate of Arts degree and is eyeing a career in business. He also recently became a published author. But the road from his African homeland to Tri-C wasn’t direct. His initial search for colleges landed him in San Diego, where he found sunshine and high tuition. Musanga knew he needed a less-expensive option. After two months in California, he moved to Cleveland and stayed with an aunt. That’s when Musanga enrolled at Tri-C. But it was still — literally — a long road to a degree. His aunt lived in Brook Park; the classes he needed to take were about 15 miles away at Corporate College® West in Westlake. And he had no car. “I had to ride a bus downtown, connect, and then take other buses out to Westlake,” Musanga said. “I spent three or four hours on a bus each day. On top of that, it was winter. I wasn’t used to cold weather, and I still didn’t know English all that well. It was tough in the early going.” But Musanga didn’t back down from the challenge. He worked tirelessly at improving his English, watching instructional videos and taking every opportunity he could to converse with faculty, staff and classmates. He was just as dedicated to his studies, becoming a member of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Scholars Academy and, this spring, earning a place on the All-Ohio Community College Academic Team. “I became involved in as many things as I could fit into my schedule,” he said. “I never let myself forget that graduation, and a better life, was my goal — even as I went through the pain of all that change.”

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Eventually, Musanga was able to stop taking the bus. He bought a car and began supporting himself by driving for Uber and Lyft. As he drove passengers around Cleveland, he shared his story. “Hearing the response from my passengers inspired me to write a book about my journey,” he said. “I want people to learn from it. I want to remind everyone how much of the world doesn’t have what we take for granted here. “I came from a place where many people have no electricity and have to walk miles to get clean water. Here, your basic needs are met, and you know if you work hard, it’s possible to have goals and reach for them.” His book, From Congo to Cleveland, was published on Amazon in late spring. Musanga will move on to Cleveland State University this fall to major in business and entrepreneurship. He hopes to use money from his book sales to start an import business. But none of it would have been possible if not for the impact Tri-C made on his life. “The people at Tri-C cared about me not just as a student, but as a human being,” Musanga said. “When I needed something to lean on, Tri-C was there. No matter if it was during or after class, I always had that support. “I can say, without embellishing, that Tri-C is making my dreams possible.”


TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT

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TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT STORY BY Erik Cassano PHOTO BY Tamara London

SUCCESS

RUNS IN THE FAMILY

THE MCDANIEL SIBLINGS HAVE A FEW THINGS IN COMMON: THEY’RE ASPIRING BUSINESSPEOPLE, ACADEMIC ACHIEVERS AND PRODUCTS OF TRI-C’S COLLEGE CREDIT PLUS PROGRAM When Xavier McDaniel entered the College Credit Plus program at Cuyahoga Community College, he had no idea he was blazing a trail for his entire family. He was 12 years old when his mother, Tiffany, enrolled him in the program. College Credit Plus allows students in grades 7-12 to take college courses, earning college credits — and, in some cases, certificates and degrees — prior to high school graduation. “Xavier was our trial, so to speak,” Tiffany said. “We told him he could enroll in College Credit Plus, but we warned him it would be hard work. You’ll learn a lot, but you’ll work for it.” Seven years later, the 19-year-old aspiring website and mobile app developer holds five Tri-C certificates and a pair of associate degrees. He received his second degree, in business solutions, in May.

“TRI-C HAS BEEN A BIG HELP. IT’S THE ONLY PLACE IN THE AREA THAT GIVES YOU THIS MANY OPTIONS TO TRAIN FOR DIFFERENT CAREER PATHS AND TAKE MOST OF YOUR CLASSES ONLINE, WHICH I HAD BEEN DOING FOR MY HIGH SCHOOL WORK.” Xavier, like all of his siblings, was home-schooled. His sisters De’Ja and Kayla have also enrolled in College Credit Plus. De’Ja earned a 3D design certificate in 2017 and an animation certificate this year. Kayla earned her first certificate — also in 3D design — this summer. “I’m working toward earning an Associate of Applied Business degree as well, hopefully next summer,” said De’Ja, 18, who graduated from high school in June.

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“When I entered CCP in ninth grade, I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college. But the people at Tri-C showed me that you can make your own path in college, and that flexibility really helps.” De’Ja and her siblings help run the family’s business, KrafTee Kidz, which produces arts and crafts, T-shirts, mugs and other merchandise to sell at events throughout the area. Following graduation, she wants to use what she’s learned to continue growing the business. “We’re all using what we’ve learned at Tri-C,” De’Ja said. “Xavier is working on the website, and my sister and I are using our graphic design skills to create new things to sell.” Kayla, 16, who just completed her sophomore of high school, wants to pursue a career in cosmetology once she’s done with school but is keeping her options open by developing graphic design skills. “Going to Tri-C, I’ve gotten a lot of ideas for what I can do later in life,” she said. There are five siblings in the McDaniel family. The two youngest — Jazzlynn, 12, and Josiah, 9 — plan to follow their older brother and sisters in College Credit Plus. Jazzlynn has already been accepted and will start classes this fall.


TRI-C GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT

“CCP HAS BEEN GREAT FOR OUR WHOLE FAMILY. THEY’VE STARTED ACHIEVING THEIR ACADEMIC GOALS SOONER THAN THEY WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE, AND BEING TRI-C, IT’S AFFORDABLE AS WELL.” – TIFFANY MCDANIEL, mother of Tri-C grads Xavier, De’Ja and Kayla McDaniel.

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TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE

STORY BY Beth Cieslik PHOTOS BY Tamara London

VOICES SILENCED BY SOME OF CLEVELAND’S DARKEST MYSTERIES INSPIRE THE WRITINGS OF TRI-C PROFESSOR JAMES BADAL, WHO BRINGS A PASSION FOR FACT-FINDING AND SUSPENSEFUL NARRATIVE INTO HIS CLASSROOM 16

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TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE

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TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE

MANY PEOPLE KNOW AUTHOR JAMES JESSEN BADAL AS THE LEADING EXPERT ON CLEVELAND’S INFAMOUS TORSO MURDERS — A “SCHOLAR OF EVIL,” IF YOU WILL.

But to English and journalism students at Cuyahoga Community College’s Eastern Campus, he’s just Professor Badal. “I don’t think most of my students know that I publish,” he said. “If it comes up, I’ll mention it.” In the past two decades, Badal has published three books on the Torso Murders of the 1930s and one on the 1951 disappearance of 10-year-old Beverly Potts. A new book, focused on 1908’s Collinwood School Fire, is due out this year. Badal excels at taking a series of facts and shaping them into a compelling narrative. “Facts” is the key word here, as the sort of high-profile unsolved cases he deals in tend to inspire folklore and breed misconception that he, as a writer and researcher, feels a responsibility to disprove.

“PART OF MY JOB IS TO CLEAR AWAY THE DEBRIS. THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.” Badal considers crime an essential arm of historical research, as the very nature of crime — how it’s committed, why it’s 18

TRI-C TIMES

committed and how it’s investigated — all depends on time and place. Take the Torso Murders, for example. With the definition of “serial killer” still 40 years in the future, authorities — including public safety director Eliot Ness — found it exceedingly difficult to identify potential suspects. “In the 1930s, the theory was that murder victims were killed by people they already knew, for understandable reasons like greed or anger,” Badal said. “They couldn’t get their arms around the notion that there was somebody who was targeting people he didn’t know, for his own twisted reasons.” Badal’s interest in Cleveland crime began in eighth grade, when his American history teacher read an article about the Torso Murders aloud in class. The piece, which appeared in the November 1949 issue of Harper’s Magazine, stuck with him. “It was always in the back of my mind,” he said. “I remembered all of the names, all the places. I honestly don’t know why.” More than 40 years passed before Badal began research on In the Wake of the Butcher, his first book about the murders. Published by Kent State University Press in 2001,


TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE with a revised and expanded version released in 2014, he considers it his magnum opus. Students in Badal’s Mass Communications classes examine the Torso Murders, as well as the Beverly Potts case, from a historical perspective. He encourages them to consider how the media’s treatment of this sort of lurid subject matter has evolved through the years.

THE KINGSBURY RUN MURDERS

[AKA THE CLEVELAND TORSO MURDERS]

Aspiring journalists also receive valuable career advice from someone who has been where they are.

“I TELL THEM, ‘WRITE ANY WAY YOU CAN, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT FOR FREE.’ YOU’VE GOT TO GET INTO IT SOMEHOW.” Given his affinity for the macabre, it’s somewhat surprising to note that Badal began his own career writing about a completely different topic: classical music. He freelanced for many years, penning music criticism for local publications including Fanfare Magazine and contributing to underground newspapers Cleveland Edition and Cleveland after Dark. His first book, 1996’s Recording the Classics: Maestros, Music and Technology, came out of a series of interviews with major orchestra conductors. But Badal doesn’t regret making the switch to true crime.

Between 1935 and 1938, at least 12 people were murdered and dismembered in Cleveland. Operating mainly in the district known as “The Roaring Third,” the perpetrator left several disembodied heads and torsos in the area of Kingsbury Run on the city’s east side. Only two victims were ever officially identified, and the true killer was never charged. Death masks of four of the victims are on display at the Cleveland Police Museum. The murders remain among the most intriguing unsolved crimes in U.S. history.

“I’ve found my calling,” he said. “Every so often I’ll pick up one of the books and flip through it and think, ‘Wow, this is actually pretty good.’”

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BEVERLY POTTS

And he’s not the only one who thinks so. Badal has won several awards for his writing, including the Ohio Genealogical Society’s Henry Howe Award for Twilight of Innocence. In 2013, famed forensic psychologist and true

On the evening of Aug. 24, 1951, 10-year-old Beverly Potts left her home on Cleveland’s west side to attend a concert at nearby Halloran Park. She was reported missing at 11 p.m. that night. Police canvassed the neighborhood and investigated thousands of tips spurred by extensive media coverage. Nearly seven decades years later, the still-unsolved Potts case has become one of Cleveland’s most well-known missing persons cases. Several suspects emerged over the years, but no one has been definitively linked to the girl’s disappearance.

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TRI-C FACULTY PROFILE crime writer Katherine Ramsland praised Hell’s Wasteland in an article written for Psychology Today — a recognition that Badal considers “a major reward.” We may even see the Mad Butcher come to life on screen someday. Cleveland-based production company Zodiac Features has optioned all three of Badal’s Torso Murder books in hopes of turning them into a cable TV series.

THE COLLINWOOD SCHOOL FIRE On March 4, 1908, Lake View School erupted into flames, killing 172 students, two teachers and one rescuer. The building, situated in what was then the village of Collinwood, had only two exits. With fire blocking the front door, children and adults rushed to the rear — where the narrow vestibule quickly created a bottleneck. Collinwood’s small volunteer fire department was unable to manage the inferno, and in less than an hour, all three floors collapsed into the basement. The fire originated from an overheated steam pipe situated too closely to a wooden joist.

Should it come to fruition, Badal hopes that Zodiac’s interpretation will remain faithful to the historical facts of the case.

Visit kentstateuniversitypress.com to find these books and others written by Badal.

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“WHEN IT COMES TO THE MURDERS THEMSELVES, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SENSATIONALIZE A THING.”


#ENDCCSTIGMA CAMPAIGN OPENS CONVERSATION ABOUT MISCONCEPTIONS SURROUNDING COMMUNITY COLLEGES

LET’S

TALK

STORY BY John Horton PHOTO BY Tamara London

Tri-High. It’s a name you’ve likely heard at some point over the years in reference to Cuyahoga Community College. The mocking title is belittling, demeaning and ridiculous given Tri-C’s long record of academic excellence.

Those statistics and others like them represent a truth: The community college experience — from academic offerings to leadership opportunities to career guidance — matches anything offered in higher education.

It’s also something the College wants to talk about.

It’s worth noting, too, that all of those benefits at community colleges come at a small fraction of the cost of attending four-year schools.

A social media campaign — #EndCCStigma — was launched this year to bluntly address the mistaken belief that community colleges represent a second-class education. Credit for the movement goes to Steve Robinson, president of Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio. Tri-C quickly joined the conversation, as did other two-year institutions across the country. The goal is to overturn false assumptions with facts that tell the true story and value of community colleges. For instance, did you know that nearly half of all college students start their higher education journey at a two-year school? And that community college graduates who transfer to four-year schools typically outperform their new classmates?

Perhaps that tuition advantage is where the community college stigma originated. Or maybe it’s rooted in the open enrollment mission of community colleges, which welcome anyone looking to achieve. Affordability and accessibility aren’t signs of weakness, however. They’re strengths that fuel the American dream when combined with high-quality academics. That’s why we’re so proud to talk about what takes place every day at Cuyahoga Community College.

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BRINGING COLLEGE TO THE COMMUNITY

STORY BY John Horton PHOTOS BY McKinley Wiley

IT WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY AS CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENT ALEX JOHNSON ANNOUNCED THE LAUNCH OF TRI-C ACCESS CENTERS, BRINGING ACADEMIC AND WORKFORCE TRAINING PROGRAMS TO CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOODS.

‘TRI-C ACCESS CENTERS’ WILL DELIVER EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND WORKFORCE TRAINING TO CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOODS A few miles of urban landscape separate residents in Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods from the opportunities available at Cuyahoga Community College. To many, this gap cannot be overcome. The solution? Bring Tri-C’s classes to them. The College and three community partners recently announced the launch of Tri-C Access Centers to bring education and job-training opportunities to east and west side wards gripped by poverty.

CLEVELAND MAYOR FRANK JACKSON ─ A GRADUATE OF TRI-C ─ COMMENDED THE COLLEGE FOR MEETING THE COMMUNITY’S NEEDS THROUGH THE NEW ACCESS CENTERS.

The College is collaborating with Esperanza Inc. and Olivet Housing and Community Development Corp. (OHCDC), an arm of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, on the first two centers. Each organization will host a Tri-C Access Center. Esperanza is providing space at its offices at 3104 W. 25th St. in Cleveland. The center hosted by OHCDC will open at the University Hospitals Otis Moss Jr. Health Center, 8819 Quincy Ave., on the city’s east side.

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The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is partnering with OHCDC on the Quincy Avenue center, given the number of CMHA residents living near the site. “Bringing the community college experience and resources to these sites improves access to higher education,” Tri-C President Alex Johnson said. “Tri-C is meeting residents where they are to help them pursue degrees, workforce credentials and the opportunity for a better life.”

“We see the Tri-C Access Centers serving as pipelines into the emerging and existing workforce,” said Rev. Jawanza Karriem Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. “This is a win for everyone.” Some programs are already being offered at the sites. Others will evolve over time, based on community needs. Many of the services will be at no cost to participants. The initiative grew from conversations between Johnson and leaders within Esperanza, OHCDC and CMHA. The centers reflect the College’s commitment to partnerships and the values and mission of each organization. A signing ceremony to establish the first two Tri-C Access Centers took place in June. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson were among the community leaders attending.

ESPERANZA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VICTOR RUIZ, COLLEGE PRESIDENT ALEX JOHNSON, THE REV. JAWANZA KARRIEM COLVIN OF OLIVET INSTITUTIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH AND CMHA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JEFFERY K. PATTERSON MADE THE CREATION OF THE TRI-C ACCESS CENTERS OFFICIAL DURING A JUNE SIGNING CEREMONY.

“Education and job training are keys to the success of our county’s residents,” Budish said. “With these Access Centers, Tri-C is bringing these programs directly to the people who need them most.”

Statistics show the economic struggles in households surrounding the two locations, with a high percentage of residents unemployed or living with incomes below the federal poverty level. Community leaders said the Tri-C Access Centers can change those numbers. “Too many citizens face tremendous economic struggles,” said Victor Ruiz, executive director of Esperanza. “The Access Centers will provide our community with educational programs and workforce training that will lead to sustainable wages for them and their families.” Proposed services at the Tri-C Access Centers include college and career readiness workshops, English for Speakers of Other Languages classess, and the College’s Women in Transition program.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY EXECUTIVE ARMOND BUDISH CALLED TRI-C A LEADER IN PROVIDING THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING RESIDENTS NEED TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS.

Workforce offerings may include advanced manufacturing and information technology training programs, guiding residents toward careers with growth potential.

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TRI-C ALUMNI PROFILE STORY BY Erik Cassano PHOTOS BY Cody York

IN HER BLOOD

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OVER THE SPAN OF 12 YEARS FULL OF PROFESSIONAL TWISTS AND TURNS, TRI-C FIRE TRAINING ACADEMY GRADUATE LAUREN PHILLIPS NEVER LOST SIGHT OF HER GOAL: A JOB AS A FULL-TIME FIREFIGHTER For years, it seemed like firefighting was tapping Lauren Phillips on the shoulder, flagging her down, trying to get her attention. It’s always been a part of Phillips’ life. She was introduced to firefighting at an early age by her grandfather, a Cleveland firefighter for 30 years. By the time Phillips was in her late teens, she considered it as a career, but opted for work as an orthodontic assistant. In 2005, she started taking childhood education classes at Cuyahoga Community College to further her career in orthodontics. But firefighting would still grab her attention.

“I PASSED A FIRE STATION ON MY WAY IN TO WORK EACH DAY. DEEP DOWN, I ALWAYS KNEW I WANTED TO GET INTO IT.” Today, a fire station is where Phillips works. She wears the same Cleveland Fire Department shoulder patch as her grandfather while battling blazes on the city’s East Side with Collinwood’s Ladder 31. The path to that post began more than a decade ago, when she enrolled in the Tri-C Fire Training Academy. Along with firefighter training, Phillips pursued an emergency medical technician certification. She graduated in summer 2006 with a certificate in EMT-B (basic) and Firefighter I and II.

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“I think it starts with the type of person I am,” she said. “I love to help people, so that aspect appealed to me. I’ve also always been an athletic person, so the physical challenge of firefighting was something else that really appealed to me.” But her journey was just beginning. With an EMT-B certification and the 240 training hours necessary to attain Firefighter I and II certification, Phillips was ready to look for a job. But her experience and certification level made job-hunting difficult as she started applying to area fire departments. “For full-time firefighter positions, departments were looking for paramedics — a couple steps above an EMT-B,” she said. “I eventually found a part-time firefighting job in North Randall, where I stayed for two and a half years. Then I moved on to a private ambulance company as an EMT.” Phillips’ career took even more twists and turns. She went back to school and became certified as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, leading to a stint as a medical assistant in a private practice at Southwest

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General Health Center. She then became a personal trainer at a local gym. But her dream of full-time firefighting never faded. In 2017, 11 years after graduating from Tri-C, she finally found her chance. “My husband, who is a Cleveland firefighter, told me the Cleveland Fire Department was hiring,” Phillips said. “I decided to give the written exam a try. I passed, and got into the CFD fire academy.” She passed the CFD exam in April 2017, but it was still more than a year before her class entered the Cleveland academy in September 2018. The wait was worth it. On Jan. 11 of this year, Phillips was sworn in as a Cleveland firefighter. She was the first female firefighter hired by the city in 30 years. Phillips said the idea of gender equality in firefighting was ingrained in her from her earliest days at the Tri-C Fire Training Academy.


TRI-C ALUMNI NOTES

Morelle McCane Class of 2017

“Going into an academy with no prior experience, you’re not quite sure how people will view you as a female trying to enter a profession that is male-dominated,” she said. “But my Tri-C instructors were very fair. There was no eggshell-walking around me. I was the only woman in a class of 99 graduates, but I was treated like everyone else. Tri-C was a great place for me to get my start in the field.” It took more than a decade for Phillips to reach her career goal after leaving Tri-C, but her perseverance paid off. And that is the lesson she wants to share with other aspiring firefighters. “It’s a position that comes with a lot of responsibility,” she said. “You’re dealing with people in a moment when they need you the most. But it’s also an incredibly rewarding position. If you have the discipline and the will to succeed, it’s worth every test and every hour of study.”

This Olympic boxing hopeful from Cleveland keeps adding to her knockout resume. McCane won a bronze medal boxing with Team USA earlier this year in a tournament in Bulgaria. She joined the national team after winning the USA Boxing Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championship last year. She was also a 2018 National Golden Gloves champion. Tri-C Times featured McCane as a student success story in 2017.

Nick Hoeller Class of 2018

“I’LL BE VERY GLAD IF OTHER WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE INSPIRED BY MY STORY AND MOTIVATED TO CHASE THEIR OWN DREAMS. BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST, I’M HERE TO DO A JOB LIKE EVERY OTHER FIREFIGHTER — MAN OR WOMAN.”

Hoeller recently launched a portrait photography project called “Faces of Sacrifice” to honor U.S. military veterans. He said the memory of his late grandfather — a U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II and the Korean War — serves as his inspiration. The Brunswick resident has photographed dozens of veterans using skills honed at Tri-C. The pictures can be found at hoellerphotography.com in a gallery under the projects tab. SUMMER 2019

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Forty years ago, Tri-C JazzFest sounded its first note. The tune that emerged on that long-ago day

continues to be played in Cleveland, carried forward by improvising artists exploring the contours of every chord. That is the story of jazz. It is a complex art form as that evolves by the minute. The music breathes. It feels. It expresses.

In other words, jazz lives — and its home is Cuyahoga Community College.

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MEET ME

TRI-C CORY MOLNER is media services supervisor at the Eastern Campus Learning Commons. The 33-year-old lives in Cleveland Heights and has worked at Tri-C for 5½ years. He is also secretary of the College’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Equality (SOGE) Council. Q: What’s new at Eastern Campus Learning Commons? CM: We recently rolled out “Lego-like” study rooms, which allow students to check out a quiet room to study or work on small projects for a few hours at a time. Additionally, we have been working with other Learning Commons across Tri-C on the new Advanced Technology Classroom specifications. Starting this summer, more than 300 classrooms will have new technology installed, which will help instructors teach with the latest equipment. Q: What is Tri-C’s SOGE Council? CM: The SOGE Council is committed to educating the College on issues of sexuality and gender in order to create a more inclusive community that embraces all forms of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The council is an employee resource group made up of a mix of faculty, staff and administration. Q: What kinds of projects is SOGE working on? CM: Over the last year, the SOGE Council has awarded several student scholarships, worked on publishing the availability and location of gender-neutral restrooms and worked with the College’s Lambda GSAs (Gender-Sexuality Alliances) to ensure up-to-date Safe Zone training is available. Finally, SOGE has worked closely with leadership on the “This Is Me” campaign. This campaign gives faculty, staff and

#MYTRICSTORY

students the ability to choose their preferred name, personal pronouns and gender identification in my Tri-C space. Q: What’s your favorite part of your job? CM: In the Learning Commons, no day is like the one before it. Every day and every semester presents new and interesting challenges for me and our team, whether it is new technology, student initiatives or just a simple unexpected circumstance. Additionally, Tri-C offers an inclusive environment where people are allowed to create and work toward common goals. Q: What do you like to do in your free time? CM: I spend a lot of my free time working with one of my passions: theater. I serve as executive director of convergence-continuum theatre company in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. This means that I spend a lot of time working with local theater artists and ensuring the day-today operations run smoothly for this edgy, out-there theater. Not only do I head up operations, including marketing and development, but I design and direct shows as well.

“I DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF SELF-CONFIDENCE WHEN I STARTED AT TRI-C, BUT THE PEOPLE HERE HELPED GIVE ME CONFIDENCE. I LEARNED ABOUT ACCOUNTING, BUT I ALSO LEARNED A LOT OF SKILLS THAT HELP ME IN MY PERSONAL LIFE. I LEARNED WHAT I HAD TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL.” Living paycheck to paycheck as a new mother taught McKnight how to manage money. She enrolled at Tri-C to turn that life lesson into a career in finance. The 24-year-old from Lakewood graduated from the College in May with an Associate of Arts degree and plans to continue her education at a four-year school to become a CPA.

ELSA MCKNIGHT

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#MYTRICSTORY IS A SERIES HIGHLIGHTING EVERYDAY PEOPLE IN THE TRI-C COMMUNITY. TO MEET MORE FEATURED STUDENTS AND STAFF, VISIT WWW.TRI-C.EDU/NEWS-AND-EVENTS.


encore 55+ LEARNING YOU ASKED, AND WE LISTENED!

Encore Campus Fridays is coming to Westshore Campus this fall. Campus Fridays Locations Eastern Campus 4250 Richmond Road Highland Hills, Ohio 44122

Western Campus 11000 Pleasant Valley Road Parma, Ohio 44130

NEW Westshore Campus 31001 Clemens Road Westlake, Ohio 44145

Classes begin Sept. 20.

More information: 216-987-2274 www.tri-c.edu/encore SUMMER 2019 31 19-0303


700 Carnegie Ave. Cleveland, Ohio 44115 19-0303

Where futures begin. SM

Learn what you need Earn what you deserve Save more than you think

www.tri-c.edu/startnow • 216-987-6000 18-1166 ICD Tri-C Times 7x4.875 Where Futures Begin Ad.indd 1

10/22/18 11:00 AM