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Thriving on Chaos: Hospitality and Tourism Career Offers Growth & Excitement


Thriving on Chaos: Hospitality and Tourism As a group of SFCC students intently watched a compilation of video clips showing spectacular scenes of New Mexico, Peter Lovato, Director of Catering at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, asked the students if they recognized where the images were from. After a brief hesitation, several of the students in the Introduction to Tourism class correctly guessed the images were from the TV show “The Bachelor.” “Why am I showing you clips from The Bachelor?” he asked. “It’s because in the hospitality business we’re always selling a memory. We’re not just selling food and beverages; we’re selling people dreams. On the sales side, we paint the dream,” Lovato said. He

“TOURISM IS THE SECOND BIGGEST INDUSTRY IN NEW MEXICO, AND AS SUCH IT PROVIDES MANY MANAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR GRADUATES.” ~ Dr. Greg Blanch, NMSU Interim Director of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management added that SFCC’s Hospitality Coordinator Katherine Fox Ehlert was “a rock star at selling the dream.” A veteran of the national hotel industry Fox Ehlert was the senior sales manager for the opening of Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder. She now leads the college’s hospitality and tourism program, which offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate or an associate degree. This spring semester, the college will partner with New Mexico State University so students can easily continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in hospitality at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center.

Hospitality and Tourism Program Coordinator Katherine Fox Ehlert is considered a “rock star” in the industry.

“Tourism is the second biggest industry in New Mexico, and as such it provides many management opportunities for our graduates,” said Dr. Greg Blanch, NMSU’s interim director of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. “We’re pleased to partner with SFCC in this academic endeavor.” According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, approximately 9,800 jobs in Santa Fe are in the leisure and hospitality industries. Salaries range from $35,000 to $90,000. This fall’s Introduction to Tourism class included young students as well as industry professionals (from housekeepers to front desk managers) who are interested in upgrading their skills to move into management positions. Christy Sandoval, 18, has been working the past year and a half for Heritage Hotels and Resorts (Hotel Chimayo, Hotel St. Francis, the Palacio de Marquesa in Taos and The Lodge at Santa Fe) as a reservation agent. “What I love about working in this industry is meeting many different kinds of people and listening to the stories they have to tell. I am very interested in pursuing a corporate position in the hospitality industry and am working not only for my business and management degree but also for my hospitality certificate.” Another Santa Fe native, Jonathan Armijo, 26, is Hotel Santa Fe’s transportation supervisor and has worked at the hotel for six years. “I enjoy everything about the hospitality industry,” he said. What he likes most about the class is learning about the financial end of the business. He hopes his education will help him “continue to move up” in the industry.

Hospitality and Tourism Student Jonathan Armijo, center, looks forward to moving up in the hospitality industry with the advanced degree options newly available through SFCC and NMSU. Jonathan is pictured with his coworkers at Hotel Santa Fe: Front Desk Manager Chris Armijo, left, and General Manager Corey Fidler.


The front desk manager at the Inn on the Alameda, José Salgado, 39, is eager to learn more about the business, too. The hospitality student says the favorite part of his job is “assisting people to make them happy and enjoy Santa Fe.” He says since the Inn has opened a restaurant he has been learning more about food and beverage, as well as pairing wines with different foods.

Career Offers Growth & Excitement No doubt he’s picking up tips from his classmate and co-worker, Jen Doughty, 36. She is the Inn’s Food and Beverage manager and also the Chef at Agoyo Lounge. Doughty says, “What I like about the hospitality industry is the people, the creative chaos and that it is hard and honest work.” She wants to continue studying the various aspects of the business. “There is always more to learn,” she said. The students commented they all have learned from the guest speakers in the Introduction to Hospitality class. Speakers have included Rebecca Latham, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department; Ed Pulsifer, Director of Sales at La Fonda; and Rick Verruni, Managing Director of Bishop’s Lodge and Resort & Spa. “Hospitality and tourism drive the economy all across New Mexico, and especially right here in Santa Fe,” said SFCC President Randy Grissom. “Now, thanks to our partnership with NMSU, students can finish an associate degree at SFCC and go on for a bachelor’s here in Santa Fe. NMSU has an excellent reputation in this field, and we are proud to bring their expertise to local students.” For more information on SFCC’s Hospitality and Tourism program, contact Katherine Fox Ehlert at 505-428-1332 or

Inn on the Alameda Food and Beverage Manager and Agoyo Lounge Chef Jen Doughty likes the ‘creative chaos’ of the hospitality industry.

Santa Fe Community College Leads Statewide Focus on Early Childhood Education “New Mexico ranks near the bottom in the nation for child well-being outcomes,” Duran-Sallee said. “Quality early childhood education can change those outcomes. And those changes can impact a child’s future and positively affect our community as a whole.” The Early Childhood Early Childhood Center of Excellence Director Jennifer Duran-Sallee Center of Excellence is an energetic leader in the effort to reshape early childhood education in New Mexico. will focus on increasing academic programs, SFCC has established the state’s first including dual credit options for high Early Childhood Center of Excellence, school students; developing the college’s with input from an advisory committee. Kids Campus as a lab and demonstration The center will expand outreach to site; supporting early childhood businesses; those who educate our youngest and advocating for policies and funding to community members, and provide support early childhood development. professional assistance to help them succeed. Jennifer Duran-Sallee, Ed.D., has been named the center’s director.

Duran-Sallee brings a wealth of educational experience, including with

Santa Fe Public Schools: as the principal at Nina Otero Community School and at Carlos Gilbert Elementary, assistant principal at El Dorado Community School and as an administrator. Prior to that, Duran-Sallee worked at the New Mexico Public Education Department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Biology from New Mexico State University, a Master’s in Public Administration from Texas State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of New Mexico. “SFCC’s Kids Campus has a 5-star rating (the best possible). It will be a terrific resource for our work as we reshape early childhood education for New Mexico,” Duran-Sallee said. Through the SFCC Foundation, the center has received support from Brindle Foundation and is the recipient of a $400,000 challenge grant from the State of New Mexico. For more information, contact Jennifer Duran-Sallee, Ed.D. at 505-428-1321 or 3

PROGRAM PROFILE Veterans Resource Center SFCC RECOGNIZED AS “BEST FOR VETS” VRC always to be a welcoming place for all veterans.” “I was once that guy who didn’t know where to start. Getting my paperwork processed was overwhelming, so it feels good to help someone else,” Sanchez says. “We’re here for all veterans, whether to help with benefits, assist with personnel records or to get an education, and much more.”

Veterans Resource Specialist Gregory Scargall (front row, first on left) and student veterans have earned SFCC’s Veterans Resource Center national recognition.

The news that Santa Fe Community College has been ranked #1 Best for Vets for the second year in a row by Military Times Magazine did not surprise Jonathan Sanchez. The 25-year-old veteran says it’s been one of the best resources for him. The Santa Fean joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008 and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan – one as a gunner and another as a heavy equipment operator. When he returned he thought everything was great, but says after the hoopla of returning subsided he said he felt lost. “My biggest emotional issue was that when I was in the military someone always told me what to do. I went to the Santa Fe Vet Center and said, ‘Tell me what do.’ And the answer was go back to school, check out the community college. So I did.”

He’s eager to share information about resources in the community as well as at the college. “The tutoring center is great, and it’s free. I had been away from math while in the military, so it’s been great to get help to catch up,” he explains.

When Sanchez left the military he missed the camaraderie, so he enjoys participating in SFCC’s Veterans Resource Center community outreach events – including parades, food drives, feeding the homeless and cleanup events. “I’d like vets to know that the Veterans Resource Center is a great place to chill. It’s a place to gain composure from the stresses of school,” Sanchez says. The center also helps find counseling resources for vets. For more information, contact Gregory Scargall at 505-428-1305 or

Sanchez is studying criminal justice at SFCC. He spends his summers working with one of New Mexico’s Veterans Firefighter units. He says since he’s connected with the campus Veterans Resource Center, where he assists as a student worker, he feels at home at the college. “We all are inspired by what [Veteran’s Resource Specialist] Gregory Scargall shows us through his actions and tells us, ‘Mean what you say and say what you mean.’ We’ve learned that to be the best, you’ve got to always do your best. We want the

Student veteran Jonathan Sanchez appreciates the camaraderie and activities of the Veterans Resource Center.

SFCC TOPS BEST FOR VETS: CAREER & TECHNICAL COLLEGES 2016 RANKINGS FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR. Each year, the Military Times evaluates colleges’ approach to – and success with – serving current and former service members and their families. Criteria includes extensive data review in these categories, among others: culture, student support, academic outcomes/quality, academic policies and financial aid. SFCC salutes our student vets and the Veterans Resource Center for its important work and this well deserved recognition. 4


The Trades and Advanced Technology Center earns LEED Platinum – the highest certification possible from the U.S. Green Building Council. The SFCC Governing Board, President Randy Grissom and the SFCC Foundation recently recognized Allan Baer, the TATC’s architect (formerly of Lloyd & Associates Architects), at a celebratory reception and open house. A special shout-out was given to SFCC’s Plant Operations and Maintenance team who, working with UNM engineering faculty and students, further developed the sustainable features and systems in order to bring the building to the Platinum level.

TATC Architect Allan Baer, left, and Wayne Lloyd enjoy the reception in honor of the LEED award on October 22.

SFCC Governing Board Member Linda Siegle and Chair Dr. Martha Romero celebrate the TATC’s LEED-Platinum designation with SFCC Foundation Executive Director Deborah Boldt, Architect Allan Baer and President Randy Grissom.


SFCC FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH AMAZONSMILE. With the holidays approaching, you can support SFCC students every time you shop – at no cost to you! When you shop at, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the SFCC Foundation.

Some of the college’s hundreds of scholarship recipients stand with President Randy Grissom at a luncheon to honor donors and students. The event, on November 13, attracted a large crowd who enjoyed a special meal prepared by Culinary Arts students, a keynote address by historian Arturo Sandoval and touching speeches by a few of the scholarship students.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile before shopping, select “SFCC Foundation.” For every eligible purchase at – regardless of the amount – the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% to the SFCC Foundation. For more information, call Kelly Smith, 505-428-1175. 5

KUDOS Dean of the School of Sciences, Health, Engineering and Math Jenny Landen, R.N., M.S.N. was invited to present on a panel at the Academic Progression in Nursing American Organization of Nurse Executives in Washington, D.C. APIN is a National Program Office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In response to the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report on the future of nursing, New Mexico is receiving national attention for the statewide Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum that has been adopted to bring the BSN to community colleges. SFCC’s Nursing Program, as a part of the statewide effort through the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium, has shown leadership in the initiative to increase the number of BSN graduates. Santa Fe’s Sherman Asher Publishing has published Associate Professor Miriam Sagan’s new novel, Black Rain. Miriam is the founder of the college’s Creative Writing program.

Director of Emergency Medical Services Sahaj Khalsa is earning recognition for research projects at the national level. One of the projects won the Best Research Award for the year at the National Association of EMS Educator’s Symposium in Nashville, in which he examined the impact of a Paramedic entrance exam on predicting student success. Another project was accepted for presentation at a conference in Australia. Khalsa recently was the keynote speaker at the 40th Annual Alaska State EMS Symposium.


AGREEMENTS OPEN MORE DOORS SFCC graduates now have more opportunities to pursue a bachelor’s degree without leaving Santa Fe. SFCC and New Mexico Highlands University have announced new President Randy Grissom and Interim Dean Camilla Bustamante sign agreements 2 + 2 agreements that with Highlands University officials to give allow SFCC associate students more degree opportunities at the Higher Education Center. program graduates to transfer up to 65 credit hours into Highlands’ programs housed at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center.  The agreements guarantee that SFCC graduates can seamlessly transfer into bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration (Accounting, Marketing, Management or Early Childhood Multicultural Education), in Elementary Education and in Social Work. NMHU’s programs at the Higher Education Center provide students more convenience and more flexibility by offering evening classes on site, online classes and interactive television connecting students with faculty across Northern New Mexico.

LISTO PROGRAM OFFERS INTENSIVE SPANISH STUDY A new partnership with Monte Del Sol Charter School makes it easy for teachers to earn a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate in as few as two semesters online, coupled with professional language and cultural immersion through LISTO (Language Institute for Sustainability and Transformative Education) summer intensive classes in Oaxaca, Mexico. In addition, SFCC students can earn college credits for the LISTO classes in Mexico. For information, contact Assistant Professor Bethany Muller, 505-428-1749, or go to

NOTEWORTHY COLLEGE HELPS KEEP STUDENTS OUT OF DEBT Key features of the program include: • Making debt management part of every New Student Orientation and First Year Student Success class • Ensuring loans are not automatically “packaged” in award letters • Making “In-person” loan counseling mandatory for all first-time borrowers (includes all borrowers, not just First Year Student Success students) • If a loan is taken, all courses must apply to the student’s degree • Partnering with New Mexico Student Loans to reach out to delinquent borrowers through a variety of methods. Student debt is an overwhelming national problem, with more than $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and an average balance among 40 million borrowers of $29,000. SFCC is working hard to help students avoid taking on too much debt, which then can result in defaults. The college’s efforts are paying off. Working with funding from the college’s U.S. Department of Education’s Title V grant, SFCC began focusing on helping first-year students avoid the debt trap. Through that initiative, students were educated about the consequences of getting in over their head, and were provided useful tools to better manage their money. 

As a result of the college’s efforts, the number of students taking on a student loan has greatly decreased. In 2012-13, 1,245 received a student loan. In 2013-2014, student loans dropped by 34 percent to 819 students. In 2014-15, student loans dropped even further to 613. That amount represents a 50 percent reduction when compared to the 2012-13 academic year. “The results were far greater than we expected. By cutting the number of loans by 50 percent, it suggests that students have chosen to forgo millions of dollars in indebtedness,” Scott Whitaker, Director of Financial Aid said.

SFCC by the Numbers

SAVING ENERGY BRINGS RESULTS SFCC’s energy efficiency efforts, including the new 1.5 megawatt solar array, saved the college more than $177,000 in fiscal year 2015 by directly reducing utilities costs. The savings allows the college to put more funding toward student support, services and success.

Since 2010, SFCC has increased by 73 percent the number of certificates and degrees awarded overall, and by 106 percent the number earned by Hispanic students. In 2014, Hispanic students earned 50 percent of all SFCC degrees and certificates. Hispanic students comprise about 44 percent of overall enrollment at the college, 59 percent of all full-time enrollment, and 50 percent of dual credit enrollment.


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Inside SFCC

Published by Santa Fe Community College President and Governing Board Randy W. Grissom Dr. Martha G. Romero Kathleen Keith Pablo Sedillo Linda Siegle Jack Sullivan

President Chair Vice Chair Secretary Member Member

Produced by SFCC’s Marketing and Public Relations Department. Janet Wise, Executive Director

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Writing & Editing: Emily Drabanski, Laura J. Mulry, Janet Wise Design & Layout: Jeffrey Atwell


Dec. 2: SFCC Governing Board meeting Dec. 5: Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair Dec. 19, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016: Winter Break, college closed Jan. 19, 2016: Spring Semester Begins

Photos: Leisha Bell Johnson, Chris Corrie, Emily Drabanski, Dorothy Perez y Piriz, Mac Read

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Inside SFCC Fall 2015  
Inside SFCC Fall 2015