Page 1

Tacoma Community College FALL 2013

Engage Community Instructor Michael Huffman gathers friends of the college around the dinner table. page 2

STEM Success Stories Meet TCC grads employed in science, technology, engineering & math (STEM)! page 7

Vicci Martinez Scholarship Winner Meet Julia Subbotin. She is reaching higher and wants to pay it forward! page 4

Investing in You As we celebrate the New Year it is important to note that Tacoma Community College is turning 50 in 2015. Over the next year, you can help us prepare for that celebration. TCC first opened its doors to students in 1965. From the beginning, we have been committed to creating learning in service to our community’s needs. Over the years, more than half a million people have come to TCC to pursue their personal and professional educational goals. If you are one of those people, we would love to capture your story about your TCC experience. We will include it in the historical archive we are building in connection with our 50th anniversary. Just go to this link:

Under Construction The center of campus looks dramatically different with the new Campus Commons - scheduled to be complete in early 2014. A landscape beautification project more than 10 years in the making, Campus Commons is a mix of grass, brick, concrete, steel, lighting, rain gardens, and flowers and trees. It is a gathering place that will frame the view of Mt. Rainier and tie the center of campus together. TCC’s Harned Center for Health Careers will be completed this summer and will be open for students in the fall. The LEED Gold, $39 million, 69,700 square foot facility will house the following healthcare training programs: nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, radiologic science, respiratory therapy, health information management, and paramedic training. Best wishes this New Year. Please visit, and leave your memories on our website or send them to me directly.


Dr. Pamela J. Transue President, Tacoma Community College

TCCMagazine I FALL 2013

TCCMagazine Volume 5, No. 1 Editor

Rachel Payne


Rachel Payne Shawn Jennison

Design Photography

Sakura Moses Jason Ganwich Stuart Isset Shawn Jennison Rachel Payne

TCC Magazine is published biannually by Marketing, Communication & Outreach/ IAF, Tacoma Community College, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma WA 98466. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy of all printed information, TCC Magazine assumes no liability for errors in editorial content. No portion of this publication may be duplicated or reprinted without written permission from the publisher. Send address changes to: TCC Magazine, 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma WA 98466 or Be sure to include both old and new addresses.

tcc mission statement:

TCC creates meaningful and relevant learning, inspires greater equity, and celebrates success in our lives and our communities. accreditation:

Tacoma Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Contents 2 Engage Community Cooking for Scholarships

4 Scholarship Winner Meet Vicci Martinez

Scholarship Recipient

Julia Subbotin

5 Certified Top 100 6 STEM Success Stories Rebecca Fountain

Ron Boutilier

Brandon Wholey

IBC International Aspirations Global Assessment

Certificate Program

FALL 2013 I TCCMagazine


engagecommunity Michael Huffman TCC written communications instructor Michael Huffman nurtures TCC’s connections to the greater Tacoma community the old-fashioned way: by gathering everyone around the dinner table. Huffman structures writing assignments around the culinary arts, asking students to think deeply about their food traditions and how they illuminate culture and history. He practices them himself, as one of the Tuesday night chefs down at The Spar. 2

TCCMagazine I FALL 2013

And once a year, he donates his skills to benefit TCC Foundation scholarships, cooking an auctioned dinner with TCC Foundation President Pat Shuman and former TCC Board of Trustees member Dave Edwards. “I’ve known him for four or five years now,” said Shuman. “We met him because we are Spar regulars and he started cooking there one night a week several years ago.”

COOKING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS A few years ago Huffman started cooking the dinner Shuman and Edwards auction off each year at the Tacoma Wine Classic, a TCC Foundation fundraiser. “In 2010 an auction item, a Mexican dinner, that had been sold at the Tacoma Wine Classic fell through,” said Shuman. “I had the idea to ask Michael if he’d do a ‘make-up’ dinner for the donors at our house. He very generously

together, they liked each other so much.” “It was a huge hit,” agreed Huffman. “We couldn’t get the people out of Pat and Dave’s house! Now we’ve been doing it for four years. It’s fun.”

CREATING CONNECTIONS Huffman also helps TCC forge new connections in the community. He’s part of the small group of employees who launched and sustained the Tacoma Community College Diversity Film Festival in conjunction with TCC’s President’s Council on Equity and Diversity. Sponsored by many local businesses, the two-week event is a partnership with Tacoma’s Grand Cinema. Huffman makes sure the festival benefits his students, taking his spring quarter Cinema classes to films that are seldom available in mainstream theaters.

IN THE CLASSROOM, IN THE KITCHEN The opportunity to experiment is one thing that keeps Huffman at The Spar; he and his cooking partner invent their own menus. But the opportunity to connect with community is another factor. agreed and went all out to do an exceptional meal.” Huffman cooked with friend and fellow chef Chuck Johnson. He enlisted the TCC Women’s Basketball coaching staff – Heidi Collier and Laura Koval, at the time -- to serve dinner. “Our guests were blown away,” said Shuman. “As I recall, the dinner was in late June and the guests and the cooking crew ended up spending the 4th of July

“In the restaurant business, you have after hours eating – you eat when everything is cleaned up. That’s one of the things I truly love: getting off work and talking shop and eating with the people I work with.” And community is what drew Huffman back to TCC, where he has history that reaches back almost to the college’s beginning. His father taught history and accounting at the college from 1968 to 1995. “I grew up in Gig Harbor, and there were no sidewalks in Gig Harbor back then,” said Huffman. “I learned to ride my bike on campus when there was an airport across the street… It felt like home.” Huffman spent many post-college years alternating chef stints with overseas travel. He never imagined himself teaching at the same college where his father spent three decades. But now he uses his experiences with food and travel to connect with students and spark conversation and insight about diversity and personal identity. “It can be political, but it doesn’t need to be,” said Huffman. “Every student has experience with food.”

Tacoma Community College


th Annual

at the Grand Cinema in Tacoma

April 13-27, 2014 FALL 2013 I TCCMagazine


Meet Vicci Martinez Scholarship Recipient Julia Subbotin Like Tacoma singer/songwriter Vicci Martinez, who created a new scholarship to help female TCC students reach their dreams last year, nursing student Julia Subbotin wants to pay if forward. Scheduled to graduate in March 2014 from TCC’s nursing program, Julia plans to go on to UWT and get her BA in nursing, hopefully while working in the ER part time. It’s all part of a larger plan to teach nursing and sanitation skills to people in Bangladesh. Julia says that, beyond finding a good job, she had no real plans for her future when she was a high school student in Puyallup. That changed when she went to Bangladesh with the group Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and discovered a very crowded country where people live with preventable disease, and often without basic sanitation. “I don’t think people realize the need for basic teaching there. Stuff that we take for granted is not such common knowledge,” said Julia. “It changed the way I viewed a lot of things.” Julia says it’s the desire to help that sparked her desire to reach higher, transforming her from an “average” student to someone who excels on a daily basis. She no longer takes her life, her education, or her advantages for granted. “When I look back on how I was in high school, all I cared about was finding a job and making good money,” said Julia. “When I got back from the trip, I realized that’s not what it’s about. I’d rather help somebody.”


TCCMagazine I FALL 2013

Certified Top 100 Preparing students to compete starts with helping them complete a certificate or a degree – or both. Community College Week reports that TCC is one of the nation’s top 100 certificate-producers, ranking 82nd in the country for certificate attainment by African Americans. At the 2013 Commencement, the college awarded a record 800 Program Certificates and 1,200 Associate Degrees. Because students often work while attending school, many of our career-training programs are structured like “ladders,” giving students the opportunity to obtain employable certificates as they work toward degree completion. For instance, TCC’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program allows students not at college level to begin work on a professional-technical degree. Students begin job-relevant training in Medical Office or Accounting Office certificate programs while improving reading, writing and comprehension skills. The I-BEST model has gained national attention as a successful, cost-effective way to help pre-college students obtain employable skills while moving them toward degree completion. In recognition of the college’s use of evidencebased strategies such as I-BEST to improve student success and close the achievement gap, TCC was recently named a “Leader College” by the national Achieving the Dream program. Completion benefits everyone. A 2011 study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) found that for every dollar invested in a student’s community college education, $1.70 is returned to the state’s tax base. Students, on average, see a 20.8 percent return on investment in their community college education.

Vicci Martinez Photo credit: Jason Ganwich

FALL 2013 I TCCMagazine


Rebecca Fountain current job title:

Software Application Developer employer:

Tacoma Community College tcc experience:

Attended TCC from 2001-2004. Started as a Running Start student, then obtained a transfer degree. Returned in 2008 to obtain prerequisites for UTW’s computer science program.

Tacoma Community College helped Rebecca Fountain prep for a career – and a career change. Recently, she found her way back to the college as TCC’s new Software Application Developer. 6

TCCMagazine I FALL 2013

“A couple of years after having earned my Associates degree, I was working with a company, doing finance,” said Rebecca. “But I was more interested in what the tech guys were doing, and I was always asking them questions.” She did some research and found that software development is an upand-coming field. Having recently started a family, she also found the prospect of flexible hours appealing. “I think there’s more flexibility in the industry in general. You can do freelance, public or private sector work. Within those, there are some jobs you can do completely remotely. I’ve worked in jobs where people on the teams come in to work from different states every day.”

When Rebecca decided to enroll in UWT’s Computing and Software Systems program, she came back to TCC to take the prerequisites. She was also working full time and raising a family, and one quarter she drove down from Federal Way to take a math class during her lunch break. “Michelle Wallace, a math teacher, taught me trig. She went above and beyond,” said Fountain. “She’d go over materials with me outside of office hours, because I couldn’t make it to campus during her regular office hours.” Rebecca has never had much trouble with math. But as a former Math Advising Resource Center (MARC) tutor and the former owner of a tutoring business, she can

Step Up with STEM Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training leads to opportunity. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce*: • STEM occupations will grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. • STEM workers earn 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. • More than two-thirds of STEM workers have at least a college degree. • STEM degree holders earn more, whether or not they work in a STEM field. TCC offers rigorous courses, small class sizes, and affordable tuition rates to get students off to a good start on the path to a STEM career. We’re proud of our STEM grads and how much they give back to their communities. *Source: STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, ESA Issue Brief #03-11.

empathize with those who find math intimidating. And she doesn’t want students to let math anxiety limit their career options. “Just like drawing or anything else, it’s a learned skill, and some people learn it easier than others. If you’re one of the ones that doesn’t, all you need to do is get some help.” She also has advice for students considering a career in computer sciences. “Do it for the right reasons. Make sure you do the research. And it’s a huge field. It’s like saying you want to be a doctor – there are a million different kinds of doctors. Be prepared, the training… it’s intense. But good payoff!”

Ron Boutilier current job title:

Structural Engineering Intern employer:

Engineering Ministries International (EMI), Costa Rica office tcc experience:

Attended TCC 2008-2009. Stayed on to complete BS in Civil Engineering (St. Martin’s University Branch Campus program). Motivated by a desire to experience life abroad and serve others, Ron accepted a volunteer position with a nonprofit organization that offers free engineering services to developing countries around the world. He was involved with the AMG hospital expansion project in Cubulco, Guatemala and the Nazarene Bridge design in Chirripo, Costa Rica. “In my jobs, my focus has been on structural engineering, including wood, concrete, and steel structures,” said Ron. “In the last 3 years I have assisted in the design everything from roof trusses, wood-joist floor systems, pressure vessels, confined masonry, and other structures.” Ron wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he first started college, but his interest in finding out how things work steered him toward math and science. At TCC, the close bonds he formed with lab team members and classmates helped him get through the tough assignments – and even have fun with them.

“I especially enjoyed working in the academic center and experiencing the atmosphere of unity that everyone seemed to have as we all worked on our assignments,” said Ron. Ron says his teachers were excellent, emphasizing quality student work. Quality and professionalism are paramount in engineering. “The professors at TCC were helpful, encouraging, and very thorough in solidifying my understanding of basic mechanics and sciences, which I use in practice. I still remember Gauss’s Law!” Ron plans to continue working in forensic engineering and international development. He’s currently applying to graduate schools. “My advice to a high school student interested in pursuing engineering would be to start researching what engineering really is, before diving in. Job shadowing or informational interviews with leading firms are excellent ways to inquire about what it is like to work in the field.” FALL 2013 I TCCMagazine


Brandon Wholey current job title:

Chief Meteorologist, KRNV-TV News 4 Employer:

KRNV-TV News 4, Reno, NV TCC Experience:

Attended TCC 2002-2005. Completed Transfer Degree.

Know a high school senior who needs help paying for a STEM degree? There’s funding available! Washington’s Opportunity Grant helps low and middle income Washington State residents earn bachelor’s degrees in STEM and health care. Visit: Apply by Feb. 24, 2014.


TCCMagazine I FALL 2013

A lifelong interest in the sciences nudged Brandon toward a career in broadcast meteorology. “I picked meteorology because I had always enjoyed tracking the weather, using computers, and absolutely loved the sciences.” Brandon graduated from Gig Harbor High school and completed a transfer degree at TCC. He continued to Lyndon State College in Vermont – home of one of the top broadcast meteorology programs in the country. “I couldn’t have survived my meteorology courses if it weren’t for my great preparation in Calculus & Physics at TCC,” said Brandon. “My Calculus instructor Mr. Tan made sure all of his students were comfortable with the difficult material and even held Saturday study sessions on his own time to make sure his students were ready to pass the exams. He went the extra step and even brought food and beverages to every session. Also, I would like to thank my Physics’ instructors Mr. Hunter and Mr. King for their patience while I moved through some of the hardest material I had ever studied.” Brandon was hired as Morning Meteorologist right out of college, and promoted to Chief Meteorologist three months later.

“I absolutely love the challenge of forecasting for the high desert and the Sierra,” said Brandon. “The most challenging part of the job is making very important predictions during big storms. We always want to be accurate for the viewer, but sometimes Mother Nature will have her own way, especially here in the mountains.” Eventually, he’d love to return to Washington and work at a Seattle news station. “That would bring the whole experience full circle for me as I did my internships at KCPQ-TV and KOMOTV,” said Brandon. “It would literally be the icing on the cake as I grew up watching the local channels dreaming one day I would make it on-air as a meteorologist. Just ask my former high school classmates!” For high school students considering a career in meteorology, Brandon recommends getting high grades in math and taking as many science classes as possible. “Even taking a course in astronomy will help out. Even though I mainly concentrate on weather, I am the station scientist, so I am responsible for knowing about astronomy as well as earthquakes. Never be afraid to ask questions in class.”

International Aspirations Every year, Tacoma Community College hosts international students from all over the world. And the college has been stepping up its game lately, increasing both the number of international students recruited and the services offered. International students who attend TCC get a quality education at an affordable price. They also contribute greatly to the campus culture, participating in student activities and providing diverse perspectives that enhance learning.

First Community College to join the Global Assessment Certificate Program Tacoma Community College recently became the first 2-year college recognized as a pathway college for graduates of the Global Assessment Certificate™ program (GAC). The college is now part of a network consisting of more than 100 pathway colleges and universities worldwide. The University of Iowa, Oklahoma State University, and Pacific Lutheran University are among the 34 participating U.S. universities.

“We are very pleased to be the first community college in the country to participate in this highly successful program for international students,” said Tacoma Community College President Pamela Transue.

The GAC is an internationally recognized university preparation program. In order to graduate, students must successfully complete assignments and assessments comparable in level to freshman year undergraduate studies.

“Because of the way the program is structured, when these students arrive for study at higher education institutions in the United States, they are well prepared to be successful.”

The program has Approved Teaching Centers in more than a dozen countries, including Bahrain, Canada, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S. and Vietnam. FALL 2013 I TCCMagazine IBC

6501 S. 19th St. I Tacoma WA 98466

Address Service Requested

Events Calendar Ways2Pay 4College January 29  Tacoma Campus, Bldg. 7, 3-7 p.m. Feb. 6  Tacoma Campus, Bldg. 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 21  Gig Harbor Campus, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 4th Annual Diversity Film Festival Sunday, April 13  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Tuesday, April 15  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Thursday, April 17  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Tuesday, April 22  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Thursday, April 24  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Sunday, April 27  Grand Cinema, Tacoma Upcoming Exhibitions at The Gallery Jan. 2-Mar. 21  Global Perspectives Mar. 31-Apr. 25  TCC Art Faculty Exhibition May 5-June 12  TCC Student Art Exhibition June 25-Aug. 15  Bill Colby Tacoma Wine Classic May 17  Bldg. 11, Opgaard Student Center, 5:30 p.m. Graduation June 14  Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 10 a.m.

Campus Commons Coming Along! The Harned Center for Health Careers is set to open Fall 2014. And right outside the Harned Center’s front door, another major project is almost finished. The new Campus Commons brings open space, seating, and visual appeal to the heart of campus – and it’s scheduled for completion in January 2014.

TCC Magazine  
TCC Magazine  

Fall 2013 issue