Eastfield Et Cetera September 7, 2022

Page 1

Etera Dallas College Eastfield Campus

Campus mourns death of beloved digital media faculty member See page 2 Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Volume 54, Issue 1



Wednesday, September 7, 2022


The Et Cetera

A legacy of goodwill: Williams impacted many By MOIRA MCLNTEE Managing Editor @TheEtCetera

Eastfield students and employees are grieving the loss of digital media faculty Oslynn Williams this summer. Close friends say his kind demeanor and helpful, generous attitude will have a lasting impact on students and faculty alike. “I’m really sad that this happened to him, and I’m really sad that he’s gone,” digital media technology student Vera Dejohnette said. “He was so young and so vibrant. I felt like he had a lot to share and a lot to give to the students and the future.” When Dejohnette heard of his death, she knew Eastfield would feel his absence immensely. She said he was a rare kind of professor who could easily relate to his students on a personal level while still balancing the professionalism needed in the relationship. Williams, 45, died of a heart attack July 20 and is survived by his wife, Portia, and three children. Williams made it obvious to those who knew him that his family was his highest priority. “He never missed any of his kids’ events,” lab specialist Nicholas Garner said. “Daddy-daughter dances — he was there. His son’s sporting events — he was there. He always put his family and his children first.” Williams was hired in 2004 at the Brookhaven campus as a graphic designer. After 12 years, he transferred to Eastfield and spent the last six years teaching students how to master their skills in digital art. Williams graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Williams effortlessly combined humor with professionalism. Quick to laugh and crack jokes, his presence put others at ease. “I was always in there with him while he’s teaching classes,” Garner said. “Sometimes he would have to stop [teaching] because we’re just giggling too much. I couldn’t tell you a day that we spent together that we weren’t laughing about something stupid.” Digital media professor Sandra Evans immediately felt connected to Williams because of their similar teaching styles. Encouraging their students to think creatively and conceptually to deliver their best work bonded the two as coworkers, but Williams’ sense of peace is what showed Evans that he was meant to be a close friend as well. “He would give you advice whenever you needed it,” she said. “You just knew what to do after talking to him. If you were leaning one way or another about a decision, you could always feel confident about your decision after talking to him. He had that effect on people.” Building connections with the other employees at Dallas College was an important steppingstone to success for Garner, and Williams made that a little easier. “When I first started, I followed him around like a little puppy dog,” Garner said. “He introduced me to a lot of people, which opened a lot of doors for me.” A friendship grew easily with Williams, eventually spilling into life outside of campus. Whether it was watching football together or joining in on family barbecues, the duo became inseparable. “I loved spending time with him, and I loved spending time with his family,” Garner said. “His family was just out of this world.” Garner said Williams was always willing to lend a helping hand. He rarely left a call or email unanswered. During his first year at Eastfield, graphic design faculty Walter Land got into a wreck on his way to work. Williams’ generosity the days following left a lasting impression on Land. “For about a week he would come pick me up and take me

to work,” he said. “That was well above and beyond anything he had to do.” Williams continued to be a support system at work. “Very rarely was there something that he didn’t know how to do,” Land said. “He always had an answer for how to figure things out.” With many years of experience in the field of digital art, Williams’ intelligence and confidence in the area was evident. “He was friendly, fun to talk to and smart out of this world,” Land said. “If there was something that you didn’t understand, you could ask him and he would tell you how, and make it sound so simple. … I would make multiple calls about the same thing, and he would laugh, and then go ahead and retell me.” Williams’ passion for teaching and helping his students was unlike anything some of them had ever experienced. Taking every opportunity to raise his students to their full potential, he recommended them for internships, pushed them to explore new interests and urged them to take the leaps that scared them the most. “He was always finding ways to make them feel more com-

fortable,” Evans said. “He wanted them to create some kind of a sense of community with each other. He really made sure to help them through their journey of school.” Chantilette Franklin, a former digital media technology student at Eastfield, experienced his encouragement firsthand when she attended his class. While exploring her interest in photography, he urged her to take an internship with The Et Cetera. She said it pushed her far outside of her comfort zone, but it paid off with great experience in the end. “When I heard the news of his passing, it just floored me,” she said. “You can’t assume that people like him, with that kind of knowledge, are always going to be there. So take advantage of it.” Returning to campus without Williams there to greet her is a sad new reality for Evans. She said she is thankful his office is not near hers so she can avoid the empty room but knows his absence will still linger. “I just want someone to say, ‘Oh you know what? We made a mistake. He’s alive’,” Evans said. “And then I just want him to come around the corner with that giggle and laugh that he always had and tell me this was all just a big joke.’’

Oslynn Williams is remembered for his fun-loving presence and love of family.



NEWS The Et Cetera


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Dallas College upgrading campus safety measures By CARMEN GUZMAN Editor in Chief @TheEtCetera Enhancing security is on Dallas College’s agenda following increased concerns regarding campus safety. New measures include additional cameras, additional communication tools in RAVE and Guardian apps, locational assessments to find vulnerabilities, panic buttons in classrooms and offices, and the ability to lock doors remotely. Concern for campus safety stemming from nationwide gun violence was addressed during the June 7 Board of Trustees meeting. “I want you to know that your safety and that of the entire Dallas College are top priority,” Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon said in an email sent to employees after the meeting. The meeting focused on ensuring campus police and employees have the resources to act in the event of a crisis, as well as creating preventative measures. Existing measures such as campus police patrols and trainings were reiterated by the college. “Our police officers are trained and prepared in how to address an active shooter situation and any other situations that occur on our campuses,” Assistant Chief of Police

Herbert Ashford said. Since the Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, school safety has become a hot topic in the education sector. “A [situation] hasn’t happened again, but I can’t tell how things would go – that’s a what-if,” English professor Larissa Pierce said. “We always want to assume how things are going to go.” Dallas College will soon require students and faculty to watch a safety training video as part of orientation. Eastfield faculty already receive virtual training, but some haven’t received in-person training in years. “We do training every semester, but it’s virtual,” Pierce said. “Before all this virtual stuff, we used to have someone come in and we would practice certain things.” Pierce has forgotten the last time she received in-person training but estimates it to be four years. “I don’t think any virtual training does enough because everyone is not a virtual learner,” Pierce said. Pierce wants Dallas College to provide in-person training for teachers, but she praises panic buttons and remote locks as good first steps for improving campus safety. Safety videos and lectures are standard practice for biology professor Tammy Oliver, but most of her safety concerns were regarding

students in situations she was unprepared for. The last time she received training was before the pandemic. “We do need some training – we need to know what [mental health] resources we can refer those students to,” Oliver said. Dallas College often creates awareness for mental health by promoting the current resources on campus such as counseling and the Student Care Network. A 2022 study from NPR found that Texas is currently the lowestranking state for mental health. Campus security often repeats the phrase “see something, say something,” expressing the importance of students being vigilant about suspicious activity. Lonon has said that communication is key to creating a safe campus. Dallas College is also in the process of expanding communication tools between teachers and campus security. Among changes to campus safety communication is the installation of panic buttons in offices and classrooms. “Since they’ve installed panic buttons in each classroom, I feel more secure,” Oliver said. Previously, when an incident occurred on campus, employees had to call police. Panic buttons remove the middleman by alerting police to an exact location.

“I had to get accustomed to my new phone and I was trying to look at my call log, but I accidentally pushed the panic button,” Oliver said. “And sure enough, maybe a minute later, there’s two police officers at my door.” Enhanced safety measures began implementation in the summer and followed into the fall semester. Although Eastfield is an open campus, there has been no expressed interest in restricting accessibility. “There’s a very big police department here,” art major Trinity Shanks said. “I’m sure we’ll be safe because there’s most likely a bunch of cops around the corner.” New students such as Shanks were impressed with Eastfield’s security presence. Older students such as science major Jesus Guerra are vocal about their support. “[Dallas College] is doing great right now,” Guerra said. “I don’t think they need to improve much. They just need to be more vocal about who we can go to.” But some on campus are concerned about safety issues resulting from the state’s lax approach to gun control. A Senate bill signed in 2020 permits license-to-carry holders to carry concealed firearms in Texas colleges. “It doesn’t mean that people in the community are always threats because sometimes it’s the students,”

Pierce said. “How many students come with a gun every day? I’ve seen some of my students with guns.” Dallas College doesn’t require LTC holders to register with the campus, and the campus lacks the jurisdiction to make holders disclose firearm information. According to the Dallas College FAQ on concealed carry, the administration cannot create a rule to ban all handguns on campus. “The college district is committed to protecting the health and safety of the community, while respecting the rights of its individual members,” the policy reads. “It is the intent of the Board to comply with the law without compromising the mission, purpose, or environment of the college.” The most the administration can do is discuss regulations with students, faculty and staff, which was part of the process behind the new safety measures. In his email, Lonon expressed gratitude for the safety concerns and encourages people to provide feedback. Campus police will actively communicate with faculty and students about developments in campus safety. “The police department and college as a whole continuously evaluate college safety and makes the appropriate adjustments as necessary,” Ashford said.

President Biden announces student loan debt relief By MOIRA MCINTEE Managing Editor @TheEtCetera

President Joe Biden announced a plan on Aug. 24 to forgive a portion of student loans for some borrowers. With his three-part plan, low- to middle-income borrowers could get $10,000 forgiven, with some qualifying for up to $20,000. “The cost of education beyond high school has gone up significantly,” Biden said in his public address. “The total cost to attend a public four-year university has nearly tripled in 40 years.” Instead of increasing funding for public education, Biden noted that most states have cut back on support for public universities, which leaves students with the burden of covering the difference. Some students are rewarded with a Pell Grant, which helps pay for their educational expenses without the burden of having to pay it back afterward. However, these grants no longer give as much relief as they once did. “Pell Grants used to cover 80% of the cost of going to a public four-year college,” Biden said.

“Today, Pell Grants cover roughly 32%.” Unable to pay out of pocket for the remainder of their educational expenses, many turn to federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans to help cover the cost. To help provide some relief to the working class, Biden released his plan to help Americans as they continue to recover from strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A statement from the White House lays out the key factors to the three-part plan to offer student debt relief: • Provide targeted debt relief to address the financial harms of the pandemic; • Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers; • Protect future students and taxpayers by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable when they hike up the prices. Eastfield business faculty Emilio Lopez says he supports Biden’s action on loan forgiveness but has concerns about a potential caveat that could affect many borrowers from getting the help being offered. Choosing to transfer some of his federal loans to private lenders to decrease the interest may now make him ineli-

gible for this help. “It’s unfortunate because I’m still sitting on a hefty balance, and I’m not going to see any of that relief,” Lopez said. “They’ve already been paid well over what I borrowed because I’ve been paying on it for 12 years. So even though I’ve got the interest now to half of what it was with the Department of Education, it’s still a burden.” Despite the potential for being unaffected by Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, Lopez says it’s about time they did something, but Lopez does not envy the position the president is put in when he must make these decisions. “It’s amazing how much pushback he’s getting,” Lopez said. “One group says it’s not enough at $10,000 a head, another group says it’s far too much and is going to increase inflation.” Critics of Biden have been vocal about their response to the news. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out on Twitter about his disappointment in the decision. “Democrats’ student loan socialism is a slap in the face to working Americans who sacrificed to pay their debt or made different career

choices to avoid debt,” he tweeted. “A wildly unfair redistribution of wealth toward higherearning people.” His tweet solicited responses from many democratic elected officials refuting his statement and offering their own perspectives in return. “But it’s really not. It’s not a slap in the face,” Kentucky State Representative Martina Jackson tweeted in response. “I have paid student debt. It’s a step in the right direction. We shouldn’t be going in debt for getting an education.” The total amount forgiven for some borrowers may only make a small dent, but for some it is an enormous weight they are excited to get rid of. Jake White, a continuing-education student at Eastfield, says he was grateful to read the news. With just over $20,000 in student loan debt left to pay from earning his first bachelor’s degree nine years ago, he looks forward to having his chance to get some relief. “I think it’s hard to separate student loan forgiveness from other forms of loan forgiveness that we’ve seen in the last two years,” he said. “Why can multimillionaire business owners get loans forgiven but students or former students can’t?”



Wednesday, September 7, 2022


The Et Cetera

Life after Roe: Trigger law takes effect By MOIRA MCINTEE Managing Editor @TheEtCetera Just two months after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, almost one-third of all states have enacted abortion bans. On Aug. 25, Texas put into effect a near-total ban with the possibility of life in prison for any medical provider who is found guilty of performing an abortion. In a vote of 5-4 in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, the Supreme Court turned the decision of abortion rights over to the states. This action allows state governments to protect or criminalize abortion as they see fit. Protests erupted in major cities all over the country in reaction to this news, while many anti-abortion organizations have celebrated the ruling. “As if the general fear of pregnancy before I’m ready to be a mom wasn’t enough,” Eastfield education major Sara Almaraz said. “Now I’m even more scared of what the consequences could be.” In addition to restricted access to abortion care, the Dallas Morning News reports that some Texas pharmacists are pausing the distribution of certain medications that have the potential to induce abortion out of fear of possible civil lawsuit. Stories of women being forced to endure dangerous health concerns while pregnant with sometimes nonviable fetuses have been gaining attention since the Supreme Court’s decision. In Houston, a woman was forced to wait until she developed a lifethreatening condition before she was allowed access to abortion care after her water broke at 19 weeks, according to a news release from Planned Parenthood. “It’s time to stop playing nice,” Dallas Democrats chairwoman Kristy Noble said during an abortion rights protest on June 25. “The Supreme Court has lost its mind. Thursday it said gun control can’t be decided by the states, and then on Friday it said that women’s bodily autonomy can.” Noble urged those in attendance to keep their energy up and get everyone they know to vote in the November election.


Abortion rights supporters chant at the Dallas Rising Together Rally on June 25 at Main Street Garden.

Quoting statistics from the 2020 presidential election, she said there were 475,000 people registered to vote in Dallas who did not, and 300,000 of them were Democrats. “A million people are not registered [to vote] in Dallas County,” she said. “We have the numbers right here, and we have 150 precincts where we know those votes are at.” Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke also ran for senator against Ted Cruz in 2018 but lost by 216,000 votes. Now running against current Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, O’Rourke has intensified his position on abortion rights. “Reproductive health care is under attack in this state more than it is anywhere else in this country, and probably anywhere else in the developed world,” he said at a news conference in Houston. “There’s one person who is responsible for that. That is Gov. Greg Abbott.” The Supreme Court ruling has prompted many politicians to speak up about abortion rights.


Sen. Nathan Johnson speaks to abortion rights supporters at the Rising Together Rally.

“The first person I called was my daughter, who will be 17 soon, and I’m scared about the environment she’s entering,” State Sen. Nathan Johnson said at the Dallas protest. “I don’t really understand the environment where some people are more afraid of their daughter competing

in a track meet against a transgender kid than they are of their daughter being forced to bear the child of her rapist.” Anti-abortion advocates argue that abortion is rarely necessary because of the option of foster services and adoption. Texas Attorney Gen-


Cody McMillen joins protesters at the rally in support of abortion access.

eral Ken Paxton issued a statement supporting the overturning of Roe v. Wade and blamed the 1973 decision for millions of potential lives lost. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with partners including the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, has challenged abortion bans in more than 12 states. As of Aug. 23 there are 16 states that have abortion bans in effect. States with near-total bans include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. Georgia, Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee have six-week bans, while Florida has a 15-week ban, Utah an 18-week ban and North Carolina a 20-week ban. “I don’t think a lot of people realize that it’s not as simple as just giving a baby up for adoption,” Eastfield social work major Casey Lowrey said. “We already have a foster care crisis in this state. Forcing people to have babies they don’t want or can’t care for isn’t the answer.”


NEWS The Et Cetera


Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Back to his roots Alumnus guides students using Eastfield experience

Student success coach Erbin Ayala sits and talks with Christopher Tellez in the Hive on Aug. 1. Ayala uses his experience as an Eastfield alumnus to coach students.

Inside his small office in C-120H, success coach Erbin Ayala helps about eight to 12 students daily to succeed in their academic journies. Seventeen years ago Ayala sat in Eastfield classrooms as a student, so he understands what students need to thrive in the college environment. However, it was at skate camp where Ayala was first inspired to consider pursuing education. “That experience was really the lynchpin for me in education,” Ayala said. “If it wasn’t for skateboarding, I wouldn’t be in the position that I have now.” Growing up, Ayala and his sister helped their dad with his ice cream business in San Fernando Valley,

California. He spent his days at the park helping unload the cargo, stocking and selling the product. But at age 11, he found a sport that changed him: skateboarding. He was consumed by it. “I really believe that skateboarding changes lives. It changed mine,” Ayala said. “I want to do it until I can’t.” After graduating from UNT in 2008, a friend referred him to a position at a skate park in Denton. “He knew I was looking for a job and he just thought ‘oh, you skateboard,’” Ayala said. “I did that for three years, three seasons basically.” In 2011, Ayala moved to Beijing, China, to teach English. “[Summer camp] made me open to teach English overseas because I figured out that I was pretty good at working with youth,” Ayala said.

He taught at a private kindergarten where he worked with 4-yearolds. “I learned a lot of life lessons, learned independence. … The China experience was unique, to say the least. I learned a little bit of Mandarin and about the culture. I still draw from that experience.” After coming back from China he started working at a nonprofit, Education is Freedom. He traveled to area high schools, providing students with information about college, and that is what set him up for his current role as a success coach. Like other students at Eastfield, Ayala had an adviser who encouraged him to enroll in his first music class. “My introduction to music was here,” Ayala said. “I had no experience in music growing up.”

I had a good experience at Eastfield, so being able to make a difference in a student, even one student [motivates me.] - Erbin Ayala, student success coach

Music faculty member Eddie Healy, who was an adjunct instructor at the time, inspired Ayala to play the guitar. “He was fun to work with just because he was inquisitive and enjoyed the material and he was friendly,” Healy said. “He liked talking to people.” Healy is also a former Eastfield student. “It’s a special thing, for those of us who both attended school at Eastfield, and then come back and work at Eastfield. It feels like kind of a homecoming and a very special homecoming,” Healy said. “And Erbin and I’ve talked about that. We

By LONDY RAMIREZ Staff Writer @TheEtCetera

share that feeling, that sentiment that it’s a special place that gave us our start, that inspired us to develop an interest in academia and continuing to remain involved in academia.” Healy often invited Ayala to continue playing with the Eastfield guitar ensemble. “Right up until the pandemic hit, he was actually performing with our Eastfield guitar ensemble,” Healy said. “We would routinely invite him to perform with us not just on campus at Eastfield but a lot of other places. He’s performed at a few different places around Dallas with us.”

See AYALA, page 12

Volleyball: NJCAA national champion in 2017 Soccer: Has produced 7 Academic All-Americans

25 awards for sustainability programs

pollinators and conservation

526 acres of land dedicated to native plants,


The Et Cetera Page 6, Life & Arts, 9/7/22

534 continuing education courses on sustainability

Student success

Basketball: Won the national championship in 1997 and finished second in 2017, 2004 and 1992 Baseball: NJCAA Division III national champions in 2011, 2006 and 2001


- Nepal 77.84% - Vietnam 12.60% - Republic of Korea 6.65% - People’s Republic of China 2.35% - Saudi Arabia .55%

Top 5 International groups

students are 59% offemale

32,580 returning students

enrolled for 65,354 students fall semester


By April Calvo and Mattheau Faught

Dallas College by the numbers

92.54% summer 90.83% spring 90.02% fall

79.97% summer 74.08% spring 70.32% fall

Faculty by generation Gen Z: 2 Millenials: 389 Gen X: 1,430 Baby Boomers: 856 Mature: 57

Source: Dallas College Data Depot, Eastfield Athletics

Students by generation Gen Z: 54,400 Millenial: 68,537 Gen X: 22,471 Baby Boomers: 4,626 Mature: 573

Generation gap

page 7, eastfieldnews.com

Dual-credit students had the highest success rate overall: 89.99%

Highest student passing rates: 2021-2022 Brookhaven 98.31% Mountain View 83.91%

Highest student completion rates: 2021-2022 Brookhaven 98.31% Mountain View 96.55%

Student completion rates

The School of Creative Arts, Entertainment and Design has the highest enrollment, closely followed by the school of Engineering, Technology, Science and Mathematics.

Courses completed with any grade, 2020-2021:

Courses completed with a C or higher, 2020-2021:



Wednesday, September 7, 2022


The Et Cetera

Knight takes personal approach to teaching By CARMEN GUZMAN Editor in Chief @TheEtCetera

Rubber models of organs and human bodies fill the science lab’s counters. Each model contains a treasure trove of anatomical information. Anatomy professor Carl Knight points to a diagram containing a kaleidoscope of cellular structures. Students scratch their heads to the unintelligible names of proteins. Others lie down on their hands, half-asleep, like they’ve given up on learning. Knight looks away from the diagram and asks, “does everyone understand?” Some students shake their heads, causing Knight to simplify his lecture to clear up confusion. As if Knight cast a spell, his students begin scribbling in their notebooks, suddenly engaged with the lesson. “If you don’t break your cells down, you’re in trouble,” Knight says, walking away from the board to work individually with each student. Since the beginning of his 52-year tenure at Eastfield, Knight never changed his one-on-one mentorship approach, saying his students learn best when they’re taught according to their individual needs. He’s inspired several to become medical pioneers in their respective fields. “My students have done pretty well,” Knight said. “My dentist and doctor are my students.” Since 1970, Knight has taught the same anatomy and physiology classes at Eastfield. He provides every lesson with ease, a practice perfected by memory. Knight chooses to have few students. Flexible office hours and lesson plans allow Knight to sit down with each one. “The big secret is you spend a lot of time with your students and show them how to study,” Knight said. Knight credits student success to having a teacher to rely on for academic assistance. Dr. An Lu is one of many students who sat down with Knight when she struggled with his class. She came to Eastfield with a lack of direction and little knowledge of the English language. Despite the language barrier, Knight often sat down with Lu to help her understand lessons. She later became an award-winning pulmonary and critical care provider at UT Southwestern in Dallas. “[Knight] helped steer me in the right direction.” Lu said. “Without [Knight], I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be here today.” Knight assisted Lu with her application and scholarships for medical school. After graduating, Knight helped Lu secure her career by writing a letter of recommendation to UT Southwestern. “He is a great mentor, and he will always be there for me,” Lu said. “I owe my career to him.” A major component of Lu’s academic success was being named for a scholarship from the National Science Foundation, financing a full ride through medical school. The scholarship was part of a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, secured through a recommendation letter authored by Knight and his constituents. Jessica Gonzalez, the lead for Eastfield’s STEM Research Program, manages a science department built and funded by the grant. Science students operate thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. “Knight was the vision behind writing the $1.8 million grant,” Gonzalez said. “He was able to set this lab up.” Gonzalez is one of Knight’s former students. Like Lu, she didn’t know what to study – initially, she considered majoring in dance.

Carl Knight teaches three students in his anatomy class during a lab on April 25 in C301.

During one of her exams, Gonzalez forgot to get a scantron. Her search led her to Knight’s office, where Knight gave her a scantron and a thought-provoking discussion about discovering her major. “[Knight] told me about his anatomy class, he told me about his pre-med students, and told me to keep taking classes,” Gonzalez said. “He was the first person that really spoke to me in college.” After enrolling in Knight’s class, Gonzalez discovered a passion for science and microbiology. Knight often sat down with her and explained various assignments she was initially uninterested in. She later graduated with a science degree. “He’s mentored several students beyond taking his class, and that’s what makes him so special,” Knight said. Gonzalez came back to Eastfield after Knight recommended her for a lab position. After the consolidation into Dallas College, Gonzalez was promoted to the program lead. She initially didn’t imagine herself in such a high position. “He said to make sure you are changing people’s lives,” Gonzalez said. “I was going to be a doctor, but he convinced me to become a teacher because I realized I could change more lives as one – just like he did for the past 52 years.” Like his students, Knight frequently hopped between academic options, unable to decide how to advance his career. “I was going to be a veterinarian. I started when I was 11 - I raised parakeets,” Knight said. “I went to MSU to become one and that didn’t work out for me.” Knight started his teaching career in 1970 as an anatomy professor at Michigan State University and working as anatomy professor. He spent part of his career publishing research on poultry and avian science. That same year, former Eastfield Chancellor Jan LeCroy noticed Knight’s work and invited him to teach at the newly-


opened Eastfield in Mesquite. “We talked about what the dream was here – the American dream,” Knight said. “[LeCroy] said, ‘you can either go do your research work, or come down to Eastfield and make a difference.’ I chose to make a difference.” Fast forward to 2022 and Knight doesn’t regret walking away from his high-paying career at MSU to inspire new academic trailblazers. Radiologic sciences major Maturin Ndukong is the top student in Knight’s anatomy class. He passes notoriously difficult exams with near-perfect scores. “[Knight] is very patient with students,” Ndukong said. “He takes his time with [class]. And if you don’t know it, he’ll make sure to repeat himself until you get it.” The professor routinely encourages Ndukong to try his best, even him to consider switching his major to general medicine. “I owe my success to [Knight] being the first person to teach me, and then to myself,” Ndukong said. Knight’s contact list is filled with the names of his former and current students. Most students Knight has known for years, even decades, update him on their latest successes. “You want your kids to be successful,” Knight said, showing a portrait featuring him and his co-authors for the National Science Foundation grant. The walls of Knight’s office are filled with old photos, awards and certificates – so much that Knight is running out of space to display the newest monument to his influence. His bookshelves are equally full, and he’s resorted to stacking research papers on his desk. “[Students] need someone to tell them they’re smart,” Knight said, motioning to a wall of photos featuring him with students, faculty and Dallas College administration. “Someone needs to help them get self-confidence and you can do that as a teacher. Once they have pride, they take off.”

OPINION The Et Cetera

Etera Award-winning member of: • Texas Intercollegiate Press Association • Texas Community College Journalism Association • Associated Collegiate Press • College Media Association

Dallas College Eastfield Campus 3737 Motley Drive Mesquite, TX 75150 Phone: 972-860-7130 Email: etc4640@dcccd.edu Editor in Chief Carmen Guzman Managing Editor Moira McIntee Presentation Editor Mattheau Faught Photo Editor Rory Moore Staff Writers Manny Willis Londy Ramirez Graphics Editor April Calvo Staff Breanna Hernandez Publication Adviser Elizabeth Langton Student Media Adviser Natalie Webster Faculty Adviser Lori Dann The views expressed on the opinion pages and other opinion pieces and cartoons in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Et Cetera, Dallas College or the Dallas County Community College District. The Et Cetera is published by a student staff. Each member of the college community is entitled to one free copy of The Et Cetera. First Amendment Right Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Letters to the Editor Letters must be typed, signed and include a phone number. Letters will be edited for profanity and vulgarity, Associated Press style, grammar, libel and space when needed. The content will remain that of the author. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

ABOUT THE COVER Photo collage of Erbin Ayala on the job as a success coach with his hobby of skateboarding front and centered. Photo illustration and design by Mattheau Faught

9 eastfieldnews.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Loan forgiveness is a Band-Aid on bigger issue President Joe Biden’s plan for student loan forgiveness is a net positive for college students, but more needs to be done to prevent the issue of crippling student debt from continuing. The best way to mitigate the student loan crisis is to attack the issue at its source: rising tuition rates and the predatory financial practices that have followed. Interest rates for federal student loans range from 4.99% to 7.54% depending on degree level. Private loan interest can go as high as 14%. By comparison, the average home loan has an interest rate of 5%. While this might seem comparable, a key difference between these loans is laws set in place forbidding mortgage lenders from setting too low of payments that allow interest to build up. Student loans commonly offer income-based repayment plans. For new graduates, this is often the only option that makes the monthly payments possible. However, these low payments allow interest to grow. This is then added to the original principal balance, and now interest starts to grow on top of interest. Despite a record of on-time payments, the overall balance continues to grow and hangs over the heads of borrowers. Biden has placed one final suspension on interest rates that will continue until Dec. 31. Loan payments and collections have also been put on pause until this date. These temporary pauses are meaningful, but it’s imperative to sign student loan regulations into law. Forgiving up to $20,000 in loans makes an incredible difference for struggling students, but we’ll return to square one if the current administration doesn’t address what initially pushed this issue into fruition. Currently, student loan debt sits around $1.9 trillion nationwide, but it wasn’t always this way. The past reality of modestly priced college was due to massive federal funding in education. Legislation such as the National Defense Education Act and Higher Education Act of 1965 created an affordable pathway into higher education.


But major budget cuts since the 1980s sent educational institutions scrambling to offset the deep loss in funding. Increasing the cost of tuition was the solution, and these prices continue to rise to this day. According to a 2022 report from The College Board, the average annual tuition for an in-state student at a public four-year institution is $27,330. Private four-year institutions average as high as $54,800 per year. When federal aid doesn’t cover the costs, students are forced to seek out other avenues to make the payments. Predatory loan practices have been the norm since students became desperate to pay for college. High interest rates combined with crushing financial ramifications trap most students in unavoidable debt. Inflation and the rising cost of living have pushed colleges and lenders to seek more cash out of students. Combined with living expenses, indebted students make little progress on paying off their loans. Some remain in debt for a substan-

tial portion of their adulthood. Federal loans help students complete their education with the caveat that their bank accounts are being drained for most of their lives. Flat forgiveness isn’t enough. No doubt it’s an incredible boon for those struggling with loan debt, especially those with lower amounts owed, but according to a 2021 report by Education Data, the average federal student loan debt is $36,510 per borrower. With the high interest rates attached to these loans, interest will continue to build and payments won’t stop, but the principal balance will hardly be touched. Even if a total wipe-out legislation of student loan forgiveness was signed into effect immediately, it is only a matter of time before we return to our current state of seemingly never-ending student debt. Without outlawing the predatory practices of these lending institutions, students are destined to struggle to stay afloat in the deep waters of loan repayments for the foreseeable future.

Dallas College prides itself as an affordable institution. With record-low tuition rates, it’s a deal for all within the area. Regardless, many students and faculty here are plagued with crippling student loan debt. We know the current policy offered a clean slate for some, but the tumor needs to be cut – not bandaged. Partial loan forgiveness is an important first step, and the progress in this area should not go unappreciated. However, we need legislation put into place to protect students in the future. If laws can protect borrowers from exploitative mortgage practices, the same should be done to protect our students. Voting for politicians that support student loan forgiveness, free college and capping interest rates is the first step the public can take to make sure this problem doesn’t persist. Student loans should be forgiven, and our presiding administration needs to create the infrastructure to make sure a loan crisis of this magnitude never occurs again.

Sports Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Sept. 9 Sept. 12 Sept. 17 Sept. 19 Sept. 20

Volleyball vs Weatherford Soccer vs Western Texas Volleyball vs Coastal Bend Volleyball vs Mountain View Soccer vs Cedar Valley


4 p.m. 3 p.m. 10 a.m. 6 p.m. 6 p.m.

10 The Et Cetera

Stone signs free-agent deal with Arizona Diamondbacks By MANNY WILLIS Staff Writer @TheEtCetera Former Eastfield pitcher Tyler Stone is now pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ rookie league team after signing a free-agent deal this summer. Stone had 179 strikeouts with the Eastfield Harvesters from 2018 to 2019 and will now be joining the Diamondbacks after playing for McNeese State in the Division I Southland Conference. “After the draft, I was a little disappointed not getting that phone call right away or that night, but I had seen the scout watching me at games and we would have small conversations,” Stone said. “He ended up giving me a call and asked to sign. I never thought this was going to happen to me after being a late bloomer, but it’s here now and I couldn’t be happier.” Stone played for Rockwall High School and then committed to Stephen F. Austin. However, he was redshirted his first year. “I had already talked to coach [Michael] Martin from Eastfield, and he was wanting to give me an opportunity to play for him,” Stone said. “After that semester, I went to Eastfield for two seasons and really found my confidence there.”

arm back then. I felt he had a great opportunity to develop here at Eastfield. He doesn’t have a pitcher’s body, being around 6 feet, but the fact he was able to sign with the Diamondbacks, it’s amazing.” Stone transferred to the University of Texas at Permian Basin and then to McNeese State to play for one season. “I had some frustrating moments at UTPB but there were some bright spots there,” Stone said. “McNeese was where everything began to come together, and it showed on the mound and stats. My confidence grew and I began to believe more and more that I had a chance.” Tyler is not the first Eastfield student to play professional baseball. Players such as Ryan Roberts, Travis Brewster and Will Brunson were all drafted and played professionally, while other alumni played independent baseball.


Tyler Stone throws a pitch for McNeese State at Joe Miller Ballpark.

Stone averaged 12.55 strikeouts per game in 80.1 innings pitched for the Harvesters, making 15 appearances in the 2018-2019 season. He posted a 4.37 ERA and a 5-4 record.

“Tyler was one of our main guys. He was a leader on our pitching staff, worked hard, was a great kid,” Martin said. “He got better here. … His mechanics were OK, and he had a great

“We’ve always had confidence in what we do to [help students] have an opportunity to move on,” Martin said. “Our program welcomes players who are wanting to develop and to get chances that not everyone can have.” Stone said he will continue to work hard and grow as a player. “I want to reach my goal of making it to the big leagues, and it starts with success now,” Stone said. “I have the resources around me to do so, and it’s an awesome feeling to be a part of this organization.”

Women’s volleyball starts season without head coach By MOIRA MCINTEE Managing Editor @TheEtCetera


Naomi Polnett attacks for Eastfield during the game against North Central Texas College on Aug. 31.

The Eastfield women’s volleyball team has started its season without a full-time head coach. The Harvester Bees lost their previous coach, Brandon Crisp, over the summer when he took a head coaching position with the Lamar University volleyball program. During his eight years at Eastfield, Crisp led the team to five top-20 national rankings, as well as the 2017 NJCAA national championship. Despite starting the season with two losses and the coaching transition, the team remains optimistic. “We’re confident going into this season because we’re confident in each other,” freshman defensive specialist Mackenzie Murphy said. “We have a really strong team either way.” Unsure of when their new coach will be announced or when they will be able to start working with them, the players have been left in the dark about the hiring process. “I feel like it’s not really an obstacle for us,”

freshman middle blocker Naomi Polnett said. “We’re a good team and we really love each other.” The players say they have no plans to allow these unknowns to distract them from the relationships they’ve built with each other already. “We’ve worked with two coaches so far,” Polnett said. “But everyone gets the tea when we get the tea about the new one.” Giovanni Cardenas, former coach with Incredible Crush volleyball club, was hired in late July to fill in while Dallas College worked to secure someone for the permanent position. “So far, we’re doing really good,” Cardenas said. “We’ve had two games for now, with two [Division I] teams. Even though we lost them both, they are still performing really good.” As of Sep. 1, the Harvester Bees are 0-4 in the regular season. With conference play approaching, Cardenas expects the Harvester Bees to be the team to beat regardless of who is coaching them. “I’m excited,” Polnett said. “I feel like we have a really good court connection, and I feel like we’re really going to dominate the conference this year.”


SPORTS The Et Cetera


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Harvesters to start season on revamped field By MANNY WILLIS Staff Writer @TheEtCetera

The Eastfield Harvesters are set to unveil their renovated artificial turf field and other upgraded features this season after a summer of construction. The $2 million project is scheduled to be completed at the end of September, in time for the Harvesters to start season training. The new surface will strip away the traditional grass field, along with implementing new bleachers and metal batting cages. “We did a field study, a 53-page case study, to see if this was going to be needed,” Eastfield facilities director Adam Qualkenbush said. “Across the board, it checked the boxes for us in making the decision. We saw more advantages to this such as maintenance, costs, longevity and safety. It was a no-brainer, to be honest.” Eastfield’s new field will have the same dimensions but is going through an extensive reconstruction including the addition of a subterranean drainage system as well as multiple layers of

compacted gravel. The soil goes through a conditioning process that regulates the moisture levels under the turf system. This moisture control helps prevent the surface from shifting due to moisture expansion and contraction. “A turf field can actually reduce injury and the severity of them. High schools are beginning to use them so it would help us in recruiting players,” head coach Michael Martin said. “It is able to last a lot longer without needing too much maintenance, unlike grass, and on the plus side it is also an eco-friendly option that would benefit the environment.” The company managing the project is FieldTurf, who Dallas College hired for the first time for this project. They are known to have worked on schools such as Texas Tech, University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana Tech and more. “I’ve been to some of these fields and seen their work, and they have done outstanding,” Martin said. “I’m happy that Qualkenbush and the other facility directors had the same vision and helped push to get this done this summer. There is no doubt that this will benefit us.”



The grass at Eastfield’s baseball field was removed in preparation for upgraded turf during construction on July 2-2.


12 Wednesday, September 7, 2022


The Et Cetera

Ayala guides students on path to success Continued from page 5 Healy said he encourages students who need help to contact Ayala. “Anytime they can seek help from Erbin, they should absolutely do so because he’s so open to helping students,” Healy said. “He’s a great person to talk about the community college experience with and especially, he’s the ideal person to talk to about the transition between the community college student and taking the next steps, either in academia or into the professional realm.” Ayala’s goal as a success coach is to be an agent of change, making difference and giving back. “Eastfield is home for me,” Ayala said. “I had a good experience at Eastfield, so being able to make a difference in a student, even one student [motivates me.]” Education major Fernando Esparza found Ayala by luck. He was looking at the Navigate app because

he had just received an email about getting ready for graduation and found out he needed to reach out to a success coach. “I honestly chose him randomly,” Esparza said. “But that was a really great choice.” The second time they spoke, it surprised Esparza. “He actually reached out to me to see how I was doing,” Esparza said. “No other success coach has ever done that with me. He took his time to see if I chose the right classes and that was really helpful. I can tell that he loves helping people,” he said. Now 37, Ayala still practices skateboarding six to seven days a week and plays guitar every day. “I would encourage any student to get involved outside the classroom because it helps you develop as a person, and not just be what I call a parking lot student, where you go to class, you leave, and that’s it,” he said. “Not having that experience outside the classroom, you may lose sight of what you’re there for.”

“At least you survived” by April Calvo


Erbin Ayala works with college algebra major Alizabeth Martinez on her degree plan.



Compiled by Carmen Guzman

College announces career training center Dallas College will create a workforce training center out of The Shops at Redbird. The mall underwent a $200 million transformation project with the express purpose of turning South Dallas into a commercial hub. Dallas College signed onto the project for a 22,000-square-foot training center within proximity of Mountain View and Cedar Valley. “Career training serves the needs of everyone who wants to build a better life by honing their skills for a high-demand job,” Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon said in a news release. Workforce Solutions of Greater

Dallas joined the partnership and will assist with providing programming. More industry partners such as United Way of Metropolitan Dallas have signed onto the collaboration. Medical partners such as UT Southwestern and Parkland Hospital have taken residence within the RedBird area. Current plans for career training include programs for basic adult education and training courses meant to support South Dallas’ career pipeline. The goal is creating a strong occupational body to support economic growth.

Eastfield’s swimming pool will be restored and maintained per a public works deal with the city of Mesquite. Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon approved an agreement for the city of Mesquite to lead and finance the restoration of Eastfield’s currently defunct pool. The motion was signed at the June 7 Dallas College board of trustees regular meeting. “Dallas College is truly helping the community on the east side, especially the underserved,” Eastfield President Eddie Tealer said at the

meeting. “Thank you for all that.” The campus pool was closed in 2016. Previously, the pool was used as a recreational space for students and faculty. Scuba and swimming classes were hosted in the pool as well. The city of Mesquite plans to renovate the area to serve as a public pool. “This agreement keeps the pool and answers the community,” Scott Wright, deputy chief facilities officer for Dallas College, said at the meeting. “It’s a good deal for all of us.”

Campus pool will reopen to community