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FOUNDATION IN TOUCH A Publication for Friends & Alumni of Western Nevada College

Volume 17 • Number 1

Winter 2014


Finding Their Cause: Pursuing Careers in Science

Four Western Nevada College students find inspiration and motivation to pursue their love of astronomy and physics.

IN THIS ISSUE Pintar Remembered We remember donor Mike Pintar, who passed away on March 6, 2011, at age 83.

Foundation Announces Top Priorities New funding priorities will benefit students who aspire to learn more, do more, and give back to our community.

New Scholarship Donors Step Up Western Nevada College welcomes 12 new scholarship donors to our family. They are making a difference in the lives of students.


2 I Winter 2014

Scholarship Donors Open Doors for STEM Students More than a decade ago, Western Ne-

vada College physics professor Robert Collier’s dream to open an observatory came true. His vision, the desire by his students to learn about astronomy, and a community’s willingness to care converged to create the Jack C. Davis Observatory. Observatory programs allow Western Nevada College to provide hands-on learning that has inspired students to look beyond the classroom. The faculty at Western know that students are passionate about pursuing careers in the STEM fields, yet many lack the financial resources to go to school. Western’s goal is to ensure that students can have the experiences to view STEM as a vital and rewarding career choice.

Vision for the Future The Observatory and STEM programs have ignited a spark in our students that have inspired their love of Physics and Astronomy. Most have enjoyed the mentoring needed to be successful and continue in these fields. Faculty and community members who have served as mentors know that they must commit not only to the students’ academic learning but to their financial needs as well. The STEM scholarship donors that have made a valuable investment in our students – like the Dr. Walter Dillard, Jack C. Davis, Mark Dorio, and Thomas Waddell Memorial Scholarships and the

Dr. Robert Collier and former student Amanda Heiderman, at the 10th Anniversary party. Western Nevada Astronomical Society understand that investing these funds at Western has allowed students to be able to work on projects and programs outside of the classroom such as the Prometheus Project, Muon (charged particle) detection and Astrophysics research.

“Stars Over Observatory” photograph by John Dykes is one of the many photographs auctioned at the gala event.

STEM STUDENT STATS • 2013, Western Nevada College granted 17% of Associate Degree to students in STEM fields. • WNC has an overall, three-year graduation rate of 22.1%. • Students receiving an Associate of Science degree graduate at the highest rates at 26.8%.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR - Sean Davison The Western Nevada College Foundation welcomes Sean Davison as chair for 2013-2015. He credits his parents for teaching him two primary lessons that drive who he is today. “My parents taught me the difference between want and need. In reality, you don’t really need that much. I didn’t need more than one pair of shoes, and having holes in them didn’t mean they needed replacing. If I wanted something I had to earn it, and working hard to save up for something showed me its real value.”

“Secondly, they instilled in me the value and importance of education, and it became clear to me that education was a path to the dreams and potential that existed within me. While serving on the University of Iowa MBA Advisory Council, I came to understand the true cost of education versus how much I actually paid as a student. My perspec-

tive changed after realizing that others were investing in educational access in a significant way.” “Educational access and opportunity is a critical component to success of a student, a parent, an employer, a community and a nation. I feel it is our collective responsibility to push our children achieve academically, as well as to provide opportunities to meet the demands of all students. I am pleased to be a part of the WNC Foundation. I cannot imagine living and working in Carson City without this investment in our community.”

START HERE . . . GO ANYWHERE Finding Their Cause For four students, Western Nevada College helped them find inspiration and motivation to pursue their love of astronomy and physics.

Sean Alto confidently and anxiously anticipates the next step in his educational journey. The reason, he says, is his success in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses he has completed at Western Nevada College. “This school has literally changed my life,” Alto said. “I feel prepared to transfer to UNR and hit the ground running in the more specialized classes, due completely to the content and delivery of fundamental STEM courses at WNC.” The Jack C. Davis Observatory has opened his eyes to a universe he never knew existed, he said. Using the equipment has been a unique experience that not many students are able to have. At the observatory, he is surrounded by extremely knowledgeable people. Janelle Ordonez has a vision for her future through her science classes and experiences at the Jack C. Davis Obser-

I3 vatory. Her goal is to work in the world continuously encouraging him to keep of applied physics. “The observatory, or pursuing physics. the people there, have really inspired and motivated me to further pursue my eduAmanda Heiderman said, “Professor cation in science,” she said. “I really enjoy Collier became my mentor as I pursued ________________________ general education at it, and the work on the muon WNC, and withThe observatory, or the people (charged parout his help and there, have really inspired ticles) detector guidance, as well and motivated me. really made me as other faculty realize that.” members (profesJANELLE ORDONEZ ________________________ sors Michael Sady Daniel Mayes and Ed Kingham), was uncertain after high school about I might not have gotten to where I am what to do with his life. His calling came today in my career.” into focus when he enrolled at Western “I fully realized my potential at Nevada College. There, his love of matheWNC when I found myself getting nearly matics, astronomy and art introduced him perfect grades for the first time in my life to world of physics and the Jack C. Davis and truly enjoying studying math and Observatory. “ science.” At the time, I don’t think I really even Heiderman’s fondest memories of knew what physics was or that it existed the observatory are watching it being as a major scientific field of study,” he constructed and working there prior to said. starting graduate school. “I learned how It was at the observatory where it all much impact a small observatory can came together for Mayes, inspiring him make, not only in terms of collecting data, with scientific research, and Professor but also outreach to the community,” she Robert Collier who solidied his founsaid. dation in physics and astronomy, and getting him involved at the observatory, introducing him to astrobiology, and

AT&T $10,000 Grant Supports Summer Bridge Program

A generous grant from AT&T made

it possible for 46 graduating seniors from seven western Nevada high schools to have the opportunity to complete a remedial English class as well as a college success class during the summer. Recognizing that students who start college in a remedial English course will be less likely to graduate than those who start at college level, students completing Summer Bridge are prepared for college level courses by the fall semester. The 2013 Summer Bridge boot camp helped every participant successfully complete a remedial English course. Ninety-eight percent of participating students completed the college success class. In addition, students reported that they felt prepared,

college student, “he said.” Comparing confident and excited about starting their my grades from beginning of summer to first full semester. Their chances for reachend, I gained a better understanding of ing graduation has risen dramatically in college classes and what is expected of eight short weeks. me as a student.” In addition to the AT&T grant, the WNC Foundation awarded six students scholarships after they successfully completed the summer program. Devin Miner, a senior from Douglas high school majoring in Computer Science, was one of the students who received the award. “The program gave me the tools I needed to become a prepared Summer Bridge students thank AT&T for support.


A Year in Review From the Director - Katie Leao

First and foremost, THANK YOU! Your support of the Western Nevada College Foundation is transforming lives and enhancing the journey. It is our mission to create public awareness and funding resources that provide financial assistance and community support for Western Nevada College students, faculty and staff. It is because of you that students’ lives are truly transformed. The Foundation Intouch offers you a glance at how our students are impacted and how you and more than 100 other donors are making it happen. These are exciting times for the Western Nevada College Foundation. This past year, nine scholarships were established, thanks to the generosity of our donors. We hosted a number of fundraising events that showcase the phenomenal programs at WNC. The 10th Athletics Gala Downtown Reno Ballroom in January, raised nearly $68,000. The WNC Observatory celebrated its 10th year on the Carson Campus with a variety of lectures, star parties, student programs and a college science day. More than 150 people attended these events. The 15th Golf Classic raised nearly $10,000 for the Presidents Fund for Excellence. Most notably, your generosity helped us successfully award more than $160,000 in academic scholarships to 120 students. As we look at the future of WNC, the Foundation board is rising to new challenges. We are developing a strategic plan that aligns with college goals and redirects fundraising efforts to support its long-term needs.


Our Top Priorities


Institutional Sustainability

Western Nevada College is the educational institution of choice in western Nevada. Through strong partnerships in our service area communities, we provide high quality academic programming, and student services to meet the needs of the WNC community. As the college moves forward with new strategic goals, we must build long-term investment that assists WNC in sustaining its contribution to our community workforce, provides funding for capital, academic program support, and other operational needs. We want everyone in our community to realize the benefit of attending Western Nevada College. Whether it is for job training or to transfer to a university, we know that students can Start Here and Go Anywhere. Quite simply, a college education is an investment in a student’s future, as well as the future of our community.


Jump Start College is a collab-

orative effort between Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral and Storey County school districts and Western Nevada College. It allows high-achieving high school juniors and seniors to complete up to 48 units of dual credit classes that meet both high school and WNC core requirements, prior to high school graduation. The college and school districts are providing a “supported” college experience model that will create a culture of academic success by promoting student-faculty communications through small class sizes. Students will be enrolled in college classes with other students from their high school, and will receive support and guidance from teaching assistants in each class. The program begins in fall 2014.


1. Institutional Sustainability

2. Jump Start College

3. Need Based Scholarships

4. WNC STEM Scholar Program

Students study in the Joe Dini Student Center which includes a gym, activity room, study area and student government offices. Students participate in many of the college’s governing activities and host student events.

WNC Fallon Professor Holly O’Toole works with students taking Biology 223.

Winter 2013


Dr. Robert Collier, Director of the Jack C. Davis Observatory and part-time instructor teaching Astrobiology fall 2013.


Need Based Scholarships

provide support to students who may find that financial aid is not enough to make education affordable. More than half of Western Nevada College full-time students receive government financial aid and/or philanthropic scholarships. The Western Nevada College Foundation has scholarship opportunities that assist deserving Western Nevada College students like Chelsea Aldridge, who received the Bill Lafollette Memorial Scholarship last fall.

Chelsea Aldridge, center, receives the Bill LaFollette Memorial scholarship from Darla and John Dodge at Western Nevada College Scholarship Night at the Carson Nugget.

____________________ Did you know…?

Businesses, clubs, and individuals support a whopping 80% of our scholarships!


Western Nevada College STEM Scholar Program

improves access and success for academically talented and financially needy students interested in the STEM fields, with a focus on Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics. The Scholar Program will actively recruit students from underrepresented groups in these disciplines, supporting them in their academic endeavors, promoting student success through the completion of an associate degree and/ or the transfer to a four-year institution, and exposing participants to professional avenues that the STEM disciplines provide. The Scholar Program is de-

signed to provide various services and activities that supplement participants’ regular classroom instruction, including mentoring activities, field trips, internships, and encouraging participation in professional societies. The project will benefit society by positively impacting the lives of participants, their families, and their communities; by increasing the number of highly skilled, well-educated members of the workforce; by promoting racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among workers; and by enhancing the potential contributions to the economy and advances in STEM fields.

Foundation Receives Surprise Gift from Community Member George Reading will be remembered for years to come for his contributions and engagement throughout Northern Nevada. Unbeknownst to the Western Nevada College Foundation George left a legacy gift for the benefit of students attending WNC. George loved the Carson campus and visited us frequently just to walk the halls with the students.

George believed in philanthropy and giving back to his community just as he benefited from others throughout his life. “George loved WNC and seeing the students, he was a great friend who taught us the importance of giving,” said friend Dave Hampton.



New Scholarship Donors Bob & Penny Waters POST Scholarship with two tours to Afghanistan and knew Western Nevada State Peace Officer he would come home and return to school Academy cadet Nathan Cooper was the to pursue law enforcement. His goal is recipient of the new 2013 Waters POST to become a sheriff for Lyon County. “I Scholarship that paid Mr. Coopers’ full am so thankful for everything the Waters tuition, lab fees and uniform expenses for family has done for the program. me,” he said, “with Mr. and Mrs. four kids and a wife, Robert Waters came I was unsure about to Western with the paying for POST, Bob understanding and and Penny were my passion to invest in saviors.” WNC and impact a “We could not student’s future. have picked a better Bob Waters had cadet to receive our a strong connection scholarship and are with law enforceLeft to Right: Katie Durbin, POST Instructor; ment throughout his Scholarship Recipent, Nathan Cooper; Bob & glad that we could Penny Waters. Bob and Penny were meeting support his educaprofessional career. Nathan for the first time in this photo. tional aspirations, “ He worked for the Bob said. state of Nevada investigations for unemployment fraud Saulisberry Family Memorial Scholarship for 25 years and was a police officer in The Saulisberry Memorial Scholarship California. is making a difference in the lives of Penny is a retired NEW SCHOLARSHIPS Nevada state worker who now has time The Adair Academic Scholarship to make and sell her American Society of Civil Engineers & Soroptimist International of Carson City jewelry. “Life has been Application & Support Development Scholarship good to us and now Bill LaFollette Memorial Scholarship we want to give back Douglas Diversity Student Club Scholarship to our community.” Karen Priest Memorial Scholarship Bob said. The Bob and Penny Waters POST Scholarship Nathan served five Saulisberry Family Scholarship years in the military William G. Smith Memorial Scholarship

Western Nevada College students. The scholarship was created in memory of Chuck and Jo’s son, Tracy and CHUCK & JO SAULISBERRY their granddaughter, Danielle. Tracy was a student at Carson High School with the drive to attend college when he was electrocuted and passed away before he could see his college dream come to fruition. An outpouring of support came from the community and within a few months they had received so many donations that they created a trust to provide a college scholarship in his name. The scholarship provided students at UNR with financial support for the last 25 years, until recently when the family moved the scholarship to Western Nevada College. Chuck and Jo Saulisberry have been engaged in the Carson community for more than 80 years, serving on the Hospital board, as members of the Leisure Hour Club, and teaching in Carson. Western Nevada College welcomes these two wonderful families into our college community and is elated that they chose to invest in WNC and our students’ futures.

Remembering Mike Pintar Western Nevada College friend and donor Mike Pintar passed away March 6, 2011, at 83. The Pintars have been lifelong advocates for education in our community, providing the Catherine “Suse” Fitz scholarship to our Fallon students for more than a decade. This act serves as a testament to their belief that education is the key to success. “Western Nevada College is the best place to start college for many students and education is paramount and important to support our next genera-

tion.” said Pintar’s wife, Ruth. Mike Pintar retired in 1989 from teaching in the Carson City School District. He taught Math and Science at the junior high in Carson, served as the principal at Corbett and Bordewich Bray Elementary schools, and was the assistant principal and started GED program at high school and local prison. Mike and Ruth would frequent the Carson City Campus on their daily walk

and always enjoyed the beauty of the campus on the hill. As a token of love and remembrance Ruth requested that a tree be planted in Mike’s honor on the Carson campus to add to the beauty of the college. In years to come he will forever have a place on campus to be remembered by. The Western Nevada College Foundation extends its deep sympathy to Ruth Pintar and the Pintar family.

Winter 2014



Carson Valley Quilt Guild Approximately five years ago, Sue Muller, then a counselor at Western Nevada College and an avid quilter, suggested the Carson Valley Quilt Guild fund two $500 scholarships per year, meeting one of the criteria in the mission statement: “…encouraging quilting and quilt making as an art form.” The board agreed this would be a great way to benefit students who are interested in continuing their higher education in art, which is usually underfunded. Since then, the Carson Valley Quilt Guild has provided Western Nevada College


with the funds assisting the Art Depart- Statistics Scholarships ment/students in purchasing supplies.   This academic year, the The scholarship does not limit the medi- This  academic  year,  the  WNC  Foundation  awarded  16%  more  scholarships  than  l Statistics   WNC Foundation awarded 16% more valued  at  nearly  $15,000  in  additional  educational  support  to  WNC  student um the student chooses to study, but it is year     scholarships than last year valued at   limited to students seeking This  academic  year,  the  WNC  Foundation  awarded  16%  more  scholarships  than  l nearly $15,000 additional educational at  nearly   $15,000  in  in educational   support  to  WNC  student degrees in art. The making year  valued   Number   oadditional   f  Scholarships   support to WNC students.   and donation of quilts and/ 2012  vs.  2013   or quilted items by the guild Number  of  Scholarships   and its members is also 2012  vs.  2013   102   encouraged as a community service. 102   88  

Military quilt made for six year old Xavier.

88 2012-­‐2013  




New Members to Serve on Western Nevada College Foundation Board

We welcome a number of new members to the Western Nevada College Foundation Board. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished group of business, community leaders, and philanthropists who are willing to dedicate their time to make college an attainable dream for every member of our community. Our board offers a wonderful blend of different backgrounds, professions, skills and talents.


MEET OUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS AMY CLEMENS, an engaged and active community member. Her leadership will help create synergy between the community and the college, for the betterment of both. She has been a financial advisor since 1996, with a strong background in budget and investments. She is an alumna of Western Michigan University, a generous philanthropist, a political and community activist, and a Carson City Rotarian. LISA GRANAHAN, Economic Vitality Manager for Douglas County. She brings an understanding of the importance of higher education and how it creates economic vitality within our community. Lisa has been in public service for more than a decade, focused on her passion in creating “communities”. This passion has led her to create opportunities that educate and train a strong workforce, and connect them with business and industry to provide the community opportunity to grow. DARCY HOUGHTON, a corporate leader and driving force for education in the community. As vice president, client advisor for Whittier Trust, she is an expert in estate planning and administration, and business management. As a successful business-woman, she started a law firm in 2005 and served as in-house counsel at Harley-Davidson Financial Services and Ea-

Scholarships Awarded  Amount   2012  vs.  2013     Scholarships  Awarded  Amount   2012  vs.  2013  $160,800    

glemark Savings Bank. She obtained her law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. In addition to her professional work she serves several community boards including Sierra Lutheran School Board, Wealth Counsel Nevada Forum, and Committee Chair for the Carson City sub-chapter of the Estate Planning Council of Northern Nevada. She previously served as president of her local bar association. STACY WOODBURY, is the Director of Nevada State Medical Association, and has served Nevadans in a variety of ways for more than a decade. Now she brings her experience and expertise to Western Nevada College. Stacy has spent most of her adult life serving the public. “With the funding cuts made to the WNC budget during the 2013 Legislature, the WNC Foundation will play a bigger role in keeping the doors open for students and our community,” Woodbury said. “I hope to be able to use my lobbying and persuasion skills to sell WNC to legislators and members of our community alike.” Our newest foundation board members, joined by our exemplary returning members, illustrate that the power of our foundation board rests in each individual’s unique and varied background.



$145,940 2012-­‐2013  


In the upcoming academic year, we have 2012-­‐2013 2013-­‐2014   the potential to award $23,000 more in scholarships, an impressive 16% increase. We are proud of our community partnerships that help students achieve their educational goals.

ON THE COVER L-R, Daniel Mayes, Sean Alto, Amanda Heiderman, Janelle Ordonez. Four students highlighted during the Davis Observatory 10th anniversary celebration.


Katie Leao, Foundation Director Nichole Peterson, Special Projects Coordinator _______________________________ To invest in WNC, contact Katie Leao 445-3239 •


Western Nevada College


2201 West College Parkway Carson City, NV 89703

The Adair Academic Scholarship Evan and Rachel Adair have made WNC received associate degrees in General

Studies and Deaf Studies and continues an important part of their life. They both her educational path in the field of school graduated from WNC, were members counseling. She wants to “pay it forward; of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and to give that opportunity to someone else.” are now employed at WNC. Evan is an Evan lives on instructor of ________________________ the fence between American Sign Two WNC alums who benefitted the deaf world, Language and Rachel works from WNC Foundation scholarships and the hearing world and having with Disabilnow fund a scholarship of their own. both of these ity Support perspectives is a Services. Rachel says, “WNC welcomed us as students and employees, and we’re part of a family here.” The scholarships Evan received gave him what he needed to complete his Associate Degree in General Studies. He has transferred to Western Governors University where he is working towards a degree in Network Management and Design. Rachel believes that without scholarships, they could not have taken such a big step towards an education. Rachel EVAN & RACHEL ADAIR


benefit to students in Deaf Studies. Rachel says they are very loyal to their school and proud to work in the Counseling office at WNC. Rachel said that WNC makes it very easy to establish a scholarship and by becoming donors, she and Evan have “become part of an elite group of people that are giving back to the community.” She adds that it is a “good group to be associated with.”

Ways to Give

There are many ways you can partner with the WNC Foundation build a better community through access to education. Here are the financial investment options: • Annual Gift • Memorial Gift • Charitable Gift Annuity • Endowment

• Gifts of Securities & Real Estate • Life Insurance • Will/Bequest

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A Publication for Friends & Alumni of Western Nevada College