A group of 22 faculty and administrators joined more than 1,800 participants from community colleges nationwide at the Achieving the Dream conference earlier this month. With the shared goal of helping students succeed, Pierce attendees broke out into teams to attend as many sessions as possible before reporting back to the group on what they’ve learned.
Pierce College is working hard to strengthen ties with colleges overseas, with the goal to provide even more opportunities for students at home and abroad. Chancellor Michele Johnson and International Education Executive Director Myung Park will spend 10 days traveling through Japan and Korea to build new relationships and strengthen existing partnerships.
Pierce College’s reach extends beyond campus boundaries. For more than 30 years, in fact, the school has maintained a quiet, but vital, program at Western State Hospital. Thanks to Program Director Deanne Gilmur, patients at Washington state’s psychiatric institution have an opportunity to learn important skills that ultimately help aid in their recovery.
Throughout the past few years, Pierce College student Gregory Marks has been steadily making a name for himself in local film circles, appearing in roles alongside veteran actors Lee Majors, Beau Bridges and Edward Furlong. He has also appeared on television shows such as “Leverage,” “Grimm” and will soon appear on an upcoming episode of “Dead of Night” on Investigation Discovery. With no formal training and a longtime love for cinema and filmmaking, Marks quickly realized how naturally acting came to him.
When the doors open at the Lakewood Computer Clubhouse each day, there’s a mad rush of kids ready to tear apart electronics, build robots, produce their own video games, or simply spend time creating.
For many students in Lakewood, these two hours after school have become the highlight of their day. Thanks to Coordinator Kurt Sample and his crew of Pierce College mentors, it has become an unstructured time for kids to explore innovative ideas, learn new skills and build valuable friendships.
Ever wondered what’s up with that giant floating mass of plastic, which is apparently just hanging out in the middle of the ocean? Didn’t know anything about it? Apparently not many people do, and this is exactly what journalist-turned-environmentalist Jon Waterman hopes to change.
When Clista Rakow signed up for the Miss Thurston County pageant, she looked at it as her own personal challenge to conquer. It was only the second pageant she’d ever competed in, but she was looking forward to it as an opportunity to meet people and make some new connections. “I’ve met so many amazing people through this experience,” she said. “It’s been such a great opportunity to build a solid foundation to become a successful adult.”
The 19-year-old Pierce College student is still letting the news of her win sink in, before she even starts thinking about the next step. Winning the Miss Thurston County competition means she will soon advance to the Miss Washington pageant for an opportunity to compete for the title of Miss America.
Today, Pierce College signs on as the fifth community college in the U.S. to provide students with a rigorous honors program, and access to a transfer network of leading four-year universities. American Honors is the first national pathway program of its kind that allows students to begin their bachelor’s degree at a community college and then have access to a national network of both public and private universities across the country.
“We look forward to helping our American Honors students achieve excellence at some of the nation’s top universities,” says Pierce College District Chancellor Michele Johnson. “As the lead college in Western Washington for the American Honors network, we are committed to providing a variety of quality educational opportunities for both our students and other colleges.”
On Feb. 13, 26 Pierce College students took time out of their day to entertain local seniors with theatrical performances of ‘love letters’ from historical figures. The event took place in the middle of Random Acts of Kindness Week, and seniors at University Place Care Center certainly appreciated the hard work of these talented theater students. Each student performed a monologue of a love letter written by a public figure of their choice, from Marilyn Monroe and James Dean to Napoleon and Simone de Beauvoir.
This service-learning project will also help students in the classroom, when they’re able to watch a recording of each performance and evaluate each other.
Traveling all the way to Pierce College from his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa was quite the journey, but it was all part of Leon Ndlovu’s master plan. The 22-year-old business student is at Pierce thanks to the Northwest Community College Initiative Grant, sponsored by the United States Department of State Bureau of Education. He has always dreamed of working as a manager, and having the resources to support his own family.
Growing up with a hard-working mother who managed to put food on the table all on her own, Ndlovu gained a solid work ethic, and has never taken his eye off the prize. “I knew I had to focus on my education,” he said.
He was so focused on his future that, as a teenager, he was forced to rethink his choice of friends. Many of them were more focused on having fun, and had little in common with this ambitious student. “I had to limit my friends,” he said. “My mom struggled, and I knew I had to live my life carefully and go to a university.”