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Home | Tag Archives: El Paso Community College (EPCC)

Tag Archives: El Paso Community College (EPCC)

UTEP, EPCC Biology STEMGrow Program pushes ahead amid pandemic obstacles

The STEMGrow Program, a groundbreaking initiative between The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College (EPCC) that has successfully stewarded students between the two institutions, continues to bridge gaps between faculty and students forced to be physically distant this summer by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UTEP and EPPC have enjoyed a successful partnership through the STEMGrow Program throughout the past four years. The program was made possible by a $5.4 million grant from the Department of Education and was initially led by Peter Golding, Ph.D., professor of Engineering Education and Leadership at UTEP.

The program is currently in the fourth year of a five-year award period and its management team, along with Golding, are drafting proposals for future grants to foster continuation of the program.

One of the more successful components of the STEMGrow program is its summer biology bridge program, which has made adjustments due to the pandemic.

The biology bridge program sees contributions from various UTEP faculty members including Elizabeth Walsh, Ph.D.; Vanessa Lougheed, Ph.D.; Jerry Johnson, Ph.D.; and Douglas Watts, Ph.D., all professors in the Department of Biological Sciences, along with Kevin Floyd, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow.

The UTEP contingent oversees EPCC biology students who work as research interns in UTEP’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology labs. For eight weeks, students conduct rigorous hands-on biological research in both the lab and field. The summer culminates with a professional symposium where the students present their research posters alongside research students from throughout the state.

These experiences have been hindered by COVID-19. But even with social distancing measures in place, student interns are finding ways to carry out hands-on field data collection by sampling in their own backyards or going alone on field trips to local wetlands. While physically distant from faculty members, the students are never truly alone because they are in constant contact with their mentors throughout the process.

“We are finding that by having to meet virtually as a whole team every week, students are getting even more feedback and support from the entire STEMGrow team,” said Helen Geller, program manager for UTEP’S STEMGrow grant. “In prior years, students typically only got feedback regularly from their direct mentors and only occasionally from the whole team. It seems that this more repetitive meeting schedule is making the team ‘closer’ in some aspects even though it is remotely being carried out.”

Geller concedes that the current COVID-19 situation has made this year very different. Participants can no longer meet face-to-face in research laboratories or in the field for weekly field trips to area wetlands for specimen sampling and data collection. Instead, they undertake professional development and research at a distance using video conferencing to conduct daily meetings and mentoring. Graduate student mentors spend 20-plus hours a week working with students via video to carry out virtual lab tours; virtual field trips; video tutorials on statistical analysis, equipment use and sampling techniques; and research poster preparation. Student interns conduct weekly presentations on their tasks and the evolution of their posters through PowerPoint presentations to the whole group of interns, graduate student mentors and UTEP and EPCC faculty and staff. The interns then receive constructive feedback continually to keep growing as researchers.

“On May 31, 2020, I had no idea what the next two months would look like,” said Jaime Gutierrez Portillo, a current STEMGrow summer intern and sophomore from EPCC. “Now, almost four weeks later, it’s easy to say all my expectations have been exceeded so far. Experiencing a summer research program through a screen is probably the furthest it can be from the norm, but STEMGrow has adapted splendidly. That some equipment has been delivered to certain students so they can perform experiments is just an example of how it has been possible to overcome the lack of access to UTEP facilities this summer. The fact that all is done remotely is just a testament to the commitment of the program to help us be successful.”

Gutierrez Portillo adds that program organizers Geller and Paul Hotchkin of EPCC make students feel comfortable and give them the courage and foundation to present scientific research appropriately. Gutierrez Portillo calls that experience invaluable, regardless of the mode of teaching through which it is provided.

Before June, faculty members expressed doubt over whether the summer program would be a successful venture for the team and students. They worried that the lack of face-to-face instruction and field trips would be a detriment to the effectiveness of the student interns’ learning and research experiences. But, as the program passes its halfway point, they are seeing things very differently.

“Our student interns are definitely growing and learning as scientists through the continuous support and mentoring of the graduate students and the professional development offered to them,” Geller said. “This has included workshops on the value of attending professional scientific meetings and seminars, networking and building a professional portfolio, information on UTEP’s College of Science and the transfer process, financial aid and scholarship tips, and several scientific research presentation prep workshops.

EPCC sophomore and summer intern Queenie Trinh expressed gratitude that the STEMGrow summer program continued and allowed her to work in UTEP’s mosquito lab despite the changes presented by COVID-19.

“We don’t have access to the same equipment and facilities as previous years, so the interns won’t be doing any DNA sequencing, for example, and there is no longer the public outreach associated with the mosquito lab which decreases the amount of specimens we can collect,” Trinh said. “But this program has still been a great chance to gain research experience. People within the program have volunteered to participate in trapping mosquitos. My mentor and Paul Hotchkin have been delivering mosquitoes and equipment, and overall, there has been a lot of effort put in to provide the most educational and memorable experience possible. I have gotten to collect data, see presentations from graduate students and UTEP faculty, given weekly presentations to the other interns and mentors, and STEMGrow continues to connect us with further opportunities.”

Hotchkin, a biology instructor at EPCC, said that this summer’s edition of the STEMGrow program has been a study in a new realm of conducting research. He added that one of its unforeseen benefits has been a boon for the environment.

“Especially encouraging about this summer’s version of STEMGrow is our reduced carbon footprint,” Hotchkin said. “Limiting carbon emissions is key to turn around the environmental crisis on our planet. By having all faculty, staff and students complete their research duties from home, the cumulative carbon emissions of the STEMGrow program are much smaller than in previous years. Our program is proud that we are contributing to the scientific community, and to the development of our cohort member’s academic careers while pioneering a new, energy-efficient way of doing research.”

STEMGrow mentors have also reaped benefits from working remotely. Nikki Donegan, a UTEP biology graduate student who was a program intern in 2017, said she has enjoyed connecting with her fellow students, even from a distance.

“Mentoring virtually has been a challenge because you are not working side-by-side in the field,” Donegan said. “As a mentor, I do my best to explain the methods before the student tries to perform the steps alone in their own backyard or using their own computer. These students have a different challenge because, although we interact, the necessary physical distancing can cause confusion. In spite of the challenges that online mentoring poses, we are still connecting with our students and they are still learning the importance of observation in scientific investigations on a smaller scale.”

Laura Valdez, an undergraduate biology student at UTEP is a current mentor who served as an intern in 2019, echoed Donegan’s sentiments.

Working with STEMGrow students allows me to see the progress they make toward their career in STEM,” Valdez said. “The program gives them a head start and insight into what it takes to be successful in this competitive field. The resourcefulness within the program enables the students with the possibility to be successful in their future endeavors. It is an honor to be a part of this future success.”

Author: Darlene Barajas – UTEP Communications

UTEP Hybrid Program produces first Ed.D. Graduate

The first fruit was harvested this spring from an off-site doctoral program that The University of Texas at El Paso initiated three years ago in collaboration with El Paso Community College (EPCC) and the Socorro Independent School District (SISD).

Marianne Torales, Ed.D., an intervention coach at SISD’s Montwood High School, was the initial graduate of the program that UTEP created to assist with the professional development of fellow educators and administrators at the other academic entities.

The University sent faculty members from its Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations (EDLF) to facilities in the EPCC or SISD headquarters to offer weekly courses to cohorts of up to 15 students made up mostly of administrators and tenure-track teachers. This augmented their online instruction. Graduates earn a Doctor of Education degree in Administrative Leadership in one of three specialties: central office and school site leadership, leadership in higher education and other educational settings, and leadership in educational policy and evaluation.

Torales, a 22-year educator who has spent time with Region 19 and the area’s three largest school districts, lauded the program for its accessibility, camaraderie among students, faculty expertise and relevant subject matter that immediately helped her to become a better employee and instructor. She highly recommended it to those who want to learn more about leadership and how to affect change at a campus.

“It is a very challenging program that requires a dedicated student,” said Torales, a native of the Philippines who earned her Master of Education degree at UTEP in 2009. “It is worthwhile because you come out of it stronger and better prepared to serve and lead.”

The program’s first graduate is an outstanding example of a student who was motivated to expand her skills and knowledge to better serve others, especially her students, according to Penelope P. Espinoza, Ph.D., associate professor in EDLF and director of the college’s Ed.D. program.

Espinoza, who has led the program for two years, said that students have praised the program’s “cohort model” where they enter the program as a group, take the same courses and share common experiences as they navigate their doctoral journey together.

One of the program’s more important elements is the opportunity for students to share their research into unique issues faced by these institutions and develop thematic dissertations where they tackle a similar topic from a different academic perspective and provide practical policy recommendations.

Arturo Olivarez, Ph.D., professor and chair of EDLF, said this was important because many academic institutions compile data but do not study the material and “connect the dots” to understand how the information could benefit their institutions and their students. He referred to a current cohort member who is using data from EPCC and several area school districts to investigate how high school students do after they have received two types of formal coursework or tests that are supposed to prepare them for collegiate success.

Olivarez said his role is to guide the partnership so that it may continue to flourish and to mentor and advise some of the cohort students. The program’s second cohort has arrived at its dissertation stage and recruitment has started for a third cohort.

“This program is a signal from institutional leaders to their junior administrators and tenure-track faculty that they are interested in their professional growth,” he said.

Rodolfo Rincones, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership and one of the program’s key organizers three years ago, said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board officially approved the program in February 2019, which ensures the program’s integrity.

“We’re talking curriculum, professors, student selection, advising, everything,” Rincones said. “The coordinating board wants to certify that all students in the program have access to similar resources as those who attend the same classes at UTEP.”

Torales said her immediate plans are to continue to make positive contributions at her school and with SISD as an administrator, but she also is ready for any new challenges that her new degree could generate.

While program leaders always seek ways to enhance the experience, Espinoza said the only possible change this fall may be additional online courses due to COVID-19.

“Since most of our students are teachers and administrators, we will need to listen closely to them about how the pandemic has affected their students and environments, and what additional supports they need from us,” she said.

To learn more about this program, contact Espinoza at ppespinoza@utep.edu or Olivarez at aolivarez3@utep.edu.

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

EPCC’s Small Business Development Center assisting local business through COVID-19 pandemic

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), housed at El Paso Community College (EPCC), in partnership with the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), has helped more than 25 local businesses secure over $1,500,000 emergency funding through the CARES Act, and they’re continuing to help others.

“The SBDC is the largest management and technical assistance program for small businesses in the United States. Our purpose is to help small businesses be successful,” Joe Ferguson, Director of the Small Business Development Center explains. “Now, more than ever, the support we offer is vital in helping small business owners navigate the unprecedented difficulties their facing in light of COVID-19. In doing so, we aren’t just supporting them, but we are also helping our local economy.  Our COVID related services are at no-cost.”

Recently, the EPCC Center received an additional SBA grant under the COVID-19 CARES Act in the amount of $237,000.

Officials share that the money will be dedicated to provide confidential no-cost consulting in finance, human resources, operations, marketing, and business and strategic planning with the goal of winning back and finding new customers.

The Center will also provide weekly on-line workshops on various topics that are relevant to the future success of small business.

“We expect to be able to assist over 500 small businesses in the recovery effort.  Those businesses that choose to accept SBDC assistance should be able to be more sustainable and resilient for years to come,” SBDC officials added.

The CARES Act is a federal program offered by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. The program offers small businesses assistance in paying employee payroll and interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

Accessing this program has become vital to small businesses trying to survive during the Coronavirus pandemic; the SBDC has been integral in helping their local business clients to apply for it.

EPCC Culinary Arts Graduates Chef Chris Morrill and Chef Santiago Reyes were doing well with their catering business, Around the World, and their high-end Gallery 3 Kitchen, so they decided to expand with another restaurant: TACO SHOP.

After celebrating TACO SHOP’s opening on March 5, 2020, Morrill and Reyes found the momentum to a third successful venture stopped by the COVID-19 crisis and an order to close all but essential businesses.

Around the World catering canceled numerous catering events, Gallery 3 Kitchen closed and TACO SHOP offered a limited menu for takeout and delivery service. Thanks to application assistance from the SBDC, Morrill and Reyes received relief funding from the CARES act, helping them to pay their employees and keep their businesses afloat during a time of economic shutdown and record unemployment.

 The El Paso SBDC is a field office of the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network.  The lead office is located at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

EPCC Celebrates Black History, hosts Legacy Awards Dinner

El Paso Community College (EPCC) held its signature Legacy Awards Dinner Friday night, part of their celebration of Black History Month on campus.

With the theme of ‘African Americans and the Vote: Overcoming Obstacles to Success,’ Keynote Speaker, Dr. Gary Bledsoe, President of the Texas NAACP attended the event.

During the evening, honors were handed out to the Honorable Judge John Chatman, Ms. Baby Ruth Boswell, and EPCC Cross Country Half Marathon Team.

“Recognizing the accomplishments of Black Americans is an important part of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at EPCC,” said Olga Chavez, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs.

“The diversity of students, faculty and staff and their important roles leads to a better community as a whole.”

Wrapping up the month will be the Black History Panel Discussion on this year’s theme.

Panelists include Mr. Anthony C. Robinson (Retired Command Sergeant Major), Ms. Crystal S. Roman (Writer, Producer, Director at The Black Latina Movement), Ms. Abeni Janae Merriweather (UTEP Student, Teen Advocate, Musician), and Mr. Curtis Smith (Retired Army Veteran, Bronze Star Combat Award Recipient).

The event will be held at the Transmountain Campus, Forum, Wednesday, February 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Gary Bledsoe addresses students at afternoon assembly | Photo courtesy EPCC

EPCC set to celebrate Black History Month with numerous events

El Paso Community College (EPCC) will celebrate Black History with its annual month of activities this February. This year’s theme is African Americans and the Vote: Overcoming Obstacles to Success.

Through the month, each campus library will have displays; an art show will be in the foyer of the Administrative Services Center (ASC) Building A, 9050 Viscount Blvd., beginning February 17 and two special events will tie the celebration together.

“Recognizing the accomplishments of Black Americans is an important part of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at EPCC,” said Olga Chavez, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs. “The diversity of students, faculty and staff and their important roles leads to a better community as a whole.”

The first major event is the annual Legacy Awards Dinner. It will be held Friday, February 21 from 5:30-9:00 p.m. in the ASC Building A, Auditorium. Tickets to this event are $40 and are available online. Tickets are not available at the door.

EPCC Black History Legacy Award winners will be Honorable Judge John Chatman, Ms. Baby Ruth Boswell, and EPCC Cross Country Half Marathon Team. Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Gary Bledsoe, President of the Texas NAACP

Wrapping up the month will be the Black History Panel Discussion on this year’s theme. The event will be held at the Transmountain Campus, Foyer, Wednesday, February 26 from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Panelists include Mr. Anthony C. Robinson (Retired Command Sergeant Major), Ms. Crystal S. Roman (Writer, Producer, Director at The Black Latina Movement), Ms. Abeni Janae Merriweather (UTEP Student, Teen Advocate, Musician), and Mr. Curtis Smith (Retired Army Veteran, Bronze Star Combat Award Recipient).

For information on all Black History Month activities, contact the EPCC Diversity and Inclusion Programs office at (915) 831-7898.

EPCC, YISD open Career Center at Riverside Pathways in Technology Early College High School

Tuesday morning, officials with El Paso Community College (EPCC) in partnership with the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) held a grand opening for their new automotive-centered tech center.

EPCC President, Dr. William Serrata welcomed YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier de la Torre and students from YISD High Schools to the Career Center at Riverside Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) at the Valle Verde Transportation Training Center.

Officials share that the Career Center at Riverside P-TECH is a collaboration focused on career and technical education. 

“The P-TECH experience that has been established by the Ysleta Independent School District and EPCC is designed to have strong academic and career-orientated results which will benefit both students and our workforce.” Dr. William Serrata said.

According to school officials, P-TECH offers studies in the areas of Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology and Computer-Aided Design.

“Students can couple their high school experience with their experience at a community college and make a solid living wage, contribute to our economy and contribute to their own quality of life,” Dr. Xavier De La Torre said.

P-TECH provides an opportunity for high school students to earn a high school diploma and an associate of applied science degree, a post-secondary certificate or industry certification and work-based training through internships.

As a result of the P-TECH experience, students will become skilled employees that will excel in today’s global economy.

L-R Dr. Armando Aguirre, Dr. William Serrata, Dr. Xavier de la Torre, Mr. Carlos Bustillos

EPCC Graduates to be honored as part of school’s 50th Anniversary

On Friday, El Paso Community College (EPCC) will grant 2,290 degrees and certificates at its Fall 2019 Commencement exercises and welcome a special guest.

Former Texas Senator Joe Christie will be the Commencement Speaker.

Christie was instrumental in the creation of EPCC in 1969. His leadership and hard work in the Texas Senate created the framework and secured funding to open the doors to 901 students in 1971.

The fall graduation is the final event in the college’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, and the ceremony will be held at the Don Haskins Center on the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus.

“Graduation recognizes the prosperous futures of students who have completed their academic journey,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “EPCC is committed to increasing the educational attainment in our region and commencement celebrates that success.”

The journey to the 50th anniversary for EPCC began with a vote. According to EPCC’s website:

The El Paso County Community College District was established in June 1969 when citizens of El Paso County voted to form a junior college district and elected a board of seven trustees to administer the college, but did not pass a tax or bond to fund the school.

By 1971, the Board of Trustees and citizens of the community requested state financial assistance to open the doors. The 62nd Texas Legislature appropriated funds and El Paso Community College became a reality, enrolling 901 students in September of that year.

“EPCC is annually recognized as the top grantor of associate degrees to Hispanic students in the nation,” college officials added. “EPCC focuses on completion to increase graduation rates and to prepare students with marketable skills for gainful employment.”

Currently, the college serves over 27,000+ credit students and 8,000 continuing education students each semester.

Graduation information:

Date & Location

December 13th at 5pm at the University of Texas El Paso Don Haskins Special Events Center, 151 Glory Road

Details

The Fall 2019 commencement times are as follows: Commencement 5:00 PM Check In at 3:30 PM

Associate of Arts

Associate of Arts in Teaching

Associate of Science

Associate of Applied Science

Certificate of Completion

***

Professional Cameras Graduation Policy:

-Professional Cameras Allowed

-No Tripods

-No Backpacks

-No Zero-Gravity Rigs or Brackets

-No Umbrellas

-No Additional Light Sources

-No Cables/Wires

Prohibited Items

-Noisemakers

-Helium Balloons

-Large Signs/Banners

-Glass Containers

-Vapor Products (E-CIGS)

-Airhorns/Whistles

-Strollers

-Confetti

-Selfie Sticks

-Laser Pens

-Carseats

-Pets

EPCC selected to participate in Dana Center-led Collaboration

The Texas Transfer Alliance (TTA) has selected El Paso Community College (EPCC) as one of 26 Texas higher education institutions to participate in a one-year collaboration to improve student success in college.

“Changing the transfer landscape to improve student success requires dedicated collaboration between institutions,” said Martha Ellis, the Dana Center’s director of higher education strategy, policy, and services. “Seventy-five percent of Texans who earned a baccalaureate degree took courses at a community college as part of that degree. It is imperative that we work together to make sure students do not lose money, credits, and time when they move from institution to institution to complete their degrees. We anticipate very positive and visible impacts for Texas students, especially those from underrepresented racial and income groups.”

Every year, thousands of Texas students transfer between colleges and universities. Due to differences in policies and curricula among institutions, many students face major challenges in transferring course credits, leading to lost time and increased financial burdens that often impact their chances of successfully completing a degree.

Building on prior TTA work, the Dana Center leads this one-year effort, known as the Transfer Partnership Strategy (TPS), which is supported by a recent grant from the Trellis Foundation.

Since Fall 2018, TTA has collaborated with three national transfer partners—the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, HCM Strategists, and Sova—to develop a long-term strategy for improving successful student transfer in Texas, Minnesota, and Virginia.

Research indicates that successful student transfer relies on a broad range of local and regional factors including:

  • Alignment of degree requirements policies between colleges and universities to reduce lost credits
  • Reduction of time-to degree-completion
  • Introduction of student supports to promote the completion of entry-level mathematics and English courses within the first year
  • Student advising designed to provide four-year degree completion plans even for students attending two-year institutions.

The 26 Texas institutions selected for the Alliance’s TPS work represent two- and four-year institutions across the state. Institutions were chosen based on prior success in student transfer-related efforts as well as their relative sizes and positions within the state’s higher education landscape.

The Texas Transfer Alliance is a collaboration between the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), the Texas A&M University System, the Texas State University System, the University of North Texas System, and the University of Texas System.

EPCC Men’s Cross Country wins meet in California

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) men’s cross country team won the 29th Vanguard Invitational competing against 17 other schools.

EPCC men took the first four positions in their race, while the women finished in 2nd place in their race.

The Tejanos were led by Gideon Cheplak who finished 1st in the 8K race with a time of 23.55.

The Tejanas were led by reigning National Champion, Everlyn Kemboi who finished 1st with a time of 17:09 in the 5K race. Teammate Francisca Jebor finished in 2nd place.

The Women are currently ranked 2nd in the nation and the Men are ranked 4th in the most recent US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll.

Next up for the Cross Country Teams is the University of the Southwest Invite in Hobbs, New Mexico on October 18.

This season will lead up to EPCC hosting the 2019 NJCAA Half Marathon Championship on November 23rd as the finale of its year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

EPCC Professor Co-authors book; Named finalist for Regional Honor

Lawrence Welsh, El Paso Community College (EPCC) Professor of English, with co-authors, Ray Gonzalez and Bruce Berman, were named finalist for the 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.

The University of New Mexico Press published Cutting the Wire: Photographs and Poetry from the U.S. Mexico Border.

A collaboration between El Paso photographer Bruce Berman and poets Ray Gonzalez and Lawrence Welsh, the book, according to critics and reviews, offers readers a way to really look at the border between Mexico and the United States.

Welsh and Gonzalez’s poetry blends wonderfully with Berman’s visual investigations of the everyday realities of the border – detention centers, Smeltertown cemeteries and kids playing along a river levee.

According to critics and reviews, the multilayered histories of the border landscape provide an inexhaustible supply of rich and fertile raw material for the book’s three authors.

In February, the Pima County Library System in Arizona named the book a 2018 Southwest Book of the Year.

10th Annual ‘Buddy Walk’ set for Saturday

The Down Syndrome Coalition for El Paso (DSCEP), in partnership with El Paso Community College (EPCC) will hold the 10th annual Buddy Walk and 5K Fun Run.

The event will take place on Saturday, October 5 at the EPCC Valle Verde Campus Americana Village, located at 919 Hunter.

The run begins at 8:00 a.m., the walk festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. with the walk starting at 10:00 a.m.

As October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, the DSCEP Buddy Walk is one of 250 walks nationally.   The walk/run raises funds for the DSCEP, EPCC scholarships for students with disabilities and the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).

The 5K run and the one-mile walk circles EPCC’s Valle Verde campus. Activities include entertainment, food trucks and information tables. Run prizes will be awarded in many categories.

Those interested in the event can register in advance for the walk as an individual or as a member of one of the many teams online.

Registration is available the day of the walk at the event location. The registration fee is $15 for the walk, $20 for the run and $30 for both. Registration includes a 2019 Buddy Walk t-shirt.

All individuals with Down syndrome and children in attendance will receive a Buddy Walk medal.

EPCC Diversity, Inclusion Programs and Faculty Recognized as National Role Models

National Harbor, Md  Minority Access Incorporated named El Paso Community College (EPCC) a winner of the 2019 Diversity Institution Recognition Award at its 20th National Role Models Conference.

EPCC was also honored to have two professors, Dr. Rebecca Escamilla and Dr. Xiomara C. Chianelli, named as 2019 National Role Models.

“I am honored to have our program recognized for making a mark on diversity,” Olga Chavez, EPCC Diversity Programs Director said. “Dr. Escamilla and Chianelli represent EPCC faculty’s work to better every student’s life.”

Dr. Rebecca Escamilla is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at EPCC’s Northwest campus. She feels that in order to ensure lifelong learning for her students, she must work to engage and challenge her students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Dr. Xiomara Chianelli is an Associate Professor of Biology at EPCC’s Transmountain campus. She enjoys mentoring students new to research.

Chianelli is currently teaching courses in Biology where students perform relevant and authentic research.

The Role Models Project brings attention to minorities excelling in STEM-related fields, whether academically or professionally.

According to their website, Minority Access Inc. is “committed to increasing diversity, decreasing disparities and reducing incidences of environmental injustices.”

El Paso Community College to hold part time, seasonal job fair

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Career & Transfer Services (CaTS) will hold a Part-Time & Seasonal Job Fair Wednesday, September 11, 2019.

Employers from different organizations will visit El Paso Community College to promote employment opportunities.

Job seekers should dress professionally, bring copies of their resume and be ready to interview on the spot.

For more information on the Part-Time & Seasonal Job Fair, please contact Silvia Dominguez or Aurea Garcia at (915) 831-2636.

This event is free and open to the public.

What: EPCC Career & Transfer Services Part-Time & Seasonal Job Fair
Where: EPCC Valle Verde Campus  |  Student Services Center 1st Floor Lobby  |  919 Hunter Dr.
When: Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

EPCC Board of Trustee members sworn in for new terms

El Paso Community College (EPCC) held a swearing-in ceremony for trustees during the May board meeting. The swearing-in ceremony welcomed Ms. Nina Piña who was newly elected.

Also sworn in were incumbents Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham and Ms. Christina Sanchez. All three won their respective elections on May 4, 2019.

“We are pleased to welcome Ms. Nina Piña, Ms. Christina Sanchez and Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham who were elected and sworn in as EPCC Trustees for a 6-year term,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said.

“The Board of Trustees has a laser-focus on student success and sets the vision for EPCC in achieving our mission of providing accessible, affordable and quality education so our students are able to achieve their dreams.”

Mrs. Nina Piña is the newly elected representative for District 6. As an educator for 11 years, former student and the parent of EPCC students, she advocates for the importance of higher education because it is the vehicle for upward mobility.

“As a businessperson, I’ve seen how higher education assists in our current economic environment,” Piña said.

Ms. Christina Sanchez is serving her first full term representing District 4 after originally being appointed to the board to fill a vacancy.

An El Paso native and the first generation of her family to attend college, she has practiced law with the El Paso County Attorney’s Office and currently serves as the Division Chief for the Commissioners Court Legal Unit.

In 2018, she became the President-Elect for the El Paso Women’s Bar Association.

Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham will serve her third term as District 5 Representative.

She has served Texas public schools for more than 27 years in various capacities starting as a teacher, administrator and parent educator.

As an adjunct professor, she has taught both at the university and community college levels and has worked with various international and local teacher education programs.

In addition to swearing-in trustees, the board also elected officers as follows:

Mr. Brian Haggerty, Chair

Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham, Vice Chair

Mrs. Belen Robles, Secretary

EPCC education students, staff heading to Finland, Sweden

A team of El Paso Community College students majoring in Education and select faculty will travel to Finland and Sweden for a teacher preparation program.

The tour is part of EPCC’s new partnership in the NASA Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program.

“This trip will also highlight a developing collaboration with NASA’s GLOBE program with the University of Helsinki and EPCC,” John Olgin, EPCC Physics Instructor said. “Now students in STEM education and teachers in our region can become official GLOBE teachers through EPCC workshops and actively participate in submitting earth science data to NASA.”

The students will gain insight on how these countries implement successful educational practices, and will incorporate this experience in their classrooms.

Finland is a leader in collaborative learning, student well-being and hands-on approach to learning. NASA GLOBE program collaborators in Finland will show how to engage students in studying environmental changes.

“My goal for this trip is to soak in as much information on teaching practices, culture, and experience as I can and use it to help people,” Myca Nguyen, EPCC Education Student said.

Follow the EPCC team on Facebook, beginning on May 18 for daily reports on their learning opportunities and travels.

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