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Home | Tag Archives: epcc

Tag Archives: epcc

UTEP, EPCC Program Plans Whale of a Read-a-thon

An ambitious effort to bring people together to enjoy what many experts consider one of the greatest American novels ever written was the reason organizers scheduled the “Moby-Dick Read-a-thon” November 14-16 in El Paso.

Brian Yothers, Ph.D., professor of English at The University of Texas at El Paso, said the public could hear a collection of readers from UTEP, El Paso Community College and the region recite the entire 136 chapters to include the epilogue of the book written by Herman Mellville, who was born 200 years ago in 1819.

The ambitious read-a-thon that covers the exploits of Captain Ahab, Ishmael and other Pequod crewmembers on their intense, international voyage to find the white sperm whale will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Discovery Theater of UTEP’s Centennial Museum. It restarts at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in EPCC’s Little Temple, 906 N. El Paso St., and runs through 6 p.m. The event will conclude from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in the UTEP museum’s Discovery Theater.

Yothers said this type of event is common in sea faring communities such as New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California, but added that this might be the first time El Pasoans have tried it. Organizers conceived the idea in spring 2019 and began to plan it this past summer.

“We hope it builds a sense of community around the written word,” said Yothers, a Melville expert and principal investigator of the Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP, an event sponsor.

Individuals who would like to read a chapter during the event should contact Vincent Martinez, the collaborative’s program manager, at vcmartinez@utep.edu. Participants also could request the chapter they want to read. Chapters range in length from one page to several dozen. This means that participants could read anywhere from a few minutes to approximately 45 minutes. Most of the chapters are in the five- to 10-minute range.

One of the first volunteer readers was Vanessa Zuniga, a junior English major, who signed up to read three chapters – one on each day. The El Paso native is a Humanities Collaborative student fellow, for which she helps organize events that promote literacy. She said this was important because several studies have ranked El Paso low when it comes to literacy.

One examples was a July 2019 article, “Most & Least Educated Cities in America,” on the WalletHub website. It ranked El Paso, Texas, 136 out of 150 metropolitan centers. The researcher used 11 metrics to include adults age 25 with at least a four-year college degree, the quality of the public schools, and the gender education gap.

Zuniga, a first-generation college student, said that she had never read “Moby-Dick” and thought this would be a great way to experience it.  She said that Yothers assigned her three medium-sized chapters. She admitted that she had not reviewed them yet, but promised to recite them aloud in front of her mother before her scheduled readings. She said another reason she volunteered was to practice her public speaking and to network with others interested in the humanities, literacy and “Moby-Dick.”

“I think the read-a-thon was a great idea,” Zuniga said. “I’m for anything that will help the community.”

Louie Saenz, KTEP-FM (88.5) news director and UTEP communication lecturer, said he plans to participate. Saenz, who hosts “The Book Club on Perspectives” show at 12:30 p.m. Sundays, said this kind of event could rejuvenate people’s interest in reading.

“This is special,” said Saenz of the event as he pulled his personal 1920s-era, green-covered hard copy of “Moby-Dick” from his office bookshelf. A British publishing house released the original book in October 1851. An American publisher, Harper & Brothers, printed it the next month. Saenz recalled it being required reading in high school and admitted that he was not interested in it at the time. “This is a literary giant that gave us a sense of adventure. We could dive into the novel, if not the ocean.”

EPCC’s Jorge Gomez, assistant professor of English and a Humanities Collaborative faculty fellow, said he was excited because it would be his first read-a-thon, and because “Moby-Dick” is one of his favorite novels.

“(‘Moby-Dick’) is full of insight about human nature, and from a certain perspective, the American Dream,” said Gomez, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from UTEP in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Gomez picked chapter 32, “Cetology,” because of his love of science, specifically in this case, the complexity of whales. He has promoted this event and said he hoped that students would attend and volunteer to read parts of the novel.

Yothers said the read-a-thon would give the community the opportunity to re-encounter this classic and might encourage people to revisit other classic texts. He was philosophical when asked how he would judge the read-a-thon’s success. He said the achievement is the effort.

“The attempt itself has inherent value,” Yothers said. “Our success is to attempt things that captivate and challenge others … like Moby Dick.”

UTEP’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens is the other event sponsor.

Author:  Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

Walmart donates to EPCC Students with Food Insecurity

 The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Student Government Association (SGA) received a $500 check from Walmart check to support the Tejano Food Pantry.

EPCC officials say this donation will be used to purchase food items to help students in need during Thanksgiving season.

“Food insecurity is an issue that almost half of our student body at EPCC has dealt with. This helps a lot for our student body in conjunction with our Tejano Food Pantry.” Alex Rodriguez, SGA President said. “This donation also gives us the opportunity to hand out turkeys on top of our standard basket of goods that the pantry provides!”

The check from Walmart was presented by Representative Art Fierro, former Chairman of the EPCC Board of Trustees.

“This is the time of the year that partners like Walmart and our office get involved and they are able to give back to the community and to be partners with EPCC,” Representative Art Fierro said. “I wish we can contribute more because the need is here; this group of students gives back to the community, so this check is just the tip of the iceberg to help.”

The Tejano Food Pantry, a service created by a student for the students, is operated by the Student Government Association at EPCC.

The Tejano Food Pantry aims to minimize hunger among our students by providing free, accessible and nutritious food.

The pantry is located at the Valle Verde Campus, 919 Hunter Dr., room C102. For more information, call (915) 831- 2077.

EPCC’s Kemboi Places 2nd, Men Finish 2nd, Women 3rd at NJCAA Cross Country Nationals

El Paso Community College’s Everlyn Kemboi, 2018 National Champion, finished 2nd in the 2019 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division 1 Cross Country National Championships.

The men’s team finished in 2nd place and the women finished in 3rd place.

Two Tejanas earned All-American honors, Everlyn Kemboi (2) and Francisca Jebor (9). The Tejanos were led by Dennis Kiptoo (5) and Bradley Makuvire (8) both earning All-American honors.

 The season culminates with the NJCAA National Half Marathon Championships on November 23 at Ascarate Park in El Paso. Both the men’s and women’s are defending national champions.

EPCC Veterans Resource Center renamed in honor of Kharisma James

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Veterans Resource Center (VRC) held a ceremony for the renaming of its office at the Valle Verde Campus located in the Student Services Building.

The center was renamed in honor of the late Kharisma James, an EPCC graduate and decorated two-time combat veteran who tragically lost her life walking her children to school in 2018.

“Kharisma was a phenomenal woman who not only served her country but also demonstrated her heroic actions in protecting three children from a deadly crash in the parking lot of a Westside elementary school, which took her life,” Arvis Jones, Director of EPCC Student Leadership and Campus Life.

“Ms. James was instrumental in the opening of the VRC at VV and we want to honor her heroic actions and keep her memory alive.”

A native of the Boston area, James joined the United States Army as a Private First Class after high school.

Kharisma served 8 years in the U.S. Army, including an assignment at Ft. Bliss with the 11th ADA Brigade and completed a tour in Iraq, she was proud to serve her country. She started attending El Paso Community College in pursuit of a Biology degree with plans to transfer to a university BSN Program. She served on the Student Government Association at EPCC and was involved in the creation of the EPCC Veterans Resource Center.

Kharisma graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in Nursing and worked in the operating room at Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus.

Aspen Institute names EPCC as Top 150 U.S. Community College; Eligible for 2021 Aspen Prize

Officials with the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Tuesday named El Paso Community College (EPCC) as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. 

“EPCC is honored to be selected as one of the Top 150 Colleges eligible to apply for the 2021 Aspen Prize,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said.  “This is a result of El Paso Community College’s long-standing commitment to student success.  From the Board of Trustees, to our faculty, staff and administrators – there is a passion and commitment to ensuring students not only enroll, but also stay in school and graduate so they can achieve their dreams of transferring to a university or entering the workforce in the career of their choice.”

Based on strong and improving in student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

The 150 community colleges named today as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes.

Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.

Data show that over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students—through graduation and beyond.”

The top ten finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data.

A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.

Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (FL) and Indian River State College (FL), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (SD), 2017; Santa Fe College (FL), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA), 2013; Valencia College (FL), 2011.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit the Aspen Institue Website

EPCC Theater opens new season with My Sister In This House

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Theater Ensemble will begin its 2019-20 season with My Sister In This House directed by Ted Karber Jr. 

Performances will be held November 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8:00 p.m. and November 17 and 24 at 2:30 p.m.

This extraordinary drama, produced to acclaim at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and at NYC’s Second Stage, tells the story of a celebrated 1930’s French murder case, in which two maids, who are sisters, were convicted of murdering their employer and her daughter.

“This very cinematically structured work explores the motivations which led the sisters to commit murder,” EPCC Theater officials shared via a news release.

An American Sign Language Interpreter will be provided for the November 23 performance. For theater information, call (915) 831-5056.

The EPCC Theater Ensemble performs at the EPCC Transmountain Campus Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North.

Ticket prices are:

–       General Admission-$15

–       Non-EPCC students and Military-$10

–       EPCC students, staff and senior citizens-$7

Tickets are available at the door, cash only. The box office opens two hours before each performance.

(L-R) Cristy Zermeno as Christine Lutton , Daniela Mendoza as Lea Lutton
(L-R) Dominique Joseph as Isabelle Danzard, Veronica Frescas as Madame Danzard

UTEP, EPCC Presidents pledge to continue collaborating to promote student success

On Thursday, UTEP President Heather Wilson and EPCC President William Serrata renewed their institutions’ commitments to the creation of pathways to higher education for the area’s students.

Both institutions will continue to focus on “building on the successes of existing partnerships with local school districts, and eliminating barriers for transfer students and those who attend both UTEP and EPCC.”

“For nearly three decades, faculty and staff at both El Paso Community College and The University of Texas at El Paso have made a strong commitment to the residents of the Paso del Norte region, developing strategies to provide access to exceptional higher education along with raising the educational aspirations, degree attainment, and overall academic excellence of area students,” officials shared via a news release

EPCC UTEP Presidents Letter

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 Cross Country Teams hold steady in National Rankings

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Cross Country team held its 2019 ranking in the 2nd United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division 1 Poll.

The Tejanas were ranked 2nd and the Tejanos ranked 4th after a strong showing at the Saints Collegiate Cross Country Invitational held on September 21.

The EPCC men took the first four positions. The women’s team took the first three positions, dominating the event.

The teams travel to South Plains, Texas to compete at the South Plains Community College Invitational on October 5.

For more information about the NJCAA rankings, visit  their website.

EPCC Professor honored as Social Worker of the Year

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Criminal Justice professor, Hector Zamora, a Licensed Master Social Worker, was honored as Social Worker of the Year at the annual National Association of Social Workers Texas (NASW-TX) -Rio Grande Branch awards dinner.

Zamora was honored for his professional contributions and efforts to advance social justice and human rights.

Zamora’s criminal justice experience includes having worked as the Director of Special Programs with the West Texas Community Supervision & Corrections Department.; Assistant Chief Juvenile Probation Officer with the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department. and Director of Dismas Charities-El Paso.

Zamora previously worked as a sex offender therapist for 16 years working with adult and juvenile offenders and their families.

Zamora is currently providing supervision of social work interns for Dimas Charities centers around the country, serves on the Foundation for EPCC Board of Directors, as a Service Learning Program liaison, Criminal Justice Club advisor, District Safety Committee member and has been assisting Student Technology Services in creating job opportunities in the criminal justice system.

The National Association of Social Workers is the largest organization of professional social workers and is committed to advocating and advancing the social work profession.

Each year, the NASW-Rio Grande Branch recognizes the contributions of outstanding individuals making a difference in our community.

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.”

EPCC Instructor named one of El Paso’s Hispanos Triunfadores

Dr. Maria Alvarez, EPCC Biology Professor from El Paso Community College (EPCC), was honored during the 2019 McDonald’s Hispanos Triunfadores Award Ceremony and Luncheon.

“Our faculty provide the foundation of success for our students,” Steve Smith, EPCC Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education said.

“Dr. Maria Alvarez is an example of an outstanding professor, mentor and role model who has transformed STEM education, secured more than $13.2 million dollars of grant funding and has created extraordinary experiences for our students.”

Her students say she helps them understand that they can aspire to be anything because and thank her for mentoring them on a pathway to achieving their dreams.

“I became not only the first in my immediate family to finish college, but also the first in my extended family to obtain a doctoral degree,” said Salvador Muñoz, who earned his Ph.D. and was post-doctoral fellow at the University of Rochester after studying with Dr. Alvarez.  “She makes the improbable possible for many young minds.”

The award recognizes individuals who serve as outstanding role models and are an inspiration to area youth in the fields of Government, Arts & Entertainment, Business, Lifetime Achievement Business, Science, Community Service and Education. Alvarez, the STEM honoree, was nominated for her impact on higher education and science.

EPCC Cross Country Team nationally ranked after strong Week One performance

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Cross Country team started off the 2019 season ranked in the first United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division 1 Poll.

The Tejanas were ranked 2nd and the Tejanos ranked 4th after a strong showing at the Lori Fitzgerald Memorial Meet on September 13.

Both teams finished 2nd in a meet where they were the only community college to compete. The women were led by Everlyn Kemboi, the reigning national champion, who finished 2nd.

The men were led by Gideon Cheplak who also finished 2nd.

The teams travel to San Antonio to compete at the Saints Collegiate Cross Country Invitational on September 21.

For more information about the NJCAA rankings, visit the NJCAA website.

El Paso Chopin Piano Festival celebrates Silver Anniversary with three concerts

El Paso Chopin Piano Festival celebrates its Silver Anniversary this year and this season features three special guests.

For 25 years, El Paso has hosted some of the finest pianists in the world, this year, the festival features pianists Josh Wright, Mei-Ting Sun, and El Paso’s own Lucy Scarbrough in three separate concerts in September and October.

“Chopin is heralded the world’s most influential piano composers, and his work knows no barriers of nation or culture,” EPCC officials share. “He is celebrated here in the El Paso-Juarez international communities to honor the love for cultural and musical diversity found in this region.”

The Festival is sponsored by the El Paso Community College “Salute to the Arts” Program, United Bank of El Paso, and the El Paso Chopin Piano Festival Society.

El Paso is one of a select number of cities outside of Europe that annually celebrates the great works of Frederic Chopin.

Josh Wright, Saturday, 28 September, 7:00 PM

Billboard #1 artist Dr. Josh Wright has delighted audiences across the United States and in Europe. The Washington Post described him as a pianist possessing “rarer gifts – touch, intelligence and the ability to surprise.”  His self-titled album “Josh Wright” topped the Billboard Classical Traditional chart just three weeks after its release in April 2011.

Josh was a prizewinner in many competitions, including the 2015 National Chopin Competition, where he also won the Mazurka prize.

Mei-Ting Sun, Saturday, 12 October, 7:00 PM 

Critically acclaimed pianist Mei-Ting has been heard in many of the world’s greatest concert halls, performing an extensive repertoire that includes the complete works for solo piano of Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy, in addition to all 32 Sonatas of Beethoven. After winning several major competitions, including the first Piano-e competition and the National Chopin Competition of the U.S.,
Mei-Ting’s career has taken led him to performances in 21 countries through five continents.

Lucy Scarbrough, Saturday 26 October, 7:00 PM

Lucy Scarbrough is a noted pianist and composer. Her concert features the works of Chopin as well as hers own piano compositions. Of her, noted composer Leo Sowerby wrote, “She has that star quality that makes her memorable.” Scarbrough has been hailed as “…a soloist of rare power and sensitivity.” (El Paso Times).

Where: Chamizal National Memorial Theater.

When: All performances begin at 7:00 PM

Admission: Free of charge. Arrive early to ensure a seat!

STEP 728
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728
Mountains 728
Rugby Coming Soon 728
Amy’s Ambassadorship
Towntalk Teaser 728
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