A chance at the winner’s circle

J.D. Rottweiler

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

I’ve been a part of a number of fundraisers for various worthwhile organizations since arriving in Cochise County nine years ago. Most recently, I collaborated with Chris Przylucki of A’viands, the college’s food service provider, to prepare and serve crepes to guests at Men Who Cook, supporting the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra.

While I and many other donors make charitable contributions in support of scholarships and other activities here at the college, we haven’t hosted our own fundraiser.

Until now.

To raise money for scholarships and engage with the community, the Cochise College Foundation will host “An Evening at the Races,” an auction and dinner gala planned for Saturday, April 29 on the Sierra Vista Campus. The centerpiece of the event is competitive “armchair” video horse racing. Participants will purchase Cochise Bucks to identify their favorite competitors. Sponsors and guests have the chance to “own” a horse. (No worries: the horse doesn’t eat and you don’t have to clean up after it. But you can buy one, name it, get your name in the program, and cheer it on to victory). Owners of winning horses will get a visit to the winner’s circle and a winner’s purse (a cake provided by the culinary arts department).

Guests will enjoy a “race day” buffet, with carving stations, pastas, spring rolls, goat cheese and chive stuffed cherry tomatoes, bruschetta and other hors d’oeuvres, and racing beverages. In true racing industry fashion, there will be an auction. Between races, guests will bid on a variety of auction items (think travel and leisure, edible treats, antiques and decorative items, and local treasures). All proceeds support scholarships, and a slideshow featuring Cochise College students will help tell the story of how – and who – your contributions will help.

Since the event is the week before the Kentucky Derby, there will also be a hat parade. So don your best racing attire and come and support the Cochise College Foundation.

In my last column I covered a report about the percentage of county residents age 16-24 who are neither working nor in school. Our fundraiser aims to give these individuals and others a chance for scholarship resources that will allow them an appearance in the “winner’s circle” of life.

So get out your calendar and mark these important dates. Tickets go on sale March 20 and can be purchased by calling the Cochise College Foundation at (520) 417-4735. You can see details about tickets and sponsorships, including a regularly updated list of items to be auctioned, at www.cochise.edu/races. A list of attendees will appear there as well.

The big event – hopefully, a new tradition – is set for April 29. See you at the Races!!

J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.

Comic Con to be held at Cochise College

Comic Con Flyer

Cochise College’s Digital Media Arts Club (DMAC), invites the public to the first annual DMAC comic convention on April 7 and 8 at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Cochise College Comic Con (C4), will be a multi-genre entertainment convention featuring content from across the spectrum. Panelists and exhibits will represent television shows, movies, comic books, graphic novels, art, literature, anime and video games.

Special guests will include members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Amtgard, the Star Wars 501st, Star Trek USS Coyote and the Bat-car, among others. 35,000 comic books will be on hand, as well as tabletop roleplaying games. A dozen college clubs will exhibit at the event. Lovers of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, steampunk, film and television will be present. Guests will also be able to participate in a costume contest.

Admission will be $10.00 on Friday, April 7, $12.00 on Saturday, April 8, and $20.00 for both days.

All ticket proceeds go toward the cost of the event. All remaining funds will be donated to the Sierra Vista Animal Shelter. Tickets can be purchased at the event or through DMAC officers.

Guests will aid in C4’s quest to bring popular media and themes to southern Arizona and promote the inclusion of such themes and media in the educational process.

Students, employees and community members who are interested in running a booth, panel or exhibit at the event should contact the DMAC adviser. To find out more information contact the Digital Media Arts Club staff adviser, Ron Hyde, at hyder@cochise.edu or check out DMAC’s website at www.cochisecollegecomicon.webs.com.

Cochise instructors chosen for national teaching award

Two Cochise College instructors have received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award.

This award supports excellence in teaching and leadership. As recipients, they will attend the NISOD conference at the University of Texas in Austin later this spring.

The recipients were nominated by colleagues for their service to students, their department, the college and their communities.

The recipients are Melesa Ashline, instructor of nursing, and Steve Roark, instructor of mathematics.

Cochise College President Dr. J.D. Rottweiler said, “Steve Roark and Melesa Ashline have demonstrated the ability to create an environment where innovation thrives. They provide the type of leadership that makes Cochise College successful, and we are proud to have these exceptional educators as part of the Cochise College family.”

Melesa Ashline has been a registered nurse since 1997 and part of the nursing faculty since 2003. Currently, she teaches hands-on skills by functioning as the lab and simulation coordinator.  

“I love working side-by-side with the students in the skills and simulation labs.  It allows the student a chance to hone their nursing skills so that one day, they can serve the community they will be employed in,” Ashline explained.

Polly Gosa, the director of nursing at Cochise College, said, “Melesa is an ideal example of a mentor, coach, counselor and so much more…  She displays enthusiasm and commitment to the nursing program and overall success of each student.  Basically, she takes the time to meet with students personally… She spends countless off hours speaking to troubled students and advising their actions.”

In addition to working for the college, Melesa serves as a home health nurse. She’s involved in the Student Nurses Association and travels with a simulation manikin to area schools for demonstration and training.

Steve Roark has been part of the Cochise College community for almost ten years and has led as chair of the math department for the past five years.

During his time serving as chair, Roark helped the math department revamp the courses offered at Cochise College. This included reworking the developmental math program and modifying math learning pathways, which helped students achieve success in college-level mathematics.

“I’ve only heard good things about what was being accomplished in the department,” said fellow colleague, Edmund Priddis. “I have to admit that I was often jealous at how well the math department worked together and how much it was able to accomplish. The whole process involved many hours both as a department and individually.”

Before his teaching career, Roark was an aircraft mechanic for ten years.

“Now, I draw off that experience to make the math relevant to students working on a degree – I hope at the end they can see the practical use in their field but also have a sense of how math is used beyond the scope of the degree they are working on,” said Roark.

Cochise College was ranked as the #1 nursing school in Arizona by accredited schools online.  The Cochise College Nursing Program offers expert instruction, modern learning laboratories and a wide variety of clinical experience in hospitals and health care agencies. Cochise College’s nursing program teaches both theory and practical skills, along with hands-on experience through a combination of lectures, labs and clinical assignments. Students are from all parts of Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz counties. Cochise College is now accepting nursing applications until April 1, 2017.

Cochise College mathematics department develops analytical and problem-solving skills that can be used in a variety of occupations. Cochise College offers Mathematics Associate of Science degree, which prepares students for transfer to a university program in mathematics, computer science, or natural sciences. To ensure a seamless transfer, students must develop their specific program of study in close coordination with a Cochise College advisor. If you love mathematics and want to pursue a career where you can use math every day, then an associate of science offers a great foundation for many different career fields.

To find out more about a degree in mathematics or nursing visit www.cochise.edu. 

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Cochise College

 Cochise College Cultural Committee is teaming up with Knights of Columbus and St. Andrew the Apostle Parish to host a St. Patrick’s Day Fish Fry Celebration on March 17, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

This event will be held at Columbian Hall at 156 W. Kayetan Drive in Sierra Vista and is open to the public.

Community favorite annual performers like Irish musician Billy Power, Irish-American guitarist/singer, Bill Cassidy, and dance instructor, Lora Kerr—will provide entertainment for the event and lead attendees in the ever-popular community dance.

The Knights will provide a delicious line up for their Fish Fry, which includes many options: fish and chips, coleslaw, fried shrimp, broiled fish, clam chowder, dessert, coffee, tea or punch, and in honor of the festivities, the Knights will proudly serve Guinness as well!

 This is a family friendly event, so join us for a festive evening of good food, music, dance and fellowship (good craic as the Irish would say) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

The entertainment is free. Food and drinks will require a fee. This event is sponsored by the Cochise College Cultural Diversity Committee. Proceeds will help the Knights continue their many charities.

Veterans connect at Cochise College Ceramics Class

Tim Brown at the Cochise College Douglas Campus ceramics studio.

Cochise College Center for Lifelong Learning and the college art department are partnering with Vetart.org to bring free ceramics classes to veterans.

The classes are intended to not only teach creative skills, but to utilize the process as a medium to connect veterans with each other and the community. The class is also said to bring creative and healing support to veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as to their families.  

The class, located on the Cochise College Douglas Campus, is taught by college art instructor, Tate Rich.

“I think this is a great opportunity, being able to offer a class with all the materials, training, and the firing for free. I think it’s really amazing to provide this to people who serve our country,” Rich explained.

The class is helping veterans like Tim Brown. Brown is a retired Chief Petty Officer and served 20 years in the military. Currently, Brown works as an insurance adjuster and lives in Tucson. He makes the drive down to Douglas every week to get his hands dirty and get in touch with his creative side.  

“Right now we are molding pots. We learned about coiling and slabs, and we tried sculpting,” Brown explained. “Next Wednesday we are going to start learning about the glazing process.”

“Part of the reason I attended this class was because, let’s just say, I needed a kind of distraction in my life, and it was time to kind of try something new. I sit behind a desk a lot, so I thought it would be good to do something creative,” Brown said.

The ceramics class is also helping Sarah Makin, the spouse of a retired helicopter pilot, Makin says that the class creates a great atmosphere to try something new.  

“The first day of the class all we did was go around the room and introduce ourselves and tell a little about why we were taking the class, and it really kind of got us to get to know each other,” Makin explained. “We don’t really talk about our experiences with the military, but we laugh together, and it’s a great group of people.”

VetArt.org began in 2009 when Steve Dilley offered military veterans free classes in ceramics at Grossmont College. Eighteen months later, he left Grossmont and established the Veterans Art Project, which since 2011 has helped more than 200 veterans, free of charge, at five locations in San Diego and Arizona. The entire program is underwritten by an anonymous donor who Dilley said is committed to helping other military vets like him.

“Art is nonverbal, so you don’t have to talk to anyone and tell them how you’re feeling,” Dilley explained. “Your work shows me how you feel. Also, it’s very process-oriented. It requires you to make a lot of choices and decisions every step of the way, so it keeps your brain focused. Also, there’s an ambiguity to art. You never know how it will come out, and that’s the same with the military. Making new discoveries as you go along is a way to find something within yourself.”

Art Department hosts Youth Art Festival


Children participating at the Cochise College Youth Arts Festival.

The Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus held its third annual Youth Arts Festival this Saturday. This event was a collaboration between the Sierra Vista Arts & Humanities Commission and the Cochise College Art Department.

“The goal of this festival is for local families to have the opportunity to discover their children’s talents and interests in the arts,” Said Virginia Thomson, a Cochise College art instructor. “It is also a fun-filled outing for local families to spend quality time together exploring the arts.”

The event displayed live performances throughout the course of the day as well as a prize drawing at the end. This public event provided youth, grades k-8, with arts, crafts, creative writing and performing arts activities. This year there were seventeen activity stations with twelve local artists and thirty-two volunteers. Local artists from Sierra Vista ran many of the activity stations, assisted by volunteers from the college and the community.

Gabrielle LaFargue, a calligrapher and local artist, volunteered at the event and helped the children with decorative letter techniques.

“The children were very creative using just decorative paper, a pair of scissors and a bit of glue,” LaFargue said.

Carolyn Yeutter, also a local artist from Sierra Vista, provided children and their parents with playdough, pipe cleaners, buttons, feathers and googly eyes during the festivities.

“I’ve had children as young as 2 and their fathers sit down together and make crafts to take home,” said Yeutter.

Over 250 participants came to the event to help celebrate the arts in Cochise County. To find out more about Cochise College family-friendly events, contact Cochise College at (800) 966-7943.


Cochise College brings rodeo performance to Fort Huachuca

The Cochise College rodeo kicks off a two day, action-packed performance with family fun and special events for all ages from Saturday, March 4 to Sunday, March 5 at the Wren Arena on Fort Huachuca.
The Cochise Community College rodeo team is one of the few teams to represent a community college in the (NIRA) National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, which consists mostly of university level rodeo teams. Last year, the Cochise rodeo team was the leading team in the Grand Canyon Region, and for the past three years, has sent several competitors to compete in nationals.

This year, the Cochise College rodeo will continue the tradition of supporting the troops with their performance at Fort Huachuca. According to Rick Smith, the Cochise College men’s rodeo coach, it’s the rodeo team’s best performance of the season.

“The Cochise College Fort Huachuca rodeo is the best performance that we have,” said Smith, adding that they are able to provide the performance to the troops because of the partnership between the MWR family and Fort Huachuca.

MG Scott Berrier, Commanding General, US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, said, “Fort Huachuca and Cochise College have a tremendous partnership and we very much look forward to the Cochise College rodeo on March 4 and 5. The rodeo not only highlights and sustains our great teamwork, but also places emphasis on a terrific sport and a rich western and cowboy history here in Southern Arizona.”

The Fort Huachuca rodeo performance will feature saddle and bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, bull riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying.
The rodeo will also feature six competitors who are new to the Cochise College rodeo team.
Cheyenne Eddy, from Elgin, Arizona, is competing at Fort Huachuca for the first time. A recent graduate of Buena High School, and education major, she says that being on the Cochise College rodeo team is like having a second family.

“We are all very close. It definitely feels like having another family. The team hangs out together and supports each other…” Eddy explained.
And the team is sure to show their support for each other as they compete to lead the Grand Canyon Region. Currently, the Cochise College men’s rodeo team is in first place for the Men’s Team Category in the Grand Canyon Region. The women’s team is also holding a leading rank, sitting at third in the Grand Canyon Region for the Women’s Team Category.
Don’t miss this yearly event as the Cochise College rodeo team supports the troops and fights to lead the Grand Canyon Region to nationals, once again.
Gates open at noon and the rodeo will start at 1 p.m. on both days. On Sunday, Cowboy Church will start at noon. Cowboy Church is a worship service with a uniquely western flavor and gives participants a glimpse of how pioneering families may have worshiped in Arizona when the West was young.

Active Duty military and children 6 and under will be admitted free. Advance tickets for the general public are on sale now for $6 at Yardley Community Center, Fort Huachuca, and Sierra Vista Safeway and at Cochise College, Sierra Vista and Douglas Campuses and the Willcox and Benson Centers. Tickets will be $8 at the gate. For more ticket information, call (520) 533-2404.

Recent grad shares success at cybersecurity night

If there’s one thing Nora Luna is certain of, it’s that even intimidating challenges can be overcome.

Nora LunaThat was part of her message to nearly 100 students and guests attending Cochise College’s first Cybersecurity Night last month. Luna (’16) served on an alumni panel that answered audience questions. An employer panel included representatives of the military and local contractors. All shared insights about what it takes to not only study cybersecurity, but also to advance in the field.

“There will always be challenges, but nothing that can’t be overcome,” Luna told the audience. “The sky is the limit, and age is but a number. Anything is possible.”

Luna’s perseverance in balancing work, family and school was noted and applauded by a fellow panelist who witnessed the effort she put into it.

A 1995 graduate of Tombstone High School, Luna is a single parent who worked three jobs while attending college. Now she’s “down to two” jobs, one as grants specialist with Tombstone Unified School District, where her new knowledge helps inform decisions about the confidentiality of student information. She also now works part time on Fort Huachuca for OSI Vision, a contractor that provides services in the areas of IT operations, cybersecurity, logistics and supply chain management, and systems engineering. At OSI, she trouble shoots and provides desktop support, assists users with specific accounts provided by the military, and is part of the quality management team. She also earned SEC+ certification and is trained to lock down and keep information secure to avoid spillage and other security risks.

Alumni shared advice for academic and career success with nearly 100 people who attended Cybersecurity Night.

Luna initially planned to study business. She switched to information security during the time the program was evolving into cybersecurity. The degree, she thought, would open the door to a variety of local employment opportunities.

Time management and related decisions were difficult, she concedes, as she temporarily sacrificed what she values most – family – in order to be able to accomplish something necessary – graduation and financial security. She graduated as a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society with a 3.76 grade point average. Supportive family, friends, and college faculty and staff played a significant role in helping her along the way.

“I would not have accomplished what I have so far without them,” she said. “My daughter, now a sophomore, supported me without question and helped me study. It felt like a team, as this was going to better both of our lives. I feel very humbled, as I hoped to be an example to my daughter. I wanted her to see that it can be done no matter what the situation.”

After a bit of a breather, if you can call it that, Luna plans to complete a second associate’s degree in business and transfer to the University of Arizona South, where she can pursue studies in either business or cybersecurity, or both.

If there’s any other advice she’d share, it’s that working less can allow students to take advantage of extracurricular opportunities she wishes she hadn’t missed.

“I would encourage anyone to work less if they can and put as much time and attention to school and learning as possible,” Luna said. “Learning is such a great thing, and to have the ability to learn new things and grow is its own reward.”

Cochise College students perform field research

Cochise College is making use of a grant funded by the National Science Foundation to help students gain experience in local field research.

“Historically students wouldn’t really start getting involved in research until later in their undergrad or even graduate studies,” said Edmund Priddis, Science Department Chair for Cochise College.

Priddis founded the Cochise College Undergraduate Research Club. The club is partially funded through the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI), which helps community colleges overcome the unique barriers that have prevented community college students from participating in hands-on research.

Even more, this initiative is creating and sustaining a national network of community colleges committed to bringing the undergraduate research experience into the biology curriculum. The innovation helps approximately 45% of all U.S. undergraduates, including underrepresented groups and students who are the first generation of their family to attend college.

“Some of the things students gain is understanding the connections between what is learned in class and how it is applied in real life. Plus, they gain skills in recognizing questions that can be answered through research and doing the work to set up research and complete it. They get to begin thinking like a scientist, not a student,” said Priddis. “The research shows that the sooner students get involved in research the better. They are more likely to stay in their major and also absorb the material better.”

The club consists of a small gathering of students who have a passion for science. They have been trekking up and down the Sonora River, and two local animal reserves by Douglas, Arizona, for over a year.

One of the club’s research projects, called the Wildlife Research Project, takes advantage of Cochise County’s diverse landscapes. Southeastern Arizona is known to be one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States. Four major deserts and an assortment of mountain ranges scattered throughout the countryside makes Cochise County a unique environment for students observe and learn from.

Equipped with high output covert infrared detecting camera traps, students peek into the natural habitats of animals. Cameras are positioned by rivers and trees and set to observe and record the assortment of wildlife.

Students, accompanied by their instructors, travel around the county every one or two months to check the footage of each camera. The data is then cataloged by date in one of the Cochise College science labs. Pictures are named, sorted and analyzed utilizing computer programs. Over twenty mammal species were analyzed in the study so far.

The group of science students are hoping to extend their research by taking a trip down to Mexico in order to collect more data from the other side of the border. The students will attempt to better understand how the southern border has affected the movements of species, especially in areas where a border wall is in place.

“It’s one of our big questions. How is the border affecting the wildlife in the area?” said Priddis. “Right now, we are trying to communicate with a group down in Mexico to set up some cameras on the other side of the border so we have data to compare,” Priddis explained.

Marie Sckaff, biology students and president of the Undergraduate Research Club, said this is her third semester participating in undergraduate research projects.

“It’s just a great opportunity, especially being in the field and collecting data because I wasn’t expecting to do anything like that. So we would actually go to the river and set up the cameras and see all those animals. It was just very interesting. I’m very excited to continue on with the research,” Sckaff said.

Results from the study are distributed and used to refine the model for integrating undergraduate research at other community colleges.
The Undergraduate Research Initiative began when Finger Lakes Community College, located near Rochester, New York, sought to start providing field research to students attending community colleges. The college pursued a grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative was created using the funds granted by the NSF. Afterward, the college reached out to additional community colleges, including Cochise College, to help take advantage of this educational movement.

Cochise College hosts Cyber Spring Student Orientation Panel

Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus during the Cyber Day Industry Panel.

Cochise College hosted a Cyber Spring Student Orientation Panel at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus yesterday night to help welcome registered cyber students.

Dr. Clyne Namuo, Dean of Business & Technology, introduced the state of cyber at Cochise College.

“Our cyber night event is partly an opportunity to celebrate the success and growth of our thriving cybersecurity program here at Cochise College, but mostly, it  provides our current batch of cyber students the opportunity to hear from program graduates currently working in the industry and from high-level industry representatives themselves,” said Dr. Namuo.

The Industry Panel was facilitated by Cochise College’s new full-time Cyber Faculty, Mike McLain. During the panel, participants discussed industry topics with representatives from JITC, Fort Huachuca, NCI, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Engility. Dan Guilmette, CIS Instructor for Cochise College, facilitated an Alumni Panel. Over 100 students attended the event.

Cochise College offers a variety of options to provide students with a broad preparation for entry in the fields of computer information systems or transfer to a university. To ensure the correct pathway, students must develop their specific program of study in close coordination with a Cochise College advisor.

For more information on cyber visit the Computer Information Systems webpage.