Summer camps available in June, July


Cochise College’s annual Summer Campus program offered by K-12 Outreach kicks off next month with a variety of activities for local fourth through 12th-graders.

Spots are still available now but camps close and open all the time.

This year there are over twenty camps available including: Rock Band, Music Theatre, Intro to Painting/Drawing, Robotics II, Video Game Design II, Dance Cyber Security, Taiko Japanese Drumming, Small Engine Mechanic, Engineering I, Sewing, Engineering II, Video Game Design I, Robotics I, and Video Game Design II/Tower Defense.

Camps will be offered in June and July on the Sierra Vista Campus.

Each camp runs Monday through Thursday, most of them in the afternoon with a few offered in the morning, and each camp costs $100.

For more information and to find what camps still have spots open, visit www.cochise.edu/k12/summer-camps/ or contact Angela Moreno at (520) 515-3630.

Cochise College recognizes GED graduates


GED graduates at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus during the 2017 GED Recognition Ceremony

It was a night of new beginnings this Thursday at the Sierra Vista Campus when thirty-nine students were recognized for successfully completing the Adult Education Program at Cochise College.

Students filed down the room dressed in caps and gowns. Families, friends and loved ones watched in a packed community room, as each student was awarded their GED Certificate.

For many GED students, this was a second chance leading to a new start. For Yvonne Martin, a “professional mom” of three, army wife and native from Germany, earning her GED was a way to continue her career in the states.

Martin’s educational background has been quite a journey. The GED student followed her soon-to-be-husband when he was transferred by the Army from Germany to Fort Huachuca. Martin was married in Sierra Vista only to find out that her high school diploma, which she earned in Germany, did not meet the requirements of an American high school diploma, leaving her without many employment options.

“They told me that my German certifications were not enough because in Germany you can graduate after the 9th grade. That is why I got started with the GED program,” she said.

Martin started the Adult Education Program at Cochise College in January of 2016 and finished in December of 2016.

“What upsets me now is that I waited so long. We moved here in December of 2010 and if I would have known how easy and painless it really is to pass the GED, I would have done it way earlier. What really scared me was not being in school for twenty years, but the teachers at Cochise College took the time to explain things. The teachers were great about stopping and helping me to understand. At times, other students would try to help explain as well,” she said.

Martin hopes to continue her education and earn her Business Administrative Certificate at Cochise College and eventually start a nonprofit that supports army spouses and children with PTSD and other mental illnesses.

“There is currently a program around here called Soldier’s Best Friends. They take a shelter dog and train the dog for veterans with PTSD or whatever else they have. There isn’t any program like that for children. Our daughter was diagnosed with PTSD and she could really benefit from a service dog who warns her if someone comes up behind her because she has severe anxiety. Many families do not have thousands of dollars so I think this would help many families. I’m really excited because this will help make a difference in the community.”

Cochise College Adult Education helps adult learners acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the workforce or postsecondary education. Our focus areas are academics, technology, and communication. Classes provide instruction for foundational skill building, high school equivalency test preparation, or English language acquisition for non-native speakers in job and college contexts.

College closed for Memorial Day


Cochise College will be closed Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.
The normal class schedule and regular business hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, will resume Tuesday, May 30 at all campuses and centers.

Nursing dean stands with the fifty fabulous


Jennifer Lakosil at the Cochise College Downtown Center.

Jennifer Lakosil, dean of Allied Health and Nursing at Cochise College, was one of fifty nurses in Southern Arizona to receive the Fifty Fabulously Nurses award.

The award is given annually by the Tucson Nurses Week Foundation and aims to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of outstanding nurses who have significantly contributed to their community’s health and wellbeing within and outside of the workplace.  

Three hundred other nurses in the surrounding area were nominated for the award.

Lakosil was nominated by her daughter, Natalie Lakosil, a law student and one-time reporter living in San Francisco.

“I nominated her because I just grew up watching her go down to Mexico providing care for all of the handicapped kids and all of the elderly,” Natalie said. “One of my first childhood memories was going with her to see one of her patients named Arthur who was severely handicapped. To make it easier on the family, she would make home visits for Arthur. She has always done things like that.”

Along with her volunteer work in Mexico and being employed as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Cochise County for over twenty years, Jennifer also volunteered locally at Echoing Hope Ranch, a nonprofit that cares for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.  

Her work as a nurse practitioner focused primarily on children with developmental disabilities before she earned a master’s degree in nursing education and switched her focus to students at Cochise College. Jennifer first came to the college as a nurse administrator and climbed up the career ladder as director and then eventually, dean of Nursing and Allied Health.

One of the reasons that I joined the college is because [Cochise College] is service driven. I like to give back to the community. I would always volunteer in Mexico, but I thought that this job at the college supports more service. You have more of an opportunity to be impactful,” the dean said.

Jennifer has seen eleven nursing cohorts graduate as an administrator for the college, nine as a director and two nursing cohorts as a dean. She has been associated with the college as either associate faculty or as an administrator for seventeen years and has fourteen years of service to Cochise County.

“Over eighty percent of the nurses in Cochise County are Cochise College graduates, and it feels great seeing nursing students graduate and giving back to the community,” said Jennifer.

The Cochise College school of nursing was ranked as the #1 nursing school in Arizona by accredited schools online. Cochise College Nursing Program offers expert instruction, modern learning laboratories and a wide variety of clinical experience in hospitals and health care agencies.

The Tucson Nurses Week Foundation began in July 1994 when a group of Tucson nurse leaders came together to pursue a vision for a citywide celebration of Nurses Week. The goals of the Foundation and the Nurses Week events are to enhance education and research among Tucson-area Nurses and to celebrate excellence by recognizing Nurses in a manner commensurate with the roles Nurses play in the health of the community. This recognition process seeks Nurses in all settings and all types of Nursing practice.

Student advocates visit Capitol Hill


Four Cochise College students just returned from Washington, D.C. where they attended the National Capitol Forum and met with members of Congress and Senate to support and advocate for higher education.

Each spring, student advocates for higher education are chosen to represent colleges around the country and to represent the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population. Representatives gather in Washington, D.C., where they help shape and promote an agenda for Congress

This year, students were chosen by the Hispanic Serving Institution Committee (HSI) at Cochise College to represent Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) at the National Capitol Forum. HACU is an organization dedicated to supporting the large population of Hispanic students in America. The Cochise College HSI Committee chose representatives from Cochise County, students who are dealing with the ever changing circumstances for Mexican-American students.

The student advocates who were chosen to attend the Forum were Luis Dominguez, Maria Diaz, Caleb Torres and Natalia Alonso. Dominguez is a general studies major and Diaz is in college for administration of justice, while Torres and Alonso are both nursing students.

“I saw a post right outside of my classroom that was talking about the trip [to Washington, D.C.],” said Alonso. “I started reading about it and the poster said, ‘Do you want to advocate for your community?’ That’s one of the things that I really like to do, is think about others for a moment; to think that what you do is going to be able to help somebody else’s life.”

Norma Brandenburg, a member of the HSI Committee and Academic and Career Advisor at the Cochise College Douglas Campus also attended the Forum.

To prepare for the Forum, students conducted research and released a survey on the Cochise College Douglas Campus about issues that are affecting students and their community.

Once they were at the Forum, located on Capitol Hill, students were able to recommend a particular cause or policy to key members of the House and Senate and discuss issues and solutions that would benefit the community. Topics were broad in subject but crucial to the success of higher education, including hot topics like the IRS retrieval tool, which is a resource on the Federal Student Aid website that allows students to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Federal Student Aid Application.

 The IRS retrieval tool went down last year for one month, making it difficult for students to meet deadlines and ultimately preventing some students from attending college. Another issue that they discussed was the Summer Crossover Pell Grant, which now allows students to request funds for summer semesters.

“I informed the students to not focus on the numbers or the statistics,” said Brandenburg. “Instead they should focus on the issues that are affecting them personally and their fellow students. They should talk about their personal experiences because when you give that human side to a story to our leaders in Washington, D.C., that is when they see what matters the most.”

“The senators were very pressed for time,” said Torres when talking about his time in Washington. “One topic that I was asked to do research on was access to health care in Cochise County. I wasn’t able to say anything on it because we had so many topics to discuss and only so much time.”

Established in 1986 as the first organization committed to the success of Hispanics in higher education, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Leaders of HACU member and partner colleges and universities join public policymakers, key federal agency leaders, allied organizations, corporate, community and philanthropic representatives at what has become a powerful national platform for winning public- and private-sector support for Hispanic higher education.

HACU began with 18 founding member institutions and has grown to include 412 colleges and universities from across the country, in addition to several international chapters. Although HACU member schools in the U.S. represent only 10 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they attract more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students.

All Cochise College students who attended the Forum agreed that advocating for their hometown was a great privilege and all hope to continue to bring awareness of issues that promote change to Cochise County.

52nd Commencement to be celebrated in Douglas on May 12


Cochise College will hold its 52nd Commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, at the Douglas Campus.

The ceremony will take place on the lawn next to the Charles Di Peso Library. Online streaming will be available on the Cochise College website to allow viewers to see everything from the processional to the last graduate crossing the stage.

This year, the college selected two students to address the class of 2017. Christian Frazier, from Cochise County, and Hiram Martinez, also from Cochise County, were named to the All-Arizona First Team. Nearly 300 students are expected to participate in the event.

Motorists should be aware of heavier-than-usual traffic in the area. Those attending graduation will be directed by campus security. Commencement exercises begin at 7 p.m., but the campus will begin to fill with cars around 5 p.m.

Want to know more about what Cochise College has to offer? Visit www.cochise.edu.

College fundraiser sets stage for new scholarship program


There are not many American sporting events with the history and popularity of the Kentucky Derby. Its grand tradition—donning a beautiful hat, sipping a mint julep and joining fellow race fans in singing “My Old Kentucky Home”—is one to be enjoyed.

On Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 5 to 9 p.m., the Cochise College Foundation brings the old tradition of the south to Cochise County for An Evening at the Races, an auction and dinner gala. The main attraction of this event is a competitive “armchair” video horse race with more than 70 horses to wager on.

The fundraiser was created, in part, to help develop a general scholarship fund for the 2017-2018 school year. The “practice run” also may help spearhead an ambitious new program, which will  guarantee a scholarship to graduating Cochise County high school seniors

The scholarship program is still in development but seeks to help tackle a community challenge. That is Cochise County’s rate of residents age 16 to 24 who are neither employed nor in school. In 2016, that rate was 15.3 percent, and it exceeded the state rate by .1 percent and the national rate by 2.1 percent. The county population also is home to a lower percentage of adults (33.5 percent) who have obtained an associate degree or higher than both the state (36 percent) and the nation (38.2 percent).

Denise Hoyos, executive director of the Cochise College Foundation, said that making progress on these statistics may help improve the employability of local youth while also enhancing the quality of life of Cochise County residents.

Mark Battaglia, foundation board president, agrees with Hoyos. He said, “…we would have a better smoother functioning society if everyone had some type of education…There are a lot people who are not going to college simply because they can’t afford it. Then again, there are many people, like myself, that think we can change that.”

In addition to raising funds for future scholarships, the fundraiser will also help the foundation grow its profile in the community, as An Evening at the Races will be the nonprofit’s first sponsored fundraiser in recent memory.

“This is the test run. We are dipping our toe in the water,” explained Hoyos, adding that she hopes An Evening at the Races becomes an annual event.  “But, the more people we speak with and the more public support that is generated, the more scholarships there will be available for local students. It’s already generated some new interest in the college, even for things other than scholarships, among members of the community.”

On the day of the event, 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 both a hat parade and an auction where guests will bid on a variety of items. Overall, the event will be a celebration of tradition and higher education.

There will also be a special feature on Cochise College student success and those who have benefitted from donations and contributions. This year, all proceeds support the general scholarship fund.  

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the Cochise College Foundation at (520) 417-4735. Details about tickets, including a regularly updated list of sponsors, guests, and items to be auctioned, are at www.cochise.edu/races.

About the Cochise College Foundation:

The Cochise College Foundation mission is to promote student success through scholarships, facilities development and program support. By supporting Cochise College, the foundation endeavors to increase the college’s accessibility to Cochise County’s diverse and changing communities. Donors to the Cochise College Foundation help provide about $350,000 in scholarships and about $300,000 in program support annually.

Cochise College Music Department hosts spring concerts


This spring, the Cochise College Music Department invites the public to come enjoy live music events led by local talent for a great cultural experience.

  •         Cochise Jazz Ensemble and Renegades Rock Ensemble – 04/20/2017

The Cochise Jazz Ensemble and Renegades Rock Ensemble bands will be performing in the Community Room on the Sierra Vista Campus on April 20, 2017, at 7 p.m.

 

Under the direction of Mike Kuhn, the Jazz Ensemble will play small group jazz classics featuring a vocalist. Each member of the band will demonstrate their improvisational skills. Some song selections are “I Got Rhythm” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” both by George Gershwin and “Desafinado” a bossa nova song by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The Renegades Rock Ensemble is under the direction of Francisco Barrios. The band will perform “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Good Lovin’” by the Rascals, “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison and “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum.

  •         Vivaldi’s Gloria Spring Concert – 04/30/2017

The Orchestra and Bi-national Chorus Spring Concert will take place at the Bisbee Royale in Old Bisbee on April 30, 2017, at 6 p.m. The Bisbee High School Chorus will also be a part of the concert. The concert is free of charge, but donations can be made to the Cochise College student scholarship fund. Contact Lori Keyne at keynel@cochise.edu or (520) 417-4066 for more information.

  •         Nuevo Mundo Spring Concert – 05/08/2017

Nuevo Mundo, Cochise College’s early music ensemble for voices and instruments, specializes in music through the eighteenth century from Spain and the Americas. This concert celebrates the beauty of spring and includes works with indigenous texts from Peru and Mexico, as well as works from the Cantigas de Santa Maria and the Cancioneros of the old world. Come and hear this rarely performed music in the beautiful space of Kino Hall on May 8, 2017, at 7 p.m.

  •         4th Annual Concert Without Borders – 05/20/2017

Musicians and artists from the U.S. and Mexico are joining together for the 4th Annual Concert Without Borders on May 20, 2017, at the East of Douglas Port of Entry, at the border wall. The concert starts at 6 p.m. Contact Lori Keyne at keynel@cochise.edu or (520) 417-4066 for more information.

Welding competition reaches new heights


Contestants welding mid-competition in the Cochise College Career and Technical Building.

The 19th annual Cochise College high school welding competition took place in the Career and Technical Building last Friday on the Sierra Vista Campus.

Participants included 52 students from high schools all across Arizona including Benson, Bowie, Douglas, Mingus, Monument, Red Mountain, San Simon, Skyline, St. David, St. Johns and West-Mec, making it the largest group of contestants yet.

Each student who participated in the competition was tested on shield metal arc welding, oxy-fuel cutting, gas metal arc welding, oxy-fuel welding and also had to complete one written exam.

Students who participated in the competition also got a first-hand look at the welding lab and programs offered by Cochise College.

“We do this for the students,” said Scott Brown, Cochise College welding instructor. “It helps students broaden their welding skills and helps them to be more confident. There are not a lot of competitions around where students have that experience.”

In addition to gaining experience, prizes were provided by local companies and industry leaders to students who placed in the competition.

The ten students in order of how they placed are: Denton Fenn, a sophomore from Benson; Aaron Sherrill, a senior from St. Johns; Ronnie Higginbatham, a senior from St. David; Colter Leslie, a senior from St. Johns; Joel Elias, a senior from Douglas; Nick Rodriguez, a senior from St. Johns; Kyla Cook from Skyline; Stanton Begay, a senior from West-Mec; Tyler Allen, a sophomore from Benson; Caleb Weaver a sophomore from St. David.

Cochise plans for textbook free future


Cochise College faculty members gathered together in the Horace Steele Conference Room last Friday on the Sierra Vista Campus with one thing on the brain, textbooks.

With the recent rise in textbook prices, up 73 percent over the past decade according to edsurge.com, textbook expenses have become overwhelming and for many students, burdensome.

According to Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit dedicated to student success, “The annual costs of textbooks are about $1,300 per year for a full-time community college student and amount to about a third of the cost of an associate’s degree. This cost, research shows, is a significant barrier to college completion. Students who don’t complete college are over 50 percent more likely than those who graduated to cite textbook costs as a major financial barrier, according to a study by the research firm Public Agenda.”

It’s a matter that several faculty at Cochise College wish to address by replacing textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OER).

Open Educational Resources are teaching materials currently available on digital platforms, which are procured by external developers. These resources fall under specific types of copyright licenses, allowing instructors and students to use and reuse the content; subsequently dropping the cost of educational resources down to around $10 per class and eliminating the high expense of textbooks altogether.

Dr. J.D. Rottweiler, president of Cochise College, attended the discussion on textbooks in Horace Steele.

“Clearly the number one barrier today is access to educational resources. Today textbook costs are greater than tuition costs at Cochise College,” said Rottweiler during the meeting.

“I think there are a lot of exciting prospects for student learning and for departmental collaboration,” said Alexandra Felton, Emerging Technologies Librarian; adding that she thought the transition would be a slow process.

And Felton is right about that. Unfortunately, switching to OER will not be as simple as downloading free Wikipedia articles. The path to OER will most likely be a slow transition. Resources must provide relevant and sufficient content for each subject area; although OER texts are written and reviewed by experts, each college department will need to determine if OER will fit the needs of their students, and afterward, each instructor will need to learn how to use OER database systems. It’s a transition that instructors seem to want.

“I’m really in favor of the concept,” said English Instructor Kym Kennedy, during the meeting. “Anything that’s in favor of my students. It’s like I have to force them to buy a textbook. I teach English composition so, we’ll see. To me, it feels a little overwhelming, but I would like to try it out in the fall.”

Currently there are only a few courses using OER on a trial run. Edmond Priddis, a biology instructor at Cochise is one of the teachers piloting OER at the college. So far his feedback seems positive.

“I really like using OER because of the cost, the convenience and the way that it links to online resources,” Priddis said. “In fact, we have adopted OER texts for all of the Bio100, Bio181 and 182 courses that we teach in the sciences.”

Students of Edmond Priddis seem to favor the concept as well.

“I think the best part about OER is that it’s cheap, and if you use it online it’s free,” explained Maria Skaff, sophomore biology student at Cochise College.

Nick Massoni, a sophomore at Cochise, returned to college after serving ten years in the Army. Massoni explained that he doesn’t use OER. Although it is provided for his class, he mainly learns by listening to the lectures.

“…and I would add that, I know many students who’ve used OER and depend on it…” Massoni said.

Psychology, English, college success, sociology and administration of justice classes are among the many subjects expected to start using OER instead of textbooks in the fall of 2017, with the hope of integrating OER into additional subject areas in the future.

This project is said to save up to an estimated 4.1 million dollars over three years, once established.

The OER initiative was instigated by George Self, dean of extended learning, when he pursued a contract last year with Lumen Learning, a company that creates open educational resources and is dedicated to providing affordable teaching materials.

Self said, “My hope is that OER will simply become part and parcel for most of the classes offered at Cochise College. I like to think that at some point we won’t talk about OER as something special, it will simply be material that is used in our classes, like textbooks are today. To be honest, I would hope that five years from now somebody would look back on this article and wonder why adopting OER was such a big deal.”