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By Tricia Johnson, Vice President of Academic Affairs
As we kick off yet another year, one that looks and feels different in so many ways, it’s wonderful to recognize that our commitment to our mission, vision, and values is still very much at the core of all that we do. Over these past months, it has been impressive to see educators from all around the college engage in critical thinking about service to students. Colleagues from across CCA have embraced new mechanisms for communication, whereby we maximize digital media to connect.
We’ve engaged in meaningful dialogue around Inclusive Excellence and building cultural competence during a time that has been difficult for our community and for us as individuals. All the while, folks have designed and developed student engagement activities that continue to advance career and transfer readiness for our students. In short, we have lived the CCA institutional outcomes – the 4 C's – day in and day out.
For these reasons and so many more, I look forward to the semester ahead of us. Will there be challenges? Of course. Will we struggle at times? Absolutely. Will we learn and grow as individuals and as an organization? Without a doubt. Best wishes for a fantastic fall semester!
CCA Hosts Virtual Fall Kickoff Meeting
More than 200 CCA faculty and staff attended the virtual fall kickoff event on August 19. Employees who work on both CentreTech and Lowry campuses could pick up breakfast on each campus before the event.
During the event, CCA vice presidents introduced new employees, the Communications and Marketing Department played a fun video it created to welcome staff back, and CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven spoke about the challenges of managing COVID-19 and the upcoming academic year.
Captions: (left photo) David Murphy, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs, prepares a breakfast bag for CCA staff before the fall kickoff.
(right photo) CCA staff and faculty participated via Zoom.
CCA Returns to Campus
Some CCA staff members returned to campus on July 27 where they adhered to social distancing guidelines and wore masks.
Captions: (left photo) Cindy Hesse, Human Resources Director, and Chris Tombari, Dean of Academic Affairs and Transfer Initiatives, wave at the camera while they socially distance in the Administration Building.
(right photo) Dean of Academic Affairs and Concurrent Enrollment Bobby Pace waves from his desk in the Fine Arts Building.
Beauchamp Defends Dissertation
Stepheny Beauchamp, Assistant Director for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Metro Denver STEM Alliance, successfully defended her dissertation for a Doctorate of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity from the University of Colorado Denver on July 10. Her dissertation is titled “The Impact of Concurrent Enrollment (CE) on Latino Male College Engagement.” Beauchamp looked at GPAs for Latino male students in the first and second semesters after high school at two CCCS community colleges and whether the students continued at the same institution after their first semester. She interviewed students to see how CE affected their aspirations to attend college and pursue a degree and their ability to navigate college.
I'd like to give a shoutout to the Community ESL teachers for their work in our remote summer term. Things are going a lot smoother than our first remote term, but the teachers still have to work hard to learn new technology and to help our students. Thank you so much for all of your commitment to our students and our program! - Submitted by Community ESL Director Jackie Zvejnieks
I would love to give a huge shoutout to Alli Jackson who is the Learning Community Coordinator for the Title V Team. She worked tirelessly during quarantine for our CCA students to combat the systemic inequity our students face every day. On top of that, she has transformed her backyard into a beautiful oasis for her family which has grown, too! She and her husband just welcomed home an amazing child who is in the foster care system. Alli is an amazing and inspiring woman and we are so lucky to have her expertise, dedication, resilience, voice, and love here at CCA and in this world. - Submitted by Lauren Counterman, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources
CFS Students Win Big at Heartland Emmy Awards
For the sixth year in a row, CFS students won awards at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Heartland Emmy Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in television, commercials, and student productions. This year, the Heartland Emmys received 1,155 entries from news stations, four-year universities, two-year colleges and other organizations across five states. Of those entries, only 148 were awarded Emmys. The results were released July 25.
In the Student Production Short-Form Non-Fiction category, CFS graduate Bradley Kussy won for “No Limits,” a documentary about Iraq War veteran Travis Strong, who lost both of his legs to an improvised explosive device in 2006. Rather than surrendering to his PTSD, Strong has pushed himself to do what most can’t, like completing the Tough Mudder and summiting the 2,744-step Manitou Incline near Colorado Springs.
In the Student Production Long Form Fiction category, CFS student Ethan Gurule won for “Staccato,” a story about unrequited love and the fear of being alone, expressed through the art of music.
Recent CFS graduate and CCA Video and Photo Specialist Timothy Meyer worked on both films as director of photography.
On July 29, Community ESL Director Jackie Zvejnieks and her boyfriend, Jeff, got engaged. They took a road trip to the Great Sand Dunes and hiked into the dunes around sunset to do some stargazing. After finding a spot they liked and settling down, he popped the question.
Testing Center Specialist Amanda "AJ" Papesh married Dan Petersen on June 14.
Student Success Librarian Renee Bedard married Liam Clark in a small ceremony on July 10.
On July 18, Facilities Director John Bottelberghe married Elena Jaramillo at Queen of Peace Church, and they hosted a reception at Willow Ridge Manor in Morrison. They invited 77 family and friends to their wedding which was an indoor/outdoor event and everyone social distanced and wore masks.
Student Support Specialist Felicia Sena welcomed her son, Thomas, on June 28. Thomas weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce.
ESL Instructor Jill Szynskie welcomed her daughter, Daniela Rose Varela, on June 18. Daniela weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 20 inches long.
Mikki Miskoviak, Lowry Welcome Center Coordinator, welcomed her daughter, Zoe, on August 8. Zoe weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and was 18.5 inches long.
Career Advisor Towanna Henderson spent the summer with her son, Brendon, who stayed with her in Colorado. He is staying with her until he starts a new job in California.
CCA’s application has a new look, and with a new look, a new link. Check out the new application. CCA's Communications and Marketing Department has updated the application in multiple areas but if you have your own marketing material or if we missed your webpage, please let us know. Contact Sarah.Jiter@ccaurora.edu or Josef.Florkowski@ccaurora.edu
The CCA Black Faculty Staff Umoja, Office of Student Life, and Office of Inclusive Excellence hosted a Black Lives Matter Virtual Open Mic event on July 1.
Nearly 40 CCA staff, faculty, and students attended the event and participants performed songs, read poems, rapped, and shared about their own experiences as African-Americans living in the United States to bring about positive change.
CCA student Trisha Buskey was master of ceremonies and read a poem, and CCA Instructor Lizzie Louis and CCA Faculty Carla Campbell and Savannah Sanburg also read poems. CCA student DeVelle Reed performed a hip hop/rap piece and also read a poem.
The CCA Student Government Association, Black Faculty Staff Umoja, Office of Student Life, and Office of Inclusive Excellence developed a Black Lives Matter timeline so CCA staff can engage in the movement, dive into stories, and connect the dots of this eight-plus year conversation. This timeline is a useful resource for department discussions, connecting with students and colleagues, and providing updates on the progress of Black Lives Matter.
Caption: CCA staff, students, and faculty came together virtually during the Black Lives Matter Virtual Open Mic.
Tami Beaty, Director of Health Science Program Development
Elisabeth Bell, English Faculty
Carla Campbell, English Faculty
Dana Davis, COSI Navigator
Lina Fedynyshyn, Business Faculty
Ram Longman, Computer and Digital Technologies Faculty
Madeline Levesque, Academic Program Support Specialist, Center for Triple Pathways
Julie Stewart, Business Faculty
Irving VanderVegt, EMS Faculty
Susan Young, Chemistry Faculty
Henderson Hosts Tween Book Club
Career Advisor Towanna Henderson co-facilitated the first session of a virtual Tween Book Club (with both parents and students) that she coordinated with a Denver Public School librarian.
“I’m excited because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I love book clubs and believe that it’s important to create multigenerational opportunities so that both children and adults can share their perspectives and learn from one another. The book, 'Look Both Ways' by Jason Reynolds, journals the lives of several middle school students as they walk home from school each day – very relatable for tweens,” Henderson said.
CCA Theatre Director Appears on PBS Panel on Ageism
Theatre Director Stacey D’Angelo spoke on a PBS “On the Same pAGE” panel discussion about COVID-19 and ageism and how both relate to the arts. The episode aired on PBS12 on July 3 and was titled “Talking about Arts, Ageism, COVID & Justice.” The episode was one of six developed as part of Changing the Narrative, a PBS strategic communications and awareness campaign to increase understanding of ageism.
Caption: Theatre Director Stacey D’Angelo speaks during her appearance on PBS.
In 1997, Denver hosted the Summit of the Eight. I worked for a large format digital graphics company, and Lockheed Martin contracted my company to produce a life-sized mural of the rocket engine that powered a Lockheed-Martin/Russian Space Agency mission. This eight-foot by eight-foot piece went in then-President-of-Russia Boris Yeltsin’s suite. - Chris Tombari, Dean of Academic Affairs and Transfer Initiatives
When I started working for CCCS at Northeastern Junior College in 1994, I was on a nine-month contract as an admissions coordinator/college recruiter. That didn’t pay a whole lot at that time and I was young, single, and childless and so I looked for part-time work during my off months which were December, June, and July. In December, I took on part-time work as a driver’s helper for UPS delivering packages during their busy season. I rode in the truck and wore the brown uniform and all! Also, in the summer, the college hired people to paint across campus, mostly the residence halls, so I joined the facilities team and painted with them all summer long. Both jobs were a great time! While painting one residence hall one summer, we found a ball python that a student had brought to campus and it had gotten loose in the dorm. It finally came out when the hall was empty and it wasn’t being disturbed! - Cindy Hesse, Human Resources Director
From 1986 to 2002, I was music director/programmer for Teletunes, an award-winning alternative rock music video program on KBDI Channel 12 in Denver, which focused on punk, post punk, ska, reggae, new wave, avant-rock, goth, industrial, electronica, BritPop, trip hop, shoegaze, and grunge. We had a crew of 12 to 20 staff at any one time. Not only did we air music videos, but we also interviewed solo artists/bands, for example, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Radiohead, Love and Rockets, Peter Murphy, Living Color, Cyndi Lauper, and so many others. Teletunes was recognized both locally and nationally for its cutting-edge program content. Ask anyone who grew up in the 80s-90s in the metro area and they will remember Teletunes. - Rich Italiano, Music Instructor
Caption: Italiano (in the white shirt) and the Teletunes crew in 1990.
My most unusual job would be a toss-up between archaeologist and voice actor. I studied archaeology for my undergraduate and graduate degrees and did fieldwork domestically in Ohio, Kentucky, and Arizona. I also did fieldwork abroad in Mexico, Belize, and El Salvador. In El Salvador I was part of a research team working at Joya de Cerén, the so-called “Pompeii of the New World,” where we uncovered new evidence that the Maya grew manioc. Manioc is a really hearty root crop that can survive in the ground for up to one year and may have provided a food source during times of famine. Our find was reported worldwide and I even found myself cited in a newly updated archaeology textbook I was using for class. I also did voice work as a narrator prior to coming to CCA, recording an anthology, novella, and a full-length audiobook. I think for the full-length work I voiced 16 characters and ten different dialects/accents. Lots of fun! - Adam Blanford, Institutional Research Assistant Director
I don’t have any photos, but when I was a sophomore in high school, I was a car-hop on roller skates at a Sonic-type drive-in. The parking lot was full of potholes, but the manager insisted we wear skates. I’m still amazed I didn’t break any bones! - Kristen Cusack, Registrar/Director of Admissions
I was once a telemarketer in a guy’s basement. I had just graduated college and really wanted to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, so my plan was to take this job until I could find something better. It was selling advertisements to go in restaurant menus. I even knew it was going to be in a guy’s basement. I quit after three days. It was so boring and repetitive. I made zero sales. - Angela Tancik, Pathways Advisor
In college, I applied to work at a library in Montclair, CA - little did I know that the library also served as a county recorder's office. So in between checking out books and collecting fines, I was issuing birth certificates, marriage licenses, and even performing civil marriage ceremonies! I would estimate that in the three to four years I worked at the library, I performed more than 50 marriages! I wrote a story for the college newspaper about it and you can read more about it and see some grainy photos of me. - Joe Florkowski, Web Content Specialist