Category Archives: Student Success
For those who have completed the construction skills masonry course at the Richland College South Dallas Training Center (SDTC), putting up walls is easy. This seven-week, non-credit, workforce training course was designed for quick completion, industry certification and has a work experience component for immediate employment success.
Last month, the SDTC graduated its first class of students from this program, at the end of which they literally built walls.
“Masonry has always been a part of my life,” said Javiar Arias, lead instructor for the construction skills masonry class. “The masonry trade comes from my great, great grandfather, and I love teaching it to others. This class will help students not only build a career, but also be a better person in life. Our first masonry class literally showed us how one person can build something with his or her own hands.”
This training program is a mixture of classroom work and hands-on experience, and it takes place off-site at A-Star Stucco and Masonry and the Construction Compliance Training Center of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.
“I took this class to make myself a better worker and to understand the structural mentality of not only masons, but also engineers and architects,” said Kristopher DeAlva, a recent masonry student. “The part I enjoyed most was learning how to lay a concrete masonry unit and brick. The class helped me understand structures in building as well as architectural design. It opened a new perspective in the path I want to follow in the future to create my own buildings and manage a small business.”
This masonry class prepares students for a job as construction masonry laborers or bricklayers after they complete the program. This was the first time this class has been offered at SDTC, which opened in the spring of 2017.
“I took this class because I wanted a career in something that my family had experience in; I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Juan Aguilar, another masonry student. “It was so informative, and the people were great and very well-educated. Not one question went unanswered, and I have never felt more comfortable learning something new. This class helped me further my education on safety and the importance of small details when it comes to construction. I hope to one day have a small business of my own.”
At the end of the course, students showcased their newly acquired masonry skills to construction employers by building a wall unit with a print set, mixing all materials and completing the wall in a set time frame.
“I enjoyed teaching this class,” said Hector Dechner, the instructor for construction math and blueprint reading. “It was successful. The students met all the learning objectives and progressed in basic masonry knowledge. This class will open many opportunities in the construction field for our graduates. It also taught them knowledge and skills necessary for many different job opportunities.”
The SDTC was created through a partnership between Richland College Garland Campus and the Innercity Community Development Corporation in South Dallas Fair Park. It is a workforce training center that offers non-credit, short-term employment training programs in areas including office/accounting skills, construction skills and industrial logistics. Tuition, books and classroom materials are free to those who qualify.
For more information about the South Dallas Training Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/sdtc.
Shooting hoops and chasing dreams are what Tony Bishop, Jr. does best. This former Richland College Thunderduck is making a name for himself in the basketball world, as he has recently played with the Panama National Team and Denmark’s Bakken Bears in several countries internationally.
Bishop competed as part of the Panama National Team in the FIBA AmeriCup in Montevideo, Uruguay on Aug. 28-30. The FIBA AmeriCup is a men’s basketball tournament that brings together the best 12 national teams across North and South America. The Panama team competed in Group C with the Dominican Republic, United States and Uruguay teams. Other teams present in the tournament were Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Puerto Rico in Group A and Argentina, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela in Group B.
Although Panama finished last in the tournament, Bishop came in sixth out of 125 players for most points per game. The 28-year-old, 6’ 7” power forward finished the tournament with 16.3 points per game, 49 total points, had 20 rebounds, made 3 steals and blocked 2 shots. He was also featured on the Top 10 Plays on ESPN on August 29.
After the FIBA AmeriCup, Bishop played with Denmark’s team, the Bakken Bears, in qualifying rounds for the FIBA 2018 Basketball Champions League. The Bears won 80-78 in the first round against Donar Groningen in Groningen, Netherlands, but lost 83-91 in the second round in Risskov, Denmark.
Before he began competing in international competitions, Bishop played basketball as a Richland College Thunderduck from 2007 to 2009.
“Slim, as he is known to those close to him, was a very motivated player while at Richland College,” said Jon Felmet, former Richland College head basketball coach. “When I recruited him in 2007, he told me where he wanted to end up, and I told him what he would need to do to get there. Since his time at Richland, he has continued to be a hard worker and a role model for his son and the kids in the Garland community. He puts in countless hours of weight workouts and skill development to continue to perfect his craft. He is one of the most successful student athletes to come out of Richland College.”
In 2009, Bishop helped lead the Thunderducks to win the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III men’s basketball title.
“I enjoyed my time at Richland College because of the brotherhood that was started with the guys,” said Bishop. “When we said ‘One Family, One Goal’ we really meant that! Still to this day, the coaching staff and players will always be brothers that came together to accomplish the ultimate goal – a national championship!”
While at Richland College, he was voted Metro Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2007-08, NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American in 2007-08, Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2008-09, NCJAA Division III Player of the Year 2008-09 and NJCAA Division III National Champion. He also received a full athletic scholarship to Texas State University, where he ended up being a Southland Conference All-Conference Player.
“Slim was one of many players of the 2009 National Championship team that have gone on to do great things with their lives,” added Felmet. “He recently held a free youth camp in the city of Garland for more than 50 young basketball players, and he continues to give back. He is humble and hasn’t forgotten his roots. Also, he recently launched a clothing line ‘Eat or Get Ate,’ a phrase that he coined and lived by while at Richland College.”
Ready to catch Bishop in action? The Bakken Bears will be playing in the regular season of the FIBA Europe Cup, running now through May 2, 2018. For more information, visit fiba.basketball/europecup/17-18.
Richland College Thunderduck men’s basketball team is currently coached by Jon Havens. The team has won the NJCAA Division III National Championship title three times—in 2015, 2009 and 1999. For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu/basketball.
The Dallas County Community College District always has been defined not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include. We do not know the impact on our students of the recent executive order regarding immigration to the United States by residents of certain countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). We do know that at least 47 DCCCD students are from these countries.
Undoubtedly, enormous confusion has occurred around the world, in our country and within the higher education community regarding the implications of this executive order. Let me be clear: the network approach to higher education makes it necessary for us to connect our students to the resources they need as they encounter barriers to their future success. While we do not know what the impact will be on our students, we stand ready to provide and/or direct them to the resources that will help them make the most informed decisions about their personal situation.
This immigration situation is evolving and changing and, because of the many lawsuits that have been filed, it is impossible to know how it will be resolved. In spite of uncertainty, we have put in place several strategies to help expedite sharing information with students who potentially could be affected.
To help provide information in a timely fashion, I have asked that we set up a dedicated email to address questions or concerns. We will do our best to guide any questions we receive at firstname.lastname@example.org to the appropriate resources.
We are actively assisting a number of community organizations that are both willing and able to provide support to our students or employees. We have provided a list of these resources to each college office that is responsible for international student admissions and advising. I want to thank these individuals for their willingness to meet with and listen to the concerns of our students.
We continue to monitor developments related to the order, and we are working with peer institutions, universities and national associations to understand and best address its implications and any changes that may result from pending litigation. That being said, all colleges and universities are in exactly the same situation – we are learning as we move forward, and there is no precedent for a situation of this nature.
For more than 50 years, we have welcomed students, faculty and staff from around the world. That culture of diversity and inclusiveness has become an essential component of the DCCCD community, and it is reflected in our policies, which prohibit discrimination in any form. When I arrived at DCCCD in 2014, I began immediately to talk with our leadership, faculty and staff about the importance of integrating global learning into our curriculum, noting that today we live and work in an international economy.
I want to assure you that I value the diversity of our faculty, staff and students and that DCCCD is committed to fully engaging the wealth of thought, purpose, circumstance, background, skill and experiences shared in this community.
Although the current environment related to immigration is unsettled, I remain focused on our purpose: to equip students for effective living and responsible global citizenship. We stand with you as we continue to build a community of teaching and learning through integration and collaboration, openness and integrity, and inclusiveness and self-renewal.
Chancellor Joe May
Richland College and State Farm recently partnered up to offer Richland students the opportunity to join a mentor program with mid- and senior-level employees at State Farm in Richardson. The program is designed in a multifaceted manner that pairs students with likeminded individuals, allowing the students the opportunity to interact and engage with State Farm employees and receive guidance on future educational goals and career options.
To apply, fill out the application located here.
Craig Hinkle, principal of Richland Collegiate High School, recently announced that Isra Abdulwadood of Garland, Ashley Babjac of McKinney, Stephan Farnsworth of Wylie, Swikriti Paudyal of Plano, and Sunnie Rhodes of Plano, all Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) students, have been named Commended Students in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students join some 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation who are all being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Hinkle will present each of these scholastically talented seniors a Letter of Commendation from Richland Collegiate High School and from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).
Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Abdulwadood, Babjac, Farnsworth, Paudyal and Rhodes will not continue in the 2017 competition for National Merit Scholarship Awards.
“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented an NMSC spokesperson. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role these schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”
Richland Collegiate High School is a school designed to provide a rigorous academic experience for high school juniors and seniors. Students complete their last two years of high school at Richland College by taking college courses and earning college credits with a focus on mathematics, science and engineering or visual, performing and digital arts. These students can potentially graduate with both their high school diploma and an associate degree, prepared to transfer to a four-year university. Tuition and books are free, making RCHS an educational and affordable choice.
For more information on the Richland Collegiate High School, visit richlandcollege.edu/rchs/
Being a good dancer requires grace, poise and hard work; being an expert dancer also requires a keen mental and physical alertness, strength, balance, control, sensitivity to kinesthetic awareness and an ability to connect with an audience – all things that Richland College dance student Leah Brashear has. And the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School has noticed.
Brashear recently completed her first year of studies in Richland College’s dance program, which helped her to get accepted into the Joffrey Ballet Dallas Summer Intensive Program and the Joffrey Ballet School four-year program of Jazz and Contemporary Dance in New York City.
“When I found out that I got accepted into the Joffrey summer intensive program, I was so glad that I could learn from one of the best dance schools in the country,” said Brashear. “When I also found out that I was accepted to four years of study at the Joffrey Ballet School, I was more than happy! I have always had some self-esteem problems, and finding out that I was accepted at such a prestigious dance school made me believe in myself.”
The Joffrey Ballet School was founded by Robert Joffrey in 1953, and has been cultivating dancers for more than 60 years. It has produced professional dancers, choreographers, studio owners and professionals in the industry. Many graduates are currently dancing with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Nevada Ballet, Complexion and Ballet West among other companies across the United States. The Jazz and Contemporary Dance program is designed for dancers who want to focus on jazz and contemporary styles of movement, while also incorporating a wider knowledge of classical ballet and modern dance.
Gina Sawyer, Richland College dance program director, is proud of the skills that Leah has developed in Sawyer’s jazz, tap dance and performance classes.
“Leah’s dancing skills have certainly improved during her time at Richland,” said Sawyer. “She listens and develops during the rehearsal process. During the past year, she has taken greater risks in dancing. She also has a strong inner awareness about her, she picks up movement quickly, she understands the quality of each movement, and she shines. She’s one of many dancers in the program who really shine. She will do great at Joffrey and any professional dance setting that she is in.”
In addition to teaching dance classes, Sawyer also directs and sets choreography for the formal dance concert performed each semester at Richland College. Brashear performed as one of the lead dancers in Richland’s spring dance concert, True Colors, which was a contemporary lyrical piece choreographed by Sawyer. The show was about empowering individuals to discover their unique voice and imagine the possibilities. Brashear sent a recording of that performance as her audition tape to Joffrey, and was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School and the summer intensive program based on her exceptional skills and graceful movements showcased in that performance.
“My goal in creating the choreography for True Colors was for each of the four dancers to have a sense of equality among them in their performance,” said Sawyer. “It wasn’t about featuring one dancer, it was about each dancer being featured and having a unique voice. Dancers are not always featured in a piece each semester, and it took a lot of work to create four different, lead dance roles. Joffrey required candidates to submit a piece in which they were featured, so Leah had the chance to share this performance with them. They obviously liked what they saw!”
The Dallas Summer Intensive Program was hosted at Texas Woman’s University, and lasted three weeks in August. The program focused on jazz, contemporary and modern dance forms. Other classes included classical and contemporary ballet technique, street jazz, Pilates and yoga. At the end of the intensive program, each student performed in a professionally produced theatre performance.
Now that she has completed the summer intensive program, Brashear will continue to study dance for one more year at Richland College before deciding where to attend school in Fall 2017. She is considering accepting the offer to study at the Joffrey Ballet School or attending the American Dance Academy in New York or Ballet Austin in Austin, Tex. Once she graduates, Brashear plans either to dance professionally or be a dance instructor for young children at a school or dance studio.
“I decided to stay at Richland for another year, so I can mentally and physically prepare myself and be ready to make such a big move,” said Brashear. “Richland has helped me a lot with dance. Gina Sawyer is one of the best dance instructors I ever had. She has taught me skills that none of my past dance instructors ever taught me. She encourages dancers and non-dancers to get out of their safe zone. With her guidance, I have become a stronger, better and more confident dancer.”
The Richland College Dance Program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity, develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices, and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance. On November 2 at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the dance program will perform the Fall 2016 dance concert, Fire and Ice. This will showcase a variety of dance styles including contemporary modern, jazz, tap and hip hop dance styles.
For more information on the Richland College dance program, visit our website at www.richlandcollege.edu/hfp/dance-program.
Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) student Abbas Zaki recently spent 39 days operating a research-grade telescope, taking images of a near-earth asteroid and writing software to measure its position by precisely calculating its orbital path.
The asteroid, named 2003 LS3, was closely tracked, and based on data collected by Zaki and other students, they were able to determine that the asteroid will not collide with any of the planets in the solar system for the next four million years.
Zaki’s research was done as part of the 58th annual Summer Science Program (SSP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he was one of only 36 gifted science students who came from around the world for this academic challenge, collaboration and personal growth. Together with his student colleagues, Zaki worked closely with university professors; met prominent guest speakers, such as an astronaut and a Nobel Prize physicist; and took behind-the-scenes tours of local scientific, educational and cultural sites, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Lockheed Martin. At Lockheed Martin, the students learned about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Gravity Recover and Interior Laboratory mission. The students also visited the control room of the ongoing Juno mission. The NASA space probe Juno was launched in 2010 and reached its destination of Jupiter on July 5.
“The part that I enjoyed most about the program was the opportunity to transcend my financial circumstances and to form friendships with, and learn alongside, brilliant students from all over the world who shared my ambition and desire for knowledge,” said Zaki. “I also thoroughly enjoyed being able to interact with the guest speakers, who were among the best in their fields, and to learn about some of the work they had done.”
Zaki was able to attend SSP through financial support from QuestBridge, a scholarship program that provides high achieving, low-income students with tools necessary to attend some of the best universities in the nation.
“Abbas truly understands the meaning of hard work,” said Richland Collegiate High School Principal Craig Hinkle. “RCHS students enroll in our program to set themselves apart, not just in earned college credits, but in their willingness to reach out beyond expectations. Abbas has quite literally done that. I can’t wait to hear where he lands next!”
The SSP is an independent nonprofit operated in cooperation with the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1959, this highly selective program has offered gifted teens the opportunity to conduct research in a professional setting. Many SSP alumni go on to earn advanced degrees and obtain leadership roles in their chosen careers.
Richland Collegiate High School provides a rigorous academic experience for high school juniors and seniors. Students can complete their last two years of high school at Richland College by taking college courses and earning college credits with a focus on mathematics, science and engineering.
For more information on SSP, visit summerscience.org. For information on RCHS, visit richlandcollege.edu/rchs.
Richland College student Ezra Calado was recently named one of 11 Terry Transfer Scholars at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) for the 2016-2017 school year. This highly competitive scholarship provides full tuition for up to three years of undergraduate or graduate study, housing, a stipend for other college-related expenses and funding for a separate study abroad semester.
“I was really relieved and shocked when I found out I received the Terry Transfer Scholarship,” said Calado. “I set a goal in high school that I would graduate college debt free, and I thought it would be impossible because I knew that transfer scholarships at full tuition level were very competitive. I’m sure that UTD will be a place that can elevate my leadership experiences and help me grow as a student and future professional.”
The Terry Transfer Scholarship is awarded to non-traditional students who are transferring from a Texas community college, are pursuing their first baccalaureate degree and have been accepted for admission to a Terry-affiliated public university in Texas. Recipients are chosen based on academic excellence, leadership experience in their school and community and financial need. Calado was invited to apply to the Terry Transfer Scholarship program by UTD, where she completed a rigorous application and interview process before being accepted to begin in fall 2016. She will major in accounting and global business and minor in international political economy.
“I’ve known Ezra for two years, as she is an honors student at Richland and executive vice president of the Honors Student Organization,” said Kathleen Stephens, Ph.D., coordinator of the Richland College Honors Academy. “Ezra is deserving of this scholarship because she has enthusiastically served the other honors students through her leadership, her dedication to her honors courses, and her exceptionally uplifting, cheerful attitude toward everyone she meets and works with at Richland. She is an outstanding Thunderduck, and UT Dallas will benefit from her commitment to her education and her leadership skills. Richland College, especially the honors program, will miss her, and we are very proud of her.”
In addition to serving as the executive vice president/vice president of events for the Honors Student Organization, Calado also served as the vice president of the Student Government Association and was a DCCCD Muse Scholar, a 2014 APIASF AANAPISI Scholar, and a Phi Theta Kappa member during her time at Richland College. Calado was also named the 2016 Amidon-Beauchamp Richland Student Leader of the Year, which is an award given annually to one student leader on campus.
Although Calado is very involved in Richland College, she stays active in her community as well. She was crowned Miss Teen Asian American Texas 2012-2013, where she advocated for stronger cultural identity in the local Asian community, along with the inclusion of the arts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Currently, she uses this platform while working on more recent projects, including a crowd-sourced digital companion that will assist refugees and immigrants by helping them to better integrate into their new communities. Her future goals include going to law school, becoming a human rights lawyer and finding a role in public policy. She hopes to strengthen the presence of Asian women in politics, influence legislation and break down the economic barriers that hinder the creation of practical policies in human rights affairs.
“Attending Richland College has been the best decision I’ve made for my future,” said Calado. “While the price and location are a plus, it’s actually the opportunities that I’ve had the privilege of utilizing that have made me successful. I thought that I would be an uninvolved student just trying to finish class because I couldn’t imagine being involved on campus with a baby at home. However, the environment at Richland is so unique, and there’s no discrimination when it comes to involvement and enriching yourself. If you want to be a leader, or if you want to be involved, it doesn’t matter what your identity is; there’s an opportunity for you.”
The Terry Foundation is one of the largest providers of private scholarships in Texas. It has awarded scholarships to more than 4,200 students in Texas since it was established in 1986. Howard and Nancy Terry created the foundation in order to give aid to students who showed promise of future leadership distinction who may not otherwise be able to attend college. Terry Scholars are made up of transfer students and freshmen students, who are challenged to reach their highest potential in scholarship, leadership and service to their university, the state of Texas and the world. Approximately $3 million in stipends have been given this year to Terry Scholars at UTD.
As Richland College graduates don their caps and gowns and acknowledge their academic achievements at the college’s graduation ceremony this evening, one student in particular will be celebrating an exceptional accomplishment.
Joshua Chari is the first dual credit student at Richland College to be awarded eight associate degrees while simultaneously completing requirements for high school graduation. In addition to being awarded his eighth associate degree from Richland College this semester, Chari will also be graduating from the STEM Academy at Berkner High School in Richardson, TX.
“Joshua Chari is an exceptional student who has set and achieved unprecedented educational goals as a dual credit high school student and college student,” said Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D. “Joshua is the first dual credit student at Richland College to be awarded eight associate degrees while simultaneously completing requirements for high school graduation. We congratulate Richland College graduate Joshua Chari on this significant accomplishment.”
Chari has been awarded the following degrees from Richland College: Associate in Science, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Software Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Computer Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Electrical Engineering, Associate in Science with a field of study in Computer Science, Associate of Science with an emphasis in Telecommunications Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and Associate in Science with an emphasis in Mechanical Engineering.
Chari plans to transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas in the fall, where he has received a four-year, full-tuition scholarship. The scholarship will cover the two remaining years it will take to receive bachelor’s degrees in biomedical and mechanical engineering, in addition to two additional years of graduate-level coursework in engineering.
Richland College offers a dual credit program that provides an opportunity for academically capable and motivated high school students to receive college credit while they are concurrently enrolled in high school. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/dual-credit.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) recently awarded scholarships totaling $42,500 to 13 full-time, degree-seeking Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students at Richland College. Richland College is a U.S. Department of Education-designated Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).
Richland College is one of only 15 higher education institutions in the U.S. through which the APIASF is offering the AANAPISI Scholarship Program.
“Our partnership with APIASF generously helps advance Richland College’s goals to promote access and achieve equity for a growing segment of our students who otherwise would not have this important opportunity to realize their educational goals,” said Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., president of Richland College.
“APIASF is excited to partner with Richland College for the second year through the APIASF AANAPISI Scholarship program,” said Neil Horikoshi, president and executive director of APIASF. “With more than 40 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders enrolled in higher education attending an AANAPISI campus, this partnership provides an opportunity to support AAPI students in Texas and allows them to gain access to financial and support services – ultimately helping them to earn a quality education and degree.”
Richland College received a five-year AANAPISI grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 that will total more than $1.4 million in funding. With 14-16 percent of Richland College’s student enrollment composed of Asian American students and at least half demonstrating financial need, the AANAPISI funding impacts many of the college’s underserved students.
For information on APIASF, visit apiasf.org.