Tag Archives: Dallas County Community College District

Artist Bryce Hansen poses with his painting, "High Five," which is blue with black, white, and cream colors. U.S. Army Veteran Creates Custom Work of Art for Richland College’s Veteran Services Office

The walls of the Veteran Services office at Richland College are a little more beautiful thanks to retired U.S. Army veteran Bryce Hansen, who recently donated a custom-painted piece of artwork. His piece, titled “High Five,” is a colorful depiction of the High Five Interchange, a five-level freeway interchange in Dallas and near Richland College, on which Hansen drives daily for his commute to and from work.

“I look out of my office window every single day and see these highways,” said Hansen, vice president of energy operations at Power Brokers. “I wanted my painting to show that something so mundane and ordinary that people take for granted can be beautiful, just like veterans. You see something all the time–a road, a bridge, a veteran–and you take it for granted.”

Hansen served in the U.S. Army from 1996 to 2012, where he worked as an enlisted mechanic before graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as a Green Berets commander. He also spent two years in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. His time in the special forces resulted in a predominant and persistent problem in his personal life: emotional detachment.

His return home from deployment left him struggling to connect with his civilian roots. Although he was surrounded by many people, he felt detached, lonely and angry. In order to be more present as a father, husband and a friend, he turned to art. “My art is a safe place where I can be completely open and honest,” said Hansen. “So, while I paint to be free, I also paint as a means to relearn how to be vulnerable and to love.”

Earlier this year, Pedro Navagonzalez, USMC retired and Richland College Veteran Services program services coordinator, found Hansen’s artwork through LinkedIn and was impressed. Navagonzalez reached out to Hansen and asked if he would be willing to create something unique for the Veteran Services office at Richland College. “We discussed what Veteran Services was creating for the students, and I really appreciated the efforts the staff was doing to brighten up the space. I wanted to lend a hand,” explained Hansen.

“High Five” features blue, black, white and cream paints and is filled with beautiful intersecting lines and busy cars, which are meant to depict regular Dallas highways in a picturesque way.

“I believe that having artwork created by veterans not only makes the office look professional, but it also helps inspire other veterans to pursue their passions,” said Navagonzalez. “The painting that Bryce did is a great piece of art. The colors are amazing and the picture speaks volumes of our way of life in the Dallas metroplex.”

Manager of Veteran Services Jody Addison added, “This piece is personal and local for us. We are excited to show it off to all of our students who come in here. We are super proud, and we are hanging it right here in the hall, really prominently, for everyone to see.”

Unlike some of his other work, Hansen did not want his piece for Richland College to represent anything military-related. “I wanted to step out from my niche artwork of military-themed pieces and create a contemporary piece with crossover appeal to a civilian audience,” he explained. “I find the commute to work as a time where many people get stressed racing to and from their job. I try to use that time to open my mind and do a deep-dive in self-reflection.”

Hansen’s piece is not the first to grace the walls of Veteran Services. They also have artwork from Michael P. Solovey (U.S. Army retired) and George D. Romero (spouse of a U.S. Air Force veteran). These are currently hanging in the office for the enjoyment of student veterans, family members and staff. In addition, the office has a sculpture on display by student Lorie Justice, who won the 2019 Veterans Day Art Contest. Her ceramic and wood sculpture features a white stone representing a tomb, fallen leaves representing the lost and two white statues representing those who are reflecting. In the coming months, the Veteran Services office is looking forward to adding two additional pieces that highlight the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

Currently, Hansen is working on a series of people and scenes from the Global War on Terror. Samples of his artwork, including “High Five”, are available on his Instagram account, @bryce.n.hansen.

Richland College was listed as one of the U.S.’s top military-friendly schools by G.I. Jobs 2019-2020 and was awarded a “Silver” designation, with G.I. Jobs noting that only a select group of institutions achieves this honor. Veteran Services establishes a partnership with veteran students and their families to facilitate the completion of their educational goals. Active-duty personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, veterans’ dependents and spouses, reservists and beneficiaries of related military educational programs can utilize the resources that the Veteran Services office provides. Additional information is available at www.richlandcollege.edu/veteran.


a shot of the Richland College library Register Now for Spring 2020 Courses!

Registration for Wintermester and the spring term is open for all current and incoming Richland College students! Register now to get the classes you want.

Click here for information on applying to Richland College.
Click here for information on registering for classes.
Click here for the browsable class schedule.
Click here for information about registration for Continuing Education classes.

Don’t forget Richland College also offers online classes and eight-week flex term classes with start dates throughout the fall semester!

Wintermester will begin Dec. 13 and end Jan. 12. The spring 2020 term begins Jan. 21 and ends May 14.

Questions? Contact the Richland College Admissions Office at 972-238-6948.


Illustration of locks that appear digital in nature Two Richland College Students Win $500 Scholarships from Cyber FastTrack Program

After completing several challenges during a period of five months, Richland College cyber security students Clayton Barbier and Reuben Seward each won $500 scholarships and made it to the semi-finals of Cyber FastTrack, advancing further than thousands of other students from universities and colleges around the country.

Cyber FastTrack is a free online cyber security challenge used to identify highly talented college students with a desire to enter the cyber workforce and provide them with the practical skills employers require.

Barbier and Seward participated in the CyberStart Assess challenge from April 5-May 10, the CyberStart Game from May 20-June 28 and the CyberStart Essentials from July 10-September 16. They completed challenges in forensics, intrusion detection, security operations, system and network penetration testing and application penetration testing.

Of the 13,289 students who started the program, only 2,579 made it to the quarter-finals and were invited to the CyberStart Game. They had five weeks to demonstrate their skills in more than 252 cyber security challenges, ranging from cryptography puzzles to advanced reverse engineering problems. From there, only 541 made it to the semi-finals. Those students gained access to CyberStart Essentials, an innovative online course that helps students achieve proficiency in the most valuable foundations of cyber security through hands-on exercise, quizzes, interactive labs and exams.

Richland College was designated as a Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center in 2014. The goal of the program is to bring the latest technology and a vendor-neutral education, where instruction breaks away from traditional information technology training methods. Because independent thinking and problem solving are encouraged, students complete hands-on lab work and participate in collegiate competitions such as CCDC, National Cyber League and the Black T-Shirt Challenge. Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce with technician-level skills and will be ready to complete industry certifications. Learn more by visiting www.richlandcollege.edu/cybersecurity.

For more information about Cyber FastTrack, visit www.cyber-fasttrack.org.


The soccer team poses on the field with the trophy. Richland College Men’s Soccer Team Wins 8th National Championship

The Richland College men’s soccer team, the 2018 national champions, traveled to Herkimer, NY, this past weekend to participate in the 2019 NJCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship. Despite cold and sometimes snowy weather conditions throughout the weekend, the Thunderducks prevailed and competed in the championship game Nov. 17 against home team Herkimer College, emerging victorious with a 2-1 victory and an eighth national championship.

This title is the first for Richland College head coach Raul Herrera, a former assistant coach who stepped into the role midseason when former head coach Sean Worley retired. Herrera is also a Richland College alumnus and was the starting goalkeeper on the 2006 national championship team.

The championship game started with an opening score by Toi Yamaoka, assisted by forward Takayoshi Wyatt. The score stayed 1-0 until the 76th minute of the game, when Herkimer player Mupenzi Irakiza had a game-tying score. Despite the Herkimer Generals dominating play for the final 15 minutes of the game, the Thunderducks scored on a successful penalty kick by Alvara Tudanca with just two seconds left, clinching the title and ending the season undefeated, with an overall record of 18-0-1.

The championship tournament began Thursday, Nov. 14, with Richland winning 4-0 against Sussex County Community College in the quarterfinals. During the semifinal round Nov. 15, Richland cruised to a 5-0 victory against Genesee Community College, which secured their spot in the title game. This was the third time that Richland and Herkimer have competed against each other for the national championship.

Richland defender Mariano Fazio was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and Wyatt was named Most Valuable Offensive Player. Herrera received Coach of the Tournament honors. In addition, Richland players Sergio Baena and Henry Sach were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Richland College has won the men’s soccer national championship in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2018 and now 2019. A ring ceremony to honor the 2019 team will be scheduled this coming spring.

For a recap of the 2019 championship, visit https://www.njcaa.org/sports/msoc/2019-20/div3/national_championship/championship_recap. Additional information about the Richland College men’s soccer team is available at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/sliferlc/athletics/mensoccer/pages/default.aspx.


A photograph of the main bridge and Alamito Hall on the Richland campus. Priority Registration Now Open for Spring 2020 Courses

Priority registration for Wintermester and the spring 2020 term is open for returning Richland College students in good academic standing. Regular registration begins Nov. 25.

Click here for information on registering for classes.
Click here for the browsable class schedule.
Click here for information about registration for Continuing Education classes.

Don’t forget Richland College also offers online classes and eight-week flex term classes with start dates throughout the spring semester!

Wintermester begins Dec. 13 and ends Jan. 12. The spring 2020 term begins Jan. 21 and ends May 14.

Questions? Contact the Richland College Admissions Office at 972-238-6948.


Headshot of Mouna Taroua Richland College Alumna Follows Her Dreams to Become a Biomedical Engineer, Crediting Richland With Much of Her Success

With an adventurous heart, a brave spirit and a little help from Richland College, Mouna Taroua is living her dreams. A Richland College alumna, Taroua is a lead anatomy engineer at Lazarus 3D, a startup company in Houston, TX. While people may see Taroua as an accomplished biomedical engineer, working on medical training simulators, presenting at conferences and regularly speaking up in board meetings, many would never know that when she first moved to Dallas from Casablanca, Morocco, in 2010, she did not know how to speak English.

Taroua moved to the U.S. as an 18-year-old college graduate. “It was a scary and exciting adventure at the same time–I didn’t know anyone here, and I wasn’t speaking English either. I spent my first year taking English for Speakers of Other Languages classes at Richland College and the following years getting my associate degree in science and fulfilling all the prerequisites for biomedical engineering.”

Taroua made lifelong memories at Richland. She had her first driving lessons in the Richland College parking lot. She met “life-changing” people while waiting at the bus station and practicing her English. She played golf for the first time during a P.E. class here. She worked her first ever job at the Richland College bookstore, starting as a temporary associate before working her way up to the team lead of floor operation. Taroua also loved the annual Multicultural Festival, looking forward to exploring different cultures and trying delicious food at the annual spring event.

“The campus is gorgeous,” said Taroua. “I loved walking around, especially in the early morning by the lake and looking at the geese and ducks. All the professors were always so helpful inside and outside the classroom. Also, it was very nice having a small number of students in each class; it made it easier to connect and meet with everyone. Easy access to tutoring for different subjects was also a huge plus. In addition, the STEM advisors were so great guiding me on my professional path. I always knew I wanted to pursue engineering, but I didn’t really know which field. I remember Mrs. Teresa Lynd walking me through each program along with each degree plan and answering all my questions until I made a final decision.”

One of the instructors who stood out the most to Taroua while at Richland College was Jennifer Millspaugh Gray, who teaches speech communication. After finishing her ESOL classes, Taroua took a speech class from Gray. It was a time during which Taroua didn’t feel very articulate or expressive with speaking English. “Jennifer Millspaugh Gray helped me overcome my fear of public speaking,” said Taroua. “I used to have extreme anxiety before each presentation–especially knowing that I would be talking in front of native speakers. I think she noticed my struggle, since I began every speech with, ‘I am sorry, English is not my primary language.’ After every speech, she would congratulate me and other international students on how well we did. Her encouragement and advice helped boost my self-esteem and made me want to speak and share my ideas with others, without feeling apologetic about my speaking mistakes.”

Gray fondly remembers Taroua as well. “I was just thinking about Mouna because I came across her LinkedIn profile, and I was stunned at how accomplished she’s become in such a short time,” said Gray. “I shouldn’t be surprised though–she really was a standout student. I have a traditional Moroccan plate in my office that she brought me as a gift, and she inspired me to travel to Morrocco several years ago. To this day, Mouna remains one of my most memorable and impressive students. She was–and still is–a confident and competent leader among her peers, an extremely determined student, and a compassionate, kind-hearted person. Thanks to technology, I can still keep in touch with Mouna, and I burst with pride every time I see her progress in her life and career. I am so honored to have been a part of her journey!”

In 2014, Taroua was among 18 Dallas County Community College students who were selected to be part of the Transition Summer Program at UNT Howard Hughes Medical Institute Program. The group spent five weeks performing genetic analysis on the genome sequence of different phages. In addition, she helped work on isolating bacteriophages from soil.

After earning her associate degree, Taroua transferred to the University of Texas at Dallas, where she graduated with a bachelor degree in biomedical engineering in 2017. At her job with Lazarus 3D, she works with 3D printing to create copies of extreme medical cases of patients’ organs so surgeons can prepare for upcoming operations. She also helps make medical training simulators that feel like real human tissue and mimic the mechanical properties of real anatomy. “Our products are different than the ones on the market because they are made of soft material instead of plastic; they can bleed, suture and be cut,” explained Taroua. “Doctors today practice on fruits and vegetables, which are very different from our anatomy, to learn how to perform many procedures. To decrease medical errors, we come up with suitable training models so doctors can operate with confidence.”

While the science classes Taroua took at Richland College helped her prepare for her future career, she didn’t realize until after she began working in the real-world how important her non-science classes were as well.

“The diverse classes that I took, such as public speaking, psychology, sociology and art, helped me develop my soft skills and my general knowledge, which are indispensable to the technical skills,” explained Taroua. “In sociology for example, we learned how to deal with and manage social conflict, which is common in my field. My public speaking class helped me overcome my fear of speaking in front of a big crowd, which is important when I am representing my company at conferences and when I express my professional opinion freely during a board meeting.”

Taroua’s best advice for international students at Richland College is to keep focusing on their goals, even if a million challenges come their way. “Moving to another country for college is a big step full of hiccups; however, it is a well-worth it experience, especially at Richland College where you will get all the support you need to succeed personally and professionally.”


Two dancers perform ballet on a dark stage. Richland College Dance Program Presents ‘Celestial Glow’ Fall Dance Concert

Together with guest choreographers and dancers, the Richland College dance program will capture the radiance of the universe through the spirit of dance during its fall concert, “Celestial Glow,” with performances at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8.

Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “Celestial Glow” will feature student dancers and professional guest performances and choreography in the dance genres of contemporary, modern, jazz, jazz funk, tap and hip-hop.

Dance choreography and film work will include original pieces by Alexandria Brooks, Cooper Delgado, Jessica Murphy, Lauren Schieffer-Holley and Keira Leverton, with guest performances by Leverton’s Choreo Records Company and the imPULSE Dance Project.

Brooks grew up dancing in the Dallas community and has trained at prestigious summer intensives, including the Hubbard Street Dance Summer Intensive, the San Francisco Conservatory and the SoulEscape Company Intensive. She currently co-directs and choreographs Studio 7’s CAS performance shows and teaches and choreographs for Dance Industry Performing Arts Center.

Leverton comes from a dance background—her grandfather was Buster Cooper, an influential tap dancer who founded the dance program at the Hockaday School. Much of her exposure to the tap community was through tap festivals such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Third Coast Rhythm Project, and she trained with a variety of professionals, including Gregory Hines and Yuji Uragami. Leverton has performed worldwide at venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Wembley Stadium in London. Her company, Choreo Records, seeks to preserve original choreography and compositions of Buster Cooper while supporting and encouraging young artists.

ImPULSE Dance Project was founded in 2012 by Anastasia Waters, with the mission of enhancing communities with the art of modern dance. The company has performed in many Texas dance and art festivals, including the Barefoot Brigade Dance Festival, Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, CDFW Modern Dance Festival at the Modern, the Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, {254}-Dance Fest and Dallas Dances.

The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students who value diversity. The program develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.

“Celestial Glow” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road. Additional information is available at www.richlandcollege.edu/dance.


Six people pose together in the HMS lobby, with Commissioner Daniel in the center, holding a giant check. Richland College and HMS Receive $541,112 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

Richland College, the Texas Workforce Commission and HMS representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony at the HMS headquarters in Irving Oct. 16, during which Richland College was awarded a $541,112 Skills Development Fund grant by the Texas Workforce Commission to train 227 incumbent employees and 39 new employees for HMS.

“We deeply appreciate the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area employers place in Richland College as an experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider, and we remain committed to meeting the workforce training needs and exceeding the expectations of businesses and corporations in all the communities we serve,” said Richland College President Kathryn K. Eggleston. “We also extend our sincere appreciation to the Texas Workforce Commission for the Skills Development Fund grant and the immediate impact this particular grant will make in training and advancing HMS employees’ success.”

Putting people first and developing a strong workforce were clear themes of the event, punctuated by the many HMS employees in attendance who are benefiting from the training provided by Richland College.

“Customized training like what Richland College can provide, I think, makes all the difference in the world,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel.

This partnership among Richland College, HMS and TWC also aligns with the HMS company value of encouraging employee success, growth and collaboration, which in turn benefits not just HMS, but its customers and the entire healthcare industry.

“As a healthcare technology company, it is vital that we invest in delivering highly relevant training in new and emerging technologies. That’s how we will continue to bring innovative solutions to our clients and move healthcare forward,” said Bill Lucia, chairman and CEO for HMS. “By innovating and leading with the head and the heart, HMS will continue to ensure that more people have access to quality healthcare coverage.”

The customized training provided by Richland College for HMS is highly IT-driven, with HMS focused on developing skilled, technical talent. Training sessions under the grant include: Big Data Analytics, Hadoop – Programming Language, Cloud Administration, Cloud Development, Cloud Architecture, DevOps for Leaders, Automation for Cloud, Artificial Intelligence – Deep Machine Learning, Powershell Scripting – Programming Language, Python – Programming, Structured Query Language – Programming, VBA Programming, Intermediate Excel and Project Management Professional.

HMS advances the healthcare system by helping healthcare organizations reduce costs and improve health outcomes. With industry-leading technology, analytics and engagement solutions, HMS saves billions of healthcare dollars annually while helping consumers lead healthier lives.

“I want to say, ‘thank you’ to the Texas Workforce Commission and Richland College for all of their hard work and support for us as we’ve really started to engage in and start to leverage different training and technologies to help propel and drive the company,” said HMS Vice President of IT Operations Mark Olson.

Upon completion of this training, Richland College plans to continue working with the Texas Workforce Commission to receive additional Skills Development Fund grants to offer training opportunities to additional north Texas businesses.

The SDF program at Richland College Garland Campus provides customized job-training programs for businesses who want to train new workers or upgrade the skills of their existing workforce. The program is a partnership among Richland College Garland Campus, TWC and community business partners. For additional information about the Skills Development Fund program, visit https://www.richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/garland-campus/pages/skills-development-fund.aspx.


Preview Day Richland College Preview Day on Nov. 2 Offers a Chance for Prospective Students to Learn about Richland College

Future Thunderducks and their parents are invited to learn about educational opportunities and campus life during Preview Day at Richland College, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Nov. 2. This event is free, though registration is encouraged.

Information session topics include college success, job employment outlook, admissions processes, credit and noncredit programs available, student services offered at Richland College and more. Academic program coordinators will be available to answer questions about specific programs during the sessions, and students will be able to complete and submit an admission application on-site. In addition, representatives from various student services areas such as the Multicultural Center, Transfer Center, Career Services, Disability Services and others will explain how these services can assist students being successful at Richland College.

“Anyone who is interested in Richland College should come to Preview Day,” said Janita Patrick, dean of student services at Richland College. “This event is designed with future students in mind. Whether you’re in high school, looking to change careers or want to engage in lifelong learning, this is your time to ask questions, tour our beautiful campus, learn about our programs and services, and get help with enrolling in college and choosing a program.”

Preview Day attendees may check in at any point between 9:30 a.m. and noon, with a variety of information sessions and campus tours being offered from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. A free lunch will be available at 12:30 p.m. for registered participants.

For more information and to register for Preview Day at Richland College, visit https://richlandcollege.edu/preview.


A photograph of the main bridge and Alamito Hall on the Richland campus. Richland College to Host Annual ‘Minority Serving Institution’ Convening to Support Minority Student Success

Richland College will host the fourth annual Minority Serving Institution Convening, a conference dedicated to providing higher education professionals with tools to impact the academic success of minority students at their institutions, Oct. 18-19.

The conference program, “Minority Student Success: Using Data to Effect Change,” explores how quantitative data can be better collected and used to design, evaluate, modify and improve programs and initiatives that address the success of minority and underserved students.

“As a minority-serving institution, Richland College understands the importance of creating an educational environment that sets our minority students up for academic success,” said Jennifer Baggett, Richland College professor of biology and MSI Convening faculty program chair. “The MSI Convening is a high-quality, free conference with nationally recognized speakers that allows professionals from other colleges and universities the opportunity to network, collaborate and learn from each other. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees of previous MSI Convenings, and we have also been able to build relationships with other community colleges and four-year institutions that have only enhanced our collaborative efforts in improving the success of these students.”

The convening will kick off Oct. 18 with an opening keynote address by Lee D. Lambert, chancellor at Pima Community College in Tucson. Lambert has been a champion for community colleges as instruments in the fight for diversity, inclusion and equity. He is the CEO of the National Asian Pacific Islanders Council, and his contributions to education and the API community have been recognized nationally. In 2018, Lambert received the League of United Latin American Citizens National Convention Humanitarian Award.

The Oct. 19 sessions will begin with the plenary address by Melissa N. Gonzalez, president of Houston Community College-Southeast. Gonzalez grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and faced a cycle of poverty often encountered by Hispanic families. However, her parents invested in her education and broke that cycle, and she has pursued research in areas of cross-cultural management, management education, maquiladoras in Mexico and Hispanic career paths. Gonzalez has had articles accepted for presentation and/or publication at more than 30 regional, national and international conferences.

In addition to the main addresses, the conference will feature multiple breakout sessions, a student panel discussion, a graduate student poster session and additional opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas and participate in conversations about how to put ideas about achieving minority student success into practice.

The MSI Convening is free to attend, and the deadline to register is Oct. 4. Continental breakfast and lunch are included both days of the conference, and attendees are also invited to a networking reception Oct. 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dallas-Richardson. The registration link, along with additional information such as a schedule and lodging, is available at www.richlandcollege.edu/msi-convening.

The 2018 MSI Convening attendees represented 64 colleges and universities and 16 organizations and companies from 18 states and the District of Columbia, with the farthest attendee traveling from Hawaii.

The MSI Convening is made possible in part through a grant from the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution program and by State Farm®. Richland College holds two designations by the U.S. Department of Education as an AANAPISI and a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and it was one of only nine higher education institutions in the U.S. awarded the AANAPISI grant in fiscal year 2015.