CWI Compass Connect - Feb. 16, 2021
College of Western Idaho (CWI) students, Hailey Stephensky, Carly Edwards, Natasha Lima-Rivas, and Annie Colombatto, recently volunteered their time at the South Meridian YMCA THRIVE Center, a program created to assist neurodiverse children and adults. Completing nearly 50 required service-learning hours for their Foundations of Social Work (SOCW 202) class, the students were able to apply concepts learned in the classroom to community needs.
“My service-learning experience with the THRIVE Center was so enriching,” said Colombatto. “Learning about what the YMCA does to help the neurodiverse community really opened my eyes to the different areas social workers can promote change.”
Service hours included creating curriculum for classes and camps; collecting fun, healthy, and affordable recipes to teach adults with autism how to cook; providing resources to teach life skills; and creating a pamphlet on current legislation impacting our community.
“We were able to create fun content for their different classes and camps, which I loved,” Colombatto continued. “We were even able to create a handout for parents/caregivers showing them how they can help advocate for their neurodiverse loved ones. I'm glad I was able to help serve their community even with the constraints of COVID right now.”
College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Visiting Artist Series is proud to welcome artist, Rachael Mayer, for a virtual talk and cardboard loom weaving workshop Friday, Feb. 19.
Mayer is a fiber artist based in Boise, Idaho. Bridging her Bachelor of Art in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies and Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art, she creates work themed around communities, social networks, and systems. She uses her experiences traveling across the country with her family as a child and young adult to contextualize social constructions within landscape and topography. Mayer’s work has been exhibited across the United States. She has interned at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee and has been published in the Surface Design Journal.
All are invited to join us Feb. 19 from 1 – 3 p.m., via Zoom, as Mayer discusses her work with textiles and weaving, as well as her professional development as an artist. Her talk will be followed by a cardboard loom weaving workshop which will cover the basics of tapestry design, weaving with texture, and finishing stitches will be covered. At the completion of the workshop, participants will have created a wall hanging they can display in their home and will have the knowledge and resources to continue to weave in their free time.
Participants are asked to assemble the following materials for the workshop:
- Flat piece of cardboard (approximately 8 x 10 inches) + cardboard scraps
- Skinny yarn or twine
- Variety of colors, textures, and thickness of yarn
- Tapestry needle (optional)
- Masking or painters tape (if not purchasing a tapestry needle)
CWI’s Visiting Artist Series is made possible through a grant from Idaho Commission on the Arts, which is supported by National Endowment for the Arts. Visiting Artist Series workshops, featuring visual and performing artists, are free and open to the entire CWI community. Mayer’s talk and virtual workshop is suitable for all ages and will be sign interpreted in American Sign Language.
Zoom Link: Cardboard Loom Weaving Workshop
Meeting ID: 971 9776 9392
Contact Brenda Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or with questions.
The College of Western Idaho (CWI) Foundation scholarship application period for the Spring 2022 semester opens Nov. 1. One application makes applying for scholarships at CWI easy providing students automatically-generated scholarship matches, in addition to allowing students to self-select scholarships of interest. More than 200 scholarships have already been awarded to students in both academic and career-technical programs at the College for the 2021-2022 academic year!
Students interested in applying for scholarships must have the CWI admission application completed, be accepted, and have myCWI login information. The application closes Nov. 30, 2021.
Visit the Grants and Scholarships page to learn more or apply.
Craving a night out? Join Student Affairs and Latinx Student Services, Friday, Feb. 19, during CWI Movie Night for a showing of the movie, Just Mercy (PG-13), at Cinemark Majestic Cinemas in Meridian. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. showing. Attendees will receive a free, large popcorn and large fountain drink. Those planning to attend must RSVP using the link below.
Movie Synopsis: After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.
Contact Amber Eubanks at email@example.com with questions.
Join Latinx Student Services in celebrating the life and musical influence of Mexican-American artist, Selena, during a virtual showing of the first episode of Selena: The Series, Feb. 17 from 4 to 5 p.m. Through “Daydream” attendees will gain insight as to how music became a large part of Selena’s life and how it paved the way for her to become the “Queen of Tejano Music”.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Latinx Student Services online with questions or to learn more.
Congratulations to Greg Wilson, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Faculty of Distinction for January 2021. Wilson has been at the College for eight years. He currently teaches in the Integrated Studies department and is the General Education Coordinator. Courses he has taught include Intro to Philosophy, Intro to Ethics, Intro to Humanities, and English 101.
“My background is in English literature, history, and philosophy. I have master’s degrees in both Theology and English Literature,” Wilson said. “Having taught at other colleges and universities, I know what a special place CWI is for students. Here, they get instructors who teach and who are here because they love to teach. We all work together to support our students. It's a great place to work, and a great place for students.”
As his students navigate various challenges, Wilson strives to provide them with the support they need to be successful.
“I think one of the best ways CWI prepares students is by giving them the foundational skills they need to succeed in academics and life in general. We provide students with such a strong foundation in the basic skills of thinking, communicating, and problem solving which they can take anywhere they go after their time with CWI.”
Among his most memorable moments are reading through his class discussion board posts.
“To see students open up and share powerful things they would never say in person often leads to profound discussions, and it is an amazing privilege to be a part of those.
As the General Education Coordinator, Wilson started revision of the General Education Value Rubrics, has been instrumental in aligning General Education courses with new CWI Degree Outcomes, and has pushed for increased faculty recognition for best practices as part of the annual state GEM awards.
“Greg has truly hit the ground running in his first year as the General Education Coordinator,” commented Department Chair of Integrated Studies, Kim Scheffer. “He is, simply, one of those people at CWI who gives 110% of his time and effort. He is always the first person to volunteer and jump in with help, and always with a smile. His knowledge and expertise is unmatched. I am a better Department Chair because of his ongoing support of me, our instructors, and our programs.”
Wilson is an Idaho native born in Boise. After graduating from Capital High School, he continued his education at University of Idaho where he became the first in his family to graduate from a 4-year university.
“After finishing my upper graduate work, my wife and I, along with our son, spent 10 years in Nigeria working as a nurse and teacher. While there, we adopted our daughter. It has now been more than 10 years since we have been back in Idaho, and we have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Outside of the classroom, Wilson enjoys movies, books, and traveling.
Congratulations to Julie Wagner, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Student Achievement Award recipient for January 2021.
Wagner studied Biology at CWI, she was an INBRE Scholar, then an INBRE Fellow earning an NIH-sponsored Bridges to Baccalaureate Fellowship, a partnership with Boise State University.
"When I moved to Boise, I wanted to go into the medical field. Dr. Suzanne Oppenheimer, Assistant Professor of Biology, suggested I apply for the INBRE Scholars program,” says Wagner. Without her support, I wouldn't be where I am today, and without support from Dr. Brian McClain, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and Holly Paquette, Assistant Professor of Biology, I wouldn't have found my love for research and microbiology."
Wagner’s dedication and hard work were evident early in her educational journey at the College.
“Julie was an exceptional student in my Anatomy and Physiology class and an inquisitive and productive member of my summer research team. Later, she served as an assistant in my teaching lab,” said Oppenheimer. “I have watched her grow from a hesitant student into a confident biology major and research biologist.”
Wagner is currently a student at Boise State University on the B2B track and works in a research laboratory. She plans on attending graduate school for microbiology. She was also recognized in January by Idaho INBRE for her work in the program.
“Julie is amazing,” continued Oppenheimer. “She has the inquisitive mind of a scientist and just needed a bit of encouragement and a few opportunities to really fly!”
Congratulations to Brittney Hernandez, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Staff of the Month for December 2020. Hernandez is a Manager for Student Advising and Success and has been with the College for five years.
Hernandez, originally from Wyoming, holds an associate degree in Psychology from Central Wyoming College, as well as a bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in Mental Health Counseling from University of Wyoming. Prior to CWI, Hernandez worked as an Admissions Representative for Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.
“At Northwest, my position required me to visit Treasure Valley high schools to help students explore post high school options. Each time I came out to talk with high school students here, my yearning to live in the Treasure Valley grew! During one of these visits, a counselor mentioned an opening at CWI. That day, I made it my goal to work at CWI which became a reality when I was hired in 2015!”
As a member of the Student Advising and Success team, Hernandez enjoys helping students move toward accomplishing their dreams.
“Every day is different in the life of an advisor. My main duty is to serve students by meeting with them in-person, via Zoom, or by phone. I often play a role in helping them identify classes to take the following semester, create education plans that include a graduation date, explore transfer options, and check out career opportunities. I also have the privilege of working with a fantastic group of people who truly bring joy to my work at CWI.”
“Brittney is an astounding supervisor,” commented Student Success Advisor, Nikki Houston. “While COVID has certainly put us all in a different setting and routine than we are used to, she has been nothing but flexible and compassionate toward me and members of our team. She prioritizes time to make sure her ‘squad’ is taken care of and shows us we are appreciated often.”
Hernandez and her husband met in Wyoming. Along with their two children, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, checking out new trails, and barbecuing in the backyard. She loves reading and trying new recipes.
College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Nursing program continues to increase its capacity to meet the incredible demand for training in this crucial healthcare sector.
According to the Idaho Center for Nursing, there is a projected shortage of up to 523 Registered Nurses in the state annually until 2024, as the population continues to grow and the nursing workforce is aging.
“Many nurses in Idaho are reaching retirement age,” said Cathleen Currie, Dean of Health at CWI. “There is a nursing shortage currently, and clearly, the data points to a larger issue in the future.”
To meet the need for more nurses, CWI has invested in state-of-the-art equipment in simulation labs that provide a more dynamic learning environment and allow the College to deliver instruction to more students and assist those students in completing more of their clinicals in the lab. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) allows students to complete 50% of their clinicals in the simulation lab, and the other half working hands-on in the field with physicians and nurses at a medical facility.
However, even with the rapid growth of CWI’s program, only 58 first-year students were accepted for Fall 2020 semester due to limited capacity in clinical placement, faculty numbers, and physical space at the College – leaving 130 other applicants in a holding pattern.
“We have increased our nursing student admission numbers yearly since our first graduating class in 2012,” underscored Currie. “The biggest impediment to increasing program numbers is the growing shortage of clinical opportunities, and more space for classes.”
While increasing class size, CWI continues to focus on delivering high-quality instruction.
With an NCLEX-RN exam pass rate near 90% for graduates from the program, it is proof of its success as an educational leader in the region.
“With support from College administration, we not only are increasing numbers, but we have increased faculty numbers and constructed a new simulation lab to maintain the quality of instruction as we grow,” said Allison Baker, Nursing Department Chair.
Nevertheless, challenges remain for CWI as it continues to innovate and grow this popular program to meet the demand for more nurses in the Treasure Valley.
Congratulations to Matias Haramoto-Pete, winner of College of Western Idaho’s 2021 Connections Project Logo Contest! Haramoto-Pete's logo submission was chosen out of over 30 entries earning him the $150 prize. His design was chosen for its emphasis on an individual’s journey toward their future. The new logo will be featured in all upcoming Connections Project marketing for 2021.
“Creating art is something I am passionate about,” said Haramoto-Pete. "I didn't think I would be good in art classes because of the type of art we were learning. Sticking to what I knew. in addition to learning new techniques. has pushed me to try different perspective, stop doubting my abilities, and be better. Winning the logo competition has really made me feel like I have a place at CWI, and I can be successful in college.”
The inspiration for Haramoto-Pete's design was connection which is represented with a hand surrounded by various icons.
“For me, our hands are our biggest connection. They connect us to objects and people. In my design, the hand is connected to different symbols representing the connections each of us has available to us.”
Once his design was chosen, Haramoto-Pete was given the opportunity to work Cody Sprague, a Graphic Designer in the College’s College Relations Division. Development included updating icons to relate to education and the addition of an abstract compass icon representing areas of study and guidance available at the College.
Karen Brown, Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities, helped create the Connections Project logo design competition three years ago. Brown shared this method of choosing a logo “provides a way for students to gain experience and understanding of how marketing works at the College, in addition to some of the complexities of designing a logo and presenting it to the public”.
The logo selection process begins when student submissions are sent through an anonymous jurying process. The jurors consist of members of the Connections Project team including staff, faculty, and students. Once members have chosen their top three or four entries, these votes are pooled together to determine the finalists. The Connections Project team then collaborates with the College’s Relations Creative Team to choose the most viable image.
The Connections Project logo contest provides the opportunity for students, like Haramoto-Pete, to shepherd their design from the initial stages, to a product that will appear on ephemeral objects such as the webpage, as well more permanent ones like posters, programs, and t-shirts. Keep an eye out for future updates regarding this year’s Connections Project.