CWI Compass Connect - September 7, 2021
“Because of College of Western Idaho (CWI), I am in a position to give back to my community and be a role model to those around me,” said 2018 graduate, Marcos Serratos-Garcia.
Through the immigration policy DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Marcos has been able to realize his dream of a college education beginning his pursuit in the College’s Heavy Duty Truck Technician program.
“Both my dad and uncle have been driving big rigs all their life. They use to take me on road trips as a kid. I have never had the desire to drive them but always wanted to know how they work. CWI’s diesel program was the best I found Idaho and California.”
As a student, Marcos was mentored by his instructors in life-changing ways.
“CWI taught me the importance of communication. I had the opportunity to reflect on years of damaging, self-fulfilling prophecies in my life giving me the confidence to develop my talents to be the best I can possibly be. Many of the people I have met at CWI continue to be mentors, motivators, and friends.”
One of the College’s very first Navegando Mentors, Marcos had the opportunity to share his knowledge and experiences with fellow students which he continues to do today as an instructor in CWI’s Heavy Duty Truck program.
“As a mentor, Marcos was an ideal student and such a pleasure to work with,” said Latinx Student Services Coordinator, Javier Garcia. “His commitment to developing as a leader and supporting his mentees contributed to the program’s overall success. I am excited for the work he will do at CWI and confident in his ability to connect with students and help them grow and reach their goals.”
“During my first year at CWI, I was hired as a Diesel Technician at Freightliner in Nampa,” said Marcos. “This is just one example of how CWI empowered me with the necessary tools I needed to be successful. Today, as an instructor myself, I have the opportunity to empower and serve others by educating individuals in the community so future generations can thrive.”
Congratulations to Heather Schoenherr, Professor of Psychology, who has been named College of Western Idaho’s 2021 Faculty of the Year. The College’s Faculty of Distinction for March 2021, Schoenherr is recognized as an engaged faculty member who always strives to provide the best opportunities for her students.
“It is an honor to be a recipient of this award,” she said. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues who push me to better my craft and students who inspire me to try harder.”
Congratulations to Juanita Manzo, Project Manager for Instruction, who has been named College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) 2021 Staff of the Year. The College’s Staff of the Month for November 2020, Manzo is recognized for her professionalism, attention to detail, and excellence.
“CWI’s innovative spirit has always inspired me, and this past year it showed up in new ways,” she said. “In order to navigate brand new challenges no one could have predicted, CWI continued to innovate to meet them with resilience, compassion, creativity and purpose. Therefore, our students were able to continue to work toward their dreams. I am proud to be a part of the CWI community.”
College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) science legacy was on spectacular display last month at the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR) hosted by Boise State University. Several current CWI students presented the results of their research collaborations with university faculty from around the state. Topics were varied and ranged from biophysics to ecology to metagenomics. Whew, that’s sophisticated research! It’s also a testament to the rigor and standards used by CWI science faculty to prepare our students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, careers in science and technology, and a future in the 21st Century. Another feather in CWI’s metaphorical cap came in the form of current student Marcus Emmen, a General Biology major, who was selected to present a three-minute lightning talk, one of only seven students from this year’s symposium to be so honored. Well done, Marcus!
In addition to these amazing undergraduates, over a dozen former Otters, and Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) Fellows, presented their research at ICUR this year. Examples of the pioneering work the B2B program connects students with can be viewed below.
In this, our final, year of the Southwestern B2B program, it’s great to look back and reflect on all the successes accomplished by these talented young scientists. It’s a tribute to the CWI faculty and staff who mentored and prepared these students for this moment. It is not trivial our students, through the B2B program, are participating in avant-garde research in the biomedical sciences. It is, in fact, quite an accomplishment, and I’m grateful for every faculty member, student-success coach, and student services team member who encouraged one of these students to take that first step and apply to the program.
Our current and former science students continue to impress and, more importantly, continue to make real contributions to the advancement of knowledge in Idaho and beyond. Congratulations to all Otters, current and former, on their ICUR presentations. We couldn’t be prouder of you!
Patrick Tanner, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services at College of Western Idaho (CWI), has earned the Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO).
“The most valuable aspect of the experience was connecting with colleagues from across the country to learn more about making every aspect of a student’s engagement with CWI both seamless and meaningful,” Tanner said. “Yes, we can use data to track student success metrics, but we need to keep the individual student experience at the center of every discussion – that is how we deliver the value of the CWI education that is already known as high quality. I’m eager to continue to work with partners on campus to address processes and procedures to make sure that they are designed and executed from a ‘one student at a time’ perspective.”
Tanner is the 50th graduate of this endorsement and signifies that he has developed skills in the field of strategic enrollment management to meet the current and future challenges in the industry. Proficiencies in a variety of aspects of enrollment management have been achieved. This endorsement is an international acknowledgment of enrollment management professionalism.
AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries.
"Because of College of Western Idaho (CWI), I was able to return to college as a non-traditional student having been out of high school for a decade, find my passion, make wonderful friends, gain influential mentors, and successfully graduate with honors and two science degrees," said 2021 graduate, Ashton Syed.
After dropping out multiple times due to an abusive home life and homeless his entire senior year, Ashton graduated from high school in 2009. Despite excelling in several careers over the years that followed, he lacked fulfillment. This lack of fulfillment brought him to CWI in 2018.
"Primarily my discontent stemmed from a lack of intellectual challenge," he said. "In the positions I held, I rapidly excelled and exceeded the established expectations by such a degree much of the work became boring, and I was not encouraged to pursue further growth. The environments, in general, were quite negative and destructive which made it even more difficult to be happy and find fulfillment, given my past."
While at CWI, Ashton rediscovered his passion for Computer Science.
"My Computer Science instructor, Lawrence Sevigny, was exceptional. The course material came so, surprisingly, natural to me. As he and I reminisced about an old computer game I played as a child, a real connection was occurring, not only with my instructor but also with my long-deceased father who was a computer systems analyst and passed away in 1997. My father gave me a foundation in computer networking and a strong interest in computers which I kept through much of my childhood."
Seeking to influence change and enhance learning for students and the success of CWI, Ashton kept himself engaged and involved which included serving as leadership of ASCWI. Despite a number of challenges in his personal life, he was able to keep his grades up and was recognized for several awards and achievements. Among the most memorable was being nominated as an Emerging Scholar.
"This nomination was particularly memorable for me because when Karl Von Der Ehe, my Technical Writing instructor, nominated me I was sleeping at St. Luke's with my then two-year-old daughter during her battle against cancer. Even though I was going through a tough time personally, I was producing exceptional results in class which later earned me two, first-place Presidential Writing Awards."
As a husband and father, Ashton valued the opportunity to take classes online.
"My wife and kids have been a huge part of my journey and are my number one priority. For them, I needed flexibility in my education. Without the flexibility CWI provided through online classes, it would have been much more difficult to push through and succeed - especially during that trying time with my daughter. I am happy to report she is now in full remission and a happy, energetic four-year-old."
Ashton has already embarked on classes at Boise State University where he continues his studies in Computer Science.
"My ultimate goal? To change the world!"
Thank you to the students, alumni, donors, family, and friends of the College of Western Idaho (CWI) community who joined us at the ballpark for a night of baseball and fundraising during CWI Night at the Boise Hawks Thursday, July 29.
Kicking off the evening, CWI graduate, Ashton Syed, threw out a ceremonial pitch. Syed graduated with honors in 2021 with degrees in Computer Science and STEM.
“Throwing out the first pitch was a huge honor for me,” said Syed. “Being recognized for the level of effort I have put into my education means a lot to me. It was just the boost I needed to finish my summer course with an A+. I am so grateful for the community at CWI for all their support and encouragement.”
The CWI section along the third-base line was an incredible sight! Group ticket sales for the event raised more than $800, the most ever for this event! The funds, presented to the CWI Foundation by the Boise Hawks mascot, Humphrey the Hawk, and Director of Sales, Matt Osbon, will go directly back to the SCORE Big Scholarship fund.
“What better way to spend an evening in Boise than at CWI Night at the Hawks,” said CWI Director of User Services, Mark Westcott. “Talking with old friends and seeing new faces in 3D that I've only seen on Zoom topped the night. The Enrollment team was hawking (see what I did there) the goods on the way in and sharing our message. Thanks to the Foundation and Communications and Marketing team for the time and energy they put into an awesome evening!”
"I had a wonderful time during CWI night," said 2018 graduate, Marcos Serratos-Garcia. "I feel proud to be a part of an organization that is so united and gives back to the community. It was especially wonderful to have my daughter witness such camaraderie."
Congratulations to Yvone Kaluta and Tucker Marcus, winners of $1,000 SCORE Big Scholarships which were awarded on the field during the game. Both currently attending CWI, Kaluta is majoring in Health Science and Marcus in Welding and Metals Fabrication.
Plan to join us for the next CWI Night – stay tuned for more information!
College of Western Idaho (CWI) is excited to announce the release of a new mobile app with updated features including optimized Blackboard performance.
Put CWI in your pocket – use the app to help you navigate campus locations, view your schedule, receive important notifications from the College, and learn about news and events on campus. A highlight of the new app is its ability to better serve students and faculty with improved functionality with Blackboard, creating a better mobile experience.
Additionally, the app includes a link to our Be Safe webpage for up-to-date information related to COVID-19 procedures and guidelines, campus safety measures, student services availability, and resources.
As College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Bookstore is busy loading in books and supplies for students ahead of the start of Fall 2021 semester, the bold look of CWI’s new brand is here with updated signage, apparel, and a variety of cool merchandise. CWI's new brand colors of river and moss can be seen throughout the store in program signs, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, mugs, tumblers and much more!
"We are excited for the new brand and to be able to offer the CWI community some new options in college gear,” said Bookstore Manager, Jason Stokes. “We are looking forward to more inventory arriving soon, this is just the first round of items."
Employees are eligible for a 10% discount on purchases of gifts and apparel at the Bookstore with their employee ID. Visit the CWI Bookstore online for hours and location.