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About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College in Bellingham is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers a bachelor of applied science degree, transfer degrees, career preparation, online courses, and community education classes. WCC’s accomplished faculty and staff serve 11,000 students annually. For more information, visit

Alumni News - January 2019

BP Helps Rocketry Society Soar; Scholarship Apps Now Open; NWAC’s First All American Scholar Athlete is from WCC

Post Date:01/18/2019 11:23 am

WCC Friends and Alumni Newsletter - January 2019

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Season’s greetings from Whatcom students:

WCC Student Working on Engineering Robotics Project

BP’S $5,000 Gift Helps Rocketry and Propulsion Society Soar

New engineering faculty member Patrick Burnett has launched the Rocketry and Propulsion Society. The club received a $5,000 grant from BP in Ferndale, which will allow students to build their own rockets. Next year, the club aims for a competition where they will work as a team to design, build, and launch a rocket. As Pat says, “The really exciting opportunity for our students is the collaboration and mentoring with other schools, industries and organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The sky is not the limit for WCC’s Rocketry and Propulsion Society.”

Camron Miller of WCC Soccer Kicking Soccer Ball

Soccer Player Cam Miller Named to National 2018 Junior College Men’s Scholar All-American Team

Student Cam Miller was named to the 2018 Junior College Men’s Scholar All-American Team. This is the first time that a player from the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) has been recognized. “Camron has displayed character, leadership, and is constantly putting others, the community, WCC, and the soccer program before himself,” said WCC men’s soccer coach Jason Jorgensen. Cam played a key role in the 2018 team that placed second in NWAC, and was the North Division Champ this fall. A sophomore, he is pursuing an associate in business degree. He transferred this quarter to Western Washington University.

WCC students studying

WCC Foundation Scholarship Application is Now Open; Deadline is February 20

The WCC Foundation scholarship application for students is now open online at By submitting their General Scholarship Application, students will automatically be considered for over $300,000 of opportunities. Applicants must include a letter of recommendation along with their application. A committee of reviewers from the college and community volunteers scores each application. Decisions on awards are announced in the spring. Please share this information with potential WCC students.

Pic of WCC Alum Andra in the Forest

WCC Alumni Spotlight: Andra Nordin from Encinitas, CA

Why did you choose WCC? It felt like a great place to explore my passions while continuing to work toward a degree. It was a much more affordable option than jumping into a four-year university and I had heard great things from past students. I absolutely felt like I made the right decision in attending WCC. It had such a huge role in shaping who I am today.

Your future plans: I am currently finishing my last quarter toward a Bachelors of Science in Geology at Western Washington University (WWU). I’m currently applying to various internships related to geology and natural resource management, as well as to graduate schools. I hope to earn a Master’s of Environmental Science with a focus in energy systems at WWU beginning next fall. My primary career goals are to work in the alternative energy industry or in water resource management.

Favorite memory of WCC: I worked as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Student Life for a year, and it’s hard to pin it down to one favorite memory there. So I’d have to say all the tours I had the opportunity to give as an Ambassador! It was always such a fun experience to share information about what WCC has to offer and the Whatcom County community as a whole.

Favorite spot on campus? The Math Center. There were such helpful tutors and it was a really productive space to step into vulnerability while learning a difficult topic. The Math Center is a huge reason for why I was able to go so far in math and pursue a degree in geology.

And favorite professor? I can’t narrow it down to one! My favorite professors were Bernie Dougan and Dr. Kaatje Kraft in the Geology Department. They have been two of my biggest advocates and mentors throughout my entire undergraduate career. I’m so thankful I discovered my passion for geology at WCC.

WCC Self Learning Commons Drone PicConstruction on Schedule for Self Learning Commons, Student Housing

The Phyllis and Charles Self Learning Commons will transform the campus. Concrete slabs on all levels are now complete, central stairs installed, as well as the roof decking and ongoing framing of exterior walls. Work also progresses on the student residence hall with much of the first floor framing completed, as well as electrical, mechanical, and plumbing. View from a drone courtesy of Colacurcio Brothers.

WCC Student Steve Gynp in His Glasses
Steven Gnyp Named WCC Transforming Lives Award Student

Former WCC trustee Tim Douglas led the state’s Association of College Trustees to create the Transforming Lives Award in 2012. Each community or technical college recognizes a student whose life has been transformed by pursuing higher education. This year, WCC trustees selected Steven Gnyp as our Transforming Lives nominee. He has struggled with impaired vision since birth. He credits Kerri Holferty, director of disability support services, for arranging accommodations for his visual disability when he entered WCC in fall 2015, and providing encouragement when he doubted his ability to reach his goals. He also credits Colleen McGoff, WCC instructor, with inspiring him to pursue a BA in communications. His long-term goal is to earn an MA in orientation and mobility. Steven’s work with the city Public Works Department resulted in eight audible crosswalks being installed in Bellingham, leading to his recognition as the WCC Outstanding Student Service awardee last year.


  • The 2018 graduate class of nursing students had a 100% NCLEX-RN (nurse licensing exam) first time pass rate.
  • Several students and staff visited the Guru Nanak Gursikh temple in Lynden in December to share a wonderful meal and information about WCC. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know our Sikh neighbors better.
  • Congratulations to the women’s soccer team for making the NWAC playoffs.
  • Continuing Ed’s Tour of Scotland, a small group experience for community members this summer, accompanied by English faculty member Rhonda Daniels and a Scottish tour guide, is full, but those interested can get more info or sign up for the waiting list:
  • Due to the community need for more medical assistants, WCC has added a second cohort of students in a new online/hybrid program that began this month. On-campus labs are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays, with online classes that allow students to complete the core requirements in five consecutive quarters. More info:

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WCC Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Brenda-Lee Karasik, chair; WCC President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown, vice chair; Dr. Ron Kleinknecht, vice chair; John Stewart, secretary/treasurer; Kurt Anderson, immediate past chair; Susan Sandell, at-large;  Troy Wills, Dr. Lynne Masland, Phyllis Self; Kira Bravo; Anne-Marie Faiola; Mike Langey; Andrew Moquin; Satpal Singh Sidhu, Member Emeritus; Robert M. Tull; Bev Jacobs; Sandra Hughes; Carolyn Simpson Scott; Sue Cole; Caite Holman

Advancement Staff

Sue Cole, executive director for College advancement; Marisa Ellis, communications and marketing director; Caite Holman, Foundation director; Stephanie Schmitt, Foundation operations manager; James Zyon, senior graphic designer; Jonathan Dymond, development officer; Kate Imus, Foundation program specialist; Brenda Chomiak, assistant graphic designer; Courtney Shannon Strand, communications manager; Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator

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