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* Honors Grad Jerimiah Rice found the intellectual stimulation he wanted in Honors Program

“Take research, work with it, discover something new.”

“This program prepared me to get the most out of my education – and my life in general.”

Jerimiah Rice is passionate about his education.  The recent graduate enrolled in classes that challenged his intellect and fed his desire for knowledge and understanding.  Rice was looking for thought-provoking conversations, both in and out of the classroom.  When he learned about the Honors Program and the opportunity it provides for another level of intellectual exploration, he immediately enrolled. 


“My psychology teacher and I would have long conversations about all kinds of interesting things,” Rice said, referring to Prof. Peter Sparks. “One day, he asked if I was interested in enrolling in the Honors Program so I looked into it and decided it was something I could really enjoy and get something out of it.”


The program had just been launched when Rice enrolled in 2006.  He enjoyed the conversations led by a team of instructors that centered on the philosophical and scientific questions that have challenged generations of scholars.  In those discussions, Rice found the creative stimulation that was instrumental in forming the thesis that he would present at the end of the program.


During the first quarter, Rice, an SCC scholarship recipient, was introduced to the many forms of research and the influences and perspectives that define them. 


“I learned that there is no one way to look at things or approach a problem, that each situation or event is truly unique,” Rice said. He learned to consider cultural, scientific, perspective, time and many other factors.  “I learned to not take anything at face value; that just because it was written didn’t always mean the truth,” Rice said.


His thesis title was heady: “Neuronal Systems of Creativity: Specifically Focused on Motivation and Problem-Solving or Cognitive Flexibility.” Behind the words was the idea to look into what happens in the brain to stimulate creativity.  In the research phase of the program, Rice said he discovered the diametrical views of scientists and philosophers and scholars from different times throughout history. Through the research, Rice touched such diverse ideas as intervention of divinities, spiritual possession, madness and Sigmund Freud’s belief that creativity was the result of tension between the conscious and unconscious areas of the brain.


“I learned how to look at things in different ways – and the value of doing that,” Rice said.  


One of the program highlights for Rice was the weekly one-on-one meetings with Sparks, who was his faculty mentor in the program. Rice said those conversations stretched his imagination and awareness beyond expectation. It was in those meetings, along with similar conversations with other Honors Program students, that Rice discovered the program’s value.


“I enjoyed every minute,” Rice said. 


Sparks said the experiences with Rice and the other Honors Program students was a positive experience for him as well.  “It was truly inspiring working with Jerimiah,” Sparks said.


Rice said he also enjoyed the camaraderie with other honors students. While the required weekly student discussions were centered on academics, there was a lighter side, too. Rice discovered that the questions and findings on which they were founding their research could be presented in not-quite-standard form: a humorous skit.


“We thought this creative approach supported the idea of the program in a new, unique way,” Rice said.  “We felt like a team throughout the program and wanted to complete the project that way.”


What might have been a little risky turned out to be a good bet when Sparks embraced the effort. “The energetic team came up with a problem that needed to be solved and were able to use each of their topics together to generate the story and the solution to the problem,” Sparks said. 


Currently, Rice said he’s “staying ahead of the economy” by putting his skills to work as a sheet metal worker.  He plans to return to school to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and is checking out a number of possibilities, including the University of California - San Diego.  Eventually, Rice said he wants to do research and then teach.


One of the aspects that Rice didn’t expect are the lasting friendships from Shoreline and the Honors Program. On a regular basis, he and a few classmates are enjoying stimulating conversations over coffee.   “I don’t see that ever ending,” Rice said.


                                                                                         Donna Myers/PIO

* SCC Grad Emily Estep takes her education to help children in Mexico

Some assume that those driven by accomplishment and success don’t stop to smell the roses.


But Shoreline Community College graduate Emily Estep, a 4.0 GPA student in high school who slipped all the way to 3.95 in college,  says au contraire, or more likely for Estep, “al contrario.” 


In fact, the Shorewood High School grad had no problem at all with being the smartest kid on the block – or for that matter, the smartest kid in the Shoreline School District (which she was in 2003).  She recognized early that her smarts could open avenues throughout her life and take her to the places of her dreams – like Mexico and Costa Rica – and immerse herself in a Spanish-speaking world.    

“It was always Spanish for me,” said Estep, referring to her love affair with the language.  She had taken Spanish since her freshman year in high school and started saving money even before that  so she could someday travel to Spain, Mexico and other countries where Spanish is the mother tongue.


Graduating at the top of her high school class, Estep could have hand-picked any college in the country.  However, Estep recognized the atmosphere that a community college would offer — the smaller class sizes, the clubs that provide leadership training — was a better value and that hometown Shoreline Community College had a good reputation.  The strong transfer program and advanced Spanish courses made a perfect match for her goals.  She was awarded an Academic Excellence Scholarship from the Shoreline Community College Foundation when she graduated from Shorewood. 


At Shoreline, Estep found the diversity of students in her Spanish classes something she had not experienced in high school.  Not only did the diversity provide a new level of opportunities to converse in Spanish, but the chance to talk with people who had lived in Spanish-speaking countries.


“One of them had lived in Costa Rica and it was great talking with her about that country and culture -- while practicing my Spanish,” Estep said.  It was that relationship that motivated her to study in Costa Rica for two months that summer via a program through the college’s International Programs.  The following summer she studied the language in Guatemala. 


Estep joined the Association of Latin American Students club and found even more opportunities to master her favorite language.  As the only non-Latin American in the club and the only non-native Spanish speaker; she said she found the language challenges extreme and helpful.


“I just couldn’t believe the opportunities I had right here on campus,” Estep said.


Besides Spanish, Estep also has a passion for teaching. She knew from an early age that she would someday teach, and Shoreline provided the foundational classes she could use toward a teaching degree after transferring to a four-year school. For Estep, that school was Western Washington University, where she completed her bachelor’s degree and earned a teaching certificate. 


In the winter before her spring quarter student teaching assignment, Estep had another chance to immerse herself in her adopted language. This time, it included the opportunity to put her newly acquired teaching skills to the test, volunteering at a school for abandoned children in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Her experience at the Movimiento de Apoyo para Menores Abandonados was life-changing and Estep says she’s grateful to have the opportunity to work with the children. 


“They appreciated everything so much,” she said. While she was there to tutor, Estep said she came to realize the real value to the children was that someone was just paying attention. “I stayed after school and played with them sometimes.  I will never forget them.”


While in Guadalajara, Estep also studied at the Guadalajara Language School in nearby Tlaquepaque. “It was an amazing experience,” she said.  She got to know the staff well and when it was time to return to Shoreline, Estep said both she and her new friends found it difficult saying goodbye.


The experience was so good that just three days after completing her student teaching, Estep was on a plane returning to Tlaquepaque, this time to work for the language school she had studied at months earlier.  For the next year, Estep worked as a program director, promoting the school’s English language program. 


Although leaving Mexico proved emotional, Estep is back and ready to start a career here, teaching Spanish at Odyssey High School in the Highline School District.


“I’m so lucky to be doing exactly what I want to do,” Estep said. I’m so excited.”


                                                                                    Donna Myers/PIO

* President Lee Lambert is one of Top Five Administrators in Nation

Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert has been named one of the top five community college leaders in the country. 


Lambert was notified by the Association of Community College Trustees on August 3 that he was selected as the recipient for the 2009 Pacific Regional Chief Executive Officer Award for his regional, national and international efforts.


Lambert, who has led Shoreline Community College as president since 2006, has garnered national and international attention for his work on behalf of community colleges.  In April 2009, Lambert testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the education and training that colleges provide for the emerging green-jobs market.  Additionally, he is a founding partner of the Seattle Climate Partnership.  Last year, Lambert was selected as a member of the first national Education Council to focus on expanding and enhancing America’s manufacturing workforce.  In 2006, Lambert was a member of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Korea/Taiwan Trade Mission.  Lambert has also been named one of the top five contributors to the Asian communities of Puget Sound. 


At Shoreline, Lambert fostered programs such as the Clean Energy Technology Program, which resulted in Shoreline producing the first certified green-jobs graduates in the state and the General Service Technician Program, which earned a Governor’s Award in Best Practice. 


“Lee Lambert is the kind of chief executive officer dreamed of by every community college trustee,” Board of Trustees Chair Shoubee Liaw said in Lambert’s nomination.  “He is a leader with a vision and he has been able to translate his vision and passion into effective leadership on behalf of the Board of Trustees, for Shoreline Community College and for the state community college system.”


Lambert will travel with Liaw and her fellow trustee, Jerry Smith, to accept the award at the ACCT Annual Community College Leadership Congress in San Francisco in October.  As a regional award winner, Lambert will be eligible for the prestigious Marie Y. Martin CEO Award, representing the top community college administrator in the U.S., which will also be announced at the event.


                                                                                 Donna Myers/PIO