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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Larry H. Miller Group Pitches In At Community Gardens

Volunteers with the Larry H. Miller Group worked on community gardens at Salt Lake Community College's Taylorsville Redwood and South City campuses, building grow boxes, pulling weeds, moving dirt and cleaning up at each site. The volunteers worked in collaboration with SLCC's Thayne Center for Service & Learning. The photos below are from the Redwood Campus garden.

Student Bands Perform In Annual Spring Fling

Student-led bands took part in the annual Spring Fling, which brings together jazz and commercial music ensembles on one stage. Six acts played in this year's event at South City Campus' Center for Arts & Media in front of a crowd of family, friends and fellow musicians. Faculty members, Nick Burns, Jon Clark, Steve Sue, Lynn Brown and Craig Ferrin helped organize the concert. A few GIF highlights are featured below.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Report About Student Writing Center Reveals Positive Impacts On Student Grades, Retention

A recent empirical study conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting (IRR) at Salt Lake Community College found that students who used the SLCC Student Writing Center (SWC) earned higher grades in a variety of courses compared to students who did not. The study also found that students who used the SWC returned for the next semester at higher rates than students who did not.

The findings from the study are particularly relevant to the first goal in SLCC’s 2017-2023 Strategic Plan to increase student completion, especially for students enrolled in General Education Core Skills and Distribution Area courses such as Communications 1010, English 1010 & 2010, History 1700, Math 1030, and Psychology 1100. Students in these courses who worked with peer and faculty consultants in the SWC earned course grades averaging a half letter-grade higher than their peers and showed slightly higher enrollments in the subsequent semester. A half-letter grade difference can determine whether a student moves along in their program of study or not. For example, a “C-” in some courses would need to be repeated for transfer while a half-grade higher--a “C” or “C+”--allows students to move on to take other classes.

According to the IRR report, “Students in their second term or later who used the SWC received higher grades in the originating course compared to their peers who did not use the SWC, even after adjusting for differences due to gender, ethnicity, prior academic performance (GPA), accumulated credits, term and number of terms attended.” The report also states that “Students in their second term or later who used the SWC also returned for the next semester at higher rates compared to their peers in the matched data who did not use the SWC.”  

The IRR study also found positive impacts on new students who used the SWC’s tutoring services. While not able to be adjusted for prior academic performance, the findings about new students suggested “the effect of SWC use on grades and retention may well have been larger for new students than it was for returning students.”

The Student Writing Center is open to all SLCC students and offers one-to-one and small group writing tutoring. The SWC’s mission is to help SLCC students improve as writers and to succeed as studentsThe full report may be found by clicking here. 

College Hosts Book Signing for ‘Orange Is the New Black” Star

Salt Lake Community College’s Community Writing Center on May 4, at 6 p.m., will host Diane Guerrero for a Q&A and a book signing of her new memoir “In The Country We Love: My Family Divided.” The Center is located at 210 E. 400 S., Suite 8, at the Salt Lake City Public Library complex.

Guerrero, known for her roles in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and The CW Network series Jane the Virgin, will be SLCC’s keynote speaker during its 2017 commencement ceremonies May 5 at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

Guerrero was raised in the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston after being taken in by other Colombian families. She had an interest in acting since a young age and took advantage of free opportunities in the neighborhood or at school. Then she attended Boston Arts Academy, a performing arts high school, where she was in the music department. In 2015, Guerrero was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. She is an outspoken advocate for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform and has worked with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization to promote citizenship and voter registration. Variety named her one of the top 10 Latina actresses to watch.

“In the Country We Love” is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman's extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious and whose stories haven't been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author's and on a system that fails them over and over. More information about Guerrero’s book, which will be available for purchase at the signing, can be found at

College Title Sponsor for 2017 Twilight Concert Series

Salt Lake Community College this summer is joining the Salt Lake City Arts Council as a title sponsor to bring music fans the 2017 Twilight Concert Series lineup. This year, the Twilight Concert Series is celebrating 30 years of programming, hosting a 2017 lineup that includes Little Dragon, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Kamasi Washington, Solange, Cat Power and The Roots.

David Vogel Photography

The Arts Council fully supports SLCC’s vision to be a model for inclusive and transformative education and strengthening the communities served through the success of its students. With collaboration, community and inclusivity among the school’s core values, the Arts Council is pleased to bridge the gap between arts and education and have SLCC on board for this year’s 30-year milestone anniversary.

“This is an opportunity for the College to support one of the summer concert season’s most popular events in a community that wants quality, affordable, live performances,” said SLCC Public Relations Director, Joy Tlou. “Many Twilight Concert Series attendees have been or will be students at SLCC. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to further be involved in the community that have a lasting, meaningful impact in people’s lives. Sponsoring this concert series is one more way we can say that SLCC is your community college.”

One of the highlights of summer in downtown Salt Lake City, the series is held July 20 through August 31 on Thursday evenings in Pioneer Park, 350 West 300 South. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at and all Graywhale Entertainment locations throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Follow on Facebook at Twilight Concert Series, Twitter @SLCtwilight #slctwilight, and Instagram @slctwilight #slctwilight. You can also follow Salt Lake Community College on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SaltLakeCC.

David Vogel Photography

Employee Recognition Shines Spotlight On 'Stars'

 In case you missed the 2017 Employee Recognition Celebration at the Grand Theater, here are a few highlights. Congratulations to all of those who were recognized during this special annual event!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Student Film ‘Freezer Burn’ Debuts at Library

True story. A man’s beloved pet dies. He preserves it in a freezer until a proper burial can be arranged. His family holds an elaborate backyard ceremony for the deceased. If you’re Salt Lake Community College film student Keenan Panti, that’s material for a short movie, one that recently debuted at the Salt Lake City Main Library.

Keenan Panti

During a Q & A after his short movie Freezer Burn, an audience member asked if the film was based on director Panti’s own family. “No, this is based on a very close friend and his childhood experiences,” Panti said. “He’s got plenty more stories that I’m looking to make into short films for as long as he will let me exploit him.” Panti also showed the audience a short film he produced in a day at his own home.

Freezer Burn cast and crew answer questions after the film's debut.

The movie, starring professional actors, is billed as a “family comedy,” focusing on the difficulty of dealing with the loss of life. The life, in this case, is Dad’s prized pet poodle. It’s up to 10-year-old Dillon to hold together the hodgepodge of personalities he calls family. The film was shot in 2016 on location in Salt Lake City and at SLCC’s 3,000 square-foot sound stage in the Center for Arts & Media. Channing Lowe and Jon Clark were among the SLCC faculty members who helped on the project.

Panti shot Freezer Burn on SLCC’s shoestring budget, using college resources for equipment, lighting, set design and materials and a crew made up of fellow film production students at SLCC. He hopes the film will have legs beyond SLCC and online. “I wanted it to feel more like a throwback family, summer comedy. So, things are bright, happy and cheery, and it does kind of end on a sweeter note,” he said. “I’m really proud of what we have and I’m excited to get this out in the festival circuit.”

Below are photos from the filming of Freezer Burn on location at a home in Salt Lake City and in the sound stage at SLCC.

Autistic Student Finds Path at Fashion Institute

Designer hires people with autism as his new line is launched

Michael Ryan Andolsek

Michael Ryan Andolsek remembers being exactly 15 and a half the moment when he had an epiphany about his future. He was already “struggling” academically at Highland High School and did not seem to “fit in” anywhere. One day Andolsek, who was born with a special trait that would go undiagnosed until he was an adult, was per usual eschewing a gym class activity when he sought refuge in the bleachers and the company of a female friend who loved looking at Vogue magazine. With page after page he was captivated by the ads and the clothing designs in the photographs.

“It was just so cool,” Andolsek says about everything he saw in the magazine that day. “So after that I thought, well, I know how to draw. I’ve always liked art and beautiful things. I wanted to be an architect as a kid at one point. So, in a way a designer is an architect and the builders are the seamstresses. It was kind of a great fit. I just started drawing clothes that weekend and kept going.”

Andolsek tried to tread water in high school a while longer until his parents finally decided to pull him out—but not without a plan. At 17 years old, he enrolled in Salt Lake Community College’s Fashion Institute and found his niche—he’d later also earn his GED. He quickly proved to be one of the rare talents who come through the Institute, says its program director Mojdeh Sakaki. Recently, at age 25, Andolsek launched his own line of clothes in front of adoring onlookers at three of his own fashion shows in one day inside a ballroom at the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City.

“He’s always been interested in fashion,” recalls his father William Andolsek. “Even as a kid he enjoyed women’s fashions. He liked the flare of it, I guess. We knew he liked fashion and he had already made some things at home, fooled around with it a bit. The Fashion Institute was perfect, a nice way to start.”

He spent two years at the SLCC Fashion Institute before making a big leap across the Atlantic Ocean where he studied fashion at the Parsons Paris campus of the New York City-based The New School and then later at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Still struggling, however, with what he calls “personal difficulties,” Andolsek moved back to the U.S. and eventually, at age 21, was evaluated at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. About a year later, in 2013, his artwork would fill the walls at the University of Utah Health Care’s new Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic as he continued dressmaking and designing, sometimes making dresses for his own sisters.

“We wanted Michael to have a skill. As a parent, you worry about those things,” says his father, who points out that people with autism often have a hard time finding jobs. “We said, if he found something he loved, let’s let him go after it all the way. And, so, that’s what we did—we supported him.” In fact, the whole family, all working for the fashion company bearing their last name Andolsek, has been supporting Michael, all the way to the official unveiling in March 2017 of the Andolsek Spring-Summer 2017 Ready-to-Wear Collection at the Grand America shows. “I was tickled,” his father said after seeing the first show and some of the designs for the first time. “I was really proud of him, to see him be able to put all of his creative genius together and come up with products and follow all the way through like that. The detail is all there. It’s all his. It’s just him. He thinks of everything.” A proud father noted how his son scouted around for the perfect venue and even picked out furniture for his popup store just down the hall from the ballroom.

“I wasn’t surprised, because I knew how talented he is,” Sakaki said after the first show. “These are the first steps for a brilliant future that I see for Michael. He’s an exceptional individual. We have had a few in our program. He’s one of a handful we’ve had.”

The designs are finally out there now. People can shop at his online store. His goals are no less than to someday have brick and mortar stores around the globe. He wants to continue hiring people with autism—so far, he has an embroiderer and pattern maker, both with autism. And his approach to fashion remains to create “classy, fun apparel for women” without any grand inspirations for his designs—just a hard, focused work ethic, the kind of focus that actually benefits some people with autism and that has gotten Andolsek this far. “I just sit down and draw, and if I don’t like it then I throw it away and keep going,” he says. “I don’t have dreams of any designs—that’s not me.”

Andolsek was humble about the crowd reactions to his latest creations. “They were quite generous—very generous applause,” he says. “It was very good to hear positive feedback in a way from people who I’ve never met before and people who have no experience with our brand. They enjoyed it. We hope it’s a good sign for the future.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Registration Underway for Summer Classes

Longer days.

Shorter path to a career.

It's time to enroll for summer classes at SLCC!

Click here for more information.

SLCC student Kaylee takes a break to show off her frisbee tossing skills.

Remember: Tans fade, degrees don't!

College Taps Hollywood for Commencement Keynote Address

Salt Lake Community College will honor graduates during commencement ceremonies May 5, 9:30 a.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Diane Guerrero, known for her roles in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and The CW Network series Jane the Virgin. In 2015, Guerrero was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. She is an outspoken advocate for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform and has worked with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization to promote citizenship and voter registration. Variety named her one of the top 10 Latina actresses to watch.

Diane Guerrero

SLCC’s 2017 honorary doctorate recipients are H. Roger Boyer, chairman of The Boyer Company as well as its director and advisor, and the Honorable Shauna Graves-Robertson, who was appointed to the Salt Lake County Justice Court by the Salt Lake County Commission in January 1999.

Lisa Gough, corporate vice president of Sysco, and Shawn Newell, vice president of business development for Industrial Supply Company, were named Distinguished Alumni. SLCC faculty members Jude Higgins and Heather Schumaker will be recognized for receiving Teaching Excellence awards.

Lon Schiffbauer, assistant professor of business management, was named SLCC’s 2018 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. This year’s Graduates of Excellence are SLCC students Brooke Baxter, Ermina Mustafic, Gabe Moreno, Heather Lewis, Jirapat Sakkaphun, Leah Price and Megan Gardella.