Thursday, May 28, 2015

SLCC student wins humanitarian award, $5,000 scholarship

Salt Lake Community College student Israel Santana recently received the 2015 Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award and a $5,000 scholarship through the sponsoring nonprofit Youthlinc, the largest service-based scholarship program in the state.

Israel Santana

The award recognizes Santana’s involvement for the past six years with the Mestizo Arts & Activism Collective (MAA), helping to empower youth on Salt Lake City’s west side to become community leaders. In high school he used poetry and photography at MAA to share his experiences growing up a west sider, where drug and gang activity in his community could have steered Santana from his academic path. “If it hadn’t been for the Mestizo Arts and Activism Collective, I would have either been in prison or dead,” he said. As a college student he has been mentoring younger students about the value of education. Santana is quoted on the Youthlinc website saying, “My leadership in Salt Lake City has focused on empowering young people of color to pursue a higher education, become politically aware, and maintain a sense of pride in their cultures, all while pursuing positive social change.”

Israel Santana

Santana’s plan is to finish at SLCC this fall and then transfer to the University of Utah next spring to pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology toward one day becoming a professor in the subject. One of the scholarship contest judges, Peter Ingle, Westminster College Dean of the School of Education, said, “Israel is going to change the world.” Youthlinc Local Service Director Jerika Mays said the award is important because it “celebrates young people who excel at giving back in their community in hopes of inspiring more youth to volunteer.” The annual scholarship offerings of $5,000, $3,000 (runner up), $1,000 (three awards) and $500 (five awards), are funded by the George S. & Dolores DorĂ© Eccles Foundation, the Robert D. Kent Jr. Trust and by Shaun Michel.

For more information about Youthlinc or the award and scholarships, visit 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

SLCC Facilities names outstanding staffer

Gordon Tallis has been awarded the Facilities Division Outstanding Employee for January-June, 2015.

Gordon Tallis

His fellow employees wrote about Tallis: "Gordon is the facilities’ glue.  He works hard, stays late or does two shifts when others don’t come to work.  He seems to be everywhere.  He is funny, dependable and wise.  He is like a “mother hen” when it comes to the cleanliness of our work environment and he makes sure not to interrupt students in their classrooms.  His motivation seems to come from within.  He is certainly deserving of this award."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New dean over SLCC arts a collaborator, ‘creative’

Salt Lake Community College has named Richard Scott the new Dean of the SLCC School of Arts, Communication and Media.

Richard Scott

“Richard brings an understanding of institutional history, academic leadership, strategic planning and an impressive record of community engagement to Academic Affairs along with a deep commitment to student success,” said SLCC Provost for Academic Affairs Clifton Sanders. “His leadership and longtime success in cross-departmental collaboration, community conversations and his deep and personal understanding of the creative process will continue to be an asset to the College.”

Scott served as interim dean until recently being officially named to the position. He will preside over programs offered by the new Center for Arts and Media at SLCC’s South City Campus near downtown Salt Lake City. The Center delivers courses in television, film, radio, journalism, animation, theatre, radio, photography, graphic design, music and more.

“With the School of Arts, Communication and Media, the new Center for Arts and Media and the Grand Theatre, the future of South City Campus has never been brighter,” Scott said. “We are working on increased collaboration between programs that compliment each other in order for our students to excel and succeed in multiple arts- and media-related fields. I’m proud of our first-class faculty and look forward to working with them on strategies to exceed expectations for South City Campus to be relevant in today’s marketplace and to take this facility to the next level. The community in and around the campus is vibrant, more visible than ever and growing, and with the recent addition of the Grand Theatre as a screening venue during the annual Sundance Film Festival our outreach and impact has extended even deeper into the global community.”

Scott is also the Executive Director of SLCC’s Grand Theatre, the Grand Theatre Community Institute (GTCI) and Cultural Programming at SLCC. He has almost 30 years of theatrical experience as a producer, director, actor and instructor. He has worked with many of Utah’s theatre companies including Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, Sundance Summer & Children’s Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre in Park City. His credits at the Grand include director of Eurydice, Anything Goes, Damn Yankees, The Odd Couple (Female Version), 1776, Our Town, Morning’s at Seven and as an actor in Arsenic and Old Lace, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, All My Sons and Inherit the Wind.  Richard is a member of Actors Equity Association and the recipient of the 2010 Mayor’s Artist Award.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SLCC prof records winning poem for Irish radio station

Salt Lake Community College Associate Professor of English Lisa Bickmore recently took time to record her prize-winning poem "Eidolon" for a radio station in Ireland. Bickmore's 700-word poem last month beat almost 3,000 poems by nearly 2,000 poets to win the Ballymaloe International Poetry Contest and more than $10,000 in prize money, one of the richest purses in the world for an unpublished poem. She sat down with SLCC Media Operations Director William Bradford to do an audio recording to be sent to the station RTE Radio 1. Below are a few images from that recording session.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's Your Option: SLCC Emergency Alert

SLCC students are included in the College’s emergency alert system (EAS) and are encouraged to visit the EAS link on their MyPage to add information to receive emergency alert messages on all communication devices.

If you don’t want to receive emergency alert messages, sign in to MyPage and click on the Opt Out link under the SLCC EAS icon in the upper left of your MyPage tab.

If you don’t register for classes for two consecutive semesters, you’re automatically removed from the emergency alert system. You will be restored to the system if you register.

For questions, contact Scott Jones at 801-957-4963 or

SLCC staff, faculty pitch in for Beautification Day

Salt Lake Community College staff and faculty planted flowers and trees Tuesday as part of the annual SLCC Beautification Day at the South City, Taylorsville Redwood, Miller and Jordan campuses. Below are a few highlights from the Redwood Campus.

Monday, May 11, 2015

SLCC holds 2015 Commencement ceremony in West Valley City

Salt Lake Community College held its commencement ceremony Thursday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City for about 900 of its nearly 3,800 graduates.

Justine Tabligan and President Deneece G. Huftalin say "cheese."
SLCC President Deneece Huftalin told graduates to “dare greatly” and to ask “hard” questions of themselves and the world. “The last SLCC lesson then is to never stop dreaming, imagining a new place, idea, or challenge – to ride out your life with full throttle…an open and questioning mind, a full heart, and a thirst for continued invention,” Huftalin said. “Be the doers of your dreams. Create your own story and remember, as Phillip Pullman stated, ‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever. Congratulations.”

Jessica Jackley, cofounder of the global micro-lending giant Kiva, delivered the Commencement address. Kiva has become one of the fastest growing social benefit websites in history by facilitating nearly $700 million in loans for individuals in 216 countries. Jackley also cofounded the pioneering crowd-funding platform ProFounder. “Today is a huge milestone for everyone in this room – whether you are the one walking, being awarded your hard-earned degree, or whether you are cheering someone on,” Jackley said. “And I’d bet anything that a dream is what started your journey here at SLCC....And I’d bet that your dreams for the future are what sustained you, when it was not easy to keep going…You imagined a better future. And you did what you needed to do to make that real.”

A graduate makes her way across the stage at the Maverik Center.

This year SLCC graduated almost 250 students from 79 different countries, and within Utah the College served graduates from 23 counties. More than 530 graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.8 (in a 4.0 scale) or higher while an additional 896 recorded GPAs of 3.5-3.79. The youngest graduate was 16, the oldest 70.

The College presented Amy Rees Anderson and Jeffery R. Nelson with Honorary Doctorate degrees. Rees Anderson is managing partner and founder of REES Capital and was also the founder and CEO of MediConnect Global. Nelson is CEO of Nelson Laboratories and has served as Governor Gary Herbert’s chair over the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Action Center Board.

SLCC honored Ruby Chacon and Paul Mayne as its Distinguished Alumni. Chacon is a well-known Chicana artist who cofounded the Mestizo Institute of Culture & Arts in Salt Lake City. Mayne is founder and CEO of Utah-based Bloom Built, creator of the hugely successful Day One journaling app that earned the “Apple Design Award” and Apple App Store’s 2012 “App of the Year” award.

A large crowd watches as SLCC holds Commencement in West Valley City.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SLCC grad recalls life as foster child, how unique scholarship helped

Life started out pretty “normal” for Catherine Konold, born to a father who was a maintenance engineer at a hotel and a mother who worked at a florist shop on Saturdays. She’d eventually have a little brother. But by the time she was 5 or 6 years old – she can’t recall exactly – she began having problems with wandering. “I would wake up in the middle of the night, bored, and I would go everywhere,” Konold said. One morning, after wandering during the night, she greeted teachers at her elementary school at 6:30 a.m. “I was just bored,” she explained.

Catherine Konold

As she sits in a room at Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus where she’s a student, Konold, now 23, talks about a life that slowly unraveled. Her mother suffered from severe depression. Konold began to develop “horrible” behavior problems. “I kept not behaving,” she said. “I was just very defiant.” The wandering turned to running away. When she was only 7 she was referred to a child psychology program at a facility in Provo. By 2001 she had been taken into state custody.

Konold said that, as a foster child from 2001-2010, she lived in 14 different homes in Utah, sometimes only for a few days while a foster parent went out of town. In one of those homes she recalls being beaten up by other children and then told by their mother, “You deserved it.” She visited a residential treatment center for mental health evaluations three times. Later in school she was separated into a children’s behavioral therapy unit. By about age 12 she started to “normalize,” more acutely aware that other children might think she was “weird” if she kept acting out, being defiant and running away. When she was 14 she did have to run away again, but only to escape an “emotionally abusive” foster parent. “I was very bitter,” she recalls.

But “bitter” does not describe who Konold is today. She eventually graduated from high school. In 2010 she started at SLCC and later enrolled elsewhere in an accelerated program to become a pharmacy technician. At some point through her state resources as a former foster child, Konold learned about the Olene S. Walker (former Utah governor) Transition to Adult Living (TAL) Scholarship. It was the ticket she needed to start again at SLCC, stumbling academically at first but hitting her stride by the 2015 Spring Semester. On Thursday she’ll don a cap and gown for Commencement, and then it’s on to Westminster College after taking a few more classes at SLCC this summer.

The privately funded scholarship program, in partnership with the Utah Educational Savings Plan and now in its seventh year, targets those transitioning out of state foster care and refugees who are unaccompanied minors who want a post-secondary education at a public college or university in Utah. Students who qualify and take a full load can receive up to $5,000 a year toward tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses. Applicants like Konold simply need to show that they have a “strong desire” to complete their college education. They also need to sign a student contract that binds them to eight requirements that cover GPA, regular meetings with teachers and an advisor and, something unique to SLCC, maintaining a working relationship with a mentor who is not doubling as the student’s advisor.

Konold’s mentor at SLCC is Kevin Rusch, a development officer for corporate relationships. She is Rusch’s third student whom he has mentored. “It’s been great,” he said. “All three have overcome a lot just to get to college.” And mentors’ roles go beyond the scope that an advisor might cover. Rusch, for example, talks to Konold several times a month, sometimes to help with logistical things that make life – and getting to class – more difficult. Konold wrecked her car once, and Rusch was a taxi for her when she had to do laundry.

“We don’t just assign an advisor to do it,” SLCC Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Planning and Support Curtis Larsen said about being a mentor. “We’re trying to make it about a lot more than that. We’re trying to make it about life skills, how to manage your money, what are you doing with this opportunity, how you hold yourself accountable to have good study skills.” He said the scholarship program has a proven track record of helping students like Konold succeed and improve their lives. “This is a program that can help them become better citizens and become productive, contributing members of society and taxpayers as opposed to leaning on the public doll,” he said.

Catherine Konold works out a math problem at South City Campus

These days Konold serves on two youth councils. She started a program three years ago that provides and fills stockings at Christmas for teens in foster care. When she speaks in front of other foster children, Konold tells them, “It’s really important to do what’s right for you. When I was 18, I didn’t really want college. Wait until you’re ready. The trick is in believing in yourself. The trick is to chase opportunities you don’t think you’re going to get. Chase that ‘something’. Step out of your comfort zone. Do things you didn’t see yourself doing before.”

Konold sees herself going into neuroscience someday, possibly working in a lab doing research. “I want to help people,” she said. First things first, though, she points out. A bachelor’s degree is her next goal. “I have to start small,” Konold said. “I’m lucky to even be here today.”