Farewell to the Front Page, a Note From the Managing Editor

Life can be full of surprises.

I never expected to make writing a career in any capacity, but here we are. I began working here at the paper as a writer, a reporter, a student who had so much to learn and so far to go. I never expected to find the friendships that I did, to find all of the small joys that lay hidden throughout the school, or to find my path that will hopefully lead me to new horizons. 

There’s so much I wish to say, so many people to thank, so many goodbyes to share. But every time I attempt to sit down and bare my soul upon the paper, the words fail me in every way. I owe a lot to this paper and this people, you all have made my life extraordinary and enjoyable in so many ways, I’ll miss looking forward to the next piece, the next interview, the next podcast. But time is a funny thing like that, something seems near for a moment before it is all but a distant memory in an instant. It’s time for me to move forward to the next stage of my life, what that will be I cannot say for certain, but I know that my time here will prepare me for whatever is to come. 

Jonathan, Mindy, Drew, DJ, Joe, Ezra, Jeremy, Matt, Hayley, Lori M., Lori R., and Lindsey, all of you. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful experiences that we shared, for the laughter and the joy. Thank you for helping me grow alongside you, I’ll never forget my time at this paper.

Thank you all for allowing me this opportunity,

Maddy

OER helps reduce students’ textbook burden

Written by Lori Robinson

In late 2015, FRCC English Professor Kelli Cole came across a New York Times article about homelessness among struggling college students.

“(H)igh rates of food and housing insecurity among hard-working college students indicate that the nation faces a serious crisis,” Sara Goldrick-Rab and Katharine M. Broton wrote in the Dec. 4, 2015, op-ed headlined “Hungry, Homeless and in College.” 

In the past two academic years, 17 percent of college students surveyed reported experiencing homelessness over the prior 12 months, according to the national #RealCollegeSurvey, now in its fifth year and administered by Temple University. Statistics for students experiencing food and housing insecurity in the same survey improved slightly this year to 39 percent and 46 percent respectively.

While more than a third of the students who participated in the survey continued to struggle with food security and almost half surveyed faced housing insecurity, “(o)ver the past decade,” the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported in January 2018, “textbook prices (have) risen more than four times the rate of inflation.”

Enter Open Educational Resources — OER

Here at Front Range, Cole and fellow English Professor Michelle Medeiros are in their third semester of using Open Educational Resources in their English composition classes, thanks to a $3,200 grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. OER are free and low-cost, high quality texts and instructional materials available on the internet. 

“This is one of the most meaningful projects that I’ve ever been on,” Cole said.

The number of Open Educational Resources has been growing in a national movement over the last several years, recent State of Colorado legislation shows. Colorado joined the OER movement in 2017 when then-Governor John W. Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-258 into law. The new law commissioned Colorado’s Open Educational Resources Council to study OER and create access for Colorado students and instructors.

The following year saw House Bill 18-1331 signed into law, by which Colorado dedicated $550,000 to grants for public colleges throughout the state. Cole and Medeiros are among five small group and faculty grantees at state public colleges, alongside 15 institutional grantees and three recipients of professional development and travel grants, the Colorado OER Council showed in its October 2019 report, “Colorado Rises: Transforming Education Practices through Open Educational Resources.” The state OER Council estimates the grants will save Colorado’s public college students $3.4 million in textbook costs by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Depending on whether her students chose to rent or purchase, and whether they got used or new textbooks, before she began using OER as her primary text, Cole said her students would have to spend anywhere from $27.25 to $96 for the class textbook. Likewise, the College Board says the average student budgets more than $1,200 on textbooks and materials each year. 

Cole’s students who use OER pay zero dollars for their texts.

“I so believe in the power of education to transform lives,” Cole said. “And so if I can take away even the slightest barrier for my students, that just feels really wonderful.”

Student Kayla Parrett is a fan of OER. “I tend to enjoy them. I thought the geology book we had last year was very helpful.”

The OER cost Parrett zero dollars. “This semester, the textbook was $100, with no option to rent. Making the switch to OERs would improve the system.”

Parrett said her textbook savings last year went to food and bills. 

Two more students, Donovan Lo and Shqiponja Howison, were pleasantly surprised with an OER for their English Composition class this semester. “I think it’s really helpful,” Lo said. 

If colleges in the United States adopt OER for their core curriculum, students could save $1.5 billion, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group estimated in its 2018 report.  

Howison enjoyed her savings this semester, if only momentarily. “I bought other textbooks,” she said.

Experience, opportunities, and summer jobs through STEM Internships

Written by Joe Fisk

 

Internships are a way to acquire a summer job and gain experience in your field, however they are often overlooked, or not researched by students. On Jan. 24 and 28, instructors from science, technology, engineering and math departments promoted internships from local and national levels to Front Range Community College students. Over 20 internships span from various fields of STEM, including software development, aerospace engineering, data science, health, etc… 

Max Miller, of FRCC’s science and technology department recognized the goal of the event was to connect students to STEM internships and encourage them to think about their futures beyond school.                                                                                                         

“We’re trying to get students to be aware and connected to internships in different STEM fields,”  said Miller. “Mostly local internships, but also some nation-wide ones to get students thinking about their career beyond school. There are a lot of studies that have shown students that pursue internships are more likely to graduate and to pursue graduate work or careers in STEM if they did intern work as a college student.”

STEM instructors handed out flyers with details of internships to students at tables outside of the Student Organization Center, where they were asked questions and received information for various internships. Many were drawn to those in engineering, health, nursing and biology.

“We had a lot of people stop by asking about astronomy, physics and aerospace engineering on Thursday,” said Miller. “It seemed like… today still a lot of engineering and on both days a lot of health, nursing and biology, which fits with what most people are majoring in typically.”

FRCC student and prospective applicant, Noah Duncan collected information on multiple internships from the tables. He hoped to gain experience and a summer job through these internships. 

“I’m looking for a new job, and this happened to fit the bill because they’re all paid internships,” said Duncan. “I kind of want to test out some science fields and internships are a good way to do that, to know what I’m doing before going and getting the full degree for it.” 

Gaining experience in the field can be important to students deciding on a major. Duncan, who considered changing his major collected flyers from two different fields,

“There’s one for neuroscience that I picked up,” said Duncan. “I’m also considering changing to computer science, so I found a hardware internship, as well.”

Not only are internships a way to obtain experience and a job, but they also encourage students to stay in STEM fields and earn a degree. 

“It increases student retention in STEM fields to go on and get a bachelor’s degree, or masters, or doctorate,” said Miller. “It also helps students get practical experience in the field. So when they graduate, they have laboratory or field experience that can make them more employable.”

Students who are looking for internships but did not attend the event or are not in the STEM fields should ask instructors in their field about internship opportunities. 

“Talk to your instructors in your field,” said Miller. “They may be able to connect with internships or have advice. If you’re looking for something specifically in STEM, stop by the math department or the science department and talk with some of us about it.”

Students in general science fields can find additional internships at the National Science Foundation and for students in health fiends at the National Institute of Health.

Column: Study Habits It’s always a good time to start a personal budget

Written by Lori Robinson

Illustration by Madison Otten

If Super Bowl LIV and other wintertime festivities blew your dietary New Year’s resolutions out of the water, I’m here to help you get your house back in order. Why, you say? Because I want to get my own house in order by establishing a personal budget and could use a forum in which to compare ideas with my fellow students. What’s more I hope to show others, who may be as averse as I once was to the world of low math, that budgeting is good for us; it helps us examine what we are doing, set goals, and figure out how to get where we want to go. 

In the next few months, I plan on launching an independent business, so I had better get used to handling the budget. I can process a new business launch because I’ve done it before — and failed — mostly because I didn’t know how to keep the books. But success is built on failure and my online studies for certificates in bookkeeping and tax preparation from Front Range just might set me straight. 

Here’s a way to get the ball rolling: consider the idea that a budget is a living document. It changes from day to day, just as do our diets. That, to me, is good news. Once upon a time, I thought that because I budgeted a certain amount for a certain expense, the sky would fall if I changed that amount based on actual usage. I saw that what I budgeted and what I spent did not match so I got discouraged easily, gave up, and ran around feeling bad about myself because of it. The moral of this paragraph? Like diet and exercise, I need to adjust the budget and keep paying attention to what I make (or eat when it comes to diet) and what I spend (or work off with exercise). 

Example: It’s the beginning of the month. I just got paid. One minor interjection, however. Last semester a brilliant professor bestowed upon my classmates and me this elegant advice: Start where you are. Simple genius! I extrapolated on this wisdom because I’m a hedonistic procrastinator, but not to the point of complete self destruction, luckily. My extrapolation is to start where you are when it’s a good time to start. For example: I was going to start my budget Jan. 1. I was on vacation Jan. 1 through Jan. 8. My youngest son and I had a spending budget of $100 a day. We nailed it! Came in under budget. Excellent. Do I typically spend $100 daily in my normal daily life? Absolutely not. More like $100 every two weeks after my regular income less fixed expenses. 

Let’s take a look at what the numbers are like when I’m not on vacation.

budget

A sound budget is built on actual income and expenditures so the first step in budgeting is tracking those items. We do this in the general journal, which is the book of original entry and reads chronologically through time. I made my own form on my computer and printed it out so I could keep my journal by hand. 

My goal was to have approximately $100 left over after weekend grocery expenditures. I came out two cents shy of my target budget — pretty much on point. 

I want to mention housing expenses for a moment because I have set an important goal of getting a place of my own — no roommates. Therefore, I have to work more and spend more on my fixed expenses of rent and utilities. But that’s where budgeting helps! This is exciting news. That small business I’m launching soon has to generate enough supplemental income to help me afford my own place. In the meantime, for the next few weeks, I’m going to track my income and expenditures because those are going to generate my personal budget. 

Let’s connect in March! I look forward to sharing my budding fiscal adventures with you. Also if you have any observations of your own to share, please do in the comments below. Best wishes for happy finances until we meet again.

p.s. Want to get your diet back on track after Super Bowl Sunday and other wintertime indulgences? Think of calories as dollars except do all you can to ‘spend’ on exercise and daily chores everything you’ve taken in. Do well!

FRCC Staff Foils Extortionist’s Plan

 Written by Front Page Staff

Westminster Police and FRCC Campus Security are seeking information that could lead to the suspect in an apparent kidnapping scam phoned in to an employee’s desk on Jan. 13.

The staff member received a phone call that afternoon from the telephone number 528-1256-66630 — originating in Mexico — from a caller who identified himself only as Ramon and told the staff member that he had kidnapped her daughter, according to a public service announcement issued Jan. 14 by the Department of Campus Security and Preparedness.

The staff member was able to reach her daughter and ensure her safety as the would-be extortionist attempted to compel the staffer to reveal her location and bring him money outside the building. 

Law enforcement officials have found no further developments, nor have they identified a suspect, in the Jan. 13 case, Campus Security and Preparedness Director Gordon F. Goldsmith stated in a Jan. 21 email. 

The Jan. 13 incident appears to be an isolated incident, Goldsmith stated in his email. “This is the first incident of this nature that we are aware of,” he stated.

Anyone receiving a call like the one in the Jan. 13 incident is asked to take note of the telephone number and any information that might help identify the suspect. Also people with information about the Jan. 13 case are asked to call Westminster Police at (303) 658-4360 and Campus Security at (303) 404-5411.

FRCC Hires New Dean of Student Affairs

Written by Ezra Ekman

After Aaron Prestwich’s September departure, FRCC sought a new dean of student affairs.  Student organizations were invited to join a forum of faculty and staff to interview three candidates for the role on November 7, 2019.  The forum was livestreamed so that students, faculty, and staff who couldn’t attend the forum could watch remotely.

The candidates were Larry Loften, Chico Garcia, and Erica Ingalls.  Each candidate described their experience, background, and process, and was asked how they believed they could best fill the role.  Ingalls was chosen as the new Dean of Student Affairs.

Ingalls was involved in college leadership since 2004, beginning as President, V.P., Treasurer, and Education Director at Metropolitan State College’s Sigma Sigma Sigma.  Later at Metro State, she served as a Hispanic Serving Institute Committee Member, Speaker for the Senate, Leadership Facilitator, and Student Travel Coordinator. She became an academic advisor at Front Range in 2011, then Assistant Director of Academic Advising & Retention Services, and finally the Professional Experience Director of the Pathways Advising & Career Center.

The role “Dean of Student Affairs” might sound like a role specific to issues faced by individual students.  However, it’s more about providing leadership and direction than handling individual student concerns. Danielle Boileau, Director of Student Success, was a part of another panel and asked different questions to the candidates.

“The forms were open, and anyone who attended could bring any questions with them that they wanted. There were no pre-scripted questions,” said Boileau.  “My panel was the student affairs leadership team, which was made up of coordinators and directors who lead the various offices that make up the division that is student affairs.”

Boileau confirmed that additional questions, such as how each candidate would connect with and support students, were asked during that panel.  Thus, it was a priority that candidates also possess skills addressing individual student concerns.

Andrea DeCosmo and April Menzies are instructional deans at FRCC who work with Student Affairs.

“I rely on my colleagues in student affairs,” said Menzies.  “I reach out for advice, probably most often in situations where students come with a particular request.  We also reach out when there are overlaps between both Instruction and Student Affairs.”

“We all serve on the Westminster leadership team, with the facilities director and the vice president, Cathy Pellish,” said DeCosmo.  “We meet weekly and we stay connected.”

Ingalls herself saw the Dean of Student Affairs role as covering everything outside the classroom.

“The Dean of Students is the person who supports students through their academic journey outside the classroom,” said Ingalls.  It’s all the other stuff: navigating processes, understanding resources that are available, connection to students and creating a community, from the time of inquiry to the time of completion.

Ingalls described her path in higher education as starting with student government.

“Voices in student government and advocacy is where I found my passion,” she said.  “I’ll be meeting with all of my departments to learn more about their roles, to gain a better understanding of what their history and culture has looked like on campus so far, and then learn from them where they see my role in supporting them.  I’d love to go sit with student government and learn more about the student organizations process. Student government gave me that connection.”

Speaking about student advocacy, Ingalls reflected on her past experience.

“My background is overseeing veteran advising and career services,” she said.  “That has allowed me great opportunity to advocate for students in those areas.  This new position allows me to broaden that to continue being a voice for students.”

 

Students: The Pantry has your next meal ready if you need it

Tamara White Feature

By Hayley Hunt

Tamara White was born in Denver, CO, but bounded around Arizona and Illinois for 10 years before coming back home. White accepted the position of assistant vice principal of student support and enrollment in May 2019. 

White decided to work with FRCC due to her interest in the pathways program and equity work, the smaller size of the institution and the “great staff and teams.” She also said that “the person that [was] in the role is someone that I have respected for years.”

“When the position became available, I… wanted to apply for that position because I have always wanted to do that role,” and “when I started doing research and saw the work that your institution was doing, I was definitely interested in the Pathways accomplishments that you all have done, interested in the equity work you all are embarking on, and interested in the size of the institution.” Working at FRCC is helping her get more experience in student affairs, registration, and financial aid.

Some hobbies of hers are crocheting blankets and scarves, reading, and watching The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner. When she is not enjoying free time, White is writing her dissertation for her doctorate. She is working towards her Ph.D. in higher education with a focus on African American women in predominantly white institutions. 

What White looks forward to most about working at FRCC is the staff and the students, as well as how the people working in her department already know what they are doing and are focused on student success. Her daily schedule includes listening to a book on tape for the car ride, answering emails, going to meetings, speaking with her supervisor and, “spend(ing) at least one day a week at each campus,” to talk to the staff.

For college, White went to the University of Denver, where she began getting involved with the school programs such as resident assistant, orientation leaders, student organizations, and executive boards. She started as an accounting major but switched to marketing, with a minor in finance. After getting her bachelor’s, White went to Western Illinois University for her graduate degree in higher education.

White has had the experience of being a hall director, working in student activities, multicultural affairs and leadership, and the women’s resource center. She wrote policies for the state, and helped revise the admissions standard policy for the state of Colorado. Afterwards, she moved onto the Colorado Department of Higher Education. She was then able to apply her knowledge from the K-12 system to higher ed policy, where she was the liaison, a person who helps coordinate activities between two organizations, on graduation guidelines.  

White said, “It’s really cool now to see all the conversations around the graduation guidelines,” She went on to discuss how her previous work is making an impact today. “The policy work that I was doing then it’s just now having an impact, and to see how it impacts the work that we do now, but the work that happened then to lay the foundation for what’s happening now.”

With challenges that came up along the way leading White to where she is now, she simply said that, “there are always challenges, and I think that you have to use challenges to help you grow.” One example she gave was when she was in her last role, when she was supervising a department in student affairs, where there was a challenge with a student. White supported the director in the decision-making for the students future, but she did not do her fact checking and policy checking. This resulted in significant ramifications.  She took responsibility for it and stated,“When you make a mistake, take what’s yours, own it, and figure out how you can do better next time.” Thus, she ensured she would not make the same mistake again.

When asked what she is most proud of, White said there were two things.  One being the work that she did at UCCA surrounding the guided pathways, where the deans were asked to create meta majors.  White took the lead in designing how their guided pathways would look at that college. 

She is also proud of the work around inclusive excellence, where she was able to be a part of the starting group and committee. Now there is training for staff and faculty, including workshops that are designed to help them further their teachings. White helped build the programs and make them include people, as well as look at how students would respond to the program in a way that will make them feel included. 

White has accomplished many things in her years of teaching, and has always found a way to use past experiences to better her future endeavors. She continues to enjoy her position of assistant vice president of student support & enrollment services at Front Range Community College in order to help students as others have helped her.

STEM Internships

By Hayley Hunt

Front Range Community College is participating in multiple science, technology, engineering, and math, known as STEM, internships this year. Max Miller, a faculty member at FRCC Westminster says that they are “trying to get students connected with internships in different STEM fields,” and to give them an opportunity to get experience in their future field. There are multiple internships in earth and environmental science, biology, energy, computer science, math, and engineering. Many of the internships have an application date that starts in November and goes through January 2020.  

Caitlin Caccavari, a STEM grants coordinator for Front Range, works for a couple different grants and internship opportunities. One that she works with is through Geo Launch Pad, a pre-research experience for undergraduate students from New Mexico and Colorado. The applications opened Nov. 14 and go till Feb. 1, 2020. 

It is a paid internship, and housing is provided for those who are coming from out of state or who live far away. At some point during the middle of the internship, students will get the opportunity to go to a professional conference and get experience talking with those who are already in that field. 

Another internship that Caccavari works with is the Bridges to Baccalaureate internship, which is going through Colorado State University. 

“Front Range students get to apply, and the students who get accepted will get fought over by different labs on CSU’s campus,” said Caccavari.

 This opportunity is for local students only, and is a research internship for undergraduates. 

Caccavari stated that the best thing about STEM is “the discovery, having a question and being able to find out if it’s true or not.” For students who are afraid to apply due to it not being in their exact field, everyone does everything in science, and so anyone can get something out of these internships. It is a great opportunity to put the experience on a resume, and will increase the chance of getting a job or another internship during or after college. The people that students get introduced to during internships will also help them further down the line, be it for job connections or even being invited back.

If students are unsure which field of internships they should apply to, talk to the teachers in STEM, including math, science. The teachers will have a good idea based off of the classes each individual student is taking, to help them decide which internship to go with. Even if students are still unsure, as Caccavari said, everyone will learn a bit of everything in the science and math fields. Students can only learn more by being involved in an internship, even if it is not in their area field.  If you are interested in participating in any of the STEM internships, talk to your science and math teachers, or check Front Range’s website.