Lee College gets state approval to revive EMT training program

After more than a year of work to reinstitute an EMT program through the Center for Workforce and Community Development, the Texas Department of State Health Services has finally granted approval for Lee College to again train students for careers as emergency medical responders and emergency medical technicians.

“We’ve had so many requests for the program, but we just weren’t able to offer it,” said Michael Cooper, healthcare program manager for the workforce center. “Our goal was to do the work necessary to bring this to students wanting it. Because of all the interest leading up to the approval, we’re anticipating full classes. There were lots of requests throughout the process from the community and our industrial partners, and I’m so happy to share that it’s going to happen.”

The goal of the 224-hour program is to train and develop students into functioning members of the emergency medical workforce. The 80-hour clinical and internship portion of the EMS training program will provide students the opportunity to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the hospital and field settings under supervision.

“We’re very excited to bring this training to the Lee College service area. We want to get these students trained, certified and in the field,” Cooper said. “It’s a great career, and it’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to earn a living helping people.”

Classes are expected to start in mid-January and scholarships will be available. The workforce center will release more information regarding the program, registration, class times and location in the coming weeks. Students interested in being added to the waiting list are encouraged to call 281.425.6311 or visit the center at 909 Decker Drive.

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‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo’ opens Thursday in PAC Black Box Theater

Lee College Theater will debut this week “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” a comedy/drama by the author of “Driving Miss Daisy” that explores the lives of Jewish southerners in 1939 Atlanta and the twists and turns that force them to face where they come from and who they really are.

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” will open at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Black Box Theater inside the Performing Arts Center. Additional performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10. A matinee is set for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11.

Winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” is set amidst the backdrop of the world premiere of “Gone with the Wind” and Hitler’s invasion of Poland. The Freitag family, of German-Jewish descent, are anticipating Ballyhoo: the social event of the season where matriarch Beulah “Boo” Levy believes her unmarried daughter, Lala, will have her last chance at finding a socially acceptable husband.

When bachelor Adolph Freitag brings him his new assistant, Joe, a Brooklyn native of Eastern European-Jewish heritage, Lala is charmed — much to the dismay of her mother, who considers him to be of lesser social status and is shocked when he turns down her daughter’s invitation to the Ballyhoo. As Boo works to snare a member of the one of the finest Jewish families in the South for Lala and Joe falls for Lala’s cousin Sunny, questions of prejudice — both outside and from within Jewish circles — come to the forefront.

Tickets for the show are available for purchase online and by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255. Any student or Lee College faculty/staff member can buy a ticket for $5 at the Box Office with a student or employee ID; all other tickets are $10.

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Honors Program & Baytown Animal Shelter partnering for dog therapy event

Lee College students faced with end-of-semester essays and exams can find a welcome respite from all that stress this year when the Baytown Animal Shelter brings its four-legged and furry friends to campus during Finals Week, courtesy of the Honors Program and Student Honors Council.

The council will host dogs from the shelter from 12:30-3 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 12 and 13, in an enclosed area between John Britt Hall and the ATC.

Students, faculty, staff and even members of the community are welcome to take turns petting, walking and even playing fetch with the animals. The shelter will also facilitate adoptions and accept donations during the event; dog toys are especially needed, and there will be a station set up to give participants the opportunity to make their own toys on the spot.

“I thought it would be a  good idea to reach out to the Baytown Animal Shelter to see if they would be willing to sponsor a pet therapy event at Lee College,” said Brenna Sallee, the president of the Student Honors Council who got the idea after seeing that other colleges and universities had been successful in bringing animals to campus to give students some relief from stress.

“Their dogs would benefit from love and attention from the students at the college, and the students would benefit from getting outdoors to play with the animals,” she said.

Kevin Cummings, manager of Animal Services for the city of Baytown, jumped at the opportunity to participate in the on-campus pet therapy event to showcase the animals and raise awareness of adoption as an option.

“Human companionship keeps the dogs alert and responsive, which improves their chances of being adopted,” Cummings said. “It also helps us advertise the wonderful dogs and cats looking to be part of a new family. Any exposure is good for our animals, especially during the holiday season.”

For more information about the pet therapy event during Finals Week or the Honors Program, contact coordinator and faculty member Georgeann Ward at gward@lee.edu.

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Rebel Rousing: Employee kudos, news, views, hires & resignations

Debi Jordan, Vice President of Workforce and Corporate Partnerships, is retiring from Lee College effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Under Jordan’s leadership for the past seven years, the Center for Workforce and Community Development has hosted 1,710 classes, served 7,694 different students and boasts a total enrollment count of 17,559 thanks to repeat students.

She helped organize and lead ExxonMobil’s initial $500,000 grant that established the Community College Petrochemical Initiative. The grant, which has since increased to a total of total of $1.8 million, funds workforce development for the Houston-area petrochemical industry through nine community colleges on the Texas Gulf coast.

Jordan has also been instrumental in helping the college establish and maintain partnerships with organizations like the Baytown/West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and the Greater Houston Partnership, as well as industry partners such as ExxonMobil, ChevronPhillips Chemical, Enterprise Products, Covestro, Shell, Bechtel and Jacobs.

“Being able to watch my daughter becoming a mom to her own daughter – it is coming full circle. I feel so blessed to have had such a great career, and Lee College really is my home,” Jordan said. “But this next part of my life feels so natural. With the help of a lot of great people, I believe this center – my third child – is in a great place. The foundation is stable, and under new leadership it’s poised to move to the next level. I’m ready to be a BeBe to my sweet Ella Rae, and to watch the center continue to grow.”

The college will host a retirement celebration for Jordan from 4-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 in the Phyllis Davis Room at 909 Decker Drive. Those who wish to attend should RSVP to Kristy Zamagne at kzamagne@lee.edu or 281.425.6552.

Thank you for all you have done for Lee College and the community we serve, Debi! You will be greatly missed and we wish you all the best for this next chapter of your life.

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Weekly Wellness from Jason Summers

If You Want To Remember Something, Draw It, Says A New Study

By Joe Battaglia

A recent study showed that drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor and semantic information and a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written.

From caffeine to specific herbs, memory can be enhanced in so many ways. However, drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered has been found to be a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.

The study showed that drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor and semantic information.

“We pitted drawing against a number of other known encoding strategies, but drawing always came out on top,” said the lead author, Jeffrey Wammes, doctoral student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

The findings showed a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written.

Also, the participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words.

“We labelled this benefit ‘the drawing effect,’ which refers to this distinct advantage of drawing words relative to writing them out,” Wammes explained.

Memory for drawn words was superior to all other alternatives.

Drawing led to better later memory performance than listing physical characteristics, creating mental images, and viewing pictures of the objects depicted by the words.

In addition, the quality of the drawings people made did not seem to matter, suggesting that everyone could benefit from this memory strategy, regardless of their artistic talent.

“In line with this, we showed that people still gained a huge advantage in later memory, even when they had just four seconds to draw their picture,” Wammes noted.

However, in variations of the experiment in which students drew the words repeatedly, or added visual details to the written letters, such as shading or other doodles, the results remained unchanged.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, presented student participants with a list of simple, easily drawn words, such as “apple”.
The students were given 40 seconds to either draw the word or write it out repeatedly.

They were then given a filler task of classifying musical tones to facilitate the retention process.

Finally, the researchers asked students to freely recall as many words as possible from the initial list in just 60 seconds.

The researchers are currently trying to determine why this memory benefit is so potent, and how widely it can be applied to other types of information.

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Red Hat volunteers help Lee College Life Skills class celebrate another year

Students from Lee College’s Life Skills class and volunteers from the college’s Red Hat Society celebrated the conclusion of class with games, food, giveaways and lots of fun.

An hour before the students entered the room, the volunteers were putting final touches on an annual celebration. To the volunteers, it’s another great way to show they care about the community. To the members of the class and their families, it’s a way for the intellectually disabled students to celebrate their completion of another class at college.

“The students are so appreciative, excited and just so full of joy,” volunteer Cuba Cook said. “Sometimes this kind of pure happiness disappears when children become adults, but with these students, it’s always there. You just get this warm fuzzy feeling from being around their excitement about everything.”

For the past three years, volunteers from the society set up an end-of-the-class party. Senior Adult and Travel Manager Lynne Foley leads the Red Hat Society through the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development.

“We bring balloons, give out door prizes, play bingo, have dinner and yummy cookies. At the end, we’ll pass out their certificates,” Foley said. “It’s a good time. Just being here with them brings us so much happiness. It’s got to be as much – and maybe even more – fun for us as it is for them.”

As the students and their family members and care takers begin to arrive, the excitement everyone talks about becomes apparent. Instructor Cindy Barny greets the students and guests by name, and joins in the buzz about the games and food.

For more than 20 years, Barny has worked with intellectually disabled adults. Most of that time, her work has been through the Life Skills class she teaches at the center. Some of her students have been in the class for 15 years or more.

“This class is something we’re so proud of, because it gives Lee College the opportunity to serve intellectually disabled adults. They’re a part of our community, and they deserve our support,” the Center’s Community Education Program Manager Quanisha Eaglin said. “And we’re so appreciative of Cindy’s continued support and commitment each semester. She really puts her heart into the class, and creates an inviting class for students to gather, learn and have fun.”

Barny, who has a background in special education and early childhood development, perks up when talking about the class. Students learn things like basic reading skills, math skills, money skills and hand-

eye coordination in each class. This semester, they learned about hygiene, and how to take care of themselves. But it’s more than just practical skills, according to Barny.

“The name of the class is Life Skills, but it’s so much more. It’s just as much socialization. It’s about what they want to talk about and learn. And wow, they love computers,” Barny said. “They love to play fun interactive games with reading and math skills.”

For many of the students, this class gives them the opportunity to interact and learn together and develop friendships.

“They’re just excited to be in college. My youngest student is probably in his early 20s,” Barny said. “He loves being in school. His family is happy, because he’s happy. They like the interaction, and they like how engaged he is because of it.”

The next class begins Feb. 8 and runs through April 19, and classes will be held Wednesdays from 5:30- 8:30 p.m., on the Lee College campus. Anyone interested in learning more about the class is encouraged to contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311.

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Holiday Art Sale on Nov. 30 to include ceramics, paintings, prints & more

Photo courtesy of BaytownEvents.com

When the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed, shoppers could find that perfect gift at the annual Holiday Art Sale featuring hundreds of unique and original creations.

The latest ceramics, paintings, prints and more from Lee College’s skilled student and faculty artists will be on display and available for purchase from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the PAC Art Gallery. Cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted.

For more information about the Holiday Art Sale, contact Jennifer Herzberg at jherzberg@lee.edu or 281.425.6484.

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‘The Nutcracker’ and Tea Time with the Sugar Plum Fairy returning to the PAC

After performing holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” for three years in front of sold-out crowds from Baytown  and beyond – and with live accompaniment from the Baytown Symphony Orchestra since 2013 – Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre (BAHBT) will return to Lee College for the fourth time to delight audiences with the beloved story of young Clara and her magical Christmas toy.

Three performances of “The Nutcracker” are scheduled for the PAC Main Performance Hall: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, and a matinee set for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets are priced at $20-45 and available for purchase online or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

The only professional ballet company in the Bay Area with residence at the University of Houston Clear Lake, BAHBT has performed “The Nutcracker” for audiences in the Houston area for more than 40 years.

Families can create a special Christmas memory or start a new holiday tradition at Tea Time with the Sugar Plum Fairies, where children will meet and have their photo taken with one of the ballet’s most iconic characters known for her beautiful dance in the second act.

The ruler of the Kingdom of Sweets will greet, dance and spend time with children at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. in the PAC lobby, before the Saturday evening performance of “The Nutcracker.” Tickets for the tea are $25 and can also be purchased online or by contacting the Box Office.

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Lee College Foundation Gala raised record $175K for scholarships & support

With nearly 400 guests in attendance and $175,000 raised, the 31st annual Lee College Foundation Gala was a record-breaking success that will help ensure deserving students at all levels will have the scholarships and other forms of support they need to pursue higher education.

And while many college and university foundations only offer scholarships to students attending school full-time, the Lee College Foundation will instead focus on meeting students’ needs wherever they are.

Under the leadership of its Board of Directors, the foundation will award more than $470,000 to students this academic year, and all are eligible: those enrolled full-time; part-time; in dual-credit classes for high-school students to earn college credits; in non-credit classes offered by the Center for Workforce and Community Development; and in the Lee College Huntsville Center prison program.

“Many of our students are surprised and amazed that somebody they don’t know is willing to donate funds to help them get an education,” said Pam Warford, executive director of the Lee College Foundation and director of Foundation and Donor Relations. “The gala provides an opportunity for industry and the community to celebrate together and gives us the chance to thank those donors, who are so loyal and proud to have their own community college that’s doing so well.”

Tax-deductible contributions from industry and private donors are also used to support the Student Success Fund, created to help those facing extraordinary circumstances pay for college-related expenses. When a student was notified that she would receive a Pell Grant for her tuition – but not before the deadline when her classes would be dropped for non-payment – the Student Success Fund helped bridge the gap. When a student received a $400 textbook scholarship but still lacked several books she needed for her rigorous coursework in the nursing program, the Student Success Fund provided the additional money to buy all the books required for her class.

“Enrollment is one thing, but students have to persist, stay the course and graduate,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “So many little things can impede a student’s progress and we have to be able to step in and help them. Financial contributions are immensely important – more important now than ever.”

As the foundation continues in its mission to provide financial support to Lee College students, board members hope to see more donors choosing planned giving by setting up bequests, charitable trusts and annuities that will allow them to make a lasting difference for generations to come.

“I’m excited about my future,” said Emily Vaughan, a native Baytonian and foundation scholarship recipient who is active in Lee College Theatre and plans to attend Sam Houston State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in music education at Sam Houston State University. “None of this would be possible without donations. They really lightened my load.”

For more information about giving to the Lee College Foundation, contact Warford at pwarford@lee.edu or visit www.lee.edu/foundation.

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Rebel Rousing: Employee kudos, news, views, hires & resignations

Lee College grant director picked for National Community College Hispanic Council Leadership Fellows Program

Grant director Victoria Marron was one of 22 community college administrators from around the country selected for the 2016 National Community College Hispanic Council’s (NCCHC) Leadership Fellows Program, which aims to develop a pool of highly qualified Hispanics and assist them in attaining high-level positions in community colleges.

As part of the program, Marron traveled to the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences for two residential seminars. She prepared an individualized professional development plan, engaged in a mentoring relationship with a Hispanic community college leader and attended the NCCHC Leadership Symposium, where she also completed online activities between sessions.

“Assisting in creating policies, offering services and helping students is part of my core,” said Marron, who oversees the college’s $2.7 million U.S. Department of Education First in the World Grant and more than $5.3 million in federal Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Grant funding, while also serving as coordinator of the Puente Project mentoring program for academically underserved students.

NCCHC is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, a national organization that has provided leadership to the community college movement for more than 50 years. The council works to promote the educational interests and success of the Hispanic community and emphasizes access, equity and excellence for students and staff in community colleges.

Marron is one of more than 250 NCCHC Leadership Fellows who have graduated from the program since its inception. Of the original 72 Fellows, more than 15 are now community college presidents and many others have moved to positions of increased responsibility as executive-level administrators.

Congratulations, Victoria — what an accomplishment to add to your growing list of accolades! We are proud of you!  

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