Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Extravagant Science Extravaganza!

Math, science, and FUN! What could be better than that? With hands-on exhibits provided by the McDonald Observatory, Sibley Nature Center, Texas Tech TAME (Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering), the MISD Early College High School students, and many more there was definitely something for each of the 2,000 fifth and sixth graders that took over Midland College Friday April 8th. Watching as the elementary students played tons of number games in the math exhibits within the Abell-Hanger Science Faculty Building, learned to match DNA sequences and seeing firsthand the anatomy of cats in the Fox Science Building the events of Science Extravaganza 2011 never failed to bring enjoyment and entertainment to all those involved, including me!

One of the more popular exhibits presented by the Midland Police Department that caused a lot of attention was that of the "impaired vision stimulation." The students were given goggles to wear that had the same affect of being drunk and given simple tasks to perform, like standing on one foot or high-fiving each other, in order to see how hard it is to function while drinking. It was then that the students were allowed to drive, or attempt to drive, a golf cart in one of the MC courtyards while wearing the goggles to show just how dangerous drinking and driving really is. With cones set up in a course for the students to navigate through, there was of course not one cone still standing at the end of the presentation.

In addition to all the craziness of the "impaired" drivers, students were also shown an example of water pressure with a bottle rocket presentation by the MC Engineering Club. Getting the signal of the countdown to begin pumping water, the various elementary students stood in amazement as the handmade rocket shot into the air, leaving a stream of water trailing behind before landing several yards away. Screams of excitement began after each "take off" only to begin again once it landed. After two solid hours of learning and entertainment from all over the MC campus, it was time for the main event. Explosions of about 50 liters of soda fountained in the air after being combined with Mentos mints concluded the day's activities. It certainly made for an extravagant finale to such an extravagant day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming to a Stage at Your College ...

The MC Music Department cordially invites you to attend a concert by acclaimed pianist and educator Dr. William Westney, Browning Artist-in-Residence at Texas Tech University.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Wagner & Brown Auditorium, Allison Fine Arts Building
Admission is FREE and open to the public!

'Coca-Cola Kudos' for Student at Your College

Susanna KarthSusanna Karth, a student at Midland College, has been named a Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze scholars, and providing nearly $187,500 in stipends annually.

Bronze Scholars each receive a $1,000 stipend and a special medallion. All Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Scholars will be listed in an April 11th issue of the USA TODAY newspaper.

Midland College President, Dr. Steve Thomas, noted of Miss Karth's accomplishments, "We are extremely proud of Susanna. She is an outstanding young woman who has been very active in the community and involved with MC organizations. Susanna has been an MC student for the past two years and is currently president of the Midland College Student Government Association. She is very deserving of this special recognition."

Susanna also serves in Students in Philanthropy, the MC Drama Club, Chap Singers and is a production assistant for the Midland College student newspaper, El Paisano. She will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in May and then transfer to The University of Texas at Arlington where she will major in advertising.

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and recognizes Coca-Cola Community College scholars during All-State Community College Academic Team Recognition ceremonies held in 37 states. Student scholars also receive local recognition during ceremonies held on campus.

Community college presidents or their designated nominators may submit no more than two nominations per campus for this award. An independent panel of judges considers outstanding academic rigor, grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

"We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for their vote of confidence in community college students by investing in their futures," said Dr. Rod Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa. "Their support is especially welcome during this challenging economic climate, as more and more community college students need additional resources to help them complete their degrees."

"The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges," said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals."

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,270 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 125,000 students inducted annually.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Helping Hand

I've noted before that the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center at Midland College remains one of West Texas' busiest venues, with perhaps the most diverse schedule of activities ... including those that aren't planned, and have nothing to do with athletics, education or entertainment.

That's exactly what happened this weekend as wildfire swept through portions of Ector and Midland counties. Aided by winds that strong even by West Texas standards, the "Hickman Fire" scorched thousands of acres, filled the skies with clouds of thick smoke, closed highways and forced residents to evacuate their homes. Those evacuees found shelter at our Chap Center. With direction from organizations such as the Southwest Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross, the center provided evacuees a place to stay, to sleep, to eat, to rest and refresh themselves as fire crews battled the blaze.

CLICK HERE for more in this story from KOSA-TV

In addition to remaining on station throughout the weekend, MC staff also helped spread the word, seeking donations of towels, pillows and other necessities to make the evacuees' stay more comfortable. And not just the staff ... we'd like to offer a special shout-out to MC students Susana Ortega, Chris Goule, Alyssa Vaughan and Caitlyn Enderson, who showed up at Chap Center bringing pillows, and stayed to offer assistance.

The Hickman Fire has been contained, evacuees have since returned to their homes ... and Chap Center is now being prepared for more routine activities such as the Midland College Job Fair, taking place this Thursday.

In the meantime, a string of blazes continue to rage across other parts of West Texas ... and the Red Cross continues to provide assistance to whose who find themselves in harm's way. You might consider a contribution to the Southwest Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross ... large or small, in-kind or in cash, they'll put it to good use.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MC Student Government On the Road

Students from Your College are attending the Texas Junior College Student Government Association State Conference in Austin, Texas. They left at noon on Wednesday, and are expected to return Sunday evening. In addition to their TJCSA actitivities, these students will also be visiting with State Representative Tom Craddick, and with State Senator Kel Seliger - presenting him with the petitions addressing the state budget. In the course of the road trip, we will be receiving reports (and photos!) from Stephanie VanCuren, Student Activities Coordinator and SGA Advisor.

This post will be updated periodically, as those reports come in from Stephanie.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

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Nancy Hellinghausen Brown was born February 25, 1964, in Breckenridge, Texas. She passed away on March 31, 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer. She is not the first member of the MC family to pass away since I've joined the staff of Your College, but she is the first with whom I had actually worked on a daily basis over the course of 2+ years in the college's Public Information & Media Office.

During that time, I gained great appreciation for Nancy and her work, and the impact that work had upon our college, and our community at-large. She was MC's Director of Public Relations, while I was the college's web editor ... but we both had a background that included professional experience in writing and promotion/outreach. In those capacities, Nancy's abilities were nothing less than remarkable.

Those of you who have read the "MC Page" each Sunday in the Midland Reporter-Telegram will share my appreciation. Nancy was so good at interviewing people who - on the surface, at least - might seem ordinary at best, but drawing from them the most extraordinary stories. She had a way of finding the remarkable that lies within all of us, sharing it with others, and encouraging those others to dig a little deeper and find the remarkable within themselves.

From my own experience, I can tell you that's not always an easy task ... in part because the subject of your interview might be the first to say something to the effect of, "oh, I'm not so special ... nobody wants to read about me." Drawing the subject out, learning the story-behind-the-story, then composing it in a manner that draws in the readers, not only informing them, but inspiring them. Not every reporter is willing to tackle such stories - some preferring to chase the celebrity flavor-of-the-month down the red carpet - and frankly, not every reporter is able. But West Texas is fortunate to have those ready, willing and able to do it, and have done it well ... people like Ed Todd and Ken Broadnax, Jimmy Patterson, and Nancy.

Part of me will also miss having someone in the office who can relate to some of the unavoidable silliness that comes with my being a dang-Yankee-from-back-east. Nancy's career included a stint in New York City, and I was thrilled to have someone who shared my genuine appreciation for Lincoln Center and Rockefeller Plaza ... and for Chock Full o'Nuts and Carnegie Deli. And for so much more ... conversations with Nancy usually resulted in additions to my bookshelf, my CD rack and my Netflix queue.

And really, I'm just touching upon one facet of Nancy here ... others could tell you about her poetry, her cooking, her (Texas Master) gardening, her community involvement, and her cats.

CLICK HERE to read more about Nancy and her life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Midland College, directed to the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series, or the Arts Program at MC, c/o the Midland College Foundation, 3600 N. Garfield, Midland, Texas 79705. You may call the Foundation office at (432) 685-4526 for more information.

Goodbye, my friend.

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