Nevada State College Commencement 2012

By Mandi Enger
Nevada State College was proud to celebrate its 2012 spring commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at the Henderson Pavilion. This year NSC graduated its largest class to-date with more than 300 students representing each of the 24 degree programs offered by the college.
Approximately 1,500 students have graduated from NSC since its first graduation ceremony in 2004.
As Nevada State College commemorates 10 years of offering quality degree programs to benefit Nevada, I was honored to bestow degrees on a record number of graduates, said Nevada State College President Bart Patterson. Our students come from all walks of life, but all have the same goals – to work hard, obtain a degree and establish a solid career to benefit themselves, their family and their community. I am so pleased in the success of our students and proud of the faculty and staff who helped these students to achieve their goals.
During the commencement ceremony, NSC also presented its President’s Medal Award to four distinguished local leaders and philanthropists who have shown extraordinary commitment to the mission of Nevada State College. The 2012 recipients include: Bill Wortman, principal, Cannery Casino Resorts; Thalia Dondero, former regent, Nevada System of Higher Education; and Tony Sanchez III, senior vice president for government and community strategy, NV Energy.

NSC Student Accepted to NASA Pre-Service Teacher Workshop in Texas

By Mandi Enger
Melina Arriaza, a first-generation college student enrolled at Nevada State College (NSC) was accepted to participate in a weeklong training at the highly prestigious NASA Johnson Space Center Pre-Service Teacher Institute in Houston, Texas. Competing against undergraduate education students across the country, Arriaza was the only applicant chosen from the state of Nevada. A total of 31 students will attend the summer training June 24 June 30, 2012.
The Pre-Service Teacher Institute (PSTI) will provide hands-on opportunities for participants to expand their knowledge and skill in teaching the science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) subjects. Developed specifically for K-8 pre-service teachers, the program will additionally train attendees to incorporate NASA research, missions and findings into their own lesson plans and classroom activities.
Integrated curriculum in the STEM subjects is a developing focus area nationwide for primary grade-levels through higher education institutions. The workforce demand for job candidates in these high-tech fields is rapidly growing while the pool of qualified candidates is still relatively low.
The goals of STEM education include holding high expectations, creating instruction that is engaging, reducing achievement gaps, and preparing college and career ready students, said Roberta Kaufman, assistant professor of the NSC School of Education. It is an honor to have an NSC student selected to attend the workshop; it will be a wonderful learning opportunity for Melina that will transition into valuable career skills.
In 2011, Arriaza received her associate’s degree in special education from the College of Southern Nevada. She is currently enrolled at NSC working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and is additionally completing the coursework required for three endorsements including Teaching English as a Second Language, Bilingual Education, and Special Education.
Arriaza was inducted into the NSC chapter of the international honor society in education, Kappa Delta Pi in April of 2012 and is also a 4.0 student. Melina is strong in content and focused on working with a diverse student population including those with special education needs. She represents the caliber and enthusiasm of students enrolled in teacher education at NSC, continued Kaufman.
In the weeks leading up to the PSTI workshop, Arriaza will complete required preparation work including several reading assignments, online group discussions and even a quiz. Participants are also required to setup an e-portfolio that will be used to document and share their learned material throughout the week via photos and written reflections.
Students interested in applying to the NASA PSTI training were required to submit an essay, official transcripts, and recommendation letters from professors of education as well as math or science. Finalists were then asked to participate in a phone interview for final consideration. The process was open to junior or senior undergraduate education majors planning to work with elementary or middle school aged students.
Drawn to the program with an interest in improving her personal understanding of science as well as learning new teaching strategies specific to the subject, Arriaza is most looking forward to the hands-on science projects participants will take part in during the week’s trainings. Actually, working through the various science activities on my own and then discussing the learning process with other pre-service teachers will help me to in-turn teach the lessons more successfully to my students.
Upon completion of her degree programs, Arriaza is interested in working with special education students in either an elementary or high school setting in Southern Nevada. I’d also like to work in a school with a high population of bilingual learners, she added.
Undergraduate students completing the PSTI training will receive resource materials and curriculum for future classroom use that can be adapted by the participant to meet their specific state and grade level requirements. All resources provided by the PSTI align with national standards.

School of Nursing graduates and dean honored at spring 2012 pinning ceremony

By Mandi Enger
Following traditions of the nursing profession, 28 Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates, including six RN to BSNstudents, attended the Nevada State College Pinning Ceremony on May 11, 2012 at the Dragon Ridge Country Club.
It’s overwhelming to see the talent and dedication represented in this year’s graduating class, said Dean of Nursing Shirlee Snyder. Our BSNs truly exemplify the knowledge, skill and heart required to excel in their field.
Held at the end of each semester, the ceremony commemorates the official passage of nursing students to nursing graduates. Graduates at the spring ceremony designated a special family member or friend to present them with the official NSC School of Nursing pin. Unique to each institution, the pin is a treasured symbol of the education, dedication and successes of nursing graduates that is often worn throughout their nursing careers.
The intimate ceremony is also a time for graduate to celebrate and reflect on their journey through the nursing program and acknowledge their classmates, family and friends for their support. Noting the encouragement and care provided to the graduates by those in attendance, guest speaker and associate professor, Amy Chaffin stated, the sacrifices and support of your friends and family have helped make your dreams possible. Chaffin was chosen by the graduates to speak during the event a tradition distinctive to NSC.
In her last notes to graduates, Chaffin left the group with two challenges. First, find a mentor; keep connected with that person and stay inspired by them throughout your career, she said. Second, do something great I know you will.
Also honored during the ceremony for her extreme dedication, service and support to the NSC School of Nursing was Dean Shirlee Snyder who will be retiring this summer.
Would the family of Shirlee Snyder please join me on the stage, called Assistant Dean Sherri Coffman, to the School of Nursing faculty during the ceremony. The group then presented Dean Snyder with a special graduation pin to celebrate the lasting impact that she has made at NSC on both students and faculty members.
Snyder has been active in the field of nursing for 45 years and has been a dedicated faculty member at NSC since 2003 when she originally joined the college as an associate professor. Snyder additionally served as associate dean and interim dean at the college before assuming the role of dean.
Snyder received her doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco in 1988 and is also a co-author of two international nursing textbooks: Fundamentals of Nursing and Clinical Nursing Skills.
It’s been a wonderful experience for me at Nevada State College; we all say that NSC feels like family. When working with faculty, staff and administration that feeling comes across but also in with working with our students, Snyder said. The faculty that are here are here because they really want to teach future nurses. There’s that interaction and a really positive learning environment that makes it delightful to be a part of the college.
The 2012 ceremony concluded with all nurses both new graduates and faculty standing to recite the International Pledge for Nurses, another tradition that unites the profession.