Nevada State College science departments develop new programs

The Nevada State College (NSC) Department(s) of Physical and Life Sciences and Social Sciences continue to thrive, celebrating the addition of several new programs, including GradFit and poster presentations for both social and life sciences.
Recently, NSC partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to develop the GradFit program, which afforded eight biology and psychology majors an opportunity to visit UNR, to get an in-depth look at graduate school at the University. GradFit is a three-day program which took place from May 27 to May 29, during which students learned about GRE preparation, met with UNR professors and visited the University’s science labs. Students also toured the campus and even visited Lake Tahoe at the conclusion of the program.
Dr. Robin Cresiski, Physical and Life Sciences Department Chair, and Dr. Laura Naumann, Assistant Professor of Psychology, accompanied the students to Reno. Programs such as GradFit really make the abstract concept of graduate school something concrete. It prepares them for the realities of what is necessary to apply for and attend graduate school but shows the students that there are many support systems to help them in their endeavor, Dr. Naumann said.
NSC faculty members are aware that many students are unfamiliar with graduate study and may be intimidated by the prospect of pursuing advanced degrees. Given that many of our students are first-generation or returning students, these students typically have not been exposed to post-graduate degree options or the typical requirements to gain admission, Dr. Naumann explained.
Psychology major Danette Barber was one of the eight students who participated in the program. Graduate school seems more tangible now, and I know more about what I need to do for the process, Barber said. GradFit was a great experience and I hope many other students have the same opportunity I did to see what it’s all about.
Dr. Naumann noted that many students are Las Vegas natives and had never been to Reno. She says the students had expressed hesitancy about leaving home for graduate school. It was great for them to see life on a university campus, meet current graduate students, and hear from several faculty speakers, Dr. Naumann said. I think the visit to the campus helped to demystify what graduate life is like, as well as alleviate some of their fears about moving away for school.
In addition to GradFit, the Physical and Life Sciences Department and the Social Sciences Department boast poster presentations from both the social and physical and life sciences majors. The psychology poster presentations were part of the Advanced Research Methods classes taught by Drs. Laura Naumann and Jonathan Dunning. Students in this course design their own research study from start to finish. This includes idea generation, design of materials, collection and analysis of data and dissemination of findings in the form of a paper and poster. In May of 2014, psychology students presented their posters in the lobby of the Liberal Arts and Sciences building (LAS), giving students, faculty and staff the opportunity to view their findings and ask questions. This was the first time the research posters were presented by students in a public forum.
Our first poster presentation was a success, and we look forward to continuing this practice with every semester’s Advanced Research Methods cohort, Dr. Naumann said. These research projects and presentations expose students to the real deal of being a psychological researcher. The poster presentations are another tool to prepare psychology students for graduate school. Dr. Naumann asserts that the Advanced Research Methods class is an obvious necessity for any student who wants to apply to a psychology graduate program.
The goal of projects like GradFit and the psychology poster presentation is to not only prepare students for graduate school, but also to highlight the work being done by science majors at NSC. The poster presentation helps bring visibility to our field, both among majors and non-majors, Dr. Naumann said.
Prior to the psychology poster presentation, the physical and life sciences majors had a presentation of their own, in the fall of 2013. For the first time, physical and life sciences students displayed their undergraduate research, conducted over the summer.
Dr. Andy Kuniyuki, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says he is pleased with his faculty. We’ve been able to guide undergraduate research in a very big way, in both the social sciences and physical and life sciences, Dr. Kuniyuki said. Our faculty members are dedicated, and I believe they are taking the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and our students in the right direction.

Dr. Joel & Carol Bower School-Based Health Center celebrates 10th Anniversary with Community Health Fair

The Dr. Joel & Carol Bower School-Based Health Center (SBHC) celebrated 10 years of serving the Henderson community with a Community Health Fair on Saturday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event featured free activities and services, including children’s immunizations, dental screenings, safety tips, games and a silent auction.
Approximately 125 people attended the health fair, along with 57 vendors and more than 25 volunteers. Also, in attendance were representatives from the offices of Congressman Joe Heck, Senator Harry Reid and Senator Dean Heller. The SBHC received a certificate of recognition from Congressman Heck’s office to recognize the SBHC and celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
During a special ceremony, awards were presented to individuals who were instrumental to the growth and development of the center over the past decade. Those awardees include: Susan Segal, former principal of Basic High School; Barbara Ludwig, consultant to the Clark County Health District, organizer of the Health Advisory Council, and founder of the SBHC; Dr. Connie Carpenter, former Dean of Nursing at NSC, member of the Health Advisory Council, and founder of the SBHC; Dr. Joel Bower, member of the Health Advisory Council and first medical director of the SBHC; Yvonne Chavez, Basic High School nurse; David Bechtel, Basic High School Principal.
This was an important event for us, said SBHC Coordinator Erika Webber. One, it was the School-Based Health Center’s10th Anniversary, and secondly, it was an opportunity to get more exposure for the SBHC and to re-introduce the center back into the community.
The SBHC was founded in 2004 as a partnership between Nevada State College School of Nursing and Basic High School to address significant unmet health needs of Henderson children. Operated by the NSC School of Nursing and located on the Basic High School Campus, the health center serves Henderson school children ages 4-19.
I feel a lot of pride that the School of Nursing and NSC have served the community through the center for 10 years, said Dr. Sherrilyn Coffman, Director of the School-Based Health Center. The services provided by nurse practitioners at the SBHC include: immunizations, acute and minor emergency care, chronic disease management, pre-participation sport physicals, and health education.
Although the SBHC has experienced growth and success over the past ten years, SBHC leaders don’t intend to rest on their laurels. Dr. Coffman says the SBHC has big plans for the future, including adding more services to provide to the community. Most recently, the SBHC has added mental health support groups for Basic High School students. According to Dr. Coffman, the School-Based Health Center is completing the certification process at the state level, to increase funding opportunities.
There are very few school-based health centers in Nevada, Dr. Coffman said. Our center is at the cutting edge for the state and is a model for new centers being developed in northern Nevada. Webber agreed, saying, we’re laying the groundwork for School-Based Health Centers. We are the model for all School-Based Health Centers in Nevada.
The School-Based Health Center has received funding and support from Nevada State College, along with the Trust Fund for Public Health, the City of Henderson, St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Henderson Police and Fire Departments, and many other individuals and community agencies. Without the support of the college, the SBHC would not exist, Dr. Coffman said. We rely on that support.
Webber says the health center’s goal is to use that support to become a staple of the Henderson community. Now we’re creating more partnerships with non-profit and for-profit community organizations, Webber said. We want to bring more people in and offer even more services to the community.

NSC Visual Media Students win local award for film project

And the award for Best Use of Character goes to Speak English? by NSC Films!
The Nevada State College Visual Media Department is on a roll. Recently awarded the Best Use of Character award by the Las Vegas 48 Hour Film Project, NSC Visual Media students are making their mark in the Las Vegas film community. We have a core group of dedicated students who are hungry for filmmaking, said Assistant Professor of Visual and Digital Media, Dr. Adam Davis. They readily accept feedback on their work from faculty and other students in order to continually improve, and they’re willing to put in long hours outside of the classroom to make films.
For the Las Vegas 48 Hour Film Project, all participants were instructed to make a movie, including writing, shooting, editing and scoring, in just 48 hours. Numerous films were submitted by different teams, and several awards were given, including Best Original Song, Best Ensemble Acting, Best Directing, Best Film, etc.
The Las Vegas 48 Hour Film Project presented their awardees work at the Best of Screening, held on May 30, 2014 at the Cockroach Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. Dr. Gregory Robinson, Chair of the Humanities Department, says one of the reasons for the NSC Visual Media program’s success is the attention and guidance from faculty. Dr. Adam Davis has done a tremendous job helping the students take their ideas and turn them into completed projects. For example, this summer, he has been leading a group of students through the process of writing a feature-length screenplay, he said.
The other factor is the close-knit community of visual media students, Dr. Robinson added. The Visual Media students went to Sundance together in the spring, and they worked for long hours together on the Red Angel Dragnet project, a 40-minute Zombie film which premiered on Friday, June 27. They are a remarkably innovative and collaborative community, Dr. Robinson said. Dr. Davis agreed, saying, we’re smaller than other schools, but that also makes us a more close-knit program with a lot of faculty-student interaction and support. We’re also very nimble, able to pursue opportunities that provide great learning experiences for our students.
There are film programs at other Nevada institutions, but ours is a careful mix of media production and media study, Dr. Robinson explained. They learn how to make compelling images, but they also learn why those images are important in our culture.
The Visual Media program at NSC is part of the Humanities department in the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and is now offered as a major and a minor for NSC students. Faculty members hope the recent success of the students will help grow the program, as they have big plans for the future. We are adding an animation track in the fall, which will give students even more options for growth and creativity, Dr. Robinson said. In addition, the Visual Media department will be putting more emphasis on ways that students can use their skills to help community organizations.
The NSC Visual Media faculty members are both proud and impressed by the great work their students have done. It’s fulfilling to watch their progress from film to film and to see the ways in which they support one another, Dr. Davis expressed.
Dr. Davis and I are so proud of what our students have done, Dr. Robinson added. They have built a lasting culture here at NSC.