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© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Captures All-Sports Trophy

For the third time in four years, Waubonsee Community College has beaten out seven other schools to capture the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) All-Sports Trophy. The trophy is determined by points, which are awarded based on teams' conference finishes throughout the year. 

The Chiefs won four ISCC titles this year, including women's cross country, men's soccer, men's basketball and softball. 

Waubonsee had previously won the All-Sports Trophy in both 2010 and 2011.  

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Prince and Hill inducted into NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame

Long-time Waubonsee coaches honored

Former Waubonsee Community College coaches Bill Prince and Doug Hill have been recognized for their outstanding career achievements with induction into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame. The duo was honored at halftime of the Chiefs’ home basketball contest on Dec. 12 against Rock Valley College.       

Oswego resident Bill Prince initially began his teaching and coaching career at Westfield High School in southern Illinois, before spending five years at downstate Beecher City, and then five years at Oswego High School. In 1967 he became one of the founding members of Waubonsee’s Athletic program. He was the college’s first Athletic Director, baseball coach, Physical Education instructor and Physical Education Department Chairman, simultaneously holding all those positions his first eight years on campus.

As Waubonsee’s first baseball coach, Prince guided the Chiefs on the ball field through the 1977 season. Prince’s 1973 baseball team finished fifth in Region IV, when all of the Illinois community colleges were in one division, and his 1974 club was the first athletic team at Waubonsee to be nationally ranked. Two of his teams won Skyway Conference baseball titles, including the 1975 squad which went undefeated in league play. That team went on to win the Region IV Sectional crown before advancing all the way to the NJCAA Region IV Tournament Championship game, finishing second among the tournament’s 45 teams.     

Prince was also Waubonsee’s first Athletic Director and the Physical Education Department Chairman, holding both of those posts until 1974. He later served as Waubonsee’s golf coach for six years, helping the Chiefs card two Skyway Conference golf titles. And for good measure he was also the cross-country coach in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Throughout his entire 27 years at Waubonsee, Prince was a Physical Education instructor, retiring in 1993. 

However, perhaps his biggest accolade comes from the fact that he developed the first computerized statistics program in the United States in 1973, which Region IV baseball still used until 2008.  He was also at the forefront of overall fitness, conceiving the idea and development of Waubonsee’s Fitness Center. Prince’s many athletic contributions were recognized in 2003 when he was inducted into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame, and in 2007 when he was part of the inaugural class of inductees into Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame.   

Long-time Aurora resident Doug Hill graduated from Big Rock High School before the district consolidated to form Hinckley-Big Rock. He went on to operate his own electronics repair business for many years in the Aurora area. Throughout most of that time he could also be found on tennis courts in the area. Hill was considered the ‘dean’ of Waubonsee coaches, joining the Chiefs’ coaching staff in only the fourth year of the college’s existence. He led the women’s tennis program for the next 32 years. For a majority of that time, he also guided the men’s tennis program, giving up those reigns in 1999 after 25 years at the helm.  

A true gentleman on and off the court, Hill guided the Lady Chiefs to 13 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference crowns, including 10 titles in 11 years beginning in 1979. More than 60 of his players earned All-Conference honors during his tenure, including his daughter Jeannine, who was the league’s Player of the Year in both 1979 and 1980. Hill’s last team in 2004 was Co-Champions of the conference after taking six of the nine titles at the ISCC Tournament. Subsequently, Hill was named the league’s Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year for the 13th time. Many of Hill’s players excelled off the court as well with over 30 earning Academic All-Conference honors. Six of his players were also named the Dick Durrant Academic Award winner which annually honors the Skyway’s top student/athlete.

Hill’s coaching resume also included teaching gymnastics for 16 years at the Aurora YMCA, where he was selected the Y’s Man of the Year. Hill has served as President of the Golden Fox Tennis Club, and as the Northern Illinois District endorser for junior players to advance to the sectional and national United States Tennis Association tournaments. Hill was inducted into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame in 2007, and was recognized the following year with induction into Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame as well.   

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee, WIU Deal Paves Transfer Pathway to Opportunity for Broadcasting Students

Waubonsee Community College has partnered with Western Illinois University to pave a quality, affordable path for students to a future in broadcasting.

Friday, Oct. 24, representatives of Waubonsee and WIU signed an articulation agreement formally creating a program allowing students who begin their college experience at Waubonsee to earn a bachelor’s degree in any of three broadcasting majors at WIU in four years.

“This is a very significant moment for Waubonsee and our broadcasting program,” said John Bitterman, Associate Professor of Communications at Waubonsee.

Under the “2+2” format of the program, students would follow a set pathway for the first two years of college at Waubonsee, taking advantage of Waubonsee’s quality education at affordable tuition rates to earn an associate degree.

Once they have completed that degree, students can transfer to WIU to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years in sports broadcasting, broadcasting production or broadcasting news/performance.

Bitterman said the agreement was the result of months of work begun last year after broadcast television professional Paul Strater, of Oswego, suggested Bitterman and Waubonsee’s cadre of broadcasting students visit WIU’s campus in Macomb to experience the opportunities offered by WIU’s broadcasting program.

After decades working in various roles in radio and television, Strater had earned an associate degree from Waubonsee in 2010 and a bachelor’s degree from WIU in 2012. Strater now works as a senior broadcast engineer at WYIN-TV Channel 56, Lakeshore Public Television, in Merrillville, Ind. 

Bitterman said he and the students took the suggestion and, upon visiting WIU, were “blown away” by the quality of the university’s Department of Broadcasting.

Dan Niederkorn, 21, of Oswego, was among the students who visited WIU who opted to transfer there. Now in his junior year of college and his first year at WIU, Niederkorn said he has been impressed by the opportunities offered to him in working on the production teams for WIU sports broadcasts and campus news programs.

Vanessa Montano, 23, of Aurora, a first-year broadcasting student at Waubonsee, said she is now considering transfer to WIU under the new articulation program.

“I took a class at Waubonsee, because it caught my eye,” Montano said. “And it turns out I love it.”

In signing the agreement, representatives of WIU and Waubonsee said the new 2+2 articulation program is a triumph for both schools.

Dr. William “Buzz” Hoon, Chair and Associate Professor at WIU’s Department of Broadcasting, said he is pleased at the possibility of drawing more Waubonsee graduates to WIU, noting Waubonsee’s program “produces outstanding students.”

“Young people come to us from Waubonsee and start to contribute right away,” said Hoon.

Dr. William Marzano, Assistant Vice President of Transfer and Developmental Education at Waubonsee, said the articulation program is the product of “colleagues, faculty and students who care about what comes after them,” Marzano said.

For more information about Waubonsee’s broadcasting program and its new partnership with WIU’s Department of Broadcasting, visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

College and County Team Up to Offer Loans and Training to Area Businesses

Area businesses seeking training for their employees now have a new financing option, thanks to a partnership between Kendall County and Waubonsee Community College’s Workforce Development Division. Businesses located in Kendall County are eligible to apply to the County’s Revolving Loan Fund to receive working capital to finance workforce training costs.  

Waubonsee’s Workforce Development Division offers a wide variety of practical, value-added business solutions structured to meet multiple needs of the business community. The college will work with businesses and organizations to identify and assess the specific employee skill development needs of those enterprises and will customize short-term employee training programs to address and find solutions to those needs.

The services of the Workforce Development Division include: needs assessments, gap assessments and analysis, workforce skills assessment, training development and delivery, and many others to provide business solutions to organizations throughout the County. The college utilizes a wide range of subject matter experts drawn from business and industry to provide real-world training when and where it is needed. Training is often delivered at an organization’s own site.  

Contact a Waubonsee account representative at (630) 906-4152 to learn more about receiving workforce training for employees, or contact John Sterrett, Economic Development Coordinator, at (630) 385-3000 for more information on the County’s Revolving Loan Fund. 

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Nov. 12 Open House to Showcase New Lab

Waubonsee Community College will showcase its newly remodeled laboratory technology facility at a free community open house on Wednesday, Nov. 12. The event will run from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. in room 102 of Weigel Hall on the north side of the Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The lab includes five new spectroscopy and chromatography devices that support the college’s laboratory technology program, which debuted in fall 2013. Found in a variety of industries, lab technicians assist scientists in conducting experiments, researching and developing new products, performing quality tests, and producing a chemical or biological product. 

The lab tech program and accompanying lab space are funded through a $2.8 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.      

For more information visit or email

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Students, Faculty Meet, Talk Issues with Deputy Asst. U.S. Secretary for Community Colleges Mitsui

What defines a traditional college student?

As Mark Mitsui, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges for the U.S. Department of Education, sees it, the answer to that question has changed substantially in recent years – and community colleges have played a large role in that transition, serving as an educational launch pad for the hopes and dreams of many students who are parents, likely have work off-campus, may be veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, or may even be the first in their family to ever attend college.

Recently, Mitsui visited Waubonsee Community College to meet with the college’s students, faculty and administrators, to hear their stories, learn of their triumphs and challenges, and take that information back to Washington, D.C.

During his visit, Mitsui conducted a one-hour Q&A session in a lecture hall packed with dozens of Waubonsee students.

Mitsui, who most recently served as president of North Seattle Community College in Seattle, Wash., said in the approximately one year he has served in his current role in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, he has met with delegations from multiple foreign governments who wish to replicate the U.S.’s community college system in their countries.

“Community colleges produce the people who help to make this country run,” Mitsui said.

Mitsui fielded a range of questions, including those on such topics as college affordability, maintaining state funding for community colleges, and how to maximize a community college experience.

Mitsui noted changes to financial assistance rules, essentially capping interest rates on student loans and creating more flexibility for those repaying loans.

He said the federal government is working with states to encourage the states to continue investing in their community college systems.

And Mitsui, together with Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek, encouraged students to take advantage of the benefits Waubonsee and other community colleges offer, which include strong connections to local employers and other key resources.

“No matter what industry you want to go into, your instructors probably have those connections to the people in your industry, who already do what you want to do,” Mitsui said. “Get to know them. Take advantage of that while you are here.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

"Experience Waubonsee" Events Explain College, Tour Campus

This fall Waubonsee Community College will host two free “Experience Waubonsee” events for current high school students and others interested in attending college. 

The Nov. 12 event will take place at the Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive, while the Nov. 19 event will take place at the Aurora Campus, 18 S. River St. All “Experience Waubonsee” events begin at 6 p.m. 

Participants interested in attending Waubonsee will tour the campus while learning more about the college’s programs, services and enrollment process. There will also be informational sessions for those students heading to a different college or still deciding on a school. 

For more information or to RSVP, go to or call the Admissions Department at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

State Rep. Pritchard Lauds Opportunities Offered by Waubonsee STEM Scholarship Program

For Ruben Noceda, 53, of Montgomery, who lost his job in a corporate downsizing last year, the STEM Scholarship Program at Waubonsee Community College offers an opportunity to reboot his career.

For Jason LaBolle, 18, of Sandwich, a freshman fresh out of high school with big dreams, the program stands as a low-cost launching pad for his aspirations.

And for Annabelle Huff, 35, of Aurora, a married mother of three young children attending college full-time, the program offers the chance to do what others may deem impossible.

While Waubonsee’s STEM Scholarship Program offers different things to different students, for all involved, the program stands as a model of what is possible when skilled science, technology, math and engineering faculty invest in bright students and lay the foundation for great things to come.

Friday, Oct. 17, students and faculty associated with Waubonsee’s STEM Program were able to tell their stories to Ill. State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley, 70th Legislative District, during a special afternoon roundtable discussion at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

Pritchard said he believes bolstering education emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, subjects will be key for the future of the region and the country.

“This is a real need in our country today,” Pritchard said. “We need more thinkers, more doers, more creators and more entrepreneurs. They originate in STEM.”

Pritchard saluted the work carried out by Waubonsee in creating the STEM Scholarship Program specifically to raise up the next generation of scientists, computer programmers, engineers and mathematicians, among others.

Waubonsee’s STEM Scholarship Program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, allowing the college to offer scholarships to qualifying students and to offer faculty the chance to mentor promising students one-on-one.

Waubonsee faculty overseeing the program include David H. Voorhees, Associate Professor of Earth Science and Geology; Amy Frankel, Associate Professor of Mathematics; and Danielle DuCharme, Associate Professor of Biology.

Randall Hines, CAD Instructor, also serves as a mentor in the STEM Program.

The four instructors, as well as Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek; Mary Edith Butler, Dean for Mathematics and Science; and Lourdes “Lulu” Blacksmith, Director of Government and Multicultural Affairs, participated in the roundtable meeting with Pritchard.

Four students – Noceda, LaBolle, Huff and Kelsey Ford, 18, of Sandwich – participated in the discussion, as well.

The STEM Scholarship Program currently includes 18 students, recruited from among Waubonsee’s student body and from local high schools.

Voorhees said 90 percent of students who participate in the program ultimately transfer to four-year institutions to pursue more advanced degrees.

LaBolle said he learned of the program while an Advanced Placement student in high school. While initially unsure, he said he eventually embraced the chance to capitalize on the scholarship opportunities and “get that big degree and still be ahead in the money race.”

He said he intends to transfer to a four-year college after his sophomore year.

Huff said the program has generally made college easier for her, giving her the “money and mentoring,” as well as dedicated study space and confidence, she needs to continue her education. 

“It has helped a lot,” she said.

Noceda said he enrolled in Waubonsee’s CAD program last year, and is now well on his way to completing a four-year degree in design through a “3-and-1” articulation program Waubonsee offers with Northern Illinois University. Under such an arrangement, participating students can earn a bachelor’s degree by following a proscribed course through three years at Waubonsee, followed by a year at NIU.

Hines, who serves as Noceda’s mentor, said the STEM Scholarship Program helped Noceda land an internship this year at Fermilab in Batavia.

“The STEM Program has been a godsend,” Noceda said.

For more on Waubonsee’s STEM Program, visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Student Success: Taft School District Superintendent Skogsberg Recognized by Waubonsee

Dr. Dirk Erik “DJ” Skogsberg would be as surprised as anyone if he one day stands at the U.S. Capitol, right hand raised, taking the presidential oath of office, before a throng of hundreds of thousands.

But so far, becoming the leader of the Free World remains the only career ambition spelled out by his eight-year-old self not yet achieved by Skogsberg, superintendent of Lockport’s Taft School District 90, and a 1994 graduate of Waubonsee Community College.

“When I was eight years old, my mom asked me one day, ‘What are you going to be?’” Skogsberg said. “So I told her, ‘President of the United States.’ But first I laid out several steps I believed I needed to take on the way – first, be a teacher, then a principal, superintendent, and then President.

“And it sounds really strange, but I guess I predicted 31 years ago my life and my career would go along these lines.”

For the achievements he has thus far amassed, and the dedication to education his career has demonstrated, Waubonsee Community College has recognized Skogsberg as its Student Success: Featured Alumnus for the month of October.

Skogsberg, 40, now of Plainfield, came to Waubonsee in 1992, an Aurora resident fresh out of high school, but already knowing on which course his education would set him.

Inspired by his fifth grade teacher, Jeannine Noe, Skogsberg said a career in education had been his ambition throughout middle and high school.

“I had a number of learning challenges growing up,” Skogsberg said. “I had a horrible fourth grade year, but fifth grade with her really opened my eyes, to let me see what a teacher should do, and could do.”

After earning an Associate in Science degree from Waubonsee, Skogsberg earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois University in 1996.

Within a month of his graduation at EIU, he had been hired as an adjunct faculty mathematics instructor at Waubonsee.

He was one of the first instructors to teach at the new campus adjacent to Rush Copley Medical Center on U.S. Route 34 in Aurora.

“I guess you could say I helped troubleshoot some of the challenges of getting that site up,” said Skogsberg with a laugh.

Skogsberg would teach at Waubonsee for the next 14 years, even as he went on to serve in middle schools in Yorkville, East Aurora and Naperville.

As educating students became his passion, Skogsberg said he intended to spend his career in the classroom.

But those plans changed while he served on a school improvement team in East Aurora School District 131.

“The principal asked if I had ever thought about being an administrator,” Skogsberg said. “I told him at that time I didn’t get into the education field to be an administrator.”

But after attending an informational meeting at the invitation of a colleague, Skogsberg said the idea of working in administration had him “hooked.”

He earned his Master of Arts in Education degree from Aurora University in 2002, and took his first steps in school administration a month later when he was hired as Assistant Principal for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at Madison and Jefferson Junior High Schools in Naperville Community Unit School District 203.

From there, Skogsberg’s career path took him to Minooka Elementary Community Consolidated School District 201, where he served as principal at Minooka Junior High School and Little Indians Learning Center from 2007-2010, and on to Orland Park, where he worked in the district office as Assistant Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at Orland School District 135.

In 2012, Skogsberg was hired at Taft as the elementary school district’s next superintendent.

“Education is my vocation,” he said. “It’s where my heart lies.”

He ascribed his relatively rapid rise through the ranks, in part, to his commitment to “servant leadership” and his ability to identify challenges, and then convert them to opportunities for growth.

Even as superintendent, Skogsberg said he often can be found taking on any number of different tasks, ranging from checking children’s heads for lice and taking care of nosebleeds to shoveling snow or scrubbing the gymnasium floor to remove excess salt tracked in by students and staff on winter days.

“I tell my teachers and staff, ‘This is your school, you have to take ownership of it,’” Skogsberg said. “And if you’ve got ideas to make it better, I’m here to support you.”

Skogsberg said his time at Waubonsee both as a student and an instructor helped prepare him for the jobs he has undertaken since.

As a student, for instance, he said his leadership skills were fostered while participating in the college’s Illinois Model Government club.

And as a teacher, he said, he felt humbled by the “high level of trust” the college placed in him as a 22-year-old college graduate.

“What’s really stuck out in my mind, is that these things drew out a natural, innate ability for leadership,” Skogsberg said. “That’s what has kept me in good standing with the students I have served.”

Skogsberg said his experience at Waubonsee is what encourages him to continue to impress on his students the benefits and value offered by community colleges, like Waubonsee.

“I’ve continuously been a strong advocate for the community college system, and Waubonsee, specifically,” Skogsberg said. “It’s a huge, huge asset to anyone looking at college, as it was for me, in helping me get to where I am.”


© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Driver Safety Program Recognized by National Safety Council

Waubonsee Community College has won recognition for its work to educate thousands of drivers each year, making roadways in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties and beyond safer.

In September, Waubonsee’s Driver Safety Program received three awards during the National Safety Council’s National Safety Congress event in San Diego.

Waubonsee received NSC Trend Setter awards for its Defensive Driving 4-hour Online Course, also known as DDC-4 Online, and its Alive At 25 program.

The college received an honorable mention for the original classroom-based version of its Defensive Driving 4-Hour Course, or DDC-4.

Dennis Schmidt, Waubonsee’s Driver Safety Manager, said the awards serve as positive recognition of the college’s efforts to improve driver safety in the region.

“It shows how active the college’s driver safety programs have been,” Schmidt said. “It says we’re working to reach as many drivers as we can.”

In 2013, the Waubonsee Driver Safety Program educated more than 12,000 students in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties. While many of those students were assigned to participate in various driver safety courses under the terms of court supervision for traffic offenses, many others take part in the safety programs at the recommendation or requirement of employers, insurance companies or parents, Schmidt said.   

“Not a week goes by when I don’t get calls from people wanting to take the course to get a reduced rate on their auto insurance, or from parents wanting their teenage drivers to take the ‘Alive At 25’ class,” Schmidt said.

The Waubonsee program employs 15 instructors who last year taught 249 classes at sites throughout the region, including at Waubonsee’s four campuses in Sugar Grove, downtown Aurora, near Rush Copley Medical Center and in Plano; at Judson University and Elgin Community College, in Elgin; Kishwaukee College in DeKalb County; St. Charles East High School and the St. Charles Police Department; and Sycamore Middle School.

This year, the NSC marked the 50th anniversary of such driver safety courses in the U.S.

Waubonsee’s Driver Safety Program has offered driver safety courses since 1992.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Receives Grant to Offer Temporary Worker Safety Training

Waubonsee Community College has secured financial support for the college’s efforts to make workplaces safer in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties.

On Sept. 30, U.S. Department of Labor awarded Waubonsee an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Susan Harwood Training Grant worth $119,505 to allow the college’s Workforce Development Department to provide free workplace safety training to employers and staffing agencies that hire temporary workers.

The training would be targeted to temporary workers who may have limited English proficiency and low literacy skills, and so may not be as aware as other workers of worker rights or safety hazards in the workplaces in which they may be placed.

Training topics would include fire safety, ergonomics, materials handling, hazard communication, lockout/tagout, machine guarding and worker rights under OSHA.

All training would be conducted in the workplace by certified safety trainers.   

Local employers interested in the training opportunities should contact Waubonsee’s Workforce Development Department at (630) 906-4152.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee English Instructor Shaw Honored for Service Learning Emphasis

Kassia Shaw, adjunct English instructor at Waubonsee Community College, has won recognition for her efforts to encourage students to learn outside of the classroom, as well as within.

In early October, Shaw received the Adjunct Faculty Proposal Award 2014 from the Two-Year College English Association Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Shaw was recognized for her submission, “Small Steps, Big Rewards: The Path to Service Learning,” which she co-presented with Paul Resnick, Professor of English at Illinois Central College.

The proposal centered on her attempts in teaching English 101 and 102 courses at Waubonsee to incorporate community service learning opportunities with her more traditional classroom work.

She noted other instructors at Waubonsee do so, as well, but she said all must overcome certain obstacles, including working within the nature and requirements of the courses, while “honoring the expertise and experiences” and the time schedules of the students.

She said she was also challenged to make the service-learning components of the courses, which are optional, “enticing” to students.

“I feel that if you can get students to make those connections to the outside world in a way that they share personal investment, their
engagement within the course significantly increases,” Shaw said.

Recently, she said, students have performed their service learning work with such community groups as the Waubonsee Adult Literacy Project and Aurora Cultural Creatives, a group dedicated to using the arts to revitalize Aurora’s downtown and offer young people artistic pursuits.

“Students are always amazed to see the connection between what we write in class and how it directly applies to what they’ll be doing in their prospective careers,” Shaw said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Therapeutic Massage Students Achieve Perfect Passage Rate

This spring, 10 Waubonsee Community College students who had been enrolled in the college’s Therapeutic Massage program achieved a rare feat, as all 10 passed the state massage therapy board exams in one sitting.

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards recently notified the college its students who had taken the board exams during the May 15-Aug. 15, 2014, testing period had passed the tests.

The passage allows those Waubonsee students to now seek the state licenses to allow them to work as massage therapists in Illinois.

Denise Nakaji, Professor of Therapeutic Massage at Waubonsee, said the 100 percent passage rate represents a “pretty big achievement.”

She noted in Illinois only about 72 percent of those sitting for the FSTMB exams pass, and only about 74 percent nationally.

“For all the students to pass the first time around, that’s an achievement for all to be proud of,” Nakaji said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Chemistry Professor Gore Wins Photography Honor

A Waubonsee Community College science instructor has been recognized for her work with a camera.

On Sept. 12, Barbara Gore, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Waubonsee, was awarded “Best of Show – Photography” at a show sponsored by the Aurora Art League.

Gore’s winning photograph was titled, “Fall Woods Path.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Ceramics Professor Jeppesen's Work Featured in iPottery

Doug Jeppesen, Associate Professor of Art/Ceramics at Waubonsee Community College, is among 256 potters whose work is featured in a new ebook.

Titled iPottery, written and published by Kevin A. Hluch, the publication, which is available for download to iPad or Mac, includes more than 3,000 gallery and interactive images introducing the artists and highlighting some of their work.

The interactive images provide detailed captioned looks at particular aspects of the artists’ pottery.

Jeppesen regularly instructs students in various ceramics techniques, utilizing the college’s four wood kilns, along with its kiln rooms for electrics and gas.

The 10,000-square-foot Ceramics Studio is located on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Exhibit Gives Old Toys, Lawn Ornaments, Salvaged Items New Artistic Life

A pair of Wisconsin artists known for their collaboration on artworks incorporating salvaged materials into idiosyncratic and humorous forms have brought their works to Waubonsee Community College for a fall exhibit.

The Waubonsee Community College Art Department is hosting “Not Like I Remembered,” an exhibition by artists Aristotle Georgiades and Gail Simpson, in the Arrowhead Room gallery in the Dickson Center on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The exhibit, which opened Friday, Sept. 26, will continue until Thursday, Nov. 13. It is free and open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m, and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sundays.

The exhibit includes a number of works from the sculptors and public artists, who both reside in Stoughton, Wisc., and who teach at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Georgiades and Simpson often also partner on projects as part of Actual Size Artworks, a collaborative team.

The artists’ work can be seen in various locations in Illinois and other parts of the United States. Georgiades’ work can also be seen at the Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago.

They are currently working on public art projects in Kansas City and Minnesota.

The work is characterized by “a strong profile, a sense of humor and excellent craftsmanship.”

Georgiades’ current sculpture relies heavily on salvaged woodwork, building materials and other existing objects, with the intent to “re-purpose them into expressive sculptural forms” as “a metaphor for the human need to adapt and change directions when confronted with obstacles or failures.”

Simpson’s recent works include a group of sculptures using cast-off toys and lawn ornaments, such as old plastic bouncy riding horses and cartoon plastic snowman lawn ornaments. She is “especially interested in combining objects from different decades – objects that people seem to have had in their garages for 20 or 30 years juxtaposed with more current versions of the same objects so that some striking coincidences appear.”

For more information on this Waubonsee exhibition, contact Art Coordinator Cecilia Vargas at or (630) 466-7900 ext. 2964.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Doctor/Community Philanthropist Elected to Waubonsee Foundation Board

At its annual meeting on Sept. 9, the Waubonsee Community College Foundation elected Dr. Gina Santori, of Lisle, to its board of directors. She will serve the remainder of a vacated three-year term.

Dr. Santori has done much to help the local community over the past three decades, both through her medical career and her philanthropic gifts. After starting her career as a nurse, Dr. Santori went on to medical school at the University of Illinois and then the College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago. Now on staff at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Dr. Santori practices only on a pro bono basis, caring for diabetic and renal patients. 

She is a multiple-times national black belt champion in Shotokan Karate and is graded third in the world. She also ice skates, is an accomplished ballroom dancer, and has a commercial pilot’s license for both sea and land.

Along with husband Richard, a longtime Aurora businessman, Dr. Santori established The Santori School in Prey Veng, Cambodia, in 2008. After Richard’s passing in 2010, Dr. Santori established the Richard and Gina Santori Charitable Foundation to honor his memory and continue the couple’s good work. Since that time, the foundation has made a number of generous contributions to local organizations, including the Rush-Copley Foundation and the Aurora Public Library.

The foundation also established the Dr. Gina Santori Nursing Scholarship at Waubonsee, which was awarded for the first time this fall. 

The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to obtain funding for scholarships and provide educational opportunities and services to students and citizens of Waubonsee’s district. For information, contact the Advancement Office at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2316 or visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Hosts Conversation Café to Make a Difference

Now in its 24th year, “Make a Difference Day” began with a simple idea — put your own cares on hold for one day to care for someone else. For the seventh straight year, the Adult Literacy Project at Waubonsee Community College will take part in the nation’s largest single day of volunteering, with the Aurora Public Library, Oswego Public Library District, the Fox Valley United Way and Altrusa International of Fox Valley as its partners. 

Project volunteers will lead a Conversation Café from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, in room 160 of Waubonsee’s Aurora Campus, 18 S. River St. The event will give adults learning English an opportunity to practice their skills with other new English speakers. The participants will also be creating holiday cards for the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry. 

While parents are attending the café, children 3 to 9 years old are invited to participate in stories and other activities. 

Each participating adult and child will receive a free book courtesy of Altrusa International of Fox Valley and the Waubonsee Adult Literacy Project.

For more information, please call (630) 801-7900, ext. 4222. 

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee, AID Partner to Create Support Line for Students

Just as many in the general population, college students today report feeling intense pressure: pressure to perform academically and professionally, to advance their careers, to not only stay in school, but to succeed and excel.

That pressure has begun to exact a toll from students nationwide. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, 80 percent of college students report feeling overwhelmed, and 45 percent report feeling hopeless.

To help students, Waubonsee Community College has partnered with the Aurora-based Association for Individual Development (AID) on establishing the new Waubonsee Talk Line.

The two organizations signed the agreement governing the operation of the hotline for Waubonsee students at a ceremony on Sept. 11.

Students with questions about the Talk Line may contact Waubonsee Counseling at 630-466-2361.

The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by counselors trained by AID, which operates other crisis referral hotlines.

Names of callers will not be recorded, and all conversations will be confidential. Callers will also be referred to local support services for a range of issues, including depression, addiction, domestic violence, financial difficulties, medical care, veterans affairs, child and elder care, legal services and family and relationship issues.

At Waubonsee, counselors employed by the college will refer students to the hotline for assistance during times when Waubonsee counselors are unavailable to provide confidential counseling sessions with students.  

“We have amazing counselors, offering services at all four of our campuses,” said Dr. Melinda James, Waubonsee’s Vice President of Student Development. “But we know crises don’t always happen when we have scheduled hours of operation.”

James lauded the partnership on the hotline between Waubonsee and AID, noting AID’s exceptional work already within the communities served by both Waubonsee and AID.

“This is one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had here at Waubonsee,” James said. “This is our community, and about what’s best for our students. It’s a good reflection of how our community supports us and how we support our community.”

Chuck Miles, a Geneva resident who serves as chairman of AID’s board of directors, said the partnership between his organization and the college represents an effort to help “the 11,000 Waubonsee students who can benefit from this.”

“We are stepping forward, and not waiting for somebody else to fix this problem for us,” Miles said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Digging Deeper: Waubonsee Student Arroyo Balances Business, Academic Performance to Achieve Student Success

Osvaldo Arroyo knows, for some college students, mastering the art of managing their time, of striking that proper balance between the demands of their academic course work and the pull of other personal responsibilities and desires, can always remain elusive.

For Arroyo, who came to Waubonsee Community College years after starting his own business, those time management skills came already honed before he ever set foot on campus.

And those skills have proven to be a lifesaver for the tireless man known as “Ozzie,” as he has excelled as a geology student at Waubonsee, while continuing to operate and grow his heating and air conditioning company, A&O Heating and Air Conditioning.

“That’s my secret,” said Arroyo, 31, of Aurora. “That’s how I do so well. I don’t procrastinate. I have to plan ahead, and start early, with everything.”

“Or I’m in big, big trouble,” he added with a laugh.

For his commitment to education, excellence both inside and outside the classroom, and the example in diligence and focus he sets to his classmates and others around him, Waubonsee is pleased to recognize Osvaldo “Ozzie” Arroyo as the college’s Student Success: Featured Student for the month of September.

Years ago, as he laid plans to launch his business, Arroyo likely would not have guessed, a little more than a decade later, he would have spent months watching the water in the marsh and creek bordering Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus in southwestern Kane County.

Yet about a year after completing that project, Arroyo can see himself doing nothing but similar work long into his future.

“I don’t know where this is going to lead me yet,” he said. “But I know this is what I want to do.”

Arroyo, who came to Aurora as a child after his family emigrated from Mexico, first was exposed to higher education when he earned a certificate in heating, ventilation and air conditioning from Waubonsee following his graduation from high school in 2001.
Credentials in hand, Arroyo went to work for a HVAC company in Yorkville before eventually launching his business, partnering with a friend in 2005.

But while the business has kept him hopping, there are a number of slow periods, Arroyo said. In those times he would often find himself drawn to other interests, particularly related to science.

During one such slow period in his business, Arroyo took a part-time job at a local greenhouse and discovered he enjoyed working with plants.

That, in turn, sparked interest in learning more about the Earth and ecosystems, and provoked speculation about potentially turning his newfound interests into a new career.

And two years ago, that desire drew him back to Waubonsee.

After taking a number of science courses, investigating various potential career options, and speaking with science instructors and academic advisors at Waubonsee, Arroyo said he ultimately has been drawn to geology.

“There are a lot of things that are interesting to me about the Earth and how it works,” he said. “It’s such a broad field.”

Plus, he said, the abundance of career options, from work in the petroleum industry to environmental geology, certainly enhances the attraction to the field.

To advance his knowledge and demonstrate his potential, Arroyo participated in the 2014 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference STEM Poster Competition, submitting research materials on the hydrogeology of the wetlands bordering Blackberry Creek near Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus.

While he described much of the work as “tedious,” Arroyo said the project stands as the highlight of his time at Waubonsee, to date.

“It was a lot of how science really works, you know?” he said. “I’d be out there, collecting water samples, measuring the creek, the water table, looking at topographic maps, observing how the wetlands influenced the environment all around them. It really opened my eyes to a lot of new things.”

Arroyo’s submission placed third in the Physics/Earth Science/Mathematics/Computers category at the contest, judged April 25.

Now about one semester from graduating with an associate degree, Arroyo plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and then, perhaps, yet more advanced degrees.

“I like learning all the time,” he said. “I want to continue with my education as far as I can.”

Arroyo, who is married, also plans to continue operating his business for as long as he can, hoping it can continue to pay the bills until he can land his first paying job in geology.

Arroyo said his road to this point has not always been easy, but it has been made possible by Waubonsee’s affordable tuition, the aid of his instructors and counselors, the encouragement and support of his wife, and his own developed time management skills and strategies.

“There are times where it’s tough, I’m not going to lie,” said Arroyo. “But at Waubonsee, it’s a great place to start, to learn about yourself, what you enjoy doing – and what you can do with that.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Celebrates Past Year's Accomplishments

Read about Waubonsee's institutional and individual accomplishments during the 2013-14 fiscal year in this annual memo from President Dr. Christine Sobek. 

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College