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© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Sugar Grove Campus Certified as Wildlife Habitat

Waubonsee Community College’s efforts to preserve, protect and promote the natural habitat on their Sugar Grove Campus were highlighted during recent Earth Day events, and with recognition of the campus as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

The National Wildlife Federation encourages and supports people to restore and maintain habitat and wildlife populations. Since 1973, their Certified Wildlife Habitat program has worked toward educating people about how to preserve public and private lands as thriving habitats for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

The college has received recognition in the past for other efforts to preserve the lush landscape of their Sugar Grove campus, including being designated a Tree Campus U.S.A. for six consecutive years.

The college offered more than a week’s worth of events in celebration of Earth Day. The events were free and open to the community, and included faculty presentations, a bird walk, commemorative tree planting and more.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee’s Paver Appointed to Quad County Urban League Board

Dr. Jonathan Paver, Assistant Vice President of Transfer and Developmental Education at Waubonsee Community College, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Quad City Urban League.

The Quad County Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League, and is a non-profit organization whose mission is to secure equal opportunities for all disadvantaged persons and people of color. The organization advocates for and supports programs that facilitate the social and economic growth of residents in the communities of DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties.

Paver earned a Doctorate of Education degree in Instructional Technology from the College of Education at Northern Illinois University in 2012. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Religion and History from Trinity International University, earned graduate credits in History from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications – Radio & Television Broadcasting from Western Illinois University. He joined Waubonsee last year, and before that he most recently held the position of Dean of Academic Support & Learning Technologies at Skyline College in San Bruno, California.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee STEM Scholar to Visit NASA

Waubonsee STEM scholar Hillary Smith has been selected to travel to NASA’s Glenn Research Center in June to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar’s Project.

During the trip, Smith will be one of 348 community college students from across the country to participate the five-week long program, which culminates in a four-day long, on-site visit to the Glenn Research Center. At the Glenn Research Center, the students connect with NASA engineers and others as they learn about careers in engineering and science, Mars exploration and prototype development.

Smith plans a career in astrobiology and is also the recipient of a National Science Foundation funded STEM scholarship.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee to Host Charter Meeting of New Lions Club

The new Waubonsee Community College Lions Club will host their Charter Night on May 9, and the evening will feature a visit by international Lions Club leadership.

Charter Night marks the official celebration of the awarding of a new Lions Club. The Waubonsee chapter formed during the 100th anniversary of Lions International, and therefore is designated as a Centennial Club.

The event - which includes dinner and presentation of the new charter - coincides with the Chicago area Lions Club 100th anniversary celebration, and so the keynote speaker will be Chancellor Bob Corlew, Lions International President. Also scheduled to speak and offer welcome remarks are Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek and Michele Needham, Waubonsee Executive Director of Human Resources.

Lions Club International is the largest service club organization in the world. The new Waubonsee chapter launched earlier this year, with its first project held in March, when the club hosted an Empty Bowls soup lunch fundraiser that raised $600 for a local food pantry. Waubonsee ceramics students donated 110 handmade bowls for the event, and faculty members donated nine varieties of homemade soup.

Charter Night will be held at the Academic Professional Center at the Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Hernandez Recognized in Illinois Senior Hall of Fame for Education

Joseph Hernandez, Associate Professor Emeritus of Art/Ceramics/Drawing and Design at Waubonsee Community College, was recently inducted into the Illinois 2016 Senior Hall of Fame in the category of education.

In a letter from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Hernandez was recognized for his teaching career at Waubonsee and his exemplary service in the U.S. Army.

Hernandez is widely known for his mastery of Raku ware, a Japanese pottery traditionally used in ceremonies. He was inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame last year. He also taught in East Aurora School District for 30 years, and volunteers throughout the community.

In the letter, Rauner wrote that he wanted to recognize Hernandez for his dedication to community and to his students through art education.

“Your understanding of the cultural significance of art in today’s society has impacted many students and makes you truly deserving of this award,” he wrote.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Longtime Waubonsee Trustee Karen L. Cotter Retires from Post

Longtime Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustee member Karen L. Cotter, of Plano, has retired after 18 years of service. Cotter did not seek re-election this year and so will conclude her term later this month. To honor her years of service, the board has adopted a resolution in Cotter’s name.

Cotter was first elected to the board in April 1999. During her tenure, she has served as a member of the Board of Trustees Policy Committee, and for the last eight years, served as the board’s secretary. Prior to her election, she served on the college’s Foundation Board of Directors.

Cotter’s commitment to improving the quality of life within her community goes beyond her service to Waubonsee. Retired from her job as the General Manager and Vice President of Carbon Products in Sandwich, Cotter has served on many boards, including the Valley Industrial Association, KDK Job Training and Fox Valley Hospice. She has also volunteered for Consumer Credit Counseling, Crisis Line and Kendall County Senior Providers.

In fact, Cotter was recently recognized by the Kendall County Health Department for her nine years as a behavioral health volunteer in its Transitions Program. She not only brings passion and caring to this role but also expertise; she is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.

Cotter earned a Bachelor of Arts from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and a Master of Science from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee players earn Post-Season Awards

Eight members of Chiefs' basketball programs honored

The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and the NJCAA Region IV Basketball Committee recognized eight members of Waubonsee Community College’s basketball programs for their outstanding play this past season. Men’s basketball players Tyrone Carey, Germaine Roebuck, Alec Goetz and Deon Ward, along with head coach Dave Heiss, all received post-season honors. A trio of freshman women’s basketball players, Mozelle Kempiak, Lauren Goff and Alexis VanWyhe were also recognized.

Carey, a 6’2” sophomore was named to the All-ISCC First Team, the All-Region First Team and was selected the Most Valuable Player of the Region IV Division II District 4B Tournament after helping lead the Chiefs to the championship. The Aurora West High School graduate led Waubonsee in scoring with a 19.3 points-per-game (ppg) average, while also grabbing 6.0 rebounds and handing out 4.5 assists per contest. Carey led the Chiefs with 163 assists and also shot 42.9 percent (54 of 126) from three-point range. Among all NJCAA Division II players, the Chiefs’ small forward was eighth in total points (693) and free throws made (163), and ninth in total field goals made (238).

A 6’5” forward, Roebuck was tabbed All-ISCC First Team, All-Region First Team and was named to the Region IV Division II District 4B All-Tournament team. The Champaign Central High School graduate was a force inside for Waubonsee, averaging 9.4 rebounds and 18.3 points a game. Roebuck was fourth nationally in offensive rebounds (148), fifth in total field goals made (272), ninth in total rebounds (340) and 13th in total points (660) among all NJCAA Division II players. 

Goetz, a St. Charles North High School product, was also an All-ISCC First Team selection and was named to the All-Region Second Team. The 6’0” shooting guard averaged 17.1 ppg in conference play and shot 85.7 percent from the foul line. The sophomore also averaged 3.1 assists per contest and led Waubonsee with 102 made three-pointers, placing him 10th nationally among all NJCAA Division II players in that category.

Ward earned All-ISCC Second Team honors as the Chiefs’ sixth man. The Champaign Centennial High School graduate averaged 14.4 ppg while coming off the bench in all but one of Waubonsee’s 36 games played. The 6’0” sophomore guard reached double digits in points 24 times, and also averaged 3.1 assists a game and was third on the team with 104 made free throws.

Heiss, in his 32nd season leading Waubonsee’s program, was chosen as the ISCC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year and the Region IV Division II District 4B Coach of the Year. The Aurora West High School alumnus led unranked Waubonsee to a top-12 finish nationally. It was the sixth time Heiss has guided a team to a berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The Chiefs finished the season 26-10 overall and were co-champions of the ISCC, the 12th title for Waubonsee under Heiss’ direction. In early February he coached his 1,000th career game and later in the month joined a select group of NJCAA coaches when he guided the Chiefs to victory for the 600th time.

Kempiak was named to the All-ISCC First Team and the All-Region First Team. The Serena High School product averaged a double-double for the season, scoring 14.4 points and grabbing 11.8 rebounds per game. In ISCC action the 5’11” freshman center was even better, averaging 16.9 points and 13.5 boards per contest while helping lead Waubonsee to the ISCC title with an 11-3 record. Kempiak finished the season ninth nationally in offensive rebounds (152) and 12th in total rebounds (342) among all NJCAA Division II players. 

Goff, a Sycamore High School graduate, was also an All-ISCC First Team and All-Region First Team selection. The 5’4” freshman averaged 14.8 ppg and 6.0 rebounds in conference play. The Chiefs’ point guard also averaged 4.4 assists per contest, and led the team with 68 made three-pointers and 129 total assists on the season.

A 5’9” freshman forward, Van Wyhe was tabbed an All-ISCC Second Teamer after averaging 12.8 ppg and 5.8 rebounds. The Indian Creek High School alumnus also averaged 3.2 assists per game and led the Chiefs with 87 made free throws on the year. 

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

WCC Co-Ed Cheerleading Tryouts set for mid-May

Tryouts for 2017-18 school year

Tryouts for Waubonsee Community College’s 2017-2018 Co-Ed Competitive Cheerleading squad will be held Wednesday and Thursday, May 17 and 18 starting at 7:00 p.m. each evening in Waubonsee’s Field House and Erickson Hall Gymnasium on the Sugar Grove campus. All participants are required to fill out a tryout packet which is available in the Waubonsee Athletic Office located adjacent to the Field House, or on-line at

Each person trying out will be required to perform some minimum athletic skills, must be a enrolled at Waubonsee, and should have some cheer, poms or gymnastics experience. More information regarding requirements and dress code can be obtained through the tryout packets. You can also contact Head Coach Zech Palm to get more detailed information.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Names New Vice President of Educational Affairs

Waubonsee Community College has named Dr. Diane Nyhammer as the college’s Vice President of Educational Affairs. She began working at the college this month and comes from Blackhawk Technical College where she was Vice President of Learning/Chief Academic Officer since 2013.

Nyhammer served for more than 11 years as a full time English faculty member at McHenry County College and has more than 10 years of experience as an academic administrator. In addition to working at associate-degree granting institutions, she has also worked at the state and national level as the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs for the Illinois Board of Higher Education and as Assistant Director of Accreditation Services for the Higher Learning Commission.

Among her successful initiatives with previous employers was the Running Start Program at Rock Valley College, which she said increased student access and success. The dual credit program offers high school students the opportunity to complete their junior and senior year of high school while simultaneously completing their first two years at Rock Valley College. 

She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University. She also earned an M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and her B.A. in English from Barat College.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Offers Free Earth Week Events

Waubonsee Community College is offering a week’s worth of events on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus in celebration of Earth Day. All events are free and open to the community, and will take place on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, located on Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive. For more information or for special accommodations, contact Eileen Keeney-Garcia, Waubonsee Buildings/Ground Manager, at (630) 466-5797 or

The events are as follows:

Saturday, April 15

Monday, April 17

Tuesday, April 18

Wednesday, April 19

Thursday, April 20

Friday, April 21

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Chiefs' Carey signs with NAIA power Trinity International

Carey to continue collegiate career at TIU

Waubonsee Community College Men’s Basketball player Tyrone Carey has signed on to continue his collegiate career at Trinity International University in north suburban Deerfield. The Chiefs’ leading scorer this past season will join a Trojans’ program that won 30 games this season, reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 NAIA Division II National Tournament and was ranked seventh nationally in the final NAIA Division II poll. Carey helped lead Waubonsee (26-10) to a share of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) title, the Region IV Division II District 4B Championship and a berth in the 2017 NJCAA Division II National Tournament where the unranked Chiefs finished in the top-12.

An Aurora West High School graduate, Carey was selected to the All-ISCC First Team and the All-Region IV First Team this season. The 6’2” 200-pound sophomore averaged 19.3 points per game, netting a team-leading 693 total points. Carey also averaged 4.5 assists and 6.0 rebounds per contest, while shooting 49.3 percent from the field. The small forward was second on the team with 54 made three-pointers, connecting on 42.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, and led Waubonsee with 163 made free throws. Carey was named the Most Valuable Player of the Region IV Tournament, helping the Chiefs upset fourth-ranked Triton College in the title game by scoring 15 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and handing out five assists.

"Tyrone is a gifted playmaker on both ends of the floor, because he can guard multiple positions and score it from all three levels,” states Trinity head coach Boomer Roberts. “Tyrone is a very good shooter, and when you combine that with his strength, basketball IQ, and ability to get to the paint and the free-throw line, you have a guy who is a dynamic threat every time he steps on the court. More importantly, we feel like Tyrone, his wife Ashante', and their daughter Alani will flourish at Trinity. We are excited to have them in the TIU Basketball family." Carey echoed that excitement declaring "I chose Trinity for many reasons, but the main reason was the coaching staff. They are genuine guys who want nothing but the best for their players on and off the court."

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee to Host Poetry Events

Waubonsee Community College invites the community to take part in “Poetry Out Loud,” an open-mic poetry reading event.

Scheduled in conjunction with National Poetry Month, the event takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in the library at the Aurora Downtown Campus, 18 S. River St., and again on Thursday, April 13 at the Todd Library on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive.

Participants are welcome to read original or favorite poetry, or just listen and enjoy.

No advance registration is required, but for more information, contact event organizer Kathy Bartel at (630) 801-7900 ext. 4626 or

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

April 4 Incident at Sugar Grove

There was NOT an active shooter on the Sugar Grove Campus on Tuesday, April 4. An emergency management training course was being held on campus, and a message was sent unintentionally to 911 dispatch as a result of those activities. We are very grateful to the local agencies who responded so quickly and to the members of the Waubonsee community who followed the college’s safety protocols.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering

Instead of hitting the beach for a week of relaxation, a group of Waubonsee Community College students are spending their spring break volunteering in Pulaski, Virginia through an organization called Beans and Rice INC.

During the week, the Waubonsee students are volunteering in programs helping to alleviate poverty related issues, such as after-school programs, food insecurity issues, gardening projects and working with community groups on restoration projects that help with blight and housing services.

This marks the second year that the college has sent a group of volunteers to participate in what is known nationally as the Alternative Spring Break program. Last year, the inaugural college group traveled to Dayton, Tenn., where helped build a portion of an ambitious, 300-mile Cumberland Trail.

The students are keeping a blog,, tracking their fundraising efforts and preparations, and will continue to log reports about their experiences daily during the trip.

Students taking part in the trip are: Blanca Perez, Montgomery; Carlos Diego, Aurora; Daniel Gehrke, Morris; Hailey Edwards, Oswego; Joseph Hendrickson, Geneva; Joseph Zubek, Yorkville; Melanie Hughes, New Lenox; Michael Mueller, Aurora; Miracle Maddox, Aurora; Natosha Ginter, Batavia; Yosemite Pinedo, Aurora; Sabrina Ortega, Aurora. They are being accompanied by Pam Brooks, Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Nurse Assistant/Allied Health and Dr. Nancy Christensen, Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee’s Student Success: Featured Alumnus Serves Aurora Community

Zaida Rodriguez is living proof that with a little patience and a committed mindset, continuous learning and connection-building pay off. Because of Rodriguez’s many health care and cultural contributions to the City of Aurora through her community service, Waubonsee Community College is proud to honor her as the Student Success: Featured Alumnus for the month of March. 

As the current Community Relations and Outreach Coordinator at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Rodriguez has more than a decade of experience serving as the medical center’s representative in the community at large. The role is a perfect fit for Rodriguez, as she partners with health care organizations and volunteers on boards and committees that focus on health related issues and events. A committed community volunteer, Rodriguez is a fixture on boards throughout the area, especially those related to health care and the Hispanic community.

In addition to service related to her professional role, she has more than 43 years of combined experience serving on local boards. Highlights include being elected President of the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Her commitment to serving the Hispanic community is also reflected in her work at Companeros en Salud, the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council and as a member of the founding committee that worked together to create programming for Latina women of the community.

Rodriguez credits her time at Waubonsee for giving her the confidence she needed to become the community volunteer and networker that she is today. She came to Waubonsee as a criminal justice major, selecting the college because she had a friend attending and because it was an affordable option.

Though she was very shy while a student at Aurora Central High School, continuing her education at Waubonsee fostered a new confidence and encouraged her to come out of her shell.

As a first-generation college student, Rodriguez juggled school and work while completing her associate degree.

“At one point, I was even working full time while in school,” she said.

Her choice to go to college may have been a unique path for someone in her family. She not only received her associate degree but also her bachelor’s degree in communications from Aurora University.  

Rodriguez appreciated the small, intimate class sizes at Waubonsee, which she says allowed engagement and fostered a great learning environment. In terms of faculty, she recalls Neil Lippold, a police officer and one of her instructors in the criminal justice program.

“He was so engaging and had great knowledge,” she said. “I remember him being able to connect and really caring about the students. He made the classes very interesting!”

Outside of her career in community outreach, Rodriguez has a strong passion for photography. She completed a certificate in photography with highest honors in 1989.

Rodriguez’s position as a legal secretary after receiving her associate degree had her interpreting at the courthouse, where she formed connections with other community members and eventually worked as part of the pre-opening team for Aurora’s Hollywood Casino. Through this position, she experienced the ins and out of opening a business and created her foundation for her future community outreach work.

These days, Rodriguez never stops serving and volunteering. She created Community Health Talks at Rush-Copley, which provide health education for Hispanic members of the community, and also serves on the planning committee for the Community Health Conference in Aurora.

Her words of advice for students following their dreams and working on their education? “There are always opportunities to keep growing and keep learning. Never stop following your passions!”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Offering Tasty Trip to Kenosha

Waubonsee Community College invites food lovers to sign up for a one-day trip to Kenosha with a focus on food. 

“What’s Cookin’, Kenosha?” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12. The day begins with a Jelly Belly warehouse tour and tasting, followed by a cooking demonstration with acclaimed chef Brittanie LeViseur at the Twisted Cuisine restaurant. Lunch will feature her unique creations. Other stops include Tenuta’s Italian Grocery and Andrea’s, a fourth-generation gift shop and soda fountain.

The trip, which departs from Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus and the Home Depot on Orchard Road in Aurora, costs $99 and includes transportation, tours, cooking demonstration, lunch and ice cream. The deadline to sign up is March 22. Registration forms can be downloaded from For more information, call Waubonsee’s Community Education department at (630) 466-2360 or email

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Chiefs upset Triton, advance to Nationals

Chiefs rally to upset 4th ranked Triton in Region IV Championship

It is called March Madness because you never know what is going to happen. Waubonsee Community College’s men’s basketball team was clearly the underdog heading into their Region IV Division II District 4B title game with powerhouse Triton College. However, when the final buzzer sounded it was the Chiefs who registered the upset 89-83 comeback victory in a thrilling overtime battle before a packed Erickson Hall gymnasium. The last of four Region IV Championship games that were played on Saturday, March 11 at Waubonsee, the marquee matchup lived up to the hype.  It was not necessarily David versus Goliath, but there were some similarities.

Triton, ranked number one in the nation for a month of the regular season and fourth nationally in the final NJCAA Division II poll, entered the evening with a 30-2 record. For the second consecutive year the Trojans went 14-0 to win the North Central Community College Conference (N4C) title, their fourth league championship in a row and eighth under head coach Steve Christiansen in his 13th season. The Trojans have also averaged 28 wins a season the last nine years, entered the game with a 35-game winning streak against Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) opponents, and reached the National Championship game last season before falling 83-76 to Kirkwood (IA) Community College to finish second in the nation. 

Meanwhile, resurgent Waubonsee stepped on to the floor with a 24-8 overall record this season after winning only 30 games total the previous three years combined. The Chiefs were co-champions of the ISCC this season, finishing 11-3 to tie with Elgin Community College. The ISCC title was the 12th under the guidance of head coach Dave Heiss, in his 32nd season at Waubonsee.

But Triton’s superior size and strength is where the true mismatch seemed evident prior to the tipoff. The Trojans’ front line consisted of 6’9” 300-pound Virgil Allen, 6’6” 220-pound Johnny Fox and a pair of 6’4” swingmen in All-American candidate Dante Thorpe and Deonta Terrell, the Trojans’ leading scorers. Triton also had another pair of 6’4” 210-pound forwards at their disposal off the bench. Waubonsee countered with 6’9” Jake Pike, who tips the scales at 85 pounds less than Allen, and the slender 6’5” 180-pound Germaine Roebuck and 6’3” 200-pound Tyrone Carey. The Chiefs’ primary reserves consisted of 6’0” 160-pound Deon Ward, 6’2” 220-pound Demetrius Ewing and 5’10” 160-pound Jacob Niesman. However, what the Chiefs lacked in size they made up for with heart, tenacity and speed to ultimately pull off the victory.

Triton never trailed in a somewhat defensive first half. The Trojans gradually built a 12-point advantage before heading to the break with a 35-25 lead. Waubonsee committed 13 first half turnovers as the visitors recorded 11 steals and seemed to have control of the game. Four minutes into the second half the Trojans grabbed their biggest lead of the contest when they went ahead 45-32 on an inside basket by Thorpe. Resilient Waubonsee responded by reeling off the next 13 points to knot the score with 13:09 remaining. Triton quickly went back in front by six points before the Chiefs again tied the game at 56-all on a short jumper by Roebuck with 7:54 to go.

Waubonsee finally took its first lead of the game two and a half minutes later when Ewing scored in close to put the Chiefs in front 64-63. A three-point basket by guard Alec Goetz and a twisting reverse layup in traffic by Ward put Waubonsee ahead 72-65 with exactly three minutes left. Clinging to a 74-71 lead in the final minute and a half of regulation, the Chiefs turned the ball over, committed an offensive foul on an illegal screen their next possession, and threw the ball away again to give Triton the ball back with 0:18 to go.

After a Trojans timeout, Thorpe connected on a long three-pointer with 0:06.3 remaining to knot the score at 74. Waubonsee quickly pushed the ball up court and it was knocked out of bounds by a Triton player with 0:02.6 left. The Chiefs called a pair of timeouts to draw up a final play, but Tyrone Carey’s ensuing 17-foot shot between two defenders came up well short to send the game into overtime.  

Thorpe then buried another three-pointer to start the extra session before Goetz answered with a trey of his own. After a Triton misfire on their ensuing possession, Ewing drilled a three-pointer from the left corner as the shot clock wound down. His first triple of the game and only the twelfth all season staked Waubonsee to an 80-77 lead with 2:36 to go.

A key to Waubonsee’s success was out rebounding the bigger and stronger Trojans 53-39 for the game overall. Still clinging to that three-point lead, the Chiefs snagged three straight offensive rebounds in a pivotal sequence that eventually resulted in a made free throw to make it a two possession game with 1:26 to go. Ward then sank six straight free throws in the final 0:40 of play to seal the deal. The sophomore guard from Champaign Centennial High School finished with a team-high 21 points, connecting on 13 of 15 from the line.

Carey, selected the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Roebuck followed up an 18 point and 17 rebound semi-final performance, with 18 points and 10 more boards in the title game to also earn All-Tournament honors. Ewing finished with a dozen points and 10 rebounds to give the Chiefs three players with a double-double in points and boards. Goetz also booked 15 points as the Chiefs had five players finish in double figures. Waubonsee’s bench outscored the Trojans’ reserves 33-13 for the game, and the Chiefs went 23 of 34 from the charity stripe while Triton finished 15 of 24 from the line. Thorpe led all scorers with 32 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. Terrell finished with 14 points and nine boards, while Fox added 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals for the Trojans.

Waubonsee will begin play in the 16-team, double-elimination NJCAA Division II National Tournament on March 21 in downstate Danville. The Chiefs will play eighth-seeded Pima (AZ) Community College, the highest scoring team in the nation averaging 100.8 points per game, in the very first game of the tournament starting at 9:00 a.m. (CST). All the games of the tournament will be streamed ‘live’ on and additional information can also be found on the tournament website at This will be the sixth time in school history that the Chiefs have reached the National Tournament, all under the direction of Heiss, who won his 600th career game in early February.  

South Suburban College won the other men’s title contest played prior to Waubonsee’s game. The Bulldogs knocked off Carl Sandburg College 81-69 to capture the District 3A Championship and advance to Danville as well. In the women’s finals earlier in the day, fourth-ranked Kankakee Community College (28-2) pulled out a 64-62 over Carl Sandburg College in overtime to win the District D title. The Cavaliers now advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Harrison, Arkansas. They will be joined by District L Champion Moraine Valley Community College, which ousted Illinois Valley Community College 92-72 in the second game of the day.


© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student Art on Display

The Waubonsee Community College Art Department and Aurora Downtown Campus Café present “All Together Now,” a group show featuring the various works of Waubonsee students. 

Student artists exhibiting in the show are Haley Dixon, Oswego; Adrian Gutierrez, Mongtomery; Patricia Janecek, Aurora; Sam Larsen, Aurora; Nathalie Martinez, Plano; Zach Schulz, Batavia and Hailee Tyner, Oswego. Their various works include painting, collage, drawings and photography. 

The show is open in the Waubonsee Aurora Downtown Campus Café, located on the first floor at 18 S. River St. in downtown Aurora, until April 19. Viewing hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Featured Student Works Toward a Career with National Parks

As a child, Geneva Community High School graduate Alex Browere would go camping with his mom and siblings at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on North Manitou Island in Michigan. Here he discovered the wonder of nature and biology that would create the foundation for a life dedicated to our national parks. Browere is being recognized as Waubonsee’s Student Success: Featured Student for his passion and dedication towards his dream to work full time in our nation’s national parks. 

With a goal to become a biology major, Browere graduated from high school in the summer of 2015 and took his first English class at Waubonsee. “English is not my favorite so I wanted to get it over with,” he laughed. “Working your way through classes can take a bit longer but it allows me to continue working towards my goals.”

As he progressed through his semester, he started looking towards the summer when he knew he would want to get experience in his field. “I knew I wanted to work in a national park over the summer, so in March of 2016, I just started searching the Internet,” Browere said. “I came across which is where I found my job at Yellowstone with Under Canvas.”

Under Canvas is a luxury camping experience that provides a unique way to enjoy camping. Here, Browere wore many different hats. With a natural knack for facilitating a great customer service experience, he not only worked with visitors to ensure their stay was comfortable but also did everything from booking reservations, setting up camp sites, managing online accounts, and working in the restaurant. “I’m not a very good cook,” he laughed. “That’s why I mostly stayed in the back room, cutting vegetables.”

As a customer service representative for Under Canvas, he has been able to improve his ability to work with various types of groups and people from all different backgrounds and places.

People from all over the world visit Yellowstone, so he was challenged to come up with creative ways to help people when they needed it, whether it was overcoming a language barrier or accommodating a group with specific requests.

When Yellowstone’s peak season ended, Browere returned to classes at Waubonsee for the fall semester and to his job at 7-Eleven, where he works 32 hours a week. “My professors have been understanding and supportive of my schedule as long as I communicate with them,” he said.

His advice to students? “Listen to your friends but stay focused on your goals. What will you do if you quit school early?”

Browere considers juggling a full work schedule and getting experience in his field to be crucial in achieving his goals. After transferring to and graduating from a four-year university, he plans to seek a permanent job with the national parks. Though he knows it is a lot to handle to maintain his current schedule, he sees his end goal as being more than worth the effort.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Women's Basketball clinches ISCC for third time in last four years

Waubonsee captures ISCC title for second straight year

Waubonsee Community College’s women’s basketball team clinched the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) title for the second straight year by pounding visiting Oakton Community College 87-42. The victory improved the Chiefs' conference record to 10-1 after league-leader Moraine Valley Community College had to forfeit seven league games, including their 66-56 win over Waubonsee on January 24. With only one conference game remaining, the Chiefs secured a two-game lead over second-place Morton College (9-3) to capture the ISCC title for the third time in the last four years. In 2014 under the direction of Dana Wagner, the Chiefs went undefeated (14-0) in ISCC play for the first time ever, capturing the league crown for just the second time and first since 1993. Last season Head Coach Jim Sury guided Waubonsee to another undefeated (14-0) ISCC championship before repeating as title winners again this season.  

Waubonsee (17-11) raced out to a 13-0 lead just four minutes into the game. The Chiefs increased their lead to 28-6 before ending the first period comfortably ahead 30-11. Waubonsee outscored the Owls 16-11 in the second quarter to grab a 46-22 halftime lead. Oakton (7-22, 2-9) scored 11 points in the third period as well, trailing 60-33 entering the final stanza. The Chiefs then outscored Oakton 27-9 over the final 10 minutes of play to complete the rout. Waubonsee forced 30 Oakton turnovers and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Owls 46-8 in close to the basket.

Alexis VanWyhe led all scorers with 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Mozelle Kempiak posted her 20th double-double of the season by netting 22 points and snagging a dozen boards. Sophomore guard Taseandra Parker turned in an all-around performance with 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Lauren Goff also booked a double-double with 13 points and 13 boards, while handing out four assists and making seven steals.

Waubonsee’s women’s squad closes out the regular season Saturday, February 25, on the road against fourth-ranked Kankakee Community College.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee's Charielle signs with North Central College

Charielle to take defensive skills to Naperville

Waubonsee Community College women’s soccer player Nicole Charielle has signed on to continue her collegiate career at North Central College in Naperville. The Chiefs’ standout defender will join an up-and-coming Cardinals’ program, which qualified for the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) women's soccer tournament for just the second time ever last fall.

Charielle was a two-time All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and All-Region IV defender for Waubonsee. The Oswego High School graduate anchored a Chiefs’ defense that posted 19 shutouts the last two seasons, including 11 this past fall to tie for third nationally among all NJCAA Division I Women’s Soccer squads. Charielle helped Waubonsee reach the Region IV Championship match both years, where the Chiefs fell 1-0 to nationally-ranked Moraine Valley Community College each time. The sophomore also managed to score three goals and register eight assists the last two seasons.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Celebrates Reunion

As part of Waubonsee Community College’s ongoing celebration of its 50th anniversary, the college hosted a March 9 reunion that drew more than 200 former and current students, faculty, staff and community members to the college's Sugar Grove Campus.

The event featured historical artifacts of the college, as well as a live choral performance of "Where Hope is Found," a piece specially commissioned for the occasion by Mr. Paul Carey and Dr. Mark Lathan, Assistant Professor of Music.

To learn more about the college's yearlong anniversary celebration, visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

WCC's Heiss reaches another milestone

Heiss becomes 11th active NJCAA coach with 600 wins

Waubonsee Community College’s Dave Heiss recently reached another coaching milestone. On Feb. 7 his Chiefs’ and Prairie State College engaged in a frenetic, high-scoring battle from the opening tip until the final buzzer. In the end the Chiefs made five of six free throws in the final minute to pull out a 113-108 victory for Heiss’ 600th career coaching win. Among active NJCAA men’s basketball coaches, Heiss is the 11th coach to reach this plateau.  

Over his 32-year coaching career at Waubonsee Heiss has compiled a .597 winning percentage, averaging 18.5 wins per season. He has had 16 squads win 20 or more games, and has guided the Chiefs to the Region IV crown and a berth into the NJCAA Division II National Tournament five times. Heiss’ teams have captured 11 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) titles, with his current crew tied for first in pursuit of another crown.  

In Heiss’ milestone 600th win Prairie State jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the opening two minutes of play. The Chiefs quickly caught up and took an 11-9 lead as the pace of play picked up. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded Waubonsee jogged off to the locker room ahead 61-54. The pace the second half only slowed a little as the game eventually featured eight ties and a dozen lead changes. A nip and tuck affair ensued throughout the second half as the teams traded baskets until the final minute. The Chiefs then sealed the victory from the foul line resulting in a celebratory water bucket dousing for Heiss from his players.

Waubonsee‘s bench outscored the Pioneers’ reserves 37-7 as the Chiefs placed five players in double digits, including three over 20 points. Germaine Roebuck paced the Chiefs with 22 points to go along with eight rebounds. Tyrone Carey tallied 21 points and dished out nine assists. Alec Goetz also booked 21 points and passed out six assists. Deon Ward came off the bench to score 17 points. Jacob Niesman added a collegiate career high of 11 points and recorded four steals, while Demetrius Ewing nearly gave the Chiefs a sixth player in double-digits with nine points.

A balanced attack has been a trademark of Heiss’ success over the years. Accordingly, off the court recognition has followed his on court achievements. He has been inducted into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame, the Aurora West High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame and the NJCAA Hall of Fame. Heiss has been selected as the IBCA and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year five times, while the ISCC has tabbed him with that honor ten times. In 2008 he became the ISCC’s all-time leader in career wins and currently has 273, which is 93 more than the second place coach on that list.

 Off the court Heiss is a full-time faculty member in Waubonsee’s physical education department and in 1996 was an instrumental player in the establishment of the school’s S.T.A.R. program, a ground-breaking student/athlete academic assistance and monitoring system. Heiss has also been Waubonsee’s head golf coach the last 25 years, leading the Chiefs to five conference titles and a pair of Region IV Division II titles.

Mild mannered on the links, he is completely the opposite while coaching his basketball teams. Heiss is often vocal, fiery and animated during a game. He rarely sits while he shouts, encourages, fumes, cajoles and climbs up and down a virtual ladder of emotions as he tries to get the most from his team. Similarly, as a player Heiss was a cerebral, intense competitor, with limited athleticism who worked diligently to get the most out of his 6’5” frame.

In 1980, Heiss was an All-Upstate Eight performer at Aurora West High School when his team finished third in the state. He went on to play at Eastern Wyoming Junior College where he led the NJCAA Region IX in scoring as a sophomore. Heiss then transferred to Bemidji State University in Minnesota where he was All-Northern Sun Conference his final two years. Heiss was invited to the Utah Jazz rookie and free agent camp in 1985 and played for the Jazz’ rookie team in the Pro-Am League that summer. Also that summer, Waubonsee Athletics Manager Dave Randall and Dean of Students Paul Bosse took a chance on the 23-year-old Heiss for his first coaching job leading Waubonsee for the 1985-86 season. It's been his only coaching job since, but that wasn't his plan.

"Ultimately, the goal was to be leading an NCAA Division I program," Heiss said. But for any number of reasons, the timing never seemed right. "It finally hit me, and almost became spiritual over the years, that this is where I was meant to be," he stated. "What I've enjoyed the most is probably the relationships I've developed. Many players still stay in touch. It's a great platform to teach. They're part of the family,” declares Heiss. "Even guys who don't go on to play at a four-year school, to see them graduate and move on to productive careers is very gratifying."

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Chiefs' Pagan signs with St. Francis

Pagan to run for NAIA power St. Francis

Waubonsee Community College Cross Country runner Christopher Pagan has signed on to continue his collegiate career at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. The Chiefs’ top runner this past fall will join a Fighting Saints’ program which finished second in the nation at the 2016 NAIA National Championships. Pagan helped lead Waubonsee to a pair of Region IV Championships and top-25 finishes in the nation at the NJCAA Division I National Championships.

An Oswego High School graduate, Pagan was a two-time All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and All-Region runner for Waubonsee. As a freshman he finished fifth at both the ISCC Meet and the Region IV Meet, before placing 101st out 287 runners at the National Meet as the Chiefs finished 20th in the nation. Pagan’s sophomore season he paced Waubonsee’s contingent of runners at virtually every meet they competed in. He went on to finish second at both the ISCC Meet and the Region IV Meet, as the Chiefs captured the Region title to again qualify for Nationals. Pagan came in 57th out of 303 runners at the National Meet as Waubonsee finished 25th nationally in the team standings.

“Trevor (Howard), our head coach at Waubonsee ran there at St. Francis. Their coaches kept in contact with me all fall and when I went to visit the campus, it just felt like home,” stated Pagan. The 5’7” sophomore will be continuing his studies in Secondary Education while competing for the Fighting Saints. “Waubonsee was a great experience. It was like a close, tight knit family, that had each other’s back,” explained Pagan. “The team and the environment made me love the sport again. We elevated the program back up and got to the nationals twice. That’s a great feeling.”   

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognizes AID Partnership As Institutional Success Story

All year long, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Waubonsee Community College has been recognizing community partnerships that bring value to students and area residents. For the role it has played in improving the mental health of the college’s students, Waubonsee is proud to recognize its partnership with Aurora-based Association for Individual Development (AID) as this month’s Student Success: Institutional Stories.

The story of college-aged students’ mental health is not necessarily a happy one. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in the past year, more than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, and 45 percent have gotten to the point of feeling that things were hopeless.

Obviously, such feelings can be huge barriers to academic success. That’s why Waubonsee’s Counseling, Advising and Transfer Center offers free personal counseling to students.

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

Recognizing that fact, the college partnered with AID in 2014 to create a Waubonsee Talk Line. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by counselors trained by AID, which operates other crisis referral hotlines.

The expertise AID brings both in the areas of mental health and local community resources has been a real positive for students, and the low cost of the local agency has been a real positive for the college. 

"Our AID Talk Line Partnership has benefited our students at a fraction of the cost we'd pay for a national student assistance program,” explained Waubonsee’s Dean for Counseling, Career and Student Support Kelli Sinclair. “As an added bonus, AID knows our community inside and out, and they can better refer students to local agencies for support.” 

But AID’s role with Waubonsee students goes beyond providing life-saving crisis support; sometimes, the organization has helped students find their life paths through the internships it provides. Adriana Resendiz took classes at Waubonsee, including an internship experience with the AID crisis line.

After completing her bachelor’s degree at Elmhurst College and working for a few years out of state, she’s back in Aurora working full-time for AID. 

A partnership that can work full-circle in this way — a community organization helping the college and its students, only to have the college’s alumni return to work for it and continue the cycle of help — is truly remarkable and worthy of recognition.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Carey lifts Chiefs to road win in Heiss' 1,000th game

Chiefs win on road in Heiss' 1,000th game

Over 32 seasons as the men’s basketball head coach at Waubonsee Community College, Dave Heiss has now literally prepared a thousand game plans, given a thousand halftime and post-game speeches, and has guided the Chiefs to more wins (594) than losses (406). Not surprisingly more than a few times over the years things have occurred within those games that Waubonsee’s long-time coach did not expect. Add Waubonsee’s thrilling 94-90 victory Thursday evening (Jan. 12) at Prairie State College to that category. In Heiss’ 1,000th game leading the Chiefs’ program the unexpected part was Waubonsee’s long range shooting, something Heiss’ teams have rarely relied on over the years. The Chiefs finished the game 12 of 32 from three-point range, well above their season averages for made threes (5.1) and attempted threes (14.4) this season.  

The Pioneers (9-8, 1-1) appeared to have the upper hand in this Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference match up as they built a 38-25 lead in the first half. However, the Chiefs (12-6, 1-1) rallied with a 22-8 run to take a 47-46 lead into the locker room at the break. Waubonsee connected on 9 of 18 shots from beyond the arc in the first period to get back into the game. The second half remained a nip-and-tuck affair as the game featured nine ties and a couple of lead changes. Waubonsee held on for its’ twelfth win of the season primarily because of sophomore guard Tyrone Carey and the Chiefs’ bench strength.

Coming off a season low 10-point performance in a home loss to Elgin Community College two days ago, Carey propelled the Chiefs offense with a 33-point outburst. The Aurora West High School graduate made 11 of 13 from the foul line, nailed four treys and also handed out nine assists, grabbed eight boards and made five steals. The 6’3” Carey improved his average to 21.7 points per game, tying him for 15th nationally among all NJCAA Division II players in scoring.

Meanwhile the Chiefs’ bench, sparked by sophomore Deon Ward, outscored Prairie State’s 25-8. Ward came off the bench to score 18 points, dish out five assists and record three steals. Alec Goetz nailed five treys on his way to tallying 17 points to go along with three assists. Demetrius Ewing gave the Chiefs a fourth player in double figures as he registered 11 points and snagged eight rebounds before fouling out. Prairie State’s Desmond Trapp led all scorers with 38 points while also hauling down 10 rebounds in a losing effort.

The Chiefs next game is Tuesday, January 17 when they head to Cicero to battle Morton College. The women’s contest is set to begin at 5:15 p.m. with the men slated to tipoff at 7:15 p.m. Waubonsee’s teams return home next Thursday, January 19. Jim Sury’s women’s squad is set to square off against Wheaton College’s Junior Varsity at 5:15 p.m., while Dave Heiss’s crew will tipoff against the College of Lake County at 7:15 p.m.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee VITA Program Offers Free Tax Help

Volunteers with Waubonsee Community College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will offer free tax help again this season in downtown Aurora.

Beginning Jan. 21, a team of volunteers associated with Waubonsee will again partner with the Center for Economic Progress to sponsor the free income tax return preparation assistance sessions for eligible members of the community.

The sessions will take place from Jan. 21 - April 15 on Wednesdays from 5:30-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Waubonsee's Aurora Downtown Campus, 18 S. River Street. The site will be closed during spring break on March 15 and 18.

At these sessions, volunteers from Waubonsee and the Center for Economic Progress will help prepare and electronically file income tax returns, including those requiring the 1040 Schedule C used by small businesses and the self-employed.

Those eligible for the program include families with annual incomes less than $50,000, and individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000. Those seeking assistance should bring a copy of last year's tax return, if they have one; Forms W-2 and 1099 from all employment in 2016; Social Security cards for all family members; bank account and routing number to direct deposit the refund; property tax bill; amount spent on college expenses; proof of health insurance coverage; and a photo ID.

The free income tax return preparation is done on a first-come, first-served basis, and the site closes when capacity is reached. Organizers advise that for shorter wait times, plan to visit in March. Clients should allow about two hours or more for tax preparation.

The program was launched locally in 2005 by Waubonsee accounting faculty members. Since then, the work of 548 volunteers has resulted in more than $14 million returned to the community, and the program has served more than 7,000 clients, who have filed a total of 14,276 federal and state returns.

Last season, the program served more than 900 low-to moderate-income families and individuals, bringing $1.8 million in income tax refunds back to the local economy. 

For more information, contact Waubonsee Community College at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2992; email; or visit the Center for Economic Progress website at

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognizes Student Life Department and Co-Curricular Transcripts as its Student Success: Institutional Stories

It is common practice for students to submit an official transcript to document their academic achievements. But what about those achievements that happen outside the classroom? Since 2007, Waubonsee Community College has been offering its students co-curricular transcripts so that they can demonstrate their leadership abilities to transfer schools, potential employers and others. This month, Waubonsee is proud to recognize co-curricular transcripts and the Student Life Department as its Student Success: Institutional Stories.

Co-curricular, or extracurricular, involvement brings many broad benefits to students, several of which coincide with qualities prospective employers are looking for. According to, employers are looking for such things as commitment, a positive attitude, the ability to wear many hats and passion. Some of these are best practiced and demonstrated outside the academic realm.

“I often refer to the activities outside the classroom as the learning laboratory,” said Waubonsee’s Student Life Manager Mary Tosch. “It is an opportunity for students to enhance or develop their skills in a safe environment where failure and learning is part of the process. These experiences outside the classroom are an opportunity to practice leadership skills such as conflict resolution, team building, goal setting, resource management, and networking. Many of these skills are useful for the larger world.”

Also useful is the ability to have documented proof of extracurricular involvement. That’s why Waubonsee introduced co-curricular transcripts in 2007. Any documented student involvement is verified by advisors rather than simply self-reported. A variety of involvement qualifies for inclusion on the co-curricular transcript: student clubs, organizations, athletics, honors and awards and other notable student activities. In fact, as opportunities have expanded and advisor awareness has grown, so too have the number of co-curricular notations earned by Waubonsee students. The introductory year of 2007 saw just 53 notations, while 2012 saw 635. This year has seen more than 1,000 notations so far.

But students don’t have to wait until they get out into the work world to reap the benefits of extracurricular involvement. It can impress transfer schools or scholarship providers. Plus, involvement often leads to higher grade point averages and a higher likelihood to stay in school and graduate. Waubonsee looked at the past two years of students who either had no co-curricular involvement or some co-curricular involvement. The involved students averaged a 3.33 cumulative GPA -- .76 points higher than the non-involved students. The involved students also averaged 11.41 completed credit hours their first semester vs. 5.75 for the uninvolved students.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Winners Shine at Waubonsee Auto Body Repair Contest

With a host of auto body sponsors and repair shop owners serving as judges, the Waubonsee Community College Auto Body Repair program hosted its annual hood painting competition.

Every student in the class was given a section of auto hood to prepare. The students took the surfaces from raw metal to full auto body sheen. As student Ricky Rossa described, “That process involves multiple sessions of wet sanding to remove grit and scrapes in the metal. Then comes primer, surfacer, 400-grit sandpaper, sealing, color application and then clear coat.”

Each step is crucial to the development of an auto body surface that is free from defects such as mottled paint or a condition called “orange peel” that looks like the surface of that fruit in the paint finish.

Record of Success

Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Auto Body Repair Andrew MacDonald has been highly successful in producing students with the highest skills in the industry. 23 of his students over the last decade have earned top three placements in state-level SkillsUSA painting competitions. Three of his students have gone on to become national champions.

The judging was thus intense as each of the twenty-plus hoods prepared by Waubonsee students was checked by professional judges for the merest flaws in paint surface and shine. MacDonald reviewed the rules used by the judges for the competition. “There can be no haze or frostiness. We’re looking for even color. No mottling. All those factors must be gone,” he explained.

The top three place winners in 2016 all got an early Christmas gift of new materials and painting supplies provided by sponsors such as Spanesi, a global auto collision repair company whose Managing Director Tim Morgan was present to judge and contribute to the competition. “Waubonsee is where it starts for students,” he stated during the competition. “In fact, it’s where it really starts for the collision industry. There’s not enough technicians today to fill the needs of today’s body shops.”

Job networking

Waubonsee students were able to network for jobs with local body shop representatives who were present to judge the competition. The winners were thrilled to have earned the distinction of best in class. First place was earned by a student from Aurora, Ronaldo Castanon, who stated before the competition judging that “I like to challenge myself” as he had chosen a dark paint color that is much harder to get perfect on an auto body surface. Fellow winners were Ryan Sudduth and Daniel Warren in second and third place.

Waubonsee’s Auto Body Repair program is approved by the Illinois Community College Board and certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). It is taught in accordance with National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) standards and follows I-CAR guidelines.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student Senators Elected

During their terms of office, student senate members gain leadership and interpersonal skills, learn to work with budgets, and experience how to organize campus events.

Members of the student senate are responsible for administering student government policies and activities at the Sugar Grove, Aurora Downtown, Aurora Fox Valley and Plano Campuses. They are elected by the student body to serve a term of one academic year.

For 2016-2017, Yosemite Pinedo, of Aurora, will serve as Student Senate President, and Bailey Martenson, of Shabbona, will serve as Vice President, with Tori Joray, of Aurora, serving as this year’s Student Trustee.

Additional student senators include: Seth Coleman, of Batavia; Giovanni Gutierrez, Sabrina Ortega, Guadalupe Romualdo and William Sitton, of Aurora; and Elizabeth Lonigro, of Elburn.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Author and Motivational Speaker Named Student Success: Featured Alumnus

Waubonsee Community College alumnus Amy Chally has faced many challenges over her lifetime, but has persevered to turn those challenges into an opportunity to help and motivate others.

Chally was born with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy that causes her muscles to be constantly tight and contracted, making it a struggle to move or control movements in her arms and legs. While she can walk with a walker, Chally uses a power chair and service dog for greater independence and mobility in her daily life.

Today, Chally is an author, motivational speaker and social worker seeking the right opportunity for her next career move. She recently worked with students at Geneva Middle School North, substituting for the social worker on maternity leave, where she said she had an amazing experience with the staff and kids. But when that temporary assignment ended, Chally wasn’t going to just sit by and wait for what’s next and has launched a new career as an author and motivational speaker.

“I am a social worker by trade but I have struggled on and off to find permanent employment in the years since I graduated,” she said. “So now I am trying to start a second career as an author and motivational speaker while I wait to find my niche in social work.”

Chally recently published “Making Independence Happen, One Paw at a Time” a two-part memoir told from two very different perspectives. Part one is her first service dog Yazzen’s adventurous tale of his journey from a tiny pup to her invaluable partner in life. Part two is her story, about how she got started on her journey of receiving a service dog and also “how courage, faith and love helped me get through the obstacles I face in life.”

Her beloved service dog Yazzen passed away in 2014 and she currently has a new companion, Portland.

During her time at Waubonsee, Chally was a Gustafson Scholar and said she enjoyed the community service and other requirements necessary as part of that scholarship. She said that the staff at the Access Center were helpful at Waubonsee and remembers a number of instructors like Dr. Murphy in psychology and Sara Quirk in English.

After graduating from Waubonsee, Chally continued her education at Aurora University, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. She was drawn to the field after an encounter with a social worker at the age of 13. When Chally was facing an upcoming surgery, a social worker approached her and offered her support. “I wanted to be able to use my experiences to help them, not because I knew what it was like to be them, but because I knew what it was like to be me as a person with a disability.”

In addition to her book, which is available for purchase on Create Space, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, Chally is serving as a motivational speaker for a broad range of audiences. She has focused on school assemblies, employee training and disability awareness education.

“I have been both a keynote speaker and a panelist at diversity/disability awareness events and have spoken to parents, teachers and special education majors about the benefits of inclusion at local schools,” she said.

Outside of work, Chally enjoys going to the gym, spending time with her family and her Canine Companions for Independence service dog Portland.

Chally is driven to succeed by her faith and passion to help others be all they can be. For future Waubonsee students she has one simple piece of advice. “Follow your heart, believe in yourself, and don't ever give up on your passion,” she said.

For her perseverance, desire to help others and can-do attitude, Waubonsee is proud to recognize Amy Chally its Student Success: Featured Alumnus for October 2016.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Surgical Technology Program Receives National Recognition

Waubonsee Community College’s Surgical Technology Program recently received recognition by the Board of Directors of the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting for achieving at least a 90 percent graduate pass rate on the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam cycle for August 2015 through July 2016.

Graduates obtaining national certification as a CST demonstrate through the exam understanding of the basic competencies for safe patient care in the operating room. The CST is considered among those in the health care profession as the most important credential for surgical technologies in the nation, and is required for employment within many local, state and national health care organizations. 

During the time frame for which the college is recognized, 14 Waubonsee students took the CST exam, according to Dr. Jess Toussaint, Waubonsee Dean for Health Professions and Public Service.

“Surgical tech certification is a way for trained surgical technologists to demonstrate expertise and gain respect in their chosen profession,” Toussaint said. “The more education, training and credentials you possess, the better your chances of realizing success in this field.”

The college’s surgical technology program is offered in the afternoons and evenings at Waubonsee’s newly renovated home to its health care programs, the Aurora Fox Valley Campus, 2060 Ogden Ave. The renovated campus features state-of-the-art technology and equipment to provide students with places on emphasis on hands-on learning. The renovations also allowed for expanded student services, including tutoring, a library and testing services. The new surgical technology lab allows for realistic learning experiences that simulate a real operating room.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Adult Education Programs Provide Economic Opportunity

National Adult Education and Literacy Week, September 26 – October 1, underscores the continued demand for programs and services for adult students who need to improve basic skills in reading, writing, and math and obtain a high school equivalency certificate. More than 36 million adults nationwide, including 1.2 million in Illinois, lack basic literacy skills that limit their ability to advance in education and at work.

Waubonsee Community College is one of more than 84 adult education providers offering programs funded through the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) that improves and expands the nation’s available pipeline of workers by assisting those who lack the educational requirements to achieve gainful employment in today’s increasingly high-tech, global job market. Adult education provides a path from low-income jobs and limited opportunities to the middle class wages and family sustainability. Full-time workers with a high school diploma earn almost $10,000 more per year than those without a diploma.

Waubonsee Community College offers classes and programs in Adult Basic Education, high school equivalency exam preparation, English as a Second Language, Adult Literacy, an Adult Education Computer Center and other special programs. Jeri Dixon, Waubonsee Dean for Adult Education, is attending the 2016 Literacy Leadership Awards Event in Washington DC this week. Jeri serves as the current President of the Illinois Adult and Continuing Education Association.

“Nearly 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs of the future require education or training beyond high school,” said Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson, ICCB Executive Director. “Illinois has taken the lead in creating partnerships between adult education providers and employers to ensure a seamless pathway for students to higher education and employment in high growth occupations.”

For more information about adult education programs and services at Waubonsee Community College visit Learn more about program and volunteer opportunities in the Waubonsee Adult Literacy Volunteer Project here: For information on adult education throughout Illinois visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Featured Student Follows Heart into Nursing

Kati Sibenaller grew up wanting to work in health care, but after graduating from high school, she didn’t feel ready for college and so those dreams were sidelined until she was inspired by the dedicated nurses who helped her through a high risk pregnancy and the delivery of her son.

Today, the Yorkville resident is finishing up her nursing degree at Waubonsee Community College and is thrilled to be gaining clinical experience this fall at Delnor Hospital in obstetrics. She plans to complete her Associate in Science in Nursing in March, and then continue her path to advanced nursing degrees, and a career in that field. She hopes to eventually work in obstetrics or in pediatrics.

For her passion for nursing and her energetic engagement in student life at Waubonsee, Sibenaller is this month’s Waubonsee Student Success: Featured Student.

“I had my son three years ago and because I was high risk, I saw my nurses twice a week for the last six weeks,” she said. “They became my best friends and it really made me want to be there to do that for someone else. They really inspired me.”

Shortly after the birth of her son, her husband convinced her to pursue the degree she’d always wanted. She began taking classes online at Waubonsee in the summer of 2013.

Today, she is one of the lucky students who gets to complete their studies in Waubonsee’s newly renovated Aurora Fox Valley Campus, which is now home to the college’s health care programs. With an emphasis on providing students with hands-on learning and simulated medical environments, Sibenaller said each class feels like an adventure.

“There is so much effort that went into making these labs what they are, and our teachers are so into it, that it makes it very exciting and cool,” she said. “They are able to use the mannequins to simulate every possible situation we’ll encounter in our clinical or jobs.”

In addition to her studies, Sibenaller is president of the Student Nurse Association, is a member of Alpha Delta Nu and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies and is involved in the Leadership Society.

“I like to stay busy,” she explained. “When I decided to go quit my job in pharmaceuticals and go back to school, I decided I was going to excel. I wanted to make sure this wasn’t for nothing.”

Sibenaller said her hard work has paid off, as she is the grateful recipient of many grants and scholarships from the college and community.

“We’ve gotten so much help, it’s truly amazing,” she said. “It really does take a village.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Aurora Resident Named Waubonsee Student Trustee

Tori Joray, of Aurora, will serve as Waubonsee Community College’s Student Trustee for 2016 – 2017.

Joray was seated at the college’s board of trustees meeting on Sept. 21. The student trustee serves as the liaison between the Waubonsee Board of Trustees and the college’s students, representing student interests at the board level.

Pursuing a career in fashion and business, Joray is a 2015 graduate of West Aurora High School. At Waubonsee, she is a Lucile Gustafson Scholar and is involved in Phi Theta Kappa and Delta Sigma Omicron. Joray hopes to complete her associate degree and then transfer to Columbia College in Chicago.

She said serving on the board will allow her to serve her fellow students and continue to make connections during her time here.

“I hope to offer a strong voice,” she said. “I am excited to feel more connected to those around me at Waubonsee through this opportunity.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Congressman Bill Foster Recognizes 50th Anniversary of Waubonsee Community College

U.S. Representative Bill Foster (IL – 11) honored Waubonsee Community College for its 50th anniversary during recent remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The college was established in August of 1966 when the electorate of 12 school districts in most of Kane and portions of Kendall, DeKalb, LaSalle and Will counties voted to establish Community College District 516. Since then, more than 290,000 students have been served.

During the remarks, Foster said Waubonsee is “known for its reputation as an innovator in the areas of accessibility,” and noted that the college recently pioneered the Health Care Interpreting Associate Degree, a first of its kind in the state of Illinois, which is designed to assist patients and doctors who may speak different languages.

“Through its extracurricular programs, honor societies, cultural and art groups, leadership programs and collegiate sport teams, Waubonsee Community College truly provides a full learning experience to its students,” he said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Former Chiefs' Athlete earns another medal in Rio

Berenyi wins silver at Rio Paralympics

In a moment, in an instant, everything can change. Sometimes one fateful second can make all the difference in the world. No one knows this better than former Waubonsee Community College baseball player Joe Berenyi. In 1994 the Oswego resident lost his right arm, severely broke a leg and shattered his left kneecap, which had to be removed, in a construction accident. In a split second everything changed for Berenyi.   

Twenty-two years later, a second of time made all the difference once again for the 47-year-old. On September 9 Berenyi lost by just a second to Australia’s David Nicholas in the Men’s C3 3000-meter Individual Pursuit gold medal cycling race at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He had led for most of the race before the 24-year-old Aussie pulled ahead with approximately 500 meters left. In a post-race interview a smiling Berenyi was not disappointed with taking home a silver medal. “I gave it my all and lost by just one second,” stated the humble Berenyi matter-of-factly at the Rio Olympic Velodrome. “It’s never a bad thing to win a silver, I am just very happy because a lot of hard work went into preparing for this.”

The next day Berenyi just missed out on adding another Paralympic medal to his collection. The Aurora Central Catholic High School graduate placed fifth in the Men’s C1-2-3 1000-meter Track Time Trial, finishing just a second behind bronze medalist Tristen Chernove of Canada. The following day he was agonizingly close to the medal stand once again. Teaming up with Jennifer Schuble and Christopher Murphy, the U.S. trio placed fourth in the Mixed C1-5 750-meter Track Team Sprint. You guessed it, they finished just one second behind Spain for the bronze medal.

Berenyi competed in two other events in Rio before the closing ceremonies occurred this past Sunday evening. He placed sixth overall in the Men’s C3 Time Trial Road Race held on September 14. Two days later Berenyi finished 10th in the Men’s C1-2-3 Road Race through the hilly and scenic streets of Rio and the surrounding area.

The silver medal at Rio is Berenyi’s fourth Paralympic medal. In 2012 at the London Paralympics, he earned a gold, a silver and a bronze medal in cycling, setting a World Record in a qualifying race before grabbing gold in the 3000-meter Individual Pursuit. Although he had won a couple of gold medals in national competitions the two years leading up to the London games, he was still somewhat considered a long shot to even make the U.S. Paralympic team, much less win three medals in his first Paralympics. But in only his third year of full-fledged competition Berenyi officially emerged onto the world stage of para-cycling.

Since then he has continued to have success at the Union Cycliste Internationale Track World Championships. Berenyi has earned four gold medals and two silvers medals in competitions in Mexico, Italy and the Netherlands the last three years. He was named the United States Olympic Committee’s Men’s Paralympic Athlete of the Year for 2015. He was also nominated for an ESPY in 2015 in the Best Male Athlete with a Disability category, and was among a group of distinguished Paralympic guests invited to the White House in 2012.

Berenyi has certainly come a long way since that fateful August day in 1994, when he and another ironworker fell 40 feet to the ground when a beam on the steel skeleton of the Bolingbrook movie theater was knocked loose. Before that he was always a pretty good athlete, excelling on the baseball field and the gridiron as a running back in high school despite being just 5’9” and 160 pounds. Berenyi was an outfielder and part-time left-handed pitcher at Waubonsee in 1988 and 1989. He completed an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration after his sophomore season and began working in construction. Only a year before his accident, Berenyi had begun racing competitively in local events at the age of 25. After the accident he needed a wheelchair and a walker the first year. He underwent multiple surgeries and was told he would have trouble walking again. Berenyi didn't think much about cycling until neighbors began riding to get in shape and encouraged him to join in. Thirteen years after his accident, he started riding again, growing stronger and craving competition. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

A lot of moments, and meaningful seconds have passed since then. There have been a plethora of challenges, hard work and sacrifices made in that time. "I don't do it for the recognition or for anyone else really; it's just so I can do the best I can do with what I have," says Berenyi. Obviously there have been numerous joyful moments and memorable experiences as well. Being able to share all of it with his wife Jill and their three daughters Syd, Gwen and Tatum has meant more to Berenyi than anything. “'I’m looking forward to spending more time with them," hinting that this might have been his last Paralympics. "Even this year, I cut back some of the travel. The more you're gone, the more they get used to you not being around," laments Berenyi. Only time will tell whether or not he will embark on a new path at this stage. But Berenyi, more than most, knows just how quickly things can change.       

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Oswego Fire Protection District Named Waubonsee Distinguished Contributor

Waubonsee Community College has honored the Oswego Fire Protection District as their 2016 Distinguished Contributor.

Dr. Michelle Evans, Assistant Dean for Health Professions and Public Service, said the Oswego Fire Protection District has worked closely with the college in recent years to provide opportunities to maximize skill development opportunities and student networking opportunities.

Those efforts have included participation in advisory committees, allowing paramedics to participate as preceptors for the paramedic program, donating hay and pallets for live fire training, and donating use of equipment and parking. In addition, firefighters have participated in college events including the Fox Valley Fire Challenge, assisted in managing equipment and helped staff prepare training sites.

In 2014, the fire district donated a 1998 International Road Ranger ambulance. That vehicle provides students with opportunities to learn and practice valuable patient care skills while participating in practice scenarios. Evans said that the relationship between Waubonsee and the district demonstrates how a community employer can have an impact on programs at multiple levels.

“We have been very proud to collaborate with the Oswego Fire Protection District in building and sustaining our Fire Science Technology and Paramedic programs,” Evans said. “The growth of these programs over the last two years would not have been as significant without their contributions.”

Evans credits the leadership of Chief Mike Veseling and the Oswego Fire Protection District Board of Trustees for supporting the collaboration between his district and the college.

“We were more than eager to help foster this relationship and the direction which Waubonsee was moving,” Veseling said “We were very excited to see the energy being placed into the Fire Science / EMS programs. The Oswego Fire Protection District believes that good academic, technical, and experiential education is critical to our mission, and vital to the safety of the general public as well as the safety of our own members.”

Veseling said many of his colleagues are former Waubonsee students, and some district employees are currently pursuing degree work through the college.

“We believe that the current and future firefighters will need all the knowledge, experience and training they can get if they are to meet the challenges facing them today and in the years to come,” he said. “Waubonsee using our facilities is the perfect fit in helping to deliver this type and level of training.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Puamuh T. Ghogomu II Named Distinguished Alumnus

Waubonsee Community College has named Puamuh T. Ghogomu II its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus. Ghogomu, of Evanston, is currently Senior Counsel in the Employment Law department at Walgreens.

The 1998 graduate of Waubonsee serves as a role model for the many students who come to the college looking to pursue their college degree while adapting to a new country.

His journey through higher education and into his career began at a young age and in a situation many would find intimidating: At just 16-years-old, he moved to the United States from Cameroon and – already a high school graduate – needed to find a way to pursue his higher education and adapt to life in a new country.

Although he was born in Houston, Texas, Ghogomu spent much of his childhood in Cameroon. His father, a native of Cameroon, was an attorney for a subsidiary of Shell Oil. When political and economic instability struck the country in 1994, Ghogomu’s mother and siblings moved to be near his grandparents in Montgomery, Ill., while he and his father stayed behind in Cameroon so that he could complete his high school education. Ghogomu returned to the United States to be with his family at the age of 16, and was challenged by the adjustment to life in a new country. Not yet ready to move away for college, he enrolled at Waubonsee, where he was active in sports, student government, clubs and graduated with academic honors.

While a student at Waubonsee, Puamuh joined the African Cultural Alliance and Latinos Unidos. He became a student ambassador and student senator, ran cross country and played soccer and tennis. He was named a National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Academic All-American and also won one of Waubonsee’s top athletic awards, the Vermilion and Gold Award. He graduated with honors.

He said that the volume of resources and extracurricular options at Waubonsee was a new concept for him, because options such as those in Cameroon were fairly limited.

“Once I got more acclimated, I wanted to get involved in things that caught my interest,” he said, adding he joined student government, the soccer team and student organizations. “These were opportunities I wasn’t used to having, and I wanted to take advantage as much as I could.”

He received his Associate in Science from Waubonsee in 1998, and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in biology from University of Illinois, and later his Juris Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

It was through an internship during his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that he completed an internship with Walgreens in their Employee Relations department. Upon completion of his law degree, Puamuh was hired by Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest employment and labor law firm where he worked for two years before returning to Walgreens where he is now Senior Counsel. Among his many responsibilities in his current role, Puamuh provides legal guidance to all levels of management regarding compliance with relevant state and federal laws related to employment and labor matters, and represents the company in employment matters pending before federal, state, and local agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.

Puamuh is a strong supporter of community colleges and serves on the Oakton Community College Educational Foundation Board of Directors.

He said that ultimately, his experience at Waubonsee not only eased his transition to a new culture and country, but gave him confidence academically and socially, which prepared him to go on to the University of Illinois. Even today, Ghogomu speaks fondly of his Waubonsee faculty members, saying that many of them were encouraging, engaging, and/or mentored him.

His advice to current students is to take advantage of all the activities and resources available.

“Everyone has different interests but what I really liked about Waubonsee was that it was academically rigorous, it provided a setting that encouraged engagement with faculty, and there was such a wide variety of student clubs and organizations that I could get involved in,” he said. “For someone new to the United States, just trying to get their feet wet and getting to know people, joining a club is a great way to break down barriers because you know you have similar interests.”

Ghogomu has kept in close contact with Dr. Melinda Tejada, Waubonsee Vice President of Student Development.

“Puamuh represents the many students who make Waubonsee their first choice for education and the amazing places a quality educational experience can take you,” she said.

He said that being recognized by Waubonsee is humbling.

“It’s unexpected and that’s motivation for me to keep doing more and to give back where I can,” he said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Danielle DuCharme Named Waubonsee Outstanding Faculty Member

After only a few seconds inside of Danielle DuCharme’s office on the first floor of the Science Building, it’s easy to see why the Associate Professor of Biology was selected as the Waubonsee Community College 2016 Outstanding Faculty Member.

Her walls are covered in illustrated posters – made by students – of various biology topics. Also, it’s impossible to miss the insects. Framed displays of every type of insect are on every surface. These are signs of the passion that for DuCharme, began as a child and was fostered throughout adulthood as she studied biology, entomology and science education.

In addition to her reputation as an expert in her field and an advocate for innovative teaching in science, biology and STEM, the 1998 Illinois Math and Science Academy graduate also demonstrates her passion for these studies through her leadership and involvement in many professional and community organizations dedicated to science education.

Her innovation in instruction is evident through her many curriculum contributions, including working as a Co-Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation STEM Scholarship program, creating sustainability courses, teaching graduate courses through Aurora University in partnership with Waubonsee’s Center for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT), creating a lab textbook for Biology 101, writing instructor’ guides, and organizing conferences.

A fixture in the popular Waubonsee summer camps, DuCharme has taught both the Science Xplosion and Bugology camps through community education, while also teaching summer courses. She also has worked on countless college committees, and spoken to and advised student groups.

DuCharme began working as a full-time instructor at Waubonsee in 2007. Since then, colleagues say she has distinguished herself in the areas of instructional effectiveness, contributions to the college and commitment to ongoing professional development.

“In the department we joke about how Dani is on or has been on every committee the college offers,” said Justin Hoshaw, Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Biology. “Her dedication is a great inspiration.”

Colleagues say DuCharme is almost always teaching or leading a class. Among those, she designed and ran a course called “Engage the Community College Learner,” which allowed faculty to learn different techniques to test in their own classrooms.

It was that freedom to innovate that – in part – led DuCharme to a career at Waubonsee. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola, and then a master’s in entomology and science education at University of California Davis, she returned to her home state of Illinois to live with a friend, who encouraged her to apply for an open teaching position at Waubonsee.

“I just feel like no one says no here, in a good way,” she said. “There’s just a lot of support and encouragement and very little naysaying.”

DuCharme also cites the college’s state of the art labs and equipment, students who are passionate and curious, and colleagues who are “rock stars,” as other reasons why she hopes to stay at Waubonsee for a long time – at least until the time capsule in her building can be opened in 40 years, she jokes.

“When I say this is the best job in the world, I mean it,” she said. “I didn’t realize until I got here how rare these jobs are, and there are so many benefits to having this beautiful campus.”

DuCharme is known for taking her students into the waters of the Blackberry Creek on Sugar Grove’s campus or looking for frogs at the Plano Campus. She said she doesn’t have to look far for educational field trips. That energy and sense of adventure are contagious, colleagues say.

“Besides everything else, I think her never ending energy and genuinely happy spirit are what most people will pick up on the minute they meet her,” Hoshaw said. “She is a joy to be around all the time and I know students enjoy her classes because of this energy, and then her excitement about science, biology and insects is going to capture the attention of everyone in the class.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College