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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 Adult Literacy Program Receives National Book Fund Grant

The Adult Literacy Project at Waubonsee Community College has received a $600 grant through the National Book Fund program administered by ProLiteracy, of Syracuse, NY.

The funds will be used to provide training to staff and volunteer tutors to increase the likelihood adult learners will continue to participate in adult education and tutoring programs.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Dean Rambish to Serve on Mutual Ground Board

Dr. Medea Rambish, Dean for Developmental Education and College Readiness at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve on the board of directors for Mutual Ground in Aurora.

Founded in 1975, Mutual Ground provides shelter and other services, free of charge, to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Greater Aurora, Southern Kane and Kendall counties. It stands as one of the largest and oldest domestic violence shelters in Illinois.

Rambish, of North Aurora, will serve a two-year term on the board. This will mark her first term on the board.

In that role, she will serve on the board’s Finance Committee and will help oversee Mutual Ground’s annual Walk for Hope fundraiser.

Rambish said she applied to serve on Mutual Ground’s board because she strongly supports and agrees with the organization’s purpose and mission.

“I wanted to help any way I can,” Rambish said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Dean Sinclair Elected President of Family Focus Aurora Advisory Board

Kelli Sinclair, Dean for Counseling and Student Support at Waubonsee Community College, has been elected president of the advisory board at Family Focus Aurora.

She was elected to the post in June, having served as interim president of the advisory board through the first six months of 2014. Sinclair had served as vice president of the board, and had served a term as the board’s secretary, as well.

Family Focus Aurora is the local branch of Family Focus, a Chicago area organization established to provide services and assistance to promote the well-being of children from birth by supporting and strengthening families in and within their communities.

Sinclair, of DeKalb, has served on the Family Focus Aurora advisory board since 2006, assisting the board in its mission of advising the board of directors regarding staffing and programs and helping to organize fundraisers and cultural events.

In August, for instance, Family Focus Aurora will work with other Aurora-based community organizations, including Waubonsee Community College, to host “Roots Aurora,” a community festival to celebrate the cultures that enrich the Aurora community.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee HR Director Needham Elected Co-President of Aurora Noon Lions

Michele Needham, Executive Director of Human Resources at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve as co-president of the Aurora Noon Lions Club.

Needham, of Plainfield, will share the presidency with Aurora lawyer Herbert Steinmetz for the 2014-2015 year.

Needham’s responsibilities will include helping oversee the club’s events and philanthropic efforts, including raising funds and materials in support of the Lions’ efforts to assist those with impaired vision, impaired hearing and diabetes, as well as helping local schoolchildren obtain eye exams and eyeglasses.

The Aurora Noon Lions Club is marking its 90th year.

Needham has been a member of the Aurora Lions since 1993.

She previously served as president of the club in 2000.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Joins Consortium to Boost Opportunities for Apprentices

Waubonsee Community College has joined the growing ranks of colleges and other postsecondary institutions nationwide signing on to a new federal initiative to help apprenticeship candidates translate their specialized education and work experience into a college degree.

In June, Waubonsee became a member of the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, or RACC.

Launched as a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education, RACC is creating a network of colleges and registered apprenticeship programs operated by unions and others to provide greater college-to-career opportunities.

The RACC partner institutions work together to create an accelerated pathway to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree by allowing apprentices to earn college credit for their registered apprenticeship experience.

Waubonsee would work with organizations running partnered registered apprenticeship programs to evaluate the apprenticeship curriculum and determine how best to convert apprenticeship experience to college credit.

Those completing registered apprenticeship programs would be eligible to earn up to 45 college credits based on their experience.

The college in coming months also will launch a new degree program created specifically to help those with apprenticeship and other work
experience and industry-specific education more quickly earn degrees.

“The demand for apprentices is only expected to grow in the years to come,” said Michael Cermak, Waubonsee’s Dean for Business and Career Technologies.

“Now, through RACC, a journeyman electrician or other skilled professional working in the trades also would be able to take the next steps in their educational journey and obtain a degree with just a few more classes.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Emergency Management, Safety Director Wu Elected Chairman of Fox Valley United Way

John Wu, Director of Emergency Management and Safety at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve as chairman of the board of directors for the Fox Valley United Way.

Wu, of Naperville, was pre-elected to the position a year ago, when the board selected him as its vice-chairman for 2013-14.

He will serve a one-year term as chairman.

In that role, Wu will work with the organization’s chief executive officer to set strategic direction for the Fox Valley United Way and coordinate the board’s activities and the organization’s public events.

Fox Valley United Way exists to support communities in the Aurora area by measurably improving lives of area residents working in partnership with dozens of other area agencies.

Wu said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve in leadership on the board.

“It’s another opportunity to contribute to the area,” Wu said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee TRIO Program Helps First-Generation Students Succeed in College

Many students enter college knowing roughly what to expect.

Such students are often the recipients of advice and guidance from parents, siblings and other relatives who may have graduated from, or at least attended college in the not-too-distant past. Or, perhaps they have benefited from years of college prep in high school or other places.

Other students, however, are less fortunate.

Coming from low-income backgrounds, or blazing their own trail into higher education, these students may need a little boost to help them conquer the rigors of college.

At Waubonsee Community College, that is where the team at TRIO/Student Support Services enters the scene.

Since 1987, TRIO/SSS has helped hundreds of students gain the help and support they need to not only complete college, but to thrive.

For its role in helping many of the most vulnerable of Waubonsee students succeed, Waubonsee is proud to recognize the people working within the TRIO/SSS program as part of its “Placing Learning First” program.

Funded by federal U.S. Department of Education grants awarded over five-year cycles and additional monies from the college, the Waubonsee TRIO/SSS program provides a broad range of academic services designed to assist first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities.

The program, led by Manager Frankie Benson, includes a team of four other staff members and eight tutors working together to assist the 200 students who annually participate.

To participate in the program, students must meet certain criteria.

In addition to being a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, students eligible for assistance through TRIO must be enrolled at Waubonsee and working toward a degree or certificate.

Further, students eligible for TRIO must be a first-generation college student, meaning their parents or legal guardians did not graduate college with at least a bachelor’s degree; qualify as a low-income student; or be a student with a learning or physical disability. Two-thirds of students participating must be both first-generation college students and low-income, Benson said.

Once in the program, students become eligible for a range of assistance, including help with academic planning and course registration; individualized tutoring; help in applying for and obtaining scholarships and financial aid; help in transferring to four-year schools; and guidance with life skills.

“We can help with things like dealing with financial literacy and credit, or even etiquette while eating a meal when out on a job interview,” Benson said.

Additionally, TRIO arranges for students to attend a range of cultural events, including outings to museums, musical theater, or leadership conferences, and official college visits to four-year institutions in the region, including such schools as Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, among others.

And TRIO students also participate in organized volunteer activities at such local charitable organizations as Feed My Starving Children, among others.

“We become a kind of home-away-from-home for our students,” Benson said. “We want them to be comfortable in college and in a range of settings.”

Through the years, the results generated by TRIO have met or exceeded all goals for the Waubonsee program.

In 2012-13, for instance, 81 percent, or 162 of the 200 Waubonsee TRIO students, persisted in college, meaning they graduated, enrolled in the following fall term or graduated and transferred to a four-year school. That persistence rate has matched Waubonsee’s goal of 80 percent per year.

Ninety percent of the students were in good standing academically, meaning they held at least a 2.0 grade point average a year later, matching Waubonsee’s goal exactly.

Further, 56 percent of eligible students in 2012-13 attained a degree, while 55 percent of those attaining a degree transferred to a four-year school. Both of those metrics easily exceeded Waubonsee’s goals, which were set at 38 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

“TRIO makes a difference every day in the lives of our students,” Benson said. “We’re giving them the tools and assistance they need to reach their dreams."


© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Nursing Program Graduates 22 Students in July

Twenty-two more nursing candidates became eligible to join the ranks of health care professionals after graduating from Waubonsee Community College’s Nursing program during a pinning ceremony on July 10.

The July pinning was one of four such ceremonies that will take place at Waubonsee in 2014, when the program is scheduled to graduate a total of 80-90 nurses.

Nursing graduates are now eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam.

July graduates included: Andrea Bucio, Mayra Garcia, Angelle Griffin, Monica Timke, Isaura Valadez and Monyca Wells, all of Aurora; Elizabeth Makula and Erin Votava, of Batavia; Sarah VanBuskirk, of Big Rock; Cody Crook, of Elburn; Christine Maughan, of Geneva; Brandon Felker, Kristen Gendusa and Michelle Polizzi, of Montgomery; Marci Sullivan, of North Aurora; Ashley Jacunski, of Oswego; Olugbenga (Isaac) Ajiboye and Liliana Larios, of Plano; Veronica Sanchez, of Sandwich; and James Rufer, of Yorkville.+ 

In addition to classroom learning, Waubonsee nursing graduates performed clinical education at local health care facilities, including Rush-Copley Medical Center and Presence Mercy Medical Center, both in Aurora; Cadence Delnor Hospital in Geneva; and Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb.

Participants in the July pinning ceremony heard from class speaker Makula, as well as Dr. Jess Toussaint, Dean for Health Professions and Public Service at Waubonsee, and Suzette Murray, Waubonsee’s Assistant Vice President of Career and Technical Education.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognized for Financial Reporting, Budget Presentation

Waubonsee Community College has been nationally recognized for the college’s financial reporting and budget presentation practices.

For the 15th consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded Waubonsee the Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Additionally, for the first time, Waubonsee received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

Both awards were for the college’s 2012 budget and financial reports.

The awards represent significant achievements by the college, reflecting the commitment of Waubonsee and its staff to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting and financial reporting.

To receive the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, Waubonsee was required to satisfy nationally recognized budget presentation guidelines, designed to assess how effectively the budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device.

Those four categories include 14 mandatory criteria.

Twenty-eight other colleges in the U.S. and 13 others in Illinois received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

The GFOA Excellence in Financial Reporting award represents the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Of the 77 colleges receiving the award, 22 are Illinois community colleges.

Waubonsee was one of 307 local taxing bodies in Illinois to receive the award from the GFOA.

The GFOA, with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., is a non-profit professional association serving more than 17,000 government finance professionals.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student Wins Gold Medal at SkillsUSA National Competition

A Waubonsee Community College student has staked a claim to being the best auto body student in the country, after taking top honors in his category at the SkillsUSA National Skills Competition.

Jose Martinez-Joya, 24, of Carpentersville, took the gold medal among college/postsecondary students in the Automotive Refinishing Technology category at the national skills competition held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

The multi-day competition involved hands-on skills demonstrations, including preparing automotive body parts for painting, operating a paint spray gun, spot refinish repairs and identifying and correcting paint match problems, as well as written testing and other auto body repair-related tasks, such as creating a written repair estimate.

The skills were based on the task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Martinez-Joya competed against students from 27 other colleges and postsecondary institutions.

“When they called my name, I felt relieved,” said Martinez-Joya. “It’s a lot of work, so it was a sense of relief and happiness that it got to all pay off.”

Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Automotive Body Repair Andrew MacDonald, who accompanied Martinez-Joya to the competition, said the student’s work, approach and attitude were all exemplary. He noted Martinez-Joya needed to study materials related to the competition outside of class and practice for the contest on his own time on weekends, while working six days a week.

“Waubonsee could not have had a more humble, professional and hardworking student representing us in this competition,” said MacDonald. “Jose is a true champion.”

Martinez-Joya, who immigrated to the U.S. about 10 years ago, had worked as an automotive repair technician for six years at a shop in Elgin before discovering Waubonsee’s automotive body repair program in 2013.

“I’ve learned so much here,” Martinez-Joya said. He credited his success, in part, to MacDonald’s skill and knowledge as an auto body repair professional and instructor.

“He’s a great, great person, and very experienced,” Martinez-Joya said. “He really knows his stuff and can teach it to others.”

Martinez-Joya’s win marks the second consecutive year in which a Waubonsee auto body student has taken a gold medal at SkillsUSA. In 2013, student Matt Meyer placed first in the country in the Collision Repair Technology category.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Students Exhibit Photos at Batavia Library

This July, the work of Waubonsee Community College photography students will be on display at the Batavia Public Library. Running the entire month, the “Waubonsee Digital Photo Class Studies” show was put together by Waubonsee student Wynette Edwards, of Elburn.

Edwards’ work will be a part of the exhibit, along with that of her classmates from Waubonsee’s fall 2013 digital photography class, including Larry Benson and Edgar Espino, of Aurora; Lindsey Fansler, Katie Schade and Kevin Veloz, of Geneva; Marissa Novak, of Yorkville; David Oldeen, of Big Rock; Tara Olson, of Maple Park; Emily Russell, of North Aurora; Colleen Slatton, of Newark; and Les Westphal, of Oswego.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Artist Erik L. Peterson Exhibits New Works at Waubonsee

Chicago artist Erik L. Peterson, known for making works that challenge the boundaries and expectations created by the interplay of our manufactured cultural and natural environments, brings his subtly perspective-altering art to Waubonsee Community College for a summer exhibit.

The Waubonsee Community College Art Department will host “Plop Art,” an exhibition by artist Erik L. Peterson, in the Arrowhead Room gallery in the Dickson Center on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The exhibit will run from Tuesday, June 3, to Sunday, July 27. It will be 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 will include such works as “Plop,” described as “a neon sign for a darkly humorous ice cream shop,” and “Drops,” a work created from the reconstituted remains of fallen ice cream cones, which have been remolded and refrozen into new perfect swirls.

Additionally, the exhibit will include, among other works, “Billboard Weaving,” a wall-length work created from two hand-woven found billboards; and “Reflecting Pool,” a circle of industrial reflective glass beads, similar to those used in crosswalks, spread across the gallery floor.

Exhibiting his work for more than a decade, Peterson is a public artist, sculptor and curator. He is best known for his “large-scale urban interventions and signature edible ice cream sculptures.”

Peterson said his works are designed to offer viewers “an intriguing cultural experiment … the alchemy of the real and imagined, an absurd chimera of what could be, what might be, and what already is.”

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

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College