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© 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

Stepney Appointed Secretary for Chamber Board

Ne’Keisha Stepney, Waubonsee Community College Dean for Business and Career Technologies, has been appointed Secretary of the Sugar Grove Chamber Board of Directors. Her one-year term began last month.

Stepney earned a Master of Business Administration in 2005 and a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2002, both from Benedictine University. She has nearly 15 years of higher education experience, including three years at a private university, four years at a for-profit institution and seven years at Waubonsee.

© 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 Seeking Volunteer Tutors

The Adult Literacy Project at Waubonsee Community College is seeking volunteers to tutor adult students in reading, writing and speaking English.

The Adult Literacy Project provides all training and materials at no charge. Participants have two options for training – a two-day class or an online, self-paced training. The class will be held on Saturday, March 18, and Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, at Waubonsee’s Aurora Downtown Campus, 18. S. River Street.

Prospective tutors must complete training before working with adult learners individually or in a classroom. Participants must register for the training by contacting or calling (630) 801-7900, ext. 4661. Tutor applications are available online at

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Plans Reunion for March 9

As part of Waubonsee Community College’s ongoing celebration of its 50th anniversary, the college will host a reunion and is inviting all former and current students, faculty, staff and community members to attend.

The reunion takes place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 at the Academic and Professional Center on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The event will feature refreshments, historical artifacts of the college, as well as a live performance of a choral piece celebrating the last five decades.
Attendees will receive a two-volume book set on the history of the college.

Guests can learn more about the event and RSVP at

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee to Host Environmental Film Festival March 6

Waubonsee Community College will host the Midwest’s premier environmental film festival at its Aurora Downtown Campus in March.

The One Earth Film Festival, which is now in its sixth year, will feature a screening of the acclaimed documentary “Hometown Habitat” on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. A Q&A with the filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman will follow the screening. The event will take place in Waubonsee’s first-floor Multipurpose Room, 18 S. River St.

The festival runs March 3-12 at locations throughout the greater Chicago area, and this year marks its first expansion into Kane County. That expansion was made possible by a number of Fox River area organizations who are acting as sponsors, and Waubonsee Community College acting as venue host.

Co-sponsors of the March 6 screening will host a Sustainability Resource Fair during the event to provide attendees with information and suggest actions they can take at home and in the community. Light refreshments will be provided.

The screening is free, but a donation of $6 is suggested, and advanced ticket reservations are recommended.

For a complete festival schedule and ticket information, please visit or text #ONEEARTH #OEFF2017. Additional information about the March 6 Aurora screening and its sponsors can be found at

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Author Kalisha Buckhanon to Visit Waubonsee

Author Kalisha Buckhanon will visit Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove Campus on Wednesday, March 1, from 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. to read from her work and discuss writing and publishing with Assistant Professor of English Dan Portincaso. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the college’s Academic and Professional Center Event Room.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Buckhanon has written three novels — Solemn, Conception and Upstate. Together, these novels comprise what she calls “a highly personal triology on Black American youth.”

When she was 27-years-old, Buckhanon was introduced by Essence Magazine as one of “Three Writers to Watch.” Her honors include an American Library Association ALEX Award, Friends of American Writers Award, Terry McMillan Young Author Award, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Hurston-Wright Foundation Debut shortlist and Pushcart Prize nomination.

To learn more about Buckhanon and her work, 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

Waubonsee Community College to Offer Wedding Planner Course

Waubonsee Community College is offering a unique opportunity — the chance to become a certified wedding and event planner.

The “Become a Certified Wedding and Event Planner” course will be held on Thursday evenings from February 16 to May 4 at the college’s Sugar Grove campus. In partnership with the Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute, students will learn the business, networking and client relationship management skills required to succeed in this growing industry. The course fee includes all materials, as well as an online resource center, certificate exam fee and certification designation.

Anyone interested in the course is encouraged to visit, call Waubonsee’s Community Education department at (630) 466-2360 or email for more information.

© 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 Students Complete Service Projects

As part of ongoing efforts by Waubonsee Community College to celebrate its 50th anniversary through community service, several student groups recently completed large projects coinciding with the holiday season.

Recipients of the college’s Lucile Gustafson Scholarship made and distributed 200 holiday cards for residents of Elmwood Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Jennings Terrace Inc. They also donated 117 winter clothing items for the Fox Valley United Way, four boxes of food for Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry. Among the items donated for the pantry were 350 diapers, containers of formula, 55 canned food items, 20 bags of food and other assorted items.

Another large service project was coordinated by students in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, as they purchased and wrapped gifts for nearly 120 needy children for the holiday season. The annual service project was started a year ago by ECE student Ashton Newkirk, of North Aurora, as a student advocacy project, and continued this year. For this year’s efforts, she was able to recruit more than 50 fellow Waubonsee students to assist in purchasing and wrapping gifts.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Sophomore Receives Scholarship Recognizing Community Service

A Waubonsee Community College sophomore was recently selected as the state recipient for a National Society of Leadership and Success State of Mind Scholarship, which recognizes her work in the community.

Victoria Del Rio, of Aurora, received the $1,000 scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to one member from every state who, within the previous academic year, initiated a program or event or participated in a significant project or campaign that positively impacted their community.

Del Rio was recognized for her work as a youth minister with Ministerios Adonai in Aurora, where she has planned conferences and served as a speaker.

The National Society of Leadership and Success has 687,509 membership nationwide, and students are selected for membership based on academic standing or leadership potential. In addition to the distinction of membership, students are also offered guidance on building their leadership skills.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Announces New Assistant Dean

Waubonsee Community College recently named John Metych III as Assistant Dean for Social Sciences, Education and World Languages. In this role, his primary responsibilities are to provide additional support and leadership for the hiring, supervising, mentoring and evaluation of credit adjunct faculty in the division. 

He was previously employed at ITT Technical Institute for more than seven years, first as an Associate Dean and then, most recently, as the Dean of Academic Affairs. Prior to ITT, Metych was employed at Westwood College as a full-time instructor and then as the Technology Institute Program Director and the Technology Program Chair.  Metych also served as an Interim Director of Education. Metych also has experience as a lead instructor for Computer Learning Centers, as an adjunct faculty member at College of DuPage and Triton College, and as a freelance course writer for Pearson Custom Learning Solutions.

Throughout his career Metych has had experience with accreditation, curriculum development and faculty development and training programs.

Metych holds a Master of Education degree in Human Resource Education: Community College Teaching and Learning from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from Benedictine University.

© 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

Heiss to be recognized for his 1,000th game

Heiss reaches 1,000 games at Waubonsee

Over 32 seasons as the men’s basketball head coach at Waubonsee Community College, Dave Heiss has literally prepared a thousand game plans, given a thousand halftime and post-game speeches, and has guided the Chiefs to 595 wins and counting. Included in that victory total was the Chiefs’ 94-90 triumph at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights on Jan. 12, which was Heiss’ 1,000th career game leading Waubonsee’s program. In recognition of that milestone, there will be a short presentation to honor Heiss prior to the Chiefs’ home game against Moraine Valley Community College on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Waubonsee’s women’s team is set to battle the Cyclones beginning at 5:15 p.m. with the men’s game set to start at 7:15 p.m.

Heiss took over Waubonsee’s program in 1985 and has led the Chiefs to 595 victories, an average of nearly 20 per season for over three decades. Win number 600 will move him to 11th in career wins among all active NJCAA basketball coaches. Coach Heiss is the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference’s (ISCC) all-time leader in wins with 266, which is 75 more than the second place coach on that list. He has guided Waubonsee to the ISCC championship 11 times, more than double the men’s basketball titles that any other league member has garnered. During his tenure 68 of his players have been named All-ISCC First Team, including eight league MVP Awards.  

Coach Heiss has been inducted into NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2006), the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame (2009), the Aurora West High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2010), the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame (2010) and the NJCAA Hall of Fame (2013). He has also 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. Heiss has led the Chiefs to the Region IV crown and a berth into the NJCAA Division II National Tournament five times.   

The recogniton ceremony and both games against Moraine Valley will be streamed ‘live’ on-line at and will also be carried on local cable television in high definition. Upcoming Waubonsee home games against McHenry County College (Jan. 31), Prairie State College (Feb. 7), Morton College (Feb. 9) and Oakton Community College (Feb. 21) will also be televised. Check your local cable provider to find Waubonsee’s Educational TV channel in your area.


© 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 to Offer Free Music Concerts

Waubonsee Community College’s Music Department will offer a winter  concert series this December, showcasing the work of its students.

From Dec. 2-18, Waubonsee will host its annual series of live winter musical performances. All shows will be free and open to the public, and will be performed in the Waubonsee Auditorium, on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive, unless otherwise noted.

The series kicks off on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. with the Concert Band and Jazz Band.

On Dec. 4 at 3 p.m., the Chorale concert will take place.

The Steel Band will perform on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

The series concludes with a Student Recital on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. in Room 114 of Von Ohlen Hall.

For more information, contact the Music Department office at (630) 466-5785.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Foundation Announces Available Scholarships

Waubonsee Community College Foundation scholarship applications are now available online for the 2017-2018 academic year. Scholarships will be awarded in early April 2017 to be used beginning with the fall semester of 2017.

To apply for a Waubonsee Community College Foundation scholarship, visit

All applications must be completed and submitted online; paper copies will not be accepted. The due date is midnight, Feb. 6, 2017.

If you have questions or need assistance with completing a scholarship application, please call the Waubonsee Community College Foundation at (630) 466-2613.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Marketing and Communications Receives Awards

Waubonsee Community College’s Marketing and Communication team recently received national recognition for their work.

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR)-made up of marketing and communications from two-year colleges-recognized the team’s work in several categories. The team received a Gold Award for the Waubonsee Foundation Folder and Bronze Awards for the Dive Deeper Season Mailer, the Annual Report to the Community and the Fall Noncredit Schedule.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Community College Driver Safety Program Wins Awards

Waubonsee Community College’s Driver Safety Program was honored at the National Safety Council Congress held on October 15-19 in Anaheim, CA. The program received three awards: A Remarkable Results award in the Defensive Driving Courses Online category, a Powerful Performance award in the Alive at 25 category, and a Trendsetter award in the Defensive Driving Courses 4 classroom category.

The Driver Safety Program at Waubonsee began in 1992. It collaborates with the 16th and 23rd Judicial Circuit Courts to provide defensive driving courses for drivers participating in court supervision programs in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb Counties. In 2015, there were more than 11,900 participants. The curriculum, licensed through the National Safety Council, seeks to improve driving skills, prevent crashes and prevent traffic citations.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognizes Communications Department as Student Success: Featured Faculty and Program

The fundamentals of communications are fairly standard, including writing, speaking and listening. And yet the Waubonsee Community College Communications Department takes these basics in entirely new directions to make learning more effective, engaging and productive. For its efforts, the department is being recognized as the college’s Student Success: Featured Faculty and Program for November.  

To take communications to the next level, the program’s five full-time and 14 adjunct staff of the Communications departmentfaculty members develop curriculum that is innovative in both content and delivery.

Given that so many students study communications as part of their general education core, making the courses convenient and accessible has been a top priority. To that end, a fully online version of COM 100 – Fundamentals of Speech Communication debuted this semester. The course is also offered in an accelerated eight-week hybrid format,combining online instruction with in-person speeches.  

Even when speeches are delivered in person, technology still plays a vital role. Most faculty record student speeches and then use special software to embed feedback at precise points throughout the presentation, thereby making the comments more understandable and valuable.  

In COM 100, students may learn from what they watch, but in the department’s mass communications courses and programs, they may learn more from working behind the camera. Whether recording in the state-of-the-art television studio on the Sugar Grove Campus or capturing Waubonsee sporting events live from the field, Waubonsee’s mass communications students get a heavy dose of hands-on learning.

More hands-on learning comes in the department’s COM 135 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications course. This course teaches students to design and drive marketing campaigns, use technology to create outreach and inbound success, and tackle challenges in identifying and reaching customers in unique ways. These skills are put to the test in the course’s culminating project, as well as at various internship opportunities in the field. Many of these marketing-minded students also enter the college’s own Motivate to Complete public service announcement contest, which challenges them to utilize marketing and communications techniques to push their peers toward achieving their dreams of college graduation.

But communications students aren’t just encouraged to graduate from Waubonsee; the department’s programs are designed so that students can easily transfer on and graduate with bachelor’s degrees as well. Courses include those normally taken during the first two years of a bachelor degree program. Communications staff faculty regularly review curriculum to maximize transferability. In fact, just a few years ago, a new “2+2” articulation agreement was signed with Western Illinois University, making it easier for mass communications students to go on to study broadcasting.

Even if it’s not the focus of their studies or future careers, every college-educated student should be a competent, creative communicator. Waubonsee is proud of its Communications Department for the role it’s playing in helping ensure student success in this all-important area.  

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognizes Area First Responders

As part of its ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration, Waubonsee Community College recently held a First Responders Appreciation Day at its Plano Campus. The event was designed to recognize local police and fire organizations, expressing the college’s gratitude for the help they provide in educating future “first responders.”

Among the speakers were several of Waubonsee’s faculty members, representing the college’s criminal justice, emergency medical technician and fire science programs.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Joe Heinrich cited the cooperation of local police departments in helping students learn how to do their jobs. “I would like to give a special acknowledgment to all the police departments who support our program by sponsoring ride-alongs and allowing your officers to be interviewed by our students,” Heinrich said. “In the past 10 years, you have collectively opened your doors for Waubonsee students to interview patrol officers, detectives and crime scene investigators more than 500 times, and have sponsored approximately 1,000 ride-along opportunities for our criminal justice students.”

Such opportunities pay off, not only for Waubonsee students but also for local law enforcement agencies, who are then able to hire more qualified applicants who know the community and the job.

As Heinrich pointed out, “Waubonsee graduates include high-ranking police officers, such as Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman, former Aurora Police Chief and current Darien Police Chief Greg Thomas, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird, Judge Tim McCann, and a long list of officers in all ranks through the Fox Valley region, the State of Illinois and beyond."

Law enforcement and medical partners combine to support the college’s emergency medical technician-basic and paramedic programs. To earn their degrees, students in the paramedic program engage in more than 1,300 hours of classroom, hospital clinical and field ride time on ambulance duty.

Further hands-on training is offered in Waubonsee’s fire science program, thanks to new equipment and facilities.

“We now have two fire engines, and through donations, purchasing and grants, were able to obtain all of the needed fire equipment for classes, as well as firefighting gear for our students,” said Fire Science Technology/Emergency Medical Technician Instructor Andrea Montgomery. “This has proven to be a great benefit to the students to give them a complete picture of what it takes to be a firefighter by creating realistic learning environments.”

 Thanks to community partnerships and support, Waubonsee’s first responders programs are well-positioned to develop a new generation of workers who are prepared to serve communities close to home and across the nation.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Brings Veterans Day to Life

This year’s Veterans Day events at Waubonsee Community College celebrate the college’s unique role in helping veteran and active service student members apply military training to careers in civilian life.

Observances begin at 11 a.m. on the Waubonsee Sugar Grove Campus in Room 110 of the Academic and Professional Center.

Since 2012, Waubonsee Community College has been named a Military Friendly School by “G.I. Jobs,” the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The magazine gives this designation to the top 20 percent of the nation’s colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to help service members and veterans apply their skills to careers in civilian life. Waubonsee also offers opportunities to earn college credits for basic training and for additional military experience through CLEP exams.

These applications of military service to career education give special significance to Veterans Day observances at Waubonsee, where the student population typically includes almost 400 veteran or active service members.

In this context, Veterans Day observances will include remarks and special performances by Waubonsee faculty, staff and students, including Dr. Melinda Tejada, Vice President of Student Development. Presentation of Colors will be conducted by Members of the American Legion Post 1271 of Sugar Grove.  

Keynote Speaker

A special address in honor of Veterans Day will be given by Retired Lt. Colonel Terence D. Felton, United States Air Force, who currently works as Waubonsee’s Chief Information Officer. Colonel Felton was born in Chicago and enlisted in the Air Force in 1982, with initial assignment as a Command, Control, Communications Technician, 1964th Communications, Ramstien Air Force Base, Germany. He rose through the ranks to Staff Sergeant by 1987, and became a Technical Control Technician of the 264th Combat Communications Squadron at O’Hare Airport in 1992. A year later, he was the Officer-In-Charge of the Workload Control, 217th Engineering Installation Squadron, at O’Hare Airport.

In 1994 he was commissioned as an officer through the Academy of Military Service, Knoxville, Tenn. He then assumed additional duties as a Squadron Unit Security Manager and a Squadron Force Protection team leader. Colonel Felton also served as Representative to the 183rd Fighter Wing’s Combat Exercise Evaluation Team and as Family Liaison Officer assigned to assist families of deployed members.

His military service earned him the Meritorious Service Medal, The Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He retired after 33 years of dedicated service to our nation in November 2015.

For additional information on Waubonsee’s commitment to providing educational opportunities for veteran and active service military personnel, please visit www.waubonsee.ed/veterans

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Humanities Faculty Member Publishes Novel

Aaron Lawler, Humanities Instructor at Waubonsee Community College, recently published his debut novel, “The Marvelous Paracosm of Fitz Faraday and the Shapers of the ID” through independent publishing house Black Rose Publishing.

A sci-fi/fantasy novel, the story is described on the Black Rose website: “Fitz Faraday, his best friend Hollis, who comes from the wrong-side-of-the-tracks, and his hoped-to-be-girlfriend Josey, the new girl in town, are taken through harrowing events and thrilling misadventures, as they learn about life, love, death, the inner workings of the psyche, and the flimsiness of reality. After witnessing the murder of Professor Oliver Crowley, who has invented a way of bringing thoughts into physical reality, Fitz and his friends must exonerate the town bully, who is being framed for the murder.”

Lawler has been an educator for 15 years, teaching at the elementary, secondary and college level. He has been teaching at Waubonsee since 2012.

Lawler holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Central College. He earned a second master’s degree from Concordia University in curriculum and instruction with a focus on eLearning and technology. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at Concordia.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Nafziger named All-American, headlines Chiefs’ post-season awards

Nine Members of Chiefs' baseball honored

Waubonsee Community College’s baseball team had nine members of the team recognized by the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC), the NJCAA’s Region IV Committee and the NJCAA Division III National Committee for their outstanding play this past spring. Headlining the Chiefs’ contingent of honorees was designated hitter Klay Nafziger who was named an NJCAA Division III Third Team All-American. The freshman was also selected All-ISCC First Team and All-Region First Team, along with teammates Bailey Watros and Patrick Killelea. Pitcher Jared Liebelt joined them on the All-ISCC First Team, while Ivan Santos, Devin Rose, Brandon Sparks and Kyle Kolb were each chosen to the All-ISCC Second Team. Liebelt and Rose, the Chiefs’ one-two pitching duo, were both tabbed to the All-Region Second Team. Second-year head coach Brad Unger was named the Region IV Division III and NJCAA District B Coach of the Year after guiding the Chiefs to the NJCAA Division III World Series in Kinston, North Carolina.  

Nafziger, a 6’5” 225-pound left-handed hitter, batted .353 on the season with 39 runs driven in. More than half of his 60 hits were for extra bases as he tallied 115 total bases on his way to posting a .676 slugging percentage. Nafziger smacked seven triples, tying him for fifth nationally among all NJCAA Division III players in three-baggers. He also ripped 17 doubles, tying him for 18th nationally in that category. In addition Nafziger slugged eight home runs, tying him for 17th in the nation. A graduate of Roanoke-Benson High School, Nafziger was selected the District B Championship series Most Valuable Player.

Watros, a Sandwich High School graduate, batted .377 on the season as he led the Chiefs in hits with 66. Waubonsee’s leadoff man was second on the team with a .450 on-base percentage, 17 stolen bases and 175 at bats. A left-handed hitter, Watros booked 11 doubles, a pair of triples and scored 40 runs. The sophomore centerfielder made just one error on the season, posting a .983 fielding percentage while making five outfield assists.

Killelea, a middle infielder from Ottawa Marquette High School, batted .335 and led the Chiefs in six offensive categories. The sophomore drove in a team-leading 45 runs, scored 46 runs and stole 18 bases. Killelea also played in 55 of the Chiefs’ 56 games, was tops on the team in at bats with 179, and led the squad with nine sacrifice hits. In addition the right-handed hitter recorded 60 hits on the season, smacking 15 doubles, three triples and a home run. 

Liebelt, a 6’1” 185-pound right-handed pitcher, finished in the top-20 nationally in seven pitching categories. The Aurora West High School graduate went 9-4, finishing tied for fifth among all NJCAA Division III pitchers in wins. Liebelt also ended up tied for fifth in strikeouts with 100, the fourth most ever by a Waubonsee pitcher. The freshman tied for fifth nationally with 13 starts, and was tied for fourth with seven complete games. Liebelt’s 81 innings pitched placed him seventh on that list, his 2.11 earned-run-average was 18th nationally and he ended up 20th with an average of 11.11 strikeouts per nine innings. The Chiefs lead pitcher allowed just 56 hits as opponents batted only .211 against him. Twice during the season Liebelt was tabbed the NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Week, and he was selected the Most Valuable Player of the Region IV Tournament.

Santos, a graduate of Archbishop McCarthy High School in Miami, Fla., finished the season with a .324 batting average, 43 runs scored and 34 knocked in. The Chiefs’ leftfielder tied the school-record for triples in a season with nine, which put him second nationally among all NJCAA Division III players. The 5’4” 180-pound Santos compiled a .647 slugging percentage, finishing second on the team with seven home runs. The freshman led the Chiefs with 19 walks and was hit by pitch a dozen times, on his way to posting a .444 on-base percentage. Santos also swiped 17 bases in 20 attempts.

A right-handed pitcher, Rose went 7-3 with a 2.35 earned-run-average in 13 starts, tying him for fifth nationally in games started. He tossed seven complete games, which tied him for fourth nationally in that category. A graduate of Tuscola High School in central Illinois, Rose finished fourth in the nation in innings pitched with 84 and a third. The sophomore finished seventh nationally with 96 strikeouts, an average of 10.25 per nine innings pitched. Rose also allowed just 55 hits as opponents batted only .204 against him. He was named the NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Week the final week of the regular season.  

The left-handed hitting Sparks finished the season with a team-leading .395 batting average. The freshman also led Waubonsee with a .453 on-base percentage. Sparks, a graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School, swiped 14 bases despite missing a dozen games due to a late season injury. In conference play Sparks booked a .433 batting average, garnering at least one hit or more in eight of the 10 ISCC games he appeared in.

Kolb, also a freshman from Roanoke-Benson High School, finished with a .311 batting average. The Chiefs’ third baseman collected 50 hits, including eight doubles, two triples and a home run, while knocking in 24 runs. In conference action Kolb batted .359 with seven runs driven in and eight runs scored.

Unger, a native of Plainfield, guided the Chiefs to 37 wins this season. Seeded fourth, Waubonsee knocked off two nationally-ranked teams on the way to capturing the Region IV Division III title for the third time in the last four years. Waubonsee went on to convincingly win the District B crown and a berth in the NJCAA Division III World Series for the fourth time in the last seven years. Unger’s crew finished tied for seventh in the nation and ranked eighth in the final NJCAA Division III poll. The Chiefs ended the 2016 campaign in the top-20 nationally in nine offensive and four pitching categories. Waubonsee led all NJCAA Division III teams with a school-record 32 triples, were fifth in doubles with a Waubonsee record 114, and ninth in stolen bases with 123 and ninth in hits with 512. The Chiefs’ pitchers finished third nationally in strikeouts with a school-record 411 and were fifth with 409 and a third innings pitched, while compiling a sparkling team earned-run-average of 3.30 overall.  

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Jazz Band Members Receive Skyway Recognitions

Waubonsee Community College Jazz Band members received recognition during the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Jazz Festival. The event was hosted by College of Lake County on October 29.

Waubonsee students received the following recognitions as outstanding soloists: Scott Lies, tenor sax; Walter Howard, alto sax; and Zachary Bernard, drums.

“The Skyway Collegiate Conference Jazz Festival was a wonderful experience for the Waubonsee Jazz Lab Big Band. We had twenty of our music students participate. Our band most definitely performed well under pressure and learned from this unique experience!” said Brian Patti, Music Adjunct Faculty and Director of the Waubonsee Jazz Lab Big Band.

The Waubonsee Jazz Lab Big Band and the Concert Band will host a performance Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Waubonsee Auditorium.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Pilot Courses in Community Paramedicine Offered

Waubonsee Community College will soon offer an innovative pilot program that will introduce hospitals, emergency agencies, paramedics, and students to the field of community paramedicine. This new field is part of the mobile integrated health care initiative, which is a new local, state, and national initiative designed to provide better healthcare to patients while they are in the community.

Community paramedicine, which is a part of the mobile integrated health initiative supported by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the Illinois Department of Public Health, is the use of patient-centered, mobile resources for patients’ healthcare needs once they leave the hospital. It may include, but is not limited to: providing telephone advice to 9-1-1 callers instead of dispatching providers, providing follow-up services in the community by trained paramedics, chronic disease management, preventative care, or post-discharge follow up visits to the patient’s home. The goal of such services is to prevent patients from being re-admitted to the hospital.

While mobile integrated health care is new in Illinois, it has been used for some time in other states.

Within Waubonsee’s district, mobile integrated healthcare is on the verge of becoming a basic standard of the health care profession. Sherman Hospital in Elgin recently became the first hospital in the state approved to offer mobile integrated health care.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) approved a curriculum framework in May of 2015 which provides curriculum for a 16-hour course as a Community Paramedic. Waubonsee will be the first in the area to offer the IDPH-approved framework curriculum.

To fund the pilot, Waubonsee received a grant from Telligen Community Initiative, which will provide funding to provide an introductory course, EMT100 Community Paramedic, without cost to interested students. Nurses, paramedics, hospital administrators, and current paramedic students and Emergency Medical Technician – Basic students are encouraged to attend.

Additionally, this grant will provide funding to equip the Waubonsee ambulance to practice scenarios.

“We are pleased to support one of the first programs in Illinois that will provide unique, specialized training for current and future paramedics – those vital first responders in our communities,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of Telligen Community Initiative. “Through a collaborative effort, the mobile integrated health care curriculum will bring many resources together and significantly improve community-based patient care.”

Dr. Michelle Evans, Waubonsee Assistant Dean for Health Professions and Public Service, said that Waubonsee has applied to the IDPH to offer continuing education units for licensed paramedics, which would open the door for the college to work more closely with local employers to offer community paramedic training to their employees.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Community College Offering SAT and ACT Prep Courses

Now that high school juniors in Illinois are required to take the SAT college entrance exam, Waubonsee Community College has expanded its test preparation courses. The college is offering affordable SAT prep courses to help high school students prepare for the exam.

These low-cost courses will be held on Saturdays in January and February. Students can opt to take prep courses in English, math or both. The classes include reviews of key subject matter as well as strategies proven to help students raise their score. Students can also sign up for an SAT practice test course that includes an official, retired SAT exam in a timed setting.

Waubonsee is offering prep classes for students taking the ACT exam as well. View a complete list of courses and registration instructions.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Chiefs win Region title, advance to Great Lakes District Championship

Chiefs grab Region IV title, extend winning streak to 19 matches. Waubonsee set to host Great Lakes District Championship

Waubonsee Community College’s Men’s Soccer team clearly does not believe in fairy tales. The Chiefs made sure this year’s Cinderella story ended early as Waubonsee knocked off sixth-seeded South Suburban College 3-0 to win the 2016 Region IV Division I Championship. The top-seeded Chiefs (19-0-1) scored all three goals in the first half on the way to extending their school-record winning streak to 19 in a row. It is the third Region IV title for Waubonsee in the program's history, having won in 1982 and 2013. Waubonsee will now host third-ranked Iowa Western Community College (18-1-1) in the Great Lakes District title match next Saturday, November 5, with the start time yet-to-be-determined. The District champion will advance to the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament in Tyler, Texas beginning November 14 at the Pat Hartley Soccer Complex. The Chiefs will be looking to advance to the National Tournament for the first time ever.

Waubonsee got on the scoreboard midway through the first half when Gustavo Mancera netted his first goal of the season with an assist from Jorge Sanchez. With seven minutes remaining in the half Sanchez was able to center a pass directly in front of the Bulldogs’ goal. Waubonsee’s Mario Rodriguez barely beat South Suburban keeper Antonio Castro to the ball before they collided. Somehow he poked the ball into the right corner of the net for his team-leading 21st goal of the season. Rodriguez was shaken up on the play and had to be helped off the field, but was able to return in the second half. Three minutes later the Chiefs shattered any visions the Bulldogs (10-10) had of finding a glass slipper when Jesus Chavez booked his first goal of the season with an assist from Ruben Moran. 

Waubonsee proceeded to control the ball throughout much of the second half, limiting the comeback opportunities for South Suburban. For the match Waubonsee outshot the Bulldogs 8-2 and kept them on the defensive for much of the day. Chiefs’ keeper Paulino Mansera, who was third on the depth chart earlier in the season, was named the Region IV Tournament Most Valuable Player as he helped anchor the Chiefs’ defense. Mansera registered a pair of saves on the way to notching his eighth win and second shutout of the season in goal.                                                               

© 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

Beer Named Waubonsee Assistant Dean for Business and Career Technologies

Dr. David Beer has been appointed to the position of Assistant Dean for Business and Career Technologies at Waubonsee Community College. His new position is a promotion, as he has previously been serving as Career and Technical Education Analyst for the college.

Beer earned a Doctorate of Education degree in Community College Leadership and a master’s degree in management, both from National-Louis University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University after earning his associate degree from Triton Community College. He has nearly 23 years of higher education experience, including 19 years at Triton Community College and four years at Waubonsee.

He has served as Career and Technical Education Analyst at Waubonsee Community College since 2013. His work in this area included the oversight of the Perkins and Program Improvement Grants, which serve to improve career and technical education. Dr. Beer also worked closely with full-time and adjunct faculty in Career and Technical Education (CTE) to provide professional development opportunities. Dr. Beer has been very active with CTE initiatives and has served as the state’s lead CTE liaison for the Illinois Community College Board Task Force Advisory.

© 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

Waubonsee Administrator Honored as part of Influential Women in Business

Waubonsee Community College Vice President of Student Development Dr. Melinda Tejada is being honored in the “Business Ledger’s” 19th Annual Influential Women in Business awards program.

Tejada is one of 19 women executives who will be honored during an event in November.  The awards recognize outstanding women who excel in business, civic and personal arenas within the Business Ledger’s primary editorial coverage area (suburban Chicago). The awards are presented in partnership with the National Association of Women Business Owners - Chicago Area Chapter.

Within her career at Waubonsee, Tejada has been promoted six times to her current role as Vice President of Student Development. She has a Doctorate of Education from Northern Illinois University, which she completed while working full time. Within her role at the college she provides leadership and oversight for student development services such as Admissions, Records, Registration, Athletics, Financial Aid, Student Life, Access Center for Disability Resources, Career Development, Learning Assessment and Testing Services, Student Support Services and Upward Bound.

Tejada is also involved in state and national professional organizations. She currently serves on the College Student Personnel International national board, and as the Association for Individual Development Board secretary. She has served three terms on the board of the Fox Valley United Way, and serves on the board of the Quad County Urban League. She also serves on the executive committee for Strong, Prepared And Ready for Kindergarten (SPARK), the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry Advising Board and has served with the Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board and Aurora Community Study Circles.

© 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

Waubonsee Previews Multiple Career and Technical Education Programs

Individuals interested in a broad variety of career and technical (CTE) programs will have the opportunity to sample these programs through sessions scheduled this fall at Waubonsee Community College.

The CTE Experience event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 9, beginning at 6 pm. at the Aurora Fox Valley campus, located at 2060 Ogden Avenue. Participants will learn about many of the college’s CTE programs in just one night, seeing specialized equipment and labs while having the opportunity to discuss programs with faculty and staff.

For those seeking more detailed information about a specific program, Waubonsee offers ongoing CTE Essentials sessions from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays throughout the year at one of the four Waubonsee campuses. These sessions include facility tours, faculty talks, and information focused on program admission requirements and career prospects.

September sessions will feature graphic design, surgical technology and photography. During the month of October, audio production, automation technology, computer-aided design and drafting, health information technology, machine tool technology, mass communications and medical assistant will be featured. November events will focus on computer information systems, emergency medical technician, fire science and web development, while December sessions will highlight nursing and real estate.

To learn more and to RSVP for any of these events, visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student-Athletes, Teams Recognized for Classroom Achievements

Twenty-three Waubonsee student-athletes and five Chiefs teams were recently recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for their excellence in the classroom for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Of the 23 recognized individuals, two achieved the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence with a 4.0 grade point average; seven were honored with the Superior Academic Achievement Award by attaining an overall grade point average of 3.8 to 3.99; and 14 received the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award with a grade point average between 3.6 and 3.79 overall. I

n addition, the the women’s cross country team finished sixth nationally among all NJCAA cross country squads with a team grade point average of 3.47 overall. Four other teams were recognized for achieving at least a 3.0 team grade point average to be among the NJCAA’s Academic Team of the Year nominees. They included volleyball, women’s tennis, women’s soccer and baseball.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Coach accepted into USA Volleyball Training Program

Kish to work with USA Volleyball's High Performance Program

Waubonsee Community College’s Women’s Volleyball head coach Steve Kish was recently accepted into USA Volleyball’s High Performance Coaching Program. The ultimate goal of the program is to identify and develop future USA Olympians, while bridging the gap between the USA National Teams and youth programs across the country. Kish will be trained in the U.S. National Team’s skill and system model, their training and competition programs, and be able to network with some of the top volleyball coaches nationwide.

The Aurora East High School graduate is just beginning his fifth season guiding Waubonsee’s volleyball program. Prior to his arrival Waubonsee volleyball had only four winning seasons in the previous 17 years. In just his second season Kish's 2013 team equaled the school record for wins in a season set in 1994, going 35-8 overall. The following year his squad captured the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) title for the first time ever, going undefeated (10-0) along the way. Waubonsee went on to grab the Region IV Division II District B title for the first time and earn a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. Kish’s crew placed 14th nationally, finishing 35-16 overall, as he was named the ISCC and Region IV District B Coach of the Year. Last fall the Yorkville resident’s team finished second in the ISCC and were the Region IV Runners-up as Kish became the fastest Waubonsee coach to 100 career wins. Heading into this season Waubonsee is ranked 13th nationally in the NJCAA’s Division II pre-season poll. 

© 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