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Spring blooms on YVC's Grandview Campus

In Basket I Spring 2024

Coffee with Navigators supports student success

YVC’s recently-launched Coffee with Navigators series has been successful in helping students navigate important topics that impact their education. During winter quarter, topics covered include scholarship information, transfer to other institutions for further studies, and financial aid and maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

At a recent Coffee with Navigators, several students shared how they benefitted from the support of the college’s pathway navigators.

Biology student Anakin Tramell attended the February scholarship session to learn more about how to find and apply for scholarships. “I came for the first time to see what might be available for me,” said Tramell. Tramell walked away with information about how to apply to the YVC Foundation Scholarship.

Psychology student Alli Moreno has attended several Coffee with Navigators sessions. “The events make me more aware of different things I need to know,” says Moreno. “I find the information about scholarship opportunities really interesting and helpful.

 “Navigators at the events have helped me quite a bit,” says Leo Garcia, who is working on a degree in Business Administration. “I’ve learned about scholarship opportunities and other resources that I am eligible for.”

Coffee with Navigators Event
Navigator Alex Bazan, left, talks with students during a recent Coffee with Navigators event.

Running Start student Caylin Naranjo, who attended her first Coffee with Navigators in February, says the extra support was helpful. “The staff were very welcoming and supportive and helped answer all the questions I had.”

For first-generation student Alejandra Preciado, the event series has helped her navigate important college resources that she wasn’t familiar with, such as finding scholarships or transferring to a university. Preciado also was able to talk to representatives from Washington State University and Heritage University who were present at a transfer fair held in conjunction with the event. “They helped me go to websites and learn more about scholarships and how to increase my chances of getting them [after my time at YVC].”

Staff participate in annual retreat

Hosted by the college’s Professional Development Team, Yakima Valley College staff participated in a day-long annual retreat in December. The event, hosted for staff, faculty and administrators, provides an opportunity for employees to network and break down barriers in communication that are sometimes present across organizational units.

Instructor Mark Fuzie spoke with the group about being a “student ready” institution while Instructor Dan Peters led a session about artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and how they are transforming the educational landscape.

A highlight of the event came during a student panel, where employees were able to hear directly from students about a variety of topics related to their experiences at YVC. Economics Instructor Brock Eubanks led the group in a series of self-defense exercises and team building activities and chair yoga rounded out the event.


Staff retreat
Staff members participate in a team building activity during the Professional Development Team Retreat in December.

Camera equipment donated to YVC programs

Earlier this year, SONY Pictures donated more than a dozen digital cameras, as well as video cameras and other equipment to YVC’s studio arts and photography program. Additionally, the company gifted an omnidirectional camera  that has a 360-degree field of view needed to capture large visual fields, such as panoramas.

Instructor Peter Monahan said YVC was chosen as a recipient of the surplus SONY equipment due to it being a rural institution serving a diverse population.

“YVC’s recognition as an Hispanic-Service Institution, located on traditional Yakama lands, with limited resources in the photography department, caught the attention of SONY employees who facilitated the donation,” said Monahan.

YVC is currently using the equipment to enhance instruction in photography classes as well as in the Speech & Language Center.

“With the cost of entry-level, mid-range and high-end cameras being an expense that some students are unable to afford, SONY’s donation to YVC is a gift that truly benefits our students and their education,” says Photography Instructor Chris Otten.

“Students enrolled in digital photography classes are encouraged to experiment with this professional equipment to learn how camera systems operate under different conditions and become familiar with how photographers work in commercial and fine art photography,” said Otten.

Photography Instructor Chris Otten reviews a students photo during class.
Photography Instructor Chris Otten reviews a student's photo during class.

Business administration students attend tourism conference

During fall quarter, students enrolled in the BA 156 Marketing class at Yakima Valley College received scholarships from the State of Washington Tourism Department to participate in the State of Washington Tourism Conference and Responsible Outdoor Travel Summit. This unique opportunity provided students with invaluable insights into the dynamic world of tourism, travel and outdoor travel marketing said Instructor Eric Patrick.

During the conference, held in Yakima, students had the chance to engage with industry professionals, attend educational sessions and listen to the keynote address from Celisa Hopkins, executive director of the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy. Hopkins shed light on the significance of local hiking destinations as part of the broader tourism landscape, emphasizing sustainability efforts to preserve and protect these areas for future generations.

“The experience was quite educational for many of the students, expanding their understanding of the extensive role marketing plays in diverse fields and careers,” said Patrick. “A post-conference classroom roundtable allowed students to express their newfound perspectives, with comments such as, ‘I didn’t realize that local hiking could be considered a tourism destination,’ and ‘I was unaware of the sustainability efforts dedicated to maintaining and protecting hiking areas for generations to come.’”

Stories by Stefanie Menard, AA-DTA ’05, communications consultant. Photos by Menard and Dustin Wunderlich, director of community relations.