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Yakima Campus YVC bushes in spring

In Basket I Summer 2023

Conklin appointed to communication school board

Business Administration Instructor Michael Conklin was recently appointed to an advisory board at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication.   

“It’s an honor for me to be selected to serve with this group of top-industry professionals,” said Conklin. “What stands out is that I was not so much recognized for my radio-TV career, or news coverage awards, but that I’m teaching with Yakima Valley College; one of only two college teachers on the board. There is a special interest in YVC’s diversity and in working with underserved groups.”

Conklin lives in Seattle and works full-time for Boeing, while teaching part-time online for YVC.

Three claps for Garcia, navigators

Outreach and Retention Coordinator Al Garcia is making progress and getting noticed for his work recruiting more students into YVC’s programs. Garcia has been working with the Community Relations Office to update and develop new outreach material, attending high school nights and community events and supporting admission initiatives like the upcoming Express Enrollment Days.

Colleague Sherrie Warren shares, “Al Garcia is doing an amazing job in the admissions recruitment area. I honestly don’t even know all that he is doing. He is such a dynamic person that is devoted to assisting students.”

YVC’s Pathway Navigators, Karla Rabadan, Bertha Gonzalez, Brenda Montoya-Roman, Jessey Allen and Alex Bazan have also stood out recently for their efforts to help advise and support students in their efforts to pursue college.

“Pathway Navigators put more ‘serving’ into being a Hispanic Serving Institution,” says English Instructor and Guided Pathways Director Mark Fuzie. “As part of its Guided Pathways initiative YVC has hired five Pathway Navigators to help students make their way through the often times challenging systems necessary for success in college.”

These individuals have also been instrumental in helping the college roll out the new YakConnect app — which launched this winter and is supporting student success as a team-based approach.


Kinzell attends local Veterans Fair, meets with Representative Newhouse

YVC’s Veterans Program Coordinator Chris Kinzell recently attended the 2023 Veterans Service Fair where she met and spoke with Congressman Dan Newhouse about YVC’s program. The event, which was held in April at the Yakima Convention and Event Center, featured organizations offering help with VA and healthcare benefits, counseling, and employment opportunities.

“As your representative in Congress, I have worked hard in Washington, D.C. to be an advocate for veterans,” shared Newhouse in a statement about the event. “I believe it is important to provide an opportunity for Central Washington’s veterans to explore the resources available to them throughout our region; it is the least we can do to thank them for their service to our country.”

Chris Kinzell and Representative Dan Newhouse at the 2023 Veterans Service Fair

Tucker earns exempt scholarship

STEM Navigator Vanessa Tucker recently was selected to receive the 2023 Administrative/Exempt Scholarship award for $1,500. Tucker will use this scholarship to support her master’s degree program.

Owen publishes research

Philosophy Instructor Matt Owen recently teamed up with the director of the Center for Consciousness Science at the University of Michigan, Professor Anthony Hudetz, and Aryn Owen, the Eastern Washington educator for Airlift Northwest, to write a chapter for a bioethics volume. “An Aristotelian-Thomistic Framework for Detecting Covert Consciousness in Unresponsive Persons” was published in the volume “Taking Persons Seriously: Where Philosophy, Science and Bioethics Intersect,” edited by Mihretu Guta and Scott Rae.

“Our chapter is very relevant to the healthcare ethics philosophy courses I co-teach in the nursing program,” said Owen of his latest work. You can read more about Owen’s work in bioethics in our earlier YVC Voice story.

Yakima Valley Vintners earns 9 new awards at 2023 Seattle Wine Awards

Yakima Valley Vintners (YVV), Yakima Valley College’s teaching winery, recently received honors at the 2023 Seattle Wine Awards/Washington State Wine Awards. YVC’s 2019 Carménère, 2019 Syrah, 2019 Cabernet Franc, 2022 Book Club Pinot Gris and 2019 Merlot received gold. The 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, 2022 History Class Pinot Gris, 2022 Easy A Chardonnay and 2022 Study Skills Chardonnay each garnered silver medals. Three of the gold medal wines (Carménère, Syrah and Cabernet Franc) obtained a score of 94 on the 100-point Wine Awards Scale.

Some of the fruit used in making these wines came from vineyards in which program alumni were involved. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Cabernet Franc are from Noel Vineyard, where alumnus Teo Petropoulos is the vineyard manager, and the Merlot is from Wautoma Winds, a vineyard started by graduate Doug Robert.  Fruit from the other wines comes from industry partners that support student education in vineyard and winery technology. 

All award-winning wines submitted by Yakima Valley Vintners were produced by students completing course work in YVC’s Vineyard & Winery Technology program. Seattle Wine Awards is Washington State’s most prestigious wine awards program.

2023 Gold Medal Winners
2023 Gold Medal Winners
2023 Silver Medal Winners
2023 Silver Medal Winners

Lee earns backflow certification

Maintenance Mechanic 2 Andrew Lee recently became state certified as a backflow assembly tester. Backflow assemblies are pieces of plumbing that prevent contaminated water from sewers, drains and other sources from entering back into the clean water supply. These are regulated and must be inspected and tested by state certified testers, like Lee. YVC has well over 100 backflow assemblies on its campuses. Lee will renew his license every year or so by completing the renewal course and taking the exams again. 

PDC retreat returns after two-year hiatus

The Professional Development Committee (PDC) welcomed the return of its annual retreat this past December. Featured speakers included Library Director Leslie Potter-Henderson, English Instructor Dan Peters, Economics Instructor Brock Eubanks and local entrepreneur Forbes Mercy. Employees learned about reaching goals, changing perspectives, behavior and affecting cultural change, organizational leadership, success, coping with change and more.

Gallery participates in assessment

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), an organization representing the museum community, recently selected a new cohort of museums to participate in its 2023 Museum Assessment Program (MAP), including Larson Gallery.

Since its inception in 1981, the MAP has helped more than 5,000 small and mid-sized museums of all types strengthen operations, plan for the future and meet standards.

To participate, museums choose from one of five institutional assessment types: organizational, collections stewardship, education and interpretation, community and audience engagement, or board leadership. All five assessment types are grounded in AAM’s core standards.

“The Larson Gallery is happy to participate in the Collections Stewardship program as part of the 2023 cohort of MAP museums,” says Gallery Director David Lynx.  “This grant will enable us to ensure that we meet excellence in museums standards for over 750 works of art under our care.”