More than 2,000 students to graduate from Edmonds Community College

Co-commencement speaker Janine Frizzell

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.’ We agree,” said Edmonds Community College President Jean Hernandez. “We value the motivation of our graduates and eagerly look forward to the contributions they will make as industry and civic leaders, entrepreneurs, volunteers, lifelong learners, and members of our local and global community.”

For 2012-13, Edmonds CC is awarding 2,105 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 77. This year’s student commencement speakers are Janine Frizzell, 21, and Samer Kamel, 23.

Frizzell first attended Edmonds Community College as a Running Start student from Meadowdale High School, earning her Associate of Arts degree in 2009. It was during an English class that her eyes were opened to the horrors of human rights violations, especially in Cambodia. So, while on a trip with her church to Cambodia in 2010, Janine met a woman from the U.S. who was opening a restaurant in Battambang — and was hit with a life changing idea.

“I decided I wanted to open a restaurant here in the U.S. that had really good food,” said Janine, “and that would also be a place where I could sell products that help benefit organizations that fight against and call attention to human rights violations against women.”

There was only one problem — Janine didn’t know how to cook. So she called a well known cooking school in Seattle that, after finding out that she lived near Edmonds CC, told her she could enroll in our Culinary Arts Program for a fraction of the cost. So she returned to Edmonds CC. “After I looked at the program and spoke to the instructors, I knew this was the place for me,” Janine said.

After only two months into her second associate degree at Edmonds CC, Janine secured her first culinary job, cooking at a girl scout camp. “After that, I got a dishwashing job at country club in Bellevue,” she said. “After the first week, the chef told me, ‘I’ve seen you make your own dinner, and I’ve tried what you left in the pan. It’s amazing.’ He wanted me to do more cooking, and less dishwashing.”

Janine now lives on Orcas Island where, after working at the famous Rosario Resort and Spa, she now is a cook for two restaurants. Janine’s advice to students? “You have to love what you do as well as do what you love. Nothing else will make you happy forever.”

Commencement speaker Samer Kamel (photos courtesy EdCC).

Kamel was studying mechanical engineering in his native Egypt when a friend told him about a similar program at Edmonds Community College. He learned about the college and decided to take the big step of enrolling as an international student. But before, Samer could get serious about mechanical engineering, he had to learn English once here through Edmonds CC’s English as a Second Language program.

Despite the challenges of learning a complex subject in a new language, Samer knew he wanted to be active in college life, as well. To that end, he took a job as a driver for Edmonds CC’s International Student Services, where he met people from around the world and shared his experiences with them. In addition, Samer kept busy as an assistant in the office of the Executive Vice President for Instruction. With all of his duties, he also found time to work at a local gas station for spending money.

“Working and studying at the same time is very hard sometimes, but I decided I wanted a busy life,” said Samer, who plans to complete his degree at Washington State University. “It is preparing me for my future career. I encourage everyone to study hard now and establish goals to achieve. Nothing is impossible for the person who really wants to succeed, whether in education, business, or just life.”

2012-13 Graduating Class — By the Numbers (May 2013 data)

· 2,105 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs (1,694 without GEDs)

· 35 percent earned college transfer degrees (740 degrees)

· 41 percent earned career degrees or certificates (867 degrees and certificates)

· 24 percent completed GED® or high school diploma (411 GEDs, plus 87 diplomas for a total of 498)

· 30 – average age of graduates

· 55 percent female

· 45 percent male

· 18 percent international students

· 77 – age of oldest graduate, Advanced Paralegal Certificate

· 17 – age of youngest graduate, Associate in Pre-Nursing

2012-13 College Highlights

During the past year, some of our favorite moments were spent:

· Applauding our anthropology students, who monitored wildlife passage structures for Snohomish County Public Works, City of Marysville, City of Mukilteo, Snoqualmie Tribe, Conservation Northwest, and Whidbey Camano Land Trust as part of an undergraduate research project. Congratulations Jane Hutchinson, Kyle Dewey, and Laurie Ross.

· Enjoying our Symphonic Choir’s debut of an original piece of music, “Sing to Me!,” composed by John Muehleisen, inspired by a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and commissioned by the Edmonds CC Arts, Culture, and Civic Engagement program.

· Cheering the success of our men’s basketball team and that of first-year coach Kyle Gray, who earned a trip to the NWAACC title game. The team’s 26-4 record came one year after it finished 3-21.

· Celebrating the achievements of the Edmonds CC Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) student chapter, whose members designed and built a water-pumping windmill for their capstone project, which won second place at the SME Manufacturing Challenge.

· Awarding, for the sixth straight year, three $1,300 scholarships to students as part of the Edmonds CC Read community-read program. The students read Jamie Ford’s novel “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and submitted projects inspired by it. Congratulations to Veaunna Felton, Spencer Lestiadi, and Nicole Ryan.

· Helping aerospace meet employment demands. More than 800 students who completed certificates at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center were able to secure jobs.

· Being the only community college in the state to participate in RecycleMania, a nationwide competition aimed at reducing waste and increasing recycling on college campuses.

· Receiving a STARS silver rating in recognition of our sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

· Welcoming Congressman Rick Larsen to meet with Edmonds CC student leaders to talk about potential budget cuts to higher education and the importance of continued funding of federal financial aid, including Pell Grants.

· Acknowledging the contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a lecture by famed activist Angela Davis at the Black Box Theatre.

· Working to create a program to promote health and wellness for students, employees, and our community, thanks to a $369,000 grant from Verdant Health Commission.

· Developing curriculum for our new sustainable agriculture program to train students for emerging green careers in agriculture and related environmental fields with a $900,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

· Celebrating the achievements of our published faculty. Check out “Circle of Identity” by Minh Carrico; “The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World” by Holly Hughes; and “A Quilt and a Home” by Pam Wessel-Estes.

· Partnering — the Edmonds CC’s MatEd National Resource Center and the United States Fab Lab Network — to host a conference on campus. A FabLab is a space where digital technologies, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, are used to create products and generate new ideas and thinking about manufacturing.

· Welcoming to our campus more than 40 local employers with full-time, part-time and seasonal positions for the 18th annual Career Fair.

· Highlighting the bloodcurdling creativity of Washington state filmmakers specializing in the spooky during Bleedingham, the Horrific Zombie Film Fest at the Black Box Theatre.

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