Year in Review 2018-2019 | Prince William Sound College

Dual-Credit Success

4 students from Valdez High School graduated with both a high school diploma and Associate of Arts, simultaneously. The Fall 2019 semester will be PWSC's 25th year offering dual credit courses (the program began in 1994)! We look forward to the many students who will receive their diploma and Associate of Arts at the same time during the next 25 years!

From left to right: Emily Humphrey, Lexie Henderson, Kendall Wesenberg, Domonique Alex
Glennallen Dual Credit Students

High School Graduate

College Junior

Domonique Alex is excited to attend Idaho State University, and completing her education there will be easier because she has already earned her Associate of Arts from PWSC, allowing her to transfer in as a junior when she is ready to complete a bachelor’s. Domonique said, “They ended up accepting all of my credits from PWSC, which was really nice. So I can go in having my AA completely done and I will not have to take any classes a second time.” She also says that taking dual-credit courses gave her confidence in her ability to attend university-level classes, stating “I’m a lot less nervous, I think, than some of the other students are about going to college out of state because they have never taken a college class and they have never met with advisors…”

Emily Humphrey plans on attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall to pursue a bachelor's degree in secondary education.

"..if you're looking for something that's somewhat more personal as opposed to a big lecture hall. That’s the nice thing about it (PWSC). The classes are small, so you get a lot of time to talk to the professor and you know you can go to them for help more easily."

Valdez High School Student Wins Big Scholarship!

Congratulations to Valdez local Danny Tapp for winning a year's worth of tuition to attend PWSC! Danny said that her grandmother Rhonda had really encouraged her to apply for scholarships. She also encouraged Danny to put her name in for a PWSC tuition drawing, and Danny won the award! Danny's excited, stating, "I want to be the first one in my family to earn a college degree." Way to go, Danny, we're glad you will be attending PWSC this fall!

Students get their own room and live in apartment-style dorms!
Tired of only seeing glaciers on TV? Valdez is surrounded by them! Popular student trips include the Valdez and Worthington glaciers. Pictured here is the Root Glacier.
Academic Programs

Associate of Arts

General Studies Classes

Photos from microbiology, theatre appreciation, college algebra, and environmental science.

Civic Engagement

"The "Do Good" Project

Students in Teresa Barton's Small Group Communications class held a food drive as a part of a class project. The aim of the assignment was to work in small groups to develop, create, and/or conduct a project, fundraiser, or service that addressed a need of the community. This project was based on Dr. Elizabeth Minei's "Do Good" project. Kirsten, Carmella, Jared, and Sergei decided to put on a food drive and hosted an open mic night at the Fat Mermaid to raise donations. Donated food was given to the Valdez Food Bank.

“People who live in small villages are used to small communities, and this is just a little step up from that… it’s not too overwhelming with people and cars everywhere.”

- Taylor Myers, student from King Salmon, Alaska

Associate of Applied Science, Outdoor Leadership

Photos from backpacking, water safety, rafting, outdoor orientation, and winter camping.
"These are experiences I will treasure..." - Daniel Barbero, Outdoor Leadership student

This is the second year we have partnered with the elementary and high school to teach kids about water safety

As a part of the Kids Don't Float program, PWSC outdoor leadership students helped train the high school aquatics class on water safety. Both the college and high school students then presented to Hermon Hutchens' fourth-graders about cold water survival and water safety.

Outdoor Leadership Assistant Professor Erin Cutts presented the Kids Don't Float Ambassador Program plaque to Carl Young on behalf of the Valdez High School.

K-12 Partnership

Outdoor Leadership students taught physical education classes at the George H Gilson Middle School.

Each student also participated in 10-15 hours of community service.

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson is pursuing an associates degree in outdoor leadership at PWSC. When he's not attending classes, he is busy working for the Valdez Avalanche Center and the City of Valdez Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services. He enjoys the hands-on experience these jobs provide stating:

"I enjoy the ability to put into practice what I am studying in school."

PWSC sUAS Ground School

Partnering with industry and the community to build the future.

PWSC partners with the world-renowned Alaska Aerial Media/Advanced Aerial Education (AAE) out of Anchorage to teach students hands-on skills to become professional small unmanned aircraft pilots. The course prepares students to pass the FAA's Part 107 national exam. It is the only college-level course designed for undergraduates within the University of Alaska, and it exceeds national standards thanks to our partnership with AAE.

PWSC was awarded a University of Alaska Workforce Development and Training grant to purchase a DJI Matrice 200 system with the DJI X5s cinema payload and the FLIR XT2 payload. This complex drone requires a team of three to four people, and enables students to work as a real-life flight crew in a variety of outdoor environments. These roles include the Pilot in Command, Visual Observer, Mission Commander, and Payload Operator. Students practice each role.

Whereas a majority of sUAS training courses fail due to their focus on speed instead of quality, the PWSC program is designed for students who have no prior flight experience and focuses on demonstrable, quality, manual pilot flight capability. The college has even had to "undo" the poor training some students have received in other private trainings.

Matrice 200 system courtesy of UA grant

This FLIR image was used to help students understand how to search for and determine hot spots. Students took turns hiding in the mountain alder forests while the remaining flight crew tried to locate them as fast as possible, simulating security and search and rescue events.

The FLIR application supports various color modes based on the needs and preferences of the camera operator in relation to their mission.

The traditional "Predator" heat color scheme. Students were able to identify points of heat generation, such as generators and vents, as well as areas of heat loss, such as the new campus roof that was being built this summer.

Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Millwright

100% Graduation Rate!

All 10 students in the millwright class graduated! (8 of them made it to commencement and are featured in this picture.)

Photos from the classroom

"It was my first time graduating because I never finished high school; I got a GED."

- Jayden Miller

Tye's father is a millwright and that is what sparked his interest in learning the trade. Tye’s favorite part about the program is the teacher, Dennis Eastman. He has also enjoyed learning basic welding techniques. He says that he is open to wherever the program can take him, he just wants to learn as much as possible while he is here.

Field Trips

The classroom would not be complete without a tour of the field, where the real-world applicability of hands-on skills are explored, tested, and verified.

PWSC Millwright students tour the Municipality of Anchorage Power Plant to learn about all of the ways that their hands-on skills learned in class are used "in the real world" on the job. These tours allow PWSC and Alaska's industrial sector to partner and offer unique opportunities to students.

PWSC and Pogo Gold Mine partnered for another Millwright student field trip. From small pumps to massive, building-shaking machines, students were able to see their course work in a real-world setting. A few students had never considered working at a mine prior to the tour, but they left the tour convinced that this was the sector for them.

PWSC Millwright students learn how the National Park Service utilizes trades workers for maintaining historical parks at the Kennecott Copper Mill in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Group shot!
The old Kennecott Copper Mill, Alaska.
Very historical, much wow.
The Millwright students are a close group. The end-of-semester BBQ potlacht was an opportunity to come together one last team before departing for the work force.

Health Care @ PWSC

PWSC Nursing is #UAStrong

Shelby Gudgell

Nursing Student

Shelby Gudgell is a student currently enrolled in the UAA nursing program at PWSC. Originally from Valdez, Alaska, she left the state to attend school before returning. Shelby stated, "I am an Alaskan resident, so it was a little bit cheaper to come back to school in Alaska, and I really missed it so much. I really didn’t know how much I took it for granted."

Last year, Shelby completed the Certified Nurse Aide course at PWSC and is now working as a CNA at the local hospital. Shelby said, "...Right now, here is the perfect place. I know everybody, I am familiar with my surroundings, and the hospital is fantastic. I am getting a little bit of everything, experience-wise. There is labor and delivery, trauma, ER, and geriatrics, so I am really happy about where I am right now.”

Certified Nurse Aide Course

Taught in partnership with Providence Valdez

CNA students.

ETT/EMT Dual Credit

18 students from Valdez High School recently completed an emergency medical services course taught by George Keeney for dual-credit. 11 of those students completed the Emergency Trauma Technician course and 7 have completed the Emergency Medical Technician course. Congratulations, students!

ETT/EMT Students

Community Emergency Response Certification

George Keeney leads PWSC's CERT training to prepare for natural disasters. This training is complimented by the college's rotation of additional safety courses:

  • CPR/First Aid courses.
  • Continued excellence in Oil Spill Response training.
  • HAZWOPER training.
  • Wilderness First Aid.
Oil Spill Response
Wilderness First Aid

Youth Preparedness Council

Congratulations, Faith Gray, on receiving your Emergency Trauma Technician certificate, and for also being appointed to the FEMA Region 10 Youth Preparedness Council! Out of 100 other students, Faith was nominated to be one of the three students that will represent Alaska. The Youth Preparedness Council was created by FEMA in 2012 to “bring together young leaders who are interested in supporting disaster preparedness and making a difference in their communities, by completing disaster preparedness projects nationally and locally.”


Student Internships

The culmination of a student's progress is in the internship: the moment of truth where their skills acquired in class begin to influence the world outside of class. Professional contacts are acquired, friends are made, and experiences define us.

Kaela Gaylord

Bureau of Land Management

Kaela has had a busy summer as an intern for the Bureau of Land Management - Alaska in the Glennallen Field Office. From helping with administrative duties to assisting with youth camp outdoor activities, she has done a little bit of everything and has learned a lot throughout her experience.

When asked about her BLM experience, Kaela said, “I've learned a lot from my time at BLM. BLM does many things, and I feel they are true stewards of the land. They run a number of campgrounds and trails, and they do a lot of work for tourists and those who live in the area. They also do research, employ wildlife and fisheries biologists, and are heavily engaged within the community... My highlight so far has been the different camps, like OWLS [Outdoor Wilderness Leadership Skills], and Aquatic Ecology Camp. I really love being in these programs because not only do I get to design and teach my own lessons, I also learn a lot from the supervisors. It is very neat to be able to design my own mini-programs because I get to teach what is interesting to me, and what I think will be interesting to the kids."

Read more about her summer experience as an intern at: https://pwsc.alaska.edu/pwsc-news/blm-kaela.cshtml.

Emily Humphrey

Chugach National Forest

When Emily heard about an internship opportunity through PWSC and the Chugach National Forest - Crooked Creek Information Site (CCIS), she knew she wanted to participate. Emily recently shared her excitement about spending part of her summer as an intern at CCIS.

“When I found out about this opportunity, I knew I wanted to do it. I think places like CCIS are a great benefit to the community to help people learn about the world around them. It has also been a great benefit to me because I am learning about things I hadn't previously known.” This internship also has the added benefit of helping Emily develop her teaching skills. She said, “I see this internship as a great opportunity to gain more experience providing education to youth and the general public.”

The internship program that Emily is a part of is a collaboration between PWSC and CCIS. CCIS is owned and managed by the USDA Forest Service through the Cordova Ranger District.

Adult Education

A community campus would not be complete without the commitment of staff and faculty toward the educational goals of non-traditional students--adults. PWSC would like to congratulate campus Adult Education instructor Teresa Barton on obtaining her Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Barton continues PWSC's commitment to help students who:

  • Are working toward their GED;
  • Are learning English as a second language (ESL);
  • Are obtaining United States citizenship.
ESL Students
Student activities include an Easter Egg hunt with prizes!
Student Government and Residence Life organizes several field trips to Anchorage and Fairbanks throughout the year.
If you love winter, you'll love Valdez!
Students visit Chena Hot Springs, north of Fairbanks.
Annual End of Semester BBQ!

AK Tech Learners Program

PWSC offered the Alaska Tech Learners (AKA Build the Web) program, a one-week summer camp for Alaska high school students funded by the National Science Foundation. The students were involved with learning various aspects of computer programming and web application engineering, and toured the local area to learn how their skills could be utilized to benefit local businesses.

Technology learners from across Alaska.
Various photos of the Alaska Tech Learners.
Tech Learners working with robotics.

For Teachers Project

PWSC hosted three courses for Alaskan high school (from Juneau to Fairbanks) teachers to improve the learning in their classrooms. This is the college's third year offering this program. The E-Commerce for Teachers program was funded by the National Science Foundation to improve web and programming literacy among Alaska's high school students.

NCCER For Teachers

Rex Hamner, pictured right, recently attended the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) for Teachers program at PWSC. He currently teaches welding, small engine repair, and agricultural subjects at a school in Tok, Alaska. Now that he has gone through the NCCER for Teachers program, he is certified to teach NCCER curriculum at his school.

Rex says, " By doing it with the [NCCER] curriculum, I can get kids certified to where, if they are going to work straight out of high school, they have a leg up on someone who hasn't been through the program. They can show their certificate that they've been through a core program. And with my background, I'll be able to get them a level-one Heavy Equipment Operator Endorsement or a Welding Endorsement. So that just gives them one up on others, and it opens the door a little wider for students coming out of Tok school to be employed."

Read his full interview on our website: https://pwsc.alaska.edu/pwsc-news/rex

US Coast Guard provided a tour of the Vessel Traffic Center.
Teachers verify basic electrical wiring.

E-Commerce for Teachers

Group shot!

E-Commerce for Teachers builds technical computing skills using a course that is part of the Alaska Tech Learner’s project. This year’s course teaches commercial web page development using HTML5 and CSS3. Teachers completing this course may choose to team with PWSC faculty to teach the Alaska Tech Learners curriculum at their high school for dual enrollment as a shared teaching assignment, TECH A120, which aligns to the State of Alaska technology and cultural standards.

Photo of the classroom.

Environmental Science for Teachers

Collecting water and mineral samples at a "mud volcano" near Glennallen, Alaska.

7 science teachers from across the state met in Glennallen for a week of hands-on, place-based learning. Instructor Bjorn Wolter brought his expertise in teaching pedagogy which, combined with amazing activities in McCarthy and Glennallen, made for a memorable learning experience.

Joey Roters, one of the science teachers participating, said: "The most valuable place based course I have been a part of in the last 20 years of teaching."

A worksheet of aquatic insects.

Other projects included river system ecology and larvae identification, geology, map and compass, and methods for simulating hazardous material spills and cleanup in a classroom environment.

Teachers observing a miniature crude oil spill.
The best place to learn about geology is in a location where you can observe the various geological forces at work in real time, such as at the massive Root Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Here because it's pretty...

Construction Academy

PWSC, in partnership with the Copper River School District, had construction trades students build a "Tiny House" to showcase their carpentry skills. Pictured at left is the "Game Chaser."

"I enjoyed this class, I would take it over any other!" Takoda.

Students and volunteers work on to complete a full tiny home build.

Continuing Education

Honoring Alaskan Traditions

PWSC is a community campus, and we offer dozens of non-credit, continuing education courses throughout the year based on community input. Here are a few of our most popular ones that honor Alaska's frontier spirit and traditions. Learn more and join our community by visiting us on Facebook.


Various images of student ceramics work. Taught by Jordan Van Duine.

Introduction to Mushing

People might joke about living in an igloo and taking sled dog teams to work, but the tradition of mushing continues. Sled dogs are very popular; who doesn't love a bunch of high-energy, friendly, fluffy friends? This course teaches people about the psychology and physiology of safe mushing practices that are in the best interest of the dogs.

Intro. to Dog Sledding with John Fowler
Sled dogs have been an enormous hit in Valdez and Glennallen! Thank you, John Fowler with Chugach Outfitters, for teaching it.
"Meet the Musher" Copper Basin 300 Open House. PWSC volunteers Fed 175 people from 7 different state and 7 different countries.

Copper Basin 300 Open House: January 2019, we hosted and fed about 175 people from seven different state and seven different countries. Also had a "Meet the Musher" where a musher running the Copper Basin 300 speaks and answers questions about the race and mushing.

Mushroom Identification

Classroom image.

Alaska, especially wet locations such as Valdez, are known their variety of fungi. Some are edible, many are not, and it can be hard to tell the difference between them. Because foraging and harvesting is a way of life in Alaska, the mushroom identification class is often requested by the community.

Fur Sewing

Robin Mayo teaches the popular Fur Sewing class out of our Copper Basin campus in Glennallen. The class is a great opportunity for Alaska Natives and non-Natives to share in this long-standing tradition.

Few sewing class photo.

Kids Can Cook!

Local kids showing off their food.

PWSC offered monthly cooking classes for kids, teaching them how to be confident in the kitchen and create delicious, nutritious food for themselves and their families. These skills will serve them well into the future as they learn to manage their food budgets through making meals at home.


Every year, PWSC partners with Herman Hutchens Elementary School to bring 6th graders to campus to learn about college life and begin considering potential careers that interest them. From Theater, Art, Outdoor Recreation, Science, Technology, English, and Math, students also get to draw a version of themselves in their ideal career. We look forward to being a part of that dream in 2025!

Halloween is a big deal in Valdez. This year's theme for the community trick-or-treat event was...Science Fiction! 100% Creative. 100% volunteer driven. To Area 51, Marvel MCU, Star Trek, Star Wars, and beyond!
Copper Basin Community Trick-or-Treat
Photos from the PWSC Theatre production If...

PWSC presented the first community-written play: If... Created by new playwrights from around Valdez, the play explores the psychological trauma of losing a best friend and the imaginative way in which the main character overcomes that grief.

Raising the roof!
Multiple writers, elaborate costumes--all volunteer created-- and nearly 20 volunteer actors. If... is PWSC's most ambitious community theater project yet!
Various shots from the PWSC Theatre Production of Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman. Directed by PWSC staff member Jay Stevens.

Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference

Every year, PWSC, in partnership with the City of Valdez, hosts the premiere theater event in Alaska. Bringing playwrights and actors of all skill levels and backgrounds, from aspiring actors in the Heartland to Broadway veterans in the Manhattan, the focus is on the impact art has on society and learning to be a master of the craft. The evening productions are all free to the public.

2019 VLFTC Play Labs
Spelman and Morehouse Colleges presents Hands Up by various artists

2019 VLFTC Actors

2019 VLTFC Playwrights

2019 VLFTC Featured Artists

From Play Labs, Play Slams, Fringe, and more, the conference draws a large crowd every year.
Scenes from Popcorn Falls by James Hindman
Black When I Was A Boy by Cooper Bates

Vegas in Valdez Archery (ViVA) Tournament

The Vegas in Valdez Archery (ViVA) Tournament continues to bring professional archers from across the state together for the largest indoor archery tournament in Alaska. For the first time in the event’s history, ViVA awarded a $2,500.00 payout across the field. Other events included: free archery instruction, several fun shoots, games, and a social dinner on Saturday night. Young adult Therron Rude won the $1,000.00 grand prize at the 9th annual Vegas in Valdez Archery Tournament (ViVA) held in Valdez, Alaska, on Sunday. Therron, a high school student from Glennallen, Alaska, topped several veteran archers from across South Central Alaska, including his father and coach, Paul Rude. In addition to the $1000.00 Top Ten Shoot Out prize, Therron also walked away with a first place medal in his division, a $100.00 cash payout, and a $500.00 scholarship to attend Prince William Sound College. Therron is off to a great start with his archery career.

Valdez Storytellers: True Stories from Alaska

Gold Rush Days

PWSC hosts the start of the Valdez Gold Rush Days every August. With Golden Rocks for outstanding efforts in beautification across the city to Can Can Girls arresting the populace to raise funds for charity, PWSC is proud to be a part of this vibrant city tradition. Valdez is famous for being the true start of the Alaska highway system. The Richardson Highway, the first road in the state, follows along a historic gold route into the interior. Why isn't the Richardson Highway #1 instead of #4, and who did that? We won't say they were suffering from jealousy, envy, maybe a little insecurity...

Various shots from the Gold Rush Days festivities.
Glennallen 4H Gardening Symposium with 30+ people.
Community Clean Up Day


The Whitney Museum, the largest personal collection of Alaskan artifacts in the world, received over 10,000 visitors this summer! This record-breaking season was due to the City of Valdez partnering with various cruise lines to diversify the local economy by showcasing the strengths of the Valdez community. Hundreds of visitors have been uploading their selfies online!

Rows of tour buses take over the college parking lot.
Group tour selfie.
Coast Guard selfie.
Tourist selfie.
Tourist selfie.
Mental Health First Aid training in Copper Basin

Health & Fitness Center

The PWSC Health & Fitness Center continues to be the community leader in physical fitness. Between dance and yoga classes, a state-of-the-art gym, or our famous Ski for Free program in partnership with SWAN, the college helps students, staff, and community members maintain their physical and mental health through exercise. It is the only public gym within 250 miles.

The Ski for Free program has been building up its arsenal of outdoor gear to allow students and staff to take advantage of the snowiest city on earth! Free rentals include but are not limited to:

  • Cross Country and Skate Skis
  • Trekking Poles
  • Avalanche Beacons
  • Avalanche Backbacks
  • Snowshoes
  • GPS Devices
Aerobics Class.

Don't Wait Until Next Year!

Follow PWSC on social media to keep up to date with current events happening around our communities:

Rainbow over campus.

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