High School Graduate
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!
Associate of Arts
General Studies Classes
"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.
Associate of Applied Science, Outdoor Leadership
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.
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 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.
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.
Photos from the classroom
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
E-Commerce for Teachers
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.
Environmental Science for Teachers
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."
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.
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.
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.
Kids Can Cook!
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.
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...
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!
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
- GPS Devices