Capstone project awards announced

Congratulations to the 2015 Capstone winners! These student-designed projects were selected to be funded by the Centralia College Foundation board and will be presented at the Capstone event on June 5. The winning projects and student names are as follows:

  1. Underwater rover, designed to dive over 100 feet – Micah Corwin & Blake Wiley
  2. Galvanizing process of iron nails – Johnny Blosl
  3. Using the Vernier Gas Pressure Sensor to identify unknown metals – Jared Chung
  4. Vital signs monitory station – Gerald Fairfield & Travis Haferkamp
  5. Investigation of tree rings from tilted living trees and submerged subfossil snags in Crescent Lake – Garret Marlantes
  6. Use of radiocarbon dating and tree-ring analysis to study submerged forest in Lake Kapowsin – Jordan Conner
  7. Build and install servos into a robot that will move from six different axis – Glenn Emigh
  8. RFID security locking dog door – Lucas Ruble
  9. Comparison of Green Wittig Reaction methods – Amy Johnson
  10. A Tale of Two Copper Labs: A Green Approach, designed to examine the copper cycle – Sania Marri

On the cutting edge, Centralia College is possibly the first in the state to offer funding for community college student research projects. Thanks to the generous support of the Foundation board, these aspiring scientists and engineers now have the opportunity to put their innovative ideas into action. Come cheer them on at the Capstone Project Presentation Day and prepare to be impressed!

Relay For Life team looking for volunteers

ASCC Student Government is currently forming a team to participate in this year’s Relay For Life of Lewis County. The annual community event, which will be held at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, begins on May 15 at 4 p.m. and ends on May 16 at 4 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering to walk on the team can sign up in the Student Center, Room 126. Faculty, staff, students and community members are also welcome to visit the ASCC Student Government team booth at the event.

For more information on how you can be involved, contact Emily Ivie, senator for clubs and organizations, at

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer. Many volunteers participate in the event to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight once and for all.

For more information about the event, click on the Relay for Life of Lewis County link:

Centralia College professor earns PhD in English


Dr. Sharon Mitchler, Centralia College professor of English and humanities, officially finished her Ph.D. in English through the University of Washington on March 20. The coursework and her dissertation took a rigorous five years to complete—and an impressive five minutes to be approved by the committee that heard her defense!

After the intensity of researching, writing, and commuting to Seattle, Dr. Mitchler admits, “I’m just starting to feel like it’s finally done.”

Unlike most doctorate students, Dr. Mitchler continued to teach full time during four out of the five years of her program.

“I learned I could do things that are harder than I realized,” she described. “I went in thinking I wanted to be pushed. It was a struggle all the way through, but it was good for me.”

With initial encouragement and support from retired Centralia College President Dr. James Walton and current President Dr. Robert Frost, Dr. Mitchler was awarded a year sabbatical and later given release time to finish her doctorate.

“That was incredibly helpful,” she said. “The sabbatical year and support from Centralia College made it possible.”

Not only did Dr. Mitchler have administrative support, she says countless people on campus and in the community helped her through.

“Everyone on campus has been like a big cheering squad. People went out of their way to encourage me,” she said. “This was the right place and right time for me to do this. I would not have finished if it had not been for that.”

Dr. Mitchler, who has taught English and humanities courses at Centralia College for the past 17 years, wanted to focus her doctorate study on something that had a direct tie to students here. In her American literature classes, she noticed rural students were not participating in discussions relating specifically to rural images in poems and stories as she would expect. This surprised her. She wanted to investigate the reasons behind this disconnect and develop specific strategies to improve her own teaching.

Prior to her research, she had not even considered that students attending Centralia College might not want to be identified as “rural” even in a rural setting.

“It was quite fascinating to discover students were actually in an uncomfortable position when I was doing that…to see where my misperceptions were creating problems rather than solving them.”

After this discovery, Dr. Mitchler began researching theories of teaching “critical pedagogy” to find out why the form of teaching she was using wasn’t working and looking for new teaching strategies she could implement in her classes. Her research led her to focus more on student-led discussions and student-centered assignments, which she has already tried implementing in her classes.

“I think it has improved my teaching. That was the whole point.,” she said.

Dr. Mitchler, who already boasts two master’s degrees in English and humanities, jokingly admits, “I’m just a fool for school.” But her reasons for pursing her doctorate go beyond personal aspiration and professional growth. She believes her Ph.D. will directly benefit the college.

“With a terminal degree, I’ll be more successful in grant applications. It opens up a whole line of other things I could do here that could benefit students.”

Now that she is finished with the program, Dr. Mitchler is ready to return to a more “normal” life as a professor—investing in her students and in the college community that inspired and enabled her to achieve her dream.

An electronic copy of Dr. Mitchler’s dissertation, “Towards Using Critical Rural Pedagogy with Rural Community College Students in Undergraduate American Literature Classes,” will be available through the Centralia College library’s ProQuest database as well as from the University of Washington library.

Centralia College is proud of Dr. Sharon Mitchler and heartily congratulates her on her impressive accomplishment!

Free Job Fair returns to Centralia College

Job-FairCentralia College is excited to host the 23rd annual Job Fair on Wednesday, April 22. Over 50 local and regional employers will be on campus to talk with students about current or upcoming job opportunities through informational interviewing.

Students, graduates, and anyone in the community looking for employment are welcome to attend the free event which will be held in the Health and Wellness Center (gym) on the corner of Walnut and Iron streets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The Centralia College job fairs have had quite positive results,” said Joan Rogerson, coordinator of student employment at the college, adding that local and regional employers will be present to discuss part-time, full-time, seasonal, and even apprenticeship opportunities. “We invite people to take advantage of this opportunity to gain information from a variety of employers.”

With the possibility of job offers being extended, Rogerson recommends attendees dress professionally, bring their resume, leave children at home, and attend with confidence in their skills and abilities.

For more information, visit

Employers represented at the fair will include:

Advanced Health Care

American Red Cross, South Puget Sound Chapter

Assured Home Health, Hospice, Community Based Services

Cement Masons & Plasterers Training Centers

Centralia College

City Of Chehalis

Colonial Life

Consolidated Electrical Distributors Of Centralia

Costco Wholesale

Cummins Northwest

Department Of Retirement Systems

Dick’s Downtown Pub & Eatery

Express Employment Professionals

Farm Service Agency/ USDA

Federal Bureau Of Investigation

Federal Bureau Of Prisons

Federal Highway Administration

GBW Railcar Services

Great Wolf Lodge

Home Depot

Human Response Network


King County Sheriff’s Office

Lewis County Government

Lewis County PUD #1

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Lile Relocation Services

Live 95

Lowes Distribution

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Michaels NW Distribution Center

Modern Woodmen Of America

NC Machinery

North Thurston Public Schools

NW Laborers-Employers Training Trust

Olympia Police Department

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

Public Schools Personnel Cooperative

Puget Sound Energy

Rainier Connect

Riverside Fire Authority

Riverside Rehabilitation And Nursing

Sharon Care Center

Social Security Administration

Thorbeckes Fitlife Center

Twinstar Credit Union

U.S. Customs And Border Protection

USDA Rural Development

Valley View Health Center

WA Department Of Corrections

Washington State Department Of Enterprise Services

Washington State Patrol

Worksource Lewis County

Faculty team up for new summer linked course

New field journaling course focuses on writing and drawing from nature Drawing class 1

A lover of nature, Liz Frey, associate professor of fine art, pondered the idea of coming up with a fun summer art class that she could teach outdoors. Sharing her thoughts with English Professor Neva Knott, the two began to brainstorm the possibility of working together, combining both art and writing into one integrated course where the outdoors would be the classroom.

It wasn’t long before their idea took shape and the proposed linked course, Field Journaling, made its way into the summer schedule as ENG 271 Intermediate Creative Writing and ART 105 Drawing a Field Journal. “I’m really interested in interdisciplinary learning and have been wanting to do a linked course,” explained Frey. When a colleague suggested she connect with Knott, an English professor with a degree in environmental writing, Frey was excited about the potential of integrating their two disciplines. The professors decided to focus on writing about and illustrating things from nature and environmental issues.

Using the style of naturalists, students in Frey and Knott’s class will create and illustrate their own field journals to record their personal experiences and enjoyment of the outdoors. “Writing and drawing help people connect with a place,” shares Frey. “They serve as a way to help us slow down and observe, to get more of a sense of who we are as part of a larger eco-system.”

The three day a week course will consist of one day of art instruction, one day of writing instruction, and one day in the field working on their journals. Although the course will emphasize drawing and writing from nature, students will also be encouraged to read selections from well-known naturalists like Thoreau and Emerson and participate in group discussions.

For the field portion of the class, they will take day trips to a variety of geographical areas throughout the Chehalis River watershed, including wilderness locations in the Cascades, rural farmlands, and park-like urban settings. These experiences will give students opportunities to compare and explore human interaction with nature.

The ENG 271 and ART 105 linked course is a temporary elective worth three credits each in English and art respectively and will be offered this summer for the first time.

Academic Alert program launches

Retention Coordinator Kimberly Ingram provides personal connectionKimberly Ingram

Centralia College just launched their new Academic Alert program in March. The result of collaboration between faculty and student services, this tool was created to help keep academically struggling students from falling through the cracks. When instructors notice students with low scores, several missing assignments, or unexplained absences, they can now submit an Academic Alert online form, initiating intervention for these at risk students before it’s too late. The web based alert system, developed primarily by Samuel Small, applications developer, features an advantage over other system designs because it adds in a vital ingredient: personal connection.

Retention Coordinator Kimberly Ingram provides that special connection. As one of the key players in the new program, she contacts students personally after she receives alerts from their professors and walks them through the next step, whether that’s tutoring, meeting with their advisor or professor, or getting connected with a specialty group on campus. Directing them to the right people or services to help them succeed, Ingram offers these students something more—hope.

“We have such a great opportunity. We’re small enough to connect with our students. From TriO to athletes, they get the sense that we really care about their academics, their career. We provide enough support to help them make wise decisions,” shares Ingram.

Providing a better system for tracking at-risk students, Academic Alert also allows faculty access throughout the quarter, unlike other systems that normally alert only in the first three weeks of class.

“You can measure the strength of a college by how successful we are at being able to support students when they are doing well and when they are going through challenging times,” Ingram points out. Eventually, the program will allow faculty and staff to send out positive alerts also, recognizing when students are doing well academically. Offering this kind of personal support and encouragement shows that Centralia College truly cares about all its students.

The Academic Alert program will be first implemented in the math department during spring quarter. In summer quarter, both math and English departments will utilize the system. By fall quarter, Academic Alert should be available in all departments and accessible by both faculty and staff

WA State Federal Junior Duck Stamp exhibit on display at Centralia College

DSC_6187JoAnne Watson hangs last year’s “Best of Show” winner

Centralia College is pleased to host the 2014 Washington State Federal Junior Duck Stamp exhibit in Washington Hall from April 1 through the first week of May. Displayed by Bryn and JoAnne Watson and Bob and Karen McInturff of the Friends of Nisqually, last year’s 36 winning entries feature the original artwork of K-12 students from art academies and schools throughout Washington State.

The Watsons, who have long been involved in wildlife art competitions, initiated the traveling Junior Duck Stamp exhibit in Washington about four years ago. “When we asked what happened to the artwork after the contest, we found out that the winning entries were not displayed anywhere,” said JoAnne. With a vision to see the beautiful artwork showcased across the state, the Watsons suggested a traveling exhibit. Excited by the idea, the Friends of Nisqually helped purchase frames to display two complete sets of copies of the winning artwork.

After finding suitable places to host the art show each year, the couple hits the road, taking the pictures with them to various locations around the state where the winning artwork is displayed and admired for about one month before moving on. The exhibit just arrived at Centralia College after being on display at Maryhill Museum.

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest for Washington State is sponsored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and held at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge every March. The overall winning “Best of Show” piece will be sent to Washington, D.C. to compete with the other state winners for the U.S. Federal Junior Duck Stamp. The purpose of this program is to help students K-12 learn about habitat conservation through art education.