Congratulations Class of 2021 – Wings Summer 2021

Usually, the second Saturday in May would find the Yakima SunDome filled with faculty and staff, students and alumni, and families and friends gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the year’s graduating class. However, for the second year in a row, we were unable to host the time- honored tradition of Commencement.

This year’s graduating class displayed remarkable tenacity as they maintained their focus and worked diligently to complete their degrees. All of us at Heritage University are extremely proud of these men and woman and know they will move forward in their lives to accomplish even greater things.

The good news is that the national progress on halting COVID-19 means we are moving forward on our joint Class of 2020 and 2021 celebration scheduled for Saturday, October 30 at 10:00 a.m. in the SunDome. Graduates from both classes are invited to participate in Commencement. We ask that all graduates who want to participate to please register at heritage.edu/Commencement.

ASSOCIATE OF ARTS
Elementary Education
Gricelda Guizar
Gaitan Breezie
Saraie Tevillo

Social Science
Tori Katie Wapsheli

BACHELOR OF ARTS
American Indian Studies
Ida Velvet Shock

Business Administration
Anali Aguilar
Jacqueline Camacho Galvan
Jocelyn Guadalupe Galarza
Amber Renee Ganuelas
Alondra Belen Guzman
Laura Cristina Munguia
Emanuel Ochoa
Elizabeth Ramirez
Ruben Omar Sanchez-Garcia
Jose Enrique Torres

Criminal Justice
Pedro Mendoza
Susana Naranjo
Grisel Rodriguez
Monica Helen Romero Castro
Yanet Torres
Guadalupe B. Valencia
Juan Valladares

English/Language Arts (5-12)
Brayan Ricardo Torres Gutierrez

Early Childhood Studies
Jennifer Guadalupe Macias
Esther Victoria Osorio Rangel

English
Enedeo Garza-Ramirez III
Irwin Godinez-Cruz
Kori Haubrich
Christian E. Villegas

History
Shaina Marie Longee
Makenzie Rae Ribail
Noemi Yaneli Sanchez

Interdisciplinary Contract
Cassandra Saucedo

Interdisciplinary Studies
Katie Sue Harshfield

Mathematics
David Marc Olden

Psychology
Cristina Blanco
Edgar Bravo Zavala
Patricia Adilene Chavez Torrez
Estefani Ivonne Cruz
Xavier Alexander Day
Stephanie Lynn Maybee
Juan Miguel Morales
Clarissa Irie Quiñones
Rocio Regis
Whisper Sarai Weber

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN EDUCATION
Elementary Education
Deyci Belen Alejandre
Madison Leigh Contreras
Mercedes A. Diaz
Anayeli Josie Gonzalez
Noe Gonzalez Jr.
Ruby Herrera
Armando Aranda Lopez
Daisy Martinez
MaKayla Marie Mathews
Joselin A. Navarrete
Carrington Nevard
Anisha Keray Noriega
Angela Ponce
Stephanie Marie Ramirez
Beatris M. Romero
Ana Lucia Saldana-Carrillo
Jacob Issac Snell
Ryan Everett Spraker
Maria Isabel Vargas
Teresita Vega
Morgan Elizabeth White

Middle-Level Education
Jocelyn Celis Torres
Mariah Taylor Gonzalez
Kely Reyes
Gabriela Sillas Ramos

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
Accounting
Ryan M. Akers
Matthew Conner
Eden S. C. Davis
Raquel Estrada
Kaulin Everham
Luis Abel Gomez
Mariah Hall
Bethany Nicole Herring
Carlos Daniel Iraheta
Ngoc Le
Steven Mansfield
Joel Isai Osorio
Marisol Pimentel
Abigail Rivera Cervantes
Angelita Santillan

Biology
Laura Quintero Martinez
Nathan Thompson
Yanet Torres

Biomedical Science
Danielle Renea Rodriguez

Computer Science
Daniel Francisco Venancio Cruz

Environmental Science
Paige Marie Delp
Eric Richard Phillip-Petrick
Keivan Charles Swank
Omar Torres Cassio

Medical Laboratory Science
Ruben Chino Bustamante

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN NURSING
Nursing
Adrian E. Araiza
Franchesca Lucina Bazan
Zaireth Denisa Borges Zamora
Brenda Cruz
Samuel Cuevas-Carrillo
Dulce Kirbeth Dominguez Najera
Viviana Garcia Garcia
Claudia Gonzalez
Jesus Tonatiuh Granjales-Vega
Lydia Marquez
Jared Steven McGuire
Casey Quantrille
Erika L. Scheel
Natasha M. Scott

BACHELOR OF SOCIAL WORK
Social Work
Ana Aparicio
Grace Danielle Bennett
Yesenia Cardenas
Diana Chavez Cerda
Maria Cristal Ciriaco
Yuliana Colin Gonzalez
Katherine Irene Di Biase
Amanda Leticia Epler-Alegria
Evelyn Garcia
Jose De Jesus Garcia
Dominic Garza
Rigoberto Garza
Yanet S. Gil
Sandra G. Gonzalez
Zoe Nicole Gonzalez
Steven Dale Greenwald
Stephanie Hernandez
Paola Herrera
Kathleen Jo-Ann Kasper
Julia Korotkov
Marna Kostelecky
Daisy Luna
Kassandra Luna
Alondra Martinez
Natalie Alexis Martinez
Luis Medina
Milca Ruiz
Valentin Mendoza
Alondra Edith Mendoza-Gomez
Diana Guadalupe Meraz
Ginger Lee Metcalf
Celine Yvonne Michael
Diana Najera
Kitzely Ortega
Joaquin Padilla
Marlene Paz
Kristina Ryadinskiy Prikhodko
Blanca Lisbeth Quiroz Marin
Alejandra Guadalupe Ramirez
Alexandra Ramirez
Fabiola Ramirez Leon
Araceli Rios Regis
Ella Ryadinskiy
Rhonda M. Ryan
Robert Drew Schreiber
Delia Serna
Misty Renee Shook
Yanna Slutskaya
Miriam Soto-Guillen
Angelica Escamilla Vela
Dulce Vela
Paola Villanueva
Sonja Dee Young

MASTER OF ARTS
Medical Sciences
MaGuadalupe Alonzo
Israa Qadri Alshaikhli
Yasmin Bala Banga
Garry Scott Brown
Vadim Dolgov
David Albert Dommemuth
Alexander Barrett Down
Spencer Glenn Hanni
Gass Hersi
Priscilla Kim PoKeang
Kouch Yujung Lai
Jonathan Foster Lindsey
Jenesis Sofia Lopez
Roshni Mallick
Christopher Andrew Michaels
Shweta Mohan
Shelby Jo Murdock
Megan Elizabeth Nelson
Lindsey Nicole Petrelle
Dellanira Ramos
Stephanie Alejandra Rey
Jamshaid Roshnaye
Venesity Tenel Sepulveda
Tianfu Shang
Andrew Sullivan
Spencer Thomas Sutton
Kierstyn E. Tuel
Sravya Valiveti
Glafira Selene Vazquez Rocha
Andrea Lynne Velarde
Zoey Elise Wavrin

Multicultural English Literature & Language
Dung Kim Thi Huynh

MASTER OF EDUCATION
Educational Administration (Principal)
Olena G. Byelashova
Yesenia Mendez

Inclusive Education
Kayli Reneé Caprice Chavez Berk
Maricela Gutierrez Licona

MASTER IN TEACHING
English/Language Arts (5-12)
Salvador Correa-Solorio

Elementary Education
Ramon Diaz
Debbie Vanessa Vasquez

Elementary Education Specialization in Bilingual Education
Antonina V. Artiomov
Zoelia Diaz
Christopher J. Howell
Justin Juarez
Daisy Mendoza
Belinda Sierra

Elementary Education Specialization in English Language Learners
Analicia Irene Alvarado
Katrina Monique Alvarez
Alyssa Buck
Mikaela Martina Chavez
Johnny Lewis Farver II
Laurel Astrid Huth
Savannah Sky Lamas
Monica Linare
Gilberto Muñoz
Guadalupe Ortiz Mendez
Yvonnee Nicole Perez
Micah Ray Pridmore
Lee Ream
Colleen Cagney Sullivan
Jessika Nicole Villanueva
Eric Stephen Whittaker

Elementary Education Specialization in Special Education
Nereyda Barajas
Brooklyn D. Brown
Joa Crowder
Gloria Janet Martinez
Jacob Michael McCoy
Shaina Mumtaz Mirza
Nathan E. Nogaki
Rachel Marie Parrish
Jasmin T. Rivera
Griselda Roman
Florencia Sanchez
Laura Mae Smith
Delia Zambrano

MASTER OF SCIENCE
Physician Assistant
Bryan Blumer
Karina Borges
Hong Cai
Alexis Campbell
Kailey Anne Christison
Emily Cecilia Cunningham- Carter
Russell Disch
Evan Jacobb Dole
Ingrid Eleanor Ericksen
Philip Reed Fenn
Brian Jack Gilbert
Eric Tyler Griffin
Thomas Henline
Jashanpreet Kaur
Thomas Edward Loe
Mary Ellen Lyons
Bassanio Martinez Jr.
Jeffrey Brent McDonald
Heather R. McKnight
Vanessa Marilyn McLaughlin
Elizabeth Ann Peterson
Syvilla Reynolds
Anna K. Shoolroy
Tanner Isaak Steed
Veda Lakshim Anjalii Varada
Rhonda Warren
Elissa Kimberly Williams
Tanner Woolf
Edith Zaragoza
Michael Zeim

Instruction Coming from Around the World – Wings Summer 2021

Portrait photo of Melvin Simoyi who is standing in front of a brick wall

Melvin Simoyi, Ph.D.

Melvin Simoyi knows all about humble beginnings and the rewards of hard work and persistence.

“I was raised in a rural area in Zimbabwe – dirt roads, water from a well, no electricity, gas lamps and candles. I was an only child but had many cousins. My grandparents were farmers growing corn, carrots, tomatoes, and right in our yard were guavas, mulberries, mangoes, peaches, pomegranates. We were not rich, but we had everything we needed. I would sell avocados, then go downtown to watch a movie with the money I earned.”

Simoyi went to an all-boys school. His father, a physician, wasn’t involved in his life until he was 13. That relationship ignited an interest in entering the medical field as either a doctor or a veterinarian. After graduating from secondary school, he enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe and studied animal science. He then turned his sights to the United States for graduate studies, enrolling in West Virginia University. There he earned both a master’s degree in veterinary science and a Ph.D. in Avian Biochemistry and Physiology.

After completing his graduate studies, Simoyi’s career path started in the pharmaceutical industry, where he performed pre- clinical antipsychotic drug research. Because his then wife was in medical school and they had to move frequently for her studies, he worked in several different industries and research projects. He started out working for Sanofi-Aventis (at the time Aventis before the merger with Sanofi) Pharmaceuticals researching antipsychotic drugs. Afterward he went to the University of Pittsburg psychiatry department, where he researched nicotine addiction using a self-administration rat model. Then it was on to studying mitochondrial disease at Columbia University’s neurology department. Afterward he spent two years working as an assistant medical director for a medical education company writing promotional scientific materials for pharmaceutical clients. At the completion of her medical school, his then wife’s career brought them to Washington state, he then made the leap into academia. He started teaching a few science courses at Heritage as an adjunct instructor. A year later, he joined the faculty full- time and took on the coordination of the McNair Program.

Melvin Simoyi watches his student fill a beaker during a lab class at Heritage University

Melvin Simoyi watches his student fill a beaker during a lab class at Heritage University

The McNair Program is a federally-funded program designed to prepare low-income, first-generation and minority students to pursue graduate and Ph.D. studies. Students in the program receive paid summer research internships, mentorship and advanced research opportunities, among other benefits—Programs like McNair level the playing field for students who, like him, came from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Disadvantaging minorities and racism are woven into so many systems in the U.S. It suppresses people of color, while others have an unfair advantage. But our programs at Heritage can and do make a difference,” said Simoyi. “Education levels the playing field. However, often there is nobody in our students’ families who they can talk to about going to college, let alone graduate school.. Through the programs that I oversee, including the Title V programs that build capacity/programs at Hispanic Serving Institutions, we expose students to the world so they don’t feel like they haven’t had the life experiences other students out there have had. They find success and feel like they belong. Things like this make a huge difference.”

That’s not all, said Simoyi. Having mentors who look like you or come from similar backgrounds or have had similar experiences and have achieved the success that you desire can be a very powerful motivator.

“I share my story with my students. They know where I’ve come from and how hard I’ve worked to achieve my American dream. My story gives my students hope for their own futures. It demonstrates the power of education and what taking advantage of opportunities that come your way can do.”

Melvin Simoyi instructing students in a laboratory at Heritage University

Melvin Simoyi instructing students in a laboratory at Heritage University

Kobe, Japan, is about as far away from Toppenish, Washington as one could imagine. This bustling city of more than 1.5 million people is located on the main island of Honshu, on the north shore of Osaka Bay. It is a port city dependent upon manufacturing and exporting and home to some of Japan’s largest corporations, such as Kawasaki, Mitsubishi Motors, and Kobe Steele. And, it is the hometown of Heritage’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Kazuhiro Sonoda.

Portrait photo of Kazuhiro Sonoda, who is standing in front of a brick wall

Kazuhiro Sonoda, Ph.D.

“My father was a doctor, and my mother was a housewife. I grew up in an upper-middle-class home and was told I could be anything I want when I grow up. In the 1970s, Japanese schools were very competitive, and I didn’t study at all, so I had no chance of making it in the Japanese school system. My family and I decided that I should finish my high school years in the United States.”

Two of Sonoda’s aunts were “war brides” who had married American servicemen after World War II. They were living in Los Angeles and Oxnard, California. He moved in with one of them when he was 15 and stayed until he graduated from high school.

“Growing up, I was always around microscopes, and I was into fishing and birds,” said Sonoda. “Science was a natural path for me to study.”

He stayed in the United States, enrolling in San Jose State University, where he majored in marine biology with a minor in chemistry and business finance. His interest in coral reefs and the marine life that inhabits those areas took him to the University of Guam, where he earned both a Master of Science in Biology and a Master of Business Administration.

“It was the best time of my life. I loved the island style, the beach and the endless summers,” laughed Sonoda. “I had many opportunities to visit various islands in Micronesia, and I start to realize the effects of human impacts on coral reefs. My interests shifted from biology and ecology to environmental issues and human impacts on the ecosystem.”

Sonoda wanted to move into higher education and started looking for doctoral programs with an environmental science focus. It was the early 1990s, and the field was relatively new. Portland State University was one of a few universities with a doctoral program in environmental science. He enrolled and focused his research on urban hydrology, aquatic chemistry and water quality issues. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the faculty at Tokai International College in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he taught math and science. Two years later, he was the college’s Dean of Instruction.

It wasn’t long before Sonoda exchanged his metropolitan, island lifestyle for a slightly less urban, desert existence. His wife, an engineer, was offered a position at Northwest Energy in Richland, her hometown. It was 2007, and Heritage University was expanding its faculty and looking for an associate dean of Arts and Sciences. It was one of those meant to be moments where the right person and the right opportunity aligned perfectly. Sonoda was offered and accepted the position. A year later, he was promoted to dean.

A few years after that, he was the associate provost. Today, he is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

With all of his own personal accomplishments, it is the accomplishments of his students that give Sonoda some of his greatest rewards.

“When I was a professor, I got to help my science students see themselves be more than they ever imagined, to do things they never thought possible, and to take their hard work and research to the national stage and be recognized for their successes. As provost, I get to see every student who graduates go on to make real, positive changes for their family and in the world.”

He credits some common bonds that help him connect with students and build relationships with them that help them to succeed. One of which is the challenge of learning when English is not your first language.

Kazuhiro Sonoda standing at a podium during an undated Heritage University commencement ceremony

Kazuhiro Sonoda at a recent Heritage University commencement ceremony at the Yakima Valley SunDome in Yakima, Wash.

“I believe how you grew up creates your worldview, and I understand our students’ perspective. There’s never just one side or one way of seeing things,” he said. “With English being my second language, I know that for many Hispanic students, learning English and new concepts at the same time is a challenge. At Heritage, we recognize students’ backgrounds and try to meet them where they are. My background allows me to be accepting.

“I also see that Japanese Shinto beliefs and Native American beliefs are very similar. Both see nature as one. There is respect for water, air, soil and animals. We’re going back to that. Western science has studied nature by dissecting it, but now we’re trying to incorporate this more traditional sense of oneness into our curriculum. It feels good to be doing this work.”

He also credits his dual academic pursuits–business and science–in helping him prepare students for successful careers.

“The needs of businesses and the interests of science are two different sides of environmental issues. We need to keep in mind both sides of the issue when working towards solving problems. This is something that I teach my students and encourage them to be mindful of this when they enter their careers. We will all be better for it.”

Portrait photo of John Tsiligkaridis standing in front of a brick wall

John Tsiligaridis, Ph.D.

John Tsiligaridis is a humble man who would never dream of describing himself as brilliant. However, that is precisely how friends and colleagues describe him, that and being extremely dedicated to his students. He holds half a dozen degrees, including two PhDs, two master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees. He speaks four languages. He is internationally recognized for his work on scheduling, mobile databases, wireless networks, data mining, text mining, networking, bioinformatics, and genetic algorithms. He has more than 60 published works in his name. And, in his students’ eyes, he is a rock star!

Tsiligaridis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, a city founded in 315 B.C. He lived in the city and spent summers with extended family in a village near the mountains. There were farms and a river, and he enjoyed playing outside with his cousins.

“Education was the most significant component of my upbringing. Early on, I developed a love for math and sciences. I also appreciated art, and I liked painting and enjoyed the ancient Greek sculptures. My parents supported my desire to learn foreign languages, so I learned French, Italian, and English,” he said.

Tsiligaridis’s academic pathway began in the early 1970s with the first of his bachelor’s degrees. Over the next 30 years, he amassed six degrees at universities in three countries. His two doctorate degrees, one in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on computer networks from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece, and the other in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus on networking, scheduling, and computations from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, were earned nearly a decade apart.

It was the invitation from the University at Buffalo where he earned his last degree that sent Tsiligaridis on the pathway that brought him to Heritage. The initial plan was to complete a few years of study, then return to Europe.

“My wife and our school-age children came to stay with me until I was finished, but in the end, no one wanted to go back! We were thrilled to meet people coming from many different parts of the world. It was a real multicultural environment. We also loved U.S. schools and the progress and opportunities they offer to students. We decided to stay and seek employment in academia here,” he said.

Around that same time, Heritage University was conducting a national faculty search for a professor to teach computer science.

“Initially, I was willing to relocate to Washington state because this area is very children-friendly with lots of outdoor activities and schools that can offer personalized attention,” he said. “The more I learned about Heritage, the more I wanted to teach there. I liked everything about the university! The people, the area, and especially the culture of the university – the inclusiveness, respect, support, and very nice faculty and staff all encouraged and inspired me to do the best job possible. H.U. is a unique place with a diverse student population. It made me want to be a part of this community and to do my very best to help its students achieve and excel.”

This is what he does best, and it starts at the beginning of their studies.

“Most of the students coming to our program have no prior experience or background in computer science. We have to familiarize them with the subject, show them the way of thinking in this new area for them to facilitate their learning. Depending on the student’s abilities, special support and extra help go a long way,”
he said. “Varieties of support materials, practice, hands-on programming, etc., are valuable tools that help our students understand and grow in this field of study. And, every computer science student is placed into at least one research or internship experience.”

It is through his students that Tsiligaridis finds his greatest success and best rewards.

“I feel extremely happy when former students come back to me or send a thank you email, sharing their experience on how well what they learned here at H.U. serves them in certain situations in their jobs. Sometimes they mention a particular thing I taught in class that they found very useful in their new job,” he said. “Their success gives me great satisfaction, and I am very proud of their efforts and achievements.”

A Lifetime of Service – Wings Summer 2021

Kathleen Ross, snjm stands with students outside the Kathleen Ross Center at Heritage University

Kathleen Ross, snjm stands with students outside the Kathleen Ross Center at Heritage University

On her 80th birthday, Kathleen Ross reflects on how optimism, faith and persistence make all the difference in her life.

All her life, Heritage President Emerita Dr. Kathleen Ross has chosen to grow through challenges.

When serious asthma kept her indoors as a child, she learned to play piano and found the joy of music.

When she felt afraid as a pre-teen, she turned to nature and felt God’s presence.

When she was called to deepen her expertise as an educator, she uprooted herself and heeded the call to receive more education.

And when she knew that her greatest life’s work would be to build a college that could change the trajectory of thousands of lives, she did it – with an infectious joy that made everyone in her orbit want to do their part.

All her life, through challenges large and small, Kathleen Ross has found a way. Today, as she turns 80, her faith and optimism are stronger than ever.

Reflecting on the years, she said perhaps her energy level is slightly diminished.

But when your “normal” energy level has powered you through a lifetime of serving others as a nun, earning several degrees, teaching for 60 years, founding a university, and being its president for almost three decades, “less” energy is a relative thing.

Andrew Sund quote for Kathleen Ross, snjm

She’s been published 23 times, received 50 significant awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, and has given 70 professional presentations throughout the country. She’s been awarded honorary doctorates from Dartmouth College, Notre Dame, and Gonzaga University, to name a few.

She feels she’s better able to see the “bigger picture” in life, she said.

“I do a better job envisioning ways to get around problems. I’m more diplomatic.”

She also finds more time to savor life, taking in the beauty of nature, enjoying music and friendships.

Through all of the above, her most important identity has always been found in the initials after her name: SNJM, indicating she’s a member of the Catholic order of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary – in French: “Saintes Noms de Jesus et de Marie.”

Her most significant achievements continue to be made in service of people from underserved populations, prioritizing their education so that they, their families, and their greater community may prosper.

Kathleen Ross, snjm at five months old

Kathleen Ross, snjm at five months old

ROOTS OF DETERMINATION

It seems fitting that Kathleen Ross was born on a university campus. It was July 1, 1941, at Palo Alto Hospital at Stanford University, where her father was a graduate student. The son of a veterinarian and grandson of a physician, he was an international finance major. Her mother was one of 10 children born to a poor sharecropper family in Kansas. At 18, she left Kansas to study at the University of Oregon. A few years later, she borrowed money from a professor to take the bus from Eugene, Oregon, to Washington, D.C., where she trained at Walter Reed Hospital as a physical therapist. She then went to work for the U.S. Army at the Presidio.

That was the early 1930s, during the Great Depression, at a time when women weren’t able to achieve a lot. But Mary Wilburn Ross found a way.

“She reached for a better life through higher education.”

Kathleen Ross, snjm at one year old, 1942

Kathleen Ross, snjm at one year old, 1942

CHALLENGES CREATED RESILIENCE

In addition to their strong faith, Ross’s parents valued intellectual development, self-discipline, and hard work – values they passed on to Ross and her younger sister Rosemary.

Like her mother, Ross had her own challenges during childhood. She was diagnosed with asthma at age two. The family moved to Seattle for its more favorable climate.

Allergies to pollens and grasses meant finding indoor activities. Ross took piano lessons and developed a love of music. When she was in fifth grade, a new teacher who played violin and cello came to her school.

“She played for us, and I fell in love with the violin,” said Ross. “I begged my dad to let me take lessons. Finally, he said, ‘Never practice at home, and I’ll pay for the lessons.’

“So we found a way. And I got a lot of joy from playing music.”

The international tensions of the 1950s Cold War affected Ross deeply. With Boeing headquartered in Seattle, the city was considered a major target for potential Soviet aggression. Sirens would regularly sound; classes would hurry to the fallout shelter, hit the floor, covering their heads with their arms.

Kathleen Ross, snjm as a second grader, 1949

Kathleen Ross, snjm as a second grader, 1949

Ross lay in bed at night, worrying: “I was afraid an atomic bomb would kill us all.”

She learned to accept realities but not be immobilized by them.

“You have to be realistic about difficulties, but you can’t let them totally absorb your focus. You have to find a way to move to a brighter side of things, to be as optimistic as you can be.”

Ross also found peace and refuge in nature; her family camped in the Cascade Mountains.

“I learned about nature’s beauty and its resilience. I truly felt God’s presence there. I have my entire life.”

CONSIDERING HER LIFE’S WORK

Ross was nine when she first thought about becoming a nun. Her teachers, who were all sisters, often talked about how they’d realized their calling.

“The sisters’ care for others and their effective educational actions were really admirable,” Ross said.

“And, I’d been introduced to an informal, personal kind of prayer that let me listen for God’s presence and follow His input into my life situations.

“Those two things resonated with me. I thought, “Maybe I could do that, too.’”

Sister Mary Rita Rohde quote for Kathleen Ross, snjm

Kathleen Ross, snjm during Easter 1943

Kathleen Ross, snjm during Easter 1943

After graduating from high school in 1959, Ross enrolled at Gonzaga University and was placed in the honors program. A year later, she made the decision to enter the novitiate, a two-year “sister training program,” at Oregon’s Marylhurst College.

She had the quiet time she needed to make her decision. At age 21, Ross took her vows with the Sisters of the Holy Names, an order devoted to educating people’s full development, with a special concern for the poor and disadvantaged.

“That time was very good for my relationship with God.”

REALIZING INJUSTICE

In the summer of 1962, Ross moved to Spokane to finish her bachelor’s degree at Fort Wright College of the Holy Names. Graduating with a history major in 1964, she spent the next six years teaching at Holy Names Academy there.

In 1970, she moved to Washington, D.C., to study for her master’s degree at Georgetown University.

She had been struck by the very Euro-centric focus on world history she found in the textbooks she’d used in teaching. She was determined to find and study what had been left out. What Ross learned at Georgetown would change her perspective on the world.

Kathleen Ross, snjm as a junior in high school, 1957

Kathleen Ross, snjm as a junior in high school, 1957

“I learned there were unique, highly accomplished cultures developed through the talents of native African, Asian, and North and South American Indigenous people that were crushed by European colonization.

“By the 20th century, millions of people throughout the world had had their ancestors’ accomplishments completely omitted from history, their own potential unmet.

“Ever since that time, I’ve looked for the hidden talents that marginalized people haven’t developed, all through lack of opportunity.”

A TURNING POINT

Kathleen Ross, snjm before a piano recital, 1958 standing next to a piano wearing a white dress

Kathleen Ross, snjm before a piano recital, 1958

In 1973, Ross joined Fort Wright College as its vice president for academic affairs.

Soon, two Yakama women – Martha Yallup and Violet Lumley Rau – called on her: They operated a HeadStart program on the Yakama reservation and needed help educating teachers for it. Ross made arrangements to have Fort Wright offer classes in Toppenish.

Around that time, she’d decided to pursue her Ph.D. and moved to southern California to study at Claremont Graduate University. She traveled several times to the Yakama reservation to help Yallup, Lumley Rau and others with various educational needs.

Ross wrote her dissertation on the cultural factors involved in the success and failure of Native students in higher education. It provided clear evidence that prospective Yakama students needed a college in their midst.

“If leaving your home and your people to go to college means you find yourself so challenged that you won’t succeed, you need a college that’s close to home.

John Bassett quote for Kathleen Ross, snjm

Kathleen Ross, snjm in a white dress posing with a young man dressed in a military uniform

Kathleen Ross, snjm at Gonzaga University, 1960

STARTING “OUR OWN COLLEGE”

In spring 1980, ongoing enrollment challenges at Fort Wright made it necessary to close the college. Ross vowed to find another college for the Yakama students.

“When I told Martha and Violet, Martha said, ‘Let’s just start our own college.’

“I said that was crazy. And Martha said, ‘Tell us one thing we can’t do.’”

Ross gave them the biggest challenge she could think of: gathering a board of directors with connections and money.

A few weeks later, the women invited Ross over for a meeting. Present were the heads of a local bank and school district and two of the three county commissioners.

“There was a piece of paper on the table signed by about a dozen people who’d agreed to be the board of a ‘new private college to be named,’” said Ross.

“Martha and Violet had done it.”

“I said, ‘Dear God, you can’t be asking me to do this.’ But He was.”

Yallup nominated Ross to be the college’s president, and her new life’s work was official.

Kathleen Ross, snjm with two Sisters at an extinguished campfire, 1968

Kathleen Ross, snjm with two Sisters at an extinguished campfire, 1968

UP AND RUNNING

Sisters from Fort Wright came to advise. Board members raised funds. Fort Wright’s library books became the foundation for the new college’s library. Someone got a deal on using a local elementary school for night classes – in the building that would later be known as Petrie Hall, the anchor of the new campus.

The founders surveyed the community about what degrees to offer and hired the college’s first faculty members and administrators. They transformed the former school janitor’s house into their administration building.

Every afternoon, they moved the classrooms’ kid-size chairs aside and set up for adults.

Heritage College’s first-year enrollment was about 80, its first graduating class 85 – equally Latinx, Native, and Caucasian, majority-minority from the start.

CONTINUING TO SERVE

Today, Heritage University offers more than 40 graduate and undergradaute programs. It has awarded more than 10,000 degree and alumni are working throughout the Yakima Valley and beyond. Enrollment is steady at around 1,000.

Kathleen Ross, snjm greeting student participating in Heritage College commencement ceremony

Kathleen Ross, snjm at Heritage College graduation

Ross remembers hoping someday Heritage enrollment would reach 500 students.

“It’s literally twice as big as my biggest dream. And it’s recognized nationwide for its service to marginalized people.

Kathleen Ross, snjm standing at a podium delivering a few words during groundbreaking ceremony at Heritage College

Kathleen Ross, snjm standing at a podium delivering a few words during groundbreaking ceremony at Heritage College

“I never imagined such a welcoming campus, such beautiful buildings, such incredible board members. Or that we’d have programs that would allow our students to get their masters right here or go on for their doctorates.”

Ross is on the Heritage faculty as a cross- cultural communication professor and director of the Institute for Student Identity and Research. She works on archives projects, mentors students, and nurtures relationships with long-time university donors.

She’s happy that the university fulfills what we’re all meant to do: evolve and grow into our most fulfilled, engaged selves, to use our talents to full potential to have the best effect for others.

Kathleen Ross, snjm standing at a podium during her book signing event, 2016

Kathleen Ross, snjm standing at a podium during her book signing event, 2016

A little more time for herself also means renewed connection to what nourishes her spirit.

“I cook and enjoy time with my sister- housemates. I’m a lifelong birdwatcher, and I get to see so many of the birds that travel this flight path we’re on. I garden, and I’m seeing things about roses I’ve never noticed before. I can walk to Mass.”

She also plays her violin for her housemates.

Kathleen Ross, snjm standing onstage at the 36th Annual Heritage University Commencement at the Yakima Valley SunDome

The 36th annual Heritage University commencement held May 5, 2018 at the SunDome in Yakima, Wash. (GORDON KING/Gordon King Photography)

“They ask me to play the Scottish jigs – they’re their favorites.”

She smiled and said she knows her dad, who was a proud Scot, would appreciate her playing today.

Ross’s dream for Heritage’s future is simple.

Kathleen Ross, snjm at the dedication of the Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Building at Heritage University, holding a green folder with Martha Yallup at her left and Yallup's sister to her right.

Dedication of the Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Building and the Violet Lumley Rau Center at Heritage University Sept. 15, 2016 in Toppenish, Wash. (GORDON KING/Gordon King Photography)

“We have to always respond to what’s happening in the world. I know the people who’ve dedicated themselves to Heritage’s mission will continue to meet the needs and dreams of the people we serve.

“They’ll always find a way to bring more people into the development of their talents and gifts for others.”

Sandra Cisneros quote for Kathleen Ross, snjm

Heritage was planning to host several events in honor of Kathleen’s 80th birthday this fall. However, with the recent news that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, we have decided to delay these events until it is safer to gather in person. We will send out invitations to these future events once we are confident they will proceed.

Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops to celebrate graduates of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program for front-line employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops to celebrate graduates of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program for front-line employees

 

Yakima, Wash. – Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) will celebrate the entire cohort of employees completing CHIEF ACADEMY, a management training program for YCH management team and front-line staff on Friday, August 13, 2021. YCH partnered with Heritage@Work, the university’s workforce training and development division to deliver the program that, when completed, earned full-time employees a Management Training certificate of completion. With four cohorts of employees receiving the training, a total of 73 YCH employees have now completed the courses and have the training, knowledge and tools to enhance their skills as managers and leaders within the company.

Heritage University faculty (full and part-time) and experts assigned by Heritage taught the workshops at the company’s headquarters in Yakima, Wash over the past year. Ryan Hopkins, chief executive officer at YCH, considers the curriculum developed by himself, Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Garcia and Heritage University to be high-quality training that benefits both employees and the company. “CHIEF ACADEMY is an ongoing investment into the people at YCH which will help grow the company and our community due to the increased skills of its employees,” said Hopkins. “This investment will empower our employees and create opportunities for their ongoing growth and success.”

CHIEF ACADEMY at YCH consisted of courses that covered five essential topics determined to be of high importance to the company. They included:

  1. Business Communication – a business writing and communication workshop which offered tips on improving existing skills as well as preparing participants for public speaking.
  2. Human Resources – a highly-interactive workshop covering the important basics of human resources with role-playing activities.
  3. Data Science – a workshop that helps those in company leadership roles understand the importance of data analytics by identifying, interpreting and summarizing data.
  4. Business Finance – a workshop to help employees understand financial drivers and strategic objectives and realize the connection between strategy and financial success.
  5. Leadership – a workshop where employees learn the attributes of a leader, the difference between management skills and leadership skills, and what it means to be a leader at YCH.

John Reeves, director of Heritage @ Work, says Yakima Chief Hops has been a tremendous partner in establishing the university’s workforce training and development division to benefit companies like YCH. “We are excited for all the YCH employees who have completed the courses, and what this will help them achieve in their professional careers.”

The ceremony celebrating the CHIEF ACADEMY graduates will be held August 13, 2021 in Smith Family Hall, located in the Arts and Sciences Center on the Heritage University campus beginning at 2:00 p.m.

For more information and to coordinate interviews, please contact David Wise, VP of Advancement and Marketing at Heritage University at (414) 788-0686 or wise_d@heritage.edu or Yakima Chief Hops Global Communications Manager Cait Schut at (916) 690-4379 or cait.schut@yakimachief.com.

 

# # #

Congratulations Class of 2021

News Briefs – Winter 2021

Former faculty’s gift to improve chemistry education at HU

Back in the mid-1980s, when Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., started working at Heritage, the chemistry lab was little more than a hand-me-down portable filled with tables and chairs and not much in the way of scientific equipment. Then Christmas came in the form of a donation of 10-12 chemistry stations from a Yakima-area Catholic high school that was upgrading their school science labs.

Throughout his career teaching chemistry, first in a high school, then at Big Bend community college and Heritage, Fletcher repeatedly saw that the need for equipment in the science labs he loved always outpaced the availability of budgeted funds. That’s why, earlier this year, when he and his wife JB Fletcher, Ed.D (Ball State University) discussed making a significant contribution to Heritage, they decided to direct their gift to the chemistry department to buy science equipment.

“We supported Heritage from year to year, and this year we got to thinking about the uniqueness of the situation right now. I thought now was the best time we could do something significant,” he said.

Heritage is a family affair for the Fletchers. Jack started teaching at the university part-time shortly after Heritage College formed. Within a year, he moved to full-time and split his work between teaching science and managing the physical plant. JB taught psychology and counseling classes for most of her time at Heritage and one year as a full-time instructor.

The two left Heritage in 1989 when Jack entered the University of Utah to pursue his doctoral degree in Chemical and Fuels Engineering. However, their experiences at the Heritage never left their hearts and minds.

“We had a great time at Heritage, just a lovely bunch of people, students, the nuns, and all the people there who were supportive,” said JB.

The impact of the Fletchers’ gift will be most deeply felt when fall 2021 classes get underway. The department is replacing several worn-out pieces of equipment.

“The timing and magnitude of the Fletchers’ gift carry an immeasurable impact,” said Tyson Miller, Ph.D., a professor in the natural sciences program. “Both our physics research and our organic chemistry lab instruction were at a crossroads. Their gift allows us to purchase new software and hardware capable of acquiring data for advanced research projects with students and further publications, as well as to upgrade and replace these essential instruments needed for acquiring techniques in organic synthesis and purification.”

For the Fletchers, there is satisfaction in a commitment to Heritage that has, in many ways, come full circle.

“It feels pretty good that I was part of the beginning of the chemistry department, and it has grown from there. Maybe my gift can help take the program where it needs to go for the people who are there now,” said Jack. page19image3372448

 

Heritage family loses long-time supporter and friend    

page23image3559696

Heritage University and the Yakima Valley lost a long-time friend and supporter with the passing of Ron Gamache in January.

Gamache’s support of the university and its students goes back to the formation of the school. When the university’s predecessor, Fort Wright College, closed and Heritage began, he went to Spokane with two moving trucks to load up books and supplies to bring to Toppenish. During those early years, he was “hands-on” with his time and talents, installing water pipes, planting trees and leveling the ground for new construction. Gamache joined the university board of directors in 1986 and served in that capacity for 30 years.

His dedication to public service extended far beyond Heritage University. He spent 30 years as a volunteer firefighter, was twice elected to serve as a Yakima County Commissioner, volunteered with programs that served the homeless and hungry, and was a Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, among his many other service activities.

Gamache was a long-time farmer in the Yakima Valley, growing grapes, hops and apples whose love of the industry led him to serve on the Yakima County Farm Bureau and the Washington State Farm Bureau.

His family requested that gifts in his memory be directed to the organizations he supported, including Heritage University.page16image3597248

 

HU student heading to Johns Hopkins University this summer

Business major Perla Bolanos will be spending this summer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She was selected to participate in a 10-week humanities internship at the prestigious Tier 1 school.

The internship opportunity is part of the Leadership Alliance First-Year Research Experience (FYRE). This program aims to connect undergraduates with internships and research experiences at top-level universities starting their first year of college. The goal is to prepare more underrepresented students for graduate and Ph.D.-level studies after they earn their undergraduate degrees. In addition to the experience, the program pays students a generous stipend and connects them with academic mentors and a network of fellow scholars.page16image3597248

 

 

HU student and alumna selected for social work fellowship

Social work major Paola Herrera was selected to participate in the Latino Center for Health’s 2nd Annual Student Scholars Fellowship Program.

Paola Herrera (center bottom) received the news about her fellowship during a Zoom meeting.

Herrera is one of only eight students selected from Heritage University and the University of Washington. Recent HU graduate Maria Soto, who is pursuing a master’s degree in social work at the UW was also among those selected.

The program supports the next generation of leaders and scholars who are committed to promoting the health and well-being of Latinx communities in Washington State.

 

Maria Soto

“This fellowship program provides crucial funding to students,” said Dr. Gino Aisenberg, associate professor in the UW School of Social Work and co-director of the Latino Center for Health. “It’s also a great opportunity for them to connect with students from other disciplines and with faculty and staff of the Center.”

Go to heritage.edu/Paola to watch a video of Herrera learning about her selection into the fellowship. page19image3372448

 

 

Heritage named a top school in Washington

A recently released report by Intelligent.com placed Heritage University in the top 25 colleges and universities in Washington state.

Intelligent.com is an online magazine designed to help students make informed decisions about going to college providing non- biased, data-driven information. They reviewed 185 Washington state colleges and universities, looking at tuition and fees, credits required to graduate, coursework format and accreditation. The top 49 were included in their report. Heritage ranked 21 out of the 49, and was singled out for having the best scholarship offerings.

Visit intelligent.com/best-colleges-in-washington to read the full report on the ranking. page19image3372448

 

Partnership expands workforce training program offering

Heritage University and Behavior & Law Corp., one of the leading online training companies in Europe and Latin America, have signed
a collaboration agreement to expand Behavior & Law training courses in the United States.

Behavior & Law are experts in behavioral science training and its application. Their goal is to train qualified professionals for leadership positions to improved working conditions and overall job satisfaction in their professional environments.

Heritage and Behavior & Law are beginning their collaboration to provide training in behavioral sciences. They are currently working
on implementing online training programs that will be offered in both Spanish and English in the United States through Heritage@Work,
the university’s workforce development program. page19image3372448

Alumni Legacy Walk Grows

The Alumni Legacy Walk grew by nearly 300 pavers as commemorative bricks engraved with the names and degrees of every graduate in the Class of 2020 were installed in December.

HU maintenance workers installed bricks with the names of graduates from the class of 2020.

Started in 2016, the walk gives alumni, their family and friends a way to leave an indelible mark on the university that acknowledges graduates’ accomplishments at Heritage. Bricks are typically purchased for $45, with the proceeds going towards the Alumni Scholarship Fund. However, the university decided to gift each of last year’s graduates with a brick in their honor because of the cancellation of Commencement brought on by the global pandemic.

To watch the installation and hear a message from Heritage president Dr. Andrew Sund go to heritage.edu/walk. page19image3372448

Nominations open for Violet Lumley Rau Alumni Award

Do you know an alumna or alumnus who has consistently lived out the mission and values of Heritage University? This is your opportunity to recognize them!

2020 Violet Lumley Rau Alumna of the Year recipient Magaly Solis.

Established in 1994 in loving memory of Heritage University co-founder Violet Lumley Rau, this award is bestowed annually to an alumnus who embodies the ideals of Heritage in their personal, professional and community life. Ideals include excellence, inclusion, perseverance, leadership, and service to others.

Both undergraduate and graduate degree holders are eligible for nomination. Visit the alumni web page at heritage.edu/alumni and select Violet Lumley Rau Alumni Award at the bottom of the page to make your nomination. The deadline for nominations for this year is Friday, May 28, 2021. All nominations received after that date will be considered for the 2022 award. For questions, please contact alumni@heritage.edupage19image3372448

Computing Success

Computing Success

Computer science students garner national attention for their research in algorithms

From the time he was 15 years old when his grandmother bought her first laptop, Heritage senior Daniel Cruz has loved computers.

After devouring all the classes and robotics opportunities he could get his hands on in high school, choosing a computer science major at Heritage University was a natural for Cruz.

The same was true for Manuel Anaya.

Manuel Anaya

“I just knew I wanted to be in computers,” Anaya said. He came to Heritage in fall 2018 on a full scholarship through the Moccasin Lake Foundation.

Both Cruz and Anaya stand out for their passion and their work ethic – something computer science professor John Tsiligkaridis, Ph.D., looks for in his students. It’s why he urged both of them to complete research projects and to present that research at academic conferences.

Last summer, the pair worked with Tsiligkaridis researching algorithms and a program to access data more easily. They submitted their work for presentation consideration at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and were among those selected to present in the Computational and Systems Biology. In November, they presented A Projection Tree Algorithm and the Incremental Neural Network virtually.

NEVER STOP LEARNING

It’s a recognized fact at Heritage that small class sizes mean Heritage students get a lot of one-on- one attention from instructors. This is especially true with computer science, where the instructor-to- student ratio is about one to 10.

Tsiligkaridis isn’t just a great teacher, said his students. He’s their guide, their mentor and their biggest cheerleader. He regularly shares opportunities for them outside the classroom, urges their participation, and works with them all along the way.

“John always urges us to join clubs, do internships, go to conferences,” said Cruz. “With COVID here, he preferred us to do conferences.”

When Tsiligkaridis urged Cruz to go ABRCMS conference in San Diego in the summer of 2019, Cruz went. And when Tsiligkaridis encouraged Cruz to attend the conference virtually in 2020, Cruz again enthusiastically agreed.

“John always says if you stop learning over the summer, when you come back, you’re going to have forgotten things.

“He looks at what you like, and he pushes you toward certain fields – like for me, the medical field.”

Tsiligkaridis also encourages upper-level students to mentor younger students. He suggested Cruz work with Anaya, who’s a junior.

Like Cruz, Anaya was used to hearing Tsiligkaridis talk about extra projects. Anaya understood early on the importance of conferences in the computer science field.

As a sophomore, Anaya attended the INFORMS conference in Seattle, a large-scale operations research and analytics gathering.

For the most recent ABRCMS conference, Tsiligkaridis suggested the two students do research on algorithms and a program to access data more easily.

The students worked on it all summer, mostly separate from one another because of the pandemic. Tsiligkaridis would explain what they should do, and they’d start researching it. They wrote an abstract. They developed charts.

“We would show him our work, ask him for guidance, and he always gave us great feedback,” says Anaya.

MEANINGFUL OFFERINGS GO VIRTUAL

When an event that’s typically bursting with people from all over the world goes virtual, a lot of things change. The ways attendees experience the event are different, but the offerings remain the same. There are still inspirational keynote speakers and breakout sessions where attendees get a deeper look at cutting-edge research. Students still present their research, with top presenters earning awards. Most importantly, students still interact with their peers from colleges throughout the country, with faculty whose influence could lead

to opportunities with future research or graduate studies; and with leading scientists, programmers and industry professionals who can help connect them with careers after graduation. It’s just all done virtually.

“Even in a virtual situation, you still have speakers and hundreds of exhibitors from nonprofit organizations, grad schools, Ph.D. programs,” said Anaya. “There’s still tons of networking you can do – it’s just done on your screen.

“The experience was incredible,” he said. “It’s an exchange of information and ideas. It gives you a different perspective with these colleagues from around the world, places like China and India.

“I really got a sense of what I didn’t know,” said Anaya. “I gained a lot of knowledge on the subject we chose because we really had to hone in on it and become an expert on it. You go in knowing the basics, and then you have this experience, and it makes you want to learn more.”

John Tsiligkaridis, Ph.D. is one of his students’ greatest cheerleaders. He seeks out experiences that prepare them for their individual goals and often collaborates with them on research projects.

CONNECTIONS ABOUND

“I learned that everywhere you go, there are different types of people and personalities and always someone who knows more than you do who can guide you.

“You can get opportunities at conferences whether in person or virtual because all these people you’re coming in contact with have different backgrounds,” Anaya says.

“I’ve also learned there’s always more to computer science than what I used to think. There are so many different fields we can apply our work in.”

Both students want to be a part of a community where their expertise can help people. They have their ideas – perhaps a hospital setting, perhaps business.

They expect they’ll look to Tsiligkaridis for his guidance then, too – just as they’ve done so far. page19image3372448

Hopping into Med School

Hopping into Med School

Biology major gains valuable experience with a summer spent researching one of the Yakima Valley’s signature crops.

OF PLANTS AND PESTS

Last spring, Karolynn Tom, program coordinator of Heritage’s Center for Indigenous Health, Culture & the Environment, told Serrano about a summer research opportunity at Yakima Golding, a hops farm in Toppenish, Washington. While studying hops seems worlds away from medical sciences, the intensive lab work involved with the project would be great experience, the kind that would give her a leg up on her competition for med school. Additionally, the opportunity came with a stipend from the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. Additionally, it was the kind of project that she could present at the Murdock College Science Research Conference (MCSRC) in October. Serrano was quick to take advantage of the opportunity.

Karly Beth Serrano

The summer was busy. In addition to her part- time job as a phlebotomist, she spent three days a week at Yakima Golding to observe hop plants and collect data. She spent the other two days at home studying hops production.

Serrano was supervised remotely by Heritage Associate Professor of Environmental Science Jessica Black. She was mentored by Marissa Porter, research agronomist for John I Haas, Inc., who conducts some of her company’s research at Yakima Golding.

In her research, varying levels of nitrogen were applied to different hops plants, and she observed their growth. Were they taller? Were they shorter? Were there more leaves?

Serrano observed the insects. Were there more? Were there fewer? Were the insects predators or pests?

She learned to interpret data, to understand what’s significant and what’s not, and how to draw conclusions. While she gained understanding, she also learned the importance of coming to understand the research process, even when the subject matter is “not exactly your field.”

POWERPOINT LEADS TO PRIZE

In September, after the lab work was completed, Serrano began putting her presentation together for the Murdock conference. She would need to create a succinct statement of her major conclusions at the beginning, follow it up with supporting text and a brief concluding summary, presenting only enough data to support her conclusions and show the originality of her work.

A socially distant pandemic year meant a big change in conference presentations. Serrano shared her poster and work digitally as a PowerPoint with a video link.

She built a strategy on how to present to any judges that would “happen by” virtually. Each time, she’d speak for five to ten minutes, then take questions.

“It was both nerve-wracking and exciting, but I was happy I was expanding my horizons.”

She smiled when she recalled one judge’s question, “Are hops microhezia obligates?”

“I acknowledged I did not know the answer to that but that I could definitely incorporate something about that next time. I texted Marissa, ‘Do you know this worm?’” she said.

Porter texted her back that it wasn’t a worm but a fungus that grows in the soil in the plants’ roots and helps them take up phosphorus.

Serrano said she learned to “think ahead to what you might be asked” – even when some questions might be more easily anticipated than others.

Weeks after the conference was all a memory, Serrano learned she was awarded the MCSRC’s Environmental Science Poster Competition award, which included a modest cash prize.

The most significant recompense?

“The work, the presentation, and being able to say I won the environmental competition on my resume,” said Serrano. “That’s really important for a future medical student.”

Karly Beth Serrano in the field

INSPIRED BY HEALTHCARE HELPING

Either this fall or next, following graduation, Serrano will apply to several medical schools, among them Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, University of Washington Medical School and Washington State University.

Her goal ultimately is to help her community. She notes her local Union Gospel Mission and her nine- year-old sister as two of her continuing inspirations.

She started volunteering at Yakima’s Union Gospel about a year and a half ago, doing patient intake and interpreting.

“Seeing how the Mission works with people who don’t have insurance or traditional healthcare or are homeless has really impressed me. I want to be that kind of physician.

“And my sister Aaleyah – I want to inspire her. I want her to think college automatically – like me.”

Serrano has applied for summer work to the Leadership Alliance summer research program and to the Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s undergraduate clinical research internship program in Nashville, among others.

“I would be excited and nervous to be so far from my family,” she said. “But I’m far more excited than I am nervous.”page16image3597248