Everett Community College Honors Outstanding Employees

College News

Date: June 13, 2014

Everett Community College Honors Outstanding Employees

At Everett Community College’s annual Spring Awards breakfast June 10, 23 employees were honored with awards, this year’s retirees were recognized, and employees were noted for hitting years of service milestones.

Employees were honored in several categories: Extra Effort, Exceptional Faculty, You Made a Difference, International, Diversity, Emerging Classified, Distinguished Classified, and the George Shuh Awards, which recognizes an outstanding faculty member, staff member and exempt employee.

You Made a Difference

Each year students nominate faculty, staff and administrators who made a difference in their lives. These are the only award winners nominated by students.

Student Activities Director Jennifer Rhodes mentored, advised and motivated student senator Katie Rogers to apply for Associated Student Body president this year, for which she was selected. Jennifer is a great example of a leader, Katie said.

“She has supported me as a growing leader and respected me as an individual to be someone on campus I feel I can speak to and go to if I need anything,” she wrote. “The support system I’ve gained while working in Student Activities is largely thanks to her.”

Betsy Stam, who teaches and is the instructional director for EvCC’s online medical transcription program, was nominated by a single mother who said that because of Betsy, her experience at EvCC has been amazing.

“As an adult learner, sometimes you feel that you are out of your league, or that you cannot learn as well as you did at a younger age,” the nominator wrote. “Betsy has been an enormous support system. She goes above and beyond to assist, teach, and encourage all of her students.”

George Shuh Awards

The highest honors for EvCC employees are the George Shuh awards, established years ago by local businessman George Shuh. His children Tom and Bette continue their father’s legacy through their generous contributions that fund these awards for faculty, staff and administration members.

Medical assisting program director Beth Adolphsen is the George Shuh Outstanding Faculty Member.

Beth led the program’s reaccreditation process this year, and the program passed with flying colors, her nominator said. The work included writing a self-study of several hundred pages; documenting more than 100 competencies; tracking student retention, completion, and employment; coordinating two site visits by the accreditors; and more.

Beth demonstrates exceptional teaching, student centered focus and extraordinary commitment to the college, and she has done so much in her 15 years here, it’s hard to list everything, her nominator wrote.

“The value to our students and the significant impact on the college of having a highly respected, sought-after, accredited Medical Assisting program cannot be overstated,” her nominator wrote. “She is an exceptional role model to her students as a Certified Medical Assistant, and as an instructor, she truly represents the best of the college.”

The George Shuh Outstanding Exempt Employee is Allison Cohen, director of the BRIDGES Center, which provides language skills training, support and advocacy services to English language learners pursuing healthcare, advanced manufacturing and aerospace careers.

“From her first day here in January 2011, Allison … was off and running, creating from scratch what was to become the BRIDGES Center,” her nominator wrote. Within three years, the center has served more than 500 students, and in March, 16 percent of students had transitioned to college-level programs, more than double the rate for all ESL students.

She is a tenacious advocate for her students, the nominator wrote.

“If she sees a process that could be a hindrance to student success, she investigates the issue and problem solves with those who can help break down the barriers for students,” the nominator wrote. “Allison is a tremendous leader, motivator, supporter, professional, and mentor.”

Linda Zuvich, the library’s IT specialist, is the George Shuh Outstanding Classified Staff Member.

Linda is responsible for more than 100 student desktop computers, 40 laptops, 500 netbooks, 45 eReaders, two printers, four scanners, and the library’s software, and she manages all this while cheerfully assisting students with technology problems, her nominator wrote.

She leads an inventory of the library’s collections each summer, is responsible for all of the library’s software, and maintains the library’s website. She took on the set up and maintenance of a new discovery search, pushed for a library technology fair, supervises several student assistants and much more.

She “does a million little things to make sure operations run smoothly,” she said.

Extra Effort Awards

These awards are given to full- or part-time employees who go beyond the expectations of the job while exhibiting a spirit of cooperation and willingness to serve others.

As the new Tutoring Center director, Debbie Newbury has strengthened, expanded and transformed the already thriving center, her nominator wrote. She collaborated with faculty to provide office hour support, and she brought tutoring to students at Paine Field and in the Outreach, Diversity & Equity Center. She expanded the scope of the center to serve Basic Skills students and to hire tutors who reflect the diversity of the student body.

“She is a true advocate for students, always strategizing how to make the tutoring center accessible and welcoming to all students,” her nominator wrote. She “exemplifies the traits of a humble leader: always putting the needs of students and staff members first, leading by example, supporting and encouraging her staff members and creating a welcoming, friendly, collaborative environment where all students can thrive.”

Deanna Skinner, faculty member in Counseling and Career Services, was nominated by two people.

She has worked tirelessly over the past several years to develop and support the new HDEV 101 College Success class, which includes participating in numerous committees, documentation, writing much of the course material, and supporting and training instructors.

“I feel fortunate to have benefited from her all of her ongoing work and, as an instructor for the class, all I have to do is walk into the classroom and do my job,” one nominator said.

She is committed to the educational reform mission – that all students have an opportunity to be successful at EvCC from the beginning.

“She has and continues to do this fueled by the understanding that it is making a difference in the current and future lives of our students,” one nominator said.

Linda Summers, program manager in the Educational Planning Center, manages the college’s EvCC Connect program for former foster care youth.

“To say that she goes above and beyond is an understatement,” her nominator wrote. “Linda is managing a wrap-around program for one of our most vulnerable populations of students on campus, by herself. The students she serves diligently are often faced with homelessness, abuse, academic challenges, lack of familial support and much more.”

She coordinates an advisory board, works with community partners such as youth shelter Cocoon House, has developed strong supporters across campus, and coordinates activities for her students like team building, baseball games, meals out and hiking trips. Plus, she serves as an entry advisor for new students.

Exceptional Faculty Awards

These awards are given to dedicated, hard-working faculty members who contributed to the community and to their fields while also doing an excellent job in the classroom.

This year’s awards were given to two groups – three engineering instructors and four ORCA instructors.

Engineering faculty members Eric Davishahl, Joe Graber and Matt Parsons-Fuentes were nominated in recognition for the growth and development of the program over the past two years.

Together they designed and implemented new and innovative curriculum using new technology and added five new classes aligned with Washington State University’s new bachelor of science mechanical and electrical engineering programs offered on EvCC’s campus.

“Our EvCC engineering faculty members have worked diligently and effectively to make this transition smooth,” their nominators wrote. “The access to new laboratory equipment has been a boon to our EvCC Engineering students, giving them hands-on educational opportunities not typically available at a community college, allowing them to experience the types of projects that will help them transition into university programs with ease.”

They are leaders in introducing active learning into the curriculum. They have presented their work to their peers at various conferences, which has led other colleges and universities to seek their advice. All of these accomplishments and more were achieved while dealing with unprecedented growth – a 135 percent increase in FTEs from 2009-2014.

Robin Araniva, Wendy Houston, Shelli Jordan-Zirkle and Josh Searle teach in EvCC’s Ocean Research College Academy for Running Start students.

Together, these four go beyond disciplinary instruction and include curriculum integration, common assessment of student work, weekly meetings and monthly research expeditions in their work. The results are impressive; 95 percent of ORCA students enroll in universities, with 66 percent choosing a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) major.

Robin has cultivated a research mindset, “one where students apply their learning, engage in creative discourse and think critically about the world around them,” the nominator wrote.

Wendy, one of the program’s founders, adopted the reflective nature of ORCA by asking her students to reflect on test reparation. “When they struggle with applying concepts, she guides them and helps them make connections,” the nominator wrote.

Shelli is passionate about exploring history with a critical lens, and her students regularly praise her for pushing them to think critically and to differentiate among summary, analysis, and interpretation.

Josh, one of the program’s founders, “makes the largest contribution to the greater campus community,” the nominator said. He works collaboratively with colleagues in every discipline to provide ways for students to engage in dialog through the written word.

Emerging Classified Staff

This award is given to a classified staff member who has worked at EvCC fewer than five years and has emerged as someone who stands out among others.

Cashier Deanna Stevens was nominated by several people for being an energetic team player with exemplary customer service skills.

“She is friendly, professional, has great communication skills, and really tries to understand students’ and staff’s needs and always either points them in the right direction or personally walks them to the correct department to get the help they need,” one nominator wrote. Nominators gave numerous examples of this.

She makes great suggestions and well thought-out decisions. She considers students’ needs and works to accommodate them. She is “a rising star and a true pleasure to work with,” one nominator wrote.

Distinguished Classified Staff

This award is given to a classified staff member who has worked at EvCC at least five years and demonstrates extraordinary dedication and high-quality service to the college and community.

Maintenance supervisor Boyd Culver and maintenance mechanic Darrell Gulliford are eager to help, share creative ideas and make workspaces user-friendly.

In moving many people to Liberty Hall this year, they worked on a variety of projects including installation of custom counters and shelving for equipment while offering budget-friendly options and anticipating what would work better.

“They are friendly and resourceful, they work hard to get work requests accomplished, and they only seem to have to do the job once,” a nominator wrote. “That is a talent that should be appreciated and recognized.”

International Awards

Registrar Karl Ritter is the international education department’s go-to person in admissions. He responds quickly, accurately and always with his happy-to-help-you personality. He arranges his schedule to be available to help all new international students register for classes each quarter during orientation. He has been helpful and patient with new staff to help them acclimate to the college’s policies and procedures.

“He has been an active and outspoken supporter of International Education and we wish to honor him for that,” the international education department wrote.

Human resource consultant Linda Nichols has been instrumental as the international education department has grown and staffing needs have changed.

“Due to the unique aspects of our program, we have needed her skills to list positions to attract top notch applicants and to answer a variety of HR questions that tend to stray from the norm,” the department wrote. “She is able to find a way to accommodate the needs our department, which is where she really excels.”

The department also honored Diana Bustos, a parent from EvCC’s homestay program.

"Diana has always been a great mentor to me,” wrote a student who nominated her. “She cares and always considers me as if I were her daughter. She goes beyond being just a host mother. My experience with Diana has been so great and far more fantastic than what I expected before came to America. She has assisted me with any difficulties that I encountered, either in my academic or my personal life.”

Diversity Award

This award is given to an EvCC employee who best exemplifies the college’s core value commitment to diversity through tangible work.

The college’s Outreach, Diversity & Equity team, made up of Jerod Grant, Abraham Rodriguez-Hernandez and Esther Moss, was nominated for persevering and keeping the focus on students without a director. They are good examples and mentors and teach students to be leaders.

The three-member team coordinated three successful events. The RISE conference served 70 to 100 college students, and the Students of Color Career Conference brought a record 2,000-plus middle and high school students to campus. Both conferences focused on student activism, cultural awareness and student revolution theory.

This year, Jerod accepted the position of interim director and later was appointed director. He interacts with students with self-respect, honor and integrity and “opens the door to the path to more education. He is a natural leader,” a nominator wrote.

Program manager Abraham helps students believe in and discipline themselves to earn good grades and control their lives. He also hosts a workshop to help undocumented students complete the application for state funding.

Program coordinator Esther, an EvCC graduate, is a role model, keeps the office going and has a special way of greeting every person who enters the center.


Twenty-one employees retired from the college during the 2013-14 academic year. Together, they worked 425 years at Everett Community College, an average of more than 20 years each. Two faculty members each taught at EvCC for more than 40 years.

The retirees are: Stuart Barger (31 years of service), Judy Corbin (36 years), Joanne Flemings (11 years), Bob Killingstad (43 years), Della Leaf (21 years), Pheeson Liaw (25 years), Frances Lorentz (six years), Ed Lucero (13 years), Paula Marshall (11 years), Dennis McWilliams (25 years), Jane Molenkamp (24 years), Joey Nelson (15 years), Bethany Reid (16 years), Jim Shaeffer (23 years), Harold Small (four years), Louise Vlasic (21 years), Lloyd Weller (45 years), Sharon Wellman (28 years), Robert White (18 years), Charles Wikman (six years) and Robert Wright (three years).

Years of Service Milestones

5 Years at EvCC
Angela Brown, Visakan Ganeson, Shelita Gilbert, Lisa Gorman, Barbara Hellstrom, Bill Hunnewell, Preston Keaton, Jenny Marin, Kathy McQuade, Gretchen Rowe, Linda Summers, Victoria Tanis, Connie Tune, Brent Sall, Kerri Schwab, Josh Searle, Jo-Ann Sickles, Ben Thompson, Lynda Wolf, Pavlo Zhydovlenko

10 Years at EvCC
Jan Beatty-Adams, Anne Brackett, William Forsmark, Rie Fountain, Laurie Franklin, Thomas Gray, Steve Horn, Ardi Kveven, Laura Little, Karen Manley, Gina Myers, Theresa Nera, Deborah Newbury, Noel Omega, Linda Zuvich

Part-Time Faculty with 10 or More Years
Randy Ayres, Trish Davies, Karen Gabrielsen, Adriana Gallagher, Karen Gilbert, Portia Gunderson, Eileen Hambleton, Jennifer Jennings, Kathryn Johnson, Chuck Jones, Ron Kissler, Karl Kloster, Robert Lake, Ed Lucero, Gloria McPherson, Maureen Moore, Anita Newman, Donna Olson, Michael Radford, Heather Robinson, Sherry Tuinstra, Sharon Wellman, Chuck Wikman, Laura Wild, James Willcox, Rick Robinson

15 Years at EvCC
Christopher Austin, Dan Bauer, Roger Berger, John Bruemmer, Naomi Foote, Sue Grigsby, Wendy Houston, Randy Jenny, Nancy Kolosseus, Rene Kratz, Karen Landry, Jennifer Rhodes, Cheryl Schneider, Tadelech Shifaw, Joe Somera, Judy Thomas, Syndie Tran, Lori Wisdom-Whitley

20 Years at EvCC
Theresa Markovich, Vidal Martin, Karla Pouillon, David Ripper, Fayla Schwartz

25 Years at EvCC
Larry Baxter, Jeanie Goodhope, Greg Kammer, Karen Schilde, Mayumi Smith, Cindi Turner

30 Years at EvCC
Pat Murphy, Bev Nunes

35 Years at EvCC
Chad Lewis, Ken White

45 Years at EvCC
Lloyd Weller