Student Activities >
By Lauren Maddox, LSC-Montgomery College Relations
The Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) at Lone Star College-Montgomery, a program for the 50-plus retired or semi-retired community, will host an open house on Saturday, August 20, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in The Commons (Building A). The public is invited, and entertainment and refreshments will be provided.
The open house is a chance to learn about the new and recurring ALL lectures and classes being offered during the upcoming fall semester, as well as meet some of the class instructors, socialize with other academy members, and register for any lecture or class.
Also at the open house, the Instructor of the Year will be recognized, as well as the new ALL board members.
“We’re excited to kick-off another year of quality instruction and social activities that promote intellectual and personal growth through the ALL program,” said Donna Smith Burns, LSC-Montgomery’s ALL program manager. “Our medical series is popular this fall, which covers everything from skin cancer and joint replacements to specialized ‘Doc Talks’ at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital. It’s a very informative and interesting series.”
ALL is a membership organization filled with lectures, seminars, and discussions geared toward the older, active adult individual interested in remaining “plugged in” to the academic, learning environment. The classes are informal and informational and cover a variety of topics such as art, computer technology, personal growth, languages, history, travel and more.
The $35 annual membership fee opens doors for a full year of social activities and personal growth courses that are free of charge or cost only a minimal rate. The annual membership lasts from September 1 to August 31.
Each of the five colleges within the Lone Star College System offer continuing education for their older, active adults through the ALL organization. Course offerings and program events vary with each campus.
For more information about ALL or to obtain its fall schedule of classes, contact LSC-Montgomery’s continuing education department at (936) 273-7446 or visit www.LoneStar.edu/all-montgomery <http://www.LoneStar.edu/all-montgomery> .
By Steve Scheffler, Dean of College Relations
On September 24, 2011, TEDxTheWoodlands will take place in Lone Star College-Montgomery’s Music Hall (Building H). The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will bring people together for amazing and inspiring presentations and performances by 14 creative thinkers, innovators and artists from the local area, College Station, Austin and Mumbai. The theme will be “Kaleidoscope Mind – pattern-seeking, playful, multi-faceted”.
Peter Han and Fabian Fernandez-Han, residents of The Woodlands and founder/organizers of TEDxTheWoodlands, are excited about the diverse lineup of speakers/performers slated for the inaugural event.
“Our amazing speakers and performers come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, yet they all have in common minds that are pattern-seeking, playful and multi-faceted,” said Han. “They have an uncommon ability to draw upon their unique experiences and capabilities in playful and imaginative ways to discern patterns in their lives, to derive meaning from them, and to create new patterns to enrich their world. They all have kaleidoscope minds. They will delight, amaze and inspire the audience with their stories and performances.”
The audience will enjoy the following talks and performances: Serendipity, Power of Optimism, The Mind and Music, Creativity in Education, Design Play for Kids in Extreme Environments, A Serpent's Kiss, Preparing Students to Change the World, Augmented Reality, A Bollywood Dance Medley, Demystifying Creativity—You Don’t Have to Be Creative to Be Creative, Composing as Performing, Perfect People Principle, Beyond Comprehension, Simple Modest Creativity and much more.
To create an intimate setting for conversation and connections with the speakers and performers, the organizers of TEDxTheWoodlands have limited attendance to only 100 seats.
Those interested in attending the TEDxTheWoodlands conference should register via the event website at www.TEDxTheWoodlands.com <http://www.TEDxTheWoodlands.com> . The deadline to register is Friday, September 2.
There is a nominal donation of $25 to attend the TEDx event, which includes lunch and a variety of gourmet snacks throughout the day. LSC-Montgomery, Central Market HEB Houston and A Sweet Intent are a few of the sponsors for this event.
A limited number of individual and corporate sponsorships for this event are still available by contacting Peter Han at TEDxTheWoodlands@gmail.com.
For more information on TEDxTheWoodlands, contact Peter Han, event organizer, at TEDxTheWoodlands@gmail.com; or visit www.TEDxTheWoodlands.com <http://www.TEDxTheWoodlands.com> . You can also follow the TEDxTheWoodlands event on Twitter at @TEDxWoodland <http://twitter.com/#!/TEDxTheWoodland> s or on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/TEDxTheWoodlands <http://www.facebook.com/TEDxTheWoodlands> .
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.
TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.
TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit http://www.ted.com/registration
Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED.
By Steve Scheffler, LSC-Montgomery Dean of College Relations
To celebrate a rising standard of student work, Lone Star College-Montgomery hosted its annual Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC) Student Presentation Conference this past spring, where 16 students presented upper-level research projects to their peers, professors, and a panel of judges.
The students’ projects covered a range of interests including alternative fuel sources, space exploration, techniques in breast cancer detection, medical imaging, and criminal law. Most presentations stemmed from classroom assignments, and students were nominated for this conference by their professors based on the quality of their research.
Kevin Rasco, who graduated from LSC-Montgomery this May with an associate’s degree in biotechnology, was involved in a group presentation entitled, “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank.” He, along with six other students, made a presentation on the various facets of creating biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oil.
“As the LSC-Montgomery Biodiesel Club became better at creating biodiesel fuel, several students branched off into different aspects of the process for more detailed analysis,” explained Rasco, whose research and presentation covered oil properties after conversion. “Time permitting, this project could go on for a long time.”
Overall, there were a total of nine presentations—two groups and seven individual. The students presenting were:
Desiree Adams: “Molecular Breast Imaging”
Dana Baker: “Criminal Law: Up Close and Personal”
Carlos Bolivar: “Beyond Spongebob: The Ocean’s True Sponges”
Julia Gibson: “Bivalves: Pearls of Wisdom”
Kathleen Ramirez: “Cephalopods: The Ocean’s Mata Hari”
Lyn Schafer: “Forensics Radiology”
Jeremy Wegner: “Where Are We and Where Can We Go? Going Further Into the Final Frontier”
Michelle Coleman and Josh Munnerlyn: “Algae: We Can Grow Fuel at LSC-Montgomery”
Kevin Rasco, James Kubena, Ryan Rickert, Adrian Salgado, Patricia Sikora Smith, Traci Thrash, and Holly Wright: “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank”
“Through this conference, students see the level of their colleagues, get ideas for future projects, and hopefully, are inspired to raise the bar on their coursework,” said Golden. “Ultimately, it helps to raise the level of expectations across the entire campus.”
While the quality of research in each presentation clearly displayed creativity and independent thought, prizes were awarded to the top three individual and the top two group presentations based on critical thinking skills, topic knowledge, and the overall presentation.
Rasco and his group received first place and were acknowledged at LSC-Montgomery’s campus-wide Heights of Excellence award ceremony held this May.
“The presentation was just a snapshot of all our work, so the challenge was fitting a ton of information done by many students into a very short presentation,” said Rasco. “But it all came together easily, and I hope more students show interest next semester.”
Rasco will enter M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s School of Health Professions this fall to work toward a bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics.
The CAC Student Presentation Conference is a part of the CAC initiative, which encourages interdisciplinary writing, faculty dialogue, and curricular experiments across the campus. The conference has occurred annually since 2006.
For more information about the CAC Student Presentation Conference, contact Dr. Paullett Golden at Paullett.R.Golden@LoneStar.edu.
By Lauren Maddox, LSC-Montgomery College Relations
Lone Star College-Montgomery celebrated the accomplishments of 36 students at the annual General Education Development (GED) graduation ceremony, held recently in the college's Performing Arts Center. The ceremony honored more than 170 students who took the preparation course and passed the GED exam during the past year, marking an important step in enhancing their future.
"LSC-Montgomery is proud of its GED graduates and the many success stories that come from this program," said Celyn Christophe, director of continuing education at LSC-Montgomery. "A GED certificate will open up new possibilities and allow these students to become eligible for jobs for which they would otherwise not be qualified."
Such is the case for Lea Croston, a single mother of four children who, after being laid off last year, earned her GED this March in order to be able to apply for a more secure job.
"I was really scared since I hadn't been in school for 45 years," said Croston, who was the student speaker at the GED graduation ceremony. "I signed up for night classes, and with the help of my instructor, I achieved my diploma.”
Croston plans to earn an associate degree and pursue a career in counseling.
"I realize now that there are so many opportunities out there," Croston said. "I've already signed up for classes at LSC-Montgomery to further my education beyond the GED. The sky is truly the limit."
Another student participating in the ceremony was 76-year-old Robert Stiles, a retired petrochemical worker from Shenandoah who "never took the time" to finish high school.
"It was more for self-pride than anything," said Stiles, who added that he is now helping his 13-year-old grandson with his school studies. "The GED program at LSC-Montgomery was fantastic—the resources they gave us and the instructors, too. I wonder how many promotions I missed without a diploma. I know that more doors would have been open to me."
During the ceremony, the top three students with the highest GED test scores were recognized with a scholarship. Cameron Britt, Ricardo Ocampo, and Breanna Wierz each received $500 to put toward their education.
"A GED will help make a person eligible for higher education, if that's their goal, as it will increase their chance of being accepted into the college of their choice," said Christophe. "In today's world, the more education a person has, the better his or her chances are for success."
Dr. Austin A. Lane, president of LSC-Montgomery, presided over the ceremony, and a reception for the graduates and their friends and families immediately followed.
The GED program—first developed to provide returning World War II veterans with an opportunity to earn high school credentials—has served as a bridge to education and employment opportunities for an estimated 15 million since 1942. Today, approximately one in seven high school diplomas issued in the United States each year is a GED diploma.
LSC-Montgomery offers the GED review course and the GED test—both in English and in Spanish. Students must be 17 years of age or have parent or guardian permission to take either one.
During the GED review class, students use specialized computer software and work independently on the computer under the guidance of an instructor to prepare for the GED test, which includes sections on writing, math, science, social studies, and literature and the arts.
The GED preparation and testing center is at Lone Star College-Conroe Center, which is located just off FM 3083 at 777 Conroe Park North Drive in Conroe.
For more information about the college's GED program, call (936) 273-7446.
By Steve Scheffler, LSC-Montgomery Dean of College Relations
Conroe Resident and LSC-Montgomery Instructor Dave Parsons to be Honored May 12
The community is invited to a reception honoring Dave Parsons, adjunct English faculty member at Lone Star College-Montgomery, who was recently named the 2011 Texas State Poet Laureate, which is Texas’ highest literary honor.
Parsons, a Conroe writer, author and educator, has taught creative writing—and handball—at LSC-Montgomery since its earliest days. In 2005-06, he served as Montgomery County Poet Laureate.
Each year, the Texas Commission on the Arts names official state artists in poetry and music as well as two- and three-dimensional art based on their contributions to their particular art form. During their one-year term, Texas State Artists serve as ambassadors promoting the arts in Texas. While there is no cash prize or direct compensation that accompanies the title of Texas poet laureate, recipients enjoy academic and literary prestige as well as greater publishing and appearance opportunities.
“We are so proud of Dave,” said Dr. Barbara Buchanan, academic dean at Lone Star College-Montgomery. “Not only is he one of our outstanding English and writing instructors, he is an active leader in the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council. He is a true advocate for literary achievements in our college, county and state.”
Over the last 15 years, Parsons founded and guided the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council “Writers in Performance” series, bringing in some of the most distinguished authors to LSC-Montgomery and other local venues for free readings and lectures, including several U.S. and Texas Poet Laureates, and several National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners.
For more information about Dave Parsons, visit the Dave Parsons, Poetry website.
By Kellie Pearson
Lone Star College System (LSCS) has finally resolved a glitch in a computer system that had been keeping students from using financial aid book vouchers anywhere other than the campus book store.
LSCS has been working on the issue since earlier this semester, when it began switching to a new computer system designed to provide additional services to students and employees including a way to electronically process book vouchers. The goal was to create a way to electronically process book vouchers and enable students to have their textbook financial aid wired to their personal bank accounts. They would then be free to purchase books from a retailer of their own choice.
But during the conversion to the new system, students were temporarily excluded from purchasing their textbooks with financial aid from bookstores other than the campus book store. Assistant Vice Chancellor Laura Morris stated in an article published by The Courier last December that it was only to last a couple of months until the ERP system conversion was complete.
As a solution to the transitory problem, a paper form was created for students to allow them to use their financial aid to purchase textbooks elsewhere. The contract stated: “As a student, I understand that I am not under any obligation to purchase textbooks from Follett Bookstore as Lone Star College System’s affiliated bookstore; and that textbooks may be available from off campus bookstores and/or online retailers”.
According to The Voice’s online poll, out of the 50 students that responded, 80% stated that they were not aware of this form.
Not until recently has the glitch in the computer system been resolved. The delay, according to LSCS Executive Director of Communications Jed Young, initially involved the conversion of the new system.
“The new ERP system is now able to handle book voucher requests and processing without any difficulty. At the same time, a formal process for LSCS student book voucher requests is still in the works to determine the most equitable way to handle book vouchers,” Young said.
The college is still working to create a way for students to notify the college of their preference where they want to purchase their books. They will still probably have to end up using some sort of paper form according to Young. The goal is to have the formal process in place by the start of summer classes.
In addition, LSCS is also currently working on plans to make students more aware of their textbook purchasing options for the future.
“LSCS will be publishing notices, both hard copy and electronic, to notify students of their options. The notices will point out that students are not under any obligation to purchase a textbook from a LSC-affiliated bookstore and that the same textbook may also be available from an independent retailer, including an online retailer,” Young said.
These notices will be available to students no later than a week before fall or spring semesters, during the first week of summer school, and to prospective students who may be attending an orientation conducted by LSCS.
By Kellie Pearson
According to LSCM Police Captain Steve Phillips, textbook theft has been a common occurrence on campus although there is no statistical data with the number of textbooks stolen this year. Since not every incident is reported to the police, it is impossible for them to track stolen textbooks in an efficient manner.
Currently, the campus police are investigating two incidents involving textbook theft that occurred February 2 and 10 around 10:45am.
According to the police reports, both events happened inside the campus bookstore when the person of interest stole two back packs from the drop off area while their owners were shopping in the store.
All together, five textbooks in addition to two back packs and a lap top computer were stolen. The thefts were discovered when the owners returned to the bag drop off area to pick up their backpacks and they were missing. Both occurrences were caught on the bookstore’s surveillance cameras.
“While surveying the footage of the suspect, it was determined that it was the same suspect involved in the theft on the previous Thursday around the same time frame,” wrote Officer Nance.
Later that day, the alleged thief attempted to resell the stolen books to In and Out Textbooks located across the street from LSCM.
For preventative measures, the campus book store has relocated their book bag drop off to a more visible area with better supervision of their security cameras and book store employees.
Sandy Chance, owner of In and Out Textbooks, advises students to write their names or some sort of symbol inside their books so that they have a way to identify them in the case that they are stolen and attempted to be resold to In and Out Textbooks. The book store has the right to refuse service to any one that they consider suspicious of textbook theft.
Captain Phillips advises that “students should always be aware of their surroundings and never walk away from books, backpacks, cell phones, or any other items that someone else might view as valuable. It only takes a matter of seconds for someone to walk up and take items that are left unsecured.”
By Jake Buscemi, Contributing Writer
For the 2011 spring semester, students in the two new academic buildings on campus, Building G and B, have faced an unusual sight entering class each day: trash cans are used to prop open the doors of virtually every classroom.
It's not an attempt to promote recycling, but rather has become an irritant in particular to professors at the LSC-Montgomery campus. Instead of key cards, professors use trash cans to ensure access to their rooms.
Professors were supposed to be handed out key cards for the locking mechanisms on their classroom doors at the beginning of the semester, but some things were delayed and the cards were never issued to them.
Steve Scheffler, Dean of College Relations, said that “the new card reader system is a system-wide initiative that is separate from our new buildings. The timing of the card reader implementation didn’t dovetail with the opening of our new buildings—which are the first of many new buildings to come online throughout LSCS.”
Many professors have become frustrated with the issue for the simple fact that if someone shuts the door behind them from the previously scheduled class, they have no access to their room, thus the need for trash cans to prop them open.
Many new, state-of-the-art instructional tools have been implemented in the new buildings but they are not functioning properly due to the fact that they are brand new and many professors simply don't know how to use them yet.
But a solution is on its way. Steve Scheffler says that “the plan is to have the upgraded door access control system operational in both the old and new buildings within two weeks.”
As for whether professors will get their key cards in a timely fashion he added that “the system will be operationally ready; however, this does not mean the campus faculty/staff will have their cards to open the doors within the two-week period.”
Scheffler said that the process will most likely take six weeks to implement, provided that the cards arrive on time and no major problems occur with the programming aspect of the system.
“System wide, we are moving to a “one-card” scenario, which is current technology and will provide capability in the future.”
Currently, 2,800 cards have been ordered for the entire faculty and staff of the LSC-Montgomery campus. This will be enough to provide each employee with a new card that needs one to access any room they have security clearance for regardless of whether it is in the old or new buildings. The contractor that is upgrading the card access system will assist with the transition and programming initially.
Mr. Scheffler declined to say who was responsible for distributing the cards in the first part of the semester. But while it has been an inconvenience for the semester, everything should be running properly by the beginning of the summer semester if not earlier.
By Keatin Reagan
As an impending state-wide budget crisis looms, the Lone Star College System is looking at a wide range of options to close the gap, including hiking tuition, cutting operating expenses and increasing the costs of professional programs, according to a college district official.
System Treasurer John Robertson told The Voice that the current proposed state budgets, one in the State House that will be voted on by the end of April and one in the Senate, both entail cuts in higher education that at the local level would take away between $8 and $9 million dollars in funding from the 2009 fiscal year budget for the system (Lone Star’s budgets are biennial).
Even this significant cut is only the tip of a proverbial iceberg: since 2008, when the last budget was put together, the system added around 18,000 new students, according to Robertson. These students are simply not being funded at all by the new funding program; the cuts are on a budget for a much smaller student body. According to Robertson’s calculations, the actual budget “gap” is closer to $56 million dollars per year for two years, close to half of the system’s normal operations budget.
“Nothing is sacred,” Robertson said early on when discussing potential cuts in spending, going on to clarify that education programs are the very last items to even be considered for cuts. He did say, however, that the technology budget, which has seen a considerable increase recently, enjoyed no such protection and is instead being looked at very carefully.
Robertson also stressed that the system knew these money issues were coming and has been preparing for them for some time. “We were not surprised,” Robertson said while outlining the process that has been going on in Austin since the middle of last year at the height of the financial crisis. “We knew this storm was coming.”
With such a formidable number to overcome, Robertson described the steps that could be taken to cut costs and attempt to close the gap. The first answer, and the one that Robertson seemed to harbor the most reservations about, was to hike tuition at the Lone Star System campuses. One proposal that has already been put in place for next school year is a $2 hike in tuition per credit hour. While this is a seemingly a small price to pay ($12 for a student taking three classes totaling 6 hours, for example), it is not the only fee increase that is being proposed. One that has already been accepted is an increase in the cost of professional programs like nursing (by how much Robertson did not want to speculate on), along with a $20 “facilities fee” per student that would help pay for janitorial and other services whose funding is being otherwise reduced.
When asked about any proposed increases in property taxes, another primary source of funding for all LSCS campuses, he was even less hopeful than when discussing tuition increases, as the tax rate in Montgomery County, by way of example, has been raised a fraction of a penny this year while the average property value has actually decreased, meaning that less money is available from this source than normal. It’s a pattern common throughout the area as local governments refuse to raise taxes in rough economic times.
Robertson seemed much more comfortable discussing other options, most notably cuts in spending on “unnecessary” items, such as reduced travel for system administrators and the cancellation of various meetings and banquets system employees attend annually. Other “small” measures that in Robertson’s opinion add up to significant savings include a reduction of printing in system offices, an increase in telecommunications (i.e. conference calls and webcam conversations) to reduce the need for travel, and the various “green” programs in place at most campuses, such as replacing paper towel dispensers with electric hand dryers and putting dark tint on windows to reduce climate control costs.
Personnel costs are also being reduced through a hiring “chill,” not “freeze” as Robertson is quick to point out; new employees and faculty are hired only after careful deliberation and only to replace a departed staffer; there are no new positions being created for the foreseeable future. Having to reconcile this aim with an administration program to hire more full-time faculty members to replace part-time adjuncts at certain campuses has been far from easy, says Robertson.
In addition to serving as system treasurer, Robertson is also a member of the district’s Budget Ideas Committee, an administration committee that reviews budget reduction ideas from students, faculty, and other employees. The committee has received hundreds of ideas, and according to Robertson officials are implementing close to 50 of them in some form. Despite this impressive output, Robertson encouraged those with more budget ideas to by all means submit them to his office.
Robertson was very critical, however, of members of the Texas Legislature. He was less than kind. “What these guys need to realize is that education, higher education, is the economic stimulus they are looking for. We’re always the first to get cut, and to me that’s crazy.” Shaking his head, he closed with an indictment of some legislators: “These people are big on talk when it comes to education, but in the end not big on funding, and we suffer for it.”
By Steve Scheffler, LSC-Montgomery Dean of College Relations
Gaze into the sky at Lone Star College-Montgomery during its semi-annual “Starry, Starry Night Star Party” on Sunday, April 17. The event, sponsored by the astronomy students and professors at LSC-Montgomery, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Health Science Center (Building B, Room 102) with a presentation by the college’s resident astrophysicist, John Wakefield, entitled ”David and Goliath - Binary Star Evolution.” Wakefield’s presentation will be based on the interaction and evolution of binary star systems, Type I supernovae formation, and using those events as cosmic distance indicators to measure the size and expansion of the universe.
Following the presentation, there will be an outdoor viewing of the nighttime sky from the top of the college’s new five-level parking garage beginning at 7:30 p.m. The parking garage is best accessed using the West Campus Drive entrance, which is directly across from the main entrance to College Park High School off Hwy. 242/College Park Drive.
The highlight of the evening, according to Aaron Clevenson, astronomy instructor at LSC-Montgomery, will be the guest appearance of Saturn, the true Lord of the Rings.
Students, staff, and faculty members, as well as community members are invited to attend this free, family-friendly event. No astronomy experience is required. For more information about the “Starry, Starry Night Star Party,” contact Dr. Aaron Clevenson at Aaron.B.Clevenson@lonestar.edu.
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