A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

No Welcoming Week events due to pandemic

Journalism-151 As the fall semester begins, the LCCC campus is missing many excited and eager faces as it used to seeing around this time of year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of LCCC during the Welcoming Week. “In…

Campus beefs up covid-19 precaution to ensure safety

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief   As a Fall semester starts, security measures to keep COVID-19 in check have been implemented by LCCC to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff. Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins said many new procedures…

Lorain County Community College wins 11 Press Club awards

Jayne Giese Staff  Writer LCCC took home 11 honors at the 2020 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards held by the Press Club of Cleveland via a Zoom conference on Aug.7, 2020. The Collegian won nine honors and the Boom…

College switches many classes to online as precaution

Jayne Giese Staff Writer Lorain County Community College has postponed all in-person classes from March 11 through March 14, in response to the coronavirus, COVID-19. The college also has extended its spring break from March 15 to March 24, and…

LCCC named among top 150 community colleges

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. is pleased with the college being named among the top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute.  As one of the 150 top community colleges, LCCC is eligible to…

No Welcoming Week events due to pandemic


As the fall semester begins, the LCCC campus is missing many excited and eager faces as it used to seeing around this time of year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of LCCC during the Welcoming Week.

No Welcoming Week festivities at College Center. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

“In the six years I’ve worked here, no other year has looked like this,” explained Marketplace cashier Leanne Failing. “I was aware of the changes, but having segregated entrances and your temperature taken was surprising.”

Covid-19 screening stations have been set up in select entrances to the campus. After the screening, students and faculty have to walk through connecting buildings to get to their classes.

With many classes opting for online learning and the strict precautions to provide a safe environment for students, College Center and other buildings were bare. Even with all the modifications, Failing was eager to return to the school.

“I was looking forward to coming back, but it definitely has a different vibe. I think this is just a time for us all to be patient”.

Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins, who was working at the temperature check station in CC building on the first day back to campus, said the pandemic has left people confused on many new rules and regulations. He said there are a lot more students on campus than he expected. Many students have chosen a community college as opposed to a four-year university because of the coronavirus in an attempt to save money or preserve health.

Collins, who is also a criminal justice graduate, explained there is an influx of telephone calls his department was receiving due to most entrances being closed.

Collins said he was pleased that “everyone was pretty patient and polite” to him and to his coworkers at the screening areas.

Six feet distancing signs are posted in the bookstore. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

Peyton Kellick, a psychology major and a Commodore Bookstore staff, said she wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day of the class, but she was definitely excited to see people at the campus again. As she works in the bookstore, she is used to seeing a lot of foot-traffic. She said she thought a lot of people would order their books online, and she was surprised to see as many people as she did in the bookstore and it was a “pleasant surprise.”

However, the first day back was still nowhere near as busy as it was in years past.

Ana Marzan, a Student Life staff and a criminal justice major, said she also saw more people on campus than she expected to see, but the amount of people present today was nowhere near the amount of people that are usually seen roaming the CC building. In addition to there being fewer people, she said that she did not expect the temperature checks when she walked in at CC, and while she was expected to wear a mask, she said it felt “weird.”

Journalism students Taylor Anderson, Courtney Crell, Anthony LaRosa, Madison Leon, Dylan Rice, and Alyssa Watson contributed to this report.

Campus beefs up covid-19 precaution to ensure safety

Oscar Rosado


As a Fall semester starts, security measures to keep COVID-19 in check have been implemented by LCCC to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff.

Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins said many new procedures are now in place to tighten extra safety measurements such as having anyone who enters the building have their temperature checked, having masks provided for those who don’t have one, having sanitizing stations throughout the campus, limiting its entrances and exits, and having more security on board.

A student checks his temperature at College Center. Photo: Oscar Rosado

A student checks his temperature at College Center. Photo: Oscar Rosado

Collins said an additional eight to 10 officers have come to campus and been spread out to help monitor anyone who enters the building via temperature check. Collins added the campus has partnered with the Elyria Police Department to have these additional officers on board, and mentioned North Ridgeville and Wellington are interested to help out if more extra hands are needed.

“Fall semester is our busiest,” said Collins. He added with the additional number of officers “we are able to help the campus out more.”

Due to a new cloud system, the exact number of people who were checked on the first day and week is yet to be determined, but Collins said the College Center was the busiest.

“The bookstore is here, Starbucks is here, this is the heart of the campus,” said Collins. He also said he was at first concerned how many people were going to line up the first week, but said the lines moved swiftly and with no problem, as everyone complied with the new rules of checking temperatures. “Our students understand, and are receptive to it. With what we’re doing, we can get through this.”

This new system of checking everyone’s temperature started in early August as the semester was preparing to officially start in the upcoming weeks, to determine how things were going to go.

“There have been no real high cases,” said Collins regarding the temperatures of the number of passing people. He assures if the initial touchless temperature mechanism has a high reading of a person, the security officer there will take a second reading from a handheld temperature reader.

In the event someone has a high fever of 100.4 or above, the person will be asked to leave, but also said if someone does have a high temperature it could also be due to the person being checked running a lot due to being late or whatever the case may be, therefore raising their temperature. With that as a case, if that is to happen, the person will be asked to wait outside for approximately ten minutes, to see if the temperature changes.

According to Collins, there are a complete total of eight open entrances available to enter through at the campus, with the remaining doors only being exit only. The eight locations that are open through the campus are: two entrances at the Physical Education building, two entrances at the Bass Library, both the North and South sides, the East door of the Lab Sciences building, the Stocker Center Lobby, and the Spitzer Center lobby. Collins mentioned the Learning Center is also open through its entrance as well.

In addition, there is one entrance available to the campus’ off-site locations such as the Lorain City Center, the Wellington Learning Center, as well as the University Partnership Ridge Campus.

Collins said the cleaning company that helps with the sanitation of the campus, ABM Industries, has made extra efforts to keep the campus clean and sanitized every day for those who do come into the campus.

With these new restrictions, Collins said the college’s hours have not changed much. The security hours will remain the same as always, and the security will close the majority of campus doors around 8:00 p.m. as not a lot of classes are held around that hour regardless. However, Collins and the other security officers are well aware there may be students working on computers on campus who cannot get access to one outside, and are well aware of them being on campus in the later hours. “We’ve been in their shoes before,” said Collins on the matter, and will keep their interest to stay longer if they must in mind to ensure their educational success.

“We’re making a positive growth to get things somewhat back to normal,” said Collins as he assures he is very confident about the extra security measurements to keep the campus safe for all who enter. “We don’t know how long this is going to last, but everyone has been pretty flexible with all the changes so far.”

In the event that COVID-19 slows down, Collins said the campus will consider easing its restrictions. But for the time being, this is the new normal for the campus everyone will have to adjust to.

“The college really has done a wonderful job to keep the campus’ health in mind,” said Collins.



Lorain County Community College wins 11 Press Club awards

Jayne Giese
Staff  Writer

Oscar Rosado

LCCC took home 11 honors at the 2020 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards held by the Press Club of Cleveland via a Zoom conference on Aug.7, 2020.

The Collegian won nine honors and the Boom Radio won two honors in the Best Print Newspaper Story 2 year/trade school category.

The first place for the Best News went to Oscar Rosado, editor of The Collegian, for his story titled “Coping with anxiety issues in the classroom.”  LCCC also won third place in this category forArt center helps fight mental health stigma” written by Quentin Pardon, assistant editor of The Collegian.

Quentin Pardon

Pardon also took both first and second places in Best Sports category. His story titled “Volleyball team comes up short in tournament play” took first place while “Junior college offers benefits for transferring athletestook second place.

LCCC’s Journalism students also took all winning spots of first, second and third for Features. First place was won by  Pardon for a story titled “Stop the vaping, save the living.” The second place went to a story written by Madelyn Hill titled “LCCC students bring typewriters back to life.” Third place spot was won by Jayne Giese for the story “One international student’s journey for a U.S. education.”

Jayne Giese

The Boom Radio won both first and second spots for Best radio/podcast news story. They are: “Career Exploration Podcast— SoYou Want to be in Broadcasting” by Janet Maltbie, first place, and “Dabble Podcast” by Jim Lanigan, second place.

The final winning category for LCCC of the night was for Best Online Reporting. The Collegian took both spots for the third time of the night, going out with a bang.  First place went to Weliton DeOliveira for his story “Facts and concerns of internet addiction for students and youths.” Giese took second place with her story “College offers ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.”




LCCC goes virtual for 2020 graduation ceremony

Special to the Collegian

The coronavirus-related restrictions didn’t stop Lorain County Community College from celebrating the accomplishments of its largest graduating class in the college’s 57 year history on May 16. The college honored the Class of 2020 via social media.  With 2,510 degrees and certificates being earned by 1,918 graduates and another 260 students earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees through LCCC’s University Partnership, the LCCC Class of 2020 is historic for a number of reasons.  Included in this year’s class are 125 high school students that are earning both a high school diploma and associate degrees through the Early College High School and College Credit Plus programs.

“In more ways than they might realize, this class is history in the making. These times are unprecedented, but so are our graduates’ innovative thinking, determination, and potential,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. at the Commencement that was streamed on social media platforms. “I’ve always known LCCC students have grit and perseverance, but in the past two months our new graduates have demonstrated extraordinary determination and commitment to continue their education and achieve their goal of graduation.”

LCCC previously announced that due to the COVID-19 health crisis preventing mass gatherings the college was forced to cancel its in-person commencement ceremony originally scheduled for May 16.  That date will now be the launch for a two-week tribute and celebration of the class of 2020.  It will begin Saturday, May 16 with a virtual ceremony on LCCC’s Facebook page as a premiere event at 9:30 a.m. – the date and time of the originally scheduled in-person commencement.  The online ceremony featuring theme of “Perseverance” will pay tribute to the class of 2020 with video messages along with keynote addresses from Student Senate President Udell Holmes and Dr. Ballinger. The video can been seen with the following link: https://www.facebook.com/lorainccc/videos/712054356231953

To provide an opportunity for graduates to join in the celebration, the college has sent graduates their regalia and asked them to submit a photo and message to their families, which will be shown during the online ceremony. Many graduates are decorating their caps for the ceremony and are encouraged to share photos of the completed caps on social media. 

While graduates decorate their caps, the LCCC’s team is creating an outdoor public recognition display that Dr. Ballinger hopes will make this year’s ceremony even more special. 

LCCC’s commencement team designed the tribute that will be comprised of thousands of marking flags forming the shape of a graduation cap on the Elyria campus. The graduation cap display will span 351 feet by 279 feet.  The symbolic display celebrates this year’s graduates, as well as all grads since 1964, which marked LCCC’s first graduating class. The 47,000 marking flags each represent an LCCC graduate.  One square, identified by yellow flags, represents the end of the tassel within the design and has an additional 2,185 flags – one flag for each graduate of the class of 2020. Boards located near the display list the names of the Class of 2020 to further recognize their accomplishments.  The display will remain up until June 1 and allow the opportunity for graduates to drive by and take a photo.

“The spirit behind this display is to show our graduates, their friends and families, and our entire community that while we are celebrating this milestone occasion physically apart, the class of 2020 is united as LCCC graduates today and alumni forever,” Dr. Ballinger said.  

Udell Holmes, LCCC Student Senate president and 2020 graduate, plans to share his own message of enthusiasm with his fellow graduates during the non-traditional ceremony. The Lorain resident will be graduating from the college’s University Partnership program with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University. Once he finishes graduate school, Holmes plans to become a clinical psychologist. 

“It seems that our lives are constantly flooded with news of the coronavirus and it can be a bit overwhelming,” Holmes said. “But I choose to focus on the positive things that helped us earn our degrees – the family members who found creative ways to celebrate our birthdays, the phone calls from friends that kept us sane, and the professors who showed us compassion and understanding when we needed it the most.”   

LCCC plans to continue celebrating the class of 2020 throughout the month of May through a social media campaign that will highlight graduates’ stories along with videos as a way to share with the community the impact LCCC graduates are already having on our community. 

With this year’s graduating class, LCCC is 34 percent of the way toward its goal of 10,000 degrees of impact, the core focus of LCCC’s strategic plan, Vision 2025. Vision 2025 aims to raise educational attainment to improve the lives and economic status of individuals and their families, while fueling the economy to thrive and building stronger communities.

For more information on LCCC, visitwww.lorainccc.edu/graduation.

Issue 17 levy passes regardless of covid-19 quarantine

Oscar Rosado

Despite social distancing and other covid-19-related restrictions, LCCC’s Issue 17 levy passed by 27,650 (59.5 percent) to 18,809 (40.5 percent) votes, according to unofficial results released by Lorain County Board of Elections on April 28.

The goal of renewing the existing 1.8 millage as well as adding a 0.5 millage won by 8,841 votes.

LCCC will receive an estimated $15.6 million per year with the passing of the levy. This levy amount will run until the next decade, lasting until 2030.

“We all won, together!”

“We all won, together,” exclaimed Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green.“We are humbled by the results and by the confidence this community has and what LCCC means to the lives of the people here. Issue 17 has passed at about 60 percent and that is a phenomenal testament to how this community values higher education and the impact that LCCC is making on our community and our future.”

Won regardless of the coronavirus outbreak

Regardless of the initial setback of the election pushed from Mar. 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the levy has passed.

“It is absolutely remarkable, and I am so grateful for the continuation of the community’s support. It was this community that built LCCC as the first community college in Ohio in 1963,” said Green. She went on to say, “That tradition of investing in ourselves and in the best hope of our community’s future continues today. So this result just really reflects that continued commitment for our local access to affordable quality higher education and all the gratitude goes to our community. We are the community’s college and we will continue to fulfill that mission.”

Going forward with the future, Green said, “This is a ten-year renewal levy, so it keeps a foundation of support that has been part of LCCC since 1963. It is instrumental to making LCCC who we are and what we’re able to deliver to this community.”

Not a typical election

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, celebrations have been put on hold. “First and foremost is the health and safety of our community. So while prior election years when we had an issue on the ballot that has been up for renewal, we’ve had wonderful celebration times with large gatherings, but we want to protect the health and safety of our campus and our community,” said Green.

It was not a traditional celebration nor a watch-party to see results come up on April 28, according to Green. She went to say, “It was not a typical gathering, we were just watching the results come through with Lorain County Board of Elections.”

“It was a little quieter, but that doesn’t make the celebration any less enthusiastic just because we weren’t able to do it in that way. There is such sincere gratitude for the support of this community,” said Green.

Thank you to all students

Green also paid tribute to students. “Thank you to all the students. Our students are the reason why we exist and what we do every day, and it is their stories that I believe demonstrate the impact that we make,” said Green.

Green believes statistics are just half of what reflects the success of students and the college. “Certainly, percentages and numbers say one side of the story, but when you really tell the story, like the story of yourself and other students and the impact that our college was able to make on the individual lives, that is when it becomes real, and that’s when it becomes meaningful. We are grateful to our students for entrusting us with their futures and choosing us as their higher education providers.” 


Journeys of 2020 LCCC graduates

Special to the Collegian

Sticking to the plan

Anna Lewis wanted a challenge. 

So, the incoming Avon High School freshman asked her parents if she could enroll in a Lorain County Community College class through the College Credit Plus program. Her parents, Dell-Ann and Ron, were familiar with the CCP program because their older daughters had taken a few LCCC classes during their junior and senior years of high school. 

They were a bit hesitant to let Lewis start CCP courses at such a young age, but knew Lewis had always been academically oriented and driven to excel. 

“So we told her to figure out what classes she wanted to take her freshman year,” Ron said. 

Little did they know, Lewis had a plan.

She presented her parents with a detailed four-year plan that included not only taking CCP courses her freshman year of high school but for all four years. 

And her plan was built on logic. Lewis had always wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor, and she knew that by taking CCP courses she could earn college credits toward an expensive degree at no cost to her parents. 

Lewis had mapped out a pathway to earning 60 college credits and included regular meetings with an LCCC academic advisor to make sure she was enrolling in classes that met the requirements for an associate degree in science. 

From the very first course – Introduction to Psychology – Lewis knew she was on the right path. 

“I fell in love with it,” she said of the CCP program. “I knew that taking college classes throughout the rest of my high school career was right for me.” 

But it wasn’t a stress-free road; not that Lewis expected it to be.  

“Taking college classes in high school is not meant to be easy. It took me a while to get used to the coursework and the time required,” she said.

And as Lewis’ course load and difficulty level increased throughout her high school years, so did her involvement in extracurricular activities. At one point, Lewis was on three cheer leading squads, president of the high school SADD club, working part time, and doing volunteer work. 

To do it all, she took classes online, on campus, and over the summer. That meant spending more time in her room studying and less time with her friends.

Lewis                                     Submitted Photo

Sometimes it seemed like too much. 

Lewis admits now that she probably didn’t get as much sleep as she should have during her time in high school. She was tired in more ways than one. 

“There were times when Lewis would get tired of studying all the time or get frustrated when she was taking a more challenging class,” Dell-Ann said. “We would remind her that she was a 14 or 15-year-old girl taking college level classes. We told her to just do her best.”

In addition to her parents and sisters, Lewis leaned on the student services office at Avon High School and her professors and academic advisor at LCCC for additional encouragement and guidance.

And it was during a meeting with her LCCC advisor, Andrea Horning, that Anna could see – on paper – herself closing in on her goal.

“She told me that if I kept on track, I would earn my associate of science degree by the time I graduated high school,” Lewis said.

And that wasn’t all. She also learned she was just one course shy of earning an associate degree in arts too. Lewis plans to take that course this summer to earn her second associate degree in August.

“I am super excited. It’s been a very long journey to get here and I am proud of myself that I made a goal, stuck to it, and achieved it,” Lewis said.

Lewis is eager to celebrate her accomplishments this spring, alongside her family and fellow Avon High School and LCCC graduates. But she admits, neither ceremony will be what she or her parents had imagined four years ago.

“To say that ending Lewis’ senior year of high school and her first two years of college during a pandemic has been easy would be a lie,” Dell-Ann said. “The events we had hoped to celebrate with her have been cancelled, rescheduled, or done alternatively. And we are sad that she cannot walk across a stage to get her high school and college diplomas.”

But they all know that these celebrations will continue and will be momentous all the same.

“We’re grateful to both institutions that they have supported the students and have offered alternatives to the end of the year events,” Ron said.

Lewis actually found the online graduation ceremonies a little satirical.

“I took about half of my credits at LCCC online, so it is kind of ironic to me that I will be graduating online as well,” she said.

As she waits for her cap and gown to arrive at home, Lewis is brainstorming how she’s going to decorate her cap. For three years now, LCCC has encouraged graduates to decorate their graduation caps with words and images of pride, motivation, and thanks.

“I keep coming up with new ideas on how to decorate it. I’d like to highlight my educational journey so far on half of the cap and my future education on the second half,” Lewis said.

As Lewis prepares for her special days, her parents taking it all in.

“Our family has come to appreciate the little things and to truly be in the moment,” Dell-Ann said. “The little moments that in the past would have been just been a simple occurrence, have become celebrations for Anna and our family.”

They have a lot to celebrate. After graduation, Lewis will attend the University of Toledo to finish her bachelor’s degree in biology. And then she’s off to medical school to fulfill a life-long dream.

“We are so proud of her. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud we are of Lewis’ accomplishments,” Ron said. “We are looking forward to what the future holds for her.”

Lewis is too. And when she looks back, she knows it all started with a plan. It wasn’t always easy to stick to it, but she never gave up. 

“When I faced many obstacles, I picked myself up, refocused and continued,” Lewis said. “I gave up a lot but taking CCP classes has given me a great foundation for my future.”

A degree earned and a weight lifted

This month James Wells Jr. is releasing a burden he’s carried for more than 20 years. He dropped out of college in 1999 – an opportunity he says he wasted as a youth – and that decision followed him everywhere.

Not having a degree was like a weight that I dragged around for most of my adult life,” Wells said. “Whenever applying for a job or considering a new position, lacking a degree on my resume was a limiting factor.”

Wells, who lives in Elyria, has been working in the information technology support field for 14 years and spent the last eight at MCPc, a data solutions provider headquartered in Cleveland. He had hopes to move into a cyber security position within the company, but without a degree he was never qualified for the open positions.

Going back to school had floated in and out of Wells’ mind for years. But time and money seemed like impossible barriers to overcome. And the life he had built with his wife and their six children, four of whom still live at home, kept him very busy. Beyond working full time Wells and his son James Wells III are actively involved at their church. Wells Jr. is a minister, plays piano and keyboards in the choir, and contributes to the church’s  online radio and television stations.

But then, in 2018 Wells read about LCCC’s cyber security program offered primarily online. It was the degree he wanted in a format that might suit his life. And even though fitting in the time still didn’t seem feasible, he decided to meet with someone to talk about it anyway.

Wells spoke with Larry Atkinson, associate professor at LCCC, who answered every last question Wells had about the program. Atkinson was direct but optimistic. He told Wells that completing this degree program would be challenging, but assured him that he could do it.  “Larry encouraged me to make an appointment to determine what schedule would work for me. Without that brief but effective interaction, I may not have taken the steps needed to get here today,” Wells said.

Wells (left) with his son (right)                                                                                              Submitted Photo

The road to earning his degree was trying but with his supportive wife, a nearby campus, and a flexible class schedule, Wells made it work. It also helped that he had a college study buddy in the home. His son James had enrolled in LCCC’s Early College program in 2016 through Elyria City Schools, which meant he spent his entire high school career on the LCCC campus taking college level courses.

“The fact that my son was selected to participate in the Early College High School program was a blessing and a privilege,” Wells said. “He will earn an associate of art degree along with his high school diploma – all at the age of 17.”

And Wells is earning his associate of applied science degree in cyber and information security – more than 20 years after dropping out of college.

“I never dreamed I would be able to graduate from college given the opportunities I wasted as a youth,” Wells said. “But I am overjoyed to have the privilege of graduating alongside my own son.” 

With his degree in hand, Wells plans to pursue those cyber security roles at MCPc that once seemed out of reach. He also hopes to earn a Certified Ethical Hacker certification and CISSP certification. As for his son, Wells III is still deciding his next steps, but is considering a career in the United States Military.

Whatever lies ahead, Wells knows he and his son are walking toward bright futures. And these days, Wells is travelling a little lighter.

Two Decades in the Making

It’s a degree that’s been more than two decades in the making.

Yecenia Rivera took her first class at Lorain County Community College in 1993. She completed her most recent class in May 2020. The extended timeline has made reaching graduation an extra special accomplishment, she said. 

“I like to joke that it’s been 27 years in the making,” Rivera said. “I started taking classes, I got married. I had kids, but I kept on with school when I could.”

This month, the Lorain woman is earning her associate degree in nursing, and will soon take the state exam to become a registered nurse. Along the path to RN, Rivera completed the LPN program in 2004. 

“I have always wanted to take care of people. I’ve always had that passion. At LCCC, I was able to take classes slowly and reach my goal of becoming an RN,” Rivera, 47, said.

Registered Nurse is a title she’ll share with her son, Anthony, 20, who graduated from LCCC’s nursing program in December 2019. He began work at Mercy Hospital in Lorain in March.

After earning her LPN, Rivera began work at the University Hospitals Avon Rehabilitation Hospital. It was her stories from the world of health care that inspired Anthony to follow in her footsteps. Anthony is one of three kids in the Rivera family, but he is the only one who felt drawn to a medical career.

“I’m the only one of the kids who didn’t get grossed out by her stories from work,” Anthony recalled with a laugh.

When he was a freshman in high school, he enrolled in LCCC’s Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus. While at Early College, he had the opportunity to take classes in the state tested nurse assistant (STNA) program. He was hooked. 

Yecenia Rivera (left) and Anthony Rivera (right)                                                                                             Submitted Photo

“Once I did the STNA program, I knew I really wanted to go into health care. Early College prepared me for nursing school,” he said.

Anthony graduated from Early College in 2017 with both an associate of arts and an associate of science degrees. He began his nursing classes later that year, beginning a unique situation for him and his mother, as they both worked toward degrees in nursing. The mother-son duo used their classes a way to connect and support each other, and sometimes also as a source of good-natured teasing.

“I was one semester behind him, so we could share tips about classes and studying,” Rivera said. “We had all the same professors, so he knew he had to leave a good impression because his mom was following right behind him. I loved to remind him of that.”

Both of the Riveras said they benefited from the help and support of nursing professor Nanci Berman.

“She has been a constant for us. When we felt low or stressed, she gives the best pep talks,” Rivera said.

Starting out as an RN during the COVID-19 pandemic may not be what the Riveras expected, but they are eager to help.

 “Overall, I’ve enjoyed starting out during this memorable time,” Anthony said.

Once she passes the state exam, Rivera hopes to continue her career at the rehab hospital. 

“I love what I do and I’m excited at the idea of expanding my role as an RN,” she said.

Transferring to Lorain County Community College for smaller classes and hands-on co-ops connects graduate with in-demand career

Cecelia Dahlinger started her journey on the traditional path at a four-year college, but after struggling with her classes, she found a top program and her passion close to home with Lorain County Community College (LCCC)’s University Partnership computer science and engineering program with the University of Toledo.  At 24, the Huron resident is thrilled to be earning her bachelor’s degree in an in-demand field May 16 — and just completed  a lifelong dream of working at Walt Disney World. 

“The opportunities at LCCC have prepared me by letting me gain real world experience in my field, and giving me a leg up on the competition when searching for jobs, ” Dahlinger said. 

When she started out at the University of Akron after graduating from Olmsted Falls High School in 2014, Dahlinger struggled with her original major, chemical engineering.  “ I spent a year and a half there, but I slowly realized that I was being dwarfed by the class sizes and wasn’t getting a personalized education,” she said. Dahlinger switched her major to computer science but it wasn’t a success at the first try. She failed her first computer science course. 

“I lost my honors scholarship that was paying my tuition,” Dahlinger said. “My student debt was skyrocketing.” So, she decided to move back to her then-home in Olmsted Falls.

Upon returning, she took some general classes at LCCC before picking back up with her passion in 2016 when she found the University Partnership computer science and engineering program. She loved the personalization she could get at the LCCC University Partnership Ridge Campus in North Ridgeville, especially when she realized he could earn a four-year degree at a much lower cost close to home.

“I think it was a fantastic value,” Dahlinger said. “The smaller class sizes and the professors knowing my name helped me feel motivated to continue towards the completion of my degree. That’s something you don’t get on a large campus.”

“Since there are three semesters of co-op as degree requirements, I have been able to challenge the skills I’ve gained before I even graduate,” Dahlinger said. The highlight of her experience at LCCC was finishing a co-op at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she worked as a software engineer on the modeling, simulation and training tools during the spring.

Dahlinger                      Submitted Photo

“Disney is special to me because I enjoy making people happy, and that’s what Disney is all about,” Dahlinger said.  “The team creates and utilizes tools to help simulate rides and attractions within the parks to do things like increase efficiency or even cut down on scheduled down time. While I was there I was treated just like a full-time engineer, getting to work on some amazing projects.”

She previously completed two co-ops at Macy’s Technology in Lorain where she worked on a support team for a semester and a proof-of-concept for a second semester. The University of Toledo’s College of Engineering was recently ranked as one of the top four engineering programs in the state of Ohio by the Princeton Review.

“Adrienne Aguilar, my advisor, was instrumental in me getting through the program,” Dahlinger said. “She knows all of her students personally, and I’m always amazed at her ability to keep track of everyone and make them feel like an individual.”

Dahlinger has a 3.4 GPA. 

“The students I shared the classroom with were equally motivated, and most came from non-traditional backgrounds,” Dahlinger said. “I think this environment fostered a sense of pride in what we were accomplishing, since most of the students were there because it was their own choice to continue with schooling.”

Dahlinger has always wanted to be some kind of engineer. She took her first computer science class during her junior year of high school. Today she’s proud to have come full circle and completed her degree at LCCC.

“Computer science is a growing field, and there are sure to be many opportunities down the road,” she said. Thanks to her real-life training with LCCC co-ops, Dahlinger knows her future will be bright.

LCCC students’ research published in The Ohio Journal of Science

Special to the Collegian

Lorain County Community College’s innovative hard-working students aren’t just completing advanced science research as part of their coursework—three students’ independent research was published in the April issue of The Ohio Journal of Science.

LCCC science instructors including chemistry professor Regan Silvestri, Ph.D., and microbiology professor Harry Kestler, Ph.D., direct student research groups and research projects with individual students who completed the high-level research that was featured in the journal. 

Paul Warkentien was recognized for his research on thermal management properties of 3D printed multi materials for aerospace applications. Warkentien began conducting independent research with Silvestri in 2018 thanks to grants that Silvestri had secured from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Langley, Virginia. Warkentien then seized an opportunity to continue researching on the topic of additive manufacturing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, during his second internship, thanks to funding from the Ohio Space Grant Consortium.

The LaGrange resident, 20, is working toward his bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering, with plans to transfer to Cleveland State University in the fall. “I was so proud of myself and so happy to know that I was able to make a mark in the scientific community,” he said. 

“I wanted to test the thermal properties of these materials because, due to the sheer amount of these materials that are continually being added to the market, thermal data for many of the materials is scarce, especially when it comes to using multiple materials in the same structure,” Warkentien said. “The other reason I chose thermal data is because it built upon the skills I learned earlier on in my original internship with LCCC and NASA.”

Warkentien also presented his research at the national American Ceramics Society conference in Daytona Beach, Florida on January 27. He said he “would like to thank Laura Stacko, Jay Singh and Regan Silvestri because without their guidance and support none of this would have been possible.”

“We’re extremely proud of the successes of all three of these students, Andrea, Sara and Paul,” Silvestri said. “Their publications in the Ohio Journal of Science all seemed to come together naturally from the research they were doing, thanks to scholarships that all three of the students received from the NASA Ohio Space Grant Consortium.”

Another one of Silvestri’s students, Vermilion’s Andrea Zirkle, explored how the flavor profile of apple moonshine changes through a double distillation process. “I am so grateful to have the great support system of Dr. Silvestri and our research group,” she said. Zirkle felt “humbled and grateful for the opportunity” to have the chemistry research she completed also appear in the publication.

Zirkle                Submitted Photo

The 41-year-old universal science major recently received the prestigious Ohio Academy of Science Undergraduate Research award for her work. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University through the University Partnership with LCCC.   

“The research basically demonstrated how when the apple moonshine was distilled for purity, the double distillation process unfortunately removed all of the good fruit essence that was important to the moonshine’s flavor profile,” Zirkle said. 

Biology major Sara Martin, whose research was also published this month, performed HIV research with instructor Harry Kestler, Ph.D.’s research group that studies mutations and methods used for creating a vaccine for HIV.

“We’re looking at a mutation present in a child who was exposed to HIV but didn’t contract the virus,” Martin said. “We’re trying to essentially glue pieces of DNA together so that we can put this mutation into other cells, expose those cells to HIV, and see if this mutation was the reason why this child was resistant to HIV.”

The 21-year-old Sheffield Village resident is on track to graduate next spring with her bachelor’s in biology from Bowling Green State University through the University Partnership with LCCC. She said joining Dr. Kestler’s research group was one of the best decisions she has made while earning her degree.

“It’s pretty neat to be a part of a project as big as this one,” Martin said. “This research group started years ago and it’s cool to be able to be able to build on the work of countless students before me. It’s also really awesome to be able to teach the new students who come in how to work in a lab and what our project is all about. That’s one of my favorite parts of the lab.” 

Lorain County Community College is located at 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, Ohio. 

For more information on summer classes, visit www.lorainccc.edu/summerfall20

Engineering student gears for future

Mackenzie Jonke
JRNM 223

Sarah Park, 2018 graduate from Wellington High School, first became interested in computerized design and drafting while attending LCJVS during her junior and senior year of high school. Park decided her major while attending an internship.

“I had an engineering internship in high school that I earned with the skills I learned at LCJVS. I didn’t enjoy doing desk work, but I wanted to stay in manufacturing, so I looked for a more hands on degree,” Park said. “I was looking at automated engineering and another degree and I chose the automated one because it was geared more toward what I wanted to do.”

Park                        Submitted Photo

While studying at LCJVS, Park did many different projects. “We designed a bunch of different things like playgrounds, blueprints for houses, everyday objects, etc.,” Park explained. “I designed a vice at a competition based off of an existing drawing. I liked architecture a lot and I also really liked using the 3D printer.”

Computerized design and drafting requires a lot of hard work, but Park had a small advantage. “I knew it was going to be harder than high school and it took me some time to realize that I was going to need to spend a lot more time studying and doing homework than in high school or I wasn’t going to do well,” said Park. “So, I knew it was going to be harder, but I definitely had an adjustment period.”

Occasionally during college many student change carrier paths. Fortunately, Park decided against that option. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I have a weak stomach for medical things, so I decided against it as I got older,” Park explained. “I would still like to work with animals when I get older (grooming, volunteering, etc.) but I think I chose a good career path and I like what I do.”

Hard work and dedication are only two things that are needed in this field, but Park has some advice. “Automated engineering technology is a growing field with a lot of career opportunities. Especially in our area. If this is a field that interests you, then I highly recommend you pursue it. Also make sure you study.”

LCCC one of two colleges to win Achieving the Dream award

Jayne Giese
Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College is one of only two winners for this year’s Achieving the Dream Award. Achieving the Dream is the highest honor awarded to colleges, it notes the strength of the institution as well as the student success rate.

“Colleges that want to be considered for this award have to meet a certain criterion just to apply. The fact that we are one of two winners this year shows our ability to invest in our student culture. At LCCC we believe that every student’s dream matters, and we want to help them achieve their dream,” Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said. She believes that winning this award means even greater success for the future students of LCCC.

Dr. Ballinger holding the Achieving the Dream Award.
                            Jayne Giese | The Collegian

One of the ways a college is calculated for this award is based on the number of students enrolled, and how many of those students went on to graduate. In fall 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), LCCC had 10,644 students enrolled.  Out of that number 26 percent were full time students.  As of Spring 2019, the graduation rate went up from eight percent back in 2011 to a 30 percent graduation rate. 

Ballinger feels that it is the Students Accelerated in Learning Program (SAIL) that has made a big difference in the success rate of the students. “SAIL is such an important program for many students to succeed. The program provides financial and academic support to help students earn their associates within three years. Some of the ways the program financially helps students is with gap tuition scholarships, vouchers for textbooks, even gas and grocery gift cards for students who qualify. We need to make sure every student has the ability to succeed, and SAIL is a great help for students both financially and academically,” said Ballinger.

The Achieving the Dream award                        Jayne Giese | The Collegian

LCCC is committing to the future now more than ever by launching the 10,000 Degrees of Impact. The 10,000 degrees of Impact is a strategic plan that promises by the year 2025, 10,000 students will earn a degree or credential from LCCC. There will be five areas of focus for this plan. Student focus, success focused, future focused, work focused, and community focused.  

LCCC will be helping students shape their futures. By being student focused they will prepare working age adults for the new economy. LCCC will also be working with K-12 to help more high school students graduate with college credit, encouraging future generations to achieve their goals. 

First African American mayor strives to help the community

Quentin Pardon
Assistant Editor

“It was something I believe God called me to do,” said the new and first African American Mayor of Elyria Frank Whitfield. 

Whitfield had been working for the city for 17 years since he was 15 years old.  “I just always had a passion for helping people and it grew over time. You fall in love with helping people.” To reach a tier such as becoming mayor, you must have support and help and Whitfield indeed had it from the start. “My wife is number one. No doubt about it. She’s been by my side the whole time. This was a very risky move for me professionally and personally and she never moved from my side from the beginning.”

Exposed at a young age

Whitfield grew up on the south side of Elyria and was exposed to life as a juvenile. “I was exposed to drugs and violence at a very young age,” said Whitfield. Whitfield and his group of friends had to take on the responsibility of finances around the age of 13. “A lot of them went down the wrong path and tried to find the short term ways to get money,” he continued saying. 

Whitfield admits nine of his friends had experienced jail or prison time and he’s the only one who hadn’t been institutionalized. 

“I watched us go down these paths and it wasn’t because we were bad kids or because we didn’t care about our future. We were hungry for opportunities and we took the ones more available to us in the neighborhoods. In most cases, they were illegal. That’s a part that motivates me. I understand what kids are facing and are tempted by and I want to disrupt that pattern and provide opportunities for them. I want to create a city that is designed to help the youth become successful.” Whitfield said he still sees what he experienced in today’s community.

Mayor Whitfield.                   Quentin Pardon | The Collegian


The cycling repeating

“It’s sad to see the cycle repeat itself. I’m on my third generation of seeing it. I watched the dad of my peers go down that path. Then I watched my peers go down that path and now I’ve seen children who are facing the same problem. As every generation comes and goes, I’m glad to see this upcoming generation stay out of trouble. It seems we are learning and teaching the younger generation to be better than us.”

Whitfield had collected a vast collegiate background of knowledge and degrees including a Bachelors in Nonprofit Administration from Cleveland State University, becoming a Certified Weather head Executive Coach and earning a MBA from Case Western Reserve University. Yet the community college in his hometown is the foundation where he began to mold his career together. 

“LCCC is where I learned how to be a leader,” said Whitfield. He earned his Associate of Arts degree at LCCC. While on campus, Whitfield ran into his old professor, Malcolm Cash, who used to work in his old neighborhood and offered Whitfield a deal he couldn’t turn down, which was to come down to New Orleans with his group of students and help rebuild the community Hurricane Katrina destroyed. 

“I got involved with the group, raised money, presented a bunch of presentations. It really showed me how to put a project together and have a set initiative,” said Whitfield.

More interactive with others

From that point on Whitfield had been more interactive in the community. He has been part of many organizations such as Youth Development Leader Save Our Children, Boys and Girls Club, Eden Vision (Co-Founder) from 2001 – 2010, Foundation Fellow Nord Family Foundation from 2012 – 2014 and most recently the President & CEO of Lorain County Urban League 2014 – 2019.

The Foundation to help LCCC students grow and succeed

Oscar Rosado

“We are here to support the key strategic priorities of the college. We primarily support scholarships and those key strategic priorities identified by Dr. Ballinger and the Vice President and the Trustee of the College and the Board of Directors,” said Executive Director of the LCCC Foundation Lisa Brown, who has been involved with the Foundation for three years.

What it is

The Foundation was established in 1973, ten years after the campus was established. It is a nonprofit organization that assembles and utilizes resources to support the mission and vision of LCCC. “We enhance the community’s quality of life by investing in key LCCC priorities that present the greatest impact and growth opportunities for the people of the community,” said Brown.

“It was the earliest foundation for a community college in the state of Ohio. It has one purpose: to support the mission and vision of LCCC. A big part of what they do is they raise scholarship dollars for students,” said Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green, who started working here on campus 24 years ago, in the foundation, where she got her start there. Prior to becoming vice president for strategic and institutional development, which also serves as Vice President of the Foundation, she was also the Executive Director of the Foundation. Mar 18 was her 24th anniversary at LCCC. 

She added, “In fact, probably 90 percent of the resources they hold are for scholarships for students at LCCC. That’s a really important mission that they do, and they raise private funds to help students attend LCCC for scholarships. They also raise funds for technology enhancements, and new programs that we would have here at the college. That is their number one mission, is on that fundraising side, and then they manage those resources to go towards supporting this institution, supporting our students.”

From left to right: Executive Director Lisa Brown, Administrative Associate Brenda Troxtell, Director of Finance and Operations Charles Wiersma, Development Officer Lisa DeVito, and Senior Specialist Development Operations Laura Slys                                        Oscar Rosado | The Collegian

Types of scholarships given

The Foundation has a number of different types of scholarships. Academic based scholarships for non-traditional students, scholarships for veterans, and scholarships for those who are going on to the university partnership program. 

“I have a long history of what the Foundation is, and all that it does, its purpose, and its role,” said Green. The Foundation reports to Green’s position as she is an officer of the Foundation serving as Vice President. With this position, she oversees the workings of the Foundations, its goals, its operations, and works very closely with Brown, as well as Dr. Marcia Ballinger who serves as President.

A generous community 

“Our community is so generous. It spans those who donate. Staff, students, and faculty also participate, and we are grateful to everybody. It’s not just on this campus, but also emcompasses our learning centers. We are focusing on exercising civic rights and looking for a participation goal. We are looking to grow participation in the campaign,” said Brown.

United Way Campaign

United Way Campaign is a national network of people within communities to come together to help the community by way of volunteers, contributors, and local charities. The campaign started on Feb. 19 and ran until Mar. 17. On Feb. 25. There was a kick-off breakfast at the College Center to kick-off the campaign.

At the kick-off breakfast, there were fun activities at the College Center.  Interim Dean for the Health and Wellness Sciences Division Lisa Augustine Ph.D., partnered up together and there were activities such as line dancing, corn hole. Students from the children’s learning center also took part in the event. Breakfast was offered in the morning and raffles were also a part of the event, for chances to win prizes. Brown is hopeful everyone had fun raising dollars for a good cause at the kick-off breakfast. 

This year, the fundraiser will benefit Ready Set Go which is a program to prepare children for Kindergarten, and the Children’s Learning Center which is part of the Ready set go collaborative, according to Brown. “Dollars raised that day will go toward the Ready Set Go collaborative, so we’re really excited about that,” said Brown.

“When I first saw this event, it really was something special. It really is something to see. People come together and have so much fun and the dollars raised for the United Way. This is our community and the people come together for our community,” said Brown

“Proud of what we do”

Brown went on to say, “These are our students, these are the same people that we serve and the recognition of that, whether it be through the United Way collaborative, or through our own Commodore Cupboard or the emergency assistance funds that we have through the foundation, these are all the same people we are serving and our faculty, staff and students recognize that and it’s a really nice day that we all come together in recognition of that, and it’s something I’m very proud of that we do here.”

“Our foundation is just amazing. It’s here to support our students. I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of our community that supports our foundation,” said Brown. 

The Foundation was established by a group of visionary individuals.

According to Green, there are about 200 named scholarships, which came from a family, a company, or another foundation who has established a scholarship with LCCC under their name. The Foundation manages that are awarded each year. 

“We’re always looking at novel approaches, we always seek to support our students and we’re always looking at new partnerships with the community and always looking for new ways to support our students. Students and LCCC are our number one priority, supporting the strategic plan of the college is our number one priority,” said Brown.

According to Green, the Foundation has up to 60 Board of Directors, who are all from the community and they represent business and industry and healthcare, and community leaders, the philanthropic community. Green works very closely with these groups to fulfil the mission of the foundation. Brown agrees this is an excellent number of people involved.

“It is an amazing number. All of them are passionate. Our directors are a diverse group of individuals who represent a very wide variety of businesses as well as geographically. They are from all over the county, their businesses are also from all over Northeast Ohio. They are male, female, different ethnicity, and represent our student population very well,” said Brown.

She went on to say the directors understand and strive to understand the student population very well. “They are passionate about LCCC, about community colleges and they are great advocates for LCCC. They truly understand the value of a community college education and are really grateful for what LCCC brings to this community. They are very engaged and very supportive.”

“We are just so grateful for all the support the community provides to us. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the leadership of the college and the trust that they place in us and the trust the community places in us. The donors are the reason why we are here. Their trust they place in us and their trust in the college. It is all about them. They are inspired everyday by the students of this college, by the leadership of this college,” said Brown.

How much donors give

Donors entrust a dollar amount, and Brown said donors rise up in numbers every year. Rough estimate is $800-900,000 on an annual basis, with official numbers totalling to approximately $800,000 in scholarships, last year with the total dollar amount adding to $784, 643, according to Director of Finance and Operations Charles Wiersma.

Luckiest people in the world

She expressed great excitement, “We are the luckiest people in the world!,” exclaimed Brown. “We are just here to facilitate. I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world to have this job. Just to see everything come together, it’s just such a wonderful job, it really is. We are blessed. We have the trust of the community.”

Green expressed similar feelings. “Having been involved with the Foundation for my entire career, one of the pieces of continuity that I’ve seen from the moment I started here, is how much this community believes in the mission.”