High school teachers learn about space at Western Nevada College observatory



High school teachers from around the area went “out of this world” this month, at least for a few days, and at the same time learned new information and techniques about teaching science.

Western Nevada College’s Jack C. Davis Observatory hosted 39 teachers and volunteers from Nevada and California for a three-day Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network (RECON) conference. The event was intended to train secondary educators how to look toward space for teaching and research data. With the help of several scientists, the teachers, including three from Carson High School, were able to view Trans-Neptunian icy objects in the Keiper belt, a region of the solar system beyond Neptune.

Each team of instructors was provided an 11-inch go-to global positioning system (GPS) telescope, equipped with a video camera system and a global timing device. Data they collected under the stars will be used in the classroom and possibly published in a scientific journal.

“This conference represents STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education at its very best,” said Davis Observatory Director Robert Collier. “After receiving the training, the teachers are charged with getting their students involved in science by using the telescope to research and learn about these celestial bodies.”

The conference, held April 4-7, was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation. NSF funds research conducted by colleges and universities and is a major source of federal funding in mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.

Students and Faculty Honored at Banquet

Outstanding Western Nevada College students and faculty were this month honored during the 13th annual Appreciation and Awards Banquet at the Governor’s Mansion.

Awards were presented to students for academic excellence, tutoring, peer mentorship and athletics; those in the Latino cohort and in student government; and faculty members for outstanding teaching and service during the 2012-13 academic year.

Dr. Robert Morin, a political science professor at WNC, delivered the keynote address. Nevada Regents Allison Stephens and Ron Knecht were special guests during the dinner and awards ceremony presented by the Associated Students of Western Nevada.

Awards for academic excellence were presented to Theresa Vaughn, Communication and Fine Arts; Christine Croskery and Tamara Cleveland, Nursing and Allied Health; Whitney Snider and Kristy Williams, Science, Mathematics and Engineering; and Leana Garcia, Technology.

Other student awards were given to Maria Diaz, Latino Cohort Award; Sharlene Manriquez, Student Ambassador Award; and Martin Cortez, Tutor of the Year Award.

In addition, Peer Mentoring Awards were presented to Daren Kight, Don Boebel, Christina Connell, Michael Hunter, Laura Kruse, Cynthia Matthes and Nilzara Pietri.

Outstanding student athlete awards were presented to Michael Umscheid of the baseball team and Ali Lostra of the softball team.

Faculty of the Year honors went to Michael Hardie, Ed.D., of Douglas, and Ryan Stryffeler, Ph.D., of the Carson City campus.

Susan Trist, WNC coordinator for Disability Support Services, received the Nevada Board of Regents’ Academic Adviser Award. Also during the ceremony, ASWN recognized college faculty members and staffers Shelly Bale, Connie Capurro, Derek Clinkenbeard, Christina Hillis and Dan Neverett with Outstanding Service Awards.

Motorcycle Safety Classes Revving Up

Time to head out onto the open road? WNC is offering a basic motorcycle rider course through its Continuing Education Division, with numerous weekend sessions scheduled from April through early November at the Carson City campus.

The $106 non-credit course includes classroom instruction on Friday and motorcycle safety training from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Spring sessions are April 26-28, May 10-12, June 14-16, June 21-23 and June 28-30.

The course introduces students to motorcycle controls, motorcycle riding, basic maneuvers, street riding and traffic skills. All levels of experience are welcome, but students must have the ability to ride a bicycle. Students must be at least 16 years old with a class C or A license. Students younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian sign a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Waiver form.

Upon completion of the course, students will receive a Motorcycle Safety Foundation completion card to take to Nevada DMV to request that a class M endorsement be added to their current Nevada license.

Use of a motorcycle and a helmet will be provided to each student.

Required riding attire is boots or shoes that cover the ankles, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt or jacket, full-fingered riding gloves and eye-wear protection.

WNC also has been approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to offer an advanced motorcycle rider course. Watch for upcoming course information. WNC will be one of two sites in Nevada authorized to offer the course.

For information, contact Linda Whitehill at 775-445-4268.

Registration Begins for Fall Semester

Enrollment for fall classes at Western Nevada College is under way for new and returning WNC students. Students are advised to register early to secure their seat in desired classes. Upon admission for the fall semester, degree- and certificate-seeking students are required to attend an orientation, take placement tests and meet with a counselor before registering for classes, which begin Aug. 26.

Registration also is under way for summer classes, which offer students the opportunity to earn full credit on a compressed schedule. Classes begin June 10. To register or view a full list of classes, go to my.wnc.edu.


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