WNC News & Notes: WNC has money to help you pay for college

Joseph Bell is a history instructor at WNC.

Joseph Bell is a history instructor at WNC.

The Legislature has increased the amount of funding available to help Nevadans earn a college education. More than $400,000 is available to individuals attending WNC through the Silver State Opportunity Grant and other programs.

The increased financial aid will enable WNC to fund more than double the students attending college this fall compared to a year ago. In many cases, students will have their class fees (with enough funds for books) covered by SSOG. They can receive as much as $5,500 for the school year.

However, students must not wait to take advantage of the financial aid available in this need-based program.

“WNC is here to help students accomplish their goals and financial aid funds are still available,” WNC’s Director of Financial Assistance J.W. Lazzari said. “Individuals who are interested in enrolling should not delay and complete the enrollment and financial aid checklists as soon as possible. The college’s student-centered approach, financial aid availability and increased online class sections make enrolling and earning a degree extremely possible!”

The Legislature’s higher education initiative is aimed at helping students work less so they can graduate sooner and assist the state in becoming more educated.

“We are experiencing a revolution in higher education and Nevada is moving in the right direction,” Lazzari said. “The Legislature and governor have allocated additional financial aid funds to help students find ways to attend and complete college.”

Students must enroll in at least 15 units to be eligible for the SSOG. For those who are working and have been taking fewer units, WNC’s enhanced online offerings will give them the flexibility to attend college full time and still meet their family and work obligations.

To become eligible for SSOG, students must apply for FAFSA, apply to WNC, take a placement test, meet with a counselor and attend an orientation session.

WNC also has other institutional funding available to students.

To learn more about the process of applying for financial aid, go to www.wnc.edu/financial/aid/fafsa/. For information about becoming a student at WNC, go to www.wnc.edu/starthere/.

Positive Outcomes for Graphic Communications Students

Class flexibility and high success rates of finding employment are some of the benefits to Graphic Communications degree-earning students at Western Nevada College.

Students completing an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communications are developing careers in web design, animation, digital video, print design and multimedia.

Research has shown WNC’s Graphics Communications grads serve a wide range of business niches in the Carson City area. To date, Swift Communications has hired more than 25 WNC GRC graduates. They’ve also been hired by International Game Technology, Custom Ink, the Nevada Department of Transportation, the Sparks Tribune, smaller design studios and state agencies.

Grads can expect salaries to range from $35,950 to $56,640 per year; opportunities are best for graphic designers with a knowledge of website design and animation.

For individuals who may have to work when classes are offered or are deterred by residing too far from campus, WNC now has an alternative option to keep their dreams alive. Starting in the fall, all classes in the Graphics Communications program will have online sections.

“WNC’s Graphic Communications program provides students with an excellent blend of art and design utilized in the professional world,” said Dr. Georgia White, WNC’s Career and Technical Education director. “The program exposes students to contemporary tools of the trade, such as Cintiq pens.”

Students interested in obtaining a bachelor’s in graphic design will find a pathway to University of Nevada, Reno. This fall, UNR will design a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. WNC Graphic Communications Professor Jayna Conkey works extensively with UNR faculty and administration to ensure WNC provides a seamless transition to UNR’s new degree.

“I’m thrilled with WNC’s collaboration with UNR in graphic design,” White said. “I look forward to developing other pathways in the Career and Technical Education fields with our sister institution.”

For students looking for a shorter route to employment, they have the option of earning a Graphic Communications Certificate of Achievement by completing 30 credits.

The program has accommodated high school students interested in the field as well. The Nevada State Board of Education developed Career and Technical Education Standards for Graphic Design and worked with WNC faculty and area high schools to help high school students earn college credit. By taking three years of high school design courses and passing an exam, area high school students have been earning WNC credit for courses, accelerating their track toward the degree.

First and foremost, students in WNC’s Graphic Communications program are artists. Their work will be seen outside the college.

The quality of work from Conkey’s classes has shown up in art galleries at the college and in the community. Earlier this year, art from some of Conkey’s and Stephen Reid’s classes appeared in an “Art from WNC” exhibit sponsored by the Capital City Arts Initiative at the Community Development Building, formerly the BRIC. Twenty-one student artists from WNC were represented in the exhibit in the form of graphic design, drawing, photography and book arts pieces.

“There is a sophisticated quality and professional level in the WNC students’ art,” said Capital City Arts Initiative Executive Director Sharon Rosse.

Students enrolling in Graphic Communications at WNC will find they have many options and directions they can travel in their futures.

For information about the program, phone 775-445-4272.

Faculty Spotlight: History Provides Bell with Plenty of Stories to Tell

Joseph Bell likes playing the role of storyteller.

So, whether he’s recounting American or European history, the Western Nevada College history instructor is perfectly satisfied.

Bell, who has been at WNC since 2015, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Chico.

WNC: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Bell: I like teaching, because I like telling stories, and what better stories are there than history?

WNC: What do you hope to implement and accomplish in your classes at WNC?

Bell: Mostly the normal stuff for now: rigorous coursework, high levels of student engagement, excellent student success rates ...

WNC: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Bell: In my spare time I like to read, garden, hike, hunt, fish and make things.

WNC: Are you involved in community service or other philanthropy?

Bell: I’m an active member of the Knights of Columbus, I participate in 40 Days for Life and regularly attend the West Coast Walk for Life. I financially support various charities and action groups including Catholic Charities, Catholic Services Appeal, Patient Rights Council, etc.

This fall, Bell will be teaching European Civil History to 1648 on the Fallon campus and an online class, Survey of U.S. Constitutional History.


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