February Good News

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Photo of Jaimie Crush

Music student and artist Jaimie Crush volunteers with the Holland Project in Reno, and tutors in the Tutoring and Learning Center at TMCC. Photo courtesy of Otter Love Photography.

Arian Katsimbras, TMCC Alumnus, Published Poet and English Instructor

After Arian Katsimbras graduated from Truckee Meadows Community College in 2009, he transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno and completed his bachelor’s degree there.

He went on to earn an M.F.A. in poetry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Katsimbras is now a full-time English instructor at TMCC.

Katsimbras said that when he first began his studies at the College, he explored a few different types of courses and on a whim took a poetry workshop with Professor Lindsay Wilson. A poetry workshop is a semester-long, 3-credit intensive class which dives deep into the genre. Other workshop courses offered at TMCC are in fiction and creative non-fiction.

“Lindsay took me under his wing and introduced me to poetry, publishing, and we also worked on TMCC’s literary journal, the Meadow,” Katsimbras said. “That began my career trajectory. My goal was to get into the M.F.A. program at Virginia Tech.”

Katsimbras’ work has appeared in a wide variety of publications. Some of his works include:

  • VinylPoetry.com: "A Soft Fugue"
  • Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art: Featured Poet
  • Tahoma Literary Review: "Growing Up, All the Mobile Homes"
  • Two are coming soon in "It was Written; An Anthology of Printed Poetry", poetry inspired by hip-hop

Before returning to TMCC as an instructor, he strengthened his teaching legs at Virginia Tech through a graduate teaching assistantship, leading classes in freshman composition and creative writing.

“I’m back at TMCC because I’ve always wanted to be here,” he said.

He advises students interested in English studies to take as many creative writing workshops as possible to get opportunities for mentorship. Katsimbras thinks that mentorship is vital in the fields of writing and visual art. Students will get to know what writers and artists are already working on and then can push beyond limits, adding their own creative voice.

“What TMCC accomplishes really well is mentorship – for mentorship, it is unparalleled,” he said.

Jaimie Crush, Music Student, Produces “Art+Fashion Fusion Show” for Holland Project

Jaimie Crush will be graduating in May with an Associate of Arts degree, Music Emphasis. She is now exploring opportunities to study voice and piano performance in Finland. She is involved with art activities in the community and is an active participant in the Holland Project, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization.

“It’s a creative organization by and for young people,” she said. “They do art, shows, concerts and workshops.”

Crush has helped with events, and presented selections from her watercolors, printmaking and pen and ink drawing in Holland Project art shows. Her big project so far has been producing a charity fashion show there about one year ago, the “Art + Fashion Fusion Show.” The fashion show raised money for the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project (N-Yep). Reno News & Review published a story about her work and the fashion show.

“The Youth Empowerment Project helps out homeless youth with housing and life skills,” she said. “The show featured three musical acts, six designers, artist showings and a silent auction.”

The Holland Project is located at 140 Vesta Street in Reno, complete with an office, library and urban garden, according to hollandreno.org.

Crush is also a tutor in the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC) at TMCC. She tutors the subjects of writing, art, music, psychology and math.

“I recommend people to check it out—it’s not people looking down on you—it’s people helping each other, like a peer workshop,” she said. “And it’s great for getting help on essays.”

David Misner Volunteers in the Community, Feeding Hungry Children

David Misner, Help Desk Coordinator for Information Technology at TMCC, has been volunteering at two organizations in the community for close to 15 years.

His work with Pathfinders Children’s Ministry was inspired by Misner’s desire to help under-served children in the region have enough food to eat.

“I was helping feed the kids at Pathfinders, and I noticed a little girl about eight years old, returning to the food line and asking for more pretzels,” he said. “After the third or fourth time she got more pretzels, I saw her put them in her backpack. So, I approached her and commented on how much she likes pretzels. She explained that she was getting them for her little brother who could not come to Pathfinders as he was not old enough yet, and that they did not have any snacks for him through the week. I went and got the biggest zip lock bag I could find and filled it for her little brother.”

Misner also volunteers for the Reno Air Racing Association.

“Aviation is not about who you are or how much money you have, it is about what you love, it is about rising above the day to day stuff to see the beauty of it from above,” he said.

Contributions to TMCC Good News are Welcome

Additional contributions for good news are welcome. If you have an achievement, volunteer experience or award to share with the TMCC community, please let us know.