August Good News

Samuel Binger conducts water quality research.
Jared Libby

Samuel Binger Awarded Scholarship for Research in Water Quality

Dousing his college career with success along the way, Samuel Binger flowed to the top this summer, earning a prestigious scholarship with a mouthful of a name: the Nevada National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). The TMCC undergraduate worked enthusiastically as his passion for water quality research consistently keeps his glass half full. As the new semester knocks on our doorstep, Binger encourages his fellow peers to wade through the ocean of opportunities possible at TMCC.

Dipping his toes into the realm of environmental science, Binger was able to secure a position in water quality research thanks to the help of Professor Sameer Bhattarai. “He didn’t know of any jobs, but he knew of some scholarship. A grant opportunity. I kind of just hopped on that through him, and he agreed to be my mentor. The rest is history,” Binger shared. Sporting a determined attitude and a diligent work ethic, the two strapped on their boots to bog down in research involving “the effects of wetlands and how they work in a sequestration of pollution in the south Reno area.”

Controlling pollution is an endless effort, and we often take it for granted. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, even though lesser concentrations of pollutants exist, it’s still destructive to humans and our ecosystem. Binger’s efforts in the field are leading us to a better understanding of why these contaminants thrive, and he’s diving into uncharted territory.

“What’s probably most exciting is that there’s hardly any research done on the effects of wetlands in Nevada’s Great Basin region. There’s plenty of research all around the world on the effects of wetlands, but nothing necessarily within the Great Basin. It’s kind of exciting to be one of the first, if not the first, to do some research out here,” Binger said.

Over the years, and of the five Great Basin states, Nevada continues to have the smallest amount of high-resolution wetland map coverage. Water availability regularly strains the abundance and circulation of fish and wildlife. Water diversion and development persists in creating problems, but amidst all the challenges Binger faces in his experiments, his aspirations proceed to float well above the surface.

“Beyond that, probably the most important aspect of it all is that I’m getting research in my field, and that this is going to be great for applications, for if I want to go to grad school or if I want to pursue a job in water quality, stuff like that. This is a great thing to have, and it’s great to just finally get some work in the field,” Binger recognized.

With an intrepid demeanor and a willingness to achieve, Binger’s been enlivened by a new semester where he can truly polish his skills as an environmental scientist. “Look around and ask around for opportunities.” Sage advice from the TMCC undergrad, who was especially grateful to the mentor who encouraged him to reach his true potential.

“Of course, Professor Bhattarai, (he) kind of just gave me a chance. He had liked how I conducted myself in class. He gave me a chance for this opportunity, and I’m really thankful to him for being my mentor through all of this. Without him it couldn’t have been possible. I wouldn’t have even known that this opportunity existed without him,” Binger said, as he reflected on the experience.

NC3 Bestows TMCC with “School on the Rise” Honor

TMCC's dedication to building invaluable educational experiences was recently recognized by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). The collaboration between NC3 and TMCC began in the automotive division, but a multitude of other technical programs have arisen since then. TMCC’s consistent adaptability to the demands of Northern Nevada’s economy and workforce crowned it as the “School on the Rise” for June 2022.

Hailing itself as the “future model for Career and Technical Education,” one of NC3’s key initiatives has always been program and site assessment. Evaluation of members’ classrooms, labs, training systems, program goals, and local labor market demands characterize the ideal educational workspace. College institutions and industry partners work collectively to create fresh technical education curriculums, too. For this honor, TMCC’s Applied Technology Center became a beacon for what an effective, contemporary training center looks like.

While a spectrum of adaptable course structures are available, accessibility remains pivotal so that all students may strive for individual excellence. Helping these students acquire degrees and industry certifications is the hallmark of TMCC’s faculty and staff, and that level of sincerity transcends to any field of study.

Dr. Karin Hilgersom, President of TMCC, attended the 2022 NC3 Annual Leadership Summit with hundreds of like-minded professionals invested in student success.

“It was fun to be the bridge to build their confidence to succeed in their studies and communication skills. I think they realized I was there to help them and that I wanted them to leave with the tools necessary to communicate on their jobs,” she said.

A major portion of TMCC’s goal is considering unique ways in making credentials more consecutive and sensibly intertwined. As opposed to retaining one profession and only a skill set related to that, students at TMCC have the capacity to weave their skills into different programs. With innovative educational ambitions, and with the cooperation of the community, business partners and NC3, TMCC looks forward to advancing its aim of diversifying career and technical education while identifying the region’s economic needs.

Kreg Mebust, Interim Dean of Technical Sciences, is a fervent instructor who has over a decade of experience educating TMCC’s students.

“I can now oversee other programs throughout our Applied Technology Center, including manufacturing and diesel. I can apply the skills I learn in the classroom to affect a broader population of students. There are always situations that require problem solving skills and I love the challenge. It’s something I’m very passionate about,” he said.

TMCC is proud to have been sighted by NC3 for its accomplishments in the academic community, and with the certifications that NC3 provides, as well as the alliance the institutions share, both will stay steadfast in creating groundbreaking educational practices.

High School CNA Graduates Complete ROC Program

TMCC CNA Graduates

High school CNA graduates stand happily alongside their instructors.

An aura of accomplishment was beaming if you walked into the Reno Orthopedic Center (ROC) on July 28, and for good reason. A group of nine talented high school CNA students all huddled around their final projects, giving them last-minute touches and admiring each other’s work. Their fellowship shines brighter than the early morning sun as it gleams through the window, and they know they’ve done it. Their entire summer has been leading up to this moment, and now it’s finally here. They’re the first high school graduates of the CNA program at ROC, and this celebration is for them.

Between waking up at five in the morning, to driving all the way to Sparks for clinicals, these students sidelined any summer plans they had to discover what working in allied health meant to each of them. The opportunity arose, and they took it with heart, supported by families, friends and instructors who respected their decision. They chose to take care of others as certified nursing assistants (CNA) rather than enjoying a traditional summer vacation, and that’s something to be proud of.

Megan Torres reflected on her motivation to volunteer for this opportunity when it arose.

“I think for a lot of us it was our families, and knowing people who were in the healthcare setting or people who needed help in our families. We thought that if we were able to help in some way that it would be inspiring to others, too,” she said.

A cake decorated with the words “Congrats CNAs of the Future” lay delectable on the table, with a miniature graduation cap and certification to round out its features. One by one, the names of these graduates are called, highlighting their achievement with a crisp piece of parchment held closely to their chest. A sprinkle of teardrops hit the ground, but not out of sadness, out of joy. They’re taking the next step in their professional careers.

“This experience confirmed to me my interest in healthcare, as well as made me excited about what is out there for me to learn and experience; to offer my highest knowledge and skills to those people that need it. I’ve learned what characteristics and skills it takes to be able to properly engage with a patient or resident, and that will stick with me throughout all of my future in healthcare,” said Maylyn Valdez, cultivating her eventual plans throughout the experience.

Perhaps even sweeter than the glazed strawberry cake was the moment that students and faculty decided to huddle together, hand-in-hand. “This is our strength,” whispered Sarah Hile, one of the lab instructors. At this moment, the love these students have for what they do, as well as the respect for their instructors, started reverberating within an impenetrable circle made up entirely of themselves. You had to have been there.

“This class has taught me so much, and the experience you get from it can help you in many ways,” said Charo Ortega. “You get ahead of the game, learn stuff before you graduate and really see if it’s for you. I would recommend taking it even if you’re not sure this is for you. That’s the way I felt, and now I know what I want.”

“The instructors were awesome. They were comprehensive and had the patience to walk you through everything. They made this class fun in a way where we would still learn. I’m beyond grateful for this experience, and I don’t regret anything,” Ortega continued, encouraging her fellow students to pursue programs in unfamiliar areas.

Mighty Lizards Announce Fall 2022 Schedule

TMCC Soccer Team

Women's Soccer team huddles up before taking to the field again.

The Mighty Lizards are thrilled to release the Fall 2022 schedules for both the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams! Three preseason scrimmages will kick-off the year, which began with the annual alumni game held on Aug. 6. Be sure you don’t miss an opportunity to witness some of TMCC’s finest duke it out this season.

Pre-conference matches start on Aug. 19, and hurdle all the way through to Aug. 26. At this point in the season, our athletes have been training their mental and physical prowess for success on the field. The Southwestern Athletic Conference schedule leads to their season's first matchup on Thursday, Sep. 1, when Utah State University Eastern challenges TMCC on home turf. Twelve conference matches have been scheduled, and the most striking matchup is the College of Southern Nevada, battling it out on Lizards’ territory on Saturday, Oct. 1. It will be an explosive clash, as the two rivals will be fighting for a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament at that point. The conference lineup will conclude on Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Mighty Lizards make their way to Colorado Northwestern Community College to round out their season.

Some additional info to keep your eyes on: Women’s Soccer games will consistently be played first, accompanied by Men’s Soccer games afterwards. Any games held on Thursday during regular season will lead-off at 1 p.m./3:30 p.m., respectively. Saturday game times are 11 a.m./1:30 p.m. There’s still plenty of time left to snag yourself some Mighty Lizards’ swag, and turn up to show your support for our athletes on the field this year!

For more information, please visit the Men’s and Women’s Soccer schedules.