March Good News

Sophia Roman, Jared Sorenson, Layla Conrad, Jordan Pettipiece, Shea King, and Gregory Hillman.
Jared Libby

Students Attend Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

The big stage is one of life’s greatest treasures. Anything can happen up there, and it transcends us to a newer understanding of our existence through shared experiences. The theatre is universally hailed as a creation of collaboration, and to perform is the art of looking at ourselves. What a proud moment it was then when TMCC students collectively showed off their enchanting imagination and talent at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Spokane, Washington, during Feb. 19–24.

Jared Sorenson and Shea King, both Visual and Performing Arts Instructors, were accompanied by students Sophia Roman, Jordan Pettipiece, Gregory Hillman, and Layla Conrad for TMCC Theatre’s first-time involvement with the festival. A host to state, regional, and national events, the KCACTF participants got to celebrate the creative process, witness one another’s work, and recount diverse performances and insights within the community of theatre artists.

“The festival was a chance to collaborate with other students around the country, and build a network for when we start working after graduation. We were taught by world-class faculty and professional theatre artists. Many in the group left the festival with scholarships to four-year universities, graduate programs, and summer internships. It was the ‘Super Bowl’ of college theatre,” King said.

On the first day, Gregory Hillman auditioned alongside over 160 actors from across the nation to perform in one of the many plays premiering at the KCACTF. He was cast in an original work by Julia Brigolin, of Western Washington University, entitled Our Dying Stars. The cherry on top? Hillman would put on a heart-stopping performance in front of a sold-out crowd.

“Being able to collaborate hand-in-hand with some amazing theatre professionals really encouraged me. The student works were incredible, too! So great to see the creative process come to life for many of them. I realized on this trip that I want to be a playwright, and have never felt more encouraged to do a thing,” Hillman said.

Layla Conrad and Jordan Pettipiece also competed in the Improv Olympics with over 100 other contenders at the conference. Pettipiece’s improvisational flair won second place and, as a prize, was bestowed with the Silver Chicken Award. A shiny, gray, rubbery toy that shrieks loudly every time you squeeze it, letting you know just how happy it is with your accomplishments!

The gathering honored individual excellence with awards and scholarships throughout a kaleidoscope of themes, including individual recognitions for playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design. It was a union of resources and partnerships that extend beyond Northern Nevada. TMCC considers it a privilege to be the only Nevada college in Region 7 (Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming).

“The KCACTF was a wonderful experience for all who went. It was a great opportunity to get a taste of college theatre for the first time. Our group created a new bond with each other, too. I learned so much in the workshops throughout the week, and will take these skills into my work as an actor, as well as apply them to everyday life. I’m so thankful I was granted the chance to participate in the festival, and I’m ecstatic to see what next year will bring,” Conrad said.

Fill a Bag, Fill Your Heart

TMCC’s Annual Fill a Bag Campaign is a heartfelt expression of community connectedness during these trying times. Held in February, this drive is meant to bring a variety of personal care products to the Wizard’s Warehouse and provide aid to students.

Erin Frock, Counselor, is humbled by the charity shown by TMCC employees and friends of the College every year.

Katie Paul and Erin Frock unbox donations given for the Fill-a-Bag Campaign.

Katie Paul and Erin Frock unbox donations given for the Fill-a-Bag Campaign.

“I’m reminded about what a great campus community we’re a part of every day through the generosity of these donations. It’s like Christmas! We receive hundreds of boxes and bags containing all the personal hygiene items that our students need,” Frock said.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to let students know how they can take advantage of these resources in a variety of ways. The Counseling Center’s doors are always open, so scheduling an appointment is a piece of cake! If internet access is an issue, then calling 775-673-7060 will also do the trick.

“During this campaign, we’re able to fill our food pantry with toiletries that are not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Items that we may take for granted, such as toothbrushes, soap, tampons, or even a comb. We know that access to these items is so important to our students because as soon as we restock our shelves, they’re gone! Thank you so much to the amazing people working here who care enough for our students to donate each year,” Frock said.

You can visit Wizard’s Warehouse at the Dandini Campus in RDMT 115, the Meadowood Center in room S119, and the Pennington Applied Technology Center, room 117.

Mark Maynard Wins Best Nevada Documentary

Mark Maynard, English Professor, recently won best Nevada Documentary at the Dam Short Film Festival for his feature, Piconland: The Quest for the Perfect Picon Punch, held in Boulder City, Nevada, Feb. 16–20.

Film director and English professor Mark Maynard.

Film director and English professor Mark Maynard.

The film takes the audience on a journey through the “big empty” of Nevada, in search of the perfect Picon Punch—an original American West cocktail of Basque roots. Its inspiration comes from the nomadic Basque sheepherders, the ones who made the drink popular across the Great Basin. If you’ve got a thirst for quality entertainment as well as historical significance, then this picture will leave you feeling delightfully refreshed.

“We really wanted to share the story of this drink and the culture that created it with a broad audience,” Maynard said. “While it is the unofficial state drink of Nevada, it’s actually unheard of in Las Vegas and Boulder City, where the festival is held. It was very fun introducing a whole new group of Nevadans—as well as an international audience of filmmakers—to this important piece of our state.”

As Maynard interviews bar owners and their customers across his adventure, a sense of culture and traditions surrounding the alluring beverage begins to wet our palates. We get a taste for its influence on the trailblazers of that time, and how legacy endures through something as simple as spirits. Echoing the strength of human perseverance, Piconland is a captivating tale from start to finish.

The film will be shown in the Sierra Building, room 108, on Friday, April 14, as part of ArtFest 2023.

Those who are heading to board their plane at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport will have the pleasure of viewing the TMCC Visual Arts faculty and student group exhibition called “Breathe 2023” through April 26. Illuminating intergenerational fairness and ecological care throughout the environment, economy, and culture, Breathe 2023 is a prime example of our community’s pledge to uplift creativity, solidarity, and encouragement.

TMCC alumna Taryn Trapani was incredibly appreciative of the mentoring she received from Candace Garlock, Professor of Visual Arts, which led her to pursue favorable aspirations in the artistic realm.

Kyle Karrasch, Candace Garlock, and Taryn Trapani together at the Breathe 2023 exhibit.

Kyle Karrasch, Candace Garlock, and Taryn Trapani together at the Breathe 2023 exhibit.

“Part of my invaluable experience as the Art Intern for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority was to organize an exhibition in the depARTures Gallery. My first instinct was to contact my dear friend, and former professor, Candace Garlock. I proposed showcasing artwork from TMCC, and she graciously and enthusiastically accepted. It was fulfilling to be back in that setting with Candace, sharing the excitement in featuring student and faculty friends, and marveling at the passage of time and lasting connections,” Trapani said.

Our Year of Sustainability theme, envisioned by the Faculty for Radical Empowerment and Enlightenment (FREE), is represented through the ceramics, paintings, and photographs on display. The artists’ works illustrate how sustainability includes the celebration of lives and social relationships, and that sharing diverse knowledge and history with those who come after us is paramount for cultivating empathy and change.

Candace Garlock was elated to work alongside Trapani again, feeling gratified upon the showing’s completion.

“I met Taryn Trapani during 2020–2021, a brilliant student finishing her AA Fine Arts degree in Art History. She transferred to UNR, interned in the Lilly Museum and met Kyle Karrasch, a graduate working on his MFA. In 2022, Kyle became our new Gallery Curator. One day, Taryn came to ask me if I’d like to curate a show. I said yes, but I was worried because I can’t get on ladders to hang artwork up anymore. Kyle jumped in, and was willing to help me. It all came full circle! I appreciate Taryn and Kyle so very much. Thank you!” Garlock said.

More information about the current exhibit can be found on the Reno-Tahoe International Airport website.

Accreditation Accomplished and Renewed

It’s official! TMCC’s accreditation has been reaffirmed! The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has confirmed, once again, its status as a fortified institution of learning, assuring that its students receive quality education, as well as the eligibility to provide Financial Aid and access to other federal funds.

In a letter to TMCC President Karin Hilgersom, the NWCCU commended the College for having a strong connection to the community, exemplified by the active advising committees across its technical programs. A clear alliance with industry was celebrated through the applications of its state-of-the-art equipment and resources at campus centers, too. TMCC was also praised for its utilization of data to inform plans and decision making, applying Key Performance Indicators when quantifying success. Students can rest easy knowing that TMCC has their best interests at heart.

Dr. Melissa Deadmond, Associate Dean of Assessment and Planning, was excited about how the College upheld its marvelous track record, and what that means for future generations of learners.

“In my view, what is equally as significant as this eligibility is that the process of reaffirming our accreditation equates to a constant cycle of improvement,” Deadmond said. 

“We must self-reflect through our reporting as we receive feedback from peer evaluators on how well we are maintaining standards of quality education. Through their commendations and recommendations, we know where we should continue our good work, and where we need to better ourselves as a college. This happens daily through the hard work and dedication by all units and personnel of the college, and that is something to be celebrated,” Deadmond continued.

For more information, please visit our Accreditation page.