October Good News

Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto stands smiling beside students and leadership on the second floor of the Elizabeth Sturm Library for a photo.
Jared Libby

Nevada Political Representatives Share Encouraging Messages to Students

United States Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto, Jacky Rosen, and Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar stopped by TMCC locations recently, bringing with them words of optimism and political earnestness to students, faculty, and staff as we head into an election year with more representation in government than ever before. Each came with a distinct message resonating with higher education professionals and undergraduates who have the potential to reshape the constitutional landscape in their lifetime.

On Friday, Sep. 22, Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto was present to share her experience as the first Latina in the Senate, noting that it only took two generations from her grandfather to walk through those chambers championing the aspirations and contributions of Hispanic communities. Constantly at the forefront of her mind, her cultural identity drives her to pass legislation that supports Latinx families and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), honoring their efforts by securing federal funding for colleges like TMCC, which are proud of and believe in their diverse student populations. There is a desire to cultivate future leaders who represent the ideals of those not fortunate enough to wield the power of bureaucratic persuasion yet deserve their voices heard, their significance in our country’s history prominent in all discussion forums.

“Represent who we are, what we do, the culture and background we bring, the economy we contribute to, the businesses we create. Our process matters. We matter! For me, ensuring as long as I am in the United States Senate, I will continue to serve our communities. I ask all of you to do the same,” said Senator Cortez-Masto.

“I don’t think we come through that door and pull up the ladder behind us. We open it wider so others can come through. That’s who we are. That’s why we will be so successful,” continued Senator Cortez-Masto.

This event, hosted by the Equity, Inclusion, and Sustainability Office, was open to any questions the crowd might have, and second-year, first-generation student Melanie Paz Flores took the opportunity to stand up and ask Senator Cortez-Masto how ratios in our faculty and staff could be more representative of the TMCC body itself.

“Whether at TMCC or the higher education profession, we need more people who look like us. It is critical in every position, leadership, and staff to ensure we hire or reach out to more diversity. Our trustees also matter. Engage those elected people, or you could run yourself and get there. Remember that as we look at our workforce,” was the reply.

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar stands for a photo with students and leadership in the Student Center.

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar stands for a photo with students and leadership in the Student Center.

At a “get out the vote” event on Sep. 25, sponsored by the Student Activities and Leadership Office, Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar graced the stage in the Student Center as he explained the gravity of registering to vote and then committing to showing up at the polls. As the first Hispanic to hold this position in Nevada’s history, his inspirational speech was an all-encompassing discourse surrounding the responsibilities of officials such as himself and the sway young voters have in deciding the eventual outcomes of consequential election cycles on a national and local scale. A huge proponent of registering to vote, Aguilar encouraged the next generation to be mindful of polling dates, research eligible candidates, and review ballot questions to make an informed decision when the time comes.

“We’re at a critical point in time right now, especially here in Nevada. Our state will determine who the next president of the United States is. We need to ensure that process is as democratic, fair, accessible, and secure as possible to get the nominee we want to witness become the next leader of our country,” said Aguilar.

“I actively strive to speak with voters and verify the ballot box remains open to everybody. I don’t care who you vote for! All I want to know is that Nevadans have access and can cast votes for who they believe is the best representative of them,” continued Aguilar.

Senator Jacky Rosen stands beside TMCC leaders and instructors inside the William N. Pennington Health Science Center.

Senator Jacky Rosen stands beside TMCC leaders and instructors inside the William N. Pennington Health Science Center.

Senator Jacky Rosen and fellow team members visited the William N. Pennington Health Science Center on Oct. 11, introducing them to the cutting-edge medical equipment and contemporary renovations for the Nursing Program.

The primary objective of Senator Rosen's trip was to address the nursing shortage in Nevada, passing legislation to increase the number of resources available for specialists in this demanding field called the Train More Nurses Act.

“Nevada has such a nursing shortage. We’re one of the top states that don’t have enough nurses. It is critical. It matters, and we’re going to do everything we can to provide healthcare in every single pocket of the state that needs it,” said Rosen.

Adult Basic Education Program’s STAR Pilot Class Success

A round of applause is due for the Adult Basic Education (ABE) Student Achievement in Reading (STAR) pilot class participants! There should be no language barriers when striving to gain personal and professional success, and that’s why ABE is a treasured resource of TMCC, reaching out to those in our community seeking to develop fluency, reading skills, and vocabulary repertoire. Roughly 20 students engaged in the STAR program from Aug. 2022 to June 2023, a year-long initiative that extensively covered everything from alphabet recognition to fully-fledged comprehension.

ABE instructor helps students to learn their vocabulary.

ABE instructor helps students to learn their vocabulary.

It makes a monumental difference in the lives of these individuals as routine tasks such as attending their jobs, purchasing groceries, or getting a checkup at the hospital become easier. A dramatic change that these students will experience is the capacity to converse in classroom settings, expressing critical thoughts in academic discourse to understand the material and reflect on it in the same manner they spoke it. Once you begin thinking in a specific new language, you’ve vaulted a tremendous hurdle in retaining it.

“The students we interact with are intermediate readers. They come from across the globe, bringing diverse educational and life experiences. This is exciting for Nevada Adult Educators because our pilot program measured the effectiveness of a focused, evidence-based reading class, and we’re always eager to explore new ideas to engage students in improving their language skills,” said Rain Donohue, ABE Program Coordinator.

It’s never too late to improve yourself through learning, and these stellar candidates decided to test their fortitude through a worthwhile journey in which they earned lifelong wisdom and habits to go forth without worrying about rhetoric obstructing their way. What a rewarding feeling they must share as proud finishers of this undertaking!

“We are thrilled about this because it increases students' self-confidence through choral reading and prosody. The expectation is that with this new boost, they will continue to find opportunities at home, work, and the community to improve their reading,” said Donohue.

Ayodele Akinola Named President of PCAPPA Organization

Congratulations to Dr. Ayodele Akinola, Executive Director of Facilities and Capital Planning! The Pacific Coast Region of APPA, Leadership in Educational Facilities, is an association of campus facilities professionals. Akinola has been named the president from 2023–2024 during its annual conference held Sep. 24–26, serving an expanse of states and provinces in the western hemisphere of North America, beginning with Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory of Canada.

“It takes a commitment and advocacy for the importance of sustainable, inclusive, and safe educational facilities. Our institutions are more than buildings; they are the bedrock of our communities and key to a brighter future. I am eager to leverage our collective expertise to ensure our facilities support the aspirations and dreams of all who walk through their doors,” said Akinola.

Dr. Ayodele Akinola receives the gavel of the PCAPPA Presidency.

Dr. Ayodele Akinola receives the gavel of the PCAPPA Presidency.

During his presidency, Akinola will strive to cultivate transformative, sustainable, and innovative solutions that drive collaborations with facilities managers, administrators, academic leaders, business partners, and other campus stakeholders. Resolute strategies that he’s implemented exceptionally well at TMCC. Here at our campus locations, our environmentally conscious, accessible, and safe practices resonate in the hearts and minds of national organizations; our influence and the ability to do instrumental work for our planet and country will hopefully become an adopted convention in colleges and universities.

“The opportunity as a leader in PCAPPA to serve in educational facilities management is not just a title for me; it is a deep commitment and a labor of love. I am honored to be a part of an organization that plays a crucial role in shaping the environments where education and personal growth flourish,” said Akinola.

“For me, this is a personal journey because, throughout my career, I have witnessed the transformative power of educational facilities. I have seen how the physical environment can influence learning, collaboration, and innovation. I believe that by enhancing the quality, we are not just building structures; we are nurturing the future,” continued Akinola.

For more information, please visit the Equity, Inclusion, and Sustainability Office, Student Activities and Leadership Office, Adult Basic Education, and Facilities and Capital Planning websites.