New Employee Spotlight – Lina Pittser

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.Pittser, Carolina

Hi, I’m a new Tenure-Track English Composition instructor at Green River. The year I graduated with a B.A. in English in my native country of Chile, I worked as an exchange instructor of Spanish at Central Washington University. While there I obtained a Master’s degree in English Literature and worked in several community colleges until I was hired by Green River College 13 years ago.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I applied as an adjunct at Green River for its proximity to my new home back then. I stayed for its people, both students and colleagues; for its beauty; and for its excellence.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

Anything NPR, podcasts like Fresh Air, StoryCorps, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! And lots of books.

What was the very first job you ever had?

I worked as a tour guide at a museum in Frutillar, Chile.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

Working with wonderful colleagues, both Full-time and adjunct. Being more directly involved in decisions concerning the school, such as committees, curricular decisions, etc.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

Tenure!

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

My children!

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

They already do. My birth name is Carolina, but in grad school my classmates started calling me Lina because my name was often mispronounced as the salad dressing (Catalina) by those who found rolling their r’s a bit of a challenge.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

I can knit scarves for the show judges!

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Great

Rad

Excellent

Evergreen

Nonpareil!

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New Employee Spotlight – Nelson Phouphakone

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.

Phouphakone, Nelson

I am a One-Year Temporary Math Instructor.  I got my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering at University of Washington and Masters in Mathematics at Washington State University.  After my Masters program, I worked as a part-time instructor for North Seattle College, South Seattle College, Highline College and of course, Green River College.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I have been a part-time instructor for Green River College for 9 years.  I love the environment around the school.  Sometimes, I walk on the trails in the forest.  However, what I love the most is the atmosphere of the Math department.  When I come to work, I don’t feel I go to a job.  I feel like I am coming back home.  Everyone is like a family.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

I like listening to Chinese songs and radio 106.9.

What was the very first job you ever had?

I was a PC technician.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I think the most exciting thing about the job is I have a lot of time getting to know my students and to helping them when they need me.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

I would like to become a full-time instructor.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

Receiving my Masters degree

Marrying my wife

Becoming a math instructor

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

Polo man, since I love to wear Polo shirts.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

I could be a singer.

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Green River Excellent Education iNstitution

New Employee Spotlight – Candis Eckert

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.Eckert, Candis

My name is Candis Eckert, and I am the new Director of TRiO. Prior to this role, I served as a TRiO program manager for a nonprofit organization in Tacoma working with the Tacoma, Bethel, and Franklin Pierce school districts.  In addition, I also served as a K-12 teacher in the public school system for over four years.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

Green River was an appealing campus community for many reasons.  For one thing, the campus is extremely lush and beautiful!  It’s definitely a calm and peaceful atmosphere.  More importantly, I appreciated the fact that Green River is extremely focused on being student-centered.  In addition, knowing that diversity and equity was on the forefront of the college’s mission was something that really resonated with me and the work I hope to do.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit but I listen to a podcast that discusses paranormal and crime activity around the world.

What was the very first job you ever had?

I had two first jobs at the same time – one was as a front desk associate for a children’s museum and the other was a cashier at Panera.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

There are a few reasons why it’s exciting for me. First and foremost, I’m excited to work with a community of students who are hoping to pursue higher education and a path that they are passionate about.  I’ve always loved being a mentor and guide to students with regards to their academic and career journey so continuing that work here at Green River is exciting!  This position also allows for a lot of creativity and innovation so the potential possibilities are endless.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

In my first year, I would love to build many relationships with staff and faculty in the hopes of creating collaborative partnerships.  We all have the common goal of supporting our students’ success, and I think by joining forces, we can be a powerful network to create positive ripples within our student population.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

My three accomplishments are:

  • I’m the first in my family to graduate from a 4-year university
  • I used to be the kid who thought I wasn’t smart enough and wouldn’t get far in school. Now I’m pursuing my doctorate degree and am halfway done.
  • Getting this job!

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

Probably the snack fairy – I like to bring in treats when I can, and I’m a firm believer that food can bring people together.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

I would showcase my rusty piano skills. While I haven’t played in over 12 years, I used to play piano for quite some time!

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Gator

Ran

Everyday

Eating

Nachos

New Employee Spotlight – Diana Betancourt-Macias

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Betancourt, Diana

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.

 

I am the new Program Coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

 

I recently graduated from the University of Washington as a Political Science and American Ethnic Studies double major.

My professional background includes a lot of work with programming. From organizing a national conference to planning yearly conferences for high school students, I enjoy putting on events and working with students.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

One of my really good friends worked at Green River at the time and sent me the job posting. I looked through it and thought it would be a great fit for me. I didn’t know much about Green River but I thought it would be an awesome opportunity for me.

 

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

I usually blast SZA and put her Ctrl album on repeat.

What was the very first job you ever had?

 

My very first job was being an orientation leader at the UW. I really enjoyed working with students and being able to connect with them and their families. I also got to eat delicious food every day and meet many really cool people.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I love how much I get to interact with students, especially underrepresented students, because I can personally relate to many of the things they are going through. I am also excited to work for ODEI because I have a lot of experience doing work that ties to diversity, equity and inclusion so I’m excited to put my knowledge and experience to use.

 

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

After the first year, I hope many of the students that come to our office will see me as someone they can trust and come to when they need help. Whether it’s having a conversation or coming in to ask about resources, I hope students feel safe and comfortable coming to me.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

 

  • Getting into college with $80,000 in scholarships
  • Graduating college
  • Planning a 700+ person national conference

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

Lil’ D because I’m the youngest one in the office.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

 

I would perform a spoken word poem. It’s not much of a hidden talent though because I do performances as a side thing.

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Green

River’s

Energy is

Exciting and

Never-ending

New Employee Spotlight – Margarita Conger

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.Conger, Margarita

I am the new TRiO  office assistant. I came to TRiO from International Programs at GRC, where I was a part-time program assistant for the Business & Admissions office. (Miss you guys!)

In another life, before I had kids, I worked for the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. I also worked as a Russian/English interpreter, an insurance agent and have a strong interest in social media management.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I have always liked college campuses. I really enjoy the atmosphere of learning, new ideas, and looking towards the future. I wanted to work in higher education & looked for jobs at GRC. It is inspiring to be around people, young and not so young, who are pursuing their dreams. GRC has a beautiful campus and the people I have worked with have been amazing.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

I use Google Play app to listen to my music playlists or to podcasts. Some recent favorites are Financial Fientist, Philosophize This and The Science of Social Media.

What was the very first job you ever had?

Every kid’s dream job – the candy store. I worked for Columbia Candy Kitchen in Columbia, CA, in Gold Rush country. Handmade candy made from old recipes passed down from a Norwegian grandfather. Stop by if you are ever on your way to Yosemite! I still buy their candy.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I get to learn about another program and more about how the college works. I met more amazing people and am excited to be a part of a, mostly, all new team and help implement the new vision for the TRiO program at GRC. I enjoy meeting all the students that come to us too.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

I plan to learn as much as I can about the different departments and programs. I hope to be able to add something valuable to the TRiO program and to help make it an even greater success. Also, I have been inspired to go back to school myself. So maybe take a class and experience the college as a student as well.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

Making it through the competition to become an AFS exchange student when I was 16 – the first high school exchange between the US and the USSR. That year has changed the course of my life. And from then on, I am very happy with everything that I was able to build in the USA: family, friends, work and opportunities.

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

Hmm, now I am curious myself. Perhaps I will ask.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

I am an open book. I would have to quickly research and learn a talent, then hide it.

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Great

Resources

Excellent

Education

Network

New Employee Spotlight – Emily Beals

Beals, EmilyWe’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.

Greetings!  My name is Emily Beals, and my new title at GRC is “Accelerated Composition Specialist: English Faculty.”  I am certainly excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work!  I graduated with my Masters of Arts degree with Distinction in Composition Theory from California State University, Fresno in May 2016 where I was part of a dynamic teaching pedagogy training program.  For my three years working on my graduate degree, I was able to work as the instructor of record for numerous transfer-level composition courses, as well as the university’s meaningful Summer Bridge and Early Start programs.

My thesis, The Contemplative Composition Classroom: Ontological Pedagogy for Meaningful Reading and Writing, continues to guide the Contemplative and Compassionate pedagogical practices I implement within each of my classes.  This study includes qualitative and quantitative data research from actual composition courses that reveals the incredible benefits of such implementation, especially within the first year writing classroom.  By creating these contemplative spaces within the writing classroom, the NCTE’s Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing is advanced in practical and surprising ways.  This can especially be seen when examining the Framework’s “Habits of Mind”:  Curiosity, Openness, Engagement, Creativity, Persistence, Responsibility, Flexibility, and Metacognition (NCTE 4-5).  In fact, the research I’ve done on this topic has led to my more recent and current areas of study: 1. The applications of contemplative practices for the composition instructor, and 2. The adaptation and inclusion of mindfulness-based practices to the grading contract construct.

My academic involvement has provided an excellent platform for social justice activities especially during my graduate school career when I worked as the Statewide President for UAW Local 4123, the union that represents all the Teaching Associates, Graduate Assistants, and Instructional Student Aides within the entire California State University system (24 universities!).  During my tenure as the president of the Local, I led the organization of membership to the eventual contract negotiations and implementation of Teaching Associate Tuition Waivers for the Cal State, Fresno campus – a first time in the school’s 100+ year history.  This monumental event started a grassroots movement for the inclusion of same policy throughout the other Cal State Universities – a movement that is changing the equitability and fair labor practices for graduate student employees throughout the state.  I continue to look for ways I can become involved in the advocacy of equitability and rights especially throughout the academic arena.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

Not only does the job completely reflect me and my experience, but GRC is in the area of the country where my husband and I have been longing to relocate.  This is especially true since my youngest son, Tyler, plays football and is attending Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.  I’m a football mama down to my core, so being only 3 hours away from him will allow me to attend those games on Saturdays.  I could keep listing all the ways GRC drew me in, but, simply put, everything I read about, all the staff I’ve met, and all the students I have been privileged to speak with ALL radiate with the energy and purpose that aligns with my teaching and my personality.  I can’t wait to get up there and get to meet everyone!

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

What I listen to on my way to work varies greatly on what kind of mood I’m in that morning.  Sometimes I prefer silence as I use that time to focus my thoughts for the day ahead; other times I feel like l need to know what’s going on in the world, so I might tune into NPR or BBC News; then other times, I might want to sing my heart out, in which case, you’ll find me listening to (and singing along with) Michael Franti & Spearhead, Train, or Alanis Morissette (Michael Franti is my all-time favorite!).

What was the very first job you ever had?

My first literal job was as a professional singer when I was only 9-years old – I continued singing professionally all my life (but that’s another story and is best told over a few glasses of wine or a couple beers!).  My very first traditional job, however, was as a babysitter.  Babysitting earned me all my spending money from the time I was 12 until I got my first “real” job at The House of Fabrics – a fabric store in the local mall in Huntington Beach, California, where I grew-up.  As an interesting side note, I actually received my very first paycheck as a professional singer when I was only 9-year old!

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

There are so many exciting things about this new position.  I should probably say a bunch of pedagogical stuff here, but, in all honesty, the MOST EXCITING thing about it is that it’s actually a tenure track position at an AMAZING college where I know I can learn, grow, and evolve in my teaching and leadership skills.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

In my first year at GRC, I’d love to start a faculty mindfulness meditation group AND a student mindfulness and self-compassion group.  I’d also like to accomplish a strong start for my first year in my tenure process, gain some insights about how to implement a service-based writing course, and engage in several meaningful committees on campus.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

My three accomplishments:  1.  My two amazing sons, Garrett and Tyler;  2. Overcoming incredible adversity after the death of my first husband; and 3. Completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees with high honors as a non-traditional student all while raising two children and working several jobs (if I had a 4th – taking a risk on an online dating site where I met my fabulously wonderful current husband of 9 years – without his encouragement I would not have had the courage to complete my degrees).

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

(I had to actually ask my coworkers about this one!)

One of my coworkers, who shared an office with me for 3-years and then we continued adjuncting together, always calls me “Mama B.”  When I asked him why he calls me that, he responded with this kind remark, “You have a very nurturing spirit and you are always there to listen and give advice to both your colleagues and your students.”  Another coworker responded to this statement by saying, “Yep, Jacob has dialed in perfectly to your nickname!”  So, I’m sticking with it, even though it kind of makes me feel old, let’s go with “Mama B!”

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

As mentioned previously, I was (and occasionally STILL am) a professional singer.  What I didn’t mention was that I also play piano and write songs. And, for the record, I think it totally SHOULD exist!

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

G – Green

R – River:

E – Excellent

E – Education

N – Non-stop!!!!

New Employee Spotlight – Daniel Najera

Najera, DanielWe’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.

Full-Time Biology Faculty. I am a lover of nature, in particular the insects. I got my Ph.D from the University of Kansas.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I was a student here and I loved the forest. I moved back to this area because of the mountains and Green River was the perfect place to want to land.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?

103.7 ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Suga Rae all day every day!

What was the very first job you ever had?

Working at Diary Queen, making myself the thickest Oreo blizzards possible.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

Having the benefits of a permanent position, specifically making community connections and becoming part of the community on and off campus. .

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?

Start undergraduate research on honeybees.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

  1. I have been the best man in 4 of my friends’ weddings.
  2. My two children
  3. Never losing sight that all life is connected, physically.

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?

The Bee Man. I think it is already there.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?

I would play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the piano.

If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

Green River Ecology and Evolutionary Nexus.    BELIEVE IT!