New Employee Spotlight – Beleqsa Tamaami

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.

Tamaami, Beleqsa

Beleqsa Tamaami

My new role is Basic Skills Navigator in the MAC (Master Achiever Center). This past May, I received my Masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, where I served as a graduate supervisor in housing for two years. Prior to IU, I worked as an AmeriCorps college coach with College Access Now, serving first-gen and low-income seniors at Decatur High School. My professional interests are rooted in supporting marginalized students and disrupting systems of oppression.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

It’s my alma mater; who doesn’t want to be a gator? GRC, despite some of the challenges I recall as a former student, is also the place where I grew and broke out of my shell through my amazing mentors. For this reason, I look forward to pouring into students the same way folks did for me.

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

Shawn Mendes and anything pop music related globally (Bollywood, Kpop, etc.)

What was the very first job you ever had?

Internship with the city of Kent in the summer of junior year in high school. We painted a really beautiful mural on one side of the Kent pool (it’s still there) by Kent Meridian High School.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

The connections and relationships I get to build with my students and colleagues. And the salary (I was on a graduate stipend for the past two years and prior to that an AmeriCorps stipend, the glo-up is definitely real ha)

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

Build meaningful connections with different departments outside of my immediate role  on campus and inspire/mentor students who might not always see themselves reflected in higher education.

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

  • Graduating with my Masters this past May and seeing my family and friends fly out to Indiana for the first time to experience that with me. My graduating is as much theirs as it is mine.
  • Studying abroad three times in undergrad (China, Morocco, and Jordan), all fully funded through scholarships and financial aid.
  • Graduating with my BA again from UW Tacoma (after transferring from GRC in 2014), as a first gen student and the eldest of my siblings. This was a huge accomplishment and surreal moment for my family and me.

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

I don’t have a hidden talent so instead I would just show everyone the video my friends and I made dancing to the #BeforeILetGo challenge in our graduate gowns and making it on Beyoncé’s Instagram story.

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

Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Everyone, Else, Nonessential

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New Employee Spotlight – Ashley Brintzenhofe

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.

Brintzenhofe, Ashley

Ashley Brintzenhofe

Hello Gators!

My new title is Event Coordinator 2. I am currently a member of Cohort 8 pursuing my Bachelors in Marketing & Entrepreneurship here at GRC. I was a bartender/manager at the SportsPage here in Auburn for years (some of you know me as “SMASH”), and when the place suddenly closed down, I decided to really shake it up. I came back to school. Shortly after I enrolled, I started working in Conference Services for Patty as a work-study student, and now I am excited to say I am a classified full-time employee.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

The opportunity to be a part of the army that works so hard to embrace, encourage, and support our students is what drew me to apply to Green River. The staff here at GRC helped me change my life, and I want to pay that forward.

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

On my ride to work today, I was listening to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, and Wu-Tang Clan. Yesterday it was Blondie and Hed PE.

What was the very first job you ever had?

My very first job was a paper route for the Seattle Times when I was 10 years old.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

This entire experience is exciting for me. I am an excited person, but if I had to choose only one thing, I would have to say that the most exciting thing about my new position is having the opportunity to help students create memorable experiences through their events. Being a part of memories that will last a lifetime is truly an honor.

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

One thing I would love to accomplish in my first year at Green River is to build our social media presence in a way that allows us to connect and engage with students and our community. Establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with students and staff will help me address the needs of our diverse community throughout the event planning process.

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

  • Surviving my late teens/early 20s
  • Going back to school in my 30s & Graduating from GRC
  • Being sponsored by GNU for women’s snowboarding

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

“SMASH”

My family started calling me Smash when I was three (3) years old. It actually took me a few months after I came back to school to get used to being called Ashley, so if I don’t respond right away, that’s why. My friends, family, and most people that know me call me Smash. I will tell you why some other day. Sal calls me something else, but that’s another story. J

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

For our annual talent show, I would showcase either snowboarding, horseback archery, or my artwork.

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

Gators Remarkably Encourage Embracing Nations

What is SafeColleges?

What is SafeColleges?SafeColleges

The SafeColleges Training System is a comprehensive, web-based training system that delivers engaging compliance and prevention training for students, faculty, and staff. The site offers a series of online research-based courses covering Human Resources and Employment practices, Environmental Health & Safety, Information Technology, Emergency Management, Social & Behavioral, and Security and Nutrition Services. Courses comply with important federal legislation, including Title IX, FERPA, and OSHA.

SafeColleges offers training modules in the various topics in video formats anywhere from 10 – 25 minutes and presented in real life applications.

Maggie Crutcher, Environmental Safety Manager for Green River College, has been instrumental in making better use of this web-based training system by implementing programs that support environmental safety and compliance at GRC. If you want to learn more about SafeColleges and what you can do to support compliance at GRC please contact Maggie Crutcher (mcrutcher@greenriver.edu).

New Employee Spotlight – Michael Taing

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.

Taing, Michael

Michael Taing

My new title is the Program Coordinator for the Running Start department. I have 3 years of working in Student Support positions, even while I was still a student. I started my path here at Green River College as a commissioner for the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. After completing my Associate’s in Arts and Business, I transferred to UW Tacoma where I received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration: Management. While attending UW Tacoma, I worked as the office manager for their student government (ASUWT) and then transitioned into being an Administrative Assistant for their Finance & Administration department.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I applied to Green River because I had the opportunity to be here as both a student and student employee. Green River College was my first college and stayed with me throughout my academic and professional career. The culture, location, and community that the college had built always motivated me to try and bring those same aspects with me to UW Tacoma. After graduating from UW Tacoma, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come back to where it all began and join the department that set me ahead in my higher education.

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

A wide array of music, that probably makes anyone sitting in the passenger seat think I’m weird. I listen to a mixture of Top 40s, Video game music, and EDM.

Sometimes I’m in the mood to pretend like I’m playing video games, sometimes I’m in the mood for listening to what’s popping currently, and sometimes I’m in the mood to hear music that makes you dance.

What was the very first job you ever had?

The first job I ever had was being a Parcel Clerk (cart-pusher) at Fred Meyer. It wasn’t what I really wanted to do or wasn’t what I was going for in a career, but I was 16 and just liked having $90/week.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

What’s most exciting to me is seeing what the background operations are like for Running Start and what it takes to help students get a head start. Also what it generally is like to be an employee of Green River College.

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

Something I’d love to accomplish in my first year at Green River College is making some sort of difference in the office. This difference could be making things easier or faster or more fun than they already are!

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

My first one is finishing my Bachelor’s at UW Tacoma. My second one is getting to this point in my life doing things the way I wanted and going towards the future I see for myself. The third accomplishment is exploring my identity and finding a way to express myself, while connecting with others.

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

Mickey because my usual nickname is Mikey, but I’d feel that after enough time in this office, people will see me as happy-go-lucky and positive as Mickey Mouse.

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

Making 100+ crab legs disappear with a chomp from my mouth.

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

Gators rarely embody eerie negativity.

New Employee Spotlight – Sophia Giakoumatos

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.

Giakoumatos, Sophia

Sophia Giakoumatos

I am the Educational Planner for Health Sciences programs. I came from Renton Technical College (RTC), where I worked for just under five years. I have experience working in Disability Services, Enrollment Services, and with BAS Programs.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I have enjoyed all of my visits to the college. I particularly enjoy the nature all around the area.

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

I generally listen to local radio stations. I like to listen to see if there are any contests, since I enjoy playing (and winning) radio contests.

What was the very first job you ever had?

My first full-time job out of college was actually at RTC. Prior to that, I had a few part-time jobs at the University of Washington, where I was a student for four years.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I am excited to help get students on the right track to enrolling in a health science program. I have always enjoyed working with students and I am excited to be able to do this in a new setting.

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

I want to get to know as many staff and faculty as I can, especially those who I will be working most closely with. I also want to build meaningful relationships with the students I serve.

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

I am most proud of graduating from the University of Washington with two bachelor’s degrees plus a minor in four years, being the first in my family to receive a master’s degree, and winning many contests.

 

 

New Employee Spotlight – Samantha Fernald

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.

Fernald, Samantha

Samantha Fernald

Hello, my name is Samantha and I’m the Business BAS Program Coordinator. I spent a year at Interstate Distributor Co. as a Human Resources Assistant in their Driver Care Center. I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a B.B.A in Marketing. After graduating, I took some time off to travel and got the opportunity to explore the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I was drawn to apply at Green River because I wanted to work somewhere that made a positive impact on people within the community. I believe that education can provide people with life-lasting knowledge and opportunities.

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

I listen to a little bit of everything, audiobooks, podcasts, Ted talks, and music. Currently I’m listening to Pete Buttigieg’s autobiography “Shortest Way Home.”

What was the very first job you ever had?

The first job I had was being a Sales Associate at Marshalls. I got hired before the store was done being constructed, so for my first 3 months I unloaded pallets of items to get the store ready.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I’m excited to reach out and connect with students. I look forward to helping students on their education journey and having them learn about the BAS in Realtime reporting. Also, I’m excited to use my creative side when working on outreach via marketing.

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

I’d love to assist students in having a smooth and stress free enrollment process.  I want to ensure they love their time at GRC and are excited for the opportunities that await them after graduation.

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

I’m proud I graduated with my B.B.A in Marketing. I’m also proud of the work I did on my final university project, helping a small Tacoma business (Purely Africa) research and discover how to market and implement a new product line. The third thing I’m proud of is managing difficult situations during the solo travel I’ve done.

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

Sam? Does that count haha?

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

I’m good at memorizing rap music.

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

Goodhearted

Resourceful

Encouraging

Engaging

Notable

Employee Spotlight – Maati Ka’awa

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. 

Ka'awa, Maati

Maati Ka’awa

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

I am the new Director of Branch Locations for Auburn Center, Enumclaw, and Kent Station. For the last 3 years, I worked with South Seattle College at both the West Seattle and the Georgetown campuses, coordinating with Deans to provide day-to-day support for apprenticeship students and faculty. Prior to that I spent 4 years at Highline College in the Continuing Education and Workforce Education departments. I am excited to partner in this good work with you all.

What drew you to apply to Green River?

I was attracted particularly to this position at Green River because it was a good fit for what I have done previously and a great opportunity to learn so much more in a new role. I also live in a nearby community, so this is an opportunity for me to invest in South King County and communities where I live.

From the interview, to completing the hiring process, to my first day, every step has been such a warm welcome and community feel. At every step, I felt that this was going to be an amazing community to work with and for.

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

I often don’t listen to anything in the car because I like the silence.  I use that quiet time to wake up with my coffee, unwind, or reflect important aspects of the day.

What was the very first job you ever had?

It was a cashier and customer service position. I learned so many transferable people skills in that job.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?

I’m really excited to partner with the new Dean, the faculty, and the staff to serve students at the extended campuses. I attended branch campuses in Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington at all levels of my educational journey, so I have a real personal connection in how these campuses add value to lives and communities and am really excited to be a part of our students’ paths to success.

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

This first year is going to be about establishing relationships. I want to meet and connect with as many people, departments, and community partners as possible. Some of the best collaborations are unintentional, but occur when people come together and discuss their work, passion, and goals, and where that might intersect.

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

My most recent accomplishment was finishing my Master’s degree in Higher Education at Central Washington University in August 2018. It took 4 years, one class at a time, while also working full-time. I have a greater appreciation for our students who are going to school while also being partners, parents, caregivers to older parents, working, overcoming barriers, etc.

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

I’m not sure! I guess I’m going to have to see. 🙂

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

Good

Relationships

Equal

Excitement and

Noisiness