Monday, January 30, 2012

International students take a bite out of Bates

Santiago Zayco
Santiago Zayco
Santiago came to Bates by way of Wenatchee, where his uncle, a denturist, lives. He enrolled in a local community college to pursue a nursing degree, but because of encouragement from his uncle, decided to switch gears and work toward becoming a denturist.

A native of Bacolod City, Philippines, Santiago said his uncle gave Bates high recommendations, and spoke of his own success in the profession.

“I liked the flexibility of being able to own my own clinic someday,” said Santiago, who started the Dental Lab Technician program in 2009 while waiting for a spot to open in the Denturist program.

“Being in the dental lab program will ultimately make it easier for me to understand dentures in general,” he said. “I like that as a denturist, I’ll be able to work with the public and see different people all the time.”

Santiago hopes to start the Denturist program in spring. After he earns his associate of technology degree, he will return home to gain work experience and eventually open his own business.

“If it wasn’t for Bates, I would have never thought it would have been possible for me to be a denturist.”

Jae Hoon Choi
Jae Hoon Choi
Jae came directly to Bates from Pusan, Korea, in 2009 to enroll in the Dental Lab Technician program. His aunt, a former dental lab technician who lives in Buckley, told him about the profession and spoke highly of Bates.

“Bates is my first American school, and I found it really easy to talk with my instructors,” said Jae, pronounced Jay.

Jae enjoys his experience at Bates. “I know people from different backgrounds, and I now have American friends. It’s different from Korea—everything is different. American people smile a lot, and there is a drive-through for everything.”

He noted that while instructors John Howard and Kris Merriman help make learning terms and concepts easier for him, his peers are also easy to turn to when questions arise. “My classmates are really helpful and kind. I really appreciate them.”

And even though there is a language barrier, Jae is learning the elements of the program with ease. “The style of teaching is great, especially for international students who need extra help understanding terminology.”

After earning his associate of technology degree, Jae plans to continue his education at a four-year college. He still has three quarters left at Bates, so when you see him around, be sure to welcome him—and flash your big American smile.

Sunju Jeon
Sunju Jeon
Two years ago, Sunju came to America for a new experience. She participated in a homestay and took English as a Second Language courses at a community college near Seattle.

A dental hygienist in her hometown of Changwon, Korea, Sunju, who pronounces her name Soon, decided to transfer to Bates’ Dental Lab Technician program so she could both learn English and pursue an associate of technology degree in the field.

“Bates has helped me to learn English, and I love the dental lab program and my new friends,” said Sunju, now in her fourth quarter.

She noted that Laurie Arnold, the college’s international student advisor, was very friendly and helpful, and she always spoke clearly to make sure Sunju understood.

Sunju appreciates that her instructors are easy to talk to. “When I don’t understand something, I can ask a question or my classmates will help me out.”

When asked her advice to international students seeking a similar experience, she said, “Do your best, so you can finish and work toward your goals.”

And that’s exactly what Sunju is doing. After she graduates next year, her goal is to work in Korea as a dental lab technician.

ELS to open new English language center at Bates

For the first time, ELS Educational Services has partnered with a technical college to bring English language classes to international students.

Opening fall 2012 at the Downtown Campus, the ELS Language Center at Bates will offer students a one-of-a-kind opportunity for those seeking a technical degree. Students enrolled in the English for Academic Purposes track at the Bates ELS Language Center will be granted conditional admission to the college, with the English requirement fulfilled, concurrent enrollment opportunities, transfer possibilities to The Evergreen State College and University of Washington Tacoma, and the use of recreational facilities on campus.

Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, ELS Educational Services is the largest recruiter of international students for US and Canadian colleges and universities. Over the past 50 years, ELS has helped more than 1,000,000 students from 140 countries around the world learn English, and with over 60 locations throughout the USA and Canada (over 50 located on university campuses), ELS provides students with a wide variety of options ranging from intensive English programs and university placement assistance to executive business programs and vacation learning options.

The center in Tacoma marks the second ELS Language Center located in Washington state.

To learn more about Bates' ELS campus, click here.

College saves valuable money with new copiers

Recently, the college replaced all of the copiers under a new contract with Xerox. The new lease will save the college nearly $50,000 annually over the next five years. 

To ensure Bates receives the full benefit of the new copiers' additional features, the college will implement the following changes:

1) Four departments received color copiers in exchange for the color printers (some color printers cost nearly twenty cents per page).
2) Each copier is also a color scanner.
3) The new copiers will also be configured as fax machines. The existing fax machines in all departments with a copier will be removed. Several things to keep in mind:
     a) The cost of printing a fax on the copier is less than two cents compared to up to 10 cents per page for existing fax machines.
     b) The new copiers have the capability of sending a fax directly from your desktop.
     c) The copiers can be configured to forward all faxes to one or more email addresses without printing.
4) Every new copier with be set up with uniform (college-wide) access codes. This will allow each of you to access any machine at Downtown, South and Mohler campus without placing a cost burden on the department where the copier is located.
5) Training will be made available over the next several weeks. We really encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn of the all the available features of the new copiers.
If you have any questions, please contact John Ginther, director of fiscal services, at x7123.

Outreach and recruitment events

If you're interested in promoting your program at one of these events, please email Patricia Chase.

February 2
Rogers High School  Career Shadow
Sumner High School Running Start Night

February 6
Emerald Ridge Career Shadow

February 7
Puyallup High School Career Shadow

February 8
Kent School District Beyond High School

February 9
Auburn Riverside High School
Curtis High School Career Shadow
Language and Literacy Event/Sumner Middle School
Inter-Tribal Parent Education Committee Fair

February 15
Chief Leschi Career Shadow

February 16
Steilacoom High School Career Shadow

February 22
Youth Education, Career & Resource Fair

February 24
Mount Tahoma High School Presentation

February 28
Sumner High School Career Shadow

February 29
Fife High School Career Shadow

Americorps tutor's essay featured in local newspaper

On Jan. 23, The News Tribune published this op-ed piece written by our very own Americorps tutor, Gregory Cook.

Americorps Tutor Gregory Cook
Two centuries ago, the French observer of American civic life, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote a now-classic book about our political life in which he depicted a young nation of citizens engaged in their communities and eager to organize new groups promoting a multitude of issues.

In the 21st century, sociologists, political scientists and other analysts of American civic culture warn that we are pulling back from public life.

One reason for retreating from public service, I believe, is its connection to politics. “Politics” has become a dirty word in our culture. But involvement in public life does not have to be a political battle. I know, because I am just finishing up two years of rewarding participation in public affairs.

At the end of 2011, I finished two years of volunteer service with the United Way of Thurston County (UWTC). And in March of this year I will have completed a stint on the Pierce County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC).

My time with the UWTC entailed meeting as part of a panel to review grant requests, make decisions about awarding funds and then following up to make sure the grantees were making satisfactory progress using the funds.

At the SWAC, I worked with a diverse set of solid waste professionals; members of the solid waste industry; and representatives from local governments, business, interest groups and just plain interested citizens. In both cases the work was rewarding, and I learned a great deal about local communities.

Participation in civic life offers opportunities for speaking, but to be fully successful it also requires listening. Serving with the UWTC gave me the chance to make observations but also to hear from nonprofits seeking money. I also learned about the perspectives of bankers, lawyers, engineers, small business owners and state employees. We did not always agree, but we came to a respectful consensus without hard feelings.

My engagement with the SWAC also exposed me to a variety of opinions, and I gained respect for how solid waste operations work in Pierce County. Public policies involving issues such as solid waste are complex and cannot be captured by the black-and-white rhetoric of “politics.”

To be part of a public entity such as the SWAC means hearing from experts in the field, considering the limitations of government, learning about the challenges of private enterprise, and thinking about sustainable solutions to help all residents of our county, both now and in the future.

So it is possible to get involved in your community and maybe even make a difference. Are you looking for a challenge? There is no lack of problems needing attention in our common life. Unless we engage those problems, they will only get worse, and we will all pay the price.

Greg Cook lives in Fircrest and works in Tacoma. He is a former News Tribune reader columnist.

Bates Foundation offers mini grants

For Bates staff only:

The Bates Technical College Foundation is pleased to offer up to $15,000 in mini grant awards in 2012.

The purpose of the mini grant awards is to fund innovative and unique projects or programs that enhance the mission and goals of Bates Technical College, but which may not normally be funded through the college’s annual operating budget.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Feb. 17 at noon.

Please click here to download the application.

National truck driving organization recertifies program

Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level program meets or exceeds industry standards

This month, the Professional Truck Driver Institute granted Bates Technical College’s Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level program recertification.

PTDI certification, valid for five years, means the career education program meets or exceeds industry standards. The certification also helps ensure graduates are adequately qualified to safely handle the demands of the truck driving profession.

William Balcom, program manager for the Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division, said, “Students who complete the truck driving course from Bates Technical College are well taught and prepared drivers,” he said. “The course sets the standard and exceeds state training requirements in order for a new truck driver to receive his/her commercial driver’s license.”

PTDI has strict safety standards that training programs must meet and maintain. The standards incorporate Federal Highway Administration guidelines.

Balcom, who also serves on the truck driving program’s advisory committee, noted that this recertification makes it less likely that Bates graduates would be “involved in commercial vehicle collisions on our state’s highways.”

Initially certified in 1999, Bates’ two-quarter program remains the only one in the state that is PTDI certified.

For more information about the Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level career education program, please contact Career Advisor Jim Field, 253.680.7410,

About Professional Truck Driving Institute
PTDI is a national, nonprofit organization established for two purposes: 1) to develop uniform industry skill, curriculum and certification standards for entry-level truck driver training and motor carrier driver finishing programs, and 2) to certify entry-level truck driver training courses at public and private schools and driver finishing programs at carriers for compliance with PTDI standards.

About Bates Technical College
Celebrating more than 70 years, Bates Technical College offers certificate and degree opportunities in 53 career education programs, and serves approximately 3,000 career training students and 10,000 more community members annually in extended learning, distance learning, high school, and other programs. For more information, go to, or call 253.680.7000.

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