CSN students to fingerspell at Commencement Ceremony

Four College of Southern Nevada students will flex their fingers and gain real-world experience on Monday as they fingerspell the names of each CSN graduate during the 47th annual Commencement Ceremony at the Thomas & Mack Center.

It’s the first time students in CSN’s deaf studies program have participated in the commencement ceremony. Certified interpreters are always on stage during the ceremony, but this year, the students will provide the interpreters a break during one of the most demanding portions of the ceremony.

Harley Hollis

“It’s a very tedious, time-consuming and difficult part of the ceremony,” said Caroline Bass, lead faculty for the program. “This partnership worked out beautifully for us. For many of our students, this is the first time they are doing anything like this.”

CSN was the first college in the state to provide a program for sign language interpreters back in 2002, offering an associate degree in deaf studies and an associate degree in interpreter preparation. This fall, CSN launched a bachelor’s degree in deaf studies with an emphasis in American Sign Language/English Interpreting to fit with changing national certification standards.

To obtain national interpreter certification, interpreters for the deaf are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to qualifying for testing. There are fewer than 100 nationally certified interpreters in Nevada to serve more than 39,000 people with hearing disabilities. 

Participating in commencement was a volunteer opportunity 24-year-old Harley Hollis couldn’t pass up. Hollis, who has already completed an associate degree and is working on her bachelor’s degree, also works for CSN as an administrative assistant in the Disability Resource Center. She originally planned to study business at CSN.

“My second semester, I took an ASL class and I was hooked,” she said. “This has changed my life, I became so much more than I dreamed of. It just shaped my life.”

Hollis will be joined on stage by Docian Molden, Abigail Russo and Crystal Perry, taking turns to spell out each student’s name as he or she walks across the stage.

To learn more about CSN’s deaf studies program, visit: https://www.csn.edu/programs/deaf-studies

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CSN to Graduate Record Number of Students

A focus on student success has helped more than 25,000 students graduate in the last decade

2018 Commencement/ Ronda Churchill

The College of Southern Nevada expects to graduate its largest class ever at its 47th annual commencement ceremony May 20 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

A record 3,667 students are eligible to receive 3,721 degrees and certificates, according to preliminary data. Official numbers for spring 2019 will be available once grades are final. In the last decade, CSN has seen more than 25,000 students earn their degrees and certificates and go on to fuel the growth and diversification of the southern Nevada economy.

“We strive to put our students first to ensure that they get the best chance we can give them to receive a world-class education,” said CSN President Dr. Federico Zaragoza, who will preside over his first commencement ceremony this year as CSN’s president. “That effort is paying off, with record-sized graduating classes for 10 years in a row. I am very much looking forward to celebrating our students’ successes at this year’s commencement ceremony.”

More than 90 percent of CSN’s graduates remain in Nevada after graduation, electing to either continue their education or join the workforce and fuel the region’s economy.

The following is a look at just seven of the outstanding students set to graduate this year:

Narée Asherian

Narée Asherian was named a Regents’ Scholar by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. As a CSN High School student, Asherian is scheduled to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate of Business degree from CSN. While at CSN High School, Asherian has balanced more than nine college credits per semester, as well as juggling her high school workload. She has maintained a 3.8 grade-point average and plans to transfer to UNLV and earn a bachelor’s degree in business. Asherian is an ambassador for Positively Arts, a nonprofit that uses arts to inspire, empower and heal. She helped created an anti-bullying program called Happy Notes Revolution, which encourages students to be positive on social media. 

Andrew Boswell

Andrew Boswell will be the first in his family to graduate from college. His dream to attend college had to temporarily be put on hold after finishing high school because of financial difficulties his family faced in affording higher education. Boswell is studying to be a teacher and has not let anything stand in his way. Boswell juggles his schoolwork, two jobs, volunteering at Opportunity Village and family obligations. Boswell was named the 2018-19 Outstanding Student for the CSN English Department.

Thomas Calvin

Thomas Calvin, a Jazz vocal major at CSN, has been selected as the 2019 Student Commencement Speaker. Calvin considers himself an old soul and has a passion for Jazz music. He is primarily a vocalist, but is no stranger to branching out musically. He has performed at numerous venues around town, large and small, including the Smith Center, Thriller Villa and local churches. Pulling inspiration from his birthplace of Chicago, Illinois, he is a determined student, maintaining a 3.9 GPA for consecutive semesters. He plans on continuing his education and receiving his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance.

Polly Flores

Polly Flores sold her cosmetology business to enroll as a student at CSN at age 34. She left behind the business she had run for five years because she believed she should be more passionate about what she chose as a career. Many questioned her move, but Flores said she knew deep down she was unhappy with her life and needed a change. CSN was the catalyst for her. Flores is graduating with her business administration degree and is moving on to UNLV.

Carlos Gomez

For most of his time at CSN, Carlos Gomez commuted 90 miles from Mesquite, Nevada. Last summer, he and his wife finally had enough. They bought a small-fixer up near the CSN campus. It didn’t take long to realize he hid bitten off a little more than he could chew. Carlos, a U.S. Army veteran, dropped his classes for the Fall 2018 semester so he could get his house in order. The temporary hiatus could have turned permanent without a push from his mother, who repeated a Spanish phrase to him, encouraging him to give it his all and finish his degree in architectural design technology. Carlos re-enrolled in the spring and was able to finish his degree this semester.

Monique Moreno

Looking to fulfill volunteer hours for high school credit, Monique Moreno joined her mom working in the CSN computer labs when she was 14. Twelve years later, she will earn two associate degrees and plans to complete a bachelor’s degree at CSN as well. She juggled finishing her degree with full-time work in the casino industry and as a network administrator at CSN. She helped formalize CSN’s Cybersecurity Club and serves as its president. The club helps cybersecurity and networking students find resources, scholarships and learn soft skills, like networking. Moreno’s mother, father and sister are all employed at CSN as well, working in the computer labs helping students. Moreno was named the 2018-19 Outstanding Student for the CSN Computing and Information Technology Department.

Michael Saladino

Michael Saladino first attended CSN at age 3 as a preschool student at the Early Childhood Education Lab on the North Las Vegas Campus. He came back to CSN as a teenager, enrolling in the CSN High School program, which allows students to complete college-level course while finish their high school diploma. By completing additional coursework and enrolling in classes during the summer, Saladino has finished an associate degree even before completing his high school diploma. Saladino believes people should not wait for their time, but rather they should make their time.

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CSN Students Receive 19 Emmy Award Nominations

Students from the College of Southern Nevada’s Videography & Film Program received 19 Student Production Emmy Award nominations from the Pacific Southwest National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The 19 nominations were the most of any college chapter in the region and they add to a recent history of great success for CSN’s program, with 73 nominations and 33 Emmys in the last five years alone.

Award winners will be announced at a ceremony June 15 at the M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson. 

“Our students deserve this. They work extremely hard on their films and consistently produce some of the best student work in the country,” said John C. Aliano, director of CSN’s Videography and Film Program. “I am proud of every one of the nominees for what they’ve already accomplished.”

CSN students honored with the nominations are: 

Student Craft – Director

  • “Aria Food Commercial,” Raul Saldivar, Leonel Saucedo
  • “Lucis Mortis,” Jeremy Ayres
  • “Que Vida,” Violet Baldwin
  • “Reverie,” Alejandro Lopez
  • “Swipe,” Randy Sly
  • “The Call,” Justin Steele

Student Craft – Editor 

  • “Reverie,” Alejandro Lopez
  • “Que Vida,” Violet Baldwin
  • “Aria Food Commercial,” Raul Saldivar, Leonel Saucedo
  • “Lucis Mortis,” Jeremy Ayres
  • “The Call,” Justin Steele

Student Programming – Short Film

  • “Que Vida,” Violet Baldwin
  • “Aria Food Commercial,” Raul Saldivar, Leonel Saucedo

Student Programming – Long Form

  • Signing Off,” Eddie Felix
  • “Swipe,” Randy Sly

Student Craft – Writing

  • “Reverie,” Alejandro Lopez
  • “Swipe,” Randy Sly

Student Craft- Photographer

  • “The Call,” Justin Steele
  • “Aria Food Commercial,” Raul Saldivar, Leonel Saucedo
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CSN students dig deep into classwork at Springs Preserve

More than a dozen College of Southern Nevada students got the chance to help excavate some of Southern Nevada’s oldest history this semester, as part of a new cultural resource management certificate offered by the anthropology department.

Under the direction of Dr. Leilani Lucas, with help from a large swath of area archaeology partners, the students spent Friday mornings this semester assisting in the work and getting hands-on experience that will help them in their careers.

Cultural research management is the applied approach to archaeology, Lucas said. Wherever there is digging or construction, especially on government property, there is likely to be an archaeologist on site, potentially working for a cultural resource management firm.

The archeologist is tasked with making sure any cultural material is handled properly in compliance with national laws, which is why hands-on experience handling material is so valuable, Lucas said.

“In terms of field work for archeology, this the most important class that the students are going to take,” Lucas said. “It gives them the foundation, it also gives them the idea if this career is what they want to do. It’s quite difficult. The conditions are difficult. It’s very meticulous, very science-oriented, very outdoorsy.”

But the sweltering heat didn’t stop the group, who worked in long pants and shirts, shaded by wide-brimmed hats.

There’s no better place for the collaboration than at Springs Preserve, with 180 acres of rich Las Vegas history.

“We’re using multiple disciplines to figure out how people were living here at the Springs,” said archaeologist Nathan Harper.

With numerous projects at the Springs Preserve and only one full-time archeologist, the excavation project is getting new life with the help from this new partnership, which also includes UNLV and the Archaeo-Nevada Society.

Students who complete the cultural resource management certificate will be able to go directly into the workforce, Lucas said, working for cultural resource management firms, local government or state and national parks.

If they transfer to a four-year university, they will likely have had more hands-on experience than student who started at a four-year university, who typically wouldn’t start working in the field until their third year.

For more information about the program, visit csn.edu/programs/anthropology

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CSN hospitality student named Miss Jetset 2019

A $50,000 prize earned by a College of Southern Nevada culinary student will help get a catering business off the ground.

Enea Culverson

Enea Culverson, a 27-year-old Las Vegas resident, earned the prize money by competing in the Miss Jetset 2019 competition. The competition, run by the Luxury magazine Jetset, is both a pageant and a fundraiser for pediatric cancer. With the money, she plans to finance the rest of her schooling and launch a catering business, with the goal to help the Las Vegas homeless community in the end.

Culverson, in her second semester at CSN, has previously competed in pageants throughout Southern Nevada and was the top fundraiser for Miss Jetset. Culverson said she is very humble and typically would not have mentioned the award to her CSN professors.

“The only reason I told my professor is to be able to take my finals earlier,” she said.

Part of her reward is flying to Arizona on a private jet to shoot the cover of the magazine and the shoot schedule interfers with finals. Culverson has maintained a 4.0 so far at CSN and did not want this award to interfere with her education.

Culverson originally enrolled at CSN to study broadcast journalism, but moved to culinary after having an epiphany cooking at home.

“I realized I was happier when I was cooking,” she said.

The skills she will learn at CSN will help her open a catering business and ultimately, Culverson said, a brick-and-mortar restaurant. She hopes to use some of her skills to help the homeless community in Las Vegas, as well.

But first, Culverson will spend the next year serving as Miss Jetset 2019, which includes being a public face for the magazine at events and at different magazine fundraisers.

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CSN students win national awards at Phi Theta Kappa headquarters

The College of Southern Nevada Phi Theta Kappa chapter was recently awarded two national honors during the organization’s annual awards gala held in Orlando, Florida.

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year colleges. There are more than 1,200 chapters with more than 1.5 million members across the globe.

The students chose to study the effect of the arts and art education on students, based off the theme Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing and Achieving Change. Their research indicated Fine Arts classes contributed to the academic success of students. For their action plan, the research team produced a booklet with their recommendations and posted it on their social media pages and outside of the bookstore at the Charleston campus.

In March, at a regional convention in California, the CSN team took home one first place prize for their undergraduate research on the topic of Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing, and Achieving Change.

CSN students were then awarded two national awards in April:

  • Distinguished Theme Awards — Honors in Action
  • Distinguished Honors in Action Project Awards

The chapter also won the following awards:

  • Five Star Chapter Plan
  • Top 100 Chapters
  • 2019 Alumni Award of Appreciation: Christina Essaqi
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CSN honors 2018-19 outstanding students

The College of Southern Nevada will honor its 2018-19 outstanding students at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 on the college’s North Las Vegas Campus.

The annual ceremony is intended to honor those students who demonstrate what CSN is all about – putting students first and helping to ensure they graduate or transfer to a four-year institution. A student from each department at the college is awarded, as well as the Regents’ Scholar and the Kim Gregory Memorial Scholarship recipient. Outstanding student award winners must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, be enrolled in at least nine credits and demonstrate tenacity in the face of obstacles.

Shawna Hunnicutt

Students being awarded include Shawna Hunnicutt, a formerly home-schooled biology student who has studied snakes with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Andrew Boswell, an English major who juggles two jobs, volunteers at Opportunity Village and will soon be the first in his family to graduate college, and Narée Asherian, a CSN High School student who is studying musical theater and was named this year’s Regents’ Scholar.

This year, the CSN Foundation is excited to announce that all Outstanding Student Award winners who return to CSN or transfer to another NSHE institution will be awarded $1,000 scholarships.

Andrew Boswell

“I couldn’t be prouder of our students,” said Margo Martin, CSN vice president for academic affairs. “These outstanding students are evidence that with hard work and determination anything is possible. Thank you to our faculty and staff for always putting students first, and congratulations to all the honorees.”

The students being honored are:

Alexis Childs, Accounting, Finance & Computer Office Technology

Jiahui He, Applied Technologies

Shawna Hunnicutt, Biological Sciences

Sho Guo, Business Administration

Steehl Savell, Communication

Monique Moreno, Computing & Information Technology

Dacia Hogan, Criminal Justice & Emergency Services

Cassidy Arumsol Cho, Dental Sciences, Diagnostic Evaluation & Rehabilitation Services

Melike Durmaz, Education

Andrew Boswell, English

Haldrin Gonzalez, Fine Arts

Russell Henriquez, Health Related Professions

Allen Adamyan, Hospitality Management

Nicole Xophi Welch, Human Behavior

Alicia Block, Mathematics

Bailey Thurmond, Media Technologies

Catherine Kohl, Nursing

Lisa Kraisriwatana, Physical Sciences

Maria Mencos, Social Sciences

Gholamhossein Marvin, World Languages

Narée Asherian, Regents’ Scholar Award

Kevin Morphis, Kim Gregory Memorial Scholarship Recipient

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CSN libraries provide valuable resources for students

As final exams creep closer, CSN’s three libraries will see more students taking advantage of the free services.

With about 30 full-time staff members and a couple dozen part-time workers spread across the Charleston, North Las Vegas and Henderson campuses, the libraries serve thousands of CSN’s students per year.

“We are where students can go to find information how to do their work, how to do their assignments,” said Caprice Roberson, director of CSN Libraries.

CSN’s librarians help students with all their reference and research needs either in the physical library or through online services. The libraries house copies of most of the required textbooks, allowing students to use them while they are in the library. The textbooks can’t be checked out by students.

Librarians partner with professors to go into more than 400 classrooms and teach students best practices when it comes to research. Lesson include how to select sources, how to parse out good information from bad and how to use the information in context to strengthen assignments.

“It’s not just talking about how to find a source, it’s about teaching them how to be information literate,” Roberson said.

The library is also home to a number of different events throughout, including visits from therapy dogs to help students relax during stressful times in the semester. Librarians also run smaller contests throughout the year to engage students in the library.

Recently, the library introduced research assignment socials, serving as a one-stop shop for students. Librarians and employees from the Writing Center come together to help students complete research assignments at the same time.


For more information on the CSN Libraries, visit: www.csn.edu/library

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CSN anthropology student selected for prestigious summer internship

A first-year anthropology student at CSN will investigate and analyze human bones at the University of South Alabama this summer as part of a National Science Foundation grant.

Silvio Mirabel Torres, 20, was one of eight students nationwide selected to help search from clues in the two skeletal collections from the Middle East. The bones date back to the Bronze Age and are thought to have differing characteristics from other skeletal collections in the same time period.

The work this summer is aimed at helping to explain why these bones are different. It’s a rare opportunity for a freshman or sophomore student and an even more rare opportunity for a community college student.

“As a community college student, it’s very excited to feel validated in this way,” Mirabel Torres said. “A lot of times community college is thought not to be at the same caliber as four-year universities.”

Often, internship opportunities like this one are limited to students studying at four-year universities, said CSN anthropology professor Diane Hardgrave. Even when they are not limited to university students, community college students often feel discouraged from applying. She doesn’t know of any other students at CSN who have been selected for a NSF grant.

An immigrant from Cuba, Mirabel Torres had been in the United States for less than a year before enrolling at CSN for the fall 2018 semester. He initially was pursuing a degree in journalism and communication, but enrolled in an introductory anthropology course to fit a science requirement and became hooked.

“Anthropology is about storytelling, which is why I was attracted to journalism, too,” he said. “In anthropology, you get to write the whole story about the culture.”

Mirabel Torres plans to complete his associates degree at CSN and then transfer to UNLV to graduates with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.

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CSN counselors offer tips for Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month, so you have to chill. It’s a rule.

Don’t know how? That’s OK, counselors at the College of Southern Nevada are hoping to help students manage their symptoms in healthy ways.

All CSN students are eligible for 10 free and confidential counseling sessions each academic year through Counseling and Physiological Services. Right now, there’s no waitlist and there are counselors on all three campuses.

“People can feel very isolated in their stress. They try to hide it,” said Kathy Wild, the site administrator for Mojave Counseling, which provides services for CSN students. “We all could learn ways to manage our stress better.”

College tends to be a particularly stressful time for students if they haven’t figured out what coping strategies work for them, said Wild, one of the licensed clinical social workers who counsels CSN students. College is a time of transition. The change can bring financial, academic and interpersonal issues that trigger stress for students.

If left ignored, stress can also affect a person’s physical health. Wild encourages students to take advantage of the 10 free counseling sessions – no matter how small or how large their problem is – but added there are ways students and staff can reduce stress without seeing a counselor.

Mindfulness meditation is a tool to manage stress that is growing in popularity in the United States, although it has a long rich history in other countries and cultures, said Diane Hardgrave, an anthropology professor at CSN. Hardgrave has studied how mindfulness meditation affects a person’s immune system.

“Mindfulness meditation is not just coping with stress, it actually reduces stress,” Hardgrave said.

In less than five minutes, through simple breathing exercises, people can begin to feel the effects of meditation. Both Hardgrave and Wild recommended meditation apps – like Calm and Headspace – for people who’d like to try guided meditation.

For quick relief, Hardgrave suggests inhaling through the nose for five seconds, holding the breath for two seconds, then exhaling through the mouth for five seconds. Repeat five times, and the effects will start to set in, she said.

“If you try a method and you’re not feeling it, just go with what feels right,” Hardgrave said.

For more information on the services offered to students through CAPS, visit: www.csn.edu/caps

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