Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Germanna nursing grads come through when it counts

            By PAT MONICAL

During a routine checkup our primary care physician asked my husband if he ever experienced shortness of breath.  He said no, only upon exertion, and it went away quickly.  He is physically active, is up and down stairs all day and never experiences pain or becomes winded.  He did say if he carried a box of copier paper up to the second floor he gets a little winded but it goes away immediately.  All blood work is good but he does take a statin for cholesterol.  Just to be safe the doctor ordered a stress test, EKG, and echocardiogram.
On June 26th my husband went in for the tests at the Pratt medical center next to Mary Washington Hospital.  The EKG was fine.  The echocardiogram was fine.  The stress test showed a problem.  The technician came out and told us we would have to go to the hospital for evaluation.  She told us to wait, that she would be contacting the hospital, and would prepare papers and images for us to take with us.  When she came out she very firmly said, “Go to the hospital….NOW.” 
In the ER they looked at the images and scheduled a catheterization immediately.  The cath lab cardiologist came out and abruptly stated, “This is very bad.  Very bad.  We don’t know why he is still alive.”  He was sent to ICU and scheduled for a quadruple bypass first thing in the morning.   We went from a semi-routine test to crisis management in the matter of a few hours.  I was blown away and by myself in a hospital I’ve never been to before.  We moved here in 2010.  I still don’t know the names of the streets and I have no history of any medical facilities.  Now we were facing serious surgery.
This is where Germanna Community College’s nursing program comes in.  The people at Mary Washington hospital (from administrative staff, volunteers, housekeeping staff, food service, clerks, parking lot attendants, security to all medical personnel) were efficient, professional, KIND, helpful, eager to be of service, and basically acted as if they knew what they were doing and had done it before.   We were treated as if we had a brain, things were explained to us, and we were constantly asked if we had any questions.  We weren’t a number and we mattered.  That human touch and professionalism scored highly with me.  And you know what?  Most of the nurses we encountered were GCC grads. 
I work at Germanna and there were times before this that I’ve encountered some students who have made me wonder if they have what it takes to take care of others.  There were times they were too busy talking on their phone to notice a door held for them or to even hold a door for others and other similar events.  I’d wonder if they’d ever notice the needs of others.  What I found is that, somehow, the necessary skills and caring were imparted to them during the course of their training. 
The nursing staff was constantly on the go, yet their attention was to their patient and their family members.  They didn’t wait for someone to ask them for help.  They offered it without asking.  They anticipated the needs and acted as if it was a privilege to serve.  That made a difficult and stressful situation a whole lot easier to handle for the patient and family. My husband came home four days after his surgery.  His progress has been amazing and                     that’s a testament to the care he received.
Thanks to Dean Patti Lisk and the rest of the nursing department at GCC.  I could not be more appreciative or impressed and I no longer wonder if a student has what it takes.  If they are in Germanna’s program, they do.

Germanna instructor helped Howard Stern learn to believe in himself

Ray Gill, an instructor at Germanna Community College's Center for Workforce & Community Education, has a ringing endorsement from a surprising source--famous shock jock Howard Stern, who says Gill helped him learn to believe in himself.
In 1975, when he was 21, Stern left his Long Island, N.Y., home to come to the Radio Engineering Institute of Electronics near Shannon Airport on the recommendation of a friend.
In 1993, when Stern published his autobiography "Private Parts," which later became a film, he sent a copy of the book to Gill. Stern inscribed it: "To the man who made it all possible."
He also sent Gill a letter that said: "You have no idea how many times over the years I told everyone my war stories about my summer in Fredericksburg.
"Let me go on the record and tell you how much your class meant to me," Stern wrote. "It proved to me that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Your style and confidence were inspirational, and there isn't another teacher in the world like you."
Gill teaches management classes at Germanna's Center for Workforce.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mistakes to avoid when applying for financial aid

Financial aid helps put community college within reach for thousands of Virginians, but a few common mistakes and misconceptions can prove costly. VCCS Director of Financial Aid, Laurie Owens, offers some insights on how to navigate a path to success.
1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is available Jan. 1, but students often don’t apply until the last minute. What sort of problems does this present?
Unlike the Federal Pell Grant, there are many forms of financial aid that are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis due to the fact that there is a limited pool of funding. Therefore, it is imperative that students apply early to maximize their eligibility for financial aid. Furthermore, if additional information is needed from students to determine their eligibility, that can slow the process down. It is important that students account for this possibility by applying early. In this way, their aid can be in place in time to register for classes. What can financial aid advisors do to help? It is imperative that colleges make it clear to students what their priority dates are for financial aid. Colleges accomplish this in a variety of ways including but not limited to outreach events at local high schools and in the community, posting information on their websites, and reaching out to current and perspective students using a variety of communication methods.

Math in Action adds up for area teachers

Germanna's Center for Workforce and Community Education hosted its second annual "Math in Action: A Conference for Math Teachers by Math Teachers" in June at GCC's Fredericksburg Area Campus.
The Virginia Department of Education’s Michael Bolling,
Director. The Office of Mathematics and Governor's
Schools, was the conference's keynote speaker.

The Germanna Center for Workforce had visited area school systems and asked how it could help with professional development. Math teachers wanted help dealing with the strict changes in math requirements. It partnered with area schools to bring in teachers who could share best practices with each other. 
The conference is designed for teachers interested in helping students achieve at the highest possible levels in math. Attendees heard the latest news about mathematics instruction from the Virginia Department of Education’s Michael Bolling, Director, The Office of Mathematics and Governor's Schools.
Teachers had the opportunity to participate in sessions focused on instructional strategies for the teaching of math. The break-out sessions were conducted by teachers sharing best practices, helping to build a network of support throughout the region

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Camille D.G. Mustachio's 'Language of Dr. Who' makes linguistics fun

Jason Barr, an English instructor at Blue Ridge Community College, wore a  “Run DLK” t-shirt to breakfast at a Virginia Community College System Chancellor’s Developmental Education Institute event.
Everyone looked at Barr blankly except for Camille D.G. Mustachio, an English instructor at Germanna Community College who happens to be a huge "Dr. Who" fan
Camille D. G. Mustachio
Camille D. G. Mustachio
She cracked up.
The shirt put a hip hop, Run DMC twist on Dr. Who’s arch enemy the cyborg Dalek race--an inside joke for ardent fans of the longest-running science fiction show on television.
The pair hit it off and began exchanging messages via email and Facebook about a possible project related to "Dr. Who."
They pitched the idea for a book to Scarecrow Press in Maryland and it was accepted.
Then they sent out a call for essays and the response was “overwhelming—fantastic in a way.”
The result is Barr and Mustachio's new book, “The Language of Dr. Who: From Shakespeare to Alien Tongues,” on sale now at Amazon.com.
Every incarnation of Dr. Who’s 11 “regenerations” and all 50 years of the show are covered. The book targets an audience of science fiction scholars and serious fans of the show seeking new perspectives.
According to the book description, it presents essays that: “explore how written and spoken language have been used to define the Doctor’s ever-changing identities, shape his relationships with his many companions, and give him power over his enemies—even the implacable Daleks.”
The book deals with the shows use of fairy tales, myths, nursery rhymes and Shakespeare, among other things. “Contributors consider how the Doctor’s companions speak with him through graffiti, how the Doctor himself uses postmodern linguistics to communicate with alien species, and how language both unites and divides fans of classic ‘Who’ and new ‘Who’ as they try to converse with each other,” according to the description.
Why does "Dr. Who," a story about the powerful lone survivor of an advanced civilization traveling the universe, have such staying power?
“It’s a fun story of adventure,” Mustachio said, ushering “the audience through space and time,” that’s capable of bridging the gap between generations.
“My kids and I have favorite episodes,” she said, adding that she and her husband have their own favorite episodes dating back to when they were children.
“ 'Dr. Who' is timeless,” Mustachio said, but added, “from a feminist standpoint, I like seeing how the companions have evolved over the years.”
She said there was a learning curve in working on the book that “put me back in the position of what my English 111 students are going through… I had a moment of vulnerability my students have when they bring papers into a workshop.”
Mustachio said that while she loves Shakespeare, “sometimes it’s difficult to connect with students with dead writers as opposed to [characters] they can tune into… I would love to see "Dr. Who" used in the classroom. That would be beyond fun.”

Sales of Germanna President Sam's new book to benefit GCC Educational Foundation

Sales of Germanna Community College President David A. Sam's new semi-autobiographical book of poetry, “Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves," go to the GCC Educational Foundation. The book officially launches this Sunday, June 15. It's on prelease sale now on Amazon.com.

It’s Dr. Sam's first full-length collection of poetry.

He has readings and signings set for 2 p.m. next Sunday, June 22 at The Griffin Bookstore and Coffee Bar in downtown Fredericksburg and for 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 11 at The Raven's Nest Coffee House in downtown Culpeper.

 Here’s what two respected poets have to say about “Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves”:

 “David Sam is a poet of deep identity with the natural world. In these intimate narratives of discovery and awe, the poems speak often with an almost breathless urgency, reminding us of the inexhaustible life within life, testaments to a unique sensitivity, in a boy and then a man. In journeys both actual and metaphorical, the self is not different than rivers or sunrise. ‘I am made of water and wild air,’ one poem says.  The lucky reader breathes deeply.”
- Allan Peterson, author of “Fragile Acts” and “All the Lavish in Common”

David Anthony Sam’s poems are literally rooted in the earth, seeded in the rich, dark soil.  Whether he’s writing about childhood or the rivers of Pennsylvania, these poems are filled with fields, mountains, lakes, snow and stars; they remind us that human life is found in the morning air, in the golden rays of the rising sun, in a bird’s call as dusk arrives.  Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves is an impressive book that will transport you into the natural world where, as Sam writes, you will become ‘forgetful and human again.’”

- David James, author of “She Dances Like Mussolini,” winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie book award in poetry

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Germanna student's modeling career gets a boost

Congratulations to Germanna student Charnee Long, who has won online voting for a modeling contest and will appear in a national ad for Ambi, a skin care product. She's a general studies major planning to complete her last course this summer and transfer to George Mason University to major in early childhood education with a minor in communications.