VN graduates receive pins

Vocational Nursing graduate Brittaney Sandefur (center) receives her American Red Cross pin from Donald Sanford (left) as Tracy Allen, Director of Nursing (right), prepares to add the Lee College pin to Sandefur’s lapel and her classmates look on. The Class of Summer 2015, honored at an Aug. 5 ceremony at the Performing Arts Center on campus, included 22 new vocational nurses. Vocational Nursing graduate Brittaney Sandefur (center) receives her American Red Cross pin from Donald Sanford (left) as Tracy Allen, Director of Nursing (right), prepares to add the Lee College pin to Sandefur’s lapel and her classmates look on. The Class of Summer 2015, honored at an Aug. 5 ceremony at the Performing Arts Center on campus, included 22 new vocational nurses.

Lee College honored this month the 22 newest graduates of its Vocational Nursing (VN) Program in a special ceremony at the Performing Arts Center, where they were presented with the coveted pins and red-striped nurses’ caps emblematic of their new careers.

“This ceremony really represents the completion of our program and a welcome for these nurses into the profession,” said Tracy Allen, director of Nursing, who affixed the trademark Lee College pins to the starched white lapels of each graduate as they walked across the stage.

Graduates at the ceremony received their diplomas from lead VN instructor Nora James, and striped caps from faculty member Gary Carter. Many were also presented an additional pin from the American Red Cross, which was represented at the ceremony by Donald Sanford of the Greater Houston chapter.

Each graduate also carried a candle, which was lit with the single flame held by faculty member Mary Victory in a symbolic passing of the torch. Candles in hand, the new nurses recited the Vocational Nursing Pledge in front of their family, friends and loved ones.

“Never think of this is the end; this is the beginning,” Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown told the Class of Summer 2015, noting the rigor of the program and the considerable effort it takes to successfully complete it. “Every milestone is just the start of something bigger and better to come in your lives. We couldn’t be more proud of what you have accomplished.”

The VN program at Lee College, accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing, prepares students for the national licensing examination and performance of safe nursing care in a variety of clinical settings and situations. Applications for admission are accepted between February 1 and April 1. For more information about the program curriculum and candidate requirements, contact the Department of Nursing at 281.425.6229 or visit leecollegeonline.com/nursing.

CE hosts Magic of STEM for teens

STEM CampersNearly 30 local high school students discovered the magic of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) this summer as part of a week-long, all-expense-paid camp hosted by the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development.

Funded through a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission Governor’s Summer Merit Program, The Magic of STEM Camp was designed for participants to learn how science impacts their daily lives. Campers conducted hands-on experiments in the chemistry and biology labs; tested their engineering mettle by programming robots; explored aviation, computer technology, and computer-aided design and drafting with Lee College instructors; and toured the on-campus pilot plant, which is modeled after the facilities found at real-world petrochemical plants and refineries throughout the area. At the end of the camp, students put their new-found skills and knowledge to practice in team competitions against their peers, with prizes awarded to the winners.

“Our instructors and community partners really stepped to the forefront to make the camp a success,” said Kimberlee Whittington, director of Community Education, noting the guidance and involvement of the college’s federal Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM grant staff was particularly helpful. “They generously volunteered their time to ensure the campers had an enjoyable and fulfilling experience during their week on our campus.”

The Magic of STEM campers also networked with professionals like NASA engineer Jessie Craft, who showed them how pursuing a STEM education could help build a solid foundation from which to achieve their goals.

“I learned new things about careers I didn’t even know existed,” said Ja’Von Green, a junior at Goose Creek Memorial High School and an avid gamer now considering a future in video game development and design after attending camp.

The Magic of STEM Camp will return in summer 2016. For more information or to be put on the waiting list, contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311 or visit leecollegeonline.com/workforce/ce.