Harvey Relief Fund for students & employees reaches $100K

Donation will help cover tuition, textbooks, transportation, food, and other expenses

Lee College Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund receives donation from ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil donates $5,000 in gas cards to the Lee College Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, to help students impacted by the storm cover the costs of transportation as they recover and rebuild. Since it was created, the relief fund has reached more than $100,000 that will be provided to Lee College students and employees in need. Pictured (l-r): Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown; Brian Nagel of ExxonMobil, Lee College Executive Director of Foundation and Resource Development Pam Warford; and Connie Tilton of ExxonMobil.

BAYTOWN, TX Shortly after Hurricane Harvey battered Baytown and surrounding communities with heavy rains that produced catastrophic flooding, Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and members of the president’s cabinet decided to create a disaster relief fund to help students and employees recover from their losses and rebuild their homes and lives.

Now, just over a month after the storm first made landfall in Texas, the Lee College Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has raised more than $100,000 and growing. The Lee College Foundation, Scholarship America, Santa Fe College in Florida, Inceptia, the Collette Foundation, ExxonMobil and numerous individual donors have all made sizable contributions.

At the September meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents, Brown thanked donors for their generosity and praised staff for working so quickly to set up the fund and “get the money in the hands of those who are most in need” — including the hundreds of students and employees so far who have received help to cover the cost of textbooks, tuition, transportation, food, home repairs and other expenses.

Law enforcement and criminal justice major Jasper Fairman is one of those who received much-needed assistance from the relief fund. Fairman and his wife, then pregnant with their daughter and scheduled to deliver at the end of August, evacuated first to Lake Charles, La., but got flooded in and lost a vehicle when Harvey moved east. The family then traveled to Austin to stay with relatives but when they returned to the Houston area, their trailer was uninhabitable and Fairman didn’t have the money for tuition.

“For three weeks, I couldn’t work because of the storm. We evacuated, came back and I still couldn’t work, but I had it in my mind to continue my education for this fall so I could stay on track toward my graduation,” said Fairman, who was unable to secure financial aid in time to meet the payment deadline. He had just found out his classes had been dropped for non-payment when he learned about the Harvey relief fund and put in an application.

“I was getting in panic mode; I didn’t want to drop,” Fairman said. “But sure enough, I received a call saying, ‘Don’t worry about anything, your tuition will be paid and you’ll be able to continue on with your classes.’ Tears started rolling down my eyes. It’s hard dealing with this issue and not knowing how you can make ends meet and continue on to your dreams. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a recipient and thankful for Lee College having something like this for us.”

Baytown native Anabel Briones, who also received help from the Harvey relief fund, graduated from Lee College with an Associate Degree of Nursing three years ago but returned to satisfy prerequisites for her bachelor’s degree. She and her husband, a welding student at the college, evacuated their home in the Pine Meadows subdivision at the last minute to protect their young daughters as the water rose.

“When it was safe for us to come back home, I walked into my house and had the breakdown of my life. Everything we’ve been working so hard for was destroyed,” said Briones, a registered nurse who continued to work during Harvey but has since taken a leave of absence to focus on rebuilding her home.

Though they lost a car in the storm, are displaced and staying with relatives, and have been turned down for other forms of assistance, Briones and her husband are determined to stay in school.

“You get in a position where you think you have it all together, but one day is all it takes and you’re at nothing,” Briones said. “The help from Lee College meant a lot to me. We still have goals to reach and we can’t let one event take over our whole life. That’s our mentality and it’s going to be difficult, but we will get through this.”

Lee College students and employees continue to apply for help from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is still accepting donations. To give, visit www.lee.edu/harveydonations or contact Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development, at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

STEM Hub opens on main campus with computers & free tutoring

Lee College cuts the ribbon on new STEM Hub
Lee College students, faculty, administrators and regents prepare to cut the ribbon at the new STEM Hub during a grand opening celebration held Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, at Moler Hall in the heart of campus. The hub is funded through a multimillion-dollar Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It offers all students access to computers with instructional and professional software, as well as free printing and free tutoring in biology, chemistry, engineering, human anatomy and physiology, all levels of math, physics and process technology.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College students tackling science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) assignments have a new place on campus to access computers loaded with instructional and professional software, and receive free tutoring for everything from algebra to anatomy.

The college and community celebrated this week the grand opening of the STEM Hub, an expanded facility in the heart of campus that provides space for students to focus on what many consider their most challenging subjects.

The hub includes both PCs and Macs equipped with programs students use in their classrooms and labs, like AutoCAD, MatLab, Visual Studio and the Microsoft Suite. There is also ample room for tutors to work with students individually and in groups on biology, chemistry, engineering, human anatomy and physiology, all levels of math, physics and process technology, as well as free printing for up to 10 pages of material through the fall semester to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“We wanted students to have a space where STEM can be more engaging and more fun, where they can see math and science in a different light,” said Victoria Marron, executive director of HSI Initiatives. “There is no reason for a student to say they can’t be successful because they don’t have something. We will provide the resources they need.”

STEM Hub interior
STEM Hub interior

Funding for the STEM Hub came from a multimillion-dollar grant awarded to the college by the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) division of the U.S. Department of Education to increase awareness, enrollment and completion of STEM degrees for Hispanic and other underserved student populations. The college was selected to receive HSI STEM grants in both 2011 and 2016, and used grant funds to establish the first STEM Center on campus in 2013. Student feedback from the original STEM Center helped administrators plan the additions and improvements at the new hub.

“It’s a dream to have the hub located in the center of campus, accessible to all students at any time,” said Executive Vice Pres. Dr. Christina Ponce. “Our team designed a first-class space and hired the best tutors to support students in getting into STEM degrees and completing STEM degrees.”

Karen Chavez, a former Lee College student now pursuing a degree in surgical technology, knows firsthand how overwhelming STEM courses can seem. Now a tutor for human anatomy and physiology courses, she tries to keep students focused on what they want to achieve by finishing their degree program.

“I always ask students what they’re going for, because it keeps them interested in STEM when they think about how to apply what they’re learning to what they want to accomplish,” Chavez said. “We didn’t have anything like the STEM Hub when I first started college, and the fact that we have all this available now is amazing.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College Theatre to open season Sept. 21 with ‘Peril on the Mighty Mississippi’

Program will expand style and variety of productions this year for students & audiences

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College Theatre will begin its 2017-18 performance season with a traditional melodrama that takes audiences on the maiden voyage of the Mighty Mississipp’, a riverboat bound for New Orleans with nefarious villains, wealthy passengers and a noble deckhand all aboard for a madcap adventure.

“Peril on the Mighty Mississippi, or a Disaster of Titanic Proportions” will debut at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center on campus. Additional performances are set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24. Tickets are available online at www.lee.edu/pac or by contacting the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Written by Donald Mellen, “Peril on the Mighty Mississippi” is the kind of frivolous and laugh-happy comedy that will bring more zaniness to the stage than many audiences are accustomed to seeing, according to technical theater instructor Kim Martin.

“It takes place on a paddle wheel riverboat and the hero, the heroine and various villains will encounter enough obstacles to foil most mortals – but in melodrama theatre, the good guys always come out on top,” Martin said. “And the audience gets to help by throwing popcorn at all of them.”

Lee College Theatre is expanding the style and variety of the shows they produce this season to challenge students and give them more opportunities to grow in their craft and pursue their dreams. Notable productions will include “A Year with Frog and Toad” in November, “Christmas Express” in December, “The Grapes of Wrath” in February, “Man of La Mancha” in late June and even some shows that will allow students to try out their directing skills in front of a live audience.

The level of quality and entertainment provided to the local community rivals that of college theatre programs across the Houston area, Martin said.

“Our audiences, Lee College students and staff and community supporters as well, can witness a delightful variety of shows,” he said. “We have a pleasant and congenial comedy for Christmas, a musical to delight young and old this fall, and an epic dramatization of one of the greatest novels of American literature. Everyone should put these shows on their cultural calendar.”

For more information about Lee College Theatre, including a full schedule of upcoming performances, visit www.lee.edu/theatre or contact Martin at hmartin@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit http://www.lee.edu.

After Harvey, Lee College Foundation opts to reschedule annual gala for November

BAYTOWN, TX — As residents in the local community continue to recover after Hurricane Harvey, the Lee College Foundation has decided to postpone its 32nd annual gala until November.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21 at Sylvan Beach Pavilion, the Lee College Foundation Gala is now set for Friday, Nov. 10, at the same location. Foundation board members decided to delay the event — which raises money for scholarships and other forms of student support — out of respect for those affected by Harvey and working to rebuild after the storm.

“There are some who were virtually unaffected by Harvey, but there are many that were devastated,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “In respect for those who are suffering, we felt that a postponement was in order. We care very much about those with losses, but still know that our mission is to assist students in their pursuit of higher education.”

The foundation will be sending letters about the rescheduled gala to all those who have already received invitations, with additional correspondence to follow. For more information about the Lee College Foundation Gala or donating to the foundation, contact Warford at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

College to unveil new campus STEM hub, welcome special guests

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and national Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) next week with the grand opening of a new campus hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and special guest appearances from artist and author Marlon “Marley” Lizama and entrepreneur and recording artist Stefani Vara.

Marlon Lizama
Marlon Lizama

The kickoff for the HSI Week festivities will be the unveiling of the newly renovated STEM Hub at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 18, in Moler Hall. Funded by a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the original STEM center opened in 2013 to provide students with a dedicated space on campus to use the Internet and printing, receive free tutoring and meet with study groups. The new hub is also funded through the federal HSI STEM grant, which is designed to increase awareness, enrollment and completion of STEM degrees among Hispanic students and other underserved populations.

Lizama — a poet, writer, author and dancer who focuses on the cultural aspect of writing and the arts — will be the special guest speaker at 9:30 and 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center. He is currently the program director of Iconoclast Artist, a creative writing program that focuses on underserved schools and juvenile detention centers. He has published two student anthologies of poetry through Iconoclast and is also the author of “Cue the Writer: Cheers to the Notion of Love, Hate, God and Revolution,” a collection of short stories and poetry from a young immigrant’s perspective. The recipient of the 2015 John P. McGovern Award for his work in the community with the arts, Lizama has traveled to more than 40 countries to advance his mission of using the arts as a tool to connect with others and change lives and perspectives.

Stefani Vara
Stefani Vara

Vara will be the special guest for two “Follow My Feet” sessions at 9 and 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center. An entrepreneur, professional foot model and recording artist who was raised by fierce Latina women in humble surroundings in Baytown, she has learned that her voice is her strongest asset and life is about diving headfirst into the unknown to blaze your own trail. Now committed to using her varied life experiences to give back to her community, Vara shares her personal journey in her “Follow My Feet” campaign to encourage others to realize their dreams are achievable and nothing is beyond their reach.

HSI Week at Lee College will also include a bash and informational table at the Student Center and gazebo; games of loteria, or Mexican bingo; an open mic session; and the “What’s Your Label” panel discussion hosted by the MAS Raza Collective student organization. All events and activities are free and open to the public. For a full schedule, visit www.lee.edu. For more information, contact Victoria Marron at 281.425.6501 or vmarron@lee.edu, or Daisy Aramburo at 832.556.4026 or daramburo@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee offers late-start fall classes, raises funds to aid Harvey victims

College also creates new payment plan to help students better afford tuition this semester

BAYTOWN, TX — After opening its doors as a shelter for local residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Lee College is continuing its efforts to support students and employees through recovery by offering late start registration and flexible payment plans, and raising money for those in need.

Late start classes

It’s not too late for students who were unable to make the Sept. 5 start date for the fall 2017 semester to enroll in classes at Lee College this term.

The college is offering a late start 13-week session that will begin Monday, Sept. 18, and an 8-week session that will begin Monday, Oct. 23. Registration for both sessions is now open and additional classes are available. For more information, contact the Student Success & Advising Center at 281.425.6384 or counselor@lee.edu.

Flexible payment plans

The college has introduced a new payment plan after Hurricane Harvey to help make the cost of tuition and fees more affordable this fall.

Students can make a 25 percent down payment and pay off the remaining balance with three additional payments in October, November and December. Students can also make a 50 percent down payment and pay off the remaining balance over two additional payments in October and November. Students can enroll in their chosen payment plan online through Friday, Sept. 22. For more information, contact the Business Office at 281.425.6324 or visit www.lee.edu/businessoffice.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

Just after the storm hit the area, Lee College launched the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to benefit students, faculty and staff facing unforeseen hardships. Many of those in need of help have lost textbooks and other belongings due to flooding, or need assistance with the costs of transportation, food and other items. To donate to the fund, visit www.lee.edu/harveydonations or contact Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development, at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior adults to receive free entry & food Sept. 12 at volleyball game

Special invitation extended to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, helping with recovery

Senior Adult Night at Lee College Volleyball
Volunteers with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program have collected and washed loads of clothes, donated money, provided meals and offered a helping hand to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The program invites all senior adults in the community to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process Tuesday, Sept. 12, with free entry and food at the Lady Rebel Volleyball home game against San Jacinto College. From left: John James, Carolyn James, Karen Knight, and Carolyn Buntin.

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program invites senior adults — particularly those impacted by Hurricane Harvey or hard at work helping their affected neighbors – to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process next week when Lee College Volleyball takes on conference rival San Jacinto College.

The Lady Rebels will hit the court at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the Sports Arena on campus. Seniors will get free entry to the game and free pizza, popcorn and drinks with a photo ID.

“The senior adult program each year offers this fun night in partnership with Lee College Athletics,” said Lynne Foley, program manager. “This year we would like to invite as special guests all senior adults impacted by the storm, and also the great senior adults volunteering in our community to join us.”

The program will also be collecting canned goods to support the Lee College Food Bank, which helps students in need — and the Lady Rebels have designated the game “First Responders Appreciation Night” in recognition of the first responders across the community who helped to rescue and assist those in need during the storm.

For more information about Senior Adult Night at the Lee College Volleyball game against San Jacinto College, contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.