Lee students experience ancient, modern China for Study Abroad 2017

Lee College Study Abroad 2017 in China: Group photo
Lee College students and faculty explored historical and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai this summer on the Study Abroad trip to China. The Study Abroad program provides students the opportunity to travel to another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. From left: Instructor Sunny Jiang Schultz, Abigail Vernier, Cameron Lieck, Lucas McCrary, Saige Willingham, Emily Blumentritt, Shianne Willingham, Camila Acuna, instructor Chris Whitaker, Kayla Medina, Justin Mathews, and Jazmine Rodriguez.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College Study Abroad students spent nine days in China this summer exploring the ancient and modern sides of the world’s most populous country at historic and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai — and all while earning valuable academic credits in the process.

“I could make it through all my degrees and never leave Texas, but I wouldn’t be very cultured,” said Justin Mathews, one of six Study Abroad students who received a scholarship to help fund the trip and shared lessons learned with the campus community in mid-June after the group’s return to Baytown.

While discussing American and Chinese attitudes toward each other over 250 years of shared interaction, Mathews noted that many of the Chinese people he encountered there — particularly children and youth — were eager to approach the students for photos and conversation.

“I couldn’t communicate very well, but I still built bonds,” he said. “Our generation has been raised in an era of globalization with technology and social media; we’ve opened up. People are breaking down walls through acts of friendship and kindness.”

Study Abroad provides students the opportunity to explore another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. The program was revived at the college in summer 2015 with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland and Wales. Since then, Study Abroad students have also traveled to Belize, China and Costa Rica; Germany is the next destination slated for summer 2018.

Before traveling abroad, students enrolled in specially designed English, humanities and history courses taught by instructors Sunny Jiang Schultz and Chris Whitaker, who also accompanied them to China. The courses helped prepare the students for all they would see and experience on the trip, which included visits to the Forbidden City; Tienanmen Square; the Great Wall of China; the Shaanxi Provincial Museum; and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Students also visited a local school in Beijing, took in Tang Dynasty and acrobatics shows, participated in a tea ceremony and dined on Peking Duck and other Chinese cuisine.

When they got back to campus, students delivered presentations on a variety of topics to illustrate how much they learned — from traditional Chinese medicine and common food choices, to Chinese treatment of natives and minorities, Chinese voyages of exploration and the differences between ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy.

“The trip was really great, but the people I went with were amazing,” Schultz said. “I saw Lee College students’ strength as they pursued their dreams, took initiative, persevered, had fun and enjoyed. It was a very rewarding experience.”

For more information about Study Abroad at Lee College, contact Nader Naderi, chairman of International Education, at nnaderi@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 College Foundation prepares to award fall 2017 scholarships, host annual gala

Foundation relies on individual & corporate donors to support hundreds of worthy students  

Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney
Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney speaks at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast in April about the scholarship awards that enabled him to pursue higher education and enjoy an enriching and rewarding campus experience. All students at Lee College are eligible for foundation scholarships, which are funded through the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community.

BAYTOWN, TX — The fall 2017 semester begins next month and the Lee College Foundation is preparing to award scholarships to hundreds of deserving students both new to campus and returning to continue their journey to a degree or certificate.

Many scholarship recipients would be unable to afford tuition, textbooks and other essentials without the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community who give to the foundation. Nearly two dozen of the new scholarships to be awarded for 2017 were sponsored by individuals – families, alumni, former employees and friends of the college among them – who believe in the importance of higher education and want to support students in reaching their dreams.

“Individuals and businesses in this community have made life-altering changes for so many of our students by providing them with financial support,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Many students just don’t have the means to pay for college, or they work and go to school simultaneously. For their community college, these advocates for education have enabled students who have the ability and the desire to achieve a degree and create a better life for themselves and for their families. I am so grateful to each of them for their continued support.”

All Lee College students are eligible to receive scholarships, regardless of their program of study or enrollment status. The Foundation Board of Directors awarded more than $470,000 in the 2016-17 academic year to full-time and part-time students, high school students earning college credit in dual-enrollment classes, offenders in the Lee College Huntsville Center correctional education program, and students taking non-credit classes through the Center for Workforce and Community Development. In addition, the foundation maintains a Student Success Fund to help students facing extraordinary circumstances pay for college-related expenses.

Though a straight-A student throughout his career at Dayton High School, Thomas Sweeney arrived at the crossroads between high school and college unsure of which way to go. He knew he could succeed academically, but difficult family circumstances meant he was limited financially. Lee College was his choice for its affordability compared to other options, and he was ultimately awarded the foundation’s Rockwell Fund and Sam Bramlett Memorial scholarships.

“I was raised in a household where I didn’t really have a whole lot of opportunities,” said Sweeney, who shared his story in April at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast, just one semester away from graduation. “My dad worked a job that he didn’t particularly care for and he wasn’t in the best of health, but he persevered because he saw the value of education. That’s why he pushed my sister and I really hard in school to be successful.”

After taking several Lee College Honors Program courses and becoming involved in student organizations on campus, Sweeney was selected to present original research at two academic conferences and said he gained a greater appreciation for thinking critically about the world around him. His “enriching and self-fulfilling experience” in college would likely have been unattainable without foundation support.

“I can honestly say these generous scholarships took quite the weight off my shoulders,” Sweeney said. “It was a very rewarding experience to have my hard work receive recognition so I could continue my educational career with the peace of mind of having my financial needs taken care of. The foundation donors and board have my sincerest and deepest appreciation and respect for their generosity in allowing students like myself, and many other diverse students, the ability to achieve our goals and ambitions.”

Planning is now underway for the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala, which benefits student scholarships and other forms of support. For more information about the gala or giving 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.

Research by Lee alum leads to historical marker at Double Bayou Dance Hall

American Studies thesis sets foundation for state recognition of hall known for Texas blues

Photo of the historical marker. Caleb Moore and John Britt stand on either side.
Lee College alumnus Caleb Moore (left) joins retired instructor John Britt at the Double Bayou Dance Hall on Saturday, June 24, 2017, to celebrate the dedication of the official Texas State Historical Marker recognizing the hall’s significance to surrounding communities. Moore completed a thesis for Britt’s American Studies course that focused on the dance hall and led to the marker being erected at the site in Chambers County.

ANAHUAC, TX — Before he began researching the Double Bayou Dance Hall in Chambers County to complete his thesis for the American Studies course offered through the Lee College Honors Program, alumnus Caleb Moore had never heard of the little one-room gathering spot on the “Chitlin’ Circuit” where blues legends like T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner stopped to perform on their way to Houston.

Now, many of the facts that Moore uncovered for his research paper grace a Texas Historical Marker recognizing the dance hall’s significance to the predominately African-American community of Double Bayou and those who flocked to it for generations, eager to end a hard day’s work by dancing to the rich sounds of Texas blues filling the rafters and spilling into the surrounding woods.

Established in the late 1920s and constructed of wood, hog wire, and cedar logs under a tin roof, the original dance hall structure was destroyed by a storm in 1941 and rebuilt nearby just after World War II. For Moore, an honored guest at the historical marker dedication ceremony hosted in late June by the Chambers County Historical Commission, it felt good knowing he played a role in ensuring the story of the Double Bayou Dance Hall will endure even if the building itself does not.

“If people don’t write the history down, it disappears,” said Moore, who graduated from Lee College in May 2013. “Now the dance hall has something that will stay, something that’s set in stone. People can look at the marker to remember and learn about their heritage.”

The American Studies class combines American literature and history, using an interdisciplinary approach to help students examine American culture and gain an understanding of how literature reflects historical events. Retired instructor John Britt started the course and was team-teaching with faculty member Kathleen Sydnor when Moore settled on the Double Bayou Dance Hall as the focus of his final capstone project, which requires students to complete a research paper about an event of literary or historical significance.

“Lee College is one of only a few community colleges in the country with an American Studies program,” said Britt, a past executive committee member of the Chambers County Historical Commission and an award-winning author and historian. “I suggested the topic and (Moore) ran with it. He dove right into the research.”

At the dedication ceremony, descendants of the dance hall’s owners and members of the community listened to live music and reminisced on good times over old photos, mementos and plates of barbecue. Moore was surprised to see his own aunt in one of the shots in the photo archive, reminding him of the lesson he learned while working on the thesis that ultimately brought the historical marker to Double Bayou.

“You can think something doesn’t have anything to do with you, but everything in this world has a connection to you,” he said. “You just have to take the time to learn history, talk to people and explore the world around you.”

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.

 

Youth camps now taking registrations

To register for any of these events, visit www.lee.edu/workforce/ or call 281.425.6311.

Aviation Camp

Soar into the world of aviation and create unforgettable memories! This one-day summer camp will introduce campers to the cutting edge of aviation and the basics of flight through a unique combination of fun and discovery.

Aviation Camp is open to children 10-15 years old, and it is held 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3. The cost is $69, which includes lunch.

Camp participants will explore through education, team building, smart learning classrooms, hands-on activities, sophisticated flight simulations, and an adventurous tour at a local airport, where they will witness a day in the life of a pilot.

Participants also will gain skills to apply to in everyday life and discover the unlimited opportunities a career in aviation presents. Field trips will be to Texas Southern University and Hobby Airport. Close-toed shoes are required.

Youth Entrepreneur Camp

Do you have a great idea? Do you want to have your own business some day? If so, and if you’re between the ages of 12 and 16, this camp is for you!

The camp runs 1-4 p.m. Thursday, July 27, in room 351 of the ATC on Lee College’s main campus in Baytown.

Every good idea needs a plan. In this class you will explore business options and business plans for your unique ideas. You will learn how to develop your ideas, organize your facts, market your product/service and potentially make a profit. You learn hands-on about running a business by operating the campus Books and Beans store. At the end of this course, you will have a basic understanding of what’s needed to get your business off the ground and find investors!

Lunch is included in the $19 camp registration fee.

Let’s Keep it Real

Financial Education is a tool that no one can take from you. Let’s Keep it Real, an interactive financial presentation inspired by the game show Let’s Make a Deal, makes financial learning fun, while giving students an incentive to listen.

This free session takes place 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, in the Bayer Conference Room of the main Lee College campus in Baytown.

Knowing that there are tangible prizes entices students to become engaged and retain the information presented to them at the moment, while they subconsciously absorb the facts that will ultimately make them winners at life. Let’s Keep it Real introduces financial knowledge regarding credit, budgeting, wants, needs, and other aspects of the world of finance.

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 joining effort to help youth beat summer learning loss & prepare for fall

Mobile Go Center set to visit Roseland Park and Stratford Branch Library for July 13 event

Proclamation on Summer Learning Day
Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos (center) presents a proclamation naming July 13, 2017, as Summer Learning Day to Lee College administrators and faculty at city hall. The college is partnering with Academic Beginnings for Children for Summer Learning Day to raise awareness of the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy over the summer so they can return to school in the fall ready to succeed. Also pictured, from left: DeDe Griffith, Director of Access and Student Success; Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of the Developmental Education Division; Donna Mohlman, Special Projects Librarian and co-chairwoman of Academic Beginnings for Children; and Dr. Christina Ponce, Executive Vice President and member of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College is working in the community to help local youth beat the damaging “summer slide”: the phenomenon where young people, often low-income, lose academic skills during summer vacation and fall behind their peers by the time the new school year begins.

The college is participating in National Summer Learning Day on July 13 in partnership with Academic Beginnings for Children (ABC), a broad-based coalition of education, civic, business and non-profit organizations working together to deliver the best solutions for children. The annual event is sponsored by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to raise awareness of the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy over the summer to ensure they return to school in the fall ready to succeed.

On Summer Learning Day, the Lee College Mobile Go Center will be posted at Roseland Park in Baytown from 10-11 a.m., and the Stratford Branch Library in Highlands from 2-4 p.m. Students and families who climb aboard the center — a 42-foot, air-conditioned trailer equipped with high-speed Internet and other state-of-the-art technology — can enjoy e-books provided through a grant from the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation, and receive information about preparing for college. Children can also take a free paperback book home with them to read this summer, thanks to a $400 donation from the Kiwanis Club of Baytown, and participate in arts and crafts and other activities.

Lee College Mobile Go Center
Lee College Mobile Go Center

The Mobile Go Center will also be on hand throughout July and August at select locations where the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) serves free breakfast and lunch to children 1-18 years old. In addition to losing access to nutritious meals, the NSLA estimates that low-income youth lose two to three months in reading and math skills over the summer while their higher-income classmates tend to make slight gains. By fifth grade, those reading and math losses can leave low-income students two to three years behind their peers in school.

“Reading builds better brains. Providing opportunities for children to read during the summer helps build those connections in the brain,” said Donna Mohlman, special projects librarian for Lee College and co-chairwoman for ABC. “By partnering with the GCCISD Summer Meals Program, we are providing food for the body and food for the mind.”

For more information about National Summer Learning Day, ABC programs in the community or other summer meals events, contact Mohlman at dmmohlman@gmail.com. To learn more about the Lee College Mobile Go Center, which is available to come to various venues to assist potential students with higher education and workforce activities, visit www.lee.edu/bearebel.

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.

Texas Nonprofit Theatres honors Lee for hosting youth conference

Dr. Dennis brown accepts the plaque on behalf of Lee.
Lee College received an award plaque this month from Texas Nonprofit Theatres for hosting the organization’s 22nd annual Youth Conference, which brought 400 young people from across the state to campus for a week of performances and workshops. Pictured, from left: Walter Stricklin, Performing Arts Center director; Dr. Veronique Tran, Vice President of Instruction; Dr. Onimi Wilcox, Dean of Academic Studies; Ryan Martin, production specialist; Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown; Kim Martin, technical theater instructor; and Mark Hall, vice chairman of the Board of Regents.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College earned recognition this month from Texas Nonprofit Theatres (TNT) for hosting its 22nd annual Youth Conference. The gathering brought 400 young thespians and their directors and chaperones from across the state to campus for a summer camp-style week of performances and workshops.

Kim Martin, technical theater instructor and an officer on the TNT Board of Governors, presented the honorary plaque from the organization at the June meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents. The 2017 TNT Youth Conference, held from June 6-11 at the Performing Arts Center and various buildings around campus, marked the second consecutive year that Lee College has been selected to host the event.

“The TNT executive committee and officers wanted to give deep gratitude to Lee College for the wonderful job of providing amazing facilities, extraordinary service and unwavering support as hosts,” Martin said. “They can’t stop telling me how wonderful this place is. I’m proud of that and proud to be with Lee College, and I want you to know people from around the state recognize that, too.”

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 Huntsville Center celebrates largest graduating class in 51-year history


Lee College graduation at Wynne Unit in Huntsville, TX, 06-10-17
More than 180 offenders incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) received associate degrees Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the Lee College Huntsville Center commencement. The ceremony took place inside the Wynne Unit prison in Huntsville. It was the largest graduating class in 51 years. The Huntsville Center is one of the oldest and biggest correctional education programs in the United States, with a growing enrollment of more than 1,200 students at six TDCJ prison units.

Nearly 200 incarcerated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice earn associate degrees

HUNTSVILLE, TX — As he embraced his wife and his mother after receiving his Associate of Applied Science degree from the Lee College Huntsville Center, Quincy Moore, Sr., struggled to describe what it meant to be one of more than 180 graduates honored at the commencement ceremony inside the chapel of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Wynne Unit prison.

The Class of 2017 is the largest in the 51-year history of the Huntsville Center, one of the biggest and oldest correctional education programs in the United States. The center offers associate degrees and certificate programs in technical and academic fields to a growing enrollment of more than 1,200 students across six TDCJ units.

“There’s not an adjective to properly explain how I feel with my family being here with me, as well as this accomplishment that I made,” said Moore, who majored in horticulture and earned cum laude honors. After completing 16 years behind bars, he looks forward to freedom and using his degree to provide for his family and set a more positive example for his youngest son, Quincy Jr.

“Scooter (Langley) was a great instructor who taught me how to till soil and plant seeds, but I also cultivated my mind,” Moore said. “Education broadens your mind and offers you different opportunities. It exposes you to different things, and it has changed me for the better.”

Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown praised the Huntsville students — dressed in traditional black robes and mortarboards over their white TDCJ uniforms — for pursuing education and taking steps to become fully employed and productive citizens upon release. Recidivism data show that offenders who receive education while in prison are significantly less likely to return, he said.

“The curriculum is strenuous, rigorous and challenging, and they have achieved a major milestone in their lives,” Brown said. “We are so proud to have them leave here today, go out into the world and represent us as Lee College graduates.”

Before the graduates were called to the front of the chapel to receive their degrees, commencement speaker Terrell Blount reminded them to remember that life unfolds in phases both good and bad. The key to getting over the inevitable bumps in the road is being resilient and focused on the greater goal: leaving prison walls and never coming back. Completing a Lee College education is a way to truly prepare for that eventual release, rather than just biding time by waiting to go home, he said.

“When you’re hit with something, do not simply get up; you rise to the occasion and above the critics who say you don’t deserve a second chance or a third chance,” said Blount, himself a former offender who now serves as a program associate for the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. “Rise because every morning leads to a new day. Rise because when you’re released, you’re not an ex-inmate or an ex-convict. You’re a person who serves a purpose on the planet, ascending to new levels.”

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.