Student group sponsors voter registration drive

UPDATE (posted 9:30 a.m. Tues., Jan. 26, 2016):
Because of the cold weather, all voter registration events have been moved to the Student Center.

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Phoenix Women Rising, a student group at Lee College, is sponsoring a three-day voter registration drive next week to help the community get ready for the March 1 presidential primary elections in Texas.

Members of the public can receive assistance with voter registration in the Student Center:

  • 1-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25
  • 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26
  • 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27
  • 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28

Phoenix Women Rising is an organization that supports the academic, professional and personal endeavors of women. For more information, email Abby Vernier at avernier1313@gmail.com.

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 center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Women in Industry Conference Feb. 19

Petrochemical refineries need to replace as much as 40 percent of current employees over the next decade — due to plant expansions and an aging workforce.

The need has created a “perfect storm” for women in what was once a virtually exclusive male profession. But no more.

women-in-industry.jpegThe region’s nine community colleges, partnering as the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), are encouraging women across the Gulf Coast to explore options in the petrochemical industry in a daylong event on Friday, Feb. 19, at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

CCPI is funded by a grant from ExxonMobil.

Attendees will hear from women already working the industry about actual job experiences, how to best prepare for these careers, what training is required, and how to network with other women while on the job.

The conference will include lunch and feature exhibits by area companies. Women will be given time to ask questions, network with women and industry representatives, and make “real connections” with educators, including opportunities to enroll in upcoming classes.

A morning track will provide important information about petrochemical and industrial trades career fields — and how capable, motivated women are finding success in a once male-dominated profession.

An afternoon track will help show women already employed in the industry to “take the next step” on the career ladder, and how to make networking a valuable ally.

Scheduled breaks during the day will provide opportunities for participants to meet industry representatives from companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips, Covestro, Noltex, Jacobs, and others.

The day will end with “how to make it happen” sessions where women can learn about financial aid, child care, fast track courses, certificate and associate degree programs at the area’s nine community colleges.

Cost for the daylong event is $20 for students and $40 for professionals. Some scholarships are available.

Learn more about Women in Industry at www.womeninpetrochemconference.eventbrite.com or contact Kelly Dando, CCPI grant coordinator, at 281.425.6221, or kdando@lee.edu.

Career fair and forum for women

As industry jobs expand in the Gulf Coast area, Lee College will join College of the Mainland and other community college partners to host the “Date with Destiny, Texas” career forum for women to create a platform for females that will introduce, educate and increase awareness of the oil and gas and petrochemical careers that will hugely impact the industry in the next 5 to 10 years.

Date with Destiny is set for 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston Hobby Airport. The forum is targeted to pre-college and college students, as well as women looking to launch a new career.

Women who work or have worked in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries will serve as event speakers and volunteers. Each will share their experience, provide advice, discuss their own career pathways and help inspire all who attend to strongly consider a fulfilling and exciting career in a high-demand field.

The forum will also include college and career information, interview and resume workshops, panel discussions and information on community colleges, financial aid and scholarships. There will be time set aside for candid discussion and questions, and free breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Date with Destiny is an innovative program that supports Shell’s strategy to attract women to technical careers that are in high demand in the industry. Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with about 94,000 employees in more than 70 countries and territories.

For more information or to register for the forum, visit www.com.edu/destiny.

‘Rocket Girl’ looks at first female rocket scientist in U.S.

As the first female rocket scientist in the United States, Mary Sherman Morgan was a living legend — and the Lee College Theatre Department will soon bring her incredible story to the stage.

“Rocket Girl” will debut at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, at the Melva Johnson Black Box Theatre inside the Performing Arts Center. Additional performances are set for 8 p.m. nightly on Feb. 21, 27 and 28; 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 and March 1; and 7:30 p.m. on March 5, in support of the spring meeting of the Texas section of the American Association of Physics Teachers that will be held on campus.

“The play recognizes the continued struggle to support, acknowledge and encourage underrepresented members of our society in their struggle for opportunities and advancement,” said Kim Martin, director and technical theatre instructor. “We have assembled a fairly large cast of experienced as well as new actors, and I believe their performances will reflect both their hard work in rehearsals and their commitment to those ideals.”

Written by her son, George, “Rocket Girl” explores Morgan’s journey from a harsh and difficult childhood to her work at North American Aviation in the 1950s as the only woman among 900 engineers. She is credited with developing Hydyne, the fuel used to launch America’s first successful rocket in 1957.

The play also pulls back the curtain on the tensions surrounding the United States and former Soviet Union as both countries raced to be the first to launch a rocket into orbit around the Earth.

“It presents a time of great drama and passion in recent American history, when the free world turned to the United States to make strategic advancements in the implementation of science and technology to make sure that these advancements would serve democratic goals of space exploration,” Martin said.

Tickets for each performance of “Rocket Girl” are $15, and available to purchase online at leecollegeonline.com/pac. Discounted tickets are available for students. For more information about the production, contact Martin at hmartin@leecollegeonline.com.

Women’s History Month observed

Through music, an exhibit featuring the work of two local female artists and student presentations, Lee College recently recognized Women’s History Month and celebrated the achievements and contributions that generations of women have made to the world.

Instructor Maria Garcia opened the Women’s History Month reception with an explanation of the month’s origins and an overview of important women’s rights issues, such as the salary gap between male and female workers. After a performance by musicians Nick and Amy Novak, who played songs written and popularized by female artists like Carole King, college students shared original poetry and research papers about the image of women and minorities in society and the fight for women’s suffrage.

Adorning the walls of the gallery as part of Women’s History Month is the work of Mari Omori and Camila Labarca Linaweaver, whose art focuses on similar themes of home, the sense of belonging that one searches for and the journey one takes to arrive at that place. The exhibit will be on display through Thursday, March 27.

Born and raised in Japan, Omori is an award-winning multimedia artist, art educator and curator. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA and is currently a professor of art at Lone Star College-Kingwood. In addition to photos from a recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and a series of paintings made with a natural red dye often used in the region, Omori’s work in the gallery includes an installation about mother-daughter relationships that features hundreds of cards written, drawn and submitted by people from around the country.

A native of Chile who immigrated to Baytown at age 7 and later graduated from Lee College, Linaweaver is a printmaker and painter. She recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Many of her wood-cut prints on display at the gallery reflect the power and beauty of nature. Her pieces depict a whale in the sea, crashing waves, the colors of the sunset, leaves, trees, flowers and other natural elements.