Southwestern announces Albert Einstein sculpture donation and unveiling – May 28

Southwestern announces Albert Einstein sculpture donation and unveiling – May 28

Southwestern Oregon Community College will unveil a life-sized sculpture of Albert Einstein at our Health & Science Building, Umpqua Hall, on the Coos Campus (1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay) on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. The event will occur at 12:00 noon on the first floor, near the lecture hall, room 184.

A procession of students and staff will walk across campus carefully wheeling the sculpture from Eden Hall to Umpqua Hall delivering it to the reception site, leaving Eden Hall at 11:40 am. Upon its arrival at Umpqua Hall the sculpture will be welcomed with brief comments from the college president, the artist, and others. To access Umpqua Hall use parking lot #1.

The sculpture, titled “My Friend Albert” was created by artist Kathleen Zappelli, a resident of Coquille, OR. Ms. Zappelli graduated from the University of Oregon in 1999, and this piece was part of a capstone project for her Bachelor of Fine Art degree. The life-sized, full-length portrait of a standing, laughing Albert Einstein is made of stoneware clay about an inch thick and weighs about 400 lbs. Ms. Zappelli is currently a board member of the Coos Art Museum.

The sculpture was donated to Southwestern last year. Since then, Art Professor James Fritz designed and fabricated a base to secure the sculpture for public display and looked for the best place to exhibit it. Physics Professor Aaron Coyner immediately wanted it for display in Umpqua Hall, preferably near the Physics Lab.

The sculpture is titled “My Friend Albert” because of its whimsical approachability. It breaks down the barrier that often stands in the way of our understanding of a “genius” figure like Einstein. He was one of the great physicists of the early 20th century whose theories paved the way for research into atomic fission, modern cosmology, and understanding of the universe.

Ms. Zappelli’s sensitive rendering of Einstein as a laughing professor in a suit-and-tie highlights the great man’s humanity and genial nature. The sculpture had been on public display for 20 years at the Oregon State University Extension Office in Myrtle Point. Concerned that it was not quite the right fit for the Extension Office and looking for a more appropriate home, the Extension Office and Ms. Zappelli made the donation and transfer to the Southwestern Art Department.

The College gladly accepted the donation and planned this public event to unveil the sculpture in its new home in Umpqua Hall. Part of the unveiling is “A walk across campus with Albert Einstein” with college faculty, staff, and students. This will be a light-hearted experience for all to walk across campus with the most famous college physics professor of the 20th Century.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to help welcome this sculpture donation and celebrate our STEAM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) at Southwestern. For more information contact James Fritz, 541-888-7322 or jfritz@socc.edu.


Geology Lecture: Ice Age Horses of the American West – May 21

Geology Lecture: Ice Age Horses of the American West – May 21

COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College invites the community to join us on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 6:00pm, for “Ice Age Horses of the American West” with vertebrate paleontologist, Eric Scott. This is a free event; all ages are welcome.

Coos County residents can join us in-person in the Umpqua Hall lecture room 184 on the Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.

Curry County residents can join us for a watch party in the Community Room on the Curry Campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings.

For those not able to attend in person the lecture will be streamed live on the College’s YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/@southwesternOR/streams.

Southwestern’s Professor of Geology, Dr. Win McLaughlin welcomes Eric Scott, a vertebrate paleontologist specializing in extinct Ice Age mammals, particularly horses and bison. Horses have a long history in the Americas before going extinct at the end of the ice ages… only to be brought back a few thousand years later! During the ice ages North America supported a diversity of fossil horses ranging across the landscape. Tune in to learn about these beasts in Oregon and elsewhere and what our rich fossil record can tell us about them.

Scott studies the evolution and extinction of North American Pleistocene megafauna, with a focus on biogeography – particularly, how the geographic distribution of species can change through time, and how this can inform our understanding of Ice Age extinctions.

He has worked throughout western North America as well as East Africa. He is Vice President and Principal Paleontologist of Cogstone Resource Management, Inc., and an adjunct lecturer at California State University, San Bernardino. He is emeritus Curator of Paleontology for the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, California, where he worked for 24 years. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.


For more information about the lecture series contact Dr. Win McLaughlin, Assistant Professor of Geology, at 541-888-7002, win.mclaughlin@socc.edu.

For more information on upcoming lectures contact Krystal Hopper Meyers, STEAM Pathways Assistant, at 541-888-7416, or krystal.hopper@socc.edu.

To learn more about STEM degrees at Southwestern visit: https://www.socc.edu/programs-classes/stem/.



Southwestern hosts student research presentation: “Invasive Five-Spine Crabs: What You Can Do to Help” – May 23

Southwestern hosts student research presentation: “Invasive Five-Spine Crabs: What You Can Do to Help” – May 23

Southwestern Oregon Community College invites the community to hear biology student Caleb Lafrombois and agroecology student Michelle Riley present their internship research work “Invasive Five-Spine Crabs: What You Can Do to Help”. Please join us Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 6 pm. This is a free event.

Coos County residents can join us in-person in the Umpqua Hall lecture room 184 on the Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.

Curry County residents can join us for a watch party in the Community Room on the Curry Campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings.

Lafrombois and Riley have spent spring term working with Dr. Shon Schooler, Lead Scientist at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Invasive five-spine crabs, or European green crabs, have been wreaking havoc on the East Coast for over a century. In the past few decades, they have spread to the West Coast. Green crabs are vicious predators, linked with the decline of native populations such as native eelgrass, Olympia oyster, and clam populations, which once flourished along our coastlines. Come learn about what you can do to help slow this invasion and protect our coastal ecosystems.

This is a free event and will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing via the College’s YouTube channel. To watch the livestream from anywhere go to https://www.youtube.com/@SouthwesternOR/streams.


For more information, please contact Krystal Hopper Meyers, STEAM Pathways Assistant at Southwestern at 541-888-7416 or krystal.hopper@socc.edu.

For more information about the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve visit https://coast.noaa.gov/nerrs/reserves/south-slough.html.

For more information regarding science programs at Southwestern visit the STEM Pathways & Degrees page of our website.  (https://www.socc.edu/programs-classes/stem/).


College hosts fire training tower open house – May 23

College hosts fire training tower open house – May 23

Southwestern Oregon Community College will officially open its new Fire Training Tower on Thursday, May 23, 2024 on the Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay. The College invites the public, students, firefighters and other partners to celebrate this accomplishment and tour the four story, state-of-the-art firefighting lab from 4 to 6 p.m. Local fire department personnel will be on site, along with the college’s student firefighters.

The tower will serve as a fire and rescue operations training hub for Southwestern’s students pursuing careers in structural firefighting and emergency response. That’s not all. The College anticipates this $1 million investment also will support regional safety and enhance annual disaster response training events that can bring together lifesavers from fire departments, the U.S. Coast Guard, medical facilities, and ambulance firms.

With this investment, regional municipal and volunteer fire departments from western Douglas, Coos and Curry counties will have ongoing opportunities to train at the College close to home without leaving the region. Southwestern’s partner school Columbia Pacific Maritime also will have the ability to provide professional mariners with maritime firefighting certification classes, which represents a new opportunity for mariners.

The modular 36-foot-tall steel structure meets International Building Code/National Fire Protection Association standards. It provides students, volunteers, and professionals space to practice a variety of skills:

  • Interior search and rescue,
  • Live fire drills to learn fire behavior and suppression,
  • Safe ventilation operations,
  • Aerial firefighting,
  • Rappelling and ladder training,
  • Day and night fire drills, response and rescue,
  • Maritime/vessel fire response and rescue.

“It took us three years of planning with local fire departments to design and complete the project. This work has made our relationships stronger and the College’s fire science program more advanced, which helps students achieve even greater success,” said College President Patty Scott. “It also ensures quality training opportunities for rural volunteers so that the College is able to keep a pipeline of highly trained firefighters moving into departments as older professionals retire.”


Previously, the College used a wood-frame tower built by volunteers with donated materials in 1981 for limited training. The wood structure did not meet industry standards, and could not be used for live fire or rescue drills. With the new tower, the College also was able to expand and improve the training area around the tower, allowing better access and more people to train together at one time.


“Through hard work and determination by College staff and local fire agencies, the new fire tower is ready. This will serve as a symbol of pride for years to come, and provide an effective manner in which to train not only today’s firefighters, but tomorrows as well,” said Coos Bay Fire Chief Mark Anderson.


The project was funded with grants and donations. Organizations that made this project a reality are SWOCC Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, Bandon Dunes Charitable Foundation, City of Coos Bay, North Bend Volunteer Firefighters Association, Central Coos Fire & Rescue; and the State of Oregon via the work of Sen. David Brock Smith, Sen. Dick Anderson and Rep. Boomer Wright.

SWOCC Soccer Kids Camp 2024 – June 1

SWOCC Soccer Kids Camp 2024 – June 1

Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) athletics is pleased to host a one-day soccer camp for players 6-18 years old on Saturday, June 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the Coos Campus (1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay). Registration is $75 per player, with all proceeds directly supporting SWOCC women’s soccer team.

Led by coaches and players of the 2023-24 women’s soccer team, the camp is designed to provide young athletes in the community with valuable skills and training as they prepare for the upcoming soccer season. Participants will have the chance to learn from experienced coaches and players while engaging in drills, exercises, and friendly matches.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own shin guards, cleats, water bottle, and lunch. Snacks and water will be provided throughout the day.

Pre-registration for the SWOCC Soccer Kids Camp is available online: https://swoccathletics.com/sb_output.aspx?form=26. Payment can be made on-site at the event. On-site registration and payment will also be available on the day of the camp.

For any additional information or questions, contact SWOCC’s head women’s soccer coach Emma Meyer: emma.meyer@socc.edu or 541-888-7711. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to join us for a day of soccer fun in a positive, supportive environment!

Southwestern celebrates 25th Anniversary of the award-winning OCCI – June 29

Southwestern celebrates 25th Anniversary of the award-winning OCCI – June 29

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is excited to invite our community, students, and alumni to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the award-winning Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI) at a very special event. Join us for a culinary extravaganza on Saturday, June 29, 2024, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Bristol Event Center, 481 Bennett Ave., Coos Bay. Seating is available by reservation only. The cost is $95 per person or $700 for a table of eight. OCCI alumni who have graduated from either the Culinary or Baking & Pastry programs receive a discounted rate of $50 per person.

Take a trip down memory lane with us, reminiscing about our humble beginnings at an off-campus facility to this year’s incredible achievement of winning Culinary Olympic medals. Our culinary program has become a beacon of quality education, and our facility a beloved gathering place for the community. It’s been an incredible journey. Southwestern wants to share this momentous occasion with long-time friends and supporters.

Come enjoy live music by jazz singer Shaymus Hanlin, stellar ice carvings, mouth-watering food stations, a silent auction, and the company of current and former students and visiting guest chefs.

Proceeds from the silent auction will go toward funding state-of-the-art culinary equipment and scholarships for students. There will be a no-host bar.

Please note: Our celebration will be held at the Bristol Event Center, not our facility on the SWOCC campus. Holding our celebration at an off-campus event space gives our students real-world experience in catering special events.

To secure reservations for this event contact Shawn Warren at shawn.warren@socc.edu or call 541-888-7309.


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