Southwestern selects MacAdam as 2017 Distinguished Alumna

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Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is honored to announce the selection of Shirley MacAdam as 2017 Distinguished Alumna. MacAdam is a partner in Hough, MacAdam, Wartnik, Fisher & Gorman LLC of the North Bend/Coos Bay area, and a longtime community volunteer and education advocate.

The Southwestern Distinguished Alumni Award is given in recognition to individuals who have demonstrated significant contributions to their profession, community, or academia. MacAdam has demonstrated strong leadership, commitment to community, and service to others.
“Shirley is an inspiration to many people in our community,” said Dr. Patty Scott, Southwestern president. “While raising a son and working, she enrolled in GED classes through Southwestern and embarked on a highly successful college path that led to her becoming a certified public accountant. Through her volunteerism, she has made it possible for many women of all ages in our community to go to college, gain the job training they need and make positive changes in their lives.”
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, MacAdam grew up in Southern California and moved to the south Oregon coast in 1980, living near Reedsport for 25 years.  For many years, she worked in restaurant and catering management, contract administration for the software company CBSI, and operations and lending in the banking industry. In 1991, MacAdam enrolled at Southwestern to earn a GED and begin her college coursework. She went on to study at the University of Oregon and then Linfield College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1998.
“Education does not end with a degree in hand and will be a part of my life forever,” MacAdam said. “As I continue on my journey, I am often reminded that some of the best instructors I have had were right here at SWOCC. I am just one small bit of proof that the community college experience provides opportunity and is critical to the future of our community.”
MacAdam’s community involvement and advocacy over the years has included working as an ASPIRE volunteer, and serving as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader. She is past president of the Women’s Safety & Resource Center board, and past president and a very active member of the Zonta Club of Coos Bay Area.
“Anyone who has worked hard to accomplish their goals knows it was not done alone. It is important we support and encourage one another along the way always to strive for excellence and personal growth.  Our local and global communities depend on it!” MacAdam said.
Southwestern is proud to select Shirley MacAdam as the 2017 Distinguished Alumna.
For more information on the College’s Alumni Association visit

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Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Music Department wishes to thank the community for their support in sending students to the New York City Jazz Festival to perform at the Apollo Theater! The students returned full of inspiration which they will share with the audience at a free concert on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7 pm at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts, Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.

Southwestern Oregon Community College's Music Department received an invitation this summer from Manhattan Concert Productions in New York City for the Southwestern Vocal and Instrumental Jazz Ensembles to participate in the New York City Jazz Festival from April 7 – 10, 2017. The College is extremely proud of our music students and hope you’ll join us for the performance to witness first hand these talented young people.

For more information about our music programs, or to make a donation to help students with the cost of the trip, please contact Professor Mike Turner, Director of Music at Southwestern;; 541-888-7242.

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Coos Bay, OR – The Eden Hall Gallery at Southwestern Oregon Community College is pleased to announce a new exhibit,  Back to Sculpture: New and Recent Work by Janet Geib Pretti.

Janet Pretti is the Executive Dean of Southwestern’s Curry county campus in Brookings. A life-long sculptor with a Master’s degree in art, Janet works in her basement studio when not performing her duties as head of the Curry campus.

She says, “I became a sculptor to say things I could not say with words, but more and more I find myself grappling to find the image and the words. Originally I only wrote as part of my sculpture process, but I recognize that sculpture is an oblique way to communicate. I have included the words in this show to give you a starting point, to use as a bridge into my sculpture and into the world of sculpture.

In 2015, I began to transition to a planned retirement in 2017. I had not started a new sculpture in over six years. My life had been overtaken by my day job. I was promoted to Curry Campus Executive Dean just as the dream of building a new campus became a reality. There was money to raise, a building to design and build, and programs to run. There was no time to think about, let alone make art."

This exciting show includes five brand new pieces along with eleven other exquisite pieces completed between 2004 and 2010.

Back to Sculpture: New and Recent Work by Janet Geib Pretti
April 4 – May 5, 2017
Southwestern Oregon Community College
Coos Campus, Eden Hall Gallery
1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay
Artist’s Reception: Saturday, April 22, 3-5pm
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm
(or by appointment, call James Fritz at 541-888-7322)

Gallery is located at the back of the Southwestern’s Coos Campus. Follow East Student Way around the soccer and softball fields. Stay on ring road until Parking Lot 2 or 3. Park in either lot. Eden Hall is the first building from either parking lot. Look for the building with large, roof-mounted windows.

For more information contact James Fritz at 541–888–7322 or

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Nikki Armstrong, Maidie Rosengarden, Joseph Tremonti (on screen), Melissa Speery, Amber Ashpole, Bryan Thurman


Coos Bay, OR – It is with great pleasure Southwestern Oregon Community College announces that the Board of Education granted tenure to six faculty members at the March 27, 2017 board meeting.

Tenure is permanent status for faculty members and is a lengthy, in-depth, three-year process that evaluates the teacher from multiple perspectives. This process ensures that students receive a high quality education from instructors who maintain their professional development. Faculty at Southwestern have a probationary status for the first three years of their employment, being evaluated annually by their peers and their Dean.
We wish to congratulate the following faculty for doing an outstanding job over the past three years, and we look forward to many years of exceptional academic achievements.
Nikki Armstrong – Assistant Professor of Math, Math Learning Center Coordinator
B.S. in Mathematics, 2007, California State University
M.A. in Mathematics, 2009, University of California
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching, 2011, University of Oregon
My work at Southwestern focuses on creating meaningful math placement processes, streamlining math pathways for community college students, and providing transformational leadership to the Math Department. My research interests include knowledge space theory, educational neuroscience, and how the brain learns mathematics.
Amber Ashpole – Assistant Professor of Writing & Humanities
B.A. in Liberal Art, 2005, Oregon State University
M.A. in Humanities/English, 2010 California State University
Certification in Community College Teaching, 2010 California State University
As a non-traditional student, Amber rematriculated into college in 1997. Over the course of thirteen years, she earned degrees from Oregon Coast Community College, Oregon State University and California State University. In 2010, she began teaching writing and humanities part-time at Southwestern, as well as teaching part-time at Lane Community College. In 2014 she was hired to teach full-time at Southwestern. Currently she is working on her Doctorate in Education.
My focus over the past few years, beyond teaching World Mythology and Religions, writing, and literature classes, has been working with state committees to develop more accurate placement strategies for writing students. In addition, I am an active member of the Oregon Writers of English Advisory Committee and recently co-presented with Meredith Stone and Rod Keller at the National CCCC conference in Portland regarding a newly designed, integrated reading and writing class that provides students a faster and more effective path towards graduation. However, the most exciting moment was last spring when students named me as one of two faculty members as Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Maidie Rosengarden – Assistant Professor of Childhood Education & Family Students
M.Ed. Education/ECE, 2002, Belmont University
Ed.D. Education/Ed. Leadership, 2004, Trevecca Nazarene University
Maidie spent fifteen years teaching in pre-school, elementary, and middle school classrooms, in addition to teaching college level courses.
It’s a privilege to serve a college at which both the campus child development center (The Family Center), and the Associates degrees in the Childhood Education and Family Studies program, are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Preparing students to work as teachers providing high quality care and education in family centered programs is an amazing opportunity.
Melissa Sperry – Nursing Instructor
A.A. Nursing, 1998, Northwest Community College
B.S. Nursing, 2008, Regents College
M.S. Nursing, 2015, Excelsior College
After 6+ years of working in pre-hospital settings: emergency medicine, migrant health clinics, and other community settings, I decided to change my career to nursing. I have been a nurse for 19 years now and served as a mentor, Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support Instructor and volunteered for many community health projects along with my full time practice. I began teaching part-time at Southwestern in 2008 as I continued my nursing practice and worked on my MSN degree. As I approached the end of my Master’s program I choose to teach full time and share my experiences with our future nurses.
Bryan Thurman – Welding Instructor
A.A.S. in Welding and Fabrication, 2013, Southwestern Oregon Community College
Certified Welding Educator recognized by the American Welding Society
I have been fortunate enough in my 27 year welding career to have had the opportunity to train a multitude of apprentices along the way. This enabled my transition into instructing fairly easy. We are currently working on a simulation yard which consists of an out-building, portable welder and an inventory of materials, where our students can perform “real world” cutting, fitting and welding scenarios. All this gives our students a great advantage when they venture out into the welding industry!  
Joseph Tremonti – Associate Professor of Digital Design
B.F.A.  Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999, University of Georgia
M.F.A. Electronic Visualization, 2002, University of Illinois at Chicago
Joseph is a new media artist and designer with a background in digital imaging and 3D computer graphics. Prior to joining Southwestern Joseph was an Assistant Professor of New Media Arts at Kapi`olani Community College. He has more than thirteen years of college teaching experience.
My work at Southwestern has focused on building the Digital Design program. The Associate of Applied Science CIS in Digital Design is Southwestern’s first fully online AAS degree program. The curriculum delivers a rich, highly interactive design education with the inherent flexibility of online learning. The program prepares students for careers in high-tech creative disciplines, including: graphic design, web design, digital photography, and 3D computer animation.