Started at the Curry Campus . . . headed to a master’s degree in social work

Started at the Curry Campus . . . headed to a master’s degree in social work

Anna Waycott credits anthropology and sociology instructor Skip Hunter for inspiring her to pursue a career in social work. She worked, and volunteered, in the field while she attended Southwestern, and even challenged herself by teaching elementary school in Tanzania, Africa.

Why pursue social work? Anna enjoys trying to figure out what makes people “tick”: what determines whether people are friendly or selfish? Why do some people turn to drugs or crime? Anna’s goal is not only to find these answers, but to be there for people who are experiencing life in challenging ways. Through her own personal journey of dealing with struggles and loss, Anna realized she has the capability and willingness to help others. 

Earning her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree in 2013 at Southwestern opened doors and prepared her to go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science from Oregon State University. Anna’s academic goal is to pursue a Master’s of Social Work degree at Boise State University, and ultimately become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Summing up her experience at Southwestern, Anna says “SWOCC was such a supportive environment. Whether you’re getting a transfer degree, want to pursue nursing, or something else in particular, or you just want to take classes for personal enjoyment, the staff and instructors will root for you without a doubt. Even if you’re not sure where you’re going or what your career options are, taking classes at the Curry Campus is an absolute step in the right direction. SWOCC is a place where you can be creative, learn new things, and work toward your goals!”

Southwestern honors Donald Ivy as 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

Southwestern honors Donald Ivy as 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is pleased to announce the selection of Donald Ivy of Coos Bay as the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus. 

Ivy is Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe, a position he has held since 2014. In a nomination supported by educators, tribal leaders, former lawmakers, and Oregon’s governor, advocates for the award describe Ivy as representing “the best of what any educational institution hopes to achieve.” He encourages “individuals to think deeply, make an impact, share their knowledge and go on to encourage others to do the same.”

A quest to learn and remember

Ivy has made it his lifetime endeavor to work in growing knowledge, understanding history and engaging youth. The state of Oregon honored him with its Heritage Excellence Award in 2013. The following year, the University of Oregon appointed Ivy as its first-ever Tribal Elder in Residence.

“This honor is a reminder of the great privilege I have to know the people I know. I am thankful for the graces and goodwill of other people more accomplished than me who have allowed me into their space,” Ivy said. 

Ivy has published articles on history and archaeology. He is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum. While heading the Coquille Tribe’s cultural program, he oversaw creation of the Kilkich Youth Corps, which provides workplace skills, mentoring and summer employment to tribal teens.

An advocate for education

“Don Ivy came to our college in the mid-1990s to learn about the land, history and philosophy. He has used that knowledge to become in many ways a teacher for us all. He is a genuine leader who brings people together with shared vision for self-improvement and making our state better,” said Southwestern President Patty Scott.

Ivy served for several years on the college’s Foundation, advocating for the need to support scholarships and invest in quality facilities and training for residents of the south Oregon coast region. Under his leadership, the Coquille Indian Tribe was the college’s first vocal supporter and partner in building the college’s new Health & Science Technology center. The building will open in fall 2021, providing modern labs for training new generations of scientists, engineers and health care professionals. 

“When I talk to somebody who’s a SWOCC student, I talk to them about the technology building. I see the excitement in our nursing students and others, and that building how important it is to them,” Ivy said. “I’m hoping the doors swing open in the fall and we fill it with students, and know we have accomplished a great thing.”

The Southwestern Foundation typically honors Distinguished Alumni in a celebration in coordination with graduation. This year, the college is postponing a Distinguished Alumni celebration until tentatively fall 2021. 

“The whole COVID thing has challenged us with asking, ‘What are those things that are the most deeply rooted, the big important things that really, really matter,” Ivy said. “Celebration of community is hugely important. It reminds us to be together.” 

This is the 30th year Southwestern has honored alumni who have demonstrated significant contributions to their professions, communities, or academia. To learn more about the college, go to www.socc.edu.

‘None of us makes it to our goals alone’

‘None of us makes it to our goals alone’

Celebrating Barbara Eells, 2018 Distinguished Alumna

If there’s one word that best describes Barbara Eells, it is “determined.” That mindset has guided Eells her entire adult life, starting with her first Southwestern class in 1975. She wanted a college education, no matter the barriers.

Over the next decade as she worked full time in a medical office, Eells raised three children. She also studied nights for her college degrees. Finally in 1986, she graduated with Associate of Arts degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering Barbara drove at night 167 miles on a dark, curvy highway, roundtrip to the Coos Campus to attend classes,” said Dr. Patty Scott, Southwestern president. “Barbara accomplished all of this before there was distance education and e-mail, before we had a campus in Brookings.”

In 2018, Southwestern honored Barbara Eells with its Distinguished Alumna award for her dedication to learning and constant focus on improving people’s lives in Curry County.

One woman’s desire to learn and lead

Eells started taking classes as a reserve sheriff’s deputy and continued her studies after graduating from Southwestern. She completed her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University through Southwestern’s University Center, and moved into her profession that has spanned more than 30 years in Curry County.

“I believe the answer to a lot of problems is education,” Eells said. “I think the more people are educated and open their minds to new ideas, the more we can make our homes, community and nation a better place to live.”

“I believe the answer to a lot of problems is education.” – Barbara Eells

Eells managed the Victim Assistance Program in Curry County, went on to work in Child Protective Services and co-founded the Oasis Shelter Home. She also mentored and trained others in fields of child abuse and domestic violence prevention. Eells’ educational and professional accomplishment equals the effort she put into community involvement and advocacy over the years.

As a member of the Curry County Multi-disciplinary Team, she advocated for treatment for sexually abused youth. She also founded the first Child Advocacy Center in Gold Beach. When Eells tried to retire, she still spent several years managing the local animal shelter office. Eells continues to volunteer with the Curry County District Attorney’s Office, and in other places. 

“I believe none of us make it to our goals alone, and I feel when we succeed at our goals, we should pay that forward by advocating in our own communities,” Eells said. “I am an activist for the vulnerable and disenfranchised. Whether that’s abused children, battered women or neglected animals, I try to be a voice for those who have no voice.”

Alum returns to build Health and Science center

Alum returns to build Health and Science center

If you’d asked Jesse Schade when he was a basketball playing student here from 1995-97 if he’d ever come back to SWOCC, it’s likely he would have said, “probably not.”

Careful what you say.

Building a better future

Basketball and Coach Tom Nicholls enticed him back again in 1999-2000 and now — déjà vu. Jesse is here as a construction project manager with Bogatay Construction. He’s helping build the college’s new $24 million Umpqua Health & Science Building – helping inspire tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and health care professionals.

“My parents are happy to have me home,” he said, speaking of Wayne and Debbie Schade.

Really, SWOCC has been a part of Jesse’s life since he was in fourth grade. His dad volunteered Jesse and his brother as the little guys who cleaned the basketball court. They watched a lot of games in those days. Eventually in high school, he played scrimmages with the SWOCC team and then signed onto SWOCC’s men’s basketball team.

Now, Jesse, his wife and their four children live in Klamath Falls, where Bogatay Construction is based. He was surprised Bogatay bid on the SWOCC building, and when Bogatay got the bid, he couldn’t wait to work on the project.

“Our work trailer is parked in the spot where I used to park,” he said, with a big grin.

You never know when you enroll in SWOCC pursuing a transfer degree, where it might lead you. For Jesse, his studies took him on to Western Oregon University for an earth science degree. Eventually, he owned his own residential construction business, until Matt Bogatay lured Jesse and his whole crew into their construction firm. 

Celebrating a heritage

Now with Bogatay, Jesse is looking forward to learning new skills in working with the massive cross-laminated timbers (CLT product from DR Johnson Lumber Co. in Riddle) that will go into the new Health & Science building. The wood structuring celebrates innovation and the region’s wood products heritage. The project will really take off once the crew installs the steel framing structure.

“When they get done and leave, the backbone of the whole show will be there. And then it’s just decorating it and making it look beautiful,” he said.

Working on this project a nice way, Jesse said, to give back to the college that been a part of his life off and on for three decades.


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