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Our focus is to bring you the latest news, updates and changes taking place at the college that impact you and the local community. We look forward to hearing your feedback.
OC Library Offers Virtual Help to Students

Students can now take advantage of 24/7/365 access to a librarian via virtual reference! The OC library is connected into a nationwide system of academic librarians, allowing students and patrons to get their questions answered any time of day or night. The process is seamless to OC students. They go to the OC library’s web page, type in questions online and a librarian responds virtually. OC librarians also support the program 4 hours a week for other students and patrons around the country. In the state, 34 colleges and universities participate in the system. Of those, OC students ranked #3 for number of questions asked (263) and OC librarians placed #2 in the number of questions answered (218) in the first part of 2010.

Mechanical Engineering Degree in Full Swing

Washington State University’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program, a partnership between Olympic College and WSU, continues to grow. In Fall, the degree program, based at Olympic College Bremerton, enrolled a total of 14 students. Students are enrolled at WSU, but attend their classes on the OC Bremerton campus. One class is taught by full-time WSU professor Dr. Marvin Pitts on site at OC and one is taught by OC’s Engineering faculty Dr. Jeff Brown. The two other classes are broadcast from the WSU Pullman campus. For more on the program, see

Student Newspaper Wins Top Honors

Photo by OC student Christopher Carter

The Olympian, Olympic College’s student-produced newspaper (print and online), won national student press awards in the fall at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers 89th annual convention held in Louisville, Ky. The Olympian won second place in “Audio Podcast” and fifth place in “Publication Website/Small School.” In addition, two OC student journalists won first place individual awards during onsite competitions. Christopher Carter won top honors in photojournalism and Clayton Pettay won the First Amendment contest. The Olympian competed with two-year and four-year higher education institutions from across the country.


Visit to see a complete list of winners.


Winning photograph by OC student Christopher Carter.



OC Joins Higher Education Group to Increase Efficiencies

Olympic College, along with six other colleges and universities, is part of a coalition that is consulting together on challenges and helping improve cooperation among higher education institutions.

The Northwest Higher Education Coalition includes Olympic College, Bellingham Technical College, Everett Community College, Northwest Indian College, Skagit Valley College, Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University.

The group, initiated by Western Washington University president Bruce Shepard, is meeting quarterly to discuss how colleges can share resources and ideas – one of several ways the colleges are working together to become more efficient.

At the coalition’s fall meeting at Everett Community College, college presidents and representatives discussed economic challenges, sharing resources, the coalition’s ongoing work to improve services for student veterans, continuing international student recruitment and study abroad partnerships and developing stronger relationships among the colleges’ environmental sciences programs. The winter meeting is scheduled to take place at Olympic College on Dec. 3, 2010.

Everett Community College was a contributor to this story.

I AM OC Spotlight: Meet Benjamin Breitberg!

I AM…veteran, pilot, NASA intern, OC graduate

OC can take you as far as you want to go. That’s the message of Benjamin Breitberg, a Navy veteran, amateur pilot and OC graduate. After completing his Associate of Science degree in Engineering at OC, Benjamin is heading to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, one of the top aerospace engineering schools in the world. To help pay his education, he applied and received a prestigious scholarship from NASA. He is one of 20 students in the country to receive the scholarship this year and is also receiving a paid NASA internship as part of the award. It’s an exciting achievement for Benjamin, who has dreamed of flying since he was five years old and has ambitions to work at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in the Mojave Desert on aeronautic research.

For Benjamin, his path started at OC. After getting out of the Navy, he chose OC because it offered affordability, small class sizes, and the same education as a four-year university. He maintained a 3.99 GPA and served as an officer in Phi Theta Kappa, OC’s honors association.

So what has OC offered him? “I’ve been inspired to do my best. It’s as simple as that. If you do your best all the time, you not only better yourself, but the world around you. You should never settle for anything less than your best.”

Read more of Breitberg’s story at

Video Lectures Enhance Learning Online

OC instructors are finding ways to use existing video technologies to enrich online student learning. Ian Sherman, OC English faculty, has started making videos with special class instructions and posting them online so his students can access them. The technology allows online instructors like Sherman to be conversational with students, provide more information, and be easier to understand. To access Sherman’s videos, visit In addition, OC Computer Information Systems instructor Kevin Blackwell is using video technology to enhance distance learning. Blackwell recently took part in a grant project with other community college instructors on how to use Web 2.0 technologies for distance and online learning. As part of the project, Blackwell created instructional videos to integrate into online and hybrid courses. 


Olympic College Certified to Train Students for FAA Electronics Jobs

A recently signed agreement between Olympic College and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows graduates from OC’s Electronics program an opportunity to get job placement within the FAA. About 50 two-year colleges and universities participate in the FAA’s Technical Operations-Collegiate Training Initiative (TO-CTI) Program nationwide. Olympic College is one of only two institutions in Washington State to take part. The FAA conducted a rigorous on-site evaluation of OC’s Electronics program in the spring and reported the program exceeded all knowledge, skills and abilities standards. The FAA employs 6,100 electronics technicians and offers an estimated 300 to 1,200 vacancies each year within the organization.

Welding Students Win First Place in State Competition

Four of OC‘s Welding students won first place and received the "People’s Choice" award for their sculpture at the Welding Rodeo 2010 held in Bellingham. The OC Ranger team won for "Kevin the Pipe Welder," a tribute to Welding instructor Kevin Snell. Snell agreed to model for the students and posed as a pipe welder to give them inspiration. Ten college teams from around the state participated and had eight hours to assemble and weld scrap metal into the rodeo’s theme, Human Form. This was the first year an OC team has received top honors in the competition.

Math Instructor Receives Teaching Recognition

Jason Heinze, OC math faculty, was recognized by the University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering program as an inspirational teacher. Each year, the UW department invites students to nominate inspirational teachers that impacted them. Heinze was one of only 27 teachers and instructors from Western Washington to receive the honor in 2010.

I AM OC Spotlight: Meet OC Instructor Arlene Plevin!

Arlene PlevinI AM…fulbright scholar, avid bicycler, ‘green’ cheerleader, world traveler, OC instructor

Arlene Plevin, an instructor of English at OC, has a passion for sustainability and all things green. While pursuing her Ph.D in English at the University of Washington, she was the first to study eco-criticism in the English department, focusing on eco-composition and environmental literature. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to education, writing about the environment and participating in outdoor travel and adventure. She is a Fulbright Scholar and, over 20 years, has taught at many universities and colleges in addition to OC. As a freelance scribe, she has written for the Smithsonian Institute, the National Education Association, Bicycling magazine, and Caribbean Travel and Life. She continues to write, researching and composing environmental essays and chapters for book collections and scholarly journals.

In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, bicycling and global travel. As an outdoor enthusiast, one of her favorite activities is gardening and she possesses a sense of fun about her dirt-loving desires (she confesses she will often wear dark polish to hide the dirt that doesn’t wash out from under her fingernails.)

In addition to her love of the outdoors, Plevin is a major supporter and contributor to many of OC’s initiatives to increase sustainability at the college. Plevin says that sustainability doesn’t have to be boring or require suffering to achieve it: "Sustainable living can be enjoyable, deeply satisfying, and fun!"

While Plevin is committed to sustainability and nature, she is most inspired by the students she teaches. "I love all the life stories I hear and the people I encounter. So many students at OC have worked amazingly hard to return to college or to find their life’s path. I’m constantly amazed, and in awe, of their challenges, determination, and creativity."

Read more of Plevin's story at

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