Western Nevada College notes: Biology, psychology professors receive tenure

Courtesy WNC
Smriti Bhattarai, a biology professor at WNC, works with students in a biology lab. Bhattarai has been leading students in Nevada INBRE research projects at the Carson campus. She was recently one of three WNC professors awarded tenure by NSHE.

Courtesy WNC Smriti Bhattarai, a biology professor at WNC, works with students in a biology lab. Bhattarai has been leading students in Nevada INBRE research projects at the Carson campus. She was recently one of three WNC professors awarded tenure by NSHE.

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Three Western Nevada College faculty members were granted tenure by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents at their virtual quarterly meeting March 4 and 5.
Biology Professors Smriti Bhattarai and Rachelle Bassen and Psychology Professor Rebecca Bevans were awarded tenure after being recommended for the honor after teaching at WNC since 2017.

Biology Professor Rachelle Bassen has helped facilitate changes in the new Biology Lab and has been involved with students’ INBRE Nevada research projects. Bassen recently received tenure status at WNC. 
“We are very proud of our newly tenured faculty members whose tenure was approved by the NSHE Board of Regents,” said WNC Provost Kyle Dalpe, who also serves as the college’s vice president of finance. “Academic tenure is a five-year pathway in which each pursues and perfects teaching and service to the college and its students. With this accomplishment, each is now a tenured professor at WNC and will continue to serve out students in the coming years.”Bhattarai, who earned a doctor of philosophy in environmental science and public policy from George Mason University, has played an important role in teaching a variety of biology courses to students since 2017. She’s also been leading Nevada INBRE research at Carson campus that involves students in different research projects.

WNC Psychology Professor Rebecca Bevans serves as an adviser for the Psychology Club and Nerd Herd, as well as coordinator for the Homeschool Academy. Bevans was recently awarded tenure. 
“Education has significantly altered the trajectory of my life,” she said. “I want to help others receive education to change their lives. The satisfaction I get from playing a part in students’ achievement of their personal and professional goals is highly rewarding for me.”Bevans has become one of students’ favorites in the psychology department in the past five years. She earned her doctor of philosophy degree in psychology (cognitive and brain sciences) at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“Teaching is exciting to me,” Bevans said. “Students arrive with questions and we work on finding answers. I love assisting them in their acquisition of knowledge. My students don’t only learn about psychology, but they also learn more about themselves.”
She’s also very active with students on campus, serving as adviser for the Psychology Club and Nerd Herd, as well as coordinator for the Homeschool Academy.
Bassen completed both her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Her department’s facilities have undergone a variety of changes in the past couple of years with a modern Biology Lab constructed in Aspen 212, including the addition of a resource not often found on college campuses — the Anatomage Table. Bassen has helped facilitate these changes and has been involved with students’ INBRE Nevada research projects.
“I really care about the well-being of others and teaching allows me to live that every day,” Bassen said. “I enjoy learning how to be more creative, flexible and open enough to engage and work with all students, making sure that they have the tools they need to be successful.”

Drive-through graduation ceremonies set for May
Western Nevada College graduates will have three commencement ceremonies in May.
Similar to the prior year, WNC has decided to honor its 2020-21 graduates with drive-through ceremonies on its Carson City and Fallon campuses. Titled the “Parade of Graduates,” ceremonies are planned for May 24-25 on the Carson campus and May 27 on the Fallon campus.
“We hosted successful drive-through celebrations last year that were well-received by the graduates and their families and friends who attended,” said WNC Commencement Coordinator Dianne Hilliard, director of Admissions & Records and registrar.
The ceremonies in Carson City will be separated by division and/or degrees awarded, while the Fallon ceremony will include all grads:
• Monday, May 24 — Carson City — Liberal Arts: AA and AS degrees
• Tuesday, May 25 — Carson City — Professional and Applied Technology, Nursing and Allied Health, and General Studies: AB, AAS, BAS and AGS degrees and Certificates of Achievement
• Thursday, May 27 — Fallon — all divisions, degrees and certificates of achievement
Each ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Graduates will be given the opportunity to have family or friends drive them to a selected area on campus, exit their vehicle and have their name announced while crossing a stage and being cheered by dignitaries, WNC faculty and staff, and others.
Social distancing measures will be in place as needed to ensure the safety of graduates and staff.

ACCEL director in running to become COABE representative
Angela Holt, Western’s director of ACCEL’s College and Career Readiness program and High School Equivalency chief examiner, is in the running for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education Board’s Region VI representative spot.
Holt started her adult education career path in 2007 when she became a part-time English Language Learning instructor at WNC. After finding the experience extremely rewarding, Holt modified her higher education goals to pursue a career in adult literacy and language.
“Helping others realize their personal, life and work goals, and being a part of their support system is an honor,” Holt said. “Where the job can sometimes get hectic and crazy with bureaucracy and paperwork, the one thing I love the most are the people.”
A variety of issues might deter students from returning to school to increase their English skills or to prepare for the High School Equivalency exam. In order to earn the equivalency of a high school diploma, there have been cases where Holt has seen students overcome barriers of homelessness, substance abuse, low-literacy and language fluency and go on to become college graduates and business owners.
“That’s the one thing about the ACCEL program, it transforms lives,” Holt said. “We witnessed that time and time again with so many students who come in facing many, many barriers: alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, then go on to get their High School Equivalency (HSE) and watch them take those barriers and kick them aside and come to take classes here at the college and get a degree.”

50th anniversary spotlight: Yes, Western played basketball
Here is a piece of trivia that many people in the area probably didn’t know: WNCC (now WNC) once had a basketball team. In fact, the Wildcats formed Nevada’s first intercollegiate community college athletic team in 1972.
The Wildcats played mostly a schedule against Golden Valley Conference teams from Northern California and were coached by the late Joseph Yarbe. Yarbe led the Wildcats to 44-50 record in four years and later became the college’s athletic director and golf coach.
WNCC actually won the first game it played, defeating Lassen College 58-51 at Carson High School. The other highlight from its first season on the hardwood included a victory over the University of Nevada, Reno’s freshman team.
The Wildcats became a very competitive team in the Golden Valley Conference, winning 12 of 26 games in the 1973-74 and 74-75 seasons before posting a 15-9 record in 1975-76.
Pell Grant recipients eligible for federal internet subsidy
If Western Nevada College students are receiving federal student aid in the form of a Pell Grant, they are eligible for a federal subsidy.
The Federal Communications Commission recently announced a program to help students struggling to pay for internet amid the health pandemic, stating that a household is eligible to receive the benefit if one member of the household received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
Under the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, eligible households can receive up to $50 per month to help pay for broadband internet service. Written or electronic confirmation from a student’s school that the individual is a Pell Grant recipient will serve as verification for the program or a student’s financial aid award letter documenting the amount of their Pell Grant award received for the current year.
A copy of a student’s paid invoice that shows the student’s receipt of a Pell Grant during the current award year or a copy of the student’s Student Aid Report will all serve as proper documentation, according to the notice from the FCC.
For information, contact WNC's Financial Aid Office at 775-445-3264 or finaid1@wnc.edu.


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