NE Faculty Member Plays at Residence of the Ambassador of Colombia

Eduardo Rojas, adjunct faculty member at the Northeast Campus, performed a piano concert at the Residence of the Ambassador of Colombia in October. An accomplished pianist, Rojas performed as part of The Embassy Series, which features concerts at embassies and ambassador residences in Washington, D.C.
He has previously played with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Bogota Philharmonic, Valle Philharmonic, Panama National Orchestra, Colombia Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Van Cliburn Foundation, New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving, Great Lakes Symphony, American Wind Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra, Flower Mound Orchestra, Dallas Winds, Orpheus Chamber Singers and Dallas Chamber Symphony among others.
Northeast Campus Music Department Chair Karen Parsons says students are privileged to work with Rojas, who “is equally at home with the works of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff as with those of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.”
In addition to teaching at Tarrant County College, Rojas is founder of the Rojas School of Music and was recently appointed as International Bosendorfer Artist.
Rojas Program

TCC Construction Management Students Take Top Honors at National Competition

Flanked by two National Association of Home Builders representatives are: (L to R): Team Captain Nicholas Rex, Coach Orlando Bagcal. Jennifer Weaver and Hunter Reinhardt

Flanked by two National Association of Home Builders representatives are: (L to R) Team Captain Nicholas Rex, Coach Orlando Bagcal. Jennifer Weaver and Hunter Reinhardt

South Campus students recently placed first in the national Residential Construction Management Competition in the Two-Year Programs category. Sixteen schools with two-year programs entered the competition, which is a highlight of the International Builders’ Show and part of the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters.
“The competition provides opportunity for students to showcase and demonstrate their knowledge and skills,” said Orlando Bagcal, an associate professor of construction at the South Campus. “Winning this competition certainly demonstrates the strength of our construction management offerings and is a testament to the quality and caliber of our students in the program.”
In addition to placing first in the Two-Year Programs category, the South Campus team also landed third place in the Outstanding Student Chapters category. Russell Miller took home an Outstanding Student Award, which is based on grade point average, involvement in the local student chapter, involvement with the local home builders’ association and interest in pursuing a residential building career.
The South Campus Construction Management program has a strong track record in the Residential Construction Management Competition. They won Rookie of the Year the first year they entered in 2011. The team’s rankings as a two-year-program moved up from fifth place in 2013 to second place in 2014 and first place this year. Every year since 2011, one of TCC’s students has received an Outstanding Student Award. In 2013, Bagcal was awarded the National Outstanding Educator of the Year Award by the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters.
The TCC four-member team of students included Nicholas Rex, Miller, Hunter Reinhardt and Jennifer Weaver, the first female student to represent TCC in the competition.
For the competition, students complete a management proposal for a project, which includes a site plan, product design, estimate, schedule, marketing and risk analysis, cash flow forecast and other essential elements. Proposals are judged by construction company executives. During the International Builders’ Show, students defend their proposals to the executives before an audience.
Citing the benefits of the competition, Team Captain Rex said, “I learned the value and importance of team work and accountability for each other’s work that leads to a successful project.”

Arbor Day Foundation Recognizes TCC SE Campus

In its blog entry, “5 Fantastic Arbor Day Observances,” the Arbor Day Foundation recognized Tarrant County Southeast Campus for its annual Arbor Day Barbecue.
More than 1,500 students, faculty and staff attended the event, which meets one of the five Tree Campus USA criterion. Culinary Arts students prepared the food, while Hospitality students organized and served at the event. Garden Club members, along with outside organizations, staffed booths providing information and tips about soil erosion, planting trees and gardening, energy conservation and wind power.
The Art Department held a poster design contest to promote the barbecue and a “Chalk It Up” chalk-painting contest. Additionally, the Speech Team organized a speech contest that covered topics such as tree conservation and global warming.
TCC is one of 15 higher education institutions in Texas to receive the Tree Campus USA recognition for its commitment to establishing and sustaining healthy community forests.
SE Campus Arbor Day Photos
Chalk It Up Contest Photos


TCC’s Archives Team Wins Multiple Awards

Tarrant County College’s Records Management team has been recognized multiple times for their improved productivity, processes and overall results.
They won the MCCi Excellences Award, a nationwide competition against more than 500 companies for an electronic and automated solution they developed using Laserfiche software used to process TCC’s Veterans Administration student records.
The team also earned the Laserfiche Run Smarter Award, an international competition awarded by the global software company, Laserfiche, for the Best Records Management Initiative using the Laserfiche technology. Additionally, the Records Management team received the Chancellor’s Quarterly Employee Excellence Award. Patricia Shapard, Carol Latham, Ramon Moreno and Darrell Rush won for their ongoing work for implementing and managing Laserfiche.
Carol Latham also won for developing and administering a training program to teach TCC employees how to use Laserfiche and best practices for managing office records.
Because of their great work, Laserfiche published two articles on their Solution Exchange site, detailing how TCC processes thousands of applications for Veterans Administration benefits each semester and how instructors can submit new course proposals using Laserfiche forms.
Check out the articles at:


South Campus Hosts Showcase of NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal Winners

Pictured from left are Dexter Collins (Instrumental Classical and Music Composition), Alicia Smith (Medicine and Health), Peter Jordan, TCC South Campus President, Addison Jordan (Instrumental Contemporary), Margie Ruffin (Poetry),  Jordan Cooper (Playwriting and Filmmaking) and Zharne’ Gray (Vocal Contemporary). Not pictured are Durmerrick Ross (Poetry) and Orlexia Thomas (Short Story).

Pictured from left are Dexter Collins (Instrumental Classical and Music Composition), Alicia Smith (Medicine and Health), Peter Jordan, TCC South Campus President, Addison Jordan (Instrumental Contemporary), Margie Ruffin (Poetry), Jordan Cooper (Playwriting and Filmmaking) and Zharne’ Gray (Vocal Contemporary). Not pictured are Durmerrick Ross (Poetry) and Orlexia Thomas (Short Story).

Fostering a culture of student success, Tarrant County College South Campus recently hosted a dress rehearsal showcasing the work of high school students who went on to triumph in a national competition sponsored by the NAACP.
“South Campus had the great fortune of hosting these extremely talented young men and women who were on their way to compete at the 36th National ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition,” said Campus President Peter Jordan. “These youngsters are proof positive of the extraordinary talent that exists in our community.”
A NAACP initiative, ACT-SO is a year-long enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage academic and cultural achievements among African-American high school students. Students compete at the local and national level in 26 categories including Sciences, Humanities, Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Business. The students and the areas in which they competed include Dexter Collins (instrumental classical and music composition); Alicia Smith (medicine and health); Addison Jordan (instrumental contemporary); Margie Ruffin (poetry); Jordan Cooper (playwriting and filmmaking); Zharne’ Gray (vocal contemporary); Durmerrick Ross (poetry) and Orlexia Thomas (short story).
The students who performed at the South Campus scored between 95-100 locally to become gold medalists and compete nationally. Fort Worth students Jordan Cooper and Durmerrick Ross won gold medals and Dexter Collins earned a silver medal at the national competition in July.
“The South Campus has a proud history of hosting and nurturing great talent,” President Jordan said. “The showcase was evidence of our continued commitment to that end.”

Local Boy Scouts Learn Welding at TCC South Campus

Boy Scouts who Learned Welding at South Campus with Instructor Candace Ortega

Boy Scouts who Learned Welding at South Campus with Instructor Candace Ortega

Local boy scouts recently worked toward a merit badge in welding at the Tarrant County College South Campus. Ranging in age from 12 to 18, the scouts spent more than four hours learning about welding from instructor Candace Ortega. “The scouts were amazing,” Ortega said. “Everyone had a good time and learned something new. I see potential welders.”
After covering safety with the 11 boys, Ortega trained them in common welding and cutting processes, machine set-up and welding. She also talked about career opportunities and the American Welding Society (AWS).
“There was not a boy there who did not have fun,” said Kim Anderson, scoutmaster of Troop 120 in Everman. “There were four or five boys who asked if they could come and weld some more.” Anderson said as a scoutmaster taking the boys to learn and have a new experience is what scouting is all about.
The event emerged from strong ties between the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Lincoln Electric, a leader in the welding supplies field. Lincoln Electric works with Boy Scout troops nationwide to help them earn welding merit badges. Charlie Cross, a welding educator and BSA account manager for Lincoln Electric, contacted Ortega about providing training for the scouts.
Scouting Magazine covered the event for an issue to be released this fall.
“The college was very supportive of this project, Anderson said. “I would love to work with TCC again.

TCC South Campus Employee Lands Book Contract

Julie Murphy, Author and South Campus Employee

Julie Murphy, Author and South Campus Employee

"Side Effects May Vary," Julie Murphy's first young adult novel (Photo courtesty of Texas Wesleyan University.)

“Side Effects May Vary,” Julie Murphy’s first young adult novel (Photo courtesty of Texas Wesleyan University.)

Julie Murphy, a library specialist at Tarrant County College South Campus, recently published her first young adult novel, “Side Effects May Vary,” with the Balzer + Bray division of HarperCollins. The story is about 16-year-old Alice, who after being diagnosed with leukemia, vows to spend the rest of her life correcting what she considers to be wrongs. Her bucket list includes humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting revenge on her arch nemesis. Once the scores are settled, Alice unexpectedly goes into remission.
Faced with the consequences of her actions, Alice has to evaluate whether or not she has caused irreparable damage as she learns about love, life and confronting your own mortality.
Murphy’s inspiration for the story came out of a gathering with a group of teens when she worked as a youth programs coordinator for a public library. At the gathering, Murphy and the teens got into a discussion about what would happen if they were stranded in the library during a zombie apocalypse. Ultimately, the teens decided they could do whatever they wanted. Based on that discussion, Murphy was inspired to write about a teen doing what she wants because she thinks she is going to die.
“I’ve always gravitated toward writing,” Murphy said. “It is only recently that I began to take it seriously. Shortly after finishing her bachelor’s degree at Texas Wesleyan University, Murphy planned to work on her master’s degree. However, she started on the novel and couldn’t stop. Nine months later, her book sold.
Author Julie Murphy speaks at her TCC South Campus book signing. (Photo courtesy of Texas Wesleyan University)

Author Julie Murphy speaks at her TCC South Campus book signing. (Photo courtesy of Texas Wesleyan University)

In March, South Campus Student Activities hosted a book signing for Murphy. When Tristian Evans, a senior office assistant for Student Activities, heard about Murphy’s upcoming book during National Novel Writing Month last November, he reached out to her to schedule the event.
“I really like to write about mortality,” Murphy said. “As writers, we write about things that puzzle us and are complex issues to us. Mortality is something I will always question. Because of that, I will always write about the effect of death on the living.”
Murphy’s next novel, “Dumplin’,” is scheduled for publication next year.

TCC Holds Honors Recitals at Northeast and Northwest Campuses

Students participating in two honors recitals at the Northeast and Northwest campuses recently demonstrated TCC’s commitment to excellence. Both singing and playing a variety of instruments, students receiving private lessons signed up to audition with the approval of their instructors. Auditions are held before a panel of outside judges.
“This is the largest group of honors recital students to earn this opportunity at TCC, ever!” said Northeast Music Department Chair Karen Parsons.
The Northeast panel of judges asked if they could select a “Best in Room” for the day. They bestowed the honor upon Alex Gillen, who played guitar for “Tango en Skai,” by Roland Dyens.
Nineteen artists performed during the Northeast Honors recital. Musical selections included vocal and instrumental numbers from a variety of works including Don Giovanni, Magnificat, Pirates of Penzance and The Godfather. The event was attended by the Sonata Club, a group of enthusiasts committed to support the study of music. They established the Sonata Club Scholarship to stimulate interest in music and encourage deserving students.
At the Northwest Honors Recital, eight students performed music by Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Mendelsohn and Sondheim. Two artists performed vocal numbers while the remaining six played instrumentals on the piano, saxophone, trombone and tuba.
Northwest Music Director Richard Powell praised the students, saying, “With their performances, honors participants demonstrate the utmost in preparation, interpretation and technical ability that our wonderful private music faculty passes on to our students.”

TCC Employee Earns National Recognition for Novel

Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson

kindertransport cover (2)
Adrian Jackson, publications manager in the Tarrant County College District Graphic Services department, recently received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest First Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards for her historical fiction novel, Kindertransport.
“This is one of those war stories you hear little about,” Jackson said. Seventy-five years ago, humanitarians came together to rescue Jewish children from the grasp of the Nazis and place them with foster families. Before the door slammed shut nine months later, more than 10,000 children were saved. Kindertransport explores the fictitious story of four siblings whose lives were changed by their parents’ decision to send them to England until the end of the war.
Jackson, a historian, says the idea for the novel came from a magazine article, which focused on children saved by foster families in the United Kingdom. Her research for the book introduced her to Sir Nicholas Winton, the “Father of the Kindertransport,” who organized the rescue of mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II. He found homes for the children and safely transported them to Britain.
“Some historians don’t consider the children of the Kindertransport as victims of the Holocaust,” Jackson said. “I don’t agree. They were deeply affected and their survival has had an exponential impact on the world. I wanted to explore their lives in this book and honor their stories.”
Kindertransport is the fourth eBook for Jackson, who says she chose to self-publish and go the eBook route because she wanted to make her work available. “I decided that I wanted to get my work out there more than I wanted to wait on someone else. This is a great time to self-publish – my novel is available to everyone and I don’t have to sell it out of the trunk of the car.”
Jackson is already at work on her next novel, which takes place in Texas during the same period as Kindertransport, and focuses on Americans of German and Italian descent that were rounded up at the same time Japanese-Americans were arrested as enemy aliens.
Adrian Jackson’s Website

TCC Instructor Wins 2014 TAFE George Hughes Instructor of the Year Award

Jacob Smith, TCC Fire Service Training Center instructor, winner of the Texas Association of Fire Educators Instructor of the Year award.

Jacob Smith, TCC Fire Service Training Center instructor, winner of the Texas Association of Fire Educators Instructor of the Year award.

Jacob Smith, an 11-year member of the Euless Fire Department and an instructor at the Tarrant County College Fire Service Training Center, recently won the George Hughes Instructor of the Year Award from the Texas Association of Fire Educators (TAFE). Instructors across Texas are nominated for the award, which is presented each year at the TAFE conference.
“We have more than 100 adjunct instructors on staff and Jacob was chosen to represent TCC because of his excellence in teaching, dedication to the fire service and his service to his community,” said Steve Keller, coordinator for the TCC Fire Service Training Center at the Northwest Campus.
The George Hughes Instructor of the Year Award was established in recognition of George M. Hughes, Jr. for his commitment to excellence in the fire service through training. He previously served with the North Richland Hills Fire Department. While there, Hughes, along with other Tarrant County fire service members, helped to create the Fire Protection Technology program at what was then Tarrant County Junior College in the early ‘70s. A strong advocate for higher education for all members of the fire service and the quality of training the profession demands, Hughes served as a guest instructor throughout the United States and Canada during his career.
“While Instructor of the Year is an individual award for Jacob, this award also reflects positively on the FSTC as yet another achievement in our goal of training excellence,” said Keller. “Our instructors are held to the highest standards and Jacob represents all of our instructors and their desire to be the best.”