TCC Alum and Adjunct Professor Daily Helps Homeless

Olive Garden Culinary Manager Mike Mrugula uses his skills as a graduate of Tarrant County College Southeast’s Culinary Arts Program not only to the tantalize the palates of his Dallas customers but also helps take the hunger edge off for the homeless. For the past two years, Chef Mrugula also has been investing in the future of culinary arts students as an adjunct professor.
 
Learn more about Chef Mrugula in a story recently aired on WFAA-TV 8.
 

TCC Chancellor Presents Three New Goals, Honors Faculty and Staff at Annual Employee Appreciation Event

Thousands of Tarrant County College faculty, staff and administrators convened today to celebrate excellence at the annual Chancellor’s Employee Appreciation Breakfast & Professional Development Day at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. During the event, TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini told employees the annual event was a time to celebrate their accomplishments and show appreciation for everyone’s commitment to serving students, the community and the region.

 

Each year, TCC hosts the Chancellor’s Employee Appreciate Day to honor faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to TCC’s students and to the College’s institutional excellence. The 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teacher winners by campus are:

 

  • TCC Northeast: Kihyoung Choi, Ph.D., Professor of Dance
  • TCC Northwest: Ramiro Thomas Sosa, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
  • TCC South: Yolanda Parker, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics
  • TCC Southeast: Christina Liew-Newville, Instructor of Dietetics
  • TCC Trinity River: Janet Piedra Rodriguez, Instructor of Spanish

 

Recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Employee Excellence Awards are as follows:

 

  • Service to Community: TCC Northwest’s Back2School Team
  • Forward Thinking: TCC Southeast’s New Mathways Project Team
  • Innovation & Creativity: TCC’s Human Resources Team
  • Access & Diversity: TCC Trinity River’s Student Accessibility Team
  • Student Success: TCC Trinity River’s Veteran Week Team

 

During his address, TCC Chancellor Eugene V. Giovannini outlined three new goals for Tarrant County College, including a series of core principles that will help position the College as the education partner of choice. Since taking the helm a year ago, Giovannini has worked closely with the TCC Board of Trustees, the Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Team, campus representatives and community partners to develop three goals that will undergird TCC’s commitment to serving the community:

 

  • Being One College: TCC will function as one College to provide a consistent and successful student experience.
  • Being Student-Ready: As a student-ready college, TCC is committed to meeting students where they are and with what they bring to the table.
  • Serving the Community: TCC will continue to serve the community. In addition to building on its roughly $1.7 billion in annual economic impact in the North Texas region, TCC will strengthen strategic partnerships with ISDs, local colleges and universities, as well as business and industry.

 

About Tarrant County College

Serving more than 100,000 students each year, Tarrant County College is one of the 20-largest higher education institutions in the United States. The two-year college offers a wide range of opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds, including traditional programs, such as Associate of Arts degrees, Community & Industry Education courses, workshops and customized training programs. The College has six campuses throughout Tarrant County, including TCC Connect, which provides flexibility with e-Learning and Weekend College. TCC also assists employers in training their workforces with its TCC Opportunity Center.

 

TCC Southeast Chef Wins Top State Pastry Honor

Hodges, right, and Warner display Hodges awards.

Alison Hodges (right) celebrates with Katrina Warner, coordinator of TCC’s Culinary Arts program.

FORT WORTH, Texas (Aug.10, 2017) – Alison Hodges, Tarrant County College Southeast culinary instructor, recently was named state Pastry Chef of the Year at the Texas Chefs Association state convention in Corpus Christi. Hodges was selected from eligible honorees from the 12 Texas chapters and was honored at the President’s dinner.
 
Hodges began her culinary career at the Hyatt Regency as an apprentice in the Dallas Chapter of American Culinary Federation in January 1990. In 1992, she was named the chapter’s Apprentice of the Year. That same year, Hodges earned an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Food and Hospitality Services from Dallas County Community College’s El Centro College. She has since earned her AAS in Culinary Arts and her AAS in Bakery and Pastry, also from El Centro.
 
After completing her apprenticeship, she remained at the Hyatt for another seven years, where she specialized in pastries. Hodges said she was drawn to pastry work because of its “artistry and craftsmanship.”
 
“I enjoy detail work,” she said, adding, “Also, I simply like the way sweets taste!”
 
Hodges took a purchasing job at a catering and vending company in 2000 because she started to develop carpel tunnel syndrome in her wrists. She soon realized she missed the art of pastry, so when she was offered an adjunct teaching position at her alma mater, El Centro College, she took it. She joined TCC’s Culinary Arts program as a member of the adjunct faculty in 2006, teaching both the Fundamentals of Baking and the Advanced Pastry classes.
 
In the spring 2014, she became full time faculty at TCC Southeast and began teaching the Dual Credit Purchasing and Dining Room classes. Additionally, she has taught cake decorating as part of Community & Industry Education curriculum at TCC’s South Campus.
 
Hodges has been an active member of both the ACF and the Texas Chefs Association (TCA) since 1990. She has competed in numerous ACF-sanctioned competitions and won a number of medals — four gold, one silver and one bronze, as well as several medals through the TCA. Hodges joined the World Master Chefs Association in 1996 and participated on that year’s Golden Platter Banqueting Competition team as a member of its pastry team that brought home the Golden Platter from Limerick, Ireland.
 
Watch this video to learn more about TCC’s Culinary Arts Program.
 

Community Invited to Reception Introducing New TCC Northwest President

TCC Northwest President . Zarina Blankenbaker, Ph.D.FORT WORTH, Texas (July 13, 2017)
 
WHAT:
Tarrant County College Northwest will host a special reception to introduce the campus’s new president, Zarina Blankenbaker, Ph.D., to the community. Area business leaders, education partners and others are invited to attend.
 
Blankenbaker has more than two decades of higher education experience, serving as a faculty member, advisor, financial counselor and administrator. She most recently served as executive vice president of academic affairs and student success at Richland College in Dallas, providing leadership for more than 20,000 students.
 
“Dr. Blankenbaker has a strong track record of success, meeting students where they are and giving them the resources and support to reach their goals,” said Eugene V. Giovannini, TCC Chancellor. “This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the community to meet Dr. Blankenbaker.”
 
Blankenbaker replaced Elva LeBlanc, Ph.D., who became the District’s first executive vice chancellor and provost this summer.
 
Interested community members may RSVP to NW.RSVP@tccd.edu.
 
WHEN:
Monday, July 17
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
 
WHERE:
TCC Northwest Campus
Michael Saenz Conference Center
WACB 1123
4801 Marine Creek Pkwy.
Fort Worth, TX 76179
 

TCC Southeast Chef Wins Top Pastry Honor

Alison Hodges FORT WORTH, Texas (July 13, 2017) – Alison Hodges, Tarrant County College Southeast culinary instructor, recently won Pastry Chef of the Year at the Texas Chefs Association meeting in Dallas. Hodges, a contender for the state recognition, will receive her plaque at the association’s August convention in Corpus Christi.
 
Hodges began her culinary career at the Hyatt Regency as an apprentice in the Dallas Chapter of American Culinary Federation in January 1990. In 1992, she was named the chapter’s Apprentice of the Year. That same year, Hodges earned an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Food and Hospitality Services from Dallas County Community College’s El Centro College. She has since earned her AAS in Culinary Arts and her AAS in Bakery and Pastry, also from El Centro.
 
Alison Hodges decorates cakeAfter completing her apprenticeship, she remained at the Hyatt for another seven years where she specialized in pastries. Hodges said she was drawn to pastry work because of its “artistry and craftsmanship.”
 
“I enjoy detail work,” she said, adding, “Also, I simply like the way sweets taste!”
 
Hodges took a purchasing job at a catering and vending company in 2000 because she started to develop carpel tunnel in her wrists. She soon realized she missed the art of pastry, so when she was offered an adjunct teaching position at her alma mater, El Centro College, she took it. She joined TCC’s Culinary Arts program as a member of the adjunct faculty in 2006, teaching both the Fundamentals of Baking and the Advanced Pastry classes.
 
In the spring 2014, she became full time faculty at TCC Southeast and began teaching the Dual Credit Purchasing and Dining Room classes. Additionally, she has taught cake decorating as part of Community & Industry Education curriculum at TCC’s South Campus.
 
Hodges has been an active member of both the ACF and the Texas Chefs Association (TCA) since 1990. She has competed in numerous ACF-sanctioned competitions and won a number of medals — four gold, one silver and one bronze, as well as several medals through the TCA. Hodges joined the World Master Chefs Association in 1996 and participated on that year’s Golden Platter Banqueting Competition team as a member of its pastry team that brought home the Golden Platter from Limerick, Ireland.
 

CBS 11 Story Features Emergency and Crisis Preparedness Seminar at TCC

CBS 11 recently aired a story highlighting training that emergency and crisis preparedness professions received at an interactive seminar hosted by emergency preparedness experts with Tarrant County College and Alertus Technologies, featuring the Arlington Police Department. Reporter Brittany Jeffers provided details.
 
Watch the CBS 11 story.
 

TCC Connects Students, Community to Area Job Opportunities with Fall Career Fairs

  • Wednesday, Sept. 21; 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Southeast Campus (2100 Southeast Pkwy., Arlington)
  •  

  • Wednesday, Sept. 28; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Northwest Campus (4801 Marine Creek Pkwy., Fort Worth)
  •  

  • Wednesday, Sept. 28; 1:30 – 4 p.m.
    South Campus (5301 Campus Dr., Fort Worth)
  •  

  • Wednesday, Oct. 5; 9 a.m. – noon
    Trinity River Campus (300 Trinity Campus Circle, Fort Worth)
  •  

  • Wednesday, Oct. 26; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Northeast Campus (828 W. Harwood Rd., Hurst)
  •  

  •  Thursday, Nov. 17; 2:30-5:30 p.m.
    Erma C. Johnson Hadley Northwest Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation & Logistics at Alliance Airport (2301 Horizon Dr., Fort Worth)

 
FORT WORTH, Texas (September 21, 2016) – Tarrant County College is partnering with local employers to present career fairs at campuses throughout the area this fall. Events are free and open to the community.
 
Southeast Campus (2100 Southeast Pkwy., Arlington) will host a job fair Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will take place in the Commons, in the main hallway near the information desk, and feature companies offering full-time, part-time, and temporary positions. For more information, contact Southeast Campus Career Services at 817-515-3592.
 
The following week, Northwest Campus (4801 Marine Creek Pkwy., Fort Worth) invites job seekers to an Employers on Campus event. Participating companies include Clayton Child Care Inc., Dillard’s, FedEx Ground, Lineage Logistics, Randstad temporary staffing and permanent placement service, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, UPS and Northwest YMCA. The fair will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the WSTU hallway. Northwest Campus Career Services encourages job seekers to bring resumes and dress professionally. Employers have full-time and part-time positions available. For additional details, contact Northwest Campus Career Services at 817-515-7785.
 
A job fair focused on part-time and seasonal positions is set for Wednesday, Sept. 28, at South Campus (5301 Campus Dr., Fort Worth). The event will take place 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the SSTU dining hall and connect job seekers to 18 companies, including Six Flags Over Texas and GM Financial. Attendees should dress professionally and have copies of their résumé. Contact South Campus Career Services at 817-515-4551 with questions.
 
Career events continue next month at Trinity River Campus (300 Trinity Campus Circle, Fort Worth). On Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon, check out the job fair along the campus’s Main Street hallway. The event allows prospective applicants to meet with employers in an informal setting and learn about job and internship opportunities. Those not ready to apply can network with recruiters and find out about requirements and upcoming openings. More information is available through Trinity River Career Services at 817-515-0870.
 
Fall Fest at Northeast Campus (828 W. Harwood Rd., Hurst) will include a casual, outdoor recruitment fair. The event will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, on the lawn near the NSTU Building. Approximately 10 employers and four branches of the military will be on hand. For more information, contact Northeast Campus Career Services at 817-515-6692.
 
Individuals pursuing in a career in the fields of aviation, transportation and logistics are invited to attend a specialty job fair 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. The Erma C. Johnson Hadley Northwest Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation and Logistics at Alliance Airport (2301 Horizon Dr., Fort Worth) expects up to two dozen employers, with full-time, part-time and seasonal positions available. Aviation, transportation and logistics employers are invited to participate
 
The event will take place in Room 1201 at the Hadley Center of Excellence; organizers encourage job seekers to dress professionally and bring copies of their résumé. Need résumé help? Northwest Campus Career Services will hold a résumé writing workshop before the job fair. It is set for 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Hadley Center of Excellence’s Learning Resource Center (OWTL 1104). The workshop is open to all. Employers and job seekers may contact Carmen Wise with the Hadley Center of Excellence at 817-515-7267 or carmen.wise@tccd.edu for more information.
 

What’s stopping you? Northeast Campus Department Chair recovers from life-threatening accident with determination, humor

moak_ken_9884
Ken Moak has spent the better part of a year recovering from an accident that shattered his leg, cracked his vertebrae and ribs, lacerated his kidney, bruised his heart, knocked out his teeth and broke his pelvis, jaw, upper palate, sinuses, nose and eye orbit. But he calls himself lucky.
 
“As lucky as you can be under the circumstances,” explained Moak, associate professor and department chair of Computer Science & Information Technology at Tarrant County College’s Northeast Campus. “Most of the injuries are mendable. I didn’t suffer any permanent spine damage or lose any internal organs.”
 
The story began just after midnight on Nov. 20, 2015. Moak was headed to work on his farmhouse east of Waco after a fire damaged the home. As he drove down Interstate 35 in Burleson, a signal truck flashed, indicating the closure of the left lane. Moak says a pickup came up fast and hit the signal truck from behind—then spun across traffic before hitting the guardrail.
 
Moak pulled over and called 911. A former scuba instructor, he had gone through TCC’s Emergency Medical Technician Program as a precaution. Though his certification was not active, Moak exited his car to see if he could provide any assistance until first responders arrived. Both drivers were okay, but Moak knew it was a dangerous situation—the pickup was partially in the roadway and obscured by darkness. Moak made his way toward the guardrail so he could get out of harm’s way.
 
He never had the chance to get there.
 
A car crashed into the wrecked pickup, sending it flying into Moak. The impact knocked him out of his shoes and threw him 30 feet.
 
“I remember getting hit,” said Moak. “The amount of force was amazing. Then I blacked out.”
 
Help was already on the way. Without knowing it, Moak had summoned his own ambulance when he reported the original accident.
 
He regained consciousness as medics transported him to Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital, the nearest Level I trauma center. He had more than 10 breaks in his leg alone, and the bone protruded through the skin. Moak’s heart hit his ribs with such intensity that it was like he’d experienced a heart attack. He compares his facial injuries to being attacked with a baseball bat.
 
“If I had been three inches shorter, I would have been brain dead,” Moak noted.
 
Before going into his first surgery, Moak was able to call his family—which includes his brother, Terry Moak, a police lieutenant at Northeast Campus and mother Vickey Moak, a Northeast Campus retiree. Relatives and friends, including dozens of colleagues, were a constant presence at his hospital bedside. “That made it bearable,” said Moak. “Nearly 70 people came to see me. If you’d asked me before this, I would have guessed I’d have eight to 10 visitors.”
 
Betty Dalton, assistant professor of Computer Science and Information Technology, was among those who showed support. “It was obvious that Ken had come close to death,” Dalton reflected. “But even on that first afternoon after the accident, he was ready to move forward.”
 
When Dalton discovered that Moak’s phone had been lost in the chaos, she replaced it so he could communicate with friends and family. That phone also gave Moak the first real glimpse of his injuries. After observing there were no mirrors in his room, he took a selfie and discovered almost 30 pounds of swelling. Friends went from telling him he looked good to comparing him to the Michelin Man. Moak appreciated the laughs.
 
“Whenever I visited him, Ken was always frank and displayed a spirit to persevere—and his improvement was generally ahead of predictions,” noted Dalton.
 
As Moak embarked on recovery, so did his department. Dean Charlene Cole called together his colleagues and divided tasks. Everyone pitched in, with finals approaching and staffing for spring classes a priority.
 
“We work through challenges together,” said Dalton. “We share the load not only for academic efforts but also when facing personal trials.”
 
After three weeks at John Peter Smith and two weeks at a rehabilitation hospital, Moak finally went home. He still had a lot of healing to do, unable to return to work until the spring semester ended—nearly six months after the accident.
 
“Ken has shown tremendous courage and work ethic,” said Allen Goben, president of Northeast Campus. “He came back to work as soon as he was cleared by his doctors, diving right back in and tackling things with vigor while juggling his follow-up recovery.”
 
While recuperating, Moak learned policies and procedures implemented by the vice president for academic affairs who had come on board during his leave. But he wasn’t just catching up; Moak remained committed to growing and developing the department. Following his return, he led TCC in its efforts to become the first public academic institution in Texas approved to offer the Red Hat Certified System Administrator program—providing a new pathway to a well-paying IT career. Moak also updated department systems, enhanced equipment and is working toward a partnership with the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants.
 
To strengthen his leg, Moak walks the campus more, going to someone’s office instead of making a phone call, for example. While some words remain hard to enunciate, his physical recovery should be complete by January. Friends say Moak’s determination to get better never faltered.
 
“Yes, there were setbacks along the way,” said Dalton. “Ken just finds a way to get things done.”
 
Moak didn’t see an alternative. “My physical therapist told me that they have to beg most people to get out of bed. But I can’t imagine giving up. There’s nothing on daytime TV anyway,” he joked.
That sense of humor was instrumental in his recuperation. During one particularly grueling session, Moak told his physical therapist that he would grit his teeth if he had any.
 
“A lot of what happens is outside our control,” remarked Moak. “You just have to get up and get back after it.”
 
Support from the TCC community also was restorative.
 
“I was amazed at the number of people who came to see my brother,” said Lt. Terry Moak. “People coming to the hospital to see Ken would ask for his room number, and the attendant wouldn’t even have to look it up. TCC is like having extended family, and it truly is a great place to have a career.”
 
For Ken Moak, things are pretty much back as they should be. He is collaborating with colleagues and educating the next generation of IT specialists. In a way, he’s helping train future first responders too. His injuries are now a case study in TCC’s Emergency Medical Services’ Trauma Management class.
 
Ken Moak’s story is the latest in a series celebrating members of the TCC community who don’t let challenges stop them. Follow these links to read previous features: Salma Alvarez, Celia Mwakutuya, Jessica Caudle
 

New TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini Participates in Honoring Faculty and Staff at Annual Chancellor’s Employee Appreciation Day

TCC Chancellor Giovannini and Board President Louise Appleman

TCC Chancellor Giovannini and Board President Louise Appleman

Tarrant County College faculty and staff gained insight into new TCC Chancellor Eugene V. Giovannini when TCC Board of Trustee President Louise Appleman posed questions ranging from his childhood heroes to his current priorities during an “armchair chat”-style interview.
 

Each year, TCC hosts the Chancellor’s Employee Appreciate Day to honor faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to TCC’s students and to the College’s institutional excellence. The 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teacher winners by campus are Northeast Campus Chemistry Professor Susan Patrick, Ph.D.; Northwest Campus English Instructor Wendi Pierce; South Construction Assistant Professor Orlando Bagcal, Ph.D.; Southeast Campus Developmental ESOL Instructor Mary Cinatl and Trinity River Campus Biology Assistant Professor Sophia Garcia, Ph.D.
 
Recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Employee Excellence Awards are Gary Preather, associate vice chancellor for Real Estate and Facilities, for Access and Diversity; TCC Career Services Coordinators and Foundation Specialist for Forward Thinking; South Campus Starpoint Champions Team for Innovation and Creativity; Southeast Campus Accounting Associate Professor Karen Haun, Ph.D., for Service to Community; and, Paul Benero, South Campus Art associate professor, for Student Success.
 
Other nominees for Exemplary Teaching by campus include Northeast: Government Assistant Professor Joe Sutter and former Radio, Television and Film Assistant Professor Jerry Zumwalt, now vice president for Community Industry & Education at Northeast Campus; Northwest: Mathematics Instructor Alan Cazares and Computer Science Instructor Joan Shriver; South Campus: Biology Professor Jean H. de Schweinitz, Ph.D., and Health Physical Education Instructor Staci J. Smith; Southeast: Health Physical Education Associate Professor Melissa Evans, Ph.D., and Psychology Associate Professor Thelisa Nutt, Ph.D.; and Trinity River: Sign Language and Interpreting Instructor Sammie Sheppard and Nursing Associate Professor Tetsuya Umebayashi, Ph.D.
 
Additional nominees for Employee Excellence are District Executive Administrative Assistant Dora Massey and the South Campus Grounds Team for Access and Diversity; Welding Associate Professor Charles Credicott and the Innovation Forum Liaison Team for Forward Thinking; HR Chancellor’s Breakfast Team and South Campus Library Services Administrative Office Assistant Eileen Hart for Innovation and Creativity; District Physical Plant Administrative Office Assistant Lana Addington and Northeast Campus Sociology Instructor Cheryl North for Service to Community; and the NW Love Conference Team and TCC Connect Professional Development Team for Student Success.

New Tarrant County College Chancellor Eugene Giovannini Takes the Helm

Spending first few weeks visiting campuses, connecting with TCC community
 
FORT WORTH, Texas (Aug. 22, 2016)
 
WHAT:
As Tarrant County College’s new chancellor, Eugene V. Giovannini, Ed.D., officially steps into his new role and gets to know faculty, staff and students, he also is making himself available next month to meet with members of the media for one-on-one interviews.
 
Giovannini, founding president of Maricopa Corporate College in Scottsdale, Ariz., was selected following a national search for TCC’s chancellor, the top administrative leadership post at the TCC, one of the 20 largest colleges or universities in the United States. He is spending his initial days visiting campuses and participating in activities launching the fall semester.
 
WHEN:
Monday, Sept. 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in 30-minute intervals.
Friday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in 30-minute intervals
 
WHERE:
Tarrant County College District Office
1500 Houston Street
Fort Worth, TX 76119
Details to be finalized when interview is confirmed.
 
TO SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW CONTACT:
Rita L.B. Parson
rita.parson@tccd.edu
817-515-1543
or
Reggie Lewis
reginald.lewis@tccd.edu
817-515-1889