We have amazing opportunities at Butler Community College for young (and not so young) people who want to learn about and/or develop their skillset in media production (or any field, honestly).
I graduated with a degree in Marketing in 1999. And spent much of my time in promotion for non-profit. I developed a passion for telling the stories of our community (in audio, video and written formats) partly as a way to improve my brain health after a difficult battle with memory loss and cognitive impairment.
When I returned to school in 2019, it was to help me improve those skills.In these past two years, I have had the privilege of working with faculty and staff both in and out of the radio and television stations. Not only did I receive hands on training but the confidence to get out of the classroom and make my mark on the world through the stories I tell.
This post isn’t about me, while I am proud of my work and will continue to grow and improve, my heart lies in helping our next generation find their voice and tell the stories that resonate with them.
My goals have always aligned with giving them a platform and a megaphone through whatever medium(s) they choose. My love of El Dorado gave me a unique perspective of the need for industry that will recruit and retain those voices in our community.
Everyday El Dorado was my answer to that void. The Mass Communication program at Butler provides students with real-world experience and the confidence to pursue their dreams. Please feel free reach out to me if you (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about the program, how you can improve your story telling through multi-media, or if I can assist you in telling those stories. I would love to help you!
Superintendent Teresa Tosh was named one of Wichita Business Journal’s Women Who Lead in Education.
The honor recognizes local educators for their career accomplishments and contributions to the success of other women. Community members can nominate an outstanding female educator who also meets the following criteria: leadership status in their organization, longevity in their career field, and living and working in the Wichita area.
Tosh describes her leadership style as eclectic. She tries to demonstrate servant leadership and transformative skills, but says that building relationships is a key component of her leadership strategy.
“It isn’t as much about the leadership style as it is about valuing the people you serve,” Tosh said. “It’s about letting them know that you believe in them and trust them to do great things for your students and your school.”
During her twenty-five years in education, Tosh has taught English Language Arts at the secondary level, taught special education classes, served as a special education teaching specialist and as an elementary curriculum director, and was an assistant superintendent of learning services before becoming the USD 490 Superintendent. She says her former teachers were her greatest inspiration for pursuing a career in education.
“They say the greatest form of flattery is imitation,” Tosh said. “And I wanted to be just like them.”
Tosh says what she enjoys most about her current role as superintendent is the people she works with. She enjoys seeing the students learn and grow and watching the staff support and engage students in the learning process.
“Sometimes, I just pause and look around, feeling truly blessed and grateful to be working alongside some of the very best in this business,” Tosh said.
There were only 21 educators from K-12 and post-secondary education facilities chosen for the 2020 Women Who Lead in Education. Tosh’s full article can be found on the Wichita Business Journal’s website, but cannot be viewed without a paid subscription.
In a partnership with Flagship Kansas.Tech and Code.org, Miss Southwest Sierra Marie Bonn, along with technology industry leaders Joy Eakins, President of Cornerstone Data and Luis Rodriguez, KeyCentrix LLC, and Code.org and Project Lead the Way facilitator, Jessica Asbury a teacher at Piper East Elementary School, advocated for the adoption of the Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force Recommendations.
They urged the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Board of Education to adopt the recommendations.
The Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force was formed in June 2019 with the mission of creating recommendations for the Kansas State Board of Education to further computer science education throughout Kansas.
Those recommendations are:
Recommendation 1: KSDE creates a dedicated Computer Science education position
Recommendation 2: KSDE should encourage all schools to offer computer science
Recommendation 3: Computer Science should satisfy a core graduation requirement
Recommendation 4: Create Licensure Endorsement
Recommendation 5: Arrange Funding
Katie Hendrickson, Director of State Government Affairs for Code.org, said “Code.org and our Advocacy Coalition (advocacy.code.org) are thrilled with the recommendations from the Kansas Computer Science Task Force. These five recommendations align with the policies recommended by our coalition, and, if adopted, would make significant progress in ensuring that every student in Kansas has access to a high-quality computer science education. We applaud the efforts by the state board and department of education and look forward to supporting their work expanding computer science across the state.”
“For Kansas to lead the world in the success of each student,” said Flagship Kansas.Tech Executive Director Lisa Roberts Proffitt, “it is imperative that we offer each one the opportunity to learn computer science so that they are prepared for every career. We need to support these opportunities for our students to thrive in their home state by providing each student with the opportunity to take computer science.”
Sierra Marie Bonn advocates for STEAM education and engagement to empower the next generation of innovators, through her initiative “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!”
Bonn shared her experiences with computer science classes at Wichita State University, where she attends college and the lack of coursework that was available to her at the highschool level.
“I didn’t take a computer science class in highschool, I didn’t take a computer science class until my sophomore year of college. In high school, we were fortunate enough to be issued individual computers to use for writing reports and for doing research, but the only official training we received was a half-day orientation at the beginning of 9th grade.” Bonn said.
“We need policy change in education now,” Bonn said.
“Nearly everything I know how to do on a computer is self-taught. When I entered my first Computer Science class in college, I realized I was far behind my peers. The Biomedical Computer Applications class taught me very basic programming and 3-D drafting skills, but more importantly, it taught me how to think in algorithms and to view the world as a series of systems. Once I had that realization, my learning, my leading, and my life shifted,” she told the Board.
Bonn began her college career as a biomedical engineering student, but after learning about computer science and how technology pervades nearly every field, she realized that by changing her major she could focus on the innovation that Computer Science brings.
“Unfortunately, with the major change,” she said, “I fell even further behind my peers. While I don’t mind playing catch-up, it made me think of all the other students out there who don’t currently receive a well-rounded STEAM education to set them up for success in the innovative workforce. That’s how I began advocating for STEAM education and engagement through my social initiative, Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!”
Bonn enters school classrooms, Girl Scout camps, and college campuses across the country to provide students a variety of workshops to help them realize their potential for innovation.
“One of my favorites is an algorithm activity that I do with the third graders, where we learn about how to structure algorithms through potting vegetable plants,” Bonn said. “This shows the students that computer science is important, not just for tech jobs, but for anything they want to do.”
“We are in the era of innovation,” Bonn told the Board. “In order for us to continue progressing as a society and growing our innovative workforce, we must set our students and future innovators up for success. Everyone deserves a basic understanding of Computer Science.
“This is why the policy recommendations are so important,” Bonn said. “They will begin to ensure that students have access to computer science in K-12.”
The Mission of the State Board of Education is to prepare Kansas students for lifelong success through rigorous, quality academic instruction, career training and character development according to each student’s gifts and talents. The Kansans CAN Vision is to “Lead the World in the Success of Each Student.”
The KSDE Board of Education will make their decision on the recommendations at the next meeting which will be held in Topeka, at the Landon State Office Building, Board Room, Suite 102, 900 SW Jackson, on February 11th and 12th.
Bonn is asking all Kansans to contact their Board of Education representative and ask them to adopt the Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force Recommendations.
According to the KSDE website, “The Kansas State Board of Education consists of 10 elected members, each representing a district comprised of four contiguous senatorial districts. Board members serve four-year terms with an overlapping schedule.”
Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Augusta 2019, is more than her title would suggest. In addition to representing the City of Augusta during its 150th year as a titleholder in the Miss Kansas Organization, she is a Biomedical Engineering student at Wichita State University and founder of the educational initiative, “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!”
The combination of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is recognized as STEAM education. “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” is the educational initiative she designed to share with classrooms, camps, and community partners which exposes girls and young women to their potential in STEAM fields.
Sierra shares, “The first computer programmer in the world was Ada Lovelace. Her story is remarkable not only because was she a woman, but because she was coding for a computer that wouldn’t even be invented for another 100 years.” Each October, Ada Lovelace is recognized around the world for her contributions to innovation and for her inspiring impact on the world as a woman in STEAM. Last October, the City of Augusta issued a Proclamation to honor her, and other inspiring women like her, during Women in STEAM Week, to be held the third week of October, every year.
Sierra is looking to increase the impact of her social initiative “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” by creating a similar Resolution for Butler County. According to Sierra, “Providing an avenue for influential women in STEAM to be publicly recognized, creates the opportunity for young women to be exposed to numerous role models and empower them to pursue their interests.”
Sierra believes young women should be empowered to accomplish whatever they dream, that they should be supported to become astronauts, artists, and even Miss America. By promoting STEAM education and engagement and showcasing their potential to thrive in STEAM careers, young women are empowered to achieve their dreams.
“In America, only one in five workers in research, architecture, engineering, and high-tech careers are women,” Sierra has identified. “How can young women aspire to reach their dreams if they have so few role models? How can they reach their dreams if they don’t know they are within their grasp?”
Technology journalist Emily Chang reported over half a million jobs in the tech industry are going unfilled, and by 2020, that number is expected to increase to one million. This leaves one million opportunities for innovation, discovery, and growth for the economy. Currently, there is a short supply of talented workers because the stereotypes of what makes a good engineer, scientist, programmer, and architect exclude half of the population and half of the talent we desperately need. By failing to empower our young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts, and math careers, our nation’s STEAM workforce will continue to decline. This results in a loss of the historical strength and competitive edge the American economy has in the fields of science and technology, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
As Miss Augusta 2019, Sierra is raising awareness of gender inequality in STEAM fields and promoting how young women can get involved.
As a LEGO robotics coach, she encourages young girls to be confident in their engineering and coding skills, which results in improved communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
As a Girl Scout camp counselor, she watches girls light up with joy as they perform science experiments and explore nature.
As an engineering mentor, she has coached collegians to stay committed to their dreams, no matter how challenging or male-dominated a class may be — she has experienced first-hand how it feels to be a minority in science classes, math classes, and engineering classes. She wants young girls to know that they can be smart without sacrificing their identities.
Learn more about “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” and find resources to share during “Women in STEAM Week” or any time of the year, by visiting Sierra’s website, www.letsgofullSTEAMahead.com
Just before Georgina Casanova had her first child, she dropped out of high school. After three more children, years of menial labor and separation from her husband, she realized she needed a high school diploma. That’s when she started working with Butler Community College’s Adult Education program.
By the spring of 2013, Casanova, who lives in Augusta, had earned her diploma and started thinking about going on to college. That next spring, after finishing her coursework at Butler, this mother of four became both a CNA (Certified Nurse Aide) and CMA (Certified Medication Aide). Now, along with doing housework for people, she was able to help her clients with medical care.
“School opened up so many possibilities,” Casanova said. “I want to be successful. I like to help people.”
Eventually, Casanova obtained a job at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital – Immediate Care Clinic in Augusta. She gives shots, does lab work and uses diagnostic imagery. And, because she immigrated to Oklahoma from Mexico when she was four, Casanova is able to converse in Spanish with her patients – if they need her too.
“I came into Butler not knowing much,” Casanova said. “Once I got into my field, I knew nursing was my calling.”
This fall, Casanova headed back to school, taking an anatomy course and a sociology course. She hopes to eventually obtain her nursing license. Because she’s going part-time, it will take a couple of years longer.
“I’ve had a great experience at Butler,” Casanova said. “Teachers said ‘Don’t give up; take it slow.’ So I am.”
Even though she has achieved so much, Casanova said she feels like she’s on a roller coaster – but one that turns out well.
“Little by little I’ve been gaining experience and knowledge,” she said. “The teachers showed me you have to work hard and study.”
Not only did this mother of four want to finish school, but she wants her children to continue with their education as well.
“I tell my kids to stay in school and learn,” Casanova said. “My kids tell me how proud they are of me. It makes me feel happy. They keep saying ‘Keep going meeha (my love). Do what it takes.”
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