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January 2008 - Highlights at a Glance


2008 Teachers of the Year at AWC

Dr. Tim Whittier, Professor of Environmental Science, has been announced as AWC’s Fulltime Teacher of the Year for 2008. Christina Hawkey, Professor of Family Sciences, has been announced as AWC’s Associate Faculty Teacher of the Year for 2008.


Dr. Tim Whittier, AWC Fulltime Teacher of the Year for 2008

Dr. Tim Whittier, Fulltime Teacher of the Year honoree, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in Entomology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition to teaching, past job experiences have included work for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the United Way, and The Nature Conservancy. He has been nominated multiple times for the teacher of the year award at AWC and was a NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award Winner in 2007.

At AWC and NAU-Yuma, he teaches a variety of environmental science courses as well as ecology, genetics, entomology and has a developed a number of new courses as well as the bachelor of science degree in Biology for NAU-Yuma. He works collaboratively with the local community and other enterprises and has placed dozens of students in paid internships. He has obtained numerous prestigious grants and has been instrumental in the number of science students increasing tenfold since his arrival.

He is a hands-on teacher, whose students love how he ties course materials to their personal fields of study, takes them on exciting field trips, and most importantly, challenges them. As quoted from a colleague’s nomination: “Through his vision and guidance, the students in Environmental Science and Biology have significantly benefited from his teaching and leadership. He is their cheerleader.”


Christina Hawkey, Associate Faculty Teacher of the Year for 2008

Christina Hawkey, Associate Teacher of the Year winner, earned her Master of Education from Northern Arizona University in Yuma and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brigham Young University.

She teaches courses at AWC in Family and Consumer Science, Psychology, and Sociology and has assisted her colleagues in assessment and program review. In addition, she developed program curriculum for the Family Development Credential Program in conjunction with Cornell University. This program has been instrumental in developing healthy family relationships for residents of Arizona.

She previously served AWC as the Student Activities Coordinator, where she supervised the performing arts program, wrote grants, and secured contracts for 24 performing artists who shared their talent with our campus. She also developed leadership training programs and coordinated service-related activities for the student governing board who donated more than 1,000 hours of community service to Arizona families under her tutelage.

This busy instructor indeed gives back to the community. She coaches Odyssey of the Mind for Yuma School District 1 and Yuma Union High School District and has taken 7 teams to World Finals. She also currently serves as Booster Club President at Gila Ridge High School. Several international students have stayed in her home for a semester, and she personally donates a scholarship each year to a graduate of AWC at the La Cosecha Banquet.

When polled, her students were most impressed with her clear explanation of tough concepts, her engaging group projects, and mostly . . . that she cares about them as individuals in and out of the classroom.

The criteria that was used to select the 2008 Teachers of the Year were: exhibit exemplary performance in the classroom; be accepted and respected by colleagues and administrators; be innovative, creative, and enthusiastic; be involved in pursuing professional enrichment and intellectual growth; have demonstrated outstanding contributions and/or leadership in the school, district, the community and the profession; and exhibit a willingness to share expertise with others.

They will both have the chance to attend a professional conference and receive a reserved AWC parking space. Dr. Whittier will be honored at the Yuma County 2008 Teacher of the Year Banquet. Also, Dr. Tim Whittier and Christina Hawkey were both honorees recognized at AWC’s January All-Faculty Meeting.

 Science Grant Awarded to AWC

Scott Donnelly, Professor of Chemistry


Tim Whittier, Professor of Environmental Sciences

This January, the National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $70,749 to Arizona Western College for support of the project entitled, “Lighting Up the Next Generation of Technological Problem-Solvers” under the direction of Scott Donnelly, Professor of Chemistry, and Timothy Whittier, Professor of Environmental Science.

This proposal endeavors to provide meaningful, relevant, and challenging lab experiences for two-year college (2YC) students. It also targets motivated 2YC students to participate in undergraduate research-like activities. The labs’ overall goals are to show science and non-science majors how scientific knowledge is acquired with instruments and how natural environments are measured and studied. This proposal’s portfolio then is an investment in human resource development and in building an educational infrastructure for freshmen and sophomores based on instruments commonly used in modern scientific inquiry. The partnering institutions are Arizona Western College (AWC) and Northern Arizona University in Yuma (NAU-Yuma).

“Most students do not lack initial interest in science. In fact, the contrary is true, primarily on account of the appealing prospect to do labs, something other courses lack. To some extent student interest in science is compromised by an inadequate inventory of “tools of inquiry”, i.e. instruments, on which modern science so intimately depends. The overall goal is to show how scientific knowledge is acquired using analytical instruments and how natural environments are measured and studied. The natural world is complex and too often we humans over-simplify natural phenomena. This grant is a first-step to showing the beautiful complexity of the natural world” said Scott Donnelly, AWC Professor of Chemistry.

Specifically, this proposal seeks funds to purchase portable, easy-to-use instruments to conduct new undergraduate lab activities to determine: 1) the temporal solar intensity and wavelength profiles incident on earth’s surface, 2) the influence of light irradiance and visible wavelengths on terrestrial plant photosynthesis, and 3) the thermodynamic and electrochemistry principles behind solar-based hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell technology.

The labs focus on a basic theme, namely the influence of the immaterial world of electromagnetic radiation (predominately visible wavelengths) on the material world of atoms and molecules. This interaction serves as the intellectual foundation for understanding larger national and global social, economic, and environmental issues such as global warming, climate change, and the development of renewable and sustainable alternative energy economies. 



New Endowment Scholarship Formed


 The presentation of the Jack Watson Scholarship.

Arizona Western College is proud to announce that an endowment scholarship has been formed in the name of Jack Watson, AWC’s first-ever baseball coach and former athletic director. The scholarship is designed to help a different deserving AWC Baseball student-athlete get the best possible education that they can annually. The announcement was made by original members of AWC’s first baseball recruiting class from 1965 and 1966 prior to the start of today’s AWC Alumni Baseball Game at Kammann Field.

Watson first came to AWC in 1964 as a professor and head baseball coach, then added the title of AWC Athletic Director to his resume’ the next year. Under Jack’s direction, the AWC athletic programs flourished, especially the football team, which went to six straight bowl games, and won the National Championship in 1972. Jack stayed at the helm of the baseball team and the athletic department until 1975. Watson returned four years ago to help current AWC Head Baseball Coach John Stratton with the program as an assistant. The idea to honor Watson was originally hatched this fall by Greg Free, who was a starting 2nd baseman under Watson in 1965 and 1966, later moving on to Kansas State at Emporia before becoming very successful in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Free enlisted the help of former AWC teammates Luis Barajas (who played for AWC in 1966 and 1967, went on to the University of Arizona, was the AWC Director of Financial Aid for many years, and is the current AWC Director of Construction Trades); Gary Pullins (who played at AWC in ’66 before moving on to BYU and the Dodgers’ organization; later coached BYU Baseball for 20 years and was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in October); and Bob Schmitt (played at AWC in ’65 and ’66 before moving on to graduate from ASU Law School; currently a successful attorney with offices in Yuma and Prescott and a past president of the Arizona State Bar Association). The four Matador alums arduously called past teammates and AWC Baseball greats of the past over the past few months to drum up support for the idea, and the response was overwhelming. “We felt that there needed to be something tied to this college that would have his name on it,” remarked Free Friday night as he unveiled the idea to the contingent of 50 people attending the Diamond Classics Reunion Alumni Reception. “The things that Coach Watson did to make all of us better players and better people are just immeasurable. This is something that will continue to reflect the difference he’s made in this college and all of us.” Watson was unaware of the scholarship prior to Friday night’s announcement, and was visibly moved by the gesture as Free, Pullins and Schmitt spoke to the crowd.

The scholarship is expected to grow to $100,000 by the time it is awarded for the first time. The scholarship will be awarded sometime this spring through the AWC Foundation (whose mission it is to advance superior higher educational opportunities and services for our growing number of constituents by supplementing additional funding sources for AWC) to one deserving member of the AWC Baseball program each year. The recipient will be chosen by the AWC Baseball coaching staff. Those who would like to contribute to the Jack Watson Scholarship can send a tax-deductible donation to:

AWC Foundation
Attn.: Jack Watson Scholarship
281 W. 24th Street, Suite 132
Yuma, AZ 85365


Faculty In-Service

To kick of the Spring 2008 semester, the Faculty In-Service was held on Saturday, January 12th.  Dr. Don Schoening, AWC President, gave a Report to the Faculty on Opportunities and Challenges.  Many faculty members were recognized for their achievements and all of their years affiliated with the College.
Patrick Cunningham, Professor of Businees/Head Women's Basketball Coach, and Davene El-Khayatt, Professor of ESL, were honored and recognized as this year's NISOD Excellence Award recipients.  They will both be recognized at the NISOD's International Conference of Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas this coming May.
Dr. Tim Whittier, Professor of Environmental Science, was recognized and honored as AWC's Fulltime Teacher of the Year. Christina Hawkey, Professor of Family Sciences, was also honored and recognized as AWC’s Associate Faculty Teacher of the Year at the Faculty In-Service.

Dr. Schoening, AWC President, presented Scott Donnelly, Professor of Chemistry, with the President's Trophy at the Faculty In-Service.


NISOD Award Excellence recepients, Davene El-Khayatt, Professor of ESL, and Patrick Cunningham, Professor of Business/Head Women's Basketball Coach.


"Border Crossing" Art Show


One of Ruben Trejo's art pieces currently showing in the AWC Art Gallery.

Don’t miss the “Border Crossing” art show currently running in the AWC Art Gallery, AB 110, that features work from Ruben Trejo, a retired Professor Emeritus of Eastern Washington University. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. The show will run until February 11th.

Ruben Trejo’s work includes two and three dimensional pieces. The art displayed are collages of figures drawn on maps mixed with collaged images. The work deals with the idea of border crossing and has the figures in different map locations around the United States.

“It was not until I was in my late 50’s, that I realized that I was always thinking in Spanish. It occurred to me that my desire to make art has long been an attempt to bridge gaps between the languages of English and Spanish. My work crosses natural, political and intellectual borders,” said Trejo.

His pieces have been exhibited throughout the United States, Chile, Mexico and Canada. Some are in the permanent collections of Smithsonian Museum, National Hispanic Cultural Museum, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Jundt Gallery, and the University of Notre Dame.

For more information please contact Angel Luna at 344-7596.


Cover to Cover Book Club


The next Cover to Cover Book Club discussion will be about Chocolat.

On January 22nd, the Cover to Cover Book Club met in the Library to discuss Breathing Lessons by Anne Taylor, a 1989 Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

A firm date for the next Cover to Cover Book Club discussion has not been set, but will most likely take place in April.  The discussion will be about the novel, Chocolat, written by Joanne Harris.  Watch the AWC Event Calendar at for more information about upcoming meetings, or call the Academic Library at 344-7777.   The Cover to Cover Book Club is free and open to everyone.


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