February 2021 Central Connection

February 1, 2021

Woitaszewski: from child care to teaching

By Joni Ransom
Chief of Staff

Kelsey Woitaszewski may only have been a full-time instructor at Central Community College since October 2020, but her relationship with CCC spans nearly her entire life.

Kelsey Woitaszewski (right) in
the Central Community College-
Grand Island child care center,
1994 (Photo courtesy of Kathy

That shouldn’t surprise anyone who recognizes her last name. Her mom, Kathy Woitaszewski, is a longtime math instructor at the Grand Island Campus, who enrolled her preschooler in the child care center that then existed on campus.

Twenty-some years later, the faces of the other kids may have faded, but Kelsey Woitaszewski remembers naptime, snack time, the outside playground, and activities such as fingerpainting.

“We did some learning on computers,” she said, “but it was the ‘90s. What we did is not like today.”

As a kindergartner, Woitaszewski moved from CCC to District 16, a three-room elementary school outside of Wood River, and later to Wood River middle and high schools.

CCC-Grand Island remained a presence throughout her K-12 education.

“I went to a lot of Movie Nights here with Mom and Dad (Ron, a farmer). We also went to Halloween parties. Everyone knew me. They’d say, ‘I remember you when you were just this tall,’” she said, holding her hand a few feet above the floor.

Woitaszewski also took advantage of the dual credit classes CCC and Wood River High School offered.

“English Comp was the first time I did any writing with references and APA style,” she said.

And then there was calculus.

“Math is not my thing,” she admitted. “I know it’s surprising! Mom has gotten me through math my whole educational life.”

After graduating from high school in 2011, she began her postsecondary education at CCC, where she eventually decided to major in nursing. She earned her associate degree in nursing in 2016.

Woitaszewski then went to work at St. Francis Medical Center in the progressive care unit and, at the same time, also began working toward a bachelor’s degree at Doane University. She graduated in 2019 with cum laude honors.

Although she thought about taking some time off, she instead enrolled in the online master’s degree program through the nursing-focused Chamberlain University, based in Downers Grove, Ill. She expects to earn her master’s degree in nursing education in May 2022.

Through the years, Woitaszewski often thought about teaching at CCC so when nursing instructor Wendy Keezer asked her in August 2020 if she was interested in being an adjunct instructor, her answer was a resounding “yes.”

In a short time, the part-time position shifted to full-time. As a “newbie,” she aspires to follow the example set by the former instructors she now works alongside, relishes having her own office and accepts the creative challenge of effectively teaching complex concepts online.

How is it working at CCC? And with her mom? “I like CCC,” she said, “but I think it’s good for both mom and me that we’re in different departments. When I have questions, though, I always know where I can go for advice.”

Woitaszewski continues to work at St. Francis as needed. “I want to keep teaching clinicals because it keeps me up on policies and procedures,” she said. “Besides, I’ve never been good with monotony.”

Monotony doesn’t seem to be in her future. She’s considering how soon she’ll enroll in a doctoral program. After all, she’s never taken a break from her education since she first stepped into the CCC child care center.

Whatever doors her education opens, Woitaszewski always hopes her work involves hands-on teaching. “I love to show people the ropes on how things work,” she said, “and that keeps my skills fresh, too.”

2020 Service Awards: Staff members reach special milestones

Congratulations to the following full-time and part-time Central Community College employees who celebrated special anniversaries in 2020.

Administrative Office

Forty-five years: Deb Payne, operations support specialist.

Twenty years: Matt Gotschall, college president, and Kathy Wert, executive assistant.

Fifteen years: Lauri Shultis, college securities director, and Chris Waddle, vice president of human resources.

Five years: Jesse Barto, application database administrator; Fran Davis, institutional research coordinator; Sheila Kiiker, payroll accounting assistant; Carmen Taylor, purchasing manager; and Matt Zulkoski, network administrator.

Columbus Campus

Thirty years: Jim Baldwin, custodian supervisor, and Doug Pauley, associate dean of training and development.

Twenty-five years: Beverly Mackie, nursing administrative assistant, and Mary Young, athletic director.

Twenty years: Deb Adkisson, assessment technician; Steven Kelso, health instructor; and Sue Mahlin, business and industry administrative assistant.

Fifteen years: Dan Davidchik, process control instrumentation instructor; Emily Mach, psychology instructor; and Allen Stenzel, mechatronics instructor.

Ten years: Christine Haney, anthropology instructor; Kristin Hoesing, admissions director; Jeanne Micek, nursing assistant and medication aide trainer; Peg Slusarski, English and speech instructor; and Mike Sobota, environmental health and safety coordinator and trainer.

Five years: Heidi Acton, resident life and student activities director; Candace Becher, English instructor; Britt Blackwell, accounting instructor; Doug Holt, quality and environmental health and safety instructor; Chase Janssen, precision agriculture instructor; James Johnson, math instructor; Staci Prellwitz, psychology instructor; Larry Reha, custodian; Sara Rood, athletics administrative assistant; Ben Versaw, information technology and systems instructor; and T.J. Wrigley, economics and speech instructor.

Grand Island Campus

Forty-five years: Laura Emde, accounting clerk.

Thirty-five years: Colleen Lange, health instructor.

Thirty years: Shelly Kort, business technology instructor, Gene Manhart, business and management instructor; and Joni Schlatz, health information management services instructor.

Twenty-five years: Barry Horner, veterans and military services director, and Karma Thompson, recruiting and admissions technician.

Twenty years: Theodore Aldrich, Academic Success Center tutor; Roberto Lopez, custodian; Michel McKinney, medical assistant instructor; Kellie Newhouse, Extended Learning Services administrative assistant; Diana Rainforth, media services assistant; and Shawna Stump, health information management services instructor.

Fifteen years: Ron Christensen, Academic Success Center director, Kay Derr, registration technician; Susan McDowall, English instructor; and Jeff Schulz, sociology instructor.

Ten years: Jim Cox, electrical technology instructor, and Jose Marquez, custodian.

Five years: Laura Andersen, Academic Success Center assistant; Chance Christensen, adult education instructor; Marcia Donley, nursing instructor; Maria Flores, enrollment specialist; Brett Forsman, skilled and technical sciences instructor; Angel Gabriel, financial aid technician; Mariah Garcia, business and skilled and technical sciences administrative assistant; Matt Grimes, custodial supervisor; Jane Kipper, adult education instructor; Libby Paro, occupational therapy assistant instructor; and Judy Weston, community education coordinator.

Hastings Campus

Forty years: Sondra Meyer, instructional technology specialist.

Thirty years: Wanda Cloet, dental hygiene program director.

Twenty-five years: Michael Biere, electrical technology instructor.

Twenty years: Ken Gompert, information technology systems specialist, and Andrea Hays, activities director.

Fifteen years: Nate Allen, dean of skilled and technical sciences, and Debra Schardt, dental hygiene instructor.

Ten years: Tara Bialas, TRIO/SSS coordinator; Jason Davis, associate dean of Extended Learning Services and training; Julie Fessenden, education instructor; Jerry Hull, equipment mechanic and grounds; Kellie Jacobs, business technology instructor; Gregory Manka, construction technology instructor; Robert Schuster, automotive instructor; Paula Southworth, early childhood education instructor; Linda Supanchick, custodian; and Amy Wahlmeier, math instructor.

Five years: Ashley Allen, veterans outreach coordinator; Sam Alsmadi, academic education instructor; Joy Bronson, Extended Learning Services administrative assistant; Meghan Hoshaw, dental hygiene instructor; Georgina Hueske, student accounts director; Ryan Pfeil, truck driving trainer; Courtney Rempe, kitchen and catering manager; and Margaret Treffer, assistant registrar.

Holdrege Center

Twenty-five years: Diana Watson, Extended Learning Services regional director and international studies coordinator.

Kearney Center

Thirty years: Laurel Volpe, adult education coordinator.

Five years: Russ Cowan, information technology systems specialist; Robert Drake, psychology instructor; Leighton Jones, biological sciences instructor; and Jared Pettit, mechatronics instructor.

Lexington Center

Five years: Amy Hill, Extended Learning Services regional director, and Lori Scroggin, health instructor.

Mechatronics project reaps League of Innovation honors

By Scott Miller
College Communications Senior Director

Central Community College has been named the winner of the 2019-20 Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

In announcing the awards, the League for Innovation in the Community College cited Doug Pauley, associate dean of training development; Dr. Nate Allen, dean of instruction; Susan Baer, administrative assistant; Dan Davidchik, mechatronics process instrumentation and control instructor; and Sharon Gutierrez, career coach, for creating and implementing the project.

CCC won the award for its Mechatronics with Instrumentation and Controls (MwIC) project to address Nebraska’s growing need for process instrumentation and control technicians. In collaboration with MwIC’s business and industry leadership team, the project developed a new instrumentation and control pathway as part of CCC’s mechatronics associate of applied sciences degree, making it the first two-year instrumentation program in Nebraska.

“CCC has worked with local industry and recognized the need for instrumentation technicians,” said Lynn Enderson, maintenance superintendent for Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM). “ADM looks forward to adding graduates from the CCC mechatronics instrumentation pathway to our team in the coming years.”

Funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant, MwIC developed six new instrumentation courses, created a new state-of-the-art customized instrumentation and controls lab facility for hands-on learning, engaged secondary schools throughout Nebraska to increase awareness of mechatronics careers, and provided professional development for more than 100 secondary and college educators from 50 institutions while helping establish multiple scholarship and internship opportunities. Students also benefited from the more than $350,000 worth of equipment donated to the project by equipment manufacturers and CCC’s business partners, Pauley said.

As a result, mechatronics enrollment from the 2016-17 to the 2018-19 academic year increased by more than 25 percent.

“We have worked closely with our business and education partners to build the new instrumentation specialization and I’m pleased with the growth in our mechatronics program as a result,” said Davidchik. “I am especially excited about the potential to expand our enrollment even further with additional graduates from the new mechatronics pathway.”

In tribute

Gordon Hellbusch

Gordon Hellbusch, 76, of Columbus died Dec. 2, 2020, at Columbus Community Hospital.

Services were held Dec. 5 at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church with burial in All Saints Cemetery. Military honors were provided by Hartman Post #84 American Legion Honor Guard.

He was born Feb. 11, 1944, in Cedar Rapids to Helmuth and Olga (Oltmanns) Hellbusch.

He graduated from Belgrade High School in 1962 and served in the U.S. Air Force. While in the Philippines, he met and married Lolita Ancheta.

He spent the bulk of his career running the printing press at Central Community College-Columbus. He was a member of St. Bonaventure Church, American Legion and NRA.

His wife preceded him in death. Survivors include most of the children and grandchildren in his large family.

McKown Funeral Home in Columbus was in charge of arrangements.

Charlene Ross

Charlene Ray Ross, 73, of Grand Island died Dec. 30, 2020.

Services were held Jan. 7 at All Faiths Funeral Home.

She was born April 25, 1947, in Grand Island to Ray and Lena (Moss) Autrey. She graduated from Grand Island Senior High, School in 1965.

On Oct. 10, 1969, she married Carm Ross.

Charlene was baptized and confirmed in the Methodist faith.

She was employed with Central Community College as a payroll accountant from 1977 to 2010.

Survivors include her husband; grandchildren, Hayley Figgner, Dawson Kouma and Austin Kouma; and brother, Dave Autrey.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Memorials are suggested to the family to be designated at a later date.

Employee news

Administrative Office

College President Matt Gotschall has been reappointed to the Greater Nebraska Workforce Development Board. His three-year term runs from October 2020 to October 2023.

Columbus Campus

Melanie McKinney is the new director of the Academic Success Center.

Grand Island Campus

A research paper by Balaji Balasubramaniam, information technology instructor, was selected for the Best Papers session at the 2020 virtual International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems.

He is listed as the first author along with his collaborators: Justin Bradley and Hamid Bagheri from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Sebastian Elbaum from the University of Virginia.

Their paper, “Investigating Controller Evolution and Divergence through Mining and Mutation,” focused on how control software evolves in successful cyber-physical systems.

The Best Papers session features the top three papers receiving the highest peer reviews.

New employees include Valerie Bren, leadership and development trainer and coordinator, and Jeffrey Wisdom, director of instructional technology for the Virtual Campus.

Project HELP Director Becky Fausett serves as treasurer of the Grand Island Area Coalition on Trafficking. The organization was formed in 2018 to raise awareness about human trafficking and coordinate community efforts to halt it.

Environmental Sustainability Director Ben Newton has been appointed to serve on the STARS Steering Committee. His term will run from January 2021 through December 2023.

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Jeff Schulz, sociology and gerontology instructor, has had an article accepted for publication by the National Social Science Technology Journal. The title is “Online Human Services, Social Work and Social Science Rural Community College Students’ Self-Reported Perceptions of Benefits and Challenges of Taking Online Social Science Courses in Their Program Curriculum: A Five-Year Case Study.”

Also accepted was his proposal to present a paper, “The Importance of Teaching the Civil Rights Movement: A Multi-Pronged Approach,” at the March 22-24 Real Time Virtual National Conference.

Paulette Woods-Ramsey has resigned as dean of health sciences.

Hastings Campus

Chris Clark has resigned as a custodian.

Receiving promotions are Sarah Kort, from associate dean of health occupations to dean of health occupations, and Vicki Verbeck, from part-time to full-time custodian.

Kearney Center

Dawn Heapy has resigned as a nursing instructor.

Shawn Patsios, Veterans Resource Center coordinator, has been promoted from technical sergeant to E7 master sergeant in the Nebraska Air National Guard.

Ashley Weets, director of student and enrollment services, has joined the directorate board for the American College Personnel Association Commission on Two-year Colleges.