Women instructors share their struggles

Tamika Steward, Monica Sosa and Violet O’Valle discuss how things have changed for women over the years at TCC.
Tamika Steward, Monica Sosa and Violet O’Valle discuss how things have changed for women over the years at TCC. Photo by Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Ayanna Watson/reporter

In 1973, one SE Campus English instructor could not get a library card without her husband’s approval and signature.

“I was a teacher in Houston, Texas, and I still couldn’t believe I had to have my husband’s signature just for a library card,” Violet O’Valle said.

O’Valle is one of three women instructors at TCC who shared how difficult a time they had proving they were as good as men.

When O’Valle was growing up, job qualifications were irrelevant when a man and a woman applied for the same job. People accepted the idea that a man deserved the job and ignored gender discrimination practices.

“Someone called me a ‘Tennessee gas girl,’ which meant I had a pretty face, and I was only good for my looks,” O’Valle said.

O’Valle didn’t feel as though things improved until the late 1980s. When she started working at TCC, she noticed the difference for women. She felt there were so many female administrators.

“The female chancellor [the late Erma Johnson Hadley] paved the way for many women and made me see how far women have come,” O’Valle said.

During her career, instructor Tamika Steward dealt with proving her worth as an employee in both education and management.

“I can accomplish anything, even if there is an obstacle,” Steward said. “Better yet, I can show you better than I can tell you.”

While working in management, gender discrimination pervaded Steward’s work environment. Men, in particular, did not want to talk to her if they had issues with employees and customers.

“I’m a military brat and never had to deal with race, ever, in my life,” she said. “It was such a new experience for me. I couldn’t believe I had to deal with this.”

When she began working in the school system, Steward said she thought students didn’t think they would learn anything from her because she was a woman.

“I had to prove I was smart enough to teach them,” she said.

Sociology instructor Monica Sosa faced challenges in her role as a mother, trying to build her confidence as a woman and overcoming Mexican-American stereotypes.

When she went to college in Chicago, she learned that people assumed she spoke Spanish because of her looks.

“It would be many times people would either make fun of me or just start speaking Spanish because I was a darker tone and looked the part,” she said.

A single mother and full-time instructor, Sosa had to learn time management.

“Having my daughter showed me real confidence,” she said. “I want my daughter to look at me and see the definition of a confident woman.”

Professor performs in Argentina

South music professor Oscar Dressler poses with the piano he performed on during a concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
South music professor Oscar Dressler poses with the piano he performed on during a concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo courtesy Oscar Dressler

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

The prestigious Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, invited South music professor Oscar Dressler to perform as a soloist and accompanist Sept. 4.

The concert was organized by the Argentine Confederation and Association of Evangelical Churches to celebrate the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Dressler was asked to perform concert arrangements of traditional Christian hymns for the piano and also accompany the congregational singing of traditional hymns for the 160-voice choir of selected church members from Buenos Aires.

The experience was a unique challenge that was successfully met, he said.

“It was an amazing opportunity that was given to me to contribute to the celebration of a historical event as the Reformation in the history of mankind,” he said. “Being able to perform in one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world was a most unique experience filled with sentiments of joy and satisfaction.”

The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, and the Argentine Council for Religious Liberty president Raul Scialabba welcomed Dressler to Buenos Aires.

“It was an awesome experience being welcomed by the president of Argentina,” he said. “The fact that the president of the country chose to enhance this event with his presence has given a loud voice of support and recognition for what this branch of the Christian faith does in Argentina for the citizens.”

Dressler said he would return to Argentina without hesitation. He is looking forward to more opportunities like this.

“I am looking forward to more opportunities like this that will allow me to grow more not only as a concert pianist but also as a professional educator,” he said. “Music is a unifying element. It does connect people of all beliefs, races and backgrounds. Music does bring and give to us a unique opportunity to become better persons.”

TCC offers monthlong classes through web

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The Collegian Logo

By Katelyn Needham/reporter

TCC Connect is helping students balance work and personal lives while earning degrees by offering new monthly course options.

Classes began Sept. 5, but registration is still open for classes offered Oct. 2-27, Nov. 6-30 and Dec. 4-29.

Monthly options give students opportunities to earn up to four credit hours in a month.

“Creating more entry points to enroll in online courses provides students greater access to education,” TCC Connect president Carlos Morales said. “This allows them to complete their degree in a shorter period of time. TCC Connect Campus is the closest campus as it is just a few keystrokes away.”

Seventeen new courses are offered, including computer science, English, government, history, kinesiology and psychology. Courses are worth three credit hours except for kinesiology, which is one. The classes will be Oct. 2-27, Nov. 6-30 and Dec. 4-29.

“As the only accredited virtual campus in Texas, this is another example of how our online and accelerated education opportunity allows us to intentionally provide TCC students with greater access to education because we understand the flexibility needed by the nontraditional student,” Morales said.

About 20,000 students are enrolled in online classes, and an additional 575 students are enrolled in Weekend College.

Connect offers more than 1,100 options with more than 350 courses online.

Lance McCluskey is one of the students enrolled in a new monthly course.

“The Army is paying for my school,” McCluskey said. “So I’m taking full advantage of going to school super full time to graduate sooner. I’m taking the government monthlong class in October to try to ease the burden of this semester.”

McCluskey also attends classes on campus. He is taking 25 credit hours this semester.

“I like the convenience of online classes,” he said. “I can push off online classroom work to whenever I need to before the due date. There’s flexibility in almost every way.”

Editorial – Trump fails to condemn white supremacy again

Illustration by Aftin Gavin/The Collegian
Illustration by Aftin Gavin/The Collegian

President Donald Trump signed a congressional resolution condemning white supremacy Sept. 14 hours after once again defending his assertion that both sides in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month had “bad dudes.”

The resolution, passed by both the House and Senate earlier in the week, condemns “the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place” in Charlottesville. The resolution also condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.

More importantly, though, it urges the Trump administration to speak out against the hate groups that advocate anti-Semitism, white supremacy, xenophobia, racism and extremism. Though he did sign the resolution and made a statement condemning the violence in Charlottesville and hatred and bigotry in all forms, it lacked sincerity.

Hours earlier, while flying home from Florida after visiting areas affected by Hurricane Irma, Trump told reporters on Air Force One, “You know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” reported Fox News.

This makes signing the congressional resolution hours later seem hollow because Trump had just once again supported the idea that racists and Nazis were the same as people fighting for equality.

But the bigger focus here should be why did it take a congressional resolution to get the president of the United States to even insincerely, kind of condemn white supremacists?

In short, it’s because Trump benefits from every facet of hate. It was clear during his run for the presidency, and it remains clear as he continues to go back and forth on his stance regarding white supremacy even in the wake of a domestic terrorist attack carried out by white supremacists.

In preparation for his presidential run, Trump recognized the power hate groups have and became very involved in the “birther” controversy, the movement that spread the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.

By involving himself with that movement, Trump had established credibility with racist groups, xenophobes and Islamophobes by the time he announced his run for president.

To them, his promise to “Make America Great Again” was understood as a pledge to restore the racist and patriarchal order that the American people have been attempting to do away with since the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s.

The prevalence of hate groups now shaping American politics should not be shocking. Their demands were looped into Trump’s agenda from the start, and the president continues striving to deliver on the promises he made them. It’s why he’s tied to so many white supremacists like Steve Bannon and Joe Arpaio.

Trump will not distance himself from the alt-right. He can’t. If he did, what little support he still has would be gone, and he’s shown more than once how stubborn and egotistical he is. The possibility of him apologizing, changing positions and sincerely disavowing white supremacy is as likely as seeing a unicorn running through a TCC parking lot.

However, American citizens should continue to fight for equality and not let the issue go. Americans should continue to pressure Trump as well as other alt-right politicians to truly and sincerely condemn hate and bigotry in all forms once and for all.

Viewpoint – Blame climate change for recent superstorms

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The Collegian Logo

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

Harvey, Irma and potentially Maria. What is the cause of these back-to-back hurricanes?

Two ingredients are needed for a hurricane to form: warm ocean water and consistent, strong winds. So, in the short term, warmer ocean water creates a stronger hurricane. And what creates warmer ocean water? Climate change.

Yes, there has always been heat and there has always been hurricanes, but there is added heat now, turning  these storms into superstorms.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt said it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms.

However, the Republican mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, said if not now, when?

“This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change,” Regalado said. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”

Usually, one would trust environmental statements coming from the EPA and not a mayor, but in this situation, Regalado is correct.

The perfect time to discuss the cause of a disaster is right after it occurs, so it can be studied and prevented in the future.

An example of this is investigators do not take a back seat after a crime has been committed because it is insensitive to the victims. Instead, they start investigating as soon as possible for the most accurate results, so future crimes are prevented.

President Trump has previously deemed climate change a hoax and is currently avoiding all questions revolved around it. Personally, that makes a statement. Trump is now speechless over climate change? He must be rethinking that one.

Regardless, it does not matter what one believes. Whether it is the wrath of God or the downfall of humanity, these natural disasters are incredibly humbling. Life can change at any given moment.

People should note that climate change is not a belief. It is an observation. And if there are no changes made, more natural disasters are yet to come.

Viewpoint – Schools, parents must address bullying issues

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The Collegian Logo

By Josh Robertson/campus editor

Bullying is something many people encounter in their lives.

Whether it be when they were in elementary school or college, it happens. It affects you negatively either way.

It’s defined as unwanted, aggressive conduct among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power.

There are four different kinds of bullying that most people experience: physical, verbal, covert and cyber.

Children that have been victims of bullying often suffer from repeated trauma. Many of them become timid and exhibit an inferiority complex that can get so progressive it may affect their future in their academic lives or social circles.

Nearly one in three U.S students say they have been bullied at school. Many others have been cyberbullied.

Research indicates persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion and despair as well as depression and anxiety, which can all contribute to suicidal behavior.

Over 3.2 million students are bullying victims each year.

We should be addressing this serious issue more than we currently do. Schools and parents should work together to tackle the issue. Most bullying incidents happen or begin inside the school or within the campus. Bullying can happen in any number of places, contexts or locations, including online.

Approximately 30 percent of young people admit to bullying others in surveys. Only about 20 to 30 percent of students who are bullied actually notify an adult about it.

About 160,000 teens skip school every single day because of bullying. Students and people in general should never have to feel scared to enter a public place without having to worry about being bullied or talked about.

Bullying can become so severe that it falls into criminal categories such as harassment, hazing or assault. People can end up severely hurt.

Don’t allow yourself to be a bystander. Speak up. Speak out. And help all of those affected by bullying.

This isn’t something that’s going to go away overnight, but every day we can all do something to gain awareness of this epidemic and help show people that bullying is never OK.

Veterans find resources at fair

SE hosted a Veterans Resource Fair where community partners discussed programs for veterans who are enrolled at TCC. Rusty Carter talks with Cari Hammond about about Stay the Course, a program that offers counseling services to veterans and first responders.
SE hosted a Veterans Resource Fair where community partners discussed programs for veterans who are enrolled at TCC. Rusty Carter talks with Cari Hammond about about Stay the Course, a program that offers counseling services to veterans and first responders. Photos by Lana Shuck/The Collegian
SE student Matt Russell, a U.S. Navy veteran, signs up for information about the TRIO program that offers educational outreach to University of Texas at Arlington’s veterans.
SE student Matt Russell, a U.S. Navy veteran, signs up for information about the TRIO program that offers educational outreach to University of Texas at Arlington’s veterans.

Campus to host Women in HVACR conference

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The Collegian Logo

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

For the first time, Women in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration will hold a conference on South Campus Sept. 28.

WHVACR is a national organization that provides networking opportunities, mentoring and education for women in the HVACR industry.

“The entire TCC South community is proud to host this year’s Women in HVACR conference in our LEED platinum-certified Center of Excellence for Energy Technology,” instructor Chris Noonan said. “This conference will show our students and the community that there is more than just turning a wrench and fixing air conditioners.”

Participants can meet with industry professionals and explore career opportunities in the HVACR industry at the conference, Noonan said.

WHVACR chose to hold the conference at South this year after AC Supply Co. president and owner Randy Boyd suggested they consider holding the conference at the campus and take a tour, WHVACR president Julie Decker said.

“Chris Noonan directed the tour, and I was so impressed,” she said. “I could not wait to share with our board and set up the event.”

South is also committed to training new female technicians, which further enhances WHVACR’s legacy of empowering women to succeed, Decker said.

Each year, the conference has a theme that WHVACR carries throughout the conference and the year, Decker said.

“There will be special speakers throughout the day that have created a presentation revolving around our theme, ‘Discovering Your Legacy,’” she said. “We are using, ‘Discovering your legacy, building your legacy, protecting your legacy and empowering your legacy.’”

The speakers are diverse and include vice chancellor Elva LeBlanc, Fort Worth City Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray and TCC alumnus Melissa Santillan, who works in sales at AC Supply Co.

The keynote speaker is Elizabeth McCormick, a former Army Blackhawk pilot, Decker said.

“This diversity shows that women in male-dominated industries can be successful and have a tremendous impact for others,” she said.

A majority of the attendees will be from the HVACR industry, Decker said.

“We highly encourage female students to attend and learn more about our scholarship opportunities,” she said.

For more information or to register for the conference, go to www.WomenInHVACR.org.