Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Odd scholarships for enterprising students

Whether you’re a fan of potatoes or duct tape, of the NRA or Star Fleet, there may be a scholarship out there for you. But be wary. There’s no guarantee that every one of these 45 unusual scholarships is legitimate. And before you rush out and buy a llama, think about the mainstream financial aid options:
  • ASWSU scholarship. The deadline to apply for a $1,000 summer scholarship is March 15. Go to the Web site for more information and an application.
  • Summer financial aid. The priority date for WSU summer financial aid applications is Feb. 15. The application is now available online.

    Book buyback. The Bookie, Too recommends students sending books back for repurchase call first to see if the books are still at retail (higher) levels. Many books have reached the retail levels and are now at wholesale (lower) levels for buyback. Please call Rick at 509-334-3661 to check the buyback values prior to shipping.
  • Monday, December 21, 2009

    OMBA Webinars

    If you're thinking of earning an MBA online, you can get your questions answered at one of our Webinars. The next one is Tuesday, Dec. 29. The presentations will be led by Program Representative Rich Miller, right. To find one that suits your schedule, go to the Web page, and select the link. There's no preregistration requirement and no special software is needed.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    DDP grad makes spectacular comeback

          In 1974, Debby Poris left Washington State University after two semesters. More than 30 years later, she came back. This time she was unstoppable. After enrolling in WSU’s online degree program, she became student body president, and won both regional and national awards as an outstanding non-traditional student.
          In December, she capped her academic career when she stood in front of the crowd at commencement ceremonies in Beasley Coliseum and was honored as a highlight student. (View it at 41:17 of the 2009 Fall Commencement video.)
          “This is the exclamation point for an incredible journey of learning, growing, building friendships, and reaching dreams,” said Debby, who lives in Lynnwood, Washington. “Now it is time to set new dreams and goals – to make a difference because I can.”
          Debby’s determination dates to her childhood when she wore a back brace for scoliosis. More... “I was out to prove to everyone I was not ‘handicapped,’” she said. “I snow-skied, played basketball, tennis and volleyball in my brace.”
          Debby’s sister, Sandi Dugan of Hawaii, confirmed that Debby has long been a force to be reckoned with. “She’s the oldest and she has always bossed us around,” she said during a graduation reception at the WSU Alumni Center. “She’s like a dog with a bone. Once she gets hold of it, she doesn’t let go. She always tries her best.”
          Kathy Santaniello, Debby’s youngest sister, came from Arizona for commencement. “When Debby makes up her mind, she goes after it with blinders on, straight to the finish,” she said. “She’ll take on a task and make sure it gets done.”
          Debby, 54, earned her WSU degree in business after getting a transfer degree from Bellevue Community College. She works full time as a fiscal analyst for the state Housing Finance Commission, and maintained a 3.97 grade-point average.
          Carl Poris praised his wife’s tenacity. “It took her 30 years to make the decision, but once she did, there was no turning back,” he said.
          Debby’s son, Mark Raysbrook, said he served as a bit of a role model for his mother. Raysbrook graduated from WSU’s online program in 2006 with a business degree. “Once she saw that I was able to do it, she jumped on the bandwagon,” he said.
          Debby may be out of college, but she’s still on the bandwagon. “I am a bit crazy when it comes to WSU,” she said. She’s already agreed to help the Snohomish County alumni group, and will continue attending DDP events that welcome alumni, such as the Gridiron Classic, Tacoma Rendezvous and next Tuesday's Hardwood Classic.
          “If it had not been for WSU, I would still be regretting not having an education. I just want to give something back, to say thank you.”

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Scholarship rules eased for summer

    You may have heard that the ASWSU-DDP recently approved five $1,000 scholarships for summer semester. Here's more good news: To be eligible, you need to take only three credits, instead of the usual six.

    Because summer is an accelerated semester, many students take only three credits, which prevents them from receiving other types of financial aid (except Pell grants, if the Estimated Family Contribution is low enough).

    The deadline to apply for a summer scholarship is March 15. Go to the Web site for more information and an application.

    Apply now for summer financial aid: The priority date for WSU summer financial aid applications is Feb. 15. The application is now available online.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    New course offers chance at cash prizes

    A new online course this spring gives Washington State University business students a chance to compete for $100,000 in prizes. But first they have to endure the “Hot Seat.”
    Entrepreneurship 486, Topics in New Venture Planning, assembles students in teams to prepare and present a business plan. They find an industry mentor and present sections of their plan to an entrepreneurial group in their community. Then comes the “Hot Seat Session,” where they present the entire plan to the group, and get grilled about the details.
    “We are a little brutal in that session because if we aren’t, they won’t be prepared to face real questions from real investors,” said instructor Debra McCarver. “This is usually the point at which the plans go from being academic exercises to real business plans.”
    If students survive the hot seat with their bottom line intact, an even hotter seat awaits. More...They can present their plan to venture capitalists, bankers and industry experts during the annual WSU Business Plan Competition, organized by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. While distance students don’t have to come to campus, “with that kind of money, experience, and contacts, they’d be crazy not to,” McCarver said. “But I will accept a substitute if necessary.”
    In 2009, one of McCarver’s teams won first place for creating a bring-your-own-cup vending machine called Ecowell. The team was awarded $14,000 and each member was given an iPhone. Ecowell is being test-marketed in a Pullman school. “I guess it’s been quite a hit,” McCarver said. Other business plans have included a Pullman laundry service, and a West Side gondola company.
    Rebecca Van de Vord, a Distance Degree Programs instructional designer, said the challenge of finding off-campus business groups means that students will be making business connections in their own communities. Distance students will also benefit from the College of Business’s decision to contact DDP early about creating the course: “With that great head start,” she said, “we were able to videotape guest speakers in the on-campus course and post them for online students.”
    McCarver praised Van de Vord for re-creating the entrepreneurship course online. “She has put up with lots of changes and there are more to come,” McCarver said. “She’s pretty awesome.”
    Before becoming an online instructor, McCarver taught at WSU’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, where she worked with engineers, scientist and business students to prototype products and create business plans. She is also the faculty advisor for the WSU chapter of Students in Free Enterprise, an international nonprofit organization that develops community outreach projects.
    McCarver has a bachelor’s in business administration from Walla Walla University, and an MBA from Northwest Nazarene University. She is married to Dave McCarver, an engineer for Schweitzer Engineering Labs. They have a 1-year-old daughter, Reagan, and live in Nampa, Idaho.
    By Richard H. Miller/Center for Distance and Professional Education

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Course brings light, generates heat

    Physics and Society offers
    science fundamentals
    for non-science majors

    Dr. Richard Kouzes designed his first online physics course to explore how physics interacts with society, energy, communications, war, and art. As the first semester of Physics and Society drew to a close this week, the Washington State University course had become a catalyst for another kind of volatile interaction:
          “Students type stuff,” Kouzes said with a smile. “They are typing along and they say stuff they wouldn’t say in a classroom. Some have very strong opinions, including political opinions.”
          The privacy of the Internet – which shields students from a professorial harrumph – is one factor. Online students also tend to be older, with a variety of backgrounds and opinions, said Kouzes, an adjunct professor at WSU since 2001. “You reach a diverse set of students online.”
          When discussions become digressions, Kouzes intervenes just enough to make sure students have the facts straight. “I’d like to argue with them sometimes, but my role isn’t to get into opinions.”
          But it’s not only cantankerous students who stir things up, said Ami Brodak, 35, who took the course through WSU’s Distance Degree Programs. “Kouzes brings up these really controversial topics,” she pointed out. “Evolution, population control, how the U.S. uses energy: all of these have incited strong opinions, at least for me.” More...
          Kouzes may be an instigator, Brodak said, but he’s a respectful one. “He never clobbered us for having a differing viewpoint from what he’s teaching,” she said. “That stimulated a free flow of ideas. I feel like I’ve learned from other viewpoints, and also been able to shed some light on topics.”
          Physics 380 is designed to be free-flowing, with topics ranging from atoms to artwork, from Newton’s laws to nuclear power. “It’s been incredibly enlightening, especially for someone who was very intimidated by the sciences,” said Brodak, a history major who lives in Olympia, Wash.
          The course’s lack of science prerequisites make it well suited for non-science majors who need science credits. That doesn’t mean a hard-core physics aficionado can stump the professor.
          Kouzes earned his master’s and doctorate in physics from Princeton University. He is a laboratory fellow at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, and works in the areas of neutrino science, homeland security, radioactive material interdiction, non-proliferation, and computational applications.
          Kouzes lives in Richland and teaches at the Tri-Cities campus. He stopped by DDP to discuss his online course when he was in Pullman to present a colloquium, Detection of Nuclear Threats at Borders. Kouzes is comfortable teaching both fundamental and advanced physics. “You adapt to whatever audience you have,” he said.
          Kouzes is adapting to the online audience by increasing the credit for discussions next semester. “Each week I pose a set of discussion questions, but I say you can talk about anything else. A number of students did their own research – searching out information on recycling fluorescent lights, for example. They put it all into their discussions, so it deserves more credit.”
          By the end of the course, Brodak was no longer “very intimidated by the sciences” – or by the professor.
          “I often disagreed with his contentions,” she said, “yet I totally loved the class. I learned more than I think I ever have in any other class on such a broad range of topics.”
    By Richard H. Miller/Center for Distance and Professional Education

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Bookie, Too Web site has a glitch

    If you’re a DDP student trying to order books from The Bookie, Too Web site, you’ll have to wait a bit. The order site is not yet active. Those in a hurry can place an order by phone. Call 509-334-3661 (or 800-937-4978 and ask to be forwarded to the Bookie, Too).

    Please do not order books through a different campus listing. If you do, you may get the wrong books.

    The Bookie Too expects its Web site to be fully functional by Monday, Dec. 7.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    New online course: Black Popular Culture

    WSU Associate Professor David Leonard uses a wide-ranging list of movies, TV shows, and videos for his new online course, which begins spring semester. Learn more about Leonard and the course at the WSU Today Web site.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Financial Aid 101 in Vancouver

    Washington State University Vancouver will host Financial Aid 101 at 6 p.m Dec. 8 in the Administration Building, Room 110. The event is free to the public and free parking will be available in Orange 1 lot.
    The course will cover what financial aid is, how to apply for it and how to access the money once it is awarded. Anyone interested in learning how financial aid can help pay for college is invited to attend.