Pacific Power Foundation Gives $2,000 Grant to Heritage University for Scholarships

Heritage University’s David Wise accepts a $2,000 check from Pacific Power Foundations’ Lori Froehlich. The grant will be used for student scholarships.

Date: July 20, 2018

Contact: David Mance, Media Relations Coordinator, (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pacific Power Foundation gives $2,000 grant to Heritage University for student scholarships

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University is pleased to announce it has once again been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Pacific Power Foundation. This is the third year in a row Heritage has received the grant, which will be used for student scholarships.

David Wise, VP of Advancement and Marketing for Heritage, was presented with the grant check by Lori Froehlich, regional business manager for Pacific Power on July 13. “We at Heritage are thrilled for the Pacific Power Foundation’s continued support of  educational opportunities for deserving students in our community,” said Wise. “This generous grant will help students who have all the drive but not all the funds necessary to pursue a college degree at Heritage.”

Froehlich says Heritage University’s mission of providing education to underserved communities mirrors the Pacific Power Foundation mission of supporting the growth and vitality of communities through charitable investments. “We are glad to support Heritage and its work to help students earn a four-year degree. Heritage University’s work puts students in a position to improve their lives, the lives of their families and to give back to their communities.”

For more information, contact David Wise at (509) 865-0717 or wise_d@heritage.edu.

About the Pacific Power Foundation

The Pacific Power Foundation is part of the PacifiCorp Foundation, one of the largest utility-endowed foundations in the United States. The foundation was created in 1988 by PacifiCorp, an electric utility serving 1.9 million customers in six Western states as Pacific Power (Oregon, Washington and California) and Rocky Mountain Power (Utah, Wyoming and Idaho). The foundation’s mission, through charitable investments, is to support the growth and vitality of the communities served by Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net/foundation

 

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Heritage University, PNWU entice students to science

Toppenish, Wash. –Heritage University and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences have come together with the Mt. Adams School District and the Yakama Nation Tribal School to create a unique science-focused program for young people living on the homelands of the Yakama Nation.

The five-week long Summer Program for Yakama Students (SPYS) encourages and rewards young people in the Valley to enroll and succeed in science classes. Dr. Maxine Janis, president’s liaison for Native American affairs at Heritage University, and Dr. Mirna Ramos-Diaz, assistant professor of family medicine at PNWU, and Dr. Naomi Lee from Northern Arizona University created SPYS. Dr. Janis and Dr. Ramos-Diaz co-wrote a proposal to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and received notice of funding days before the program began in the Yakima Valley.

Summer Program for Yakama Students

First week of classes in the Summer Program for Yakama Students project at Heritage University

“I just want to emphasize that our collaboration is the only way this program is possible,” said Dr. Ramos-Diaz, SPYS co-director. “What makes my heart sing is the work from everybody so we could build this pathway program for our underrepresented youth.”

The intent of the program is simple – build and strengthen the scientific knowledge and motivation of students to enter the health sciences and do well in their science curriculum. Upon successful completion of the program, the high school students may be able to participate in a two-month internship at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Janis and Dr. Ramos-Diaz have worked closely for years on both the summer internship program and the Roots To Wings program that involves both schools. “I am thrilled to be working with partners who feel as passionately as I do in developing programs that will benefit the Native peoples of our Valley.”

SPYS is a comprehensive science-based education program which integrates traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) as part of the curriculum. The program will also offer instruction on how to apply for college, seek scholarships and financial aid, and learn successful study habits. Local culture is also woven into the curriculum, such as incorporating the knowledge of various foods into the study of chemistry, and integrating Native traditions and values into science. “We know that combining culture with science makes the course of study more accepted by students, who in turn will do better in these types of programs,” said Ramos-Diaz.

The SPYS program is designed to provide opportunities for underrepresented youth to seek health professions pathways. Native Americans and Mexican-Americans under the age of 18 living on the Yakama Nation are participating in SPYS. Once they complete the program, these students will be in the position when they turn 18 to complete a competitive application for a summer internship at the NIH in Bethesda.

Summer Program for Yakama Students

First week of classes in the Summer Program for Yakama Students project at Heritage University

Guest lecturers from across the nation will join Heritage and PNWU faculty for SPYS. Dr. Rita Devine, program coordinator for NINDS and Dr. David Wilson, director of the Tribal Health Research Office at NIH will visit the students and observe their progress. Dr. Wilson’s office coordinates NIH research related to the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) at NIH institutes and centers. “Dr. Wilson’s presence at SPYS will bring a great deal of prestige to the program,” said Ramos-Diaz.

“The NIH always seeks to support pilot programs such as SPYS to demonstrate how underrepresented students in health sciences disciplines can conduct research that will impact health, disease and health care outcomes,” said Dr. Janis. “Support for the SPYS preparatory education program offers opportunities for our Native youth to become active participants as scholars in the health sciences.”

Heritage University in Toppenish will host the first week of SPYS beginning July 9, 2018. PNWU in Yakima, Wash. will host the second and third week, with the program returning to Heritage for the final two weeks.

For more information, contact:

Maxine Janis at (509) 865-0737 or Janis_M@Heritage.edu

Mirna Ramos-Diaz at (509) 249-7796 or MRamosDiaz@pnwu.edu

Sowing the Seeds of Next Generation Rural Innovation

MEDIA RELEASE
CONTACT: Aurora Martin –  206.650.0440  – aurora@popupjustice.org
David Mance – 509.969.6084 – mance_d@heritage.edu

Sowing the Seeds of Next Generation Rural Innovation
Two Rural Colleges in the Small Towns of WA, Have Big Ideas for the Future

Toppenish and Walla Walla, WA June 22, 2018 – The digital revolution is not just for the hipsters and startup cities of Seattle and San Francisco. Across the country, young people are buzzing with creativity, developing diverse digital solutions and beta-testing the next big thing. The Rural American Digital Lab (RADLab) has launched as a pilot project right here in rural Washington, and it has high hopes for inspiring innovation, and bridging divides between urban and rural America. What’s more, RADLab is not only an effort to serve as a platform for digital innovation, it is also an experiment in community building across geographic distance.

“There’s not much talk about rural innovation in the country,” says Noah Leavitt who is part of the RADLab project team and Director of Student Engagement at Whitman College. “Part of the challenge for bridging the urban-rural divide, is that there is limited digital access and opportunity in a majority of rural America. Just as tech labs are popping up in urban based higher educational institutions, RADLab can serve as a model of how to sow the seeds of next generation rural innovation.”

This month, RADLab launched as a collaborative learning venture between 22 students from Whitman College and Heritage University, and PopUpJustice, a social justice startup focused on community building and social innovation. RADLab set out to understand how a diverse set of people can learn, invent, and form a sense of community in a virtual world. Together, two very different groups of students learned across campuses two hours away, formed a learning community, and started sowing the seeds of innovation. They share a mission of disrupting the public narrative about people in rural America. Students learned through a combination of in-person trainings on design thinking and digital tools, and a series of 10 virtual lectures about various issues impacting rural communities. Given limited funds, the first series of projects during its pilot phase is focused on digital storytelling, using multimedia tools of film, photography, and podcasts. On June 28th at

Whitman College 4pm – 6pm, the public is invited to the RADLab production of the untold stories of rural America. Already, the stories are inspiring ideas for innovation, including development of mobile apps for American Indian language preservation and promotion, multilingual health and safety notifications, and community digital archiving solutions.

Although the big vision of RADLab is to become an active and interdisciplinary learning lab for STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, math — the most efficient and affordable kickoff to the lab led the design team to start with digital storytelling, taking on the challenge of a different angle on the underestimation of rural America in mainstream media. Tackling a number of themes, students are diving into hard issues such as suicide on the Yakama Nation Reservation, to a day in the lives of farm workers and rural Latinx identity, to issues of incarceration and reentry given the local prison, to gaps in rural healthcare for women and homelessness in Walla Walla. “RADLab is opening my mind to different possibilities,” says Heritage student Chris Villegas. The issues students chose are deep, complex, and many of them the students relate to or have lived, but in doing so represent the grit and grace of nextgen rural innovation. “I wanted the chance to use digital tools as a way to amplify different stories of communities in rural America, like the small town I grew up in,” says Whitman student Kylin Brown. The digital stories of the inaugural cohort of RADLab students will be archived into a growing digital quilt, and featured at the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival’s “Hope & Democracy” reception in Seattle October 5-14 (which attracts submissions from around the world).

Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson, who is also part of the RADLab team and Chair of Social Sciences at Heritage University, sees the lab as offering “much needed opportunities for learning, potential problem solving of uniquely local issues, and in the process more diversified job prospects for my students, many of whom are from under-represented communities, first-generation and nontraditional college students.”

 

Annual Heritage University event raises $678,250 for student scholarships

3240 Fort Road • Toppenish, WA 98948

(509) 865-8500

Date:

June 3, 2018

Contact:

  

David Mance, Media Relations Coordinator
(509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Annual Heritage University event raises $678,250 for student scholarships

Toppenish, Wash. – The Bounty of the Valley Scholarship Dinner, the premier annual event in the Yakima Valley dedicated to raising scholarship funds for Heritage University students, brought in $678,250 this past weekend.

This year marked the 32nd anniversary of the event that celebrates the many talented men and women who are transforming their lives and our communities enabled by the gifts of the generous individuals who make it possible for them to earn their college degrees.

Heritage University students served as hosts for the 250 guests of the event, welcoming them as they arrived on campus, sharing their Heritage experiences and expressing their gratitude for their ongoing investment in the university. Heritage mathematics major Brandon Berk, who served as the student speaker during the event, was honored to represent the many students like him who have excelled because of the scholarships they have received. “I had thought of going to college but didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to attend because of money,” said Brandon during his speech. “I was very close to joining the military like others in my family, but then I received the Act Six scholarship, which has led to numerous opportunities including being published in a peer reviewed journal as an undergraduate; receiving internships at prestigious universities, including the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago; and working with mentors who are guiding him to his goal of earning a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Without Heritage and the Act Six scholarship, attending college would have been almost impossible,” he said.

Virginia S. Hislop, an organizer of the very first Bounty of the Valley event 32 years ago and who has attended every year since, was overjoyed by the turnout and generosity of longtime donors, new supporters and guests. “The scholarship monies raised at this event level the playing field for our students who are every bit as capable and talented as any student in the country, but who often do not have the same financial resources, “said Hislop. “By giving to our scholarship fund, our donors are making an investment in their community because our students go on to become the doctors, nurses, teachers and business leaders who will work here, in the Yakima Valley,” she said.

Since its inception 32 years ago, more than $5.7 million has been raised at the event, with every dollar going directly to student scholarships. Senior Director of Donor Development and organizer of the Bounty of the Valley, Dana Eliason, said it’s an amazing experience to watch our donor community and our students get together at this event year after year. “Our donors often experience a strong emotional response when they meet the students and hear their stories of accomplishments made possible by their generosity. It’s magical!” she said.

For more information or to make a donation to student scholarships, contact Dana Eliason at (509) 865-0441 or eliason_d@heritage.edu.

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Collaboration on Digital Story-Telling RADLab Project

3240 Fort Road • Toppenish, WA 98948

(509) 865-8500

Date:

May 30, 2018

Contact:

  

David Mance, Media Relations Coordinator

(509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University, Whitman College Students to Collaborate on Digital Story-Telling RADLab Project

Toppenish, Wash. – In partnership with Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., Heritage University students will participate in a unique month-long digital story-telling initiative in June 2018 called the Rural American Digital (RAD) Lab. With guidance from Seattle-based tech start-up PopUpJustice, the students will bring to light often-ignored or forgotten stories of the non-urban part of Washington state.

RADLab will run from June 2-29. The initiative is open to ten Heritage and ten Whitman students. A social justice history road trip and overnight stays at Heritage and Whitman are scheduled, with the first gathering taking place at Heritage University on Saturday, June 2. Members of each cohort will enjoy broad exposure to faculty from both institutions and will work together to create stories. During the second and third weeks, the students will communicate from their home campuses with the rest of the cohort through video-conferencing software.

PopUpJustice seeks creative projects across the private, governmental and nonprofit sectors at the intersection of technology, social justice, the arts and pop culture. PopUpJustice provides a number of services, including consultation and project management on assignments relating to technology, equity and cultural competency audits, strategic planning, organizational and community development, trainings and workshops. The founder of PopUpJustice, Aurora Martin, worked in the legal system for 20 years as a public interest lawyer, who grew up from intern to executive director at Columbia Legal Services.

For more information, contact Blake Slonecker at Slonecker_B@Heritage.edu or (509) 865-0416, or Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson at Bellamy-Thompson_K@Heritage.edu or (509) 856-0748.

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Heritage University Announces Spring 2018 Dean’s List

36th Annual Commencement at Yakima Valley SunDome

Heritage University BSN Program to Hold Pinning Ceremony for Graduates

Heritage University  to Become Primary Provider of  “College in the  High School” for Yakima School District