Continuing Education

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Top 5 Essentials for Your Data Visualization Portfolio

Instructor Jenny Richards knows the value of translating the volumes of information daily flowing our way into imagery we can digest and retain. Here she breaks down the Data Visualization and Tableau process while highlighting the value of translating raw information into a colorful narrative.


Students in my data visualization (viz) classes often ask me about the work in my portfolio – where I came up with ideas, how I got people to give me data, what’s my best work, etc. While not everything in my portfolio was intentional, I do have a few visualizations that I think demonstrate specific skills – and it’s often those I share with potential customers and collaborators. Sometimes the viz shows off data cleaning and shaping, other times it’s storytelling. But I look at every project – big or small – as an opportunity to add another item to my portfolio, something that could come in handy in the most unexpected ways.

That said, building my portfolio has been a bit haphazard and certainly opportunistic. Had someone suggested earlier what sort of skills to demonstrate in my data visualizations, I’d have looked for opportunities to learn and show off those skills intentionally.

Experts Agree that Lifelong Learning is the Key to Career Success

With the rapid pace of technological and societal change, it is no longer sufficient to rely Imagepurely on formal education and college degrees when seeking employment.

We need to continue learning all the time as we adapt to the changing conditions related to our jobs and careers, and business markets in general.

According to a recent article published by The Economist:

Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment. – The Economist

Many people are concerned about the advancement of robotics and automation that appears to be replacing jobs, especially in the manufacturing space; a recent study by MIT noted that for every robot brought online, an average of 6 human jobs are lost.

“Never Stop Learning”: José Amador Talks About Acting Essentials and a Life in the Theatre

CE Acting Essentials Instructor José Amador says the best indication of a student’s success comes when he hears one say, "I never thought I could do that." Image

Amador has been a theatre artist his entire life, but first started practicing the discipline seriously while in junior high school. “Since then, I've almost left it behind twice, only to come running back immediately,” he says. “My college education was at a program that stressed the importance of the mantra ‘never stop learning’ and I've been living up to that motto ever since. Teaching performance is just the latest iteration of that mantra. I've been performing in Seattle for 25 years now, a listing of all my credits would take up the rest of this space.”

Remembering John Newman

In late October, Continuing Education received the sad news that beloved poetry instructor John Newman had passed away. We asked his longtime companion Deborah Handrich to share some words about John’s life as poet, teacher and friend.Image

John was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1953 and raised by his mother, Alice and his father, Bill.  He was the oldest of three children.  John’s formative years were spent on the east coast in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York where he discovered his love for nature.  He was often fishing, hiking, and canoeing.  As a favorite pastime, he watched birds and the clouds.  Later, he chose the birds and clouds to be the central theme of his early poems.

The Joys of the Forensic Knitter

Beginning Knitting instructor Patricia McHugh says she cannot put her finger on the precise Imagemoment knitting came into her world because the craft’s fibers are so deeply woven into the pattern of her life. “When I asked my mother, she didn't recall either, but she said she learned after I did.” Clearly, McHugh has taken point in inspiring others in their knitting— something she says she was born to do. “Teaching is great fun in itself. I am a natural teacher, which I got from my dad. He was an airline pilot who was always teaching anyone to fly. Teaching knitting is great because it can be very creative too. Everybody learns differently so it is important to pay attention to that and adjust your methods to fit.”

An Emphasis on Empowerment: Talking with Joanne Factor About Women’s Self-Defense

Veteran women’s self-defense instructor Joanne Factor began her teaching career over 20 years ago as a student with the Feminist Karate Union. “We would occasionally teach Imagecommunity self-defense classes,” she recalls. “I got my start helping my teachers at these classes.  Then I looked into an opportunity for us to teach at the UW Women’s Center (this was in the mid-1990s), and my teacher suggested I lead the class. GULP!”

Factor says teaching self-defense had its own challenges, different from teaching Karate, but no less rewarding.  “I began teaching more extensively at end of 2003, when I worked with women veterans who were suffering chronic PTSD as a result of sexual assault while they were in military service.  I expanded my class offerings to more venues, and tailored classes specific to different groups (children, teen girls, girls off to college, adult women, workplaces, ECT).” Indeed, Factor’s Seattle College's Continuing Education classes have ranged from one-day workshops like Street-Smart Safety for Women on the Go to longer courses like Self Defense for Women 101.

Taking the First Steps to Introduction to MS Office

In a world where computer technology has all but taken over our lives, from home to work to our very pockets, a newcomer’s first steps into learning its use can often be intimidating Imageones.  Navigating programs like those found in Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) take a little time to absorb, but are not an insurmountable goal. Helping newcomers through this learning opportunity is precisely what CE instructor Melanie Farrar enjoys doing, and does it very well. Since 2014 she has been teaching Excel and basic computer skills classes for North Seattle College and North Seattle Continuing Education, nearly six years of that time has been devoted to teaching MOS.  “My students generally have little or no experience with a computer and/or MOS,” she says. “It is fun to share new information and an exciting software package with students.”  

The Story You Want to Tell: Steve Kidd on the Art of Photography

Continuing Education instructor Steve Kidd has been exploring the art of photography from a Imageyoung age, learning much how to make beautiful pictures from his grandfather. “He was an amateur photographer and had won a contest with one of his photographs,” says Kidd. “I remember the photograph vividly. Later, I was given a Kodak Brownie camera and began to experiment with that. Photography has been in and out of my life as far back as I can remember, but it was really the advent of digital photography, and learning how to manipulate my images with software, that I began down the path of more professional pursuits.”

Add a Bit of Class to the Season with Holiday Gift Classes

When we give someone handmade items at the holidays, we say volumes about how much we care and appreciate them. There are numerous advantages to making a gift, not the least Imageof which is expense. Consider that when you make a gift for someone at the holidays you are giving something not only unique and personal but you also take away some satisfaction at your own personal accomplishment for a job well done.

In anticipation of that most wonderful time of the year, Continuing Education offers up several classes that are the perfect treat for anyone looking to give out creative, personal gifts and goodies this holiday season.

Keeping it Simple When Selling It on eBay

Sell It on eBay! Instructor Cindy Shebley is a bit of a pioneer. She first discovered the world-famous online marketplace shortly after its inception in 1995 and from that point forward has refined her seller’s skills in tandem with the company’s evolution.Image

Shebley didn’t come to the virtual marketplace cold, but had several years’ experience running a brick-and-mortar establishment. “At the time, my partner and I had a small shop in Ballard,” she recalls. “We had some inventory in our stock room that didn't sell locally. Not long after my first few auction victories I decided to try my hand at selling them on eBay. Those dusty items quickly sold to buyers all over the world. Life and careers change and mine took a few turns. In 2005 I decided to turn selling on eBay into a full time business.”

“We Do a Lot of Laughing”: Striking Up Everyday English Conversation

For some instructors, teaching is an opportunity to perform before a live (albeit captive) audience. The curriculum stands for their script and the classroom their stage. For Everyday English Conversation instructor Susan "Susie" Ross addressing a classroom was not a substitute for the life of an entertainer, but the logical addendum to long and colorful career.

ImageRoss came from a prestigious artistic background, her father, Stefan Schnabel, was a successful professional actor, having been a long-time ensemble member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Radio Theatre and actor on the daytime drama The Guiding Light for 20 years.  “He was a huge influence on me,” says Ross.  “I loved his life, being part of it, and learned about acting by watching him and other actors perform.”

Commanding the Keyboard: Christine Dubois on Improving Email Effectiveness

It’s hard to imagine a world before email and even more boggling when you stop to consider how quickly it pervaded Imageour public and private lives. Though conceived in the 1970s, email did not successfully wend its way into our homes and businesses until the early 1990s. That is a speedy evolution for any communication technology. Truth be told, we’re still negotiating the best possible ways to reduce the stress and better manage our use of email, particularly in the workplace. Thankfully, instructor Christine Dubois offers up volumes of helpful insights with her class, Improving Email Effectiveness.

Dan Tarker Talks About Playwriting: From Page to Stage

The amount of entertainment drama we can now access is dizzying. With expanding digital domains like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, hundreds of cable stations and major and independent film releases each weekend, it’s a wonder any Imageof us can keep up. As the song said, “Here we are now, entertain us…” If we could, a vast majority of us would stay home, behind closed doors and binge away every waking hour. Why would anyone in their right mind want to see live theatre, let alone learn to put a play on paper? For Playwriting: From Page to Stage instructor Dan Tarker, the answer is quite simple; we will never replace the impact a live, communal experience with moving images on a screen. Not now, not ever. “As our media continues to expand digitally, I think playwrights need to increasingly embrace the fact that they are writing for live, communal events,” he says. “(It’s) something that just cannot be experienced on television or at the movies.”

Where the Music Takes You

Make Money Licensing Your Music instructor Ed Hartman is a composer, entrepreneur and instructor who has spent the last 50 years following the beat of his own drum. After spending much of his youth studying with private instructors, Hartman went on to receive a degree in Percussion from Indiana University and eventually made his way to Seattle in 1979. From there Hartman pursued a multi-faceted career by assuming just about every role one could Imagehold in the music industry from performer, educator and dance accompanist to composer, booking agent and record company owner…not to mention opening his own store, The Drum Exchange in 1992.  “I've always been of the opinion (I should) be a resource to the music community,” he says. “I started a music co-op and a composer’s concert series that developed into a non-profit organization with full orchestra performances and world premieres. I have been Chapter President of Percussive Arts Society and sat on the board of the Seattle Composers Alliance. There was never an inspiration to pursue music professionally, it was always something I did. When I left college I found myself making a living at it.”

Front-Load Your Fall with Some One-and-Done, One Time Wonders

We all agree there simply isn’t enough time in a day. We daily wrestle with “To Do” lists that look like flow charts and calendars that resemble Tetris tiles, so is it really any wonder we are terribly protective of our personal time?Image

It’s been suggested that if you wish to use your time to its fullest, you should reverse engineer that calendar, be preemptive with your daily planner and front-load personal activities for yourself and then work the remaining time around your concrete plans.

Let Continuing Education help you engineer your time with a one-off, one-time, one-and-done class that will use that precious time to the fullest.

The Future is Now: An Introduction to 3D Modeling and Printing

Lead Introduction to 3D Modeling and Printing instructor Daniel Walsh and his assistant instructor Brandon Pomeroy are apostles for a burgeoning new technology. Like the amateur college rocket clubs of the early 1930s that evolved into Imagethe Jet Propulsion Laboratory and eventually took us to the moon, Pomeroy and Walsh have stepped onto the ground floor of an evolving science that will shape the look and feel of tomorrow.

Though both Pomeroy and Walsh converged on 3D printing technology while studying computer-assisted design (CAD) software at the University of Washington, they approached the field from different angles. “I got into 3D modeling as a hobby back in 2010 by using free open-source software and following YouTube tutorials,” says Walsh. “While attending the University of Washington I was introduced to more advanced engineering CAD software and began to encounter real-world applications of CAD technology.” In Pomeroy’s case, his interest was piqued upon his discovery of the UW 3D Printing Club. “The club focused on using 3D printers and building your own machines, and gave me a solid foundation in the technology,” says Pomeroy. “I have been modeling, building, and using 3D printers ever since!”

The Myth of Dominance: An Interview with Learn to “Speak Dog” Instructor Suzanne Engelberg, PhD

Learn to “Speak Dog" instructor Suzanne Engelberg, PhD has spent a lifetime exploring the ways humans communicate with canines and developed a system of understanding that flies in the face of long-established practices by offering a Imagedeeper, more holistic means of relating to our furry companions.

Q: When did you first discover you had an affinity for canines? Was there a particular relationship or inciting incident that inspired you to forge a deep relationship with dogs? 

I think I was born with that affinity. My mother told me that when I was a toddler I eagerly walked up to dogs twice my size. They always responded well to me, so I either had good judgment, was lucky, didn’t seem threatening to the dogs, or a combination of all three. When I was in elementary school I desperately wanted a dog, but my parents didn’t. Even though I knew I couldn’t get a dog, I ready every child book on dogs I could find— dog training, different breeds, even how to groom a poodle. I fantasized about having a dog who would be my best friend.  I would train the dog so well that we would win awards, and everyone would be amazed and impressed.  I wasn’t able to get my first dogs until I was in my 20’s and in graduate school. I made a lot of mistakes with those first dogs. I wish there had been someone to help me see life from my dogs’ perspective, to understand all the things they were trying to tell me, and to help me communicate with my dogs in ways they could understand better. Part of my motivation for teaching Learn to “Speak Dog” is to share the knowledge and insights I’ve gained over the years—to be the resource I wish I had had.

A Creative Explorer: Talking with Instructor Sarah Norsworthy

From a young age Introduction to Drawing instructor Sarah Norsworthy loved to draw, paint and sewcreative outlets that have only continued to flower throughout her life and revealed themselves of benefit to her own Imagecreative self-expression as well as those with whom she comes in contact. “My mom taught me how to sew on a machine when I was about five, and I started making clothing early on,” says Norsworthy. “My dad and I would go out on hikes in Alaska and take drawing and painting materials with us and paint the landscape.” With so many seeds of curiosity and creativity planted in her being, it’s of no surprise Norsworthy’s art would become a key means to investigating her world.

Meet the 3rd Annual Continuing Education Student Art Show Winners

For the third year in a row, North Seattle College Continuing Education (CE) has witnessed an astounding number of brilliant submissions to its student art show. The 2017 show was juried by a splendid range of administrators and instructional staff starting with jewelry instructor Robert Graham, Scanning Electron Microscope Photography instructor Kristine Schroeder, painting instructor Virginia Paquette, ceramics instructor Liz Duarte, gallery curator Amanda Knowles, and CE director Christy Isaacson. There was an impressive turnout for the July 18th opening, with many eagerly anticipating the announcement of the art show winners.

Taking Third place was Judith O’Neal’s abstract painted piece, “Weaving.” A long-time student of ImageVirginia Paquette’s courses in abstract painting and watercolor, O’Neal decided to do a bit of experimenting when it came to creating her submission to this year’s show. She looked over some of her older work from Paquette’s classes and wondered if they couldn’t serve as the foundation for a whole new piece. “I took the collage class when I first started taking classes,” she says. “I looked to my big pile of watercolors and I found a few that sort of seemed to be similar colors and have similar lines. I decided to start cutting them up and repurposing them. No real inspiration beyond playing. I never have a vision I only have a journey.” Of her work, O’Neal says, “I don’t say, ‘I’m trying to do this; I just say I’m going to start and see where I can go.’”

Class Quest: STRONG by Zumba®

Though accomplished in Zumba®, CE director Christy Isaacson discovered a new and challenging Imageworkout process when she put her stamina to the test and visited a session of STRONG by Zumba®.

I had been eager to try STRONG by Zumba® led by Michelle Ihlan ever since we added it as a new Continuing Education course in spring quarter. This summer I finally had a free Wednesday to join the class and see what it was all about. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Zumba® class and the first thing I noticed is that this was very different from Michelle’s Zumba® Step and Zumba® Toning classes. If you visit the STRONG by Zumba® website, you’ll learn that this is NOT a dance class. So what exactly is STRONG by Zumba®? According to the website, “STRONG by Zumba® combines body weight, muscle conditioning, cardio and plyometric training moves synced to original music that has been specifically designed to match every single move.”  

Professor Fred’s Top 10 All Around, Best-Ever Schlock Films Under the Sun

For more years than we dare count, Fred Hopkins has curated a cabinet of cinematic Imagecuriosities via his SCCtv series Professor Fred’s Movie Marvels and his very popular CE class, Schlock Cinema. Each quarter CE students reap the benefit of Professor Fred’s film erudition as he releases nearly a half dozen fractured flicks from his vault, delivering the sort of oddball, bottom drawer product Hollywood would like-as-not prefer kept sealed away. Professor Fred speaks to the contrary, declaring such films as delightful challenges to our culture’s storytelling conceits. Present and of late, Professor Fred was kind enough to take a break from his busy schedule to highlight for us his Top 10 all-time favorite Schlock films— the Best of the Bad as it were. Here they are, in no particular order, Professor Fred’s Top 10 All Around, Best-Ever Schlock Films Under the Sun. We supplied the plot info, Professor Fred supplied the fine points.  Enjoy… and please don’t blame the messenger.

Weight Loss and Installing a New Way of Thinking

 Your Body, Your Mind—The Right Weight Loss Attitude instructor Scott Bohart has a unique approach to weight management. He believes the most successful means to curbing weight gain begins with the mental picture we keep of ourselves. Bohart’s approach is centered on ImageNeuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a mental discipline he discovered years ago while teaching English in Japan—a pursuit that became an intercontinental calling with an entire world of applications.

It started with a seminar entitled, "Better Teaching through Mind Power."  “As an Aikido student for many years, I was interested in techniques to improve my mind and signed up,” says Bohart. “The seminar really changed my perspective on a number of things that were holding me back and I decided that I wanted to learn more about NLP.” Bohart’s exploration of NLP took him to UC Santa Cruz where he eventually earned his NLP Master Practitioner Certification.

Wild Words: Exploring a Nature Writer's Lexicon

Instructor Mary Oak will tell you the act of writing is about building a relationship. It’s a process in which the writer seeks to establish a healthy rapport with their subject and entice it to grow. In Oak’s upcoming course in Nature ImageWriting, students can look forward to courting the natural world through their work while giving it room to bloom.

As a nature lover herself, Oak has found that joining her fascination of the natural world with her writing process has offered a deeper sensitivity that has only enhanced her creative process. “I see time and again that in our fast-moving world, people benefit from slowing down and paying attention to a tree or a flower or the sky or a creek,” she says. “It feeds them in a different way than writing about their lives or ideas or making up stories do. In that regard writing with a focus on nature could be called ‘writing beyond the desk’. The summer is the perfect time to be outside and do this!”

A Sense of Community at the NSC Art Gallery

On Tuesday, July 18th until August 17th Continuing Education (CE) presents its 3rd Annual Student Art Show located in the North Seattle College Art Gallery. Though the NSC gallery sees a wide range of exhibits, the CE student art show was untraveled ground until a mere three years ago. As public awareness Imageof the show grows so, too, has the creative range and volume of CE student submissions. The success of this annual event is thanks in no small part to the efforts of gallery coordinator, Amanda Knowles—a professional artist whose devotion to administration and education has been of tremendous advantage to the art show’s success.

With a BA in Fine Art from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Knowles has maintained an expansive career in the arts. “I have worked in galleries, for an art consultant, for an architect, assisting an artist, in an auction house, teaching of all sorts, and more,” she says. “I have been on the board of Seattle Print Arts for many years. I have hung many, many shows and three years ago I was able to bring all of my knowledge of the gallery world to work for me in my job as the gallery director.”

A Conversation about Conversational Japanese I

Conversational Japanese I instructor Risami Nakamura-Lambert shares some insights into how she approaches teaching from the perpectives of language and culture.

Q: Please share with us about your educational background. When did you first discover Imageyou had a fondness for teaching and what inspires you in your work?  

I was tutoring Japanese to the students who were taking Japanese classes when I was in a college. That was the beginning of my teaching career.  After I graduated from University of Hawaii, I taught Japanese and social studies to native Japanese 7th graders, and math to 4th graders in a Japanese school. The teaching program was based upon the Japan's Ministry of Education standards even though the school was in the state of Hawaii. I truly enjoyed teaching enthusiastic younger students. After I moved to Seattle, I had an opportunity to teach in the program called Japanese for Professionals at the University of Washington where I was inspired by professors and lecturers in the program.