Continuing Education

Blog Posts

Epic Win: Elizabeth Kennedy Talks about Her Love of Writing

Elizabeth Kennedy is a Continuing Education (CE) writing student with a tremendous love for the written word. It’s an affection that dates all the way back to her earliest recollection. “I began writing as a preschooler on Sunday, October 20th when my mother was paying bills at Imageher desk and wouldn’t play with me during naptime,” she recalls. “I found a green pencil and wrote my first story. I was learning the alphabet, and I painstakingly formed the words from what I understood to be the sounds of the letters. I walked out of my room and asked my mother to transcribe my spelling of the words, the correct spelling of the words, and to write the date on my story. I was a stickler for documenting details even at the age of 4.”

Of all writing genres, Kennedy says she feels most drawn to non-fiction, particularly vignettes and short memoir. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to learn EPIC Group Writers recently awarded her First Place in Adult Poetry for her piece, “Boy and Bands and Broken Hearts.”

Making Connections with Brazilian Portuguese – Level 1

Dora Oliveira is a multi-talented instructor who has devoted her life to building communities. From her nursing work to teaching subjects ranging from Brazilian Dance to her new course, Brazilian Portuguese – Level 1, she has sought to use her skills and life experience to draw Imagepeople together at every turn.  “I enjoy making connections between art and other disciplines and have always been involved in helping to empower and build strong communities through art,” she says. “I've worked in community centers teaching free dance classes for those who can't afford it, and I've promoted flea markets and events to help community members and neighbors get to know each other.”

Having earned her BA in dance from the Federal University of Bahia Brazil in 1991, Oliveira went on to gain a technical nursing degree. Ultimately, Oliveira would complete her BA in Childhood Education at North Seattle College in 2017 and earn a Nurse Assistant Certification from South Seattle College. “My work as a nurse in hospital and private clinics and as a preschool teacher also provides me with experiences that enrich my approach to teaching,” she says.

Play in Life

When it comes to appreciating an artist’s work, particularly a musician, how often do we stop to consider that “playing” is not simply performing or producing music; playing is about Imageattaining state of play. Jazz Piano Intensive instructor Darrius Willrich will be the first to tell you, playing while playing is what playing music is all about.

Willrich has been playing piano for 32 years and teaching for over 20. He grew up listening to and singing gospel music, but ultimately fell under the spell of popular music artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder. He vividly recalls the moment he knew music would be his life, “I had a friend who played music in church and he played a beautiful song called Jesus Is Love by Lionel Richie and I just had to learn it…and the rest is...”

Start with a Plan: Life Planning for You and Those You Love

Poet Mary Oliver once asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” It is a question instructor Dan Kennedy, with or without equal lyricism, plans to put to students joining his course Life Planning for You and Those You Love.

ImageKennedy has been a professional personal coach and trainer for over twenty years, conducting hundreds of presentations, workshops and seminars from AARP to Campbell Soup Company. Though he had reached numerous social groups, he still wondered if there was a particular cohort he had overlooked. He found he needed to look no further than his own generation. “If I ever want inspiration, I go to my local Barnes & Noble and wander the aisles,” he says. “Sooner or later a title will catch my eye and I’ll start reading. So, there I went and sure enough, it wasn’t long before a title snagged my attention: Live Smart After 50! The Experts’ Guide to Life Planning for Uncertain Times published by a group called the Life Planning Network.” Kennedy says he could not resist picking up the book and reading it. 

Trust What Calls to You: Exploring Healing with Tarot

Healing with Tarot instructor Michelle Bloom says she has always been a healer. “Being a healer is a calling you feel within. You tend to be the person everyone goes to when they are troubled as you empathically share the feelings of everyone around you. You are the person in your family who sees the issues and wants to work on them. You tend to be sensitive, Imageemotional, compassionate and introspective. You feel a desire to help others or help the world. I knew I was a healer when I had a spiritual awakening about twenty years ago where my intuition and connection to spirit burst open very quickly.”

Bloom first discovered the curative aspects of Tarot cards as a freshman in college. Picking up her roommate’s deck for the first time, she felt an instant connection to it, a resonance that was somehow familiar to her.  “I began reading for myself and my friends constantly,” she recalls. “I studied and memorized the meaning to each card. I was already on the healing path before Tarot came into my life and I used the cards as a medium for healing instinctively and immediately as a result.”

Class Quest: Landscape Painting – “What it Means to Look at a Tree”

Welcome back to Class Quest and the first submission from our new program coordinator, Marianne Legg. As a seasoned artist, Marianne leapt at the opportunity to visit Sarah Norsworthy’s class, Landscape Painting.Image

Our class stood around a tree, looking at it. We were in Licton Springs Park, gazing into the wetlands with its Doug firs, vine maples and wild roses, tall grasses and ferns. There was the smell of newly mown grass and the air was full of birdsong. A beautiful landscape, and we were a class of landscape painters, there to capture the beauty in paint.

A Once-Over of Spring’s Assortment of One Time Wonders

Do you get wistful over your diminishing personal time when you see the summer months marching toward you? It’s hard not to, particularly when we start looking at the calendar and struggle to map out plans for vacations and activities with friends and family. You start Imagelooking for that one empty square on the grid so you might schedule something fun just for you.

Maybe that empty square is now?

Spring is far from over and Continuing Education offers a happy handful of wonderful one-time, one-and-done classes perfect for that precious window of time you have on your calendar.

Camping and How to Get Away from it All...Without Taking it all With You

Fanciers of camping come to the pastime for many reasons be it to commune with nature or just escape the workday hustle and bustle. Most seasoned campers will agree a big joy to Imagecamping is in making less out of more in the great outdoors. A lifetime Washington native, Camping in the Great Pacific Northwest instructor Peter Marx first discovered the joys of camping as an 11-year-old boy scout—a passion he’s pursued his whole life and looks to share with others.  

Marx discovered early on that to really enjoy a camping excursion one must be well prepared—prepared, but not overly so. “I like the ability to live with everything that I need for a period of time—that brings some amount of enjoyment.” For Marx, camping, like so many of life’s offerings is most enjoyable when approached from a “less is more” philosophy.

The Art of Managing Conflict

The majority of us spend our days avoiding conflict, but as we have all discovered time and again, it’s simply not that easy. In a world of diverse personalities where each of us hold our Imageexperience and opinions dear, it is inevitable we will encounter tension with others at home or in the workplace.  As Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Leadership instructor James Gilman points out, “It seems as if tension and conflict partly define what it means to be human. (Therefore) the ability to resolve conflict is perhaps the most practical life-skill a person can cultivate and exercise.  It is beneficial to learn and practice the art of resolving conflict—the art of mediating conflict. By doing so we become better leaders, managers, friends, parents, spouses, and indeed, better human beings.”

That Special Combination of Words and Pictures

As a kid, Comic Book Illustration instructor Andrew Steers was one of those nerds who saw words and pictures on a page as more than an entertaining diversion, he saw comics as a magical way to bring his imagination to life. A fan of super hero comics like Batman and Spiderman Imagefrom an early age, Steers would eventually translate his love of sequential storytelling into a creative passion. “I am a very visual person so I was always attracted to visual storytelling such as comics, animation and picture books,” he recalls. “The amount of emotion and story that can be packed into an image is impressive. I think the emotional impact of a story told as a comic is what solidified my love of the medium.”

Comics would help root in Steers a deep love of drawing, leading him to pursue formal illustrative skills and ultimately an MFA from Academy of Art University in 2015. “I love the challenge of drawing. When drawing comics you use every foundational skill like figure drawing, perspective, and composition on every page. Drawing is incredibly rewarding and something that I can continuously improve on throughout my life.”

Share Memories with iMovie

iMovie is Apple’s innovative video editing software application designed for the Mac and iOS. Useful on numerous platforms from iPhone to iPod Touch, iMovie users can now put their own stories on film with tremendous skill and ease. Upon its inception, new media veteran and ImageNorth Seattle College webmaster Nico Inzerella took the deep dive into mastering iMovie, using it to narrate his daily life and putting it through its paces during his extreme sports excursions. Now Inzerella is looking forward to sharing that knowledge and expertise with others with Intro to iMove: Storytelling through Videography.

Starting his academic career at Western Washington University’s (WWU) School of Art in pursuit of a degree in graphic design, Inzerella ultimately came to focus his talents on web and video. “I moved up to Bellingham because I was a ski-bum and wanted to be closer to Mt Baker,” he recalls. “I was in the snowboard industry and had sponsors who made videos of their team riders for marketing purposes.”

My Brain on India

CE’s Yoga for Older Adults instructor Tara Bernstein was kind enough to let us republish her blog in which she recounts a learning experience she had in 2015 while studying at Rimyi, the Iyengar Institute under Prashant S. Iyengar, son of school founder, Yogacharya BKS Iyengar.

In January 2015 I studied at Rimyi, the Iyengar Institute in Pune India.  Once home I practiced my poses with tapas, self-discipline, continuing to work on my poses and to go beyond what I know. Honestly, I struggle with practicing too mechanically, working only on Imagethe physical body.  I work on getting my alignment correct, or deepening my forward, backward, or twist poses. I can be somewhat satisfied with working this way, but I know there is more to practice than this. Prashant's teachings definitly reminded me of this.  One of my favorite quotes of his was “conscious craftwork.” Mr. Iyengar's son explained that, the body will only exist for this lifetime, so don't merely do yoga for the body. The consciousness will be maintained for many life times, if you keep awareness of the consciousness.  I like thinking about this because it reminds me of isvara pranidhana, or believing in something higher than myself. Though I still struggle with how my practice will go, I still want to practice mechanically and work on the physical body—it is easy for me and fun. 

Discussing Tai Chi with Instructor Dennis Sharp

Veteran CE Tai Chi instructor Dennis Sharp first set foot on his path to martial arts studies in the late 1970s at the Seattle Kung Fu Club. Immersing himself in the study of Hung Gar Kung ImageFu, Sharp eventually became an instructor at the school in 1985. Upon leaving the school in 1992, Sharp took up the study of Tai Chi (Taiji or Taijiquan) in 1993 concurrent to opening his own class teaching Hung Gar Kung Fu in 1993. “I learned the Symmetrical (Double) Yang style Tai Chi form of Master Tchong Ta Tchen,” Sharp recalls.  “At first, my reason for learning Tai Chi was for the martial arts aspect, it wasn't until a few years later that I discontinued teaching Kung Fu because of its negative effects on my health and began focusing more on Tai Chi. I studied with Sensei Andy Dale and Sensei Dave Harris until 2000. I began teaching at North Seattle (Community) College in 2004.” Upon retiring from teaching Kung Fu in 2011, Sharp began to dedicate his time to teaching Tai Chi and Qigong.

Firing Together: Discussing Neuroplasticity and Neurosculpting

According to international educator Vija Rogozina, our brains are not the rigid mechanisms we tell ourselves. In fact our minds are tremendously flexible—something she means to explore in her upcoming CE class, Neuroplasticity and the Eights Senses of Awareness. “Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout our lifetime,” says Rogozina. “More specifically, neuroplasticity adapts neurons and networks to the changing sensory environment.”Image

Taking it a step further, Neurosculpting is the means by which one reworks and reshapes their thinking. “Neurosculpting modality is based on the principle of Neuroplasticity. It is self-directed and intentional,” says Rogozina. “It involves the theory of Hebbian learning (‘Neurons that fire together, wire together.’), the skill of imagining and mindfulness principles. The process of Neurosculpting always includes a theoretical part and an experiential part consisting of a 5-Step guided meditation.”

Meet New CE Program Coordinator, Marianne Legg

North Seattle College Continuing Education is happy and excited to welcome our new Program ImageCoordinator, Marianne Legg. Though she is in the midst of learning all the ups and down and ins and outs of her new position, she was kind enough to spare some time to share a little bit about herself and reveal why we are so happy to have her join us.

What is your favorite thing about Continuing Education?

What I love most about Continuing Education is the way it changes people's lives. To have a student tell me that a class has changed who they are—there's nothing more meaningful to me.

Covering the Basics of Beginning Fiction–Crash Course

Beginning Fiction—Crash Course instructor Leslie Adkins-Hall has always loved writing. Genre was seldom a concern; she simply loved making words come alive. “I have always wanted to be a writer, starting with screenwriting and poetry, evolving to novels and short stories—but I Imagewrite everything!” she says. “Writing is about studying people and experiences. Writing became the thing I did for ME. For many years, I was a single mom working full-time—challenging and overwhelming. Writing became the way I worked through hard times. Even now, I use writing to process change, to laugh, and to grow.  I get a little crabby when I’m away from it too long."

Exploring Poetry Workshop

It may be surprising to learn Continuing Education’s new Poetry Workshop instructor Graham Isaac’s appreciation for poetry was not seeded in a lyrical fashion. He was not exposed to poetry through a survey of English Lit or infected by late night slams in a smoky coffee shop. ImageIsaac learned to love poetry through the most prosaic, if not organic of means—something that undoubtedly rooted his love of words more deeply than most. “I first grew to love poetry when I was learning to type,” he recalls.  “My grandmother had been a secretary for years, so she taught me how to type on an old desktop computer. She would dictate poems from the 101 Famous Poems compilation and a couple of books of limericks and children's poetry. I can still recite some of those pieces to this day. From then on, I always had an affinity for it.”

“What I See”: Discovering Your Vision and Voice through Comics

Comic book creator Tatiana Gill found her truth in comics and, through her class Draw Your Story: Find Your Voice through Comics, she plans to guide others in doing the same.Image

Since she was old enough to peruse the printed page, Gill has been fascinated with the art of comic book storytelling, a creative medium that would ultimately take up boundless creative space in her life. “Comics are an extremely effective and fun way to communicate almost any kind of information. I am using comics to explain topics that can be difficult to talk about or understand, and I would like to do much more of that.”

Simple Mindfulness That Brings Simply Joy

We asked Mindfulness Meditation instructor Andrea D’Asaro to share with us some brief, easy steps for daily mindfulness to help with stress reduction.Image

In this busy world of ours, the mind gets pulled from one place to the next, scattering thoughts and leaving us stressed, highly-strung and anxious. It’s essential for our happiness to take a few minutes each day to cultivate spaciousness and a positive mind-body balance. The simplest way is through soft attention to the breath and body. Try using this practical mindfulness exercise to connect with a moment of calm, present awareness.

Books on Comics: A Reading List for Comic Book Creators

Spring quarter heralds a new subset of Continuing Education art classes that peel back the covers of an art form experiencing a rapid growth in popularity; comics! Two courses, Andrew Steers’ Comic Book Illustration and Tatiana Gill’s Draw Your Story: Find Your Voice through Comics will offer different approaches to sequential storytelling from seasoned Imageveterans of the medium. In anticipation of these two course offerings, we wanted to highlight a handful of the dozens of books on the market designed to guide readers in all disciplines of the comic creative process.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud has made his career as a cartoonist, lecturer and comic scholar. Since its publication in 1993, his Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is seldom out of print. The book offers an in-depth analysis of the history visual narrative as well as how the language of comics reflect our ingrained need to make sense of our world through symbol systems. McCloud gives readers an historical perspective on how cultures have used pictures to tell stories and ultimately advances his discussion of how we all used a codified visual language to communicate meaning.

Believe in Your Message: Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking

It is said the fear of public speaking is one of the most intense forms of social anxiety that anyone might suffer. Some people would rather endure bodily harm than speak in front of a Imagegroup of people. Why is this? Why is public speaking so terrifying and why does it not come naturally to more people? Instructor Patrice Tabor hopes answer those questions and more in her upcoming class, Introduction to Public Speaking. “Fear and nervousness about speaking in public is perfectly normal,” says Tabor. “By learning and practicing new skills, the fear can be managed and even transformed into new positive energy.”

Instructor Profile: Liz Duarte

North Seattle College Ceramics instructor Liz Duarte has been instrumental in shaping the CE program into one of unprecedented popularity. We figured it was time we got some insight into how she came to love ceramics and why it continues to inspire her.

ImagePlease give us some background on your life in ceramics. When did you first discover you had an affinity for it?

My favorite outdoor activity as a child was playing in the mud. I loved poetry, music and drawing and I loved to redecorate my room. I spent many an hour moving posters and furniture to find the most pleasing arrangement. I think that helped to develop my desire for esthetically pleasing solutions. I didn’t discover clay until college. I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on, but I had gone to figure drawing classes on my own and really enjoyed them. Figure drawing was my first class at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. Then came design, then sculpture and then Ceramics! I got more into the idea of getting my Associates Degree at that point. They had a really cool Clay Club and I had a great group of friends. I assisted with summer classes for kids, and then I started working for San Diego Job Corps in the Arts and Crafts Department.

Shedding Light on Film Noir in the Atomic Age

Few film genres are as wrapped up in a period style as Film Noir. As films, they reflect one of Imagethe most iconic periods of American fashion from the sleek cars and the sharp cut of men’s suits, to the women in pearls matched by a ubiquitous halo of cigarette smoke. Yet beyond the snappy dialogue, femme fatales and black and white film stock, the stories told through Film Noir nearly always feature some dark and untouchable threat looming in the background.For his latest class, Film Noir in the Atomic Age, Jon Noe has handpicked films reflective of a particular kind of threat—one that shaped American culture in the post War years that still hovers over us today.  “The five films I chose have either the threat of the atomic bomb, nuclear secrets, scientists, the red scare or a combination of those themes,” says Noe.

Up Close with Solo Performance Workshop

Theatre is an intimate art form whose success relies on the depth of the conversation Imagebetween audience and performer. In an ensemble production, the audience must feel drawn into each characters’ story arc while becoming a silent member of the production’s community. A one-person production is something else entirely, and as Solo Performance Workshop instructor Dan Tarker will tell you, audiences attending a one-person show are invited to be more than a silent participant; they are the solo performer’s confidant. In that light, the creation and execution of a solo performance is a unique and exhilarating process.

All in the Mix for Mixed Media

This winter, Continuing Education art instructor Sarah Norsworthy introduces students to one Imageof her favorite art forms: Mixed Media. Sarah took a moment to share her thoughts and experiences about Mixed Media and why she finds it so inspiring both as an artist and teacher.

Q: When did you first discover an affinity for this particular discipline and what keeps inspiring you about it?

Sarah Norsworthy (SN): I got into mixing collage and paint when I was youngI loved how I could use the paint to bring different imagery together.  I did this to a small tabletop and had it in my room. This instinct to combine different materials came into play again in college when I took a sculpture class.  I had already taken quite a few painting classes and that was my declared concentration, so I began bringing a painterly approach to the sculptures I was making culminating in creating a walk-in installation. It was kind of like a cave and felt like walking into a painting.  The walls were made of sail cloth sewn together that I had painted and drawn on, the ceiling was made of fabric covered with joint compound so some light would filter through, the floor was plastered, and there were found objects that were manipulated and incorporated like a mattress I carved into. The whole piece was inspired by an Ann Sexton poem.