LTCC Commencement 2018: LTCC President Jeff DeFranco, SNCatLTCC graduate Lindsay Lipp, SNC President Alan Walker
Meet the first students to graduate from the SNC@LTCC bachelor's degree program.

First Graduates from SNC@LTCC!

There’s no question that Lake Tahoe is an awesome place to live and play. Unfortunately for many, that awesome lifestyle afforded limited opportunities for a 4-year college education. Sierra Nevada College is changing that.

In the fall of 2016, SNC joined forces with Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe. Students in the south lake area can now complete their bachelor’s degree right on the LTCC campus. No need to commute in mountain snowstorms, or move from paradise. On May 12 2018, the first graduating SNC@LTCC students took their places on the commencement stage. All four earned their Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Global Business Management.

The Graduates

Jesse Kilow, born and raised on the South Shore, was caught between the love of his home and the advantages of a four-year college education. “I had actually gone down to Rohnert Park near Santa Rosa,” said Kilow, “[but] I just wasn’t really enjoying living in that area, and I was really missing Tahoe.” Kilow already held several associate degrees, but knew that the lifetime earnings bonus for a four-year degree over a high-school diploma is nearly $1 million. “I wanted to have something that would expand my opportunities in life going forward.”

Lindsay Lipp moved to Tahoe from Hawaii 12 years ago. She had her first child a year later. “I just sort of went into raising him and going to work,” says Lindsay. “I think I knew I just didn’t want to keep doing minimum wage jobs, and education was the way to fix that.” Lipp graduated from SNC with honors; she was a valedictorian candidate in the top 1% of all SNC 2018 graduates. She caught the higher-education bug at SNC, and starts the University of Nevada – Reno MBA program in the fall.

Amber Nachreiner worked in South Lake Tahoe restaurants for years. “I started at the bottom, hosting, and over six years I’ve worked my way up to management.” Now she wants to move into real estate marketing, or managing her fiance’s videography business. Amber also has a 2-year-old daughter who “keeps her very busy,” so she needs a manageable schedule and commute. When the SNC@LTCC program removed those barriers, there was no excuse for delaying her education any longer.

Haily Mitchell had already been accepted to UNR for fall 2016. When she heard about SNC@LTCC, she decided to avoid the commute and stay in South Lake Tahoe. “My mom owns a business here in town, so I can help her.”

New Options in Higher Ed

LTCC’s vision of wider access to four-year education inspired construction of the Lisa Maloff University Center, opening in August 2018. The Center will initially house bachelor’s degree programs from SNC and Brandman University, with more to follow. “Lake Tahoe is a premier California destination, and it deserves a college to match,” noted LTCC President Jeff DeFranco. “Thanks to Mrs. Maloff’s generous support, we are laying the foundation for a 21st-century learning environment for our students.”

“Expanding opportunities for students to pursue higher education is not just good for SNC, and for our economy, it’s good public policy,” added SNC President Alan Walker. Walker initiated Project Eagle, SNC’s donor-supported drive to develop 4-year extension centers on 2-year college campuses, in 2015. To date, Project Eagle has opened centers at LTCC and Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. Negotiations for more centers are ongoing.

Learn More

Image: (L-R) LTCC President Jeff DeFranco, graduate Lindsay Lipp, SNC President Alan Walker

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Male teacher working in elementary school classroom
SNC's new Bachelor of Education program in Reno is a response to Nevada’s continuing shortage of qualified teachers.

New Undergraduate Teaching Degree Offered in Reno

Sierra Nevada College recently debuted a new bachelor’s degree program for aspiring teachers at their Reno campus. The program is a response to Nevada’s continuing shortage of qualified teachers in many areas.

“Nevada increasingly looks out of state, and even out of the country to solve the elementary education teacher shortage. We feel it is our responsibility to expand the options for teacher education right here at home,” noted Dr. Alan Walker, president of SNC.

Graduates receive their Bachelor of Arts in Education. Student teaching and all the current requirements for a Nevada Teaching License in Elementary Education (K-8) are included. The new English language learner courses, which will be required in Nevada in 2020, are also part of the program. All on-ground classes are scheduled outside school hours, so you can take classes while you substitute teach or keep a “day job”. Courses are scheduled year-round, and tuition is only $382 per credit, plus fees. Classes are held at SNC’s Reno campus in the Reno Technology Center, 9480 Gateway Drive, Suite 150.

SNC is a recognized leader in “educating the educators”. The college also offers multiple master’s degrees in teaching and education, special endorsement course series, and continuing education credits. Stand-alone courses which fill specific Nevada certification requirements are given several times each semester. The Dept. of Teacher Education offers a convenient, affordable path to your teaching career.

INFO SESSION: June 27 2018, 5:30 pm, at the Reno campus. Learn about the program, meet with faculty, and get admission information.

For more information, contact Katrina Midgley at kmidgley@sierranevada.edu or 775-881-7517, or REQUEST INFO ONLINE >.

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Graduate Shelbylynn Hawkins' mortarboard at the Sierra Nevada College 2018 Commencement Ceremony
It was not the wise words of Aristotle or Plato that got me through 72 hours of straight awakeness. It was you guys!
Valedictorian Giulianna Crivello

Voices from Commencement 2018

2018 Commencement Highlights

The Speakers

Valedictorian Giulianna Crivello

“For the past three and a half years I have skimmed through textbooks (I use the term “skimmed” lightly), completed group papers (why, Mary Lewellen?), pulled a lot of all-nighters (so kind, business plan), shot down my first black diamond (thank you Lauren Bloom, and endlessly doubted myself that has led to a couple thousand existential crises. And yet, it was not the wise words of Aristotle or Plato, or the French impressionism of Monet, that often got me through the 72 hours of straight awakeness. It was you guys!

Commencement Speaker Jan Stevens ’77

“Like many people, my life had been a struggle until I found out what I wanted to do. Music is my sanctuary and I can lose myself in creative thought for hours. Even if I didn’t end up having career success, I would still have no regrets about doing what I loved… So, what do you see for yourself, what do you want? What gets you excited? I invite you to think big, to take risks, to be open to all possibilities and see yourself as deserving of great things and success.”

The Graduates

Caitlyn Admire
Caitlyn worked very hard on her degree, and hopes for a bright future.

Emilie Amundsen
Thank you so much to my family for giving me the opportunity to go to college in such a beautiful place. And, thank you to all the friends I made here that made these four years amazing!

Richard Baldwin
Richard thanks his parents, Laura and Rodger, for their constant support. I could not have done this without them!

Brian Bales
Thank you to my family, friends, and pow-filled winters for making the last four years awesome!

Kyle Barnedt
Finally!

Olivia Boomhower
Thank you to my family! I am now headed into nature to decompress from the last four years!

Amanda Borries
Amanda is very proud of her accomplishments, and is excited to do great things in her future!

Kevin Brod
Kevin thanks his parents, Jon and Deb, for their continued support!

Kyle Brown
I worked hard, made some great friends, and still found time to have fun and enjoy the Tahoe experience!

Kosei Champollion
Kosei thanks his dad and his wife for all the support and love given to him.

Connor Clayton
I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to study, earn a degree, and make some amazing connections in such a beautiful place. I cannot thank my mom and dad enough for their immense support, and the opportunities they have given me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Giulianna Crivello
Giulianna thanks her mother, father, Gio and Sammy, as well as her roommates, and the rest of her friends and family.

Conner Doyle
Conner would like to thank his family for their support over the last four years, as well as the faculty at SNC for making his time here enjoyable.

Angel Dwyer
Angel plans to use her marketing degree to obtain a career in major league baseball following graduation.

Hanalei Edbrooke
Hanalei came to SNC because of her passion for snowboarding, and her drive to challenge limits and question convention.

Dylan Fangmeier
Dylan will continue to live in Tahoe and assist with the Lacrosse team.

Dylan Hagan
Dylan is pursuing his Masters in mountain living at the University of “home is where you park it!”

Franklin Hall
Franklin enjoyed his four years at SNC while studying ski business and marketing, and being on the freestyle ski team. The memories he made at SNC will last forever.

Hannah Hasbrouck
Hannah thanks her parents for their continuous love and support.

Alexandra Hastings
Thank you to my parents and professors, who supported me through this journey.

Shelbylynn Hawkins
Shelbylynn would like to thank everyone who has helped her get to this point.

Mario Herrera
It look a lot of work to reach this goal. I had to show-up every day whether I felt like it or not! I hope I’ll continue to be a person who shows-up day in and day out for those things that are worthwhile and important in life.

Travis Hoff
Thank you to the staff of SNC! With a special thank you to my parents for all your love and support.

Kimberly Holbrook
Kimberly is proud to say she completed her Psychology degree, and is continuing her education by pursuing a Masters in Special Education.
Thank you to all friends, family, and my husband, Freeman, who helped me on my way from the beginning to the end of this journey.

Michael Huggins
It has been an eventful and fun four years here at SNC! I look forward to creating success in the motorsports industry.

Steven Jenab
Steven enjoyed his time at SNC studying business marketing, and wants to say thank you for all of the faculty that helped guide him along the way. Also, thank you to his parents for supporting him no matter what.

Brittney Jimmerson
Brittney plans on furthering her education in behavior analysis.

Kierra Keller
This season in Tahoe has helped all of us grown. Kierra and her daughter, Sofia, came, rocked it, and conquered. But, friends, this is only the beginning!

Ryan Knuppenburg
Ryan plans to stay in Tahoe for another six months for a ski season with no homework interruptions, and to continue his volunteer work at Tahoe Safe Alliance, a local non-profit in Incline Village, which provides resources to abuse victims.
After building his volunteer hours and, hopefully, publishing his independent research papers, he plans to apply for grad schools on the East coast for 2020.

Mihaela Kosi
Mihaela would like to thank her family, friends, ski coaches, and professors that support her during college years. And, huge gratitude to the ski team, who made her days here full of joy. I will miss you all!

Isaac Laredo
Isaac loves powder, retrievers, and climbing cracks. He will continue to apply his new skill sets in the backcountry and community of the Sierra Nevada’s.

Rachel Lightner
Rachel is graduating with honors in Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Journalism. She was a national competitor on the snowboard team all four years, essential editor on the Eagle’s Eye newspaper, President of Wild Women of Tahoe Club,, and media director for the ODAL program. Fly on little wing!

Michelle Mayer
Michelle thanks her friends and family for their support and encouragement of the past years.

Cale Martinez-Tuttle
After college, Cale plans to take time off and travel the world. Shortly after, he plans to attend culinary school in San Diego.

Aidan McCarthy
Aidan thanks his family for all their love and support.

Frederick McCarthy
Frederick would like to thank Stacy Taylor and the Business Department.

Jake McIntyre
I saw the light up on the mountain, to the peak I climb. Breathtaking new perspectives on the life I grind.
-Dilated Peoples

Sybile Moser
I would like to thank my family for their unyielding love and support, as well as Henry Conover, Sarah Fricke, and Christina Frederick.

Amber Nachreiner
Amber could not have done this without the love and support from her family. Much love to my fiancé, Cameron, and daughter, Avery.

West Park
Really needs a beer . . .
Looking for a custom space in your back yard? Visit tahoeshed.com now to make those dreams a reality.

Nicole Ross
Nicole served SNC in many ways during her undergraduate career. She is looking forward to starting a new chapter at graduate school with her cat, Sylvester.

Joseph Schembri
My time at SNC has been an absolute pleasure. This marvelous institute and all of its tremendous staff deserved to be named the best in Nevada. Thank you!

Kyle Simper
Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and lost. Then, when you see a path, by all means, you should follow that.

Brittney Smith
Brittney worked diligently to obtain her degree while being a full-time, stay-at-home parent, traveling across the country with her spouse, and continuing to serve her country as a military member of the Nevada Air National Guard.

Lee Anna Strandberg
Thank you, mom and dad, for believing in me, and your continued love and support.

Nicholas Strother
An active athlete, adventure and world traveler. Nick let SNC shape his view of the world and frame his experiences for the rest of his life.

Ryan Stuebe
I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to go to school in Tahoe. All the support I received from my family and friends is what really made this whole adventure possible!

Elias Stuerz
Elias applied for OPT to gain additional work experience before returning to Europe.

Eric Tanguay
Eric has been a member of the Executive Board of SNC’s Student Government Association for the last three years, and has been working as the head golf coach for the last two. After graduating, Eric plans to continue coaching, and to continue his career in the field of professional golf.

Chris Tunnison
Chris was a hard worker, and made others around him better. He was a joy to have around!

David Wadleigh
David thanks all his awesome professors, who made this such a valuable experience, and his parents for their ongoing love and support.

Rachel Whelan
As a first-generation graduate, Rachel thanks her parents, grandparents, and closest friends for their love and support throughout her academic journey.

Raleigh White
Raleigh enjoyed his time at SNC studying Finance and Economics, while skiing on the Freestyle Ski Team. He will never forget all of the great memories made in his four years here.

Photo: Shelbylynn Hawkins

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Students Ikela Lewis and Sarah Fricke present their research on perception to Professor Christina Frederick at the 2018 Sierra Nevada College Psychology Fair
Every psychology major at SNC conducts an original research project, from background studies through experimental design, testing, and statistical analysis.

2018 Undergraduate Psychology Research

The eight seniors in the Experimental Psychology course, and a group of four underclassmen presented their research projects at the 2018 Sierra Nevada College Psychology Research Fair on April 23. Each student chose their question based on their personal interests. The students then designed and executed the research, from background studies through experimental protocols, testing, and statistical analysis. This year’s projects spanned an unusually wide range of fields, including education, business, social psychology, perception, psychopathology, and art therapy.


“I am always so impressed by how hard my students work on their research projects, and how motivated they are. Whether they go on to grad school or into the workforce, they have great futures ahead of them!”
Christina Frederick, Psychology Program Chair


Presenters at the 2018 Psychology Research Fair L-R: James Sandoval, Jillian Hummer, Sarah Freedman, Ikela Lewis, Danny Dubyak, Professor Christina Frederick, Liam Mattox, Sarah Fricke, Gabby Ariganello, Sybile Moser

After the SNC Psych Fair, the students took their posters and presentations on the road. The first stop was the Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium, on April 30 at UNR. There, Danny Dubyak was chosen to describe his research on participation awards in the oral presentations. Then the six students who had submitted their papers to the UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) headed to southern California for the May 4th event. Ariganello, Dubyak, Freedman, Knuppenburg, Mattox, and Moser were all accepted at PURC. Both Dubyak and Mattox were selected for oral presentations.


“Our students are up against students from all over the country that are trying to get into the UCLA psychology conference. . . People may think ‘Oh, this is a small college, maybe they’re not getting that great an experience’, but they really are. This semester really culminates everything they’ve been doing.”
Morgan Burke, Experimental Psychology Teaching Assistant

Original research gives an important extra dimension to undergraduates’ experiences at SNC. Students build adaptability and confidence when they use their own initiative to solve unexpected problems. They learn creative new ways of thinking that are important assets as they continue their education or move into professional careers. And they develop strong relationships and collaboration skills working with their faculty mentors and fellow students.

The 2018 Psychology Research Projects

Gabby Ariganello
Person vs. Disability-first Language: Perceived Capabilities of Those with Learning Disabilities
This project measured how participants evaluated an essay by a “student with a learning disability” (person first) vs. the same essay by a “learning disabled student” (disability first). The APA stresses person-first language, but not everyone agrees. Ariganello found that the difference in language had no significant effect on how participants judged the hypothetical disabled student’s academic ability. Disabled people’s personal language preferences can safely take precedence.

Danny Dubyak
Award Structures: Participation Awards Positively Impact Performance
There is a common concern about participation trophies that giving awards to everybody makes the awards meaningless. Dubyak, who is a double major in Psychology and Global Business Management, was particularly interested in the value of giving awards in the workplace. The study compared the impact on performance of giving everyone an award, giving no one an award, and giving the highest achiever an award. The results show that awards given to all participants do have a statistically significant impact on performance.

Sarah Freedman
You Can Judge a Person by Their Profile: When Gossip Deters Relationships
Gossip (talking about an absent third party) has a negative connotation in popular culture. In contrast, research suggests that gossip is a social tool which enhances relationship and group bonds. Freedman set up fake social media profiles containing malicious, positive, or no gossip. The study looked at participants’ responses to friend requests from the people represented in the different types of profiles. Comparison tests of social, physical, and task attraction were all lower when the profiles contained malicious gossip.

Sarah Fricke, Alisa Robinson, David I.K. Moniz-Lewis, and Kaitlin Cabral
What You Sea is What You Get; Does Global vs. Local Priming Impact Hierarchical Perspective?
This research investigated the effect of global (distance) or local (close-up) priming on visual perception. The perception tests were letter recognition tasks in which there were very large letters made up of different small letters. The testing is not complete, but preliminary results suggest that priming does not impact global or local perspective. This project was conducted by a group of sophomore and junior psychology students.

Jillian Hummer
Service Dog Awareness: The Impact of Reading on Students’ Perceptions of Animal-assisted Therapy
Hummer looked at whether storytelling changed students’ perceptions of service dogs. Many people, nowadays, bring their dogs into public spaces and refer to them as emotional support dogs. This has created problems for service dogs. Hummer, who has experience with animal therapy and owns a support dog, researched how reading different types of content influenced students’ awareness about support animals. Participants read a personal narrative with a support dog, a personal narrative without the dog, or statistics about service dogs. These readings did not impact service dog awareness.

Ryan Knuppenburg
Linguistic Affect Priming Impacts Word Choice and Likability
Knuppenburg, who grew up in New York, noticed that people on the East Coast are more sarcastic and people on the West Coast have a more positive tone. He was interested in the effect this could have on people’s feelings about themselves and others. His research found that exposing participants to positive vs. negative language affected their own language choices and tendency to like the speaker. This highlights the importance of conversational awareness and learned optimism in social interactions.

Liam Mattox
Does Closing Your Eyes Affect Stress?
Managing stress is a major concern for many people. Mattox used blood pressure measurements and questionnaire responses to see if it is more effective to meditate with your eyes open or closed. Participants in his study experienced similar stress reduction from a 5-minute breathing exercise performed either way – do it however works for you!

Sybile Moser
History Alive: Using Colorized Historical Imagery to Impact Retention and Engagement
Students can struggle with interest in history. This project compared students’ responses to mock textbook pages with either black and white or colorized images. Participants who read the pages with colorized images showed higher levels of engagement and retention, and used fewer words about negative emotions and death in describing the content. Revitalized visuals in textbooks could lead to more engaged students.

The Trouble With Thankfulness
Does “non-social” gratitude – gratitude for a life circumstance, rather than for the actions or presence of a person – impact risk-taking behavior? Moser exposed half the participants to a gratitude priming exercise, then used responses to a “choose your own adventure” (CYOA) story to compare risk-taking. Results showed that the gratitude priming had no significant effect, although there was a significant difference in risk-taking between men and women across both groups.

James Sandoval
Impact of Self Expression on Creativity
Sandoval investigated whether self-expression can stimulate creativity. Participants began by completing one of three different drawing activities: drawing inside the lines, drawing a specified object, or making a unique-to-self drawing. Participants then completed a creativity test. Those who had started with the most self-expressive drawing task had significantly higher scores on the creativity test, suggesting that there are ways to develop and practice creativity.


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The winners of the 2018 President's Cup Business Plan Competition at Sierra Nevada College and their faculty mentors
The quality of the business plans submitted was so high that the panel of judges awarded prizes to all four competing teams.

2018 President’s Cup Winners

The SNC President’s Cup Business Plan Competition

Four student teams presented their final business plans on April 24 to a panel of expert judges, and an enthusiastic audience of SNC students, faculty, and administrators. In what may be a first for the President’s Cup, the judges decided after a tough deliberation that all four teams deserved to share the prize money.

The 2018 winners are:

1st Place – Tahoe Shed Company – Weston Park – $2000
Tahoe Shed Company builds creative, quality, and custom backyard spaces.

2nd Place – Work for Play – David Brown and Jake Shields – $1500
An online platform to facilitate barter transactions between businesses and customers who are interested in their products or services.

3rd Place – Auto Elate – Austen Brown and Joey Schembri – $1000
An online platform for tracking vehicle maintenance schedules and connecting with trusted providers.

4th Place – Love of Language – Melissa Watts – $500
Learn a new language as you “grow up” in an online virtual city.


Business Plan Competitions at SNC Tahoe

The SNC Business Plan Competition series begins with the Innovative Idea competition in the fall. At the Pitch Competition in late winter, each team submits a three-minute pitch video. For the final President’s Cup Competition, the competing teams are judged both on their written business plans and five-minute live presentations. The teams use PowerPoint, video, and even physical prototypes to make their pitch, present a short market analysis and financial summary, and respond to questions from the judges.

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Giulianna Crivello, Sierra Nevada College 2018 Valedictorian
Crivello, an entrepreneurship and finance/economics major, found close friendships, amazing mentors, a lot of hard work, plentiful adventures, and limitless opportunities at SNC.

Class of 2018 Valedictorian Giulianna Crivello

Majors: Entrepreneurship, Finance and Economics

Originally from San Diego, Crivello often visited Lake Tahoe with her family as a child but never knew there was a college in Incline Village. She discovered SNC after completing her 12th college application during her senior year of high school. Giulianna, otherwise known as “G,” felt out of place amongst all the large public universities. When she finally visited SNC she felt instantly at home. She also wanted to ski, and experience a real winter.

Her journey at SNC has gone beyond anything she could have imagined. Taking a risk on a smaller school allowed Crivello to develop amazing relationships with her professors. She become an active member of the honors program, worked as an analyst at a local private equity firm, and interned for Sierra Innovations and the Sierra Angels. She was the Director of Public Relations for the Student Government Association, ran for the SNC cross-country team, mentored incoming freshman, and studied abroad in Cork, Ireland. All while completing her entrepreneurship and finance/economics degrees in three and half years.

Crivello took full advantage of the many opportunities the Tahoe area has to offer. She went hiking and backpacking, and rode the Tour de Tahoe as a member of SNC’s Team Eagle. The inspiration of the surrounding community helped her lead team LIMIT to 1st place in the Sierra Nevada College Pitch Competition, SNC President’s Cup Business Plan Competition, the Undergraduate D.W. Reynolds Nevada Governor’s Cup, Lt. Governor’s Award for most Sustainable Business and the D.W. Reynolds Tri-State Competition. At SNC, Crivello found close friendships, amazing mentors, a lot of hard work, plentiful adventures, and limitless opportunities. And she says that “there are still no words to explain what attending SNC meant, and still means, to me”.

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Biology students at Sierra Nevada College watched harbor seals sunning on the beach at Point Lobos State Reserve in California, on a spring field course in animal diversity.
SNC biology students studying animal diversity found plenty of fascinating examples during a weekend trip to the California coast.

Marine Diversity on the California Coast

SNC biology students studying animal diversity found plenty of fascinating examples during a weekend trip to the California coast. After all, animals first evolved in the oceans. The dramatic differences between marine and land habitats produce some fascinating results!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

March 31, 2018
We spent Saturday at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium is a great resource because its exhibits focus on replicating real marine habitats in their full complexity. There’s a 28-foot deep kelp forest; a huge open sea tank; and resident sea otters. The shark-friendly Monterey Bay exhibit highlights five different habitats beneath the bay, with all the amazing creatures that live there. There are also tropical coral reefs, penguins, giant octopus, and plenty of opportunities to watch all sorts of creatures up close. And as an educational and scientific organization, the Aquarium has excellent interpretive materials.

Biology students at Sierra Nevada College found a hermit crab in search of a bigger shell at the Monterey Aquarium during a field course in animal diversity.A hermit crab in search of a more spacious shell.
Biology students at Sierra Nevada College found honeycomb and zebra moray eels at the Monterey Aquarium during a field course in animal diversity.Honeycomb and zebra moray eels.
Biology students at Sierra Nevada College found brilliant tropical fish in the Viva Baja exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium during a field course in animal diversity.Brilliant tropical fish in the Viva Baja tank.

One challenge for the students was to find representatives of as many animal phyla as they could. They also looked for ways in which animals adapt to their habitats. How do fish “hide” from predators in the open ocean, or cuttlefish change the color of their skin in seconds?

That night we stayed at a group campground in Veteran’s Memorial Park, right in the city of Monterey, CA. The science and ODAL programs have accumulated awesome camping gear, so we were quite comfortable. That evening we made an open campfire on Pebble Beach, and cooked shish-kabobs and s’mores over the coals. We watched hundreds of tiny sandpipers following the waves to dig up their dinner. They scurry down the sand, pecking for tiny invertebrates as waves recede. Then they race back up as the waves come in, as if they hate to get their feet wet. It was vastly entertaining.

Biology students at Sierra Nevada College watched sandpipers race up and down the beach pecking for their dinner on Pebble Beach in Monterey, on a field course in animal diversity.Sandpipers race up and down the beach pecking for their dinner on Pebble Beach.
Biology students at Sierra Nevada College camped overnight at Veterans Memorial Park in Monterey on a spring field course in animal diversity.Early morning in the campground at Veterans Memorial Park.
The John Steinbeck monument on Cannery Row in Monterey. Steinbeck is top, with seagull.The John Steinbeck (top, with seagull) monument on Cannery Row in Monterey.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

April 1, 2018
Sunday morning, we went to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to see marine mammals, birds, and coastal plant communities in the wild. Within 10 minutes of parking, we saw bottlenose dolphins and a gray whale mother and calf. There were harbor seals, sea lions, and sea otters, sunning themselves on the rocks and fishing. On the cliffs we spotted pelagic cormorants, and pigeon guillemots building nests in crevices.

Biology students at Sierra Nevada College had a campfire on Pebble Beach in Monterey on a spring field course in animal diversity.Campfire and s’mores on Pebble Beach in Monterey.
Biology students at Sierra Nevada College watched a cormorant on the cliffs at Point Lobos State Reserve in California, on a spring field course in animal diversity.A cormorant on the cliffs at Point Lobos State Reserve.
Biology students at Sierra Nevada College on a cliff overlooking Pt Lobos State Reserve during a spring field course in animal diversity.The Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos.

The Environmental Sciences at SNC Tahoe

header photo: harbor seals on the beach at Point Lobos.

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Watching a bald eagle on its nest, River Fork Ranch, Carson Valley NV, Sierra Nevada College Winter Raptor field course, January 2018
Students in the winter ornithology field courses studied raptors and wildfowl in their habitats.

Birds on the Wing

Students in SNC’s weekend ornithology field courses learn to identify the birds they’re studying and the factors that drive their migrations. They then head out for two full days in the field, led by adjunct professor and professional guide Kirk Hardie. There they put their observational and research skills to work. They survey the birds; practice distinguishing between similar species, adults and juveniles, and males and females; and observe the birds’ behavior in the wild.

Winter Raptors

January 19 – 21, 2018

This year the class spent one day in the Carson Valley, and one in the Sierra Valley north of Truckee. One surprise this year was the number of Ferruginous Hawks. Usually we see one to two over a weekend, but this year we saw a dozen. There are always lots of Red-tailed Hawks, but it’s unusual to see enough of other kinds of hawks to make good learning comparisons. At the Nature Conservancy’s River Fork Ranch near Genoa, we able to observe a Bald Eagle on its nest!

The students conducted their surveys using the Central Valley Winter Raptor Roadside Survey Protocols. This year they recorded 7 Bald Eagles (including 6 on the ground eating a jackrabbit), over 60 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 12 Ferruginous Hawks, 6 Rough-legged Hawks, 1 Prairie Falcon, and more than 12 American Kestrels. In other years, we have also sighted Golden Eagles and Peregrin Falcons.

Red-tailed Hawk and Ferruginous Hawk, Sierra Valley CA, Sierra Nevada College Winter Raptor field course, January 2018A Red-tailed Hawk and a Ferruginous Hawk, Sierra Valley CA.
Searching for raptors along Hwy 395, Minden NV, Sierra Nevada College Winter Raptor field course, January 2018Searching for raptors along Hwy 395, Carson Valley NV.
Bald eagles and ravens with a jackrabbit, Sierra Valley CA, Sierra Nevada College Winter Raptor field course, January 2018Bald Eagles and Ravens with a jackrabbit, Sierra Valley CA.

Winter Waterfowl

February 2 – 4, 2018

The first day the class visited Swan Lake, north of Reno. This is usually a great location, but this year the birds were too far out for good viewing. Waterfowl are easy to observe because they are large and typically stay on bodies of water. However, when they are quite far out and swimming, using a scope challenging! The second day we visited Washoe Lake and the Tahoe Keys.

In general there were fewer waterfowl than in previous years. We discussed several possible explanations. The class was held a few weeks later than last time, so some birds may have migrated already. There might have been unusually favorable conditions further north this year, so they didn’t need to migrate this far south. Or they might just have found conditions they preferred at other locations in the Reno/Tahoe area.

Despite the lack of waterfowl in some locations, we still found 16 different species of ducks and geese: Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, and Ruddy Duck.


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Snowboarder Isaac Laredo at the 2018 USCSA Nationals
The SNC Eagles brought back 15 Gold, 16 Silver, and 9 Bronze team and individual medals from the 2018 USCSA Nationals in Lake Placid.

SNC Eagles Win USCSA Nationals

527 collegiate athletes representing 65 universities from across six regions met in Lake Placid March 6 through 10 for the annual USCSA (U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association) championships. As usual, the SNC Eagles produced impressive results. Both the Women’s and Men’s Freeski teams took their Team National Championships. Women’s and Men’s Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding teams all placed 2nd overall. Unlike the “star” focus of the individual scoring format typically used in skiing, team scoring showcases the athletic depth and cooperative spirit of the Eagles.

The SNC teams brought back a combined 9 Gold, 8 Silver, and 2 Bronze medals. Individual SNC athletes won 6 Gold, 8 Silver, and 7 Bronze.

SNC Eagles mens freeski competitor at the 2018 USCSA NationalsMen’s Freeski Rail Jam
Joris Grintalis was 1st in combined individual results for the men's freeski team at the 2018 USCSA NationalsFreeskiier Joris Grintalis
SNC Eagles womens freeski competitor at the 2018 USCSA NationalsWomen’s Freeski Rail Jam

The Women’s Freeski Team, led by Vilde Johansen with Emilie Amundsen close behind, swept the podium in both the Rail Jam and Slopestyle events. The men did the same in the Rail Jam, and took silver and bronze in the Rail Jam. The Men’s Snowboard Team put two competitors on the podium for the Rail Jam, led by National Champion Freddy McCarthy, and Slopestyle, led by National Champion Benjamin Hojnoski.

Both the Women’s and Men’s Alpine Teams took the National Championship in the Team Dual Slalom. Saana Ahonen took home her first individual Giant Slalom National Championship, followed by Mihaela Kosi in 2nd place. “It was a really tough day but the team worked really well together and in my opinion that’s why we won today. I’m happy to be an Eagle and part of this great team,” said Ahonen after their win.

SNC alpine skiier Saana Ahonen, GS National Champion at the 2018 USCSA NationalsGS National Champion Saana Ahonen
The mens snowboard team on the podium at the 2018 USCSA NationalsMen’s Snowboard Team
SNC alpine skiier Mihaela Kosi, 2nd place in GS at the 2018 USCSA NationalsMihaela Kosi

Top Performers

Women Freeski:
  • Vilde Johansen: 1st in combined individual results, National Champion in Rail Jam, National Champion in Slopestyle, 6th in Skier Cross,
  • Emilie Amundsen: 2nd in combined individual results, 2nd in Rail Jam, 2nd in Slopestyle, 3rd in Skier Cross
  • Bridget O’Brien: 6th in combined individual results, 3rd in Rail Jam, 3rd in Slopestyle
  • Sarah Lingg: 4th in combined individual results, 6th in Rail Jam, 4th in Slopestyle
  • Gabby Dodd: 9th in combined individual results, 4th in Rail Jam
Men Freeski:
  • Andrew “Shaggy” Eells: 3rd in combined individual results, National Champion in Rail Jam, 3rd in Slopestyle
  • Rals White: 2nd in combined individual results, 2nd in Rail Jam, 5th in Slopestyle
  • Cole Lyon: 8th in combined individual results, 3rd in Rail Jam
  • Joris Grintalis: 1st in combined individual results, 4th in Rail Jam, 2nd in Slopestyle
Women Alpine:
  • Saana Ahonen: 2nd overall in combined results, National Champion in Giant Slalom, 6th in Slalom
  • Mihaela Kosi: 2nd in Giant Slalom
Men Alpine:
  • Anton Waller: 4th overall in combined results, 4th in Giant Slalom
Women Snowboard:
  • Rachel Lightner: 3rd in Rail Jam, 5th in Slopestyle
Men Snowboard:
  • Frederick McCarthy: National Champion in Rail Jam, 2nd in Slalom, 2nd in Giant Slalom
  • Matthew Romanowitz: 3rd in Rail Jam, 4th in Slopestyle
  • Nicholas Strother: 5th in Rail Jam, 2nd in Slopestyle
  • Benjamin Hojnoski: 6th in Rail Jam, National Champion in Slopestyle
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Image of snow monkeys with their babies on their backs strolling down a street in Shiga Kogen Japan
Historic temples, Japanese pop culture, powder skiing, snow monkeys in the hot springs, and the World Peace Buddha on a fine arts travel course to Japan.

Japanuary 2018 – See & Ski Japan

Ceramics professor and Japan enthusiast Sheri Leigh O’Connor led a group of students on this year’s “Japanuary: See, Ski, Japan”. This winter’s travel course went to Tokyo and the northern district of Nagano, in the Japanese Alps. In Shiga Kogen, famous for powder skiing, they stayed at the Biyu no Yado, a very special Japanese ‘ryokan’. Ryokan are traditional Japanese style hotels with tatami mats, futons, and amazing meals. Dinner is served ‘kaiseki’ style; multiple courses with little bites of gorgeous, sculptural edible art.

Nagano Prefecture is full of remarkable examples of Japanese art, architecture, and culture that the students visited. The Roman Museum is best known for local artist Kodama Katei’s “roman glass”, which radiates a mysterious light. The Matsumoto Castle, the Zenkoji Temple, and the ukiyo-e art at the Hokusai Museum are famous worldwide. The Daihiden Temple houses the 25 meter tall bronze Sekai Heiwa Kannon (World Peace Buddha Statue). Nagano is also home to the adorable snow monkeys, who keep warm in the winter by soaking in the ‘onsen’ (hot springs).

After a great week in northern Japan, the group returned to Tokyo for a few nights. They had a fun time staying in Akihabara, known as “Electric Town”. In Akihabara there are all kinds of manga and anime stores, and the famous – and outlandishly bizarre – Maid Cafes. For contrast, the students also visited Tokyo’s oldest temple, the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.

SNC student Sam Shinkle sent his impressions of his first trip to Japan!


SNC fine arts student Sam Shinkle performing costumed karaoke during a travel course to Japan Sam Shinkle at the mike!
image of snow monkeys in the onsen Shiga Japan Snow monkeys in the onsen.
SNC students in a Fine Arts travel course to Japan learning Japanese brush calligraphyLearning Japanese brush calligraphy.

Many people have heard stories about the incredible snow conditions and the unbelievably fresh sushi in Japan. Most have least heard about the magnificent cityscapes of Tokyo. But I was not prepared for the jaw dropping countryside, the varied cuisine, and the rich culture and history.

We began our first evening deciding what to eat from the vast array of restaurants on the streets in Ueno, Tokyo. Half of us decided to enjoy a hot bowl of fresh of ramen. After we finished our umami flavored broth and chewy noodles, we went on a walk around the streets of Ueno. We went to seven story arcades, and convenience stores filled with delicious snacks. We found treats ranging from rich, sweet, melty kiss chocolates and warm boss coffee in a can to fresh fried chicken. We ended the night at a karaoke bar, singing badly translated songs until the place closed. (See picture!) The next day we took the bullet train up to the beautiful mountainsides of Nagano Prefecture. We arrived at the hotel, soaked in the onsen, and slept on japanese futons set up on our tatami mats.

The next morning we woke up to a warm sunrise and a delicious breakfast. We took a bus, filled with travelers from across the world, into the mountains. There we were welcomed by the perfect conditions for a powder day in Japan! After a morning of both on and off-piste skiing, we went to the resort restaurant at the base. Most American ski resorts offer a basic selection of elementary school lunches. Here we chose from curries, soups, rice, pizza, chicken, and most other things you could imagine. After lunch we took the lifts up to untouched trees.

The next day we went to visit the snow monkeys of Yudanaka. We watched the monkeys soak in natural hot springs, play on the massive snowbanks, and huddle in groups to stay warm. After a lunch that Sheri O’Connor insisted was “the best soba (buckwheat noodles) in Japan,” we went to the Daihiden Temple.

Striking this huge drum at the Daihiden Temple is thought to drive out any evil spirits inhabiting youDrive out evil spirits.
the Sekai Heiwa Kannon (world peace Buddha Statue) at Daihiden Temple in YudanakaThe Sekai Heiwa Kannon (World Peace Buddha Statue)
SNC students Madison Johnson and Brett Sikora with sculpture models proposed for the Sekai Heiwa Kannon (world peace Buddha Statue)Madison Johnson and Brett Sikora ring the bowls.

A large, bronze buddha greeted us. As the sun reflected off the eyes of the buddha a bell was struck. Its deep base resonated through everything surrounding it. An older Japanese man walked us inside to show us a great drum, which is said to chase out the evil spirits within us when beaten. He then brought us downstairs to a room filled with smaller buddha statues. Each statue is a different pose of Buddha that was considered for the Peace Buddha outside. We walked around the circular room ringing a differently pitched bowl at every statue. The buddhas watched our breath condense in the cold air as we filled it with different frequencies of the vibrating bowls.

We spent a few more days in the area, taking in the culture, food, and of course the powder. Then we returned to Tokyo for a few more nights before heading back to the states. After ten days of traveling I returned home filled with wonder and amazement at what Japan holds. I came back determined to return – so I’ve already enrolled in the next Fine Arts department Japan trip! It’s “Ceramics, Sushi, and Sightseeing in Japan”, part of the summer art workshop series here at SNC.

Japanese artist Kodama Katei’s “roman glass”, which radiates a mysterious lightRoman Museum glass
view of Yudanaka and the surrounding mountains in JapanView of Yudanaka
Matsumoto Castle in Nagano JapanThe Matsumoto Castle

About the fine arts at SNC Tahoe

The Fine Arts department at SNC is a a close-knit community of students and faculty making art with passion and intention.

The undergraduate program offers Bachelor’s and Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degrees. Students concentrate in two-dimensional practices (drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography); three-dimensional practices (ceramics and sculpture); digital art (video, graphic design, digital photography, digitally generated or manipulated work); or interdisciplinary art.

The popular Japan travel courses are offered at least once a year, with some spots open to community members. A Fine Arts travel course to Italy will be offered in Spring 2018.

The graduate level MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program prepares serious studio artists for their professional career. The low-residency format meets the practical needs of working adults without sacrificing the creative stimulation of the campus community. Distance learning semesters alternate with two 10 day on-campus residencies each year.

SNC Tahoe’s Summer Art Workshops bring nationally known artists in many disciplines to teach intensive week-long workshops. The workshops are open to students, community members, and visitors.

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