Adult learners like these four can get college credit for their life experience through Prior Learning Assessment
Get credit for being you! Sierra Nevada College's Prior Learning Assessment course gives you college credit for your life experience.

Prior Learning Assessment and Your College Degree

By Dr. Mark Atkinson

Years ago, I designed and taught a course about the history of higher education in the US. Long before football teams, study abroad, tenured faculty and all the rest, at heart early American colleges were teaching organizations whose mission was to serve our new country with an endowment of knowledge and skills. I hope that is still the case.

The young America of the 17th and 18th centuries greatly needed clergy, politicians, and other professionals. The early colonial colleges provided just that and more over time. In the 19th century, many modern public universities began as “normal” schools, to train high school graduates to teach using norms of pedagogy and curriculum. These teacher training schools established “norms” for education that produced a reliably skilled, reproducible workforce. Such schools evolved from basic workforce training to become the research universities of the 20th century.

Why Should I Go to College?

These days some in America are asking, “What value does a college education have for me?” I say the value is high, even though it’s not the only way to success. Some well-known companies advertise they will consider applicants without a degree, even for technical jobs that one would assume need a formal college education. Regardless, a college degree is still, in my opinion, one of the best ways to go, even when working in a vocational field. College degree holders find lower levels of unemployment and better opportunities for advancement. Completing a college education hones the skills adult learners have acquired through experience, and gives them new skillsets for the workplace of the future.

What if you didn’t go to college? What if you started and didn’t finish? What if, instead, you became a contractor, a certified nursing assistant, a chef, a cosmetologist, or something else that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree? All workers make tremendous contributions to America. Everyone is important. The answer to every “what if” here, though, is that a college degree demonstrates a wider range of important skills. It enhances your ability to contribute, and to secure the future for yourself and those around you on every level.

How Can “Prior Learning Assessment” Help Me?

Whether you are starting new or continuing after a timeout, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) may be a great way to advance yourself toward a college degree. PLA is the formal practice of awarding college credit for prior learning. Two American organizations promote and encourage standards for granting college credit related to prior learning: the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

The American Council on Education recommends offering credit for the following learning activities: workplace training, military training and service, independent study, professional certifications, national examinations such as CLEP, civic activities, and volunteer service. Recent research has shown that students who receive credit for prior learning have higher college participation and completion rates. Your experience matters to you. It can and should be incorporated when you return to complete your college education.

Get Credit for Being You!

Sierra Nevada College offers its students the ability to petition for up to 15 upper division elective credits for prior learning. The prior learning must be substantive, and supported with evidence provided in an ePortfolio. SNC helps adult learners build their ePortfolio in a 7-week online Prior Learning Assessment Course that prepares students to petition for their credits. This single 7-week online course can reduce the time and cost of completing your college education by as much as a full semester.

Given the importance of a college education for your future, the current recognition of the value of learning outside university courses, and the labor market, PLA is a great option for eligible students.

Dr. Mark Atkinson, Vice President for Academic Extension at Sierra Nevada CollegeDr. Mark Atkinson
Vice President for Academic Extension at Sierra Nevada College

The Prior Learning Assessment program at SNC Tahoe is
  • Convenient: 100% online
  • Concise: only seven weeks
  • College credit: 1 – 15 Upper Division elective course credits awarded on completion
  • Pass/Fail
  • Affordable: $800 tuition with no additional per-credit charges

I’m interested!

How does Prior Learning Assessment credit work at Sierra Nevada College Work?

The Prior Learning Assessment program helps adult learners earn their bachelor’s degree sooner by granting them college credit for many kinds of work experience, professional training, and community service. Our goal is to find the ways that your prior experiences can help you professionally in your future.

Going back to school after a break can be a challenge – we’re here to help.

The first step is to meet with one of our PLA enrollment advisors, who will help you figure out

  • how many elective credits you need,
  • how many of those credits you could qualify for through PLA, and
  • make sure those credits will apply to your program.

If you are not already a student at SNC, they can guide you through the application process. Once you enroll, you will be closely mentored as you build your ePortfolio in the Prior Learning Assessment Course.

What experiences can qualify me for Prior Learning Assessment credit?
  • At least three years of post-high school work experience.
  • Work experience with leadership or management duties.
  • Current or former member of the armed forces.
  • Formal training as part of a job.
  • Attendance at professional seminars or conferences.
  • Completion of formal non-credit courses or programs.
  • Earned certificates, endorsements, or licenses for a professional field.
  • Extensive foreign country experience or travel experience since high school.
  • Extensive community work or volunteer experience.
What are the admission requirements for the Prior Learning Assessment Course?
  • SNC Student in good standing (either ongoing or newly admitted)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Declared a major
What will my Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio contain?
  1. Prior Learning Petition
  2. Educational and Professional Goals
  3. Resume and LinkedIn Profile
  4. Connections: Experiences to SNC Learning Outcomes
  5. Analysis of Learning
  6. Evidence

1. The Prior Learning Assessment Petition
The Prior Learning Assessment Petition is a formal request that describes what the learner is seeking and why. It is a summary and call to action, and an executive summary of the entire ePortfolio.

2. Educational and Professional Goals Essay
This essay is a statement of the learner’s plans to incorporate prior learning in the context of their educational and professional goals. The essay explains how this learning will facilitate accomplishment of their stated goals.

A compelling essay clearly states immediate and long-range goals, and then shows a connection to the past in a meaningful and substantive way. Other parts of the portfolio will gradually become more and more specific about the past learning gained. The essay should answer the following questions:

  • What the learner intends to accomplish professionally and educationally in the next ten years, expressed in goals.
  • Skills and knowledge needed to achieve the goals.
  • Relevant learning already acquired as a result of through professional experiences.
  • Further learning needed to achieve the goals.

3. The Resume and LinkedIn Profile
A detailed, updated resume and profile on LinkedIn is part of the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio. The profile serves as an outline of history for previous work and educational experience. The resume is a reference point for the Analysis of Learning and Evidence sections of the ePortfolio.

4. Connections: Experiences to SNC Learning Outcomes
Once the list of SNC learning goals is complete, the student analyzes in-depth the learning gained what they have already learned in a systematic, organized way. The purpose is to communicate clearly the connections between past experiences and particular learning outcomes. A learning analysis is the heart of making these connections.

5. Analysis of Learning
The analysis section is a highly detailed description with an explanation of the experiences connecting SNC learning outcomes and professional expertise. The analysis uses the following structure:

  • Defining Learning Outcomes
  • Explaining Skills and Knowledge Gained
  • Demonstration
  • Description of Learning Setting
  • Specific Connection to Academic and Professional Goals

6. Evidence
The final step in preparing the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio is gathering and organizing documentation. Documentation is evidence that prior learning experiences identified in the resume and the analysis of prior learning activities.
Documentation verifies:

  • Employment
  • Volunteering
  • In-service training and non-credit courses
  • Community services
  • Accomplishments, especially products from your past learning experiences.

Letters of verification are a common form of documentation. Several other types of support may be appropriate for the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio.

Vote graffiti on the beach in San Francisco
SNC students are leading voter registration on campus. "Voting is the most powerful weapon we have to combat tough times." - Lizzie White

Get Ready to Vote!

SNC students Ikela Lewis and Lizzie White were inspired by the current political climate to organize voter registration right on campus. Young people vote at the lowest rate of any age group, so these students are working to help change that. Over the past four decades, voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds has ranged between about 40 and 50%, while turnout for those 45 and older has ranged from about 65 to 75%.

“Many people say that they don’t like politics or they can’t make an informed decision about the candidates,” said White “You don’t have to love politics or subscribe to the Washington Post to realize that our country is going through some tough times, but voting is the most powerful weapon we have to combat that.”

Lizzie White

Ikela realized the importance of voting during the 2016 election cycle. “What got me interested in voter registration is simply the current events that have been going on over the last few years. 2016 was the first year I was able to vote, so I was very invested in the last election cycle. I got many of my friends and family to go out and vote, some for the very first time. It felt like I was making a difference in my community, which I really enjoyed,” he said.

Lewis is partnering with NextGen America, a non-profit political action committee focused on getting millennials to vote. He came back to school this fall determined to get his peers to vote, but “I had literally no idea how to get people registered. It just so happened that I crossed paths with Toby from NextGen, who was on campus trying to get people registered. I mentioned to him that I had a similar desire, and it just sort of worked out. Life is just really cool like that sometimes,” said Lewis.

Lizzie White could have filed an absentee ballot in her home state of Indiana, but she registered to vote in Washoe County instead because Nevada is a swing state. “I knew that my vote will carry a lot more weight here in Nevada because it’s pretty much half and half. Since Nevada is a battleground state, as little as 100 votes could sway the election in Washoe County! If just half the students at SNC would go out and vote, then we could easily determine the fate of the midterms in Nevada,” said White, who now works for NextGen America. “In addition, it takes 5 minutes to Google the candidates running in Nevada. It’s quick and easy to look up if students want to be more informed.”

Register to Vote

Last day to register in Nevada: October 7th
Ikela Lewis will be registering students at the front desk in Patterson from 5:30 to 9pm on Tuesday Sept. 25, Friday Sept. 28, Tuesday Oct. 2, and Friday Oct. 5.
Students living on campus can use SNC Tahoe as their home address to register.
Students do not need a valid Nevada drivers license to vote in Washoe County.
The Washoe County Registrar of Voters website has links to complete information about registering and voting in Washoe County.
Contact Lizzie White if you have any questions.

To vote in your home state, file for an absentee ballot. Each state has different deadlines for sending the absentee ballot application and the ballot itself.

Who Do You Want to Vote For? is a non-partisan website run by the League of Women Voters. The website aggregates candidate statements and other published information for races across the country. Enter your address for information about the candidates in your district. This will not put you on any political mailing lists. The League was founded on the eve of women’s suffrage in 1920, and has been helping for citizens’ participate in democracy ever since!

Ballotpedia Nevada is another non-partisan site with good information about candidates, issues, ballot measures, and polls. The main Ballotpedia site has information for all states.

Vote Early

Avoid election day lines!

Nevada Early Voting Dates: October 20th – November 2nd.
In Incline Village, the early voting location is the Incline Village Library.
The early voting schedule at the library is 11am – 6pm on Saturday Oct.22; Tuesday – Thursday Oct. 25 – 27; Saturday Oct. 29; Tuesday – Friday Nov. 1 – 4
The Washoe County Registrar of Voters website has a schedule for all Washoe County locations.

California Early Voting Dates: October 8th – November 6th (El Dorado and Placer County)
For El Dorado county, the location for early voting is in Placerville. For Placer County, the location to vote early is in Auburn.
If you are voting in another California county, please check your local office for official dates and locations.

An absentee ballot is another way to vote early.

Election Day is Nov. 6!

NextGen America will be offering rides from the SNC Tahoe campus to polling places.

Washoe County voters with disabilities can request accommodations through the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office. If you are voting in a different county, contact your local polling location or the county.

Sierra Nevada College admissions counselors man the booth at a high school college fair.
The admissions team is visiting high schools and community colleges to spread the word about the exciting opportunities for a great education at SNC Tahoe.

Admissions Hits the Road

Every fall, our admissions counselors head out across the country to meet with potential students. The team visits high school college fairs and community college transfer events to tell students about our unique majors, small classes, and spectacular location by Lake Tahoe.

SNC Tahoe counselors will be visiting California and Nevada throughout the fall semester. Counselors will also be in Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New England during September and October. The full schedule is on the Admissions Coming to You page.

Interested students are also welcome to visit SNC Tahoe anytime. Enjoy a student-guided tour of our 18-acre campus, meet with admissions, sit in on a class, meet students, faculty, and coaches, and enjoy a meal in our dining hall. Sign up for an individual visit or open house on the Visit Us page. You can schedule a visit for any Monday – Friday year round, excluding holidays. Open houses will be held on Friday, October 12 and Friday, November 2. Get admitted ‘on-the-spot’ for fall 2019, and don’t miss the complimentary lunch!

Sierra Nevada College
Small classes. Professors who care. Active learning. High country adventure.
Bachelor’s degree programs from Outdoor Adventure Leadership to Entrepreneurship. Ski Business Management to Sustainability. Global Business to Creative Writing. Environmental Science to Education. Psychology to Digital Arts.

students study in the atrium at Truckee Meadows Community College
An anonymous donor has funded new scholarships to help extension center students maintain a full-time course load and graduate without delays.

Smoothing the Road to Graduation

SNC Project Eagle’s new Extension Centers offer students at community colleges a new route to their four-year degree. Students who have strong ties to work and community can finish their undergraduate education on the community college campus where they currently study.

Extension center tuition is already significantly more affordable than many traditional 4-year programs. Cost can still slow progress for many students, however. Now, a generous anonymous donor has come forward with twenty $10,000 Achieve Scholarships. Their goal is to help extension center students maintain a full-time course load and graduate without delays.

“These are generous scholarship packages that will make a huge difference in opening doors to higher education to our students and community. We’ve really enjoyed our continuing partnership with Sierra Nevada College, and their efforts to make these scholarships possible shows their level of commitment to serving and educating the South Shore.”

Jeff DeFranco, President of Lake Tahoe Community College

SNC currently operates two extension centers. One is at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, NV. The other is at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Students take SNC upper-level courses without having to commute or move to a 4-year university.

Sierra Nevada College prides itself on its small classes and dedicated faculty. Their commitment to their students is as strong as their professional expertise. Project Eagle takes this combination onto community college campuses. It creates a seamless pathway for working adults to pursue the opportunities that higher education brings without disrupting their lives and commitments.

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

Male teacher working in elementary school classroom
SNC's new Bachelor of Education programs in Reno and Las Vegas address Nevada’s ongoing teacher shortage.

New Bachelor’s Degree for Teachers in Reno, Las Vegas

Sierra Nevada College recently debuted a new bachelor’s degree program for aspiring teachers. The degree is offered at both the Reno and Las Vegas campuses. 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. SNC’s Reno campus is in the Reno Technology Center, 9480 Gateway Drive, Suite 150. The Las Vegas campus is at 4300 East Sunset Road, Ste. E-1, in Henderson.

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 or 775-881-7517, or REQUEST INFO ONLINE >.

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

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 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

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.

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.

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”.