La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada College sustainability students in lowland tropical rainforest
A new group of students traveled to Costa Rica in January to continue research into sustainable agriculture and tropical ecology.

Agroecology in Costa Rica

SUST 380 Sustainability: Costa Rica Agroecology
BIOL 420 Biology: Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica
Professors: Nick Babin & Chuck Levitan
December 27 2018 – January 10 2019

For a second year, SNC Tahoe environmental science and sustainability students traveled to Costa Rica during winter break. There they studied tropical ecology and sustainable agriculture with professors Nick Babin and Chuck Levitan.

Agua Buena

Their first week was at a coffee plantation, the “Sustainable Forest Farm of Don Roberto and Noemy Jimenez” in Agua Buena. During the previous year’s trip, students had marked 1000 meter squared plots of coffee grown in three different kinds of shade management. The main differences are in the variety and kinds of plants which provide the shade. They tagged the trees, and analyzed soil samples to get base measurements of how healthy the soils were.

aerial view of the Costa Rica highlands from planeApproaching Costa Rica
Agua Buena Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada College sustainability students at a highland shade-grown coffee plantationDon Roberto on his sustainable shade-grown coffee plantation
Agua Buena Costa Rica, hand-roasting coffee at a sustainable highland shade-grown coffee plantationHand-roasting coffee

This year’s sampling provided more detail about how certain overstory plants improve the soil nutrient content. Banana trees drop a lot of leaf litter, which decomposes rapidly to make more organic matter. Bean plants were also a big contributor, because they “fix” nitrogen in the soil.

Agua Buena Costa Rica, distracting the bull at the rodeoNew Year’s Day at the rodeo
Agua Buena Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada College environmental science students at a waterfallStudents enjoying a waterfall
Agua Buena Costa Rica, Christmas nativity displayChristmas nativity in Agua Buena

Don Roberto preps and roasts small batches of coffee by hand. Agua Buena is a highland coffee-growing area, and the students also visited the local coffee cooperative. There, the beans are graded, cleaned, oven-dried, packaged, and shipped to coffee companies worldwide. Side trips included New Year’s Day at the rodeo, and amazing tropical waterfalls and forests.

Pura Vida

Sierra Nevada College students Taylor Greasley and Hannah Smith celebrate Pura Vida on a tropical ecology course in Costa RicaCosta Ricans (Ticos) use this to say hello, to say goodbye, to say everything’s great, to say everything’s cool. Literally it means “simple life” or “pure life”, but the words don’t reflect its true meaning. Pura Vida is the way Ticos live. It means no worries, no fuss, no stress—be thankful for what you have and don’t dwell on the negative.

La Selva Biological Station

For their second week, the students traveled to La Selva Biological Station. La Selva, one of the world’s top locations for rainforest research, is a very different ecosystem than Agua Buena. A lowland tropical rainforest, La Selva gets about 13 feet (156 inches) of rain a year. In contrast, Agua Buena gets about 4 to 4 ½ feet of precipitation a year, with a dry season from December through March. The SNC campus in Incline Village gets the water equivalent of about 2 feet each year.

La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada College sustainability students Mckenna Bean and Jake Castro researching soil chemistryMckenna Bean and Jake Castro researching soil chemistry
Sierra Nevada College students with the college flag at the La Selva Biological Station on a tropical ecology course in Costa Rica
La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada College sustainability student Nathan Turley researching ant food preferencesNathan Turley investigating ant food preferences

The students broke into three groups for their research projects at La Selva. This year, each group was able to conduct two different projects. The first projects focused on effects of disturbance. A strong tropical storm in August 2018 caused substantial damage in some places in the reserve but left others mostly unscathed. The questions the students investigated were

  1. Which species of trees were most and least likely to be blown over?
  2. Were trees with buttresses less likely to fall?
  3. Were trees with less epiphytes less likely to fall? (Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants for support but are not parasitic. They get their water and nutrients from humidity in the air, rain, and debris. The ferns, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids that grow on tree trunks in tropical rainforests are all epiphytes.)
La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, peccary intercoursepeccaries going about their business
La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, eyelash pit viper on treeThe eyelash pit viper can kill adult humans
La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica, Great CurassowA great curassow is the size of a turkey

The students chose their own questions for the second experiments. The questions were

  1. What kind of food do ants prefer? Result: they prefer meat to watermelon, by a lot! Research results with an unexpected practical use for your next picnic.
  2. What effect does a stream environment on oxidation and nutrients in tropical soils? Result: well-drained soils more oxygenated and oxidized, which makes the soil healthier.
  3. How does peccary vigilance affect their social structure and behavior? Result: not much around humans. The peccaries in La Selva are not tame, but they have learned that humans are not a threat. They ignore the people and go about their business, as shown in the picture.

The Kapok Tree

Ceiba pentandra the kapok tree, Costa RicaCeiba pentandra, the kapok tree, grows up to 200 feet in height. It is a deciduous tree which can grow as much as 13 feet per year. The silky fibers that disperse the seeds are too small for weaving, but make great stuffing for bedding and life preservers. In ancient times, the Maya believed that the kapok tree stood at the center of the earth.

Sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – is one of SNC’s core themes.

Relevant majors in the Science Department include Biology, Ecology, and Natural Resource Management. Environmental Science students intern with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, USFS, USGS, state parks, the Desert Research Institute, CA & NV wildlife organizations, and environmental planning firms. They conduct their research in the wetlands and forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Students in SNC’s innovative Interdisciplinary Studies program combine courses in all aspects of Sustainability with studies in Environmental Science, Ski Resort Management, Entrepreneurship, or Journalism. Their hands-on internships and service learning projects focus on real contributions to their communities – locally and globally.

Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman celebrates victory at Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Maddie Bowman, USASA champion and Olympic freeski gold medalist, on why she chose SNC Tahoe for her bachelor's degree in biology.

Maddie Bowman Goes for Gold at SNC Tahoe

At SNC Tahoe, our students come first. That makes Sierra Nevada College a top choice for pro skiers. It’s not just that we are so close to over a dozen ski resorts. Sierra-at-Tahoe, home mountain for Maddie Bowman, is just a quick drive south from SNC Tahoe. We understand what it takes for elite athletes to take the mountain. Here, they can prepare for a future beyond competition without undermining their success on the slopes.

Maddie Bowman, USASA Nationals champion and 2014 Olympic freeski halfpipe gold medalist, is changing things up in 2019. This homegrown South Tahoe Series alum, who moved to Utah in 2015 to be closer to US Ski & Snowboard training center, has moved back to her beloved Tahoe and is settling into college life at Sierra Nevada College as a junior. In between juggling twelve college credits and preparing for another season dominating the professional freeskiing circuit, Maddie took a few moments of her time to talk to us about college life and her favorite things about being back in Tahoe.

You’re still an X Games and Olympic medal contender, why was it important for you to go to college while still competing?

I want to remind myself that skiing isn’t everything which is important to remember when injuries come along and it’s time to switch career paths.

How does competing AND going to school work?

The key to making it work is the professors. I have such a specific schedule where I have to travel to train and compete and the professors are willing to work with me so I can go to school and still travel.

Why did you chose Sierra Nevada College?

I chose SNC because I needed a school that would work with my schedule as a professional athlete and still allow me to finish my degree. I can play hard and work hard here. And the SNC community has been great! They have been so welcoming an the students are very active but open to new ideas and people.

Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman talks with young aspiring athletes at Copper Mountain.
Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman gets hands on during a science lab.
Olympic Athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman catches air in Pyeong Chang in 2018.

What the academic experience is like?

I am blown away by the academic experience at SNC. The professors are all about understanding concepts that you can apply instead of memorizing facts. We also are graded heavily on participation which takes the pressure off on tests. And being a science student I love the amount of labs we get to create ourselves.

How does it make you feel to be back in South Lake Tahoe – your home, opposed to being in Utah?

I love Tahoe. It was good to move away for a little while but my heart is here. I love that I can go get a bike ride or beach session in in-between classes and I am so close to such amazing skiing! Plus we have the best POW!

You’re planning on coming out to the 30th annual USASA National Championships this April, Do you remember your first USASA event or USASA nationals and what are some of your best USASA South Tahoe Series memories?

I loved competing in my south shore series! It was such a cool thing to do growing up and I made lifelong friends that way. It’s also really cool because it allowed me and my brother to ski together. Nationals were also such a big deal. I was so proud representing my home mountain Sierra at Tahoe

Maddie wraps up her finals and will head straight to Copper Mountain, CO for the US Grand Prix season opener and the Dew Tour. You’ll also be able to meet Maddie Bowman at Sierra Nevada College booth at this year’s 2019 USASA National Championships April 7-12th at Copper Mountain, CO.

Originally published by

Your Future in Ski Business

Whether or not you’re an elite athlete, you can make a professional career on the slopes. In SNC Tahoe’s Ski Area Management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the ski resort business from the pros. Intern at Lake Tahoe’s world-class resorts. Network with our alumni, the founders and managers of ski resorts and the publishers of ski magazines. Our guest speaker forum brings Presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the winter resort industry into your classroom. Graduate with a college degree and a resume that will take you anywhere you want to go.

Your Time on the Mountain

Diamond Peak, the championship SNC Tahoe Ski and Snowboard Team’s home resort, is just 5 minutes from campus by free shuttle. There are over a dozen premier ski areas within easy driving distance. Those include Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly Valley, and Kirkwood. Whatever your skill level and terrain preference, it’s not far from here

US alpine skier Lila Lapanja running gates as the sun goes behind the hill
Lila enrolled at SNC Tahoe to get her college education while she continues her racing career.

Meet Lila Lapanja – U.S. Alpine ski racer, SNC student

At SNC Tahoe, our students come first. That makes Sierra Nevada College a top choice for pro skiers. It’s not just our location close to over a dozen ski resorts. Diamond Peak, Lila Lapanja’s home mountain, is 5 minutes up the road with no car required. We also understand what it takes for elite athletes to take the mountain. Here they can prepare for a future beyond competition without undermining their racing success.

We asked U.S. Alpine ski racer Lila Lapanja to explain her choice.

head shot of US alpine skier Lila LapanjaI can trace my roots back to Sierra Nevada College. My father, Vojko, was a student and athlete here who led his team to win four National Championship alpine titles. He met my mother, Margie, in class and I was welcomed a year later. I’ve lived in Incline Village ever since – I literally grew up playing sports and loving the outdoors across the creek from the campus. Born during a snowstorm, I was destined to be passionate about snow and winter.

My young ski racing career blossomed at Diamond Peak Ski Resort, with my dad as my inspiration and coach. At age 16 I was named to the U.S. Ski Team. There I achieved top honors as a junior racer, and won the 2014 and 2016 North America Cup championship slalom titles. I scored my first World Cup points in Flachau, Austria in 2016. I have stood on the podium in every U.S. National Championship race in which I have competed.

US alpine skier Lila Lapanja rounds a gate during a raceLast year I co-created and joined Team CLIF Bar Ski Racing, after representing the USA on the U.S. Ski Team for six years. This is a corporately-supported, independent team which offers top athletes an innovative platform to continue to build personal and professional excellence at the highest level. My aim: podiums in the World Cup and Olympic Games. I love being a professional athlete and sharing my journey with the world.
US alpine skier Lila Lapanja takes in a Lake Tahoe sunsetI am extremely excited and grateful to attend Sierra Nevada College during my ski career. With SNC’s support, I’ll be able to study at a pace that supports the high demands of World Cup ski racing. My major will be a combination of entrepreneurship and either environmental or global studies. Business, languages, nature, and travel are areas I’m enthusiastic about apart from sports. I can already speak my father’s native tongue, Slovene, fluently, and I’m working on achieving the same in German! I love all animals, so I’m very proud to be an ambassador for the Snow Leopard Trust. I will integrate my education from SNC into my best ski-racing self.

I want to use my ski career in ways that improve and inspire the world, one turn and one class at a time.

Your Future in Ski Business

Whether or not you’re an elite athlete, you can make a professional career on the slopes. In SNC Tahoe’s Ski Area Management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the ski resort business from the pros. Intern at Lake Tahoe’s world-class resorts. Network with our alumni, the founders and managers of ski resorts and the publishers of ski magazines. Our guest speaker forum brings Presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the winter resort industry into your classroom. Graduate with a college degree and a resume that will take you anywhere you want to go.

Your Time on the Mountain

Diamond Peak, the championship SNC Tahoe Ski and Snowboard Team’s home resort, is just 5 minutes from campus by free shuttle. There are over a dozen premier ski areas within easy driving distance. Those include Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly Valley, and Kirkwood. Whatever your skill level and terrain preference, it’s not far from here

New in-state tuition at the SNC@TMCC extension center is bringing the total tuition and fees cost down to $237.50 per credit.

Sierra Nevada College Lowers Tuition for Nevada Extension Students

Nevada students looking to finish a 4-year degree just got a windfall in a new in-state tuition reduction. Students attending Sierra Nevada College classes at Truckee Meadows Community College’s Dandini Campus through SNC@TMCC’s extension program will now pay only $225 per credit. The total per-credit cost in tuition and fees for 12 credits at SNC@TMCC with the in-state tuition would be $237.50 per credit, compared to $253 per credit at University of Nevada, Reno.

“This is a significant reduction, in line with our belief that creating many pathways to a college education is good for students and good for Nevada. It’s our civic duty to make education available as many ways as possible,” says Alan Walker, President of Sierra Nevada College.

In addition to the new in-state tuition structure for TMCC students, SNC also offers the significant, donor-funded Achieve Scholarship for its extension center students, and an online Prior Learning Assessment course. The PLA course lasts seven weeks and provides up to 15 college credit to adult learners for life and work experience.

“The partnership with SNC is a benefit to TMCC students,” said TMCC President Karin Hilgersom, “because students can opt to continue their education on the Dandini Campus. The new reduced tuition rate is another way that SNC is providing great value, and really helping students of all ages and backgrounds achieve their goals.”

Degree programs currently available through SNC@TMCC are Entrepreneurship, Business Administration and Psychology. All programs result in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree accredited by the NWCCU. For more information, contact

Sierra Nevada College is Nevada’s only accredited private four-year university. Sierra Nevada College is committed to using active learning and fostering a culture of competition that guides students to think on their feet, communicate persuasively, and acquire the higher-order thinking skills necessary to thrive in the real world.

Truckee Meadows Community College is a comprehensive community college located in Reno, Nev., and is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. With five college sites and more than 20 community locations, TMCC serves more than 16,000 students each year in state-supported programs and another 9,600 students in non-credit workforce development classes.

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 >.