SNU Eagles Esports Team logo
The varsity team will bring the thrill of competition to a new group of student athletes - and fans.

ESports Team Launches at SNU

Sierra Nevada University is beginning the 20-21 season by adding a new ESPORTS team to its varsity athletics. In the spirit of entrepreneurial leadership, the university is breaking the mold of traditional college athletics. ESPORTS will bring the thrill of competition to a new group of student athletes. The ESPORTS team is fully supported by SNU, offering the same athletic scholarship opportunities for players. The team is actively recruiting now for the fall term.

The SNU Eagles are a member of NACE, the National Association of Collegiate Esports. NACE was formed in 2016 to help grow strong a strong esports community which benefits colleges and students alike. It guides members on starting varsity esports programs, supports a recruiting network, and provides a collective voice representing most of the institutions in the collegiate varsity esports space. Currently NACE counts 150+ institutions as members, representing 94% of all varsity programs in North America.

The specific game(s) the team will play are not yet determined, but they will be chosen from the most popular games in the league. The top three, by a large margin, are (in order) League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. The rest of the top 10 includes Hearthstone, Fortnite, CS:GO, Super Smash Bros, Apex Legends, Rainbow Six: Siege, and NBA2K.

Adding esports to SNU’s athletic roster is an opportunity to bring the culture of competition and student enthusiasm to a wider cohort of players – and fans. Anyone interested in joining or other involvement with the team should contact Athletic Director Chris DeLeon at cdeleon@sierranevada.edu.

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Illustration of a coronavirus
Get the most current information on how SNU is educating our students while protecting the health of our community.

COVID-19 Update at SNU

Current as of Thursday August 6, 2020

2020-2021 Schedule Summary

Summer Term: ALL SNU courses are 100% online.

Fall Term:
  • Undergraduate Incline: A hybrid 3-block (6 weeks - 2 weeks - 6 weeks) schedule that begins online and finishes on campus, circumstances permitting. Classes start August 31 (no change).
    Undergraduates who have not registered for fall 2020 yet, please do so immediately using the current schedule so your academic needs will be included as the schedule is revised.
  • Undergraduate 100% Online: No change.
  • Teacher Education: ALL courses are 100% online. No change to the schedule.
  • MFA Programs: The Summer Residency will be held online beginning August 7, 2020.

In this uncertain and unpredictable environment, our plans are based on our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the wider community of Incline Village, while maintaining a uniquely valuable educational experience for our students.


Info For

Undergraduate Students 2020

Summer: ALL SNU courses are 100% online.

Fall 100% Online: (ODP and BA in Education) No change.

Fall Undergraduate Incline:

Fall 2020 Schedule

We will offer a hybrid experience in fall 2020. The fall semester will be divided into three modules that will balance safety with the on-campus experience you expect.

Your faculty want to be back in the classroom, the laboratory, the art studio and the field with you. However, the first step in keeping you on your path to your degree and your future is keeping you healthy and well. We hope it will be safe to welcome you back to your Lake Tahoe home at SNU in October. We will be taking extra precautions to keep our residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, and communal areas virus-free and safe through frequent and effective cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

Module 1 (6 weeks): 2 courses, 6 credits

Fall semester classes begin Monday, August 31, 2020. The first six-week module will be offered online because we are not certain it would be safe to begin on-campus instruction in early September. Based on best practices in online education, we are limiting students to two courses so that you can focus more effectively. Research shows this will increase your chances of academic success and satisfaction.

Fall Break (5 days):

If it is safe to return to the campus, we will transition to on-campus classes in October. Friday, October 9th to Tuesday, October 13th will be a five-day fall break to allow you to travel back to the campus. If you are a residential student you will receive information about moving into the residence halls during this time.

Module 2 (2 weeks): 1 course, 3 credits

On Wednesday, October 14th your two-week short block course will begin. New Fall 2020 students will take their SNO Orientation course during this block.

Module 3 (6 weeks): 2 - 3 courses, up to 10 credits

Your class sessions for the final six weeks of the fall semester (starting October 26) will be held in classrooms and laboratories with your professors on our campus. You will be able to complete two or three courses. Accordingly, you will be able to earn 15-19 credits toward your SNU degree during Fall while taking fewer simultaneous courses than usual.

Fall 2020 Registration

We are working to adapt the current SNU calendar to this modular format.

  • If you have already registered for fall 2020, you do not need to do anything at this time. You will receive a revised schedule in June that redistributes your current fall 2020 courses as described above.
  • If you haven't registered for fall 2020 yet, please do so immediately using the current schedule so we can take your academic needs into consideration as we build the new modular schedule.

When you receive your new schedule, you will have plenty of time to make adjustments with your academic advisor as needed. For questions or concerns, please reach out to your academic advisor or contact Provost Shannon Beets at sbeets@sierranevada.edu.

Fall 2020 Tuition

Because some of the instruction for fall 2020 will be online, which is not everyone's preferred learning mode, all Incline undergraduates will receive a one-time grant that will reduce your tuition payment for the fall semester. This will be applied after all other forms of financial aid that you have been awarded. The amount of this one time grant will be confirmed later this summer.

Student Athletes

We have no information yet about the fall 2020 season (NAIA, MCLA, and USCSA).


Graduate Students 2020

Teacher Education

ALL Teacher Education courses will remain 100% online through the Fall 2020 semester.
There will be no change to the course schedule.

MFA-CW and MFA-IA

2020 Summer Residencies

The Summer Residency will be virtual this year. As a tourist destination, the Tahoe region is particularly vulnerable to an influx of travelers. This makes gathering on campus during the summer particularly risky, both for us and for the wider community. Each program is working on new ways to stimulate the personal connections and critiques that make the residencies so valuable. Additional online events will also be scheduled through the rest of the semester. Full schedules and event information will be sent out in June.

MFA-CW
Tentative dates: August 7 - 15, 2020
The residency focus will be on the in-genre workshops and the afternoon course electives/pedagogy. Students will meet with their fall semester mentors, the Sierra Nevada Review will meet to discuss their work and process, and we will celebrate the work of our graduating writers (who will also meet with thesis committees).
Questions please contact Daniel Davis at ddavis@sierranevada.edu.

MFA-IA
Tentative dates: August 7 - 21, 2020
We are extending the residency to allow for both more contact and more individual work. We're working on ideas for on-line contact such as chat rooms, film screenings, and virtual studio tours, and collaborating with the summer faculty on inventive virtual courses. Our graduating students will mount a virtual thesis exhibition with a corresponding catalog.
Questions please contact Julia Schwadron at jschwadron@sierranevada.edu.

Fall 2020 Tuition

In recognition that this virtual experience is not what you would prefer, SNU is providing all students a one-time grant in addition to your normal financial aid. The exact amount of this grant will be confirmed this summer.


Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff are encouraged to work remotely as much as possible while classes are being held online. Whenever you are on-campus, please be careful to maintain social distancing and practice healthy habits.

Any faculty or staff member who is exhibiting symptoms of illness or thinks they may have been exposed to the coronavirus should stay home and contact their supervisor and healthy@sierranevada.edu. Self-isolating may last up to 27 days if you have been potentially exposed to COVID-19. Local and state medical resources are listed below.

College employees will be available by email during normal working hours. Check the Directory for faculty and staff contact information.


Resources

SNU Pandemic Emails

Stay healthy! We will be taking extra precautions to keep our residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, and congregating areas such as our Prim Library virus-free and safe through frequent and effective cleaning and sanitizing procedures when we come back to campus. Wherever you are -

  • frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • cover your cough using the crook of your elbow
  • avoid touching your face if possible
  • sanitize your area frequently
  • dispose of any tissues used immediately in an appropriate trash receptacle
  • avoid physical contact with others whenever possible

Local Information

Incline Village
Guide to community support programs. In English & Spanish. PDF Resource Guide or embraceincline.com
Nevada Health Response:
Current COVID-19 Information from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Governor's Office: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/
Washoe County:
COVID-19 Information: https://www.washoecounty.us/health/programs-and-services/communicable-diseases-and-epidemiology/educational_materials/covid-19-if-you-have-it.php
Communicable Disease Hotline: 775-328-2447 (open 24-7)
Clark County:
https://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/coronavirus/
Coronavirus Info and Reporting: 702-759-1300

About COVID-19

World Health Organization: basic protective measures we all need to be taking at this time:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Alanna Shaikh TED Talk – What is COVID-19, why is it hitting us now, how to prepare for the next outbreak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGTtGCq9grE
Myth Busters - Don't Be Fooled: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Latest Updates

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html
WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen

Maps and Travel

CDC International Travel Health Notices: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
CDC U.S. COVID-19 Cases by State: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases (Johns Hopkins University): https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

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Sierra Nevada University students on a mountain high above Lake Tahoe
Sierra Nevada College is updating its name to Sierra Nevada University, reflecting half a century of growth and educational innovation.

Announcing Sierra Nevada University

On the eve of its 50th commencement, Sierra Nevada College, Nevada’s only accredited private non-profit university, is changing its name to Sierra Nevada University. The change comes as the institution reorganizes for the future and seeks to represent itself more accurately after 50 years of growth. The school was founded in March of 1969, and admitted its first class of 23 students that September. The next month Governor Paul Laxalt dedicated the Mountain Campus, on College Drive in Incline Village. Within four years of its founding, the College achieved candidate status for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Accreditation was granted in 1976. Now, with approval granted by the NWCCU, Sierra Nevada College will become Sierra Nevada University beginning this semester.

The campus grew with the college. Music and Art departments were added, which attracted faculty from the many artists and musicians who live in the Lake Tahoe area. Continuing to draw from its community, which includes many successful entrepreneurs, SNC soon formed the Department of Management, now its Business Department. The initial concentrations of Entrepreneurship, Ski Business and Resort Management, and International Business (Now Global Business Management) remain today as key offerings, unique in design and headed by professor-practitioners who call Tahoe home.

The Teacher Education program was formed in 1989. By 2004 it had grown from its beginnings as a fifth-year post-baccalaureate program to become the first of the institution’s graduate-level programs. Teacher Education was followed by the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program in Creative Writing in 2012 and the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts in 2015. Both the MFA-CW and MFA-IA follow an innovative two-year low-residency format. It combines distance learning with intensive twice a year residencies at the Incline Village campus.

With its growth, it soon became apparent that SNC needed a new campus. In 1991, the current 20-acre site of the Lake Campus, at the corner of Country Club Drive and Tahoe Boulevard, was acquired through private and foundation donations. In the ensuing years, the campus added 2 residence halls, administrative offices, the Prim Library, The Holman Arts and Media Center, and the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.

This past June, after the retirement of President Alan Walker, Dr. Ed Zschau stepped in as Interim President. Under his leadership, the Incline Village campus has become the home of the College of Entrepreneurial Leadership. As Dr. Zschau shared on KTVN’s Face the State,

“Entrepreneurship isn’t about creating companies. Entrepreneurship is an approach to life. It’s about making good things happen. It’s about starting things from scratch that create value for others.”

The name change represents a drive to focus on the key features of this small, high-touch, interdisciplinary campus: learning-by-doing, involved professors and mentors, and an incredible and challenging location.

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Entrepreneur model and nutritionist Maye Musk speaking at the Sierra Nevada University 2019 Siebens-Binz Tahoe Forum
Entrepreneur, model, and nutritionist Maye Musk talked about her long and varied career at the 2019 Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum on October 5th.

Maye Musk at the Tahoe Forum

Entrepreneur, model, and nutritionist Maye Musk was the featured speaker at the 2019 Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum on October 5th. Ms. Musk was welcomed to the stage on the Sierra Nevada College campus for a moderated talk with Michael Thomas about her multi-faceted career. Musk’s experience juggling her careers, social expectations of women, and the responsibilities of raising three young children resonates with audiences worldwide.

Maye began her professional career as a teenage model in South Africa. She has been a successful model for most of her adult life, but she became a modern style icon when she moved against the ageism so common in the fashion world. On her 60th birthday, she cut her hair short and let its natural white color, which she had been hiding for many years, shine through. Her new look led to worldwide ad campaigns and even a spot on a Beyonce music video. At 69, she became the oldest Covergirl ever.

Despite her work as a model, Maye is a self-professed “science nerd.” She studied dietetics as an undergraduate, and went on to earn two master’s degrees in the field later in life. As a professional, she is not an advocate of restrictive diets. Instead, she is a believer in eating wholesome, complete meals that meet all of your body’s needs. Getting up and moving is another critical part of Maye’s advice to her clients. She described how she has modified her exercise regimen to work around her injuries instead of getting surgery. She avoids anything that physically hurts her and is in favor of her clients doing the same. In 2006 Maye was awarded the Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur Award in recognition of Excellence in Entrepreneurism and Dedication to the Field of Nutrition.

When she started her dietician practice as a young entrepreneur, her kids were young. She worked long hours and multiple jobs. Her youngest child, Tosca, would answer the phones at her office. Because she was too young to have a good grasp of spelling, Tosca would ask clients to sound out their names so she could write them down. The clients were initially skeptical of Maye’s secretary’s abilities but found it comical when they realized they were talking to a young child.

Maye’s work ethic rubbed off on her children, and she is proud of their success as entrepreneurs themselves. Her oldest son, Elon, is known for developing Tesla and many other successful businesses. Her younger son, Kimbal, owns The Kitchen Restaurant Group, which is a family of farm-to-table restaurants in Boulder, Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, and Indianapolis. Kimbal was also the co-founder and chairman of Big Green, a non-profit that has built hundreds of “learning gardens” as outdoor classrooms in schools around America. Maye’s daughter Tosca works in the film world working as a producer, director, and co-founder of the streaming service Passionfix.

Maye Musk proves that there’s no age limit to innovation and entrepreneurship.


The Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum was endowed in 2004 through a generous gift by Nancy Siebens Binz, to bring greater knowledge and understanding of the broader world through exposure to some of the major thinkers and doers of our time. On behalf of our family of students, faculty, and staff, we thank Nancy Siebens Binz for her personal commitment and financial support of Sierra Nevada College.

Reporting by Zoe Tuttle

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5 new friends at Sierra Nevada University orientation river camp adventure
Becoming a college student is a rite of passage. At SNC, you'll start with adventures that show how exciting learning can be.

Choose Your Own Adventure at Sierra Nevada Orientation

Becoming a college student is a rite of passage. You’re not just starting at a new school, you’re making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. At Sierra Nevada College, you’ll start with an adventure that shows how exciting learning can be.

SNO – Sierra Nevada Orientation is an innovative two-phase program. The first phase is a special camping adventure: A four-day trip for you to meet your fellow students, explore your new home, all while learning skills that will serve you well during college and after graduation. Best of all, you get to choose the adventure that best suits your interests and personal style.

Phase 1 – In the Wild

Fall 2019 incoming students got to choose between two adventures – high camp and river camp. Each trip included opportunities to learn valuable skills such as communication, creativity, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Peer mentoring and teamwork are other important pieces of the experience. Student guides lead new students as they get acquainted, make and break camp, cook and eat, and explore together.

High Camp

High campers started their 5-day backpacking expedition camping on Patterson Lawn the night before they departed. Since they had to carry everything that they used for the duration, the first night was a trial run to make sure everybody had the gear they needed. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning they set off for their trailheads in the Desolation Wilderness, above Lake Tahoe.

Two student leaders, all experienced in the outdoors, led each of four groups of about 10 students on a different 4-day route. Desolation Wilderness, despite its name, is actually a majestic setting high in the mountains. The students traveled 25 to 30 miles, completely self-sufficient. They learned about sustainability and stewardship of the land as they did trail maintenance. At the end of each challenging but fruitful day, they slept out under the stars.

For transfer student Sam Rusak, he felt that High Camp was an effective way to make friends, which is one of the hardest parts of coming to college. “At first it was kind of awkward not knowing anyone, but after we finished building camp that first night on campus, everyone was close,” said Rusak.

student enjoying the slack line at the campsite in Coloma CA at the Sierra Nevada College orientation river camp adventureTrying out the slack line
a group of new college students meet on the campus for the Sierra Nevada College orientationMeet-and-Greet!
student is ready for whitewater rafting at Sierra Nevada College orientation river camp adventureReady for whitewater
River Camp

River campers spent two days whitewater rafting down the South Fork of the American River, alternating adrenaline rush with peaceful floats. The guides, a mix of students and faculty, navigated through Class II – Class III+ rapids with the help of their raft teams. Along the way, they pointed out wildlife, geology, and the importance of sustainability and river protection. After that, they spent two days hiking the foothills and high passes of the Sierra Nevada range.

Each day’s activities ended around the campfire at their base camp in Coloma, California. Everybody gathered for dinner and conversation under the willows and oak trees along the river’s edge.

Phase 2 – On Campus

The second SNO phase brings everybody back together on campus. There are plenty of casual activities for you to meet more friends and explore the amazing opportunities close to campus. And, of course, there’s the usual introduction to the mechanics of college – academic policies, financial aid, dorm rules, library facilities. The main focus of the week, however, is a group of hands-on workshops. These introduce you to the college’s core themes and immersive learning style. This fall, students rotated through each of three workshops.

In the Entrepreneurship workshop, the class discussed various issues that we face in the Tahoe Basin. These included wildfire, housing, traffic, lake clarity, recreation and tourism, trash and recycling, and climate change. Students were divided into groups which each included a variety of personalities and communication styles, for a variety of perspectives. Then each team used entrepreneurial thinking and teamwork to propose a solution, build a prototype, fill out a sustainable business model canvas, and create a professional presentation.

Incoming freshman Kristin Helser learned a lot in the entrepreneurship workshop. “I really liked trying to come up with a project that would help solve a problem that affects us, and figure out what it took to design and produce the solution,” she said.

a student is overwhelmed during an entrepreneurship workshop as two other students look on at the Sierra Nevada College orientationEntrepreneurship can be challenging!
Animal Behavior students spend class catching crayfish at Hidden Beach at Lake TahoeA beautiful place for a crayfish census.
float test - students have built a boat out of scrap materials for a creativity workshop at the Sierra Nevada College orientationIs it seaworthy?

In the Sustainability workshop, students went to Chimney Beach to measure the crawfish population in Lake Tahoe. The students had their first college taste of collecting data for research. Environmental science is one of the many pieces of sustainability which will be part of their education at Sierra Nevada College. And they were introduced to the opportunities they will have to live and learn in such a beautiful, special place.

In the Creative Arts workshop, student teams built boats out of scrap lumber, fasteners, and duct tape. Empty 55 gallon plastic drums were the flotation. Each group’s boat had to be decorated with a unique paint job and flag. And each boat had to be able to support one designated paddler for a 200 yard regatta. The regatta was held on Lake Tahoe, and filmed both from the shore and a drone by digital arts students. The boats were tested for seaworthiness during construction in a kiddie pool on campus, but this did not turn out reliably mimic conditions on the lake!

Skills for Success

Each of these adventures is as much fun as it sounds, but they are also an important part of your future success. They introduce you to the valuable skills that will be at the core of your Sierra Nevada College education. These are the skills that will serve you well in college, in your future career, and throughout your life.

Communication: This includes written and oral communication but also active listening skills. Whether you are out in the wild or working on a team project, your success depends on your ability to listen and follow directions, as well as to communicate effectively with others.

Creativity: Creativity comes in many forms, including solving a problem in a unique way. New adventures and perspectives encourage you to think outside the box.

Entrepreneurship: The ability to take risks and innovate, and the willingness to develop and organize a new venture, are hallmarks of the entrepreneurial spirit. Each SNO activity is an opportunity to take on a project and see it through to completion, to the benefit of everybody involved.

Leadership: Leadership means taking responsibility for yourself, as well as cooperating with others for your mutual success. These are key skills that every potential leader must master.

Take your place among the EAGLES! That’s an acronym for Experience, Adventure, Group Leadership, Environment, and Style.

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2019 Tahoe Slam winners Griffin Peralta, Pan Pantoja, SaMoura Horsley, and mistress of ceremonies Elisa Garcia
Griffin Peralta beat out nine other competitors for the title of Grand Champion at the Annual Tahoe Slam on April 26, the last Friday of National Poetry Month.

2019 Tahoe Slam @ SNC

SNC hosted the Annual Tahoe Slam on Friday, April 26 this year. Ten competitors vied for the title and for the prizes – first place gets a $300.00 gift certificate, second $200.00, third $100.00 – plus bragging rights. SNC students Deja Maestas and Nikki Sardelli competed, alongside other poets from the region and several UNR students. The Tahoe Slam Champion for 2019, Griffin Peralta, is a Reno-based poet and member of the Spoken Views Collective.

Griffin Peralta, winner of the the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthSlam 2019 Grand Champion Griffin Peralta
The audience at the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthThere’s always lots of audience participation!
Sierra Nevada College art and creative writing student Nikki Sardelli performing at the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthSNC student Nikki Sardelli

The Annual Tahoe Slam is held every year on the last Friday in April, poetry month. Past MCs include Patricia Smith, Denise Jolly, Raina Leon, the UC Berkeley Slam Team, and other spoken word performers. The MC this year was Elisa Garcia, a Reno-based spoken word artist. Slams are performance infused deliveries of verse, with a three-minute limit. Judges are chosen randomly from the audience. This is a lively event with a lot of audience participation. There are no tame whispered verses here!

2019 Winners:

First place: Griffin Peralta
Second place: Pan Pantoja
Third place: SaMoura Horsley
Mistress of Ceremonies: Elisa Garcia

photo: (clockwise from top left) Griffin Peralta, Pan Pantoja, SaMoura Horsley, Elisa Garcia


The Annual Tahoe Slam is the last event in the season for the Writers in the Woods literary speaker series. The series brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the Sierra Nevada College campus. Audience members are welcome to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers during intimate readings and workshops. All events are open to the public.

The 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods season is bringing Rebecca Makkai, author of the Pulitzer finalist in fiction The Great Believers; Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings; Michael Branch, local author of How to Cuss in Western; Gayle Brandeis, reading from her new book Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in a Chorus (A Testimony); June Sylvester Saraceno, reading from her new works Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (a novel), and The Girl from Yesterday (poetry); and Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf.

The 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods Schedule

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Pines reflected in the lake is the logo for the SNU Tahoe Writers in the Woods literary speaker series.
Rebecca Makkai, whose most recent novel "The Great Believers" is a 2019 Pulitzer finalist, will open the 2019 - 2020 Writers in the Woods.

Pulitzer Finalist Opens Literary Series

Cover of "The Great Believers" by Sierra Nevada College MFA in Creative Writing faculty Rebecca MakkaiRebecca Makkai will be the first author in the 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods literary speaker series. Makkai’s most recent work, The Great Believers, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Award; winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize, and the Stonewall Award; and one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2018.

Makkai is also the author of the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, and the short story collection Music for Wartime. She is on the MFA in Creative Writing faculty both here at Sierra Nevada College and at Northwestern University in Chicago, her home.


About The Great Believers
Publisher’s Description

A Novel of Friendship and Redemption in the Face of Tragedy

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about to pull off a coup, bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of 80’s and the chaos of the modern world, as both struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Praise for The Great Believers


Writers in the Woods brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the campus for intimate readings and workshops. All events are open to the public, and audience members are welcome to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers. The readings, on Friday evening from 7 to 9 pm, are free to everybody. Workshops are Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon, with a nominal fee of $50 for community members.

2019 – 2020 Season

Learn more about this season’s authors

Register for a Workshop

September 27 – 28
Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers

Writer and activist Lacy M Johnson, author of 'The Reckonings'October 18 – 19
Lacy M. Johnson
The Reckonings
Nevada author and desert rat Mike Branch, author of 'How to Cuss in Western'November 1 – 2
Michael Branch
How to Cuss in Western
Headshot of Author Gayle BrandeisFebruary 7 – 8
Gayle Brandeis
Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in a Chorus (A Testimony)
June Sylvester Saraceno
Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (a novel), and The Girl from Yesterday (poetry)
March – TBD

Kaveh Akbar, author of 'Calling a Wolf a Wolf'April 10 – 11
Kaveh Akbar
Calling a Wolf a Wolf
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Jane Goodall speaking at Sierra Nevada University.
The famed researcher and environmental advocate presented to a packed house of students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Jane Goodall at SNC

On the evening of March 29, the crowded room in SNC’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences building was buzzing with anticipation. A petite 85-year-old wearing a simple black turtleneck with a butterfly print shawl wrapped around her shoulders slipped in the door. The room fell silent as Dr. Jane Goodall took her spot behind the podium. Earlier in the day she had talked to high school students at Incline High. The following day she would do the same with elementary students at the Lake Tahoe School.

She began her lecture talking about her childhood fascination with animals. As a toddler, she brought a colony of earthworms into her bedroom. A few years later, she spent an afternoon hidden in a chicken coop waiting for a hen to come lay while her mother searched frantically for her missing daughter. Jane was curious because she couldn’t see a hole on a hen big enough for an egg to come out. Goodall credits much of her success to her supportive mother, who always encouraged her to explore despite her unorthodox activities. At 10 she found a copy of Tarzan of the Apes in a secondhand bookshop, and Africa became her goal.

As a young woman Goodall couldn’t afford university, so she took a secretarial course. When a school friend invited her to come to Africa, she saved for months for the trip. People told her she couldn’t just up and go to Africa – “Girls didn’t do that sort of adventurous thing,” she remembered. She went anyway.

One of the films from Jane Goodall speaking at Sierra Nevada College.In Africa, Goodall had her first disheartening experiences with overt race segregation, in Cape Town South Africa. In Kenya, Goodall was introduced to famed paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Louis Leakey, who was amazed by Goodall’s persistence – and in need of a secretary. In 1960 he was able to arrange for her to go study the chimpanzees, humans’ closest living cousins, at Gombe Stream National Park in what is now Tanzania.

In Gombe, Goodall immersed herself in the fieldwork. She paid careful attention to the animals’ different personalities and social behaviors, which mainstream scientists discounted as “anthropomorphizing”. She saw a chimp she called David Greybeard take a stick, strip off its leaves, and use it to fish termites out of a mound to eat. At that time, tool-making was considered to be an exclusively human ability. Critics didn’t believe Goodall’s observations as she “didn’t have a degree and I was just a girl,” but there was film footage. A year later Goodall was admitted to Cambridge University’s PhD program in ethology, the science of animal behavior. She received her degree in 1966 and returned to her research in Gombe.

Goodall’s life and career took another dramatic turn in 1986. At a scientific conference in Chicago on chimpanzee behavior, she was stunned as several speakers showed the extent of habitat destruction across Africa. As she described it, “I walked in a scientist and walked out an activist.” Not long after that she founded the Jane Goodall Institute UK, a “global organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.” The institute supports conservation science, habitat preservation, primate protection, and sustainable livelihoods across Africa. Goodall emphasizes the importance of local communities taking charge of conservation, so that both people and ecosystems benefit.

These days, Goodall is focusing her scientific credentials, considerable energy, and irresistible charisma on Roots & Shoots, a global education program which encourages young people to “implement practical positive change.” Members of Roots & Shoots range in age from kindergarten to college. The program puts students in charge, empowering them to decide what issues they want to tackle in their communities. Students complete service projects in three areas: one for people, one for animals, and one for the environment.

Jane Goodall shares a stuffed chimpanzee with a very young admirer after speaking at Sierra Nevada College.Dr. Goodall is a witty, empathetic, and genuinely inspiring speaker. As was evident when the room was opened up to questions after the lecture, her impact – as a scientist, a conservationist, and a human being – has been immense. And she’s not done yet. At 85 years old, she is traveling 300 days a year to spread the word. She is clear-eyed about the challenges but focused on the future.

The impact of her visit will continue to resonate, as Incline High School and the Lake Tahoe School are pairing up to create their own Roots & Shoots chapter. Bob Graves, headmaster of Lake Tahoe School, is excited to bring the organization to the North Lake Tahoe area. “One of the toughest things educators face these days is the need to have their students focus on issues and solutions beyond themselves and their own personal needs,” Graves said. “The students and parents are pretty pumped right now after meeting Jane. The key will be to keep those positive vibes going and to channel the energy and enthusiasm into Roots & Shoots as soon as possible – exactly why we will be starting the new chapter this spring. There is plenty of room for additional conservation measures and community involvement in the Tahoe community,” he said. “Better yet, to create an informed and motivated group of students willing to get involved now, bodes well for our region and the world’s future.”

Sierra Nevada College is grateful to Lake Tahoe School for making the lecture with Dr. Jane Goodall possible.


Sustainability – environmental, social, and economic – is a core piece of SNC Tahoe’s academic mission. The college offers an interdisciplinary major in sustainability, which looks at the topic from multiple perspectives. SNC Tahoe also has an active environmental science program, with majors in ecology, earth science, and natural resource management. Our partnership with UC Davis through the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences gives students direct access to current research and conservation efforts in the Lake Tahoe region.

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SNU Tahoe student Cole Lyon grabs his skis while in the air during the freeski competition at USCSA
The Eagles bring home the medals from the 41st Annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships.

USCSA Nationals 2019

Sierra Nevada College emerged victorious at the 2019 41st Annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, March 10-16th at Snow King resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Together, SNC Tahoe students brought home four combined team national championships and four combined individual national championships.

Alpine Results

The Eagles won 1st in both the men’s and women’s alpine team competitions, as well as the combined team title for alpine ski racing.

For the women’s alpine ski team, freshman Misel Marovt took 1st place overall, bringing home the national title. Senior Saana Ahonen took home 2nd place, and senior Eva Jazbec took home 5th place.

On the first day of the alpine competition in the women’s giant slalom, Marovt took the win with a two-run time of 1:56.69 seconds. Ahonen finished in second place, just a mere 0.63 seconds back. In women’s slalom, Marovt took her second title of the championships, finishing in 1st place with a time of 1:40.49 seconds. Ahonen finished in second, 1.37 seconds behind. Jazbec made it a clean swipe for the Eagles, finishing in 3rd place, just 2.48 seconds back. The women’s alpine team made history by sweeping the podium.

The men’s alpine team finished first in combined results as well. Adrian Rhomberg placed 1st, with Vidar Widing in 3rd, Luka Gobec in 7th, and Anton Waller in 11th.

The men’s and women’s alpine snowboard team also impressed at nationals, with both teams taking 2nd place. For the men, Marc Speake took 7th place, while Cory Skaggs took 10th. Ty Casey took 15th, David Brown took 25th, and Alex School took 29th. For the women, Calista Carlson took 6th, with Carina Logan in 12th, Breck Beishline in 18th, and Maggie Galloway in 20th.

SNC Tahoe student Anton Waller sports a tutu as he competes in the giant slalom event at USCSA NationalsAnton Waller sports a tutu
SNC Tahoe's Womens Alpine ski team takes the national championship after sweeping the podiumThe women’s championship Alpine Team
SNC skiier Saana Ahonen takes a deep turn at the 2019 USCSA NationalsSaana Ahonen takes a deep turn
Freestyle Results

The Eagles also took home awards for 1st place in men’s and women’s free ski, and 2nd place in men’s and women’s freestyle snowboard.

The women’s freeski team claimed the national title, with Vilde Johansen taking home the 1st place trophy. Bridget O’Brien took home 3rd place, with Sarah Lingg in 5th, and Gabby Dodd in 7th. The men’s free ski team also claimed the national title, with Andrew “Shaggy” Eells taking 1st place. Cole Lyon took 3rd place, Milan Peyrin took 5th, with Quinn Davis in 16th, and Sean Conroy in 17th.

The women’s freestyle snowboard team’s combined results earned them the 2nd place title as a team, with individuals taking 4th, 8th, 11th, and 13th. Calista Carlson brought home 4th place, with Carina Logan taking 8th, Breck Beishline taking 11th, and Margaret “Maggie” Galloway taking 13th. The men’s freestyle team also brought home the combined team 2nd place. David Brown won 9th place, with Alex Schoff taking 13th, Hunter Lamoureux taking 15th, Ty Casey in 25th, and Ben Hojnoski in 29th.

SNC Tahoe student Alex Schoff his the rail during the USCSA national competitionAlex Schoff on the rail
SNCs Bridget OBrien is airborne at the 2019 USCSA NationalsBridget O’Brien is airborne
SNC Tahoe student Sarah Lingg makes herself comfortable in the terrain park during USCSA nationalsSarah Lingg in the park

header image: Freeskier Cole Lyon grabs his skis midair


A Winning History

SNC Tahoe is no stranger to national championship titles at USCSA. Over the years, our teams have managed to snag dozens of titles for both our teams and the individuals on them. With our local training mountain just 5 minutes from campus, students are able to get plenty of practice in. There are over a dozen other 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.

Looking for a Career in the Snow?

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.

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Students working at computers
An E.L. Wiegand Foundation Educational Technology grant will fund substantial improvements to SNC's network and online infrastructure.

SNC Receives Technology Grant

An E.L. Wiegand Foundation Educational Technology grant will fund substantial improvements to SNC’s network and online infrastructure.

Excellence in 21st century education requires 21st century technology. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation recognizes this, and has awarded $222,500 for the SNC Network Technology Project. The project will maintain and expand SNC’s network infrastructure, to enable secure audio and video traffic for two-way teleconferencing. It will also enhance and secure student services in admissions, financial aid, student accounts, academic records and library services. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation’s commitment to excellence supports SNC’s commitment to improving, maintaining and expanding a flexible hybrid learning environment in an increasingly competitive educational landscape.

The project supports the need for modern classrooms to provide increased distance-ready instruction and security. Sierra Nevada College and E. L. Wiegand recognize these needs, as they collaborate on superior access pathways for education. Sierra Nevada College is continuing to expand access to higher education in the region and beyond. SNC Tahoe, Nevada’s only private non-profit four-year university, operates two extension centers, one at Lake Tahoe Community College and the second at Truckee Meadows Community College’s Dandini Campus. SNC is also building its online instructional capability with the Canvas Learning Management System. The SNC Technology Project provides crucial support for all of these initiatives.

“With the enhancements to the network infrastructure made possible through the SNC Technology Project, Sierra Nevada College will remain well equipped to provide a wide range of educational pathways, for traditional and non-traditional students alike. Using technology, we can meet students where they are at in life, and give them due credit.”

Dr. Alan Walker, President of Sierra Nevada College

The college now offers several new pathways for students, including Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and a Bachelor of General Studies, and is exploring offering an online Master of Business Administration. The PLA course, and the General Studies and MBA degrees, all offer adult learners new opportunities to advance their careers.

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