Category: Academic

2020 BAS HM Graduates

Historic milestone: 13 students receive bachelor’s degrees from Galveston College

In a first for Galveston County, 13 Galveston College students made history in December as the first graduates to receive Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management degrees from their local community college – Galveston College.

The students also were the first students ever to receive bachelor’s degrees from Galveston College, which before 2019 offered only two-year associate degrees and technical and professional certificates.

“The future is bright for the class of 2020,” said Dr. Tirizia York, program director. “I was honored to be a part of their educational journey, and I know they will use the leadership skills gained in the program to make a difference in the field of healthcare management.”

Class of 2020 graduates included Hemal Amin, Gabriela Bailon, Brittany Diaz, Ginger Jackson, Roza Kastis, Patricia Phol, Marsha Scoggin, Tiffany Sherman and Catalina Tovar, all of Galveston; Michele Garza and Yvonne Shaw, both of La Marque; Jeremy Ross of Rosharon; and Christina Trevino of League City.

“We are so proud to have our first cohort of students graduating with their Bachelor of Applied Science degrees,” said Dr. Cissy Matthews, vice president of instruction. “These students were able to balance responsibilities they have for home and work while completing this rigorous curriculum. I know their hard work and determination will pay off as they take on future leadership roles within the healthcare industry.”

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management prepares graduates for entry- to mid-level management positions in planning, directing and coordinating medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed-care organizations, public health agencies or similar organizations. The students took a blend of online and on-campus classes.

“I enjoyed being in the program, and I feel that I learned a lot throughout the courses I took,” said Roza Kastis of Galveston. “Prior to this program, writing papers had been a challenge for me; however, the BAS program strengthened my ability to write effective reports pertaining to healthcare management. My instructor, Dr. York, was very helpful and responded quickly to emails if I had a question. Overall, this experience enhanced my growth and my intellectual skills.”

In November 2017, the Galveston Community College District Board of Regents took a historic vote to create the opportunity for Galveston College to pursue offering the bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The college launched the Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management in fall 2019 and plans to add the Bachelor of Science in Nursing soon.

“The bachelor’s degrees we are offering complement our two-year degree and certificate programs that prepare students for the workforce and to transfer to four-year universities,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, president of Galveston College. “These are degrees where there is a local workforce need either for skills that need specific training and require a bachelor’s degree or for someone who has those skills and wants to advance into a management role.”

Dr. Shelton said Galveston College will continue to add baccalaureate programs, while retaining the technical mission that is part of a community college’s job — that is, training workers for local industries.

“These graduates are a testimony to the need for affordable bachelor’s degrees offered close to home, work and family,” Dr. Shelton said. “We are very proud of their achievements and wish them the best as they continue their careers and future educational pursuits.”

2021 Spring Registration at Galveston College

Spring registration is Jan. 11-13

General registration for the spring 2021 semester at Galveston College will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Jan. 11 -13, in Moody Hall on the Galveston College campus, 4015 Avenue Q, Galveston, Texas.

Late registration is set for 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Returning students can register on their Whitecaps portal at whitecaps.gc.edu. To view the spring 2021 schedule of classes, please visit https://gc.edu/admissions/course-schedule/

Students have five course-delivery options that fit their preferred learning styles and comfort levels: 

  • face-to-face instruction,
  • hybrid synchronous (a combination of face-to-face and Zoom meetings),
  • hybrid asynchronous (a combination of face-to-face and traditional online instruction),
  • online synchronous via Zoom,
  • traditional online internet instruction, or
  • a combination of the options.

 Not all classes are offered in all course-delivery methods. 

To meet with an adviser, contact the Counseling and Advising Center at advising@gc.edu or schedule an appointment on the QLess app on a mobile phone or on the kiosks in Moody Hall to avoid the wait. 

Financial aid and Galveston College scholarships are available. Contact the Galveston College Financial Aid office at finaid@gc.edu or visit gc.edu/financial-aid for information. 

For more information on admission to Galveston College, write to admissions@gc.edu. For information on registration, call (409) 944-4242 or email advising@gc.edu.

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival recognizes Galveston College Theatre department

The Galveston College Theatre department’s fall production of “The Invisible Man” has advanced to Region VI of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

Galveston College’s production is one of only 11 productions from colleges and universities throughout a five-state region that have been invited to be presented at KCACTF Region VI Festival 54, which will be produced virtually in February 2021.
Galveston College Theatre company members also were notified by representatives from the KCACTF Region VI Committee in late November of a number of recognitions.

Eva Arita, Daniel Bourque and Alyssa Gudz each received an award for Meritorious Achievement in Acting for their performances. Program Coordinator for the Performing Arts Liz Lacy received a Meritorious Achievement award for Excellence in Direction. Additional outstanding company members include Dorion Alcantar, Elijah Barrie and Benji Shelton.

Adapted by John de Lancie from the script by Nat Segaloff and John de Lancie, “The Invisible Man” is described by author H.G. Wells as “a grotesque romance.” It remains as remarkable and frightening today as it was upon its publication over a hundred years ago.

About KCACTF

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region VI Theatre Festival includes colleges and universities within Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The KCACTF is a national organization that exists to celebrate the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. KCACTF promotes professional standards and provides students and faculty with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds. KCACTF honors achievements in diversity and excellence and encourages experiences in all areas of theatre. 

Above: Cast members Benji Shelton and Dorian Alcantar rehearse for Galveston College Theatre’s recent virtual production of the classic science fiction radio drama, “The Invisible Man.” The production has advanced to the regional competition of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

Seven Galveston College Quickstart+ HVAC-R students pass Universal Section 608 certification exam

Seven Galveston College Quickstart+ students recently passed the Universal Section 608 Certification exam following an intensive eight-week training program in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R).

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires that all persons who maintain, service, repair or dispose of appliances that contain regulated substances be certified in proper refrigerant handling techniques.

Instructor Karen Alsept said this is the largest Quickstart+ student group to pass the Universal Section 608 exam in the three-year history of the training program.
“Our instructor, Karen Alsept, welcomed 13 students into the classroom Sept. 21, where they received a mixture of online and face-to-face instruction,” said Sharon Pagan, grant navigator for Quickstart+.

“Classes met Mondays through Thursdays for five hours each night, and students completed classes in Shop Practices and Tools, Basic Electrical for HVAC, Refrigeration Principles, OSHA 10 Construction and Professional Behaviors.”

Over the course of instruction, students had the opportunity to complete an eight-module National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER) core curriculum, as well as the 10-hour Construction Safety and Health Certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Quickstart+ program also provided Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program study guides to help students become knowledgeable about Section 608 environmental issues with regard to the proper handling of refrigerants.

Seven of the 13 HVAC-R students paid to take the national exam through the ESCO Institute in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. To earn Universal certification, HVAC-R students had to demonstrate proficiency in the NCCER Core Curriculum, Type I, Type II and Type III certification requirements.

Those earning certifications included John Bertolino, Michael Busby, Oscar Franco, Justin Hulsey, Kendall Merriweather, Randy Ramirez and Rodrigo Sanchez.

Funded with a Foundational Skills for Construction Career Pathways Grant, the Quickstart+ programs at Galveston College are designed to help individuals find entry-level jobs in the fast-growing HVAC and electrical industries.

In the eight-week programs, students are presented with the basics of a trade, including safety procedures, proper tool usage, regulations, codes and more. They also receive career counseling and job placement assistance.

Tuition is free for those accepted into the programs. However, students purchase their own steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment.

For more information, please contact Sharon Pagan at spagan@gc.edu. The next classes begin in February.

Galveston College Theatre opens 2020-2021 season with H.G. Wells’ ‘The Invisible Man’

“And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man—the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none.” — H.G. Wells, “The Invisible Man”

The Galveston College Theatre Department will kick off its 2020-2021 season with the classic science fiction radio drama, “The Invisible Man,” by H.G. Wells and adapted by John de Lancie from the script by Nat Segaloff and John de Lancie.

Show dates and times are Friday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2:30 p.m. 

Please contact director Liz Lacy, program coordinator for the Performing Arts, via email at llacy@gc.edu with preferred performance date(s). A link to listen to the requested performance of this radio audio drama will be emailed by Thursday, Nov. 12, at 10 p.m.

Described by H.G. Wells as “a grotesque romance,” “The Invisible Man” remains as remarkable and frightening today as it was upon its publication over a hundred years ago. This thrilling adaptation by John de Lancie brings one of H.G. Wells’ most terrifying characters to life with the power of imagination in the style of a classic radio drama.

The story begins on a bitter winter evening, when a mysterious stranger arrives in the remote English village of Iping in the dead of winter, his face swaddled in bandages. The stranger is Griffin, a scientist who has discovered the secret to invisibility but cannot find a way to reverse it. Freed from the constraints of physicality and rejected by a society that fears him, Griffin descends into madness, violence and brutality.

Company members include Dorion Alcantar, Eva Arita, Elijah Barrie, Daniel Bourque, Alyssa Gudz and Benji Shelton. “The Invisible Man” is produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois. For additional information, please contact Program Coordinator for the Performing Arts Liz Lacy at (409) 944-1398 or llacy@gc.edu.

Noviz Nevarez

AAPC Medical Coding curriculum leads to healthcare career for Galveston College student

Noviz Nevarez always wanted to follow in her sisters’ footsteps and pursue a career in healthcare, but she needed a career pathway that would accommodate her busy schedule as a full-time sales manager at a Galveston hotel, the mother of a four-year-old and wife of a longshoreman at the Port of Galveston.

“Most of my sisters work in a medical field, and they inspired me. Originally, I wanted to become a nurse, but I needed more flexibility. When I found out about medical coding and administration, I decided it was the right career path for me.”

Nevarez enrolled in Galveston College’s new American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) medical coding curriculum last spring, completed her Medical Coding certificate and passed the national Certified Professional Coder (CPC) on her first attempt.

She landed a job with Signify Health and started working remotely this month as a coding specialist.

“Medical coding and billing specialists play a crucial role in the healthcare industry,” explained Donna Swartz, program director at Galveston College. “It is their responsibility to make sure that health claims are processed and coded accurately so that insurance companies and healthcare providers are reimbursed correctly. They also want to make sure they code correctly so patients are not over-charged for routine appointments.”

Nevarez said the communication, supervisory and management, and resume and cover-letter writing skills she learned at Galveston College were essential to preparing her for a new career.

“This is the first job I applied for since I earned my certificate,” Nevarez said. “I used the resume writing tips I learned from Ms. Swartz to align my skills with the position description. I had two phone and video interviews. It was a great experience.”

Galveston College’s program prepares students for national medical coding certification exams and provides focused instruction in health information management, health records management and advanced medical coding and billing.

“At first, the program is very challenging, especially for those without a medical background,” Nevarez said. “My advice to future students is to never give up…to believe in yourself. Join social media groups to network and keep up with what’s happening in the field. No matter what, keep going. It is worth it.”

Nevarez is continuing her studies at Galveston College and is now pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Administration. Her new job and work-at-home schedule will also give her husband an opportunity pursue his Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology at the college.

“I’m grateful to my husband, my parents, my mother-in-law, and to my bosses at the hotel for their support,” said Nevarez. “I try to give my best to everything I do. I’m so grateful to Galveston College for this program.”

Laimutis Bytautas

Galveston College professor is American Chemical Society Two-Year College Award recipient

It’s not difficult to see why the American Chemical Society Greater Houston Section chose Dr. Laimutis Bytautas, assistant professor of chemistry at Galveston College, as the 2020 recipient of the Two-Year College Award for excellence in teaching, leadership and service to the profession.

His resume boasts a robust list of academic accomplishments – from research published in prestigious publications to service with professional organizations. But it’s his love for teaching that truly stands out among his numerous accomplishments.

Originally from Lithuania, Dr. Bytautas received a degree in physics from Vilnius University in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1990, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1996.

Among his many professional achievements, he has performed scientific research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University, Rice University, the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Chemistry is Fun

Passionate about teaching, Dr. Bytautas encourages his students to become engaged in the process of learning.

“First, I try to convince my students that chemistry can be a lot of fun. I must say that it is not always an easy task. Sometimes I try to encourage my students to achieve a ‘black-belt’ mastery level in chemistry. Successfully teaching natural sciences or any other subject requires a lot of passion from a teacher,” he said. 

“The best way to teach is to get students thinking deeply about the subject.  I say to my students: ‘Try to look at solving chemistry problems like you are trying to solve nature’s mysteries.’  Sometimes, I also try to encourage my students: ‘Who knows, maybe one day you will get a Nobel Prize in Chemistry as an additional reward to having fun with chemistry already.’”

His efforts have not gone unnoticed by his colleagues.

“Dr. Bytautas’ extraordinary patience, love for teaching, and effort helping students to develop profound knowledge and competency in the chemistry and physics fields are highly recognized by his students and peers,” said Dr. Ana Sanchez, division director of science and business.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Bytautas here at Galveston College,” added Dr. Cissy Matthews, vice president of instruction. “He is committed to our students and committed to remaining current in his field so that he can be the best faculty member that he can be.”

Research is Important

A member of the American Chemical Society since 2001, Dr. Bytautas is no stranger to the spotlight. His most recent research in quantum chemistry has been published in the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry and Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, both of which are leading professional journals.

He has also been published recently in The Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Chemical Physics, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Molecular Physics and Croatica Chemica Acta.

He served as co-principal investigator for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Technology Instrumentation Project at Galveston College and as co-organizer of an international symposium on the “Present, Future and Applications of Ab-initio Atomic and Molecular Electronic Structure Calculations” in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

“Having ongoing research projects helps in teaching sciences to students who often like to ask questions that go way beyond scheduled lesson topics. Also, keeping track of scientific discoveries is essential in teaching natural sciences at the college level,” Dr. Bytautas said.

“I like to share my research findings with my students. Sometimes I get a question from a student like ‘Is this going to be on the next exam?’ Learning that my latest research findings in quantum chemistry will not be on the next exam in their chemistry course reduces students’ stress levels considerably.”

Life is a Chemical Reaction

“Of course, teaching chemistry has its fair share of challenges. It is not always easy to convince my students that chemistry is fun when heavy computations are involved. Students much more readily appreciate chemical reactions and visual effects associated with chemistry experiments like color changes.  It takes quite a bit of effort and practice in problem-solving to achieve deep understanding in chemistry and develop critical thinking skills.  Clearly, it helps when students realize that chemistry is everywhere in their lives,” Dr. Bytautas said.

“In fact, it is sometimes said, ‘Life is a chemical reaction.’ Of course, mastering chemistry is highly rewarding, especially when at the beginning of the semester chemistry appears to be a hard subject for many students.”

Passionate about service, Dr. Bytautas has chaired the Galveston College professional development committee lecture series committee since 2016, bringing distinguished speakers to campus in order to engage the college and community in compelling and purposeful discussions addressing contemporary issues and events.

The committee will host Dr. Kourtney Moore of Cape Fear Community College in North Carolina on Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. via Zoom videoconference for the first lecture in its 2020-2021 lecture series on Diversity, Inclusion and Empowerment titled “I Still Love H.E.R.: Hip-Hop and African-American Culture Concerning Systemic Racism and Oppression.”

The ACS Outstanding Chemistry Teacher at a Two Year College Award is designed to recognize, encourage and stimulate outstanding teachers of chemistry at a community college in the American Chemical Society – Greater Houston Section. Selection is based on the nominee’s teaching, including unusually effective methods of presentation, a professor’s ability to challenge and inspire students, extra-curricular work in chemistry, keeping up-to-date in the field, and evidence of leadership and/or active involvement within the profession.

“This award from the American Chemical Society Greater Houston Section recognizes the contribution and hard work of all people at Galveston College in making a difference in students’ lives so that they can pursue their dreams, career goals and be able to take excellent care of their families,” Dr. Bytautas said. “I would like to thank all faculty, staff, administration, and of course, our students because they all contributed to this award.”

Dr. Bytautas received the award on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the 2020 ACS Greater Houston Awards Ceremony, which was conducted virtually this year.

Above: Dr. Laimutis Bytautas

MRI Tech Program Promotional Graphic

Galveston College accepts applications for MRI Technology certificate program

Galveston College is accepting applications from now through Oct. 30 for spring 2021 admission to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology program.

MRI technologists are allied health professionals who use magnetic resonance imaging to capture 3D images of the body to determine pathology versus normal tissue. The MRI technologist performs various diagnostic procedures under the supervision of a licensed radiologist and works closely with patients to provide instruction and quality care while producing quality images.

MRI is unique in the field of diagnostic imaging because of the manner in which images are obtained. MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio frequencies to create images of the patient’s internal structures. This is accomplished without the use of ionizing radiation.

MRI Technology is a post-associate degree certificate program designed for cross-trained professionals such as radiographers, nuclear medicine technologists, ultrasound technologists and radiation therapy technologists.

Upon completion of the 31-credit-hour program and completion of all clinical requisites as mandated by American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT), the student will be eligible to sit for the ARRT MRI registry.

For more information about the MRI Technology program, contact Program Director Hong Mai at hmai@gc.edu and visit https://gc.edu/magnetic-resonance-imaging/.

Healthcare Management

Apply now for Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management

Galveston College will accept applications from Oct. 1 to Jan. 13 for spring 2021 admission to its new Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management (BAS-HCM) degree program.

Dr. Tirizia York, director of the program, said the purpose of the BAS-HCM program is to prepare students who already possess associate degrees in allied health fields for entry- to mid-level management positions in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, emergency medical services, public health agencies or similar organizations. The upper-level courses in the program will be delivered primarily via distance education with some face-to-face meetings each semester.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, there will be an average of 275 openings each year in the Gulf Coast Workforce Area for healthcare managers. This represents a 32 percent increase from 2014 to 2024.

Statewide predictions indicate there will be 1,070 annual job openings in this career field, which is a 29 percent increase from 2014 to 2024. All of these healthcare management positions will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

The admissions criteria and program application are available on the Galveston College website at https://gc.edu/healthcare-management/.

Face-to-Face Tutoring

Career Readiness and Student Success Center reopens with face-to-face tutoring

The Galveston College Career Readiness and Student Success Center has reopened and is offering face-to-face tutoring services.

NetTutor is also available for online students to access 24 hours a day.

Students, faculty and staff are asked to be mindful of the following sanitation and safety precautions observed in the center:

• All students who enter the center must be wearing a wristband signifying they have completed a Galveston College COVID-19 screening.
• In an effort to ensure social distancing, the center has condensed itself to 12 study stations with eight of those being computer stations.
• No more than three tutors will be on duty at a given time.
• Each tutor can only tutor one student at a time. (There are two stations that can accommodate a group of two students.)
• Students will be tutored in 60-minute sessions, if there is no wait, a student can restart a new 60 minutes.
• All stations will be sanitized after every use.

For hours and more information, click here.