Downingtown campus attempts to meet gender neutral bathroom request

By Dean Galiffa 

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When a student contacted Stephanie Sarafinas, associate professor and counselor at DCCC’s Downingtown campus, about plans for a gender-neutral bathroom in the upcoming STEM complex, Sarafinas said she acted immediately.

“The topic arose several times this past semester,” said Sarafinas. “Initially, I asked Amy Williams, the assistant dean of Retention and Completion, in September. She told me that there were plans to include a gender-neutral bathroom in the new STEM complex, but [they] are now off the table.”

Tonino DeLuca, director of Plant Operations and Construction Services at DCCC, explained that the future Downingtown STEM complex did not meet the requirements for a gender-neutral bathroom.

“Plumbing has to be in the right location for drainage purposes,” DeLuca said. “Space was the issue for the new building. The basement has mechanical and electrical rooms that cannot be removed. We had to question if a gender-neutral bathroom was viable when considering a location.”

DeLuca added that Plant Operations are unable to replace gender-specific with gender-neutral bathrooms due to the number of occupants to plumbing fixtures ratio.

Plant Operations is planning on having two gender-specific bathrooms on the first floor of the Downingtown STEM complex and are attempting to install a gender-neutral bathroom on the first floor of the main building.

Like DCCC, many colleges and universities are begining to recognize the value of installing gender neutral bathrooms becuase of the psychological benefits to transgender students.

A study at Georgia State University used the National Transgender Discrimination Survey to analyze the correlation between transgender students committing suicide and being denied access to gender-neutral bathrooms.

The article, written by Kristie L. Seelman, assistant professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies for the Journal of Homosexuality, writes, “Transgender university and college students are at a significantly higher risk for suicide attempts when their campus experience includes being denied access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing.”

The Trans Resources page of West Chester University’s website lists more than 50 single-occupancy bathrooms on campus, including those in administrative and residential buildings.

According to the Temple University Student Guide to LGBTQIA Life, the campus has more than 40 gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms throughout the campus.

Drexel University offers students gender-inclusive housing, an option by which students share a room and “internal/external bathrooms regardless of biological sex, gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation,” according to the university’s website.

The DCCC Marple campus has two single-occupancy bathrooms that are referred to as gender neutral by some students and faculty members,.

“Any gender, no matter how they identify, can use that bathroom,” said Associate Director for Advising and Support Ryan Jeral when referring to the single-occupancy bathroom near the Marple campus’ Career and Counseling Center.

According to Jeral, the counselors worked with DeLuca to have an easily-accessible gender-neutral bathroom nearby.

“As counselors, we work with students on a very personal level,” Jeral said. “We know the accommodations they need and set them as priority. It is a basic human right to feel safe and comfortable when using the bathroom.”

Max Avener, a math instructor at the Marple campus, wishes that no bathrooms on campus were gender-specific.

Preferring to go by they/them pronouns, Avener is a non-binary person, meaning they do not identify as male or female. Avener commonly uses the gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, but occasionally has difficulty accessing them.

“Sometimes I’ll teach two classes [back-to-back] in the STEM building and not have time to use the gender-neutral bathrooms in the academic building,” Avener said. “I often go to use the gender-neutral bathrooms and they’re occupied. I’ll end up using the women’s restrooms.”

Avener explained that anyone can use the gender-specific bathrooms, but they would benefit from having more gender-neutral bathrooms on the Marple campus.

“The default right now is that cisgender people use the gender-specific bathrooms and transgender people have to find an alternative,” Avener said. “Having only non-binary bathrooms on campus would shift that expectation.”

Chris Dungee, a counselor at the Marple campus Career and Counseling Center, identifies as a transgender man, having transitioned nearly four years ago. He prefers to use the men’s bathroom.

“Unlike Max, I am not a proponent of free-for-all bathrooms,” Dungee said. “As a man, I’m not comfortable sharing a bathroom with someone who identifies as a woman.”

Staff members at the Marple and Downingtown campuses are currently working toward accommodating students’ needs and concerns.

Sarafinas recently contacted Marian McGorry, dean of Business, Computing & Social Science at the Marple campus, to further the process of a gender-neutral bathroom being built at the Downingtown campus.

Both McGorry and Sarafinas are chair members of the Institutional Resources Committee, one of seven standing committees forming the College Advisory System.

The topic was discussed at the committee’s meeting on Feb. 1, McGorry said.

Contact Dean Galiffa at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Marple campus bookstore offers price matching

By Comfort Queh

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What if you paid $149.50 for “Psychology in Your Life,” 2nd edition, at the DCCC bookstore when you could have paid $114.58 on Amazon? Or maybe you paid $138.00 for “Natural Hazards” when you could have paid $115.03 on Amazon?

It would be really dissapointing if you paid $204.00 for “Interpersonal Communication” by Julia T. Wood at DCCC’s bookstore when you could have paid $115.17 on Amazon.

Good news! Students who purchase their textbooks at DCCC main campus bookstore have the opportunity to save money by using Price Match.

Price Match allows students to match their textbooks for lower prices they find, and purchase it for that price at the bookstore.

Efollet, the owner of DCCC’s bookstore, started Price Match on July 16, 2016 to accommodate students when purchasing their textbooks at the bookstore.

“Price Matching has come along because the market is getting more and more competitive,” said Jamar Abdullah, the DCCC bookstore manager. “Price Matching is something that we do to try to offer students some alternative to some of the pricing issues that they have.”

With Price Match, students can match cheaper prices they find at Barnes & Noble, local competitors, and direct sales from Amazon when purchasing their textbooks at the bookstore. After the price is adjusted, students receive the difference on a bookstore gift card.

Abdullah said the company considers local competitors to be “a vendor that pulls his truck up and sells books, or buys books, a local bookstore, anything that’s really local, just not national.”

When Price Matching, students are able to match the prices of textbooks of the same format.

This includes new, rental, and used books that the bookstore has in stock. Students can then use their financial aid or any other form of payment to purchase their textbooks.

Chegg, Socialbib, Half, Textbookrush, and other aggregator sites are not part of the Price Match Program.

Price matching is almost like “apples to apples,” Abdullah said. “We can’t price match something from a person because a person can set whatever price they want. Most big box retailers have a pricing instruction and they adhere to certain rules and guidelines like we do, so it’s comparable.”

A quantity of 33 books has been price matched from Dec. 1 to Jan. 25, resulting in a total discount of $866.07 from the bookstore. Since the beginning of the program, the bookstore has price matched a total of 231 books, with a overall discount of $2,400, according to Abdullah.

The company advertises Price Match through both Efollett and the DCCC bookstore website.

“In-store, signage, and websites are the primary ways we advertise for Price Match,” Abdullah said. Students are encouraged to visit the Efollett websites to see all the ongoing promotions, including Price Match.

Although the program is also advertised on the bookstore’s website, most students are unaware of it. Only five out of 19 students knew about Price Match when polled.

Chris Poulis, a business student at DCCCs, was among the five. “I like the idea because students don’t waste their money,” he said. Poulis said he found out about the program through “word of mouth.”

Although George Rodriguez, a second year student from Coatesville, said he did not know about the program, he added, “Price matching will be a helpful and a nice way to save money.”

The bookstore always has new promotions and products that students can take advantage of on the website, Abdullah said.

“I think Price Match is a great program,” Abdullah added. “Students should take more advantage of it. We will love it if they do.”

Contact Comfort Queh at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu.

Women in Technology Career Panel cultivates insight from non-traditional experts

By Linda Pang

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CCNA certification students Kristin Canale and Rita Pang chat with Jennifer Orazi, associate director of Student Employment and Co-Op at DCCC, during the Nov. 16 Women in Technology Career Panel. Photo by Linda Pang

DCCC’s Division of Business, Computing and Social Science hosted its third Women in Technology Career Panel Nov. 16 on Marple campus. Keynote speaker, Leah Fox, executive vice president of Technology and Services Delivery at LoanLogics, a mortgage software company, shared her insights as a female leader in the information technology (IT) world, followed by a panel featuring women leaders in technology and an informal networking session.

Panelists included Fox; Roxanne Ryan, a java web developer at JW. Pepper & Son, Inc.; Emilia Janczak, a social media manager at Evolve IP; Wendy Reczek, an intellectual property paralegal; and Stefanie Gjørven, a former creative technology executive at ESPN and current adjunct professor at DCCC.

The event was sponsored by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act.

During the Q&A, moderated by web development student Stacy Finnegan, panelists spoke up about their biggest hurdles and barriers in the technology field, false perceptions, and the importance of being fearless of the subject matter if students are creative-types.

“Science can be an art too,” Reczak said of her paralegal work. “There is an art to science and it’s beautiful. Once I realized that, it was no longer terrifying. And once the fear was gone, I loved it.”

Ryan, who works at one of the largest sheet music retailers, J.W. Pepper & Son, thinks of their programmers as musicians working with “scores of code.”

“Art is a lot of patterns and repetition,” Ryan said. “And programming is a lot of patterns and repetition. Art and science are more connected than society gives them credit for.”

The closing event, an informal networking session, expanded by 15 minutes as attendees sought advice from panelists and additional experts about careers and opportunities, filling the room with chatter and laughter.

Fox and other panelists emphasized the importance of staying current in the field to understand the business, building support systems, and embracing new opportunities.

“And network, network, network,” said computing science professor Ann-Marie Smith, echoing many of the panelists’ sentiments. “I always say to my students, ‘it’s about relationships’.”

In 2016, Smith, along with Marian McGorry, dean of business, computing and social science, created the event for students to network and learn about opportunities from technology experts, with an aim to host one panel per semester. Although the Division of Business, Computing and Social Science and the Division of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics division at DCCC have been separate historically, Smith said that she tries to have events that will cross-over, inviting students and faculty from both areas.

Smith also works with the admissions office to connect with local high schools for interested students and recruitment.

“For panelists, we focus on non-traditional people that work in the field,” Smith said. “I always emphasize to all of my students that everyone should come to these things because although they’ll talk about their experiences as women in the field, the panelists will also talk in general about working in the field of technology and the outlook for jobs in IT.”

Many of the panelists, such as Reczek, Janczak, and Gjørven, shared how they started their careers with bachelor’s degrees in marketing, english, or art, not intending to work in a technology field. For example, Gjørven said she earned her bachelor’s in fine arts, but minored in computer science only because her mother asked her to. At her first job as a graphic designer and animator at a startup company, she said she was “bit by the technology bug” when the computer-generated compilation images were taking too long to display so she decided to write her own code to distribute the process across multiple computers.

Fox, who also serves as vice chair on the board for the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG), which focuses on workforce development, said her main takeaway is to find one’s niche and do it well.

“A lot of the questions tonight were around ‘Will I be able to do this?’ and ‘How can I enter into this area?’,” Fox said. “Showing confidence in an interview is huge; showing confidence in your abilities helps the hiring manager see more of your potential.”

During her keynote, Fox shared statistics from a recent study from SmartAsset that ranked Philadelphia as the 10th best city in the country for women in technology. According to the study, although women only fill around 30 percent of technology-related jobs in Philadelphia, it still beats the national average of 25 percent. The study also examined the country’s gender pay gap, where Philadelphia came in at eight percent versus the national average of 15 percent difference in pay.

“Some stats that I’ve read is that women leave technology for other careers at higher rates than men,” Fox said. “So I would like for the next generation of technology leaders to figure that one out and figure out how to retain them. I don’t know if that’s better maternity policies, more recognition, or pay equality, but let’s figure it out.”

Ekea Salter, 32, a computer programming major, heard about the event from her professor.

“I actually enjoyed myself,” Salter added. “I learned that I can do it and that it’s not too hard.”

Both Smith and Fox stated that they were both shocked and saddened that more students did not take advantage of the free event and other similar career-focused opportunities.

“We just didn’t have programs like this when I was going through school,” Fox said. “And the fact that all of these programs are put together just to help the students build their careers? It would be great for them to take advantage of them more.”

Contact Linda Pang at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Kathleen Breslin retires after helping thousands to receive scholarships

By Shondalea Wollaston

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Kathleen A. Breslin, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the Educational Foundation Board, is retiring after 20 years with the college. A party will be held in her honor on Dec. 6.

Kathleen A. Breslin, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the DCCC Educational Foundation since 1997, will retire at the end of December.

In addition to awarding scholarships to qualified students, a large part of Breslin’s job over the last 20 years has involved listening to the stories of donors looking to make a difference in the lives of a student, while honoring the memory of a loved one.

Having read many scholarship applications over the years, Breslin knows how to pair students to donors.

“My job has been to serve as the filter to both donors and students,” Breslin said.

According to Breslin, one of her most memorable moments was that of Gilberta M. Trani, Ed.D. who, upon her death bed and unable to speak, was able to communicate her wishes to her family, with only a nod, that a scholarship be set up at DCCC.

“Her family went down a long list before she gave the nod,” said Breslin. “She was a nursing student here more than 30 years ago.”

The Gilberta M. Trani, Ed.D Memorial Endowed Scholarship was set up by Dr. Trani’s family and is offered to nursing students.

“Donors inspire me,” Breslin said.

In 2012, after the loss of Breslin’s nephew, a memorial scholarship was established to honor his memory.

The Timothy Finian Hickey Memorial Endowed Scholarship is sponsored by his family, including Breslin, and given to someone interested in the environment. Hickey, who died of adult chicken pox while visiting his son in Nicaragua, was a landscaper who loved nature, having hiked the Appalachian Trail and part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

“Tim just really loved nature and being out in the environment,” Breslin said.

Breslin has many fond memories of both students and donors over the years and can recall each one and even recount their stories.

Breslin’s career began at Villanova University, writing thank you notes for the vice president. Since then, Breslin has worked in all aspects of fundraising, and served as the director of Development for two educational and research institutes: Monell Chemical Senses Center, associated with the University of Pennsylvania, and Weston Institute.

In 1991, Breslin joined Drexel University and became the associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, overseeing corporate and foundation relations, major gifts, annual funds, and alumni relations.

After leaving Drexel in 1997, Breslin found herself at Delaware County Community College.

“When I came to work in August that first day, it was pouring down rain,” Breslin said. “A security officer pulled up, and I thought surely I would get a ticket for parking in the wrong place. To my surprise, he kindly offered me a ride to the front door. That is the moment I knew people here really cared about each other.”

Breslin immediately got to work, starting out with 22 scholarships available to students, which has since increased to 136.

Breslin’s efforts contributed to raising money for big ticket items around campus such as the new STEM Center. She continues to work, raising awareness and funds during events such as Giving Tuesday, to ensure students at DCCC have the best possible resources.

Most recently, Breslin completed a book titled Great Yesterdays, Greater Tomorrows: A Fifty-year history of Delaware County Community College 1967-2017. According to the book, it pays tribute to “the undaunted leadership of a handful of Delaware County educators and visionaries.”

When asked what she would miss the most about her time at DCCC, Breslin replied, “I will truly miss these people.”

Contact Shondalea Wollaston at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Students show international pride at DCCC Multicultural Festival with traditional dishes

On Nov. 16, the Marple campus Multicultural Festival showcased cultural foods from a number of different countries, including China, India, Canada, and Colombia. Tables at the festival also displayed infoboards, giving prospective visitors general knowledge about their countries, such as a historical overview, fun facts, and more information about their national dishes.

Photos by Joshua Patton and Shannon Reardon