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Columbia College's

Academic Wellness Educators    

Keeping Us Connected

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Keeping Us Connected                 

Volume 3, Issue 5, January '10


AWEStar of the Month


Ida Ponder, January's AWEStar started attending Columbia College in ‘74, returned in ‘87 and graduated in ‘90 with a Business degree. She started teaching as an Adjunct in ‘94 and then full time in the Computer Science/Business department in fall of ‘97. Keeping with the tradition of 3 generations, her granddaughter Suzette Ponder is attending Columbia College as a freshmen.   

When you think of involvement and community you think of Ida. Ida believes strongly in giving back and social responsibility. Just to highlight a few of her commitments she is on the Board of Directors for the Columbia College Foundation, working to raise money for grants and scholarships promoting college growth and student success. In May, she will attend - NCYLS – Northern CA Youth Leadership Seminar helping to teach social responsibility and leadership to high school students. Ida is a 4-H swine leader, community club leader and works on the annual 4-H Community Dinner. She has won the Columbia College’s Community Service Award 2 years in a row.

Ida Ponder, Instructor

Ida Ponder, Computer Science/Business Instructor


Ida uses techniques that she learned from Patricia Harrelson’s "Embedding Basic Skills" class such as “quick thinks”, giving students time to think and ask the question, tapping any prior knowledge and building on that knowledge for further discussions. In her computer classes, she is aware that vocabulary and concepts may be foreign to some students and she works hard to relate new concepts to something they may have already learned in the past.



For example, she takes time to describe and demonstrate the difference between the balance sheet and income statement, using simple models and stories to help students retain and understand. Her goal is to focus on one particular thing each class session that will hit home with students they can take with them the “rest of life”. Reading aloud techniques, story time, re-enacting are other techniques she uses to help conceptualize and engage students in the lecture.


Ida believes it is important every 10 or 15 minutes to do something different, mix up the lecture and or provide hands on activities.  There is plenty of group work in her classes along with project based assignments. Team building and communication skills are daily activities students will also encounter.


Last year Ida worked on developing 4 certificates for Entrepreneurship across the curriculum in Auto Tech, Baking, Hospitality, and Welding. She has been working closely with the entrepreneurial community to invite guest speakers, for the “Inside the Entrepreneur” lecture series showcasing local entrepreneurs and how they started their businesses. The lectures have focused on inventions, patents, Web design and ecommerce, and being able to promote business with Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook. The last series will cover Franchises and host two successful Columbia College alumni entrepreneurs.


Ida is especially proud of the CEO Club (Collegial Entrepreneurs Organization) and with the help of fundraising will purchase silk screen equipment to use in a non-profit business. This venture will help to provide funds for everything from supplies to taking students to business conferences. Currently the CEO Club is helping to organize a West Coast Regional CEO conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove in May. Students will have an opportunity to network with other colleges such as Porterville, Reedley, Fresno City, and Bakersfield. They will plan and organize the event sponsored through the Coleman Hughes Foundation and National CEO organization. Ida’s future dream is to build an Entrepreneur Center on campus through the CEO Club, that the community will be able to access for help and advice along with strong ties and partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, and other small business development centers in the surrounding areas.


Tutor's Corner





I have been a tutor at the AAC since spring of 2008 when Meryl Soto recommended me. I tutor English, Math, and Speech. Tutoring has been an incredible opportunity. It reassured me of what occupational direction I wanted to go in, teaching, and gave me practice working with people. I've been able to try different approaches to teaching and have learned to accommodate the different learning needs of a student. After this semester, I plan to transfer to Sacramento State. I would like to earn my high school teaching credential and, eventually, earn my Master's degree. My entire time at Columbia has been a blessing. Each of my teachers have had a positive influence on me. I have been gleaning all sorts of ideas from them for when I am a teacher.


Danielle, AAC Tutor

Danielle Pelini, AAC Tutor


Currently, I am on Student Focus with Adrienne Seegers and Ashley Bleadorn. We have been working on creating a peer mentoring network for freshmen students. We want to have experienced students available to answer any incoming student's questions on getting started, the different resources Columbia offers, and also with overall tips to being successful.


I would like to encourage teachers to refer their students to the AAC. I know how much the AAC has helped me, and I'm confident that we can continue to help students learn how to find their own solutions to future problems.



End of Fall Semester Celebration


Raelene receiving her AWEstar

Raelene, receiving her AWEstar



Adrienne reading to the AWE committee

Story time with Adrienne



Sigi, AAC Tutor and Craig Johnston

Sigil, AAC Tutor and Craig


If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact Adrienne Seegers, Anne Cavagnaro, Alicia Kolstad, John Leamy, Lynn Martin, Karin Rodts, Craig Johnston or Melissa Colón. Check out the AWE Web site.