Category Archives: Summer 2013

Arlen Everist

Arlen Everist

Arlen Everist

Arlen Everist, a Centralia College graduate and currently a Meter Electrician Apprentice at Seattle City Light, was hired from a pool of 430 applicants in Feb. 2012. He understood that mastering math and electrical theory were vital in securing a job within the energy industry.

“The hiring process for Seattle City Light’s apprenticeship programs is extremely competitive and requires some prior technical education,” Karen DeVenaro, apprenticeship manager, said. “The (Energy Technology) program at Centralia College does a wonderful job preparing students for the demanding and exciting skilled-trades careers in the utility industry.”

During winter and spring quarters of 2012, Arlen worked full-time, took online classes and enrolled in night school twice a week to meet his apprenticeship and college requirements. Thanks to good time-management skills he was able to graduate on time with honors.

“Arlen was tenaciously driven by his studies and his work,” energy technology instructor, John Steidel, said, “and he was deeply interested in learning about the energy industry.”

At Centralia College, Everist learned electrical theory, parts of the electrical distribution system, technical math, and workplace safety.

“I use all of these things on a daily basis,” he said. “I also learned time management and good study habits. Part of my apprenticeship entails night school so (taking night classes at the college) was helpful as well.”

His instructors also prepped him with job interviewing skills.

“The interview process was exactly what the summer class with Rulon Crawford (first year energy tech instructor) prepared me for,” Everist added. “Having the practice in class and knowing what kinds of things I may be asked made me a lot more confident and prepared to me give good, detailed, and precise answers, as well as ask good questions.”

The Associate of Applied Science in Energy Technology/Power Operations program prepares students to compete for entry-level positions such as power plant operator, substation operator, technician, and other high voltage pre-apprentice and apprenticeship positions within the energy industry.

Coursework includes traditional sources of power generation, transmission, renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid technology which are transmitted via ITV from Centralia College to virtual classrooms at Grays Harbor, Peninsula, Wenatchee Valley and Spokane Community/IEL colleges.

As for his job at Seattle City Light, Everist enjoys being able learn new things and solve problems. Everist said. “Metering technology is always advancing so there is always more to learn. I also love working in various locations throughout the city, seeing new things and meeting new people,” Everist said.

Becoming an apprentice (a three-year position) meant joining the union. Everist is a member of IBEW Local 77.

“Being a union member means having excellent benefits,” he said. “It comes with high wages, clear workplace policies, and a high focus on safety.”

Everist hopes that in five years, he’ll have two years of experience as journey-level meter electrician at Seattle City Light and may even consider enrolling in an electrical engineering program.

He offers this advice to those in the energy programs: “Math and electrical theory are of vital importance to even pass the written tests for jobs, so work hard.”


Stephanie Schiele

Stephanie Schiele

Stephanie Schiele

By Edward Riley

Stephanie Schiele is a young lady who has turned her life around, found purpose through education, and is taking advantage of what Centralia College offers to lay the foundation for a solid future.

As a teenager Schiele was in trouble at home, in school and with the authorities.

“I wasn’t a good kid during my teenage years,” she said. “My parents divorced when I was 12 and I didn’t handle it well.”

Along the way she realized the need to turn her life around, and to find success not only for herself but also for her family. She recognized that education held the key for her and she enrolled at Centralia College.

Currently, Schiele is a second-year student in the energy technology (power operations) program. In addition to her studies, she has the added responsibility of serving as the Associated Students of Centralia College president.

Schiele is earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in power plant technology and will be graduating this spring with high honors.

She plans to attend The Evergreen State College this fall and is the recipient of an Evergreen Foundation Scholarship.

“I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I plan on studying environmental sciences with a focus on sustainable agriculture,” she said. “I’ll figure out the details along the way.”

Schiele speaks highly of the opportunities she’s had at the college and especially the wide variety of friends she’s made.
She recently returned from a 10-day field trip to South America offered through the college.

Students spent time living with the indigenous people and were able to visit multiple archeological sites containing Mayan ruins.

“It was an amazing experience,” Schiele said. “We really connected with the local people, I’ll never forget them, or the opportunity to travel to Central America.

As the student body president, Schiele has proven to be an effective leader while developing her leadership skills. Those skills will serve her well as she continues with her career goals.

Schiele is also the mother of two girls, Noelle age 4, and Paige age 6.

“I want to set a good example for my daughters,” she said. “I can’t just tell them to do the right things. I have to show them.” For her, a college education is the right thing.

She praises her family for support and the help family members have provided while she attends college, especially for believing in her when she had doubts about abilities.

Schiele also commends her long-time partner and the girls’ father Kyle Elliot.

“He took care of our girls and made it possible for me to focus on school,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without him.”

She feels that people can overcome most any obstacles that keeps them from attending college. She’s proof that pushing yourself to go farther through education is one of the best ways to succeed.

“All of the struggles are definitely worth it,” she said. “You can’t let fear control your life, you’ll never know what you’ve missed if you do.”


Kristen Schoenherr

Kristen Schoenherr

Kristen Schoenherr

After graduating from Rainier High School, Kristen Schoenherr looked forward to life on a big university campus. She enrolled at Washington State University to fulfill that dream. While things were mostly satisfactory, she found she wasn’t able to check her passion for basketball.

“I really missed playing,” Schoenherr said. She was a talented player while in high school but only one college wanted her services. “I had a lot of fun playing and I realized I wasn’t ready to give it up,” she said. Following up on her desire to play basketball, and while in her first year at WSU, Schoenherr contacted Shane Schutz, Centralia College women’s basketball coach, about playing. That conversation, she said, was a bit awkward because Schutz was the only college coach who recruited her before she moved to Pullman.

“He said that my wanting to play here was music to his ears,” Schoenherr said. “And I certainly was excited.” She left WSU at the end of the year and came to Centralia College to pick up her athletic interests.

“Centralia College is a really good school. It’s an active campus, not just because I was able to play basketball but because there’s so much going on,” Schoenherr said. “I’ve made a lot of really good friends and I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in campus life.”

Schoenherr also had praise for members of the faculty.

“The teachers are very helpful, they are willing to assist when I ask for help,” she said. “Overall my teachers care, not just that I do well in the classroom but that I do well in my personal life. That’s one reason why I like it here.”

On the basketball court she was a leader offensively and defensively and was recognized by her coaches as a player who brought a competitive spirit and a positive attitude. She helped make the other players better. Schoenherr was the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s western region Most Valuable Player and the Freshman of the Year awards recipient.

Her goal is to enter sports broadcasting and ultimately to work on a national level. She appreciated her Radio/TV class because it gave her “hands-on” experience.

“I was surprised when I found out we would be able to create videos and work with cameras and computers to put videos together. I don’t think that was something I would have been able to do at WSU until I was a junior,” Schoenherr said.

“Centralia College is a good college and I certainly would recommend it. There are really good support services, tutors, opportunities to experiment and chances to get involved,” she said.

She isn’t sure just yet where she will go next year but she’s going to be sure it involves playing time on the basketball court. And this time maybe recruiters will pay closer attention.


Jeb Peterson

Jeb Peterson

Jeb Peterson

By Edward Riley

Attending Centralia College has become a family affair for Morton High School graduate Jebediah Peterson, his wife and stepdaughter. He is a second-year student in the Electronics, Robotics & Automation (ERA) program.

While Peterson works toward his Associate in Applied Science in ERA degree, he has also undertaken additional work enabling him to earn an Associate in Arts transfer degree.

He will graduate with both degrees this spring.

His goal is to go to work for Intel and perhaps a bit further down the road, earn an engineering degree. Centralia College, with its connection to the Hillsboro high-tech company, is a pipeline for trained workers. Over the years, many ERA students have been offered jobs, some even before they complete the program.

Making attending Centralia College the family activity of choice, wife Tania and stepdaughter Courtney Otterness also are attending. Tania is a second-year student and is the president of Rotaract, the college branch of Rotary, the international business and community volunteer organization.

In addition to her studies, her family, and her civic activities, Tania owns an entertainment company. Her experiences there and in Rotaract have helped her develop a stronger business venture. She will be taking time off from school to focus on her business after graduating.

Peterson’s stepdaughter Courtney started attending college classes this past fall as a Running Start student and has been following in her mother’s footsteps by getting involved in Rotaract.

While Peterson manages the responsibilities as a husband, father and student, this past fall he began teaching robotics programs part-time at Oakview Elementary School and Centralia Middle School.

His Centralia Middle School students recently won first place in multiple categories at a robotics competition held at the college, an indication that Peterson has learned his trade.

With a 10-year-old son at home, teaching children about robotics has become very important to Peterson.

“Robotics challenges kids and helps them to build problem-solving skills,” he said.

Peterson is the college’s Robotics Club treasurer and is on the board of the Lewis County Robotics Society.

He also enjoys acting and recently performed in The Evergreen Playhouse production of Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Peterson speaks highly of the small classes at the college and the strong bonds he has with his ERA classmates. “We help each other out when one of us is struggling,” he said. “We are all in this together.”

Now that he is reaching his educational goals, Peterson has more confidence about his prospects as he enters the workforce.

“I’m applying for positions in the fabrication department at Intel,” he said. “I’ll have a much better shot than most because I’ll have two degrees.

“I wish more people knew about the programs at Centralia College,” he said. The cost of attending college may be lower than tuition at a four-year college, but the quality certainly isn’t, he said.


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