Culinary Student Continued a Family Tradition in the Kitchen
As a young adult in Arizona, Skinner worked for a family catering business. In his mid-teenage years, he moved with his family to Oregon. “Because there is rain. We wanted a better climate,” he said. Both parents obtained nursing degrees and now work as nurses in Oregon. Skinner continued the tradition of working in the kitchen. “I was going to be either an EMT or a chef,” he said. Skinner enrolled at LBCC for many reasons, including the affordability and proximity to home. Skinner graduated with almost no debt. He had also heard about the great reputation of LBCC’s Culinary Program. While Skinner planned to move to Vancouver, Canada to explore its multicultural ‘foodie’ scene and it’s “awesome authentic and fusion foods,” many of his classmates pursued work closer to home. Some went to work in restaurants or catering, others in food labs or as entrepreneurs who started their own restaurants and cafes. Skinner described how local restaurateurs contact Chef Josh Green, head of the LBCC Culinary Program, to hire its pool of well-trained current or former students.
“Chef Green asks local chefs what they need … like knife skills,” said Skinner. Green then brings that information back and ensures his students are learning the skills that are most in demand. “The program gives you the basis to go out and start your career. It gives you a portfolio to go to work,” said Skinner, “but then you have to go expand your knowledge of other cuisines and develop your own approach.”
The students get experience doing just that. They learn different techniques, build their knowledge and skills, and then are given recipes at first, then simple guidelines to make different foods. Next, they are asked to moderate what they create. When working in groups, students have an opportunity to taste everything that comes out of the kitchen, so they learn from each other what variations do and do not work. As they progress through the program, they are given more freedom to create and to develop their own menus with oversight by Chef Green. By the end of the program, students are prepared to run a kitchen, and to plan meals for large events. “They are not preparing cooks,” said Skinner. “They are preparing chefs.”
Growing a Greater Appreciation for Agriculture
For most students, raising cattle to help pay for college seems a bit unusual. Not so for Madalyn Neuschwander. Raised on a farm in Shedd, Oregon, Madalyn has spent her entire life surrounded by farm animals. And as a student at Central Linn High School, Madalyn participated in an educational outreach program called Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom.
“We talked to kids about agriculture and encouraged them to think about what their lives would be like without it. I have a vision for doing that on bigger scale.”
Life on the farm has given Madalyn a unique perspective on what it takes to raise animals for the consumer market. That experience, coupled with a desire to share her knowledge, led her to the animal science program at LBCC. She plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Communications, and she hopes to bring more understanding and support to the agricultural industry as a whole.
Mill Worker Follows His Dreams, Becomes ER Nurse
A life-long Sweet Home resident, Chris Forum first attended LBCC right out of high school. He landed a good job at the local mill, got married, and started a family. But when his grandmother fell ill, watching the paramedics at work inspired him to take a second look at his own career path.
“I suddenly knew what I was passionate about. And I also knew I had to make a decision. Do I spend the next 20 years punching a clock, or do I get out there and do something I really love doing?”
In 2019 Chris graduated from LBCC with an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. Now, he’s working as an emergency room nurse at Riverbend Hospital in Springfield — a job he absolutely loves.
U.S. Army Veteran Seeks to Give Others a Helping Hand
Heesun Kim never imagined she would one day be on a path to helping soldiers recover from severe combat injuries – or that she herself would become a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. But thanks to scholarship support, Heesun is turning an unexpected journey into an incredible future.
“It can be hard to have a healthy outlook after losing a limb. I want to help people live a long, healthy life — even though they have a disability. And I hope to make those who have helped me get to where I am today proud.”
Heesun is now enrolled in LBCC studying mechanical engineering, thanks to financial support from the Linn County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Scholarship and the Joseph Novak Memorial Scholarships. Because of the extra help, she is now able to take extra classes that allow her to study materials construction for imagining the future of prosthetics.