I've been interested in cooking for a long time. Due to a lay off from Boeing, the company paid for my retraining in a field of my choice. I finally had the opportunity to follow my dream. I looked into several culinary schools but wasn't happy with what I found.
As soon as I walked into the Bistro at Lake Washington Technical College (LWTC) I was warmly greeted and offered refreshment while I waited to speak with Chef Joynson. He gave me a guided tour, helped me select classes, and introduced me to students and instructors. Everyone enjoyed what they were doing and I was excited to begin.
I chose Culinary Arts, then switched to Baking Arts, where my true passion lies. I ended up getting a degree in both fields.
Baking Arts Instructor, Janet Shaffer, served as my inspiration, my biggest supporter, and my mentor. She's so knowledgeable at what she teaches and always looks for new things to teach her students. She taught me about sugar work, cakes, pastries, catering, and production. She encourages her students to better themselves and to find new ways of creativity.
As a result of Janet's steadfast support, I won a bronze medal in an American Culinary Federation (ACF) hot foods competition and several first and second place ribbons at International Cake Exploration Societe (ICES) cake competitions. I was also awarded Magna Cum Laude and member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Following graduation, I was hired by LWTC's Culinary Department as a Technical Aide and also served as Catering Coordinator for the department. During the next six months, I moved to Chicago to attend The French Pastry School. I'm just about to graduate and am looking for a job as a pastry chef in Las Vegas or San Francisco. I plan to work in the industry for five years, then return home to open my own Bakery Café.
My dreams are materializing with big thanks to the encouragement of LWTC's Culinary staff - Alan Joynson, Janet Shaffer, David Coan, and John Dew!
Stephen V.B. Holm
Computer Security and Network Technician / Computer Forensics
Lake Washington Technical College (LWTC) has been the right fit for me. Not only does the college offer Computer Security and Network Technician (CSNT) courses, but also my major area of interest, Computer Forensics.
However, the combination of my disability, taking 23 credits, commuting, and trying to work proved a challenge. Fortunately, the CSNT instructors showed extraordinary interest in my achieving success in my studies and reaching my goals. They are enthusiastic and passionate and will keep me coming back to LWTC to improve my overall professional advancement. Frankly, Instructors Joe Martorelli, Marvin Everest, and Jim Howe are so outstanding, that if you were in any of their classes blindfolded and hearing impaired, you still could not help learning a great deal. I quickly found that all of the LWTC instructors are truly exceptional and professional. Their top-tier ethics, instruction, and role modeling have definitely impacted my overall learning and attitude for professional conduct.
In June 2005, I was thrilled to receive the Laurie Clayton Memorial Scholarship which was an honor for me, my family, and LWTC. The award is given to a student who not only demonstrates financial need, but who has overcome challenges to achieve academic success.
I'm taking a break from my courses to work over the summer, but will return fall of 2006 to complete my studies and stay current with the ever-changing field of computer-related technologies.
I hope to accomplish both the Computer Forensics and CSNT course schedule to receive my degree as Associate of Applied Science. Since I made the Deans List, I'm definitely on the right track. Noteworthy, too, is that the college's Kirkland location couldn't be better for studying technology, surrounded by all of the high tech companies in the area. Currently, I'm self employed with the goal of starting another company to provide customers with the outstanding service and professionalism I learned while enrolled in the Computer Forensics/CSNT program at LWTC.
"To prepare students for today's careers and tomorrow's opportunities" couldn't be a better mission statement for LWTC. It works. I feel prepared.
Hospitality / Hotel Operations and Services
Here I am - the Concierge at the Westin Hotel in Bellevue! I recommend to guests what area attractions to see and where to find a good meal. I book tours and massages for them. I've even gotten some odd requests, but haven't let anyone down yet. Anything the guests need, I make sure I accommodate them.
It took awhile to figure out what I wanted to do after high school. My journey led me to Bellevue Community College where I planned to get my AA degree and transfer to a 4-year university. But, with no firm plans on what I wanted to do, I feared I'd end up unhappy in a cubicle somewhere. I heard about the 2-year degree in Hospitality at Lake Washington Technical College (LWTC) and transferred schools within a few days of my decision.
I majored in Hotel Operations and Services thinking I'd open a Bed & Breakfast on a beach somewhere. Now, my career is headed towards wedding planning. It really doesn't matter what I choose, as this degree focuses on both career paths and much more if I change my mind.
The Event Management course became a challenge for me but proved the most fun. I had to plan an event for the quarter, so I chose a wedding. It was a real eye opener to learn how much effort goes into planning such a grand event.
LWTC has small classes and instructors who are willing to go out of their way to help the students. Kristi Gwinn always gives 110 percent and has taught me everything I know. With her many connections to people in the hospitality industry, she's knowledgeable about every aspect. I even carry her phone number on my speed dial.
I don't get much free time but when I do, I usually spend it with co-workers from the Westin. They have become "family" - a great team of people! I also look forward to every moment of sleep, since there isn't much of that during the workweek.
This June, I graduate from LWTC with my AAS degree in hand. The journey has been worth it.