Pierce Pioneer

Experience of Learning Languages

Joy Kim, a videographer for the Pioneer, interviews students about the experience of learning languages.

Videographer: Joy Kim
Editor: Joy Kim
Future Image: Ciara William
Logo Intro: Jesus Contreras, Kyla Roygor

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library
Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1
Music used: Invitation to the Castle Ball - Doug Maxwell

Going Back Home During a Pandemic

Joy Kim, a videographer for the Pioneer, went back to home due to COVID-19. She talks about how Korean government operate a measures for returnees to South Korea.

Videographer: Joy Kim
Editor: Joy Kim
Future Image: Ciara William
Logo Intro: Jesus Contreras, Kyla Roygor

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library
Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1
Music used: Playdate - The Great North Sound Society, Natural - Endless Love


Happy Mother’s Day Form All Over The World

Editor: Kotone Ochiai

Music provided by Royalty Free Music from Bensound
Music: https://www.bensound.com
Music used: TENDERNESS

COVID-19 situation at Sea-Tac International Airport

Covid-19 for International students from Asia at Pierce College

Description: These days, Coronavirus is spreading out all over the world. Pierce College has a lot of international students from Asia. Today, I am going to interview them about Covid-19 of their home countries.


Videographer: Jesus Contreras

Editor: Haein (Joy) Kim


Music provided by YouTube Audio Library

Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1

 Music used: Marigold by Quincas Moreira: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1


Kicking it with Q – Episode 5 – The Struggle in Hong Kong

Quintin Mattson-Hayward talks about the struggles in her home, her transition to the United States and Coronavirus.


Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Guests: Kay Li, Emma Li, Kitty Hui

Logo: Jesus Contreras

Rising Tensions in 2020

Pixabay.com / Photo Credit

Students and Professors on campus weigh in their personal thoughts on the U.S.-Iran conflict

Beginning 2020, President Donald Trump authorized an airstrike that killed Iran’s major general Qassem Soleimani; an act not approved by congress. Iran responded by firing missiles at bases in Iraq hosting United States troops. No Americans or Iraqi people were harmed in this attack.

Trump directed the immediate deployment of troops to the Middle East a day after the attack on Iran. While Trump stated there would be no further attacks after Iran’s strike, a number of Pierce College students are still affected by this news. Pierce College students who are veterans or active duty have differing opinions with the ongoing conflict between the U.S and Iran.

Julio Russell, an 11-year U.S. Army veteran, knows how difficult it is to be deployed, having served two tours in the Middle East. “It takes a toll on soldiers, being away,” said Russell. “You come back home and everything’s the same for you, [but] not for us. They teach us how to go to war, they don’t teach you how to come back from war.” 

Russell adds it doesn’t serve America’s best interest to get into another conflict with Iran. “There’s other conflicts and other things that are more important than Iran,” he said.

According to BBC News, the tense relationship between the U.S. and Iran date back over 60-years. The initial contact with Iran was in 1953 when the U.S. and the British intelligence staged a coup to remove the citizen elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. Within that time, the relationship has been inconsistent, with efforts from both sides having been unsuccessful.

Pierce College American history professor David Thomas, P.h.D., said the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 and 9-11 are significant events impacting relations that have vacillated over the last 7-years. “To Iranians, we’re a bully who overthrew [their] government,” he said. “To Americans, they’re a terrorist who kidnap people.”

Even though the next steps for the U.S. and Iran is unknown, people’s opinions and assumptions come to light online. Russell’s day-to-day wasn’t directly affected other than the social media responses from what he refers to as “Facebook keyboard warriors.”

“Are you driving your kid to the recruiter line right now,” said Russell. “If they’re not there, boots-on-ground, don’t tell me nothing. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.”

Twitter sounded off after the attacks. The potential of World War 3 was the topic of all tweets, with politicians sending out information and the American people creating memes, hoping to soften the blow. Furthermore, citizens were curious if this would put Trump’s impeachment trial on hold.

According to CNN, in Dec. 2019, the House of Representatives passed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has held off pressure to send the articles to the Senate.

Tony Rondone, a 26-year Air Force veteran, said he expects the conflict to be contained in the region. “[Iran] did what they were gonna do to save face because they don’t want a war with the U.S.,” said Rondone. “Keeping that in mind, we shouldn’t be provoking them, but you do what you have to.”

Thomas said there’s a chance that it erupts into a further war in the Middle East. “It’s unlikely for a world war to happen because many other countries would be wary of getting involved.”

Along with this, provoking Iran sends a message to the world about how America operates. “I worry what it looks like assassinating an official from another country when we’re not at war,” said Thomas. 

Iran has been active since Soleimani’s death, with protesters in the streets and their military on guard. The destruction of a Ukraine commercial airplane, killing 176 passengers with many of the victims being Iranian and Canadian, brought even more protesters out. This leaves the U.S. in a difficult position, attempting to find a way to possibly resolve this battle.

Although they were not an option in the past, Josef Kasprzak, a 13-year Air Force veteran, said a peaceful talk may be a solution to get down to the root cause. “Not all Americans are going to treat [Iran] the same way as they did in the past and vice versa,” he said.

Thomas finds a solution to this to be unlikely, with Trump unwilling to abide by the Iran Nuclear Agreement President Barack Obama signed. “I think it was a mistake to back out of the nuclear treaty to begin with,” he said. “So ideally, we could return to that sort of relationship or agreement.”

There is uncertainty among the Pierce College community whether this dispute will be resolved, if at all. Nevertheless, the history and tension between the two countries will leave a lasting memory on Americans and Iranians alike.

The Drop – Episode 4 – Hong Kong

Daniel So interviews students from Hong Kong about the protest back home and how it has affected them, their families and the community.

Host: Daniel So

Guest: William Liu, Kay Li, David Wong Gutierrez

Forming new cultural connections

Marcom / Courtesy Photo
Kenyan senators Samson Cherargei (left) and Irungu Kangata (right) at the
conference during their visit at Pierce College.

How an extended invitation lead to an exciting addition to the upcoming Kenya study tour

For the first time in Pierce College’s history, students will be studying science abroad in Kenya. This trip will provide students the opportunity to learn biology in a new environment not confined by a classroom setting.

Ashley Chambers, Kenya trip administrator, said that students will benefit from this eye-opening experience. “These trips abroad are a once and a lifetime opportunity for some students at Pierce,” Chambers said. “It’s a way for students not only to learn different subjects hands-on in a non classroom setting, but to see a different country as well.”  

The plan for the trip abroad is to start in Nairobi which is the capital of Kenya, Chambers said. From there, they will go further inland, each destination bringing students closer to the wildlife. At the end of the trip, they will be around the Maasai tribe, a group inhabiting the African Great Lakes region.

The trip itself is cheaper than most flights to Kenya, but the financial costs are still high. The entire trip will cost around $3,000 per student. 

Pierce College has a lot of single parents and students on full financial aid packages who are working their hardest over the summer, Chambers said.  “Students are working two or three jobs, seven days a week to make this trip happen and we would love to ease a lot of the financial burden for them.” 

Although $3,000 is a daunting number, the school is helping offset the cost by organizing the Kenya Shoe Drive. Pierce College’s International Department is partnering with Funds2Orgs which collects shoes and pays nonprofits to pick up on the company’s behalf. The gently worn and new shoes are then given to small business owners in different countries. 

Boxes can be found for the drive in front of the Welcome Desk, while shoes can be dropped off at the International Education office in room C509.  The deadline for the shoe drive is Oct.15. Students can help the International Department reach their goals of 300 bags. When the goal is met, the Pierce College Foundation will get the additional funds to help the students going on this Kenya trip.

On Aug. 8, Dr. Francis Githuku, head of the Northwest Kenyan Community Association invited two Kenyan senators to visit Pierce College, which sparked the Kenya-Pierce College connection. 

While Githuku intended for this meeting to bring more Kenyan students and their culture into Pierce College, Kenyan senators, Irungu Kangata and Samson Cheragei were looking for an affordable education for Kenyan students. 

As the senators toured, they brought forth the idea of adding a visit to the National Parliament to the Kenya trip. The National Parliament, like the United States senate, is a body of government that votes and approves on different laws. The Parliament is the building where the voting takes place. 

Pierce College students will now have the opportunity to visit the National Parliament, which was not originally on the Kenya study abroad itinerary.

Sacrificing rights is tradition

Nick Nelson / Staff Photo Illustration

International Women’s Day is not celebrated the same way in every country

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a holiday that is meant to be celebrated worldwide, yet some countries still have not guaranteed women their basic rights. 

IWD celebrates women and how much they have achieved over the years. The topic of women’s rights cannot be discussed without addressing the rights they are deprived of.

Having a day that celebrates women’s rights does not mean that all of them have been achieved. There are still many that women lack. Educating both men and women on how much women have achieved is essential to bridging the gap between genders and creating an equal standard. Not only is IWD about remembering the rights women have achieved, it is also a day to continue empowering women all over the world.

Pierce College exchange student Linh Tin explained that in Asia, they view women as inferior to men and treat them poorly because they have traditional values. “They think that men are the most important in the family who can decide everything, and I think we should change that.”

Mina Wong / Courtesy Photo
Mina Wong shares her perspective from China.

Mina Wong, an exchange student from Hong Kong, said,“I feel like International Women’s Day is not that important in Hong Kong. I feel like Hong Kong cannot do gender equality.”

“We always think that (an) adult woman is a housewife; we won’t think that she has a job or anything, but all the time we think that men are the ones who work. The ones who earn money to support the family,” she said.

Wong said that based on her experience, Pierce gives women more rights than her school in Hong Kong because they were still in the process of improving gender equality.

Even students who were born in America but have immigrant parents also view IWD in a different way. Although they grew up in America and were influenced by the society, it was not enough to break down the traditions passed down from older generations.

Mariam Dzyk / Courtesy Photo
Miriam Dzyk shares her perspective from Russia.

“The men in the house take over the woman’s responsibilities of doing things and they just see how it is from a woman’s perspective  of what they do on the daily,” Mariam Dzyk said when asked how her family celebrates IWD. Dzyk is a Pierce student with immigrant parents who moved from Russia 26 years ago. Despite the years, the tradition of a woman being solely responsible for the household still stands.

The perspective of men on IWD is just as important as women’s. They also play a role in the sense that for a long time, men have had the rights that women are fighting for. Along with women fighting for their basic rights, men are also bringing attention to themselves.

Sophiya Galanesi / Staff Photo
David Karcha shares his perspective from America.

“It’s always been about men, so it’s now shifting that focus equally to both men and women,” said David Karcha, a Pierce student working toward his engineering degree. “It’s changing, with the ‘Me Too’ movement for example. Men can’t get their way with everything now, it’s like to show that they’re limited.” 

Sophiya Galanesi / Staff Photo
Sammy Tang shares his perspective from America.

Another student, Sammy Tang, said, “They (women) don’t have the same things as we (men) do, like equal pay, birth control – and it’s weird that men have a say in everything.” 

To empower women, Tang said, “Ensure that they can have their rights. It’s weird to say this, but I want them to have basic rights.” The goal is not to surpass men, but rather to create an equal playing field.

Students given opportunity to “Fight like a girl”

Self-defense class empowers women

“Fight Like a Girl” is a phrase commonly associated with females being weak and inferior, making them easy targets. Student Life is using that phrase to change that. On March 8, the Lakewood police Department will be bringing their Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) self-defense class to Pierce College.

March 8

Noon - 3 p.m.

Fort Steilacoom Campus

Cascade Building
Performance Lounge

Aidan Helt

[email protected]

Stepping Into the Chinese New Year


How students at Pierce celebrate

Chinese New Year celebrates the beginning of the new year on the Chinese calendar. It is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals. However, not everyone gets to experience the celebration in their home country. Many students who are studying abroad in the U.S. find ways to celebrate here. 

In an email sent by Erik Gimness, director of Institutional Research at Pierce, he said, “Last year we had 96 international students from China. This year, we have 50 international students from China as of winter quarter. However, we are expecting that number to grow in spring.”

Gimness said, “In general, enrollments vary a bit from year to year, but I would be surprised if by the end of spring quarter we still saw such a large decrease from last year. Also, the International Education program is projecting an increase in spring quarter,” he added.

Karley Wise / Staff Illustration
Tracey Vo’s favorite Chinese New Year tradition is the decorating competition of lucky money. If you win the competition, you can get more lucky money that year.

Although it is not a formal holiday in the U.S., it is still thought of and observed by those who live here from abroad. Two students spoke about their experiences with the holiday back home and what they liked best about it. 

Loan Vo, or “Tracey” as she is known at Pierce, is in her second quarter studying business but thinking about transferring to marketing management. Vo chose to study here at Pierce because she enjoys Washington’s weather, and the classes were convenient for her. 

Vo talked about her fond memories of the holiday. “There’s always the traditional food. Pork and eggs and a special cake is always made,” she said. “There are also lucky wars – competitions that happen throughout the holiday.”  

Sabrina Li, a peer tutor in the tutoring center, is in her third year at Pierce. She is studying business and came to Pierce through the Running Start program. She enjoys being in leadership positions and connecting on campus. Li also observes the holiday here in the states – or tries to, at least. 

Karley Wise / Staff Illustration
Sabrina Li’s favorite Chinese New Year tradition is lucky money, and her favorite symbol is 春, which means “spring.”

“I want to celebrate with my host family, but it’s a little tricky compared to home with all that’s involved,” Li said. “My favorite part back home was being with family and watching the Gala (a Chinese New Year special produced by China Central Television).” Li enjoys being in leadership positions and connecting on campus.

There are, of course, differences between the Chinese New Year and the New Year’s celebrations that are held in the U.S. “It lasts three to four days longer, and there’s ‘lucky money’ (money that is given at the end of competitions to younger people by older people),” Vo said.

“Every Chinese person goes home, it’s really crowded, the businesses close down. The important part (of Chinese New Year) is the unity and love. It has a long, long history,” Li added.

Vo, when asked if she had her favorite things to pick from the holiday, she said, “The food and lucky money and being together with family.”

International Education and ASPIRE Waymakers hosted a Chinese New Year event in the Fireside and Performance lounges. It included additional booths in the hallway.

This year’s theme was Tet 2019 (the Vietnamese New Year), looking at how the Vietnamese culture celebrates the Lunar New Year, which is similar to Chinese New Year. The stage was set up for various performances. There was also food tables featuring Vietnamese food.

Alyssa Donaldson, an ASPIRE coordinator that worked on the event, said, “This is our second time collaborating with International Education. We went with the Vietnamese theme this year because we try to highlight one country’s look on the Lunar New Year and not just one group.”

Art project tables such as calligraphy and origami were also available for the arts-and-crafts-minded.

A kid zone was available during the event for those who had children with them. There was also a K-pop booth.

Karley Wise / Staff Illustration

If you have events you would like to collaborate on with ASPIRE or International Education, contact the International Education department at: [email protected]

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