Pierce Pioneer

Coronavirus Update

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As of Jan. 31, Choi Halladay, vice president of Administrative Services at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, released an email in regards to a new travel warning announced by the United States Department of State. A Level 4 travel warning was released, cautioning all U.S. citizens to not travel to China under any circumstances, as a result of the Coronavirus.

A Level 4 travel warning places a ban on any travel location that it applies to. A Level 4, as described by the Verge, is the most severe warning that can be issued by the Department of State.

According to CNN, all flights from Shanghai to Los Angeles and New York have been cancelled from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10. Throughout the rest of February, flights to San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago, and Honolulu have also been cancelled.

Pierce College is following this travel warning by cancelling a previously scheduled International Programs recruiting trip to China, according to Halladay. Pierce will be coordinating with any exchange students who had plans, were returning to, or were leaving China.

All trips to China are being refunded as soon as possible through most commercial airlines, and trips coordinated through Pierce College. To see the travel warning issued by the United States Department of State, click here. 

Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

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A new virus has emerged in Wuhan, China and is spreading rapidly. The Coronavirus, a disease most often found in animals such as birds, has been traced to a public seafood market and has infected over 600 people and killed 20 since emerging late December, according to The New York Times.

One individual has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus in the Snohomish County of Washington State, making them the first case in the United States. However, they are currently in good condition as they’re being monitored by doctors.

While much isn’t known about the virus, doctors are currently researching everything they can about it. A cure however, has yet to be announced. 

The fatality rate is currently at 3 percent, with a wide range of mild to severe symptoms similar to pneumonia, such as coughing, fever, and sore throat. As of now, researchers are inferring that it spreads the same way as other respiratory viruses; through coughing and sneezing, according to The Washington Post.

The virus poses the highest risk to those in China, making the likelihood of it becoming severe in the States slim. Even in China, the disease seems to be most negatively affecting people who already had adverse health issues such as respiratory problems, or a weakened immune system, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, China is taking cautionary measures to limit the spreading of this virus. According to The Verge, all Lunar New Year celebrations have been cancelled in Wuhan, Macau, Zhejiang, and Beijing. Health screening at major airports in the United States and China are being done. In China, all transportation has been cancelled in the city of Wuhan.

The World Health Organization decided that as of now this disease is not a public health emergency, after meeting on Jan. 22. However, the organization is consolidating again on Jan. 29 to reconsider their previous stance, as they hope to re-evaluate how contained the virus is.

How to stay motivated in keeping and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions


Set yourself up for success in 2020

It’s the beginning of a new year, which for many people can feel like a fresh start. This is a time when people start setting goals in their life in order to start the year off right. Making New Year’s resolutions has been a tradition people take part in all around the world for years.

However, although telling yourself that you will exercise everyday, or cut out sugary drinks may sound simple, it is often hard for people to stay true to their goals for very long. According to Business Insider, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. 

This especially rings true in college students. Many students living a busy lifestyle have a hard time finding time or motivation to stay true to their goals outside of school, work, friends, and family. With keeping a few strategies and tips in mind, anyone can stay motivated to keep their New Year’s resolution all year long.

First, come up with a reasonable goal. If you spend 3 hours a day watching television, and tell yourself you will only watch 20 minutes of television a day, that goal will most likely not be met for very long. Set reachable expectations in the beginning, and slowly work up to what you hope to achieve. 

Setting a realistic goal comes hand in hand with making that goal as specific as possible. If you say something vague such as, “I want to eat healthier,” your ideas of what constitutes as healthy may change over time. Instead, come up with a plan such as a specific food you will cut out, or a healthy meal you will eat a few days a week.

After you make your goal, you are now ready to start achieving it. Think about what ways you stay motivated in other parts of your life, such as in school or hobbies. You could set an alarm to remind you to exercise in short increments throughout the day, or get a friend to remind you. 

Finally, reward yourself for accomplishing your goals. It’s ok to take time for yourself to celebrate your successes. If you finally get an A in a difficult class, go out with a friend, or buy yourself something new to praise your hard work.

By following these steps, you will find yourself succeeding in keeping your New Year’s resolutions more than you ever have in the past. Things that once seemed impossible to reach, will now become a regular habit in your life. Set 2020 up for a great year from the very beginning.

Goodbye 2010s, Hello 2020.

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A Look Back at the Highlights of the Decade.

The beginning of a new decade is almost upon us. With 2020 bringing many new changes, it gives us a chance to look back at some highlights the past decade has brought. From new trends to new technology and innovations in society, the 2010s have brought many advancements.

Damian Dovarganes / AP / Courtesy Photo, Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons / Courtesy Photo, Evhenia Arbugaeva / TIME / Courtesy Photo



In the past 10 years, many new movements have emerged amongst newer generations, especially in relation to climate change. Climate change has been a growing topic in recent years, as a result of scientists doing more research about how this will affect future generations. People such as Greta Thunberg are at the forefront of this movement. Thunberg has been a leading example of environmental activism since the age of 15. She has been working toward advancing awareness of climate change, as well as encouraging people to make lifestyle changes to help the environment.

Gun Control

Other notable emerging movements are protests regarding gun control in light of school shootings, with high school students taking the front of this action. These protests have been growing for years, beginning with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012. However, this movement grew exponentially after the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. This increase of mass shootings in the United States has brought up issues regarding who has access to these guns, as well as sparked a debate about mental health treatment.


In the past 10 years, many new movements have emerged amongst newer generations, especially in relation to climate change. Climate change has been a growing topic in recent years, as a result of scientists doing more research about how this will affect future generations. People such as Greta Thunberg are at the forefront of this movement. Thunberg has been a leading example of environmental activism since the age of 15. She has been working toward advancing awareness of climate change, as well as encouraging people to make lifestyle changes to help the environment.

Atsuko Sato / Courtesy Photo


The 2010s brought many online changes. This included new memes trending on social media. Before 2010, the concept of a meme was almost nonexistent, and now there are new ones everyday with people adding funny text and edits to each one.  These memes have definitely evolved over the decade as well. For example, if you had gone online in 2012, you most likely would have seen a singular picture of a person or animal making a face at the camera. This picture would have big blocky text under it, saying something that could relate to the viewer. However, memes have become more complex over the years, with the sense of humor changing. Now, you might find multiple photos edited together with different text on each one, in order to show the relation between the people in the photo going through relatable scenarios.

Blomst / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo


Hybrid and Electric Cars

Along with the call to environmental change, hybrid and electric cars have been increasing in use in the past 10 years more than ever before. The fact that hybrid cars do not release as many greenhouse gas emissions as a typical car makes people steer toward the option of these kinds of vehicles. The use of these non-polluting vehicles especially rings true in Tesla, which specializes in manufacturing electric cars. With Tesla selling cars that purely run on electrical sources, rather than gas, it is easy for people to be drawn towards this option, rather than paying for gas weekly.

Online Shopping

While online shopping has grown exponentially in the past decade, Amazon is the front of many people’s online needs. With Amazon Prime offering free shipping, and student discounts, it is the first place many people turn to when they need something quickly. In fact, according to Forbes, “Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items in 2017 with Prime worldwide.” Many companies are closing their brick and mortar stores and focusing on expanding their online presence as a result of the physical store not bringing in as much income as online.

Sharijo / Pixabay / Courtesy Illustration


Bring back the 1980s! Those who grew up in the 80s may recognize some of the styles in the past few years. Throughout the 2010s, fashion from the 1980s has been making a comeback. This includes the “vintage look” of baggy jeans, or “mom” jeans, bulky white sneakers, such as Filas, Nikes Cortez, or Adidas Superstars. Also, many wear colorful windbreakers, denim jackets, and Doc Martens.

While 2010-2019 have brought many new changes and introduced many new forms ideas, 2020 brings a mass of opportunities to look forward to. For example, the presidential election, and summer olympics, taking place in Tokyo, are just two new things that this new year will bring.

Online Courses Sweeping Away Campus Classes

It’s the middle of the quarter, and already time to start thinking about what classes to take next. With so many options available between going on campus, taking hybrid courses, or a class completely online, this is a situation all students have faced at some point. However, weighing the different pros and cons can help students find the perfect class to succeed in. 

With the world moving more towards technology, education has to move along with it. This provides a new challenge with finding a balance between face-to-face and the online world within the school system.

At Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s campus, the number of students taking online classes has been growing each year. According to Pierce’s Tableau dashboard, the number of students enrolled in online courses has increased by 20 percent over a 10 year period.

As the popularity of online classes increases, on-campus course enrollment is slowly decreasing. In the past 10 years, the number of students enrolled in face-to-face classes has gone down 10 percent. This fluctuation has caught the attention of some staff members at Pierce.

Fred Metzger, a communications and film professor at Pierce College, notices that whenever an online class is offered, it fills up quickly. “It becomes a safe move, and strong evidence that this is where the need is,” he said. “People that are in charge of those decisions can easily think we need more online classes.” 

Each quarter, choosing between online and in-class courses are a choice that faculty have to make as well. Joyce Pace, a history professor at Pierce College said that teaching an online class can be more of a workload on staff members. This is a result of trying to recreate classroom experiences in an online environment, which can be hard to keep up with, she added.

Selecting the right class has much to do with the individual’s learning style, however. Marilyn Gay, a Pierce College student, mentioned how on-campus classes are important to her because of the teacher and peer interactions. “I like the interaction with the instructor and the other peers, and you don’t get that with online classes.”

E-learning can provide an exceptional opportunity for many people. As Pace, said, “I knew a military student who ended up finishing some online course work while he was deployed in the middle east, and another who was going to school online while on a ship in the Persian Gulf.” 

We don’t leave people left behind, we bring them on board and maybe have transitional classes, or understand some things you just don’t want to teach online”

— Fred Metzger

Cases like these show the benefit of online courses. However, could there be too much of a push toward online in this day and age? Metzger says that his public speaking class almost didn’t happen this quarter. 

Metzger mentioned how there is no substitute for the energy, nerves, and emotion that are in the room during a public speaking course. “We don’t leave people left behind, we bring them on board and maybe have transitional classes, or understand some things you just don’t want to teach online.” 

Although there are many positives of online classes’ availability in this digital age, it’s also important to keep enough campus classes available to students.

Naudyia Pichette, a student in her fifth quarter at Pierce College mentioned, “Not everybody has access to a computer and that’s basically your lifeline with an online class. Also, the books tend to be pretty expensive.” 

Pichette said she likes to take electives online, instead of core classes, such as accounting. She adds that usually more help is available from a teacher and fellow students in an on-campus math or science course, that isn’t as needed in an online class such as art appreciation. 

Upon entering college, it can seem overwhelming with all of the different options of what classes to take, but once everybody finds the type of class that works best for them, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Metzger had a valuable statement that those on campus should keep in mind when discussing the removal or addition of both forms of courses, “It’s not which is better? It’s why can’t we have both? Why can’t we nurture both? Why can’t we be diverse and be open to all with the diverse community?”

Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer
Fully painted awareness pumpkin!

It’s that time of the year. The middle of the first quarter, when midterms are almost upon students, along with Halloween, and everyone could use a chance to unwind and have some fun. 

This is what many students could be found doing on Wednesday afternoon outside the cafeteria, for the Breast Cancer Awareness event. With the room decked out in pink decorations, tables, and music playing, it’s enough to make anyone want to join in. 

Since the first organized event recognizing breast cancer in 1985, awareness has been wide-spread globally, with October now officially being National Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Michelle Adams, a student who attended the event said, “I think this is fabulous and a great representation of supporting women and their health.” 

There were also many arts and crafts to catch students’ attention at the event. Jaida Noble, a student at Pierce, said, “What drew me to the event was I get to paint pumpkins.” Many students could be found excitedly painting and decorating their own pumpkin, or even getting henna tattoos.  

Another part of the event that drew many people in was all the food available. With muffins and donuts, not many people would want to pass up on stopping by for some snacks in between classes. Kayla Belen, one of the coordinators of this event, and a student at Pierce, stated how this event happened last year as well.

Lots of thought and planning going into each of the student-led activities at Pierce. Belen mentioned how the organization of this particular event has been going on since August. Student leaders work together to do their best at providing valuable opportunities for students to meet new people, while participating in fun activities.

The Breast Cancer Awareness event offered a great opportunity for students to socialize with friends in a fun environment. It also gave everyone a chance to unwind and take a break from the vigor of their classes, while showing awareness for a disease that affects so many women across the globe.


Construction underway for students in the medical field

Kotonai Ochiai / Staff Photographer
The first floor of the Cascade building currently houses the EMS, Veterinarian (on the right), and Dental hygiene (on the left) programs.

Space for students will be expanded and be

completed by Fall of 2021

Many students may know of Pierce College’s ever-growing dental hygiene, veterinary technology, and EMS programs. Students who are part of these departments are often seen walking around campus in their scrubs after a long day of class. These are three important departments that require lots of space and updated technology for students to be successful in their studies and workplace. 

To combat the growing population of people joining these programs, a new building on Pierce College’s Fort Steilacoom campus is in the early stages of planning. With a proposed completion date of Fall of 2021, this building will provide much more room for opportunities with the advanced technology it will provide.

Choi Halladay, vice president of administrative services at Pierce College, emphasizes the needs of students who are part of these programs, and how this construction will benefit them. “This will expand the amount of space that they have by a lot,” says Halladay. “It will make it all state of the art, and a space that represents the kinds of work environments that most of the students would actually go to work in.” 

In fact, for the veterinarian department, it’s not only the students who need the extra space. According to Salvador Hurtado, the Veterinary Technology Program Director, this expansion will provide an opportunity for different animals’ environment to be taken care of as well. 

As veterinary students, Hurtado states that it’s important to have access to animals that can be worked with. This need is something that this development will focus on. In addition to larger areas for animals to roam and exercise, there will also be external windows for them to see outside.

Jezreel Proo’ / Staff Illustration

Anyone part of an intensive educational program is likely to understand the importance of this simulated experience; it is necessary to be successful in whatever field one is going into. It’s also important to have enough room to work comfortably in, in contrast to a smaller space that restricts a student’s productivity. 

“This building will have more student-dedicated space,” adds Hurtado. “There will be more study areas, and places for students to hang out in. This way, there won’t be as much time spent walking from building to building to eat lunch or find a quiet place to work.”

As the construction of this building is still in the beginning stages, it’s too soon to determine any specific unique features. However, Halladay has a main idea of what staff are looking for in this new building. “We are trying to create layouts where it’s really efficient. Where an instructor can move from place to place and help a lot of different students doing different things simultaneously.” 

Halladay continues in saying that this way, students are able to multitask with working on a project, while getting the help they need from professors. Forming a space where students have this access is valuable as it gives everyone a chance to learn the most that they can, even while working outside the classroom.

Upon hearing about these new renovations, some students may be worried about how this may affect their time at Pierce in ways such as tuition and parking. However, Halladay assures that there will be no increases in tuition or fees as a result of the new building. Parking will not pose an issue once construction is complete. Halladay confirms that a few additional spots are likely to be added, but there should be an appropriate amount of spaces now for more students to park in.

This expansion of dental hygiene, EMS, and veterinary technology is something that students can look forward to in the future. With these new facilities, it will provide help with getting closer to their goals while at Pierce College.

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