Pierce Pioneer

Highs and lows of quarantined mental health

Students have had their share of mental ups and downs during quarantine and though some saw the lockdown optimistically others weren’t so sure how to feel.

Having an extrovert or introvert personality had an impact on the mental stability of students as they managed schedules, family, friends, work and solitude. 

“It’s a rollercoaster, where it kind of depends on what I am thinking about,” said Zakariah Swanson ASPCP president of Puyallup student life. “If I can look at the silver lining or not.” 

College life is never really stress free even for the “best” student. There are students that are faced with more than just the usual issues and have added strain due to already having underlying mental health concerns.

“Every day felt like bricks on my chest, the amount of stress I felt,” said Vanessa Garcia, student engagement coordinator. 

Garcia was candid and revealed she has Asperger’s Syndrome and told of the difficulty she was faced with during the pandemic. She also said her favorite part about the quarantine was getting to wear sweatpants for events.

Some students looked at what was lost but also looked at what could be gained. Still the longer it went on the more tiring and the less motivated students were to put up with the status quo.

“The pandemic amplified my mental health,” said Nathan Haueter, student organizations coordinator. “When I was doing really good it made it even better and when I was doing bad it made it worse.”

Finding a solution to manage the highs and lows of mental health seems to rely on relationships and being around people for the motivation to do good. Not having the usual net of people around has made the pandemic more difficult for some students while others were able to stay motivated.

“Celebrate small victories,” said Madison Rannow, vice president of student organizations, commenting on what she would likely tell her past self before the pandemic.

Looking back, many students will have learned many different lessons through diverse struggles, each as hard in its own way as the other. The world turned small for students, both foreign and domestic and all the possibilities that once were within reach were somehow taken and placed a little further out of reach.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion Senator Jessica Xu, finds having an adaptive mentality to be beneficial. Being an international student who has not been able to go home in over a year has built frustration, especially not being able to have family around as a support system.

For some students, the pandemic felt easy at first but harder as it went on. Time out of school kept expanding and became more strenuous. Along the way most students learned to not be hard on themselves and found a way to thrive in the midst of this moment in history.  

“I got used to it and got into a system where my mental health is not based on the circumstances, but on what I decide it to be,” said Karen Nunex-Michel, vice president of activities board.


Tacoma Mural Project

Tacoma is a city with a vibrant art scene, from its Art Museum and Glass Museum, to its Musical Playhouse, and the dozens of family owned boutiques and jewelry stores in between. Still, some of the most prominent pieces of Tacoma’s local art (as well as history) comes from its colorful murals decorating downtown Tacoma. 

The murals in Tacoma mix culture, advocacy, and tradition into art and with the help of Downtown on the Go and Spaceworks Tacoma, the legacies and meanings of these murals can be explored and discussed via a virtual 1.1 mail tour.

The first mural the tour shows you is titled Working Forward Weaving Anew, and according to the guides this mural “is designed to honor cultural traditions, the natural environment, and our need for new harmonious and sustainable paths into the future.” Painted by Esteban Camacho and Jessilyn Brinkerhoff with the help of a team of nine Native American artists, this mural was handpainted in only 6 weeks and is part of the Prairie Line Trail Project and reminds us to respect the land we share with others and nurture those relationships. 

A recent mural that was shown during this tour was a solo painting done by Tiffany Hammonds in honor of the 2020 protests, this mural isn’t painted directly on the storefronts and instead was painted on the boards during the protests in response to the death of George Floyd and the ongoing police brutality. In an interview with Chase Hutchinson of the News Tribune, Hammonds talks about the message behind this piece. 

“The message is hope,” says Hammonds. “If it’s our vision, that means we are capable of doing it.”

A more diverse twist on the usual painted murals on the tour was one done by David Long and Al Pikart who took screenshot images from webcam chats and turned them into an art piece drawing attention to the mistreatment of people detained at the NW ICE Processing Center. The words “Queremos Libertad” translates to “We want Freedom” and pushes Long and Pikart’s message that no human should be treated illegally. 

The final mural shown on the tour was a beautiful tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The artist, Nori Kimura painted this mural with four of his middle school students as he said it would be more meaningful to him. It was RBG’s work for equal rights, activism for women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community that inspired Kimura to paint this mural as a tribute to her work and legacy as an advocate and activist.

My takeaway from this tour was that our state is steeped in history and culture and although it may not always be pleasant we must remember it and keep it with us, for me, the art displayed on this tour is a reminder to embrace who we are, who we live with, and where we come from so that we might pave the way towards a better future.
























Washington moving to Phase 3

On May 18, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state is moving to Phase 3 and reopening June 30. If at least 70% of Washingtonians over the age of 16 begin to get vaccinated before then, the reopening date could be sooner; currently we are at 56%.


The list of permitted activities is on the Roadmap to Recovery. It includes 50 people at an outdoor home event, 50% capacity for indoor sports and fitness facilities and 400 people at outdoor entertainment establishments. 


The reopening was recently paused for two weeks, but hopefully it doesn’t need to be pushed back any further. Washington will go back to a lower phase if the statewide ICU capacity exceeds 90%. If all goes well, then Washingtonians should be able to enjoy the sun this summer.


To be up to date on Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcements, visit his website here.

What is the driving force behind sexual harassment?

Author and talk show host Candace Owens was left with a bad impression by the performance of ‘WAP’ by rap artist Cardi B at the 63 annual Grammy Awards. Cardi B and Owens had a dispute on Twitter about what empowers women following the performance and came to the answer from different perspectives.

“You are in a position to empower young women to aspire to something more than taking off their clothes,” tweeted Owens to Cardi B. “But you don’t feel you can be more.”

I have noticed intrinsic worth alludes to many modern women today, yet it determines the expression of self and what others expect from them. A woman is a woman, and she need not prove her equality to men. I believe her worth and empowerment are found neither in what she provides or takes from society, but in who she is.  

What empowers women has been an ongoing discussion for some time and there are many, from experts to the common person with varying answers on the issue. The idea of women taking control of their sexuality or taking control of their minds and pushing forward has been difficult to balance.

In today’s culture, it seems each woman must make a choice and stand to either one side or the other of the line drawn in the sand by society. Whatever choice is made, there is no definitive answer as to what gives women their power be it their body or mind.

In any industry today women can be seen thriving and achieving great success and are in high praise and respect from peers. Some women have made their choice and are either expressing the ownership of their own sexuality or on the other hand, women engaging with the world intellectually. Still there are those who choose to be wives and mothers. The social norms of women being only homemakers have been all but removed.   

Whenever women empowerment is mentioned, sexual harassment and abuse of women are not far behind. It seems to arise to try and change the conversation and puts the focus on a different issue altogether. Perhaps what must be done is to take a hard look at women empowerment to find what the cause of a plague such as sexual harassment is.  

Pretending sexual harassment does not happen to anyone is foolish, and pretending it happens to everyone is foolish as well. The essence of women empowerment could be the key to revealing a clear answer as to what makes part of society believe sexual misconduct is acceptable in any way, shape or form.

According to the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs website, women are one of the demographic groups which are victimized more frequently than others. The statistics show that 80 percent of women are being victimized before the age of 18 and only 25 percent of these women will seek medical attention after the assault and only 33 percent of them will seek counseling.    

Bitterness and resentment have crossed generations in the battle against harassment. There are many theories as to why such a vulgar thing keeps happening, and there seems to be no end in sight. Anyone can be caught in the battle whether they signed up for it or not and it seems there is no particular thing one must do to be a victim other than just be present.

James Campbell Quick, Ph.D., a professor of leadership and management at the University of Texas thinks the issue lies with how power is used by people in authoritative positions. “Sexual harassment is really not about sex. It’s about power and aggression and manipulation. It’s an abuse of power problem.”

There must be a clear dominant person with the power to do what they wish with another person. When these parameters are met, there is one that possesses power over another and exerts it with disregard to consequences.

Now, the awareness of consequences alone seems to not be the answer as to why sexual harassment keeps occurring. The fear of consequences has been proven to not completely stop anyone from engaging in cases of sexual misconduct in the workplace or other areas.

Such behavior and even emotions may carry through to the next generation and then pass to the next. Thus the cycle can continue, and no escape be provided for future generations if the mentality toward women cannot change and the adjustment of how to look at women as people does not take root in society.

Certain measures may be taken such as women not assuming that every action from a man is a sexual act. And on the other hand, men must stop thinking everything a woman does is for sexual attention. This could be a start for the bitterness, resentment and hurtful social norms that keep sexual harassment and the mistreatment of women around to cease.

Women taking control of their sexuality or women taking control of their minds in their field of work are the dominant approaches to empowering women. The other choice and less observed by culture is seeing women with intrinsic worth and willingly leaving this dignity intact.

Author, political activist and lecturer Hellen Keller in her book Optimism Within wrote about what she thought brings balance to the world. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.”

Quick, J. C., & McFadyen, M. A. (2017). Sexual harassment: Have we made any progress? Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(3), 286–298. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000054

Washington State University Becomes the First College to Mandate Vaccines

WSU was the first college in Washington State to mandate vaccines, many other public colleges are following their footsteps.


With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming more accessible throughout Washington, several universities such as The University of Washington and Western Washington University are requiring their students to return to campus fully vaccinated. Washington State University was the first public university in the state to require proof of vaccination.

Proof of vaccination will be due Aug. 6, before the fall semester begins, students not living on campus will need to submit their proof of vaccination by Nov. 1, according to President Kirk Schulz. Those who don’t meet this deadline will be unable to register for classes.

However, exemptions may be in place for those not wishing to get their vaccine. “Our desire is that all students, faculty, staff and volunteers are vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. I think you always need to have exemptions in place. We are expanding that exemption category to include personal exemptions because, again, we’re not interested in getting into a debate with individuals. We really want to make sure people are making a conscious choice and are taking action one way or the other,” explains WSU’s spokesman Phil Weiler. 

While exemptions will be allowed, WSU aims to make sure a majority of their students are vaccinated so on-campus classes may be brought back sooner. “If we can get everybody vaccinated, we can have the kind of academic experience that everybody expects and everybody wants,” said Weiler.

 It’s not just the president and spokesman pushing for this requirement either. According to Daryll DeWald, chancellor of WSU’s health sciences, many deans from the pharmaceutical and nursing colleges are advocating for this requirement, while WSU Senate Chair David Trumbull said older and at-risk staff members would be concerned without this mandate.

 “WSU has an obligation to serve the public good and do all it can to ensure the health and safety of citizens in the state of Washington,” said DeWald.

DeWald’s words encourage not just WSU students but all university students and staff to make the choice to get vaccinated so that the community can pave the way back to their campuses in a safe and healthy way.

Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks or social distance

The CDC announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing both indoors and outdoors. Unvaccinated people are still encouraged by the CDC to wear masks in public places, as well as practice social distancing.

“You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance,” the CDC stated in a tweet.

As stated on the CDC’s official site, to qualify as being fully vaccinated you must have either received a second dose in a two-dose series such as Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving your second or single-dose vaccination.

Public places the CDC still would encourage people to wear masks include hospitals, prisons, doctor’s offices, public transportation and planes. A few more liberties have been granted to fully vaccinated individuals however, alongside being able to ditch the mask and the social distancing. 

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people no longer need to be tested while traveling within the United States. Fully vaccinated individuals who may have been exposed to someone carrying COVID-19 also no longer need to self quarantine afterwards or get tested.

“However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms,” the CDC stated. 

A few unknowns are still being looked at by the CDC as they make their announcement Thursday afternoon. What the CDC is still investigating regarding the vaccines includes how well they fight against other COVID-19 variants, and the vaccines effectiveness for those with weakened immune systems. How long vaccines keep people safe from COVID-19 is also still being studied by the CDC.

Lauren Kirschman of the News Tribune has since stated that the Washington state Department of Health reports 1,090 new COVID-19 cases in Washington since Wednesday. Pierce County reports 162 new cases alongside four deaths. 

More information regarding new COVID-19 cases per Washington county, testing sites and more can be found on this infographic page provided by the Washington DOH.

Late Nite Take Out – CPTSD Symptoms + Treatment Story

Episode Description:

This episode covers how the symptoms of CPTSD have affected me over the years. For much of my life, I have gone un-diagnosed, many of the symptoms of CPTSD can fly by under your radar. I hope to share my journey in a way that can helpfully inform or relate to the struggles many of us go through with our emotions and anxieties. Many of the symptoms of CPTSD align with the everyday struggles of life. After much deliberation, I found a therapist and began analyzing and making sense of some of my traumas throughout my life. It can be surprising to learn how interconnected our memories, experiences and emotions are. The process of healing can be a daunting one, but worthwhile in its returns. I share my steps through therapy to help destigmatize the help we need sometimes. Therapy can be a powerful tool to self-discovery and healing, with the will to use it. Peace, and much love to everyone out there, especially now. Each other and the feelings we share is all we can hold onto sometimes.

Littering in Local Wetland

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


Washington State death tolls continue to rise amidst Coronavirus panic

Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / Courtesy Photo
An intensive care unit treating coronavirus patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, the virus’s epicenter.

On Mar. 8, between 102 – 136 Coronavirus cases have been made in King County, with death tolls being between 16 – 19 and rising. Of the 136 cases reported, 86 of those affected were of the ages of 50 and older. Authorities request that citizens 60 and older, as well as pregnant women, avoid populated places and remain home for their own safety. 

Kiro7 stated, “Sixteen of those who died in King County were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks.”

Although there were no confirmed cases in King and Pierce County schools, some have taken safety measures to prevent the spread of germs. Clover Park Technical College took safety measures and have closed down their campus for a deep clean.

Due to being closer to the outbreak, The University of Washington in Seattle cancelled classes until the end of winter quarter. This is to try and prevent those from getting the virus.

“Friday morning, the University of Washington said though its campuses would remain open, classes would no longer be meeting in person starting Monday, Mar. 9 through the end of winter quarter on Mar. 20,” Kiro7 said. “The university’s president said that remote learning will be utilized when possible, but also notified staff that in some cases, they may need to submit grades based on work.”

While Pierce College Fort Steilacoom hasn’t taken those measures, Choi Halladay, vice president of administrations, announced in an email that Pierce is closely monitoring the Coronavirus. “Currently, leadership is working closely with public health officials to keep up to date regarding the virus and potential impacts to the college, and we are developing additional plans to mitigate those impacts,” Halladay stated.

Faculty has existing plans for emergency management specific for responding to a pandemic outbreak. Pierce is providing fact sheets in all languages from the Washington State Department of health for the Coronavirus online on their websites.

The amount of cases coming in for testing has made it harder to detect those with the virus; this makes it important to be aware and take all measures to protect oneself from getting sick. 

Public Health for Seattle & King County states, “If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Isolate yourself and wear a mask before leaving the house. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.”

Updated March 13th, 2020 at 2:04pm

As of Mar. 12, Washington State governor Jay Inslee has ordered all private and public K-12 schools to close from Mar. 17 to April 24.

As reported by the Seattle Times, Chris Reykdal, state school’s chief states, “Our [school] systems need to be prepared for a potentially longer closure in the near term, and [without a vaccine] we have to be prepared that this is back in the fall or still with us in the fall.”

In response, Pierce College emailed early morning on Mar. 13 that all campuses will be moving to teaching classes online. 

“As Pierce College moves to limit face-to-face instruction starting Tuesday, Mar. 17, we also need to reduce the number of staff on campus to implement social distancing guidelines, while still providing services to students and opportunities for employees to work,” the email states.

Campus Safety, IT, Facilities, Finances, Center for Global Scholars, and Payroll will remain on campus during these closures. However, students and professors are not required to be on campus during this time.

More updates will be available as the weeks pass.

Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

Pixabay / Pexels / Courtesy Photo

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.

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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