Pierce Pioneer

A Competitor by Nature

Desirae Garcia / Staff Photo

The inspiring journey of Jordan Dowd, scholarship recipient and family-made soccer player

Jordan Dowd, 18, scored goals on the soccer field ever since he was three. He’s been through many exhausting practices and adrenaline-pumping games. However, soccer wasn’t just a game; it was a way of life that his mother instilled in him. 

Dowd’s mother began teaching him the fundamentals of soccer, helping him surpass his limits and inspiring him to reach his full potential. Then last summer, he reaped the benefits of his hard work when he received a partial scholarship to play soccer at Pierce College.

After receiving the scholarship, Dowd realized how dedicated he was and the effort it took to get there. Playing for Pierce only confirmed that his passion for soccer can go so much further. “It’s really cool to see it pay off during the season in our games and practices. It’s something that I want to keep doing even in life after Pierce or after college.”

Though Dowd was born in a small fishing community in Gig Harbor, he was more adept at defending the goal than he was at trailing bait. As an infant, Dowd was strapped to his mother and lulled to sleep by the sound of cheering fans and blaring horns. 

His mother, a high school girls soccer coach, played the sport for a couple of years in high school, but she still had the determination of a professional. She coached Dowd’s recreational team when he was in elementary school, during which he remembers his mother telling him to put his best foot forward; otherwise he’s only cheating himself. “I feel like my mom was pretty hard on [our recreational team], in a good way, because she knew our potential and wanted to get the best out of us,” he said.

Dowd shared the same passion as his mother, chasing his own dreams in soccer. As his love for the sport grew, so did his competitiveness. He signed up for a local team, Harbor Premier, making friends, perfecting his craft and creating memories that will forever remind him of why he plays. 

During Dowd’s freshman year of high school, he switched teams, which allowed him to get out of his comfort zone and get mentored by professionals. He chose Washington Premier Football Club, which had coaches with years of experience either playing professionally or for a club post-college. That was exactly what he was looking for someone who can help him grow his zeal for the sport.

Traveling all over the nation and playing teams of various levels, sometimes playing one to three times a week can seem like an arduous journey, but Dowd said his love for the game kept him going. Dowd said that he loves to showcase how much he’s invested and how passionate he is for the game. “I feel like it’s an opportunity to express who I am, who I want to be, and just show my love for the sport and show off all the hard work that I put into it.”

As much as Dowd loves the game of soccer, he said the connections he makes with his teammates on the field are more valuable. “You work with the same guys day in and day out, and you really have each other’s back on the field; you have a great love for the sport, and you share the passion with each other. That’s something that’s carried on with me from elementary school now to college.” 

Not only is Dowd passionate about his love of the game, but he also wants to write about it professionally. He’s now pursuing a sports journalism degree at Pierce College and playing on their team. He said he’s happy how it all worked out for now, and he plans to continue his soccer career at a four-year university such as Whitworth University, Gonzaga University or an institute in California.

As much as he loves to play the game, he wanted to follow a path that allows him to capture his love for sports and creative storytelling. “My career goals after Pierce is something related to journalism on the sports side of things or politics,” Dowd said. “I loved sports ever since I could remember, and I guess I’m decent at writing, so I thought I’d put those two together.”  

Dowd said becoming a professional soccer player feels like a pipe dream, but if he got the chance, he would take advantage of it. “I’ve definitely thought about [playing soccer professionally] all my life. Sure after college, if the opportunity is there, I’d take it.” 

He hopes to inspire the next generation to pursue soccer professionally. “I dream to continue soccer, continue the game and to pass it on to friends and family and my future kids.”

Student spotlight

Travel loving student Madison Moore pursues her future

person smiling

“Live as much as I can each day,” said Madison Moore, 17, a Pierce student and a senior at Bonney Lake High School. Moore has taken that concept and ran with it – around the world.

Growing up in different states on the West Coast, Moore and her family moved from California to Washington when she was 10. She didn’t travel much in her younger years, but when she turned 16 all that changed. Her license meant her freedom, and Moore took advantage of that, traveling whenever she could. She’s been on a few road trips; her favorite was to Lake Tahoe with her boyfriend and his family, but the best state she’s visited is where she was born:  Oregon.

While Moore wasn’t old enough to make any memories in Oregon while she lived there, the second she visited the state she knew that that was her home. Between family and “good vibes and good people,” she has decided that she would like to live there one day when she settles down.

Moore sees a family in her future, and she expects it to be a fun one filled with travel. “A big thing with me is that I want my kids to experience things,” Moore said. There are no plans for that anytime soon, due to her adventurous spirit and drive for a better future for herself and her family.

While wanting to attend college for an undecided career, she also has plans to travel. In just a few short months, Moore plans on spending spring break in Hawaii with her family and her boyfriend, and is looking forward to swimming with the animals, and going to the beaches. It’s her first time traveling by plane, which will be a good practice flight for when she goes to England in the summer. Her boyfriend’s father is from England, and so she’ll have authentic experiences and guides throughout England.

After that where she goes will be a mystery, but places like Jamaica and Asia are on her bucket list. With connections in Asia, she hopes that traveling there will happen sooner rather than later.

“I want to go to anywhere in Asia that has pandas in the wild,” Moore said of her favorite animal.

“Since I’ve been a senior, I didn’t really think about how my life has gone. “Seventeen years just went by” she said thinking back on her life. “Life is short in that way, because we don’t always think like that. Make every moment count and let those that I love, know that I love them.

“I want to see as much as I can.”

Student spotlight

Gwen Goodhead: passion for music with hopes of scholarship


Having played the flute from a young age, student Gwen Goodhead plans to perform at Northwest University, a private liberal arts college in Kirkland,  in an attempt to gain a music scholarship early next year.

Goodhead discovered her love for the flute at age 10 when she first attended beginning band classes. She was given three options of woodwind instruments to learn, and she chose the flute. Drums were off limits. “Not drums ever,” her mom said.

Along with her siblings, Goodhead was homeschooled in a hands-on and open-book environment by her mother. She was read world history at naptime growing up and excelled in English Literature, which her mother was well versed in.

“She taught me how to write, and write well,” Goodhead said of her mother.

When Goodhead arrived at Pierce, she was surprised by the amount of writing involved in her English 101. She found it intense compared to her home studies.

“It was a lot of writing and I wasn’t ready for it yet,” Goodhead said.

She has grown significantly since her first quarter at Pierce. Overall she finds the public school system to be similar to the lectures she was used to in her bible studies and home school band classes.

Goodhead’s passion for music spans generations. Occasionally her parents and siblings will pick up their respective instruments and play as a family. She was selected to play first chair in advanced band during high school.

“It was an honor for me,” Goodhead said. This allowed her to expand her musical talents and play solos while her band members harmonized.

Iconic movie composers such as Howard Shore and John Williams are her musical inspirations. “I like very melodic music that’s fun for a flute to play,” she said.

She enjoys playing and listening to classical movie compositions. Her talents go beyond the flute; she also can sing, and she tap-danced in high school. One of her highlights tap dancing came when she performed in one recital to the song “Mustang Sally.”

“It was a really fun experience for me,” Goodhead said.

Goodhead plans to live on campus while attending Northwest University and also hopes to find the time to travel. She wants to see where her family is from, many of whom originated from the Netherlands.

“I want to go see where the hobbits were,” Goodhead said with a laugh as she discusses plans to visit New Zealand and Australia.

Goodhead will pursue a degree in intercultural studies while she fulfills her hopeful scholarship duties of being in the University's band. Although a talented musician, she stays realistic about making a living in the music industry.

“As far as a career path, I don’t see myself playing at Carnegie Hall or anything,” Goodhead said.

The woman behind Wi-fi

Classic actress Hedy Lamarr was a part-time beauty, full-time scientist


Hedy Lamarr, a relic from the star-studded glory days of Hollywood, has finally received recognition for her discovery of Wi-fi.

Hedwig Eva Kiesler, AKA Hedy Lamarr, was born in Austria with her Jewish family. She married Friedrich Mandl, an arms manufacturer who sold weapons to Nazis—including a house party with Hitler and Mussolini. After Lamarr’s scandalous film Ecstasy, her husband forbade her from acting, constricting her mathematical talents to himself.

Lamarr had a knack for mathematics and even helped her husband during business meetings. She had an inventive mind which ultimately concocted her escape. She fled to Paris, got divorced, and packed her bags for Hollywood stardom.

On the official biographical website dedicated to Hedy Lamarr, hedylamarr.com, she met up with infamous film producer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and costarred in flicks with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart. Her beauty was so infamous that her kisses raised millions of dollars for the American war effort. However, Lamarr was more than just beauty; she had substance and she had innovation in her blood.

At night after dress rehearsals and photo shoots, Hedy Lamarr would retire to a room set aside for her inventing. She came up different kinds of tissue boxes, a bouillon cube for soft drinks, and an accordion-like skin tightener according to the Guardian. But her most life-changing idea was the "secret communication system," an invention that blocks some radio signals and allows certain other pathways. This is the premise for Wi-fi.

Along with composer George Antheil, they developed a technological communications system that would help the allies win the war. They wrote the blueprint on sheet music and subsequently went to get a patent for the invention.

Unfortunately, the Navy caught wind of this technique and pressured both Lamarr and Antheil to sell the patent to them. They did, and the rest was forgotten history.

The once sultry actress, whose mind was as sharp as titanium, was forgotten in a Floridian suburb. She became more famous for her botched plastic surgery than she was with her famous discovery of Wi-fi. Her forgotten legacy is just another example of how female beauty was more valued than brains.

This article was written with the help of Wi-fi. A GPS route is a by-product of Lamarr’s invention. Her work had helped defeat the axis powers and she never lived to see her own impact on the technological world. In consequence to the world’s ignorance to female inventors, Hedy Lamarr is another woman in the unfamiliar historical figures column.

Professor Spotlight: Tom Link

Psychology professor revolutionizing the way that students learn


Tom Link has been a professor teaching psychology courses here at Pierce College since 1999. Link started at Pennsylvania State University where he earned his BA, and stretches cross-country to University of Washington, for his PHD in social psychology.

Although those basic facts may make him seem like your average, old fart professor with the same snooze-fest classes of read-and-recite learning, he breaks down those stereotypes within minutes of chatting.

From his Birkenstocks to the rampant Seahawks gear, and welcoming, open discussion classroom atmosphere, his courses keep the mysteries of the brain interesting.

Link takes obscure mental disorders and scientific jargon from intimidating to relatable; after one course with him reflections of the lesson pop-up everywhere.

One of the biggest steps Link’s taken in improving his courses is writing and compiling his own text books.

Pierce College has a program called Open Educational Resources (OER), headed by Quill West.

The OER is a group of faculty adopting the idea of free, professor-written text books. It’s not easy to create, but there are many advantages over the normal textbook. They eliminate the need for the purchase of text books by students, reducing the cost of classes, while making the reading material extremely customizable to any particular course.

When more recent information on a subject crops up, there’s no need to purchase a whole new set of books or toss out the obsolete ones; the text book just gets a quick update and is ready to better educate its next students.

Who knew immortality could be both cheap and environmentally friendly?

So far, Link has compiled one full book for his Introduction to Psychology class, and has a work in progress for his Social Psych course, putting it in beta for the first time this quarter. Both of these are still in development, and will be as the science of psychology also does.

In the words of David Lippman, another member of faculty who writes OER books, “they’re in a continual revision process.”

That’s the brilliance of OER, it is the ideal way to teach the best material to the largest body of people.

Besides his excellent work as a professor, Tom Link cares deeply about modern social issues. He has attended rallies and events for organizations involved in supporting Black Lives Matter, NoDAPL, anti-trans exclusion, gun-safety, raising the minimum wage, and attended both the local and district caucuses this election.

Recently Link has taken up work to facilitate The People Assembly (TPA) visiting Pierce College. This organization’s focus is on empowerment against discrimination in the multitude of forms it takes in our communities.

Link has taken up work to facilitate The People Assembly (TPA) visiting Pierce College. This organization’s focus is on empowerment against discrimination in the multitude of forms it takes in our communities.

They attempt to achieve this by, “…acknowledging and confronting the history of this country, interrupting white supremacy, and unlearning the messages we receive that disconnect us from ourselves and each other.” (TPA Facebook page).

Link represents these values in his daily life; you’d be hard pressed to find him on campus without a Black Lives Matter shirt on or a sheet of paper pinned to his sleeve with the same words.

Link isn’t alone in his deep concern for our nations’ future; it’s an important aspect of his family life. Both his wife and son are also heavily involved in these same rallies and events.

His wife, Jo Anne Geron, is a professor at Pierce as well, teaching courses in psychology. She is working toward being a resource for immigrant students by learning Spanish.

They are both in active support of the Leadership Without Borders initiative at University of Washington. This organization is designed to help undocumented students still achieve their educational goals.

Another aspect of Link’s passions for social growth is his advocacy for Banned Books Week, during which he and a few other Pierce staff members put together a gathering based upon understanding the background behind some of our nations most banned books, and the reasons for which they were pulled from shelves.

Through dedication to the institution of learning, open-minded discussion, and the betterment of our society, Tom Link has educated and improved the lives of many students and is a part of the continuing growth of social awareness.

Les Ulrich: Staff spotlight

Mariah Foley
Staff Writer

“Students can only be successful in an environment where they can feel like it worthwhile to tolerate the discomfort associated with learning. Learning can be very uncomfortable. They have to trust that what they’re doing is in their best interest.”

Les Ulrich is a professor at Pierce College that teaches math, physics, and physical science.

When asked about his life story, Ulrich says, “I’ve worked for the government, I’ve been a researcher, and I’ve worked in industry. … [When] I started teaching part time; I found that I was very attracted to it because I used to be a struggling student. It didn’t come easy for me. I dropped out in the tenth grade, and ended up taking the GED test, then I was in the military, I got my G.I. bill, and I worked my way up through a very difficult path, to eventually getting a degree.

“It was never easy for me, but having gone through it the hard way, I think I have a little more insight than maybe most people about how to help struggling students. … When I see them struggling, I think I can understand where they are.”

Ulrich believes that he can make a big difference at Pierce, and he does his best to create a curriculum that will balance the challenges students have to face, along with academics they must learn. Ulrich takes students input, refers his students to the tutoring center, and spends time getting to know his students.

This professor has a strange way that he gives out tests. He makes the test almost impossible, even for those who are up-to-pace in his class. After everyone has completed the test, he looks at the curve, and the highest scoring person gets 100%. Instead of making an easy test that everyone will know all the questions to, Ulrich encourages his students to “get ahead of him” in the curriculum.

This helps him test accurately to what his students are learning. “I want the test to be challenging, because I think it’s in the students best interest. Everything has to follow back on the prime directive, the prime directive meaning it must be everything that I do here must be in the students best interest, or its out.”

Ulrich connects with his students on a very personal level. When referring to his students, he says, “I actually get into their life, I’ll sit down with them and talk about the same kind of problems I had to deal with, like money, time, family, job, transportation, all this things that students have to deal with, I’m there to try to help them.”

Ulrich not only gets into his students lives, he invests his life in them also. He shares his philosophy on preparation, “I enjoy outdoor activities, especially those that require training and expertise. In some cases, my life depends on the ability to handle adverse environments. … I compare that to an academic environment, which is the same thing. Well, you won’t die, but you could fail if you’re not adequately prepared.”

Favorite class to teach: Physical science

Loves: Friends, physics

Hates: Commercial television “with a passion”

Hobbies: Outdoor activities, keeping up in science and technology discoveries

Watches: Documentaries, Nova and some things on discovery channel

Baseball spotlight

Cedrick McClurry
Staff Writer

After winning last year’s NWAACC tournament, Coach Davis and his baseball team have been tagged with the biggest target one can be tagged with—champions. The Raiders agree that it’s time to defend the title. Standout pitcher Elliot Morris is poised to defend their title with a repeat victory.

Elliot Morris is a 2nd year pitcher from Federal Way High School and is looking forward to adding to his championship jewelry collection.

  • Hometown: Federal Way, Washington
  • Favorite food: chicken
  • Favorite movie: “Scary Movie”

Coach Mendelson and the boys’ basketball team are looking to add to their early success. They did a great job hosting the pre-season tournament this year and took home the championship. Now that’s a way to take advantage of home court! At the time of printing, they’ve won six games in January.

John Palmer is a 2nd year guard who is looking to add to his team’s pre-season tournament success with a playoff berth in the NWAACC Tournament and is also in pursuit of the coveted ring and the bragging rights that come with it. After Pierce College, he hopes to start a family.

  •  Hometown: Palmer,Alaska
  • High school: Colony High School
  • Favorite athlete: Muhammad Ali
  • Favorite actor: Denzel Washington
  • Favorite movie: “Superbad”

2013 is a rebuilding year for Coach Carlson and the girls’ volleyball team, who are starting fresh by holding tryouts to replace all of last year’s starters.

Sophomore player Annie Ferris shared her thoughts on last year’s team. “I really enjoyed my time here with the team and the memorable moments we shared. Times like Apes Coves and Mount Rainier helped us build a bond and a team unity”.

  • High school: Graham-Kapowsin
  • Favorite food: pizza
  • Favorite athletes: Blake Griffin and Peyton Manning
  • Hobbies: Besides playing volleyball, she enjoys watching movies with family and friends
Leave a Comment