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.”

Maker Space

Kicking it with Q – Episode 3 – Food for Thought: Valentines Day

Quintin Mattson-Hayward and Daniel So go around asking students about their Valentines Day thoughts.

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Logo: Jesus Contreras

Traditionally Underrepresented Clubs Voice Concerns, Ignite Change

Ty Phay / Staff Photo

Student Life hires advocate to support efforts in representing clubs

So you’re interested in starting a club at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. 

To do that, you have to fill out a request form and submit it to the Student Life office. From there, Clubs and Organizations Senator John Shead has to organize it and send it off for approval. 

Whether or not it is approved isn’t up to Shead. While Shead can help clubs with issues they’re facing, he can only provide so much support alone. And unless you come to a Clubs Council meeting, which is held every other Monday, your grievances may not ever be addressed.

Student Programs Director Cameron Cox recognized some of the ongoing challenges that Student Life recently faced. “Last year, we were short staffed; it was a little chaotic,” Cox said. Not only that, but before this academic year, no one was appointed to support the club senator with club-related issues, including funding and representation. 

The Queer Support Club faced privacy and funding issues, while members of Indigenous at Pierce, before formally being ratified, said they felt unheard and unsupported by Student Life. 

Isaac Pennoyer, Queer Support Club president, said the group faced problems with getting transgender essential items, including binders and packers. These are items that can help transgender students with transitioning. Recently, the transgender essential items have been approved for purchase by Pierce College Fort Steilacooom’s president Julie White.

Pennoyer added that the Queer Support Club met in an open area, which he said did not provide them a safe space. Queer Support recently received a higher level of privacy when the Student Life club senator booked them a classroom. Even so, Pennoyer said the meeting place isn’t ideal.

“We were put in a room that is not optimal for what kind of club that we have,” Pennoyer said. “We need a place that is quiet and personal and [where you can] shut the door without a bunch of students needing to come in for a class, which is basically what we’re dealing with now.” 

Ty Phay / Staff Photo
Ashley Good(left) and Iopu Ignacio (right) are making fliers for awreness for MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Meanwhile, Indigenous at Pierce’s club president, Ashley Good, said she feels as though Student Life doesn’t do enough to help refer Native American students to the club. 

Good said that Indigenious at Pierce’s mission is to create a space for Native American and non-native students alike to share their experiences and be part of a community. However, she said she feels as though a lack of support and recognition from Student Life has made spreading their club’s goals difficult. 

“I think ‘unsupported’ is a good word for it. [There was] not really a lot of communication,” Good said. “If there is any communication, I feel like it’s pressured on the club to be able to have that, which is difficult for students sometimes.”

Clubs aren’t the only groups on campus that have faced issues. Members of ASPIRE – a grant-funded program whose mission is to support Asian, Pacific Islander, and low-income students – said that they feel as though their program is not taken seriously.

ASPIRE’s outreach assistant Iopu Ignacio said that when it comes to Student Life putting on cultural events, they wouldn’t collaborate with ASPIRE unless they asked. However, activities between ASPIRE and Student Life have gradually increased this quarter. 

Up until recently, Shead and Cox have attempted to handle most of the clubs issues. Now that Student Life has hired a Student Engagement Specialist, Walter Lutsch, he will work directly with clubs on their concerns. “I am here to support the club senator and make sure they are getting as much out of that time here in Student Government as possible,” Lutsch said.

Lutsch will oversee administrative work, support Student Life with campus events, and handle purchases and reservations. Lutsch said he hopes to bring his experiences and passion for clubs to Pierce. He wants to bring in the ideas, programs, and structural elements he learned at both Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College.

“I love clubs so much,” Lutsch said. “They are what started me on this path, and I feel I can bring this specific focus, and all my years working in clubs, and as a club leader to this.”

While the new SES settles into his role, Student Life is slowly improving their communication and organization methods. “For clubs, I am taking the steps to develop a plan to create an entire Canvas module, to help ease organization issues,” Shead said. “I don’t know how accounts will work, but I’m hoping this is something the new [SES] position can help with.”

While the SES was never an official position until recently, Student Life previously had an administrative assistant handling most of the campus club’s paperwork. When the assistant left in July 2018, Student Life chose to take their time looking for a new person for the position.

“[Student Life] recognized they needed a club focus [person],” Lutsch said. “Somebody who can really come in and focus on that and make it the best that they can be; I am honored and excited to be that person.”

Kicking it with Q – Episode 1

Quintin Matson-Hayward asks students on campus questions and riddles.

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Logo: Jesus Contreras

Professor Alan Kemp Retiring in 2020

The sociology professor reflects back on his three decades at Pierce.

After thirty years of teaching, sociology professor Alan Kemp will be retiring after this school year. Kemp says that his experience at Pierce has for the most part been wonderful, and he is very grateful to have held this position. “I don’t think there’s been a day that goes by when I haven’t appreciated what a really great job I have,” he said.

Kemp will not be teaching any classes next summer, and will officially retire on Sept. 11. As of now, he has not made any plans for retirement. However, he expects to be keeping pretty busy working on his property.

Before Pierce, most of Kemp’s career was in social service or mental health. He worked as a mental health professional at Good Samaritan Hospital. He then worked as a mental health provider at McChord Air Force base, as part of the Family Advocacy Program. He worked with families of military personnel, including people who had experienced neglect or abuse in the military system.

Kemp’s love of both learning and instructing is what brought him to teaching. “It’s pretty cool to see lightbulbs go off from time to time,” he said. “People make discoveries and make connections to understand things better than they did before. It’s really a privilege to be part of that process.” 

Kemp also says that it is inspiring to see students who have to overcome hardships to pursue an education, finding whatever it is they need to pull it off. One thing he’ll miss after retiring is interacting with students in the classroom, whether it be teaching, talking, joking, or occasionally being outrageous.

Pierce College Connecting with Students Through Art

WOWHAUS Art Studio / Courtesy Photos
A large replica ctreated to showcase how the Ascent art piece will look once completed.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s new art installation is meant to connect and inspire students attending the campus.

How do you define art?

Scott Constable of WOWHAUS Art Studio says it is a way of interpreting and understanding the world. “Art is the cousin to science and a mode of inquiry,” says Constable. He is the creator of the ASCENT sculpture located in the stairwell of the Cascade Building, which is a central hub for students. “I believe it’s a good metaphor for education by climbing the stairs,” he says. “And I was inspired by the students.” 

Suspending from the four-story stairwell, the piece appears like a large fan with several smaller shaped fans on top. Every shape and angle capture a student’s growth and success in school. “When you are in school, you are exposed to many different viewpoints, and with those you create your own narrative,” says Constable. The sculpture is meant to be viewed from different angles while each view gives you a different perspective. “It’s always dynamic- just like the students,” he added. 

The process of creating this art piece began around 6 years ago when the committee wanted to incorporate an artistic element to the school. David Roholt, an art professor at Pierce, said it was a collaborative project with the artist and the Washington Art Commission. “Being able to work with various colleagues on campus was rewarding, and the artists were easy to work with,” says Roholt.

WOWHAUS Art Studio / Courtesy Photos
Scott Constablemaking the measurements for the Ascent art piece.

The ASCENT sculpture is made of wood and took four months to craft, both by hand and computer. There were some challenges to making this piece work in the stairwell so that it wasn’t easy to touch. Constable stated he made a model and took measurements. Afterwards he had a structural engineer make it earthquake proof.

WOWHAUS is based out of Oakland, California and consists of Scott Constable, his wife Ene, and his daughter Aili. “When my daughter was about one and a half, I was building a tiny studio in the backyard that was seven feet by nine feet. She would always say I was in the wow house,” says Constable. “It’s also a take on BOWHAUS in Germany who were the inventors of modernism.”

Nature is Constable’s main source of inspiration. He became interested in art at a young age and began by just drawing trees. “Drawing taught me to see in color, form, compositions, line and shade,” says Constable. He loves to experiment with 3D, abstract and moire patterns. Growing food and raising chickens with his family in the California Redwood Forest would constantly spark his imagination and creativity.

The sculpture has many meanings to everyone. Roholt says it’s pivotal to the environment, being that Pierce is an academic institution. The intent is to add color and something unexpected for students. “It will add an artistic element to make the campus even more beautiful,” he says.

Constable says the most rewarding part of the process is when the sculpture is displayed. “When it’s installed, it belongs there, and it belongs to the students through generations.”

There are many students pursuing a career in the arts, and Constable knows firsthand what it is like… “Making a living as a professional artist is notoriously difficult and is often frowned upon as a career path,” he states. “My advice to any young person interested in pursuing a career as an artist is to be an excellent communicator. The sweet spot is in understanding your strengths and limitations, finding the best medium to express your ideas, and understanding how the marketplace relates to your artistic endeavors.”

The remembrance of Ron Schwartz

Courtesy Photo / Pierce College Archives
A photo of Ron Schwartz in 2012.

On August 8, English and philosophy professor Ron Schwartz passed away after having lived with brain tumors for over 12 months.  Schwartz taught at Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and has been a beloved member of the Pierce community for 16 years.. 

Schwartz was born on January 7, 1955 in Youngstown, Ohio. After being an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in 1978, Schwartz would go to earn his master’s degree and post-masters at King’s College, later receiving  his Ph.D in literature and theology in 1998. 

Schwartz has made himself a part of numerous other communities outside of Pierce College. Prior to teaching at Pierce, he taught theology at Pacific Lutheran University, served as a professor at Colby College, and taught Business admin in California during the 1980s. Schwartz was an economist in Philadelphia for some time.

 Pierce faculty and Pierce students will miss Schwartz. Stephen Jones, an economics professor at Pierce’s Puyallup Campus, personally feels this loss.

“Ron was one of my favorite people at Pierce, which says a lot in and of itself,” said Jones in an email. “I admired his intellect and dedication. I learned much from him that I applied in my classes, and any conversation with him was rich and exceptional in content and insight. But perhaps what I appreciated most about him was his gentleness and compassion. We were lucky to know him.” 

Schwartz was known for his passion of the academics and students. His keen sense of humor and his intellect will be remembered. 

Schwartz’s obituary may be accessed here

The Pioneer sends our condolences with Ron Schwartz’s family and friends.

Retro Game Day

The Scoop #10 – A Dive into Social Media


Finn and Candee inform students on events from Monday 5/13 through Saturday 5/18. In this episode, hear how much fun it is to work at The Pioneer from the perspective of the Social Media Manager, Malia Adaoag.

Special guest: Malia Adaoag

Hosted by: Khuong “Finn” Ho and Candee Bell

Edited by: Khuong “Finn” Ho

Puppy Cuddle

Leave a Comment