Free spring tutoring has begun, online! There’s campus study space and an online “cafe”

A spring morning at the Licton Springs P-Patch

SEATTLE, WA                                April 7, 2021

The sun is out, the leaves and blossoms are sprouting and the sky is blue more often.  Forget those freezing temperatures of winter…they’re gone, and spring is here at North Seattle College!

Free tutoring has resumed for spring quarter, with many ways to help you succeed in your coursework.

North’s Student Learning Center is again helping registered students with language, math, science, business and accounting courses. Again this quarter, all tutoring is online because of the closure of the tutoring center building in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But – once again – there will be a place where you can study on campus. And there will be a place you can go to unwind, play games and talk with others who are getting their educations in the middle of the pandemic.

This is different for many of you, but as others also know, it works well even if you can’t meet tutors in person. You can reach them by Zoom conference six days each week in the Professional & Technical Learning Center and in the Page One Writing & Language Center, and every day of the week in the Math & Science Learning Center. At the Page One Center, students can also submit written essays and other class work online, through a web link, and tutors will reply with helpful comments in a few hours.

Once again this quarter, the college is offering on-campus study space that opened last quarter. For spring quarter it is located in the Student Leadership Office on the ground floor of the College Center Building. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The space offers students a chance to use a computer and study in a place outside their homes.  Students can reserve a slot through Starfish. For more information, click at

Also again this quarter, students can get help coping with the pandemic. They’ll be able to visit the “Fun Games and Well-being Online Café,” which will offer discussions of how to study and learn in computerized sessions. Every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., starting April 14, there will be demonstrations of games, art work, and other activities to help people enjoy themselves as well as study. College counselors will be introduced. Everyone can talk about how they’ve managed their lives during coronavirus restrictions.  Students can get into the café through Canvas, at

Here is a list of the tutoring centers, their hours, and special things they offer:


Tutoring for these subjects is offered at the Professional & Technical Learning Center (formerly known as the Accounting and Business Learning Center). The center is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday and Sunday.

The center offers tutoring in accounting, business, computers and IT, economics, medical assisting, and other classes in the Workforce Division.  To find a tutor for specific courses, consult the tutor schedule after you click into the Professional and Technical Learning Center.

For IT courses, students can make an appointment with the tutor by following classroom instruction.

Check for other information about this center online at

* MATH AND SCIENCE (Anatomy/physiology, biology,  chemistry, computer science, and math).

The Math & Science Learning Center is open spring quarter from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, 12:00 pm. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, and 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. This center provides tutoring for pre-college and 100 level math, anatomy and physiology, biology, computer science, physics and chemistry classes.  Specific hours for anatomy and physiology and biology tutoring will be announced and posted separately at

 To find a tutor for specific courses, consult the tutor schedule after you click into the Math and Science Learning Center.

Check for other information about this center online at

* WRITING and GRAMMAR  At the Page One Writing & Language Center, hours for spring quarter are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, and 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday

The center is continuing group tutoring sessions online for international students and for those taking courses in English as a Second Language (ESL).  This quarter, there are some new ones. To find them, go online to Courses in Canvas and click links to “online workshops” on the page entitled, “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page, sign into the learning center and then click on the title of the workshop you want to attend. Six are offered for spring quarter, beginning during the week of April 12:

     * For conversation development, “Talk Time,” from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tuesday and from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday.

     * “Focus on Pronunciation,” to improve speaking, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday.

     * “Focus on Reading,” discussing ways to read and remember written and electronic material, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

     * “Pre-writing and Writing Basics,” discussing steps to take before writing, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.  Topics will include the parts of sentences and how they work together.

      * One “TED Talk Hour,” from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, when people will improve speaking and vocabulary by hearing and discussing recorded talks.

Check for other information about this center online at

WORLD LANGUAGES.  Tutoring is available on weekdays for American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.   Hours are different for individual tutors; check the printed schedules posted in the lobby of the tutoring center, or read the world language website at:

Now, here’s a reminder of the 2 easy ways you reach tutors:

* Zoom Tutoring, the newest and quickest way to reach North Seattle tutors. It uses the Zoom online conferencing program. First you log into the tutoring center at Then you get to Zoom tutoring by logging into Canvas ( and then clicking on “Courses.” From there you click on the link titled “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page you’ll find technical suggestions. There are also links to the tutoring center you want. Once you get the right center, you’ll need to request a tutor; do this by clicking on “Student Learning Center Tutor Tracking System.” When you do you’ll see qa window where you’ll enter your student ID number and ask for the writing center (you can put any number you like into spaces for computer or table numbers but we ask students to use the last four digits of their ID number in the table box). Once you have requested a tutor, click “Enter the tutoring room” and wait for the host to start the meeting and let you in. You’ll be placed in an online “breakout room,” where the next available tutor will join you and start the session (If you need to wait for a tutor, someone will tell you).

* Submit your English essay online. Go to the Page One website,    Then click on  and follow the directions.  Once you submit your essay, a tutor will review it and return it to you with comments and suggestions, usually within two days.

IF YOU NEED ACCESS TO A COMPUTER,  the college has laptops available. You can obtain one by contacting three college staff members: D’Andre Fisher (, Christie Santos (, or Ann Richardson (

Students who need to borrow Chromebooks or hot spots can do so through the library. Borrowing Instructions are here:

If you need assistance using a computer you can get it online at

Computer tutors are available through Zoom to help you in math, physics, chemistry, statistics and computer science.

A tutoring calendar and hours are at

Check out our Facebook page at

FOR OTHER DATES:  look at the Student Learning Center calendar, at:

From our college, she tutors people all over the world

Trude Higbee

SEATTLE, WA March 9, 2021

Editor’s note: Trude Higbee has been tutoring English at the Page One Writing & Language Center over a period of more than six years. But her expertise and influence have reached around the world. Read her story, and get acquainted!

Hi, I’m Trude.

I am a farm girl transplanted in the city. After growing up on a peppermint farm in Oregon, I moved to Seattle to attend Seattle Pacific University, majoring in English literature.  I also earned a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Washington.

Being hired by Page One for the first time in September 2014 and for second time in September 2018 thrilled me.  While I was away from Page One, I focused on private tutoring, but I missed so many aspects of the work at Page One.  It is great to be back.

First, the pleasure I have working with a wide variety of students on a broad range of subjects is immense. Unexpected subjects in tutoring sessions have included job interview preparation, personal statements for university admission, and philosophy essays.  

Getting to know people is important to me, so working alongside experienced tutors attracted me to the work at Page One also.  Knowing others extends to students as well. Once, a Chinese student, who I will never forget, came two to three times a week to practice her conversation skills. As a result, over the course of three quarters, her English level greatly improved, and we connected deeply.  When she had to return home unexpectedly, we said goodbye through tears. 

As a warm and patient person, I welcome the opportunity to tutor students at the lowest English level.  I know personally what it is like to learn a language from the first word because I spent one year teaching conversation in Taiwan and nine years teaching at a university in Seoul, Korea.  

After years of classes with between 40 and 100 students, tutoring one-to-one really appealed to me, so I started my own tutoring business in Seattle.

My first tutoring students were an older Chinese couple who wished to gain US citizenship.  Later, I became a tutor at the UW Global Business Center where for ten years I tutored mid-level executives from Pacific Rim countries. What a sense of accomplishment they had as they saw their English, their test scores (and their golf scores) improve!

I love to see the advances my students make as they learn. It motivates me as a tutor when they understand something for the first time.  As the sayings go, they have an “ah- ha” moment or “the light goes on.”

Building sentences — word by word — is a challenge for language learners, one that can be addressed with care.  With guided practice, students gain confidence which is key to speaking English.

In addition, literature study poses a challenge for NSC students. Last year, a student who was assigned poems to analyze brought that homework to Page One where — line by line – I was able to explain the poem helping him truly understand the meaning.

Finally, pronunciation practice is hard to do by yourself, but you can test it. Just say the word into your smart phone voice search and if the right word comes up, your pronunciation is correct. This is also a great way to check the spelling of a word. 

When I am not tutoring at Page One, I tutor privately around 20 hours per week. My students range in age from middle schoolers to adults and I currently have students from Brazil, China, India, and Korea who are improving their writing , preparing for a test or learning business English.

Reading, volunteering as a mentor and visiting museums round out my time.  I highly recommend the Museum of History and Industry to learn about Seattle, once it opens after the end of the Covid pandemic.  In the future I would like to continue volunteering by leading or assisting in community talk time classes and by helping out in a library.

I would like to invite you to come to Page One Writing and Language Center for any writing assignment in any class. Also come for learning English and other languages as well, including American sign language.  We are open six days a week.

See you next quarter at Page One!

A place on campus to study and use a computer!

SEATTLE, WA                             February 1, 2021

Need access to a computer to study? Looking for a way to get out of the house and find a place to study in the real world during the pandemic?

Well, we have one now, on the North Seattle College campus!

The college has begun allowing limited number of students to come into the Page One Writing & Language Center on campus and letting them work at computer terminals and sit at tables while they study.

The writing center is in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences and Student Resources Building. Students can use the Starfish System to reserve a space in the center for up to four hours at a time.

Tutoring will not be available in the room, but the opening hours for study and computer work are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm. Because of coronavirus concerns, tutoring remains available online through Zoom or by online submission of essays.

Students using the space must wear a mask and observe social distancing and other college health and safety requirements.

For social distancing purposes, just 10 stationary computers and 10 tables are available each  hour. Individual times are limited “to ensure that as many students have as much access to this resource as possible,.” said tutoring center director Dan Tarker. “We also ask that they only use this service once a week.”

Tables are near AC power outlets that can be used to run laptops.

“If we see high demand, we will adjust policies and hours. And I’m sure we will be learning things as we go,” Tarker said.  “We are doing this to provide study space for students who may not have access to a computer or a quiet study space.” 

Tarker said before students reserve time they need to read the guidelines for using the service, found on the on campus study room web page, so they understand the health and safety procedures being used “and by which we expect them to abide.”

The link to the website is:

The website includes a link for reserving space and a locator map to the study room. There are also instructions for navigating the reservation system on Starfish.

One of our tutors, Max Urcos, made a quick demonstration video that students can watch while reading the instructions.   Here is the link to video:

How a tutor met Donald Trump and other notorious people

Editor’s Note: Tracey L. Stinson has taught English as a Second Language and has worked as a tutor at the Page One Writing and Learning Center since 2014. Earlier, while studying journalism at Sam Houston State University in Texas. she spent a summer in New York City as a CNBC reporting intern, covering cases in court and “navigating from the criminal justice system in Texas to the criminal elite and cult of personality in New York like Donald Trump and Michael Milken.” This is part of an article she has written about her experiences. A native of West Virginia, she describes herself as “a proud Southerner, feminist and ESL teacher now living in Seattle.” In her free time, she has attended five protests against the Trump Administration, including the impeachment rallies and the Women’s Marches.

SEATTLE, WA, January 23, 2021                  By TRACEY L. STINSON

Every day, I was required to enter a courthouse in a full suit with pantyhose and heels, carrying a briefcase. It was hot that summer, there was no air conditioning in the courthouse and I sweated unladylike in my attire. The outside of the courthouse was marble and concrete, but inside was mostly wood. I sat on a wooden pew-like bench in the back of the courtroom, below a slow-moving ceiling fan that whirled and wobbled, but didn’t do much to push the hot air around the room. I had a pager at my waist so the news desk could alert me to call them on the payphone out in the hall. It was one of those phone booths with the folding glass door like you see in old movies.

I was assigned to babysit Michael Milken’s insider-trading trial. He was touted as The Junk Bond King, the right-hand man of Ivan Boesky, who had already been convicted of insider trading and had exposed Milken in court.

I had never before seen or felt such power. It radiated off Milken, all the way to me in the back of the courtroom, and charmed everyone else in the courtroom, including the lawyer who was prosecuting him. They joked with each other during the recesses. Milken was so confident that he would sit on the edge of the table by his chair. He had swagger. In awe of his audacity, I watched him from my wooden pew in the back. I wasn’t a practicing Christian, but this felt like church and he was the charlatan preacher who held the room.

One day, the pager at my waist vibrated. On the payphone, the news desk told me to head upstairs to the trial of Donald Trump. Trump was another powerful symbol of New York City’s money and notorious celebrity. His name was everywhere, but especially all over the tabloid news for his sordid affair with Marla Maples during his marriage to first wife Ivana. He was known to seek out such torrid publicity, even going so far as to call a reporter at People Magazine, pretending to be his own publicist or lawyer named John Baron so he could brag about his sexual prowess with his wife, mistress and other women.

I slipped quietly into the courtroom that day to observe him testifying on the stand. He answered the questions calmly, but his usual arrogance was evident: arms crossed, lips in a thin, hard line, sighing heavily in a mixture of aggravation and boredom. He was accused by the Teamsters Union of hiring illegal foreign workers to renovate the Bonwitt Teller Building into the future Trump Tower. The entire city was pissed off at him because those untrained, illegal workers (Rednecks would call them “Polacks”) had taken jackhammers to priceless Art Deco sculptures that were promised to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Halfway listening to Trump’s testimony, I looked around the room. I noticed his mistress, barely legal Marla, in such an obvious disguise–she had to be joking! A brown, curly wig covered her blonde hair. YUGE glasses sat on her nose. She wore an obvious “working girl” uniform: bow-tied blouse with a tight skirt to the knee, pantyhose and pumps. She looked like a sad clown—I thought she was pathetic. Who was she hiding from? Trump or the press or both? Whatever the reason, she was doing a bad job of being incognito–she couldn’t have been more obvious. Maybe that was her point…

I chuckled to myself and shook my head as Trump was dismissed from the stand. He exited the courtroom quickly and went to a service elevator with his assistant, a petite female taking notes as he dictated orders. I followed them. Before the elevator doors closed, I stood before them, hesitating. He gave me his gesture of consent (a nod) and I entered the elevator. I moved to the back, next to him. His assistant stood on his other side. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked up at him. He stood almost a foot taller than me, even in my heels. His ginger hair was slicked back, ala Gordon Gecko-Wall Street style, the fashion of New York bankers. The elevator’s fluorescent tube lights, illuminated like iron bars, shone through his cotton candy hair, creating a false halo, reflecting off his forehead which was beaded with sweat. Trump looked straight ahead at the doors. They then opened and he strode outside, followed by his assistant. I waited until they cleared the doors and then took off Jackie Joyner-style in my suit and heels past them and around to the front of the courthouse. I signaled to the videographer who was only permitted to wait out front, and he ran towards me with his camera rolling to get footage of Trump getting into his town car for the day’s newscast.

The cameraman and I repeated this dance for weeks to come. Feeling like a Bond girl-double agent, I went back to the Milken case to give the newsroom the daily updates. I was paged again and again to visit other courtrooms, follow the defendants, lawyers and jurors out the side door and get B-roll footage or ask interview questions for that day’s newscast on CNBC. A procession of notorious celebrity went through the Federal Courthouse that summer: Imelda Marcos and Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer in long white robes like an Arab sheik, accused of using stolen government treasury money to buy New York real estate after Imelda, her 5,000 pairs of shoes and her dictator husband were ousted from the Philippines’ highest office; boxing promoter Don King, sued by boxer James “Buster” Douglas, who wanted out of his contract with King and future fights at Trump Plaza; Trump and his badly disguised, deluded mistress, Marla, who reunited a year later with Trump after a messy and expensive divorce with Ivana (and a few years after that, married him after he got her pregnant.) Milken, my original assignment, was eventually convicted and sent to prison for a couple of years, smiling for the cameras as he exited the front doors of the courthouse, like he was going to a stylish red-carpet party instead of the prison known as Club Fed.

Living Color’s song “Cult of Personality” played over and over in my mind. The way the celebrity elite of New York was treated that summer reminded me of the cult of personality. Charlatan preachers, junk bond kings and real estate moguls dupe people into trusting them and not believing what their own eyes are seeing. As the song goes, “I exploit you, still you love me. I tell you one and one make three…you gave me fortune, you gave me fame, you gave me power in your God’s name. I’m every person you need to be.” They are like used car salesmen in very expensive suits. Their money, power and swagger can be intoxicating. Milken was allowed to sit and banter with the attorney who was prosecuting him—that wasn’t normal. He walked out of the Federal Courthouse, his head held high as he went off to jail for insider trading (and was recently pardoned by Trump.) The rest of us, the little people, would have been in shackles, maybe even beaten by the police or jail guards. Khashoggi and Marcos were acquitted and went back to dancing the night away on the disco dance floor of her new palace. Khashoggi later sold his yacht to a sultan who then sold it to Trump.

Trump and his high-priced lawyers delayed the lawsuits over the Trump Tower for more than a decade, waiting out the clock and the deaths of plaintiffs and judges, but eventually settling quietly. He continued to build more hotels and casinos, not pay his workers and be the “moral compass” of a decaying media empire, and eventually, a twice-impeached, corrupt leader of a once free country teetering on the edge of lost democracy.

Yes, I was in awe of them while in their presence. How else would someone like me react? I came from an exploited part of the country, Appalachia. My people have made their people very wealthy over the centuries. As a young, naïve woman from a poor family, I didn’t yet know any other way to behave. But I was learning—Mama and Gramma raised me to be feisty. I could learn to be aware and alert. I could break free of my prison of poverty and conformity, and still be full of hope. Back in Texas to finish my senior year of college, I bought a bumper sticker for my little hatchback.

It said: Question Authority.

Poetry inspiring Americans

January 21, 2021

Editor’s Note: A young poet from Los Angeles, Amanda Gorman, electrified viewers of Wednesday’s Presidential inauguration by reciting a poem about the United States. We post it here, for those who did not hear it during the ceremony.

Watch the video of her reading at

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

An unforgettable story about dogs

       Editor’s note: Life is full of experiences. Some of them can remain in our memories for many years and make us wonder how they might have been different. We are reminded of this by Junzhe (Jerry) Liu, a North Seattle College student and oceanography major who wrote this essay during summer quarter of 2020 about an event that occurred several years earlier in his native China. He submitted the essay for his English 101 class, taught by Tracy Heinlein. 


I have been a staunch dog-person for 18 years since my first encounter with these adorable furry creatures. My mother always says that every dog-person has a “dog smell” so that dogs can recognize who is friendly and who is not, and I am one of them, who learned to look after their puppies before they know how to take care of themselves. During all my 18-year engagement with puppies, I only have two regrets — I wasn’t there with my first puppy, Little Tail, during her last moment; and I failed to rescue a wild dog, even may have worsened his/her condition. The former regret is one of the most heartbreaking things in my life, but this time I want to tell the story of the latter one. 

The Ocean University of China is not only a world-class educational and research institution, but a paradise for dog lovers. At least twenty wild dogs are given the green light to run in the campus from dawn to dusk, to feed on bread, sausages, and eggs from students and even professors, which is not a common phenomenon in a well-developed city. What’s more, taking care of puppies becomes not only a public responsibility, but a university tradition. It is said that the students have protected the puppies from governmental animal control officers for decades. One of the most widely known stories is that a limp puppy, Toffee, was taken to hospital, and later adopted after curing her leg issues. Nevertheless, their successful rescue actually deepened the guilt for my failure. 

My story began at 5 pm, January 11, 2019, on Cherry Avenue of the Ocean University of China. Right after an abnormally intensive rain, it was a cloudy afternoon, when bitter wind was blowing from the 36 ° North Pacific Ocean, combining with over 80% stifling humidity 

in middle winter. The road was still wet, the high humidity in the air, preventing water molecules from evaporating. Yellow leaves left the barely bald trees, dragged to the ground by planetary gravity. Everyone on the street retracted their neck into scarfs, with no sound generated except the slaps of boots on the asphalt road. It was just three days before the first-semester final, and I had been off-campus for two months for TOEFL, SAT, and research meetings, with all my awake time filling with studying. It was on my way to the library when a familiar and strange humming came into my ear. It’s from a dog. 

I stopped, raising my head away from the scratchy notes, and a black dog with yellow legs jumped into my sight. “Is it new here?”, I thought. I tried to recall from my recollection, but nothing about that black creature was found. Anyway, I proficiently got out a sausage from the side block of my package, which was full of dog foods; then broke the plastic wrap and threw to the black dog, saying, “enjoy it, buddy”. To my surprise, unlike others who would take it for granted, the black dog jumped aside as if the sausage was a time bomb, cautiously looking at the sausage, then at me. Every newcomer needs to experience this stage — learning the difference between food and weapon, which is their “pre-requisite” course in this university. I wanted to stay there, becoming its first human friend, but the linear algebra and probability finals drove me back to the determinants notes and the library. Nevertheless, a metallic flash hit the corner of my eyes and I asked myself, “Is that an iron wire”? 

There was a half-meter iron wire swaying in the air, with one side plugged in the puppy’s belly. Considering the dimensions, the iron wire couldn’t get stuck without outside force, which suddenly remind me of the rumors of illegal dog catchers who used webs with iron stickers; this black puppy might be one of their victims! The visible part attached to the puppy’s belly had been dyed into black-red, but fortunately, the blood seemed already solidified. While the continuous humming and inconsistent movement implied that the puppy needed urgent medical treatment, I took a picture with my phone and sent it to the dog-person 

group chat, asking for help. Although the message was sent during cafeteria dinner time, several volunteers quickly responded, and five people arrived in no more than 10 minutes, but it was too quick to obtain any professional tools.

To begin with, we first decided to build up a trust relationship by feeding the dog, then lure it into the cage and take it to the pet clinic. Besides my dog sausage, other people brought meat, bread, and eggs, which seemed to be packed directly from their own plates; and the member who drove a car had some dog cookies and dog food. The sausage I threw was still lying on the ground intact, so we decide to feed him one by one, testing which food is the most attractive. Nevertheless, the furthest improvement was we made it sniff at the egg, but no one could get it to eat. 

Although the winter of temperate monsoon climate with maritime characteristics is less freezing than the most other climate in the same latitude, that day was an exception. With the sun impatiently hiding in the western mountains, a chilly breeze penetrated my coat, mercilessly drilled into my skin; I spontaneously shivered. 

A graduate student started the conversation: “We can’t waste time any more, the night will come in minutes. Let’s go together and catch it.” 

“But have any of us had any experience of catching a strange dog? Reckless action will put both us and the passersby in danger. Trust me, a bite will hurt a lot,” questioned the initiator of the group chat. 

As we were debating, the black puppy suddenly picked up the sausage and ran limply to the direction of WuZiDing, a small mountain inside the campus. And the only option left for us was coercively to catch it, which is also the last thing I want to do — no matter if we would succeed or not, it would leave the puppy scarred in the long term. With the best opportunity fleeting while I hesitated, the dog ran away from my finger. 

But four of us were girls who were freaked out and stopped trying when the puppy barked aggressively to them. Afraid of being bitten, the rest of the members and I are not capable of catching it even if the wound slowed it down. What made the situation worse was the difficult terrain of the mountain, which is used for geological and botanical education; the continuously excavation and exploration made it full of holes and shrubs. And the darkened weather made it even harder to catch a black dog. Then I made the decision, which I still regret until today, to give it up. I left the team when they were about to search the whole mountain, trying to forget it. 

That night, even when my brain was consuming the notes, my heart kept reminding me of the puppy, with the iron wire swaying in front my sight. Although I posted the story in social media later that night, how could I persuade my conscience that I was not a selfish coward? What if I were braver to catch it earlier, what if I called on the university guard to help, what if I stayed and searched the mountain with patience? 

I got an excellent grade that semester, making me extremely competitive in applying for my dream school, but that only added more regret to my guilt. That winter vacation, I searched every inch of that mountain, posted numerous fliers on the internet, walked every corner of the campus, and volunteered in every animal hospice I could find in that district, expecting to find it smiling at me somewhere. But I still can’t find it. 

I stayed with Little Tail for all her life, had ten years and thousands of photos; I buried her myself, marking her death day every year. But for the little black puppy, I did nothing, and all I can do in the future is hope it has a happy life, no matter on earth or in heaven. I always dreamed that it was found by a dog lover, who took it to the hospital and gave it a family; or the iron wire magically extruded itself, and the puppy lives an unbounded life, maybe finds a lover and has dozens of little puppies, staying away from the city and human beings; or at 

least, it didn’t suffer much pain before death, with its body buried and smoothly entering the after-life world. 

But I didn’t find it. 

New Page One coordinator’s life of learning


Jeff Janosik

SEATTLE, WA    Augusts 1, 2020                                 By LARRY LANGE

It was after he started college that Jeff Janosik slowly began to see his future.

He began as a business major at the University of Wisconsin, largely by default. But he wasn’t the best student at it.

“I was taking lots of math and accounting classes and didn’t study much because I disliked the material,” he remembers. “But I would stay awake for half the night reading novels. So, after taking a year off following a less-than-impressive sophomore year, I realized I wouldn’t be a successful student if were not interested in the subject—so I decided to change my major to English.”

He soon realized that “you could lose yourself in writing. I learned books could create intense emotional experiences,” he says. “Those nights reading novels into the early hours were formative. I learned that there was an infinite amount of knowledge out there for the taking.”

With no limits on possibilities, he’s never looked back, and he’s passing on what he learned to others, teaching English at North Seattle College. And now, starting this summer, he’s helping to manage the Page One Writing & Language Center as a coordinator, and many students will be getting to know him.

And, like his students, he’s still learning things.

He grew up in Milwaukee, Wis., and entered college at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, in the northern part of that state. He was an honors undergraduate in English and advanced into a master’s degree program at the university’s Milwaukee campus. During that program that he was given a teaching position, as a graduate assistant.

“I was immediately thrown into teaching two sections of introductory composition my first term,” he recalls. “I have to admit that I was probably a pretty lousy teacher that first year or so. Just like writing, learning to be a great teacher is a life-long process. But I’ve gotten better at it over the years and love it. Being able to talk about literature, writing, and ideas—and ideally to pass some knowledge on to others—is an amazing experience.”

A longtime lover of mountains and the West Coast, he came to the Pacific Northwest after being accepted into the Ph.D program in English at the University of Washington in Seattle. He wasn’t entirely new to the Northwest, but it was a big change.

“I’d spent some time in Oregon before coming, so I had some experience with the Pacific Northwest and knew I loved it.,” he says. “But I had never been to Washington when I accepted my offer. As soon as I arrived, I immediately fell in love with the area (though the change in living cost, coming from the Midwest, was a bit shocking). (it was a lot higher here).”

Over the years his teaching background focused heavily on writing. He taught introductory and research writing at the University of Wisconsin. He continued teaching writing at the University

of Washington, where he led classes that studied subjects such as 19th-Century novels, “revolutionary and radical literature,” and “The Politics of Food.” Classes read material and had daily discussions, in advance of exams and final papers.

While at the University of Washington, he served as assistant director of the Expository Writing Program and trained and oversaw teachers in the UW in the High School Program. He edited a University of Washington journal of student writing work and wrote a guide to research and writing at the university.

He found other teaching work after the funding for his Ph.D program ran out. He taught at Highline Community College, south of Seattle, and at Everett Community College before starting at North Seattle College last September. At North he has taught English 101, English 102 and English 235 (technical writing). While at Everett he developed a very timely unit for English 102 called “Information in the Age of ‘Fake News’ and “Alternative Facts’,” and he continued teaching it at North.

“I picked the topic because I thought it was incredibly important, practical, and timely,” he says. “I think the current culture of misinformation is one of the biggest problems facing our era. I think it’s one of the reasons our social/political life is so damaged. So I thought it would be useful for students to think about how to decipher information in a time when it’s so difficult, yet vital, to do so. The Trump administration was part of it, but the ‘fake news’ issue predates the 2016 election.”

This summer he is not teaching but is learning his new post as coordinator and is scheduled to teach English 101 and 102 again this coming fall. He won’t continue the “Fake News” unit but “I imagine I’ll incorporate some of the lessons or topics from that class into the new one.”

But he’s learning, too. In his earlier years he worked in restaurant kitchens and still spends time cooking. Originally, he worked “mostly ‘front of the house’ (bartending and serving) during undergrad years,” he says. But as a graduate student, “cooking became a release from the heady, academic work I would be engaged in all day. Working with my hands, enjoying the sensoria, zoning-out while chopping vegetables became almost meditative.”

“But cooking can also be an intellectual activity too — like writing, there’s no end to the learning process — so I basically ended up getting pretty serious about it,” Janosik says. “When I wasn’t reading and writing, I was cooking. And when my funding ran out and I needed to find work, I was curious about whether or not I was good enough to cook professionally. It turned out I was, and since that point I’ve has the pleasure of working in some of the best restaurants in Seattle.” Those include Tavolata, Le Pichet, and Pintxo.

“I first began studying food and literature because I have a background in food, and I thought it would be fun to write about,” he says. “Then I decided on 19th-Century British literature as my primary focus because I just really enjoy reading Victorian novels. The problem, I quickly discovered, is that most of the discussions of food in Victorian novels are about the lack of it. (Think about Oliver Twist wanting more.) So discussions about food became discussions about economics—until finally I was more interested in the economics than the food.”

“The two subjects are basically inseparable in the Victorian age,” he says, “but I also think economics are incredibly interesting and important. One might argue that all cultural production is the human response to underlying economic activity.”

He’s still studying English, to complete his Ph.D dissertation but says “I imagine I’ll always be studying – that is, research and writing.” The dissertation, naturally, will discuss literature and economics. He hopes to receive his Ph.D in English literature next spring.

In his free time, when he’s not working on writing projects such as his Ph.D dissertation, he enjoys listening to music – and cooking, using fresh seasonal produce and “all the amazing seafood that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.” He also loves the mountains, “and in the winter I try to ski as often as I can,” he says.

Writing is often difficult but Janosik approaches it like cooking, as an ongoing effort. He tells students it’s wrong to think “that good writers are geniuses with fully-formed, amazing ideas, who sit down and crank out gorgeous prose. This simply is not the case. Good writing comes from laboring through drafts. It comes from revision.” In short: it’s work!

As a coordinator at Page One, Janosik will help hire, train and advise tutors and oversee their work. He’ll also help manage the center’s budget and work to keep it funded, and expects to spend more time with students once the tutoring center resumes face-to-face operations.

He says he wants to learn more about how the center helps students, although “so far, from my experience, Page One is very effective in helping students. I’ve had positive feedback from the students I’ve sent.”

His advice for students? “Visit one of our amazing tutors in the Page One writing center! Or any of the amazing tutors in the Student Learning Center,” he says. “Also, communicate with your instructor if you are uncertain about something or feeling overwhelmed. All the instructors I know will gladly go out of their way to help their students and are happy to do it. It’s better to communicate sooner than later before problems can snowball.”



A tutor who really loves biology


Lara Backman

SEATTLE, WA                         July 4, 2020                              By LARRY LANGE

Lara Backman isn’t thinking about starting another career after tutoring biology. She’d love to make it her job for life.

“I love biology and want to share it with the world, and I love the art of teaching,” says Backman, a tutor in the North Seattle College Biology & Chemistry Learning Center.  “I have never been more satisfied than when I see a student grasp a difficult concept, be it the slow piecing together of a puzzle or the sudden light-bulb-flash of understanding. I get to see growth happen, week by week and day by day, and I get to help and encourage that intellectual growth, and it is wonderful!”

Born and raised in a small town, Bedford, Massachusetts, near Boston, she went to the local public schools, graduating from Bedford High School in 2006.

She developed a passion for science as a very young girl.

“My mom and dad were both research scientists, my mom as a professor first at Harvard Med, (Harvard University Medical School) then at Boston University, and my dad with a biotech firm. I loved finding out about how the world worked, and what most fascinated me was the inner workings of our very complicated, simultaneously robust and yet incredibly fragile bodies.”

Her parents encouraged this. “One of the childhood books I remember most fondly is “DNA is Here to Stay!” she says. “Biology was a natural fit for me, and I focused a lot at first on how the body worked, and how it could stop working – particularly through diseases and poisons. (I think my parents were glad when I grew out of that phase!)”

She learned the value of education early. In high school, she had “an excellent chemistry teacher,” Karen Haswell. Backman remembers her as a Ph.D. teaching in a public school because of her passion for sharing the wonders of chemistry – and her passion hooked Backman.

“I loved learning about the tiny particles, seemingly so ordered, that gave rise to the chaos and complexities of living cells,” Backman says. “They followed rules sometimes, but abandoned them in other ways, and it seemed at the time that if I could only understand how they worked I could see the workings of the universe.”

This prompted Backman at first to change her presumed major to chemistry when she entered college, but she says the fascination with life and living things brought her back to biology in the end. “The concession I made was to stay in molecular biology – I could still learn about the tiny things coordinating to make life, but at a larger scale than normal chemistry,” she says.

To get a challenging education, she searched the country and ended up at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. There, she “fell in love with the campus and community” and received a scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. Still searching for an experience, she moved north to the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a Master of Science degree in molecular biology and a masters degree in teaching. In graduate school at the UW she began developing her skills at teaching others, and helping them overcome their fears of scientific subjects.

“I taught students how to read scientific literature, and especially figures in papers,” she says. “At the end of the semester, I went to each group and quietly reminded them how baffled they’d been at first, and now how (in the end) they were not only dissecting the figures, but pointing out possible errors in the methods, or places to do more experiments. They were stunned to realize how far they’d come.”

As she studied she continued developing ways to teach others, drawing on what she learned from others. From Haswell she learned her professional passion, patience and “her care for us student as people.” From college professors she learned how to tell “the story of science” and “how to mentor, how to encourage independent thought and, most importantly, to talk about why science matters.” She tries to do this with students now when she has time, to help them through a difficult course “so they can hopefully find some value in learning it.”

After college graduation Backman taught general biology, ecology, and a science and society course at Foster High School in Tukwila, south of Seattle. She left that job to deal with health and family issues but started tutoring biology and chemistry at North Seattle College during winter quarter of 2019. She has found tutoring more enjoyable and rewarding than trying to manage and grade a class of high schoolers, some of them disinterested in the subjects.

“Tutoring lets me focus on my strengths and work with people who want to be there and want to learn,” she says. Now, “all I want to do for a career is to tutor.”

She’s putting the teaching techniques she’s learned since her own college years into practice at North. “One of the things I do is to translate the science jargon into plain English, and use that to build an understanding of the concept,” she says. “The key, to me, is always to break down the language, especially with English-language learners, and build the concepts, especially by relating them to daily life, and then show that they can understand the concepts – proving to them they can understand the subject.”

“Once they’ve got that part, I slowly reintroduce the technical terms for the concept they now have begun to understand, and they end up learning both the language and the ideas behind it,” she says. “Then, I show them just how far they’ve come. It can take some time, but it’s well worth it.”

At Backman’s age, 32, many people are looking ahead to their next jobs. Backman says she is “thinking about how to best be a full-time tutor, and whether I can do that at North Seattle College, but tutoring is truly my career goal.”

In her free time she plays board games with her wife and their friends.  “I love to go birdwatching, I read a fair amount (mostly sci-fi and fantasy novels), and I play video games,” she says. “I’ve been an avid pokemon player for more than twenty years now.”

Her advice to students?  “Talk to people! These are not all easy or intuitive concepts; by talking it out with someone else, even just a friend or a classmate, you can get somewhere,” she says. “If you talk to a tutor, you can get farther. Two heads really are better than one.”






Feeling better: Try hearing or singing these songs

SEATTLE, WA                June 2, 2020

Today we pass along what we call the Student Learning Center Playlist — songs tutors in the Student Learning Center are listening to as they shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is a list that they turn to to think about their experience and to cope with the feelings of isolation and grief at what is happening right now.

As we try to live our lives while this is occurring, we hope these songs will help us all get through it.

So, click into YouTube and try listening and singing along; it could make you feel better and stronger.


You Haven’t Done Nothin’ – Stevie Wonder

Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds

I Heard the Grape Vine – Marvin Gaye

It’s the End of the World – REM

The ABC Song for Hand Washing

I Dream a Dream – Les Miserables

Dust in the Wind – Kansas

Waterloo- Abba

Put a Light On – Generationals

Sun Models – Odesza

Every Time We Touch – Cascada

Broketown – The California Honeydrops

Young Hearts – NoMBe

Going to California – Led Zepplin

Summertime – Mongo Jerry

Eye of the World – Grateful Dead

Over the Hills and Far Away – Led Zepplin

Isn’t It Nice to be Home Again – James Taylor

Yesterday – The Beatles

Hillsong Worship – Kings of Kings

Lean on Me – Bill Withers

Casiopea – Mint Jams (Robin)

Answers by Erutan

The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

Let’s Go Crazy – Prince

This Year – The Mountain Goats

This is America – Childish Gambino

Darya Dadvar in Concert (Farsi)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom Storytime Song

I Will Survive Zoom Parody

Do You Realize? – The Flaming Lips.