Campus Connections – September 14

SMCC Athletics joins Dempsey Center fundraiser

SMCC Athletics is participating in the annual Dempsey Challenge to raise funds to improve the lives of people living with cancer.

The Dempsey Challenge is an annual cycling, running and walking event that raises money for the Dempsey Center, a nonprofit that provides free quality of life care to anyone impacted by cancer. The event was founded 12 years ago by actor and Lewiston native Patrick Dempsey, best known for his role in the “Grey’s Anatomy” TV show.

Due to the coronavirus, the event this year is being held virtually, with supporters using fitness apps to log their cycling, running, walking and other activities while raising money for the center. The goal is to raise $1.5 million and record 1.5 million miles among participants.

SMCC Athletics has entered a team in the College Cup Challenge portion of the fundraiser. The Dempsey Challenge will hold a virtual celebration on the weekend of Sept. 26-27, but it’s not too late to take part. To donate, please visit the SMCC Athletics team webpage.

Student Spotlight: Meet Andrea Atkinson

Andrea Atkinson set out to become an art teacher after high school, but she put her goal aside and left college in 2010 after seeing funding slashed for art programs at a local school.

Eight years later, she realized she still had a strong desire to teach art. To fulfill that long-held dream, she’s now earning a Liberal Studies-Art degree with the aim of becoming a high school art teacher.

Andrea first attended Green Mountain College in Vermont to study fine arts and education. But when the local school where she was serving as a teaching assistant cut funding for the arts, she questioned her choice of academic fields and left college.

She went on to become a certified massage therapist and moved to Portland, where in time she eventually decided to continue her education. She enrolled in a class at SMCC in 2018, and became a degree-seeking student in the fall of 2019.

Besides working toward a degree, Andrea is president of the SMCC chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society while also serving on the Student Senate.

With PTK, she and other members are planning to produce a documentary film on local activities in the Black Lives Matter movement. They are also working to create a history lesson of Portland’s historic Abyssinian Meeting House — the third-oldest African-American church building in the country — with the goal of teaching local K-12 students about its history.

Andrea’s confident that serving in a leadership role with PTK will help in her future career as an art teacher.

“As much as I like my own creative passion, I also have a passion for watching other people’s creative process grow. I think being an effective leader will make me a better teacher.”