Top Stories: Dec 5 Campus Connections


Students take part in crisis simulation

Scores of students took part in the Health Science division’s first-ever interprofessional team training exercise to learn the value of communication and teamwork skills in emergency situations.

For the simulation on Nov. 21, about a dozen students from the Respiratory Therapy, Nursing, Cardiovascular Technology and Paramedicine programs tended to another student who acted the part of a patient in medical distress in the Health Sciences’ simulation lab. They simulated what a professional team of healthcare professionals would do while under the watchful eye of Dr. Mike Schmitz of Southern Maine Health Care’s Biddeford medical center.

While those students took care of the patient in the lab, dozens of other students watched what was happening via video stream and took notes from inside Jewett Auditorium.

While different Health Science programs have held their own patient simulations through the years, this was the first time students from multiple programs had participated together in a patient simulation exercise, said Heather Higgins, chair of the Respiratory Therapy program. Communication breakdowns lead to medical errors, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States, she said.

After the simulation was completed, students and instructors talked about what they had observed and how things could be improved.

“There were some good lessons learned,” Higgins said. “The underlying message from students was that this was extremely valuable, that we need to do more of this. It felt very real, so they felt the stress and pressure of a patient who was struggling.”



Biz students rub elbows with alumni

Business students rubbed elbows, swapped stories and made friends with alumni during a student-alumni get-together at the McKernan Center.

The SMCC Business Department organized the Dec. 1 gathering as a way to bring together current and former business students. Business Professor Steve Strand said he hopes to make it an annual event.

For student Nathalie Mitchell, the event was an opportunity for students to get to know alumni and other students they might not be acquainted with. It’s important, she said, to hear from alumni about their career pathways.

“We get to see where we’re going,” she said.

Alumni shared their stories about what they are doing and the routes they’ve taken to get there.

“This school was an awesome start,” said Katie Zenko, a 2005 graduate who now works as a CPA for a Falmouth accounting firm.


Captain’s Cupboard raises awareness with spud giveaway

The Captain’s Cupboard gave away potatoes — lots of them — as part of its Great Potato Giveaway.

In an effort to raise awareness about the Captain’s Cupboard and provide a helping hand for the Thanksgiving holiday, volunteers gave away donated potatoes on Nov. 22 inside the Campus Center.

The Captain’s Cupboard is a food pantry located at the Captain’s House that helps students and families in need. To volunteer for the pantry, please email

John Rogers, a Health and Human Services student (in photo with Tia Dickson, a USM master’s degree student who is serving as an intern at the Captain’s Cupboard) who was among those who helped give away potatoes, said it’s rewarding to be a volunteer for the pantry. The potatoes were donated by Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know students, and it’s been an eye-opener to see how many students are food-insecure here on campus,” he said.

Looking for a challenge? Try these courses

SMCC’s Honors Program has four spring semester honors-designated courses aimed at challenging students who want to enhance their academic experience.

The honors courses this spring are:

  • ENGL 245: Literature and the Environment, TTH, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. This course explore the genre of nature writing as it’s existed over the past 200 years.
  • HIST 225: The African American Freedom Struggle: From Emancipation to Black Lives Matter, TTH, 1:30-2:45 p.m. This course examines the struggle for African American freedom from the end of slavery to modern day.
  • PHIL 155: Philosophy in Action: A Course in Community Leadership, TTH, 1:30-2:45 p.m. This course bridges the gap between thinking and doing through critical reflection on social problems in the light of personal experience and of the Western philosophical tradition.
  • IDST 160: Nature of Music, Music of Nature, W, 4:30-7:15 p.m. This course combines the science perspectives of biology and the artistic perspective of music to examine the relationships between music and nature.

SMCC revitalized its Honors Program this fall to provide students an opportunity to engage in an enriching learning experience. Students can participate by enrolling in honors-designated courses (such as those above) or by completing an honors option in a class that’s not designated as an honors course. An honors option is an individualized project that may be completed in any discipline.

Students who want to complete the program and graduate as SMCC Honors Program scholars must complete any combination of four honors courses and/or honors options with a minimum of a B, while maintaining an overall 3.3 GPA.

Questions about the Honors Program can directed to Professor Eben Miller at