Top Stories: October 30 Campus Connections

Advising Month: Advising services save time and money

SMCC’s advisors are here to help you save time, money and aggravation. November is Advising Month, when faculty and staff ramp up their efforts to help students succeed.

During the month, students are encouraged to meet faculty or staff advisors to review their degree audits, figure out which Spring Semester courses to take, create a schedule and register for classes for next semester.

Staff advisors are available for drop-in advising anytime during business hours — no appointment necessary — in the Advising Office and at the Advising Services Kiosk (the ASK desk) in the South Portland Campus Center. On the Midcoast Campus, advisors are available in the L.L.Bean Learning Commons.

You can also text Advising Office staff at 207-618-6327 or email them at For instant answers to questions, use the Advising Chat tool on My Maine Guide, staffed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through the month of November. Outside of those hours, questions will be answered within 24 hours.

During Advising Month, students can also attend program-specific advising sessions or schedule one-on-one appointments with their faculty advisors. The schedule for the program-specific advising sessions can be found on the calendar on My Maine Guide.

Registration for the Spring Semester begins Monday, November 13, for students who have earned at least 30 credits, and Wednesday, November 15, for students who have earned less than 30 credits.

Culinary, hospitality students work on BIG event

The A Light on the Point celebration is more than a fundraiser that will benefit SMCC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs. It’s also been an intensive hands-on learning exercise for culinary and hospitality students.

The Nov. 8 event will feature renowned chefs and mixologists from well-known Portland-area establishments working in collaboration with students for an evening of food, drink and fun. Tickets are on sale at EventBrite.

Ahead of the event, Culinary and Hospitality students have been promoting A Light on the Point and working on all the details, from setting up and breaking everything to name tags. Participating chefs have visited campus and worked with students on the dishes they will prepare at the event.

Last week, Chris Gould (from Central Provisions), Matt Ginn (Evo), Josh Berry (UNION) and Emil Rivera (Sur de Lie) stopped by during Culinary classes to work with students. This week, David Turin (of David’s restaurants) and Guy Hernandez (Lolita) will do the same.

For students, working on A Light on the Point has been an eye-opening real-world experience.

“It’s a great hands-on experience because we don’t have to wait until we graduate and go to work to do these things,” said Hospitality Management student Casey Robert. “This class changed my opinion about event planning.”

The students are basically in charge of planning and executing the entire event, said Maureen LaSalle, chair of the Culinary and Hospitality programs.

“It couldn’t be any more hands-on if we tried,” she said. “These students are in the thick of things.”

Photo caption: UNION Restaurant executive chef Josh Berry and executive sous chef Matt Duley (center) visited the Culinary Arts Center on Oct. 24 to work with students Roger Strout, Rebecca Cassady, McKenzie Landry and Sarah Mansfield on the dishes they will prepare at A Light on the Point.

Partnership Profile: SMCC and Smith, Mount Holyoke colleges

Plenty of SMCC graduates transfer each year to a variety of four-year college and universities in Maine and out-of-state. What’s not as well-known is that more than two dozen SMCC students in recent years have transferred to Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges, two small liberal arts institutions in western Massachusetts.

After transitioning from a technical college to a community college in 2003, SMCC established partnerships with programs at Smith and Mount Holyoke that are designed for women of nontraditional college age.

Since then, 15 SMCC graduates have transferred to Smith’s Ada Comstock program. Another 10 or so have transferred to Mount Holyoke’s Frances Perkins program. Both schools consistently rank among the top national liberal arts colleges in the country.

Looking ahead to next year, 14 SMCC students (in photo above) attended a luncheon Oct. 17 and met with Smith and Mount Holyoke representatives to discuss what the programs are all about and what they can offer SMCC transfer students.

“These programs represent terrific opportunities for SMCC graduates who are ready to challenge themselves at the next level,” said Margaret Fahey, SMCC Associate Dean of Curriculum Design and Articulations.

Students interested in learning more about the programs can contact the Career & Transfer Office at

Carolyn Dietel, the Frances Perkins program director, said faculty and staff at SMCC have always encouraged and supported SMCC students to believe in themselves and apply for the Frances Perkins program.

“I truly value my relationship with the wonderful faculty and staff at SMCC and hope that other students will follow in the footsteps of Frances Perkins Scholars who have completed their degrees at Mount Holyoke College,” she said.

Sidonia Dalby, who heads the Ada Comstock program at Smith, said she has developed relationships with many influential “transfer champion” faculty at SMCC who have encouraged students to apply and written thoughtful and helpful letters of reference.

“SMCC students have been very successful at Smith,” she said.

Man who fell ill gives thanks to SMCC student

An elderly man who fell unconscious is giving thanks to an SMCC student who came to his assistance.

Gil Moreno, 81, of Falmouth was taking part in an event at Cia Cafe in South Portland on Oct. 13 when he passed out. Christophe Lew immediately came to his side, taking his pulse and checking his vital signs to make sure he was OK.

Lew, who was a medical doctor before he moved to Maine from his native Democratic Republic of the Congo, was a student this year in an EMT class for immigrants, and is now taking additional classes. He says his background as a doctor and skills he learned in the EMT class helped him when he checked Moreno’s condition.

Moreno was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where doctors asked Lew what his observations had been. Moreno later said he was reassured by Lew’s presence.

“He was asking me to squeeze his finger and he did an eye test with his finger,” Moreno said. “When they told me there was a doctor over me, I felt much better.”