Celebrating the Best

More than 85 students were recognized as Honors Graduates, meaning they maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher (out of 4.0 scale), and over 500 students made the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.

More than 85 students were recognized as Honors Graduates, meaning they maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher (out of 4.0 scale), and over 500 students made the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.

Honor students, scholarship recipients, and members of the Dean’s List were all recognized during a special event hosted by UC Blue Ash College as the 2013-14 academic year winds down.

More than 600 people attended Celebrating the Best, the annual dinner and awards ceremony hosted by the college at the Sharonville Convention Center on April 4. It was an evening for the top students to relish their accomplishments and for everyone in the audience to hear the impressive stories of achievement.

More than 85 students were recognized as Honors Graduates, meaning they maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher (out of 4.0 scale), and over 500 students made the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Some achieved this while also serving in the military, working full-time, raising a family, or becoming the first in their family to attend college.

Dean Short-Thompson

Dean Short-Thompson

“This is certainly one of our favorite events of the year,” said Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, Dean of UC Blue Ash. “These students really exemplify what it means to apply yourself, work hard, and pursue your dreams with everything you have. It really is inspiring.”

The top student in each academic department was a nominee for the Honor Student of the Year. The award this year went to Christine Henry, a biology major with a 3.9 GPA who plans to continue her education at the University of Cincinnati in Clifton and then medical school, where she will study to become a neurologist.

To see photos of the evening, visit our Celebrating the Best album on Facebook.

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UC Blue Ash Professor Represents the U.S. in the ‘Olympics’ of Fire Sculpture

USA Fire Sculpture

The United States entry at the World Fire Sculpture Championship in Riga Latvia going up in flames / Photo thanks to Agris Dzilna

While the world watches the Winter Olympics from Russia, another international competition recently took place in Eastern Europe, bringing together the best in the world to represent their country.

The World Fire Sculpture Championship was held in Riga, Latvia in January and featured teams from 12 countries, including the United States. University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College Professor, David Hartz, was there to lead the U.S. team in building a large structure that would be placed on fire to create a work of art that lasts only a brief period of time.

Professor David Hartz in Riga, Latvia participating in the World Fire Sculpture Championship

Professor David Hartz in Riga, Latvia participating in the World Fire Sculpture Championship / Photo thanks to Rod Bouc

Fire sculpture is an art form that is gaining in popularity in Europe. It combines art, sculpture, pyrotechnics and woodworking. At the World Championship, each of the twelve teams was given the same materials (40 kilos of straw and a lot of wood, beams ranging in size from 2×4 to 1×4) with instructions that the sculpture cannot be higher than 19.5 feet.

The U.S. team did not place among the top three, but the trip was still another great experience for Hartz, who teaches animation, photography and media design in the Electronic Media Department at UC Blue Ash. He says he enjoys the way fire sculpture touches so many of our senses. “I find it an all encompassing medium using the senses of sight, hearing, smell and motion. My experience has taught me to respect fire like a creature I’ve brought to life, choreographed to perform in specific ways and then allowed to die out.”

Hartz notes that one of the requirements for being a member of the U.S. Fire Sculpture team is that you need to have a degree in fine art. Hartz has his Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University and has taught in the Electronic Media program at UC Blue Ash for 12 years.

Hartz began experimenting with fire sculpture when he was a boy scout. He would build small structures with sticks and leaves and set them on fire, but he emphasizes that he was always extremely careful to use the principles he learned as a scout to make safety the first priority.

“I have received consultation from fire departments and talked to them about what I do. Above everything else, I want to make sure that safety comes first when developing any fire sculpture,” said Hartz. “I have seen people burned attempting to work with fire, I do not recommend that anyone try this without proper training.”

He earned his pyrotechnics license in Canada and began competing in fire sculpture competitions about 15 years ago. He won first place in the Pacific Northwest Fire Sculpture Championship in 2000 and represented the U.S. in the first World Fire Sculpture Championship, held in Estonia in 2011. Hartz has also created fire logos for events and organizations, including Fox TV.

If you’d like to see more of the the World Fire Sculpture Championship, visit this photo gallery from the official Riga2014.org website.

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UC Blue Ash Vet Tech Program Passes the Test

Vet Tech Student 1As new guidelines go into effect requiring colleges to post the passing rates for students on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), results show that the Veterinary Technology program at UC Blue Ash College continues to be one of the best in the region.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recently began requiring Vet Tech programs across the U.S. to publicly post the VTNE passing rates. Data shows that UC Blue Ash is well above the national passing rate, as nearly every student passes the test on his or her first attempt. Below are the college’s results over the past three years:


UC Blue Ash College VTNE pass rate annual percentage as compared to the national average.

Dr. Jennifer Wells

Dr. Jennifer Wells

“The results are a tribute to the quality of our program and the hard work and dedication of our students,” said Jennifer Wells, DVM, Chair of the Vet Tech Department at UC Blue Ash. “Our faculty and staff do a tremendous job of teaching and providing one on one instruction, but it’s really up to the students to absorb the information and have the desire to be successful.”

Vet Tech students learn how to provide general wellness care for animals, including vaccinations, diagnostic testing, and surgery support. They pursue opportunities in a variety of veterinary practices, including veterinary offices, industrial and medical research institutions, zoos, and the military.

The Vet Tech program at UC Blue Ash is marking its 45-year anniversary this year making it one of the most established programs in the U.S. More information about the program is available at the Vet Tech page of the UC Blue Ash website.

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UC Blue Ash Student begins the New Year with Free Tuition

D751_0001The new year is off to a great start for Brittany Erp. The University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College freshman is the winner of free tuition at the college for the spring semester.

“I have been relying on student loans to pay for college, so this free tuition helps a lot. I have never won anything before, I feel very blessed,” said Brittany, a Hamilton resident who is majoring in pre-middle childhood education.

The free tuition is the result of a program at UC Blue Ash that encourages students to register early for the upcoming semesters so they can get the classes and schedule they prefer. Those who register by the designated deadline are automatically entered into a drawing to win free tuition. Brittany’s name was drawn from the pool of 3,324 eligible students.

The spring semester at UC Blue Ash began January 6 and runs through April 24. The free tuition covers all instructional costs for the semester and is valued at approximately $2,500.

“We are always happy to help our bright and talented students pursue an education,” said Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, Dean of UC Blue Ash. “I am excited for Brittany and I thank all of our students who registered early.”

Brittany is a 2013 graduate of Hamilton High School who plans on becoming a middle school teacher. She says she chose to attend UC Blue Ash because it is affordable, convenient and a part of the University of Cincinnati.

UC Blue Ash is growing a reputation for providing one of the best values in higher education. It offers a high-quality education, UC degree, small class sizes, personal attention, and tuition that’s about half that of most area colleges and universities.

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President Ono Pays a Visit to UC Blue Ash

Students, faculty, and staff had the chance to meet and talk with University of Cincinnati President, Dr. Santa Ono, during his visit to UC Blue Ash College on Tuesday, January 14.

The visit gave the president his first look at the newly renovated UC Blue Ash Library, as well as the new Bleecker Street Café, Community Commons and Courtyard.  These new spaces in Muntz Hall are the result of a $4.5 renovation project that was completed this past fall.

Dr. Ono at UC Blue Ash

UC President Santa Ono meeting with students at UC Blue Ash College in the newly renovated Community Commons

President Ono set aside time to meet with students and staff for an informal Q&A session in the Community Commons.  Questions from the students focused on ways to make the Blue Ash and Clifton campuses even more integrated.  They included:

-       Are there ways UC can make the transition from Blue Ash to Clifton even smoother
for students?  One fairly recent update is adding advisors from Clifton to the
advising team at UC Blue Ash.

-       How can students at Blue Ash keep current on the events and activities happening on
the Clifton campus?  This information is always available on the UC website and
we are working on adding more events and activities to the UC Blue Ash website.

-       Can UC Blue Ash parking permits apply to parking in Clifton?  President Ono liked
this idea and planned to discuss with leadership in Clifton.

In his meeting with faculty, President Ono answered questions about negotiations between UC and the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), crime on the Clifton campus, and the latest developments from the state regarding higher education funding.

The leadership, students, faculty and staff at UC Blue Ash really appreciated President Ono’s visit and made sure he knows that he is welcome back any time.

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Canine Corps Health Clinic Treats Top Dogs

Canine - students drawing blood REV

UC Blue Ash Vet Tech students drawing blood for health screening tests.

The dogs that help protect us received preventive health care treatment during the 20th Annual Canine Corps Health Clinic, held on the UC Blue Ash College campus on December 15. The Cincinnati Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) began the Canine Corps event to provide health screens and preventive care for the canines that serve law enforcement and search and rescue agencies throughout Greater Cincinnati.

As more CVMA members have become involved and word has spread, the event has grown dramatically over the years. Several veterinarians and animal health specialists donate their time and expertise to make the clinic possible. Faculty and students from the UC Blue Ash Veterinary Technology program also take part in the event; this is the third consecutive year that the college’s Vet Tech clinic has served as the location.

Dr. Jane Goecke

Dr. Jane Goecke

“This is a great way for our students to interact with the dogs and their owners, while getting to witness the preventive care for the dogs first hand,” said Dr. Jane Goecke, Assistant Director of the Vet Tech program at UC Blue Ash.  “Some of our more advanced students will helped with conducting basic tests that are part of the physical exams.”

More than 35 working canines were treated at the clinic.  The preventive care included a general physical exam, an orthopedic exam, and assessments of each dog’s hearing, eyesight, dental health, and skin health. The dogs also received cardiac and abdominal ultrasounds as part of the screening tests. Idexx donated the lab services for the event. The total value for the services and examinations was around $1,500 per dog.

Students and faculty from the University of Cincinnati FETCHLAB (Facility for Education and Testing of Canine Hearing and Laboratory for Animal Bioacoustics) also volunteered their time to help with the program.

The Cincinnati Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) represents over 200 veterinarians in the Cincinnati area.  The CVMA’s mission is to serve as a forum and provide education to its members, as well as the public it serves, and to promote animal health.  For more information, visit www.cincyvma.com.




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UC Blue Ash Grad Realizes 35 Year Old Dream


Adrienne Larson graduated from the Applied Administration bachelor’s program on December 14, 2013, 35 years after earning her associated degree from UC Blue Ash College

When Adrienne Larson earned her associate degree from the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College in 1978 she was proud of the accomplishment, but wasn’t confident enough in her abilities to believe she could continue her education. Thirty-five years later she has finally earned her bachelor’s degree.

“Adrienne is the perfect example of lifelong learning, which is a core component of our mission at UC Blue Ash,” said Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, dean of UC Blue Ash College. “She shows that it’s never too late to go back to school and earn your college degree.”

Before she returned to college, Adrienne enjoyed personal and professional success over the past 30-plus years. She became a social worker, got married, and raised four sons.

As her career evolved and she thrived in the dietary and culinary industries, Adrienne was frustrated by the feeling that she was being held back from advancing into a management position because she didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. “There I was in my early 50′s with a big decision to make,” said Adrienne. “I could settle for being overworked and underpaid, or I could go back to school and get the bachelor’s degree I always wanted.”

With the support of her family, Adrienne made the decision to return to school and immediately focused on UC because of her positive experience the first time around. She was interested in a bachelor’s degree that would build on her leadership experience and add the business management skills she needed for the next step in her career.

Adrienne LawsonThat was when she learned about the new Applied Administration bachelor’s program at UC Blue Ash. It allowed her to transfer all of the credits she earned from her associate degree toward a bachelor’s degree. The program prepares students for management opportunities with a focus on communication, collaboration, leadership, and business ethics.

“The fact that this program was offered at UC Blue Ash was a dream,” said Adrienne, who lives nearby in Sharonville. “The classes are perfect for what I needed to build on my experience and enhance my leadership skills, the schedule was flexible so I could continue to work, and earning a bachelor’s degree from UC gives me the added credibility I always wanted.”

Going back to school after such a long time away can cause some anxiety. Adrienne used to hate writing papers when they were done on a typewriter, but she found it wasn’t so bad when using a computer. She has learned how to take tests online, do research on the Internet, and use UC’s Blackboard system to register for classes. These were all new experiences and with each task completed, she felt a sense of achievement.

After overcoming her fears of returning to college and even taking classes on the same campus with her youngest son, Adrienne Larson received her bachelor’s degree. It was 35 years in the making.

Along with advancing her degree, Adrienne also earned something else that she believes is just as valuable, self-confidence. “I am truly excited about my future,” said Adrienne. “My return to the classroom has been the most challenging and empowering activity I have ever undertaken. I have new goals now because I didn’t settle for less than I was capable of achieving.”

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