Chatfield College Holds its 47th Commencement Ceremony

Chatfield College held its 47th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Veronica Church in Cincinnati. Fifty-two graduates were honored at the ceremony, which included students from both the St. Martin and Over-the-Rhine campuses.

Kathy Wade, CEO of Learning Through Art, Inc. and Emmy Award nominated vocalist gave the commencement address.

Receiving Associate Degrees were Annie M. Allen, Ashley Elizabeth Barlow, Sadie Raquel Benfield, Kevin H. Brown, Shannon Cameron-Kanu, Kapri Dawn Campbell, Mary Jane Castle, Bryant James-Weiss Constable, Christina L. Dericks, Aundaya Onawa Dixon, Rachel M. Hammonds, Brian K. Hampton, Courtney S. M. Harris, Heidi Marian Imwalle, Lilian J. Imwalle, Jaushaun T. Jackson, Felecia Renee James, Natasha Mariah Justice, Katherine Sommer Kelly, Bradlee K. King, Ryane Tiera King, Jocelyn M. Kuha, Quinton C. Lewis, Christopher D. Lindsley, Blake A. Macleod, Julian Montana Matthews, Andrew J. McGraw, She’a Monique McKinney, Taylor Shay McLaughlin, Griffin T. McNeal, Alexandria C. Miller, Hailey Blair Miller, Jacqui Rene’ Mooney, Trent C. Moore III, Caitlin Michelle Mullins, Bailey Marie Myers,Amanda P. Neal, Olivia Ann Neff, Kamri-Beth Paige Offutt, Lynda A. Rainey, Hannah N. Slack, Fatimah Betty Jean Southhall, Brittney J. Stevenson, Anika Thomas-Anderson, Margo Jayne Thompson, Sister Marcelina Theophila Watua , Nake’la Kiera Kevon Williams, Stephanie J. Williams, Sydnie S. Wolf, Janie B. Worhsam, Branson S. Young, and Holly Lynn Young

Two graduates were awarded the Julia Chatfield Distinguished Student Award—Trent C. Moore III from the St. Martin Campus and Nake’la Kiera Kevon Williams from the Over-the-Rhine campus. This award is designed to recognize a graduate at each campus based on nominations submitted by the faculty and staff. Besides a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, the student must exhibit the determination of Julia Chatfield by turning obstacles into opportunities, is friendly, inclusive and supportive in dealing with others and displays leadership qualities.

Karen Crumley was presented with Chatfield’s Dean Agatha Fitzgerald, OSU Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is given each year to an instructor who exemplifies the academic spirit and values of Chatfield College. Karen has been teaching as an adjunct instructor since 2012, however, her first experience at Chatfield was as a student, ten years prior to joining the faculty. Her considerable knowledge and experience led her to earn the position as Chair of the Education Department, the College Credit Plus Advisor, and Chair of the Faculty Senate.

Click here to view the complete video of the ceremony

Click here to view the graduation photo gallery


The Importance of a Mentor

Having a mentor in both high school and college has been an absolutely great experience. I have learned so much from being a mentee.  I have learned to become comfortable talking to people, to look at things from a different perspective, and why helping others is important.

I started out as a mentee by accident in high school. My teacher had set up a separate meeting for another girl and a mentor, but unfortunately, the student didn’t make it. I wasn’t prepared to meet with anyone that day, but when my teacher asked me if I would be interested in having a mentor, I said yes. I never had a mentor before and I wanted to see what it was like.

The first meeting I was completely unprepared and underdressed. I wanted to make a great first impression, but I had no idea what to expect or what to talk about. The meeting went a lot better than what I expected—we talked a lot about my past and what I wanted for the future. When talking to my first mentor, I felt a sense of ease that I could be completely honest and not have to worry about being judged. I felt like I didn’t have to hide in a shell. He encouraged me to go to college and to pursue a good career of my choosing (I’m very indecisive and mentioned a few things I’d like to pursue).

I took the advice of my mentor and enrolled in Chatfield College after graduating from high school. I have been attending for a year now and decided to join the mentoring program on campus. My current mentor has already done so much to help me. Her companionship has helped me so much, and I know she is always around if I have any questions or need any advice. She has pushed to do what is best for me because most of the time, I try to take on too much and I become overwhelmed. She has told me sometimes it’s better to take a step back to look at everything to see what is more important to focus on.

Since I’ve been a mentee, I have learned to look at every situation to make sure I get the best outcome. Being a mentee has definitely changed my life for the better, and I can’t thank my mentors enough. Mentors are such amazing people and they showed me why helping others gives life meaning and hope. I would recommend a mentor to absolutely anyone and everyone. Chatfield’s mentoring program is very accessible and works around each individual’s schedule. If you are struggling in a class or just need someone to talk to, I would suggest signing up for a mentor. Not only can a mentor help guide you academically, they can also be a great place to go for advice or encouragement in any of life’s troubles.  To become a mentee or to learn more, visit

-Courtney Sedgwick, St. Martin student

Chatfield College to Host Community Meetings to Share New Strategic Plan

Chatfield College will be hosting a series of meetings and presentations at both campuses in order to share its new strategic plan with students, faculty, staff and its neighboring communities. These events will give the community a chance to weigh in on the plan, which will encompass the college’s mission and vision statements, core values, and step-by-step, three-year, strategic plan.

“Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution” explained Chatfield’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Peter Hanson.  “Many teams and individuals have been working on this plan for more than a year, but we need our neighbors and all our constituents to participate in the process in order to create a collaborative document that meets the needs of all the people Chatfield serves.”

Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. The first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated.  To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail



Chatfield College Welcomes Community to Weigh-In on Strategic Plan

Chatfield College is working hard on its next three-year strategic plan, and we welcome your input!

As our sensational new Academic Dean, Dr. Peter Hanson told me, “Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution.”   One of Chatfield’s many strengths is the close relationships we maintain with our friends and neighbors, and all of the faculty, students, staff, vendors, and contractors we work with, who make up the Chatfield community.

Under the direction of our Board Planning Committee, comprised of the chairs of all seven of the standing committees made up of Chatfield trustees, we have been taking a close look at our vision for the future, our mission statement, and the core values we hold so dear to our institution, all emanating from our long and valued history as an Ursuline College.  St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines (all the way back in the 16th century) told us to “change with the times”, and Chatfield is committed to being nimble and responsive to the needs of our students during these rapidly changing times in higher education and in the workforce.  This is why a current and well-thought-out strategic plan is essential.

Please come and share your thoughts with us!  We have planned four sessions – two on each campus – and to accommodate as many people as possible, both morning and afternoon meetings are scheduled.  Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. Our first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

So no matter how you feel a connection to Chatfield College, whether or not you have ever taken a class, or know someone who has, are a neighbor, or are even a graduate yourself, or if you just want to learn more about us, you are invited to participate and share your views. Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated (so our cookie chefs can be fully ready for you.)

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or email

I look forward to seeing you at Chatfield!

John P. Tafaro became Chatfield’s fifth president in 2009.  Email him at                         

Scholarship Opportunity for Brown County High School Seniors Tied to U.S. Constitution

Chatfield College is offering a U.S. Constitution Scholarship to a Brown County high school senior. In order to apply, students must submit an essay describing, “What the U.S. Constitution Means to Me”  The $4,000 scholarship will be awarded to one Brown County high school senior who enrolls at Chatfield College, with $1,000 available per semester for four semesters.

The idea for this scholarship came from Brown County resident of almost 50 years, Bill Herdman.  Mr. Herdman is also one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans living in Brown County and is active in local veterans activities and other civic organizations.

“I think it is very important for our students to have an understanding of such an important piece of United States history,” Herdman shared. “We do live in the greatest country in the world, and students should appreciate the rights they enjoy as American citizens, all emanating from this glorious document – our Constitution.”

Mr. Herdman will be one of five judges for this program.  In addition, the others are superintendent of Brown County Educational Service Center Jim Frazier, former U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Chatfield Trustee Robert Knueven, and Chatfield’s president, John P. Tafaro.

Three-term congresswoman and instructor of Chatfield’s political science course, Constitutional Development, Jean Schmidt shared her enthusiasm for the project:

“I am very excited to read the essays of our seniors, and to see what the constitution means to them on a personal level. This is a great opportunity for someone to share their knowledge of the Bill of Rights, for example, and earn a scholarship.”

The deadline for the applications is Thursday, March 15th. Interested students can apply online at or get a scholarship application from their high school guidance counselor.

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail




Inclement Weather Policy

As an institution of higher education, Chatfield College must always weigh carefully any decision related to the cancelling of classes due to weather events. We encourage personal safety as the primary focus, and that is necessarily a personal consideration that will differ from person to person, across the variety of weather patterns from which we all arrive to Chatfield.

When any classes are cancelled due to widespread inclement weather, regional radio and television stations will be notified. Notification of cancellations will be also be made by One Call Now and by email.

The decision to cancel classes is not based upon the actions of public schools or other organizations, but is based on the judgment of Chatfield College administrators who assess weather reports, road conditions and other variables. Our collective goal is to provide a quality collegiate education regardless of circumstances.

Students will remain responsible for the work required to maintain academic progress in the event of a cancellation, and faculty will enable that work to take place in a supportive manner, without academic penalty.

Student Spotlight- Elizabeth Burnside

Elizabeth Burnside wants everyone to know you are never too old to go back to school. At the age of 56, she is a full-time student at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus. Many people think a mother of two and grandmother of four could never go back to college, but Elizabeth had the support of her family and she knew she could do it! After she graduates from Chatfield in the fall of 2018 with her associate degree, Elizabeth plans to open a daycare center in her community—one that will cater to the various schedules of parents, including overnight shifts. She says she feels drawn to help those out there who may be working very hard but still struggling to support their families. It is her giving heart that led her to Chatfield in the first place, and what makes her such as exceptional student.

Before enrolling at Chatfield, Elizabeth spent her time mentoring graduates of Miami University who were teaching at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, helping them to understand how best to teach in an urban school setting. As she worked with these young educators, it inspired her to go back to school herself. Just about the time she was kicking the idea around in her head, a Chatfield admissions counselor visited the school for a college presentation. Although Elizabeth had previously been unsuccessful taking college courses online, she decided to check out Chatfield to see if it would be a good fit for her.

After becoming a student, Elizabeth found the classes to be very small and really enjoyed the one-on-one attention she received from her instructors. She was impressed by the supportive programs on campus like tutoring and mentoring.

“It was a good feeling to know that I could ask for help, and not be embarrassed because I knew I wasn’t the only one who needed it,” Elizabeth said.

In fact, as she became more settled on campus, Elizabeth made it her personal goal to welcome new students and make sure they had what they needed. She encouraged them to seek help if they needed it and reassured them they could do it.

“Elizabeth has been a nurturing figure since she arrived on campus—the students look up to her and seek her out for advice or encouragement. She is there to offer advice or wisdom, or just lend an ear,” said Ryan Hall, Over-the-Rhine’s associate dean and site director.

Along with her full course load, Elizabeth was instrumental in starting the Chatfield Student Service Club (CSSC) at the OTR campus. Under her leadership, the group has organized several charity projects, including gathering hurricane relief supplies for Matthew 25 Ministries and volunteering at the Freestore Food Bank in Cincinnati. Over the Christmas holiday, Elizabeth located a needy family in the area and the students gathered presents for the children. Upcoming CSSC projects include a luncheon for new and returning students and activities for Black History Month.

“I believe Elizabeth’s passion for leadership and giving back has really helped drive the success of CSSC,” Ryan adds.

Elizabeth thinks of herself as a mentor to her fellow students, and offers this advice to anyone of any age considering returning to school:

“Make sure you have a plan and support of at least one person. That person can be someone on campus, there are advisors dedicated to your success. Start slow if you need to, one class a semester is still a start. If you try it, you’ll have help if you need it. Do not get discouraged. You are not too old.”


Benefits of Small Class Sizes

Many people who attend college classes with a large number of students don’t enjoy the experience.  “I felt like I was just a number” or “I felt lost in the shuffle” are common complaints.  The benefits of small class sizes at the elementary and secondary levels are well known, but those benefits translate to the college level as well.

“I like being in the smaller classes because I can get more one-on-one time with the instructors.  This spring will be my third semester at Chatfield and I like it a lot,” said Business Management student Marco Torres.  “A couple of my friends go to larger universities and they complain about the high number of students in the class. I just think learning is better when you have a smaller group.”

Most classes at Chatfield have an average of 11 students.  It’s enough to have a diverse mix of personalities and learning styles but still allows everyone to get to know each other on a personal level.

“Shy students come in all class sizes.  There are strategies that you can employ to bring them out of their shells, but it’s much easier to do that when you can get to know them better in a smaller class environment,” said Dr. Farzaneh Naseri-Sis, the English Department Chair at Chatfield.

Naseri-Sis said that the students also benefit from the relationships that are built in a smaller class. “They get to know their classmates and how to work with them. With large classes, many times students don’t get to interact with every individual, which is a shame.”

She added that students also tend to perform better when there are fewer people in the room. “In large classes, sometimes the students can get distracted with electronics instead of staying involved in the class.  It’s a lot harder to do that in a small class,” Naseri-Sis said. “You get to work with students one-on-one and they are generally more focused.”

That one-on-one attention is also the major academic benefit to smaller classes.  “I teach writing, and sometimes during class, students will ask me to read something they have written and give them immediate feedback.  That is possible in a small class, but it would be impossible in a class with 100 students or more,” Naseri-Sis said.  She added that a smaller number of students can get more out of classroom exercises by actually participating instead of just listening to others.

Nasari-Sis also explained that being able to get to know her students and their needs allows her to pair someone that is struggling with someone who is more comfortable with the material.  “When they get engaged with each other, the time flies by and they both get something out of that experience,” she said.  “The confidence level grows in both students when they work together like that.”

If you or a family member would like to know more about our small classes, caring instructors and safe environment, please give us a call. You can reach our Brown County campus at (513) 875-3344 and our Cincinnati campus at (513) 921-9856.

For more information or to schedule a visit, visit our website at



When That Big-Time College Doesn’t Work Out

This is the time of year – after all the holiday celebrations are done and the decorations put away – when college students head back to school.

Or do they? According to research by Complete College, only 19 percent of college students complete their bachelor’s degrees in the “traditional” four years.

Some are overwhelmed with academic challenges. Others simply can’t justify, or even afford, the high cost of tuition, room and board. Many just need a break.

And that’s OK. Today’s “traditional” student is now in the minority, while what we used to call “non-traditional students” make up the majority of college attendees.

What is important is that you continue your education in some way while you take a break from the school where you started. That’s where a local, two-year, open-admission college comes into play. In Greater Cincinnati, we have a few such colleges – Chatfield College being one of them. At any of these schools, credits earned will likely transfer to any other college or university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. At Chatfield, a private, faith-based school, we have articulation agreements with 24 other colleges, which means they’ve reviewed and pre-approved our classes for transfer credit.

Two-year colleges are affordable, too. At Chatfield, students are eligible for Ohio College Opportunity Grants, as well as privately endowed scholarships available to those with the initiative to apply.

So if all the excitement of big-time college football or basketball has worn off, and the days of dorms and food courts are behind you, or even temporarily on hold, you can continue your education at a school where teaching and learning happens. Our students are the reason we are here, and all our efforts are directed toward making you successful.

If you plan to work full-time this semester, consider taking a single class to keep your head in the game. We can handle that. If you want to pursue your associate’s degree with us, even better. Or if you thought you never had the chance to go to college, it’s not too late.

It’s OK to take your time, but don’t ever give up.

Click here to have one of our admissions counselors call you with more information.

-John Tafaro,
President of Chatfield College

Alumni Profile: Christina Schnetzer

Sometimes life has a way of bringing us full circle, and that’s exactly what alumna Christina Schnetzer, ’97, says about returning to Chatfield as an instructor. A very active student who has become a dedicated part-time faculty member, Christina says Chatfield is her academic home, and she can’t imagine being anywhere else.

In 1994, Christina was a single mother in her thirties and recently divorced when she decided to visit Chatfield College in Brown County for its annual Quilt & Craft Show. She was new to the area and looking for new opportunities. After signing up for a free tee-shirt at the admissions booth, Christina received a call from one of Chatfield’s counselors a few days later. He asked if she were interested in going back to school. When she said she couldn’t afford it, he told her with the help of scholarships and grants, it was possible to attend Chatfield at a net cost she could manage. After that phone call, Christina realized her dream of becoming a teacher could become a reality and began the enrollment process immediately.

“I went to Chatfield with a nine-month-old baby on my hip, holding the hand of my eight-year-old,” Christina says. “The registrar and other staff members were so accommodating, passing my baby around and giving her older sister a coloring book, just so I could register for classes and sign all the paperwork to enroll.”

As a young person, Christina had many jobs, some of which she called terrible, but she did what she had to, in order to pay the bills. Before the arrival of her second daughter, she had a great job at UPS but after having issues with her pregnancy, Christina was limited physically and could not return to work. She decided it was time to “work smarter, not harder”.

“As a child, my parents taught me that my work ethic would determine who I would become and I would need to make my own way. This was important to me to follow. This way I didn’t feel like I owed my success to anyone other than myself,” Christina shared.

Wanting to teach her two small children the same thing her parents had taught her, she made her mind up that she was going to earn her degree.  Entering Chatfield’s campus for the first time, through the beautiful tree-lined front drive, Christina remembers a peaceful feeling coming over her. Although there were some obstacles to overcome, like past grades and previous college attempts, Chatfield’s staff worked hard to help her.

Christina explained, “I remember feeling like the Holy Spirit led me through the process. The registrar told me somehow my grades transferred, which at the time seemed impossible.”

As Christina began her journey at Chatfield, she had a lot to juggle—two kids, a full-time job and going to class. Even with a lot going on at home, she was very involved on campus—singing in the choir, volunteering in the admissions office and at the quilt show, writing and directing her own play, and even putting on a talent show.  For a few semesters, Christina was enrolled in an independent study and she remembers instructors allowing her to bring her youngest on campus when she had no other option for childcare. In particular, Christina shares her gratitude to former instructor Sue Hamann as a very influential person in her life, who told Christina “yes, you have to do the work but sometimes you have to roll with the punches.” Christina said everyone at Chatfield would go above and beyond to make sure the students had what they needed to succeed.

“It’s important to realize that not every student has a support system at home, and sometimes Chatfield is their support system. The communal atmosphere here means so much, because you don’t find that everywhere. People care and the students matter,” said Christina.

In the spring of 1997, Christina graduated from Chatfield with an associate degree. After waiting a few years, she decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Despite continued work and family responsibilities and a scarcity of available time, her hard work paid off in 2004, when she graduated from Antioch University with a bachelor’s degree in humanities.

Before going back to school to earn her Master of Science at Kaplan, Christina was pursuing another of her passions—singing. Performing at open mics and an assortment of professional gigs, she returned to Chatfield to sing at its Band fest event. It was then Christina decided to start taking steps to become an instructor. Since the beginning of 2015, Christina has been teaching English and communications classes at Chatfield.

She believes teaching is her calling, rather than just another job. With a laugh, Christina says she believes what they say is true—if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. As a part-time instructor, Christina said there are a million others things she could do with more benefits and a tangible payoff, but her reward is seeing students reach their goals and achieve the dreams they set out to accomplish. She hopes to continue to find new ways to grow and serve the Chatfield community.

As both an instructor and as a mom, Christina teaches the value of self-motivation. She says she may be tough on her students, but she is just as tough on herself.

“We can show these students that they can achieve whatever they want, as long as they work hard enough for it,” she said. “We’re not straight-A students all the time, and that’s okay. What matters is that we are still working at it.”

Christina offers this advice to anyone considering going back to school, “When I decided to go back to school all those years ago, I did it for two reasons. First, to show my kids the importance of drive and working hard for what you want. Secondly, I wanted to show the ones who said I couldn’t do it, and even myself, that I could, I would, and I did.  You can too.”