Tifa Tossmann Hunt enrolled at Salem Community College in 2017 after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University (OSU). As fate would have it, her interest in glass was sparked by a sign on the OSU campus.
“The glass shop was right next to the student parking lot,” she recalled. “In the window, there is a neon sign that says, ‘Blow Glass.’ I saw that during my second year while passing by on the campus bus and thought, ‘okay.’”
Tifa’s glass education research naturally led her to SCC. “I became interested in learning scientific glassblowing for altruistic reasons,” she said. “As a jeweler/artist, I didn’t really feel like I was contributing to the world in a significant way, so I reached out to some working scientific glassblowers who all directed me to SCC.”
Her arrival from her hometown of Pataskala, Ohio underscores the belief that all roads really do lead to Salem Community College.
Tifa excelled at SCC, earning an Associate in Applied Science degree with high honors in Scientific Glass Technology and a Faculty Medallion in 2019, before joining Tosoh Quartz in Portland, Oregon. “I work within the R&D department, predominantly fabricating and repairing glass torches used to make semiconductor manufacturing equipment,” she said. “I highly enjoy helping to troubleshoot technical problems that come up rather frequently.”
Her advice to prospective and current students is to work hard and build ties with SCC faculty and staff. “Put the work in now,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to talk to absolutely anyone, especially talk to teachers and advisors. Ask questions. Lastly, and maybe what’s helped me the most, identify and connect to the people you want to be your community, then make sure you keep in contact with them.
TIfa praised Bob Russell and Kristin Deady as excellent mentors. “I still value their advice” she said. “I also connected with my advisor Laura Green who was always willing to listen, Jennifer Martin who helped me improve my critical thinking skills and discover their value, and Jennifer Pierce in the library who gives excellent book recommendations and with whom I have made a lasting friendship.”
In addition to learning hand skills, Tifa said the networking skills she built at SCC benefited her the most. “Hand skills are, of course, a benefit but the magical thing at SCC is the community,” she said. “At SCC, I gained the knowledge and skills to develop effective relationships within the global glassblowing community, and SCC provided the doorway I needed to connect with skilled and intelligent glassblowers worldwide.”
While at SCC, Tifa earned a summer-long position (the Flameworking and Properties of Glass Internship) at Corning Museum of Glass. In addition, she completed an internship at Princeton University, working with renowned scientific glassblower Mike Souza.
The 2019 Dr. Peter B. Contini College Service Achievement Award recipient, Tifa is privileged to stay connected with SCC. “I think I have felt most honored that I have been asked for advice by other students since I have graduated, and that my teachers and mentors still remember and keep in contact with me,” she said. “I appreciate awards and recognition and I am honored to have been chosen, but their meaning won’t last if the community doesn’t. I’m most proud to still be considered a member of the community at Salem Community College.”