Alumni Spotlight: Yu Jung Choi

Former ACC Student, Yu Jung Choi

Former ACC Student, Yu Jung Choi

“Fifteen hours of sitting in the flight to USA on May 2008 with blooming ambition, I finally landed with both feet to an unfamiliar place where it was a 16 hour time difference from my homeland…”
–Yu Jung Choi

Former ACC student Yu Jung Choi came to America from Seoul, Korea in May, 2008.
A few months later, she was sitting in my ENG 060 Language Fundamentals class, and I could tell from her first days in class that she was an exceptional writer, student, and individual.

Here is a small sample of Yu’s writing from that first English class she took at ACC:

“Especially in summer a class is humid, and there is rainy smell because summer in Korea has a spell of rainy weather. Whole classes are silent except for the teachers and the light, which is winking. After all classes are done, every student goes back home. A class is empty, and what I do and hear during the day is like a dream. Lights are turned off, and chairs and desks are arranged in a row. The blackboard is clean, and there is no sound. It feels lonely.”

Yu laughs when she looks at this paragraph and says that at this point, she barely knew how to describe things in English. To me, Yu’s early writing in English already showed signs of her strong powers of observation and her skill at conveying a unique perspective.

Yu took ENG 060, ENG 090, ENG 121, and ENG 122 at ACC along with a wealth of biology and chemistry classes.  Her chemistry professor Kim Stasiewicz remembers Yu as an exceptionally intelligent and hard-working student.  Stasiewicz comments, “Yu was so curious about the material she studied, and it was a delight to have her in class.”

Yu transferred to University of Colorado at Denver in 2012 where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She now works in a lab at the University of Colorado at Denver with Dr. Marino Resendiz.

I tried to convince Yu to become a writer because of her command of English and her poetic spirt, and she does hope to write in the future and has even talked of doing a translation into English of the  modern poetry of Korean poet Han, Yong-Un.
Yu is now a published author in the field of chemistry: her article, co-written with Dr. Resendiz, “Biophysical Properties and Thermal Stability Oligonucleotides of RNA Containing 7, 8-dihydro-8 hydroxyadenosine” was published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Yu hopes to go to medical school and also eventually to earn a Ph.D. in medicine. She hopes to work in a hospital laboratory this year and has previously volunteered at Swedish Medical Center serving as a comfort to patients and their families and helping the medical technician and the nurses.

Eight years after she first set foot on American soil, Yu Jung Choi has made many of her ambitions a reality. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree from a great institution and been able to work in the field of her dreams. She has also found many friends, warmth, and love in our country. I’m glad to have been one of Yu’s first teachers, and I’m inspired by her achievements. I wish her success and love!

Family Law Clinic

LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES.  What if you get into a car accident today, or a loved one passes away, or your landlord gives you an eviction notice with seven days to vacate your apartment?  Would you seek help from a lawyer?  If not, under what circumstances would you seek help from a lawyer?

What discourages you from seeking legal help?  We want to know.

Do you think that lawyer fees are too high for the average person to pay?
How much do you think a lawyer in a smaller law firm charges per hour for legal services?
How much would you be willing to pay for professional legal services?
If legal services were offered at a set price (flat fee), would you be more willing to seek help from a lawyer?
If legal services were offered à la carte where you could pick and choose which services you wanted to pay for and which services you would perform yourself (this is known as “unbundled legal services”), would you be more willing to seek help from a lawyer?

If you need legal help regarding a family law matter but cannot afford a lawyer, we’ve got great news for you! The ACC Paralegal Club and the 18th Judicial District Access to Justice Committee is hosting a free Family Law Clinic:

FAMILY LAW CLINIC
February 10, 2016 3-6 p.m.
ACC’s Main Campus, Littleton, CO

The Family Law Clinic is serving unrepresented parties from Arapahoe, Douglas, and Elbert Counties.  Free parking is providing in all ACC parking lots.

Family Law Clinic Presentation Schedule:

3:00-3:15    Opening Remarks by Magistrate Moss
3:15-3:30    Adoption/Grandparents’ Rights Session
3:30-3:45    Questions and Answers
3:45-4:15    Divorce/Child Support/Property Division Session
4:15-4:30    Questions and Answers
4:30-4:45    Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Session
4:45-5:00    Mediation Information Session
5:00-5:15    Questions and Answers
5:15-5:30    Court Services Information Session
5:30-5:45    Unbundled Legal Services
5:45-6:00    Questions and Answers

The general public is welcome to come and receive free legal information.  Volunteer attorneys will answer questions and explain the process and procedure for the area of family law.

Please feel free to provide any other comments or responses regarding legal fees to help us better service your needs.  Thank you.

Financial Aid Tips – FAFSA and Scholarships

It’s January, which means that it’s time to start applying for financial aid for the 2016-2017 academic year! Where do you start? There are two primary applications:

  1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. The Scholarship Application.

FAFSA

The FAFSA, which is the application used to determine your eligibility for most financial aid, can be completed at www.fafsa.gov. This aid can include grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. To ensure that your FAFSA is sent to ACC, enter our school code when prompted: 001346. Only one FAFSA is required each academic year.

Helpful Tips When Completing the FAFSA

FSA ID: New applicants should create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This ID will be used to sign your FAFSA and log-in to all federal student aid websites. It will also give you access to many helpful resources and services throughout your educational career.

  • Returning applicants who lost/forgot their FSA ID can reestablish it at the same website.
  • Parents of dependent students will need to obtain their own FSA ID.

Tax Information: All applicants should attempt to use the DRT, which is a tool within the FAFSA that automatically transfers the applicant’s (and parents’) tax information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. Some applicants are not eligible to use the DRT, in which case they should have available copies of the most-recent federal tax return. Dependent students should also have a copy of their parents’ federal tax return.

Scholarships

Scholarships available

ACC has dozens of scholarships available for a variety of types of students. In addition to scholarships that are offered through ACC and the ACC Foundation, there are countless scholarship opportunities through private organizations and foundations.

How to apply

Go to the ACC Scholarships page and follow the application directions at the top of the page. Scholarship applications are typically open from early-January through May 15, with the priority going to those completed by April 1.

Scholarships will be awarded for the Fall and Spring semesters immediately following the application period. Each scholarship has different application requirements that must be met before the applicant can be considered for an award.

How to maintain eligibility

Some ACC Scholarships are automatically renewable for either 2 or 3 consecutive years, while some require an annual application. Most require at least a 67% course completion rate (pass at least 67% of the courses attempted) and a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA), although requirements may differ per scholarship.

Things to Remember

Take the time needed to ensure that you complete every application requirement. Many applications require personal statements, copies of transcripts, resumes, and/or reference letters. Make every effort to have a strong personal statement that speaks to who you are as a student.

Other Resources

Our Scholarships page also contains resources for scholarship search engines and other outside scholarships. Applications can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming, but persistence is often all that it takes to help make college more affordable. Start now!

by Joel Laos, Director of Financial Aid

The Political Frontier of Free Community College

Transcript:

The members of Sigma Phi interviewed students and administration on the political frontier of free community college.

Why did you choose to pursue a community college education?

“So I decided to go to community college so that I could save some money and then transfer to get my four-year degree. It’s a lot cheaper.”

“Uh, save a little money because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after high school.”

“It’s a smaller class and you can really interact with teachers and professors.”

“I want to get a strong footing in order to pursue a four-year degree.”

How would the free community college initiative benefit you?

“It would make me want to go to community college more instead of taking out loans and paying more money for the rest of my life.”

“I would be able to cut my student loans.”

“It might take stress off of me in the future if I decide to have children and want to pay for their education.”

Joan Anderssen, Professor of Economics [at Arapahoe Community College]: “Last year, seventy-one percent of US college graduates had student loans to pay off with a whopping $33,000 in debt per student. Americans now have more collective student loan debt, 1.3 trillion, than any other kind of debt. Right, it’s more than credit card and auto loan debt. These high levels of student debt are also serving to perpetuate an even worse economic inequality here in the US, undercutting the opportunity and social mobility that higher education has for a long time promised.”

Do you think post-secondary education is a public or private good?

“Public, for sure.”

“I honestly think it’s both, actually. The reason why I think it’s public is because it is open for anyone of any age to really join. But I do see it as a private because it’s a choice.”

Dr. Diane Hegeman, Vice President for Instruction [at Arapahoe Community College]: “I believe that has a many-perspective response. But, bottom line, I do believe that everyone has the right to access post-secondary education, but I also believe the public has an accountability aspect to this complicated question.”

What are some obstacles you see in the free community college initiative?

“The first and foremost is how is it getting paid for, where is it coming from.”

“I think some people might try to take advantage of it.”

“I think the biggest obstacle would be market saturation.”

“I’m afraid some students will not try as hard.”

“Too many people filling the system and straining the resources of the community colleges.”

Dr. Lisa Mayte Edwards, Vice President of Student Affairs [at Arapahoe Community College]: “I do see capacity issues, making sure that the classes are available for student to take in a meaningful way and in sequence.”

Dr. Diana M. Doyle, President, Arapahoe Community College: “Well, certainly funding is going to be an issue. Someone has to pay for it. And that is going to be a complex resolution. Does that start at the federal level? How does it flow through at the state level? What is the obligation of the colleges themselves, both public and private? And then the students. I think accountability on the part of the students is important as well.”

What kinds of services do you need to succeed in community college?

“I really have benefited from the math lab and the Student Success Center.”

“A good library and good advising services.”

“I think that access to tutors…it’s crucial.”

“I think there needs to be good sources of technology that students can use.”

Rachel Weir, Assistant Director, Disability Services [at Arapahoe Community College]: “And I think to prepare, here at a community college in particular, we would definitely need to assess how we are managing our time. Where are we really invested in, and can we make a shift?”

Dr. Diana M. Doyle, President, Arapahoe Community College: “First is we are going to have to be more creative in how we advise students. We’re going to have to restructure our advising processes. Secondly, colleges need to rethink how we deliver education. The days of the traditional sixteen-week course are probably going to have to change quite a bit. These are all adjustments that colleges will have to make in order to accommodate an increased student population.”

Joan Anderssen, Professor of Economics [at Arapahoe Community College]:”Thomas Jefferson said, ‘An education is an all-important part to participatory democracy. This would help advance our democratic goals for our society.'”

Produced by the Members of the Sigma Phi Chapter and Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society [at Arapahoe Community College]

What is Concurrent Enrollment

(And why should I participate?)

Move Mountains with the Concurrent Enrollment Program!

Move Mountains with the Concurrent Enrollment Program!

Have you heard your colleagues or friends talk about concurrent enrollment but wondered what it really is?  Concurrent Enrollment (CE) is a nationwide trend in higher education to offer high school students the option of participating in college-credit courses taught by college-approved high school teachers on their high school campuses. Sometimes called “dual credit” or “dual enrollment” or “college in the high school,” students enrolled in these classes earn credit towards both high school graduation and college completion.

Here at ACC, we offer students a couple different options.  One option is for students to take classes in their high school.  Check with your counselor for courses available at your school. Our Concurrent Enrollment Office works with over 30 high schools across 8 school districts enrolling over 2400 students per semester.  If a high school student discovers that the CE options on his/her high school campus don’t align with future career goals, a student may choose to take courses on our campus, with permission from their high school counselor, working with our Student Recruitment and Outreach Office.

So, why would a student want to participate in concurrent enrollment classes at their high school?  One great reason is cost: they’re free!  When taken at their high school, the cost of tuition for these classes is paid through the student’s home school district and the College Opportunity Fund (COF).  With the sky-rocketing costs of higher education and the continuing need for employees with degrees, students have the opportunity to lower their overall cost of college tuition, potentially reducing any future debt.

Another reason for students to take advantage of concurrent enrollment is the advantage of experience.  To enroll in a CE course, students apply for admission to the community college and begin their journey of higher education.  As CE students in the high school, they learn key skills that prepare them to transition smoothly into a post-secondary institution.

For students who’ve long known about (and perhaps dreaded) those AP or IB courses, a CE student has the advantage of earning the credit immediately on successful course completion with a “C” or higher with no exit exam or post-test required.  The credit appears on an ACC transcript as if the student had taken the course on our campus, and it can potentially apply directly towards a degree.  If a student takes a CE course designated as a “guaranteed transfer,” the course will transfer to any Colorado public institution.

If we want to create better futures for our secondary students with clearer pathways to post-secondary degrees and sustainable careers, perhaps we should look closer at encouraging them to consider their concurrent enrollment options!

To learn more about ACC’s Concurrent Enrollment Program, visit our website.

by Shari Culver, ACC Concurrent Enrollment Specialist