ACC Staff Spotlight: Tia Le

ACC IT Technician Tia LeIn the mid 1990s Tia and her family migrated here from Vietnam. She had the opportunity to take classes at ACC and graduated with an associate’s degree in computer information systems.  Tia has enjoyed this profession so much that she has already completed 15 years of service.

The best things about being a part of the ACC community is helping students, instructors, and staff, said Tia. “I love assisting them with their technology needs!” Tia prides herself in helping her colleagues find efficient solutions to their work requests, and she enjoys the wide array of destinations – and challenges – that any given day may bring.

Tia lets others know that ACC is a place that allows you to begin your college adventures that would help you to be successful in life. “I feel honored to have been a student and very happy to be an employee at ACC. I feel my contribution is well received,” said Tia.

Coming from a different culture, ACC gave her the opportunity to improve upon her communication skills. ACC also helped with education costs through the grant program. She values ACC as a place to develop relationships with students, colleagues, and the community to make this her new home. Tia is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Student Spotlight: Nate Bertz

ACC student Nate BertzLeadership, confidence, and lifetime friends are just some of the things that Nate has gained as an ACC student and work study employee. His favorite part about being in the ACC community is the amount of resources the school provides for student success. He always tell students, “The key to great grades is time. If you have the time to dedicate to your education, and utilize ACC’s resources, you’re guaranteed to get A’s in your classes.” And he continues to recommend ACC to anyone and everyone because if ACC can make a leader out of Nate, they can make a leader out of anyone.

From the words of Nate, “before I was at ACC, I had zero leadership skills, professional experience, and a limited number of distant friends. When I came to ACC, I thought I was going to fail out like I did in high school. However, on my first day of class, my teacher told us all, “Each one of you can get an A in my class. All you have to do is show up to class, complete your assignments, and learn for your experiences.” I didn’t believe her at first, but when she handed me my first assignment, and I saw that “A” on my paper, it proved that my past experiences don’t have to define me, and that I make my own future through hard work, and dedication. Over the last 3 years, the staff at ACC have transformed me into the student leader I am today.” Keep Moving Mountains Nate!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Faculty Spotlight: Danielle Staples

ACC Math faculty Danielle StaplesIn June 2011, Danielle started teaching at ACC as an adjunct math instructor, which was the perfect introduction to the college. The students were so welcoming and so excited to learn – she was hooked! Then in January 2013, she was hired on full-time and accepted the challenge with enthusiasm. She enjoyed seeing all of the exciting behind the scenes work that make our courses great. After five years of being at ACC, Danielle stepped into the role of Math Department Chair and this has been the most exciting job so far for her. When asked why, she replied, “I get to hear from students daily on what they love and what change they hope to see.  It is great to get that feedback and the math department always does a great job responding to student requests.”

The best part of ACC by far are the students and the staff. Danielle loves sitting one-on-one with students, listening to their dreams, goals, and helping them make a plan. Her colleagues are always looking for a way to improve instruction, stay on top of technology, and they truly care about the students that walk through these doors. Our diverse population has made her a better teacher and a more compassionate person. “I am so happy that each day I get the opportunity to interacting, teach, and work with such a great group of people – ones that care.”

Danielle said that the students keep her grounded. “There are days I think to myself, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done.’ These days I look to my students.” So many are working full-time, going to school full-time, and raising a family or taking care of loved ones in need. Knowing that our students can balance all of these responsibilities really helps her believe she can too.

“This job makes me want to learn more.” Every day Danielle reflects about the students she was able to reach with her lesson and the student she wasn’t able to. She strives to find new ways to reach everyone. The challenges of the classroom cause her to read, research, reflect, and even write in hopes of helping other instructors. Danielle is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Alumni Spotlight: John Libby

ACC Alum John LibbyIn the fall of 1981, John started out as an 18 year-old ACC student. He was in student council that year and wrote for the school newspaper. He attended school with his mother, who started out with a GED and now holds a Master’s degree. ACC gave a poor kid from Brooklyn access to a better life, which is why he is so passionate about participation in the college and the scholarship programs for students. Eventually, ACC would be the higher education launch point for his wife, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law.

John values ACC because it gives access to all people. The education he received was from real life business professionals. Eventually, he would go on to have a successful career in Marketing, including becoming Retail Ad Director for The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and Money Mailer. The training he received at ACC gave him the spring board to change his life and the lives of the numerous people he has trained in business and in the community. “Thank you ACC for the opportunities in my life and the opportunity to give back,” said John.

Additionally, he truly appreciates how ACC supports the community. Not only does it improve the quality of life for its students by giving them a place for affordable high quality training but it also supplies the nurses, accountants, auto mechanics and numerous other professionals that keep our society in Colorado a wonderful place to live. “I may sound like a commercial, but without ACC a huge void would be left in our community,” said John. He wishes we could introduce more students and involve more of the community in the gem of this institution – what it means and can mean.

Besides the valuable education you get at ACC, it is also a place to grow up and fit in. Yes, the Marine Corps Reserves helped John, as did his parents, but it was the bridge that he needed as a first generation college student before the university experience. Community is another huge benefit of ACC. John learned the value of society and ACC gave him the needed experience of giving back through donations as well as volunteer work. “I feel giving back is an important human need, ACC gives that opportunity to give back in a way that will help generations.”

Finally, John commented on how lifelong learning is an important part of experiencing all that life has to offer. He still continues to take 2 classes a year whether it’s Voice, Guitar, Spanish or a variety of other skills because it keeps his mind expanding. To quote Ray Kroc-“When you’re green, your growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” ACC keeps your mind growing. John is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Staff Spotlight: Dawn Stratton

ACC Testing Center Director Dawn StrattonIn 2007, Dawn was with her son in the Testing Center as he did his GED. She asked one of the staff if she could help with anything since she would be sitting there for a while. Lyn Smith replied, “Well we actually have a part time position if you are interested.” Three months later Dawn was the Coordinator for the Center.

She is now in her 10th year working at ACC and feels like part of a family. “We have come a long way in those years and I am deeply grateful for the friendships made and the support for my growth at ACC,” said Dawn. As a team we work through all the processes in making ACC a place for all students to be welcomed and successful and for the professional development of staff.

Dawn said the best about being a part of the ACC community is:

  • The vision and accessibility of leadership
  • The wide variety of students
  • The respect we have of our sister colleges and the higher education community.

Along with the three most valuable benefits she has received from ACC are:

  • The opportunity to work with and encourage students
  • The professional development offered
  • The modeling of leadership

The faculty and administrative support and resources that are made available to ensure success for our students make working at ACC a great place for Dawn. She feels the college has top notch programs that are aligned with 4 year institutions. Dawn commented her time here truly demonstrates the ACC mission statement, “To provide innovative and responsive educational and economic opportunities in an accessible, inclusive environment that promotes success for students, employees and the community.” Dawn is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Student Spotlight: Macey Smith

ACC student Macey SmithMacey is getting an associate degree and plans to transfer to a 4-year university for Music Recording Arts. She took classes at the ACC Castle Rock campus and really appreciated the one-on-one attention when talking with the front desk staff. She felt valued and welcomed how efficient everyone and everything was at the Castle Rock campus. “I don’t feel like one student in a million. They treat me like a human, where my needs are important and they value my needs. I am not just a number,” said Macey.

She never expected the overwhelming support she received at ACC. “Coming here I didn’t expect to have so many people to surround me and mentor me to be a better student, how to be a successful student and future professional. They treat me like family,” she reflected. Macey feels it has been a blessing to have that support, like a real community. Macey is ACC.

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Community Spotlight: Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB)

Colorado Center for the Blind building signFor several years, ACC and the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) have been collaborating on Shared Visions, an accessible art exhibit. This last summer the two organizations also joined forces on an exhibit held at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. The dynamics between the ACC and CCB classes seems to inspire everyone, the students, teachers, and the public!

CCB students at potter's wheels at ACCCCB students dissecting sharks at ACCAnn Cunningham, an art teacher at CCB, said that the best thing about being a part of the ACC community were the quality of our instructors. “Nathan (Abels) and Katie (Caron) are both excellent artist as well as amazing teachers. Truly, I am very impressed with both of them,” said Ann.

The CCB curriculum is expanding because of the collaboration. The Center now has new methods to explore because of the newly acquired skills of their teachers. “I also know that when I need to ask questions Katie and Nathan will be there with answers. ACC’s generous donation of a pottery wheel will enable us to continue building our skills in our pottery program,” said Ann, of the graciously fostered partnership.

CCB logoThe Colorado Center for the Blind would certainly recommend ACC to others! CCB is completely impressed with the openness and sense of adventure that ACC instructors bring to the experience. In fact, some of the teachers would love to take classes here, moving beyond just a partnership but a true relationship with ACC. The Colorado Center for the Blind and ACC Move Mountains together!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Student Spotlight: Leah Porter

ACC Student Leah PorterAt ACC, Leah received lots of support from administrators, faculty, and staff. When she realized she want more than just an associate degree, she reached out to several ACC employees and was offered help in fulfilling her goals and achieving her dreams.

Leah loves that ACC is small and that everybody is very nice. She also loves that ACC has a Dean of Students, Vice Presidents, and the President of the college walking around communicating with students. “Our school doesn’t preach inclusivity, we practice it,” said Leah. ACC has become her new family.

The three most valuable benefits Leah have received from ACC are:

  • Education
  • Confidence
  • Leadership skills

Leah tells people that if you want success, there are lots of resources available to help you find your success within the school or on a national level. She also said, “ACC changed my life. At ACC, I have achieved what I thought was impossible. I received awards from ACC and the national level.” She is the honoree in the PTK’s All Colorado Team, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar, Guistwhite Scholar, and ACC’s Rising Star. ACC is proud to have Leah as part of the family.

She graduated in May 2017 and is transferring to CU Denver for her Bachelor’s in Business Management. Her new goal is to pursue a Master’s Degree in Higher Education to inspire others the way she has been inspired. “My experience at ACC is beyond wonderful,” said Leah. She will continue to Move Mountains!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Faculty Spotlight: Adam Shelffo

ACC Business faculty Adam ShelffoAdam has reached his 6th year at ACC as a business faculty member. Additionally, he is a Littleton native and a proud graduate of Columbine High School. So in many ways he has always considered ACC home and is honored to serve in the community he was raised.

The best thing about being a part of the ACC community is the relationships Adam has developed with the ACC student body. “I love hearing stories from my students, whether it is my 14 year-old student talking about product placements in Twilight movies or a 60 year-old student discussing employee motivation,” said Adam. Day in and day out, he just loves getting to know each of them to better serve their needs.

He would recommend ACC to others because this is a place that allows you to grow and flourish in a safe and nurturing environment that prepares you to confront life. “I feel honored to work at ACC, where I am able to serve the needs of our students; while allowing to capitalizing on my strengths and engage my passion,” commented Adam.

Faculty get a chance to know students by name. Employees get the opportunity to cultivate their strengths as a teacher and as a person. And ACC provides a space to foster relationships with students and colleagues alike. Adam Moves Mountains!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC Student Spotlight: Andrew Groom

ACC Student Andrew GroomAs an ACC student, Andrew has obtained a degree that puts him directly in line to start a specific career at a cost well below that of a four-year state school or a private college. He would definitely recommend ACC to others because the college works hard to engage with the students and incorporate their feedback as much as possible into the running of the institution. He values ACC as receiving a good quality education and views this s a huge benefit.

Andrew is also a work study employee in the Financial Aid Office. He said that working at ACC has definitely helped him integrate into the community here. “There are so many great employees who are ready and willing to help students achieve their academic goals and I have just really enjoyed being able to work alongside such an excellent team,” replied Andrew. Through his ACC student employment, he has greatly improved upon his customer service skills and has increased his cultural awareness of the many differing people and their circumstances as they look to progress through the education system.

Andrew wanted to end by saying, “ACC has everything you need to become successful as a student pursuing you academic dreams and plenty of people willing to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask.” Andrew is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager