Why You Should Take English and Math Classes First

Before your first semester began at ACC, one of the tasks that you accomplished was to take placement tests for English and math. Whether you scored high or low on those tests, you established a base level of ability in those two subjects that determined which classes would be suitable for you to take. Maybe you’re enthusiastic about words and numbers, or perhaps you dread one or both of these subjects and would rather avoid it. Like them or not, they are important subjects that you should take early in your college career for the following reasons:

English and math are required for your degree

No matter which degree you’re working towards, there’s an English or math course listed under its requirements. All of our degrees require that you take English Composition I or an alternate higher numbered English course, and many of them require a math course at the 100 level. Taking these courses in your first semester or as soon as you’re able to will earn credit hours that apply to your general education courses, whether your degree indicates that it’s for written communication, mathematics, or general coursework. The skills that you learn in those courses will also help you with your other classes, whether you need to write a psychology paper in APA format, or calculate the correct dosage of insulin to administer to a diabetic patient for your nursing exam.

English and Math are required to take other classes

If you look up the course descriptions on ACC’s website, you’ll find what classes we offer along with a brief description of the class, the number of credit hours the class is worth, and a list of any prerequisites and co-requisites needed before you can take the course. Many classes require that you take College Composition and Reading through the English department, Quantitative literacy through the Math department, or an equivalent or higher level course from each department. Taking these courses early on makes you eligible to take other classes that are required for your degree. Certain courses also have higher level prerequisites, such as algebra- and calculus-based physics, so if you’re planning on taking those or other classes like them, it’s highly recommended that you take their prerequisites early on.

The material in these courses is useful in your day-to-day life

There are people who say that their greatest skill is that they’re grammatically gifted. However, if those people mixed up there, their, and they’re, it would be difficult to take them seriously. This is true whether you’re writing out a recipe for pie, or an equation that includes pi. English and Math skills are essential to our everyday lives, so you should prioritize learning them early. People will have an easier time understanding what you’re trying to say when you use correct grammar and punctuation, and you’ll be kinder to your finances if that online payment you’re making is entered as $100.00 instead of $10000.

Get them out of the way so you can focus on major-related courses

As I mentioned earlier, maybe one or both of these subjects isn’t your forte. While you may be tempted to put them off until later, the prospect of having to take them in the future can be a cause of unnecessary stress. If you know that you’ll have to take them anyway, take them sooner so that you can focus on the classes that you care about most. On the other hand, if you are an English or Math major because you do like working with words or numbers, taking care of the basic courses will allow you to take the more interesting advanced courses. Learning how to craft a compelling story for your first novel or calculate the trajectory of SpaceX’s crewed rockets to the ISS is much easier when you know the basics of English and math.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

HOSA International Leadership Conference

Two concurrently enrolled students from Colorado Early Colleges Parker (CECP) have qualified to represent our schools and Colorado at the HOSA International Leadership Conference this June in Orlando, Florida. Kimberlee Butts and Alex Silverhart, along with five of their CECP classmates, competed in the HOSA State Leadership Conference on February 14-16, where they tested their knowledge on a range of healthcare subjects that included clinical nursing, human growth and development, medical law and ethics, and medical math. Four of these students, including Kimberlee and Alex, went on to place in the top ten in the state for their selected categories; Kimberlee placed second for clinical nursing, and Alex placed third for medical math.

Kimberlee chose to compete in the Clinical Nursing competition at the State Leadership Conference because she would like to work as a family practitioner in the future, while Alex’s love of math led him to participate in the Medical Math competition. Kimberlee found the conference to be a great bonding experience with her peers and others who shared similar life goals. She is most looking forward to getting to meet people from around the country and bonding with the other members of her HOSA chapter at the International Leadership Conference. Alex is excited about attending the conference because he’ll have the opportunity to travel and see Disney World, where the conference will take place, and looks forward to hearing from the conference’s guest medical speakers, who in the past have included the Surgeon General.

Kimberlee’s interest in the healthcare field stems from her parents: Her father is a battalion chief with Castle Rock’s Fire and Rescue Department who has a paramedic background, and her mother runs the pediatric department at Sky Ridge Medical Center. “Seeing the way they helped people and brought people joy by saving lives inspired me to want to do something just like them to make a difference in people’s lives,” she says. She is already making a difference in people’s lives as a lifeguard, and plans to join the Navy as a medical officer. She is working on her Associate of Science degree in Biology, and hopes to attend Harvard or Johns Hopkins University. Once she has attained her medical degree and completed her military service, she wants to open up her own medical practice. She says that attending ACC has opened many doors for her and has jump-started her medical career. Her favorite part of ACC has been “The great professors and exceptional staff”.

Alex has loved the idea of helping people since he was young. “Being a part of the healthcare field gives you the skills that one needs to help improve and save the lives of those around you,” he says. After he earns his Associate of Science degree, he wants to transfer to a four-year university before enrolling at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school to become a surgeon. Since coming to ACC, Alex has enjoyed the many different math courses he’s taken, and feels that the teachers are really nice, intelligent, and understanding. “Even though I am a high school student, I am treated with respect and integrity,” he says, “I feel that I belong as much as every other student.”

This is the first year that CECP has participated in HOSA, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, thanks to a student-led effort that included the support of CECP Instructor Uma Venkitanarayanan, and school psychologist Dr. Betsy Basch. HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE). HOSA’s two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

A Degree of Love – Patsy’s Story

Patsy StocktonPatsy Stockton is completing her final class at Arapahoe Community College this semester – Mathematics for Liberal Arts – and will graduate with her Associate of General Studies in May.

You might know her from the 2018 study abroad trip to Japan, her work with Progenitor, her work-study job in the Colorado Gallery of the Arts, or even her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Leadership Success.

For Patsy, now 73, the conclusion of her studies at ACC will signify so much more than academic achievement. It represents her strength and courage to persevere, and just as importantly, her commitment to her late son, Michael.

A native of Golden, Patsy attended the University of New Mexico after high school. She departed UNM after just one year to return to Colorado, working at a pair of car dealerships along the western slope. Patsy moved back to Golden shortly thereafter, and it was then, while working at a local auto dealership, when she met her future husband, Bill Stockton.

Patsy enrolled in her very first class at ACC – Accounting – in 1981. She was already working in accounting, and took the course for occupational enrichment. Patsy also took non-credit classes at ACC in 1988 and 1989 for personal enjoyment. She and Bill raised their sons in Littleton. Kevin graduated from Mullen High School in 1985 and went on to attend West Point. Michael was a 1991 graduate of Columbine High School and proceeded to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Bill, an independent carpenter/contractor, fell into a coma in the fall of 1997 and passed away that October. He built the home where Patsy still resides to this day. The loss devastated the Stockton family, particularly Michael, who lost his dad, best friend and employer all at once.

Michael’s sadness, depression and anxiety led to upwards of a decade of alcohol abuse. He became addicted to painkillers prescribed to treat his ensuing pancreatitis. Michael also used heroin for a year as a means to suppress his ever-increasing physical and emotional pain.

A successful year in rehab paved the way for 18 months of sobriety, gainful employment and independent living in north Denver for Michael. He was laid off, however, when his employer sold the business. Michael turned to drinking again, resulting in more than a dozen hospitalizations over the next year.

He relocated to Littleton in the summer of 2009 and enrolled in classes at ACC that fall. Michael, who aspired to pursue a degree in English, had always been passionate about poetry and hoped to become a well-known poet. Patsy took a few classes of her own at ACC that same semester solely to inspire and support Michael in his academic endeavors.

Despite being enrolled in a local rehab program, alcohol dependency resurfaced for Michael, resulting in his death in July of 2011. Within a year of Michael’s passing, Patsy resumed classes at ACC as a means to begin her healing process.

“I was too sad to even go into ACC for a time,” Patsy says. “I thought, ‘he should be attending classes here, not me’. I had always encouraged my sons to get involved, meet friends and try new things. All of a sudden, I found it was time to follow my own advice. When I came back for the spring semester in 2012, I felt close to Michael – almost as if I could feel his presence.”

Three-and-a-half years later, during the 2015 holiday season, adversity found the Stockton family yet again. Kevin, 48 years old at the time, was diagnosed with a malignant glioblastoma brain tumor and the prognosis was grim. Patsy planned to drop her upcoming classes in the spring of 2016, but was encouraged by Kathryn Winograd to stay, hoping it would help to take her mind off of the situation.

“There are so many professors, administrators and support staff who’ve made a positive impact on my life,” says Patsy, who has also earned a Creating Writing certificate from ACC. “Kathy (Winograd), Trish Sangelo, Vic Sauber, Andrea Mason, Lindsay Lewan, Juliet Hubbell, Perri Cunningham, Elijah Dicks and C. “Noi” Watanakul just to name a few. I’ve been encouraged and supported every step of the way.”

An ongoing clinical trial has since provided Kevin with increased hope, and Patsy has remained enrolled at ACC. Semester after semester, her classes and credits have added up. Ultimately, it was one of Patsy’s academic advisors who noticed that she was approaching the necessary requirements to earn a degree.

“We figured out that a degree was well within reach, so I decided to go for it,” Patsy explains. “My original intent in resuming classes 10 years ago was to support my son, not to obtain a degree.”

On Wednesday, May 15, Patsy Stockton will walk across the Magness Arena stage during ACC’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony at the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center. Kevin and his daughters, Reilly and Paige, will be in attendance. Academically, Patsy will have earned her associate degree, but it will also signify the culmination of an inspirational journey she embarked upon out of dedication and love for Michael.

“The guidance and camaraderie I’ve found at ACC have helped me cope with the grieving process and navigate a path to a brighter tomorrow,” said Stockton, who yearns to posthumously honor Michael by publishing his collection of 400+ poems. “Finishing the degree has kept me going and given me a purpose. ACC has meant the world to me.”

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Getting Through the Stress of Finals

Students studying at tableThe end of the semester is approaching, and that means final exams are on the horizon. This can be a very stressful time for many of us, since exams often count for a significant portion of the final grade, and there’s everything else going on in our lives on top of that. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your stress levels that won’t only keep you sane; they might even help you do better on your exams. Here are some of the ways that you can reduce your stress while preparing for final exams.

Exercise

The benefits of regular exercise include strengthening your bones and muscles, managing your blood sugar and insulin levels, and reducing your risk of heart disease, to name only a few things. Did you know that exercise can also lower your stress levels? According to the Mayo Clinic, virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever, and it does this in a few ways:

  • It increases your body’s production of endorphins, which are the feel-good neurotransmitters commonly attributed to the runner’s high.
  • It causes you to concentrate on your body’s movements, driving out the thoughts that are stressing you through singular focus, similar to meditation.
  • It can increase your self-confidence, relax you, and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety, all of which will improve your mood.

If you want to use exercise as a stress reliever, the main thing is that you find an exercise that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s running, weight training, yoga, playing a sport, or even dancing, if it’s an activity that gets your body moving, it will aid in reducing the stress you’re feeling. If you’ve got the time and are on the main campus, you can visit the ACC Fitness Center in the Annex building, which has equipment that students can use for free when you swipe your student ID card.

Diet

Having a well-balanced diet, one that contains a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. While the occasional fast food outing or snack run isn’t going to ruin your diet, reaching for a cheeseburger or bag of chips might not be the best option while you’re studying. In fact, according to UCLA’s Explore Integrative Medicine site, there are certain foods and other supplements that can aid in lowering your stress levels by strengthening your immune system, stabilizing your mood, and reducing blood pressure. Here are some nutrients that can help to reduce your stress, and some foods that contain them:

  • Vitamin C – lowers your levels of cortisol (a major stress hormone) and your blood pressure during high-anxiety situations.
    • Citrus fruits, pineapple, broccoli, tomatoes.
  • Complex Carbohydrates – Increases serotonin production (which contributes to well-being and happiness) and stabilizes blood pressure.
    • Whole grains, fruits, vegetables.
  • Magnesium – Useful for avoiding headaches and fatigue, relieving premenstrual mood changes, and improving sleep quality.
    • Leafy greens, salmon, soy beans/edamame.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Reduces surges of stress hormones and promotes protection against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome.
    • Tuna, salmon, pistachios, almonds.

Some common comfort foods can also give you benefits. A bit of dark chocolate not only relieves stress, but can improve your cognitive function and mood, while oatmeal can reduce your levels of stress hormones and boost your serotonin. If you enjoy drinking tea, you can benefit from chamomile, which relieves stress-induced symptoms, mint, which relieves stress and induces calmness, and barley, which relaxes the body by improving serotonin synthesis. If you’d like to pick up a healthy snack or some tea ahead of your finals, the Espresso Yourself Café on the Main Building’s first floor offers a wide range of items that have stress-relieving benefits, and will be open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm before and during finals week.

Meditation

According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, meditation as a practice is used “for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance…and enhancing overall health and well-being.” In trials and studies, it has been determined that a particular form, mindfulness meditation, shows evidence of improving anxiety, depression, and even insomnia. Here are a couple of ways that you can practice mindfulness meditation:

  • Remain aware and present in the moment – don’t let the past or future concern you, pay attention to your current surroundings without judgment.
  • Breath awareness – take slow, deep breaths, count the number of seconds you spend breathing, and ignore any thoughts that enter your head. Focus only on your own breathing.

Meditation has an advantage in that it can be done just about anywhere, and you can employ some of the breathing techniques while you’re taking your exams. One technique, called 4-7-8 breathing, is to slowly breathe in for four seconds, hold that breath for seven seconds, and then slowly exhale for eight, and repeat at least three more times, or until you’re feeling relaxed.

Sleep

Sleep and stress both influence each other. When we get the necessary amount of restful sleep per night, our stress levels on average are lower, but when we’re stressed, it becomes harder to get that good night’s rest. On top of that, stress can lead to insomnia, further making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. So what can you do to get the sleep that will help lower your stress and get you well rested for exams? The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips:

  • Exercise – releases both physical and mental tensions. Recommended at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Downtime – avoid electronics and work-related, stimulating, or stressful activities. Do calming activities such as reading, light stretching, or listening to calming music. Recommended 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
  • Decompression techniques – deep breathing, guided imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation. Recommended five to 10 minutes before bedtime.

Other ways that you can get to sleep more easily include not eating within one to two hours before bedtime, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening, drinking herbal teas containing chamomile, valerian, or lavender, and aromatherapy.

Time Management

Between school, work, social time, and personal time, we’re trying to juggle a lot of events both in our lives and with other people’s lives, which contributes to a lot of our stress. Knowing how to effectively manage that time can help to eliminate some of that stress. The McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning at Princeton University has come up with ten principles derived from research on time management, motivation theory, and experience working with university students that can help you effectively plan out your time. Here is the abridged version:

  1. Commitment – Only schedule tasks if you’re going to do them.
  2. Pursue fun – Make time for the things you enjoy doing, and organize your academic and other obligations around those commitments to fun.
  3. Time vs. task focus – Devote time to important tasks, and set your purpose for those tasks.
  4. One thing at a time – Current research shows that what we consider to be multi-tasking is actually switching back and forth between tasks, which takes more time and energy.
  5. Block out time – Devote chunks of time to specific classes, and make those chunks a part of your regular schedule.
  6. First things first – Schedule the most important tasks to do first thing in the day, or as early as possible.
  7. Routine – With good habits in place, you don’t have to make as many hard decisions, and are less likely to make unproductive ones.
  8. Flexibility – Leave empty time slots for when your schedule changes, and schedule in recreation time.
  9. Respond vs. react – When faced with a decision to diverge from your schedule, pause and take a moment to think about it, then remember what’s most important to you and do what will help you get it.
  10. Organize your environment – Minimize distraction, maximize focus, use physical reminders, enlist the aid of friends for studying, and ask them not to call or text you when you need the time for your tasks.

Since study time should be on your agenda, here are some tips when studying for exams:

  • Review your notes often to familiarize yourself with the content.
  • Give yourself short breaks every 20-30 minutes to give your brain a chance to process the material.
  • Avoid cramming right before your exam.

Lastly, be sure to include enough time in your schedule to get to class at least five minutes early. Take into account how long your commute time is in the worst-case scenario so that you can don’t find yourself stuck on the road when your exam starts.

Whether you try one of these methods or all of them, each method has a positive influence on the effectiveness of the others, so try whichever ones fit your wants and needs and experiment. There are many other ways that you can reduce your stress as well. One such way is through the Denver Pet Partners Therapy Dog event, being held this May 6th from 11:30 – 1:30 in the library on the second floor of ACC’s main building. The library will also be offering healthy grab ‘n go snacks and extending their hours that week, giving you more opportunities to practice beneficial stress relief before finals begin.

Good luck to all of you on your exams!

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

Winners of the 2019 Writers Studio Literary Contest Announced

The Writers Studio Literary Contest is an annual contest held by the Creative Writing department at Arapahoe Community College, in conjunction with our literary and arts journal, Progenitor. While we try to advertise, we rely on word-of-mouth to keep our contest and the Writers Studio Author Series going.

The contest is competitive and open to all Colorado residents. It is $12 to submit, $8 for students. Competitive genres include fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners from a highly competitive field:
Fiction: “El Gato” by Kate Niles
Poetry: “Contact” by Heather Wheat
Creative Nonfiction: “In a Teacher’s Shoes” by ACC student Renata Dolz

The winners receive a cash prize, a Pushcart Nomination, and publication in the 2019 Progenitor, ACC’s Literary and Arts Journal.

Save the Date! The release party of the Progenitor is Tuesday, May 7th, at 3:30pm in the Colorado Gallery of Arts at ACC.

Please read below for judges’ comments. Judges’ bios and qualifications follow that.


1st place Fiction: “El Gato” by Kate Niles

Judge Christopher Merkner’s comments:
“El Gato” concludes with three striking words, which the speaker attributes to the famed American poet, May Sarton: “Let me in.” This request, this beseeching, this imperative is just a lovely way to end any story, honestly, but it is particularly meaningful in this powerful slice-of-life story of humanity’s inability to fully connect or know itself or its world. In eight deft, gorgeously shaped pages, “El Gato” brings us intimately close to the American West, to American history, to American industry and capitalism, to an American disconnect with its people — and somehow this story manages to do this all through one sad and sick and dying cat who prowls through the lives of this story’s characters. It’s a remarkable feat to use an animal so wisely, so strategically, in short fiction, and the speaker of the story seems to fully understand this. She sees — as the author must — the sick and dying cat in all of us, as we desperately seek to be let into the lives of others, and as we hope that others will ask us to let them into our own.

Kate Niles Bio: I live in Durango, CO and hold an MFA from Vermont College. I’ve published two novels, a book of poetry, and numerous pieces in magazines throughout the country. I am the recipient of the Colorado Individual Artist Fellowship and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award for fiction.


1st place Poetry: “Contact” by Heather Wheat

Judge Joe Hutchison’s (Colorado’s Poet Laureate) comments:
“Contact” presents a mildly dramatic external situation—a mother (the poem’s speaker) giving her daughter cosmetic assistance by stripping hair off of the girl’s upper lip—alongside the mother’s intense inner drama. The inner drama keeps pulling the mother out of the physically and emotionally painful present into even more painful moments in her past. These flashbacks illuminate the present pain and hint at a larger reality: the fact that the daughter, like the trees the mother sees out the window at the end, is beginning to bloom. The blooming is both painful and beautiful, and so is the poem.

Heather Wheat’s Bio: 
Heather Wheat is a mother, wife, daughter, writer, teacher, book-lover, reader. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Long Exposure Magazine, on GFT Press’s “Ground Fresh Thursday” web series, in GFT Press: One in Four, and in Broad! Magazine; her other work and essays are on BUST.com, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, in Richmond Magazine, and on The Washington Post’s education blog.


1st Place Creative Nonfiction: “In a Teacher’s Shoes” by Renata Dolz

Judge Steven Dunn’s comments:
To quote the story: “Here is the joy of teaching interspersed with equal parts pain and frustration.” The narrator accomplishes this through the use of the first-person-present tense, which places the reader in “real-time” so we can feel the joys and frustrations without the filter of rose-colored wise retrospection. We are in the mess, at the moment, just like the teacher. Another aspect I appreciate about this story, is that the narrator isn’t as important as the students—the students share the space on the page as they would in the classroom. In this way, this story and the narrator doesn’t feel the need to center themselves and/or their whiteness in such an ethnically and racially diverse classroom. This story is not the same old white-savior teacher narratives we’ve seen so much of over the decades. Such a joy to read for its personal and political intimacies. Thank you for your service, honor, and vulnerability.

Renata Dolz’s Bio: Renata (ACC student) is a mother of two college-aged daughters, a former marketing executive, artist and writer who believes in the power of the written word to inspire, teach and heal. 

Her piece, “In a Teacher’s Shoes”, was prompted by a recent, first-time experience as a guest teacher in a Title 1 DPS school – during the recent teacher’s strike. It is her belief that no one – be they a parent, a state representative or administrator, can fully appreciate the challenges and educational needs of our public schools until they have walked in a teacher’s shoes.


JUDGES

The judges for each genre, listed below, were also presenters at ACC’s Literary Festival, “A Day with Denver’s Stalwarts and Rising Stars,” which took place on Saturday, April 13th.

Fiction Judge: Chris Merkner

Christopher Merkner is the author of the story collection The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic, winner of the Colorado Book Award 2015 (editor’s note: and also—hilarious). His stories have been reprinted in the O. Henry Prize Stories and Best American Mystery Stories anthologies, and most recently in the W.W. Norton anthology, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction. Merkner is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver.

Creative Nonfiction Judge: Steven Dunn

Steven Dunn is the author of the novels Potted Meat (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2016) and water & power (Tarpaulin Sky 2018). He was born and raised in West Virginia, and after 10 years in the Navy, he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

Some of his work can be found in Columbia Journal, Granta Magazine, and Best Small Fictions 2018.

Steven is integral to Denver’s writing community, highlighted by his reading series, The Art of Storytelling at Prodigy Coffeehouse. Mr. Dunn is also a member of Mile High MFA’s faculty.

Poetry Judge: Joe Hutchison

Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate (2014-July 2019), is the author of 17 poetry collections, including The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015; Eyes of the Cuervo/Ojos del Crow (a bilingual limited edition), and a collection of three longish historical narrative poems entitled Marked Men. He has edited three poetry anthologies, translated the flash fiction of Mexico City author Miguel Lupián, and published poems, fiction (short and flash), creative nonfiction, and literary essays in over 100 journals in five countries. At the University of Denver’s University College, he directs two Master’s programs, Professional Creative Writing and Arts & Culture Management. A native of Denver, Joe lives in the mountains southwest of the city with his wife, Iyengar yoga instructor Melody Madonna.

by Jamey Trotter

Take Advantage of Summer Classes

woman working at computerWe’re intimately familiar with taking classes from the fall through spring. For most of us, this has been the way we’ve gone to school since we were children, and most likely, you looked forward to the summer break eagerly. It was the time where many of us were free of the obligations of homework and were able to pursue our own interests, whether it was group activities, hanging out with friends, relaxing at home with a video game, movie, or book, or for anyone at least aged 16, starting your first job to earn some spending money. For many students though, summer was a time to take extra classes.

There are many reasons why we might have taken summer classes in high school: improving our grades, taking specialized classes, and very commonly now, to prepare for college. These are valid reasons at the high school level, but why should you take summer classes at the college level? Unlike high school, in college we have greater flexibility in choosing which classes we take, and when we want to take them. So let’s examine some of the advantages of spending time in the classroom during the summer.

  1. Spread the workload

    If you’re planning to get through school in the 2- to 4-year time frame, that means you have to average 15 credits a semester; in other words, up to five classes per. But let’s say you take two of those classes during the summer? That would reduce your average semester workload by a fifth, giving you more time to study for the other four classes and potentially increasing your grade in those classes, which can open the way to GPA-based scholarships and grants. More free time during regular semesters also means more opportunities to earn income, if you’re working while attending school.

  1. Earn your degree faster

    This is not an undertaking to be taken lightly; summer classes are typically shorter than fall and spring classes, but they also contain the same amount of course work. However, for dedicated students working to get their Associate of Applied Science degrees to enter the workforce, taking summer courses on top of a regular class load can potentially let them graduate a semester early. This means more time spent in the profession of your choosing, leading to greater opportunities for advancing your career.

  1. Save some money

    If you’re attending a 4-year university, you know that the cost of classes is much higher than attending a community college. Fortunately, earned credits can transfer, and with Colorado Guaranteed Transfer Courses, summer courses at a community college can also be a great way to take care of your general education classes while spending less at your home institution. As an added advantage, this allows you to focus more time on the courses related to your major while you’re at university.

Whether you’re going to a 2- or 4-year institution, attending college is a great way to advance your career and your life, and summer classes are one of the ways to help you do this. If you’re interested in taking summer classes at ACC, registration opened March 26 for Maymester, 8-week, and 10-week classes.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

BAS in Emergency Service Administration – A Student Perspective

Conner Cunningham and familyWhy did you decide on the BAS in ESA?

To me, choosing a BAS in Emergency Service Administration was a no brainer. I had just completed my AAS in Criminal Justice and one of my instructors informed me the ESA program was starting this semester. I looked into the program and decided it would help me reach my career goals. With the Emergency Service field being one of the most competitive, and I think having a degree in leadership, management will set me apart from other candidates for new positions or promotions.

Why did you choose ACC?

I actually graduated from high school early in 2011 and went to school in Utah. After a year, I took an academic deferment to serve a religious mission in Romania. When I got home I thought I’d move back to Utah. Instead, I asked a girl I met abroad to marry me and she said yes. Naturally, my education was placed on the back burner.

In 2016 we decided I needed to go back to school so I could pursue a career in Law Enforcement. The only catch was I couldn’t attend class on campus since I was working full-time. I scouted several colleges across the Denver metro area and settled on ACC because of its low cost tuition, numerous online programs and scholarship opportunities.

What do you want to do after you get your Bachelor’s degree?

After I finish my Bachelor’s degree I plan on applying for positions in the FBI or DEA. I speak Romanian fluently and there are field offices for government bureaus in Bucharest. I hope my education, professional experience and linguistics skills can land me the job. If that falls through, I want to promote to supervisory levels at my current agency and work on an impact or cyber-crime team.

What do you like most about the program?

My favorite part of the program is the diversity among classmates and courses. Unlike other programs which are targeted towards a niche group of academics, i.e. Literature, Chemistry, Economics, Political Science, Aquatic Macramé, Emergency Service Administration covers all facets of the field including Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, Disaster Preparation and Response, National Park Services, Corrections, etc. This means that courses are sprinkled with Firefighters, Police Officers, Nurses and EMTs resulting in proactive discussions and interesting, challenging assignments.

Are you able to find a balance between school and those other priorities?

So far, I have been able to balance school with family, work and hobbies. The course load can be extensive at times, but this isn’t my first rodeo and I know how to budget my time. Also, most of the concepts I’m learning are applicable to my current work assignment so I’m enthusiastic about learning and completing the courses.

Would you recommend the program to others and why/why not?

I highly recommend this program to anyone who plans on, or is currently working in, Emergency Services. I know from personal experience that in the 11th hour you can end up being the most senior team member or heading a special assignment when your direct supervisor isn’t around. This program teaches you the necessary skills to take on an active leadership role when the position is thrust upon you or you’ve been managing employees for years.

Learn more about ACC’s BAS in Emergency Service Administration at our BAS Open House & Celebration on Thursday, April 4th from 5-7pm in the Summit Room at the Littleton Campus. You’ll also have a chance at a $1000 scholarship just for attending.

by Conner Cunningham, ACC Student

Celebrating Open Education Week

OE Week conversation cartoonMarch 4-8 is Open Education Week, a week to celebrate open educational resources, tools, and practices that embrace the spirit of open sharing and open access to education worldwide.

Student Government, our ACC Library and Learning Commons, and our Open Educational Resources (OER) Committee are joining together to celebrate Open Education and spread the word about Open Educational Resources (OER) across campus.

What are Open Educational Resources?

According to the Hewlett Foundation, “Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”

OER materials are available through several respected repositories. One of the best known sources for OER is OpenStax at Rice University in Texas. OpenStax publishes peer-reviewed, open-license textbooks that are free and accessible. Another source for open, peer-reviewed textbooks is SUNY Textbooks (OST) from the State University of New York (SUNY); OST offers peer-reviewed, open texts that can be easily adopted and customized. British Columbia offers  BCcampus OpenEd, which has 270 open, customizable resources available on their site. The materials available through these repositories have a Creative Commons License that allows for open use. For more information, please check out our ACC OER  Research Guide.

Open Educational Resources (OER) save students money on textbooks, increase textbook usage, and support inclusivity since OER materials are fully accessible. OER materials are up-to-date and designed specifically for a course, so they are engaging and help promote student success!

According to a study of 32 community colleges by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit network of leaders in community college reform, students found OER textbooks “accessible, relevant and engaging.”

Student Government is sponsoring info tables about OER during Open Education Week. Also look for a video in D2L in which students talk about their experiences and enthusiasm for classes using OER.

by Josie Mills, ACC Associate Vice President for Instruction

ACC Alumnus Jordan Vigil

Jordan VigilFormer PTK student continues to Move Mountains

ACC alumnus Jordan Vigil, who recently graduated from MSU Denver, amassed a 4.0 GPA and was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Business Management Student award while earning his bachelor’s degree.

Vigil, who has persevered with his educational journey despite living with the challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome, was a standout member of ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from 2013-14.

He also received the Pinnacol Foundation’s Academic Excellence award during his undergraduate career, and is now working at Computershare and Kumon learning center (Highlands Ranch – East).

“Jordan was a wonderful student during his time at ACC,” stated ACC Business Faculty Denise Lefort, who was one of Vigil’s instructors during the fall 2013 semester.  “His success is a result of perseverance and hard work, and I’m confident that he’ll continue to flourish in his future endeavors.”

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

My Experience as an ACC Student

ACC main building - Littleton CampusTwo years ago, I came to this beautiful state (Colorado) in the United States of America from my home country, Nepal. I did my Master’s in Medical Microbiology from Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu Nepal. As I was new to this state, I started search for a job opportunity. During my search online, I found a Medical Laboratory Technology course at Arapahoe Community College which I found related to my subject. Then, I applied for the MLT program, but I needed to do prerequisites for this program to fulfill its criteria. From there, I started my journey at Arapahoe Community College to complete my prerequisite courses. In January 2018, I started studying here and now my prerequisites are almost complete. After completing all my prerequisites, I will be applying for the MLT program next year. Hopefully, I will get admission and pursue my dream in the field of medicine.

In my opinion, Arapahoe Community College is great college to pursue education for a student like me, as I was new for this country with a completely different background. The best thing I like about this college is its friendly and very cooperative environment. I found all instructors and students are welcoming and helpful in all possible ways. Whenever, I get stuck in anything, I can openly ask for help without any hesitation. Similarly, the instruction at ACC is very fruitful, as the study pattern focuses on both theoretical and practical knowledge. Personally, I have improved a lot and learned many new things during my course of study.

While analyzing the difference between online and face-to face courses, as per my experience, I found both courses have their pros and cons. In online courses pros are in its flexibility with time and accessibility whenever we want. Whereas cons are not getting a response of our queries in real time and lack of peer interaction. Similarly, in face-to-face courses, the pros are that we can asks questions to our instructor in real time and can discuss the course-related problem with peers. Whereas, cons are it takes lot time for traveling. So, it all depends on us what course will be manageable in a particular time according to our needs.

Overall, as an Arapahoe Community College student, I have had a wonderful learning experience and feel proud  to be part of this prestigious institution.

by Nabina Jha, ACC student