ACC 2016-17 Student of the Year – Leah Porter

Leah PorterEarlier this spring, Arapahoe Community College student Leah Porter was selected as one of 15 nationwide Guistwhite Scholars by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement, leadership accomplishments and engagement in PTK programs. It proved to be just one of a multitude of accolades that the Malaysian native would garner during a decorated 2016-17 academic year at ACC.

Porter initially arrived in Colorado in 2001, but spent the majority of the ensuing six years traveling in and out of the country before returning to Denver as a permanent U.S. resident in 2007. She has lived in Israel, Singapore, Czech Republic (Prague) and Puerto Rico, and is fluent in five languages. However, when she enrolled at ACC in 2014, her written English and math (logarithms) competencies were not yet at the college level. Language barriers were frustrating and rendered prerequisite courses challenging. Porter, however, persevered through the adversity and was encouraged to apply for the ACC Sales Club Scholarship by Dr. Jim Boespflug while taking his Business Law class. Much to her surprise, she was selected as the recipient.

“Winning the scholarship really woke me up,” explained Porter. “It invigorated me, and I realized that I wanted more from my college experience. In fact, it motivated me to apply for an officer position in ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of PTK.”

She has become accustomed to overcoming obstacles, but none may be greater than the cultural adversity she has – and continues – to contend with. Porter, however, knew the path she wanted to travel, and began a new journey three years ago. Her goal: an associate degree and “cerebral” career.

“There is a socioeconomic demographic of women in Malaysia who are discouraged from advancing their intellect,” expressed Porter. “There is, unfortunately, a stigma that exists within my family because of the choices I’ve made to pursue my education.”

The President of Sigma Phi, Porter garnered Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar recognition earlier this spring. She is ACC Student Government’s representative on the State Student Advisory Committee (SSAC), as well as the student representative on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Porter earned Distinguished Officer acclaim at this year’s PTK Colorado/Wyoming Spring Regional Convention and was named to the PTK All-Colorado Academic Team in March. In 2016, she attended the PTK Honors Institute, served as Sigma Phi Vice President (Honors in Action Project), attended the Emily Griffith Symposium and founded ACC’s first student book club. Porter has also served on the President’s Student Advisory Council and Diversity Committee.

“My experience at ACC has been so valuable. The integrated, institution-wide support at the College has enabled me to establish not just my educational pathway, but confidence in myself,” said Porter. “The faculty and staff, as well as the opportunities, at ACC are amazing. My educational journey extends beyond just my life. ACC has helped change the lives of my daughters, who now have college aspirations.”

Porter has moved mountains at ACC with great fervor, and she approaches each challenge as an opportunity to expand her horizons. Her global voyages have since subsided, but her academic endeavors are well underway. She has been named ACC’s 2016-17 Student of the Year and will serve as one of three student speakers at the College’s 50th commencement on May 10 when she graduates with her associate degree in Business Administration. Porter, who plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, wants to attain a career in higher education, serving as an advocate for aspiring female students both locally and around the world.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Alumni Spotlight: Oliver Brainerd

ACC Alumnus Oliver Brainerd – From the ACC Faculty and Staff Perspective

by Monica Fuglei, Debra Goldberg, Juliet Hubbell, and Josie Mills

FROM PROFESSOR MONICA FUGLEI

ACC Alumnus Oliver Brainerd

ACC Alumnus Oliver Brainerd

It’s been nearly two years since Oliver Brainerd graduated from ACC, but many of his instructors can still remember him fondly. I think my first encounter with Oliver was in a summer Introduction to Creative Writing class, and he quickly became an active presence on campus, taking a wide variety of ACC classes, working with Phi Theta Kappa, and serving in the Student Success Center as a peer tutor. Oliver may have graduated, but in some ways he’s still around: I assign an article he wrote about writing for my Introduction to Composition students to read. He jokes he’s creating a career in reverse: not famous, yet, but being taught in schools. He is currently shopping his novel and continues to write short fiction as well. Recently, he has begun working on a project called Sobremesa. This will be a multimedia publishing engine that includes writing, podcasts, and even videos. Sobremesa is a Spanish word that, roughly translated, means conversation after dinner, and Oliver envisions this project as a curated space that would allow people to take part in larger conversations about academics, culture, or the world at large as well as sharing new creative writing and essays.

Any instructor or student interested in contributing to Sobremesa is welcome to contact Oliver via email or visit the Sobremesa page.

FROM PROFESSOR JOSIE MILLS

A couple weeks before the semester began in the summer of 2012, I got a call from one Oliver Brainerd very politely introducing himself and telling me he would be a student in my English 121 class. Only a few times in the 25 years I’ve been teaching have I received a call of introduction prior to the semester. I pictured Oliver Brainerd as an older man with little round glasses and a bow tie, an upstanding traditionalist who had a special penchant for writing. Only the last part turned out to be the case. Instead, day one of my class in walked Oliver, a friendly young man with hair down to his waist, in no way a conventional guy except in his love of standard English grammar and good writing. Oliver knew his way around a comma like no one else—we would together debate the merits of a parenthetical comma before certain restrictive and non-restrictive phrases. Oliver had great ideas including a plan to bring poetry to local coffee houses. He was a strong writer, an engaging presenter, and a great student. The following semester, Oliver started tutoring English in our Student Success Center, and I was so glad I could refer students to him by name when they needed a little extra help on a paper. Oliver went on to become a professional writer, and I’m so excited for his success.

FROM DEBRA GOLDBERG, DIRECTOR OF THE STUDENT SUCCESS CENTER

For three years, Oliver Brainerd served as one of my most talented Peer Tutors here in ACC’s Student Success Center. He specialized in composition, literature, communication, philosophy, and business. Oliver was an incredible asset to students as he provided a variety of learning strategies, study techniques, and other resources they needed to be successful in their courses. He is an enthusiastic learner who relishes the challenge of understanding difficult material in order to help others. Oliver made sure students did not just memorize facts, but more importantly, understood the concepts. His incentive to work as a tutor comes from a strong desire to help others see their potential and give them insight into new ways to approach problems in learning and life. His compassionate nature, remarkable creativity, and insightful sense of humor made him an outstanding student and role model to everyone he encountered.

FROM PROFESSOR JULIET HUBBELL

Oliver was in my Brit Lit course, and he always had tremendously fresh and insightful remarks to make about works that were over 200 and 300 years old. His writing reflected this distinct and almost quirky view of classic works, and it made the entire class sit up and take notice of what might otherwise have been a dry or flat text. Even more importantly, Oliver always listened carefully to his classmates’ remarks and would take a few moments to reflect on them and later respond with a thoughtful and expansive comment. A young man with long hair (at least back then) disguising a totally plugged-in intellectual.

Discover Healthcare Career Opportunities

Past ACC Healthcare Career Day event.

Past ACC Healthcare Career Day event.

Jobs. We all have to have one, but who wants just a job? Who doesn’t long for a career which not only pays the bills, but also gives us a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing that we made a difference in the lives of those we have touched? While there are many such career options available, for a fantastic group of people, the answer to such a yearning is found in healthcare careers. One would be hard pressed to find an industry as varied, with as many options, and which provides such a strong impact on the lives of all people as the healthcare industry.

Coming out of the worst economic recession in recent history, where many people were forced to scramble for a job which could just see them through the worst of the recession, many people are now looking to rebuild a new career, which can provide not only satisfaction, but stability. It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing and most stable today, and has been for quite some time. In fact, the healthcare industry was one of the few which seems to have been largely unaffected by the recession. Additionally, the healthcare industry as a whole will see continued growth well into 2022, with a projected growth of 29%, adding 5 million jobs, in contrast with the 11% growth of other sectors, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. These jobs are not just confined to doctors, and nurses, but include all realms of the industry, including support staff, billing, health and wellness, laboratory, physical therapy, pharmacy, in-home care givers, CNAs, and paramedicine – especially in light of the Affordable Care Act and in large part due to the increasing number of aging U.S. citizens.

With these factors, it is no wonder why so many people think about getting into a career in healthcare. Whether you are currently working in the field or know someone who is, a current student in a healthcare degree program, or just thinking about a career in healthcare, the Arapahoe Community College Healthcare Career Day offers solutions for your needs. Leading area employers will be available to discuss current opportunities during the career fair. Representatives from Arapahoe Community College as well as four-year universities offering advanced and dual enrollment healthcare programs will be available to discuss educational options necessary to land one of these excellent opportunities. Scholarship and financial aid representatives will be present to discuss options for financing your education; and job search, resume, and interviewing assistance will be available to all job seekers who want a leg up on the competition!

This event is brought to you free of charge by the Arapahoe Community College Career and Transfer Center, and is open to all current Arapahoe Community College students and alumni, as well as future students, and the community at large! With so much to gain and nothing to lose, come and explore your options for a bright, stable, and rewarding career in the healthcare industry on Wednesday, November 4th, from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at Arapahoe Community College! 

The Healthcare Career Day not only gives you an incredible opportunity to explore a variety of healthcare professions right on your own college campus. It can also motivate you to prepare for the job application process, because you don’t want to walk into the fair empty-handed! Whether you are simply exploring your options, considering internships, or applying for a specific position, this is your chance to ensure that your resume and cover letter are polished and ready to present to potential employers. The career counselors in the Career and Transfer Center can help you create, edit, and finalize these critically important documents before you attend the Healthcare Fair. It is essential to work on your resume and cover letter well in advance of the fair so that you can produce quality products. Take advantage of our services, which are free and accessible to all ACC students and alumni! Either make an individual appointment to see a career counselor or visit us during our walk-in hours. It is best if you bring your laptop or thumb drive with your files on it so that we can work on everything during our meeting. On the day of the fair, make sure to come with plenty of copies of your resume and cover letter to hand out to potential employers as you meet with them.

The Healthcare Career Day is also an opportunity to make an outstanding impression on potential employers through physical presentation and professional, informed interactions with the people you meet. Even if you aren’t fully ready to apply for open positions, it is a chance to build your network, practice your interviewing skills, and pitch your 30 second commercial. What is a 30 second commercial, also known as the “elevator pitch”? Similar to your resume, cover letter, and eventual interview, the 30 second commercial is a marketing tool, and the subject you are selling is YOU – your experience, personal characteristics, education, skills, and strengths as they pertain to the position you are seeking. It is a short but densely packed explanation of who you are professionally that you can deliver quickly and confidently when you meet someone who could potentially hire you or connect you to someone who can. You can use your 30 second commercial anywhere you think you have a chance at a job lead – career fair, networking event, chance meeting in an elevator, even a family gathering. It is critical to prepare and practice this before you start using it, so that you feel confident and energized when you meet with and present yourself to people. There are multiple ways to approach the 30 second commercial, but a simple rubric you can follow is provided here:

I am a _____________________________________________________________________
(Professional identity:  i.e. recent physical therapist assistant graduate, medical office technology professional, etc.)

With demonstrated skills/experience in 3-4 areas related to the target position:
1.
2.
3.

In: (industries:  higher education, public, private sector)

I bring strengths in:
1.
2.
3.

Close strong
“I am seeking an entry level accounting position in the health care industry. Do you know of any opportunities that might be a good fit? Do you have any suggestions of who I might speak with about career opportunities?”

Finally, dress smart, as if you are walking into an interview. It is not uncommon for students to be interviewed on the spot by the employer, so be ready for anything! If you look and act the part you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And, be sure to peruse all the employers at the fair if you can, and not just one or two. You never know what you might discover, because when you approach an event like this with confidence, determination, and an open mind, anything is possible!

Build Your Future – Transfer Tips and Resources

Have you considered where you will transfer?

It is never too early to start researching 4-year universities! Exploring your options earlier will help you make educated choices about your classes here at ACC. Take time to consider what you are looking for in a 4-year institution. Check out the list below to help determine what factors are important to you when it comes to picking the right university for you!

Examples of Factors to Consider When Researching Schools

  • Program of Study – Consider if the college offers programs that will help you achieve your career goals.
  • School Size – Would you prefer a large or small school?
  • Class Size – How large do you like your classes to be?
  • Support Programs – Does the college offer programs to help you stay in school?
  • Transfer of Credit – How will my community college credits transfer?
  • City and Neighborhood – Do you prefer a city or a small town?
  • Campus Culture – When visiting each college, get a feel for its personality?  Does it match yours?
  • Distance from Home – How close would you like to live to your family?
  • Extracurricular Activities – Do you have activities in your life that you can’t live without?
  • Religious Affiliation – Depending on your religious beliefs, you may be interested in looking at a college affiliated with your religious background.
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) – While a college may appear more expensive, what will the final cost be after receiving financial aid and scholarships?
  • Financial Aid Options – Does the college have special financial aid options to help you pay for college?  Payment plans? Guaranteed COA?
  • Outside Learning Opportunities – Does the college offer internships, externships, study abroad opportunities or service learning opportunities?

Things to Consider When Transferring to a 4 Year School

  • Understand all applicable dates and deadlines.
  • Transferring mid-year can result in less financial aid and fewer course choices.
  • Completing your associates degree has benefits:
  • ACC may have a guaranteed transfer degree or a transfer agreement in your area of study.
  • Less expensive in the long run to finish your associates degree before transferring.
  • Credits completed at an institution of higher education in the state of Colorado are good for 10 years.
  • Students must earn a ‘C’ or better for courses to be accepted for transfer.

Are you ready to learn more about your transfer opportunities?

Join us for the Fall Transfer Fair on Tuesday, October 20, from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. Visit with over 35 local and national universities to learn more about their programs and how your credits may transfer.

Come get transfer information, free pizza, and try your luck at the prize wheel!

List of attending colleges
Transfer Fair flyer
Other upcoming Transfer events, sponsored by the Transfer Club:
MSU-Denver Lunch & Learn
Oct. 28, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
2nd Floor Lounge – Main Building, ACC-Littleton Campus
Join us for lunch and an information session about the transfer process.  Hear from a panel of students who transferred from ACC and other institutions to MSU Denver. (Lunch provided.)

Colorado School of Mines Campus Visit
Nov. 13, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tour Mines and listen to an advising information session. Meet at ACC at 9:45 a.m. to carpool. Advanced RSVP required.
Contact Rae Brendecke at rae.brendecke@arapahoe.edu, 303.797.5705 to RSVP by 11/10.

For more information on any of these events, or to request accommodations, contact Rae Brendecke at rae.brendecke@arapahoe.edu, 303.797.5705.