Move Mountains with the First-Year Experience Program at ACC

Arapahoe Community College is the perfect place to begin moving mountains with your academic and career goals. The ACC First-Year Experience program (FYE at ACC) is designed to help new students – those attending college for the first time – succeed with their higher education aspirations.

FYE at ACC is comprised of the Summer Bridge program, New Student Orientation, academic planning & career assessment, our AAA 101 Student Experience course, and attendance at a student engagement series event.

Summer Bridge is ACC’s way to connect future ACC students to campus resources. Targeted at recently-graduated high school students, this program includes a week of activities, instruction and information critical to college success. Summer Bridge is free of charge and includes lunch each day.

New student orientation will speed the transition to college by providing the information and resources needed to begin classes at ACC. Students learn how to be successful while setting long-term college goals and structuring their class schedule with our academic advisors.

AAA 101 introduces students to college culture and success strategies through a series of interactive classes. The course covers soft and hard skills necessary for students to be successful during their college career.

“It is amazing to see the growth of students from day one, to the last day of class,” said Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager and AAA 101 instructor. “They come away from the course with tools and knowledge that will last a lifetime.”

We recognize that everything college-related won’t be covered in a classroom. That’s where the student engagement series comes in. These face-to-face activities are designed to help students get on track and stay on track, while making college connections. Events range from financial aid workshops to academic planning to personal budgeting.

“The First-Year Experience program is very helpful,” stated ACC student Briana Pham. “Especially for students who may be undecided about what they want to do.”

ACC provides an affordable education (lowest tuition among state-funded schools) with instructors who are experts in their field. We offer seven degree and certificate pathways, and over 200 online classes. Small class sizes at ACC allow students to receive individual attention, and we’re close to home with campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock.

Connect with ACC and begin your journey today. Stop by the Littleton campus Welcome Center or contact our enrollment specialists at / 303.797.5637.

 by Jeff Duggan (ACC Communications Coordinator), Stuart Boyd (ACC Student Engagement Coordinator) and Karen Browning (ACC Marketing Project Manager)

Why I Attend ACC and Joined Phi Theta Kappa

Camila Monroe, ACC studentNowadays, we hear everywhere about the importance of diversity; community colleges are the most diverse academic population anyone will be able to find. A quick walk around our school will illustrate that: we find overachieving high schoolers, coming back students, young adults pursuing a new career, international students, Hispanics, people of color, LGBTQ activists, Republicans and Democrats, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers…and the list goes on. The differences in backgrounds, race, gender, political affiliation and age make community colleges the environment that we would like to see along the streets. It’s an environment where all of that diversity comes together to learn. Of course big universities might also offer that variety, but in community colleges that is a sure thing; one of the reasons is that nearly every person can afford that kind of education.

Which brings me to another point: we are at school because we want to – not because our parents do. We sign up for classes because we truly expect to learn, and to apply that obtained knowledge as soon as possible, whether it is towards a job or higher levels of education. We are goal-oriented students, and we will persevere in the journey towards that goal.

I joined PTK to become the VP of Honors in Action (HiA), a position that combined two things that I have a passion for: research and community service. I started my project that summer, and I have learned and grew so much ever since. I have had experiences with community service and journalism back in my home country of Brazil, doing something similar in a completely different language and culture was beyond challenging. But I succeeded, and as a consequence I started to engage more and more every day.

The success of that project made me thirsty for more; more friends than those amazing ones I had met at PTK, more outreach of my ideas on how we could improve our community, more ways to be part of my school beyond showing up and getting good grades. After my award-winning HiA, I joined many clubs, became a chemistry, biology and economics tutor at ACC, joined the Colorado Space Grant Program, and, finally, became president of student government and of our PTK chapter. I believe PTK is not only for those who were born ready, who had all resources available; it is also an honor society for those who overcame obstacles, who do not ignore, but recognize and even celebrate their imperfections. Those are the hard-working students, who understand that a leader is not born, but built, slowly, as a consequence of the never-ending process of bettering ourselves.

by Camila Monroe

The time to plan your transfer is NOW!

Fall Transfer Fair 2017 bannerSo you think you might transfer? I talk to students all the time who say they’re interested in transferring, but they don’t want to start planning. Not yet. Not now. They don’t have time to think about it now, or plan for it now, and decide on it now. But…what if you don’t have time not to plan now?! Students who plan their transfer from the beginning are more likely to experience a smooth, seamless transfer. Ask yourself the questions below to get yourself off to a great start here at ACC and beyond.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is your career path? Decide whether you’d like to pursue a Liberal Arts & Sciences degree (such as English, Biology, or Psychology) versus an engineering, nursing, business, music or computer science degree. The earlier you decide your path, the more time and money you can save!
  • What is your timeline? Determine when you will complete your Associate’s degree and when you plan to transfer to a 4-year institution.
  • How will your credits transfer? Meet with your 2-year advisor and an Admissions Counselor at the school of your choice to understand how your credits will transfer from the 2-year program to your school of choice.

Learn about the transfer process  – NOW!

Want to know more about how your credits will transfer? Want to learn about the admissions process and financial aid process at the 4-year university? Get answers to these questions at the upcoming FALL TRANSFER FAIR! Wednesday, October 4th from 10:30am – 1:30pm in the Summit Room of the Littleton campus.

by Shari Culver, ACC Career and Transfer Counselor

In Phi Theta Kappa your potential is limitless

Tasha EsteinIf you catch a bee in glass, you’ll find the bee will hit the top of the glass a few times–trying to fly away–before stopping. If you take that same glass and flip it right side up (without removing the bee), you’ll find that the bee won’t try to fly away any more. In fact, it’s usually quite a while before the bee even realizes that he can fly to reach his full potential. We, as humans, create these same kinds of limitations for ourselves every day. We see how expansive the sky appears to be, but because we have fumbled along the way a few times and hit the glass– maybe because we were under-prepared, were told that we couldn’t do better, or it simply wasn’t the right time – we think of that small, limited glass as our best lot in life. I’m here to help you realize that the sky is the limit – there are no glass limitations except those that you set for yourself. Phi Theta Kappa can help actualize that.

For those of you that know me, hi! For those that do not, I’m Tasha Estein – Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Phi chapter’s historian for this year. I have a secret to share with you all: I’m completely mediocre. I didn’t learn how to read until I was almost 10 years old. I had to retake my senior year of high school. And I had to wait seven years just to get into community college. I have fallen more times than I can count and I have fallen harder than I ever thought I could recover from.

When I started classes at ACC last fall, if you asked me then where I thought I would be in a year’s time–I would have had very low expectations for myself. I came to this school wanting to be invisible: to get my credits and go. I never expected to do anything that I would be proud of, and I certainly didn’t expect to be in a position where people would care who I was. In this last year, however, I have won several awards, been selected for noteworthy positions, and accomplished many things that anyone would be proud of. I will not bother you with the boring specifics, but to give you a bit of perspective: this time last week I was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida working with NASA scientists and 40 exceptional community college students from all over the US. The real kick that I get out of those community college students? Almost all of them were Phi Theta Kappa members and some of them are even intending to run for an International Office for next year. This trend is not limited to NASA either.

Over the past year, I have attend many events, always with a large variety of students. But almost always I have found that the most exceptional people are involved with PTK. And while there are successful students outside of PTK, this organization is a culmination of the best and brightest. Why? Because if you are reading this, you have already proved to be a hardworking individual. If you are reading this, you know that PTK has something important to give to you: the ability to go farther than you ever thought you could go before–a means of becoming the person that you were meant to be.

Although we all have different backgrounds and come from different walks of life, we have joined here because deep down we want to strive for greatness. Perhaps, some of you have already realized it or perhaps some of you are where I was a year ago–when I thought I wouldn’t amount to anything. No matter where you are, it’s important to remember that you will get what you give. If you are willing to work like you did to get to this point the only way out is up. From working with PTK I have gained confidence, found life changing opportunities, made friends and memories, and had a blast while doing it.

I want to personally encourage you to learn more about Sigma Phi. You have reached the edge of the glass. From here, you only need to remember to fly. I can’t wait to see where we will go from here. Thank you.

by Tasha Estein, ACC Student

“Plunking” with ACC President Diana Doyle

Several times each month, Arapahoe Community College President Dr. Diana Doyle embarks upon her “plunking” rounds; heading out amongst the students to talk with them about their paths to ACC, experiences at the College, and aspirations for the future.

What a great start we’ve had to the new academic year. One of the enjoyable aspects of beginning a new year is getting to meet some of the first-time students at ACC. They come to us from diverse backgrounds, with varied goals for attending our college. What they do have in common is a desire to attain their career goals, increase their personal development, and improve their future lives. I always admire their enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity to be successful. It’s my pleasure to share just a sampling of some of the inspiring new students at ACC.

Susan, in her mid-30s, is attending college for the first time. Having had her children early in life, she says they are now all in school so it’s time for her to attend school, too! She wants to serve as a positive role model for them by completing an associate degree and then going on for a bachelor’s degree, hopefully in one of the business areas.

Jim is an 18-year-old skateboarder from Parker who is the first in his family to attend college. He hopes to start his own business someday and knows that he has a lot to learn about how to get there successfully. A social guy, he likes that ACC already has had some student activities and events this term.

Sarina took a year off after graduating high school to work in a clothing store. She quickly realized that she wants more for herself in the future, and is excited to be enrolled at ACC. She exclaims, “It’s a new beginning for me!”

Byron describes himself as “just an average guy who is an average student”. He knows that in order to reach his goal of becoming a scientist, he needs to be a better student – and that’s why he came to ACC.

All students at ACC, whether new or returning, have a compelling story about where they’ve come from and where they hope to be someday. Each of them has individual reasons for selecting ACC as the college to help them with that journey.

by Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D., President, Arapahoe Community College

Guest Blog: Top 6 Tips to Stay Focused During Finals Week

ACC student studying in the student lounge.

During finals week, the tension on campus is palpable. It’s like each student’s mind is somewhere else – reviewing lessons, memorizing vocabulary, problem solving – and most people are locked down at the library or in their rooms squeezing the most out of their study time.

With so much weighing on exam results, it’s easy to get lost studying and become overwhelmed by how much needs to be done. Too much stress, however, can affect memory recall and make it harder to learn. High levels of anxiety can cause you to “freeze” and make you unable to concentrate. To stay focused during finals week, follow these six tips that cover your mind, body, environment, and studying.

Tip 1: Take care of your mind with a three-minute meditation

Find a few minutes to shut off your mind and meditate. Need a reason why? Here are several: meditating can increase your focus by ten times and help lead to 75% less depression, 30% less anxiety, and 65% more well-being. Meditation increases your mental strength and focus and increases memory retention and recall.

If you’ve never meditated before, all you have to do is sit in a comfortable position with no distractions. Slowly breathe in and out of your nose to oxygenate your body’s tissues and relieve tension. Focus on being present and each time your mind follows a thought, notice it, breathe, and release. Try this for a few minutes and don’t worry about getting it “right.” It’s like a mini-vacation for your mind and body.

Tip 2: Refuel yourself with exercise, nutrition, and sleep

Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep may seem like obvious tips, but many of us don’t follow this advice. If you don’t have time for the recommended twenty to thirty minutes of exercise a day, find at least ten minutes to stretch, walk, and get your heart rate up. Eat protein-rich meals with lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, and water. Avoid carbohydrates that will give you a sugar high then leave you feeling exhausted. Unwind before bed with a few minutes of meditation or by listening to calming music to release lingering thoughts. Get enough sleep, which varies depending on what you need to function.

ACC Law LibraryTip 3: Map out your study zones

If your room becomes a party zone, as is often the case if your roommates finish their exams before you, you need a backup plan that includes alternative places to study. Create a short list that includes addresses, phone numbers, opening and closing hours, and Wi-Fi availability. Ideal places include the school library, public library, and local cafes.

Tip 4: Create a study schedule

Estimate how much time you need to prepare for each final and work backward to find the dates for when you need to begin studying, writing, and preparing. Prioritize which is most important and take it one piece at a time. This helps you avoid last-minute cramming sessions that do little to raise your grade and a lot to make you exhausted.

Tip 5: Follow a study strategy

Study strategically by studying in short increments. Break up your study sessions according to task, such as read, write, memorize, review, and then repeat. This will help you to avoid study burnout.

Tip 6: Take breaks to recharge

Every fifteen to twenty minutes, take a break by walking around, getting some fresh air, or talking to a friend. Taking a “microbreak,” which is from thirty seconds to five minutes, can improve your mental acuity by an average of 13%. If you’re spending a lot of time in front of the computer, taking a fifteen-second break every ten minutes can reduce fatigue by 50%. Treat your breaks as a time to unplug, step away from your computer, and give your mind (and eyes) a rest. You’ll extend the length of time you’ll be able to study and will be more productive.

Taking a comprehensive approach to staying focused during finals week will help you reap the benefits of being calm, cool, and collected during your exams. As your friends are cramming and stressing out, you’ll be the epitome of Zen with a sharply focused mind and a calm outlook. Finals week is approaching, so apply these tips and see how they can help you.


Eric Hung is the Co-Founder of, which helps high school and college students reach their potential through video lessons from awesome teachers. He started the company after studying biomedical engineering at Duke (BSE) and USC (MS) as a way for students struggling with math and science to get help without the expense of private tutors. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Which Note-Taking App Should You Use? 3 Great Note-Taking Apps for College Students

Portrait of successful business team standing together against wooden wall. Full length image of a group of diverse colleagues standing in an officeNote-taking has come a long way. Gone are the days of writing until your hand aches or using an audio recorder and transcribing. Now that 50 percent of college students use a laptop at least once a week in class, many of them are using note-taking apps and programs to take notes quickly and keep them organized.

Thanks to these programs, keeping up in class, staying organized, and even copying notes from your friends has never been easier. Here’s a comparison of three popular note-taking apps to add to your study routine.


Evernote is probably the most well-known note-taking app. In addition to supporting both list and longer-form content creation directly in the app, Evernote is also designed to clip and save content from the web and has well-developed collaboration capabilities.

Device Availability:

Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Web

Note-Taking Options:

Evernote truly does let you keep all your notes in one place. When writing notes directly into the app it offers the usual text formatting tools plus the ability to embed tables, files, and pictures. It also has audio and video recording features. If you’re not working directly within the app from the get go, you can clip information from websites and save it to Evernote or take photos of handwritten notes to upload. You can even save emails to Evernote with some plans (sadly not the free plan).

The clipped content feature is particularly handy and an available browser plugin means you can work from your favorite browser, not just the app. When you’re trying to pull an article into Evernote you have options to eliminate the ads, capture just the text and graphics without the layout or videos, capture the full page, save only a bookmark to the page, or take a screenshot of the page. You can annotate the clipped content with text, highlights, and arrows to easily add your own notes. And best of all, the content is live – you can copy, paste, edit, and reformat it.


Evernote also makes it easy to share and collaborate on notes and projects with your peers. Message back and forth within the app to get the missing parts and pieces you need. You’ll also be able to see real time changes to any of the documents so you don’t overwrite or duplicate work. Whether you’re working on organizing a team To-Do list for a project or sharing your research notes, Evernote can handle a broad range of collaboration needs.

This feature is also particularly helpful if you miss class and need to get notes from a friend. They can simply send you the digital notes via Evernote.


All your notes are visible in a single pane, but Evernote offers two ways to catalog and organize individual notes – Notebooks and Tags. You can create and name your own custom notebooks and tags to organize your notes any way you’d like.

Each note can live in only one notebook, but can have multiple tags (up to 100 per note). You can then find your notes in all three views: notes, notebooks, and tags – all of which are individually searchable. Tags are also organized alphabetically so you can add as many tags to your Evernote app as you want without getting completely overwhelmed.

The best application for this organizational structure would be to create a notebook for each class (be sure you add your new notes to the right notebook!) and add multiple tags to your notes. For instance, you can tag notes with a particular project, by topic, by media type (articles, class notes, video, audio, etc.), and with helpful reminders of when you might need that note (homework, to-do, finals).


Evernote syncs with cloud storage, meaning you’ll still have your notes when you jump between devices. Different levels of storage are available with the three different plans. The Basic plan allows for notes up to 25MB and 60MB of monthly uploads. The Premium plan supports notes up to 200MB and 10GB of monthly uploads. A Plus plan falls somewhere in between.


Evernote Basic is free but does have a limited number of features. Plus is $24.99 per year and includes a few of the features you’re most likely to miss with the free plan. For power users, the Premium plan costs $49.99 a year.



Group of college students with laptop computerOneNote, part of the Microsoft suite of online tools, functions like a basic word processor but organizes as if you were writing in a divided spiral notebook. It has a lot of the same note taking features as Evernote, with the added benefit of also boosting most of Microsoft Word’s features.

Device Availability:

Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Web

Note-Taking Options:

You take notes in OneNote just like you’d type in Microsoft Word – which diminishes the learning curve. In additional to typing in your notes, you can also make and insert audio and video recordings, include images, and embed spreadsheets and tables. One of the nicest things about working in OneNote is that it auto saves your work as you go – a feature that anyone who has ever forgotten to hit Save is sure to appreciate.

If you need to upload handwritten notes, no need to sit down and type them all. OneNote allows you to take a photo of the notes with your mobile device and upload it as an image. To make sure the notes are legible, Microsoft offers a companion app called Microsoft Lens.

OneNote also supports clipping content from the web and allows you to add your own annotations or edits. When clipping the webpage, you can select the area you want, leaving out annoying sidebars or ads.

You can even save emails to your OneNote by sending them to your own personal OneNote email address. Emails are saved to a default notebook that you need to select when you set up this feature, so it’s best to create a generic Emails notebook within OneNote. Once the notes are loaded in you can move them as needed.


You can share your OneNote notebooks with others so they can view, review, and edit your work. Sharing is on a notebook-by-notebook basis, so when you share notes for one class your classmate won’t be able to see the rest of your notebooks or notes.

When you’re sharing your notes, you can choose whether that person can edit or only view your shared document. For extra security, you can also require that the person log into their own OneNote account before they can see what you sent them. If you want to share your notes with someone who doesn’t use OneNote, unchecking the “require sign-in” option will send them a link they can access anyway. The same viewing or editing permission still work in these cases.


Documents, notes, and media cannot be stored in OneNote without being assigned to a notebook. Organization is done by setting up notebooks and adding “Sections” to each notebook. While you’ll need a different notebook for each class, the sections make it easy to keep notes for that subject well organized. These sections are organized like tabs, making this app easy-to-use.


OneNote is cloud-based, meaning your information syncs among all your devices. Free subscribers are limited to 15GB of space for all Microsoft OneDrive uses (not just OneNote). If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you can get more space.


OneNote is free when you sign up for a free Microsoft OneDrive account.



1Writer is designed to be a clean, distraction-free mobile note taking app that makes collaboration easy. It’s a fairly tech-advanced app that offers a lot of Markdown and JavaScript features and customizable views to really meet your needs.

Device Availability:

iOS only – particularly iPhone and iPad

Note-Taking Options:

1Writer’s main feature allows you to create and edit plain text or Markdown files directly within the app. This basic feature goes so far as to add a convenient formatting row to your mobile keyboard, making it easy to bold, italicize, and hyperlink text or even drop in an image.

1Writer syncs with Dropbox and iCloud so you can access and edit stored documents. If you’re working offline, your documents will be updated in the cloud once you reconnect to the internet.

As for doing research and taking notes from online sources, 1Writer has an in-app web browser and you can bookmark your favorite sites right in the app. The app can also convert web text to Markdown syntax and allows you to drop the copied text onto a clipboard.

You can also create handy To-Do checklists in the 1Writer app. Additional features – such as Find & Replace – can be added to the basic app by downloading them from the 1Writer website’s “Action Directory” at no extra charge.


1Writer has a host of built-in sharing features that let you share your work outside of the app. You can generate a sharable link that leads directly to your notes in plain text or PDF form. You can also email notes as plain text, formatted text, or a PDF. Interestingly, you can also turn 1Writer notes or text selections into Evernote notes.

More advanced features let you share using URL scheme or JavaScript text manipulation.

Overall, 1Writer allows more sharing of notes rather than active in-app collaboration between different users.


Your notes can be organized in searchable folders and tagged with searchable hashtags (within the text) to help you keep everything neatly organized and easy to find.


It’s unclear how much in-app storage 1Writer supports, but it can sync with Dropbox and iCloud, which gives you plenty of options for cloud storage.


$4.99 in the Apple App Store.


Using Note-Taking Apps

No matter which note-taking app you choose, all of them make keeping up and taking notes fast and simple. Technology can benefit you only if you use it properly, though, and it’s worth noting that studies have shown that writing with pen and paper helps to boost your memory and “ability to retain and understand concepts.” If you have a particularly challenging class, you may want to switch between handwriting and your note-taking app so you can retain difficult concepts better. Or opt for a note-taking app that supports uploading handwritten notes so you can keep everything organized while still getting the benefits of hand-writing your notes.

Where these apps do come in handy is in keeping you organized and keeping your notes legible. Sloppy or slow handwriting, misplaced or disorganized notebooks, and running out of ink aren’t problems anymore thanks to note-taking apps. Simply turn on, type, and you’re set!

The Web(site) We Weave: What is Important to You on a College Website

Navigating your way to and through college can be a daunting task. The college website shouldn’t make it more difficult. With this in mind, we’d love to get your feedback regarding what is most important for you on a college website. Your input will help us continue to improve what we offer on our website and how you navigate to those items. If you have additional feedback, please email us at

[Form id=”12″]

Thank you so much for your participation. With your help, we can keep Moving Mountains toward a better, user-friendly website.

ACC’s Web Team

ACC Parker: Connecting Passion with Opportunity

Parker Campus Cookies with the Manager

ACC Parker Campus Cookies with the Parker Campus Manager, Gwen Young

Day or night, our ACC Parker Campus bustles with activity. Early birds arrive at 8am while night owls work late into the night. With offerings to pursue a variety of certificates and Associates degrees, you can connect your passion to opportunity at our ACC Parker Campus. We have the talent and drive to help you meet your goals, regardless of what career and academic path you pursue. With a variety of student services, Guaranteed Transfer Courses and exciting new course offerings, our ACC Parker Campus staff can help you Move Mountains at the right place and right time for you!

Whether you are studying Business, Early Childhood Education, Computer Information Science or are taking electives for your degree plan, you’ll find ACC Parker to be a great spot to grow and learn.

ACC Parker - Pizza with the President

Pizza with the President at ACC’s Parker Campus

Our ACC Parker Campus is growing too! We are happy to offer more Health and Science offerings, preparing students and community members to thrive within the growing health care and science fields. With offerings such as Emergency Medical Technician Certification, Medical Terminology, Certified Nursing Assistant, Human Nutrition, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Pathophysiology, you can pave your path with our classroom to career courses.

Stay tuned for more Health and Sciences offerings as our ACC Parker Campus expands. Renovations will begin next year and will include more space for specialty programs, labs, and study areas!

Spring registration has started.  Give us a call at 303-734-4822 or visit us online, and let us help you connect your passion with opportunity!

Together, we can Move Mountains!
Team Parker

Veterans View – Helping Our Vets Move Mountains toward Success

Dawn Stratton

Dawn Stratton, Director of the ACC Testing Center and ACC Veterans Club Faculty Advisor

It is pretty easy for me to spot a veteran.  It isn’t always the “yes, ma’am” they tend to include when talking with me (although that is a big clue). It is the memorial bracelet they are wearing, the way they walk a little taller, the patriotic tattoos, the way they look you right in the eye, their sense of humor, the way they shake your hand. It’s the gracefulness in their answer when I ask which branch they served.

Our student veterans are always willing to listen to your story, but their story is the one I really want to hear. ACC is lucky to have a more intimate environment and to have so many ways to engage our students. The number of veterans – of all ages – at ACC always surprises me. I believe you could ask anyone at ACC if they have a veteran in their lives and they would answer in the affirmative.

Every November when Student Life has activities surrounding Veterans Day, a display of pictures with brief bios of those who have served are posted in the Second Floor Student Lounge.

In 2008, I was able to post a picture of an ACC student – my son, Evan – who was serving his country as a Marine. He had such a baby face and looked way too young to serve his country. I knew that Evan stood in those famous yellow footprints at Camp Pendleton and really had no idea of what he was in for. I knew that his family worried about him during those months while they wrote encouraging or funny letters, and cried whenever they received a letter from him. I know they breathed a sigh of relief when graduation was finally upon him and he had survived the Crucible. Boot Camp and his basic training molded him into something new and he was trying to portray that in the picture.

In 2009, I posted that same picture. I thought about posting the one that showed him with his shaved head (the symbol of first-time deployment). I wish I had the courage to post the photo where Evan was receiving a purple heart in his hospital bed, or the sacred one showing his roommate’s flag-draped casket, or even the one of me rushing to embrace him once he was back on American soil. But instead I just changed his rank on the bio and posted the one in dress blues. No matter which photo I chose to post on the Veterans Day display, it wouldn’t have come close to telling the story of what Evan experienced during his deployment to Al Anbar Provence, Iraq.

In a March 2013 edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Clarence V. Reynolds cited Student Veterans of America’s (SVA) estimate for the student veteran demographic to nearly double in the next five years.

“Around one million troops will be transitioning into civilian life,” said Michael Dakduk, who served in the Marine Corps from 2004-08, had tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and used his GI Bill benefits to complete his education at UNLV. “And as these men and women transition into civilian life, with the help of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the number of student veterans on college campuses will surely increase.”

The article goes on to talk about the unique challenges our veterans face and the benefits of having veterans on college campuses. What is ACC doing to meet these challenges and our student veterans’ needs?

ACC has been recognized as a veteran-friendly school and the resources being marshalled to assist these students is wonderful to witness.  It is a work in progress and certainly not easy. Everything from hiring those who can assist in the financial aid/GI Bill maze, to advising on how to translate military experience into comparable course work, career counseling, mental health care counseling, and the creation of activities and clubs that would be of interest and benefit to our veterans goes into the mix.

My first time visiting with our Veterans Club was a great experience. As a member of the women’s auxiliary at a local VFW, I wanted to know if they would be interested in partnering with ACC’s Sustainability Club in support of a clothing drive benefitting the Clothing Room at Veterans Hospital. They enthusiastically agreed and we have had clothing coming in non-stop. Lori Tigner, ACC Anthropology Faculty and Sustainability Club Faculty Advisor, also heartily agreed and now ACC enjoys a great partnership with the VFW. The VA hospital representative cries every time these boxes of clothing arrive. These are the moments when we see how veterans impact and contribute to the community spirit of ACC.

I also asked if any veterans would be interested in doing some trial testing of a new placement test. Not only were they interested, but they also knew of other non-veteran students who could benefit from testing. Those students were finally able to test into classes and begin college! The compassion and outreach to others is a hallmark of our student veterans.

Shortly thereafter, I was honored to be asked to be the Veterans Club Faculty Advisor. The enthusiasm that is expressed by the officers is inspiring. It could easily be a full-time job if we tried to do everything they want to do. This semester, there is a patriotic t-shirt contest, an open house, a BBQ to raise money for an emergency fund for veterans, and food bank collections to name just a few. Floor stands – decorated with the flags of all military branches – have also been purchased for display at appropriate events.

Here is a small glimpse of those who serve our veteran community. Stephanie Beecher, our Student Life Specialist, meets with the Veterans Club often to make sure events run smoothly. Tammy McGinnis in Purchasing has been ordering prizes for competitions. Gina Wenzel-Garza in Financial Aid makes miracles happen every day so veterans can take advantage of their benefits. Joseph Slonka, Paralegal Department Chair and veteran, helped organize a panel of student veterans who spoke at a well-attended employee professional development session. Eric Rogers in Admissions and Records came down to the ACC Veteran Services Center after that meeting and offered his services. Eric is instrumental in getting credit for prior learning approved. Vice President of Student Affairs Lisa Matye Edwards, who has a long line of Marines in her family, and Financial Aid Director Joel Laos recently approved the request for ACC to become a Chapter of Student Veterans of America. Billy Thais (Cashiers Office) and Evan Malone (Adjunct Biology Faculty) are both veterans and engage with student veterans whenever possible. Kim Larson-Cooney in Community Education wants to do a financial planning course for veterans. Victoria Sauber (CIS/UNIX Faculty) has advocated for the needs of veteran students, and Jennifer Husum (Assistant Director of Student Life) plans to facilitate a leadership course for the Veterans Club. There are also a number of student veteran work studies who spend time and energy on all of our students’ behalf well beyond their scheduled hours of work. Finally…thanks to our Marketing, Web and Communications team for this opportunity to blog about the ACC Veterans Club. It is greatly appreciated. You don’t have to look far to find someone who will provide resources or assistance at ACC.

This is the heart of ACC, those who stand with you in the moment of either great crisis or great success, those who see the story beyond the picture, and those who help by walking with you to the destination. Our veterans fought for our country, have a story and have a home at ACC. I hope you will stop and hear their stories and share yours with them. Please stop by the Veteran Services Center in M1630 to see all the other resources that are available.

Written by: Dawn Stratton, Director of the ACC Testing Center and ACC Veterans Club Faculty Advisor