Succeed in your Biology Courses

Did you know how many amazing resources there are to get help in your biology courses? The biology department has a study lab in the library that is staffed by ACC biology faculty to help you with your courses. This study lab room is stocked not only with instructors, but with models, microscopes, slides, and lab equipment. We can also help with scientific writing and lab reports! The main library desk also has these items if you’d like to check them out and study on your own for a couple of hours.

For those students in BIO111, our Student Success Center also has S.I. (Student Instructors) that meet throughout the week for help with that course.

These resources are entirely free and the schedules can be found online:
Biology Study Lab Schedule | Student Success Center S.I. Schedule

by Rachel Willard, ACC Biology Faculty

9 Reasons You Should Get Involved On Campus

ACC students and Student Life Director Dan Balski at the Student Engagement FairGoing to college is about so much more than just going to class (but please make sure you are doing that). It is also about gaining experience and perspective to help you in your future. Getting involved on campus can help you succeed in numerous ways…here are 9:

  1. Build Your Community / Find Your People
    Joining a club or organization, going to an on-campus event, or working on campus can help you find your people (those people that get you and you get them) and build your community. You’ll meet people who share your interests and passions. Having that community helps you stay engaged with your education and with your college. You’ll gain the sense that you belong right where you are and have the support to help you Move Mountains toward your degree/certificate.
  2. Networking
    Getting involved on campus gives you a chance to network with not only your peers, but faculty, staff, transfer college reps, and potential employers. At ACC, we offer career fairs/visits, transfer fairs/visits, clubs, organizations like NSLS and PTK, and a variety of activities where you can practice your networking skills.
  3. Get Different Perspectives
    When you get involved, you will get to meet people with different perspectives and life experiences. As you share your perspectives and experiences and learn about other viewpoints, your perspective will expand. Having an open mind and seeing another person’s point of view will help in future jobs and socially.
  4. It Helps You Reach Your Goals / Succeed
    Studies show that students who get involved on-campus tend to perform better in the classroom. This may be because these students find study groups, take classes with their new community of peers, and overall just feel more supported and ready to tackle each challenge they face. (Read more about the research by Alexander Astin and Vincent Tinto.)
  5. Snacks!Students at Student Life BBQ
    Attending an on-campus activity is a great way to feed your mind and your body. We know our students have more commitments than just college, so we provide you with snacks, coffee, pizza, soup, salad, and candy (for that burst of sugar) to keep you going from one activity to the next. Enjoy an activity and a snack between classes.
  6. It’s Good for Your Mental Health / Well-Being
    Taking time to enjoy an activity or join a club for a hobby you enjoy can do wonders for your mental health. It gives you a chance to focus on something you enjoy and de-stress. It helps you relax, but can also help you prepare for tasks and homework that lie ahead.
  7. It’s a Resume Booster
    Being involved on campus looks great on your resume. When you join a club, organization, or academic experience (Pinnacle, Progenitor, Great Books, Writers Studio) you are showing that you are well-rounded to potential employers. You are also learning skills that you may not be in class, such as: social, leadership, and organizational skills. Clubs and organizations are a great way to practice those “soft skills” employers are seeking. You may also be eligible for a work study job on campus as a component of your financial aid package. Work on campus and build your job skills.
  8. Develop Leadership Skills
    Speaking of building your skills, colleges have organizations to help provide you with leadership skills. At ACC, we offer: Student Government, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), and National Society of Leadership Success (NSLS). These organizations provide you with the opportunity to take part in competitions, activities, and events that will give you the chance to grow as a leader.
  9. It’s fun!
    Getting involved on campus is fun! These activities, clubs, and organizations are designed to help you relax, build skills, and interact with your peers and the college community. So take a break from your studies (but please still make time to study) and join the shenanigans!

You might be asking yourself how you can get involved at ACC now? It’s easy.

There are a ton of ways to get involved whatever your interests may be. We want ACC to be your home away from home while you are getting your degree or certificate. Our faculty and staff are here to help you along your educational journey and beyond. After all, college is a time for studying (we didn’t forget), discovery, and planning for and beginning your future. Let’s Move Mountains together!

For more information about how you can get involved on campus, contact the ACC Student Life Office at 303.797.5668,, or visit M2820 on the Littleton Campus.

Student Services at ACC that won’t cost you a thing!

ACC students in writing centerArapahoe Community College is the perfect place to begin – or continue – your journey towards Moving Mountains with your academic and career goals.

ACC offers an affordable education (lowest tuition among state-funded schools) with instructors who are experts in their field. Classes are available online and at our campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock. We’re close to home, and our small class sizes allow students to receive individual attention.

Our Career & Transfer Center provides guidance for students looking to continue their education beyond ACC. In fact, we offer guaranteed transfer programs to all four-year Colorado public institutions. Transfer fairs and employment expos, as well as job/career exploration events, are held during the fall and spring semesters. Peer tutoring services, as well as math and writing support centers, are offered at no cost to students. Academic Advising provides one-on-one assistance with course selection and the registration process as students develop their personalized plan for one of seven degree pathways.

Students can get involved with clubs and organizations as they acclimate to college life. Our honor societies and student government foster leadership skills and provide opportunities for scholarly growth. The Student Success Center facilitates a variety of tools and enrichment workshops to hone time-management and study skills.

ACC is committed to supporting veterans and military-connected students, and has been named as a Military-Friendly School. Student Access Services can assist with permanent or temporary accommodations, and on-campus counseling services are available through the Student Engagement Center. ACC also introduced the Elevate program in 2016, providing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to pursue higher education.

The Library & Learning Commons offers the optimal environment for individual research or group study sessions. Our Fitness Center is open Monday – Saturday, providing a welcoming facility complete with treadmills, spin bikes, free weights, locker rooms and contemporary recreational amenities. ACC also has a fully-accredited childcare center on site, providing students, employees and members of the community with a clean, healthy and nurturing environment for little ones throughout the fall, spring and summer semesters.

ACC is partnering with Colorado State University and the Douglas County School District on the new Castle Rock Collaboration Campus. Students can now complete their associate degree or certification in its entirety at the recently-renovated Parker Campus. Brand new, state-of-the-art science labs at the Littleton Campus will deliver the best in experiential and collaborative learning.

Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing innovative and responsive educational and economic opportunities in an accessible, inclusive environment that promotes success for students, employees and members of the south metro Denver communities.

Whether you’re a prospective, current or transfer student, you’ll find the education and resources you need to Move Mountains at ACC and beyond.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

ACC Math Support Center

Jessica Kallina, ACC Student

Jessica Kallina, ACC Student

My name is Jessica Kallina, and I have been a student at ACC for approximately three years now. I felt inclined to write and share the experience I had over the summer (2016) with College Algebra, and the outstanding tutors at the ACC Math Support Center.

I think it’s important to preface this message by sharing with you that I have struggled with math my entire life. I have avoided College Algebra for 12 years now as I failed the prerequisite for this class the first time I took it, and had to re-take it again (and remember, this was 12 years ago).

I am very determined to get into the BSN program at a local nursing school…however, much to my dismay, College Algebra is required (no exceptions). I am a single mom with three children, and want desperately to be able to financially take care of myself and my kids, as well as to be completely independent, while fulfilling my passion of taking care of, and nurturing, others. For some odd reason, I got the bright idea to take the more accelerated summer version of this incredibly difficult class, as I wanted to get this “nonsense” done and over with as fast as possible. I initially signed up for the online class, knowing students are given more time than usual to complete the tests, and that I would be able to use my book and homework as guides. I believed this was my best chance at passing this dreaded class, if it was even possible for me to pass it at all.

Within the first week, after going into the math support center to complete the first homework assignment, I decided it would be best to switch to the live class as I decided the live instruction would be of benefit. After my second week (and switch) into the live class…I panicked. You see, I realized I was not going to have as much time to take the tests, or be able to use my book and homework as guides, and quickly went to student services to try to switch back to my online class. Much to my dismay, I was denied the switch and was told it was too late. I was devastated and resentful because after all, I am a paying customer…not a just a student! How could this staff deny me the ability to switch…and how dare they!

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was the best thing that could have happened to me. Now that I was stuck, I realized I was going to have to spend as much time as I possibly could in the math support center if I had any chance of getting through this and earning the “C” that I needed to be admitted into the BSN nursing program. I also realized I was going to have to give myself a serious attitude adjustment about school – and College Algebra specifically – if this was going to work.

I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be in the math support center every day it was open, even if I didn’t have class that day…and I was. I missed about two days during the entire summer semester. This is where the outstanding staff – or as I call them, my “algebra angels” – showed me that there truly are amazing individuals and people at ACC who were willing to help me.

The first tutor who helped me was a young man named Tyler Anderson. I was immediately impressed that such a young man would spend his summer at the College helping other students to succeed, as there are plenty of other summer jobs he could have chosen. He patiently guided and helped me through my homework and explained the concepts I had forgotten in Intermediate Algebra in such a way that sparked my memory. This started off my entire summer mathematic experience on a positive note.

Lynn Weaver has this incredible ability to explain the algebraic concepts that were like another language to me in a way that made sense. She somehow sensed when I “got things” and could move on, and when I didn’t, she would find a way to explain it to me until I understood. Sometimes this entailed taking a piece of paper and folding it into shapes so I could actually envision what she was explaining, and it was incredible how many times her visuals and drawings would make it click for me! Lynn also knew when my patience was wearing thin, and would quickly get to the point and move on so I could keep pushing through and persevering. I’m not going to lie, I was always bummed when she was finished with her hours and departed…I hated to see that gal go!

In week two of my class, I came into the math lab feeling incredibly overwhelmed, hopeless, and had been crying after sitting in the live class for approximately three hours feeling lost and like I was completely in over my head. I sat down in what became my usual spot, and this tall man named John Stein quietly came over and sat down next to me. He asked me what I was working on and I told him I was taking College Algebra as I tried my hardest to hold back my tears. He patiently started going over my homework with me, and after some time of sitting with him, my anxiety started to lift. You see, he told me after working with me for just a couple of hours, that he actually thought I was really good at math, understanding the concepts, and that he thought I should go on to higher level math classes despite what I thought and what I said about my mathematic abilities. In front of everyone, John turned and asked the other tutors, “Don’t you think she is good at math? She understands it better than a lot of other students, doesn’t she?!?” The other tutors smiled, encouraged me, and agreed. John made me smile, was understanding, and gave me hope even when my eyes were still red and swollen from crying. John had this uncanny ability to make me laugh, and make fun of this subject which immediately elevated my mood and made it possible for me to actually comprehend and understand again. I often found myself stopping my homework and listening to John even if he was working with other students as his dry, yet hilarious, sense of humor always made me cackle to myself and put a smile on my face.

Danny Uyechi was the other tutor who immediately came over and sat down to help me on the day I described above when John had to leave. I immediately felt comfortable with him as he is incredibly kind and was so patient with me, just as John had been. It turns out that Danny was also a teacher at my son’s middle school and now high school, and it tickled me pink that he knew and remembered my son Carson, and had good things to say about him. Danny displayed great patience and understanding with me, sometimes having to explain concepts to me multiple times. How he didn’t get cranky is still a mystery with me today. I can clearly see why my son says he is “such a cool teacher”.

Cindy Seymour would always pay attention and watch to see if I looked lost and needed help. She always jumped at the opportunity to help me when I raised my hand. Heck, I didn’t even have to raise my hand for help with Cindy as she was so intuitive and aware of the apparent look of desperation on my face whenever I got lost with my homework. She explained parabolas to me in a way that, as odd as this sounds coming from a (former) math hater, actually made it fun! Whenever I started feeling down, or like I couldn’t get through it, Cindy would say to me, “You are going to make a great nurse!  I love how you take so many notes, it shows you listen and pay attention and that’s what great nurses do!”.

I have never seen anyone so passionate and excited about math as Scott Davis. Not only was Scott more than happy to help and answer questions, but he would tell stories about math; the history of it, the how-and-why it is applicable in the real world and why it is important. I have to admit, I’ve always been a little cynical about algebra but he shared with me concepts that opened my eyes and made me realize there is a purpose for it. He is an incredibly humble and genuinely good man and he helped me adapt a more positive outlook on the entire math realm.

Chad Tritz is a math whiz. I immediately felt comfortable with him and appreciated his patience and love for the subject. I didn’t have as much time with Chad, but the time I did have I appreciate greatly! What always cracked me up is that when he was not needed by students for help, he would be on MML practicing math just for the heck of it. I thought that was really weird as I didn’t understand how anyone would actually choose to spend their free time working on different levels of math. But hey…I now realize we need those people in the world!

I can’t end this without an honorable mention of my teacher, Lindsay Wiard. She never wasted time, and always made a point to ask the class if we had any questions (multiple times) during the lectures. I appreciated this as I felt so inferior in the class compared to other students and did have a lot questions. She made me feel more comfortable when I was able to conjure up the courage to ask what I thought were silly questions, and always made a comment about how she was glad I asked. This eased my feelings of inferiority about the subject and gave me encouragement that I could do it.

What every single one of these incredible people I’ve mentioned has in common is their patience, dedication, passion for the subject, desire to see the students succeed, and ability to teach and share in different formats depending on the needs of the student. All of them displayed a notable amount of patience and understanding, as so often concepts would have to be explained to me over, and over, and over before it finally made sense. I am forever grateful for each and every one of these incredible faculty members. I didn’t have the privilege of working with all of the staff in the math lab but I have no doubt that each and every one of them is very much valuable in their own, special way.

In case you are curious, I didn’t get the “C” that I needed to be admitted into the BSN nursing program. You see, I got a “B” and was informed just last week that I was accepted (for the Spring 2017 semester) and will not have to be put on the waiting list!

Thank you for your amazing staff. Thank you for providing this amazing tutoring lab to the students of ACC. Thank you for providing this resource free of charge, included with the cost of tuition. I couldn’t have achieved (or afforded) what I thought was an impossible feat without the help of all of my “algebra angels”. I am forever grateful and humble.

by Jessica Kallina

How to be Successful on the Math College Placement Test

ACC Math Professor Alexsis Venter teaching.

ACC Math Professor Alexsis Venter teaching

Placement testing at ACC has changed in the last semester.  The new test called the Community College Placement Test (CCPT) is offered by appointment only and is designed to be taken only once. The math portion takes about 90 minutes.

It is important that students come prepared so the mathematics department has developed FREE placement test preparation materials. Students have the option to either work through a workbook or through an online course at their own pace or attend a 4-hour boot camp style course designed to brush off the cobwebs that may have formed.

All of these options have been designed specifically for the new College Placement Test by ACC Faculty. Best of all, you can get all the FREE help you need in the Math Support Center in M2850 during operating hours.

by Patricia Anderson, ACC Mathematics Department Chair