Digital Video Students Help Nonprofits

For the Fall 2018 semester, Northwest Vista College Digital Video & Cinema Production had two sections of  Advanced Digital Video classes. 

Eight nonprofit client projects were produced by students. These videos were recently screened for clients on Dec. 13. 

Since these video projects began more than 10 years ago, DVCP students have saved the nonprofit community over a half million dollars in video production fees. 

  • M.A.D.D. PSA.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving draw attention to the fact that the San Antonio community has lost loved ones who once treasured San Antonio. Their mission is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHi6O–7PN4
  • Center for Refugee Services. The CRS is San Antonio’s only registered, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a range of health, educational and family services to help resettled refugees become successful independent members of our community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXcpFG7dAnM
  • House of Neighborly Services. This five-minute feature provides insight on HNS’s senior health program and how its gatherings, events and programs help to better the lives of seniors on San Antonio’s west side.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIQkIxIHFtA
  • NVC Campaign for Art. Launched in August 2018 this is an effort to bring more permanent art to NVC through an endowment fund. The video features comments from the art department faculty on the cultural and educational inspiration of the NVC art program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHb-4Y87Qf4&t=101s
  • PEARLS Foundation. DVCP students created a “walk in our shoes” type video. It includes mentoring moments with teen girls who have been in foster care and are about to age out of the system. PEARLS Court is a joint project of the Bexar County Civil District Courts and Children’s Court. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmDs-E9pTkE
  • Children’s Chorus of San Antonio. “Boys to Men” is a new initiative of CCSA engaging young men ages 10 to 18 in the power of music and community. Groups from across San Antonio are featured in a public concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEMoW5ukko
  • San Antonio Food Bank. This video features a new Hope to Home delivery program for seniors. The program seeks to address the unmet nutritional needs of homebound seniors in the San Antonio area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHJ71_OkkDk
  • NVC Vista Central. The NVC Welcome Center video is intended to be used as a marketing tool and will be shown to prospective students at New Student Orientations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0lBAAVcCow

Stuck in the Middle: Life as a Non-Degree Seeking Student

A few months before graduating high school, I was forced to face a tough reality: If I didn’t get at least 80 percent of my college costs covered, I would not be attending a university.

My parents, as hard as they work, were not in a position to contribute anything financially to my education. I was in the same boat as many students today are because I knew, at 17 years old, that I’d have to take on this responsibility fully on my own. Luckily, I received four different scholarships, one of which was a full academic scholarship to attend UTSA. Of course, I accepted.

I graduated in May of 2018 with a degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Disease Control and a Minor in Biology. As much as I am the the type of person that needs to have things in order, it was really hard for me to face the fact that, just months before graduating, I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore. Panic struck as I began feeling that I just wasted four years of my life and a full scholarship on a subject I was now completely disinterested in.

My brain told me for so long to pursue a career that I and my family would be proud of, without listening to my heart and what I actually wanted to do. With true friends, I stopped procrastinating and looked into programs that would help me change paths. Today, I am a non-degree seeking student a Northwest Vista pursuing a career in Communications.

At one point, this felt like a huge step backwards for me. After all, I had just gotten my degree and now I would be back at a community college taking introductory classes at the same level as high school graduates. On top of that, I would get no financial aid because of my classification. It was really difficult feeling like I was behind compared to my peers. Eventually, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, paid for my classes, applied for jobs I could learn in, and got hired (somehow) for a position that I don’t even think I was qualified for yet.

To sum up my experiences, I’ve learned that 1) As long as you’re working towards something, you’re never behind. 2) If you love what you study, you won’t regret your degree. 3) Take chances applying for jobs, even if you feel you’re not qualified yet.

By NVC Student Jasmine Valadez

Let Your Advisor Help with Bumps in the Road

Going back to school was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made as an adult. These days, there aren’t many well-paying jobs out there that do not require a degree or specialized training of some sort.

However, life tends to throw curve balls at our plans for a better life. Not to deter us from our path but to prove to us how much gumption we have to achieve our goals; even if that means taking a break again.

This semester, life threw one of its curve balls at me. I found out towards the beginning of the fall semester that I was pregnant. Even with a rocky beginning to this pregnancy, and some professors who gave me more than enough leniency than I imagined, I persevered through.  Now, I have an even bigger decision on my hands. I already have two older children and now I’m adding a third into the mix. Did I want to add school work on top of learning how to adjust to life with two kids and a newborn? Would I have the time I needed to devote to school? I have so many questions flowing through my head and absolutely no answers. So where does that leave me?

I made an appointment with my advisor to go over the logistics of taking a break from school, but the one question was, how long of a break I needed to take is a question only I can answer. I know I won’t lose my credits I’ve earned or the grades I’ve received but I’m afraid I might lose some of the gumption I have to complete school. For now, I plan on only taking two semesters off to give me time to adjust to the new direction life is taking me and I feel like that is enough. I’m just hoping that when the time comes to re-enroll, I won’t have anymore curve balls thrown my way for a while!

As with any concerns about school, go talk to your advisor or any of the ones available. They’ve seen and heard just about every situation and know how to help you fit school around the bumps in the road.

By NVC Student Jessica Longoria

Pushing Yourself the Extra Mile

Spontaneity is the best.

It’s exciting to be able to have the most bizarre and wonderful experiences you never would have known if you hadn’t taken the first step out of your comfort zone. While that step feels like the scariest feeling in the world, embracing change is so rewarding. I never would have met my closest friends or been able to travel around the country if I had learned to become scared of the unknown.

What is less exciting about spontaneity, is when you find yourself enrolling in extra classes to “get ‘er done”…on top of an all-consuming freelance job. Oh, and let’s enroll in Army ROTC too, you know, for fun. Let’s take a fitness challenge that leaves you so inhumanly sore that you find yourself waddling around like a penguin. An angry, sleepy penguin.

Earlier this month, I found myself in Wisconsin on a business trip. As I trekked through the airport, which was decorated in leftover Halloween streamers and bootleg “Alice in Wonderland” garb, I found myself stressing. There was so much to do; I had traded the previous night’s sleep to get ahead on an essay, but I needed to read more chapters, study for a test, figure out how to submit all of these things on a mobile phone. I’m sure the security cameras loved seeing an overdressed tourist toddling stiffly down the terminals.

The leaves were changing to a deep, rich red; the smell of wood and spices hung in the air; the streets flooded with bodies as the Milwaukee Brewers lost their most important game of the season (sports!). The weekend was a success. I couldn’t feel my legs the good majority of it (thanks, exercise), but I somehow managed to submit all of my work on time. Was it worth it? Is this grind of school and extracurriculars worth the time spent and sleep lost?

I feel like if I hadn’t pushed myself here, I never would have learned to appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given. With ROTC and more engaging community classes, I have felt more involved in campus life. I recently attended a lecture! I have volunteered for community events!

It’s easy to sit back and take it slow. I definitely don’t recommend sticking to insane schedules all year long! But being able to push yourself and thrive in a new environment is the most satisfying feeling in the world.

(I still can’t feel my legs.)

By NVC Student Kathryn Carrillo

How to Survive on a College Budget

Saving MoneyAt this point of the year, we are all familiar with the “broke college student” phrase that has been our excuse for mainly everything regarding finances.

With holidays approaching and the semester coming to an end, our brains are filled to the brim and our wallets are…not. I will be sharing my personal tips on how I have limited my spending habits and have managed to live through a tight college budget.

  • Manage your moneyCash Course is an easy-to-use guide with tips for the best and most useful financial choices. It’s free to make an account and a really simple way to manage your money.
  • Utilize student discounts or free student awards– Amazon is such an easy website to get carried away on and “splurge” so, do this at your own risk when applying for their free student 6-month Prime membership. Most items come with free shipping as well!
  • Rent EBooks instead– Textbooks are expensive, save some money by renting an eBook instead. My textbook for one of my classes is $60 for a brand new one, $45 to rent a used one and only $30 to rent the eBook. Prices may vary regarding different textbooks, just remember to be financially smart and get something you can afford.
  • Build your credit– The Discover student credit card is so easy to apply for, as long as you’re a student, more than likely you’ll get it. You should use it sparingly and it’s a good thing to have in case of emergencies. The minimum payment for most credit cards depends on the purchase, but it typically ranges around $35-$70. This credit card has the first 6 months with no interest and also gives you 5% cash back if you submit your GPA!
  • Living at home is okay– Although different people may deal with different circumstances, living with your parents saves a lot of money and you shouldn’t feel any pressure or rush when it comes to moving out.

As I continue to pursue my higher education, keeping these simple tips in mind have been very useful to me. I can only hope that it can possibly help future or current students in the same situation.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

 

 

Health Professionals Inspire NVC Students

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Congrats to Northwest Vista College’s student club, Pre Health Delegation (PHD), of NVC’s Health & Biosciences Institute. Over 150 students attended a recent panel discussion, hosted by PHD, featuring health and science professionals who provided information on their own paths, careers, answered questions and served to inspire other students.

The panel professionals were:

  • Pharmacist- Michael James, Pharm D R.Ph.- Feik School of Pharmacy – former NVC alumnus
  • Doctor- Brian Parker, MD, MS- Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Flight nurse – Charles Robbins – RN/EMT-P Program Director, Air Evac 48 – former NVC alumnus
  • Scientific Researcher-  Adam Salmon, PhD- Assistant Prof, Department of Molecular Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Physician’s Assistant- Caroline M. Sipili, MPAS, PA-C Physician Assistant, Medicine-Hematology/Oncology UT Health San Antonio, MD Anderson – former NVC alumnus
  • Occupational Therapist/EMT- Brad Zirkel US Army Reserves Major, OT, EMT-B

Students asked questions and interacted with the speakers. Many students said that the panel was inspiring and important for student’s future in science and health due to the information given. Samantha (Sam) Williams, PHD’s vice president, had put together the panel and hosted the event. John Pinion, PHD’s president, had originally came up with the idea. NVC’s Health Institute funded the snacks.

Interested students are welcome to submit their applications to the PHD Club through Orgsync. Applications will be available beginning next week.

 

Students Make the World a Better Place

Northwest Vista student Adam Ramirez is working to make the world abetter for cancer patients.

Ramirez, an LVN and part-time student at Northwest Vista, got together with fellow classmates Katrina Lopez, Tanner Greven and Genesis Ramiro on a project aimed at making the world a better place. The group has been tasked by NVC Professor Dr. Don Lucas with creating and executing a project that will essentially make people happy.

Lucas, is hoping to take students outside of the classroom and into the communities. “The Create The World a Better Place” assignment is all about giving students opportunities to define what the “world” is and then change that world in a fashion that makes it better,” Dr. Don said.

Dr. Don’s assignment presented Ramirez with an opportunity to realize something he had already been thinking about.

“My group and I decided we wanted to celebrate the strength of people going through cancer therapy, and this assignment was the perfect opportunity to do just that,” Adam said.

Adam and his group decided to provide an opportunity for cancer patients to receive a complete makeover. From hair and makeup, to manicures and pedicures, participants will have a chance to feel beautiful for a day.

For Adam, this project hit particularly close to home since his wife had recently been fighting brain cancer.

“After she had brain surgery she went through chemo and radiation and she lost a lot of hair. From the chemo, she also got a lot of acne and gained a lot of weight,” Adam added. “Having a friend come by and style her hair and makeup made her feel good about herself.”

He was surprised to see how just a little bit of extra attention gave her the hope and confidence she needed to continue battling the disease.

“I figured maybe we can do this as part of the school project and have it at Northwest Vista,” Adam added. “We could get others involved and make it a collaborative initiative with the schools.”

Palo Alto College agreed to do the makeup and hair of participants.

Adam welcomes the unconventional lesson, pointing out we live in a world where most of our connections are via social media.

“What is important for college students is not just to come to college and get lectured, but to come with the intent of actually using what we learned to go out and help people,” Adam added. “In today’s society, where we live in a world disconnected because of technology, we still really need that personal connection with people.”

That concept is exactly what Dr. Don was aiming to teach his students.

“Most classes have students talking about changes,” said Lucas, “my class requires students to actually make the change. And what is the ‘change?'” My students get to define that too,” he added.

“Even after teaching for nearly 30 years, it is still amazing to me—what students will do—when given the opportunity—and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity—to learn,” he added. “It is something that I really wanted to do and I couldn’t think of a better place than at Northwest Vista.”

The makeovers will take place on Nov, 16 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pecan Hall conference room. Those interested may RSVP starting now, until Wednesday, November 14th at 11:59pm. Please copy and paste the following RSVP link to your browser and sign up for your FREE MAKEOVER:
https://abeautifullystrong.wixsite.com/strong/event-info/a-beautifully-strong-day/form

 

 

 

 

NVC Student Earns Sought-After Military Award

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Nearly 400 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Joint Base San Antonio and neighboring areas, such as Fort Hood, Kileen; and Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs competed in the 2018 German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB) competition hosted by the collaboration of Joint Base units at Lackland, Fort Sam Houston, Randolph, and Camp Bullis in late October.

The GAFPB, or Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst in German, is a decoration of the Bundeswher, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. The decoration can be awarded to all German Military. Allied Service Members, such as the United States may also be awarded the badge to wear regardless of rank. The GAFPB is one of the few approved foreign awards in the U.S. military, and it is one of the most sought after awards to achieve.

There are several events throughout the competition that assessed the Service Member’s basic fitness level and military training over the course of three days. One of the events during the first day was the pistol competition, which the participant is given five rounds and must get a minimum of three rounds into three different targets. The competitor will attain bronze-level for getting three rounds into the three separate targets, silver-level for four rounds and gold-level for hitting the targets with all five rounds.

Day one also captured the rest of the unit-driven military training events such as the first aid test and the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC). The first day concluded with the 100-meter swim while wearing their military service utility work uniform. Swimmers had a time constraint of four minutes and upon completion of the swim had to tread water and remove their uniform. The second day continued with the basic fitness test consisting of an 11x10m sprint, a flex arm hang (chin-up test) and a 1,000-meter run.

“I have never been tested on this kind of variety of events at one time,” said Army Cadet Corporal David T. Forrest, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet from Northwest Vista College, and also currently serving in the Texas Army National Guard with his unit, the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment.

The last day of competition was the 12-kilometer ruck march. Each competitor rucked the distance carrying a 35-pound ruck sack with the goal of completing the course in two hours.

In the end, only 161 out of 385 U.S. Service Members earned the GAFPB – whether it’s a gold, silver, or bronze. Their achievement was recognized at an award’s ceremony held on Oct. 28. Cadet Forrest earned the Gold GAFPB.

“The event is a fascinating experience. It’s not every day that I get the opportunity to earn a badge from a foreign nation so I did my very best to soak in every minute of the event,” Forrest added. “Earning the badge was an honor and something I will proudly wear for the rest of my time in service.”

German Army Sergeant Major Ronald Schiller, Liaison Officer to Combined Arms Support Command, congratulated all the award recipients.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to work and train with my U.S. comrades. I have been doing this for about 30 years and I love it. I am proud of these dedicated men and women’s achievement today,” Schiller remarked.

NVC Students Present at Annual Geography Meeting

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Three Northwest Vista Geography and Environmental Sustainability students, along with NVC’s Dr. Scott Walker, presented at the 2018 Southwest Division of the American Association of Geographers annual meeting from Oct. 3-6, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

“Established in 1949, SWAAG exists to further professional investigations in geography, to encourage the application of geographic findings in education, government, and business, and to improve and elevate the public image of geography.”

Students Farhana Khan and Allie Sanchez presented their research on Community College Student Climate Change Knowledge alongside professors and PhD students from large, state research universities from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Farhana Khan and Marcella Palaferri presented their research on the Taghia-Ahansal River Profile in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Their adventure science investigation was conducted during their Geography and Environmental Sustainability Fieldwork Project last summer in Morocco.

In addition to the students presenting, Scott Walker, professor of Geography and Environmental Sustainability presented his research on Marketable Skills and Geography Fieldwork in Higher Education.

Marcella, who will graduate in December, said, “the conference was such an awesome experience, it allowed us to present our research papers and was an excellent opportunity to learn from the other presenters.” Allie stated, “I still can’t believe how fast our time went by. I am so grateful to have been a part of this team and truly enjoyed our time together.”

Farhana, the lead author on both student papers said, “This event will indelibly be written in our memories as we further our education.”

Allie, who wants to go on to study wildlife management, and Scott are currently conceptualizing a new research project using digital camera traps and geographic information system (GIS) mapping to study urban mammals on the Northwest Vista College campus.

The NVC research team also had the opportunity to partake in some of Louisiana’s cultural geography with a side trip to the LSU Rural Life Museum. Northwest Vista College is affiliated with the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative that is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Learning Hard Lessons the First Semester

As my first semester of college begins to approach it’s finish line, I can’t help but compile all the things I’ve learned throughout these past few months. I’m going to be honest, at first, I hated college. I wanted to go back to my high school homeroom and work on my word puzzle that was occasionally taken for extra credit.

College felt like a huge responsibility to me, it was different, new and…just…a lot, but I learned to thrive despite these hurdles. College has been a heavy weight on my shoulder but at the same time, it’s been a breath of fresh air. Here is a list of things I learned. They may seem like common sense but, it’s always good to ensure that you keep them in mind.

  • You WILL pull all-nighters to finish assignments so be prepared! – Even though it’s destined to happen, try to avoid it. Go to the library whenever you’re not in class or at work. Try to get all your school work done before going home, it helps a lot.
  • Don’t take classes longer than an hour and fifteen minutes– You might think “A two-hour class doesn’t seem THAT long” well it is. When you’re sitting listening to someone talk for that long it feels like an eternity! If you’re like me and get bored easily and your attention span isn’t that long, save yourself and take courses that are only an hour and fifteen minutes. I think that’s an acceptable amount of time to listen to a lecture.
  • Utilize “rate my professor” like your life depended on it – I wish I could’ve took that site more serious, I just took a quick glance at each professor profile…bad choice.
  • Keep work and school separate – Although it’s emotionally overwhelming, most college students have jobs while they are attending school. It was a struggle for me, my first job AND my first semester of college began at the same time. I felt drained and exhausted but, I was thankful to have my job because it allowed me to take a minute away from school and be productive in other ways.
  • Lastly, stay focused and don’t beat yourself up – You’re never on the wrong path, it may be bumpy and you may begin to drive off of it but without mistakes and life lessons you will never learn; without learning you’ll never allow yourself to grow.

These past few months in college gave me an experience that I’ll never be able to receive in my high school homeroom. I am so thankful for the opportunities I was given in order to pursue my higher education. I can’t wait for all the life lessons and experiences that await me on the rest of my journey.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati