Health Experts Talk with Students About Careers

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The Northwest Vista College Pre-Health Delegation (PHD) club had another successful, well-attended event with over 100 student participants.

The event featured health professionals who volunteered to talk to our students and offered a glimpse into their careers and academic journeys. Our health care professionals were:

  • Linda Doyle,PharmD, RPh-Pharmacist, Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
  • Raphael Guerra DDS- Dentist, owner of Raphael Guerra Family Dentistry
  • Kenny Hogan, DPT, PT- Physical Therapist, co-owner of Stratton Rehabilitation
  • Isabel Ramos- Lebron, MS, RDN, LD- Dietician Wellness Education Manager- San Antonio Food Bank

Students interacted with our panelists and asked them various questions. It was hosted by PHD President John Pinion and VPs Samantha Williams, Aisha Landeros and Alice Heugel.

The PHD club is NVC’s Health and Science Student Club and is currently recruiting officers and members for fall of 2019. Interested students can submit their applications to be a part of the club via AlamoSync throughout the summer and will be notified in August. Just search for NVC Pre Health Delegation on AlamoSync.

Learning to Become a Scientist on Campus

You never know what you are going to find by taking a microbiology class at Northwest Vista. A bit of clarification is needed in a recent science experiment done in campus bathrooms by students.

Initial test results showed there might be some strains of the bacteria Chlamydia and Staphylococcus in some of the tested areas.

Further discussion with faculty showed it’s unlikely that the organism from the student experiments found on the hand dryer is actually a Chlamydia species. Staphylococcus species are commonly found in restrooms and other areas humans frequent, according to NVC Microbiology faculty Dr. Adam Reeves.

Also the bacteria Chlamydia does not survive well outside the human body and typically is only contracted through sexual intercourse. To learn more, check out the CDC website. While Staph can live outside the human body and is common in many public bathrooms, NVC’s cleaning service uses hospital-grade disinfectants daily in the bathrooms.

Remember to always wash your hands and nails and cover any open wounds, and never walk barefoot in public areas. To learn more about staph infections, go here.

And if you want to know more about the science behind the experiment or have interest in Microbiology for Nursing and Allied Health – 27495 – BIOL 2420 – 007 at NVC, fall registration opens to everyone on April 24. There are plenty more experiments to do on campus! Register here.

NVC’s Dr. Reeves gave some more details about his classes’s experiment:

I will start with the protocol of how we find and identify microorganisms.

  1. Students are encouraged to swab areas and streak their swabs onto selective media.
  2. The student then isolate colonies on agar plates to grow for DNA amplification of a 500 nucleotide sequence within the rRNA gene (https://jcm.asm.org/content/45/9/2761).
  3. The amplified sequence are then sent off for sequencing before the sequences are compared to a database for identification.

We did have a sequence come back that indicated that we could have isolated a Chlamydia strain. Here are the problems:

  1. Chlamydia species are obligate intracellular parasites, which means they can only be grown in cell lines and our colony grew on an agar plate.
  2. The rRNA gene sequencing comparison has many limitations, including:
    1. It has poor discriminatory power for some genera, meaning the results are often incorrect.
    2. The DNA databases, private and public, are dependent on the “deposition of complete unambiguous nucleotide sequences” and how labels are applied to each sequence. This means that not all databases contain all sequences and the sequences could be labeled incorrectly. (https://jcm.asm.org/content/44/4/1359.long)
  3. Other issues relate to the researcher’s ability to perform the DNA isolation, extraction, amplification, and purification procedures, which all contribute to the ability to correctly sequence a sample.

As for the “Staph” strains found, micro labs have found isolates in the bathrooms by putting the samples on selective and differential media. This means that we are highly confident that a strain exists on the surfaces in restrooms, but we would have no clue that pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) of the organism.

Reasons to not be concerned:

  1. Staphylococci are normal microbiota on your skin and mucosal membranes, which can commonly be shed to surfaces.
  2. A study that shows the common organisms, including Staphylococcaceae species, found on different areas in a public restroom –https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3223236/pdf/pone.0028132.pdf

Living on the Road and Studying

I decided to take online classes since I am constantly on the move. You see, my husband and I decided to travel cross country via RV once our youngest daughter got into college. Once we moved her into her dorm, we packed up and put the house up for sale.

We are now full timers in our RV. I am enjoying all of the sightseeing. However, with us being on the road it is impossible for me to find temporary employment or attend classes on campus. My professional background is in the medical field. Since these positions aren’t easy to get into, especially for short term, I decided to look into something else.

There are many job opportunities that you can do online but there are many scams as well. I have come across many people that work online doing virtual assistant, blogging, social media management, websites, data entry, and much more. Unfortunately, these are areas I’m not too familiar with so my only option was to look into a degree plan that would allow me to study while on the road to be able to achieve a career with my current lifestyle.

This is my second semester taking all online classes. It can be very stressful and challenging at times. Living on the road in the RV, you have to make certain that you have good internet service, but prepared to hit a lot of dead spots. You definitely need to have a time management plan. Believe me, it is very easy to fall off track. This is something you have to train yourself on and stick to it.

Make it a habit to check on announcements, emails, and assignments daily. It was always my belief that all assignments were due on Sundays by midnight but that is not that case. Checking these sites daily will help you stay on top of your courses throughout the semester.

Also, if you have any questions or simply need clarification on assignments, you should contact your professor as soon as possible. They are there to help you, you just need to reach out.

By NVC Student Connie Miller

 

Studying Tips and Living Away from Home

I have been attending college for about two years, and this is my first semester that I am taking courses for my degree. In the beginning of my college career, core classes were very easy to me. I could easily finish assignments and get good grades, which I though would be impossible with me living out of the house and having to work full time.

Now that I am starting to take courses for my degree, there is a noticeably different difficulty level to them. With a higher difficulty there is more time consumption attached, which is kind of hard due to the limited time I already have. But over these two years of living out of the house and attending college, I have picked up a few tips and tricks. When I first moved out, my roommate always had people over and I had too many distractions while trying to complete my homework and projects. I found that my room was a great quite and safe space from all of the distractions happening on the outside. Another thing I learned quickly was that finishing my school work first was more important than hanging out and working, this led to me finishing my work early in the week so I had more free time throughout the rest of the week. Putting your school work as your top priority really helps out in the long run so you do not have to rush in the end.

Learning to study was also another great trick I figured out. Previously in grade school, I never studied for anything, I just went with the punches. Studying became important when I entered college because I knew that I wanted to keep a good GPA. Unlike high school, I found that studying, even though it may be boring, really helped out in the long run. Studying kept the stress off while taking a test, and even made class work easier at times. There are a lot of tricks and tips to learn in college, and I hope these few help.

By NVC Student Ethan Wise

What I Learned From My First Semester

My first semester was a wonderful experience, I liked the college lifestyle better than high school. Even though in college you get more freedom, you do have more responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities are your classes. After completing my first semester, I had to make a change. So I learned a few things:

Do Not Procrastinate

I would always do this in high school, although it did not affect me until I got to my first semester of college. Procrastinating affected my grades and the way I performed on my work. For me, if I procrastinated, I would not really learn anything about the subject that the work was going over. When you focus on finishing as fast as you can, you do not really grasp all of the information. When you take your time and you do not have to worry about turning in your work that same night, you tend to learn more about the subject. I have also experienced I produce better quality of work when I am not procrastinating, like doing an essay, you have time to review and correct any mistakes.

Here is a link to an article of how to get over procrastination: https://student-cribs.com/en/blog/66/8-Ways-to-Stop-Procrastinating-and-Start-Studying/

Manage Your Time

This is an important topic because in college you do not only worry about school. You need time for studying, working out, resting, school, and social life. Make a schedule in which you can work with because if you do not, your school and life will get mixed up. Plus, having a routine will help you mentally. So this semester, try to write or type your schedule.

Study

I was never good at this, because I always procrastinated. If this is your first semester, study everything you learn because it really helps you pass those quizzes or exams. In my first semester, I had General Psychology, which is a very fascinating subject. I did not study to prepare for the exams, and on exam day I was confused. There was only one time that I did study for the exam, and as a result, I did way more better than my first time.

Here is a link to a video that will really motivate you to study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74nGnjFFapo

Set Reminders

For some of us, we have many things to think about, and we forget that the homework assigned two days ago is due at night. I have learned from my first semester to always set reminders to do the homework. So now every time a professor tells my class that there is an assignment, I type it on my phone, and set it to remind me as I arrive home. There is also a feature on Canvas that can notify you of any assignments.

By NVC Student Hector Padron

Setting Goals for the New Semester

As often as I tell myself to make sure I set at least one goal for the new year or the beginning of each semester, I always tend to fail.

Which is ironic, because I refuse to set goals out of my fear of not achieving them. I think this is a common obstacle I can share with a lot of other students. This year I want to challenge myself to set more than one goal, and understand that it is okay if I don’t accomplish them. What matters is that I had the intention of achieving my goals in the first place.

I have three simple goals

  1. Ask more questions
  2. Learn instead of memorize
  3. Better time management 

I think the importance of setting goals is to allow yourself to overcome an obstacle. Whether your obstacle may be procrastination, bad grades or fear; fear of failure or fear of stepping out your comfort zone. 

When writing down my goals, I kept them doable and made sure they would better me as a person. I’m hoping to eventually utilize said goals throughout the rest of my education journey and in my future career. 

I encourage you to set goals for this semester, and know that it’s okay not to achieve the goals in their entirety. Continuously working towards them and getting close to achieving them is important and valid. 

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati

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

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