Are you destined to be a leader? Do you want to improve your self-esteem? Gain valuable networking skills? Or are looking for a motivating group of peers to help you achieve your goals?
Look no further than the National Society of Leadership & Success honor society at Northwest Vista College. This is the nation’s largest leadership honor society and the first honor society to become accredited as a leadership program by AdvancED. At the college level, the decade-old NVC chapter is the largest leadership organization on campus. Last year, members participated in over 3,800 hours of engagement on campus and over 1,000 hours of service in the community to earn the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award.
For the last three years, the NVC chapter was placed on the NSLS Founder’s List, one of the highest honors of NSLS’s Pillar Program. Based on the 10 best practices (pillars) of a healthy chapter, the National Office developed the program to help set up chapters for long-term success. This year, the NVC chapter earned an additional four pillars making their pillar total 14.
“We have an amazing group of dedicated student leaders. They have all graduated and are attending universities this fall,” said Kelly Blanco, NVC chapter advisor.
NSLS provides a step-by-step program for members to build their leadership skills. Upon completion of the program, members receive their leadership certificate and are able to list their affiliation on all statements of personal accomplishment, including their resume.
Membership is for life and provides access to benefits including scholarships and awards, employer recruitment through an online job bank, and discounts on computers, and much more.
Students are selected by their college for membership based on either academic standing or leadership potential.
The popular show “Shark Tank” has a simple premise: find a solution to a problem and if you can make money off of it, you may find yourself leaving the show with an investor.
This premise opened the eyes of Northwest Vista College students who put their Shark Tank skills to use last semester. The Northwest Vista College Discovery & Innovative Competition offered a platform for students to pursue an idea, innovation or discovery project they were passionate about. Working in collaboration with faculty mentors, students developed their idea over three rounds of training to create a written business proposal and then give a presentation in front of judges.
Instead of investors, four students received seed money from Alamo Colleges’ The Learning Company to execute their projects. The winners also received an opportunity to attend “The Future Festival” earlier in July in Philadelphia which focused on the development of ideas. In addition to The Learning Company, the NVC Student Activity fee provided prize money for the top four winners of the competition.
“The Future Festival gave us a unique opportunity to understand some of the biggest trends affecting our business, life, and the world. Before the conference, we knew that research helps us formulate our strategy for any project or decision,” said Calvin Fogle, assistant professor & program coordinator of the NVC Business & Entrepreneurship Institute. “But we did not know about the extent and efficiency of research that companies are able to do with data analytics.”
For the students involved in this project, some will never forget it, such as Analisa Rojas, who created Studipedia, which has the goal to create short college videos tailored to a specific course. She’s hoping to solve the problem that most study videos are too general. As part of the process, Analisa had to write a reflection of her experience:
“This phenomenal journey, that started with a concept idea and morphed into the incubation stage for my presentation, was an educational voyage that tested my motivational endurance, pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and taught me the value of entrepreneurship,” said Analisa who won the grand prize of $1,000 and will begin implementing her business with the help of the seed money.
Three other students won prize money provided by the NVC Student Activity Fee: Farhana Khan won the second-place prize of $900, Adrian Arevalo received the third-place prize of $800, and Shantal Rivera snagged the fourth-place prize of $700.
Two of the winning student proposals focused on reducing plastic waste and recycling, and the other business proposal is a digital application for the eye care industry.
Calvin said the competition was targeted to students in Institute of Health and Biosciences, Institute of Creative & Communication Arts, Institute of Science & Technology, and the Institute of Business & Entrepreneurial students.
He added students also received content-specific training and were shown how to prepare budgets, and how to manufacture and market a product. He said a huge thank you goes to the NVC Business Council, and The Learning Company, which is a collaboration between the Alamo Colleges and local business leaders to train the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
“We created the competition to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the classroom with a platform for students to pursue an idea they are passionate about,” Calvin added. “A lot of times we don’t see our impact, but reading the reflection papers by the students provided us some good feedback of our attempt to expand innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Contest winner Farhana Khan wrote in her reflection paper:
“When the Discovery and Innovation Competition was first announced earlier this spring at Northwest Vista College, I was sure not to participate in it. I assumed that competitions like that are for scientists or business-oriented people. However, during the spring 2019 Faculty and Student Mixer, Professor (Ralph) Mendez asked a simple question, ‘Do you see a problem around you?’ That question made a lot of students start sharing ideas during the event. I took out my pen and paper and started writing the issues that I always wanted to fix. Within a week, I had six to seven problems and possible solutions for them.
Still, I was not sure how far I would go. But I knew that there is a 100% chance of failure if I don’t try. The experience of going through the idea formation and business plan, although painful at times, is well worth the effort. It conditions the participants to be solution finders, not whiners.”
NVC faculty are already preparing for the next competition, which will have sign up dates of Aug. 26 to Sept. 15. Winners will travel to an entrepreneurship conference in New Orleans in January. For questions, email Calvin Fogle at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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:
Chlamydia species are obligate intracellular parasites, which means they can only be grown in cell lines and our colony grew on an agar plate.
The rRNA gene sequencing comparison has many limitations, including:
It has poor discriminatory power for some genera, meaning the results are often incorrect.
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)
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:
Staphylococci are normal microbiota on your skin and mucosal membranes, which can commonly be shed to surfaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ask more questions
Learn instead of memorize
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.
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
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.