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.

 

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.

NVC Runners Get into Fiesta Spirit

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The Wildcat Cross Country running team represented NVC at the Fiesta Flambeau parade, running in front of 500,000 plus parade spectators. The run was the start of the parade and ran through the streets of downtown San Antonio.

NVC was represented by eight runners. Omar Martinez finished first for the wildcats, then Briana Salazar, Rebecca Castor, Linda Castro, Robert Dreamkowski and Anna Alfaro finished together, followed by Natalie Guerra and finishing up for the Wildcats was Andrea Vazquez.

The team raced really well! Now we start preparing for the last race of the season, District 4 Heroes 5K!

Contributed by NVC Cross Country Coach Staci Krueger

Summer International Internship Experience

Summer of 2016 was not an average summer for me. After hearing a presentation from a former NVC student, Marcus Nejera, in Dr. Zhou’s Introduction to Engineering course that talked about the importance of searching for internships.

I felt inspired to search for one myself. In that process I applied to various companies, including some located in Asia. To my surprise, I was accepted to intern over the summer with an EPC company by the name of Toyo-Thai Corporation Limited (TTCL). TTCL is in Bangkok, Thailand. They also have an American division that goes by the name of Toyo-Thai United States (TTUS).

In this internship, I was chosen to be the first western student to train with the company. I was offered compensation for my work as well. So, I accepted and immediately following the end of the spring semester, I flew to Thailand where I would spend the next three months. I worked with the instrument department of the company, and was given two projects to work on. The two projects I worked on were for PPG chemicals, and two chemical plants they are building in Southern Thailand.

As a computer engineering major, I learned a lot of valuable things, involving control systems, and instrumentation. The projects I worked on were real projects the company was doing for customers, so I got the full experience.

Aside from the learning aspect of the internship, I also made many new friends and got the opportunity to travel across southeast Asia, and throughout Thailand itself. The opportunity I got was a great eye opener for me, and has given me more motivation to continue my education, and to search for more opportunities. It taught me that putting yourself out there is important if you want to find opportunity, and success. If you don’t try, then you can never succeed.

Bobby Reyes—Current Engineering Student at NVC

Internship Group Photo

Time Management: Keep a Calendar!

20131225142344It’s the last few weeks of school before summer and I took on a lot of new opportunities this semester, and I’ve already agreed to take on a few more next semester, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it? Well, for me it is.

This is where that growth from living life on my own terms and paycheck to paycheck becomes full of meetings, classes, fundraisers, more meetings, New Student Orientations, homework, presentations, more meetings, and so forth. You can’t always do your first choice, even if it’s your favorite thing in the world. Instead you have to set very specific goals, because in the end this is where all the skills required for that dream career are built.

Trust me, there is no satisfaction to be gained from living paycheck to paycheck. Or I should say, no long-term satisfaction. It’s fine for a little while, but then you’ll wake up when you’re 29, like I did, and realize this is not what you had in mind.

Fortunately I figured it out real quick, and am now in a situation where every minute of my day must be accounted. Time management is the only way this works, and the best advice I can give is keep a calendar. Also, make sure you use it not just every day, but throughout the day. Whenever you’re presented with a choice, choose very carefully, and make absolutely certain it is the right choice. Once the decision’s been made that’s it; you’ve committed.

By NVC Student Bryan McCluggage

Get Involved – Be a Leader!

fbcover_sign3-22.jpgThe second best decision I’ve ever made, right behind the one that got me in college, was the decision to become involved. I remember in 2008 seeing a picture of a bunch of protestors upset about the bank bailouts and not being able to find a job. One person held a sign that said, “I have $80,000 in debt, a 4.0 GPA, and no job. Where’s my bailout?”

My first impression was that there was definitely a number of logical fallacies in play here, which could be an entire essay in itself. One of them, however, was that I knew it was somehow the former student’s fault and certainly not the government’s. After that, I wondered how someone could get into that much debt. Then I thought about what it would take to have that great a GPA, and yet have no job? What was this person’s degree?

I did some research and came to the conclusion that it was a very complicated process, and while I understood this process, I didn’t really have a personal connection to it. Then I got here and began to see it all for myself. I realized that not just anyone can get great grades, but plenty of students can.

The truth is often quoted, it is as true today as it was in that former student’s time in college, and will continue to be true going forward. If a student doesn’t demonstrate the willingness and ability to extend themselves beyond the classroom by taking on leadership roles, then there’s a near perfect certainty that when they go up against someone who did, they’re going to lose.

The reality is harsh, and too few students fully understand the weight of its meaning. It’s trying to teach a lesson to someone who has no grasp of possible ramifications, nor the perspective necessary to see beyond the moment.

College is an opportunity to expand what is called ‘human capital’ in economics. It’s the idea that you build your potential through education, work, training, and so forth. This is what the former student holding the sign missed.

My resume will shine, and when I’m ready to find a real job, I’ll hopefully have one waiting for me before I ever step across that stage. Why? Because I got involved.

By NVC Student Bryan McCluggage

Finding My Niche

fbcover nvcsign
Northwest Vista College

I am an adult learner, returning to school after completing a bachelor’s degree, raising a family and having over 20 years of work experience.

I want an associate’s degree from NVC in order to build upon my skill set and to make myself more marketable for a career. When I graduated from college 15 years ago, experience was the most important trait employers looked for.

Today, employers are caught up in the letters and numbers following your name. They want to see degrees and certifications. While I want an associates from NVC, I have to pay for the entire degree out of my own pocket because there is not any financial aid for going backwards in school degree levels.

I returned to school, beginning with a certificate at NVC, in order to determine what would be my best route for continuing my education. While a master’s degree seems like the logical next step for someone who holds a bachelors degree, it isn’t always feasible. Graduate school is expensive. In the science fields, a master’s degree is often a stepping stone to a doctorate, but it it often does not help a person increase their salary value. Who wants to spend two years of their life and thousands of dollars to be worth the same rate they were worth with a bachelor’s degree?

Then there is determining which degree to pursue. Do I want to be a medical doctor, a pharmacist, a nurse, a professor or teach at a two-year school like NVC? Do I want to continue being a research scientist or administrator? Do I want a MBA? The questions are numerous.

I have taken multiple aptitude tests over the years. One skill that regularly appeared was working with computers. I was raised by computer engineers and software programmers. I have considered computers my evil step siblings.

NVC offered a Web Design course and I enrolled in it. I decided I might as well prove I was either good with computers or rule out that idea. Guess what? I fell for it. Web design is challenging and very rewarding when I create a properly functioning and aesthetically pleasing website. Then I took a programming class. Wow. This fully allowed me to get very technical and very specific. Programming is control! My lifelong love of building puzzles has now been translated into a skill set I can utilize for a rewarding career. The drawback to discovering computers after completing my bachelor’s degree is that many jobs, and most advanced degree programs, require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I am not interesting in reinventing the wheel for my career.

Now, I finally have a much more finite focus. I am very well versed in the science of biology and healthcare. I have over four years of professional medical research experience. This is a skill set that I want to build upon. I have finally found a program that combines all of my career interests and a decent salary when completed. I am applying for a Master of Public Health program that focuses on Public Health Informatics. This is where I can see myself being happy and productive, applying my skill set to a field that helps many people live healthier and more productive lives. I am grateful for NVC being available and affordable enough for me to sort through my interests and discover my marketable talents, even after I completed my associates degree.

By NVC Student C. Kalyn Reim

Two Stress Relieving Massages to Give Yourself

HandsIts half-way through the semester! Are you feeling stressed out with homework and studying? Here are two massages you can easily do yourself to help with tight muscles and headaches.

Hand Massage

Your hand can definitely need a good massage from writing papers or typing documents. It could use a “recharge” on energy to write that mid-term paper.

How to do it:

  • Use your opposite hand and place your thumb with the nail facing upwards on the palm of your other hand.
  • Press gently and work your way up to the tip of your pinky finger. Start over from the middle of your hand to your pinky again, but this time, apply medium pressure. Then start over again, but use hard pressure.
  • Repeat the steps you did for your pinky finger, but apply them to the rest of your fingers. Then switch hands and start the whole massage over.

Neck and Shoulder Massage

Your neck is the No. 1 place to hold the entire stress of your body. If you have a constant problem with headache, massaging your neck is the answer to relieve the tension in those muscles.

How to do it:

Place both of your hands on your shoulders on the bottom of your neck. Gently squeeze and hold for about three seconds. Continue to do this up to the top of your neck where your skull is, making little circular movement with your fingers. The muscles right under your skull is mainly where tension headaches come from, so make sure you massage them well.

If these instructions didn’t work for you, here a video you can follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-DtnHFvpL0

As you do these massages, please don’t apply too much pressure as you can harm your muscles instead of relaxing them.

By NVC Student Tamara-Davida Lopez