Two NVC Students Get Funding in “Shark Tank” Style Competition

Two Northwest Vista College students recently took part in an Alamo Colleges “Shark Tank” competition and came out unbitten and with some investor funds to help turn their ideas into profitable businesses.

NVC student Jorge Latorre; San Antonio College (SAC) student Angela Costlow, and Joel Robbins of St. Philip’s College (SPC) won second place and $3,000 for their business called Veteran’s Property Renovation that is a veteran-managed company targeting key renovations to maximize property values.

Alexandria Borrero, an NVC student, and Brian Etheridge, a student at Palo Alto College, won third place and $1,500 for their business called Ali-Rooz, which will offer custom screen-printed athletic wear produced and sold out of a “fashion truck” that can offer its products on site at events.

The first place honor and $5,000 went to Lakeisha Matthews, a student at SPC, Melissa Rodriguez, a SAC student, and Tracy Watts and Thermajean Jones, SPC faculty members, for their Kid Car-go business, which is a concept for a rideshare company to transport children using moms from the same school districts as drivers to work or after-school programs.

The competition was sponsored by Alamo Colleges’ The Learning Company, which is a six-week program that encourages student entrepreneurs to turn their “big ideas” into reality. Students and faculty participate in free innovation boot camps where they are trained and mentored by experienced instructors and business partners.

“I am so proud of the students and faculty members who have devoted a great deal of time and hard work to making their big ideas into real-world products and businesses,” said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie. “We started The Learning Company to provide additional opportunities to our students to become successful entrepreneurs in a format designed specifically for community college students. With the support of our community partners and outstanding leadership, we have students who are already seeing their ideas realized,” he added.

Other teams also were recognized for their achievements. The Early Birdies team won the Change-Maker award. The Grindhouse award for perseverance went to the Showstopper team and the IC2 Best Business Model honor went to the Texas Revolution team. A number of other individuals from the Alamo Colleges District also were recognized for their encouragement and support of The Learning Company program and the teams.

Past winners of The Learning Company have gone on to launch companies, received funding from investors and begin manufacturing of their products.

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Male Success Initiative Helping Men to Succeed

H. Stillwater; J. Rosas; K. Washington; E. Alvear; M.Uresti
H. Stillwater; J. Rosas; K. Washington; E. Alvear; M.Uresti

Juan Rosas knows what it takes to make it. He knows what he is up against and he knows how to arm himself with the best possible weapon to fight what confronts him. What confronts him is failure.

Society and statistics say that Juan, as a man of color in college, will fail. Men of color earn community college degrees and certificates at disproportionately lower rates. Ironically, community colleges enroll more men of color than any other type of higher learning institution. Mr. Rosas has a plan though. His plan is being there for other men of color who are, statistically, going to fail through the Male Success Initiatve or MSI. His goal is to support men who are in community colleges and want positive influences to help guide them through the mind field of life.

PrintIn San Antonio, only 9.3 percent of the population has an associate’s degree while only 24.6 percent has a bachelor’s degree. These stats only show what both genders have earned but men are not going to be the ones that boosted those meager numbers up by a lot. This is where MSI comes in to assist those on the edge, if only those on the edge would reach out instead of taking what is voluntarily given to them.

All you have to do is sign up, go to a meeting and see for yourself what positivity is. That positivity will translate on the road to success and towards earning a degree, which will translate so much more in a man’s life. This is the focus of the Male Success Initiative – how to be a better man.

Most men in community colleges need guidance and, believe it or n

Recent MSI event where male students talked with faculty, staff, community leaders
Recent MSI event where male students talked with faculty, staff, community leaders

ot, high expectations. Mr. Rosas and the MSI members cannot help with high expectations but they can help with guidance and positive influence. Juan exudes positivity and it’s genuine. His enthusiasm is derived from actually caring and knowing that he, and those around him, need each other to guide them onto that path of success and that path starts at Northwest Vista.

That path also starts with a man’s outlook on life and how focused they are towards their goals and achieving those goals. Those things are not easy. Yet, surrounding yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed, who want to see you grasp your goals and surmount your aspirations will give young men that extra push to make it.

While both men and women could always use a little motivation, men of color are the ones that have the most to lose and the most to gain when they succeed. The Male Success Initiative is a great starting point to make that difference. To learn more about MSI, visit this link.

By NVC Student Emiliano Saldana

A Little Thanks

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Dear Northwest Vista College,

Another semester has begun, and with it responsibilities, both old and new will, come to partially define it. You see, I have decided to take the advice of people wiser and more experienced than me, and take advantage of something things you have to offer. I am currently a College Ambassador, a Peer Mentor, and the Vice President of Fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa.

It may seem like a lot, especially with the 13 hours of classes and a part time job on the weekends, but let’s be honest, this is where it all starts for me. Five years from now I’ll be in the midst of finishing a Master’s Degree in Economics at UT Austin, and five years after that I’ll be teaching. Hopefully I get to keep writing and publish some of my books along the way, but it is the work I am putting in on your grounds now that will make it all possible going forward.

I remember when I first got here, confused as to where to go when it came to classes, let alone how to get to the second floor of Live Oak Hall, but it all came together over time. You have given me every opportunity to be successful and to get to where I want and need to go. The only regret I have is that our relationship is only temporary, at least as a student, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it?

I will miss you when I’m gone, but just maybe I’ll return one day and walk through your halls with lessons of my own to teach. Thank you Northwest Vista, and I look forward to what should be another great semester.

Sincerely,

Bryan McCluggage

NVC Sports Teams Sustain Winning Streak

NVC Sports Teams 2014

Go Wildcats! The NVC sports teams – women’s and men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and the cross country team have ended the fall semester on a high note.

The current team rankings to end the fall semester are:

  • The men’s basketball team are undefeated at 7-0
  • The women’s basketball team are 6-1
  • The women’s volleyball team are 6-2
  • Ten members of the Co-ed cross country team competed in the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon on Dec. 6.

Support your Wildcat Sport teams at their next 2015 spring semester home games.

  • Men’s basketball, Jan. 28,  Our Lady of the Lake Univ @ 8pm
  • Women’s basketball, Jan 28, Palo Alto College @ 6pm
  • Women’s volleyball, Feb 12, Univ. of Incarnate Word @ 7pm

Tryouts are open for the women’s basketball team starting Monday, Dec. 15 to Thursday, Dec. 18 at 4:30 p.m. You must have taken 9 credit hours and have a 2.5 GPA and available for practice on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 4:30 p.m. Games are typically on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Coach Daniel Johnson at 486-4003 or djohnson84@alamo.edu

To learn more about the sports teams, visit http://www.alamo.edu/nvc/current-students/sports/Wildcats/

3 Tips to Balance College & Work Life

GradHats_1

As a returning college student, I have been struggling with figuring out how exactly to get through the semester with a 4.0 while still maintaining my home and work life.

The hardest part of this balancing act is keeping from drowning and giving up completely. I had a bit of a meltdown recently and that is when I decided to figure something out. The following tips are what I feel are the most helpful tips I have received from family, friends, and my experiences:

  • Organize, organize, organize – In order to keep your life together, it is imperative that you are organized. You should have a planner. Every week, write down all of the assignments, exams, quizzes, projects, etc. that are due that week and look at that planner EVERY day, twice a day. When you are organized with your school work, it is less likely that you will forget to complete something.
  • Make sure you give yourself at least one ENTIRE day off from everything – For me, this day is Saturday. Saturdays are my no-work, no-school, ALL PLAY days! I make sure that anything I have due on Saturday is completed a day in advance so I don’t have to log on, go in, or do anything for school or work. I use my Saturdays for relaxation and family.
  • Remind yourself every day that this is only temporary and it will all be worth it in the end. On the days when I feel like giving up or I am feeling guilty for not giving my daughter the attention she needs, I remind myself that this is only a temporary struggle. I think about the end of the road, when I am walking across the stage at graduation and seeing my daughter’s face smiling at me. I remind myself that I am doing this so she will be proud of me and so she can have everything she deserves in life.

We are all going to experience some sort of struggle in our college careers, but just remember – in order to get to the goal, you have to get through some struggles. That is what life is all about and that is how we become stronger in the end.

By NVC Student Christina Garcia

What’s Going On?

VoteDuring a regular week at NVC there are numerous events taking place. They range from fundraisers to rock climbing; performances to leadership seminars; bowling to club meetings; and basketball games to foosball tournaments.

One event that was going on for the past two weeks was a play called Conejo de Campos. It was a puppet show with voice actors and puppeteers from NVC. When was the last time you saw a puppet show?

Just a week or two ago a group went kayaking on the Guadalupe River, and a free paint-balling session is in the works for the end of the month! Where do I sign up? I think that’s what many students would say if they even knew what was going on at NVC, but most do not. Those who check their ACES e-mail account will get the memo but either 99% of the students are too busy to sign up, or the message is not getting through.

Communicating effectively with us is important especially now that a student fee increase is on the ballot. Why would anyone want to vote “yes” on a proposal which would increase student fees to fund activities which most of us don’t know exist?

ACES email is notorious on campus for not being checked, so the next best way to communicate is the old-fashion “plaster posters” method. I’ve seen an uptick in the banners and leaflets around campus; that’s great! But there could be more, or just more strategically placed.  I notice posters and flyers, and considering that billboards are still around, others do too. One other method that works is the “dancing arrow” method. It takes a guy to hold a sign and music to help him dance, but I watch the dancing sign-twirler every time I pass one.

My point is: Let the people know!

By NVC Student Peter Northrop

Alamo Colleges Students Volunteer At Morgan’s Wonderland

By NVC Sophomore Dawn Thomas

On Saturday, April 9, the Student Leadership Institute students, led by Rodell Asher and instructors of the Alamo Colleges, descended on Morgan’s Wonderland eager to learn how they could serve and become volunteers of this extraordinary place that is the only park in the world designed with special needs in mind.

Volunteer coordinator Jere Delano greeted the students with a warm and energetic smile. After a short training session with Jere, whose name tag reads simply “Jere – Loves his grandkids,” the students participated in a ribbon cutting that was held in honor of the park’s 1st birthday celebration where General Manager Dave Force and Founder Gordon Hartman each spoke. The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland is 17-year-old Morgan Hartman, who grew up as a special-needs child. Morgan danced around in the background during the ceremony and greeted everyone with her contagious smile as well as handshakes and hugs.

The SLI students and instructors were given their assignments in the park and sent out for what would become a life-changing day for all included. Students volunteered at the park’s many different attractions such as the fully accessible Carousel, Sensory Village, Off-Road Adventure Ride, Wonderland Express & Depot, and The Wharf. To see pictures of the students, click here.

Jere reminded the student volunteers that this park was not only designed for the special needs visitors, but for all to come and play together.

“This is a place where families come for a rest from the daily routine,” explained Jere, “they know they can come here and not get the strange looks and stares that they receive out in the world because people do not know what to say or how to react to those with special needs.”

In the year since the park has opened, there have been visitors from 48 states and over 15 countries. Many visitors on that Saturday were there for the first time such as Tonya Sprowl who is from New York, but is stationed in San Antonio in the military. She and her husband have two daughters, ages 13 & 7. Their 13 year old is in a beautiful purple wheelchair and playing on the Butterfly Playground with her little sister as I spoke to her mother.

Mrs. Sprowl described her family’s experience as “Amazing. We are able to play as a whole family. My daughters are able to play together and do the same activities.”

The park has a huge impact on its volunteers as well. When asked what she hoped her SLI students would get out of the volunteer experience, instructor Veronica Rosas- Tatum from Palo-Alto College said, “My only desire is for all of the SLI students to experience the inclusiveness of this environment and gain an appreciation of how easy it is to interact with a special needs individual.”

My own personal experience at this magical place was something that I will never forget. I met so many lovely people like my new friend Renessa and her 11-year-old son Robert, and Clara, and Alice – our Duchess of Dance for our parade. My new friends all have a special place inside my heart now as do their parents and family members that I got to visit with. Their infectious smiles and sweet spirits will stay with me forever.

I must also include the park staff in my list of new friends as well. They all set fabulous examples and were so helpful and grateful for all of the volunteers there. As a matter of fact, I was so moved by my experience at Morgan’s Wonderland as a volunteer that I have cleared several dates on my calendar so that I can go back and volunteer again.

At the end of our long day, Park Director Peter Albarian, whose name tag reads “Hippie Bus Lover,” thanked the SLI student volunteers and the instructors for their time and hard work. He had warned us earlier that morning that we would leave with a different perspective.

“Outside these gates is the real world,” said Albarian. “In here is a wonderland where miracles happen every day.”

Please visit www.morganswonderland.com for info on how you can get involved and volunteer.

Dawn Thomas is also an NVC College Ambassador and in SLI Student-Tier I