NVC Honor Society Sets Bar High for Success

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.

For more information about the NVC chapter of NSLS, visit https://www.alamo.edu/nvc/experience-nvc/campus-life/student-life/honor-societies/

 

Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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 cfogle5@alamo.edu

Northwest Vista Singers Snag Wins at South Texas Competition

National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) South Texas Chapter Spring Audition was very successful for Northwest Vista College on April 6 at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi.

Ten singers from Northwest Vista College competed against singers from colleges and universities in our chapter. NVC was recognized with four finalists and one semi-finalist:

  • Hector Tobar and Luis Gonzalez in Second Year College Men (Classical Division)
  • Lorena Del Angel and Ana Delaney in Upper College Musical Theater Women, and
  • Natalia Jasso in First Year College Women (Classical Division) as a semi-finalist.

NVC Instructor Dr. Minkyung Lee said “I am very thrilled to share this wonderful news with Northwest Vista College, and it’s such a great honor to be recognized myself as a teacher for these outstanding singers. I am so proud of all their hard work and amazing attitudes to support each other and special bonding to be proud of singers who represented Northwest Vista College.”Congratulations to all winners and participants:

  • Luis Gonzalez – 1st Place in Second Year College Men (Classical Division)
  • Ana Delaney – 1st Place in Upper College Musical Theater Women
  • Hector Tobar – 3rd Place in Second Year College Men (Classical Division)
  • Lorena Del Angel – 3rd Place in Upper College Musical Theater Women
  • Natalia Jasso – Semi-finalist in First Year College Women (Classical Division)
  • Serena Hernandez, Thalia Moreno, Kristin DeGennaro, Ashley Rodriguez, Elizabeth Potts were also recognized with high scores and only a few points away from being semi-finalists.
Dr. Lee added that “this incredibly fine day of singing couldn’t have happen without the following supporters: Special thanks to our amazing pianist, Bogum Park from the University of Texas at Austin for her fabulous performance on the piano to add artistic touchups for beautiful performances with the NVC singers. Also, we are very thankful to NVC Music Coordinator, Daniel Smith and Chair of FAPK, Karla Ellis, for a great deal of support and encouragement during this audition preparation.

NVC Psychology Students Present Original Research in New Mexico

More than a dozen current and former Northwest Vista College psychology students, along with NVC psychology faculty, Anna-Marie Evans, Jen Fox, and Don Lucas attended the annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association (SWPA) from April 5-7 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Established in 1953, SWPA represents American Psychological Association members living in Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. SWPA promotes and strengthens psychology’s scientific, professional and educational facets.

In addition to attending workshops, invited talks, research symposia, poster sessions, and research paper sessions — several students presented their original research to standing-room-only audiences!

Kiana Kelley, Diane Goguen, Tailar Matthews, and Kristelle Cefre presented their research titled, “Dispelling Sexual Myths with Higher and Virtual Education.”

Areayla Jeanpierre, Valerie Ortiz, and Marin McDaniel presented their research titled, “What is Your Sex IQ?”

Maimoona Palwala, Chris Lowell, and Kristina Martinez presented their research titled, “Sexual Language is implicitly More Offensive to Females than Males.”

Ethan Berry, Christian Salazar, Jacqueline Tucker, and Jacqueline Dominguez presented their research titled, “Does Childhood Adversity Affect Overall Well-Being?”

Summaries of their research can be found at:

https://www.xcdsystem.com/swpsych/program/hZV1oUP/index.cfm

Additionally, during the SWPA award ceremonies, Ethan Berry received national recognition from the American Psychological Association and was awarded for his services in the Northwest Vista College chapter of Psi Beta.

Several students have on-going research projects they plan to present at next year’s annual meet of the SWPA, which will be in Frisco, Texas.

 

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

Congrats to NVC’s National Society of Leadership & Success

Northwest Vista College’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success earned the prestigious Founder’s List Award, as well as the President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level.

The Founder’s List is one of the highest honors of NSLS’s Pillar Program. This is reserved for chapters who successfully complete eight of 10 pillars in the administration of their chapters. The National Office developed the program to help set each chapter up for long-term success. The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership honor society. With 648 chapters, the organization currently has 876,911 members nationwide, and many of its members say being in NSLS impacted their likelihood of landing their desired future job.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is the premier volunteer awards program. It encourages citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. The NVC Chapter earned the Gold Level Award for members contributing over 1,000 hours of community service.

To learn more about NVC organizations, go here: www.alamo.edu/nvc/experience-nvc/campus-life/student-life/

 

NSLS Volunteering

 

Follow Your Passion to a Degree

College can be intimidating no matter how old you are. I tried attending school twice before and life just got in the way. Now, I am 26 years old with school age kids, working full-time and planning a wedding. I decided to go back to school in December of 2017, because after two failed attempts at school, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up!

I listened to other people on what I should get my degree in. You can never go wrong with a business degree, they said. I didn’t actually stop to think about what I was interested in or passionate about. Just what would make me the most money, or land me a job. So, I tried pursuing my degree in Business Management with the intent to transfer to a university. I had amazing professors, but I just was not interested in the classes so I fell behind.

After talking to many friends, family, colleagues and by passers, it seems that this is more common than I thought. So many of us get caught up in the money we can possibly make in the future, rather than what will make us happy. I’ve realized that if you love something, whether it be art, fitness, literature or whatever, there is always a way to make money off of your passions. This is why I’m now choosing to pursue an associates degree in Digital Media at Northwest Vista. I would never have guessed that my hobby of playing on Adobe Photoshop would be able to make me money one day. The classes feel like a breeze because I’m engaged with the material, rather than another boring class I have no interest in.

For those of you just starting out, or maybe you are considering school again, I would suggest to make sure you are truly pursuing your passions. One degree might not sound as important as another, but they all matter.

By NVC student Viviana Smith

NVC Graduate Gets Ready for International CrossFit Games

NVC Graduate Goes to CrossFit Games
L to R: Jessica Aelvoet, Casey Viator, Gio Contreras, Joceline Marie Gonzales

On most days of the week, you can find Northwest Vista College graduate Giovanni “Gio” Contreras coaching classes at LoneStar CrossFit in San Antonio – motivating students to get through a tough workout, do a few more pushups, keep their back straight when doing squats or giving advice about nutrition.

Between coaching, finishing up his master’s degree in accounting from UTSA, and waiting on the birth of his first son, Gio and a team of three other people train for several hours a day with the goal of grabbing the top spot in the team division from the international CrossFit games in early August.

The LoneStar team was the only team that qualified from San Antonio to compete at the Reebok CrossFit Regionals recently. They snagged the coveted fourth spot out of five in order to get to the international competition in Madison, Wisconsin. Just 40 teams from all over the world will vie for the No. 1 spot. In addition to Gio, the LoneStar team consists of Jessica Aelvoet, Casey Viator and Joceline Marie Gonzales.

“I knew I would get here eventually. It has been one of my goals since I discovered CrossFit in 2013,” Contreras said, who’s also a U.S. Marine reservist and got hooked on the sport when he was stationed in Afghanistan in 2013.

NVC Graduate Goes to CrossFit Games

He’s accomplished this in just five years though it has come with a lot of determination after bouncing back from knee surgery, while also pursuing a higher education. Gio first attempted college in 2008, but didn’t take it seriously and joined the military. He chose to come back to Vista because of small class sizes and the campus environment. In 2015, he earned an associate degree in accounting.

It also helps that NVC is only four miles from LoneStar CrossFit, which attracts a lot students, faculty and staff to the facility. In 2016, Contreras qualified as an individual competitor to go to the CrossFit Regionals. He repeated this feat again this year, however, he said it’s much more fun to compete as a team.

When Gio and his teammates head to Madison, he will not only have his LoneStar family cheering him on, but much of the San Antonio CrossFit community and his fellow Wildcats at Northwest Vista College.

Annual Student Art Exhibition at Northwest Vista College

This year’s annual student exhibition highlights the artwork of 12 exceptional Northwest Vista College students.

The students were chosen for the exhibition from a pool of 40 applicants. NVC Instructor Rachael Bower looked at over 200 works of art by those students to narrow down the artists. The featured students span a variety of media including ceramics, collage, digital, drawing, fashion design, painting, photography, sculpture and woodworking.

Rachael has curated the student show each year since 2015. Typically there are eight students whose work is showcased over the summer months, half two-dimensional and half three-dimensional. This year there was such a wonderful variety of themes, techniques and media that it was expanded to include even more artists.

Arranging the work for installation is one of Instructor Bower’s favorite parts of the process, “it is always exciting to see how the art informs one another.” Each student’s artwork is accompanied by a brief biography and artist statement for viewers to learn more about them and their work.

Exhibit on Display Through Summer

 

The exhibition remains on display through the first day of classes, Aug. 27. The public is welcome to view the exhibition at any time Monday through Thursday this summer. You can find the art exhibit lining the hallway in the Palmetto Center for the Arts building. Purchase inquiries may contact Instructor Rachael Bower, rbower3@alamo.edu.

Interested in submitting your artwork next year? Look for the ‘Call for Art’ posters in the art building in spring 2019. Students do not need to be art majors to apply or enrolled in art classes-this juried opportunity is open to all Northwest Vista College students. All skill levels and media are encouraged to apply!

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