We’re Exploring Questions that Matter to our Community – Join us for Scholar Day!

By Fred Hills

Inquiry. Research. The ability to come up with questions and actively, rigorously pursue answers to those questions is at the heart of education.  It is the key to life-long learning, to new inventions, to solving problems, and to improving the way we live and work together in our community and in our world.  Just as important as being able to find answers is the ability to communicate findings clearly so that they can be of use to the wider world.  At McLennan Community College, students practice inquiry and research throughout the academic year.  We would like to invite you to hear about some of their findings and to see for yourself how well they communicate what they have learned in their explorations.

scholars fairEvery fall and spring semester McLennan Community College conducts an event to showcase student research projects.  The event, called Scholar Day, is an opportunity for students from across campus to share the results of their inquiry and the impact it has on our community.  Participating students come from a wide variety of disciplines including Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Management, Marketing, Music, and Respiratory Care, among others.

Research projects at MCC are student initiated with faculty helping guide them through their exploratory work.   Students then present findings through scholarly presentations, exhibits, poster boards, art work, music, and prototypes with the campus and the community.   Research not only prepares the student for their chosen career path, but will help them if they choose to further their education beyond MCC.

scholars fair 2This semester’s program includes over 20 presentations that address timely topics affecting our world today, for example undocumented students in higher education, using vitamin C to fight cancer, and the effects of violent video games on gamers.  Several presentations tackle medical topics, like adult respiratory distress syndrome, interstitial lung disease, and LSVT BIG and VOICE therapy on Parkinson’s disease.  Scholar Day will also include a few unique items, such as sculptures, painting, and pottery from the Fine Arts department, and inventions and “Rube Goldberg” machines from the Engineering department.  Last fall saw over 300 students participate, a number that continues to climb each semester.

Come join our students in the excitement of academic inquiry and exploration!  If you would like to attend MCC’s Scholar Day, it will be at Highland Gym on Friday, April 22 from 10 to 1 PM.  All students and community members are invited to join us.  If you need any more information, please contact Dr. Staci Taylor at [email protected].


 

Fred HillsDr. Fred Hills is the current president of the HOT P-20 and Dean of Arts, Science and Business at McLennan Community College. He has worked and lived in the Waco community for over 20 years and has served on the HOT P20 for the last four years.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

Here’s Your Chance to get a Clear Idea of the State of Education in the Heart of Texas

by Fred Hills

Few things are more important to the prosperity of our community than our educational systems. As citizens, it is our responsibility to keep up to date on the state of those systems, but that is sometimes difficult to do. Where can you get objective information about how well the schools systems are performing? How can a “lay” person get in depth information about some of the important decisions being made that have the potential to affect our children and our economic prospects? How can we get that information we need to be informed, responsible parents, teachers and community members when it comes to education? Fortunately, an opportunity is on the horizon to help us do just that.

MCC 50 logoThe Heart of Texas P-20 Council & Prosper Waco are cohosting this year’s State of Education in the Heart of Texas on Tuesday, April 19 from 11 AM to 1:30 PM at the McLennan Community College Conference Center. The community is invited.

The forum will provide statistics and information on the progress of local educational efforts followed by panel discussions giving students, industry partners and educational leaders the opportunity to share their perspectives on education in central Texas. Prosper Waco will also share their ongoing efforts in bringing together collaborating partners from the greater Waco area in cooperatively addressing educational issues in our community.

We are honored to have Texas’s House Representative Jimmie Don Aycock as our lunch keynote speaker. Rep Aycock represents District 54 and currently serves as the chair of the Public Education Committee and a member of the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He will share his perspectives on educational policy in Texas.

The agenda is as follows:

  • 11:00-11:10 a.m.: Introduction by Fred Hills, Heart of Texas P-20 Council and Matthew Polk, Executive Director of Prosper Waco
  • 11:10-11:30 a.m.: Presentation: Statistics of Education in the Heart of Texas
  • 11:30-11:50 a.m.: Industry Panel Discussion
  • 11:50-12:10 p.m.: Student Panel Discussion
  • 12:10-1:00 p.m.: Lunch & Keynote Speaker, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock
  • 1:00-1:30 p.m.: Updates from the Heart of Texas P-20 Council and Prosper Waco

Registration cost is $15 which includes lunch. All are invited and welcome to register at Region 12 ESC’s website txr12.escworks.net/catalog/search.aspx, Session #88565. If you have any questions about the forum, contact either Fred Hills at [email protected] or Chris Holecek at [email protected].


 

Fred HillsDr. Fred Hills is the current president of the HOT P-20 and Dean of Arts, Science and Business at McLennan Community College. He has worked and lived in the Waco community for over 20 years and has served on the HOT P20 for the last four years.

Why I chose to go to UNT

by Diego Loredo

Trying to decide what college to go is intimidating. While I was at A.J. Moore Academy, and later University High School, I never really thought about college and what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t until senior year that I actually started thinking about it.

Senior year was hectic, and it was hard for me to figure out what I wanted to do. My mind was filled with all kinds of things: paying senior dues, filling out scholarships, applying to colleges, and other things outside of school. I eventually decided that I wanted to major in journalism and be a news reporter. I’ve always kept up with the news and I loved to write so I figured it would be a good choice for me.

After I figured out my major, I ended up applying to three colleges: Texas State University, University of Texas at Arlington, and University of North Texas. UTA was originally my first choice and I was planning on visiting the campus, but then I found out about UNT Preview, which was scheduled for November. UNT Preview is an event that invites high school seniors to take a campus tour and explore the different facilities available at UNT. So I ended up going with my mom to take a campus tour. It was cold, but I fell in love with the campus and upon leaving I knew that UNT was the college for me.

For the rest of senior year, I was just preparing myself for freshman year. I filled out my FAFSA, I won the Brazos Education Foundation Scholarship, completed my dual credit courses, etc. Before I knew it, I graduated from UHS and was already starting my freshmen year at UNT. I ended up being roommates with a good friend of mine. That made it easier to get used to the fact that I was in college!

Freshman year flew by. I took mostly basics and journalism classes. I learned so many things about myself as freshman year went by. I made new friends, experienced new things, and have matured more. I ended up switching from news writing to public relations because I found out that news writing wasn’t really for me, despite being so excited for it in high school. Public relations is a lot more interesting to me, and to be honest I did it for the money.

Now I’m a sophomore living in an apartment with three other high school friends. I’ve taken numerous PR classes, I’m working with a nonprofit, and have been building up my resume to prepare me for after college. There’s only three more months before sophomore year ends, even though technically I’m a junior based on my credits. During the summer I plan on doing an internship, though I’m not sure where yet. My plan is to do an internship with FC Dallas, an MLS team that is offering summer internships for college students, but if that doesn’t work out then I will probably do an internship with a nonprofit in Denton or Waco.

Although it’s been an extremely bumpy road, I’m glad I chose UNT and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to go to college. It’s great for journalism and PR students as well as for engineering and music. I’m continuing to learn new things as each new day passes by and I’m just trying to enjoy every little bit before I start my career in public relations.


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a sophomore at the University of North Texas. He is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. Although he is still not quite sure what exactly he wants to do, he thinks he wants to work somewhere in sports PR (preferably soccer or college football). His hobbies include playing soccer and golf. He is 19 years old.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

 

Careers for the 21st Century: Using Labor Market Information (LMI) to Help Meet the Needs of Career and Technology (CTE) Students

(The Heart of Texas P-20 Council includes representatives from K-12 education, higher education and employers. They meet regularly to help coordinate efforts to launch our young people into productive lives as workers and citizens. This post is one in a monthly series of posts intended to share information about the work of this important group in our community. For more posts in this series, click here: P-20 education.)

by Christine Holecek

What is Labor Market Information (LMI)? Some people believe the LMI is largely made-up information. But it is actually information that is pulled from premier data sites. National data is found at the bureau of labor and statistics http://www.bls.gov. State data is found through the Texas Workforce Commission, Tracer 2 website http://www.tracer2.com. Labor Market Information is broken down in codes. The industry codes are called NAICS, Occupational Codes are called SOC, and Training Codes are referred to as CIP.

NAICS, the North American Industry Classification System, is the standard used by Federal agencies in classifying businesses for collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. SOC, Standard Occupation Classification – used by Federal agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for collecting, calculating, disseminating data. Workers are classified into one of over 820 occupations. Occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 96 minor groups, and 449 broad occupations. Each broad occupation includes detailed occupation(s) requiring similar job duties, skills, education, or experience. CIP, Classification of Instructional Programs – used by the National Center for Education Statistics to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education. The CIP functions as a taxonomic scheme to support the tracking, assessment, and reporting of fields of study and program completion activity.

pie chart mapWhat does the demand for talent look like in the HOT Workforce Area? Waco is considered the Metropolitan Statistical Area for Heart of Texas (HOT) Workforce Solutions. LMCI analysts and users are particularly interested in K-12 educational programming because it is a pipeline to future employees. A list of targeted occupations can be found at http://www.yestoyouth.com/careers.html. Careers from Aviation to Welding can be found on the targeted occupation list. In demand career clusters include: Transportation, Manufacturing, Health Care, Business, Information Technology, Law and Public Safety. Below is the occupational projections from the Heart of Texas which can be found at http://www.tracer2.com/admin/uploadedPublications/2031_13_HeartOfTexas_2012-2022.pdf

graphs

How does LMI meet the need of CTE Students? LMI Matters! It aims to help develop awareness of labor market information (LMI) and to show how it can be used effectively. It is for anyone who is helping adults or young people to explore opportunities for work or further learning. Our K-12 school system is training a future workforce that helps with the recruitment and retention of employers in our region. The HOT P-20 system includes pre-K through career as the pipeline of students that move on to post-secondary after high school graduation. The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce has identified a talent pool of future employees and encourages training the following targeted industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Supply Chain Management, Health Care, Professional and Financial Services. Independent School Districts need to focus on the Labor Market Information and the targeted industries to ensure that we prepare our students today for jobs needed by tomorrow’s employers.


Christine HolecekThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Christine Holecek. Christine is an Education Specialist at Education Service Center Region 12 in Waco. She has worked in the area of Adult Education and Career & Technical Education for the past 25 years. She earned an AAS degree from MCC, a BAAS and Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas and is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Tarleton State University.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

How to Start the Semester off Right

By Diego Loredo

It’s a new year and for college students a new semester! That means it’s time for relentless classes, long nights of studying, and who knows what else. For me, this is my fourth semester at UNT and I’m preparing myself for another long semester.

My spring semester is looking pretty good so far. I’m taking four classes for my major, public relations, and one foreign language class (Japanese). All of my classes are after 10 so that means I don’t have to wake up too early since I don’t have any 8 am classes anymore. Also, on Thursdays and Fridays I only have one class so that makes it easier for me. I only see myself having a problem in maybe two classes; this semester should be a good opportunity to get my GPA back up.

Now it’s time to get down to business. Going into my fourth semester, I’m getting more and more accustomed to college. Because of that, I’ve developed a few ways on how to start the semester off right. Everyone has their own way of beginning the semester but hopefully these will be helpful to any college student.

Buy a calendar!

Buying a calendar for school has become a habit of mine. You can buy a regular calendar or, like me, buy a dry-erase calendar so you can easily write/erase things. Having a calendar can help you keep track of things and make sure you don’t fall behind in any of your classes. What I do is write everything that I have to do that month so that I know exactly what is due and what I still have to time to do. A calendar is an irreplaceable, and cheap, college investment.

Introduce yourself to your classmates

I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again. Introduce yourself to your classmates! At the end of each class, introduce yourself to a few classmates so that you have someone to go to in case you’re having trouble in that class. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have a class with some friends. Having someone you can go to for help in a class will be your most valuable asset.

Dedicate a few hours a day to studying

This is hard for me to do, but it’s something I’m trying to get myself to do more. It doesn’t have to take up half your day, but dedicate maybe two or three hours a day to studying. It can even be just an hour, as long as you’re using a part of your day to get ahead in one of your classes. Another thing I do is dedicate a day during the weekend to study and catch up on my classes, then spend the night hanging out with friends. I’m not saying study every day after class, but make a schedule of when you’ll study for each class to make sure you get things done.

I know college can be stressful and not fun at all sometimes. But all it takes to make college enjoyable is to have a plan ready. Once you make that plan and stick to it, it can completely turn around your semester. If you stick to these three things, then I’m sure it’ll make your semester much easier. I’m looking forward to what this semester has in store for me and will do everything I can to make it as enjoyable as possible.


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a sophomore at the University of North Texas. He is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. Although he is still not quite sure what exactly he wants to do, he thinks he wants to work somewhere in sports PR (preferably soccer or college football). His hobbies include playing soccer and golf. He is 19 years old.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

 

Participate in “Groundhog Job Shadow Day” and Help Give a Kid a Chance to Learn about the World of Work

By Christine Holecek

Groundhog Job Shadow Day is a unique initiative dedicated to giving kids job groundhog logoshadowing experiences. Groundhog Job Shadow kick-off day for 2016 will be February 2. On that day we will officially get going started on what we hope will be a spring blooming with job-shadowing opportunities in the Heart of Texas. The idea is to give more of our Waco area students opportunities to “shadow” a workplace mentor as he or she goes through a normal day on the job. This gives the student a chance to get an up-close look at how skills learned in school relate to the workplace.

p-20 logoGroundhog Job Shadow Day is the joint effort of the Heart of Texas P-20 Council, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Waco Business League, and Prosper Waco. McLennan Community College, Texas State Technical College and school districts in the Heart of Texas Region are also partners promoting this event.

Job Shadowing is a Win-Win situation for all involved. For students it answers the age old question “Why do I have to learn this?” Shadowing demonstrates the importance of academics in reaching college and career goals. Shadowing also motivates students to learn by demonstrating the tangible application of classroom lessons.

For employers, Job Shadowing helps build a future workforce. Shadowing shows students career possibilities in different industries. Also the employee mentors get the feeling of personal satisfaction that comes from mentoring a young person. This opportunity offers a chance to share knowledge and skills and to help a child become a successful adult. Sometimes shadowing even leads to a long-term mentoring relationship.

Whether you are an employer, volunteer or teacher, participating in Groundhog Job Shadow Day is an easy and rewarding experience. Getting involved in Groundhog Job Shadow Day will only take a few hours of your time.

If you are an educator or an employer who would like to get involved, you can contact Christine Holecek at [email protected]. The HOT P-20 has posted some helpful job shadowing documents for you to share at: http://tinyurl.com/zynwu2r

For more information about the HOT P-20 Groundhog Job Shadow Day, please contact [email protected]


Christine HolecekThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Christine Holecek. Christine is an Education Specialist at Education Service Center Region 12 in Waco. She has worked in the area of Adult Education and Career & Technical Education for the past 25 years. She earned an AAS degree from MCC, a BAAS and Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas and is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Tarleton State University.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

New Year’s Resolutions for College Students

By Diego Loredo

It’s almost 2016 and it’s about that time of year where everyone starts to think of some New Year’s resolutions. I personally don’t make any because I usually don’t end up sticking to them, but this time it’s different. These are really my own personal New Year’s resolutions for college but some of them (or all of them) can apply to other students in college.

The struggle has been real this semester. I moved into an apartment and took tougher classes. The fact that I was in an apartment meant that I didn’t have the luxury of being on campus. That resulted in me, more often than I should have, skipping class because I didn’t want to drive or take the bus to campus. My grades also went down a bit because of the tougher classes I took. So I decided that I would create several New Year’s resolutions that I would, hopefully, stick too for my 2016 spring and fall semesters.

Don’t take 8 am classes!

This semester I learned just how hard going to 8 am classes can be. I am not a morning person and waking up at 7 to get ready for my 8 am classes was harder than I thought it would be. I took one my first semester, but I was living on campus so that made it easier to go to class. However, this semester I was in an apartment that was 15 minutes away from campus. Because of that, I would often choose to sleep in (which resulted in my grades going down). Unless you have to or you’re a morning person, I would avoid taking 8 am classes.

Save money

It doesn’t have to be a lot at once, but it would help to have a little savings in case of any emergencies. Maybe put in $10 or $20 a week. It doesn’t sound like much but eventually it’ll add up. This will come in handy whenever something comes up. My car broke down earlier this year and I had no money saved up that I could use to pay for it. I ended up borrowing money from my mom, which I later paid back. Let’s face it, we’re always going to run into something unexpected. Having some money saved up will be a huge help.

Work out more

I definitely need to do this. I gained weight my first three semesters and really am not as fit as when I was in high school. I worked out for a bit my second semester but then stopped. I play soccer every now and then but that isn’t enough to get back in shape. So next semester I’m going to try to work out more. Working out can also be a good stress reliever for college students. Lifting weights or going for a run can help free your mind from any worries. Eating healthier can also make you more productive throughout the day.

Step out of your comfort zone

Yes I know, everyone says this, but it’s true! We all need to do this. I never really did that my first three semesters and I need to change that. For others, this can mean attending events on campus, joining new organizations, or just introducing yourself to others on campus or in class. For me, it’s going to the gym to work out more. Like I said before, this is something I need to do. The more I do it, the quicker I become comfortable going.

Don’t procrastinate!

This will be the most difficult New Year’s resolution for me. I love to push things off until the last minute. Instead of writing that essay that’s due in a few days, I would just take a nap. This is a really bad habit of mine and I’m sure it’s the same for other college students. We all procrastinate, but we can also control it. Now I’m not saying to finish your work the day it’s assigned. Start out small, plan to finish your assignment a week or a couple days before it’s due to allow some time to look over it and make sure you can turn in your best work. It’s okay to procrastinate a little every now and then, but I need to try to keep it to a minimum.

I’ll be honest, I hate New Year’s resolutions. I never stick to them and I think they’re a waste of time. But this time, I figured that I would give it another try. I think the reason why most people don’t stick to their resolutions (myself included) is because we all make these unrealistic goals for ourselves that we usually give up on a week into the New Year. I think that these resolutions that I made are realistic enough for a guy like me to achieve, and hopefully for others to achieve as well. No matter what your New Year’s resolutions are, hopefully you’ll stick to them throughout the year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a sophomore at the University of North Texas. He is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. Although he is still not quite sure what exactly he wants to do, he thinks he wants to work somewhere in sports PR (preferably soccer or college football). His hobbies include playing soccer and golf. He is 19 years old.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

How to Prepare for Final Exams

By Diego Loredo

One of the biggest reasons why college can be stressful is because of final exams. It’s unavoidable. Every student has to take them at the end of the semester (unless your teacher decides to not have one). It can be really stressful studying for these exams, but they’re not that bad if you do the right things.

Final exams are almost here, which always causes students to stress out (myself included). My first semester experiencing college final exams was tough. I wasn’t really prepared and would often be up late at night in my dorm studying for my exam the next morning. But now that I’m a sophomore, I’ve gotten kind of used to finals and have developed my own way of studying for exams.

Review your notes!

I know this seems pretty obvious, but it isn’t something you should underestimate. Some professors do not provide review sheets and just say “your notes are your review sheets.” Trust me, it sucks when that happens. Hopefully this is something that you’ve been doing throughout the semester, if not ask to borrow a friend’s class notes. Read over your notes and maybe compare them with a classmate’s.

Work on the review sheet with your classmates

The more the merrier, right? Although you might prefer to study on your own so that you can focus, studying with a group of classmates has its advantages. You might learn something from your classmates that you might have missed during class. Also, if there is something you didn’t understand, maybe your classmates know and can help you understand. Working on the review sheet with a few classmates is always better in my opinion.

Study early

Don’t wait until the last minute to study for exams. It’s best to study about a week or two before the exam to ensure that you can go over the material as much as possible. Waiting until the night before to study for an exam is the worst thing you can do. I learned this the hard way. During my freshman year, I waited until the day before my final exam for statistics (which is the toughest class I have taken so far). That wasn’t a very smart decision, especially regarding how hard stats was for me, and I ended up getting a D on the exam. I got a C for the class, in my defense I was two points away from a B! Anyway, always make sure you study early on to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Have a friend quiz you

One good method of studying is having a friend quiz you over what will be on the exam. Ask your roommate or a classmate to ask you questions that will be on the exam. Keep track of those you get right and those you get wrong. Doing this will give you a sense of what you need to study and what you already know and don’t need to study as much. Do this several times until you are confident enough to take the exam. This will also help you memorize material for the exam.

Relax!

This is probably the most important thing to remember when studying for exams. Just relax! Don’t stress too much over exams, overthinking it will only hurt your chances of getting a good grade. There’s also such a thing of studying too much. Take a few breaks while studying. Just stay calm and be confident!

Exams can be intimidating, but if you study properly then you should do well. However, don’t get discouraged if you get a bad grade on one or more of your exams. It happens to all students, just think of what worked for you and what didn’t work and use that to come back stronger next semester. These last few weeks of the semester are always hectic, with final projects being due and studying for finals, but as long as you stay calm and study properly you should be fine. Best of luck!


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a sophomore at the University of North Texas. He is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. Although he is still not quite sure what exactly he wants to do, he thinks he wants to work somewhere in sports PR (preferably soccer or college football). His hobbies include playing soccer and golf. He is 19 years old.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Freshman Year

by Diego Loredo

You just graduated high school, you’ve been anticipating this moment all year, and now you’re finally here. You’re a college freshman! Although it can be fun and exciting, starting college can also be a huge challenge.

Starting college is a huge step in your career and in life. So don’t feel bad if you’re intimidated by it. Everyone goes through challenges during freshman year. Some may include making new friends, getting used to the classes, etc.

I’ve experienced many challenges my freshman year at UNT, so I know how it feels. My first semester was particularly tough. Mostly because of one class, statistics… That was, and still is, the toughest class I have ever taken. There were numerous homework assignments that took me hours to do, several exams that I studied all night for, and concepts that I just could not understand. Luckily, I made a few friends in that class who helped me get by. Statistics was also the first class ever where I got a D on an exam, which was the final exam (I still managed to pass with a C).

I didn’t really have any problems making any friends, literally the first week I moved into my dorm I made a small group of friends. Also, I was roommates with a good friend of mine that I have known since freshman year of high school. I introduced my roommate to my other friends and we all started hanging out all the time. We made a team for the outdoor soccer intramurals and met some other people who joined our team. After the tournament, which we made it to the playoffs but unfortunately lost 3-1, we had our own little group. They made it easier for me in my transition to college.

During my freshman year, I’ve encountered many different kinds of people, such as the guy who walks around campus with a flower pot on his head (I’m serious). I also enjoyed, and disliked, some of my classes and learned many things. Here are a few things that have helped me get through freshman year and will hopefully help you too as you continue to go through your transition into college and for others who will soon start their freshman year.

Find your own clique!

This is what I think is the most important thing to do your freshman year. You may have chosen to go to a college away from home to get a fresh new start, but it always helps to have a group of friends that you can depend on. Start by introducing yourself to people in your dorm or in your classes, or if you are living with a friend, the two of you can introduce yourselves to others. Having your own little clique will no doubt make college a lot easier, and more fun, for you.

Join an organization!

Your college is bound to have something that interests you. Whether it’s a debate club, photography club, or various sports clubs, find something you like! Joining some club or organization is always fun and it keeps you busy so that you won’t be stuck in your dorm all day (more on that later). Plus, joining an organization will help you meet people with similar interests as yours.

Attend events!

College campuses are always holding events to get their students involved. Your college should be no different. I’m sure there are countless events going on at your college every month. Go to a few of them! Get your roommate to go, or a few of your friends. Going to campus events are usually fun and you could win free stuff! Plus, it can get you interested in something you thought you never would.

Get to know your classmates!

This is extremely important. Introduce yourself to your classmates. I suggest you share notes or host study sessions. You never know when you will need your classmates’ help and vice versa. This will especially come in handy when exams start. Also, get to know your professor and attend study sessions held by TA’s.

Don’t stay in your dorm all day!

This was difficult for me. Every day after class I would head to my room and take a long nap. Sometimes I would just stay in bed all day. Luckily, my friends convinced me to get out more. If possible, don’t stay in your dorm all the time. Get out more! Hang out in your dorm lounge or game room, play sports outside, or go to various locations on campus with some friends. Although it’s fine to stay in your dorm every now and then, make sure that you go out too!

I’m not going to lie, freshman year was tough. It took me a while to get used to it but once I did, I became a lot more comfortable at UNT. My friends no doubt played a huge part in it. We made a lot of memories together, such as playing football in the snow and intramural sports. Along with having those friends, getting involved on campus helped as well. I believe these things that I did are what all freshman should do. Make new friends, get involved, study, and just have fun!


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a sophomore at the University of North Texas. He is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. Although he is still not quite sure what exactly he wants to do, he thinks he wants to work somewhere in sports PR (preferably soccer or college football). His hobbies include playing soccer and golf. He is 19 years old.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

 

P-20: Partnerships with a Purpose

(The Heart of Texas P-20 Council includes representatives from K-12 education, higher education and employers. They meet regularly to help coordinate efforts to launch our young people into productive lives as workers and citizens. This post is one in a monthly series of posts intended to share information about the work of this important group in our community. For more posts in this series, click here: P-20 education.)

By Ashley Canuteson

I have had the privilege of meeting some incredible people through my line of work over the past several years. A key facet of my job as College & Career Readiness Coordinator for Midway ISD is to help make connections between public educators, higher education, and folks in “the real world” – all for the benefit of students. After all, students need to leave us ready for success beyond high school. But students shouldn’t be the only ones who benefit from a group of constituents coming together to share ideas and learn from each other. My experiences have led me to realize that various partnerships coming from all of these efforts are mutualistic – they are not done solely for the benefit of students; rather, they are formed to truly help educate an entire community about how we can all work together for the successful advancement of an economically sound society. Wow! That was a mouthful! So, what does that mean exactly? I can best share an example of the power of mutualistic partnerships by telling the story of a wonderful advocate and community leader.

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Rick Tullis

Rick Tullis, president of Capstone Mechanical and member of the Midway ISD Board of Trustees, was named this summer as one of four state Business Leaders of the Year by the Career & Technology Association of Texas (CTAT). He received this recognition because of a nomination written by Donna McKethan of Waco ISD, Christine Holecek of Education Service Center Region 12, and me. Through our work with each other, we came to realize that we all had seen the power of Mr. Tullis’ influence in a variety of ways. In addition to his commitments to Midway ISD, Mr. Tullis has been an active board member of the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA), the Board of Directors for the Waco Business League, the Baylor School of Engineering Board of Advocates, the Baylor Scott & White/Hillcrest Board of Visitors, and the Board of Directors for the Waco Chamber of Commerce. Looking at his level of involvement, one can quickly see that Mr. Tullis is invested in the overall success of the Waco community. It is because of this far-reaching commitment and willingness to serve that he continues to make a lasting impact in the educational realm; however, it doesn’t stop there.

I have had the personal honor of working with Mr. Tullis in some of his volunteer roles – most specifically, with his time on the Steering Committee of the Heart of Texas P-20 Council. What I have realized in that time is that Mr. Tullis brings to the table a vision of shared learning for all. He isn’t there simply as a business representative trying to advise educators on what the world needs in its future workforce, although he shares some great perspective on that topic! He is also there to learn about how he can bring his network of colleagues into the world of education so we can all work together on helping our students become successful. “Preparing students is a shared responsibility of families, schools, and business,” said Tullis in a July interview with Hometown News. And he believes this wholeheartedly.

Mr. Tullis was an integral part of the collaboration between Waco ISD and various other school districts and business leaders who came up with the concept of the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy. As GWAMA was coming to life, the educators learned plenty about the need for skilled graduates that exists in our local manufacturing workforce. It is fair to say that our local business leaders also learned much about the world of education. Together, these partners realized there are many ways they can work mutually to meet a variety of goals. Some of those goals benefit the educational institutions and some benefit local business. Even bigger than that, however, are the goals that are long term – the goals that focus on helping students today so that we help strengthen our community tomorrow.

It takes vision. It takes commitment. It takes time. It takes service. It takes a willingness to teach and a willingness to learn. It takes a team of partners focused on how they will contribute to the betterment of our community one relationship at a time. So how can YOU become a partner? How can you make a difference in the life of a student, or the life of a colleague, or the life of your community? We must expand our network of partners through open communication lines and specific opportunities for involvement. Mr. Tullis has challenged us all on the Heart of Texas P-20 Steering Committee to invite new partners to the table for discussions about ways we can all be involved in collaborating mutually on building a successful future. Ideas abound! Job shadowing for high school students, externships for teachers, career day involvement for younger students, college tours… the list goes on and on! Where can you find a fit and become a Partner with a Purpose? Our future needs you!


 

If you would like to get involved collaborating with the P-20 Council, please contact Fred Hills at McLennan Community College.  His email is: [email protected].


ashley canutesonAshley Canuteson is the Coordinator of College & Career Readiness at Midway ISD. She works with the district Career & Technical Education programs and has a passion for working with people. Ashley is a Waco native who graduated from Robinson High School, attended MCC before graduating from Baylor University, received her Masters degree from Tarleton State University, and is currently working on her Doctorate at Baylor. Ashley is the proud mom to two fabulous children – a future video game designer and a future geologist! She and her husband, Wade, enjoy volunteering together and traveling.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.