NVC Alumni and Friends Update - Vol. 4, Issue 4
Hello NVC Alumni and Friends,
2015 has been a monumental year for Northwest Vista College. The alumni, students, faculty and staff who comprise our NVC community continue to exceed expectations in contributing their time, expertise and support for college activities. These collaborations and partnerships have resulted in NVC being recognized on a national level as being a "forward-thinking" institution in helping students succeed.
This edition of the alumni newsletter focuses on sharing the accomplishments of just a few Vista graduates who have exemplified the Wildcat Spirit. These impressive dedicated individuals have not only continued their own respective educational and career goals, but they have also made the choice to ‘give-back’ by serving on college advisory boards, visiting campus to speak about jobs and scholarships, or by simply sharing their good news with us.
President Obama, recently announced two national goals in higher education to be met by 2020. These objectives include 1.) Making America a nation with the highest proportion of college graduates again and 2.) Helping to empower individuals and generate an additional five million community college graduates.* Vista Alumni prove over and over again that community colleges can and do change lives. Your stories, memories and experiences are instrumental in providing future NVC graduates the inspiration they need to succeed.
This upcoming year will bring new opportunities to reconnect with your campus and I hope you’ll join us. On behalf of everyone at Northwest Vista College, I wish you the best of holidays and a Happy New Year.
Dr. Ric Baser
Jesse Salazar, III - Class of 2012
“For someone who went into the college with no real direction, Northwest Vista completely changed my life.”
Jesse Salazar, III, says an associate degree has given him the confidence to display his talents, skills and knowledge in the often competitive world of digital video and cinema production.
“It has been a difficult journey and the doors did not open right away,” he said.
Jesse is a 2012 graduate of Northwest Vista who has earned both an associate degree in new media communication and a certificate of achievement in digital video and cinema production. He went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin where he received his bachelor’s in radio-television-film.
Today, Jesse is an independent Texas filmmaker based in both Austin and San Antonio. He is currently working on his first feature film and submitting a short documentary for screening at various film festivals. His body of work includes having created web promos, music videos, television commercials and training videos for a wide-range of clientele.
Jesse credits hard work, dedication and the backing of a degree from NVC with helping him stay headstrong and gain traction in his profession.
“I think any level of degree alone will not do anything for people unless they remain pro-active and confident,” he said.
When asked what he remembers most about NVC, Jesse recalls not only the supportive nature of faculty and staff, such as Albert Lopez, Ron Wojnar and Laura Lawrence, but he also recalled his experience as a single father on graduation night.
“I remember getting on that stage at graduation and standing up there with my son,” he said. “He was the whole reason I went back to college."
Jesse currently volunteers as a member of the Northwest Vista College Digital Video and Cinema Program Advisory Board. He says serving on the board is just one small way he can give back to the college which helped him so much.
He encourages current and future NVC students to work hard, never give up and to, most importantly, apply themselves.
“You're missing out on some great moments and opportunities if you don't push yourself to become the best possible version of you,” he said.
Thomas Mullins - Class of 2015
Thomas Mullins spent one intensive life-changing week abroad this summer as the 2015 A-JAM delegate to the prestigious international jazz meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), held this year in Lisbon, Portugal. It was the 25th anniversary of the unique global jazz meeting and an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Hosted by a different member school each year, students, teachers, and school representatives from all over the world gather to learn, perform, exchange ideas, and generally live and breathe jazz. Fresh from the trip, Mullins shared some of his insights and experiences.
"My participation at the 25th Annual IASJ Meeting was unlike anything else I’ve experienced in all my life," he said. The sights of the city were like stepping into a postcard. Everyone involved was unbelievably welcoming, eager to share their friendship and love of music. There, I met people from all corners of the world, brought together by the uniting force of music. I had the privilege of talking with David Liebman, founder of the program. When I commented on what an amazing experience he has provided to all with the talented students and educators, he responded, “Good people, great music. Where else are you going to get this?”
"I would be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed at times," Mullins continued. "There I was, far from home, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and faces. I would leave the master classes feeling as though I knew nothing about music. I would leave rehearsals thinking we would never make the deadline. My mind was constantly screaming, ‘Fight or flight! Given that the flight was a literal 19-hour flight, fight it was. I would find myself questioning my abilities and my right to participate with this caliber of musicians, but through my conversations and experiences with my fellow students, I learned that I wasn’t alone. And that was the beauty of it all. None of us were truly alone, despite what we felt at times. We were together in our pursuits, ambitions, struggles, and triumphs. The international meeting is what dreams are made of."
Mullins, a 2015 graduate of Northwest Vista College, entered the UTSA music program with a full scholarship in composition in fall 2015. A student of classical guitarist Dan Smith, Thomas auditioned on guitar. He studies trombone and improvisation with Armin Marmolejo of Palo Alto College. As a composer, Mullins received a Jack Stone Award for New Music in 2013, while at Northwest Vista.
Andrew Rico - Class of 2010
Andrew Rico, class of 2010, was recently hired into the Agent Trainee Program at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, California. UTA is a top talent agency which represents actors such as Chris Pratt, Angelina Jolie and Al Pacino.
Andrew began his journey at Northwest Vista College as a high school student in the dual credit program. Since graduating from NVC, Andrew has earned his bachelor of arts in film and television production from Loyola Marymount University and completed a master’s degree in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Most recently, Andrew completed the prestigious International Radio and Television Society Summer Fellowship Program in New York City, and had a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal “Transformative Works and Cultures.”
Andrew, his brother Michael, and his mother Matilde, are each graduates of Northwest Vista College. His sister has also attended NVC.
NVC Grads Talk Giving
This year’s Northwest Vista College Employee Development Day included a welcome home for a group of four NVC graduates and scholarship recipients.
Jesse Salazar, III, class of 2012, Gladys Torres, class of 2013, Santos Jimenez, class of 2011, and Daniela Magnone, class of 2013, contributed to a discussion on how donations made by faculty and staff during the annual NVC Employee Giving campaign can impact a student’s future.
During the session, named "Impact Stories: Conversations about Making a Difference," the group shared how NVC scholarships helped provide not only financial support, but a high level of confidence that they each carry today.
“I cannot forget how helpful scholarships were during my stay at NVC,” said Gladys, who earned her associate degree in Allied Health at NVC and is currently in her third semester of the Nursing program at San Antonio College.
This is the first year that NVC Alumni have been invited to participate as guest speakers at Employee Development Day.
“I love coming back to campus,” said Santos. “It still feels like home to me.”
Among those in attendance were Dr. Robert Marbut, NVC Government faculty, who said, “these students have great stories and more people need to hear them. When you listen to these students, you get a better understanding of how contributing to scholarships in any amount can have such an impact on a student’s educational journey.”
Jesse Salazar, III, graduated with an associate of arts in new media communications and a certificate of achievement in digital video and cinema production. He attended the University of Texas in Austin where he received his bachelor’s in radio-television-film. Jesse is an independent Texas filmmaker making an impact on South Texas digital video, film and journalism.
Gladys Torres, graduated in 2013 and was the first recipient of the NVC Alumni Scholarship. She earned her associate degree in allied health and is currently enrolled at San Antonio College in the third semester of nursing school. During her time at NVC, she received the T-STEM scholarship as well as a Faculty Senate Scholarship.
Santos Jimenez graduated in 2011 with dual degrees in science and general studies. While attending NVC, he was employed as a work study and received both the NVC Brackenridge Scholarship and the 21st Century Scholarship for Young Men. Santos earned a bachelor’s of science in respiratory care and cardiopulmonary physiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). He is in his final year of the master of healthcare administration (MHA) program at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW).
Daniela Magnone, is a tutor in the Northwest Vista College Math Lab. You might remember her as the unforgettable speaker at the 2013 NVC graduation ceremony. She has been the recipient of the La Prensa Foundation Inspirational Student of the Month Award and the Conceptual Mind Works Scholarship. A self-proclaimed lover of math, Daniela is a proud single mother of two daughters and currently attends the University of Texas at San Antonio. She earned her associate degree in mathematics.
Employee Development Day is held annually by Northwest Vista College, and the Alamo Colleges District, to encourage employee collaboration through a day of personal and professional enrichment sessions.
NVC Named Among Top Colleges in Texas
Northwest Vista College has been ranked second among the Best Two-Year Colleges in Texas by BestColleges.com. The website compiles the annual list using a proprietary algorithm which calculates information directly from federal education databases and analyzes key performance indicators such as acceptance, retention, graduation and enrollment rates.
“Northwest Vista is committed to student success and retention, and we are thrilled that outside entities are recognizing the good work of our faculty and staff,” said NVC President Ric Baser, Ed.D.
Northwest Vista College has seen a 5.44 percent enrollment growth from fall 2014 to fall 2015. More than 17,000 students attend the college pursuing associate degrees, certificates and transfer credit. The number of degrees and certificates awarded has skyrocketed by more than 39 percent from the 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 academic year.
Business Council Awards First Scholarship
Members of the NVC Business Council celebrated the first awarding of the new Business Council Scholarship to Francisco Olea and the completion of the second round of the Business Leader Career Coaching Program during their December meeting. Francisco is a Business Administration major and veteran of the U.S. Army and plans to attend a university in Houston after he completes his studies at NVC.
Eight business leaders were matched with eight NVC Student Development instructors and served as career coaches to students in the classes this fall at NVC. Sessions and activities presented by the business leaders focused on goal setting, interpersonal communication, career development and financial literacy.
Membership dues of the Council are used for the Business Council Scholarship and other NVC scholarships. The Council has 17 paid members.
Congressman Joaquin Castro Celebrates Grant with NVC
U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro came to campus to congratulate
Northwest Vista College for receiving a $2.3 million grant to help
students in math classes and get them one step closer to graduation.
U.S. Department of Education five-year grant will be used for “Project
Math Paths,” designed to allow NVC faculty and staff to welcome, advise,
place, and accelerate students through the math core and eliminate
developmental math hours.
NVC Math faculty Anna Harwin said
Project Math Paths is already making strides locally and nationally
where there are similar programs.
"We should be able to change
the math trajectory in the city," she said. "We already have across the
country 606 students who have moved this semester out of harm's way from
long-path, high-risk courses to lower-risk, shorter path courses."
Castro said while he was in college math was one of his least favorite subjects, and can be a setback for many students.
served for two terms as vice chairman of the Higher Education Committee
at the state capitol in Austin, and what we noticed was when we look
around the state, math would be the subject that would stump many
students and keep them from completing college," he said. "And because
many folks are often in this work/school tug of war, people would get
frustrated and ultimately give up and not return to school. I want to
say thank you for Project Math Paths and taking this creative and
innovative approach that not only the Gates Foundation thinks is
special, but obviously the federal government and the Department of
NVC Digital Video and Cinema Students Help Area Non-Profits
Digital Video Students not only learn from our talented faculty, but they give back to the community. These students created videos to help the mission/purpose of the Epilepsy Foundation of Central & South Texas, the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm, the Family Service Association's Teen Tech Center and promoting nurses at University Hospital.
Wildcats Participate in Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
Congratulations to the Northwest Vista Cross Country team who had great results at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
In the 5K:
Adam Soto, 5th overall & 2nd in division, 18:56.
Hector Sandoval, 4th in division & 13th overall male, 22:20.
Micah Florence, 9th in his division & 43rd overall, 24:40.
There were over 2,000 runners in the 5K.
In the Half Marathon:
Aaron Beattie, 25th out of 268 in his division & 247 out of over 12,000 for the race, 1:35:54.
Brandy Medina, 35th in her division & 199th for overall women 1:48.54.
Vienna Garcia, finished the race under 2 hours, helping pace her 14-year-old niece, in her first half marathon.
In the Marathon, former NVC Cross Country Coach Ashley McGee placed 47th overall in her division and 3rd overall women with a time of 3:11.56.
Coach McGee, coached two former NVC Cross Country runners to their first overall marathon finish.
Karla Cortez, ran a 3:30:07, placing her 1st in her division & 15th overall female.
Rhea Migdalski, was 2nd in her division & 25th overall female with a time of 3:36:55.
Results contributed by NVC Cross Country Coach, Staci Krueger, for the Vista Blog
HalloVista Night Pictures
Northwest Vista College thanks everyone who attended HalloVista.
Here’s what some people had to say about the night.
"It was wonderful!! Brought my daughter who is a senior in high school; she's now interested in attending this beautiful campus; we spoke to several students that gave great feedback about the college; thanks again the night was awesome!!!!"
"Congratulations!!! Awesome Halloween party and Happy 20th year Anniversary!!"
"This was the best Halloween event ever! My family and I really enjoyed the fireworks and all of the activities. LOVE YOU NVC!!"
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Next issue will be out March 2016 - Tell us about your new job, degree or what you've been up to.