By Cheryl Landreth, CVAB
After working in the financial services industry for many years, Tracy Peloquin found herself suddenly out of a job and relocated to a state that didn’t offer the types of financial career options she had in her previous home state. Tracy had often worked in food service and as a temporary employee in the past and once again found herself back into those types of jobs.
“When I reached my 50th birthday, I took a look at where I was in my life, what I had started and what I had not accomplished,” Peloquin stated. “Each day on my way to yet another temporary job, I passed by Centura College. I saw students outside and often wished I was one of them.”
In 2016 Tracy found herself laid off again and decided enough was enough. She went to Opportunity Inc. to see what options would be available to a middle-aged woman who had been displaced from her previous career. To her surprise and joy, there was a grant available to help with the cost of college. Her next stop was Centura College.
For the next year and a half, Tracy worked full time and attended school full time. Reflecting on that time, Tracy stated, “I really wanted to do my best at both. Whenever you would see me, I would either have a book in my hand or I would be working on homework.” Many late nights later, Tracy graduated summa cum laude with a 3.85 grade point average and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Management degree. Tracy exclaimed, “I felt so accomplished!”
Tracy knows this is only the first important step in achieving her dream to someday run her own business of helping low-income seniors with housing. She is currently working at Canon and advancing in her career. Her next step is to enroll in a Master’s program pursuing additional business and human resource training.
Moving forward on her journey, Tracy states “Had I never made that stop to Centura College, where I felt a peace as soon as I walked through the door, I would not have a plan for my future. I know where I am heading with my life and I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend Centura College. The instructors were great and offered additional assistance whenever I needed it. They taught me so much more than just the book material. I was able to gain practical application experience which helped me to fully understand the purpose of what was being taught.”
Mayowa Afolabi’s story as Centura College’s first international student began in the country of Nigeria. She had just finished her National Diploma in Mass Communication at The Polytechnic Ibadan, preparing to continue her education towards a Higher National Diploma. Her father told her he wanted a better future for her and for her to experience life in another country. To Mayowa’s surprise, she was enrolled in Centura College and was facing life on the other side of the globe on her own.
Mayowa’s journey began in April 2016, and she has never looked back. She stated her biggest fear, next to flying to America on an airplane, was speaking in front of a group of people. With the help of her instructors, who coached her through presentations and weekly speeches, she quickly overcame her fear of public speaking. Mayowa credits her instructors for who she is now and states, “No matter the situation in which I find myself, I always stand up to face the challenges.”
As a student, Mayowa was very involved with the Student Government Association and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), serving as secretary for both organizations. On many occasions, she was the “voice” telling others about the organizations and encouraging her fellow students to participate.
Mayowa graduated summa cum laude in June 2017 with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Business with a Concentration in Management and is currently employed with Centura College. Mayowa states, “No matter where you find yourself, if you have the focus, if you work hard and if you put God first, you are going to make it in life.”
By: Esperanza Poquiz
The faculty that forms the Student Services Department plays a key role in helping you through your college journey. Student Services includes different branches of a campus to aid you in addressing specific needs. Below you can find information on the departments that help maintain order on campus:
- Career Services – If you are a graduate, or you are about to graduate, Career Services can provide assistance when it comes to searching for jobs. They help with writing resumes and will coach you on proper interview attire and etiquette. They will even performing mock interviews in preparation for the real thing. Career Services arranges opportunities for employers to come to the campus to encourage you to meet with them face to face.
- Bursar – The Bursar Department assists with billing, monitoring your account balances and collecting balances due.
- Financial Aid – The Financial Aid Department breaks down the specifics on your financial aid options. They will also provide information on grant or scholarship opportunities.
- Librarian/Learning Resource Center Assistant – A Librarian, or Learning Resource Center Assistant, provides tools, books and other reference materials that can help you with studying or assignments.
- Registrar – The Registrar Department maintains order when it comes to things like: attendance and student records, grades, transfer/transcript information, and class enrollments.
- Student Services – A Student Services Coordinator establishes relationships with the community as resources for you. Using their connections, they will help you in finding housing information, transportation and daycare options, as well as, part time jobs options to have while attending school.
- Veteran Services– Veterans Services equip veteran students with information on what educational benefits are offered to them. They accommodate veterans to help create a smooth transition from military life to civilian life.
Equipped with the proper knowledge of what each Student Services Department does, you now know which department to turn to for the proper guidance.
The world of digital technology can be confusing. Many organizations fail to understand the clear distinction between various platforms within the digital technology. Do you need an IT specialist, a web developer, or a website designer? And who does what exactly? Digital service providers have a different set of skills and areas of expertise.
This is how it works: you don’t take your car to a collision shop when you want it detailed, or to a tire store when you want the oil changed. The same thing applies to information technology and web development. We are going to dissect the distinction between web development and information technology to help clear confusion and help you better communicate about the different roles.
What is Information Technology?
Information Technology (IT) has to do with the implementation and maintenance of your organization’s computer network. An IT specialist is the person handles the company’s software, hardware, email systems and security systems.
In the Web Industry scope, IT encompasses storage, transfer, reception and manipulation of data using computer networks. It may not be clear at a first glance, but IT represents the technology behind the standardization and coordination of the organization’s information.
What is Web Development?
Web development refers to the creation and development of websites and hosting them on the internet or intranet. This should never be confused with web design, which typically focuses on the aesthetics of websites. To draw a clear distinction, web designers create designs for a website before it comes alive, while a web developer will utilize the design to carry out the actual coding of the website, bringing the ideas to life.
Web developers work on anything as simple as plain text pages, to more complex social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. During the development, the web developer engages the web designer and the client through critical thinking, planning, and discussion.
The Comparison Between IT Administrator and Web Developer
You can now see that these two fields are totally different, but the case may not be immediately clear when you first walk into a web company’s office. Here’s an analysis of the job description for an IT Administrator and a Web Developer:
An IT Administrator’s roles and duties include:
- Configuring computer networks in the organization for easy communication among the coworkers.
- Setting up and managing existing network infrastructures in the organization and ensuring a seamless flow of data and consistent internet connection.
- Managing all software and hardware used by the organization and keeping all the software licenses up to date.
- Managing software and hardware purchasing.
- Proper keeping of organizations data and information with backups.
- Troubleshooting any computer hardware failures of the organization.
The Web Developer’s duties and responsibilities include:
- Developing websites using the most prominent coding languages and technologies.
- Fixing bugs on the existing websites.
- Interacting with clients to clearly understand their goals and needs.
- Maintaining websites.
- Collaborating with web designers to bring their concepts into reality.
- Handling domain names and hosting configurations.
- Creating technical documentations that accompany websites.
It’s pretty clear now that the two jobs have very little similarities. Training in each area is needed to be successful in either role and being able to explain the difference to companies will make sure you exceed employer expectations in a more defined success plan.
By Jul DeGeus
Some might argue that professionalism is one of the keys to success in the business world. Knowing the rules of business etiquette can set you apart from other employees, but one of the most commonly abused etiquette rules is the use of cell phones. While you should refer to your company’s rules and regulations for instruction regarding cell phone usage, these are some best practices:
Cellphone Volume and Ringer/ Ringtone
There’s nothing worse than sitting at your cubicle, working on a report in a silent office and having your phone ring. Anxiously, you bustle around through your personal items, quickly trying to hush it. You apologize for disturbing everyone and, red-faced, you get back to work hoping you won’t be made fun of later for your choice of ringtone. Two main rules of etiquette can be learned in this situation:
- Always remember to silence your phone- Make turning your phone to “silent mode” part of your morning routine to save you some shame. Breakfast, shower, brush your teeth, check your phone, grab coffee and head to work.
- Pick a professional ring/text tone- While you might know all the words to “Baby Got Back,” and even have a choreographed dance paired with it for special occasions, your ringtone reflects your professionalism. Keep it generic to keep it professional.
Also keep in mind that setting your phone to “vibrate” is not the same as “silencing” your phone. While it is harder for some to pick up the sounds, vibrations are audible, especially if sitting on a tabletop surface.
When and Where to Use Your Cell
Lunch time is the perfect time to take or make personal calls. Most lunches are “off the clock” which is the ideal time to make your calls. Just be aware of your surroundings and understand that in a cafeteria or restaurant setting, others have the opportunity to hear part or all of your conversation. A personal or secluded space, such as your car, will allow for more privacy.
Most companies allow you to use your phone on break, but take into consideration how long you use your phone. Generally, breaks are 15 minutes. If you exceed this time, it is likely that your boss will notice and could result in discipline.
It’s not the best idea to use your phone when in your cubicle. A neighbor can pop their head over the separator and gaze your screen or overhear a chat you are having. Additionally, you do not want to interrupt your peers’ concentration by carrying out a loud, disruptive dialogue.
People often use restrooms to have conversation on their phone. While this seems private, voices can carry through the buildings ventilation system. Not to mention, if your office shares a single or limited number of stalls, you could be holding up someone who needs to use the restroom.
There’s always an exception to the rule and when it comes to cell phones, emergencies are the exception. If there is some sort of emergency that causes your phone to ‘blow up,’ communicate this with your boss so they are aware of why you are on your phone.
Say you are in a meeting and someone vaguely refers to information you know you have access to via your cell phone. In situations like this, it’s ok to use your phone to access the information, so long as you announce that that is what you are doing. Something as simple as, “I’ll get those exact numbers for you,” or, “I have that email, let me pull it up,” will let everyone in the meeting know you are using your phone to enhance the meeting, rather than ignore it.
When interacting with people, give them your full attention. Try not to use your phone as a timepiece and avoid your smart watch; if you spend too much time looking at your smart watch, people will assume you are checking a text message and ignoring them. Finally, as sneaky as you may be, don’t read text messages under the table, behind a coffee cup or in back of portfolio or clip board.
By Esperanza Poquiz
Some of us find interviews a little nerve-racking while others may be cool, calm and collected. Preparing for the interview process can ease stress. Whether you are a pro or amateur, keep these tips in the forefront of your mind when going to your next interview.
We’ve all heard that making a great first impression is important. A survey showed that 66 out of 2,000 hiring managers knew in 90 seconds if they would hire the job candidate. Ensure that your appearance gives the hiring manager a great first impression by:
- Having a firm handshake and great posture
- Wearing more neutral colors like: black, gray, navy blue and white
- Communicating with proper vocabulary and grammar
Having confidence in yourself definitely shows in an interview. Emitting confidence lets the hiring manager see that you know what you want and you take initiative. Radiate confidence through:
- Voice projection; don’t mumble
- Eye contact
- Body language: don’t fidget, play with your hair, touch your face or cross your hands over your chest
- Hand gestures, but keep them to a minimum
- Enthusiasm; Let your personality shine and show warmth
Know Who You Applied For
Before going in your interview be sure to do the following:
- Research the company and get general information
- Have a specific position in mind and learn the requirements of the position you seek
- Come prepared with questions based on the company
- Know the company’s mission statement and what is important to them
- Have a generic answer about why you lost or left your last job
- Don’t put down previous positions, employers or peers
- Don’t focus on pay, schedule or benefits in the initial interview
- Ask relevant questions
Be sure to keep these suggestions in mind for you next interview. You can also ask family and friends for help through mock interviews. Good luck!