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Nursing Alumni Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments
Nursing

Students in MCTC’s Nursing program.

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine awarded MCTC nursing alumni Be Ho a Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than 30 years of work in the field. Be earned her associate degree in Nursing at MCTC in the 1980s shortly after her time as a nurse in the Vietnam War, and is currently working with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Read her full story on the Children’s Hospital blog.

 

Nurse with inspirational story receives lifetime achievement award

By Erin Keifenheim

Be Ho, staff RN, surgery, knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was 4½ years old, yet she never imagined that following her dream would lead her on a journey to flee her home country and start a new life halfway around the world. Now celebrating her 34th year at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Be recently was named the 2014 Lifetime Achievement winner in the annual Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Outstanding Nurses awards for her amazing nursing skills and perseverance to follow her dream.

Be’s inspirational story starts in Vietnam, where she was born. When her father had abdominal surgery in the French-run hospital there, Be was mesmerized by the French nurses with their blue eyes, long eyelashes and surgical gowns, and the kindness they showed her family. She knew from that moment that she would become a nurse someday. At the age of 9, she pleaded with her parents to send her to nursing school. She cried so much that they finally arranged a meeting for her with the director of a local hospital. He convinced her to hold off on becoming a nurse until she was old enough. Finally, when Be was 17, she couldn’t wait any longer.

“At that time, nursing was looked down on as a career,” Be said. “Girls were supposed to stay at home. Nurses were viewed as the ones who did the dirty work – changing diapers and cleaning wounds. I didn’t dare tell my family I was applying for nursing school.”

Instead, Be lied to her parents, telling them she was going to visit her cousin in the capital, but she actually took the entrance exam for nursing school. Three months later, she didn’t have the heart to sneak away again to find out the results. However, her neighbor had gone to see the results of his fiancée’s exam and saw Be’s name on the list. He came over to congratulate her, thus breaking the news to her parents. Her mother cried and was resistant, but her father persuaded her to allow Be to go to nursing school – he knew she would be a wonderful nurse; he was right. Be went on to graduate second in her class. And because she always knew she wanted to work with children, she took a job at a children’s hospital in Saigon. She eventually went on to become the hospital’s director of nursing.

In 1968, Be received a scholarship to travel to England for intensive nursing care training. In 1972, she visited Minneapolis with a group of young patients who needed open-heart surgeries. The Children’s Heart Fund, now Children’s HeartLink, sponsored her to escort the patients and care for them while they were here. During that trip, she formed relationships with the staff at Children’s – Minneapolis who thought very highly of her and recognized her potential.

Back in Vietnam, the war was continuing. Because Be had traveled outside the country multiple times, the communist leaders suspected her of being a spy.

“Every week I had to write an essay to the communist government saying that I was the country’s enemy,” Be said. “One day I was brave enough to ask why I was being forced to write these letters. They told me ‘because you are such a good nurse.’ It was very hard for me to say I was an enemy when all I wanted to do was provide nurturing and loving nursing care – just like the French nurses I saw as a child.”

Eventually, Be became worried about her future in Vietnam. Her colleagues at Children’s Heart Fund attempted to evacuate her in 1975, but she couldn’t bear to leave without saying goodbye to her family. Though she feared for her life, she said a tearful goodbye to her friends and remained in Vietnam. A few years later, she knew it was time to escape. She contacted her U.S. colleagues for assistance, under the guise that she needed to have open-heart surgery in Japan.

“I had to lie again to escape Vietnam. If I was caught, I would be sent to a concentration camp,” Be said. “I told the hospital I was working for that my grandmother was dying, when she had actually died before I was born.”

Arrangements were made for Be to travel by boat to a refugee camp in Thailand.

“I had to leave without saying goodbye to my family. I wanted to protect them in case the communist government came looking for me. I wrote a letter to my dad and left. It was very scary,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone. It was getting dark. We had to hide under coconut leaves on the boat to disguise ourselves from the communist police who were chasing us. When we finally made it to international waters, I was so happy I cried.”

Be spent five months in the refugee camp, where she worked as a clinic nurse and as a translator for the U.S. delegation. It was there that she also met her now husband, who found her in the crowd of new arrivals and arranged for her to have a place to sleep. While the camp provided safety, she knew there was more out there for her, and soon she was sponsored to work in the U.S. In August of 1980, Be arrived in Minnesota.

“I knew I wanted to work at Children’s Hospital,” Be said. “It was a place of comfort for me. I talked with the director of nursing, but because my nursing papers and transcripts were thrown overboard by pirates during my escape, I had no official paperwork. They hired me as a nursing assistant in the PICU, and I was so grateful.”

With the help of a Children’s scholarship, Be went back to school full time and got her associate’s degree in nursing from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She was then hired as a registered nurse at Children’s and worked on 4 East (now the sixth floor), before eventually transferring to surgery.

Be is now the urology team leader in the surgery department and works with surgeons and staff to make sure they have the instruments and supplies needed for a variety of surgeries. She works to onboard new surgery nurses in urology and across other services, too.

“With every patient she works with, Be is calm, comforting and compassionate,” said Pat Buzzell, patient care manager for the surgery department. “She takes care of the whole family, reassures them and educates them so surgery isn’t a scary experience. She comes in on her days off to conduct patient family tours, and she often stays late to check in on patients. She does whatever it takes to make families comfortable, using her cheerful personality to calm their fears and put them at ease.”

Be still has a deep love for Vietnam and returns there on medical missions to provide care for children at the hospital where she used to work. She has recruited Children’s surgeons and staff to join her on these trips, where they provide education to medical teams and perform surgeries.

“Be gives everything to her patients, whether they are here or in Vietnam,” Pat said. “She works tirelessly to advocate for them, and she doesn’t give up. Because of the journey she has had and how hard she has worked to get here, Be refuses to settle for anything less than perfection. She believes in hard work and practice and has earned the respect of the surgeons, anesthesiologists and all staff on our unit. Be says it’s an honor to work with kids – I say it’s an honor to work with Be.”

Now almost 70 and pondering when to retire, Be gets emotional when she thinks about potentially leaving Children’s – her second home.

“I am so grateful to Children’s Hospital for all they have done for me,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here now. This country took me in, but this hospital gave me a second chance for my life. I love Children’s Hospital from the bottom of my heart.”

The Groove: MCTC’s Alumni Magazine (Spring 2014)

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Groove magazine, spring 2014groove [grüv]:

(v.) to appreciate and enjoy; (-y) (n.) up-to-date

The MCTC magazine for alumni and friends is hot off the press! Read this spring’s edition for great stories about:

The Groove is released twice a year to MCTC alumni, friends, donors and the greater Twin Cities community. Read the spring 2014 Groove edition here!

For more information contact marketingdesk@minneapolis.edu.

Abbot Downing Awards Inaugural Scholarship Recipient

Posted on: September 6th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Thomas Stenslie, recent graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), is the inaugural recipient of the Abbot Downing Scholarship. Stenslie was awarded an annual renewable scholarship for $2,500 to complete his bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State University.

Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo business, will provide up to two scholarships annually for students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business at Metropolitan State University after completing two years at either Saint Paul College or Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Stenslie will begin coursework at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minn. this fall, majoring in business administration, with an anticipated graduation date of 2015. While attending MCTC, he was a member of the dean’s list. A native of Wahpeton, N.D., Stenslie lives in Minneapolis, where he works as an auditor at RIS Inventory Services.

“Part of Abbot Downing’s mission is to attract and develop talented teams of people who demonstrate integrity, wisdom, and passion for great work,” said Jim Steiner, president of Abbot Downing. “Through the Abbot Downing Scholarship program we are able to connect with students who display these characteristics and invest in their future. We’re excited about our partnership with Metropolitan State, which has a strong business program and offers students affordability and flexibility to pursue higher education.”

President of Metropolitan State University Sue Hammersmith said, “I congratulate our partners at Abbot Downing for the vision reflected in their creation of the Abbot Downing Scholarship. This kind of private-sector engagement and support for students while they are preparing for their careers is an important and growing trend in public higher education. Abbot Downing’s example of outreach to promising students is the kind of innovation that enables Metropolitan State to continue to be ‘Where Life and Learning Meet.’”

The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America.  Applications for fall 2014 may be submitted starting in early 2014 at http://sms.scholarshipamerica.org/abbotdowning/.

Abbot Downing, with $34 billion in client assets and a 40-year history serving ultra-high-net-worth clients, is part of Wells Fargo’s Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement group, a leading U.S. wealth manager, with $1.4 trillion in client assets.

Abbot Downing services clients in all 50 states through offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Naples, Jacksonville, and Palm Beach. Wells Fargo launched the Abbot Downing brand on April 2, 2012, combining two Wells Fargo businesses: the original Abbot Downing built the iconic stagecoaches that have come to represent Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2013 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all their customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

Q&A with Dan Huiting: From musician to cinematographer

Posted on: August 24th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments

Dan HuitingCombining his passion for music and film, former MCTC cinematography student Dan Huiting is living his dream. Before pursuing film, Huiting strived to make it as a musician, but found himself dissatisfied. It wasn’t until he worked on a music video for a song he and his friends wrote that he discovered a passion for film that launched him into the career of his dreams.

During his time at MCTC, Huiting took every opportunity to strengthen and showcase his film skills, leading to opportunities with MPLS.TV, Bon Iver and Pitchfork. He is now the senior producer of the City of Music series at MPLS.TV and the director of photography/editor of Minnesota Original on Twin Cities Public Television.

Have you always had a passion for the music industry? What inspired that passion?

I have always loved music. My dad gave me my first guitar when I was nine, and I’ve been playing ever since.

What led you to pursue a profession as a musician?

I found myself playing and recording for hours. I moved to New York City when I was 20 to try to make it as a musician, but I quickly became disillusioned and moved back. I only played guitar and bass, so I had to join other bands instead of starting my own. I never really clicked with any particular band.

What were your thoughts when you discovered that being a professional musician was not your best fit?

I felt pretty bummed out and lost for a while—I wasn’t sure what I would do with my life.

When you were working on the music video for the song you and your friends wrote, what did you love about the shooting, lighting and editing process?

I fell in love with the collaborative aspect. Working with my friends toward a common goal—and having fun in the process—was something I hadn’t experienced when I recorded by myself.

What led you to MCTC?

I had always taken photos and felt I had a decent eye, so I decided to pursue MCTC’s cinematography program. I felt filmmaking might be in the cards for me.

What are the top three takeaways from your time at MCTC that helped you most in your film career?

First, my professor, Adam Olson, who spent countless hours answering my questions about cinematography, was a great resource. Second was my first-year production courses, where I learned the basics about lighting, camera and the language of film. Lastly were the people. I made valuable relationships with like-minded students who were as passionate about film as I was. I work with many of those people today.

What’s your favorite part about your current job/gigs?

I love getting paid to make art all day. I can’t believe I get paid to travel and work with the bands I love. I also enjoy meeting talented artists and musicians around the city—it’s really inspiring.

What are your hopes for the future regarding your career?

I want to continue making art and challenge myself with new projects. The more I do this, the more confident in my craft I become, and I’m able to take bigger risks with my work. It’s exciting to try something new that you aren’t sure will work, but it’s better than doing the same thing. That’s how I stay excited about my career.

Read more about Dan Huiting in the Vita.mn article

MCTC Alumni Night at Joe’s Garage

Posted on: August 22nd, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments

Sept. 15, 5 – 8 p.m.
Joe’s Garage

If you are an alumnus/alumna of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), you are invited to attend MCTC’s first Alumni Re-Connect Night.

Why should you attend?

  • Receive 25% off at Joe’s if you attend on Sept 15.
  • You will be entered to win a $50 Joe’s Garage gift certificate and MCTC prizes.
  • Re-connect with fellow alumni.
  • Learn about ways to re-connect with MCTC.

We hope to see you there. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Marni Harper at Marni.Harper@minneapolis.edu or 612-659-6311.

Share our Facebook event page with your alumni friends!