MCTC

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Our Voices: Randy Anderson, Addict in Recovery

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Randy-anderson-storyTo Recovery and Beyond

The day Randy Anderson was sentenced to more than 87 months in federal prison was the worst day of his life.

At one point in his life, Randy was using and dealing cocaine daily. That lifestyle caught up with him one day in 2004 when he came home to find himself surrounded by police vehicles and officers with guns drawn.

To avoid any lengthy jail time, Randy volunteered to enter a drug treatment program. After completing the program at the Minneapolis drug treatment facility RS Eden, he was arrested on drug charges again. It was Randy’s second stay at the RS Eden that sent the message that would change his life.

“One of the counselors told me I was being stubborn,” he said. ”That was my turning point.”
His counselor challenged Randy to enter sobriety and, not one to turn down a challenge, he obliged. He’s been sober since Jan. 10, 2005. However, despite his recent sobriety, Randy still needed to account for his past actions. He was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

The day Randy drove himself to prison was the scariest day of his life.

“My heart fell out of my chest,” he said. “I was devastated by an outcome that was so much worse than I ever could have imagined.”

Randy was able to reduce his sentence to 54 months with good behavior. After his release and once he acquired a steady job, his newlywed wife encouraged him to look at postsecondary education.

“I decided to go for it, but at the age of 43, I was scared to death of going back to school,” he said.

His first day of class at MCTC was the second scariest day of his life. He remembers turning around in his car to go back home twice, and telling himself he couldn’t do it.

When he finally arrived at the College, he found the atmosphere inviting. Within moments of his arrival, Randy was approached by a fellow student who offered him directions. Randy realized involvement would be his key to success as an adult student coming back to college, and shortly thereafter he connected with Student Life and the Addiction Counseling Club.

“If you don’t become involved with Student Life, you’re missing out,” he said. “It made my educational experience as a middle-aged man really fun.”

Diving into MCTC’s renowned Addiction Counseling program, Randy found his niche. Drawing on a lifetime of connecting and building rapport with new acquaintances, Randy used his involvement and connections jump start his education and work toward a future career as an addiction counselor.

“In any client-focused career, you have to find a way to connect with someone on a personal level,” said Randy. “As an outgoing person and someone with experience going through addiction counseling, my goal is to connect with the people who went through what I went through.”

Before he graduates from his program in December, Randy will spend the summer interning at RS Eden—the very place that turned his life around. He already knows he’s on the right track, too. “I was offered to stay on as a counselor after my internship,” he said. “I’m starting my future right out of the gates.

Our Voices: Katie Nadeau, Executive Assistant

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Katie-Nadeau-200Underscoring the Importance of Executive Assistance

“There are a lot of stereotypes about this profession,” said Katie Nadeau, executive assistant to the CEO of the Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP). “But what it comes down to is that companies are looking for people who can actually deliver administrative support—and good administrators are leaders in their companies.”

Once slated as secretaries, executive assistants are charged with ever-increasing duties requiring data, privacy, detail and quick action. “To support a CEO requires not just office skills but also communication leadership and longer days than your boss,” said Katie. “Not many people understand how significant the role is, but executive assistants (EAs) have to know more than how to type; they need to understand and advance the priorities of their company.”

When Katie assumed her role with the MBP 11 years ago, she saw an opportunity to connect with fellow executive assistants. “I came from working in a small construction company and later with the Minnesota House of Representatives,” she said. “What I quickly found in my current position is that our members’ executive assistants are a tremendous resource not only to me, but to their company and the broader business community as well. I reached out to the other assistants and built a fantastic network of connections.”

That network eventually led her to MCTC.

On any given day, 850 of approximately 12,000 total administrative assistant jobs in Downtown Minneapolis are open, according to MCTC Associate Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Mike Christenson. When Katie met Mike, she learned about the College’s Business Office Technology (BTEC) program which trains students for administrative assistant careers throughout the Twin Cities. “One of my first experiences with MCTC was connecting with the students,” said Katie. “After that, I recruited EAs to work with faculty to align the curriculum with skills that we knew were the biggest priorities in the executive assistant community.” The group, which included EAs from Target, Accenture, Tennant, PwC and MOM Brands, worked with BTEC instructors to design curriculum highlighting resume writing, interviewing skills, data security, paying attention to detail and other keys to success. She also helped the College build its connections with local companies to grow BTEC students’ internship opportunities.

“The BTEC program at MCTC has worked hard to reinvent itself. I’m grateful to the school for addressing the needs of Minnesota’s businesses by offering what has to be one of the best business support programs in the state,” said Katie, who also sits on the BTEC advisory committee that she and the College established over the last year. “It speaks to the dedication of the instructors and of the local executive assistant community that is committed to seeing this project succeed.”

“This partnership shows MCTC students how important these jobs are in our community.”

Published May 2015

Our Voices: Modou Jaw, World Citizen

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

ModouBlogBreaking Out of his Shell to Discuss Global Issues

MCTC Mathematics student Modou Jaw has made the most of his four years in the United States.

The Gambian-born student delivered a speech this fall at the Association of American Colleges and Universities Global Learning Conference in Minneapolis. In his speech, he explored the international student experience, and the struggles he and his peers face every day.

“Most people think international students come from wealthy families,” he said. “That’s not always true.”

Modou had been determined to attend college in the U.S. ever since he studied American politics during the 2008 presidential election.

He was drawn to Minnesota in particular, and relocated here in 2009. International students, however, are not eligible for federal financial aid. His first year in the U.S., Modou worked full-time and lived with a sponsor family while saving for his education. The cost of international student tuition was daunting, and kept Modou from pursuing a four-year school.

In 2012, a friend invited Modou to visit MCTC. He was instantly drawn to the College’s culture and atmosphere, and knew he wanted to make it his new home.

In his first semester at MCTC, Modou often sat at the back of his classes and kept to himself. American college culture felt radically different, and was afraid of others judging him.

“When you come to a new country, at first you don’t really feel like you’re a part of it,” he said.

With time, Modou mastered his classes—and his classmates noticed. He was approached for tutoring, and the personal interactions brought him out of his shell at last.

The growth went both ways. While interacting with his classmates in one-on-one settings, Modou was able to address misconceptions and stereotypes his classmates had about African culture.

“People think we live in huts,” he said. “The room I lived in back home was actually bigger than the one I live in now.”

As he grew more comfortable interacting in the classroom, his reputation as a knowledgeable classmate with global experience spread. One of his instructors invited him to share his outlook and experiences at the annual Association of American Colleges and Universities Conference on behalf of MCTC.

“He was the only speaker at the conference representing a community college,” said MCTC Global Studies Instructor Ranae Hanson. “He was brave, and talked about subjects that nobody else would.”

Modou’s bravery and willingness to discuss global issues also won him the Walter M. Welter World Citizen Scholarship Award, a scholarship recognizing students who exhibit qualities of a global citizen.

“This scholarship is more meaningful than others because it recognizes those who see problems in the world and want to see them solved,” Modou said.

Modou has covered much ground in his relatively short time at MCTC—in addition to mastering his classes, he’s grown more comfortable with himself. “I feel more comfortable talking about real global issues, and feel like I have the courage to have more discussions in class,” said Modou. After this school year, he hopes to transfer to the University of Minnesota or University of St. Thomas to study engineering.

“I’ve always challenged myself and put myself in difficult situations,” he said. “I believe that is the best way to learn.”

Estefanía: A Confident Leader

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Estefania HeadshotEstefanía Navarro was hit by culture shock when she came to the U.S. in 2005 and realized Americans didn’t like the Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire as much as she thought they did. Born in Morelos, Mexico, the MCTC student had learned all she knew about the U.S. from television and movies.

Estefanía came to the U.S. with her single mother and younger brother. Her mother, who had lived and worked in the country previously, left Mexico for better job opportunities. Despite having taken English classes at a private school in Morelos and attending a mostly Latino middle school in South Minneapolis, the transition was still difficult. 

“I was lucky to have gone to a private school in Mexico,” she said. “I had very strict teachers who shaped me into who I am today.”

In 2007, Estefanía began attending Camp Sunrise, a free YouthCARE program that hosts urban youth at a camp in Rush City, Minn. every summer and teaches them the importance of the environment and working together. At the camp she learned the importance of working with others efficiently and how to be a proper leader. She was also struck by the diversity of her fellow campers.

“Seeing all these people with different backgrounds in the same place was amazing,” she said. 

Estefanía continued attending the camp through middle and high school, eventually becoming a junior counselor and then a full-fledged counselor. She enjoys establishing connections and getting to know the campers she oversees. She remembers herself as a shy and quiet teenager who lacked confidence when she first attended the camp. Over the years, her confidence has grown and she is now helping others who were like her.

Estefanía first walked the skyways of MCTC as a middle school student when the College was hosting a Latino-related conference and, later as a Jump Startstudent. The diversity of the campus community stood out and reminded her of Camp Sunrise. 

Estefanía was one of three Latino students to graduate with honors at her high school. Proud as she was, she felt like she had lost some of her culture since arriving in the U.S.

“I felt like I was losing a part of myself,” she said.

When she started attending MCTC, she heard about culture-related student clubs through Student Life. A representative from the Xicanos Latinos United (XLU) club encouraged her to attend one of their meetings. She felt like the club might help her regain some of her culture. After one meeting, she was sold.

“XLU is the family I didn’t have growing up,” she said.

Estefanía not only made friends in the club, but she’s also learned more about Mexican culture.

She experienced one of her proudest moments with the club when she organized a culture fashion show. She worked with more than 10 students from XLU and other Student Life culture-related clubs to model native clothing for their peers. The diversity and community she saw in the fashion show reminded her of why she came to MCTC. 

“We made friends with other students that we normally wouldn’t talk to,” she said.

In addition to her club involvement, Estefanía attended Student Senate meetings during her first year at MCTC. The more meetings she attended, the more intrigued she became by the passion she saw in the students participating. She wanted to be a part of that so she became a senator. As a senator, she wanted to make a change but she needed “a little more push.” In order to do that, she ran and became the director of diversity on the Student Senate’s Board of Directors.

“I really appreciate MCTC’s diversity, and I wanted to do something to help out and represent the minority community,” she said.

When a new election period came along, Estefanía had the option of running for director of diversity again or running for another position. She remembered her lessons from Camp Sunrise, and decided to take on more of a leadership position. 

“I knew the next president would need a strong vice president and I felt like I was the right person for it,” she said. “It felt like the natural thing to do.”

Student Senate inspired Estefanía to get involved with politics outside of MCTC. She stays up to date on political news and watches political documentaries. Her involvement with Camp Sunrise and Student Senate has also sparked a career interest in either education or politics.

“Closing in on the achievement gap is a passion of mine,” she said. “We need to keep students engaged and education is key for a brighter future no matter what your ethnicity or nationality.”

Global Citizen Calls Minnesota, and MCTC, Her Home

Posted on: January 21st, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Fadumo Abdi, Student Senate president“Minnesota really is my home,” Fadumo assures her friends. The MCTC Psychology major and Student Senate president has such a rich history, she understands why people might ask her.

Fadumo was born in Kenya to parents who fled civil war in Somalia, and her story only begins there. Her family moved to Minnesota, later to the United Arab Emirates and then returned to Kenya for many years. Three years ago, Fadumo returned to Minnesota for college. Along the way she learned English, Arabic, Swahili and Turkish. Despite her varied experiences and multi-lingual abilities, she said, “When I arrived back in Minnesota for college, I had been out of the United States for so long that I had a lot of catching up to do.”

The first thing Fadumo had to catch up on was application deadlines. “I missed the deadline to apply for the University of Minnesota,” she said. “When I talked to my dad, he told me there was a college in downtown Minneapolis he attended when he was young, but he didn’t know if it still existed.” In truth, the college Fadumo’s father attended did not exist anymore. He attended Minneapolis Community College (MCC). In 1996, MCC merged with other institutions and became Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Fadumo isn’t likely to miss another application deadline. Over the past two years at MCTC, she’s held a work study position the College’s Admissions department.

Looking ahead to her future, Fadumo decided she would build her extracurricular repertoire and professional skills. While attending high school in Kenya she had participated in a Model United Nations team; drawing on that experience, she decided to run for a position in the MCTC Student Senate. After a few interim positions, she was elected President in the fall of 2013.

“I didn’t intend to become President,” she said. “I don’t really like being in the spotlight. I just very much enjoy helping people, like I do in the Admissions office.”

Fadumo juggles more than just schoolwork and extracurricular commitments. She lives with her grandmother, who doesn’t speak English, and her mother, who has a chronic illness. “I had to grow up really fast, and when I started at MCTC I missed some school to be with my family,” she said. “Thankfully, I had some very understanding teachers, and I made it through that time.”

“Honestly, thanks to the Student Senate, I’ve learned how to be more patient. Part of being a leader is being fair, and I’ve learned how to better handle stressful situations.”

Fadumo was impressed with what MCTC had to offer when she arrived at the College. “There is an incredible diversity of experiences at this college,” she said. “At MCTC, even within my communitythe Somali communitypeople have very different experiences. Even then, MCTC has a tight-knit, family feel. The longer I stay here, the longer I want to stay here.”

“Minnesota really is my home.”

Learn more about the history of MCTCfrom its origins as Girls Vocational School to the modern campus nestled between Loring Park and Downtown Minneapolisas we celebrate our Centennial year! http://www.minneapolis.edu/About-Us/Centennial