Patrick Able: For the first time in my life, I am not directionless, and I have ECC to thank for that
I never considered getting an education past high school was something meant for me. For ten years, I was in and out of Elgin Community College multiple times, trying different things. I reapplied to ECC one last time, and it has been one of the best academic experiences of my life.
Growing up, I was never a kid that knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher, a doctor, a vet, a ballerina; all the things little girls say they want to be. It wasn’t until my high school AP biology class that I really started to fall in love with human anatomy and the medical field.
The past four years of being a student have not been easy. I started my journey in the spring of 2019, and since then, many things have changed in the world of academics.
It has been a great journey attending Elgin Community College for the last two years. ECC has allowed me to enhance not only my educational career but also my career in softball. I have played softball for the last fifteen years, and I was not sure if I would be able to continue playing once I reached the collegiate level.
Between 2013 and 2022, I've changed majors eight times, been to three universities, earned an associate in science, completed over 100 credit hours, have a cumulative GPA of 2.8, earned my industrial maintenance certificate, and will start my career repairing kidney transporters. During my time at Elgin Community College, I was part of the Anime Club.
When I began my journey at Elgin Community College, graduating with my Associate in Science appeared to me like an impossible goal to achieve. I felt this way for many reasons, and it seemed that there were more reasons why I would not make it than reasons why I could.
Elgin Community College has been dedicated to supporting and consistently improving an environment where each student can find success in their educational and career pursuits by fostering a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This past year, Anthony Ramos was hired as the inaugural executive director of equity, diversity, and inclusion to further sharpen the collective efforts already underway at ECC.
Community college was not only the place where I earned my first college degree, but it was also the place that opened my mind and heart to much more than I knew possible growing up. Through those early experiences at community college, I found a place where I belonged. The personal relationships and opportunities to get involved on campus influenced my future career path in such a way that I began to consider how working in higher education may be the right place for me.
Two local high school students, Mariam Laila Ali from Streamwood High School and Anthony Greco from South Elgin High School, may be lowering the average age limit for emergency responders, but they are no less qualified or dedicated to helping people. Both earned their Emergency Medical Technician certification at Elgin Community College this past year.
Samantha Friar’s department assists more than 500 ECC students in completing their degrees through various programs and resources. Outside of ECC, she finds time for some of her favorite activities, such as card games and roller skating.
Providing an equal opportunity for education is the primary purpose and passion that drive the work of Pietrina Probst, director of ADA, student access and disability services at Elgin Community College. Pietrina and her department exist to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion for students with disabilities in the classroom and around campus.
Luis Moran of Bartlett, Ill., will be the first ECC student to graduate through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Engineering Pathways Partnership in May. The UIIC Engineering Pathways Partnership offers a guaranteed admission option into 14 majors to qualifying students interested in transferring to The Grainger College of Engineering.
Since 2014, Diane Boldt has been assisting ECC students in finding their future as a job search developer for the Future Workforce Leaders program out of the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division. Outside of assisting ECC students in finding their career paths, Boldt finds herself constantly on the hiking paths.
Women have been making significant contributions to society ever since people lived in caves. Unfortunately, it is not until much later in recorded history that even a small number of them are recognized, and not always for good deeds.
Kim Tarver, MPT, professor of physical therapist assistant at Elgin Community College, looks to use every avenue available to pursue equity, diversity, and inclusion. From integrating diverse case studies into her curriculum to leading the faculty union to more equitable practices, Tarver believes anyone can have an impact no matter where they sit at the table.
The world is a much-altered place than it was two years ago, and with it, we have all changed a bit along the way. Our priorities, desires, and dreams have changed; how we spend our time, money, and energy is different. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Vincent Gaddis, PhD, began teaching at Elgin Community College this past August, but he is no stranger to the campus and the work being done to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within the classroom and community. In fact, he has been a driving force behind it.
Shawn Maxwell began as a professor of music in 2015, but his previous job teaching high school music at Geneva Community High School was what first brought him to the campus. Outside of teaching, Maxwell has his hands full raising three young girls and his backyard barn of animals!
For Professor of English Lori Clark, much of her EDI work takes place behind the scenes, but the outcomes can be seen everywhere on campus. “It’s critical that students, especially students of color and LGBTQ+ students, see themselves reflected both in the campus community and in the course curriculum.” Clark has led the way on many EDI initiatives related to gender identity and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
A person's journey into higher education can begin at any time. For some, that journey begins before they leave high school. Maggie Im is a Dual Credit Academic Advisor at Elgin Community College who works with District U-46 high school seniors taking college-level courses while completing their high school degrees.
Alison Douglas and Colleen Stribling have been working together since 2013 to build a bridge between their two departments. Their goal is to increase student success and create a system enhanced through equity, diversity, and inclusion, or EDI. This led to the creation of a Learning Community that allows students enrolled in the Advanced ESL Transitions course to simultaneously enroll in English 101 while also allowing them to forego the placement test required by the English department.
Instructor of English Chasity Gunn’s talent and passion for writing extends throughout Elgin Community College and into the community as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Elgin. Gunn began at ECC in 2019 teaching Language Arts in the High School Equivalency Program.
For Ryan Kerr, MA, associate professor of English, the need for equity, diversity, and inclusion, or EDI, is obvious. “We know there are success or equity gaps in education for certain groups,” said Kerr. “Because these things have been happening since early childhood for some, it just compounds, and since we have inequity walk in our doors at Elgin Community College, we have to do something to help with it.”
Jim Stoltman recently accepted his new role as Senior Director of Technology Services in October 2021. Having worked at Elgin Community College since 2012 in multiple positions within the IT department, Stoltman’s roots within the college run deep.
When you ask Assistant Professor of Sociology Mia Hardy, Ph.D., what she’s working on in the realm of equity, diversity, and inclusion at Elgin Community College, her excitement to share is palpable, even in on a Zoom call. Hardy has been with the college since 2016, starting as an associate dean of college transitions and developmental education. She then served as the associate dean of communications and behavioral sciences before transitioning to a full-time faculty position in 2020.
As we continue to celebrate an amazing Black History Month, it is important to amplify the importance of Black mental wellness through education and knowledge.
LaTasha DeHaan, PhD, was living out of state when she decided to take on the role of course leader in the History and Political Science department at Elgin Community College in 2019. Two years later, DeHaan continues to dive deep into pushing her department forward and mentoring her students.
When Susan Timm, Ed.D., professor of business at Elgin Community College, was honored with the YWCA Elgin's 2021 Harriet Gifford & Hattie Griffin Award for Education in recognition for her unwavering efforts related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice, it came as no surprise to her colleagues at ECC. If there is an equity, diversity, or inclusion effort underway at ECC, Timm likely had a hand in it.
Before Marisol Rivera, PhD, joined ECC in 2019 as a history and political science professor, she taught at Harold Washington in Chicago. “I always wanted to teach at a community college. I was very nervous when transitioning to ECC but was quickly put at ease by the people and environment here,” said Rivera.
As we celebrate Black History Month 2022, it is time to reflect on what has to be done so that all people have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When we celebrate Black History Month, people should be reminded that Black History is American History and should be celebrated 365 days a year.
Yolonda Barnes will always put her colleagues' work, intelligence, and passion ahead of her own achievements. When it comes to the movement for change surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) on campus, her humble nature remains, but her actions resonate in their impact.
Everyone at ECC, whether they are sitting in an office, conducting a lecture, or advising a student on their class schedule, has a critical role in the functioning of the college. One of those critical behind-the-scenes players is Kayla Palmisano, Institutional Research Data Specialist.
To Professor of Business Clark Hallpike, MBA, equity, diversity, and inclusion work is a lot like coaching – you put in the work and expect results. "Thinking back throughout my years at ECC, I've always had a commitment to diversity," recalls Hallpike. "In my 45 years here, the whole concept has evolved quite a bit on campus, but it's been my passion to bring cultural awareness and change concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the classroom and the community."
Tyler Roeger, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), may be one step removed from working directly with ECC students, but through his role in supporting faculty, creating an environment that leads with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is at the forefront of his work. Roeger is co-chair of ECC’s institutional committee TIDE and an administrative coach for another key institutional committee, SSI.
Since starting at ECC in 2004, Parul Raval, Ed.D., professor of education, has dedicated herself to raising the next generation of working professionals in the field. Although she is now the teacher, Raval believes learning is a never-ending quality to help us succeed in our personal and professional lives.
Manny Salgado, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, has heard others say the complex work of equity practice is ‘something that is done badly or not done at all.' Practicing equity work is something Salgado has been involved in most of his life and throughout his 17 years at ECC. He is one of the core members of TIDE, a faculty group that embraces and welcomes mistakes made to learn from them and become better educators.
Liddy Hope has been asking herself and her school, “are we ready for them?” Meaning, is ECC ready to embrace and assist the diverse stream of learners that enter each semester seeking an education and their future career paths? Hope has made it a part of her mission to continue learning how to best do this and work with other ECC faculty and staff on sharpening efforts that are already creating positive change concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our school.