Through mentoring, community members and students build a support bridge that enhances each other’s lives. This fall, ECC launched a third mentoring program, TRIUMPH—Transforming and Impacting Undergraduate Men Pursuing Higher Education—focused on increasing the number of men of color graduating college. TRIUMPH helps students realize their potential and equips them with tools to succeed in their academic, personal, and future professional lives by pairing them with carefully chosen mentors.
As programs continue to be upgraded, and students push to stay on top of new technology, unit adjunct instructor of communication design Julie Becker is constantly learning and growing as both teacher and graphic designer. In a sense, she is living what she is teaching, which is to learn and then learn some more.
Joseph Onesimus, Internship Coordinator, spends his days meeting with ECC students and discussing the importance of adding the word ‘experience’ to their resumes. Beyond grades and certifications, he believes experience makes the difference in a student’s pursuit of their career aspirations.
Now in her seventh year as an adjunct faculty member, Prince teaches part-time and continues to work as a massage therapist, which helps her keep her knowledge and skills up-to-date. She also helps with program improvement, using a mix of teaching methods to make classes motivating and interesting to both younger and adult students.
For nearly a decade, Communication Studies Adjunct Faculty member Meg Bucaro Wojtas has been empowering students to communicate more confidently and comfortably. She came to Elgin Community College in 2009 because, as an Elgin resident, she was well aware of the growth the college was experiencing at the time and wanted to be part of the excitement.
Michelle Knox has planted herself firmly as an administrative assistant providing clerical and administrative support for ECC’s health professions division office. However, she might be better known to people in the do-it-yourself social media realm as the monogram planter lady.
Diane Kerruish, senior executive assistant to the president, has seen her fair share of change during her eleven-year tenure at ECC. Her first experience at the college was as a student, and later she returned as the assistant to the managing director of marketing and communications. The ECC experience that truly changed her life, though, was meeting her husband while playing intramural softball!
When Associate Professor Manuel Salgado, PhD, is asked to describe his job at ECC, the answer goes far beyond “I teach psychology.” In his words, “I facilitate and support the learning of students from diverse backgrounds and identities.” This is a role he takes seriously, thoughtfully preparing lessons with diverse perspectives, helping students work through challenges, and encouraging college community involvement.
At ECC, Letizio wears the medical imaging program director hat, overseeing our radiography, magnetic resonance, computed tomography, and mammography programs. In addition to managing program admissions and teaching radiography courses, Letizio is responsible for keeping ECC in compliance with accreditation standards for the radiography and magnetic resonance programs. ECC's MR program is one of only 14 accredited programs in the country.
There is a chance you recognize the name or face of one of ECC's newest hires, Elissa Kojzarek. Elissa spent the last 10 years working for the United Way of Elgin and was in charge of ECC's annual campaign drive as well as the United Way representative on the Project Backpack committee. Now the communications specialist with the Marketing and Communications Department, Elissa handles the college's primary social media feeds.
Reference and instruction librarian Jen Schlau teaches students the critical thinking process of how to organize information, a trait she put to good use during her initial hiring process before she began her now decade-long tenure at ECC.
As dean of learning resources and international education, Mi Hu, PhD, supports learning and instruction. What Hu really does is support her colleagues in their efforts to provide valuable resources and services to students, faculty, staff, and community members.
Senior Director of Emergency Management Emily Kies helps ECC prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. In addition to plans that reduce risk to lives, Kies helps develop strategies that allow critical business services to continue during interruptions to the campus’ normal routines and rhythms.
It’s hard to fathom, but adjunct professor of communications studies John Karnatz’s 17-year tenure at ECC nearly didn’t happen. When an employment opportunity with ECC presented itself in 2002, it took some convincing from his neighbor, a former ECC trustee and friend. “He bugged me until I agreed to apply,” according to Karnatz.
“By receiving three amazing scholarships I am able to walk out of ECC debt-free, knowing I will be able to start a great career without anything holding me back.”
“My time at this institution changed my life. ECC focuses a lot more on who you can become instead of who you are.”
“I don’t know where I would be had I not started at ECC, but I truly believe that I would be nowhere near as successful as I am today.”
“Going back to school in your thirties can be really scary. My journey, however, has been amazing. In my short time at ECC, I have gained so much knowledge.”
“I’m glad I decided to come to ECC. Not only did ECC help me find ways to pay for college, but it helped me find the family I’ve grown fond of in Student Life.”
“I have consistently been challenged in my academics and have grown as a leader.”
“You feel the support here at ECC. I met staff leaders who always looked out for me and made sure I had the resources I needed.”
“ECC has given me direction, a sense of purpose, and hope for not only my future, but for the future I will be able to provide for my children.”
Over her 20-year career at ECC, Micaela Banks has made a real impact on the lives of her students. As the Director of Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) prepares for retirement, Banks reflects on her ECC experience and her colleagues with a feeling of sincere gratitude.
Charron Banaszak, office coordinator in Teaching, Learning, and Student Development wears many administrative hats in her role at ECC. She supports the Honors Program by processing student applications, monitoring enrollment and eligibility, and assists with events as well as the budget.
Assistant Professor of Accounting and Instructional Coordinator Ranae Ziwiski may teach accounting, but a big part of her job is supporting Elgin Community College students as they create their life stories.
Virginia (Ginger) McHugh-Kurtz’s first experience at Elgin Community College was as a student. When she decided to work at the college, her first experience took a familiar turn.
Associate Professor of English Sara Baker has been helping students map out their futures since she started at Elgin Community College in 2002, fresh out of her master's degree program and ready to play an important part in her students' lives.
Nothing is more likely to change a person’s future for the better than higher education. David Davin, executive director of institutional advancement and the Elgin Community College Foundation, remembers when he learned this lesson.
Thirty years ago, if you asked Economics Adjunct Faculty member Steve Tucholski what he wanted to do with this life, his answer would have been to end up exactly where he is now: retired from corporate life and back to teaching economics.
For Interim Associate Dean of Communications and Behavioral Sciences Mia Hardy, life is as sweet as you make it. Read more about Hardy, her philosophy on life, and how being an associate dean is a lot like being a student.
Late last month, while the college was closed for winter recess and most employees were taking a well-deserved break, Manager of Receiving, Records Retention and Mail Operations Gema Macklin and her department held limited office hours to ensure Elgin Community College’s mail operations continued to run smoothly.
The beginning of spring semester at Elgin Community College will be here before you know it! Are you as excited as we are?