For Office Coordinator Minerva Negrón-Figueroa, being able to mentor other Elgin Community College staff members and see them grow professionally is her greatest accomplishment. She’s been motivating other staff members since she began at ECC in 1998. But her mentoring doesn’t stop with staff. Negrón-Figueroa believes that best part of her job is celebrating the success of the students she’s helped along the way.
She remembers what it was like to be a student and wants to ensure that all students feel supported. Negrón-Figueroa took classes at ECC that she used toward credits for a degree in education.
With her “loving but firm” approach to life, Negrón-Figueroa is responsible for coordinating the daily operations of the Division of Student Services and Development and overseeing the Comprehensive Agreement Regarding the Expansion of Educational Resources (CAREER). CAREER is an agreement between Illinois community colleges that allows students to pursue a career-technical degree or certificate program at a community college outside their home districts, if the community college they would normally attend doesn’t offer it.
We caught up with Negrón-Figueroa to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
There is not much that one could accomplish in a day; however, if I was president, I would get to know what ECC front-line staff does on a daily basis to experience all aspects of how we interact with our students, parents, and visitors. That way, I would be better prepared to make the right decisions, taking into account not only our students, but also our staff.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
Phylicia Rashad. My daughter has always told me that she grew up “with her own Claire Huxtable.” I have a firm, yet loving, no-nonsense approach to almost everything I do.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to read, garden, and ride motorcycles.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?
Greece. I would love to experience the country’s vast history and unique cultural heritage.
What’s one fact we should know about you?
Some people may disagree, but I’m not an extrovert. I much prefer to be “behind-the-scenes” rather than in the spotlight.
What would be your “theme song?”
“Shaking the Tree” by Peter Gabriel. It’s an inspiring song for all women and men!
What was your favorite class in school?
History, because it is a subject that is always changing…adding the past to the present and to the future. While history sometimes seems to repeat itself, we seldom take that into consideration.
What was your first job out of school?
My first job out of school was with the Puerto Rico Police Department in investigations. It was a very interesting job.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
….of the satisfaction I get when students stop by our office for a visit and let us know that they have been successful at ECC because we took the time to listen and help them.