When it comes to navigating life, Pietrina Probst, director of ADA and student disability services, keeps an old motto front and center.
"My first job was at Kohl's, and to this day, I still remember the motto, 'Smile and greet within 8 feet.' I have carried this saying with me throughout all my subsequent jobs."
To help students navigate ECC, Probst uses that same attitude of positivity, compassion, and kindness. Her role is to remove barriers for students with disabilities and help educate the ECC community about the various types of disabilities students may have and how to accommodate students in classes, on campus, and through student services.
"I love assisting the students in achieving their educational goals," says Probst. "I hope we recognize…all the steps that we take to create accessible materials allow students with disabilities to continue moving forward in their careers."
Learn more about Probst and how welding, IT, and pastry arts are a part of her story:
In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? Or what would help others understand your job?
I work with students with disabilities to ensure they have equal opportunity and access to ECC's excellent education. I want people to realize that there are many types of disabilities, such as physical, psychological, learning, chronic health conditions, hearing, vision, ADHD, etc., for which a student may qualify for accommodation services. I hope that we recognize that all the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies we implement are beneficial to all students, including students with disabilities. Furthermore, all the steps that we take to create accessible materials allow students with disabilities to continue moving forward in their careers.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been at ECC?
My most significant accomplishments at ECC are removing barriers that students with disabilities experience and watching them accomplish goals in an accessible learning environment. When my students graduate and enter the workforce in their chosen career field, I am so delighted and proud of them.
Name a job or role at ECC that you would like to try for one day and explain why.
I am fascinated by how welding and HVAC equipment operates, and I would love to shadow one of the welding or HVAC faculty in the lab setting to see what they do every day.
If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose?
I would love to be an expert in computers - to be able to diagnose issues with my computer and solve technical problems that arise.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?
I enjoy walking, reading, gardening, working on puzzles, and spending time with my family.
If you could live in a TV show, which show would it be and why?
I love watching "Cake Boss," and I would love to learn how to bake and decorate extravagant cakes!
Where is the best place you've traveled? Or where would you like to visit?
I loved traveling through Austria and visiting Salzburg, where the "Sound of Music" was filmed. I would love to visit Spain and southern Italy to see the beautiful artwork, churches, and medieval places.
You have to wear a t-shirt with just one word on it for an entire year. What would that word be, and why?
Kindness. I hope that we are all compassionate, accepting, forgiving, and tolerant towards each other.
Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn.
I played the trumpet in the marching band in middle school and high school and am a fan of the professional drum and bugle corps. I am amazed at the formations that the drum and bugle corps performed in coordination with music, such as Puccini's aria "Nessun Dorma" in the opera "Turandot." I love listening to classical music.
Name someone you admire and explain why.
I admire Mother Teresa because she treated all persons with respect and dignity.
What was your most valuable life lesson?
My high school algebra teacher, Mr. Mizzanin, told us that we should always attend class with an attitude that we will learn something new that day. Every day is a learning experience, and I learn a new thing each day.
Complete this sentence: "I enjoy working at ECC because … "
I enjoy working at ECC because each day, I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students and empower them to achieve a college education! I collaborate with a fabulous group of employees as we develop innovative initiatives to serve our diverse students.