ICAPS Students See Success with Andrea Kuzniar

  • Tags: Staff Profile
Published 11/08/2021
Andrea Kuzniar, student support specialist

Andrea Kuzniar, student support specialist

As a Student Support Specialist, Andrea Kuzniar ensures ECC students have all the necessary resources to achieve their goals. Kuzniar works under the Sustainability, Business, and Career Technical department for the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System, or the ICAPS program.

With ECC since 2017, Kuzniar continues to further her education to serve students better. She earned her Masters of Education in Adult, Continuing Education, and Training in 2018. Then, she completed a specialized certificate in Career Advising which led to a Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) designation through the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) in 2020. She adds, “One of my current goals is to speak Spanish fluently, so I hope to sign up for Spanish classes at ECC soon!”

Keep reading to learn more about Kuzniar, the incredible work she does for ECC students, and her time serving in the U.S. Air Force!

In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? Within the ICAPS program, I support students in completing their Basic Vocational Certificate in manufacturing pathways such as CNC Machine Operator, Welding, Industrial Service Technician, and Residential HVAC-R Systems. I assist these students in clarifying educational and career goals, help them access college and community services and resources such as financial aid, transportation, childcare, and, most recently, due to COVID-19, technology resources to access their online classes.

I also prepare these students for the workforce by facilitating career readiness seminars; this includes resume development, interview practice, employability skills, professionalism, and online job search. Ultimately my job is to prepare the ICAPS students for academic success, ensuring that they stay on track with their educational goals and career pathway, complete their certificate program, and successfully land a job in their field of study. I am also the liaison for the Corporate Training program under the SBCT division. In this role, I assist employers in enrolling their employees for upcoming CTE courses, leading to certification or further skill development, building a more robust workforce.

If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose? I would love to be fluent in Spanish. My mom and grandma spoke it, but I didn’t want to learn when I was little. I took it in high school and college but never stuck with it. Now that I am older, I wish I would have become fluent as it would be beneficial at work and in everyday life. One of my goals is to learn to speak Spanish fluently, and I hope to sign up for Spanish classes at ECC soon.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)? I love group fitness and running in the spring and summer months while completing a few 5Ks. I also love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, shopping, and binge-watching the newest Netflix series. 

Where is the best place you’ve traveled? Or where would you like to visit? The best place I have traveled to was Italy, seeing the Almafi Coast. I love the ocean, and this was the most fantastic place that I have ever seen. I loved the Italian culture, food, and atmosphere; it was one of my favorite vacations.

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 try to wake up every day, hopefully enriching others by always sharing kindness and compassion because you never know what is happening in someone else’s life.

Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn. I ran my own home childcare business and taught preschool for six years so that I could stay home with my children when they were little.

What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? The most fun, interesting, and difficult job I had was enlisting in the Air Force. It was challenging going through boot camp and being in the military, but I surprised myself with the ability to do things I never thought I could. It was also challenging to be away from family and friends, but at the same time, it was a wonderful experience, one that I would do again if given the opportunity. I enjoyed the camaraderie, exploring places that I have never been to (I was stationed in Japan), trying new things, and of course, serving my country.

What was your most valuable life lesson? My most valuable life lesson has been learning that I can do hard things. I have learned that getting out of your comfort zone helps you grow as a person even if you fail. Never give up, and always keep trying to reach those goals in life. I am a goal setter and goal achiever; even if it takes many years to reach a goal, I never give up.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “ I enjoy working at ECC because I am part of an amazing team that supports students in achieving their educational and career goals.