When I first transitioned to a Student Success Coordinator in December 2013, one of the first programs that I was assigned was the Wind Turbine Technician Program. Initially, I had mixed feelings about working with the Wind students. My original apprehension of working with the Wind students stemmed from dealing with a heavily male dominated population for the first time. That thought quickly ceased when the Lead Faculty, Sam Schonhoff as well as the students surprisingly embraced me with open arms. At first, Sam used to wait every day at my desk upon my arrival; regardless of how many days and times the SSC team told him my scheduled shift!
Throughout the course of this year, I have been working with the Wind students serving as an coordinator, advocate, confidant, and most recently, an amigo! For my entire population, I serve as a first point of contact to ensure questions are answered and concerns are resolved in a timely fashion regarding classes, schedules, assignments, boot camps, and so forth. Over the past year, I have developed quite the bond with my Wind students. In fact, most students call because they have pressing issues that need assistance but several students call only to say hello, make me laugh, and as of late, to assist me with my Spanish-speaking skills!
When I first learned that boot camp was moving to Kansas City, I instantly became excited since that triggered in my mind that I would have the opportunity to see my students face-to-face during their training at the North Campus. In fact, I even began letting the students know they would get the opportunity to meet me in person and they became eager and shared my same excitement.
It felt like it took forever for the day to come that I would attend the students’ boot camp! It took what seemed like forever to get to PCI North Campus due to traffic as there was a bad accident on the highway. But oh when I finally arrived! The first student that I saw who I recognized (I am friends with several Wind students on Facebook), I loudly called his name down the hallway…he stopped dead in his tracks! It took him a moment to decipher who I was since I purposely did not tell any of them which day I would see them as I wanted it to be a surprise. When I finally made it to the classroom with the rest of the students, I began recognizing more faces and students began gravitating towards me shaking my hands, giving me hugs, while thanking me for helping them get so far in their program. It did not stop there; I asked the students’ questions about their boot camp experiences, passed out polo shirts that each student won from our Wind contest, reiterated the importance of submitting work while at boot camp, and encouraged every student to become a part of the Associate’s program which would provide most of them an additional opportunity to work with me a little while longer!
In addition to having an impact on the Wind students’ lives, they have also had an impact on my life as well. Someone once told me that Wind students do not talk much; they were WRONG! After working with these students over a period of time, I feel I have become a pertinent part of their lives and share in their successes and congratulatory moments (i.e. graduation, job placements, marriages, and babies).
In the future, I look forward to attending several more Wind boot camps and having the opportunity to interact with the students in person. Sam even called me one evening during boot camp to let me know that several students were asking about their Student Success Coordinator! That by far is the BEST feeling ever and it affirms on a daily basis that I am making a positive impact in someone else’s life. From only one boot camp visit, three online Wind Certificate students enrolled into the Associate’s Program!
By far, working with the Wind Turbine Technician Program has been an all-around “wind-wind” situation!