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FTCC's University Outreach offfice assists in making the college transfer program seamless

19 N2006P71016CAs a student, do you want a direct link to university representatives? Are you positive that the classes you are taking will 100% transfer into a university within North Carolina? Are you certain you know the correct pre-requisite classes for your professional program?

The process of transferring to a 4-year university after obtaining an associate degree can be confusing, but FTCC’s Office of University Outreach helps provide answers to these questions and provides other assistance.

FTCC’s University Outreach office serves as the central hub at the Fayetteville campus for all transfer needs. Equipped with the knowledge of articulation agreements, University Outreach staffers can provide students with a course evaluation. Students request an appointment for a personal evaluation, which ensures that they take the correct courses at FTCC in order to transfer academic credits to the student’s 4-year college of choice. The evaluation also assists students when specific requirements must be met concerning competitive professional programs. Students may walk in during “Transfer Thursdays” for a transfer evaluation for two qualified university majors. Currently, students also have the option to request an appointment via zoom or telephone.

The University Outreach office sponsors a series of events to provide resources to students including direct access to university representatives who can further answer specific questions. This includes but is not limited to Week of Welcome and College Transfer Day—an event that normally has between 57 and 62 university representatives each fall and spring term. During these events, universities designate specific times for Fayetteville Tech students to meet, greet and receive answers to questions concerning admissions and program requirements, scholarship and internship opportunities, as well as other transfer information.

During the pandemic, the University Outreach office has expanded its offerings to students to make sure that students’ needs are being met. We have done this by providing zoom question-and-answer sessions with various colleges across the state of North Carolina, reorganizing our College Transfer Day event to one that is virtual, and initiating a new program called Ask a University Rep, where students can submit questions to specific college and university representatives on designated days.

FTCC University Outreach has expanded Zoom capabilities by partnering with various North Carolina universities to offer students between 30-45 sessions on a monthly basis. These offerings provide a means of engagement between students and university representatives and cultivate strong rapport during the pandemic.

The process of transferring to a four-year college/university may cause students to feel overwhelmed, unheard and filled with unanswered questions. Staff members from FTCC’s University Outreach office are committed to making the process smooth, well planned and seamless.

Students may schedule an appointment by emailing me at nelsonl@faytechcc.edu or calling 910-678-8205. The University Outreach office is located inside the Horace Sisk Building in Room 610. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Personal assistance from the University Outreach office is another reason why FTCC is the smart choice for education.

Patriotic and Veterans Celebration scheduled for March 20

02 AAPA flyer with bandsThe All American Patriot Association will host its Patriotic and Veterans Day celebration on March 20 at 4480 Doc Bennett Road in Fayetteville. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the opening ceremony starting at noon.

There is a $5 entrance fee.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in conjunction with Veterans Day last November, but was postponed due to COVID-10 restrictions.

The outdoor event will offer a variety of food vendors, entertainment from live bands, raffles, a historic Constitution contest, and plenty of activities for the kids. There will be an all veterans jump team drop-in, as well as guest speakers. This will be a fun-filled day showing support for our veterans, active duty military and their families.

The AAPA is a non-profit organization that was founded with a focus on teaching the histories of the American flag, Pledge, National Anthem and the Declaration of Independence. Their goal as an organization is to educate Americans on the importance of history within our country.

AAPA founder Franco Webb said, “History is so in-depth and there is a history in Fayetteville that a lot of people do not know about.” He added that there is a lot of history within the Declaration and the Pledge that some schools do not teach, and his non-profit organization aims to help teach this content to students. The AAPA also provides American flags and teaches proper flag etiquette.

This Patriotic Day Celebration will help the AAPA organization raise money for an upcoming Suicide Prevention and Deployment team. This program was created to help those facing suicidal thoughts or tendencies to reach out to real people and actually have a unit deploy to their location and help them through what it is they are going through. This is made possible through an app that when the number is called it locks in the person’s location using GPS. The number is 844-NEED-YOU.

For more information on the event or more about the All American Patriot Association visit their website at https://aapanc.org/.
For more information on the Patriotic Day Celebration, contact Franco Webb at 910-237-8492.

Organization called to help those living with disabilities

06 04 Kaleo logoEach year many celebrate the month of March as Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Awareness Month, but Nancy Szymkowiak strives year round to spread awareness and help those in the community living with disabilities.

Kaleo Supports was founded by Szymkowiak and Karen Campbell in August of 2007 to provide services leading to meaningful and real outcomes for those living with disabilities and to help Szymkowiak’s daughter who has disabilities.

“I learned early on that services and information were not easy to obtain, so I became a self-studied advocate,” Szymkowiak said. “I started researching and learning so I could get my daughter what she needed.”

When looking for the right programs for her daughter Lacey, who was then four and was offered the pre-school handicap service, made Szymkowiak realize that Lacey needed to be with her peers without disabilities to learn.

“I didn’t know then that was inclusion, meaning you are included in the world and you’re not just in a segregated community, she said. “And she’s now about to be 31 and she lives in her own place.”

Szymkowiak’s daughter suffered a stroke at birth and currently has a speech impediment, left side paralysis in her leg, and limited use of her left hand.

Our children take us on journeys, she said.

What began as a journey to find her daughter the right programs, tools and support led to her helping other families, getting involved in support groups and workshops, and in 2007 she quit her job and decided to launch Kaleo Supports.

“I started in the corner of my living room, I pulled it together, got credentials to do services through alliance and now we do services with four different managed care organizations,” she said.

Some of the services Kaleo Supports offer are in-home intensive support, residential support, community networking, supported employment, personal care, natural support education and more.

We provide innovations waiver services, which is a North Carolina Medicaid waiver for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; traumatic brain injury waiver, which is the pilot program through Alliance Health Plan; and vocational rehabilitation services, Szymkowiak said.

Through the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation service, Kaleo provides job placement, job training, stabilization and closure to recipients. The team at Kaleo helps clients with daily living by promoting physical wellness and quality of life.

“We don’t just cook a meal, we help them learn to prepare a meal, we teach them to be more independent,” Szymkowiak said. “Then we have people working jobs, we provide support at the job site.”

Currently, Kaleo Supports currently has two licensed facilities. The staff helps clients including Szymkowiak’s daughter to cook breakfast, budget and shop for groceries, laundry and more.

We try to make it as natural as possible and not clinical like home help,” Szymkowiak said.

Currently the company has a staff of about 67 to 74 people serving about 25 different counties in North Carolina.

“My job functions are to make sure that my clients' needs and goals are met, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” Direct Support Professional for Kaleo, Alisha Kelley, said. “I focus on making sure that the life they live is happy and full of laughter and structure by meeting goals that are laid out and trying to go above and beyond.”

My staff, they think big for them, they want them in the community, want them doing things, Szymkowiak said.

Terri Kane, a family member of a 58-year-old Kaleo Supports client with developmental disabilities said Szymkowiak saved her sister.

“We've been with Kaleo for several years and I truly appreciate Nancy because she walks the walk, it's not just lip service,” Kane said. “She began her company because she has a daughter with certain disabilities so she's the owner of the company, but she's also a parent of someone who needs the types of services she provides.”

We did not realize my sister was going through depression, but Nancy did and once she identified the issue, we took my sister to the doctor and she's much better now, she said.

Helen Black works as a direct support professional for Kaleo Supports as well as uses their services for her 40-year-old son who lives with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and strained speech. He receives community living and networking services.

Through the years as my son has gotten older it has become difficult because he needs total care and it became difficult with other agencies in the past to find male providers to help him but with Kaleo he has had at least two, she said.

“It’s like a unicorn in this field, really really wonderful that he’s been able to have male providers,” Black said. “I believe that Kaleo is extremely dedicated to helping find the right fit for each client and I know personally with my son they have, sometimes it takes a little while, but I know they continuously work on it.”

Black has been an employee with the company since 2019 and currently services two clients and assists them with every day and engaging activities.

“Through the years I have noticed that once you get a client and you work good together, to really keep those same people and expand that so the work involved advances their capabilities more,” she said. “It’s good for them to have some stability.”

Kaleo in Greek means ‘called to a purpose’ and in Hawaiian means, ‘to speak up for,’ both of which are my God called purpose, Szymkowiak said.

“One of the things is when I started my company, with my strong philosophy, I thought we could help everybody but It took me a bit, but I came to realize not everybody wants what we offer, and that's okay,” she said.

Kane said Nancy truly cares about the people she serves and her staff. I have seen her be selfless and creative as she's assisting a family seeking services.

“The people employed here love what we do, and who we work for. Kaleo Supports has not only made a difference in the disabilities community but also in the employees’ life,” Kelley said. “We are happy coming to work, and therefore make our clients' lives happier as well.”

Kaleo Supports hopes to provide more supportive living, independent living and to expand to a community guide which is an advocate for families.

We would like to have a conference room along with some other rooms, where we could get 10 to 12 people, classroom style, have a sensory room to work on sensory issues, an area to work on motor skills, and life skills and such, Szymkowiak said.

It is important that people with an IDD are not secluded and are active participants in the community just like everyone else and they just need a little support to do that, and it’s the right thing to do,
she said.

Organizations like these are important to our community because even though it's behind the scenes, it’s there for a population that otherwise may not be able to have the best quality of life and it makes us a better and more inclusive community, Black said.

“Kaleo takes great pride, we are an outcome-based service,” Szymkowiak said. “I always tell my staff it’s not enough to say we did six hours of service, but at the end of the day, what difference did we make in that person’s life.”

For more information about Kaleo Supports visit http://www.kaleosupports.com or call 910-630-2255.

FTCC faculty member recognized by international cybersecurity organization

01 09 cyber secuirty recognitionFayetteville Technical Community College cybersecurity instructor Chris Herring has been recognized by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants with its 2020 Academic Instructor Circle of Excellence Award. The organization is also known as the EC-Council.

The Academic Instructor Circle of Excellence award is one of several partner awards given annually by the council to highlight “academic institutions and instructors across the world that excel each year with lasting impacts on their students’ cybersecurity education and local communities.”

Herring, who is department chair of Systems Security & Analysis at FTCC, said he is honored to be selected for the Academic Instructor Circle of Excellence award. Two other instructors from the United States also received the award.

“During our short time working with EC-Council, the partnership has had a major positive impact on our program. The curricula is very popular with our students and our faculty alike,” Herring said. “The support team they provide is exceptional and we truly value our partnership.”

FTCC’s Systems Security & Analysis department is part of the College’s Computer Information Technology programs. It includes the college’s Cyber Education Center, which is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education. That designation comes from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The EC-Council says it determines award recipients based on more than seven areas of criteria, including continuous program development, incorporating new technologies and innovative methods of education, specialized initiative engagements, and commitment to educate and make a difference in the cybersecurity workforce.

The council describes itself as the world’s largest cybersecurity technical certification body. It operates in 145 countries and has trained, certified more than 200,000 information security professionals across
the globe.

Pictured: FTCC cybersecurity instructor Chris Herring received the 2020 Academic Instructor Circle of Excellence Award from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants.

Athletics partners with Student Learning Center to bolster student-athlete success

01 06 24 Jekael Gay FTCC mens basketballThe staff of the Student Learning Center had grown accustomed to seeing Fayetteville Tech’s student-athletes regularly show up in the center, using the space for studying, tutoring and computer access between classes and afternoon

“I’d usually be in there about four hours,” men’s basketball player JeKael Gay said. “I’d finish up class around 10 a.m. and then be in the Student Learning Center until we had practice or a game. It’s a good way to get your stuff done.”

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the athletes, conscious of limiting indoor gatherings, disappeared from the SLC.

That prompted the center staff to get proactive about helping student-athletes. Center Director Kareka Chavis developed the Student Learning Center Intercollegiate Athletics Collaboration, a partnership between the two departments to promote learning opportunities for FTCC’s 130-plus athletes.

“We wanted to partner with Athletics to help any athlete who needs or wants one-on-one assistance,” Chavis said. “Mainly, we’re just trying to be an extra helping hand for them. We don’t want our student-athletes to get left behind or to lose their eligibility.”

As part of the collaboration, each athletic team is paired with a SLC staff member who serves as their team liaison, the main point of contact for helping each athlete navigate the center’s resources.

Athletic Director Dr. Shannon M. Yates said the partnership has provided valuable support for the student-athletes.

“It has been the Athletics Department’s pleasure to work with Kareka Chavis and her outstanding staff as we develop and implement the Student Learning Center Intercollegiate Athletics Collaboration,” Yates said. “This is an excellent resource for FTCC student-athletes as we continue to work through the challenges of COVID. I can not thank Kareka and her team enough for going the extra mile to foster academic success as we work to become champions in the classroom.”

The program kicked off in October, making this spring its first full semester in action.

The center staff went to work early, reaching out to student-athletes through email, phone calls and text messages, making them aware that academic help and support was available.

The center’s offerings run the gamut — from subject-specific tutoring and assistance on assignments to more fundamental skills, like time management and organization.

The SLC has ramped up its virtual assistance to fit the times and the pandemic. In addition to Net Tutor, a third-party virtual tutoring service accessible through Blackboard, the center also offers virtual one-on-one tutoring with FTCC instructors.

Brenda Harris, an athletic team liaison and instructor, said the options help student-athletes get help in a way that works with their schedule.

“The athletes have a lot of demands,” Harris said. “I’ve worked with students who are working, going to school and have athletics and have children. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it’s nice to know that someone here is available to you at a specific time.”

Through the collaboration, the center staff will maintain contact with student-athletes, checking in on their academic progress and help them navigate their overall FTCC experience.

Gay said the center’s instructors have helped him become a better writer and improve his grades, landing him on the Dean’s List for the fall semester.

“I’ve told my teammates about it, and I’d refer it to anybody, any student,” Gay said. “If you’re struggling, they can really help you out.”

Pictured above: JeKael Gay, FTCC student-athlete

Pictured below left: Kareka Chavis, Student Learning Center Director

Pictured below right: Brenda Harris, SLC instructor and team liaison

01 07 Kareka Chavis FTCC Student Learning Center Director

01 08 Brenda Harris FTCC SLC instructor and Team Liaison


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