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Students Speaking Out

December 2012

Your Financial Aid Return by Eric Frank

Students who have been around a few semesters may remember a time when they received their financial aid refunds before classes even began, but two semesters ago, that changed. Refunds are now disbursed about a month into the semester. So be sure to purchase the supplies you will need before the semester. Students that I have talked to believe the loss in book sales may have prompted this change. These students point out that without the cash, students would have to purchase books at the school via voucher. Stark State has also gone to a debit/ credit card system through Higher

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One, but there are many fees attached to that card, such as a limit per day you can take out. When asked if Stark State was forced to go to a debit card system, Amy Welty, Dean of Financial Aid and Registration, explained, “Many of our students do not have bank accounts and they were being charged an exorbitant amount of fees to cash the check.” She said that even though there are fees on the card, they are not nearly as much as those charged to cash paper checks. Stark State does not have technology for electronic transfer, so they hired Higher One, which does have those capabilities.

Students who take out loans in addition to grants have to pay back not just the loans, but the interest as well. This is why I still prefer, and will only accept, a refund via check. To receive a check, students have to go through all the same procedures as a debit/credit card, but when you get to the section on disbursement at starkstatepluscard. com all you have to do is select check refund. Students feel they are persuaded to just go ahead and get the card because their refunds are received one or two weeks prior to the formal check refund.

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Tis the Season by Josi Heinz

As the stores and radio stations will not let us forget, the holiday season is upon us. But before we can celebrate our many blessings, we have to survive Your Financial Aid Return finals. The stress of finals, coupled with Tis the Season the stress of the holidays, can make Your Financial Aid Return anyone need to blow off some steam. Keep Your Heads-Up However, other students are working Downtown Satellites diligently, so we all need to be sure to do Letter from the Editor so in an appropriate area. Student Safety News Can’t Write? There’s an Stark State has “quiet” areas, including APP* for that computer labs and study rooms. Many The Importance of TAGs students find it frustrating when they As Winter Days Appear are in these areas and are interrupted by Printing cellphones, music and loud conversaWant a Job? tion. We may all be busy, so it is easy to TRiO Have Laptop, Will Travel forget, but we need to be aware of our surroundings and courtesy of fellow students. Simply step into the hallway to have your conversations.

Some people smoke to de-stress. As Stark State is not a smoke-free campus, this is not a problem (except of course standing in the cold as winter approaches). However, a state law prohibits smoking “immediately adjacent to public doors and entryways.” The law was put in place to prevent migration of smoke into buildings, and as members of a community we should not force nonsmokers to walk through smoke to enter the school. As smokers, we need to be mindful of the “no smoking signs.” These things may sound like common sense, but common courtesy is important. Our right to comfort should not infringe on the rights of comfort for our classmates. We must remember that we are members of the Stark State community. Let’s keep the holiday spirit alive in our campus community by respecting 1 one and other.

Your Financial Aid Return Continued Despite the added fees, many students are persuaded to just go ahead and get the card in order to receive their refunds one or two weeks prior to the paper check refunds. The debit card is not necessarily a bad option. It gives you the opportunity to make purchases without having to go to the bank or carry large amounts of cash on you. Your card will be linked up to the bank account of your choice through Higher One and you will be able to use it as soon as the refunds are deposited. If you do not have a bank account, Higher One can be used to receive your funds or it can be linked up to the bank account of your choice and

you will be able to use it as soon as the refunds are deposited. It also is faster than waiting for a check. Just be sure to educate yourself on all the fees starkstatepluscard.higheroneaccount.com/ studentaccount/feeschedules.

Keep Your HeadsUp

up with an attention-grabbing name. “Someone in the group came up the name Heads-Up,” Wilkins says. “The idea behind it was that because we black men have held our heads down for so long, we thought it would be great to name our group Heads-Up.”

by Amber Keene

Heads-Up is a group that “reaches out to, supports, and empowers minority males.” President George Wilkins states, “We are non-traditional students who have found our way to Stark State College from different walks of life.” The group currently consists of African American men; however, they allow any male who desires to become a member to join. They currently have 15 members on their roster. Heads-Up was formed in the fall semester of 2012 at the Southeast Community Center Campus with the intent to make a difference in the graduation rate of African American men at Stark State College, which, according to President George Wilkins, was “very low at the group’s inception.” The group formed in response to a suggestion by the director of the MultiCultural Center at Stark State. When the club was first starting to form, they had a problem coming

So to clear up the reasons for the delay in reimbursement, Stark State does not hold any student funds. They do not request or receive the federal financial aid dollars until the money hits the student account. After that, they request the funds from the Department of Education to disburse to the students accounts. Amy Welty’s states, “We are balancing between providing

The group currently has a video that they show in classrooms during their presentations. This video, located here: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=8_11QzTIOhA, encourages men to seek support and assistance from the Writing Center, Math Lab and any other student services available. They also assist freshman nontraditional students by sharing personal stories of their lives consisting of drug addiction and prison sentences before they became who they are today. Currently, Heads-Up is working on a fundraiser, all the proceeds of which will go to the Human and Social Services Student Association here at Stark State College. Their plan is to donate $75 worth of gloves, mittens, and hats for their Christmas giveaway. And during Black History month, in February, they will be having their 2nd

students with the money in the fastest way possible while being diligent in disbursing funds for the correct amount.” I understand having to wait a month for your refund due to the dropout rate in a student’s first semester. I had to do the same my first semester, but after that, refunds were in your hand, in check form, five to seven days prior to the new semester. Regardless of the reasoning, I still feel there should be a grandfather clause to those who had attended before the change. Some students need this refund to prepare financially for the upcoming semester. annual Black History Poetry Jam—an informal performance in which people gather to read their poetry. Heads-Up works very closely with their sister group—Women of Color. The Women of Color helped with many fundraisers, joined them for a Back to School picnic and joined forces with them to go on a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the monument of Dr. Martin Luther King. Wilkins states that Heads-Up believes “inclusion and diversity is the key to being successful in fulfilling our mission.” The group meets every other Friday at noon, usually at the Downtown Timken Campus (room 210), but occasionally at the ATC building or main campus. For more information on Heads-Up visit http://www.starkstate.edu/content/student-organizations#HeadsUp or contact adviser John Jivens through email (jjivens@starkstate.edu), through phone (extension 4514), or stop by his office (S302b).

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Downtown Satellites

by Paul Barans Stark State College has a number of satellite campuses. There are regional satellite campuses in Alliance, Barberton, and Carrollton. There are also program centers in Massillon, Orrville, and Smithville. These regional campuses and program centers make it easier for students living outside the Canton area to attend Stark State. But there are also satellite campuses in downtown Canton, just a short distance from Stark State’s main campus. The Downtown Canton Satellite Center is located on the Timken Campus (521 Tuscarawas Street W.). The Canton Automotive Technology Center is also downtown (839 Cleveland Ave. N.W.). Why does Stark State have these campuses just a short distance away from its main campus? According to Cindy Putman, the Downtown Canton Satellite Center Coordinator, there are a couple of good reasons: • Convenience. Many of the students who attend a downtown campus also live downtown, or can reach it more easily by bus. • Comfort zone. Many students are more familiar with the downtown area than they are with the main campus area, especially graduates of Timken High School, which is also downtown. What does each of these satellite campuses offer?

same instructors for the same credit as the main campus course. The campus also hosts Stark State’s commercial music program, the College’s dietary program, and the Ohio Police Officers Training Academy (OPOTA). Current enrollment is about 1,000 students, many of whom also take courses at the main campus. The Downtown Canton Satellite Center also partners with Canton City Schools to run the Early College High School program, which gives high school students dual enrollment in high school and Stark State. The students in this program take collegelevel courses, getting full course credits toward an associate degree. Current enrollment in this program is nearly 300 students, some of whom gain an associate degree before getting their high school diploma. The Canton Automotive Technology Center serves mostly second-year automotive students. (First-year automotive students attend the North Canton Automotive Technology Center.) Ken Buie, the chair of the Automotive and Transportation Department, indicates

that Stark State’s automotive department has partnership programs with General Motors, Toyota, Honda, and Caterpillar Lift Trucks. Current enrollment in the downtown automotive center is about 130 students. To see a list of the courses offered for Spring 2013 at the Downtown Canton Satellite Center or the Canton Automotive Technology Center, go to mystarkstate and use the Lookup Classes function on the My Stuff tab. The advanced search allows you to select a specific campus for your search. For the Downtown Canton Satellite Center, specify Downtown Canton. For the Canton Automotive Technology Center, specify Canton Auto Center. For additional information about the Downtown Canton Satellite Center, contact Cynthia Putman, by phone at 330-494-6170, ext. 4138, or by e-mail at cputman@starkstate.edu. For additional information about the Canton Automotive Technology Center, contact Ken Buie, by phone at 330-494-6170, ext. 4183, or by e-mail at kbuie@starkstate.edu.

The Downtown Canton Satellite Center primarily offers basic, general courses. These are the same as the corresponding courses provided at the main campus. The courses are taught by the

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A Letter from the Editor Dear Stark State Community, The end is drawing near! For all of us, the end of the semester is fast approaching; for many of us, myself included, that means graduation as well. I am proud to be graduating and moving on to Kent State (Stark), but I feel a bit melancholy about it as well. I have formed so many bonds here. There are so many people that had a hand in my success at Stark State that I would like to thank. If I missed you, I apologize. Thank you to: • My teachers, for innovative, interesting and challenging classes, and for encouraging me to work hard. • My adviser, for enlightening me about the 2+2 program and keeping me on track to graduate in a year and half. • Every teacher that let me take tests early when my husband left for and returned from Afghanistan. • My classmates for making me laugh and making classes enjoyable. • Group Potential from my Small Group Communication class. I really dreaded that class, but working with you made it great. • My Earth and the Environment classmates for laughing at me—I mean, with me—when I fell in the creek.

• The teachers that encouraged me outside of the classroom and helped me build my network. I feel privileged to have had that opportunity and also so much more prepared for the real world. • My graphic arts teacher for showing me another world of interest and pushing me to explore my boundaries. I have far too many interests now! • Everyone that has held the door for me and my ridiculously enormous backpack. • The cooks in the cafeteria for their upbeat personalities—a great place to stop if you need a smile. • The guy who chased me down to give me my Gatorade that got stuck in the vending machine. • The gentleman that carried my rolling backpack up the stairs when the elevator was down. • The school for providing a “Nursing Mother’s” room, so that I could work diligently at school and still express milk for my son. • The girl that gave me a quarter when I was rummaging through my purse to find enough change to get something to drink. • Everyone that made small talk with me. Sometimes a brief chat with a stranger about nothing at all can really brighten your day.

• The Stark Voices advisers, for granting me the pleasure and challenge of editing the newspaper. I hope you still think you made the right decision. • All of the students who came to me about things they would like to see in the paper. Power to the people! • All of the students for reading the paper. There are many more. Everyone I have encountered at Stark State has made me feel like a real part of a community. That community is why I love Stark Voices—it is a place for everyone to connect. I will be proud to say I graduated from Stark State. But you have not heard the last from me. I will be taking advantage of the Career Development Center for a long time to come. I will also stop by and visit my mentors. Stark State has done a lot for me, and I hope to give back to the Stark community as an alumnus as well. Thanks and good luck, Josi Heinz P.S. Look for Stark Voices during the spring semester!

Josi Heinz Editor

Josi Heinz (Editor) will graduate from Stark State with an associate’s degree in technical communication in December. Upon graduation, she will be working on a bachelor’s degree in applied communication at Stark branch of Kent State. In addition to being a student, Josi is the founder and President of the nonprofit organization Connect the Troops, Vice President of MOM’s Club 44203, an Alpha Delta Pi (Beta Tau) alumnus, and active with the Canton Ad Federation. Josi’s husband, Matt, returned home after a year in Afghanistan in September. They have two children, Olivia (4 years) and Isaac (16 months).

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Student Safety News by Paul Barans

Late at night, those huge campus parking lots can seem dark and dangerous, even with all the lights on. There are security cameras out there, of course, but it is more comforting to see the Campus Security cars with the flashing yellow lights patrolling the parking lot. Stark State’s security personnel are out there, working to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff. On the whole, campus crime appears to be down slightly this year, compared to last year. According to the crime statistics posted on the Safety and Security section of the Stark State Web site (www.starkstate.edu/security), there were 111 incidents reported in 2011 (counting all Stark State campuses and satellite centers), but only 82 incidents so far this year. Still, 2012 has already seen three vehicle thefts from the parking lots on the main campus. Mark Weldon, Stark State’s Chief of Security, indicates that there will be more eyes on the Mega Street parking lot soon. When the pedestrian bridge across Mega Street is completed at the end of November, there will be additional security cameras monitoring the parking lot and the pedestrian bridge.

In addition, anyone leaving the main campus buildings after dark can request a security escort by dialing the security office at 330-704-2582. According to Weldon, there are typically only one or two requests for an escort each semester. Campus Security can also jump-start your car if needed (parking permit and signed waiver of liability required). The new pedestrian bridge is itself an answer to a student safety concern: heavy traffic on Mega Street and Frank Road make this intersection a dangerous pedestrian crossing. Weldon counted the students crossing Mega Street on several peak days and found that students made as many as 2,600 crossings per day. “It is probably one of the busiest corners in Stark County for pedestrian traffic,” he says. The new bridge from the Mega Street parking lot to the North Academic Building (K building) will make it safer for students to cross Mega Street. The duties of the Campus Security department extend beyond our parking lots, of course. Security personnel also deal with problems inside the campus

buildings (for example, bomb threats, theft, harassment and menacing incidents). They also patrol Stark State’s satellite campuses and centers. Campus Security is also responsible for student, faculty and staff background checks. This year, the Campus Security department has partnered with a system called Rave Alert to notify students of emergency campus closings or other emergency situations. When winter weather conditions force the campus to close, this new system (called SSC Alert) notifies you by phone or e-mail so you can stay home and sleep in! Here is how to sign up for this service. 1. Visit the Rave Alert Web site at www.getrave.com. 2. Enter Stark State College for the Site Name. 3. Enter your current mystarkstate username and password to log on. 4. Review the Terms of Use, click on Agree and Submit. 5. Follow the directions on the Web site to indicate how you want to receive emergency notifications. You can add your cell phone number, your land line number, your personal e-mail address (your Stark State e-mail is already included), or all of them. Sign up now. Stay safe. And avoid wasting your morning by coming to a closed campus! If you have questions about the SSC Alert system, contact Diana Tsenekos, by phone at 330-494-6170 ext. 4424 or by e-mail at dtsenekos@starkstate.edu. If you have safety or security questions, or if you wish to report suspicious activity, you can contact Stark State’s Campus Security department, by phone at 330-704-2582 or by visiting the security office in room S104 in the Student Services Building.

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Can’t Write? There’s an APP* for that by Amber Keene

Writing is not always a strong suit for many students; it takes a lot of writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing and a few headaches in between to get to a point where you are proud of your paper. However, help is only an arm’s length away—The Writing Center. The Writing Center can help students write a paper for any course at Stark State and focuses first and foremost on what students believe they need the most help with. “This can be anything from brainstorming, to starting a paper, to organizing ideas after a first draft to editing MLA/APA style or grammar,” says Online Writing Center Assistant Camille Barber. Staff at the Writing Center can help you in any stage of your paper—before you start, in the middle of writing or after you finish a draft. The Writing Center is available on the main campus, at the Downtown Canton Satellite campus and online through ANGEL. So, whether you prefer face-to-face or online help, the

Writing Center has you covered. An appointment* with the Writing Center or Writing Center Online may be the difference between a good paper and a great paper. According Writing Center Coordinator, Leah SchellBarber, the Writing Center is “a free service to all Stark State students who may be seeking assistance on a writing assignment for any class.” “I have had students come back to tell me they got A’s or that their teacher said the newest draft was much better,” Camille Barber says. “Even nicer, though, is when students come back to get papers looked at when it’s not a requirement. When those students come back and say they just feel better after we help them, that makes my job worthwhile!” The Writing Center opened in 2004 after a group of English faculty members were awarded a grant from the Copley Foundation in order to fund its development. Full-time English faculty members dedicate one of their office hours to assist students in the Writing Center. There are also 26 Writing Center Assistants between the main campus, the Downtown Canton Satellite campus and the Online Writing Center. When you visit the Writing

Center, you will be paired with a writing assistant to discuss the problems you may be facing with your assignment or even just to have a second pair of eyes look it over. Students enrolled in College Writing or College Composition have the opportunity to take part in a yearly essay contest sponsored by the Writing Center. The prize is a $25 gift card to the College Store and seeing your essay in print in Stark State’s student journal Circinus. Also, the Online Writing Center is by appointment only, so make sure you make one before the paper is due. To make a face-to-face appointment, visit G200a or call 330-494-6170 extension 4600. For the Online Writing Center, log into ANGEL, click “Find a Group” under Community Groups, search for the Writing Center and click enroll. After enrolling, it will be right on your Angel homepage under your class list. For more information about the Writing Center or their yearly contest, visit http://www.starkstate.edu/writingcenter.

Eric Frank Staff Writer

Eric Frank is a student at Stark State. He will be completing his associate’s degree this December in technical communications. After graduation, he is pursuing both a job as a technical writer and starting his own production company. In 2007 he started his own business called Everything’s Ago for which he contracts and does general labor. Since 1998, he is the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and manager of his band. In the past year, Eric has acted in such feature films as The Avengers, I Alex Cross, Promised Land, and Underdogs. He resides in Massillon, Ohio with his fiance’ Kim and is a father of two boys Clayton (10) and Jace (5).

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The Importance of TAGs by Paul Barans

Going somewhere? If you are transferring from Stark State to another college or university, you need to be sure that the institution you are going to gives you full credit for all the hard work you put in at Stark State. You need to be sure that your TAGs are in order. TAG stands for Transfer Assurance Guideline, and the phrase “TAG Compliant” labels courses that transfer easily from one state college or university in Ohio to another. The TAG system guarantees the transfer of applicable credits among Ohio’s 14 public universities and 23 community colleges for the purpose of meeting degree requirements. According to the Ohio Higher Ed web site (www.ohiohighered.org/transfer), the TAG system allows students the flexibility to choose lower-cost and more convenient ways

to take the courses they need. Students can accumulate course credits from an inexpensive community college or branch campus before transferring to a four-year university to complete their bachelor’s degree. If this is your plan, you and your academic adviser should select TAG compliant courses as often as possible. Many of Stark State’s basic courses in English, social sciences, computers and accounting are TAG compliant, along with several modules (course groups) for some major areas such as nursing, engineering technology, medical assisting, information technology and automotive technology. If you are transferring to another academic institution in the near future, there are a few things you should do to smooth the transfer of course credits.

First, work with both your academic adviser and Stark State’s Admissions Office to match your Stark State courses with as many courses of the other institution as possible. Second, obtain a transient letter from the other institution. The transient letter provides a written statement of which courses the other institution will credit. It sounds like a lot to do, but if you are going somewhere, it is worth it, right? Just remember to pack your TAGs. (The TAG system is not binding on private colleges and universities, such as Walsh and Malone in Canton, or on non-Ohio colleges and universities. Those institutions may give you credit for one or more Stark State courses, but they are not required to do so by Ohio law.)

As Winter Days Appear by Eric Frank

Now that the fall semester is coming to a close and winter is approaching, what better way to get involved with outside activities than joining the Ski and Snowboarding Club? This is a student-directed club that has a lot of potential. Since resorts are not open until midDecember, the club’s first few trips are in Ohio. In the past, the club has traveled to Seven Springs in Pennsylvania, Holiday Valley in New York and Snow Shoe in West Virginia. Adviser Fred Jarka tries to accommodate and

listen to the students ideas. “Last year we had 15 or so students interested,” Jarka says. “But as you may recall, we had no snow, which kind of killed it.” This year they hope for more snow and to double the number of students participating to keep the club flowing in a positive direction. Joining the Ski and Snowboarding Club will get you off Facebook and into the fresh air. It is a good time to get rid of those calories from the winter holidays, and it beats sitting behind an electronic device all winter long

waiting for the next Call of Duty to be released or watching reruns of Jersey Shore. Jarka says, “The purpose of the club is to promote understanding and appreciation of the relationship of nature and fitness” at Stark State College. Club meetings usually take place every other week during the school year. For more information, contact Fred Jarka by email at fjarka@starkstate.edu or visit him in Room E235, or see the club’s advertisements around campus.

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Printing

by Amber Keene Printing is a necessity to all students attending college. However, sometimes printing at home becomes too costly between buying the printer and buying new black and color ink cartridges every one to three months. Stark State College has a way to fix this dilemma, the ability to print from any open lab at the school. It only costs seven cents to print in most labs at the school. However, the amount of money graciously given to Stark State students continues dropping every few semesters. When I began Stark State College in August of 2009, the amount of money given to students to print was 25 dollars. Starting in January of 2012, the amount dropped to 15 dollars. But this semester students are only given 10 dollars to print. While students have the option to add money to their

PaperCut account, it is confusing when you wonder why the amount keeps dropping. Many reasons came to mind when I thought about it, for example: not using all credit given to me, not needing to print as much because of classes enrolled in, the classes for my degree are mostly web-based and does not need as many printed papers, etc. One reason why the amount has dropped is to decrease the paper consumption at Stark State, thus helping save the environment. With 25 dollars available to print, students were printing anything they wanted without considering how much paper they were wasting. We as students should feel lucky to have the option to print at school; students who attend the University of Akron do not even get this option.

credit to last throughout the semester is to only print when you actually need something printed. For example: if you need notes for a class try writing them out by hand, this will ensure retention of the subject and save paper. Another option is to talk to teachers who make it mandatory to submit printed assignments and ask them about the option to electronically submitting papers through ANGEL. This will save paper consumption and make it easier for teachers to keep everything in one place. Whether the amount of printing money has dropped because the consumption of ink and paper was too high or for other reasons, there are ways to deal with the decrease in amount of money available to print at the school.

A way to ensure you have enough

Paul Barans Staff Writer

Paul Barans was originally a student of mathematics, but has been a technical writer since 1982. He is currently completing coursework for an associate degree in technical communication. Stark State has been essential in helping him to update and expand his communication skills. Paul has an abiding interest in archaeology and has worked at several “dig� sites, including the 13,000-year-old Nobles Pond site near Canton, Ohio. He also enjoys reading and movies, especially non-Hollywood movies.

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Amber Keene Assistant Editor

Amber will be graduating in December with her associate of applied science in technical communication. However, halfway through her technical communication degree, she found she had an unexpected aptitude and love of chemistry. She figured this out by picking up on assignments as soon as they were given and acing every exam. Amber anxiously awaits returning to Stark State next semester for her associate of science in chemistry degree, before continuing to pursue bachelor’s and master degrees in Chemistry. She has been described as: exceptional, quirky, open-minded, conversational and organized. She loves writing poetry, reading lengthy novels, playing video games and doing science experiments.

Want a Job? by Josi Heinz

Did you know that only one in 35 students at two-year schools graduate on time (Complete College America, 2011)? And after graduation, that graduate needs to find a job. The job search is a battle field, and many graduates enter it unarmed. Fortunately, Stark State has the Career Development Center to help students in areas from choosing a major (MyPlan), to resume writing and interviewing skills (Perfect interview). The Career Development Center hosts a number of workshops each semester, provides access to College Central Network, connects students with internship opportunities and conducts onsite interviews. The Career Development staff is committed to providing more than cookie cutter resumes and canned interview responses. Their goal is to teach you how to craft eye-catching resumes and critically thought out answers so that you are prepared for every interview circumstance. If you need more

assistance, the staff is prepared to help longterm, and is available even after you graduate. Utilizing the Career Development Center can help you determine the field that is best for you and help you be prepared to land a job in that field upon graduation and beyond. Feeling secure in your educational destination and your career will create a confidence that will enhance your interviewing skills. Do you need even more motivation to visit the Career Development Center? How about this? Students across the country waste almost $4,000 on classes not pertaining to their major (Complete College America, 2011). Save yourself time, money and stress by engaging with the Career Development Center.

Unfortunately, only 7% of Stark State students take advantage of the Career Development Center each month. Why not give yourself every opportunity to succeed? Career Development is located in S100. Stop by tomorrow. Stop by again next month. Establishing your education and career is a process, not an event.

Layout by: Victoria Wendt Graphic Arts Major

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TRiO

by Amber Keene

Together Realizing Individual Opportunities (TRiO) Student Support Services is a “one stop” program designed to help students graduate from Stark State College. According to Program Director Benjamin Tobias, “Assistance is provided in: academics, advising, registration, transferring to a 4-year institution, training in financial literacy, and college success skills, to name a few.” Students meeting any of the following criteria are eligible for TRiO services: • first generation college students (students whose parents did not attend a 4-year college), • students with low-incomes, and/or • those who have a disability. You do not have to start at TRiO when you first enroll at Stark State; students can join any time in their academic careers. “I recommend TRiO to all students no matter what year you

are,” TRiO alumnus Tiffany Lane says. “TRiO has been there for me, helping me get through my academic struggles for the past two years. Study, talk, ask questions and get answers from people who really care about your success.” All students need to do to apply is fill out the application; the TRiO staff takes it from there. There is an income requirement that is determined at the time of application. TRiO—currently serving 160 Stark State students—gives students one-onone assistance with one of the three TRiO advisors in countless areas the student may be having trouble with. One of the most important aspects of TRiO is the Individualized Student Success Plan; this provides a student with a personalized “plan of attack” to graduate. “TRiO is a huge support for me,” states student, Fatima Milnes. “It helps me cope with the challenges and the difficulties I encounter during my academic school experience.” She adds, “They give me hope in believing in me. At times, I feel like I can’t climb this

huge mountain because of its steepness, but TRiO encourages me and tells me I can do it.” According to Tobias, TRiO is an invaluable opportunity. Because students have to go through an application and acceptance process, they are expected to maintain the highest degree of commitment in the route to obtaining their degree. TRiO is there to help students learn and graduate from college; however, it is ultimately up to the students whether or not they make it there. “If [students are] willing to work, the TRiO staff is there to assist every step of the way,” Tobias says. TRiO is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and can offer scholarships between $350 and $750 based on credit hours, TRiO standing, a GPA of at least 2.0 and TRiO activity. For more information on TRiO Student Support Services visit www.starkstate.edu/trio, contact the TRiO office as (330) 305-6602 or stop by B230.

Have Laptop, Will Travel by Paul Barans

College is a lot different now than it was 45 years ago, when I went to Ohio State University. I like a lot of the changes that have occurred. For one thing, I can send class assignments through the Internet. That means that I do not have to come to the campus to hand in my assignments. Theoretically, I could send them in from the other side of the world. While I find the idea of uploading my coursework from Tokyo or the Philippines inspiring (and I encourage you to try it if you can), I cannot afford world travel right now, so most nights you can find me doing my homework at one of the local Starbucks stores. Usually I upload my assignments just before they close the store and kick me out (11 P.M., most nights). The Starbucks near Belden Village Mall

attracts a large number of students. This is a large, comfortable Starbucks, with lots of tables and chairs, including several cushiony armchairs and sofas and a gas fireplace that is lit during the winter months. But Starbucks can get pretty noisy; too noisy for many students. Fortunately, there are quieter places with free Wi-Fi. All the branches of the Stark County District Library are good places to work on your college assignments. Plus, they have their own online research database (requires a library card), like Stark State’s Digital Library. And the SCDL’s database is larger than Stark State’s database. So, a trip to one of the SCDL branches can be very worthwhile if you need to do some serious research (or if you just need to study in a quiet place).

For those students that prefer the working lunch (or breakfast), places like McDonald’s and Bob Evans also provide Wi-Fi, so you can combine eating a meal with checking your email. It is probably super-efficient, but I would rather relax while I am eating and not risk getting pancake syrup on my keyboard. Here is what I think. Orientation for incoming students should include a list of all the places in the campus area that provide free Wi-Fi. Students learn about them eventually, but making them a part of orientation would introduce students to these valuable resources right from the start. Am I right? Let me know what you think.

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Stark Voices December 2012 Edition