Stark Voices Students Speaking Out Spring 2014 Issue
Stark State College Exams run between May 6th and May 12th Table of Contents Page 2
Meet the Staff Letter from the Editor
Unusual Enrollment Career Development
Pell Grant Scams Spring Fling
Scheduling Advice (Jump from the front)
Choice of Electives
Noise Courtesy Writing Center
Stark Voices StarkVoices@starkstate.edu
Nicholas Biecker Catherine Lawson
Nicole Herrera Elizabeth Modarelli
The Stark State College of Technology English Department
Photo by Brennan Dunlap
Stark State College of Technology welcomes incoming students. Summer classes begin June 2.
How a Sock Works and Scheduling Advice By Josh Carter
magine waiting to put your clothes on each morning until someone explained how they worked. “You’re going to have trouble putting your socks on like that.” “That’s not where your shirt goes!” “Don’t you think you might want to wear your hat on your head instead of your shoulder?” Now what if you had to make an appointment with the clothing advisor to get this advice? “I’m sorry, I already have a 7:15 appointment with your brother,
but I can fit you in at 6 a.m. How does that work for you?” What if when you showed up for this appointment, you came completely unprepared? “Pants? Yea, I think I have a pair. Let me ask my mom— she kept all my old high school stuff.” Sounds silly right? Yet each semester, students do much the same when it comes to scheduling classes. The scheduling of classes plays an obvious and significant role in the success of a student’s time at college. Failure to get in the correct classes at the right time can delay a student’s progression within their chosen major and ultimately their graduation, increase expense, and create a lot of headaches and frustration. Here is some advice on scheduling based on my experiences at Stark State College of Technology. See Scheduling Advice On Page 6.
Meet the Staff Editor
Josh Carter is a technical communications major at Stark State College of Technology. He previously earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Marietta College, and worked in the publication industry where he designed and laid out local papers. Additionally, he has created layouts for real estate magazines, worked as a typesetter for a print shop, has done freelance design, worked in a library, and worked in food service. Carter has been threatened by crazy old ladies in wheelchairs, canoed around a lake backwards just to get back to dock, and when once asked if he played football, laughed as he pointed out that he was smaller than the average football.
Nicholas Biecker is a first-year student at Stark State in the transfer program, and plans on double majoring in film as well as secondary education focusing on English literature. Biecker is currently a full-time student as well as a full-time employee at Panera Bread. Raised in a navy family, he has lived in places like Scotland, Texas, Hawaii, and Virginia. He has since then moved to Ohio to continue his post-secondary education on his own. He also has a play that has been performed in Virginia, which he wrote while in high school. This anti-bullying project has been taken into many schools as well as performed in professional venues. The Matthew Shepard Foundation has also given its support for future endeavors of the play, as well as fully endorses the message it conveys. His dream is to be a professional film director and screenwriter. Catherine Lawson is an English literature major in her second semester at Stark State College. After graduating, she wants to get a bachelorâ€™s degree in journalism. She loves Chipotle and her favorite color is purple. Lawson also loves cartoons and is a kid at heart.
Brennan Dunlap is a digital photography major in his first year at Stark State College.
Dear Stark State,
Letter From the Editor
Welcome to the Spring issue of Stark Voices. Stark Voices is a Stark State College of Technology student-run publication produced in conjunction with the Stark State English department. We seek to give voice to topics pertaining to the community of students, faculty and staff of Stark State. Among the topics covered in this issue of Stark Voices are the benefits of a physical library, noise courtesy, and Pell Grant scams. If you wish to see past editions of Stark Voices, or to keep up with future issues as they come out, visit StarkState.edu/StarkVoices. Sincerely, Josh Carter, Editor email@example.com
Would Stark State Benefit From a Physical Library? By Nicholas Biecker
s a college student, there are to park in Kent Stark’s packed and busy a lot of classes you take, from parking lot. While it may be across general education courses from us, it is still out of the way. With to those required by the curriculum students having to juggle school, jobs, of your degree. There are plenty of and often family life, it has become an books to hit that supposedly won’t annoyance to the point where many hit back (that remains to be seen), will attempt to find something at their and they are all available… where public library. While the local libraries exactly? There has been confusion have numerous great books, they are among the students of Stark State lacking in the scholarly sources when College of Technology as to where the compared to other university and students can acquire references for college libraries. their dreaded research essays due in While there is always the desire to a few weeks’ time. When looking for a embrace the future of technology library that contains bookshelves with and integrate it into learning facilities, physical copies of books, it would and that is fine especially when we appear there is in fact no such place on have “technology” in the name of our campus. After asking professors and college, there are still some drawbacks our administration, I found out why when going to a digital-only school. I could not find this elusive library: It Being a community college, Stark doesn’t exist! State sees a wide variety of students It has been brought to students’ who come to get their degrees in attention through the vast amount of We all have different study habits many different majors this school sources that Stark as well, and some students don’t offers. That means State students want to read a text on a computer that there are going in fact share the to be some who physical library with screen, or browse through an on- are not quite tech line catalog for their references. savvy, or don’t have the one located on Kent Stark’s campus, Internet hooked along with our digital library available up at their house. With a wider age to all registered students. This has demographic that includes a higher been the way it has worked for many count of older students, it is unfair years now, and so far hasn’t caused to expect them to be able to travel too much upset. After questioning through the digital library with ease. students located in the computer We all have different study habits as labs and study corners, I have well, and some students don’t want to discovered there has actually been a read a text on a computer screen, or bit of a yearning for something to be browse through an online catalog for changed among the student body. their references. Many expressed the inconvenience of Another thing we are missing out having to either walk the length from due to our not having a library is the Stark State campus to the location large area that can be a quiet area of the library at Kent Stark, or having specifically for studying. We may have
countless areas that are specifically for studying, but they usually are lined with computers which can easily change from a tool for getting school work done to a taxing distraction that can make an hour pass by in seemingly no time at all. All the areas that have tables and places that most could do work at are by a busy hallway or in an area that many gather simply to meet up for socializing. A library with physical books could be the one sanctuary many are seeking. In asking many students, I found many opted to study at home due to the numerous distractions on campus at Stark State. They also unanimously agreed that they would change that if we were to have this library. It was all around clear that the student body of Stark State was ready for a library all their own! v
Don’t Forget to Register for Summer and Fall Classes! If you haven’t already, make an appointment with your advisor to schedule classes. Don’t forget to bring your completed registration form! For more information on registration procedures, visit www.starkstate.edu/registration
Pell Grants & Unusual Enrollment History By Josh Carter
t happens every semester. Students sign up for classes, show up for awhile, and then disappear. For some the complexities of balancing school, work, and family life just becomes overwhelming. Perhaps a boss demands they come in to work on days they were supposed to have off for class, or a car breaks down and they cannot get to school. Maybe a kid gets sick and needs a caregiver. Others discover the program they are in is not what they thought it would be, or the financial pressure become too much to handle. Some however are taking advantage of the system. These scammers, known by names such as “Pell runners” or “Pell jumpers,” apply to college in order to qualify for Pell Grants, but once they get the money, they disappear
Looking for a job? Want to improve your résumé? Let the Career Development Center help you! Visit our offices in room S100.
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without making the least effort to earn degrees. For those students legitimately interested in earning degrees, it may seem inconsequential or perhaps even slightly nice—albeit a bit sad—as classes get smaller and parking spots easier to find. However, such scams have the potential to negatively impact both schools and their students. Fraudulently claimed grants cannot be used to aid legitimate students, and schools may be required to pay back the federal government fraudulently collected Pell Grants, as TheNewsHearld.com reported happened with Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn Michigan. Such expenses can cause colleges to raise tuition for remaining students. A number of methods have been attempted by various institutions to limit the impact of the scam. Yet many of these efforts can have their own issues such as hanging on to financial aid longer in an attempt to ensure students are actually attending classes or splitting the disbursement of funds up to enable schools to cut off scammers as soon as they quit appearing in class—both of which can create financial strain early in the semester for legitimate students counting on that money to cover living expenses as the attend school. Other efforts have included raising tuition to reduce the appeal of the scam, and increasing coursework to weed out potential Pell runners. Stark State’s financial aid department also reports that the U.S. Department of Education has implemented a new policy for the 2013-2014-school-year designed to catch Pell runners. This policy called Unusual Enrollment History requires Stark State to verify that students who have attended two
or more schools within the previous three years have earned credit hours at each of those institutions. If the students flagged for verification have not received credit hours, they are no longer eligible for Federal Student Aid, although exceptions can be made for special circumstances. Assistant director of financial aid Scott Lehman reports that Stark State reviewed 471 students for the 2013-2014-school-year as a direct result of the changes. Of these, 289 or 61.3% ended up being approved for financial aid, while the remaining 189 were denied or failed to submit the necessary material. As with any new policy change, the Unusual Enrollment policy has created additional work for the Stark State financial aid department which has to track down and review transcripts for the flagged students. Lehman indicates, however, that such changes to policy are commonplace. Prior to the Unusual Enrollment History policy, Stark State had also implemented a delayed disbursement in order to ensure students were only receiving financial aid for classes they were actually attending. With that change, Stark State began distributing finds during the fourth week of class during the fall and spring semesters, and during the third week of class during the summer semester. Before the change, financial aid was distributed before classes began. For more information on financial aid from Stark State, contact the Financial Aid Office at 330-494-6170, Ext. 4301, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For general financial aid information, visit Federal Student Aid at studentaid.gov. For information on how a Pell Grant scam functions see "How do Pell Grant Scams Work?" on page 5. v
Stark Voices How do Pell Grant Scams Work?
Pell runners run the scam in two primary manners. The first involves a single individual who takes advantage of the gap between the awarded grant and the cost of tuition. For example, if a $5,600 Pell Grant has been awarded for the year and tuition comes out to be $3,500, the scammer can pocket the difference of $2,100. While unable to get away with attempting the same scam at the same school again, Pell runners can potentially repeat the scam at different institutions until they are caught or their eligibility runs out. The second manner the scam is run is more complicated and involves either a small group, or an individual who recruits “straw students” from whom they take a portion of the profits, or who uses stolen identities to run the scam over and over. Those who have had their identities stolen for this scam may have trouble getting Pell Grants down the road. Experts, like Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid.org, have estimated that over a billion dollars a year is fraudulently awarded to Pell runners. However, overall the percentage of students scamming the system is most likely pretty low. USA Today has indicated about 3.6 percent of Pell Grants awarded are frauds, while the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators quote the Obama administration as indicating the rate was closer to 2.7 in 2010. Schools with lower tuition such as Stark State often see more of an impact from the scam as scammers would not get anything back from schools with tuition higher than the awarded grants. v
Photo by Brennan Dunlap
Dental assisting students at work. For more information on the dental assisting program, visit www.starkstate.edu/academic-programs/dental-hygiene.
SPRING FLING 2014! Stark State College
Come celebrate the end of the spring semester at Spring Fling 2014—the end of the semester bash!
Schedule of Activities 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. Fashion Show
Provided by the SSC Fashion Merchandising Class
Noon - 3 p.m. Acid Cats
Musical Band – Experimental funk fashion instrumental jazz rock
When: Thursday, May 1 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Stark State Courtyard and surrounding area Open to all students, faculty, and staff.
For more information contact Cherie Barth at
330-494-6170, Ext. 4237 or email@example.com.
Scheduling Advice Continued From Front Page Be Your Own Advocate based courses. None of the math was The Stark State staff is not out to get that difficult, but trying to remember you. They do not sit around plotting which class was using which formulas how to keep you here for another year became a real pain. so they can torture you with more Schedule Your Time math classes—even if it may feel Scheduling classes is more than that way. Yet those advising you also just scheduling which classes you are have other students to help, classes to going to take. You need to find time prepare for and teach, administrative to do homework, eat lunch, make it duties to perform, and the every-day to work on time, eat lunch, have some concerns we all face. In short, they are semblance of a social life, and (did I human. Mistakes are made. mention it already?) eat lunch. When I first came into Stark State, Only having classes on Mondays I was technically a transfer student and Wednesdays may sound great, having previously earned a degree at but are you going to have the selfanother institution before discipline to work ahead, changing fields. There or will you find yourself No one knows your were some complications on Tuesday trying to do with figuring out what I personal circumstances the work for four classes quite the way you do. when everything is due had credit for and some information fell through the next day? If it is the the cracks. Had I been on top of things, latter, perhaps you should consider I would have caught it and saved spreading your classes out a little myself some hassle down the road. more. No one knows your personal Knowing when you function best circumstances quite the way you do. helps too. Being done with classes for If you have an unusual circumstance, the weekend by 8 a.m. on Thursday make sure your look into it yourself may sound delightful, but sleeping rather than counting someone else to through your class every Tuesday and do it for you. Thursday is going to have a serious Likewise, check to see if any of your impact on your grade. high school classes gave you college Be aware that some classes are only credit, or if you can test out of any offered certain semesters. Know that courses that will make your college schedule. You do not want to get journey shorter and less expensive. caught in a holding pattern for a year When registering for classes, try to until the class you need becomes spread out the difficult courses. Having available again. a really easy semester may sound great Finally, consider summer school. No now, but when you find yourself at the one wants to be sitting in a classroom on end with a semester of nightmarish a beautiful summer day, but if it means classes in front of you, you will be less stress during the fall and spring regretting not having knocked one or semesters, it just might be worth it. two of them out already. Speaking of Sometimes time complications registering, register early to lessen the cannot be helped, but careful planning odds of being closed out of a course can go a long ways to avoiding many you need, and avoid taking too many of them. classes that are too similar all at once. I Know Your Plan once had a semester with three mathMany classes require prerequisites.
Some professors will fit your learning style better than others. Some of the potential elective classes you choose from may be more useful for your prospective field than others. As such, it helps to do your research early, make a plan, and keep track of where you are at throughout the process. I advise getting in contact with the advisor for your major quickly. No one else is as likely to be up-to-date with the requirements for your particular major, and they can help point you in the right direction. If you plan on transferring to another institution, then try to confirm which courses will transfer. There is no point in taking a course if you are just going to have to take a near identical one at your new school. You can see what would transfer at starkstate.edu/transfer. My Academic Plan If you have not already done so, you should visit Stark State’s academic planning program My Academic Plan (MAP). You can get to MAP by going to my.starkstate.edu. Login with your student name and password and then click on the “My Stuff” tab where you should find a tab for My Academic Plan. Clicking on that will open up a window with a wealth of material ranging from the courses required for your major to a “What If” section that allows you to see what would change if you choose to switch majors. While a rewarding experience that prepares you for your future, college can be a time full of stress and hard work. No sense in adding to the difficulties by poor planning of your schedule. Being your own advocate, scheduling your time wisely, knowing your plan, and using your resources like MAP can take you a long ways towards simplifying your college experience. Oh, and your socks? Yea, you put them on before your shoes. v
The Choice of Electives By Josh Carter
rom the proverbial “Underwater Basket Weaving” to Organic Chemistry, colleges offer a host of potential courses. These classes generally fall into two general categories: those which students have to take for particular majors, and those which are considered (at least for some majors) to be electives, or optional courses which are used to develop a broader educational background. Typically, in addition to the courses directly required for their major, students must select a series of elective courses to take from a list of options. For example, as a Technical Communications major, I had to choose at least seven credit hours of classes belonging to the category “Basic Sciences” which included possible courses such as Anatomy and Physiology, Human Biology, and General, Organic and Bio Chemistry. Frankly, the value of electives varies. The difference in value is related to both how the electives connect to specific majors and how the electives connect to specific students and their goals. For example, a student who hopes to work in game design might benefit from a solid grasp of physics more than a class in chemistry. This is not to say the chemistry course holds no value, but that knowing how things move in the real world will be more applicable to designing computer environments in which the animations seem to move in realistic manners than knowing the chemical composition of water. However, there are a few electives which can hold value for nearly every student. Here are a few of them: Writing Courses Okay, so I am biased on this one. My field involves a fair amount of writing,
and I rather enjoyed it. Yet the simple truth remains, we write a lot. Yes, realistically much of the writing many of us do throughout life will not be of the research paper variety (although the skill-set can carry over into other realms). (Quick side note: I would encourage professors and school administration to give consideration to the ideas presented by Op-Ed Contributor Andy Selsberg in “Teaching to the Text Message” found in the March 19, 2011 issue of The New York Times in which he makes an argument for a course on teaching concise writing.) Yet we have reasons to write on a regular basis. Emails, text messages, grocery lists, directions to the store, out-of-order signs, notes to ourselves, vacation requests, supply requisitions, the list goes on and on. Having experience writing, particularly writing in such a way that others can easily comprehend the message is important, and in my experience writing is one of those skills that works best when you’ve kept your skills sharp through practice. Stark State offers a number of writing courses including College Composition (ENG124), Writing for Media (ENG227), and Writing for the Web (ENG228). Public Speaking I know, I know, it was not one of my favorite classes to take either, but sooner or later you most likely will have to speak in front of others. Maybe not an entire auditorium of people focused entirely on you and your every motion and word, but perhaps making proposal to your boss, a speech at your best friend’s wedding, or just a presentation in another class. Better to get some practice with it so you are a little more comfortable with
the process now than struggle with it for the rest of your life. Stark State offers several communications courses including Effective Speaking (COM121). Interviewing Some of the most important moments of our lives are interviews, and not just the immediately obvious moments like applying for a job or on the other side hiring someone to preform a job. If you ask your friends for advice on where to find a plumber, you are essentially interviewing them about plumbers. Same thing if you want an estimate on how much it is going to cost to get your car fixed, where you need to go to file your taxes, are looking for advice in how to get to the nearest restaurant, or need to find out what the professor wants to be turned in for the most recent assignment. Likewise, when your friend wants to know how the game ended, what that cute guy or gal said about them, or if the boss was angry they left work early, they are basically interviewing you. With the importance interviews play in our daily lives, it only makes sense to do what we can to improve our skills on both sides of the interviewing process. Stark State offers Interviewing I (COM223) which I highly recommend. While usually required to take courses from a specific list of electives, you have some choice in which electives you take. If you have the opportunity, I would strongly encourage you towards electives in these three areas. They may not always be fun, but they will help better prepare you for life. v
Noise Courtesy: Think Before You Listen By Catherine Lawson
Photo by Brennan Dunlap
s students of Stark State, we all have tests, papers, and homework. While many of us decide to achieve these goals at home, some still use the school computers and study areas that the school has provided. They are convenient, useful areas of our campus. As a student myself, when utilizing these areas I try to be aware of certain courtesies. When I use the computer labs, I try to keep my phone on silent. This way I do not distract my fellow students who are trying to focus on their work just as I am trying to focus on mine. If I need to take a phone call, I try to step out of ear-spot of the other students. It may seem inconvenient, but the people around me seem to appreciate it.
When I’m using headphones, I try to keep the volume to my own personal level. I even double check to make sure no one else can hear it by pulling one of my earpieces away from my head. I also try to use headphones when watching videos or listen to music. I feel there is no need to distract my other students with my music. They might not even like the song I’m listening to or video I’m watching. I try to be respectful to the people around me when using the on-campus computers. I figured they have those “Quiet Please-Study Area” signs up for a reason. I personally cannot focus with a lot of noise around me, so I thought maybe others could possibly feel the same way. v
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