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Graduation Appreciation


Advice to ___Majors


Pause with a Professor - Yam Tolan


Student Spotlight- Phil


Student Spotlight- Emerald


Student Spotlight- Kennedy


Pause with a Professor- Dr. Lillian Huerta


Semester Rewind


Congratulations McKenna!


Congratulations Alexa


Congratulations Nalani!




Contributors ACCENT ADVISOR | Halie Ramirez EDITOR IN CHIEF | Marissa Greene PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR | Alexa Smith




#A T

he celebration was held virtually to commemorate the achievement of students who completed either an associate degree, certificate, or high school equivalency program. On Saturday, June 6, ACC asked its graduates, staff, and faculty to wear purple during this virtual commencement. Graduates also had the opportunity to interact with the community via social media. On Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook personalized ACC graduation filters and frames could be found being used by its students under the hashtag #ACCGrads

ACC Graduate Breakdown This academic year 2019–2020 Austin Community College had experienced its largest group of graduating students yet! Spring 2019-2020 Spring 2018–2019

2,100 4


Fall/Summer 2019-2020



ACCGrads Within the last five years, ACC’s graduation rate has increased by

123% 109% spring semester

fall/summer semesters

I’ve Graduated. Now what? Austin Community College is home to its very own Alumni Network. Open to all former students who have completed their associate degree, certificate, or completed at least 20 hours credit hours, ACC Alumni Network helps graduates with the next step. Whether you need help in networking, leadership opportunities, or even learning how to give back to the ACC community this program is meant to help its former students in their future endeavors. For more information visit:


Advice to _

___ Majors Story by / McKenna Bailey and Alexa Smith


Mechanical engineering Angelique Espinosa How many semesters were you enrolled in? I was enrolled at ACC for 4 semesters. [Transferred to UTSA] How did you choose your area of study? Someone told me that I’d make a really good engineer. I received this at a time when I was taking a break from private Art university and feeling like I wasn’t being challenged enough or getting back what I felt I was paying for. I did a lot of research and decided to go back to school for engineering. I started in Chemical engineering but it turned out that Chem 2 wasn’t my cup of tea. The more I learned about the disciples, the more that Mechanical stood out to me as a multi-tool. It was a discipline that

you could do almost anything with. I like the sound of the opportunities it would create for my future. Favorite class while attending ACC? Hard to say my favorite class. I had some amazing professors. My first class at ACC was Calculus 2 with Fisher. He was one of the best professors I’d ever had and really heard the class to learn this challenging subject. Later on I took Differential Equations with McGuff and he was a wonderful professor as well. My favorite non-STEM class was weightlifting. Olga really pushed me to reach new heights in my strength training goals.


Did you utilize any resources the college offers? If so, which ones? I utilized the bus/transit pass. I would park at a park and ride the rail to Highland or take a bus to Northridge. I also utilized the student pantry. Since we could take a number of items per day, I would stop in and stock up during the week. It was just me working and paying for classes so knowing I had a meal to eat when I go home was nice. The resource I used the most was the learning lab at Highland. All the tutors there knew me and if they were open, I was always there. Are you in a student organization? Which one? At the university level I have signed up for the groups Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. I haven’t had much opportunity to participate with full time class and part time work but they keep me updated with emails and it’s a great resource to have. This semester (before the shut down) I was working on my certification to become a part of Society of Automotive Engineers that team together to build a formula 1 racing car each year from scratch. I hope to be a part of the hands on build when society resumes. I’d love to grow up and become a Formula 1 Race Engineer one day. How have you grown as a person/ student while at ACC? ACC was a great experience. I felt the professors were easy to connect with and were helpful during office hours.


The community was very strong and resources plenty. While in community college I had the opportunity to be a NASA Aerospace Scholar and join their onsite program which later lead to an internship at Stennis Space Center that I completed this past summer 2019. Overall I enjoyed my time at ACC. What are the three pieces of advice you would give to a student in the same AoS as you? My advice to future students1. Its never too early to get started or to ask for help. Establishing a study group at the beginning of the semester is much more effective then trying to scramble before an exam. 2. Be brave in class- come prepared like reading the section before it is presented- ask the questions you have because you are not the only one and it shows leadership and creates confidence. 3. Whether you’re going into engineering or any other degreecreate a network of classmates because as I discovered, those who have the same degree plan will often take the same classed with you. Plus the people you build connections with now might be beneficial in the future. *Networking is essentially about who you know.

Computer engineering Waamene Yowika How many semesters were you enrolled in? I have been here for some years due to some unexpected things that happened in life. However, I plan on finally transferring in the Spring semester finally. How did you choose your area of study? I chose my area of study because ever since I was a kid I would play around with puzzles and build things. Sometimes, I would even go and fix my neighbor’s computer or router. I really think the moment I knew I should go into this had to do with an experience I had when I was younger. A very inspiring moment happened when I was little and I was at a computer store

then a random guy came up to me. He told me how he noticed me wanting to fix the computers and I was playing around and talking about them. We went on and had a great conversation about computers and he later told me that when I was older that I should apply for a position at Dell. He also said how I should be an engineer and that he saw my amount of intelligence and passion. I was very honored at this interaction and went to tell my mom. One of the workers came up to me in shock and asked me “do you know who you just spoke to?” “That was Michael Dell’s assistant.” Another time was when I was about 11 and was at an AT&T store and one of the people couldn’t fix a phone and I continued to plead that I wanted to fix it. My mom wasn’t me to be quiet but


I kept pleading. He got out his manager and not even he could fix it. Eventually, the guy said “fine then...fix it” and I said, “I will!” I ended up fixing the problem on the spot and both he and the manager were embarrassed. The manager just walked off back into his office but little me was really proud. A combination of these amazing experiences made me really realize what I wanted to do in the future. I figured Computer Engineering would be perfect for me since it is something I can use in the job market and that I am also passionate about. The favorite class while attending ACC? I would say that my favorite class was my DC Circuits class as well as Humanities. Did you utilize any resources that the college offers? If so which ones? I usually utilize the tutoring services provided (such as the learning lab, brainstorm, & etc..) Are you in a student organization? Which one? Yes, I am involved in some organizations. I serve officer positions in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) Club, Botanical Science & Engineering Society, Austin Community College Chapter of the Society of Physics Students, & Bridges International Link.


How have you grown as a person/ student while at ACC? Absolutely, I have met a bunch of amazing people here. They have been super supportive about my dreams and career as well as changed my mindset on certain things in life. I feel that through the experiences (good and bad) I have become a much better person compared to when I first started. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I am glad that I got to experience it here. What are three pieces of advice would you give to a student starting the same AoS as you? 1) Never give up! Even if times may seem hard or difficult, because it will all be worth it in the end. 2) Surround yourself around positivity. Negativity is the true killer of happiness. 3) Remind yourself about your overall goal & what you want to accomplish.


Health and Kinesiology Maria Kindy

How many semesters were you enrolled in? 4 semesters How did you choose your AoS? I am very passionate about health and wellness promotion Favorite class while attending ACC? Favorite courses - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology and Introduction to Psychology and Yoga Did you utilize any resources the college offers? If so, which ones? Utilized SI sessions and Learning Lab I am an SI Leader


How did you grow as a person/ student at ACC? ACC helped me value higher education more and helped me find my passion What are three pieces of advice you would give to students starting in the same AoS of you? Three pieces of advice: 1) don’t be afraid to get involved and utilize the resources provided 2) stay organized and prioritize study time 3) find interest and/or relate yourself to every course you take, makes even the less desirable classes bearable


Pause with a Professor Yam Tolan ACC Faculty Member Arts, Digital Media, & Communications 15 years of teaching Interview by Marissa Greene How did you get into your field of study? “I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and l loved cooking. Back in 1981 when I graduated high school there were no celebrity food chefs, there was no Food Network, so while I wanted to go to the Culinary Institute of America, I didn’t think it was serious enough. I decided to enroll in Lewis and Clark College. I first studied political science, then international affairs, and then Chinese studies. Between 1984 through 1985, I spent six months in China as a Chinese studies student. Later on, when I came back from there, I realized I didn’t want to be a Chinese scholar anymore. I decided to drop out of college when I came back, and after three and a half years of being out of school, I decided


to enroll in the Oregon School of Massage. I am the youngest of six and one day my sister, who is a playwright, called me and said ‘Yam what are you doing? Come to New York and act.’ So I moved to New York and got a required job at a restaurant in SoHo. I had remembered taking so many bad pictures in China with my camera. I had the summer free, there was a beginner’s photo class at NYU, and I thought ‘Since I have this camera I might as well learn how to use it.’ So I took a photo class and I fell in love with it.” “After that, I enrolled in NYU full time. After two years I got my degree and moved back to Portland, Oregon where I worked at a photo lab. After a while of working there, I decided that I wanted to teach. However, the way to teach in the arts is to get

a Masters in Fine Arts. I was able to get a teaching fellowship at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. I taught there for a year and then attended ASU. There I got my graduate degree.” When did you realize that you wanted to become a professor? “I always knew that I wanted to teach. Even when I got out of high school.” What careers did you have before this? “Besides teaching, I’ve worked in a professional photo lab, I’ve worked as a photo editor in New York City at Fox News. I’ve taught at Syracuse University. I knew I wanted to teach and still be in the art field.” As a professor, what are your values? “Teaching, scholarship, inclusion, collaboration, service, and empowerment. For me, I value giving back and getting students interested in a subject. I started up in the professional photography program but I’ve transferred to teaching the art department program. I know a lot of students who take art appreciation courses are only taking it as one of their degree requirements, and maybe they’re not as into it for that reason, which was different for me coming from a professional photography program where everyone was interested in the class. So my goal was to make them appreciate art in a way that was fun, active, and engaging.”

How can students be successful in your class? “Do work. It’s simply that. I give out lots of opportunities for students to succeed. I have extra credit opportunities for students who go to a career coach or an academic coach because they help students out differently than the learning lab would. There is no mystery when it comes to being successful in my class, I keep it very open.” Final thoughts? “Community college is a little different than where I taught at Syracuse University. I was sort of trained to be a university professor. In the 15 years that I have been teaching here, I have come to realize how important community college is. It is a socio-economic leg up for people, many are the first in their family to go to college, and a lot of students who transfer to UT say that they received a better education here because the classes were smaller and they were able to connect with their professors. That’s one of the most important things for students to establish: connections. For one, if they do better in school, and two, professors write letters of recommendation. So it is important to not be scared of professors, and take advantage of our office hours.”





Pause with a Professor Lillian M. Huerta, PhD Adjunct Associate Professor Department of General Studies & Student Development Department of Philosophy, Religion, & Humanities Interview by Marissa Greene What areas do you teach? “General studies and student development. I am also in Philosophy, Humanities, and Religion.” How did you become a professor? “If you’re asking how I got into Humanities or student development specifically, I have always been a person who loves academic programming. Some of my best mentors were my professors, of course. But I never saw myself getting in the classroom. I did however do a lot of volunteer work in the community. I was teaching ESL, citizenship classes, and GED classes. I have always been involved in the community as a

teaching role but I never really saw myself as a professor. It was like one of those times where it is right in front of your face but you never really know it. In 2016 I had an opportunity in student development. They offered these training sessions if you had a Masters’s degree and you were interested in teaching. So I was like ‘Why not?’ I wanted to make more of a connection with my students. At that same time, I was the director of service-learning and the thing with service-learning is that it is connected with a curriculum. So I thought ‘You know what, if I can promote my program why don’t I go become a professor and promote it among other professors’.”


“I was in the aspect of promoting my service-learning program. The rest is history. After the first semester I realized that I really like teaching. I like the whole idea of growing and learning in the teaching field. It was wonderful. That’s pretty much how I ended up becoming a professor.” How did you get involved with the Humanities Department? “In terms of humanities, that happened recently in 2018. I was interested in teaching Chicano studies. I haven’t got the opportunity to yet but I ended up teaching Humanities. It was right up my alley because I had my masters in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and we did have some humanities courses that we take in there. So I thought ‘You know what, I am going to try my hand in there and apply.’ So I applied and got in as an adjunct. With humanities, I work with a lot of early college high school students. That’s a very nice treat because it’s a whole different population of learners. It’s challenging, but let me tell you, they keep me on my toes. Especially when it comes to technology. They correct me left and right but I welcome that. I think as a professor you need to keep fresh. You need to keep current with your generation. You are getting older but your skills are forever young and forever adaptable to newer


generations. That’s what I really love about teaching.” As a professor, what are your values? “Definitely diversity and inclusion. I think it is important to make sure every student feels welcomed and valued and important, and they have something to contribute. I also volunteer to teach former inmates, and working with that particular population they definitely do not see themselves as contributors to society. When I sit down with them I tell them ‘You got skills. If you can survive that system you got something.’ We have transferable skills that we don’t realize or recognize. Again, my traditional student, they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing there. They are just in college because their parents want them to be there. I understand where they are coming from, I say ‘You are not just a blank slate. You come with some prior knowledge. You have something to contribute. Lets build on what you have.’ I think that is why diversity and inclusion are so important. We have to make every student feel welcomed and valued.” How can students be successful in their area of study? “I go by this model called the strategic learning model. That ID the foundation for our EDUC 1300 course. I firmly believe in

that model because that one really looks at the skills and the students’ will. Students have to know that knowing skills is not enough; its knowing how to use those skills and having the motivation to actually do it, to also be regulating themselves to being open to new ideas. Open to learning. Open to calming their anxieties and fears. Then there is the environment that you can’t control. Such as your teachers. You may not know what teacher you are going to get. That affects your success, obviously. Maybe you don’t have a lot of access to a lot of the academic resources but you need to get to know everything available to you. Know where you can get help. There are so many resources at ACC, its amazing. There is a lot, you just got to ask for it. Ask your teachers, don’t be shy, they are here to help you. Whoever you feel comfortable talking to, just tell them. I want to tell students there are resources, there is help. That is part of being a successful learner.”

things will change when you get to be my age. As long as you want to work you are going to be forever learning and evolving. So I really do encourage life long learning, I value that tremendously.” “I want students to know that your teachers can be your mentors and your guide. Talk with them. We may be different in age but our generations are coming closer together due to technology, research, and health We are still able to connect with you. We are not too far apart.”

Final thoughts? “I always tell my students that they will always be learning. It never stops. If you are going to be getting a degree you are going to be in positions where you will need to continuously evolve. I tell them when I am exiting the job force you are going to be in the prime. Technology will change. Many




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Thank you to all of my family and friends for your support! “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 – Mckenna Bailey, ACC graduate

Congratulations McKenna Bailey! McKenna has been a writer and photographer for ACCENT this past academic year. Whether she was attending our monthly meetings, getting coverage of the Dia de Los Muertos parade, or in downtown Austin taking photos for our quarterly zine, she always did it with a positive outlook. McKenna has graduated from Austin Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in English and will continue her education at Texas State University. There, she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media Innovation and Mass Communication with a minor in Journalism. Thank you for all of your hard work! Eat em Up!



Congratulations Alexa Smith! Alexa has been the Promotions Director for ACCENT this past academic year. Whether she was hosting our Fake News Panel, tabling at each campus, or interacting with the community via social media, Alexa never failed to brighten up a room with her presence. Alexa has graduated from Austin Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies and will continue her education at the University of Texas at Austin. There, she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. Thank you for all of your dedication! Hook em’!




ACC has provided me with more opportunities than I could have asked for: friendships, career growth, and treasured moments with my family that I could have missed out on if I went anywhere else. In this time of uncertainty, one thing that’s kept me anchored is a proverb that states, ‘Life is not a problem to be solved, it’s a journey to be lived.’ As we continue along with our own journeys, know that we will reach the oasis in after the desert. We just need to keep moving forward and learn from the journey, so we can enjoy the destination. – Nalani Nuylan, ACC journalism student

Congratulations Nalani Nuylan! Nalani has been the Web Content Editor for ACCENT this past academic year. Whether she was working on our latest web design, interviewing Riverbats from every campus, or designing our new t-shirts, Nalani always motivated herself and others to go the extra mile. Nalani has graduated from Austin Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Journalism and will continue her education at Texas Tech University. There, she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Journalism as well. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Wreck em’!


Welcome to ACCENT!

We are Austin Community College’s student media organization. We provide entertaining avenues to find resources and opportunities available to you. We create videos, articles, columns, and reviews for past, current, and future students of ACC. Don’t forget to follow/ subscribe to our social media channels!


To be the first reference source that current, future or past students of Austin Community College utilize for campus news and entertainment.


To engage Austin Community College through the stories and information provided on our ACCENT website and zine. We support this student media outlet by creating diverse and fair content to inform and entertain the students of ACC. These publications are supplied for the college and the Austin area to encourage student participation. Please feel free to visit ACCENT at ACC Round Rock Campus, Building 2000, Rm 2107

*ACCENT is a student-run news organization at Austin Community College. Views and opinions displayed here do not represent the views of ACC.*