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Students Keep it Real at All College Day

February 2023
  • The student panel at All College Day
    The student panel at All College Day
  • Dr. Pedraja speaks with student panelists Hannah Rosenkrantz and Doretta Stoler.
    Dr. Pedraja speaks with student panelists Hannah Rosenkrantz and Doretta Stoler.

The first All College Day of 2023 was held on January 10 and opened with an inspiring speech by QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. Dr. Pedraja spoke about some of QCC's recent successes, current challenges and what he envisions for the college moving forward.

"The reality is that as a QCC Family, we build our future together. Our future is student success at QCC and beyond. That's our north star. That's what drives us. Our students entrusted us with their dreams and it's important that we honor that trust with our work," he said.

After praising work done to increase student support services and community engagement, Dr. Pedraja reminded the audience that QCC is always striving for inclusion, especially in today's climate.

"Systemic oppression still holds a grip on our hearts. There's still work to be done and we have to recognize that we cannot rest and be satisfied until the structures of systemic oppression are dismantled," said Dr. Pedraja, adding, "We all have a role to play in making our students feel welcome and accepted. Every challenge that we face is an opportunity to learn and overcome and improve."

Director of Student Life Ashlee Givens organized a student panel to speak and answer questions. The panel consisted of the following students. 

  • Zamayne Abney - Game Design
  • Bryan Daniels - Computer Science
  • Kyla Kamugu - Biology
  • Heather Lyons - Auto Tech
  • Hannah Rosenkrantz - General Studies and Human Services
  • Doretta Stoler - Business 

The panel began by giving advice to incoming students, as well as noting what they felt QCC could do better to communicate processes for enrollment and transfer.

Several of the panelists stressed the importance of a balanced class load. "Don't put pressure on yourself that you don't need to. You can take one class and see how it goes and go from there," Heather said.

"Take advantage of all the resources. There are so many offered and many people don't know they exist. Some people don't even know where the library is," added Zamayne.

Many students on the panel told stories of missing deadlines or having to take unnecessary courses due to a lack of communication or misinformation.

"It would be helpful to have more communication within departments. Get different groups talking to each other, especially when you're referring students.  A lot of time life happens and students hit this wall that may deter them from continuing in the enrollment process. If they're more knowledgeable about transferring, financial aid, etc. then they can make more strategic decisions," Bryan commented, adding that first-year programming wasn't an option when he first started at QCC many years ago and this may address some of those issues.

A common thread throughout the panel was how crucial the relationship is between students and faculty. 

"As much as I want everyone to get involved at QCC, a lot of the students come to get their degree and get out. They don't have time to commit to becoming part of the community. So for a lot of students, professors are the first line they see at this college. They might not know about all of the resources we have, but they know about their professors," said Hannah, the current Student Government Association president. "So it's important to have faculty who are knowledgeable about the resources or maybe have business cards for the right people to contact if they notice a student struggling."

 "My best experiences here have all come from communication with professors. Having that connection with the professor makes it so that if I'm behind or having an issue I don't feel nervous or scared to ask them for help," Zamayne said.

"Relationships with professors are so important. My professor Flo Lucci (Professor of Business Administration) was remarkable," Doretta commented.

While the panelists had many positive experiences with professors, there were also some negative aspects they were asked to share.

"All my negative experiences tend to stem from online experiences because of the lack of not having a real person there to communicate with," Zamayne said..

"QCC is a very diverse place. I feel like one of my negative experiences came from a lack of social consciousness and accountability. It wasn't conducive to my learning and I didn't have space in that classroom. If we are serving our diverse community and we are meeting them where they are as people, we have a responsibility to them. There needs to be due diligence as to what social consciousness looks like in the classroom, and the environment we provide for our students to feel safe and seen and heard as individuals. We have a range of identities and backgrounds and experiences here. Faculty should take the time to identify what's going on and how they can relate to their students," Kyla said.

 The panelists also had a few lighter suggestions for the college such as longer hours at the HLC Cafe and updated locker rooms. 

All of the students on the panel are involved in various extracurricular activities and were asked how this supports education and feeling connected to QCC.

"I wasn't involved in my first year at all so for my second year I thought, 'Let's do something,'" said Kyla, who is the vice president of the Black Student Union and a member of the Student Government Association. "Both clubs have allowed me to know about the resources. When I started making all these connections and getting to know the opportunities, I felt like I'm helping and participating in such a wonderful and diverse community."