Friday, November 12, 2010

New Article from the Metropolitan about Alumni and current students taking over E.C's printmaking studio.

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Alumni Amy Odorizzi is one of eight current and former Metro State art students who have taken over Good Thieves Press, the studio formerly run by Professor Eldon Cunningham. She began in the industrial design program, but switched majors after taking an entry level printing class with Cunningham. According to Odorizzi, with her changed major came a changed perspective of herself.

Along the studio’s single room’s northern wall is a row of mostly abstract print image — the studio’s current show on display. The show commemorates the life and work of Eldon “E.C.” Cunningham, a Metro State art teacher of 27 years, who committed suicide Oct. 1, 2010. Cunningham specialized in printmaking, a highly technical medium involving the use of a press to print handmade images onto a surface, sometimes made of metal or stone. He was the coordinator of Metro’s printmaking program.

Gillian Waggoner, another Metro State art alumna, also helps run Good Thieves Press. She met Cunningham early in her education and was mentored by him during her last year at school while looking into a master’s degree. She agreed with Odorizzi about Cunningham’s passion and spoke about the high standard to which he held his students.

“You’ll do 100 things that he’ll just kind of frown at,” Waggoner said, describing working in his class. “And you’re just working and working to get better and finally you get that moment where he just cracked a smile and you knew that you had done well … He really pushed you technically and you can see that in his work.”

Waggoner said she actually failed Cunningham’s printmaking class the first time around, but throughout her time at Metro continued to go to him for critiques on other projects.

About the show, Odorizzi said it was only natural for them to celebrate Cunningham’s life considering how instrumental he was in all of their artistic growth.

“We wouldn’t have existed without E.C.,” Odorizzi said of Good Thieves Press. “I couldn’t be more different in my art style from E.C.’s. But I am as good at printmaking as I am only because of him.”

The Good Thieves Press show will be open Nov. 11–14 at 2401 Stout St.

Read the rest of the article by Gabrielle Porter at The Metropolitan Online

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Metro State Alumni and Veteran Nominated for MillerCoors Líder of the Year Award

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Sgt. Dean Sanchez is a decorated Marine who has served his community and country. Sanchez, who has done three tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan, was nominated by the Mile High Chapter of the American GI Forum as MillerCoors Líder of the Year. These are people nominated by MillerCoors Hispanic non-profit partners for their unwavering commitment to the advancement of the Hispanic community.

The Líder will be announced on Nov. 16 and will be awarded with a $25,000 grant to be used for a community leadership program. If he wins, Sanchez has some inspiring plans for younger soldiers. “We would do a leadership conference for young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans partnering them with veterans from older generations and fostering our future leaders,” he said.

Sanchez spoke to La Voz Nueva about his decision to join the Marines. He said that after the 9/11 attacks, he decided to leave during his senior year at the Metropolitan State College of Denver and enlisted. “When 9/11 happened I thought it was everybody’s duty to protect our country—serve their tour of duty. So I dropped out of college and enlisted in the infantry Marine Corps,” said Sanchez in La Voz article. “The Marine Corps has given me a level of self-worth and pride that no other company, no other job could ever do.”

Read the complete article written by Bertha Velasquez at La Voz Nueva here

Friday, November 5, 2010

Denver Post Article features Metro State alum Vince Phason

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North High coaches stick by volunteer Alumni Vince Phason even if DPS won't

Metro State Alumni Vince Phason was recently denied clearance to continue serving as volunteer assistant coach by Denver Public Schools and saying he no longer can be in the bench area at games. However, he still shows up for the Vikings' practices several days a week, and is still determined to help inner-city kids learn to play football.

Phason heads across town to Denver North High's football practice — a practice at which Phason, a former star Canadian Football League defensive back paralyzed in a 1998 auto accident. There, he is with head coach E. Paul Kelly Jr., who also is the school's attendance and discipline monitor, and defensive coordinator Dave Sidwell, 64, a legendary former high school head coach who won two state championships at Mullen and now helps out at North.

The Vikings are 3-6 heading into their final game Saturday, against Kennedy at All-City Stadium. This is not about building a football juggernaut. This is about trying to influence young men at a still-struggling school in an eclectic neighborhood bouncing back around it.

"I was blessed to survive my automobile accident, and I had a dream at that time that life is about helping people," Phason, a graduate of Manual High who played college ball at Arizona, said in his living room. "I feel like young men, our young people, period, need the most help. Football is my avenue, where I can be the most use to the community — and especially in Denver, where I was raised."

To read the complete article by Terry Frei on The Denver Post Website, click here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's Up?

Metro State Alumni Association Board President Jim Garrison discusses the board’s role at the College and why he serves. Garrison joined the board in 2005 and was elected president in September 2010. He feels it’s a rewarding experience that affords him the opportunity to “stretch” himself in new ways. The Office of Alumni Relations caught up with Garrison recently to ask him a few questions.

Metro State: How has being on the Board enriched your life?
Jim Garrison: I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many dedicated and quite capable fellow Metro alumni. I have been exposed to a different (for me) environment (higher-education) than I had been involved with prior to now. I have met a number of current Metro students and have had the benefit of learning about the experience they are having now.

MS: Why did you decide to become board president?
JG: I believed it would be a privilege to serve in this position, and felt I can help the board move forward.

MS: Why have a BOD?
JG: The Alumni Association has the obligation to meet its charge as defined in its Bylaws. The association must be managed so that this duty is met. Not only is a board of directors required by law (in order for the association to be a legally chartered not-for-profit corporation), it provides several advantages. A board enables a wide diversity of experience and knowledge that can be brought to bear on issues facing the association, and having a board raises the likelihood of continuity of activity and preservation of important historical institutional knowledge.

MS: What exactly does the Alumni BOD do?
JG: The Alumni Association board is largely advisory, but works closely with the leaders of the college as well as the board of the Foundation. The board sets policy that is designed to build value for all Metro alumni by way of benefits and programs. The board occasionally takes an official position on critical issues that could affect Metro and therefore alumni.

MS: What are some of the most relevant issues facing Metro State’s alumni and how does the Board address those issues?
JG: Increasing the engagement of alumni with other alumni and with what is going on at Metro right now. Delivering services to alumni to build the value of a Metro degree. Any of the pertinent issues with which Metro State is currently engaged also are relevant issues for the Alumni Association.

MS: Is there anything I’m not asking you that you want to share with me? (Or, are there any questions I haven’t asked that you think are important to ask?)
JG: The Metro State Alumni Association is set to soar in a new direction with a dynamic group of dedicated and talented board members along with new staff leadership. The next few years will be fun to watch!

What's up next month? In the December issue of the Roadrunner Review, we sit down with the new Alumni Relations Executive Director Mark Jastorff.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Career Q&A: Need a job? Join a job support group

A job support group can not only provide you with networking opportunities, but it can also give you the tools you need to successfully find a job. We recently caught up with Metro State Senior Career Counselor Judy White to discuss how alumni benefit from the job support group she facilitates.

Metro State: What are some of the key skills people learn in the Alumni Job Support group?
Judy White: I think the most important thing that I hear from them is that they are getting the info they desperately need to begin to put together a job search process that ultimately will work. They haven’t had the info they need to do that, whether it’s about the skills they need to have, the job search process, companies they need to research, etc. We have been focusing on information sharing.

MS: What are some examples of this information sharing?
JW: One of the most important elements that I find missing in all job searchers is the lack of information gathering skills and therefore the inability to make decisions about what they want to do and where they can make a contribution. So, we teach them how to build a good resume based on what the company is looking for. We also teach them how to identify the growth industries in the marketplace and how to match their information about their skills and strengths with job openings they find.

MS: I also remember you mentioned in a previous Alumni & Friends interview that most companies use key word scanning software when reviewing resumes. This means that your resume must have key words from the actual job announcement in it. The most important Key Word is the job title that the company is using on its web site. This is a ‘weighted’ key word and it carries more importance that the other key words. (Click here to read the article.)
JW: Right. And these days not only do you have to tailor your resume to a job opening with specific key words, but you also need to tailor your entire resume to that specific job announcement. You need to convince your potential employer that you have transferable skills that can be utilized to solve that employer’s problems. Your job search is not about you getting a job, but rather about you helping your employer solve problems. And, more often than not, you can find those problems embedded in job announcements on their website.

MS: What are other ways you can find out about the specific needs of a company?
JW: Research industries, companies, economies, and trends in professions that you’ll find through professional associations and journals. Trends in industries can be found in industrial newsletters and by reading the business sections of the local paper. You should read these every day so you become familiar with the key players, and then read the weekly papers. The Denver Business Journal covers our small business marketplace in greater breadth and depth than the Denver Post.

MS: What are some other things you really stress in the group?
JW: Alumni need to know how to work with the current marketplace. Networking has become very important during this economic downturn. A lot of businesses are not posting their jobs on their website, but they are looking for people.

MS: Why aren’t they posting jobs?
JW: Because they don’t have to anymore. One piece of information alumni find interesting and overwhelming is that the Colorado marketplace is 99% small business (companies with fewer than 100 employees). During economic downturns they let go of their Human Resources Departments because those are non-income producing divisions. So small business owners may not be advertising positions (because that takes time and money), but they continue to do their own networking to find valuable people.

MS: What are some of the biggest concerns members of your group have?
JW: The older members are worried about age discrimination, which is a reality. To counteract that, I tell them to focus on their strengths, skills and how they can help the potential employer solve problems. I tell them to say they have more experience than some of the younger applications. I would say that directly in an interview. I recommend people are really direct, but soft. The older members also struggle with how to market themselves; that’s what it’s all about really.

And for everyone in the group, the job search process is daunting. A job search is a long process, particularly in this economy.

MS: What are some solutions to how overwhelming the process might be for people?
JW: Job support groups really help. A number of churches have weekly job search groups that are ongoing. I don’t know if they have trained leaders, but that kind of long term ongoing job search group is really about networking and supporting one another.

Also, if you’re going to be doing your job search from home, you need a quiet secluded place. Set up an office for yourself where you have telephone, computer and fax machine. And check with your tax person because some of the costs for doing that, including a percentage of your household expenses, may be deductible.

MS: Our interview time is coming to a close. What is one last tip you have for alumni?
JW: When you compile your resume, write down the results of your accomplishments under each job you have had. You want to show the hiring manager your skills. You may not have specific experience in a specific academic area or industry, but you have transferable skills. You have lived long enough and solved enough problems. The hiring manager wants to see results. The results give her a specific example of what you can do for her.

White will be facilitating another job support group, Wednesdays at 10a.m., from February 2 through February 23. Check out next month’s Career Q&A, a video with Judy White including tips for divorcees entering the job market.

Looking for more Career Services articles?

Networking Advice for Alumni. Click here..

From College to Career: Rachel Abernethy talks about the change. Click here.

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From College to Career: Alumna April Abernethy

By April Abernethy, Metro State Alumna, 2009

As a freshman at Metro State in 2006, I had no idea the impact the college would have on me and how much it would continue to influence my life. I gained an incredible amount of insight into diversity, higher education processes, and student development. Much of the insight I attained during my classes but a considerable amount I attained by working for the college as a student employee at the Career Services Office. The Career Services Office provided me with many opportunities to improve my professional skills, identify my career goals, and develop self-awareness. I worked primarily as the Employer Relations Assistant
during this time, but I built skills that prepared me for the start of the rest of my career.

The path to attaining my first position after graduating from Metro was rough. Although I felt prepared with the knowledge I gained and the skills I developed, I felt very discouraged with the tough job market. After graduating, I was unemployed for nine months, which compared to others, is not as long, but after working so hard to earn a degree, it felt very disconcerting. It was the work experience and connections I made at the Career Services that eventually helped me land my first position out of college. My former supervisor informed me of a position that I was qualified for and was in the exact field I wanted to get into. Ultimately, I got the job.

The transition from college to full-time work is not something you can prepare for entirely, but with the help of student services offices such as Career Services I was able to attain the exact job I was looking for. I believe firmly that it is important to utilize the Career Services Office while in school and as an alumnus/a so that one can handle the major transition with ease. With the knowledge the staff has, their unconditional support, and their infectious optimism, I was able to achieve what I set out to do upon graduation. I have utilized all the skills I learned, the connections I made, and the confidence I gained while working at Career Services in my new position, and only hope to give back what Metro State and its Career Services Office gave to me.

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Career fairs & the importance of networking

By Emily Frank, Career Services Counselor, Office of Career Services

Do you find that your students are intimidated or confused by the word “networking”?
Are they unsure of why they should attend a career fair? We are here to help!
Networking is simply connecting with others in a targeted, career-minded way. As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. Building a professional network is what can get Metro students and alumni to know the right “who.”

A targeted, career-focused networking effort can pay big dividends whether you are attending a career fair, a professional association meeting or just talking with others about your job search. Using the right tools like a resume, doing research on the industry and companies of interest, dressing appropriately and preparing questions to get the conversation started are all tools that can make networking flow. Good networkers spend time preparing. The successful job seeker is the one who does the preparation necessary.

A great starting point for network-building is at the four job fairs that take place on campus every year. (Metro runs two and UCD runs two,
and everyone is welcome at both.) These are great opportunities for job-seekers to meet professionals in a wide range of professional companies and capacities. Unfortunately, the recruiters at fairs are as human as the rest of us, and they don’t always do as good a job of reaching out to the people wandering around the Turnhalle as we might hope. To help students understand what to do to get the most out of an event like this, the Office of Career Services is happy to host preparation workshops.

Another great way to get started networking is through what we call informational interviewing. This is pretty much what it sounds like: people seeking leads and information regarding an industry, a career path or an employer by talking to people in those roles. We are always happy to talk with students about how to go about starting this process.

Finally, don’t overlook friends and family, professional organizations, campus clubs and activities, and social networking sites. Many job-seekers already know people who can help them get connected with employers but simply haven’t asked. Professional organizations often offer reduced membership fees to students, and clubs and activities are a great way to meet a wide variety of people with similar interests and skills. LinkedIn offers several good tutorials on making the most of the site.

And remember, if you would like us to come to your class and talk about any of this, we are happy to do so!

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