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My first experience at FC was teaching a Business Communications class at an off-site location. At that time, I was also completing requirements for a master’s degree in counseling, and I chose FC as the site to complete my field work experience.
My field work experience included working the “night shift” from 6:00-9:30 p.m. I thoroughly enjoyed counseling the students who were working and taking evening classes. When a counseling position became available, I applied and was hired in 1975. What I really liked about my position was the opportunity to blend my business education degrees and counseling background and work as a professor and counselor. It was especially rewarding to teach and counsel the increasing number of adult students who were returning to school.
My principal interests were involved with meeting the needs of re-entry adults in transition. It soon became quite evident that the counseling department needed to offer classes for those students who were undecided and for those coming back to college to improve their skills or to change careers. I was encouraged to develop curriculum to meet those needs, and I did so by developing courses in Career Exploration, Job Search Skills, Changing Careers, and Trends in the Labor Market.
As the need for career counseling increased, I was asked by Vice President Richard DeVecchio to develop a career center. The first career center on the FC campus was located on the south end of the cafeteria, where we shared space with the job placement center. We soon outgrew that facility and as more staff was hired, we moved to the Administration Building in 1984.
What made my position at FC even more fulfilling was the fact that you could be instrumental in making contributions in a variety of creative ways. Under a vocational education grant, and with the help of the radio and television department, I was able to produce a cable television series called Chart Your Own Course. This 13-segment series showcased a variety of businesses in both the public and private sectors giving viewers knowledge of the type of jobs available and the skills and educational preparation needed for each.
There is a sense of community and family at FC, and that allowed for building strong working relationships. Dr, John Collins, Dean and counselor was a mentor and an inspiration. I cherish the relationships I had with my fellow counselors in the Career and Life Planning Center: Dr. Brian Couron, Sandy Gabel, Robert Jaurequi and Ann Peralta. I will always think of Jim Anderson, Dean of the Business Department as “Mr. Human Relations.” Jim developed a course entitled Management Communications, and it was a privilege to teach that course for 21 semesters.
As I look over my 29 years at FC, several interesting situations come to mind. One is the cardboard booth designed by Dr. Brian Couron, which featured the Peanuts cartoon with the words “The Counselor Is In.” We placed this booth at various locations so as to be accessible to students at peak times, and the booth was a big hit. Another involves a student in one of my Career and Life Planning classes. He decided that he would like to own a pizza business and wanted to make it Chicago style, because he said that was the best kind. I encouraged him to do so and I told him I would purchase his pizza when he had his business. One rainy day, a couple of years later, he parked in the “green zone” outside the Administration Building and delivered a pizza to my office. I will never forget the look on his face when he said “Well, I did it!”
One event that will forever stand out in my teaching career was when a student brought a Funny Car loaded on a flat-bed trailer and parked it in faculty parking lot C. I might add that the vehicle took up several parking spaces. The student had asked if he could use a Funny Car as a visual aid for his presentation in my Management Communications class. Thinking it was a small matchbox-type car, I said “Yes.” He arrived to class in his flame-proof suit, talked about the car and racing, and as a class we went to the parking lot to see it. Needless to say, I was relieved when he and his crew drove it away.
I am deeply indebted to the hundreds of men and women I counseled over my tenure at FC. It is because of that experience I chose to further my own education, earn a doctorate degree and become a psychologist. My experiences at FC have enriched my life and helped inspire me to write another book, Joyful Mondays: How to Find Passion and Joy in Your Work. This book is dedicated to every person who has found him or herself out of work and facing one of life’s transitions—a career change. FC provides students with opportunities to make those career changes.
"I am deeply indebted to the hundreds of men and women I counseled over my tenure at FC."