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The Early Bird Gets …

Scholars Received Helpful Tips during Enrichment Program

New, returning and transfer scholars in the Avanzando program relinquished five precious days of summer to attend workshops at the University of Missouri-Kansas City before the semester began.

It was worth the sacrifice.

Twenty-five students attended the 2015 Avanzando Summer Enrichment Program, which was held in early August at the Student Union and included workshops on leadership, writing and academic skills, interviews, Latina/o Studies, managing stress and social media.

One of the new sessions occurred early in the program on Sunday afternoon. Ramsey Mohsen, CEO of the social news and edutainment company, Everhance, spoke on a topic second-nature to the student generation – “Using Social Media to Create Your Future.”

Mohsen said the changes in our methods of communication have been extreme and can be summed up in this way – from website era, to search era (Google) and now the social media era.

“Social media works because of ambient intimacy,” said Mohsen. “It allows us to keep in touch with regularity and an intimacy that would otherwise be impossible. We are able to interact, and it allows us to be closer to other people, places and things,” said Mohsen.

He addressed personal branding, how social media has changed and how to use it – effectively.

“We each are a brand – our personal identity. Take control of your identity through how you use social media and have associates serve as ambassadors. For instance on LinkedIn, an ambassador can endorse you as an expert in your particular area,” said Mohsen.

He stressed that employers check an individual’s background on Google, Twitter and Facebook – stating that 53 percent of hiring managers and 10 percent of admissions officers check. Most of all, he emphatically said, “be authentic, passionate and consistent.”

A semi-celebrity in some social media circles, Mohsen has consulted with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his TedxUMKC talk, titled “We should teach all kids how to use Facebook,” is on YouTube.

This year, scholars also took a shuttle bus to 4825 Troost to tour the Student Health and Wellness Center and the Counseling, Health and Testing Center, two areas that can help students succeed but are underutilized. And, Marjorie Datwyler, director of Avanzando, Division of Diversity and Inclusion, discovered a unique way to help the students remember a few other areas.

“We called on Alvaro Briones, a returning Avanzando Scholar who wanted to “give-back”, to arrange a scavenger hunt requiring teams to take selfies in the in the Miller Nichols Library Math and Science Tutoring space, the Office of Student Involvement, the Writing Center located in the Atterbury Student Success Center and the Women’s Center in Haag Hall,” said Datwyler.

“I continue to seek new ways to engage the scholars. Some are new to UMKC, some are returning and others are transfer students,” said Datwyler. “These were two innovative and creative ways to actively engage the students with available resources that can support personal and academic success.”

Another added attraction for the enrichment program was the “Get Credit” Transfer Advising Workshop, facilitated by Autumn Ayers, transfer advisor/coordinator in the UMKC Admissions Office.

Ayers spoke with prospective students from Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College and Donnelly College, who also receive scholarships from the Hispanic Development Fund and might join the thousands community college students who have transferred to UMKC to complete their education. Connecting students with online resources such as Transferology, Ayers walked through the credits that would and would not transfer to UMKC, as well as those that would be acceptable at other four-year colleges or universities.

An employer panel, “What Employers are Looking For in Employees and Interns,” provided insight into education and work. Panelists were Michael Gonzales, Leader of Diversity and Inclusion, Hallmark; and Leo Prieto, director of community relations, Truman Medical Center. Greg Hayes, UMKC Career Services Center director, served as facilitator.

“Study the subjects that you’re interested in. Establish a strong work ethic, and be assertive but confident,” advised Gonzales.

Gonzales, Prieto and Hayes all serve as mentors to Avanzando Scholars.

One of the students, shared his first-hand experience about establishing a good work ethic.

“When I was interning, I thought I was ready to work on my first day and fell asleep, hitting my head on the keyboard,” said Briones. “I told them I was not a morning person. After that incident, I was always ready to work. Be on point with what you’re doing,” he said.

One additional activity that caused anxiety and excitement for the scholars was the mock interviews, which followed the panel discussion.

Interviewers from UMKC Career Services, Farmers Insurance and the Federal Reserve Bank posed actual interview questions – what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, why are you interested in working in this organization?

One student calmly and skillfully answered the questions, although she shook her left leg under the table throughout the interview. When asked about her strength, and she confidently replied, “I am smart.”

UMKC professors, counselors, librarians, staff members and community members facilitated the workshops, which included bilingual sessions for parents on Sunday afternoon.

Established in 2011, Avanzando currently supports approximately 70 recipients of the Hispanic Development Fund and the Agapito Mendoza scholarships in their academic and career pursuits. This retention and graduation program is a partnership between the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion and HDF and includes academic support, mentoring and enhanced access to campus and community resources.

|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

 


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