Every month, SCTCC heads over to WJON’s radio studio to talk with Kelly Cordes for 20 minutes about what’s happening at the college. Sometimes instructors will go to chat about the great things happening in class; sometimes it’s recruiters and advisors to talk about how people can get started at SCTCC.
Earlier this week for the May segment, I had the pleasure of inviting two students to come with me to WJON to talk about their accomplishments this past year. Heather Nulf is graduating from Marketing & Design, and Spencer Doran is finishing up his first year as an Auto Body student.
I had sent them both some questions that Kelly would ask them that were related to what they were doing, and I made sure to tell them that this was just a conversation with Kelly. I’ve been to WJON a few times now, and one thing I’ve noticed is that Kelly is very good at making sure everyone feels comfortable. She also makes sure that no one is left hanging, or if they fumble, the conversation is easily moved to a new topic.
In other words, going on the radio is pretty easy, but people are always nervous. (I was the first time!)
But both Spencer and Heather were excited to be on the radio to tell the listeners about SCTCC and their story. They are both talkative, well-spoken students who want to represent SCTCC as an instrumental part of their life journeys. They are both first-generation students and were happily surprised with how SCTCC helps you through the college process and how the college experience has been.
Heather was the first to chat with Kelly on-air and talked about how she came into the Marketing & Design program. She’s always had a passion for art but wasn’t sure how to follow it as a career. After doing some research, she applied to SCTCC.
“I fell in love in the first week…I will always be grateful for SCTCC,” she said.
Heather was also chosen as the student speaker for this year’s Commencement ceremony.
“I was definitely excited and nervous, and a little confused. You want ME to tbe the student speaker?” she recalled.
Heather also mentioned the job she already has lined up and how SCTCC was a community and home for her after she moved to St. Cloud from south of the Twin Cities. There were so many activities available that Heather said that SCTCC just finds you and draws you in, and being a part of so many different things around campus was exactly what she needed. She will miss the community and the people at SCTCC.
Spencer’s SCTCC experience isn’t quite finished. Since he just finished up his first year in the Auto Body program, he’s taking the summer off from classes and then coming back in the fall to finish up.
“All my friends who went through [Auto Body] talked highly of the program. SCTCC was the best option,” he told Kelly. He mentioned how the learning experiences at SCTCC truly do prepare students for the workforce when they graduate, providing hands-on experience in labs with equipment that they’ll use in their careers.
“Instead of getting a job right away, you can get started in a great trades program at SCTCC so you don’t feel as intimidated jumping into that job before you start,” Spencer explained. “Employers like hiring someone who already has experience.”
Spencer is also on his way to the SkillsUSA national competition in June after placing second at the state level. As a first-year student, it was an awesome opportunity. It was also nerve-wracking: in class, students have instructors to guide them while in lab, but in the state competition, he was on his own with four judges looking over his shoulder.
After Spencer graduates next spring, he’ll likely work for a bit with his dad in his shop restoring classic vehicles, but he wants to “shoot high and see where I land.”
I could tell both Heather and Spencer were relaxed by the end of the radio show and could have likely stayed another 20 minutes talking to Kelly about how their journeys intersect with SCTCC. It was an excellent experience to wrap up the spring semester, with Spencer’s first year under his belt and trip to SkillsUSA nationals planned and Heather’s graduation ceremony highlighted by being chosen as student speaker.
If there was one quote from the interview that showed how SCTCC has made a difference in these two students’ lives, it’s this from Heather:
“Don’t give up the opportunity on yourself. A lot of the times we like to sell ourselves short. If you just give yourself the chance, you’ll be really surprised about the outcomes from yourself.”