SGA Vice Presidential Candidate Nicole Le Febre Hopes to Connect with FRCC Students

When she joined Student Government Association two semesters ago, Front Range Community College student Nicole Le Febre, hoped that the organization would play to her social side. “I wanted to have conversations with other students and find out what they wanted,” she said. As an SGA representative, Le Febre took those wants and used them to make a difference at the institution.

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Last semester, for example, Le Febre worked with SGA to improve the Wi-Fi speeds at FRCC. “As a student representative, I pushed for faster Wi-Fi, because it was something that the students really wanted and needed,” she said. And, after reporting this student concern for FRCC President Andrew Dorsey, the school updated the Internet speed.

“I just like to talk to people: see how their classes are going, see what I can do to make their FRCC experience better,” Le Febre said. Although Le Febre made a difference as a student representative, she understands that more power equals more influence. Thus, Le Febre’s name is on the ballot for SGA Vice President, for whom students vote on April 27 and 28.

As Vice President, Le Febre hopes to bridge the gap between students and FRCC leadership. “I want to be a liaison,” she said, “to make student concerns known, and do something about them.”

“By observing the [SGA] President and Vice President this past year, I have an idea of what I want to do as a vice president. I want to continue advocating for the students, but in a bigger way.” Le Febre still intends to converse with the students, but in a position of power, she can bring those conversations directly to President Dorsey.

Le Febre’s main goal as Vice President is to increase cohesion among FRCC organizations. “I want to get FRCC together. There’s so much separation.” She wants SGA to take an active role in events on campus, because in order to truly represent the students, SGA must participate with them.

“I want to find [SGA’s] purpose. Why are we here? What are we going to do to inspire students to better themselves?”

As SGA elections approach, students must decide who can best represent them. “I can represent the students, because I am a student,” Le Febre said.

Written by Kayla Klein

Photo provided by Nicole Le Febre

Denver Concerts Are Can’t Miss Attractions

Denver is often referred to as “The Oasis” by musicians all over the world. The Front Range is one of the best places to see live music in Colorado, as well as in the United States. Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the most coveted music venues in the world. Dazzle Jazz and El Chapultepec are jazz institutions with decades of history melded into the walls. Beta Nightclub is a favorite of D.J.’s and club goers. No matter your taste in music or your budget, there’s a show for you to see in Denver.

As an avid music lover and college student, I have to balance my joy of going to shows with my budget. This is no simple task, considering I live in one of the best places to see live music on the planet, there’s a place for everyone in the Colorado music scene.

If I’m tight on money, one way to see music without sacrificing much cash is to look for jam sessions or open mic nights. A Denver institution is the Monday Night Jazz Jam at the Meadowlark. This is a low-key and free event that guarantees to please, as many of the best jazz cats in Denver come out to swing. There’s no cover fee, and this is an all-ages event, perfect for brushing off those Monday blues.

If you have a bit more of a budget, I recommend buying dinner and catching a show at Dazzle Jazz. You’ll quickly understand why it’s a national landmark.

Denver is also home to a plethora of mid-level venues that cater to the budget conscious.

Looking for a rock show? Check out the Hi-Dive or Larimer Lounge. Like EDM? Clubs like Beta and The Funky Buddha are great places to start. Looking for a grab bag of music? Check out Cervantes and The Otherside, a duel venue that sports a huge variety music every night of the week.

A trip to Red Rocks Amphitheater is a must for any music lover. While it may exert your budget more than the above venues, Red Rocks is an experience worth saving for. Between the scenery and the acoustics, there is no place better.  With a huge variety of performers, a wide selection of films and even yoga and health events, there is truly something for everyone.

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2015 Brit Floyd concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Summer in Colorado is a special time of year, and every resident should enjoy it to the fullest. With so many options to see live music every night of the week the Denver music scene is almost overwhelming. The best way to find shows to fit your taste and budget is to investigate “The Oasis.” You’ll find the musical waters deep but soothing.

Written by Christopher Kemp

Photo from KPBS

Summer Registration Tips

The end of the spring semester is creeping up on students at Front Range Community College. For many students, the end of spring marks temporary freedom from education, but for some students, summer is just another school semester. If you are a student of the latter, then these summer registration tips are perfect for you.

Summer registration opened on April 12, so students who are planning on taking classes during the summer should register as soon as possible, according to Erica Ingalls, Director of Academic Advising and Retention Services. “Summer time is very popular for the four-year school students [who] come to FRCC to take summer courses,” stated Ingalls. “For this reason, we see a high demand in summer classes, so the sooner that FRCC students can register the better.”

Furthermore, the summer term is only 10 weeks in length, in comparison to the fall and spring terms which are 15 weeks. “Students are expected to learn the same amount of material, but in one third less time,” said Ingalls. Consequently, students are often seen taking two or three classes instead of a full course load.

One important aspect to note when signing up for summer classes is the amount of available financial aid a student has. “The financial aid year runs fall, spring, and then summer, so it’s possible that students would not have enough aid to use towards summer courses.  It’s important to frequently visit with your academic advisor and financial aid advisor so you can be aware of these funky things,” said Ingalls.

Students interested in summer classes should communicate further with academic advising to ensure a successful semester.

Written by Jacob Hallberg

Infographic (below) from Carson-Dellosa Publishing

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You lose a lot of knowledge over the summer. Keep your mind sharp and your skills in-check by registering for summer classes.

The Hunger Banquet Seeks to Solve Food Insecurity at FRCC

The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” According to Feeding America, in 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children. It’s hard to believe that in one of the wealthiest and most prosperous nations on the planet, millions of Americans go to bed hungry every night. One must begin to look at the local community to see the real effects of hunger insecurity.

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Statistically speaking, many of your fellow students suffer from food insecurity. The person sitting next to you right now may not be able to eat every day, and what’s worse, is you may have no idea. In order to combat this large but solvable problem, Front Range Community College is hosting a Hunger Banquet that is designed to educate students on food insecurity in an unorthodox way. I sat down with Hunger Banquet coordinator Dan Balski to learn more about this upcoming event.

“I would say that food insecurity is a bigger issue for community college students because there is such a high financial need with our student population. Most of our students are part-time because they’re balancing family and/or sometimes multiple jobs, in order to make a better life for themselves. Being able to survive in that lifestyle is extremely difficult,” said Dan Balski, Westminster Campus Coordinator of Clubs and Leadership.

He continued, “The Hunger Banquet is a program that provides more of an experiential way to engage with the concept of hunger. We arm students with knowledge as they come in to the Hunger Banquet. The focus this year will be how hunger affects our local community. The students will come into the banquet and they will have a place to sit based on socio-economic statistics of our area. There will be a high class, a middle class and a working poor area. Each area will be given food based on their income level and we use that dramatization to talk about how hunger affects people.”

There is no substitute for seeing the detrimental effects of food insecurity on the working class. One must walk in the shoes of the food insecure to understand it, and that’s what the Hunger Banquet seeks to achieve. Imagine one of your fellow classmates sitting silently, worrying about where his next meal will come from. If you knew your study buddy wouldn’t be able to eat breakfast tomorrow, you’d chip in to help them, even if it meant you had to give up your treasured caramel macchiato. The sad truth is simply that people are not sufficiently informed about these issues.

“I think it’s helpful for students to be informed about what their fellow students are going through. The Hunger Banquet is not only a way to get informed, but also a way for students to do something about these issues, to make things better,” said Balski.

Our collective goal should be to, as Balski suggested, “make things better” for everyone on planet earth.  We can start with the simplicities of providing every individual with enough food to eat and clean water to drink.

As Americans, it is our duty to find solutions to the problems that not only plague the world at large, but also the Front Range Community. Come to the Hunger Banquet, educate yourself and volunteer at a food bank or a soup kitchen; the world and your fellow humans will thank you.

Written by Christopher Kemp

Photo from Front Range Community College

How is the Westminster Campus Science Department Using the New Greenhouse?

“It’s been a dramatic success for students to experience growing something where the back of a classroom, with grow lights, was fine but didn’t reflect real life growing in a greenhouse,” said Dan Bachelor, who oversees the horticulture department at Front Range Community College-Westminster Campus. The greenhouse has been operational for about eight months, and we are approaching the end of the second semester of classes utilizing the space.

Bachelor and the other horticulture professors have taken advantage of the greenhouse to teach their students about growing and maintaining plants. “It’s been a really good learning experience for students, instead of growing in the classroom, which is what we did before. They get to see different types of plants,” Bachelor said.

In addition to the horticulture department, other science classes, such as biology, use the space for experiments and hands-on learning opportunities.

The greenhouse features multiple benches for a variety of plants. First, the propagation chamber is a bench that has frame attached to the table and plastic sheeting attached to the frame. This allows growers to create a controllable micro-climate that is warmer and higher in humidity than the greenhouse. Bachelor explained, “Every morning we come in, including Saturday and Sunday, and we mist in here. We’re trying to keep the humidity really high so when we have plants that are susceptible to drying out – seedlings, cuttings, and clones – they will have a better chance of rooting.”

Bachelor’s landscape management class uses a bench with 15 varieties of turf grasses grown in pots. This allows the students to be able to identify the different varieties of turf grass physical characteristics, and also by observing the ligules and auricles, or parts of grass closer to the soil/root systems. Students can see what the turf grasses look like when they flower, which does not often occur in managed lawns due to mowing. Bachelor also has mowed and un-mowed portions of turf, so students can see the grasses at different stages of growth and understand the characteristics of different grasses in their natural and managed states.

Bachelor’s introduction to horticulture class uses two benches for experiential education. The benches hold trays full of different plants in different stages of growth. Students create hypotheses of different aspects of plant care, such as the effectiveness of natural vs. chemical based fertilizers, then create and run experiments.

Also in the greenhouse is the “plant library,” a myriad of different plants that students can observe and work with. The plants are used in structured labs, as well as less structured labs where students can get creative and experiment.

Finally, the greenhouse is home to a variety of exotic plants. “Our cacti are back in the corner and students really flock to that bench because of the appearance of the plants, because they are so different, including plants that we don’t often get to see flower in our homes,” Bachelor explained. “We have woody plants that either the greenhouse class or propagation class brought in as bare root and potted up. They have all survived, including apple trees.” In fact, one of the apple trees is a special variety that no longer grows in mainstream orchards.

In addition to actually growing plants, students have the opportunity to experience the technical side of greenhouse management. The greenhouse is equipped with state-of-the-art control and irrigation systems, which allow growers to set parameters, such as temperature and moisture levels. A complex computer control system uses vents, fans and the irrigation system to maintain an ideal environment for plants. This is a wonderful opportunity for any student who is interested in greenhouse management to gain experience using a high-tech system.

The greenhouse not only allows students to see how technology is used in the agricultural world, but they also get to experience some of the short-falls of these systems. Bachelor explained that the irrigation system unevenly waters the plants, so he and Ray Daugherty, horticulture professor, have to water many of the plants by hand.

Once programmed, the computer takes care of most of the things that people historically have done by hand, such as water or controlling the shade and air-flow inside the greenhouse. But, the irrigation system highlights the reality that even a highly technological system cannot solve all horticultural problems, and that problem-solving skills are still important.

“Last year, I had my irrigation class put in a two-inch line that goes to the other end of the greenhouse, so even in the winter, when all the irrigation on campus is turned off, we can still do irrigation labs,” Bachelor said. This was a great opportunity for students to get hands-on experience maintaining and installing an irrigation system on a developed site.

The greenhouse also allows students to solve more traditional issues that arise in the horticulture world that do not involve technology. For example, insects and pests cause problems for all gardners, including those at FRCC.

“We’ve had some insect control issues, which is normal in a greenhouse when you have an enclosed space like this that doesn’t have a lot, or any, natural predators. So if you get an aphid, or white fly, or spider mite, they have no natural predators, so their population explodes really quickly. We are dealing with all of those right now,” Bachelor explained. Students try different ways to control these insect outbreaks, and see how effective those different methods are.

Bachelor has yet to spray pesticides, and instead used ladybugs and Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap to combat the pests. He learned through trial about the soap’s benefits and downfalls. “Anything that I sprayed with it, died. We may have mixed it too strong and there were some adverse effects to the plants. The plants were already stressed [from the insects], and they had some growth issues after [the Bronner’s application],” he said. “It’s all part of the learning process.”

Bachelor encourages students, when they find a bug or other plant health issue, to look it up and research what the pest or disease may be, and how they can treat or correct the problem.

The greenhouse is benefitting science education at FRCC, and while Bachelor sees a bright future for the program, he worries about the greenhouse’s capacity.

“We’ve talked to the Denver Botanical Gardens (DBG) about a possible relationship to grow plants for them. Our greenhouse or propagation class would actually grow plants to be sold at the DBG plant sale. Nothing formal has been drawn up yet, but if it happens it would likely happen next spring [2017]. A year from now, we may have a couple of benches devoted to growing some of their plants,” Bachelor said. The horticulture program would benefit from this arrangement, as the money would be split between the DBG and FRCC.

The current construction on the greenhouse is more about aesthetics than much-needed expansion. “The campus decided that the chain-link fence didn’t have the aesthetic that they wanted so we are putting up a much nicer, black wrought-iron fence that will look really, really nice,” Bachelor said. “There will be security features in place so it will look nicer and be safer. It will also benefit the maintenance crews here too because they are putting concrete at the base of the fence so they won’t have to edge.”

FRCC provides invaluable resources to benefit students’ educations. The greenhouse gives science students the opportunity to learn in the same environment in which they will eventually apply their degrees.

Written by Alex Liethen

Photos by Alex Liethen

Student Government Association Elections on April 27 and 28

The race for the next President of the United States is in full swing, but did you know that there is another election soon that has the ability to impact your life as well? At the end of this month, the Front Range Community College system will hold the annual election of the Student Government Association (SGA) body.

“SGA is a group of students elected by students to serve as campus liaisons between administration, faculty, staff and students,” said Jessica Jurgella, Front Range Community College-Westminster’s Coordinator of Student Activities and an advisor to the FRCC-SGA.

A statement on FRCC’s website by the Student Government Association expands on their mission:

“The Front Range Community College Student Government Association (FRCC-SGA) was created to represent and act as the official student voice for FRCC students. They strive to define, defend, and advocate for all student rights, responsibilities, and freedoms, and to promote the general welfare of the students. Through representation on college and campus committees, FRCC-SGA plays a vital role in fostering community and providing a direct link between students, faculty, and administration.”

Similar to the goals laid out by our Constitution, where the government is the voice of the people, our Student Government acts as our collective voice and advocates on our behalf. SGAs serve an important role on our campus, as well as campus’s around the country.

“SGA’s role on campus is to represent the student body in all matters concerning its financial affairs, student interest and student welfare, while providing opportunities for student leadership,” Jurgella said. The financial affairs that Jurgella mentioned are primarily related to student fees. The SGA is funded by student fees and is the student voice for how our fee money should be used, often advocating for services or needs that directly affect students.

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Current SGA- Pictured from left to right: David Southard, Sierra Ackerman, Jessica Jurgella, Brittany Straub, Landon Noffsinger, Nicole Le Febre, Curtis Meyer. Not pictured: Betty Granados Rojas.

 

FRCC-SGA is involved in many aspects of campus life. The FRCC-SGA is the motivation behind the creation of The Pantry and many campus events. SGA innovated the idea of a campus food pantry, which was turned over to Student Life in order to turn the initiative into a sustainable program.

Additionally, they have hosted a large campus event every spring as morale boostesr between midterms and finals. SGA also volunteers for Student Life sponsored events.

Most importantly, SGA interacts with FRCC Administration regarding student concerns. According to Jurgella, “SGA discussed campus safety procedures with the Campus Safety and Preparedness Office to encourage better cameras, better lighting and better walkways in campus parking lots. They have also discussed a number of student concerns with Andy Dorsey, College President, and other administrators.”

It is easy to get involved in Student Government, and participation is open to all current students if they meet a few requirements. Jurgella said that eligible students must maintain enrollment during office duration, keep a GPA of at least 2.5 and be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours each semester (not including summer). Presidential candidates must at least one semester of FRCC-SGA experience.

In addition, all interested candidates must attend an information session and turn in an intent-to-run form to be included on the ballot. This year, those information sessions are being held April 19 and 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Student Outreach Center.

Involvement in organizations such as SGA is linked to higher academic performance. “Students who are involved also report feeling more connected on campus and are therefore more likely to continue. Students who take on leadership roles are also more employable when they complete their degrees because they have had more opportunities to fine tune soft skills employers are looking for,” Jurgella said.

Serving on an SGA not only entices future employers, but it looks good on a college résumé if you are planning on continuing your studies at a four-year university. If you are interested in public service or politics, getting involved in SGA could be a great first step on the journey.

Being in SGA can also generally boost your confidence, give you a sense of accomplishment and allow you to practice talking to and interacting with people in positions of authority.

Getting involved in FRCC’s SGA early in your schooling can be beneficial, as one of the hardest aspects of creating an effective community college SGA is the high turnover of the student body. Compared to four year universities, community colleges have more non-traditional students who take care of families and/or work and also commute to school. These outside demands, and the fact that community colleges have more transient populations mean that consistency on SGA boards is nearly non-existent. In fact, many SGAs have to reinvent themselves yearly on community college campuses. This does inject fresh ideas and perspectives regularly, which is beneficial, but it also does make follow-through or long term planning more challenging.

Past SGA members participated for a number of reasons, but most prominently, they ran for office “to make a difference on our campus,” “to inspire through leadership,” and “to be part of something that enhances my time here.”

Students who do not wish to hold office in SGA can still participate by voting. Last year, the number of votes cast rose to 500 from 200 in the previous year’s election. “The increase was due to a change in voting. We went from paper ballots to electronic, making it easier and faster to vote. We also included candidate’s intent-to-run statements on the ballot so students felt more informed when voting. In the past, voter turnout depended on the candidates pushing people they knew to vote. This is a much more equitable process and allows students to do their research prior,” Jurgella said.

Voting only takes a few moments, and there is no registration required. This year’s elections are being held on April 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of the Student Outreach Center.

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.” This wisdom is salient not only us as we vote in April for our Student Government, but also in November when we vote for our U.S. Government.

Written by Alex Liethen

Rethink Your Drink – What the Nutrition Label Doesn’t Tell You About Energy Drinks

From February to April, the High Plains Fitness Center at Front Range Community College-Westminster and Amber Kavehkar, Fitness Center Coordinator, encouraged students to explore healthy eating habits through the Eat Clean Challenge. The challenge mandated that participants avoid processed meat, added and artificial sweeteners, refined flours and dairy products.

Since the Eat Clean Challenge wrapped on April 1, students who followed its suggestions may turn back to processed foods. Furthermore, with finals approaching and the semester winding down, college students tend to seek vitality from energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster or Rockstar. In reality, the caffeine and added sugars in these drinks contribute to high blood pressure and heart problems.

While energy drinks keep consumers alert through quick and large doses of caffeine, the immediately increase blood pressure. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Consumption of the energy drink elicited a 6.2 percent increase in systolic blood pressure vs a 3.1 percent increase with the placebo drink. Diastolic blood pressure increased by 6.8 percent vs 0 percent with placebo. Mean blood pressure increased after consumption of the energy drink by 6.4 percent vs by 1.0 percent with the placebo drink.” People who consistently experience high blood pressure have much greater risks of heart disease and strokes long-term than those with moderate blood pressure.

Moreover, the average energy drink contains as much caffeine as five cups of coffee. Plus, other stimulants, such as guarana, ephedra and ma huang further increase one’s heart rate, leading to anxiety, nervousness and dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Some energy drinks contain sugar as a sweetener, and others rely on zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and aspartame. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of six tablespoons of added sugar per day for women and nine tablespoons per day for men. By reading the nutrition labels on energy drinks with added sugar, one can contains approximately 15 tablespoons of added sugar. Too much processed sugar leads to diabetes, weight gain and bodily stress.

Artificial sweeteners, while significantly lower in calories, are chemically derived, putting equal, if not more stress on one’s body than excess sugar. In fact, researchers at The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that sucralose and aspartame significantly increased the number of cancerous tumors in mice.

Even though energy drinks are labeled and sold as supplemental health drinks, their toxic ingredients lead to more detrimental, long-term ailments in consumers than a quick, pick-me-up is good for. Instead of energy drinks, less damaging options include small doses of tea and coffee for caffeine or fruit and vegetable juice for energy from natural carbohydrates.

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Just because FRCC’s Eat Clean Challenge ended, does not mean that students should readopt their bad eating habits. Health often means rethinking certain foods and drinks, and swapping them for those that do bodies well.

Written by Kayla Klein

Graphics from My Health News Daily and Huffington Post

Fabian Sanchez: Rising Star

Aspiring students often find themselves unrewarded for their pursuits of greatness in education. The State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) created a system to reward students who have gone above and beyond in school and performed extraordinarily.

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Fabian Sanchez

The Rising Star Award is given to students who exhibit high levels of leadership and student involvement. Fabian Sanchez, a Front Range Community College-Westminster student, a Student Ambassador-lead, and a TRiO Participant has continued to strive far above his peers. He was recently nominated for and selected as a Rising Star.

“I’m extremely honored. I immediately wanted to thank all of the people who helped. I’m still in shock, even though I’ve known for a couple weeks,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez was nominated because of his connected and benevolent involvement at Front Range Community College. The Rising Star Award has given Sanchez the ability recognize ways that he can further impact the Front Range Community.

“The award offers me the chance to meet other people who have done remarkable things at their college,” noted Sanchez.

Sanchez also stated the importance of communication within an educational and workplace environment. Communication skills learned while working as a Student Ambassador have given him valuable insights and reasons behind his award. “Learn how to be apart of a team. In the adult world, just about every job has a team. Very rarely are you independent, someone is always reliant on you,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez advised aspiring Rising Stars to get involved on campus through work-study employment, student clubs and study groups. FRCC needs more students like Sanchez, who strive for more, instead of students who strive for what’s expected.

Written by Jacob Hallberg

Photo provided by Julie Beggs

College Student Must Read: Cash Your Investment

Everyone needs advice from time to time, especially college students. As spring commencement approaches, many Front Range Community College students are preparing to transfer to four-year universities. The goal in doing so is to earn degree to eventually land a dream job. However, the road to that job is far from straight and narrow.  In his new book, Cash Your Investment: How to Leverage Your College Degree Into Your First Job, Author Scott A. Eberwein seeks to impart critical knowledge to any college educated person who will soon become a job seeker.

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Cash Your Investment offers many tips for capitalizing on a college degree that are not taught in class. For example, there is seldom a class in which résumé writing tips are offered, and few classes teach art and importance of networking. Many students are not aware of the resources that campus career services offer. No classes offer personal mentors.

The reality of the job hunt is a brutal one. If one thinks he can simply get a degree and walk into a high level job, he is mistaken. It is not 1970, and it does not matter what field your degree is in. The best jobs are guarded with the utmost secrecy and kept under lock and key. The best of the best start their job hunts early in their senior year of college, all of which Eberwein emphasizes.

Think of the job hunt metaphorically. Your dream job is hidden away in a large castle. You can pound on that front gate until you die, but you will not get in. However, Eberwein offers the tools necessary to attack the castle from the rear door, a much less guarded area of the castle. If you utilize a mentor, write a proper résumé, network determinedly and take advantage of career services, you can break down the castle’s rear door.

Cash Your Investment offers critical information for college seniors and job seekers to be successful at the job hunt. Eberwien emphasizes the importance of known and unknown aspects of the searching for a career. This information is so critical that it should be part of the regular curriculum at most colleges. If one follows Eberwein’s sound advice, he just might land that dream job and conquer the castle of the job hunt.

Written by Christopher Kemp

Photo provided by Scott A. Eberwein