Selfies are such an engrained activity in society today that I thought about asking the NC Community College Hispanic/Latino initiative team to take selfies at cool locations in Mexico as a way introduce themselves on this blog. However, I remembered a time when I took a selfie on Angle’s Landing in Zion National Park (bad idea) and it caused me to forget that suggestion. There are too many stories of foolish tourists, like me, harming themselves or others attempting to take a viral-worthy selfie — so the NC team will settle for safe selfies in the airport.
The Tar Heel
I have been with the community college system for over 20 years, but it is such a large system that I meet new community college staff and faculty from our 58 colleges quite often. Kelli Antonides is one of those people I have just met and will get the opportunity know better through this experience. Kelli is the director of Career and College Promise Programs at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College where she plans, assesses, and implements initiatives and programs related to North Carolina’s dual enrollment program, Career & College Promise. Unlike me, she is a native Carolinian with a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. You don’t know how hard it is to resist the urge to plug my alma mater after writing “UNC-Chapel Hill.” It’s not the proper time … ugh, er … Go Tigers!
The news anchor
Natasha Lipscomb should be working at CNN. This revelation that Natasha has the “news anchor” look came from another team member but the moniker fits, and it turns out her daughter is a news anchor in Evansville, Indiana. Natasha is a native of Richmond, Virginia and now serves as the executive director for student success at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. She is a professional leadership trainer, coach, and speaker. She was also a candidate in the 2016 election for the Kannapolis City Schools Board of Education where she helped encourage the largest minority voter turnout in the history of her community. I’m excited to see Natasha put her skills to work helping to recruit Hispanic and Latino students to Rowan-Cabarrus.
Wake Technical Community College is fortunate to have a faculty member as sharp and experienced as Professor Tom Beaman. Tom has taught anthropology and archaeology courses as a full-time associate professor of Anthropology at Wake Technical Community College since 2008. He also runs study abroad trips for students at Wake Tech.
Tom has previously worked as a staff archaeologist for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation at Monticello, for the James River Institute for Archaeology in Williamsburg, Virginia, for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and for the North Carolina State Historic Sites Section. He has over two dozen published articles and/or book reviews in Historical Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, North Carolina Archaeology, The North Carolina Historical Revue, and The Journal of the New Bern Historical Society. Tom’s impressive credentials don’t begin to express his passion for students or for making sure underserved populations will be successful at Wake Tech.
The Millennial, or is it Gen Z, or the Digital Native?
If Jose Fabre represents the type of young adults learning and growing through our community college system, then my belief that our community colleges are special is once again confirmed. Jose is the current president of Wake Tech’s student government association and a full-time student. He is also working on a NC Space Grant funded undergraduate research project studying the barriers that Hispanic and Latino students face during their experience in community college, from access to completion. Jose’s research will also serve to aid the system on one of its strategic plan tactics focusing on helping underserved population succeed at our community colleges.
The trip buddy
I learned on a recent visit to China that it is good to have a trip buddy who speaks the native language. Dr. Constanza Gómez-Joines will be my trip buddy, like it or not! She was born in Lima, Peru but considers Argentina her home. Born to an Argentine mother and a Spanish father, she lived in six different countries before the age of nine: Peru, Venezuela, Panama, Austria, France and Chile.
Currently, Constanza serves as the assistant vice president and executive director for The Center for the Global Learner (CGL) at Durham Technical Community College. Constanza oversees the English as a Second Language Department, the Continuing Education for Non-Native English Speakers Department, the Academic English as a Foreign Language Department, and the translation/interpretation programs. Additionally, Constanza manages study abroad, international student services, outreach to and educational opportunities for the immigrants in our community, and initiatives such as international partnerships.
The packing artist
Our last community college represented on the trip is Central Carolina Community College and representing the college is a veteran of past trips to Mexico, Jon Spoon. Jon is also a phenomenal packer as he literally fit eight days of clothing and toiletries into a single backpack. He put me to shame as my luggage was big enough to smuggle in another team member.
Jon was born in Greensboro and is the son of public school teachers. Jon has a bachelor’s degree in History from UNC-Asheville and a Juris Doctor degree from NC Central University School of Law. After graduating law school, Jon moved to Washington DC just long enough to figure out he was a country boy who belonged back in Chatham County, North Carolina. After a brief pottery apprenticeship, Jon opened a studio in Siler City and took over as director of the NC Arts Incubator. From there, Jon became the small business center director for Chatham County and now works in that capacity.