Alumni Interview featuring Finausina Tovo (aka Fee)

Why did you choose Foothill?
I attended Foothill College in 2007-2008 and chose it because of it’s prestigious reputation and impact it had on transferring. Also, because it was close to home (I live in East Palo Alto) and I had been commuting to Hayward for over a year for school.
What inspired you to go into education as a career?
After I graduated from UC Riverside, I came back to work part-time at Foothill College. Currently, I’m an Admissions & Records Assistant at College of San Mateo. I also got into San Jose State University’s Counselor Education program. Ever since I started Community College, I knew that I wanted to be a part of something that had impact on society. We choose to either observe others making a better future for their lives… OR …we become a part of it and assist in just a small chapter of their HUGE book of goals. Pacific Islanders, like myself, understand how important education is, but they do not fully understand what it takes. If I can be a part of education, it will be easier for me to approach this subject to a community of Pacific Islanders to make a step forward in education.
What’s one word you’d use to describe foothill.
Miracle. The experience, networks, and lifelong friends I have made from Foothill are a huge part of why I am still in the education despite the budget crisis. Their passion of making education happen has rubbed off on me and I have embraced that passion myself and made it a part of my life. I am a WALKING proof that an urban resident with a single parent who has all the excuses of not succeeding in education can still go and make it bigger than the stars.
What do you have to say to current Foothill College students?
Excuses are used to justify your failures. When you realize that you are tired of making excuses, then it is time. I am not here to judge you. I am not here to baby you, I am here to say that it is real. Community college improves society. No matter what your goals are, educating yourself will bring you 4 steps closer to your dreams. I am not the person to tell you everything will be alright. That education was so easy and I never had a negative experience. BUT I am the person to tell you that after all the struggles and relentless studying, it was all worth it. God did not say it was going to be easy, just worth the fight. You, it is all about you. Whatever your motivation is, use it to be your sunshine during the rain. Cheers!


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Fee was very involved in the Pacific Islander community at Foothill College

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October 26, 2011 · 10:51 am

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Alumni Interview featuring Ajené White

By: Terra Thomas

The Foothill College Career Center wants to share Alumni stories with you. Read how our alumni chose their career and how they went about making their dreams a reality.

Ajené worked for the Foothill College Career and Transfer Center while a student at Foothill College.

FH Career Center: What resources did you take advantage of at Foothill College?

AW: I probably wouldn’t be in college if it weren’t for Foothill, my horizons were broadened. I really liked the community at Foothill. I received a lot of support through the programs they have such as EOPSand CARE. From CARE I got both financial and emotional help. I also learned a lot from the Career Center and from some of the amazing teachers I had.


FH Career Center: What did you feel challenged by during your time at foothill?

AW: Being a young mom and being African American I felt like a lot of people didn’t really expect me to go far. They kind of had this expectation like “she’s probably going to be another statistic”, I felt this vibe. There wasn’t anything that was necessarily said to me directly, it was just the way that I was treated by some people. Luckily, I had a really great support system at foothill who were really supportive and always motivating me, even during the times when I didn’t feel like I could get through college.


FH Career Center: How do you stay motivated to succeed?

AW: Every morning I wake up and I ask myself: “how bad do you want this?” because there are some days when I’ll automatically wake up and think, “what can I do to not go to class today?” and so then I just have to ask myself, “how bad do you want this?” and I know I want to be successful really bad, I want to be an OT really bad, and so that’s what motivates me everyday, every morning, to get out of bed and endure the struggle.

FH Career Center: Where are you now?

AW:  Currently, I am a student a San Jose State, studying Occupational Therapy. This is a joint BS/MS program. I will finish with a Masters in OT from SJ State in 2012.

FH Career Center: Did you always know you wanted to do occupational therapy?

AW: No! I actually switched majors like 5 times! It was actually when I was [working] in the Transfer Center when I discovered Occupational Therapy and realized I was interested in it. I was flipping through one of the San Jose State catalogs and noticed this major… so I googled it and found out that it was my dream job.


FH Career Center: What about the OT program caught your eye?

AW: It actually encompasses all the aspects of the majors I was interested in: Psychology, Sociology, Nursing, Physical Therapy. I like that I can work with different people, and it a very broad range of things I can do so it give me a lot of freedom and that’s what I enjoy.


FH Career Center: How do you want to use your degree?

AW: I want to work in Pediatrics with kids with physical disabilities first and then after I gain more experience I definitely want to work with veterans. I did my volunteer work at the VA in Palo Alto and that was an eye opening experience.


FH Career Center: What advice can you give foothill students?

AW: While at Foothill, utilize all the resources available, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to reach out, there are so many support services on campus that a lot of student don’t know about. Don’t ever take no for an answer and just believe in yourself. After transfer, make sure to go to the campus [that you’re transferring to] and do your research, find out what the resources are made available because its not the same, you don’t get the same support as you do in a community college. Nobody is going to hold your hand, be prepared to do your own research and do that before the first day of school.




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Student Reflections from the Career Development Conference

By: Ke Jung Huang
The Career Development Conference, organized by the Foothill College Career Center, was a great event every student should attend.

Frank Carbajal was the very intriguing keynote speaker.

Frank signed copies after his speech

Frank Carbajal, keynote speaker

In his speech, he described the Latino leaders he interviewed for his book, Building the Latino Future. Through talking to successful Latino leaders, he developed a framework for becoming a leader. He shared a lot of inspiring stories about how the Latino Americans he interviewed fought through hard times and eventually reached their goals. My favorite story was about Miriam Rivera whose life is a perfect definition of turning tragedy into triumph. Her mother had only a third-grade education.  Her father left home when she was just nine years old. Many people looked down on her and had low expectations for what she would be able to achieve.  Miriam didn’t let these negative predictions knock her down or limit her potential.  She was tenacious. She kept working hard on what she believed. Her effort finally paid off when she earned her degree at Stanford University.  She received the Porras Award from Stanford and was elected as Stanford trustee in 2008. Miriam proved those who cheered against her wrong with her actions.

Miriam Rivera’s story is extremely encouraging to me because she shows me it is possible to make your dream come true as long as you keep your faith up.  Sometimes when I struggle with school work, I begin to question myself and wonder if I really am college material.  Self-doubt is such a confidence killer.  After attending the Career Development Conference, I feel less confused and realize the importance of having resilience when we face different challenges in life. Just like Frank Carbajal mentioned in his speech, “Learning how to bounce back from adversity is a necessary ingredient of success.” I will always keep this belief in my mind.

Overall, the luncheon and keynote speaker was a great success and very inspiring. I will definitely refer others to this conference next year!

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A student perspective on the Career Development Conference

Jay Matheson from Apple led the Digital Resume workshop

By Ruben Sanchez

            I am a student here at Foothill College.  I have recently been reading, googleing, and viewing videos on personal branding.  As a student that will soon be transferring to a four-year university I couldn’t ignore the importance of establishing a professional online presence.  So, when I found out about the Digital Resumes and Personal branding workshop offered through the Career Center I hurried and registered for the event.

Wow! What an informative event.  Honestly, I was expecting a pretty generic, and superficial overview of the subject.  What Jay Matheson delivered was a well-prepared, charismatic presentation on “Digital Resumes and Personal Branding”.  A Business Development Executive from Apple Inc., Jay has set the bar pretty high when it comes to presenting a workshop.

Jay started off by giving a marvelous definition of a “brand”.  I am paraphrasing here as best I can “a brand is not the logo or product or service, it is the reaction to that product or service”.  That definition really struck me.  It tells me that on the web I am establishing emotional connections and people are forming a specific perception of me.  That’s my reputation.

We all know how easily a reputation can be ruined.  We also know that employers do online searches for us when we apply for jobs.  In fact, Jay gave an example of a student whose university admission was rescinded after the university found some online content that reflected negatively on the student. Many of us in the audience gasped when we heard this. His example resonated with us and gave us reason to make sure we kept our online reputation clean.

Jay explained how to do this.  He showed us an example of a professional online portfolio.  It was a personal web site showcasing the individual’s talents and skills.  He suggested we add an activities page to display pictures and a short write up of any important events that we are involved with.  He also suggested that we add a testimonials page.  Jay showed us a testimonial page where the individual’s boss had given a video testimonial.   The message was glaringly obvious.  We have full control over what brand we can display online for ourselves.

Jay also spoke about differentiating, validating and cultivating your brand.  In addition there will be a  follow up workshop on May 17th where an Apple representative will be discussing methods and techniques for creating digital resumes.  That is definitely a sequel that we do not want to miss. For more information about  Career Center activities, check out their website.

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It’s scholarship season: how to ask for letters of recommendation

By: Fatima K. Jinnah

It’s scholarship season which means many of you will need to ask for letters of recommendation. The best person to ask is someone who knows your work well. The strongest reference comes from a professor, an employer, or the person who supervises your volunteer work.  Personal references know you well but are seen as biased so it is best not to use personal references unless they are specifically requested.

The way you request a recommendation might mean the difference between a good letter or no letter at all. Follow these three tips to ensure your professor has what he/she needs in order to say yes to your request.

1. Give your recommender at least one month to write your letter.

Most professors will have to write your letter of recommendation during their personal time. Work time is dedicated to office hours, grading, and planning the next lecture. Just like in your life, things come up. You want to make sure you’ve given your recommender enough leeway so that when personal emergencies arise, there is still enough time to devote to writing you an excellent letter of recommendation.

Your request should include the date you want your recommendation sent. Many scholarships want the recommendation to come in a sealed envelope with a signature across the seal. This means your recommender may be mailing the recommendations directly to the scholarship. To ensure your letter gets there on time, write a note on each scholarship application telling the recommender the scholarship deadline date.

2. Attach your personal statement and resume.

If you want to get a great recommendation, give your recommender lots of information about you. Don’t assume that because you’re a student in class or you see your counselor once a quarter that your professor/counselor knows you inside and out. Your personal statement helps your recommender understand your motivations for choosing a major and applying for that particular scholarship. This information can give your recommender a more complete understanding of who you are and what makes you, you.

3. Create a packet with self-addressed, stamped envelopes

Minimize confusion by creating a little packet for your recommender with all the relevant materials he/she may need to write your recommendation. Include the scholarship announcement so your professor will know what the scholarship requirements are and can tailor the recommendation to meet that requirement. For example, here at Foothill, Organización Latino Americano (O.L.A.) has a scholarship. One of the factors to qualify for the scholarship is demonstrating work or community service within the Latino community. Knowing this information, your professor can tailor his/her comments to substantiate what you wrote in your personal statement.

Your packet should also include your personal statement and resume (listed above). Lastly, make sure you provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The key is to make this process as smooth as possible for your recommender so they can spend their time thinking and writing about you, not sifting through papers to find the right mailing address.

Implementing these three tips will show your recommender that you are care about his/her time, you are serious, organized, and disciplined enough to implement these steps. This process is time consuming but rewarding. You’ll be happy you did it.

Don’t forget to send a thank you note!

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Healthcare Careers in Silicon Valley

by Karen Oeh

Taking the Pulse of Silicon Valley:

NOVA’s Healthcare Careers Forum

December 9, 2010

BW Research Partnership Inc. produced a report for NOVA to address the issues and challenges with healthcare in Silicon Valley.

Research Objective 1:  Changes and Challenges in Silicon Valley’s Healthcare Workforce

Four segments defined Silicon Valley’s healthcare employers:

  • Acute Care (hospitals) – growing 1%
  • Outpatient facilities and medical laboratories – growing 7%
  • Medical offices and clinics
  • Residential and long-term care – growing 43%

In a time of record unemployment, almost half (48%) of Silicon Valley’s healthcare employers are having at least some difficulty replacing workers with qualified candidates from outside the organization.

Healthcare Industry has been growing over the last 3 years:

  • 2015 = 112,00 employed
  • 2010 = 101,000 employed
  • 2005 = 88,500 employed

From 2010 to 2015, Silicon Valley’s healthcare employers are expected to add 11,000 new jobs and replace up to 30,000 workers, a total of approximately 40,000 new employment opportunities.

Growth is driven by four factors:

  • Old age population using healthcare
  • Age of workers shrinking
  • Changing demographic profiles of Silicon Valley are changing the skills profile of healthcare workers
  • Impact of health info technology

During 2010-2015, a change in population in Silicon Valley has taken place with the age group 20-39 declining by 2% while the age group over 60 years of age has increased 19%.

Research Objective 2:  Silicon Valley’s Key Healthcare Occupations

Anticipated Double-Digit Demand

  • Physician Assistants
  • Certified Coders
  • Surgical Technicians or Technologists
  • Radiologic Technicians
  • Health Information Administrators
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Registered Nurses (RNs)

Difficulty Finding Qualified Applicants

  • Health Information Administrators
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Radiologic Technicians
  • Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Certified Coders
  • Surgical Technicians or Technologists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists

Occupations with the Most Expected Job Openings

Registered Nurse

  • 1,075 job openings from growth and replacement
    $53.22 median hourly wage
    57% of employers require a Bachelor’s degree
    83% prefer some work experience

Health Information Administrator

  • 82 job openings from growth and replacement
  • $48.72 median hourly wage
  • 88% prefer some work experience

Surgical Technicians or Technologists

  • 80 job openings from growth and replacement
  • $26.55 median hourly wage

Physician Assistants

  • 61 job openings from growth and replacement
  • $50.62 median hourly wage

Radiological Technologists

  • 57 job openings from growth and replacement
  • $36.46 median hourly wage

In some medical occupations, there is a decline in jobs, and a surplus of workers due to a lot of training programs and minimum education requirements. Medical Records Clerk ($15-21/hr) is being replaced by Certified Medical Coder ($21) that has higher demand.  Also in high demand for a person with a high school diploma are Personal and Home Care Aides ($11) and Home Health Aid ($10).  Transferable skills include: writing, speaking, reading, comprehension, critical thinking, time management, mathematics, coordination, and service orientation.

Research Objective 3: Health Information Technology’s Impact on the Workforce

Health Information Technology in Silicon Valley – 41% of employers are using new healthcare information technologies.  Health Information Technology (Health IT) includes the collection, transmission, analysis, and storage of medical information.  Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Electronic insurance and other billing, and automate and online customer contact and information resources.

Short-term HIT growth will not lead to increased or decreased occupational growth in healthcare. Medical records clerks, followed by nurses and doctors will be the most affected by the implementation of Health IT.

More technical training is required as part of formal education; users need both technical and medical training to be successful.  For technical workers, such as IT staff, more contextualized training in a healthcare setting is critical.

For more information, please visit NOVA Workforce Development: http://novaworks.org/whats_new/default.html

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