Like many, Hurricane Katrina changed Cristina Garcia’s life forever when she and her family evacuated to Texas with what they carried on their backs.
Enraged at watching the city she grew up in submerged in water and bureaucracy, the Dallas resident was determined to make a difference and began volunteering at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio to assist evacuees find housing and resources.
Garcia’s motivation to positively impact the world continued at Collin College, where her unselfish commitment to service and leadership were the primary reasons she recently earned the Pearson Prize for Higher Education, the highest honor the Pearson Foundation awards.
This prestigious recognition is only awarded to 20 out of 20,000 applicants from universities and colleges across the U.S., and it comes with a $10,000 scholarship.
“I could not have earned the Pearson National Fellowship without Collin College,” said Garcia, who graduated in May from Collin College and is currently enrolled at The University of Texas at Dallas, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in political science. “Collin College inspired me to achieve greatness and to excel in my studies, and I wanted to give recognition to the college that has changed my life.”
As a National Fellow, Garcia will attend a Pearson Student Leadership Summit Aug. 9-11 in Washington, D.C.
“While at Collin College, Cristina Garcia was very motivated and engaged in college activities,” Cary Israel, Collin College district president, said. “Cristina embodies what Collin College represents. Her leadership skills are evident. She demonstrated academic excellence and had a strong passion for community service. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment and wish her success as she continues her educational journey.”
At Collin College, Garcia founded Volunteer Outreach in Civic Engagement (VOICE), a student organization that educates students about representative government, volunteerism and becoming active in their communities as well as registering to vote.
She also was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, Student Leadership Academy, LULAC as a 2011 Distinguished Officer and Student Government Association as a Senate member.
In addition, she took on leadership roles in events and/or projects such as Love Where You Live in Plano, Frisco’s Community Garden, Rock the Vote, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Power Breakfast and unity walk and LULAC’s Youth Leadership Summit.
“Overall, I became involved in service learning projects and serving in my community any way I could because, in finding myself and who I wanted to be while at Collin College, I learned that to be a good mother to my daughter, I have to lead by example,” Garcia explained. “I volunteered as much as I could to network and to develop community partners for the organizations I was involved in. I did this while still maintaining a high GPA because I knew it was important for my future.”
According to the Pearson Foundation, the Pearson Prize recognizes and supports exemplary students who have distinguished themselves through local public service efforts while still completing their undergraduate studies.
Students must complete at least one year of college at a two- or four-year school and demonstrate leadership in community service to become eligible for the Pearson Prize.
Collin College serves more than 51,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.
Nursing Program Honored
Collin Collin College’s nursing program is proud to announce that the National League of Nursing (NLN) has named it a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education™.
Collin College’s nursing program, which officially will be recognized for this prestigious designation at a national ceremony in September, becomes Texas’ first and only Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. Of the more than 1,800 nursing programs in the country, only 19 have been named a Center of Excellence.
“To be among only 19 nursing programs in the country with this distinctive recognition is truly a phenomenal honor and a direct representation of our remarkable faculty, staff and students,” Brenda Goodell, chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees, said.
The New York City-based NLN invites schools to apply for Center of Excellence status based on their demonstrated sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, student learning and professional development. Programs must also have a proven commitment to continuous quality improvement. Specifically, Collin College earned the designation in the categories of professional development and enhancing student learning.
According to District President Cary Israel, “We are grateful to the National League of Nursing for recognizing our program. More importantly, the Centers of Excellence initiative inspires all of us to strive to the highest level with our academic programs.”
Collin College’s nursing program is well known in the community for service learning and civic engagement. For example, nursing students provide the majority of volunteer staffing at a local clinic for the underinsured and underserved. They also assist at an equine facility that provides therapeutic riding programs to riders with physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities.
Since 2006, more than 650 Collin nursing students served more than 215 community partners in response to community needs, providing more than 4,000 service hours each semester totaling more than 40,000 service hours in five years.
“This designation validates the hard work of the faculty, staff and students. It indicates that we have demonstrated we are providing an excellent environment for our student’s nursing education that enables them to be successful,” Dr. Nell Ard, director of Collin College’s Nursing program, said. “It also indicates that our students and graduates are prepared for their careers in nursing and will be an asset to the profession and to the organizations lucky enough to hire one of them.”
The Collin College nursing program also has a history of high pass rates on the registered nurse licensure exam. In fact, 2011 Collin College nursing graduates scored a 97.3 percent pass rate, far exceeding the state average of 89.3 percent. The program also has been lauded by The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for having one of the top three graduation and licensure rates in the state.
“Words cannot describe how excited I was when we found out we were awarded the Center of Excellence designation and are the first in the state of Texas to be recognized by the National League of Nursing,” Donna Hatch, a Collin College nursing professor, said. “The nursing faculty has always known what an outstanding program we have, and now it is wonderful that the faculty, staff and students are recognized by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence. This designation confirms that we have one of the top nursing programs in the country.”
Collin College’s first-time Center of Excellence designation extends from 2011 through 2015.
Dr. Colleen Smith, senior vice president of academic affairs said, “Once again members of the nursing faculty at Collin College have demonstrated that they are unsurpassed as educators. This accomplishment is meaningful for the entire college, all of our students and the community at large. We all benefit from the high quality of education being attained at Collin College.
Construction Project Management Offered
It is never too late to build a new career or renovate an existing one.
Collin College Continuing Education is offering a new Construction Project Management certificate series for the fall 2011 semester.
The series entails six classes totaling 12 hours each. Classes are from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Sept. 13-Dec. 8. There will not be a session Thanksgiving Day.
The cost is $399. All courses will be at the Courtyard Center, 4800 Preston Park Blvd. in Plano.
Get the blueprint on succeeding in the competitive world of construction and learn what it takes to rise to the top.
Classes include The Bidding Process, Contract Documents and Requirements, Construction Project Start-Up, Managing a Successful Construction Project and more.
Through the certificate series, get an overview of the processes and techniques of project management for construction. Understand the entire process of how to successfully complete construction projects in a timely and cost effective manner. From the initial blueprints to closing a project out, this series will help you manage any construction project.
Discover how to implement project management principles from the initial blueprints to closing a project out; implement CSI Master Format; coordinate the bidding process and identify general conditions; create initial project schedule and start up; and close out a construction project and submit final payment.
Call 972.599.3117 or visit www.collin.edu/ce for more information or to register.