By Juan Calvillo
The in-person Huskies Enrollment Fair, January 28 and February 4, focused on helping students gain access to East Los Angeles College Student Services resources for student success. Resources include registering for Spring courses, finishing applications for new students and showcasing the college’s various academic and discipline courses and certifications.
Both the Monterey Park Campus and South Gate Center areas of ELAC had in-person events for returning and prospective students. Rosalba Villalobos, First Year Experience College Coordinator, said the event brought together a vast array of members from Student Services to help students. Financial Aid, First Year Experience, Admissions and Records and many other services were present for the event.
She said the fair helped students register for Spring classes and get the community information about ELAC. Enrollment numbers are important and the event’s focus was on enrolling students. Despite that, Villalobos said the event was dual-purpose with increasing enrollment being just one of the facets.
“One of the things that I really love about the focus or emphasis on student services this year is promoting college knowledge out in the community. We know that higher education has the ability to change not just the socio-economic status of an individual, but of their family of future generations to come,” Villalobos said.
She said both of the Saturday events had the same services available to students. She said one of the things the event accomplished was showing what ELAC has for students when it comes to academics and disciplines.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Pathway was one of the disciplines for the event. Biology, Chemistry and Engineering professors said the programs were focused on getting information to students during the fair. Rick Carpenter, Chemistry professor, said field training for students is available as an internship with pay as part of the Chemistry Technician Program.
Brian Hill, professor in Life Sciences, said the certificate in the Biology Technology Program has jobs that are currently available for students. Mark Swicegood, Electronics and Technologies professor, said the department is part of the Cisco Academy. He said both short term and long term classes are available in A+ and Networking. A+ is a grouping of three classes going on at the same time. This would allow students to be ready for life after school with certifications.
“They can take both, and in sixteen weeks they can go work. I’ve got a work source center down around the corner that’s dying to hire people. There’s such a high demand for people right now and there’s a shortage,” Swicegood said.
Jenell Ral, English as a Second Language professor, said the Language and Communications Pathway is focused on promoting some of the classes for students to enroll in. She said specialized classes like Children’s Literature and the Milestone Magazine are being promoted to students. Patricia Godinez, English Department Chair, said drop in enrollment for classes is one of the reasons the department is showing up for the event.
“It’s important that we reach out to students, because the reason why we’re here is the students,” Godinez said.
She said being proactive and reaching out to students is key for the department.
STEM and the Language and Communications Pathways are not the only programs the enrollment days have to show off. The Business Administration, Law and Information Technology and Health Sciences Pathways have representatives on site as well.
Villalobos said the college is good about pivoting and meeting students’ needs when it comes to helping register and sign up for classes. She said enrollment fairs happen multiple times for colleges. During the early time of COVID-19, online help was key. Now in person events are coming back and the staff at ELAC is ready to help.
“We, again meeting the students where they are at, not only have to offer services during the week, but also have to offer services during the weekend, right, for individuals who are working for individuals who have children,” Villalobos said.