Student of the Week: Kerese Whyte

November 25, 2015

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The Department of Student Life is proud to announce this week’s Student of the Week: Kerese Whyte! This student works up to 70 hours per week and even finds time to volunteer for every fundraiser and event Plaza College does. Read more about her in the interview below, and then see what her professors have to say.

Why did you decide to study Medical Assisting?

I witnessed an accident some years ago, and it was troubling. I witnessed a car accident while on my way home from an event. My ‘sixth sense’ kicked in, and I stopped to lend a helping hand. I was trying to get the victim out of the wrecked car, but I was unsuccessful. I still stuck around and talked to him. I managed to get his wife’s number, and I called her. I stayed on the scene until she got there. However, when the emergency team got to the scene, he died while undergoing treatment. I cried because I could not help him enough, and I could not save his life.  His wife told me that I should become a nurse, and that gave me the motivation. I decided that I would start my journey as a Medical Assistant and work my way up to becoming a nurse.

We have heard that you have a catering business! How did this happen? Tell us about it!

I love to cook, and I am always cooking for charity and for close friends and family. I did an event two years ago, and immediately after the event, I started getting calls asking if I could cater for a couple events in and around Brooklyn. I didn’t turn down the offers even though I wasn’t being paid. So, my friends encouraged me to start a business, and K.Katering was born at last in 2014. K.Katering is not only a catering business. We provide entertainment, decorations, photography and event planning all under one roof.

What kind of food is your specialty?

We specialize in Caribbean dishes, mostly Jamaican food, and American dishes as well.

How do you find the time to go to school, work full time, and have a catering business?

It is all about determination and passion. I love cooking, so that is a little easier for me. I have a great team at K.Katering, and they help me so much. I love my job because it’s my second passion. And school for me is just like being around my family. The Plaza College family is amazing.

What kinds of schedule do you follow during the week? 

I work six days per week, sometimes 70 hours, sometimes 12-hour shifts per day.

When do you study? How do you do it?

I study when I am on the train. I study when I am home at 2:00 a.m. Every minute I have, I read over my notes. I have to balance my time and work with a schedule. Even though I love my job and my business, I love my education too. So you see, it all boils down to balance and time.

How do you stay so organized? What’s your secret?

The secret is I write down anything and everything I think about. I have a planning book, and this is where the magic happens. I plan my week starting every Sunday, and I have my biggest supporter – my spouse. He is amazing. He will set the alarm clock for me. While I am in the shower, he will pack my book bag, pack my lunch kit, and he will time me on everything. So, I will know I have 30 minutes to get ready for work or school. He will ask me every night, “Do you have homework?” “Do you need to finish anything?” That right there is team work.

At Plaza, you have been involved in practically every fundraiser. Why is helping people so important to you?

Helping someone is very important to me because “no man is an island alone.” This statement was instilled in me from a young age. Lending a helping hand can change a person’s life in so many ways, but for me, it’s not just that. It is like the fuel that you use to power a car.

Which activity at Plaza so far has meant the most to you? Why?

The Breast Cancer Bake sale meant so much to me. Weeks leading up to the bake sale event, I found out that one of my high school friends was diagnosed with Leukemia, and it touched me in so many ways. She is so young and has her whole life ahead of her. I was so shocked. So, I did the bake sale for her.

Tell us about your aunt. What impact did she have on your life?

I recently lost my aunt on November 11, 2015. She was a gem. She had her own cooking shop back in my home country (Jamaica). She would provide meals for the community, sometimes free of cost. She always told me, “It’s not the size of the gift that matters. It is the thought behind it.” I will miss her so much. May her soul rest in peace. I love you, Aunt Louis.

What does Plaza College mean to you?

Plaza College is my home away from home. This college and the professors that are here help changing my life. One such person is Dean Loffert. She has helped me tremendously in my time of need. I wear the Plaza logo with pride. I love my school, and I am grateful that I am a part of this prestigious institution.

According to Plaza faculty and administrators… 

Dean Lin Loffert: “Kerese is a very self-motivated student who is a very caring, professional, empathetic, and giving person. She loves to look beyond the surface of things presented to her, in and out of the classroom, and I think that, teamed with her love of other people and diversity in life, will make her a wonderful professional in the Allied Health field, or whatever her chosen career path will be. Kerese’s love of mankind and her fellow students is very apparent by her constant participation in our fundraisers, bake sales, and community service projects.  Kerese is always there to lend a hand whenever she can, no matter what the job at hand!”

Director Marisa Fordunski: “Ms. Whyte is such a pleasure to have as a student. She brings so much positive energy to the classroom.  She is always ready to learn and participate.  A model student and very deserving of Student of the Week.”

November 23: This Week at Plaza

November 23, 2015

Monday, Nov. 23: Extended day registration for associate’s students; all classes in session

Wednesday, Nov. 25: Day registration for associate’s students; no classes in session except accelerated classes

Thursday, Nov. 26: Thanksgiving – No classes in session

Friday, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving break – No classes in session

Saturday, Nov. 28: Thanksgiving break – No classes in session

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Winter 2016 Registration Begins Next Week

November 21, 2015

Registration for Winter 2016 begins next week, and students should plan to attend and register based on their program.

Associate Degree Students

Winter 2016 Registration for Associate Degree students will take place on Monday and Wednesday. Extended Day Student Registration will take place on Monday, November 23, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. Day Student Registration will take place on Wednesday, November 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will be no day or extended day classes on November 25.

For both sessions, registration will take place in the Plaza Commons and BBA Lounge. Remember to take care of any Financial Services or Students Services holds before going to register, and be sure to arrive on time on your assigned day! Students who do not attend registration at their assigned time will have schedules assigned to them based on courses needed and availability. Once schedules are assigned, they may only be changed during the add/exchange period at the start of the winter semester.

Bachelor Degree Students

BBA-Management students should schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Sibblis for registration next week. Students do not need to attend a regular registration session but should email Dr. Sibblis directly.

PIM students should check their email for a message from Dean Dolla. Students will receive information from the dean regarding available meeting times, and they must respond to her email to make an appointment. PIM students do not need to attend a regular registration session but should respond directly to Dean Dolla.

Fresh Start and Career Pathways Students

Spring 2015 Fresh Start students need to register by appointment with Dean Vetrano or Ms. Oliveras in Student Services the week of November 30 to December 4. To schedule an appointment, students must respond to their email from Dean Vetrano.

Fall 2015 Career Pathways students do not need to register for winter courses. Programs will be assigned in order to complete the required HSED criteria for applications to be sent to Albany, and students will be able to access their required courses on MyPortal after December 7. If students need to make section changes for winter courses, this can be done in Student Services on Tuesday, December 29, from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Students with questions about registration should contact Student Services.

Student of the Week: Jesus Perez

November 18, 2015

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The Department of Student Life is proud to announce this week’s Student of the Week: Jesus Perez! The embodiment of professionalism, scholarship, and kindness, Jesus has earned a 4.0 GPA and is a devoted participant in events on campus.

Read more about his story in the interview below, and then see what his professors have to say.

How does it feel to be our Student of the Week?

It feels great! I was not expecting this. Thanks to all the professors who believed in me.

What is one important way in which you have changed while being a student at Plaza College?

I carry myself more professionally. Also, my vocabulary, when I talk or write, has improved significantly since joining Plaza.

What is your inspiration every day?

I want to show my nephews that anything is possible.

What is your dream job?

Becoming an N.Y.P.D detective.

What “Plaza secret” should every new student know?

The professors will always make time for you when needed.

Whom were you most excited to tell you won Student of the Week?

My mom. She is very sick, so every time I give her good news, it gets her mind off of her illness and makes her feel better.

What has been your favorite class at Plaza so far?

Professor Butchy’s LL57. I sharpened my writing skills drastically, thanks to her.

What do you do to relax?

Shoot some pool and listen to music.

Which Plaza clubs or honor societies do you belong to?

Ambassadors club, Health and Wellness, and Performing Arts.

What is your guiding philosophy in life?

You can do anything you put your mind to.

According to Plaza faculty and administrators… 

Dean Lin Loffert

“I’ve known Jesus since his first day at Plaza. Since Orientation, throughout, he has done every Ambassador event. He’s one student who is always there early, always stays late, and makes sure that he can do every bit of extra credit. He has a big heart and really gives to his fellow students. He goes above and beyond, every single moment. He’s phenomenal and is the epitome of what the Plaza College student should be.”

Dean Jonathan Howle

“From the first moment you meet Jesus, you know that you are meeting ‘the real deal.’ Of course, his grades are extraordinary. Above, you will see him receiving the highest award you can receive in your first semester at Plaza College. However, his greatest quality is his kindness. He is a gentleman to the core and will help anyone in need. I predict enormous success for him. Jesus Perez is truly a legend in the making in the Plaza College community and beyond.”

Prof. Robert Allen

“Jesus Perez is an outstanding student. What I admire about him the most is he is very professional, always on time for class, and helpful to other students. He is one of Plaza College’s finest students.”

Prof. Laura Butchy 

“Jesus is a consummate professional in all of his endeavors and an outstanding writer. While completing all of his work magnificently, he assists others who have questions while staying focused on the task. His enthusiasm and positive outlook inspire other students and are a great asset in all of his classes!”

Dr. Susan Gunther

“Jesus Perez is one of the nicest young men at Plaza College. He is professional in both his demeanor and his work ethic and dress code. He is personable and outgoing. I am pleased he is being honored with this achievement.”

November 16: This Week at Plaza

November 16, 2015

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Academic Assistance Sessions 5-7 p.m. English meets in the Library; HIT meets in the HIT Lab; Keyboarding meets in Room 212; Math meets in the ARC (5-6 p.m.)

Thursday, Nov. 19: Multicultural Thanksgiving Feast – Donations of canned goods will be collected for St. Francis Food Pantries (See email from Dean Howle for more details.)

Thursday, Nov. 19: Academic Assistance Sessions 5-7 p.m. English meets in the Library; HIT meets in the HIT Lab; Keyboarding meets in Room 212; Math meets in the Library

Friday, Nov. 20: Academic Assistance Sessions English meets in Room 212 from 9-12; Keyboarding meets in Room 202 from 9-12 and 1-3; MG73 meets in the Faculty Center from 9-12; Accounting meets in the Faculty Center from 10-12; MG230 meets in Room 201 from 1-3

Saturday, Nov. 21: Academic Assistance Sessions Keyboarding meets in Room 212 from 1-3

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Students and Families Enjoy Halloween Festival

November 13, 2015

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On Friday, October 23, more than 200 Plaza students and their families gathered on campus for the college’s first Halloween Festival. Children and adults alike participated in games and crafts under the tent on the Terrace and enjoyed food on the Commons from 4-8 p.m.

Activities included face painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, mask making, and pumpkin decorating. Children participated in games ranging from a ring toss to guessing how many candy corns fit in a Plaza cup to Halloween word games.

After guests enjoyed pasta, pizza, candy, and other snacks, familes competed in a mummy-wrapping contest. Children of different ages then faced off in a dance competition and pumpkin pass before the evening ended in a costume fashion show. Check out some of the fun below!

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Career Services Hosts Professional Branding Workshop

November 11, 2015

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On October 29, Plaza College students across all majors filled the BBA Conference Center for Career Services’ first workshop of the semester. Director of Career Services Anita Luckett and Associate Director of Career Services Regina Pokidaylo gave students tips on how to be their most professional selves, from interview attire to social media. Lessons included first impression do’s and don’ts, information about privacy and appropriate behavior on social media, and the importance of communication in interviews and the workplace.

Some key points from the presentation included:

  • Adhering to Plaza’s dress code will make it easier to dress for success when students are ready to interview.
  • Keeping personal social media accounts private and making sure profile pictures are appropriate prepares students for employers who will search for them.
  • Starting a LinkedIn account now will establish a network of people students know and trust professionally and help them make connections in their field.
  • Making sure verbal and non-verbal communication skills are on point is essential since more than 1/3 of employers decide in the first 90 seconds if they are interested in hiring candidates.

Those who attended were also given a sneak peak at Career Services’ next workshop on LinkedIn, which will take place on November 19. In the meantime, students who were unable to attend are encouraged to stop by Career Services to pick up a list of interview do’s and don’ts!

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November 9: This Week at Plaza

November 9, 2015

Wednesday, Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day – All day and extended day classes meet on their regular schedule.

Thursday, Nov. 19: Multicultural Thanksgiving Feast – Donations of canned goods will be collected for St. Francis Food Pantries (See email from Dean Howle for more details.)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

Featured Alum: Gabriela Ghirawoo

November 7, 2015

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Many students hope to land a dream job after graduation, and today we feature an alum whose outstanding dedication to her field landed her not one but two job offers within a month after finishing at Plaza: Gabriela Ghirawoo!

After starting at Plaza in 2011, Gabriela earned her associates degree and became a registered medical assistant in 2013. She continued at Plaza and graduated in summer 2015 with a bachelors in Patient Information Management, specializing in phlebotomy.

A star during her time at Plaza, Gabriela made the Trustee’s List and was inducted into all three Plaza College honor societies: Alpha Sigma Lambda, Sigma Kappa Delta, and Sigma Tau Delta. Now, after receiving two job offers at top New York medical establishments, she is the newest star at North Shore LIJ. Find out how it happened in her interview below!

How did you get your new job? When did you start there?

I started working at North Shore on the 28th of September. I got a position through flex staff at North Shore LIJ where they placed me at a private doctor’s office called Progressive Medical Associates, run by five of Lennox Hill Hospital’s top cardiologists. My role there is a medical assistant to one of the best cardiologists in America, Dr. Marc A. Nolan. I work there full time and am very grateful, so I had to decline NYU’s offer as an Admitting Representative because it was part time per-diem. I got both job offers from the career services department at Plaza College with assistance of the director, Ms. Anita Luckett.

What tips would you give Plaza College students applying for jobs?

Always have your resume prepped professionally and smile during the interview, dress to impress, and answer the questions slowly. Be humble and confident that the skills you have learned along the way will be their advantage.

What is a class at Plaza that helps you do your current work? How so?

Clinical I and II helped me because that’s my biggest job functions. Thanks to Ms. McManus’s instructions, the preparation of assessing the patient prior to them seeing the doctor is the key element in getting them to feel comfortable and ready for their visit. Also, as a medical assistant we are the backbone of the facility for we help the office to run smoothly. The HIT classes prepare your mind for the language of the medical office.

Where do you hope to go from here in your career?

I hope to advance to management one day within my field.

What is your most cherished Plaza College memory?

My most cherished Plaza memory is the award shows, making lifelong friends, and of course, the professors.

What is your inspiration every day?

My inspiration every day is waking up feeling and believing I am blessed, remembering that each day is a new journey. With humility, patience, and a smile I am grateful for God and people in my circle who truly care about me.

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Students Celebrate at 7th Annual Honor Society Inductions

November 6, 2015

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On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, Plaza College held its 7th Annual Honor Society inductions. More than 200 students were inducted into three national societies at a beautiful outdoor ceremony under a tent on the Plaza Terrace. The new location brought a new and exciting sensibility to the evening making it unforgettable for students and their families.

During the ceremony, Patient Information Management student Jody Stokes gave a moving speech about what being in the Honor Societies means to her. Awards were also presented to the Honor Society Members of the Year:

Jody Stokes

Sheena Donatien

Zekhem Elmaliki

Sharlene Valvano

Takiya Roebuck

Robin Crutchfield Blum

Then, students were inducted into the three societies, which have chapters at colleges and universities all over the country, from St. John’s University to the University of California at Los Angeles. Dean Howle inducted students into Sigma Kappa Delta, Professor Butchy inducted students into Sigma Tau Delta, and Dean Loffert inducted students into Alpha Sigma Lambda.

To earn membership into Alpha Sigma Lambda, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and have earned 12 credits in Liberal Arts classes. For Sigma Kappa Delta, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and have earned a B or higher in LL254 (Composition and Research). Finally, Sigma Tau Delta is a society for bachelor’s students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and who earned a B or higher in LL290 (Literary Analysis).

Finally, this year’s winners of the Honor Society elections were announced.

Alpha Sigma Lambda

President: Stefanie Franklyn

Vice-President: George Fielack

Secretary: Ruth Ramirez

Sigma Kappa Delta

President: Jaime Cabrera

Vice-President: Angel Diaz

Secretary: Natalie Mateo

Sigma Tau Delta

President: Nigeria Sumpter-Lee

Vice-President: Padmani Lakharam

Secretary: Ana Mira

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