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SPC Alternate Student…

Three of the first four students to serve to as a trustee alternate on the board of a community college system in Texas are from St. Philip's College.
Angelia Jacobs, Alamo Colleges District Alternate Student Trustee

SPC Alternate Student Board of Trustee, Angelia Jacobs

Three of the first four students to serve to as a trustee alternate on the board of a community college system in Texas are from St. Philip's College.

Alamo Colleges District board of trustees student trustee alternate Angelia Jacobs is both a 2016 St. Philip's College alumna and a current student with many responsibilities to serve at the college, including leadership as president of the college’s Student Government Association. In addition to working hard on behalf of 13,000 St. Philip’s College students, Jacobs represents the interests of more than 60,000 students districtwide at board meetings and other district meetings.

She recently spoke of her responsibilities.

Jacobs said she began serving as student trustee alternate May 1 on a term that expires April 30. The student trustee attends all Alamo Colleges District board meetings and does not vote or sit in executive sessions. In her capacity as alternate trustee, Jacobs attends board meetings if the student trustee is unable to attend during their one-year term as a student liaison to the board and the chancellor of the district.

In between time, the retired Army Master Sgt. outlined a leadership journey that will evolve when she becomes one of the first tenants in a student center that opens at the college Aug. 9.

“The St. Philip's College experience has been part of my life story since January of 2014, three months after I retired from the military. I was transferred here and they sent me to Fort Sam, on the other side of I-35 from St. Philip's College. There, I was working for the Army Dental Command in training and operations, and as a dental hygienist. When it was time to transition, I was told, you need to be licensed, and that means returning to college.

“My college education continued at St. Philip's College upon retirement after 23 years of honorable Active Army Federal Service. My plan was to attend St. Philip's College to complete the prerequisites for transfer to the University of Texas-San Antonio Health Science Center Dental Hygiene Program. At the time, I was thinking are my instructor and I going to be the senior persons in the class? Instead, I feel I am almost at home with family. The same people who advised me to return to college said go to an HBCU, but I said the only ones I know of are not in Texas. My UT Health Science Center prerequisites married up perfectly with my associate of arts in liberal arts. My dental program opens in December of 2018. I learned that St. Philip's College was an HBCU from an instructor in MathWorld. My mentors were right,” Jacobs said with a smile.

“I have seen the Board of Trustees meetings online, and I am thrilled, just being able to observe the ways the district is making efforts to actually support and help advance the students, especially in my role as my college's student government president for 2017-2018. The Alamo Colleges District Momentum Program that afforded free college classes in the summer is one advantage I am enjoying the benefits of while taking classes as an alumna student at St. Philip's College over the summer.

“I enjoyed the St. Philip's College campus environment when I first arrived by spending several hours in two fabulous tutoring centers for science---MathWorld and the Bird Sanctuary. Although I was unwavering in my commitment to completing and finishing my degree by December of 2016, I began to notice the students seated beside me. I accepted invitations to various campus activities, and later joined the Tiger PAWS student literary journal team. Through reading the poetry, short stories, and seeing the art and seemingly hidden talent on this campus… I began to see the faces of the students. I experienced their excitement, passion, their pain, and the deep questions they candidly shared with me.”

Jacobs explained how her life as an entrepreneur has informed her leadership journey at the college.

“I'm owner of a small women’s jewelry business, Ann's Jewelry Box, to enhance the beauty within,” said Jacobs. “When I had a CultureFest vendor booth at the college in April, I had a good time interacting. One of the students said you’d be good as a college peer mentor. They got me started hearing student concerns.

“The cultural diversity is here and the age groups are wonderful. I have high school classmates who helped me set my phone up, and I can laugh and talk with 65-year-old students, and with the veterans’ community. It makes the SPC community of peers a good thing to be part of,” said Jacobs.

“Being stopped by students while campaigning for various peer-elected positions showed me that there was more to this college than taking classes, and moving on completely, immediately, once I finalized my four-year-college transfer. As a peer mentor with the college, I have the opportunity to hear the joys and headaches associated with gaining a quality education. I listen, encourage and remind students about campus programs while I ask them to contact their advisor. But I know I can always do more. I present to this organization my years of experience in leadership, training, facilitation, mediation, and perseverance with the goal successfully accomplishing of the task at hand. My leadership style is designed to make a point without making an enemy,” Jacobs said.

“Although I have a strong desire to see the St. Philip's College graduation rate increase, I also want to help celebrate and build students through initiatives that will enhance completion or graduation and fitness for entering the workforce. Students should be able to continue to connect their coursework with life skills and current or future employment. I also want my peers to know that the faculty and staff are undergirded with the tools, support and training they need to be successful. I met Dean [Dr. Paul] Machen, and he set me up to interact with students as a student advocate for the college’s Early Alert Ad Hoc Committee, just to see how students are engaged. It really gave a complete picture,” Jacobs shared.

Jacobs will lead the first student government team to serve from the renovated Turbon Student Center.

“Taking care of business is important, and I’m looking forward to becoming an occupant. The leadership skills and the opportunity afforded to the students to supplement what we learn in classrooms and apply at work and with our families---self-start, team play---all foster cohesion and unity among team members. That is what the workforce and general community and our families are looking for. It makes for the whole package---instead of just walking out with a degree and few necessary skills for the workforce.

One of Jacobs’ biggest St. Philip’s College journeys included becoming an online student. Out of practicality.

“The payoff from online study for me was in the discussion, the online, on-demand availability. A daytime schedule was not feasible for me. I am not by nature an online student, but there are some things where you rise to the occasion. That meant I needed to structure my time. Set boundaries. And work online in a real library just for online students---not being online at home. We have these choices and options as students. As I aged out of the military, I figured out my Plan B solution was enrolling, graduating and transferring from here. I still love dental hygiene, but I knew before I could become board-licensed I had to learn algebra at 50---for the first time. My college classmates---students from McCollum High School---once helped me with my homework. I went to first aid class with an early college high school student who was studying with NASA and headed to Southwest Research Institute for the summer. My Army experience teaches me that when you see someone who needs help, you reach out and give a hand. Reach out for the little guy, a person who cannot defend, stand up or speak for themselves. High school students are doing that for me as a peer while I am in college. That is how I got here, and as Student Government Association president at St. Philip's College, I want to help all students by communicating from the board,” said Jacobs.

“Not everything our students have to say is negative,” Jacobs continued. “As an editor for Tiger PAWS, I was one of the students with responsibilities to help other students take time to share very personal parts of themselves. Just to see what people were going through... it's a remarkable story. It’s all the college experience offers. When you are open and allow yourself to do more than just homework, it makes for an exciting experience. And if not, let’s deploy new measures to ensure each person has a good experience.

“Students can go to our leadership team for answers and to ask questions. We are visible. When there is a concern, they will know who to go to,” said Jacobs.

NOTE: From March 29-April 5, St. Philip's College Student Government Association members conducted the college’s annual online election of association officers for the 2017-2018 academic year. The association leadership for academic year 2017–2018 is Angelia Jacobs (president), Diondrick Sorrell (vice president for the SPC Main Campus), Virginia Trinidad (vice president for Southwest Campus), Ali Al Siddiqui (secretary), Ali Al Siddiqui (treasurer) and Ali Al Siddiqui (historian). The team will be headquartered in the college’s 64-year-old Turbon Student Center after its renovation and forecast opening of Aug. 9, a facility where the best practices in student leadership and social life will be elevated from previous seasons at the college. Triple the size of the original building, the 28,000 square foot two-story complex is expected to enhance student success as a hub for student government, leadership and entertainment, all led by the college's Student Life department team. The team will serve the students and the community from second floor offices located directly in the heart of the campus as the center of corporate student leadership, governance and activities. The Turbon Center has been a vital part of the St. Philip’s College and Alamo Colleges leadership experience for many students. The building has served as the home office of the first two students to ever serve as trustee alternates on the board of a community college system in Texas (Hannah Lee Mahaffey-May 6, 2015-April 30, 2016, and Rudy Padilla-May 6, 2014-April 30, 2015). Learn more about at Student Government Association operations at https://www.alamo.edu/spc/sga/.

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