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Discover, Connect, Succeed: Unleash Your Potential at DVC Student Centers

Nov 21, 2023

In March 2023, Jose Gonzalez was let go from his job because he needed shoulder surgery. After the surgery, he knew there would be a long road to recovery.  

“I felt stagnant, impatient, and sad at not being able to do everyday things that I could do before. I went back to college to learn, grow and shake those feelings,” said Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez is majoring in business at DVC and hopes to develop the skills needed to run his own business. 

“Growing up, my family was not financially educated. My mother and father were immigrants. They raised us with love and kindness, but they were not financially literate other than ‘work hard, live small, and save money.’ I want to go so far into my learning that I can manage my own business and teach others,” said Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez spends a lot of time in the Business, Computer Science and Culinary Student Center. He says it was the free snacks that attracted him, but the opportunities available within the center kept him coming back. 

“The center has become a home to me and my classmates, where we can finish a tough assignment or just sit and talk,” said Gonzalez. 

The student centers also offer workshops and guest speakers. Gonzalez has attended a number of these events. 

“I’ve attended workshops about financial literacy, as well as presentations from groups such as the Future Business Leaders of America. The events are all beneficial to college students, focusing on networking, career planning, and transfer,” said Gonzalez.  

Support and services that lead to success 

Ngan Pham and DVC student

“I’m an international student from Vietnam, and I would like to teach English to young kids. I came to the U.S about a year ago so that I could study in an English-speaking country,” said Ngan Pham, an elementary education major at DVC. 

Pham chose DVC not only due to its affordability, but also because she discovered that DVC students have a high rate of transfer success. Pham currently attends classes at DVC San Ramon and plans to transfer to San Jose State University to earn her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. She also works at the academic support center (ASC) and library on the San Ramon campus.  

“The student centers offer tutoring on many subjects, including math, English, computer science, chemistry, and more. You can get help with homework, lecture materials, and research from peers who are qualified to tutor other students. They are incredibly helpful, and some classes even offer extra credit for getting tutored,” said Pham.

Ebube Jideonwo was born and raised in Nigeria and came to the United States to study chemical engineering. During his time at DVC, Jideonwo visited several different student centers, but spent the most time in the Science and Health Student Center and the Math and Engineering Student Center.  

Ebube Jideonwo

“I met with professors for office hours in the centers, and have also received tutoring and advice,” said Jideonwo. 

Jideonwo plans to transfer to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Like Gonzalez, he has attended several workshops in the center, primarily focusing on preparing for transfer. 

“The student centers are very accessible and really help give the students everything they need to be successful at DVC. They are a great place to learn, socialize, and improve yourself,” said Jideonwo. 

Finding her path 

Sydney Alexander

Sydney Alexander came to DVC as a first-generation college student. She had hoped to go directly to a four-year university after high school but realized that DVC offered a more affordable start. 

“While at DVC, I changed my major five times, something I wouldn’t have felt free to do if I were at a four-year university,” said Alexander. 

Alexander eventually chose to major in communications and was a member of the DVC speech and debate team. She also worked as a tutor, supporting other students enrolled in communications classes. 

“Through my experience as a tutor, I found not only my love for communications as a subject, but also discovered my love for helping people work through different challenges,” said Alexander. 

After graduating from DVC with her associate in arts in communications, Alexander transferred to California State University, East Bay to obtain her bachelor of arts. She continued supporting DVC students through online tutoring, and then became a program assistant in the ASC. She also earned a master of science in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University. This led Alexander to take on an exciting new role at DVC – as a member of the communications faculty.  

“Because it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a DVC student, I understand many of the struggles that students have gone through,” said Alexander. 

Alexander encourages students to access tutoring and other services available through the student centers.  

“Each student center is like a mini hub for resources. You can ask any question about anything on campus and someone in the center will help you find the resources or answer the question,” said Alexander.

Student centers focused on career interests 

California Community Colleges developed a common system that helps students find their academic path during their time in college – this system is called Guided Pathways.  

“As part of the transition to Guided Pathways, DVC reorganized into Interest Areas, which allows students to more easily determine their college and career goals,” said Katy Agnost, English professor and guided pathways faculty lead. 

Following the success of the DVC Pleasant Hill and DVC San Ramon Academic Support Centers (ASC), as well as the PUMA Center and Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC), DVC developed five additional student centers that are organized around DVC’s five career interest areas: 

  • Arts, Communication and Language 
  • Business, Computer Science and Culinary 
  • Math and Engineering 
  • Science and Health 
  • Social Sciences 

Interest areas help students to better associate their interests and passions with related academic paths and career tracks.  

“No matter what the student’s path, they can find a space that is designed for them. The centers create a community of students, connecting them to services they need to be successful,” said Agnost. 

Agnost feels that one key aspect of the student center philosophy is the “warm handoff.” 

“Rather than telling students where they can find support, we walk students to where they need to go and personally connect them with the staff associated with the service they need – financial aid, admissions and records, career services, and more,” said Agnost. 

Agnost reports that the student centers have already shown a great deal of success with students across all interest areas.  

“The student centers provide a level of care, community, and support that goes beyond anything we have created in the past, and with only one full year of operation, we are already seeing tremendous success,” said Agnost. 

For more information, visit DVC Student Centers.  

Visit DVC student centers for free tutoring, snacks and more! 

DVC provides free tutoring, counseling, and support in our Student Centers! Visiting the center in your Interest Area or Learning Community is a great way to get support from instructors, counselors, and staff who specialize in your program. Available services include: 

  • Tutoring (on campus and on-line) 
  • Help with Canvas, the college’s learning management system 
  • Computer access & free printing 
  • Study space 
  • Drop-in counseling 
  • Career education 
  • Library liaison 
  • Workshops and guest speakers  
  • Connection to student services 
  • Instructor office hours  
  • Snacks and granola bars 

Tutoring is also available to specialized communities in other locations: 

  • PUMA Center – for students in Puente, Umoja, and MESA  
  • Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) – for student veterans 
  • CARE/EOPS Office – for EOPS students 

For more information, visit DVC Student Centers