Thursday, October 23, 2014

Join us at the new Housatonic Horizons Online!

Join Us In Welcoming The New Horizons

In an effort to better serve Housatonic students, the Horizons staff would like you to join us in celebrating the launch of the new Horizons, our student newspaper. 

What’s new about the student newspaper? Well, for one thing, we are now a completely online news outlet for all things HCC.   You can find us at

Your new and easily accessible news source will allow the Horizons staff to publish informative, up-to-date news items a few times a week or more. Instead of the normal three print publications per semester, we will now be able to stay current and keep you up to date.

Through our social media presence, you will have a chance to comment, critique, and take part in your student news site. As part of an interactive college community, you the student, for the very first time, can let us know what you want to see more of, or less of in your publication. We invite you to take part in making Horizons a successful HCC community project. We need your help.  We are here as your voice.

The staff hopes you will use this chance to help us serve you better. Of course, as with most things, you can’t satisfy all of the people all of the time, but we promise to do our best to keep an open mind and do our very best to make you a part of this work in progress.

You are invited to join us, express your views, and help us make Horizons the best college 
news experience it can possibly be.

Keep up with what’s new by liking us on Facebook at Housatonic Horizons or following us on Twitter (@HCCHorizons).  Help us to get the word out by sharing and re-tweeting your favorite articles.  Email us directly at with letters to the editors or to have your original non-fiction writing considered for publication.   

Help us achieve our goal of becoming the voice of each and every one of YOU!

Sherly Montes, Editor-in-Chief
Neil Knox, Managing Editor

Monday, October 13, 2014

Resumes That “WOW” Employers

By Latisa Pacheco


A session for learning how to create resumes and cover letters was held for Housatonic Community College students on Tuesday, October 7.

Speaker and Career Services Coordinator Anisha Thomas shared techniques to landing an interview and getting the job.

“Never send a resume without a cover letter,” Thomas warned job seekers.

Cover letters serve as your introductions to sell yourself to the company, she said; they set you apart from other job seekers because they show employers that you took the time to do the extra work and really want the job.

Employers are using computer systems to screen resumes in 10 seconds to target keywords for the skills and job being offered.

“Make sure resumes are no longer than one page in length,” Thomas said. Employers want to save time and avoid numerous calls from job seekers.

Resumes should have background information about education.  The GPA listed should be above 3.2 and job history and skills should be relevant to the job you are now applying.

Thomas encouraged students to get involved in extracurricular activities to develop new skills.

“If you don’t have it then seek it,” she said. “Joining school clubs that relate to your career field adds to your skill set.”

She assured students that it’s okay to put a retail store job as a customer service skill. In addition, the skills section should be updated every three months if the job seeker is still in search of employment. This way he/she remains active and improves work skills.

Being computer literate in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is another plus, even if it’s the beginner level.

“I took an advanced Excel class,” said Debbie Kuchmas, a liaison and supporter for General Studies at HCC.

Thomas agreed that taking a computer class or reading a “Computers For Dummies” book at the library makes you a desirable candidate for the job.

When students are knowledgeable of Word documents they can use it to write a resume.
“It provides flexibility and correct formatting,” she explained.

It may not be news to know that job seekers should use professional references that will speak about them in good standing; but it may surprise you to know that listing references on a resume is not recommended.

Rather, Thomas instructed job seekers to use the phrase: “references available upon request” at the end of the resume. It is used for visual purposes and to let the employer know that the resume had ended.

After you have applied, contact the employer within 7-10 business days if you have not received an email confirming the receipt of your resume.

“But only contact them once.  Don’t be a nag,” Thomas added.

However, the downside of job seeking is that “75% of jobs are never advertised.” She confirmed, “you get them through networking or moving up a position within the company.”

Another session of covering resumes and eover letters will be held on Wednesday, October 15, at 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in Beacon Hall Rm. 320.  A workshop on interviewing skills will follow on Tuesday, November 4, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. in Beacon Hall Rm 135.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Than Just Advice

A Snapshot Profile

By Victoria Tomis 

Staff Writer

Photo by Victoria Tomis

For HCC counselor Linda Wolfson, counseling is not about giving advice.

“It’s about supporting people as they work out their own issues with the support of a non-judgemental, caring person,” says Wolfson, who has been a counselor at Housatonic for a remarkable twenty-two years. “I have learned so much from the many students that I have worked with and I believe it’s a privilege that they share their issues and thoughts with me.”

She spends part of her days counseling students in her office in Lafayette Hall A108g, but Wolfson’s role doesn’t end in her office. She is also very active in the goings on at HCC. This can be attributed to her fascination with the study of psychology as well as being a self-professed devotee of public education.

For example, Wolfson is coordinator of the Women’s Center. As such she is involved in weekly meetings, communicating between the diverse members on the board, and ensuring that the center is run smoothly on a daily basis. Along with being a safe space for students and filled with resources on women’s issues, there is a  support group. SOFA, an acronym for “Speak Our Feelings Aloud,” which addresses topics relevant to members and the college population at large.

Fourteen years ago Wolfson was approached by a student looking to set up a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club on campus. Wolfson has been an advisor since the UNITY club’s inception.

“The students are very committed. [They] work had to make everyone feel a part of the club.” Wolfson says. “I am very proud of UNITY.”

She adds that she gets a lot out of supporting students who meet with her.

“It is a very rewarding job.” Wolfson says, smiling.

Yet Wolfson believes her work is different from being a good friend or a supportive family member. The art of counseling is very different.

“It is a skill one has to nurture with understanding that it is about the client,” she says.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Librarian for the Students

A Staff Profile

By Jena Fracassini

Staff Writer

Photo by Jena Fracassini

Mark Gore is a book lover, like most librarians, but his favorite part of working in Housatonic’s library is definitely helping the students.

At first glance he’s tall, with slightly dark and slick hair, glasses, and an English accent. He’s probably one of the first people you see when you walk into the library, sitting at the front desk either working on his computer or helping a student.

As a seasoned employee of 25 years, he’s seen the library expand, and loves the atmosphere it has created. While his main job is Circulation, what really drives him to work every morning are things like supervising his student workers, and helping students in their academic endeavors.

Gore stumbled upon a library career when he first took a job as a student worker, while he was attending City College of San Francisco. He describes working in a library while in school as “advantageous”, because he’d have access to research materials and time to study for classes.

Gore remembers a time before computers transformed the library experience. “It was a whole different world back then,” he recalls. One enormous change was from card catalogs to online public access catalogs.

If you wanted a book, Gore says, you’d have to look through huge drawers filled with thousands of cards, then take out the card for the book you wanted and copy down the information. Replacing the cards, however, was a much more arduous task, because misplaced cards could lead to chaos in the drawers, hindering everyone else from finding their own books.

Gore also remembers typing up  overdue notices on a typewriter. “Life was more complicated back then,” he says.

Housatonic’s current library, by comparison, is a place filled with vast amounts of resources that quickly and efficiently help students. Gore is happy to take anyone on a quick tour of the library, pointing out the textbooks available for students without books, the lab materials for those studying sciences, current newspapers and magazines, group study rooms with interactive keyboards, and a whole section devoted to financial literacy.

The most rewarding times for Gore are when students come back to thank him for his help, maybe bringing a card with them or just so pleased to have done well on their exams and term papers.
He says he truly enjoys working with the students at Housatonic, and is pleased each time a student uses the library resources to help them achieve their best.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Underage Brewing

A Snapshot Student Profile

By Jack McCandless
Staff Writer

Andrew Johnson is a difficult person to miss here at Housatonic. The attention-grabbing masses of thick brown hair about his mouth and chin is enough to make women swoon, and men bristle with jealousy.  His appearance makes it seem as though he had been plucked out of some medieval fantasy story, and dropped, right here on campus.  If he had been tugged out of the pages of a book, beard-first, then that world would soon grow thirsty, because Andrew Johnson is a home-brewer extraordinaire.  

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Johnson

At the age of 17, while watching a Swedish metal band’s music video, he and his elder brother were shown the simplicity of making homemade mead, and felt inspired to try it themselves.  After a failed attempt, some thorough internet research, several guidebooks, and a couple more attempts, Andrew came to find that he had developed a real knack for the art.  

Since his first batch, Andrew has successfully brewed a rum-soaked raisin braggart, blackberry mead, oatmeal stout, ginger saison, brown ale, amber ale, red ale, and several more besides.

Now, at the age of 20, he is working on perfecting a coffee-infused porter (a brew of his own design.)  While too young to purchase alcohol, he is legally permitted to purchase all the necessary tools and ingredients for creating his own.  While age has not diminished his creativity, he has expressed frustration about not being able to take the next step towards brewing professionally.  

“On my twenty-first birthday, every brewery in New England is going to get an application from me,” he says, eagerness and excitement plain as day on his face.  This is the expression he gets when he talks about the many brewing projects he has undertaken.  His experience with the art is substantial, and his skill as a brewer has matured with time, as surely as his beer has.  

The study of brewing has lead him to take interest in microbiology, a science that is similar to understanding the chemical process of brewing.  Currently, Andrew is a full-time student at Housatonic in his second semester, and working part-time at a Starbucks close to his home in Newtown.  

He hopes to continue his pursuit of a brewing career, by attending a specialized school in Chicago, but is willing to be content with brewing purely as a hobby, if need be.  However, as a young man with passion, drive, and such an imaginative, self-taught brewing style, it is hard to imagine any professional brewer would turn this talent away.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chavis Accepts Challenge of Advising

By Shannon Mitchell
Staff Writer

Look no further for help navigating through the maze affectionately known as college courses. Tracey Chavis rises to the challenge of advising the Housatonic student population.

Chavis, currently an Academic Advisor in HCC’s Academic Advising Center, is no stranger to academia. This UCONN alumnus spent decades working in various departments in higher education. His past high ranking positions include serving as a dean at St. Vincent’s College of Nursing and a Director of Financial Aid. However, these did not provide him with the student interaction he prefers.

When asked about the types of awards he’s earned over the years Chavis jokes he “can’t remember them all.” Most are merit and performance based, reflecting his continuing capability to go above and beyond. Despite this, gaining said accolades proved to be a trying task.

As one of the two academic advisors, he works with new and continuing students towards building schedules and interpreting the curriculum specific to their goals. He handles all transcript credit evaluation as well. Chavis admits that this job requires him to be a “jack of all trades.” While professors are the experts in their respective fields, in order to better serve students, he needs to have general knowledge of all academic departments. 

After working at Housatonic for 9 years, one would wonder what keeps him coming back. “It’s you young people,” Chavis remarks fondly. He says the students are his main source of motivation and encourage him to help us progress in our college years.

The self-described music fanatic “would love to see Housatonic broaden its communications department.” He wishes to supervise a radio station built for the HCC community fit with its own advertising sector for clubs and events. Chavis states that this would give anyone interested in this field hands on experience, not only with technique, but with professionalism as well.

Don’t be afraid to stop in the Academic Advising Center located in Lafayette Hall Room A111. Tracey Chavis’ calm, friendly demeanor will assist you whether it’s answering a few questions or figuring out next semester’s class. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are preferred. Just be prepared to enjoy smooth jazz playing in the background of your session.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Campus News In Brief

Click on any of the links below to read the article

"I Just Don't Test Well":  Overcoming Math Anxiety

New Exhibit Opens in Burt Chernow Gallery

Busy Students Need Representation, But Lack of Interest Persists

Learn Who's Got Nice Moves on Campus, and How You Can Learn Some Too. 

Nice Moves

By Latisa Pacheco

When the music started, they all knew what to expect. Men stopped to peek through the glass opening of the double doors to catch a glimpse of her. They would watch all five feet of her
slender body, and their eyes would move in the direction of her swayed hips.

She played salsa, pop, and hip hop on the radio as she danced in front of the mirror. Her attitude displayed confidence and her smile filled the room. She brought everyone alive, making them feel comfortable when she showed them her ‘“twerk, dip, and drop-it-low” moves.

Yes, Shamika Paul was an energetic Zumba instructor, according to her students.

The room was normally off limits, but not when she was there. People would line up at the front desk to sign up for one of her sessions in hopes of trying something new.

“Zumba isn’t a 1-2-3 workout routine,” said Marlene Kinchen, Theater major at Housatonic Community College. “It’s a chance to breathe and be free to have fun without restraints.”

She also remembers the sparkling belly-dancing-skirts that glowed in the dark, the bracelets, that made sure each night was different and filled with excitement.

"I enjoyed the class a lot," said James Willis, a graduate of HCC. He elaborated on how Shamika helped him learn some new dance moves.

"She was very helpful correcting me if she saw me doing something in a way that could lead to an injury."

Kelly Hope, Director of Student Activities, rehired Shamika for the fall semester because of her creativity, remembering the joy attending her classes brought her.

“She was great!,” Hope, who noted that she is also used to being the life of the party, said.
With the motto “ditch the workout, join the party,” it’s no surprise this calorie-burning-technique became a big hit. It’s estimated 15 million people around the world currently take  Zumba classes.

“I was able to lose over 47 pounds,” Paul said.

She said that she decided to teach Zumba classes due to her passion for dancing.

Zumba was created by a Colombian born Aerobics instructor named Alberto “Beto” Perez. It is for everyone, and for people of all body types. Using a salsa and merengue CD, he developed this cardiovascular workout.

Currently, classes are free to all HCC students. If you aren’t shy about shaking what God gave you then these classes are for you. They will be held every Wednesday at 5pm inside the Wellness Center located in Beacon Hall. Students do need to obtain an HCC ID and will be required to watch a one-time safety DVD in order to participate.

“I Just Don’t Test Well”

By Natalie Thomas
Staff Writer
Do you get uneasy during math tests? Sometimes so uneasy that your performance and tests grades suffer? What you are experiencing may be math anxiety, a feeling of intense frustration or helplessness about your ability to do math. Math anxiety can be a disabling condition, causing embarrassment, resentment, and even panic during tests. Luckily for Housatonic students staff members have recognized the problem and have started reaching out to help.

On September 18, Professor Eddie Rose of the Math Department facilitated a “Math Anxiety Workshop.” Rose used the workshop to help students learn the step-by-step process needed in order to be able to solve math problems.

Rose wants to change student’s perceptions of math, hoping it will help build their confidence.
He explains, “We’ll  do this class four times, the first three are focused on the step by step process needed to solve math problems properly. The fourth class will be offering tips on how to study properly and review for finals.”

This will be the second semester that Rose is going the extra mile to help his students with this Math Anxiety Workshop., The idea came to him during the spring semester of 2014.

“Students started approaching me asking me for help, then last spring around the time of finals Debbie [Kuchmas, who coordinates programs for General Studies students] came to me with the idea and I told her I would definitely do it.”

Rose feels the workshop has proven to be a success and students that have attended have responded well.

“I have a feeling that a lot of students that attended last year will be back again this time,” he said, with a noticeable satisfaction in his voice.

If you are a student suffering with these symptoms remember that Math Anxiety is not a reflection of your true ability in math. There are a number of strategies you can use to overcome the anxiety response. Hopefully struggling students at HCC will take advantage of any of  Rose’s four workshops. His hope is that you will start to notice a positive change in your attitude towards math, and see a positive change in your grades.

New Exhibit Opens In Chernow Museum

By Shannon Mitchell
Staff Writer

The HCC community, along with the public, are invited to view painter Mia Brownell’s Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting collection in the Burt Chernow Gallery located in the main lobby of Lafayette Hall.

The exhibit will be on display until Monday November 17.

Brownell’s twenty-eight paintings will be exhibited. The Chicago native’s works are food-based, frequently hinting at human sexuality, notably female sexuality. The images also resemble molecular structure with interpretations of various fruits such as apples and grapes.

In addition to being a nationally and internationally recognized artist, Brownell is also an Art instructor at another Connecticut college close to home, Southern Connecticut State University. “A critic of the food industrial complex,” Brownell strives to create parallels between the natural and artificial. Her art serves as commentary about present-day issues concerning food.

Brownell’s previous exhibitions were displayed in major cities like Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. They are also in private and public collections including the National Academy of Sciences. Media outlets such as The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and The New York Times have reviewed and published her work as well. Currently, the J. Cacciola Gallery shows her images in New York City.

Busy Students Need More Representation, but a Lack of Interest Persists

By Jena Fracassini
Staff Writer
In a community of nearly 5,300 people, there are many voices to be represented at Housatonic. This semester, there are 5 Student Senators. That’s one senator per almost 1,000 students
Kelly Hope, Director of Student Life, here at Housatonic said, “If you think HCC is ‘whack’ or has nothing going on, it’s because you guys don’t want to plan anything, and maybe you are ‘whack’.” She’s frustrated because despite the desperate attempts by the Senate to recruit new members, there’s been little interest from the student body to participate.
Each student attending Housatonic pays an activity fee: $10 for full-time students and $5 for part-time students. This fee is used by the Student Senate for planning and conducting activities that the student body can enjoy. The Senate also approves new clubs, regulates and disperses funds to these clubs. The senators also promote things such as diversity, education, culture, and try to improve the college experience for everyone on campus.
Ideally, the Senate should have at least 1% of the student population, which would be around 50 senators. Hope recalls last fall, when the Senate had 15 members, as a greatly productive session. Members have since graduated, taken employment, or no longer have the availability to participate.
Thomas Figueiredo, a student at Housatonic, thinks, “lacking Student Senate members undoubtedly stunts community growth,”but said he doesn’t join due to not having enough time to commit.
“Our campus community needs a variety of leaders to represent our diverse needs,” said Chealsey Lancia, a Criminal Justice major here at Housatonic. “We’ll always be busy, that doesn’t change, but joining the Senate would make a real difference.” She’s currently trying to see if she can find room in her tight schedule to join.

Those interested in joining should stop by the Student Life Office located in Beacon Hall, room 317, and pick up an application. The applicant should be willing to commit around 5 hours per week, have a minimum 2.5 G.P.A, and have enough gumption to ask 50 peers to sign the application.

Monday, May 12, 2014

WEB EXCLUSIVE: A Final Farewell

By Dannyy Alamo
Contributing Writer

As the semester comes to an end many graduating students start to think about the next chapter in their lives. Many students are continuing their education; others are going into the workforce and for students like me using opportunities to further their chosen careers and lives.
A lot of people question the choice to attend Housatonic Community College, I made the choice after losing my grandmother passed away in 2009 and after a year off coming to terms with her death I decided I needed to do something productive and start looking towards my future which is what my grandmother would want.
I started in the summer of 2011, after the grueling fafsa procedure, finding a stable place to live and deciding what major I wanted to be in, I took my first class in the summer to get a feel for what was to come. My first professor was English Professor Lily Michols and she was a very nurturing and understanding professor. Professor Michols made my first class very engaging and entertaining.
After Professor Michols’s English class I felt like I could take on this college thing and that I did. I’ll admit I was a little afraid because I knew that not all professors would be as kind and entertaining as Professor Michols, but I felt good about what was to come. After registering for the Fall 2011 semester I began to anticipate the upcoming school semester.
The semester came and I took it on and did really good, at the time I was in a relationship and was working at the Academic Advising Center in Lafayette Hall. I felt on top of the world and like nothing could stop me. Unfortunately all seemingly good things must come to an end. I had a bad break up after some hidden domestic violence and being with someone who was very controlling.
After I took some time to fully deal with the situation I bounced back and decided I wouldn’t let the situations that occurred before to derail me from finishing my goal, which was to finish the semester and get closer to graduation. I finished the semester and enjoyed the winter break. Christmas came, New Year’s came and it was back to school. I told myself I would focus solely on school and making sure to enjoy my college career, things don’t always go as planned I bumped into a blast from my past and three months later was in another relationship.
I was on cloud nine; I was doing well in school, writing for the paper and was in a relationship that seemed perfect. Perfection unfortunately doesn’t last long, especially when it’s not meant to be. A few months into my relationship things took a turn for the worst, I was being lied to, mistreated and my loyalty and commitment was being used against me. I wasn’t perfect and I knew that but I was doing everything I could to make the relationship work.
Eight months before my break-up, I fell out of love and realized that because my relationship was so public around town, social media and to close family and friends that I couldn’t just walk away without getting a lot of backlash. I was broken so broken, I wasn’t working at my best in school or work, I was emotional and confused, I had never been in that situation before.
When I had the proof to get out, I was too late. My significant other broke up with me and requested for me to move out of our apartment seeing as I wouldn’t be able to afford it on my income. I said I would but after the month was over, it was April 19. A week later I got more proof this time it was solid, I lost it after finding out I was lied to, played and betrayed. My relationship ended very badly and I was embarrassed to go back to school.
When I got back to school after spring break, I had a black eye, scratches and scars all over my body and a fear that wouldn’t go away. My ex broke me, I felt so little, so stupid and so lost. I dealt with the questions and the ridicule and the blame, never opening up to anyone besides those who mattered about what exactly happened.
I finally made it to summer break and even though I was still getting blamed, laughed at and judged I felt like I was handling things just fine. I enjoyed my summer with a few break downs and a few failed attempts at moving on. It was time for the Fall semester and I made a pact with myself that I would wait until graduation to start dating again, it was now 2013 and I realized I had been through two long term failed relationships.
The New Year came very fast and I was ready for it. I started looking at what I wanted to do with my Communications degree and my future. I applied to 136 internships in the City with my sights set on one, People’s Revolution Fashion PR, notably known for its appearances on MTV’s The Hills and The City and Bravo’s Kell On Earth.
I got People’s Rev and was excited to graduate Spring 2014 and start right after. Here I am now preparing for graduation in a few weeks and preparing to take on a new chapter in my life. I reinvented myself into a fashion socialite; I started hosting club events and embracing new friends. I feel like I now know who I am. I realized that all the decisions I’ve made have gotten me to this point good and bad, and that now it was my time to take back my life.
It doesn’t matter what curveball life throws at us, it only matters if we learn from it. If I could do it so could you and if I could come out stronger after domestic violence, homelessness and employment loss you could too. Life is in your hands take it and mold it into what you want it to be, don’t be afraid and never say you can’t do something, trust me you can. This is my farewell to Housatonic, for those that have some time here enjoy it for those leaving with me congrats! We did it!