Non-Traditional Student Starts Club and Wins Award | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Non-Traditional Student Starts Club at NWACC and Wins Award

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Attending college as an adult while balancing a career and a family can be a challenge for many non-traditional students. NWACC student Tiffany McCloskey understands the struggle and created a solution: The Non-Traditional Student Organization (NTSO). 

NTSO is a support group consisting of non-traditional NWACC students who collaborate and overcome school-related challenges, such as technology issues, stress management, test anxiety, and accessing financial resources. The support group also encourages members to pursue their higher education goals.  

“Last semester, I was struggling with test anxiety; however, with the help of several amazing NWACC staff members showing me ways to control and overcome it, I brought my grades up. Afterward, I created the NTSO (Non-Traditional Student Organization), formerly Empty Nesters. I realized I may not be alone in challenges faced returning to college after a long period of time,” she said. “I want this club to be an outlet making connections with other non-traditional students, finding ways to overcome college struggles and expand their knowledge of resources available to them.

Tiffany’s plans for developing new NWACC clubs doesn’t stop there. As a woman in the computer information field, she saw a need for a Women in Technology club where students can gather and learn about technology opportunities within the community.

“I envision the Women in Technology club partnering with local businesses to gain insight on what experience businesses are looking for as technology changes. Hopefully, businesses would provide internships, career and possible scholarship opportunities. When I was researching national scholarships for women in technology, I discovered ones that would provide financial assistance for conferences and undergraduate funding, but we needed to have a club represented at NWACC,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany has plans to graduate from NWACC in 2020 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science - Computer Information Management, an Associate Degree in Science - Business Transfer, and a certificate in the Certified Retail Analyst program. After graduation, she’ll continue her education in Business and earn a Bachelor's degree.

Outside of her studies and club activities, Tiffany is an active volunteer in northwest Arkansas. She’s volunteered at Bentonville public schools, where her children attended, and volunteered with organizations such as the Samaritan Community Center, Goodwill, The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville Library, and more. She currently volunteers at Red Cross assisting locally and nationally.

“When I volunteer, it gives me skills to see things in a unique perspective, make connections with people of all ages and cultures, and helps me grow as an individual, as it broadens my knowledge and social skills. I want to make a positive difference on others and the community,” Tiffany said.

Golden Eagle Award Recipient

Tiffany’s persistence in strengthening her education, personal development and social awareness, as well as her drive to create NWACC clubs have led to her nomination for NWACC’s Golden Eagle Award. This March, Tiffany won the prestigious award.

NWACC students who are nominated for the Golden Eagle Award must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and demonstrate a commitment to education, social awareness, and personal development and be involved in varied activities. Recipients receive a certificate of recognition and a $100 check from the NWACC Foundation at the NWACC Board of Trustees meetings. Monthly recipients of the Golden Eagle Award may become eligible for consideration as the College’s Distinguished Golden Eagle Award, an honor presented annually that includes additional scholarship money.

NWACC Business and Computer Information Instructor Christy Stamps nominated Tiffany for the Golden Eagle Award. “I have been impressed with Tiffany from the first day of class. She is helpful and articulate and an amazing asset to NWACC.  She is a non-traditional student that is trying to make NWACC a better place for other students,” she said.

Tiffany is enthused to be nominated for the award. “I am honored to have been nominated and chosen to receive this prestigious award. As I look on the wall of the talented and selfless students who have won the award previously, I feel humbled to be in their presence,” she said.

The award winner has advice to offer other adult students considering pursuing a college education, “Attend NWACC! Besides the appealing cost factor, the instructors, counselors, and support staff throughout the campuses are wonderful, easy to talk to, and very resourceful,” she said. “You are never too old to learn… Never give up on yourself, even if you think you can’t do something. Overcome the fear whispering in your ear and clouding your dreams, because you can do it!” 


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