SJVC Students and Grads are in good hands

by Nyla on December 10, 2013 · 10:00 am

Adamina McKenzie

Adamina’s passion is her work, to which she brings a positive attitude and genuine care.

Adamina McKenzie is the kind of person you want in your corner. She will be your strongest advocate. She is the sister you always wished you had, the mama bear who fights for your security, and the coach who pushes you to dig deeper to find your own strength.

That means, as a Career Services Advisor at the Hesperia campus, Adamina is in the perfect position to help students and graduates develop job search skills in order to show their greatest potential to prospective employers. Many of her colleagues agree.

EDIT: Shortly after the writing of this story, Adamina transitioned to Career Service Manager at SJVC Hesperia.

“Every day Adamina brings a positive attitude, incredible drive and resourcefulness to the department and our campus,” says Melanie Blackwell, Campus Director, who hired Adamina in February.

Adamina hits the ground running each day. The Career Services team of three plans their goals and activities around providing effective job search assistance to students on the threshold of graduation, as well as building relationships with their future employers. They groom students and graduates in the art of making a good impression – both on their resumes and in-person – along with negotiating salaries, communicating effectively, demonstrating their knowledge and skills, and projecting confidence. Adamina is a natural mentor.

“It’s my passion, and if you’re really passionate about something, you’ll give it your all,” says Adamina. “I believe our students want a career, not a job. I make sure that employers know that, and that it is a win-win situation when they hire our graduates.”

Recently Adamina persuaded a correctional facility that was reopening, with 100 positions to fill, to conduct interviews for new Correction Officers at the college campus. “They interviewed 50 candidates that day and eventually made offers to 28 of our CJC students and graduates,” says Melanie Blackwell. “And now that their Correctional Officer positions are filled, they will be looking at our Business Administration, Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology graduates to fill needs within their facility.”

A humble person, Adamina emphasizes the team effort that went in to making this mass placement so successful, as she also credits the skill level of those who were hired. “At the end of the day it’s the graduates who get the job for themselves,” she says. “We just provide the tools for them to be successful during the interview; they do the rest.”

Criminal Justice Corrections Program Director, Mike Stewart had his own thoughts about the mass hiring’s source of momentum. “The CJ staff and cadets are privileged and honored to have Adamina in the community doing what she does best.”

Adamina’s favorite moments are centered on student success stories. For her, it is personal. Their success is her success.

One story involves a CJC program student who, with Career Services help, landed an ideal position with great pay and benefits…and promptly decided to leave the CJ program. She felt her ultimate goal had been achieved and wanted to begin to enjoy the rewards of her efforts.

“She was scheduled to graduate after only one more module,” says Adamina. “I explained to her that she would be more of an asset to the company with that degree. She agreed to finish and now she’s going to graduate in December. I’m so proud of her.”

Adamina gives much of herself to her work and all those around her. She makes sure she has people close by who help replenish her spirit and cheer her on. Her husband, Elliott and their three young boys enthusiastically fill that role.

“My husband is my hero,” says Adamina. “He boosts me up every morning before I go to work and is the perfect person to go to when I’m not sure about something. And, the boys give me a ‘Go mommy!’”

There are other resources that come into perfect play. “I do a lot of yoga and meditation,” says Adamina. “I read and apply The Secret and meditate on my Vision Board. It’s a ritual in a sense, but I don’t go so far as chanting,” she laughs. Although, if she did, it would definitely be “Let’s manifest! Let’s do this!” she says.

Gratitude constantly weaves its way into Adamina’s thoughts, expressions and spirit. “It definitely takes a team,” she says. “I am so thankful for Anthony Romo (Corporate Director of Career Services), Adriana Ruiz (Career Services Specialist) Melanie Blackwell, Mike Stewart and (colleagues) Kalisha Gessesse and Ashley Voss.”

“I’m telling you, it’s just so rewarding,” she enthuses. “Employers continue to come back to us and students continue to trust me.” What more could you want.



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