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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Delano Campus Director took the career-change advice she gives her students

April 12, 2016
Delano campus director Trish Hruby
Trish Hruby loves her role as Campus Director for SJVC’s newest Central Valley location in Delano.

Patricia Hruby spent more than 20 years in the newspaper business before that shrinking industry tripped her lay-off. Inevitable or not, losing your spot in the only field you have known is traumatic. But Trish got a grip on her panic, and plotted a new career path.

“It was my opportunity to make a career change, and this was my big shot to do it,” says the New Jersey native. Trish’s family was ready to support her wherever that opportunity appeared.

She started where almost everybody looking for work starts. She hit the help wanted sites. There she saw an ad for an Enrollment Services Director (ESD) position on SJVC’s Fresno campus. Although she had never considered a position so far outside her scope of media experience, she started to see her skills match perfectly with those in the ESD position.

As an Advertising Director for a newspaper, Trish worked with businesses to promote their products and boost their business. She saw the same dynamic at work when she helped students strengthen their skills through higher education and position themselves for a more successful career.

“I’m all about this; I can do this!” she affirms. Trish started to work at the Fresno campus in 2012. Later that year, Sumer Avila joined the SJVC Fresno team as Campus Director.

“Sumer was so gracious with her knowledge and allowing me to grow, learn and be diverse in my role as Enrollment Services Director,” says Trish. “She let me branch out in ways that let me swing into this position, when I got it.”

This position is the Campus Director spot she earned and was given last summer when Delano became SJVC’s newest ground campus. No one was surprised at Trish’s fast-track to leadership.

“Trish’s incredible gift to our students, faculty and staff is her no-nonsense New Jersey approach,” says Carole Brown, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “She has some fun analogies to almost any situation that effectively address challenges with a touch of humor.”

Trish marshaled many of those talents and skills when campus start-up woes threw a few punches.

“We were open two weeks when a big rainstorm left water in classrooms, flooded the student lounge and made us feel like we were on Noah’s Ark,” says Trish. “We fixed the roof and got back to business.”

Nothing distracts Trish and her team of staff and faculty. “Once the door is open and students are in the building; it’s all about the students,” says Trish.

From the beginning, this has been a love story about the life this campus hopes to give this small, farm community. “They come in scared,” says Trish. “For many, no one in their life has listened to them or really cared about what they have to say.” That was about to change.

Trish knows that SJVC Delano’s Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration and Business Administration programs can be the beginning of a new world for these young seekers of a better life.

“We are making sure that we are a stable, positive force in Delano,” says Trish. “We want to grow the community and give Delano citizens the ability to work and raise their families here.”

Before SJVC opened its new campus last year, those interested in stretching beyond high school had to commute to outlying areas. Medical and business facilities had few well-trained job applicants to fill open positions. SJVC’s presence has energized the town and created excitement among businesses, families and – particularly – the community’s youth.

The manager of a fast-food business close to the campus came to the school to ask about its program hours. He wanted to construct his employee’s schedules to match the school’s program hours so that his employees could attend class and keep their jobs.

“I watch people come in out of the field to enroll, or after they finish their shift at 3:00 o’clock,” says Trish. They bring their cousin, mother, sister, boyfriend…on and on it goes. Oh my goodness, they’ve just been waiting for us to get here, and it almost brings a tear to your eye.”

The Delano campus was hoping and preparing for a first start of 25 to 30 students. Instead, 81 students signed up for a life-changing experience.

“I was standing in front of them at orientation, letting them know how excited we were and that they were the most important people in the room,” says Trish. “I told them that while they were worrying about what they were going to wear, I was doing the same thing about how I was going to feel, what this ‘first’ was going to be like. I told them, ‘I was right with you.’”

That is not likely to change. “Many of them think this is a dream that they would not be able to realize,” says Trish. “We watch them look so sharp in their uniforms, stand a little straighter; it’s just been an amazing transformation to watch.”

Trish Hruby is on the front lines, carrying SJVC’s banner of hope and prosperity for all who enter their doors. “We get to know people and change their lives. Not just their lives, but their kids’ lives, and their grandkids lives.”

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