Thursday, September 30, 2010

International Staff Intern Embraces UNC Charlotte

By Fatima Tauqir

After working with enthusiasm and dedication for the last three years as Student Affairs and Marketing Officer, at NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, in Islamabad, Pakistan, I was highly motivated and engrossed in learning more about the world and convinced of the importance of global perspective. My Director General Dr. Arshad and I contacted a colleague at UNC Charlotte to arrange for a professional internship dedicated to examining and understanding student affairs and higher education in the United States.

On my home campus in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, I am responsible for the management of the student affairs office and activities; developing, coordinating and distributing marketing materials reflecting School and University interest and services; overseeing large events for students including annual Open House, Alumni Homecoming, Convocations, and International Culture Day. I also manage the Alumni Office of the school. As an alumnus of the school’s program (I graduated in 2006 with a degree in Information Technology), I bring specific understanding of the school’s academic offerings and the individual student experience.

Warmly welcomed by the UNC Charlotte community, I immediately took advantage of all the opportunities and within a month had visited with a staggering number of campus departments and units including: Student Union, Student Activities Group, Career Office, Counseling Center, Graduate School, Human Resource Office, Housing and Residency, Continuing Education, Development and Alumni Office, International Office of Students and Scholars Office and Dean of Student Affairs. My meetings provided a platform from which I built relationships and strengthened my understandings of policies, system and rules. Through this experience and interaction I have learned a lot. It has enhanced my ability to think and helped me in diverse perception of things.

Apart from scheduling myself with all these departments with my supervisor Marcia Kiessling every week, I have also been keenly engaged on the UNC Charlotte campus I led a discussion during Graduate Education Week in March and presented about NUST and Pakistan to the campus community in April 16. I took professional development courses at UNC Continuing Education. Lastly as part of my internship experience I worked with UNC Charlotte’s Intercultural Outreach to help connect with a group of MBA students from India.

I attended an array of on seminars, workshops and various other campus activities that are being arranged for the students, faculty and staff. I find people working in a collegial and organized manner. During my interactions I have tried to study and observe how these good quality methods and procedures practiced at UNC Charlotte can be incorporated in my parent university, back home.

I enjoyed the life in the USA, including traveling, shopping and cooking. I have a passion for cooking and trying dishes from around the world and loved seeing the behind-the-scenes-work of the Chartwells culinary team at UNC Charlotte. In my last two weeks in the USA I traveled from lush beautiful greenery of Charlotte to the amazing Golden Gate Bridge of San Fran├žois to Malibu on the Pacific Ocean, and then to Manhattan in New York, experiencing different yet amazingly diverse cultures in three states of the USA.

My camera was always at-the-ready from my first ever experience with snow and then twice again, to the beautiful colorful spring and in the end to the blazing hot summer, giving me the best six months of my life.

I was recognized at 5th Annual International Women’s Day. I made extremely wonderful and talented mentors and friends and had an experience which I never thought was meant to happen. At the end, I hope my experience will bring about a positive change in terms of innovation in NUST processes that enables maximum support to students and faculty members. Through this internship opportunity I have tried to establish a strong partnership through collaborative exchange programs between NUST and UNC Charlotte.

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to UNCC for providing me this international exposure. It has enhanced my life and polished my professional skills beyond my expectations.

We ARE Running. Are You?

By Lisa Patterson

I am not a runner, but I do love a good race. And the 4.NINER K is a great race.

Last year more than 600 people battled inclement weather to get a little exercise and raise funds for need-based student scholarships. The second annual 4.NINER K run/walk is scheduled for Oct. 23, and it’s conceivable that 600 people and then some will be participating. I hope so.

The race is a well-organized affair, and the course is simply beautiful. In fact, the scenery is a great distraction for a non-runner like me…takes the mind off of the burning lungs. Last year, the pre-race atmosphere was festive, the coffee hot, and the good will palpable. It’s safe to expect an even better event this year.

The race was created as a direct response to challenges brought on by the economic recession. Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since 2009 in terms of financial aid — less financial aid is available to students in need even as UNC Charlotte’s enrollment increases. Sometimes $100 can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out.

Several of the students who benefited from the more than $27,000 raised in 2009 have since shared their stories with race organizers – the scholarships they received allowed them to stay in school, and they are sincerely grateful. That knowledge might be the motivation I need during the last leg of the race course.

So, I hope you will join me and my teammates Oct. 23 for what promises to be a great race for a great cause. We’re on team “We ARE Running” – and we’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.

I am not a runner, but I am a supporter of education and need-based scholarships.

For more information about the 4.NINER K or to register, visit http://syc.uncc.edu/4.niner-k

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Lisa Patterson is senior writer in the Office of Public Relations