August 18, 2022

Waubonsee Voices: Discover new passions

One of the enduring benefits of attending college is the expanded opportunity to discover new passions. Education has the power to transform lives because it opens doors for individuals to step into new realities, new opportunities, and new identities, putting them in a position to reap exciting new rewards.

Last month, seven students from Waubonsee’s Auto Body Repair and Automotive Technology programs participated in the annual SkillsUSA Illinois State Leadership and Skills Conference. Waubonsee student Liam Richardson received first place in Automotive Services Technology and will compete in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, later this month. He is studying Automotive Technology at Waubonsee. We also had a second Waubonsee student recognized at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference. Angel Pino received second place in Automotive Refinishing Technology. He is studying Auto Body Repair at Waubonsee.

Liam and Angel continue a strong winning tradition among Waubonsee students at SkillsUSA. Waubonsee’s history includes three Gold, one Silver, and one Bronze finish at the national level as well as 14 Gold, 14 Silver, and nine Bronze finishes at the state level. Our winning categories include Collision Repair Technology; Automotive Refinishing Technology; CNC Technician (Machine Tool Technology); Criminal Justice; Automotive Service Technology; Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R); and Fire Science. These students discovered or deepened their passions at Waubonsee and are now excelling in an area they love while providing a meaningful contribution to the world with the knowledge and skills they received at Waubonsee. And passion is infectious; many Waubonsee alumni continue their education, work in their field, and return to Waubonsee to share their passion as full-time or adjunct faculty and staff members. I believe we can all make a difference when our passion and purpose intersect.

At Waubonsee, we believe you will find numerous opportunities to discover new passions and cultivate your interest in things you care about most. I invite you to discover your passion by learning a new skill or taking a few classes this summer or fall. Focus on things that are important to you. Try something new or revisit old interests and use your imagination. Expand your comfort zone. Do you know that Waubonsee has more than 16 short career certificates, each with six courses or less? You can earn a credential and then keep working toward a more advanced certificate or complete an associate degree to expand your career opportunities.

The possibilities are endless once you put your newly discovered passions to work. We hope you will take advantage of all Waubonsee Community College offers this summer or fall online or at any of our four campuses. Expand your perspectives, discover new passions, and have fun in the process. What new passion will you discover next?

• Christine J. Sobek is president of Waubonsee Community College.