Pierce Pioneer

Serendipitous By Design

Veronica Lu / Staff Photographer
Dino-Slofer sharing his words of wisdom on how he got his business started thanks to his experience at Pierce.

Daniel Dino-Slofer, a Pierce College alumni and successful business owner, shares words of wisdom to share with equally aspiring students.

Many college students simply want to collect their degree, and find a comfortable job with reliable pay. But 32-year-old Dino-Slofer, who graduated from Pierce College in the Spring of 2019, went above and beyond the expectations set by the surrounding culture, and now runs his own successful company.

Being a student at Pierce College, Dino-Slofer never thought of himself as the entrepreneur type. “I never imagined I would get very far after graduating, in terms of being my own boss or doing something that I set my mind to,” he said. “I always thought that I would just get a job right out of college and work for someone else.”

Despite his concerns, Dino-Slofer went down a different path. Although much of what Dino-Slofer has accomplished was organized after he graduated, his journey through college was quite unique, if not also hindered by unfortunate technical difficulties. 

Dino-Slofer was on the verge of obtaining his degree in media design and production when his program got cancelled. After spending three years as a student at Clover Park Technical College  he was forced to either choose a different program at the school or complete his degree somewhere else. Dino-Slofer decided to finish his program at Pierce College. 

“I made a choice to come to Pierce,” he said. “And not only did I complete my degree, I decided to go on to get my certificate in social media marketing and project management.” Dino-Slofer attributes his success to this transfer to Pierce, saying that it was his experiences, the support and quality in the courses that he took which led him to start his own small business.

Dino-Slofer now runs Lucent Designs, a freelance photography and digital design company. The staff consists of Dino-Slofer himself, and two co-workers, Akari Nori and Andera Bautista. Dino-Slofer states that each team member is proficient in different categories of photography. “I specialize in landscape photography. Akari, she specializes in portraits, and Andrea she specializes in urban photography.”

While Dino-Slofer lives here in the Pacific Northwest, Nori and Bautista currently reside in Canada and Japan, respectively. This gives the company very different perspectives, and much variety in content between the three locations.

Dino-Slofer’s inspirational, outgoing personality has not gone unnoticed by his fellow students either. “(Daniel is) always in the background, taking pictures, and he’s usually doing it on campus. Chances are if there’s any event going on, he’s covering it.” said an friend of Daniels, who. 

Yet another friend, Ren, who wished his last name to be undisclosed, has known Daniel since he first started attending Pierce College. “He was very outgoing when I initially met him, and that still hasn’t changed.” said Ren.

Dino-Slofer’s innovation and success can speak to many young minds, and be an encouraging light when it seems that students dreams may never come to fruition. Dino-Slofer offers some words of encouragement to current and future students who wish to become entrepreneurs like himself. 

“Whatever your dream, whatever your goal is, go for it, even if you don’t entirely have a complete plan in your mind. Take the first steps, get things started. Seek out the information you need to start your own business, your own freelance or whatever thing you want to start, and as you get better at it, it’ll come naturally.”

How to stay motivated in keeping and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions

How+to+stay+motivated+in+keeping+and+achieving+your+New+Year%27s+Resolutions

Set yourself up for success in 2020

It’s the beginning of a new year, which for many people can feel like a fresh start. This is a time when people start setting goals in their life in order to start the year off right. Making New Year’s resolutions has been a tradition people take part in all around the world for years.

However, although telling yourself that you will exercise everyday, or cut out sugary drinks may sound simple, it is often hard for people to stay true to their goals for very long. According to Business Insider, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. 

This especially rings true in college students. Many students living a busy lifestyle have a hard time finding time or motivation to stay true to their goals outside of school, work, friends, and family. With keeping a few strategies and tips in mind, anyone can stay motivated to keep their New Year’s resolution all year long.

First, come up with a reasonable goal. If you spend 3 hours a day watching television, and tell yourself you will only watch 20 minutes of television a day, that goal will most likely not be met for very long. Set reachable expectations in the beginning, and slowly work up to what you hope to achieve. 

Setting a realistic goal comes hand in hand with making that goal as specific as possible. If you say something vague such as, “I want to eat healthier,” your ideas of what constitutes as healthy may change over time. Instead, come up with a plan such as a specific food you will cut out, or a healthy meal you will eat a few days a week.

After you make your goal, you are now ready to start achieving it. Think about what ways you stay motivated in other parts of your life, such as in school or hobbies. You could set an alarm to remind you to exercise in short increments throughout the day, or get a friend to remind you. 

Finally, reward yourself for accomplishing your goals. It’s ok to take time for yourself to celebrate your successes. If you finally get an A in a difficult class, go out with a friend, or buy yourself something new to praise your hard work.

By following these steps, you will find yourself succeeding in keeping your New Year’s resolutions more than you ever have in the past. Things that once seemed impossible to reach, will now become a regular habit in your life. Set 2020 up for a great year from the very beginning.

Julie A. White and what it means to be involved

Kotone Ochiai / Staff Photographer
President White getting interviewed by Lizzy Rowe

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom president Julia A. White goes in depth on her life and what her goals and intents are for the students under her.

Pierce College centers its focus on providing educational opportunities through equity, inclusion and accessibility to all communities. Julie A. White, Ph.D and current Fort Steilacoom Pierce College president keeps those key components at the core of her work.

White was looking for the next step in her career and had her eye on Pierce for some years now. “Pierce is a national leader and trendsetter in the community college sector,” she adds. “When I saw this job opening was available, I was excited, and I got right on it.”

Growing up in a rural community in Indiana, White’s family had never been to college. Her father dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, and her grandfather couldn’t read or write. “Academics came easily to me, but I did feel adrift. It wasn’t something my family had experienced,” White disclosed. “They definitely supported me but didn’t know how to.”

In high school, White was encouraged by her English teacher and music instructors. They brought out her potential and helped her through tough times in life. “I experienced the power of literature and music to help me understand the human experience and connect my own emotions to the broader world. I wanted to bring that to others,” she states.

As a first-generation college student, White says not to let anyone limit you or define what you can accomplish. “There are so many people with stories like mine who have accomplished amazing things. Get to know those people because those are the people that can help bolster you.”

Julie White / Courtesy Photo

Equity is the accessibility of student opportunity and success with the individual needs of students at the heart. White says people with less opportunities or lack of resources create a separation and a less vibrant culture for all. “We have a lot of work to do in this country around historical racism, sexism and the conditions we see today are rooted in those histories. We can’t go back and change that, but we can address the current conditions.”

With the national presidential election underway, many candidates ran on a platform of reducing or eliminating student debt, particularly for community colleges. White states that college should be free to everyone because financially it’s a huge barrier that if removed gives more opportunities to students. 

“There would be funds for daily living expenses for students who work full time and part time.” She proposes this innovation so students can work less and focus more on their academics.

The Washington State Legislator has increased funding so more students can receive grants. There is no effective plan for the grants between federal and state financial aid regulations, but White is continually working with community college presidents on innovative projects. “We are creating a virtual hub of community resources that will help students identify their financial needs and services in the community,” White says.

White’s first steps in her new role is to listen and to learn. Having conversations with students, faculty and examining student success data will help her understand where the barriers lie and how they can improve them. 

When she is not in the office or at a community event, White enjoys yoga, hiking, biking and being outdoors. She is excited to experience the culture and beauty Washington has to offer. White also has a son and a daughter who are musicians and are enrolled in graduate school. “I think there are some helpful genes there, but they have worked really hard. I am very proud of them,” she states.  

White says you can expect to see her on campus attending student events, and she welcomes any new ideas students bring forth. “They should know I am out in the community talking about how great they are and trying to spread the word about Pierce so more students can take advantage of the opportunities that we have.”

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