#NISODProfiles – Jillian Sole
“Starting the Pierpont Pride Food Pantry has been a professional accomplishment for me. It is very hard to study and learn if you are worried about being hungry. Being able to eliminate this burden for our students truly makes me feel like I have done something very important for them.”
#NISODProfiles | April 18, 2019
What is the most rewarding part about being a staff member of a community or technical college?
Hands down the students! I love helping students succeed and watching them grow from semester to semester. Our students are also a part of our local community, so to get to watch them grow and succeed means that I get to watch our community flourish.
What is something very important to you about your professional practice?
Starting the Pierpont Pride Food Pantry has been a professional accomplishment for me. The pantry started as a cabinet by my desk, and has grown into a full pantry for our students. Students use the pantry during the day for meals and snacks, or take home food to help their families. It is very hard to study and learn if you are worried about being hungry. Being able to eliminate this burden for our students truly makes me feel like I have done something very important for them.
Share a memorable experience on the job and explain why it was so impactful.
I had a student come up to me who was going through a rough time. I talked to her about the pantry and we discussed the Federal Work-Study program. The student was able to take home food for her family each week and began working as a student worker through the Federal Work-Study program. This was shortly after the pantry opened, and the first time I was able to see the full effect of what the pantry can provide for our students.
If you are in a student-facing role (or if you are not, but interact with students regardless), how do you support and/or connect with students?
I work at the front reception desk and I am often the first point of contact for students, and students have given me the nickname “Mom.” I try to let the students know I am available for any questions or concerns they may have. If I do not know the answer to a question, I send students to class and do what I can to ensure that when class has finished I have the answers any student needs.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I did a report and presentation on Oprah when I was in the 8th grade and was so impressed with her accomplishments. Oprah is truly the definition of self-made: she had a horrific childhood, but did not let that stop her from succeeding. I would love to ask how she gathered the courage to push forward when there were so many obstacles to prevent her from moving on. Her courage and hard work are very inspiring, and I bet she has some great words of wisdom so share.
Every month, NISOD profiles faculty and staff from our member colleges who are doing extraordinary work on their campuses. #NISODProfiles offer a direct connection to your colleagues from across the world who exemplify NISOD’s mission of improving teaching, learning, and leadership.