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Annual ACE Conference Focused on Connections

In late February, the staff of the Assistance Centers for Education took some time to connect with one another at the second annual ACE conference, themed "Making Connections, ACE: Not Just Tutoring Anymore."

Sep 07, 2016

March 2011

In late February, the staff of the Assistance Centers for Education took some time to connect with one another at the second annual ACE conference, themed "Making Connections, ACE: Not Just Tutoring Anymore."

It took place at the Main Campus Student Resource Center and included a keynote address from Marten Griego, who emphasized the tremendous impact that educators can have on the lives of students. He knows from personal experience.

Thirteen years ago, Griego, an Albuquerque native, was functionally illiterate. Griego decided at the age of 50, after many years struggling with alcohol and drug use, that it was time for him to overcome his circumstances and learn to read.

Griego is now a published author of his own memoir, "Leaving the House of Tears."

During his keynote speech, Griego reminded staff members of the positive influence they have on students' lives. He said that he was in a dark place in his life when educators pulled him out of the "dark" and in to the "light."

"Those who become educators are the real heroes and heroines," Griego said. "My greatest honor is to stand by you in the light."

The new CNM Connect model came out into the light when it was officially launched in mid-February. The new CNM Connect program aims to connect students with important resources and services that can help them succeed and reach their educational goals. In harmony with the CNM Connect launch, this year's ACE conference focused on the importance of connections, both with students and among staff members. CNM Connect Achievement Coaches, Tutors, Instructional Technicians, Instructional Support Technicians and Technical Support Technicians came together from all campuses for the conference.

The day began with a welcome from Dr. Beth Pitonzo, Vice President of Academic Affairs, followed by the "World Café," in which employees formed small groups to talk about interactions with students and their experiences at CNM.

"The World Café is an opportunity for ACE staff to connect with one another," said Lis Turkheimer, Director of ACE. "My goal is for people to come together, different than a typical work day."

At the end of the World Café, ACE staff members were challenged to write a six-word memoir about themselves. Turkheimer's personal memoir was "I am connected with a smile."

Following the keynote address by Griego, ACE staff spent the afternoon in breakout sessions, one of which was lead by Griego. The sessions focused on topics from literacy to utilizing computer tools and software to curriculum.

According to Don McIver, Academic Support Coordinator and member of the ACE conference planning team, the conference was attended by about 130 employees.

McIver said that the conference is beneficial and important to ACE staff because of the team-building opportunities and networking. He said that it's a great opportunity to put faces with names and, of course, to connect.