Student Support Services goal: ‘to reach everybody’

OCCC Student Support Services offers a variety of services intended to help and support students, said Learning Support Specialist Mary Turner. She said the area offers learning support, disability services, counseling and TrIO programs — federal programs for first-generation college students.

Turner said the area helps an estimated more than 3,000 students each year, with more than a third being in-person interactions.

Turner said she works closely with Learning Support Specialist Alta Price.

She said the area handles everything related to academic health and success — test anxiety, improving reading and writing skills, how to interact, how to problem solve and more.

Students who have successfully appealed financial aid suspension also are required to meet with the specialists and plan how to get the student back on track. Turner said about 1,000 to 1,200 students go on warning each semester.

“Our objective across the office is student success,” Turner said. “We want students to be in a better place than when they started with us.”

Jenna Howard, OCCC’s licensed mental health counselor, said the main issues students seem to face are anxiety and stress. She said many have trouble dealing with and balancing school, work, and families.

Many students also have issues with addictions, Howard said. She said all are matters that student services want to reach out and help with.

Turner said student services is always available for appointments and walk-ins. They serve hundreds of student each year through in-office help and through program referral.

Howard said the area is considering creating grief groups because they are known to be effective in making students feel more comfortable with sharing issues.

“I can tell them what is normal,” she said, “but when a peer says it, it makes it that much more meaningful. She said their goal is simple.

“We want to reach everybody. “We want the campus to know that we are here.”

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