There to Here-7 Questions

Alas, fall is here and the leaves are just beginning to change. For many it is time to focus on classes and put the toys of summer away. Perhaps you are now pondering about your career wondering if you are taking the right courses, if they will transfer, and if you have chosen the right major. Or, maybe you are like Adam L. Cloutier who knew what career he wanted to pursue at the very beginning. Many students and staff at Henry Ford Community College know him as a giving, caring, and intelligent person. If there is a challenge or problem that requires resolution, Cloutier is often called for his input or guidance.
Cloutier attended community college and then transferred to Michigan State University, making him a wonderful example for how you get “from here to there”. Following are his responses to The 7 Questions regarding making career decisions.

What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
I am a mathematics instructor and formal Coordinator of Retention. As a mathematics instructor, my responsibilities include teaching math courses ranging from Basic Mathematics to Linear Algebra. As the Coordinator of Retention, my responsibilities included recommending, implementing, and continuing retention initiatives for the college.

What degrees have you earned?
2000 – 2002: A.S. from Delta College
2002 – 2004: B.S. from Michigan State University in mathematics
2004 – 2006: M.S. from Michigan State University in mathematics
2011 – 2014: presently pursing Ed. D. from Ferris State University in Community College Leadership

As an undergraduate student, what was your experience like?
My motto during my undergraduate years was “serious first, play second”. During my first two years of school, I had to commute 30 minutes to school each day, worked three jobs, and didn’t have much time for fun. However, after transferring to MSU, I lived in the dorm for one year, which opened up my eyes to collegiate fun. Certainly studies and responsibility came first as I always took a full load and worked two jobs, but once the work was done and I was comfortable with my learning, I made friends and found time to relax and have fun! It was easy to see that fun was a part of the college experience. I worked especially hard so that I could have time to party, watch football, and hang out with friends.

What was the most difficult challenge you faced while in college and how did you manage it?
Finding help for my class work was difficult. When I reached a certain level in my studies, there was no learning lab or convenient office hours. I had to develop friendships within my classes so that my newfound friends and I could study and learn together. Unfortunately, at times there was a lack of friends or knowledge, so I had to quickly find the library and learn to research on my own.

What do you believe are the rewards of your education?
The rewards of my education are a successful, secure, and professional career. This career allows me to make a difference, both center stage and behind the scenes, in the lives of many at the college, and gives me the opportunity to grow as a professional and an individual. My education has given me the tools and abilities necessary to contribute to society.

Did/do you have mentors in your school and work lives?
I had and have several mentors. I feel it is important to have someone to look up to, to talk to, and to grow with. I had many when I was in college – mostly professors – who pushed me to be the best I could be and recommend that I continue my education. Currently, I have several “bosses” that are mentors and I highly value their input, critique, and advice.

What advice do you have for students?
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something, but work your butt off to find the answer – look in books, ask professors, ask friends, look online – just get help when you need it! Take time to have a little fun. Get your studies done first, make sure you’re ready for tests, and when you’re able to, have some fun!