#CYProfessional: Jane Jepson, Career & Technical Education Counselor

At Cypress College, we are proud of our employees and realize that recognizing personal and professional achievements, along with establishing a human connection between students, faculty, and staff, promotes a collegial atmosphere imbued with the Charger Spirit! Our employees always strive for excellence and make significant contributions to the campus and surrounding communities every day. We are pleased to feature distinguished #CYProfessional educators like Career & Technical Education counselor Jane.

What was your path to Cypress?

I always wanted to be in a helping profession, and after completing a BA in Sociology — and enjoying the educational experience — I discovered there was a career in helping students on college campuses! So I completed the MS Counseling in Student Development in Higher Education at CSULB while working there as an academic advisor in the College of Business. As part of the graduate degree requirements, I was fortunate to do a practicum (similar to an internship) at Cypress College, whereby I got to know Cypress, and the faculty and staff got to know me. Soon thereafter I was hired part time and eventually full time.

So my own experience is proof that internships, practicums, and the like are super important in a career pathway!

I’m like a kid in a candy store at our college; the variety of courses we offer is so enticing!  But while I don’t actually take too many courses here at this college, it’s a vicarious thrill to be journeying through the learning process alongside our students. I’d like to think I’m a bit of a role model for lifelong learning with well over 275 credits and four degrees in my educational vitae. The most recent — just in 2018 —  is a PhD in Social & Environmental Justice pedagogies. Thus, lifelong learning is one of my strongest values and I try to impart this value to my students.

What inspires you as a counselor?

Working with different students every day is challenging and rewarding because every student is unique — unique cultural and familial backgrounds and unique aspirations — and being entrusted with each student’s special goals and dreams is an honor and a privilege. Indeed, my inspiration to be an educator comes from the students themselves who are looking to me/us for support in their own journeys to gainful employment, wider horizons, and deeper understanding of the world and themselves through our courses, certificates, and degrees.

How do you balance your work at Cypress with your other professional/creative work?

Balancing work, school, family, and other/community obligations is a challenge, and even with all my experience as a student and working professional, I have had to relearn the lesson of “finding balance.” “Time” really is a scarce commodity that we must budget as wisely as any important resource; we must make a conscious effort to use it for what is most important in our lives, whether it’s for study, for family, or even downtime for reflection.

One of the most effective means for finding balance is through “time management,” which is taught in the COUN 140 Educational Planning course. There are apps for time management/budgeting, but in the COUN 140 class we usually use pencil, paper, and a weekly calendar broken down by hours. We ask students to first block out all their obligations (e.g., class time, making dinner, work, etc.) and then fill in the remaining spaces with study time so that STUDY TIME is ON the calendar. Students quickly realize how essential budgeting, planning, and managing time is to their success.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

One of my current joys is teaching a course called “Cultural Tourism” which is ATC (Aviation & Travel Careers) 182. As a lover of travel and former employee in the travel industry, it is my great fortune to also impart the value (and privilege) of traveling to learn more about other ways of being and knowing in our shared world. Travel, i.e., experiencing different cultures and places, is an interactive dialogue. It is an opportunity to share our commonalities as humans and to learn to be respectful and embracing of our differences. So, more than learning about the most hip beaches or vacation hot spots, this course is about being a discerning traveler in appreciating authenticity and supporting sustainability measures, and valuing the beauty and wonder of both built and natural environments.

If there is any other information you’d like to share, please feel free.

I love this college, and am grateful to be working here. We are all so fortunate to be living and working in such a great community of learners and journeyers. Ciao, !Salud! and “Buen Cypress!”