Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti made a stop in town for a tour at Joliet Junior College’s main campus.
Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell invited Sanguinetti for a visit. According to her office, the Lt Gov. is a huge proponent of community colleges and eagerly accepted the invitation.
The visit gave the Lt. Governor a chance to learn about the college, its programs as well as its faculty, staff and students. “We were thrilled to host Lt. Governor Sanguinetti and share with her the amazing academic and support resources JJC has to offer its community,” said Joliet Junior College President Dr. Judy Mitchell.
During her visit, the Lt. Governor saw several of the college’s cutting edge programs and support services including its orthotics and prosthetics lab, nursing simulation labs, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Project Achieve.
The tour started with a meet-and-greet session with representatives for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Project Achieve, which aim to increase enrollment and ensure optimal academic success, retention, and graduation of underrepresented groups.
Sanguinetti, a Miami native and a graduate out of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, serves as the only Latina lieutenant governor in the nation and hopes to not be the last.
“Education saved me,” Sanguinetti told students.
“I want you to know the American Dream is still alive. I shouldn’t be the last, and we should all get bit by that political bug. We need leaders.”
Project Achieve is a program that serves Joliet Junior College and Joliet Central High School/Joliet community with services that increase the retention and graduation rates for students that are from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in relation to first-generation, low-income, and/or documented disabilities, according to the college’s website.
Sanguinetti acknowledged that many have a desire to learn and said all they need is access.
The orthotics and prosthetics technology lab, one of only five of its kind among community college programs, was another featured stop during the tour.
Students showed off some of the technology they use in the lab.
“I see a whole different way of looking at prosthetics,” Sanguinetti said after the tour stop. “It’s an upgrade being able to move as well as when you were younger.”
When told that graduates of the program have the benefit of 100-percent job placement, Sanguinetti said she’s impressed, in part, because she is an attorney by trade and even they don’t post those kind of post-graduate hiring numbers.
The tour led the lieutenant governor to take a close look at the college’s nursing simulation labs, a space that provides students hands-on experiences through a simulated hospital setting. The facility first opened in 2013.
Mary Beth Luna, a nursing professor and department chairwoman, said the labs do a wonderful job of simulating real world scenarios.
“It’s as real as possible,” she said. “We do get good feedback about our students and their bedside manner.”