Posted on: April 1, 2024 Posted by: Amanda Barrios Comments: 0

On Wednesday, March 27, Stephanie DaCosta and Nicholas Ipema participated in a debate for the Student Trustee position which students will decide this week. Dean Kent Marshall moderated the debate, asking the questions below of each. The Glacier has provided a summation of the candidates’ responses to help students decide who they think should be the next Student Trustee. Voting begins today (Monday, April 1) and closes at 3:00 p.m. Friday, April 5. Students will receive an e-mail to their student account with a link on how to cast their votes.

Stefanie DaCosta is enrolled in the Nursing program at Moraine. Taking classes at the Blue Island location, she hopes to be a part of the graduating Class of 2025. She currently works as a Nutrition Tech at the University of Chicago where she is responsible for training new techs and supervisors. Previously, DaCosta attended a Chicago preparatory boarding school and served as Head Prefect. As a Moraine Valley student, DaCosta is a part of the Black Student Association (BSA) and TRIO – a group dedicated to helping first generation transfer students.

DaCosta has dealt with judgment and prejudice, as a woman of color, while navigating cliques within her work and everyday life. She considers herself an advocate for the voiceless. Last Summer, DaCosta fought for her fellow nursing colleagues when a required LPN course filled up rather quickly. The course only allowed a maximum of eight students, which would have forced other nursing students to wait until the Fall semester to register.

Candidate DaCosta wants to help give back more to Moraine – the same way she was given help when she first started as a student.

As Student Trustee, DaCosta wants to address issues as small as keeping vending machines filled to bigger issues such as providing the same materials needed at satellite campuses. By resolving this issue, students will no longer need to commute to Moraine’s main campus in order to complete assignments. She finds her greatest strength is the need to help locate resources for students in need, as well as the patients she cares for.

DeCosta holds onto her mantra to work ahead in order to keep tasks well-organized. By using a digital planner, as well as a hard copy, she plans on staying on top of the various appointments, projects and school work that will come her way. When asked what she feels is her greatest weakness, DaCosta replied, “What weaknesses? I’m Superwoman.” For now, her biggest hurdle will be putting her children first. However, she overcomes this obstacle by understanding she may have to combine home life with work life, giving her three children a great illustration of how hard Mom works to accomplish her goals.

Nicholas Ipema started his journey at Moraine in 2008. Initially interested in the medical field, Ipema switched his major to Business. He opened his own business ten years ago. Now responsible for 40 employees, he has learned to delegate responsibilities to others, allowing Ipema more time for other commitments. Previously, he has worked with the charity “All God’s Children”. Located in Tinley Park, he helped assist the homeless in Chicago by providing hot meals, clothing, haircuts, and professional attire in preparation for interviews. As a general contractor in Carpentry, he has also helped build shelters through his own company.

Ipema has witnessed his own share of adversity in his life. He was born Hispanic, but adopted into a Dutch Protestant family after his fathers death when Ipema was only 12 years old. The difference in cultures has allowed him to view everyone equally. He considers himself a good liaison between diverse groups and is able to help them collaborate on projects or ideas. He mentions he won’t treat a student differently even if an arising issue won’t affect them specifically. Treating everyone with respect is an important concept to Ipema.

Busy as he already is, Ipema is accustomed to a busy lifestyle. He finds his greatest weakness is the ability to thrive on the complexity of his schedule. He enjoys being on the good so much that he tends to neglect his own care and hobbies. This has led Ipema the inability to participate in clubs at Moraine, but he has previously attended Board Meetings and will continue to do so if elected.

Ipema has found that Moraine lacks student communication. He would like to understand why students decide not to attend classes regularly – keeping watch of actions and behaviors of students who may need further assistance. Ipema would like to bring awareness to student resources such as The Tutoring Center, before students think about dropping a class. His strength as Student Trustee is visionary. He is not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.

This article has been updated with a correct spelling of DaCosta’s last name.

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