Bob Martin: Welcome to this edition of Imagine America Radio. Today’s guest is Lu Suarez, campus president of Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts & Sciences in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today’s topic of today’s episode is the current coronavirus. More importantly, how has Euphoria Institute responded to assist employees, to assist current students, and to prepare possibly upcoming student openings? Miss Suarez, could you very quickly elaborate on those for us please?
Lu Suarez: Well, thanks for having me, Bob. And yeah, it was quite a big undertaking to take a campus that is a ground campus and turn it online in less than a week, actually. And so what we did was—the first thing was to ensure that our students were safe and that they could have the technology that they needed to turn to an online, or what we call distance learning, format. And so once we secured that, we went then to the teachers and made sure that the teachers had all of the tools that they needed to facilitate online learning. And very much like you, we’re using Zoom, along with Canvas and we also use Pivot Point, their lab-based learning profile. So with those three things, we can really put together a great curriculum and be able to deliver the education that our students employed us to do. So that’s what we’ve done so far for our distance learning.
We are a hands-on kind of industry, and so you might say, “Well, how can you take hands-on and put it online?” Well, there’s really about 50% of the curriculum is book work, so that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re going to do all of our book work upfront, and then as soon as we get back on campus, we will turn back to the practical end and complete their education on the campus with the practical learning portion of the curriculum.
Lee Doubleday: This is Lee with Imagine America Radio. We’re talking to the campus president of Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts & Sciences in Las Vegas, Nevada—a member of the Lincoln Tech group of schools. Are you still open for tours? I know you said that you are doing your teaching online, but are you still open for any on-ground tours, or is that something that’s done maybe more virtually?
Lu: Well, right now, the governor of Nevada has pretty much given everyone a stay-at-home order, pretty much like the country, so there are no tours at the campus. But what we do use is, again we use Zoom, and so our admissions reps are doing career planning sessions via Zoom, and we have pictures—we don’t have a virtual tour. It was kind of, this was kind of all last minute. It’s something that—I think, you know, when you’re faced with a situation that you’ve never been in before, you start to think about things you need, and I think a virtual tour would be something great that we could add to our admissions career planning session.
Because you know, what this has exposed is that sometimes students can’t make it to the career planning session. Maybe they’re going to be moving to Las Vegas, and so I think that a virtual tour is on our horizon because I think it’s just a tool that we can use moving forward. And I tend to be the optimistic person in the group, always, and so even in the middle of this awful, terrible pandemic, there are things that we have learned about our school or things that we can do to improve our school, very much like a virtual tour.
Lee: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve been interviewing a few schools now, doing this podcast, and how much—not a silver lining of what’s going on, but one thing to take away is that this pandemic has caused the ability to improve maybe some processes that could have been improved upon before.
So I want to jump into the next question here. And let’s say I’m a student and I’m interested in enrolling in an upcoming class of yours. Do you still have any upcoming starts, maybe over the next few months? I know this pandemic is going to be going on for a couple weeks.
Lu: Yeah, actually we do. We have starts every month, and so that hasn’t stopped us because what we’ve done is we’ve just continued, like I said, to do the theory portion of our program online. So that just means we’re going to go with the pace that we have already scheduled. So there should be no issues with starts or anything like that.
Lee: Okay. And follow-up to that, if the campuses are still closed because of the virus, I’m assuming everyone will just start—for those new starts—online?
Lu: Exactly. Yes, exactly. People don’t realize, but cosmetology, there’s a lot to it. There’s chemistry, there’s anatomy, there’s all kinds of stuff, sanitation, that really is in-depth book work. So it’s relatively easy in the sense that we have a lot of curriculum that we can do online. And really, the industry itself has never wanted to do an online blended course, and I think this is a great test scenario to show the state board of cosmetology that a blended course of online and ground campus curriculum actually does work. And that would give the student the flexibility to still maintain a job, still go to work. A lot of our students are single women with children. So it’s hard to juggle school, work, kids. And so I think if we could move to an online format in a blended course scenario, I think it would be really beneficial for our community.
Bob: We’re talking to Lu Suarez, campus president of Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts and Sciences in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’re talking to her about how they’ve responded to the current COVID-19 crisis. Let me ask, since nationwide a large number of cosmetology students are high school students or graduating high school students, at least a significant number of them. And you’ve got schools that are closed down [inaudible] and you got kids that don’t have those usual resources that they would have at the career centers or within their guidance counselors or whatever. And they’re probably not even going to see their guidance counselor until– if they do at all. What would you recommend that they do and what kind of resources do you have available to those individual students if they’re interested in Euphoria Institute?
Lu: So we’ve been in the valley for over 15 years, and I’d like to say we are the premier school of choice. I believe we are. So I think that we have a really good relationship with the community, and we’re very well known. We do career fairs all the time, and we’re not limited to career fairs just for high school. We’ve done sixth-graders. We’ve done third-graders. I mean, we don’t miss an opportunity to educate our students about this industry of cosmetology. So I think in that sense we’re very well known, and the career counselors know that we’re available if a student is interested in the program. And I would just suggest to the counselors that they pass along our information and encourage their students to take a leap of faith and follow their passion. And we’ll do the rest as soon as they get in contact with us.
Bob: Today’s guest on Imagine America Radio has been Lu Suarez of Euphoria Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lu, here are the three takeaways that I have, okay? And if there are more, tell me what they are and we can add them. First, I hear you telling me and telling Lee that Euphoria Institute for Beauty Arts and Sciences is open and serving students today, right now. It may be a significantly different way of giving the education, because [I see?] you had to change, but nonetheless, you’re there, and you’re helping those particular students reach their career goal, pursue their passion as you said a minute ago. Second, I hear you telling us that you’re enrolling new students and that you do indeed have a start coming up. Now the third point in my takeaway is, I’m hearing a person that’s completely dedicated to helping students achieve their career goals. And as such, you’ve agreed to– if any of our listeners have an interest or they have questions about anything that we’ve talked about today relative to school tours, school opening, student services, enrollment, admission, they can directly send emails to you at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ve been listening to Lu Suarez, campus president, Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts and Sciences. Today’s topic has been the corona pandemic. We very much appreciate all the information that you’ve given us, Lu, and we want to thank our audience for taking time out of their very busy schedules to listen to this episode of Imagine America Radio. Please be safe, and thank you for listening.