Success Story: Giving global opportunities to students

Success Story: Giving global opportunities to students

December 7, 2016

Eillie Sambrone and a cow in Costa RicaWith a global opportunities fund scholarship deadline coming up Dec. 16, prospective study abroad students might not have to wait for Santa to get what they want for Christmas.

NMC sends more students to study abroad than any other community college in Michigan and ranks 12th nationally for short-term study abroad participation. The global opportunities scholarship helps make that happen for students like Eillie Sambrone, who studied abroad in Costa Rica last May.

Eillie Sambrone and friends in Costa Rica“I’ve barely traveled within the States,” said Sambrone, 20, of Canton, Mich. Prior to the trip, her furthest trip south was to Cedar Point in Ohio.

Cost is a limiting factor for many aspiring study abroad students, underscoring the importance of the scholarship. In fact, more than 80 percent of 2016 trip participants received the global opportunities scholarship. The $1,000 award further motivated Sambrone to set up a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the $3,000 total trip cost, plus missing work while traveling.

It was all worth it. Sambrone completed her associate degree in freshwater studies and is now enrolled in the NMC-Western Michigan Freshwater Science and Sustainability bachelor’s program. She expects to graduate in 2018.

Ellie Sambrone and a Costa Rican sunrise“I want to travel a lot more. Everything was so different, and you had to continuously adapt and be flexible,” she said.

In particular, she wants to build on her Spanish skills. The trip required a “boot camp” Spanish course which whetted her appetite for the language.

“For me, it was a stepping stone,” she said. “Being able to speak another language is invaluable.”

The global opportunities scholarship requires a 2.5 grade point average. Applications are due Dec. 16.

Find out more here »

NMC Foood for Thought Challenge Winner

This year’s NMC Challenge collected 1,952 non-perishable food and hygiene products to contribute to NMC’s Food for Thought drive! Faculty, staff and the student community participated in the week-long challenge, competing against other departments for the highest number of items collected. The Student Veterans Association swept the challenge with a grand total of 1,157 items collected, winning a pizza party for up to 60 people. Congratulations Veterans! Your dedication to the challenge and our community is appreciated.

Kristy McDonald’s Professional Communications class donated over 30,000 items to local food pantries, in time for Thanksgiving, to help battle food insecurity in our area. The 2016 Food for Thought team expresses a huge thank you to the NMC community for a successful campus-wide challenge and all of the work involved in gathering donations. More information on NMC’s Food for Thought can be found on their Facebook page:

Open Enrollment Window Closes Dec. 9

  • Please complete your open enrollment online through Benefits Insight. The last day it will be available is Friday, December 9, 2016.
  • All documents and resources for 2017 Open Enrollment are available on the employee site.
  • If you need assistance with your enrollment Benefits Insight has a customer service line – (855) 246-1872.
  • A computer lab is available if you need assistance on Tuesday, Dec 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the University Center 205.

Spring Pick for Global Literature Reading Group

global lit reading group spring selectionCopies of the Global Literature Reading Group’s choice for spring semester are available for $5 from Tina Ulrich at the Osterlin Library. The group will meet on Friday, April 21, 2017, from noon to 1:30, in Scholars Hall 104 to discuss Nadine Gordimer’s My Son’s Story. This novel is set in apartheid-era South Africa in the 1980s and tells the story of a black activist and his family. Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 and was active in the anti-apartheid movement.

Make a gift that lasts a lifetime – now easier than ever!

As a member of the NMC faculty and staff, you have the opportunity daily to see how gifts affect the College. When you contribute to NMC, you are investing in the lives of our students and reinforcing and supporting the work you do each day. Beyond the time and talents you share, your generosity helps promote learning and transforms lives.

Now, giving through payroll deduction is easier than ever before. Simply fill out this online form with your giving preferences. Or, you can fill out this PDF form and return it to the Foundation via email or campus mail. You can make a gift to your favorite NMC program or to the Annual Fund, which addresses the College’s greatest needs — making a difference for every student every day.

The gift of education lasts a lifetime. Thank you for all that you do for NMC and its students!

Wellness Events and Newsletter

Monday, December 12Maintain Don’t Gain – Surviving the Holidays. Come and meet with Chris Barr (Wellness Coordinator from Blue Cross) to make a plan for not gaining more than 3 pounds through the holidays!
Health Science Building 101- Noon-1 p.m.

Monday, December 19 – Chris will be available to schedule individual consultations with you if you like. He will be on Front Street Campus (10-11:30 a.m.) and at the University Center (12:30-1:30 p.m.). Please send him an email at, or call 313-969-8753, if you are interested in an appointment.


View the November 2016 wellness newsletter here »

Position Vacancies

Are you looking for career opportunities? Find it here! Current openings include:

  • Visual Communications – Web Design Adjunct Instructor
  • GLMA Great Lakes Adjunct Instructor

Where’s Alan Beer?

alan-beerPeople have been tracking this guy down at NMC for twenty plus years. Unfortunately, come January 1st of 2017, it will be a lot more difficult to find him on campus. Please stop by the Dennos Museum Sculpture Court on December 14 at 2 p.m. to help celebrate this guy’s career.

“Great Lakes, Bad Lines” Documentary and Discussion

NMC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is hosting a “Great Lakes, Bad Lines” short documentary film. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, at the Milliken Auditorium in the Dennos Museum. The event is free and open to the public. Prior to the documentary, Song of the Lakes will be performing. Following the film, a discussion panel will take place featuring representatives from FLOW, GT Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Groundwork For Resilient Communities, NMC Water Studies Students, NMEAC, and Sierra Club’s Clearwater Conservation Committee. Bread with Fustini’s oils and water infused with fruit will be served.

Operation Santa

The Traverse City Elks Lodge 323 in a joint effort with the Oleson Foundation will be giving out a holiday food basket to all of the Northwestern Michigan College Veteran Students on Wednesday, December 7 between the hours of 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in the atrium of NMC’s Health & Science Building. This is our way of saying thank you for your service and we appreciate you!


FLSA Legal Ruling- Preliminary Injunction

A federal judge has placed a preliminary injunction on the proposed salary threshold changes under the FLSA guidelines effective immediately. 

A great deal of good work went into preparing for these changes. Efforts to better understand the way in which time is spent by employees, and to understand the possible impacts of a hard 40 hour week have helped parts of the College streamline processes and plan activities so that work loads can be more level over time. We believe these efforts were well worthwhile and want to give major kudos for the good results achieved. 

This focus on economizing the energies and time of our workforce should remain a part of our regular practices, even without these proposed changes as a catalyst to action. 

If your FLSA status was changed (effective 11/20) from exempt to non-exempt (hourly), the following applies to you: 

  • Your FLSA status will revert to Exempt effective 11/20.
  • There is no need to fill out the electronic time cards as previously advised. We will be working on changing the FLSA status of those impacted back to salaried in the payroll system. 
  • You will continue to be paid on your salary basis, and be an exempt employee.
  • Time Card Approvers: please ignore any email reminders you might receive regarding time sheets for any of those newly non-exempt employees. Please do not approve any time sheets for those newly non-exempt employees. We will be working on updating Banner so that the emails stop. 
  • HR will monitor the court rulings during the appeal process, and keep you informed.

We very much appreciate all the time and effort you have put into these changes. Please be assured that we will continue to monitor the progress of these court cases and will keep you updated as developments occur at the federal level. 

Please contact Mark Liebling, or Hollie DeWalt with any questions you might have.

Office of Retirement Services Communication

Please be sure to read over the communication you receive in the mail from the Office of Retirement Services regarding your MPSERS account. They have a SMALL STEPS campaign going on right now where you will automatically contribute an additional 1% each year until you reach a maximum of 10% in your defined contribution accounts starting January 2017. If you are not interested in participating, you will have to actively contact them to opt out. The correspondence  you receive will have your username and authentication code, along with the web address. 

Customer Service for MPSERS is 1-800-381-5111.

Open Enrollment Reminders

  • Open Enrollment Meetings will be held on Thursday, December 1 at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Oleson Center A/B.
  • Vendors will be present to answer individual questions in the lobby.

What’s new for 2017?

  • Wellness 
  • Online enrollment system will be changing to Benefits Insight (from Meritain Health) 
  • You will be able to build your own packet with documents that are relevant to your interests, and access your personal benefits through Benefits Insight. 
  • Detailed Review of the Core and High Deductible plans- NMC will be moving forward with Option #1 for all employees:



    High Deductible w/ HSA


     Deductible (single/family) $1,300/$2,600


    Coinsurance after Deductible (in/out network)

    Plan covers 80% in network,   Plan covers 60% out of network

    Plan covers 80% in network, Plan covers 60% out of network

    In Network Coinsurance Max (single/family)

    $0 / $0 $1,500/$3,000

    True Out of Pocket Max

    $2,250/$4,500 $6,350/$12,700

    Primary Care Copay

    80% after deductible $20

    Inpatient Care

    80% after deductible 80% after deductible

    Emergency Room Copay

    80% after deductible $150

    Prescription Copays

    $10-Generic, $40-Preferred,   $80-Non Preferred

    $10-Generic, $40-Preferred, $80-Non Preferred

    High Deductible plan- you will pay 100% of prescriptions until you reach your deductible.

    High Deductible plan- you will receive 70% of the deductible in a Health Savings account on January 6, 2017, and the remaining 30% on July 7, 2017. Single- $910 and $390, Family- $1,820 and $780

What if I have to miss the meetings?

  • Session will be recorded and made available on the employee web site
  • All resources handed out at the meetings will also be on the employee site
  • Computer Labs will be open on Dec 6, 9:00 a.m- 4:00 p.m. at University Center 205 and again on December 7, 9:00 p.m.- 11:00 p.m. at University Center 2015 (2nd/3rd shifts)

Success Story: Students’ gratitude spans a decade

Success Story: Students’ gratitude spans a decade

November 23, 2016

Students are to NMC as turkey is to Thanksgiving — front and center. On this Thanksgiving eve, we talked to a past and present student a decade apart to find out how NMC figures in what they’re thankful for.

Matt Harting, 2006 alumnus, composer living in Los Angeles

Matt Harting and Allyson NelsonMatt Harting and Allyson NelsonHarting, 30, can trace his livelihood, marriage and financial well-being back to NMC.

After graduating Traverse City Central High School in 2004, he attended NMC with a plan to transfer to Columbia College-Chicago. Cast in the NMC production of Bye Bye, Birdie, he met a student named Allyson Nelson, from Bellaire. She wound up transferring to Columbia, too, and there the couple began dating. Harting graduated with a degree in audio arts and engineering, and got a job at Earhole, a Chicago sound studio (first assignment:  Obama campaign.)

When career opportunities led Nelson to LA in 2010, Harting followed. He kept his job at Earhole, working on campaigns for commercial clients like Dodge, Jeep, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Small talk among his professional peers led him to realize a third dimension of gratitude, for NMC’s affordability.

“They still have more (debt) than I started with,” he said. Moreover, there was no sacrifice in quality. Instructors like the late Jim Valovick and music instructor Dorothy Vogel were top-tier, he said, and able to provide the personal attention that he needed.

“She straightened me out and made me see that music was truly something that needed to be studied and respected,” Harting said of Vogel.

Harting and Nelson got married just last month, and where it all began is still fresh.

“I loved the campus, I made great friends, I had great teachers,” he said.

Alex Briggs, 20, Commitment Scholarship recipient

Alex Briggs speaking at NMC CommencementAlex Briggs speaks at the 2016 Commitment Scholarship induction“I didn’t really think I was going to go to college,” said the first-generation Computer Information Technology student. “I didn’t see myself affording college. Now, I’ve paid for it all with scholarships.”

It started with the Commitment Scholarship, a full-tuition promise Briggs received in 2011 as a ninth grader at Elk Rapids High School. Now in her second year at NMC, she’s received two merit-based scholarships, two Elk Rapids scholarships and federal grants, which combined also enable her to live on campus.

Besides living in East Hall, Briggs works in the Advising Center, is an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a member of the Women in STEM student group.

“I wanted the well-rounded college experience,” she said. “I live, sleep, breathe and eat NMC.”

She’s also provided an example to her brother Zack, a fellow Commitment Scholar, who started at NMC this fall. They’re believed to be the first sibling recipients of the Commitment Scholarship.