AAUW Great Lakes Water Studies Presentation

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 5:30 p.m. Zoom Meeting

Education & Outreach Coordinator Constanza Hazelwood of NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute will discuss the state of freshwater and how students in our area are learning about this valuable resource.

AAUW logoThis event is free and open to the public, and presented by the American Association of University Women.

Register for the event here: us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqcuyuqjMrGtJjV2PbIMU82wJ7H

Mariners Memorial service goes virtual

TRAVERSE CITY — The community is invited to view the virtual 45th annual Mariners Memorial Service at noon Tuesday, November 10 via a Zoom webinar from the courtyard of NMC’s Great Lakes campus. The public can access the event at the following Zoom address: nmc.zoom.us/j/94889366773

The memorial service is held to remember and honor mariners who have perished on the Great Lakes and oceans and is sponsored by the Student Propeller Club, Port 150, of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.

About GLMA and NMC: NMC is the only community college in the nation to grant a bachelor’s degree, in either maritime deck, maritime engineering or maritime power systems, to its Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadets. Celebrating 50 years of maritime education in 2019-2020, GLMA was commended by U.S. Maritime Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby (USN, ret) as a “pillar of maritime education and training in the Great Lakes region, this great nation, and the entire world.”

Release date: OCTOBER 16, 2020

For more information:

Scott Fairbank
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Director of Admissions
(231) 995-1213


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination

GLCI Charcuterie To Go

November 11, 2020

Support Great Lakes Culinary Institute students while enjoying a delicious spread of charcuterie. For this one-time event, you are invited to purchase charcuterie boxes delightfully prepared by the garde manger class. Boxes will include a variety of delicacies and each item is handcrafted from scratch. Choose between four different themes (pork, poultry/duck, fish/seafood, and vegetable/foraging) or purchase all four! Each box costs $40 and generously serves one person.

To purchase your box, visit nmc.edu/glci-togo. Call the NMC Foundation at (231) 995-1021 with questions.

Freshwater Studies and GT community forging our classroom in the Great Outdoors

During COVID-19 times, Freshwater Studies students are taking part in a community-based course to immerse themselves in local freshwater projects. Students in Intro to Freshwater Studies are rotating in small groups to contribute to exemplary freshwater projects in the Grand Traverse area. Community partners like the Grand Traverse Conservation District, The Watershed Center of Grand Traverse Bay, and the Glen Lake Association are hosting students for three weeks giving them opportunities to use sophisticated equipment and learn from top scientists and researchers.

Check out what our local 9&10 news channel had to say about our 2020 Freshwater Studies students and the role they are playing learning about remote sensing equipment and collecting data for the Fish Pass project.

Bookstore updates: Fall rentals, Spring books, Nov. 3 closure

Fall rentals are due back to the NMC Bookstore by December 11.

Also, Spring books will be available starting November 23, both in store and online. Financial aid for Spring will be available December 7-January 26, both in store and online.

Finally, the bookstore will be closed on Tuesday, November 3, for the election. We will reopen on Wednesday, November 4.

Success Story: Reimagined Freshwater Studies class notches triple win

October 14, 2020

Adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 has led NMC’s flagship Freshwater Studies program to a triple win: improving student learning, community collaboration and career exploration in a single course.

Introduction to Freshwater Studies is the first course in NMC’s first-in-the-nation Freshwater Studies associate degree program. This fall, instructor Constanza Hazelwood reimagined the 20-student course to conform to group size restrictions and distancing requirements necessitated by the coronavirus. She divided it into three tracks that allow students to experience project research, management and communications in areas that align with their interests, from water quality monitoring to habitat restoration to laboratory testing.

Freshwater Studies class gathers at Boardman River“We didn’t want large groups gathering anywhere,” said Hazelwood, who has taught the class for the past 11 years on NMC’s Great Lakes campus. “That’s what got me thinking we must have students outdoors. We cannot teach this on a screen.”

Field work and community partnerships have been part of the course in the past, but this time, it’s a much deeper dive. Hazelwood tapped nine community organizations, many non-profit. Each student works with three as they go through their tracks.

“This time the students are really engaged in the work of the organizations,” said Hazelwood.

Groups like the Grand Traverse Conservation District, where students planted trees to help restore the Boardman River Watershed (photos, courtesy Alan Newton) and the Glen Lake Association in Leelanau County, where students worked on a project to eradicate invasive yellow iris in Big Fisher Lake, part of the Glen Lake/Crystal River watershed.

Student plants tree near Boardman River‘We’re so grateful, not just for the manual labor but the opportunity to work alongside these really incredible students,” said GLA’s Tricia Denton. “These are the future caretakers of our precious water resources.”

Other groups participating include For Love of Water, Circle of Blue, Freshwater Solutions and Fish Pass. (Watch a TV 9 & 10 story on the Fish Pass project.)

“A big component is career exploration,” Hazelwood said. “It’s very much immersion in the professional world.”

“They’re working with master’s and PhD-level professionals, some of them who have been in the field for over 40 years, which is so different from reading about something online or in a textbook,” said Denton, who is also eyeing the group of nine students she worked with for future association interns.

2019 graduate Abbey Hull, now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Freshwater Science and Sustainability from Western Michigan University, a partnership with NMC, returned to mentor current students in a project using state-of-the-art technology to test water for E. coli.

Traverse City’s Freshwater Solutions is the partner for the project using qPCR technology, which extracts DNA from water samples. Also being deployed to monitor for COVID-19, for E. coli, results are available in two hours instead of the 24 hours it would take using the traditional method of sampling and then attempting to grow cultures.

Drilling down further, qPCR can determine the source of the bacteria — septic tanks, or waterfowl?— which guides appropriate mitigation.

“This was a great way for students to get hands-on, and meet people in the field and network from there,” Hull said.

Hazelwood points out that it’s another opportunity for alumni like Hull, too.

“Even after graduating, they’re still learning from NMC,” she said.

Virtual help available for filing the FAFSA

TRAVERSE CITY — FAFSA gotcha frustrated? Confused? Stuck?

NMC’s Office of Student Financial Services will offer five virtual information sessions on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, the first step to receive any kind of federal financial aid. About 80 percent of scholarships require the FAFSA as well.

Dates are Oct. 20 at 10 a.m., Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 7 at 10 a.m., Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Register online for each 30-minute session. Applicants can also schedule a one-on-one FAFSA completion appointment.

Student Financial Services will also hold two virtual scholarship workshops: Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Register online for these as well.


Release date: October 8, 2020

For more information:

Student Financial Services
(231) 995-1035


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination

Keeping Safe at NMC: masks and social distancing required

Good afternoon NMC community,

Thank you for your work to follow NMC’s keep safe guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of your adherence to these measures, we have had only a few cases on campus, all with minimal risk of possible exposure.

Recently, discussions and decisions around masks and other safety requirements have been at the forefront of state government. Please note that NMC continues to require masks and social distancing on its campuses. The college remains committed to student and employee safety and limiting the disruption to learning as much as possible. To meet those goals, NMC will continue to follow its Keep Safe Plan at this time.

Thank you again for your work in supporting this shared responsibility. For more information on NMC’s response to the coronavirus pandemic including resources and feedback form please visit nmc.edu/covid-19.

Futures for Frontliners could drive “huge surge” in NMC enrollment

TRAVERSE CITY — More than 1,000 frontline workers have applied to NMC in the three weeks since the free tuition program was announced.

Futures for Frontliners offers free in-district tuition to community colleges to Michiganders who worked in essential industries between April 1 and June 30 but do not have a college degree. They may pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate on a full-time or part-time basis while they continue to work. NMC’s in-district tuition rates apply to Grand Traverse County residents. Those who qualify but live outside the district may still take advantage of the scholarship by paying the difference.

NMC Director of Admissions Cathryn Claerhout said 1,038 applicants had been filed as of Sept. 30. Many of those still need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, if conversion from application to enrollment conforms to NMC’s patterns (79 percent this fall) it could translate into a significant enrollment increase in January.

“We’re delighted,” Claerhout said. “There’s a huge surge we could be seeing.”

Essential industries include health care, financial services, food and agriculture, law enforcement and first responders, water and wastewater, transportation and more. NMC is also offering virtual information sessions on completing the FAFSA Oct. 20, Nov. 7 and 20 and Dec. 10. Applicants can also schedule a one-on-one FAFSA completion appointment.

Announced Sept. 10 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Futures for Frontliners has drawn more than 60,000 applicants statewide. The application period runs through December 31, 2020, with enrollment available beginning in January of 2021. Scholarship recipients may also choose to start in the summer or fall 2021 semesters.

In addition, NMC is also participating in Michigan Reconnect, another statewide program aimed at filling the state’s skills gap by helping adults over age 25 earn a degree or certificate. Beyond these two programs, NMC has more than 650 institutional scholarships available.

Claerhout said in the Grand Traverse region there are 19,000 adults over age 25 who do not have a degree. “We’ve got pockets of students, typically older students, that we have great potential (aid) for,” she said.

Those without a high school diploma or equivalency are eligible for services to help them prepare for and complete this credential and go on to a community college or job training program.

To apply and learn more about Futures for Frontliners, visit nmc.edu/frontliners.


Release date: October 6, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director, NMC Public Relations, Marketing & Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination

Book Buyback

Book buyback will be available at the NMC Bookstore both in store and online from November 9 through December 11.

Either bring your books to the bookstore, or check out the virtual option at bookstore.nmc.edu.

Learn more about the bookstore’s buyback policies here.

Live & Local Concert Series Returns

Live & Local Concert Series illustrationThe Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College announces new concert programs offered virtually in coordination with the cancelation of its annual concert series for the 2020-2021 season. Due to the ongoing risks to the health and safety of performers and audiences, concert programs will remain virtual for the foreseeable future.

The Live & Local Concert Series, which began in April 2020, will continue this October with four additional programs featuring performances by and conversations with musicians from Northern Michigan and beyond. The goal of this series is to present entertaining concerts in a safe and interactive format, including both performance and Q&A sessions with each program.

The Live & Local Concert Series is supported by a grant from Art Bridges, with funds paid to every performer.

“It’s difficult for a virtual format to fully replace the energy and community of a concert hall,” says Dennos curator of education Jason Dake, “So we’re trying to promote the positive aspects of a virtual concert, mainly that audience members can ask questions and make requests as if the musician is sitting in their home.”

The Live & Local Concerts will be offered via Zoom on a “pay what you can” model, free to $15 for the one-hour performance and conversation. Tickets can be purchased by visiting dennosmuseum.org.


Thursday, October 8, 2020 — 7:00 p.m. EST

Thursday, October 15, 2020 — 7:00 p.m. EST

Monday, October 19, 2020 — 7:00 p.m. EST

Thursday, October 29, 2020 — 7:00 p.m. EST

Learn more about the artists and register here.

Possible COVID-19 exposure on main campus Sept. 25

TRAVERSE CITY — An NMC employee has tested positive for COVID-19 who had recently been on main campus. The employee was asymptomatic and was in the Osterlin Building Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. until noon. The Grand Traverse County Health Department believes the risk of widespread exposure from this case is low, as with previous cases at NMC.

The GTCHD confirmed the positive test result this morning and is conducting contact tracing with any individual who might be at risk of exposure. The health department encourages anyone who was in that area during that time to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days following the potential exposure.

The College will continue to work with the GTCHD to monitor the spread. We will continue to communicate with you about cases on campus. You can also check the Cases on Campus Dashboard for additional information.

Any student who believes they may be positive for COVID-19 should contact NMC’s Health Services at (231) 995-1255. Any employee who believes they may be positive for COVID-19 should contact Human Resources. We encourage all students and employees to stay home if you are sick or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Staying safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19 on NMC’s campuses is a shared responsibility. For more information on NMC’s response to the pandemic and important safety information, please visit nmc.edu/covid-19. Thank you for your continued commitment to safety at NMC.


Release date: September 30, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination

Q&A with the largest field of NMC board candidates since 1990

September 30, 2020

Six newcomers and one incumbent are vying for three seats on NMC’s Board of Trustees this November, the largest field in 30 years. The top three vote-getters will serve six-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2021. We asked each candidate to answer two questions in 100 words or less:

  1. Why are you running?
  2. As an NMC trustee, what would your priorities be?

Below, in alphabetical order, are their responses. For those seeking further information, the Grand Traverse League of Women Voters will hold a virtual candidate forum from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, October 9. Links to watch are available here.

Vincent CornellierVincent Cornellier: Serving as Trustee at NMC would round out a lifetime of educational experience and hopefully allow me to “pay forward “ some of the many benefits I have enjoyed along the way. While I have no specific agenda or platform, I would continue to strengthen partnerships with the business and medical community and of course do whatever I can to help maintain the outstanding record NMC has achieved in preparing students for further educational advancement.

Larry JohnsonLarry Johnson: I am running for NMC trustee to be of service to the students, faculty and staff at NMC, and to the Grand Traverse community. As an NMC trustee, my priorities would be to determine the needs of the college and how I could best serve its constituents; to help insure the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus; and to explore ways in which funds could be made available to NMC, and programs developed that continue the movement toward future growth and relevance to students needs now, and in the future.

Rachel JohnsonRachel Johnson (incumbent): I’m running for re-election because communities with healthy cradle-to-grave education opportunities have a more engaged citizenry, higher average income, and greater resiliency. That’s the kind of community I want to live in, and that’s why I am invested in NMC. My priorities:

  • Promote innovative, experiential and flexible educational models.
  • Prioritize industry collaboration to create innovative, technology-driven programs that fill gaps in our local workforce.
  • Grow globally-relevant programs like freshwater studies that train our students for in-demand jobs and attract entrepreneurial investments to our community.
  • Keep tuition affordable for local families.
  • Emphasize NMC’s role in promoting diversity and understanding through our lifelong learning opportunities.

Daniel Lathrop: Did not respond. He formerly served on the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners and is a podiatrist.

Laura OblingerLaura Oblinger: Our community college has a tremendous responsibility to our region and to our learners, and now is a pivotal moment in its history. The road ahead promises incredible things to come, and this thriving organization needs leaders at the helm — leaders with the skills, passion, and integrity to assist in its growth. I believe I am one of these leaders. I am aligned to be an amazing asset to this team. It will be my priority to support President Nissley with the governance guidance he needs as well as be a genuine advocate in our region.

James PerraJames Perra: With a passion for supporting student leadership and service, alongside a comprehensive viewpoint, having been a teacher, student, and a member of professional communities in the trades, medical, professional, and academic arenas, I look forward to bringing my diverse experiences, deep skill set, and fresh ideas to the NMC board. Priorities include cultivating hands-on learning where students are treated by instructors as colleagues in training, and imparted not just technical skills, but values and cultural competencies that lead to success, and to expand NMC’s role as a cultural gem for the greater community through the Dennos Museum and arts opportunities.

Kenneth WarnerKenneth Warner: With 45 years as a U-M professor, including 15 as a department chair and School of Public Health dean, I’m motivated to run by my passion for higher education and, specifically, my deep admiration for NMC’s many contributions to our community. My top priority is to maintain an excellent, affordable education for NMC’s students, necessitating a great work environment for faculty and staff and a sustained foundation of fiscal integrity. To achieve these objectives, I would encourage even closer interaction with the business, nonprofit, and arts communities to address the region’s needs and enhance programmatic innovation, a hallmark of NMC.

Update to spring semester schedule

Good morning NMC students,

Thank you for all of your work to keep our NMC community safe during the pandemic. While the safety protocols and scheduling changes are very different than a normal fall semester, with your support we have been able to greatly limit the spread of COVID-19 on NMC’s campuses.

As we look ahead to spring semester, our goals remain the same—to keep our students and employees safe and to limit the disruption to learning as much as possible. To meet these goals we have some important updates to help you plan your spring schedule as you prepare to register for spring classes this week.

  • Course format options will remain the same including, lecture, hybrid, livestream and on-demand. We have worked to refine the definitions to make it easier for you to find your best option.
  • The spring semester start and end dates will remain as scheduled (unchanged).
  • Spring Break will be cancelled and classes will be held March 28 – April 1.
  • Friday, April 2, will remain a college holiday. NMC will be closed and there will be no classes. 
  • Spring semester classes will conclude Monday, April 26. Instructors may use the rest of the week to meet with their students at the faculty’s discretion.
  • Grades Submission deadlines will remain as scheduled.
  • The dates for events such as Honors Convocation and Commencement will remain as scheduled, but may need to be changed depending on safety protocols.

You can view the complete spring (and summer) course schedule here. Registration for both semesters begins this week.

You have done good work in limiting the spread of the coronavirus on our campuses. We believe that, by making these changes to the spring semester, we can continue to stay safe and keep learning. While we hope to not have to return to 100% virtual instruction like last spring, we are better prepared to make the shift, if necessary. We will continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 at NMC and in our region. Limiting the spread of the virus is a shared responsibility. Thank you for doing your part. For more information regarding NMC’s response to COVID-19 visit nmc.edu/coronavirus.