13th Annual Freshwater Summit starts Oct. 2

Watershed Center logoThe 13th Annual Freshwater Summit will be held virtually this year over four Fridays — Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23 — between 10 and 11:30 a.m. each day. Registration is free. Register here.  

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Grand Traverse Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance, and Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council.

Great Lakes Water Studies Institute Program Coordinator Constanza Hazelwood will talk about NMC’s Freshwater Studies program during the Oct. 23 session.

Virtual astronomy viewing celebrates Sleeping Bear Dunes anniversary

TRAVERSE CITY —  Northwestern Michigan College’s J.H Rogers Observatory will partner with the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and host a virtual astronomical viewing session Friday, Sept. 25, celebrating Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes has been the site of in-person “star parties” for the last 10 years. To celebrate the park’s anniversary and still observe COVID-19 restrictions on in-person gatherings, live images from the NMC Observatory’s telescope will be sent to guests via Zoom beginning at 9 p.m. (If it is cloudy, backup footage will be shown.) Astronomers will be available to answer questions.

The projection of actual  live video images is an innovative approach to allowing for viewing safely through the college’s telescope by students. Applying a new low-light sensitive video camera, images normally seen through the eyepiece can be projected real-time to data projector or computer screens. The moon, bright planets, star clusters, nebulae and even faint galaxies are shown as they would appear in the eyepiece of the telescopes at the Observatory. This allows students to continue use of the telescopes at Rogers Observatory safely, as well as providing more in-depth discussions on the objects they are observing.

Work began on this concept in late spring 2020 due to the restrictions of the COVID-19. The system has been utilized for NMC’s Astronomy students beginning at the start of this Fall 2020 semester.

Editors: The Zoom link is also available on nmc.edu/observatory.

Release date: SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

For more information:

Jerry Dobek, 
NMC Astronomy Department
jdobek@nmc.edu
(231) 342-4545

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

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

Possible COVID-19 exposure on main campus Sept. 15

TRAVERSE CITY — An NMC student has tested positive for COVID-19 who had recently been on main campus. The student was in the James Beckett Building Sept. 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The student then used a small study room alone in West Hall from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.. 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 now conducting contact tracing with any individuals 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 23, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
dfairbanks@nmc.edu
(231) 995-1019

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

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

West Hall Innovation Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Ribbon cutting photoThank you to all who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new West Hall Innovation Center on Friday, Sept. 18, whether virtually or in person. Speakers at the event included NMC trustees Chris Bott and Ross Childs, Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City and Dr. Nick Nissley, NMC President. Over 100 people attended virtually.

photo gallery from the ceremony is available here and a video of the event is here. You can also take a virtual tour of the new 54,000-square-foot, building here.

 

NMC Fall Summit: Global Issues, Local Impacts

Fall summit illustrationFriday, Oct. 9, 2020
9:30 a.m.-Noon

It’s a Small World After All… The year 2020 has inspired us to come together to talk about the influence a global crisis has on our community. Northwestern Michigan College has always been a connector between our region and the rest of the world. The current state of our global health and economy has brought home just how connected we are globally.

Join us for a day of meaningful discussions as we examine global issues, talk about impactful change around diversity and inclusion, and the effect all of this has on our individual and community health.

This event is jointly organized by NMC Extended Educational Services, International Affairs Forum and The Dennos Museum Center. The cost is $39 (special discount information will be emailed to IAF and Dennos members.)

Learn more and sign up for the event here.

Thank you to Admissions for fielding questions about Futures for Frontliners!

Hawk Owl Helper logoFutures for Frontliners logoThank you to NMC’s Admissions team for fielding a series of open Q&A sessions via Zoom about the state’s new Futures for Frontliners program to provide tuition assistance to Michigan’s front-line workers. Admissions Director Cathryn Claerhout reports that the program has generated “tons of emails” from interested students, many of whom have applied for the program. Over 100 sessions are available through December for people to get their questions about the program answered.


Who’s been a Hawk Owl Helper or Hero for you? Let us know at publicrelations@nmc.edu!

Walk-In Flu Clinics

Flu shot illustrationNo Appointment Necessary!

Student Health Services (Biederman Bldg., Room 106, #6 on the Main Campus Map)

  • Monday, Sept. 21: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23: 1–4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29: 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 1: 1–3 p.m.

COST: STUDENTS, $15, NMC FACULTY & STAFF $20
(No cost if covered under NMC insurance)

Call 995-1255 with questions

NOTE!  All flu clinics subject to change per current CDC and/or GT Co. Health Dept. recommendations and vaccine availability.

Media Mentions for September 21, 2020

The following college events and stories have appeared in the media in the past two weeks. We want to share your media involvement too. Please send information about your NMC-related interview or appearance to publicrelations@nmc.edu. If possible, please include a link to the piece and information about where and when it was used.

Please note access to some stories may be limited by paywalls set up by the media outlet. This includes the Traverse City Record-Eagle, which limits free clicks to five per month. You may also read Record-Eagle articles in the print edition at the Osterlin Library.

Northwestern Michigan College awards more than $1 million in federal funding to students
UpNorthLive, September 15
The Ticker, September 15 (more…)

Kudos!

Multiple NMC departments are being honored with kudos this week, including the Help Desk, IT, Systems and LAN Management; Enrollment Services, Student Life, and Residence Life; Maintenance Team and Grounds Crew. Read the reasons below!

Honoree’s Name: Help Desk, IT, Systems and LAN Management
Honoree’s Dept./Division: Learning Resources & Technologies
Reason for Kudos: Kudos to the Help Desk, IT, and Systems and LAN Management for their ongoing work in helping prepare our facilities for students and also helping students with anxiety regarding online learning and more. Thank you.

Honoree’s Name: Enrollment Services, Student Life, and Residence Life
Reason for Kudos: Kudos to all of Todd Neibauer’s group for the work done to welcome students and help orient them coming into this unusual fall session. The tables at the entrance doors with your greetings, information and materials were very helpful and welcoming for our students. Thank you.

Honoree’s Name: Maintenance Team
Honoree’s Dept./Division: Facilities
Reason for Kudos: Kudos to the entire Maintenance Team for all of your hard work over the summer and into the fall semester in getting West Hall ‘wired’ up and ready to go for the students’ return this Fall. Thanks also for the work done in the Osterlin building to get Tutoring up and running and the food pantry set up. We appreciate all that you do! Thank you…

Honoree’s Name: Grounds Crew
Honoree’s Dept./Division: Facilities
Reason for Kudos: Kudos to the entire Grounds crew for all of their hard work over the summer and into the fall semester in getting people moved into West Hall and moving people around in Osterlin as well as getting the Osterlin building spruced up and ready for the students’ return. We notice and appreciate your hard work. Thank you!


Experts suggest maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” increases positivity for yourself and for others. During our “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive, please encourage your colleagues by submitting a KUDOS. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and are thinking of them!

College and Michigan Tech to collaborate on Great Lakes research

TRAVERSE CITY — Michigan Technological University and Northwestern Michigan College have formalized their intent to collaborate on Great Lakes research, with a focus on marine technology, freshwater science and professional development.

At a signing ceremony held Wednesday, Sept. 16, Michigan Tech President Rick Koubek and NMC President Nick Nissley noted their shared mission and complementary strengths in advancing Great Lakes research, as well as their mutual goal in collaborating to develop an internationally-recognized center of excellence in freshwater science and research.

Under a two-year Memorandum of Understanding, MTU and NMC agreed to:

  • Cooperatively develop marine technology and operations plans
  • Partner on freshwater science and research projects, and
  • Collaborate on professional development projects that showcase Michigan Tech science and technology development and NMC workforce development programming

“I am especially grateful to Andrew Barnard at the Great Lakes Research Center along with Guy Meadows for their leadership and expertise,” Koubek said. “Our partnership with Northwestern Michigan College reiterates our mutual commitment to the protection and rehabilitation of the Great Lakes ecosystem and helps to ensure the economic longevity of our region and our state well into the future.”

“The collaboration is a great opportunity to re-imagine this important work for the future. Not only does it build upon the existing expertise of NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, led by Hans Van Sumeren, but amplifies it through the assets of a trusted partner, Michigan Technological University,” Nissley said. “Together we are accomplishing great things for our region.”

Wednesday’s signing builds on a history of collaboration between the public institutions that dates back nearly 30 years. Last year, the two institutions signed seven new articulation agreements that allow engineering students to complete their first two years of study at NMC and then transfer to Michigan Tech with junior status.

The new MOU also demonstrates Michigan Tech’s continued commitment to northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse region. In March 2019, the university announced a three-year Memorandum of Understanding designed to explore collaborative opportunities in the Grand Traverse area. The memorandum included exploration of educational opportunities and services with and through NMC.

The MOU signed Wednesday reflects MTU and NMC’s mutual intentions to develop and implement collaborative activities and is not intended to create binding or legal obligations on either party.

 

Release date: SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
dfairbanks@nmc.edu
(231) 995-1019

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

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

Patch✹Work: A Constitution Day Appreciation of Legislative Mending

Constitution photoTo mark Constitution Day (September 17, 2020), NMC Library has collected submissions of personal “appreciations” of real and imagined Constitutional amendments, or patches, that have been (or might be) stitched over the years to span holes in the founding document of our national government.

The word amendment finds its roots in the Latin emendare (e “out of”; menda “a fault”) and retains the spirit and connotations of the shortened Middle English variant, “mend” — to repair, restore or fix; to patch a hole in.

You can view the first round of appreciations in the library’s PatchWork video gallery. These appreciations represent the personal views and reflections of individual members of our college community, and should not be construed as institutional positions.

We’d love to add more perspectives over time, so we welcome more submissions even though the deadline for this Constitution Day has passed.

Announcing the Fall 2020 Global Literature Reading Group selection!

Snow book coverSnow by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish author; fiction) is our fall read, to be discussed over Zoom, Noon–1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The first batch of copies has arrived at the library and is available at the subsidized price of $5/book. Please contact Nicco Pandolfi at npandolfi@nmc.edu if you’d like to get a copy (happy to send via interoffice mail, or arrange a curbside pickup at the new library – or if you are comfortable coming in, you can pick up a copy at the Library service desk).

The library now has Square, so you can pay your $5 remotely by credit or debit card if you prefer, but cash is also accepted. Please let Nicco know your preference when you request your copy.

Also of note, we will be joining forces with the NMC Green Team for our spring read, The Future We Choose, by Christina Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (Costa Rican and British co-authors; non-fiction) an international partnerships and collaboration on climate change policy.

For a list of previously selected books, please visit the Global Literature Reading Group website.

College leads region into drone industry

TRAVERSE CITY —  This fall NMC celebrates the ten-year anniversary of its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program, a foresighted curricular addition that has helped diversify northern Michigan’s economy.

In 2010, UAS, also known as drones, were chiefly a military tool. The FAA barred commercial use, and wouldn’t establish regulations for a commercial license until 2016. But Tony Sauerbrey, then NMC’s chief flight instructor, and others in the college’s traditional manned Aviation program spied opportunity ahead.

“We started looking at the future of aviation, all this drone technology coming along,” said Sauerbrey, now NMC UAS program manager. “It was a little ahead of its time.”

Three classes in 2010 grew into a degree with a UAS speciality by 2013. Today, drones are used to inspect crop health and infrastructure integrity, photograph and sell real estate, conduct land surveys and monitor everything from shoreline erosion to invasive species. Drone package delivery is in development.

With NMC’s significant lead in training time and experience, UAS students have a decided edge in the industry with nearly 200,000 license holders nationwide. In northwest Michigan, the industry is growing to occupy a larger niche.

“NMC is the epicenter of all of the robotic and drone companies in the area, with an emphasis on aerial applications,” said Christian Smith, president of Interactive Aerial, a Traverse City company founded by four NMC alumni.

Interactive Aerial is also the 2020 winner of the Emerging Business award sponsored by Traverse Connect, the region’s economic development organization. President and CEO Warren Call said the company exemplifies the organization’s desire to diversify the economy away from traditional employers like tourism/hospitality and agriculture.

“Our mission is to grow family-sustaining careers,” Call said. “The best way to do that is to develop and grow sectors that are technical, high-skill, scientific.”

NMC will continue to play a pivotal role as the industry matures. Locating the program in Engineering Technology, where students learn to build and repair the units, as well as to process and analyze the many different kinds of data generated, is key. In addition, students are taught safe operating practices, airspace, weather, regulations, aerodynamics, and even aeronautical decision making. Hands-on training is conducted on land in Yuba donated by college supporters Dorance and Julia Amos. Sauerbrey says that proximity was instrumental to the UAS program’s success. “For us to have access to airspace that close, that really allowed for the program to develop,” Sauerbrey said.

“The next ten years will be very interesting,” Sauerbrey said. “Drones are not a novelty anymore and have cemented themselves as an invaluable tool in many industries and will continue to do so.”

NMC UAS program milestones

2010 : F irst UAS classes offered; Amos family offers Yuba property as a training facility.

2013: NMC introduces Engineering Technology associate’s degree with seven specialties including UAS. Enrollment in all specialties is double expectations. 

2015: NMC receives $2 million Community College Skilled Trades Equipment grant. $405,000 is allocated for the UAS program, allowing for the expansion of the drone fleet. 

2016: FAA establishes regulations for commercial drone licenses, a catalyst for the beginning of an industry.

2017: NMC partners with Michigan State University’s Institute of Agricultural Technology to train MSU students on the use of drones in agriculture. 80+ students have since enrolled. Read more .

2020:  

  • NMC partners with Unmanned Systems Institute, an organization that conducts additional industry safety certifications. Earning these will help students gain employment.
  • Interactive Aerial, a Traverse City manufacturing and service company focused on building drones and robotic solutions founded by four NMC alumni, wins the inaugural Emerging Business Award from Traverse Connect. 
  • FAA selects NMC for its Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Program . As the only school selected in Michigan, NMC will help set industry training standards.

Read more about the program, courses, instructors and career opportunities at nmc.edu/uas.

 

Release date: September 17, 2020

For more information:

Tony Sauerbrey
UAS program manager
tsauerbrey@nmc.edu
(231) 995-2925 

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

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

Success Story: Early adopters of UAS celebrate first decade

NMC Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) fleet photo

September 16, 2020

This fall NMC celebrates the ten-year anniversary of its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program, a foresighted curricular addition that has helped diversify northern Michigan’s economy.

Tony Sauerbrey photoIn 2010, UAS, also known as drones, were chiefly a military tool. But Tony Sauerbrey, left, then NMC’s chief flight instructor, and others in the college’s traditional manned Aviation program spied opportunity ahead.

“We started looking at the future of aviation, all this drone technology coming along,” said Sauerbrey, now NMC UAS program manager (far right, above.) “It was a little ahead of its time.”

Years ahead, in fact. Three classes in 2010 grew into a degree with a UAS specialty by 2013. The FAA established its commercial license in 2016. Today, drones are used to inspect crop health and infrastructure integrity, photograph and sell real estate, conduct land surveys and monitor everything from shoreline erosion to invasive species. In the future, Amazon promises drone delivery to customer doorsteps within 30 minutes.

With that significant lead in training time and experience, NMC UAS students have a decided edge in the industry with nearly 200,000 license holders nationwide. (In fact, Amazon employs several.) In northwest Michigan, the industry is growing to occupy a larger niche.

Justin-Bentsen-and-Pierce-Thomas.jpgJustin Bentsen, left and Pierce Thomas, right, during the filming of an Interactive Aerial product video. Both 2016 NMC grads, they are two of the company’s four founders.“NMC is the epicenter of all of the robotic and drone companies in the area, with an emphasis on aerial applications,” said Christian Smith, president of Interactive Aerial, a Traverse City company founded by four NMC alumni.

Interactive Aerial is also the 2020 winner of the Emerging Business award sponsored by Traverse Connect, the region’s economic development organization. President and CEO Warren Call said the company exemplifies the organization’s desire to diversify the economy away from traditional employers like tourism/hospitality and agriculture.

“Our mission is to grow family-sustaining careers,” Call said. “The best way to do that is to develop and grow sectors that are technical, high-skill, scientific.”

A year like 2020, where both hospitality and health care, another established regional employer, suffered shows the risk of not diversifying, he said.

“We could be a leader in industries and sectors that deal with remote environments. I would love to see us be known for that,” Call said.

Fittingly, NMC launched the UAS program by partnering with one of the region’s oldest industries. Fruit growers and college supporters Dorance and Julia Amos offered their land in Yuba as a training facility back in 2010.

“For us to have access to airspace that close, that really allowed for the program to develop,” Sauerbrey said.

NMC will continue to play a pivotal role as the industry matures. Locating the program in Engineering Technology, where students learn to build and repair the units, as well as to process and analyze the many different kinds of data generated, is key. In addition, students are taught safe operating practices, airspace, weather, regulations, aerodynamics, and even aeronautical decision making.

“Industry demands more now than simple piloting skills,” Smith said, who credits Sauerbrey for guiding the program to meet industry demands. He left NMC for the private sector in 2014 but returned in 2018.

“I was very passionate about the school and what had been started,” Sauerbrey said. He sees a “second coming” of the industry ahead, as drones begin to fly beyond line of sight and over people.

“The next ten years will be very interesting,” Sauerbrey said. “Drones are not a novelty anymore and have cemented themselves as an invaluable tool in many industries and will continue to do so.”

Specialization, like Interactive Aerial’s concentration in GPS-denied environments, like tanks and boilers, will continue. Another NMC-incubated drone company, Hybrid Robotics, is about five years behind Interactive Aerial. Smith looks to NMC for the new hires he needs, and eventually for entrepreneurial colleagues.

“I hope we can be an inspiration to the next group of kids sitting in that classroom,” Smith said. “I hope that can be a snowball that doesn’t stop.”

Call agrees, adding the remote/robotic industry can help the region attract more than retirees.

“We’ve been losing that core working age demographic. Part of the reason is they have career challenges,” he said. “Developing this industry, we see as a great way to address that goal.”


Read more about the program, courses, instructors and career opportunities at nmc.edu/uas.