NMC Magazine Seeking Submissions For “A Pale Blue Dot”

A PALE BLUE DOT – NMC Magazine Spring 2017 – Volume 40 Issue 2

Earth is engraved with its past: wars, plagues, triumphs, growth, and discoveries. Though the path forward is obscured by the horizon of the present, we can spin the possibilities the future beholds, whether it be for good or ill, next month or next century.

NMC Magazine invites students, faculty, staff, and alumni to imagine those tomorrows today. The deadline for spring submissions is Friday, February 23.

Submit your art, designs, essays, fiction, illustrations, nonfiction, photographs, poetry, and more to nmcmag@mail.nmc.edu. Hard copies can be delivered to Fine Arts (attn: Caroline Schaefer-Hills) or Scholars Hall 214 (attn: Alissia Lingaur). Include a completed submission form with each entry, available at nmc.edu/nmcmagazine.

Be a Hawk Owl Hero: Raise money for your student group AND support NMC!

Is your NMC student group looking for a way to raise money?

Members of your group can volunteer to help the NMC Foundation at select events throughout the school year. In return, the NMC Foundation will reimburse your student group for the amount of time each of your members volunteered. You will earn $10/hour for your student group.

Upcoming Activity: HAWK OWLS SAY THANKS (HOST) Booth

  • Activity includes: Explaining a thank you letter writing activity to NMC students and passing out t-shirts.

Dates, Times, Locations:

  • Wednesday, February 7, 11 a.m- 1 p.m. at Parsons-Stulen
  • Thursday, February 8, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Great Lakes Campus

For more info, contact Katharine Zurek, Annual Giving Specialist at kzurek@nmc.edu or 231-995-1030. Or sign up here.

Maintain Don’t Gain Wellness Challenge Results!

  • 70 people weighed in and 57 weighed out- 81% completed the challenge!
  • Total weight lost was 116.5 pounds!
  • 49 people stayed under the 3 pound gain limit!

Congratulations to all of you for participating in this challenge!

The 49 people who stayed under the 3 pound gain were entered into a random drawing for a Ftibit Alta and the winner is…………..Rorie Kawula!


KUDOS – (praise or respect that you get because of something you have done or achieved) defined by Merriam-Webster.com

Submit a Kudos here.

Kudos to Julie Hansen and Cindy Deemer –  There is a lot of motion with clinical placements at Munson Medical Center for nursing students that require a lot of switching, changes and processing for NMC registration to match those placements. Cindy and Julie jumped right in to help all of this line-up and they’re a tremendous asset to nursing staff, faculty and students. That behind the scenes work can make a tremendous difference in ensuring a quality experience as our students head to the hospital. I’m deeply appreciative of both Julie and Cindy and thankful for the team approach they so clearly demonstrate.

Position Vacancies & Supplemental Employment

Are you looking for career opportunities? Find them here! jobs.nmc.edu. Current openings include:

Position Vacancies

  • Flight Instructor – Adjunct Faculty
  • Geography Adjunct Faculty
  • Automotive Adjunct Faculty
  • Clinical Nursing Adjunct Faculty
  • GLMA Adjunct Faculty
  • Surgical Technology Adjunct Faculty

Supplemental Employment

  • Banquet Server – Hagerty Center
  • Kitchen Steward

Success Story: Marine Tech grad lands a job in Hawaii

January 10, 2018

NMC alumnus Brendan HunterIf luck is defined as preparation meeting opportunity, then Brendan Hunter, who said “aloha” to a new career this month, could be in contention for luckiest NMC graduate of 2017.

Fresh off his December graduation from NMC’s Marine Technology bachelor’s degree program, Hunter started this week as a junior ocean engineer for Sea Engineering in Oahu, Hawaii.

“I’m going to be working on a pier (Makai Research Pier, operated by the University of Hawaii) that juts out over a coral reef into the Pacific Ocean,” Hunter said, speaking in an interview as the last snowfall in his foreseeable future fell on campus.

The job is the culmination a streak of NMC opportunities Hunter, 27, took advantage of, starting with his enrollment in 2013, just as the college rolled out its first-in-the-nation associate’s degree in Freshwater Studies.

He completed that degree just as NMC introduced its first-in-Michigan community college bachelor’s degree. Without that program in marine technology, Hunter would have transferred.

“I would have gone into a tangential field, oceanography or engineering,” he said. “It worked out perfectly. I stayed at NMC and kept studying what I wanted to study.”

Last month, the Kalamazoo native became the second student to earn the BSMT degree. In terms of employment, the world became his oyster. He applied for jobs in the United Arab Emirates, Seattle, Alaska, Boston and the United Kingdom.

At Sea Engineering, Hunter will organize the use of and implement offshore data collection with remotely-operated vehicles. About 70 percent of his time will be spent on the water, including coral reef research and deep-sea research off mounts in the Pacific.

“I would have taken this job if had been anywhere else,” said Hunter, who also received job offers in Boston and Texas. “It’s just a bonus that it happens to be in Hawaii.”

It dovetails perfectly with the skills he learned at NMC. Sea Engineering is transitioning its industrial and environmental research operation from diving to remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs).

“That transition is a big part of the reason they chose me,” Hunter said. “The same day they called to offer me the position, they had just unboxed their first ROV.”

Ironically, his choice of marine technology traces back to some bad luck and timing. Hunter graduated from high school in 2008 and enrolled in a four-year college that fall, majoring in political science/pre-law. But by his second semester, he was already questioning that choice.

“A, it was boring, and B, it was literally in the middle of the financial crisis,” he said. Foreseeing a poor job market, he decided to cut his losses, dropped out and moved to Texas, where he raced sailboats and “soul-searched.”

 “I’ve always had a love of the water and been naturally drawn to exploration,” he said. “When I decided to go back to school I decided I wanted it to be in the sciences.”

There was a hurdle, however: Math.

“I was super determined to get a grasp on math,” Hunter said. He had to start in a developmental course. But with the help of NMC professors like Mary Burget and Ernie East, and the drop-in tutoring available at the Math Center, he conquered it.

“I basically had to relearn from algebra up to calculus. Now I’m getting hired as an engineer,” Hunter said. “All the math professors have been great. It was a 180.”

Hunter credited NMC with helping him get scholarships that he estimated covered 15 to 20 percent of his educational costs. He also met his girlfriend at NMC, 2015 nursing alumna Victoria Peck. She’s moving with him to Hawaii and will look for a nursing job there.

“My life would have been completely different if it weren’t for NMC,” Hunter said.

Snowshoe/Fitness Opportunities

NMC now has nine pairs of snowshoes available for students and employees to sign out and use. Stop by the North Hall front desk or call 995-1410 to reserve a pair. This is a great opportunity for those who like to walk during their lunch breaks.

Also, don’t forget the NMC Fitness Center for those looking to burn off the extra calories consumed during the holidays, or those looking to start an exercise program for the new year. Please contact the fitness center at 995-1379 or stop by our new facility located inside North Hall for more information.

Training Services January 2018 Newsletter

Read about what our Training Services team is up to including upcoming classes that you may be able to take for free using the tuition reimbursement benefit: mailchi.mp/nmc/nmc-training-services-january-2018-newsletter

This month’s topics include Training Services’ year in review, Max Anderson’s first year as executive director of the TC Chamber, potential for a boom in sales of northern Michigan fruit products, Manufacturing Day, upcoming workshops, and more!

Student Success: Paramedic Degree Offers New Opportunities

September 2, 2015

Firefighter and EMT Austin Groessner is one of the first students in a new associate degree-paramedic program offered jointly by NMC and Munson Regional EMS.A classroom may not seem like the natural habitat for a self-professed “adrenaline junkie” like Austin Groesser, but he’ll be in one this fall.

The firefighter and EMT is one of the first students in a new associate degree-paramedic program offered jointly by NMC and Munson Regional EMS. This semester he’s taking English, biology, and psychology while continuing to accrue work experience as an EMT. Once Groesser has two years of EMT experience, he’ll be eligible to enroll in Munson’s paramedic program. NMC will accept the coursework he completes in that program as transfer credit. And by September 2017, Groesser expects to earn both his associate’s degree and his paramedic license.

“If I’m going to spend the time doing it, I’d much rather have a paper degree plus my license,” said the 2013 graduate of Traverse City West High School.

Groesser, 19, said the versatility of the degree attracts him. His career goal is to be a full-time firefighter, but departments want to hire individuals who can double as paramedics.

“Fire medics are the future,” he said, adding that he’s drawn to both the adrenaline rush of the job and the potential to do good.

“It’s a really powerful job. You can save lives,” he said.

Daryl Case, manager of Regional EMS Education for Munson, said the degree is important in the context of a career lifetime.

“Being a paramedic is a young person’s game,” Case said.  “They look to move up the line to management, education.”

Rudy Rakan is completing the program in the opposite direction. He already has two years of EMT experience working for Munson and two different ground agencies, so he began the paramedic portion of the program in July. Also 19 and a Traverse City West High School graduate, Rakan expects to complete that in fall of 2016 and begin his NMC coursework in spring 2017.

“When I found out they were offering the associate’s degree, I was excited because as a health care industry everything is pushing toward more education,” he said.

Students could also flow to other NMC programs like nursing.

“The student is the one who gains,” said Laura Schmidt, NMC’s director of nursing.

NMC will also provide assessment testing for incoming students.

Success Story: NMC food pantry opens next week

October 25, 2017

Photo of food pantry volunteers and donationsA new food pantry is set to open on campus next week, a local step toward addressing the food insecurity that college students face nationwide.

The NMC Food Pantry operates out of the basement of the Osterlin Building and is available to all active students starting Nov. 1, said Paul Kolak, an NMC counselor and member of the pantry steering committee.

Students won’t have to physically access the shelves, however. Instead, they’ll fill out an online form stating their household size and needs. Student volunteers will fulfill the orders anonymously, and recipients will be notified when their order is ready for pickup — hoped-for turnaround is 24 hours — at the Student Success Center, also in the Osterlin Building.

“We’re just trying to be really discreet with it,” Kolak said, adding that the pantry will aim to feed people for about three days.

“We’re not seeking to be a grocery store. This is a supplement,” he said.

In August, a study released by the Urban Institute reported that 13 percent of community college students were “food insecure” in 2015. Food insecurity is defined as reduced quality of diet and access to nutrition.

In a typical NMC class of 40, that 13 percent translates to five students. Consequently the NMC Food Pantry has dubbed all food drives the Minus Five project. The first was held Oct. 10 with faculty and staff donating during the annual Professional Development Day.

Food pantry donationsThe pantry will also be supplied by other sources, including the NMC Foundation, the Northwest Food Coalition, which supports several dozen regional pantries, and a Grand Rapids-area organization called Feeding America. Besides non-perishable food items it will also stock health and hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

NMC business students have conducted a food drive as an experiential learning project for the last five fall semesters, and employees have donated food at the annual college holiday party. Now, both those efforts will help keep dignity and convenience right on campus.

“The closer the food pantry is, the better utilized it is,” Kolak said. “It’s an issue of pride, and of transportation in some cases.”

Success Story: Equalizing opportunities in the cockpit

September 27, 2017

NMC aviation student Kate HauchNMC Aviation, already celebrating its 50th anniversary, notched another notable accomplishment this fall – the largest number of new female students ever.

The six women, from Michigan to Indiana to Alaska, more than double Aviation’s total female enrollment. They took various paths to the Aero Park campus – from a sight-unseen enrollment after a relative’s recommendation to a cold-hard calculation of cost to value. But after only a few weeks of class, they share a sentiment of satisfaction with the small, welcoming program that gets students into the pilot’s seat ASAP.

“It was amazing. The second week of school we were up in the air,” said Kate Hauch, 29 (above), the Alaskan who enrolled upon the recommendation of her brother-in-law, a former student. She never set foot on campus until she arrived from Juneau a couple days before classes, but has felt welcomed.

“You’re a new student, you don’t know how to fly, let’s learn,” is the attitude she found.

“Being able to fly the first week of school at NMC really made a big difference,” agreed Regan Lezotte, 18, of Howell. She had wanted to go to Western Michigan University and spent months agonizing over her choice. A cost analysis showing she’d save six figures by attending NMC tipped the scales.

“There are some smaller houses that I could buy with this money I’d be saving,” Lezotte said.

At Western she wouldn’t have been flying until summer 2018, and would have been among 800-900 students instead of 50.

“It’s more intimate. My instructor knows me, he knows my name,” said Lezotte, whose goal is to fly in corporate aviation. She’s also already found an internship for next semester, working in the Airport Operations and management offices at Cherry Capital Airport.

Hauch plans to return to Alaska and work in either the aerial survey industry or flying medical evacuation flights. Meanwhile, the Saginaw native is enjoying the warmer weather and the local scenery, like her “gorgeous” first flight up the Leelanau peninsula.

“I love the northern area,” she said.

NMC Aviation will celebrate its first half-century with a symposium and gala dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort Thursday. More details are available at nmc.edu/aviation50.

Success Story: Commitment Scholars Are Making A Difference

September 30, 2015

Stephine DeerenStephine Deeren doesn’t just go to work at Addiction Treatment Services. She fulfills her calling.

Her job as a detox care coordinator can be stressful, but Deeren, a 2013 NMC graduate, says that it’s worth it for the chance to help clients individually as well as to change community stigmas about substance abuse.

“It’s really rewarding in that you’re really making a difference,” she said.

What goes around, comes around. Back in high school, Deeren, now 26, was selected as an NMC Commitment Scholar. Since 1993, NMC has offered full-tuition Commitment Scholarships to promising first-generation college students who might not have the means to attend otherwise. The goal: to make a difference in their lives.

The class of 2019 will be inducted next week. Consisting of 113 students from schools throughout the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, it’s the largest Commitment class ever.

It’s a pivotal moment for those students, said Deeren. Her career path began with an Introduction to Psychology class at NMC. She’s now pursuing her bachelor’s degree through Grand Valley State University at NMC’s University Center, and she eventually plans to get her master’s in social work.

“That’s where I found out what I wanted to do, was my first two years at NMC,” she said. “It really allowed me to have that self-discovery that I needed.”

Like Deeren, each student entering Commitment next week will have a chance for a full-tuition scholarship by meeting graduation and grade point requirements. For students outside Grand Traverse County, the value is up to $25,000. Commitment Scholarships are funded through the NMC Foundation and are a priority area for the college.

More than 1,000 students have gone through Commitment, with 91 percent completing the requirements.

Emily Sklodowske

Emily Sklodowske is another alumna.

“It was so significant. It was a huge turning point for me,” said the 2007 graduate of Benzie Central High School.

Sklodowske decided to try going away to school first. But after a year at Ferris, she returned to NMC where her Commitment scholarship was still available.

After a year here, Sklodowske was approved to use remaining scholarship funds on a study abroad trip to Italy. That hooked her on international travel and set the course for her career path.

“I knew, after Italy, that I had to go back. I had to keep doing that,” she said.

She now works at Passageways Travel in Traverse City and is planning a trip to Costa Rica in December. Her advice to incoming Commitment scholars? Do everything they can to maximize the opportunity.

“ I would go right straight to NMC after high school, if I could go back and change that,” she said, citing the “top-notch” faculty, classes and experiences she found on campus. “This is something you need to take advantage of.”

Read more about or donate to the Commitment Scholarship Program »

Success Story: Dennos To Debut New Galleries As It Turns Quarter-Century Mark

September 15, 2015

Record donation makes expansion possible

Diana and Richard MilockIt was time for something big, Diana and Richard Milock decided.

NMC today announced the largest single gift by living donors in college history, a $2 million gift to expand the Dennos Museum Center. That gift also happens to be the largest ever for the Milocks, stalwart cultural philanthropists whose touch is evident everywhere in northwest Michigan, from Milliken Auditorium to the Bijou Theatre to the YMCA.

“We saw this as an opportunity to have a major impact on a community resource that we think is really important to the life of Traverse City. We’re really just so excited to be able to do this,” Diana Milock said.

Architectural rendering of the Dennos Museum Center additionThe 9,000-square-foot expansion will house two new galleries intended to be named, respectively, the Gene Jenneman Permanent Collection Gallery and the Diana and Richard Milock Sculpture Gallery.  The former honors the museum’s founding director. Under Jenneman’s quarter century of leadership the Dennos has built a strong permanent collection of works, but most sit in storage.

Architectural rendering of the Dennos Museum Center addition“We have wonderful works of art and there just isn’t room to show them,” Diana Milock said.

Art lovers and collectors themselves, the Milocks have supported both the Dennos and NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute for more than a decade.  Diana Milock has a special affinity for sculpture, which will be evident in the expansion. Windows lining one wall of the expansion will connect the new sculpture gallery to existing outdoor sculptures that surround the museum.

Architectural rendering of the Dennos Museum Center addition“I love outdoor sculpture. If we have access from the interior to observe the exterior, it’s a natural to fill that in,” she said.

The donation will also fund loading dock and storage improvements and a new classroom space.

“This gift from the Milocks speaks strongly to the support that Northwestern Michigan College has earned from this community and our shared desire to strengthen NMC’s role as a leader in providing cultural opportunities,” said NMC President Timothy J. Nelson.

Architectural rendering of the Dennos Museum Center addition“I am pleased to see this next step in the direction of the Dennos take place in our coming 25th year,” Jenneman said. “With these permanent collection galleries we will be positioned to make our art collection more accessible on an ongoing basis and to develop more defined connections to the College’s academic programs.”

Preliminary architectural drawings are complete. NMC hopes to bid the project in early 2016, the museum’s 25th anniversary year, and break ground later in the year.

Success Story: Scholarships show excellence runs wide and deep

March 11, 2015

Scholarship winnersFour years ago, single mom Kathy Tahtinen wouldn’t have put her name in the same sentence as Harvard University. Now, she’s considering online courses at the Ivy League school this fall.

Two years ago, Alan Holcombe was sitting in his cubicle in a Grand Rapids bank, second-guessing his choice of a finance degree. Next week he’s headed to an industry conference in Maryland, all expenses paid, to see just how far his engineering technology degree from NMC will take him.

Brian Sweeney’s educational resume includes degrees from West Point and Cornell. Now the Army retiree has come full circle to teach at NMC, where he took his first class as dual-enrolled student, building one of the college’s newest programs, photonics.

The trio have each received recent scholarships that collectively showcase not only the breadth of Northwestern Michigan College offerings, from transfer to technical, but the excellence across the board.

New Century Scholar

Tahtinen, 38, (pictured above, back row, second from right) has been named the New Century Scholar for Michigan, among just 57 outstanding community college students chosen from 1,700 nominated internationally. She’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society, and will graduate in May with three associate degrees. The scholarship will help the single mother of two high school students – one of whom shares her classes as a dual-enrolled high school student – continue pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

The Harvard extension opportunity would allow her to earn a degree while taking classes mostly online. Her NMC transcripts qualify her to take three pre-admission online classes, which would in turn determine whether she could apply for official admission.

“Having that confidence to even make the phone call to Harvard was definitely something new,” she said. “When you put a challenge in front of me, I’m going to find a way. It’s just my personality.”

Hydrographic Society scholars

Holcombe, 28, and fellow student John Lutchko both received scholarships from the Hydrographic Society of America. Engineering Technology didn’t exist at NMC when Holcombe graduated from Suttons Bay High School in 2005, and he went on to earn a bachelor’s in finance and economics from a four-year school.

Alan Holcombe operates a multi-beam sonar system on Lake SuperiorCubicle life didn’t agree with him, however, and Holcombe decided to look for something where he could use his hands. In NMC’s program, he uses them to build, program and operate robots that collect data underwater. Last summer he spent an internship with the National Park Service on Lake Superior. (At leftAbove, Holcombe operates a multi-beam sonar system on the lake.)

“It’s mind-blowing to me that this was in our back yard,” Holcomb said. “My office turned from a cubicle to going out on a boat and seeing things like bald eagles and even bear cubs on the beach every day.”

The employment odds have turned in his favor, and he expects to be able to field multiple job offers after he graduates this spring.

“I can’t wait to see where it takes me,” he said.

Optics and Photonics grant

Sweeney, meanwhile, will oversee a $15,000 grant from the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) for both scholarships and student recruitment. Photonics involves the use of lasers and other electro-optical devices in fields like manufacturing, medicine, aerospace, IT and defense. NMC was one of just four schools nationwide to receive the funding. Sweeney, 50, says the hands-on training provided is the reason why.

“West Point and Cornell had a lot of theory. We didn’t have a lot of grabbing the wrench and turning it,” Sweeney said.

Photonics started at NMC in 2012 and this is the second year the college has received the OP-TEC grant.

“These achievements illustrate the extraordinary breadth and depth of programming at NMC,” said Stephen Siciliano, NMC’s vice president for educational services. “From providing degree paths to having programs that are first in the nation and linked to our own bachelor degree shows both how broad our offerings are and the depth of scientific research that is often only associated with research universities. But one finds it here at NMC.”