Success Story: Christal Frost joins fellow frontliners going back to school

December 2, 2020

Christal Frost AndersonPhoto credit: FulfillamentKnown to thousands in northern Michigan as a longtime voice in local radio, Christal Frost Anderson (right) is poised to take on another identity: NMC student.

In January, Anderson, 41, will be among more than 400 students enrolled so far in classes at NMC through Futures for Frontliners, a statewide program offering 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. (The deadline to apply is Dec. 31 and eligible applicants can enroll anytime in 2021.)

Anderson’s job in media — she’s worked on air for 15 years, most recently at WTCM’s AM and FM stations— qualifies. As she was interviewing someone on the air about the program, she realized it, and that after a couple “false starts” in college, the time was ripe for her.

“That’s what I love about NMC. It’s always there when you’re ready. That’s a big, big thing. It took me a long time to be ready,” said Anderson, a 1998 Benzie Central High School graduate who attended NMC immediately after high school and again in 2002 and 2006.

“I would go back, try to do a class or two, and life would happen,” she said.

But with her son now 20 and deployed in the military and her younger child in high school, it seemed like perhaps she could finish what she started. Futures for Frontliners, whose application period runs through Dec. 31, sealed the deal.

“It’s about actually accomplishing it,” said Anderson.

Futures for Frontliners logoEligible workers include those who worked in financial services, food and agriculture, health care, law enforcement, transportation and public works. They may pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate while they continue to work. Among NMC’s 1,450 Frontliner applicants, 445 have been determined as eligible and nearly all have registered for spring semester, which begins Jan. 11. Just over half are new students while the remainder are currently enrolled but will gain the Frontliners scholarship. Most of the 1,000 who have applied but not yet been declared eligible have outstanding paperwork and could still take advantage of the scholarship.

Anderson is considering studying either criminal justice or psychology and plans to stay on the air.

“I probably won’t leave my job, I love my job,” she said. “Even if I never use the field of study, there’s something to be said about always learning.”

The bite-size approach that Frontliners offers also appeals to Anderson. Students need only enroll in six credits, or two classes, to maintain scholarship eligibility. Anderson will take her classes online, a convenience that didn’t exist when she last attended.

“You had to fit your schedule around the school. That’s not how it is now, and that has made all the difference,” she said.

She also plans to take full advantage of NMC’s many student support services. Advising, success coaching and tutoring are just a few available. Attempting to go solo factored into her previous false starts.

“I didn’t reach out for help, and therefore I ended up dropping out,” she said. “I know I need the support.”

This time, she’s already taking practice tests and practicing writing samples to prepare for an exam that would allow her to test out of an English course.

NMC’s in-district tuition rates apply to Grand Traverse County residents. Those who qualify for Futures for Frontliners but live outside the district may still take advantage of the scholarship by paying the difference.

Media Mentions for November 30, 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 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.

Futures for Frontliners buoys NMC numbers
Record-Eagle, Nov. 28


Dec. 3 Screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble

Good Trouble poster imageNMC’s Alpha Rho Pi proudly presents a screening of “John Lewis: Good Trouble” — an intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’s life, from his teenage years on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, to becoming a legislative powerhouse.

The screening will take place Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion.

Lesson of the Lark Virtual Choral Concert

Friday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m.

NMC’s Music Department, in collaboration with the NMC Audio Tech and Visual Communications programs, is pleased to announce the premiere of “The Lesson of the Lark” — a new concert work celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of Women’s Voting Rights hosted by Jeffrey Cobb, Director of Music Programs. The piece, which is meant to uplift and unify us during these challenging times, is a multi-movement work composed for narrator, soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists, chorus, and jazz orchestra. The work takes its inspiration from the language of Jazz, including elements of Swing, Blues, Bossa Nova ,Gospel, Salsa, and improvisation.

“The Lesson of the Lark,” is based on local author Laura Knight Cobb’s recently published book of the same name. The book, written to celebrate this year’s 100th Anniversary of the ratification of Women’s Voting Rights, is a dramatic interpretation of the struggle for women’s voting rights, told through the characters of a Girl, a Lark, and a Gardener, in beautiful prose and stunning artwork. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales go to the Equal Means Equal organization whose goal is to complete the ratification of the original Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.

Sign up for free tickets to the virtual event at MyNorthTickets. Those who register for the 7 p.m. Dec. 4 performance will receive a link to view the premiere and pre-premiere talk shortly before the event.

Educational Technologies expands and shares its expertise

Hawk Owl Helper logoThroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NMC’s Educational Technologies team has been increasing its knowledgebase of online teaching tips and tools. New statistics show just how heavily their expertise is recognized and utilized. Between July 1 and Nov. 15, 2019, the page had 3,000 users. The same period this year saw 266,000 users — an 8,792% increase.

Page views rose from just over 17,000 in the 2019 period to more than 1 million in 2020. The top three pages visited were changing your name in a Zoom meeting (NMC’s explainer even ranks near the top in Google searches), downloading and setting up the Moodle mobile app and the homepage.

Who’s been a Hawk Owl Helper or Hero for you? Let us know at!

Students: Build the skills needed to succeed in college!

College Prep Workshops graphicThe NMC Student Success Center will be offering Free College Prep Courses to help students be college ready.

These non-credit Math, English & Tech courses are for students who would like to build their foundational math, reading, writing & tech skills. You’ll meet with instructors who you’ll be seeing in the classroom and also support resources that will be available throughout your journey.

These short courses are delivered tuition free and are available for current, new and prospective students. Sign up at

New COVID-19 Symptom Screen Protocol

Good afternoon NMC employees,

Thank you for your continued work to keep our students, co-workers and community safe during the pandemic. Most of you are now working remotely after the Governor last week required all work that can be done remotely, must be.

For those of you whose work requires you to come to campus, please continue to closely monitor your health. Early in our response we had asked you to monitor your symptoms through these self-screening questions and communicate with your supervisor before coming to campus as part of NMC’s Keep Safe Plan.

As the pandemic has intensified our compliance obligations have also increased. Rather than simply a ‘self-check,’ we are now required by the state of Michigan to have all employees check in with their manager every day before the employee may come on-site to any of our campuses. Please note: this applies to ALL EMPLOYEE groups and contractors.

  • If you have no symptoms, and have had no close contact with anyone who has COVID-19, as identified in the self-screening questions, a brief email stating “no symptoms” to your manager will be sufficient.
  • If you have any symptoms or have close contact, please let your manager know and do not come to campus. Please contact Hollie DeWalt in Human Resources, via email, or via phone call at (231) 995-1350
  • Managers must maintain a record of symptom checks for each employee who comes to campus or reports symptoms, each day. A spreadsheet format will be sufficient, and may be needed by HR to confirm recordkeeping for MIOSHA compliance.
  • NMC will soon launch a smart phone-based application so that employees can report their symptom check results through their phone or the web. Employees who do not have an appropriate device will continue to report their results to their manager each day via phone call or email before they come to campus.

Our continued goal is to keep employees and students safe with the least disruption to learning as possible. Our entire NMC community thanks you for your help in limiting the spread of the virus on our campuses. If you have questions or concerns on any of our COVID-19 protocol please reach out to your supervisor or myself. 


Mark Liebling
Human Resources
1701 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-1342

Thank you to the NMC staff who help foster care students navigate the higher ed process

Hawk Owl Helper logoKudos to Dean of Students Lisa Thomas and Marcus Bennett, Associate Dean of Campus & Residence Life, and other college staff at NMC who work to ease the transition for students coming out of the foster care system. As detailed in a recent Traverse City Record-Eagle story, their efforts — from waiving fees to providing emotional support — help assure that the students find success in their college careers.

Who’s been a Hawk Owl Helper or Hero for you? Let us know at!

Media Mentions for November 23, 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 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.

Editorial: It’s time to end higher education monopolies
Record-Eagle, Nov. 19 (more…)

Wellness Appointments Available

Our Priority Health Wellness Consultant, Chrissie Gonzales, will be opening up virtual office hours for NMC wellness members. If you have questions about the Wellbeing Hub, upcoming programs, or general wellness questions or concerns, please schedule a time to meet HERE. Appointments are 15 minutes long, additional time can be scheduled if needed.

Also, don’t forget to complete your Health Assessment on the Wellbeing Hub! It’s not too late; log in through your member portal and complete the short Health Assessment to unlock personalized health and wellness programs geared toward helping you meet your goals and improve your overall wellbeing. Complete four rewardable programs on the Hub to be entered in the final prize drawing when the program year wraps up in the spring!

Priority Health ID Cards

If you currently have Priority Health medical insurance, you will be receiving updated ID cards in the mail this week. Please replace your current cards with the updated version. If you made changes for 2021, you will receive updated cards in January.


Honoree’s Name: Kari Kahler, Nicco Pandolfi, Joelle Hannert, Paul Kolak, Katelyn Sommer-Ford
Honoree’s Dept./Division: Learning Services
Reason for Kudos: Kari, Katelyn, Paul, Nicco, and Joelle have continued to support and work at the NMC Food Pantry through the pandemic to support our students. Thank you so much for continuing to do this important work – you are recognized for your excellence not only throughout the NMC community but also in the larger food insecurity community!

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!

Museum Store Sunday is Nov. 29

Museum Store Sunday buttonWe’re celebrating Museum Store Sunday with extra discounts! Shop the Dennos Museum Store online Sunday, Nov. 29 and enjoy 25% off everything! Just use code MuseumStoreSunday at checkout.

The Dennos Museum Store brings you a carefully curated collection of unique, fun and functional merchandise that reflects the Museum’s collections as well as current exhibitions. We seek out art-inspired objects with a focus on great design to inspire, engage and delight both visitors and our community. Holiday decor, gifts, cards, and 2021 calendars are now available!

Find us online at

All proceeds in the store support Dennos exhibitions and programs.

Screening of The Clean Bin Project

The Clean Bin Project illustrationWant to learn a little more about sustainability and taking care of our planet? NMC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, Alpha Rho Pi, presents a screening of The Clean Bin Project.

This short comedic documentary follows partners Jen and Grant as they try to live zero waste for an entire year, and opens our eyes to the sobering amount of waste we create.

Join us for a virtual screening Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. at

Possible COVID-19 exposure on main campus Nov. 9, Nov. 11

TRAVERSE CITY —Today NMC confirmed a student tested positive for COVID-19 who had recently been on main campus. The Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD) believes the risk of widespread exposure is minimal from this case.

The student was asymptomatic when on main campus Monday, Nov. 9 in the following location:

  • West Hall, 8–10 a.m.

The student was asymptomatic when on main campus Wednesday, Nov. 11 in the following location:

  • Health & Science Building, 1–4 p.m.

The student received the positive test result on 11-15-20 and remains in quarantine.

The GTCHD is conducting contact tracing with any individuals who might be at risk of exposure and encourages anyone who was in that area during that time to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days following the potential exposure.

NMC safety protocols in place including mandatory masks, social distancing and cleaning of the space before and after each class. You can read more at

The College will continue to work with county health departments to monitor the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to communicate with you about cases on our campuses. 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 Thank you for your continued commitment to safety at NMC.


Release date: November 19, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(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.

MI COVID Alert app launches statewide

Covid app illustrationAll Michiganders are encouraged to download the MI COVID Alert phone application from the Apple or Google app stores. MI COVID Alert is a free, easy to use, and anonymous app to help you stay informed and protect yourself or others from spreading COVID-19. The app was successfully piloted at Michigan State University and the surrounding community before its statewide launch.

Downloading the app provides protection going forward if you become exposed to someone who tests positive. The app uses low energy Bluetooth technology to detect phones with the app near you and send alerts for potential exposures. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, a local health department or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will provide them with a code to enter into the app. If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has COVID-19, you will receive a push notification to your mobile phone through the app.

Download the app today in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.