TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College has recognized the following employees for excellence in the 2023–24 academic year:

Tammy ColemanTammy Coleman (download high-resolution photo)Imogene Wise Faculty Excellence Award: Tammy Coleman, biology. Chosen by a student selection committee, award criteria includes teaching excellence, rapport with students, innovation in the classroom and a sense of dedication. Student nominators said of Coleman, who began teaching at NMC in 2014:

  • “Anatomy and Physiology II with Tammy Coleman is a class I would take over and over again if I could. Not only did I learn key concepts for nursing school, but the class opened my eyes to my own health and encouraged me to create healthy habits.”
  • “Tammy hand wrote each student at least 2 cards throughout the semester that provided some sort of encouragement and appreciation for each students hard work.”
  • “She created assignments that focused our reading and learning so we were able to get the most out of each lesson. She formatted the exams to require us to not only utilize what we had learned in class, but to utilize our critical thinking in a real world way.”

Initiated by a contribution from longtime NMC benefactors Harold and Imogene Wise in 1970, the award was first made to a full-time faculty member in 1971.

Sam Boase-MillerSam Boase-Miller (download high-resolution photo)Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award: Sam Boase-Miller, music. Chosen by a student selection committee, award criteria includes teaching excellence, rapport with students, innovation in the classroom and a sense of dedication. Student nominators said of Boase-Miller, who began teaching in the music department in 2018:

  • “He has provided such a positive outlook on education, which has enhanced my experience at NMC x10.”
  • “He’s always pushing us forward as artists and people, no matter the circumstance, because he genuinely believes in all of us, and has even stated he learns as much from us some times as we do from him.”
  • “He really emphasized his willingness to help everyone, in or outside of class. And he was very encouraging, acknowledging that everyone has different skills and methods.”

The award was created in 1999 as a companion to the Imogene Wise Faculty Excellence Award. See a full list of all past faculty and adjunct faculty excellence winners at

Ed Bailey Lisa Cooper Hans Van Sumeren
Ed Bailey, Lisa Cooper & Hans Van Sumeren (select a photo to download a high-resolution version)
Team Award: AquaHacking/Lakebed 2030 team: Ed Bailey, Lisa Cooper, Hans Van Sumeren. The trio planned and executed the yearlong AquaHacking the Great Lakes challenge, an entrepreneurship competition, with partner AquaAction, a Canadian nonprofit organization. The finale on May 10 resulted in three startups winning $35,000 in seed money. Traverse City company Wave Lumina finished second. The Lakebed 2030 conference, held in September, aims to map the bottom of all five lakes at high resolution by 2030. Only 15% are currently mapped.

Linda BerlinLinda Berlin (download high-resolution photo)Staff Excellence Award: Linda Berlin, director of financial aid. Berlin, who has worked at NMC since 2010, had led her department to set records for total scholarship dollars disbursed ($1.4 million in 2023-24) and the percentage of available dollars awarded to students (96%). She has also made structural changes to NMC’s processes and operations to maximize and automate student eligibility for state financial aid. In further recognition of her leadership statewide, Berlin also received the 2023-24 Henry Dykema Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association. 

Release date: May 23, 2024

For more information:

Cari Noga
NMC Communications Director
(231) 392-1800 (Call or text)



Northwestern Michigan College does not discriminate in admission, campus activities, education, employment, housing, public accommodation or public service on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity/expression, handicap, height, marital or familial status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, service in the military, veteran’s status, weight, or any other legally protected status under federal, state, or local law. No act of retaliation shall occur to any person making a charge, filing a complaint, testifying or participating in any discrimination investigation or proceeding.