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Success Stories



Photo of Marleah DeanMarleah fell in love with learning at North Central Michigan College as a 16-year-old, dually-enrolled student.  After graduating from North Central in 2007, Marleah pursued her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Michigan State University. There, she had the opportunity to conduct research with top researchers who opened up health communication to her, including research into breast cancer. Marleah's journey then led her to the University of New Mexico where she pursued her M.A., and to Texas A&M University for her doctorate. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Health Communication at the University of South Florida.

Marleah's love of learning has opened up remarkable doors. She has been given the opportunity to present her research at national and international conferences. She has been able to publish articles in top communication and medical journals and to teach classes in public speaking, nonverbal communication, group communication, interpersonal communication and health communication.


Photo of Jenny MaginnisDr. Jenny Maginnis is a Petoskey native who found her way back to northern Michigan after an educational journey that took her to Michigan State University for two degrees (bachelor’s and master’s) and the University of Kentucky for a Ph.D. in Communication and Social Media. Jenny joins North Central as the new Communication instructor, teaching courses in public speaking (beginning and advanced), interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication and social media.

Her belief in the empowering nature of communication guides her skill-based course design. Jenny believes in engaging students and giving them the communication skills to better manage their personal and professional relationships. About her students Jenny states, “They inspire me every day to go beyond just research based knowledge and seek out practical skills to help them deal with their daily communication.” The field of communication has changed significantly in recent years with the increase in social media. Jenny’s priority is in incorporating new media and its impact into day-to-day communication.


Photo of Ben SlocumBen Slocum was born and raised in the Petoskey area before graduating from North Central with an Associate of Arts in General Studies and later a Bachelor of Science in English from Northern Michigan University.  He traveled extensively throughout the world while working in motor sports, competing in and managing teams at the world level.  When he moved back to Petoskey in 2012, he opened Beards Brewery with a friend, Peter Manthei, spending time focusing on high quality craft beer in a welcoming environment. Ben also works with North Central as a workshop series instructor, teaching courses in brewing and the greater world of beer.  “My passion is showing students the wider world of food and drink and what connects the final glass to the farmers, recipes and processes that create their drinks.”


Photo of Cari GriffinCari Griffin started her family early and never had time to consider college, but when daughter Sydney enrolled at North Central, she decided the time was right.  A mother of six, Cari juggled the demands of school and family life and applauds the instructors and staff at North Central for being there for her every step of the way. She graduated in spring 2015 and is currently enrolled at the University of Michigan, where she’ll further her focus in history and literature and obtain her doctoral degree.

Cari says, “If I can find the time to go to college with six kids, anyone can.  Don’t let life get in the way.”



Photo of Kelli SuterFrom a very young age, Kelly Suter’s mom made sure she learned to see the world, and more important, the people within that world around us. Immediately following high school, she did two years of humanitarian work as a Regnum Christi coworker (now Mission Corps).  She loved humanitarian missions, but  wanted to do more, have a practical skill set to offer, and make it a sustainable way of life -- and so she chose to become a nurse.  

Kelly attended North Central Michigan College and graduated in 2008 from the nursing program.  From there she headed for Haiti with the International Medical Corp where she worked to support and strengthen the health infrastructure to handle the cholera epidemic.  She has tended the sick in the Amazon and cared for refugees in East Timor.  Most recently, she has returned from Liberia where she helped care for Ebola patients. She was featured on CBS 60 Minutes as part of their story called The Ebola Hot Zone.


A Family Tradition

Photo of Katelyn and Mary BethKatelyn and Mary Beth Crittenden are graduates of Petoskey High School. Both sisters received the Martha Curtis Memorial Scholarship for nursing at North Central Michigan College and graduated in spring, 2015.

Mary Beth plans to go to work as a registered nurse, but will continue her studies to obtain a BSN. "Right now, I'd like to work in a neonatal intensive care unit of a pediatrics unit." Katelyn plans to work on her BSN and get a job in pediatrics or obstetrics.

When asked what inspired them to pursue a career in nursing, both agreed it was their family. "There are 14 members of our family (aunts, cousins, siblings and mother) who have graduated from the nursing program at North Central," Mary Beth said.