In some ways, I grew up at North Central. My mom, JoAnna Kolodziej, has taught at the College since the late 70s. She started part-time, teaching nights, and I remember her taking me to class with her when I was little. I used to sit in the back with a coloring book or football cards to keep me occupied and I have fond memories of the warmth and generosity of her students and classrooms. Years later, as a student, I remember stopping by her office to see if she had any snacks in her desk - she usually did - and I remember her brightly painted walls filled with children’s artwork.
One of the most impactful teachers in my life was James McCullough. I took every class he taught and I’ve written a lot about his influence on me as a writer and a person. And there were many other teachers that helped ease me along and eventually graduate in 1998. Now I’m a writer and am proud to note that my first novel, Sweetgirl, (Ecco/Harper Collins) was long-listed for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, was a Michigan Notable Book Award winner in 2017, an Indie Next Pick, and named one of Ploughshares Best Books of the New Year. I am also the author of Greetings from Cutler County: A Novella and Stories.
I believe in the community college system because I’ve seen its impact in my own life and on others, and I am very grateful for my time at North Central. That’s why, whenever anybody asks me where I went to school I always answer the same: I am first and foremost a proud graduate of North Central Michigan College.
Travis lives currently in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and two children.