Alumni Success Stories
Stephen Conner Beer, 2018
Stephen Beer always knew that college was in his future. What was important to him was to find a place or a path for academic success that worked for him. That path began in 2015-2016, when, as a high school senior, he dual-enrolled at North Central, taking six credits each semester. Upon his graduation from high school in 2016, his path was clear and his experience as a dual student helped him transition into being a full-time North Central student very simple.
“I chose North Central because I wanted to afford college and get transferable credits to a larger university later down the road,” states Stephen. “I always knew that college was in my future, but I didn’t want a mountain of debt following me the subsequent years after graduating. So I chose an option for me that was in my budget, fit my schedule, and was close to home. NCMC made my shift from high school to college a fluid and simple experience.”
And that experience was excellent in many ways. “I was home, in an environment that encourages academic success,” he states. “I had friends that were on track to graduate from the Early College program, and I wasn’t too far behind them. I received the same education as others who attend four-year universities right out of high school, for a fraction of the cost, and still was able to transfer the credits to those same schools. So why pay 5-10 times the cost of something you can get for a fraction?”
Stephen also participated in student activities, including Phi Theta Kappa, an honors society for two-year colleges. “PTK provided opportunities to do community service, and work toward scholarships that are exclusively offered to students in the program,” he states. Stephen was also involved in the Student Ambassador program, and Student Senate.
Stephen also found great mentors at the College, naming Dr. Jenny Maginnis, James McCullough, Dr. Cameron Brunet-Koch and Dr. Peter Olson as the top individuals that worked with him to make sure he was accepted by the University of Michigan. “While at NCMC, I took five classes with James, most being English-based. He mentored me through all of the classes, always seeing the positive side to my writing and helping me improve upon it. This was different from my traditional upbringing of turning in an essay, getting a grade back, and that’s the end of that. His method of revising work I turned in helped me put a microscope to my writing and craft my best work,” he states. “Now Jenny Maginnis is another story,” he continues. “I would consider her a good friend at this point. I took two communications classes with Jenny while at NCMC. Jenny helped me become a more authentic version of myself through public speaking and interpersonal communication. Whenever I see Jenny when I make it home for a weekend or holiday break, we always catch up and chat about what going on in our lives. Jenny is genuinely one of the most amazing, brilliant, funny, amicable mentors I’ve ever had the honor of meeting.”
Stephen graduated from North Central with an Associate of Arts degree. “This was the program of study I chose because it was best suited to help me properly transfer to another school later down the road. Along with the Michigan Transfer Agreement, transferring from NCMC to the University of Michigan was a seamless experience. Without my academic adviser, Kimberly Dickinson, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate the complexity of the transferring credits process and or knowing which courses I needed to stay on track for graduation.”
Stephen is pursuing a pre-law track with a major in psychology and a minor in Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. His hopes are for law school after he graduates. Stephen achieved a 4.0 in his first semester, and is hoping for the same in semester 2.
“If I have learned anything from my journey from North Central to the University of Michigan, it would be this. When you know your ‘why,’ your ‘what’ has more impact. What are you going to college for? Now why are you going to college? When you start to understand the magnitude of why you want to go to school, then what you’re going to school for will greatly impact your journey. I am glad that I chose North Central as my academic foundation.”
chase griffin, 2016
Chase Griffin, a CNC Certificate of Development graduate, has also earned his welding certificate through IAI, and after several years in the workforce as an employee, he has since opened his own shop, Tip of the Mitt Welding & Fabrication in Boyne City.
dawn bodnar, 2010
Dawn Bodnar is an excellent example of a student who returned to school after many years and has had a very successful career after graduation. Dawn was born in Allen Park, Michigan, and graduated in 1983. She attended the University of Michigan for a couple of year, then got married and raised a family.
In 2008, she returned to college and selected North Central Michigan College because of its location and the opportunity it offers for “older” or non-traditional students. Her experience was a positive one. She enrolled in the marketing program, with the hope to learn needed skills to re-enter the workforce after 20+ years. “I loved the opportunity to be ble to learn in a comfortable, flexible and affordable location.
Dawn received her degree in 2010 and prior to that, was hired as the Executive Director for the Indian River Chamber of Commerce.
“North Central offers a wonderful opportunity to receive a top-rate, affordable education locally. I think many “new” college students could greatly benefit from getting their associate degree from North Central and also take advantage of the University Center partnerships for getting a bachelor’s degree without leaving home,” she states. “So many of our young people graduate with massive students loans that will follow them well into their 40’s and 50’s. North Central offers the option to get a quality education from a number of prestigious universities at a fraction of the cost.”
“Five years ago, I resigned from my position at the Chamber of Commerce and accepted a position with Awakon Federal Credit Union as their Director of Marketing. I was promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Community Development, a year later. North Central was the catalyst for my success. The tools I learned there greatly benefit me daily in my career.”
Dawn Bodnar has been a member of the North Central Michigan College Foundation Board of Directors since August 2012. She also serves on the Special Events Committee. Dawn is very active in the community, serving as treasurer of the Cheboygan County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority since November 2012, a director for Top of Michigan Trails Council since December 2014; and of the Great Up North Marketing Alliance since June 2014. She is the Vice President of the Topinabee Development Association, secretary of the Friends of the Inland Lakes Schools, and serves on the Events Committee for the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys volunteering, boating, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She has two daughters: Ayla (also a North Central alum) and Sara, who lives in California.
“I feel that NCMC is one of the best assets our region has to offer. And I encourage supporting the College. You will be making an investment in the future of our children and our local communities.”
MONICA KROONDYK, 2009
Monica Kroondyk knew that education was the key. Graduating from Boyne City High School in 1999, Monica did not go directly to college, but instead started her family. When her son was born in 2001, she started taking a few classes. After her third child was born in 2006, she decided it was time to go back to school.“I knew that education was the key to getting where I wanted to be,” she said. “I chose North Central because it worked so well for me as a young mother. It allowed me to take classes on a schedule that was convenient and it was so close to home.”
Monica enrolled in the Early Children Education program, with the goal of opening her own day care center. “My two mentors were Jo-Anna Kolodziej and Jami Blaauw-Hara,” states Monica. “Jo-Anna was extremely helpful to me. I remember one time in particular when she told me that I could get more than an associate degree. As a first-generation college graduate, I thought that just earning my associate degree would be enough, a great accomplishment. But having her believe in me really inspired me to believe in myself and at that particular time in my life, I really needed that.”
“Jami got me thinking. The assignments in her class were some of the most memorable in my whole college career. I also think that having these two powerful independent women as professors was really inspirational.”
Monica graduated with her Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education in 2009, and then earned her Bachelor of Science in ECE from Lake Superior State University in 2012 and her master’s in library and information science from Wayne State University in 2015. She is currently the director of the Boyne District Library.
“I started out working at the Boyne District Library as the children’s librarian 9 years ago. My degree in Early Childhood Education helped me get this job,” she states.“While working at the Boyne District Library, I earned my BS in Early Childhood Education. I took on leadership roles within the organization and when the opportunity presented itself for me to go to school to earn my master’s, I jumped. Without the experience that I had at North Central, I might not have had the confidence to tackle grad school.”
She is also on the board for the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, the Boyne Heritage Center, and Leadership Charlevoix County. She also serves on the organizational committee for the Boyne City Main Street Program.“I enjoy spending time with my three children: Spencer (17), Savannah (14) and Sadie (12). And I love to read as much as possible.”
“I am so grateful for the experience that I had at North Central. It was the stepping stone that I needed to achieve my dreams. It gave me the support and guidance I needed at the perfect time in my life. For me it was about changing my family tree. I wanted my children to have the best possible life that I could give them and I knew that my education was one way that I could give them that.”
Monica, we are glad that we were one of the keys to your success and are proud of the job you are doing!
Meagan Krzywosinski, 2003
Meagan Krzywosinski is a community enthusiast, a believer in the good in everyone, and a motivator.She believes in doing what makes your heart happy.And she has made a successful career and life out of it all.
Meagan graduated from Petoskey High School in 2000.As she was enrolled in the dual-enrollment program with North Central, it was an easy choice to become a student. “I loved the small local learning opportunity offered right in my hometown!” she said. “I knew if I had the opportunity to learn where I loved to live that I’d be happy.”
“Paula Welmers was my favorite mentor during my whole time at NCMC. She supported my decision to work and attend school,” Meagan states. “She provided sound guidance, but most of all, she supported who I was then and who I am now as a strong independent woman. Now, almost 18 years later, I still consider her a dear friend and mentor. Thank you Paula for your guidance on this journey!”
After graduating in 2003 with her Associate of Arts degree, Meagan transferred to LSSU, but decided that being a full-time student was not for her. “I’m a better worker and contributor to my community! I came home and focused on learning everything I could from my employer, outside self-directed programs and reading. I’m a life-long learner but prefer to learn while building my career. In 2016, I tested for the SHRM-CP exam and passed!”
Meagan is currently the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources for First Community Bank. Her core passion is helping companies and people work together to make a positive difference in their corner of the world. “I’ve always had a passion for people and being available to listen/understand people’s needs and wants has been my true driving force,” she states. “Whether it was listening to tourists at the chamber of commerce, or planning a corporate retreat or wedding celebration at the Inn at Bay Harbor, my passion is cultivating relationships, bridging gaps and creating positive experiences.”
In 2007, Meagan stepped into the world of Human Resources at Boyne Resorts.“Mr. Marriott once said, ‘if you aren’t taking care of the guest, you better be taking care of the people who are taking care of the guests’” states Meagan. “This one statement was so powerful to me that it gave me the courage to step into the human resource world! Being the facilitator between companies and people, developing and coaching, and helping people reach their full potential is my love. I continue to have wonderful leaders in my life - from my family/friends, college mentors and my employers. They have provided support, given me opportunities, encouragement and pushed me to create the best version of myself. They believed in me. Has it been easy? No way! Has it been fun? Most of the time! Has it taken hard work, dedication and commitment? Yes! Would I do it all over again? Yes! I love our community, our people and strive each day to make a positive impact.”
“I feel like my education at NCMC was solid and provided a launching pad for my career success without putting me in a ton of debt! My degree allowed me the opportunity to grow as a person. I truly believe half of higher education learning is designed to build strength, perseverance and character.
She continues, “Local learning in an environment where you are a person and not a number is wonderful! NCMC has a lot to offer someone just exiting high school or someone who wants to go back after being away from higher education.”
Meagan, who recently won the Community Enthusiast Award at the Petoskey Chamber's 2018 Breakfast for Champions event, is a wonderful volunteer and supporter of our community. As she states, "I am purposeful in how I choose to spend my volunteer time as there are only so many hours to devote energy in the day: three areas of focus for me are kids, food and human resources. I do my best to ensure I have all three areas on my annual volunteer offerings."
Her volunteer work focusing on kids includes the Mother & Daughter Weekend and the Kayak for a Cause event at Camp Daggett. She also serves on the marketing committee for Camp. For her work supporting local and organic food and sustainable living, she serves as the board president for the Grain Train Natural Foods Co-op. She and her daughter, Piper, also volunteer one day per month at the Manna Food Bank. In her professional capacity, she serves as a member and past chair of the NMSHRM (Northern Michigan Society for Human Resources Management.)
Her advice to future students: “Spend time learning about you then go after whatever it is that makes your heart happy. Do it, whatever it is you’re going to do, because of your passion for the subject matter. I’m a firm believer that a two year degree is a non-negotiable to success because it provides you two more years of learning about yourself and the world. Be a learner of life and never give up; you really are only one decision away from your next success.”
Thank you Meagan for your passion for this community.
Michael Thomas, 1992
Michael Thomas believes in the art of story-telling. Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, graduating in 1989 from Newark High School in Newark, Delaware, he came to North Central from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1990. His parents had just moved to Petoskey, and he wanted to go to a smaller school, closer to home. North Central had the program he wanted (Associate of Arts with emphasis in English and Composition) and a great transfer agreement with larger schools. He just wanted to take care of his university requirements and obtain his associate degree.
Michael got much more than that. He found mentors in James McCullough, Larry Cummings and Tony Dunaske, and particularly appreciated the small class sizes and beautiful campus. “I highly recommend attending North Central Michigan College,” states Michael. “It’s both beneficial from a financial standpoint and educationally. You get a far better learning experience here than you’ll get from a larger university.”
Michael graduated from North Central in 1992 and transferred to Central Michigan University where he received his Bachelor of Applied Arts in 1995. Michael is currently the marketing director for Bay Mills Resort and Casinos in Brimley, MI, where he oversees the planning and operations for the marketing department, setting the brand and messaging for the property. He has also served as director of marketing at Little River Casino Resort and Diamond Jacks Casino Resort and as communications manager at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. “I approach marketing from a perspective of storytelling,” states Michael. “My coursework at North Central served as a foundation for that focus throughout my career and has served me well.”
Michael concludes, “Don’t limit your passions. Be excited about as many things as possible and never stop learning. Fill your head with as much stuff as you can. Even if your focus is accounting or nursing, take advantage of classes that flex your creative thinking. You’ll find it may help you with differing perspectives in any situation.”
LUKE DATEMA, 2014
Luke Datema of Gaylord, came to North Central right after graduating from Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral High School in 2012. He received his associate of arts degree in 2014, and transferred to Cornerstone University for his bachelor’s degree in communications and audio production, where he graduated in 2016.
Luke currently owns a website design and drone photography/videography company named Datema Media. It is based in Gaylord, MI, but he works with clients across the state of Michigan. “Drone photography/videography offers clients a new, unique perspective for their websites. I often work with different real estate agents, land owners, and companies to create the most appealing promotional videos possible. To see more information, please visit datemamedia.com or visit the Datema Media Facebook page for weekly pictures and videos!”
“North Central was a huge part of my journey,” states Luke. “Without North Central’s affordable tuition, I would not have been able to attend college. If I had not gone to college, I would not have been offered the internships and jobs that helped me succeed. North Central worked with me and made sure my classes would transfer perfectly to where I was heading in the future. Without the college, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
KELLY SUTER - 2008 - NEW AWARD!
North Central Michigan College alumna, Kelly Suter (2008), will be honored by the American Association of Community Colleges as an Outstanding Community College Alumni. She and her two co-recipients are being recognized for the positive impact they have made on their communities, the nation and the world. They will be honored for their achievements at AACC’s 99th Annual Convention on Tuesday, April 16, in Orlando, FL.
To read more, click here.
To read more, click here.
NICHOLAS ROBBINS - 2012
North Central to Google – An Alumni’s Path to Finding His Passion
Nicholas Robbins always wanted to work with computers. As he put it, “The nerd life chose me.” Interestingly enough, Nicholas’ path took several turns before ending at Google.
An Alanson native and graduate of Alanson High School, Nick was also a dual-enrolled student at North Central, taking courses offered at the high school. After graduating, he left for Fort Benning, GA to begin his Army National Guard career. As soon as he completed the initial entry training for the Army, Nick returned to North Central to pursue his passion for computers. “North Central offered an excellent IT program that allowed me to focus on computer networking and system infrastructure,” states Nick. “The campus location worked great for me to attend courses while still working full-time at Boyne Highlands Resort.”
Nick remained active National Guard while at North Central. “The military and VA have an extraordinary ability to complicate every process, to include the use of the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills. However, NCMC’s financial advisors ensured the process went smoothly and my GI Bill was applied successfully,” said Nick. “Later, I had course instructors who were understanding of military leave, which was appreciated. I actually missed my NCMC graduation as my unit was mobilizing to Afghanistan at the time.”
Nick also found friends and mentors at North Central. “I really liked the friends and professional network I gained while attending NCMC. From fellow classmates, to intramural competitors and teammates, to the knowledgeable faculty, I retained a lot of great contacts that I’ve kept in touch with over the years,” he states. He credits Sally Hunt, his Alanson High School business technology teacher, who guided him to further his education, and North Central instructors Fred Harrington, Hwee-Joo Kam and Howard Bates, who helped him sharpen skills and grow his career in computer technology.
Nick received an offer from Google with only his North Central degree and a few IT certifications. He has since completed a bachelor’s degree while working at Google.
He is currently employed as a Data Center Operations Engineer covering the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia region. His role is to deploy servers and network communications equipment that’s leveraged by various teams within Google. “I regularly work on equipment used by YouTube, Google Cloud, and other acquisitions like Nest and Waze. The latest large project I was involved with was bringing up services to support Google’s Project Stream. Additionally, I’m currently the Co-Lead for Recruiting and Staffing within our Veterans Network organization (g.co/vets) and am working with our staffing teams to assist transitioning veterans entering the workforce. It’s great to work at an organization capable of initiating and driving such positive change in so many areas, and I continue to learn new things every day. Also, yes it’s just like the movie The Internship and we have massage chairs, nap pods, and free meals.”
When asked what advice he’d give to students contemplating attending North Central, he replied, “Community colleges are a great opportunity to learn skills which make you employable, without the large school tuition. North Central has a great faculty with a small town touch that will enable you to progress in your career.” He adds, “Also the intramural basketball and other sports leagues are always a great time at the campus gym.”
Nick continues, “Find your passion. The overused quote about never working a day in your life when you enjoy what you do isn’t completely true, or Monday’s wouldn’t exist. However, working in a field you’re passionate about goes a long way and is the common trait I’ve found in every great IT engineer I’ve worked with. It makes it easier to continue to learn and develop your skills during the hours when you’d rather be watching Netflix, and those little things help separate good and great professionals in their field.”
jerry donnelly - 1966
I was very lucky to have North Central Michigan College available to me in the winter semester of 1964. I had wasted my scholarship at Central Michigan University by not carrying a 2.5 required GPA in the fall semester of 1963. It was one of those life-altering moments when your life changes directions. I immediately had to find a job and a college education at the same time. I was very lucky to find both in Petoskey. While staying at home and working delivering milk for the R&S Dairy from 4:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and then going to North Central from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday - I had to become very organized. I went to bed every weekday evening at 6:30 p.m., waking up at midnight and studying until 4 p.m. in the morning before going to work. I gained my associate degree in the summer of 1966 from North Central and transferred to Northern Michigan University. Someone was watching over me and helped me turn what could have been a negative situation into a life lesson of moving forward.
I received my Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University during the spring semester of 1968 in secondary education. I spent the next 31 years as a teacher and administrator in the L'Anse Creuse Public Schools. Those experiences I learned in 1964 -1966 by supporting myself while attending North Central created a work ethic which has followed me to this day.
I have on several occasions since advised many of my former students to consider attending a community college. I repeat to them my personal history of my ties to North Central Michigan College. I encourage them to stay home and find out what college is like. While staying at home, working, and going to college classes you are given a chance not only to get credits towards a college degree, but find out if you really want to go to college. It is a very good testing ground for those who are wavering with this difficult choice. It is not only a safe choice, but a very good choice. I found out the hard way. I was very happy to have had North Central in my home town and my life. As Yogi Berra, famously said “When you find a fork in the road, take it.” I took mine and I have never regretted my choice.
kendall stanley - 1968
Born and raised in Harbor Springs, I am a graduate of Harbor Springs High School, class of 1966.
Like many headed to college graduates of area high schools I attended North Central from 1966-68, earning an AA degree. Back in those days the bulk of the students at the college were from local high schools and were taking a full load of courses throughout the day. There were a few night classes but mostly they were during regular “working hours.”
Many classes were held in the old Sheridan Elementary School at the corner of Howard and Sheridan streets. The cafeteria was also in that building.
The new classroom building opened for the 1967-68 school year and ultimately the Sheridan school was again used by the Public Schools of Petoskey.
After North Central I attended Central Michigan University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1970. Yes, you could get a college degree in four years back then!
My first job was managing editor of the Presque Isle County Advance in Rogers City from 1970 through the fall of 1971.
I then became managing editor of the Harbor Light in Harbor Springs for six years.
I joined the staff of the Petoskey News-Review in August of 1978 as a reporter. Over the years I was the wire editor, managing editor and for the last three years as editor.
I retired at the end of 2009, and find retirement the best job I’ve ever had.
Over the years it’s been wonderful to see the growth of the college and the expansion of its facilities. Back in the day it was small, tight-knit and felt like family. But the education was top-notch, something the students of today can say as well.
mary faculak - 1980
A Charlevoix native and resident, I am the proud third generation owner of our family farm, Lake View Ranch. I was born at the Charlevoix Area Hospital and attended and graduated from Charlevoix Public Schools.
After graduation, I attended North Central Michigan College and was enrolled in the Three Plus One Program with Lake Superior State University. While at North Central, I was very involved with the Student Senate where I served as secretary for three years. I thoroughly enjoyed my classes and experience at North Central Michigan College. I was challenged and encouraged to reach for opportunities and goals that proved to have a positive impact on my future. The commitment and support of the faculty and staff was amazing. I earned my Associate of Arts degree and continued with my studies at Lake Superior State University. I also took classes at Central Michigan University with a focus on Public Administration.
In 1989, I purchased the E.J. Shoppe in East Jordan. Two years later, I accepted the Executive Director (now President/CEO) position at the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2001, I opened my second retail business, Mary’s of Boyne, in Boyne City.
As President/CEO of the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce, I have been on an amazing life journey and in a rewarding career that allows me to be a part of and gain vast experience in economic development, community development, event production, public speaking, community promotion and marketing, meeting and retreat facilitation, leadership development and organizational management. No two days are ever the same in my world! Each day I am so fortunate and blessed to be able to work with engaged and sincere individuals. I am one of the co-founders of the C-48 The Breezeway Scenic Route Task Force, Paddle Antrim Inc., Leadership Charlevoix County Inc., and the Green Light East Jordan Business Competition.
I currently serve on the Little Traverse Conservancy Board of Directors (past chair) and am the chair of the LTC Land Protection Committee, I am the board chair of District 3 Michigan State University Extension Council, Paddle Antrim Board Secretary and am the President/Co-Administrator of Leadership Charlevoix County.
I feel so honored and appreciative to reside, work and be a part of the many exciting organizations and programs in our region! I truly credit my educational experience at North Central Michigan College as one of the building blocks in my career and accomplishments.
gail kloss - 1990
Feeling like you belong to something and that you have a ‘person’ in life is all anyone wants. In 1986, I started school at North Central Michigan College and it gave me both on the first day. I was in Mr. Verhelle’s class when he had the class go around and introduce themselves and tell an interest that we have. I was new to Petoskey, just moving here from downstate, and did not know anyone, but that introduction led me to what has become a 31-year friendship. I found my person and had a sense of belonging. I graduated with an associate degree and started working at Si’s Marina.
I started school again at North Central Michigan College to further my degree enrolling in a ‘three and one program’ with Lake Superior State University. I was able to take every class at the Petoskey campus while I continued working and raising a family. I earned a Bachelor’s degree.
At North Central Michigan College you feel important and the staff really cares about you and your success; teachers know each student and support them as they work towards a goal. Everything I have done in my career has brought me to where I am today. I am grateful for North Central as they are a community college that keeps the pulse of the community and continually updates programs in response to the needs.
LORRAINE MANARY - 1997
Lorraine Manary is the recently retired director of Char-Em United Way. A resident of Boyne City since 1990, Lorraine raised three children here; her youngest has Down Syndrome and remains in town, the other two have moved out of state. Lorraine is also a grandmother of two with another expected in Feb. 2018.
When not busy with her children, Lorraine worked as an independent contractor serving in the role of Collaborative Coordinator with the Char-Em Human Services Coordinating Body organizations for ten years. Among other things, she was involved in bringing the first Project Connect to our area, wrote a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Charlevoix and Emmet counties, and organized the first suicide prevention workgroup, which continues today. Lorraine owns NorthStar Consulting and has contracted with various for profit and not for profit organizations, working with them on board development, executive coaching and strategic planning. Lorraine served as the Executive Director of the Otsego County United Way for 2.5 years before joining Char-Em United Way in that role in 2013.
“I started at North Central when my children were in school and attended part time. My goal was to have a college degree before my children did, and I was able to do so. Three of us were in college at the same time for a while prior to my earning the Master’s Degree. During this time I was working part time, advocating and caring for my daughter Amanda (who has Down Syndrome), and caring for my older two children as they completed high school and started attending college.” Lorraine graduated with honors from North Central is 1997. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spring Arbor University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, also from Spring Arbor.
TRAVIS MULHAUSER - 1998
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 my wife and two children.
JEROME RAND - 2002
Growing up in Northern Michigan, Jerome Rand had a late start in the world of sailing. It wasn’t until the age of 18 that sailing became the main focus of his life. First teaching sailing on the small inland lakes and then venturing out on yacht deliveries from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. On one trip to the BVI he was introduced to the Bitter End Yacht Club and found himself working with the watersports center for the next 9 years.
It was during the last three years at BEYC that the pieces of a long-held dream started to take shape, to sail solo and nonstop around the world. On a small budget he purchased a 43 year old Westsail 32 and began the journey of a lifetime. The first year was spent fixing, breaking and fixing again anything that might be a weak point on the boat. In June of 2017 the boat, “Mighty Sparrow” was hauled out of the water and work began making modifications to endure the long trip ahead.
In October the boat was back in the water and weather window opened up to set out from Gloucester Massachusetts following a few nervous weeks watching hurricane Irma, Maria and then Jose storm through the Atlantic. On October 3rd Jerome Rand set sail aboard the Mighty Sparrow for what would be a 271 day sail and the adventure of a life time.
To reach home, the boat would have to cross the North Atlantic during the end of Hurricane season then cross the South Atlantic on the way to the stormy seas of the Southern Ocean near the Cape of Good Hope. From there it was South of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand on route to Cape Horn. Once around the Five Great Capes the boat turned North, heading for warm weather and a friendly ocean.
After two months of retracing the outbound track, on June 30 2018, the Mighty Sparrow sailed into Gloucester Mass after 9 months and 29,805 miles sailed. The journey tested every limit both mental and physical, from fierce winds to demoralizing calms, and everything in between. In the end it was perseverance and a bit of luck that would see this small boat through some of the world’s most dangerous seas.
JENNY MAGINNIS - 2003
Having grown up in Petoskey, I was lucky enough to find my way back to this beautiful area five years ago to work at a place that changed my academic and personal life. In 2003, I graduated from North Central with a new passion for education and a goal that one day I would return to the place that inspired me to be more.
There were many stops along the way, Michigan State University where I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the University of Kentucky where I earned a doctorate in communication and new media. After completing my doctoral degree I took a job at Delta College near Saginaw, Michigan but I always longed to be back up north.
When the Communication faculty position opened at North Central I crossed my fingers that with my educational preparation and a little luck I would get the job. Everything aligned and here I am five years later back in the place that made me –well me.
My family is close by and I have an amazing husband that helps complete my life. Every day I feel so fortunate to be a part of a community that inspires people. My career is more than a job it is a part of my life –a part of my family. Each student is a member that although may only stay for a short time is one that I hope to inspire to be a better person and continue on his/her educational journey.
Dr. 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 is the 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.
MARLEAH DEAN - 2007
Marleah 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.
KELLY SUTER, RN, MSN, MS BIOETHICS - 2008
Though I was born in Kalamazoo, Northern Michigan has played an important role in my family’s history for many generations and I consider Petoskey my home.
In 1986, my aunt became the first member of the family to graduate from North Central Michigan College’s nursing program. It has since become a family tradition with 13 other family members having graduated from the nursing program to date.
After graduating in 2008, I went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in nursing education and a master’s degree in healthcare bioethics. I have been an ER nurse for 10 years and have spent 8 of those years engaged in international disaster relief work including Cholera in Haiti, Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal, war in South Sudan, post war rebuilding efforts in East Timor, flooding in Louisiana and Hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
North Central Michigan College provided the knowledge base and practical skills I needed to continue my education and provide life saving treatment and education to individuals in need around the world.
BEN SLOCUM - 2009
I graduated from Petoskey in 2002 and started off and on at North Central while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I decided that a community college was my best choice while I was deciding what I wanted to focus on for a major. In 2004 I had an accident that took me out of classes for several years and caused me to again question what I wanted to do for a living.
I found myself back at North Central in 2006 easing back into school and decided to fully dive back in in 2007 with a new focus. I pushed through the next two years graduating in the spring of 2009 with an AA before heading to Northern Michigan University to finish out a BS in English in 2012.
Later that same year I opened Beards Brewery with Peter Manthei, who I had met in a class at North Central several years before. Since then Beards has grown to a second production brewery in Charlevoix followed by a new location in downtown Petoskey in 2017.
Along the way I've found myself back at North Central in a variety of capacities. I taught an introduction to brewing class through the C.E.C. program for two years and finished an EMT-B license in 2016 through the college.
Andrew Boyer - 2011
Andrew Boyer of East Jordan will be the first to tell you that a college education matters. And it isn't just the discipline studied that makes a difference.
The craft beer scene was blossoming while Boyer was attending North Central Michigan College. A fellow student from North Central was an avid brewer who introduced the process of home-brewed beer to Andrew. Andrew began brewing immediately.
Andrew graduated from North Central in 2011, and continued his education at Lake Superior State University, studying social work. While at LSSU, Andrew was not only brewing, he was also malting small batches of red wheat from his family farm, Valley View Farm, in East Jordan. By 2015, Valley View Farm was growing malting barley, selling everything they didn’t use to malt houses, who then sold it to microbreweries. By 2016, they converted their milking parlor into a small malt house, and decided to sell their malt directly to Short’s Brewing. "At the time, we were still drying our malt on homemade screens over a wood-fired kiln we built ourselves," states Andrew.
In October, 2016, Andrew, and his father, Jim, and uncle John, submitted an application to the GreenLight East Jordan business model competition. Business ideas or businesses that have been doing business for two years or less are eligible to apply for an opportunity to be one of seven finalists that will give a four-minute presentation to a panel of five judges and an audience of more than 200 guests. The top three winners, along with the “People’s Choice” winner, will receive cash awards to help with startup costs or to “grow” their existing businesses.
Judges in the 2016 GreenLight East Jordan business model competition awarded the malt house venture a grand prize of $10,000, with the Boyers also winning an invitation to a statewide GreenLight competition in March 2017 and an audience-choice prize of $500.
John (from left), Andrew and Jim Boyer operate Valley View Farm near East Jordan. Jim is holding a bag of barley processed in the farm’s recently added malt house.
"We ended up winning the competition," states Andrew. "I’m not a presenter by nature. My professors at North Central helped me develop my speech communications skills and cultivate the confidence it took to enter the competition. My thanks go to professor Carol Noël and North Central Michigan College."
Andrew continues, "We still remain a fairly small, family operation, consisting of my dad, my uncle, John, and myself, but we love what we do, and we couldn’t be prouder of the beers and spirits that are made with our barley and wheat." To date, Valley View's harvests have been put to use by Michigan breweries such as Beards, Short's and New Holland.
"It's fun to be able to supply the barley, and then go down to the local pub and have a beer made with your grain," Andrew said.
KATELYN CRITTENDEN AND MARY BETH CRITTENDEN - 2015
A Family Tradition
Katelyn 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.
Cory Glomski - 2017
Cory Glomski is a very happy man, doing work that he loves in the city that he loves. Cory is originally from Cheboygan, but moved to Petoskey in 2000 and graduated from Petoskey High School in 2006. Upon graduation, he went to work as a butcher and a cook and enjoyed that job for 10 years. But it’s hard to get ahead if you are working in the service industry, so in 2013, he decided to attend college. He chose North Central Michigan College for the reasons many do – close to home, affordable and, most importantly, he could work while attending school. The College also had an IT program, and Cory’s goal was to become an IT support specialist.
It took him four years of working part-time and attending school part-time, but in 2017 he graduated with his associate of applied science degree in computer networking.
“I always thought that I would have to move away to a bigger city to get a good job in this field,” Cory admitted, “But I couldn’t have been more wrong!”
Cory found a job right away, right here in Petoskey. After doing an internship with Common Angle, an IT consulting firm and managed service provider, he was hired as a network technician. Now he spends his days troubleshooting networks, apps and setting up new equipment for clients.
Cory says, “My degree opened doors for me, and now I plan to stay here in Petoskey.”
Cory’s advice to anyone contemplating college, but especially the non-traditional student, “Invest in yourself with college. It makes you stronger when you commit yourself to something.” He says that attending North Central helped him grow as a person. “There’s so much that North Central does to help a student. It makes it pretty hard to fail.”
cnc success stories
DID YOU KNOW?
SEEDS trainees who obtained a Manufacturing job receive on average 40% more in a starting (hire) salary than those entering Other careers. This increases to 46% more on average in salary at twelve months.
Amanda Saxby, a CNC student from Alanson, has completed her Certificate of Development in CNC Machining Technology at North Central. She now works as a CNC Machinist at Moeller Aerospace in Harbor Springs.
David Isham of East Jordan started the CNC Program as a high school student, taking classes in the Fab Lab. He finished his courses on campus during a 4-week summer intensive (CNC Completion Camp) and earned his Certificate of Development in Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machinist Technology. He has interned for two summers at ej (East Jordan Ironworks), a worldwide company headquartered in East Jordan. David completed his Associate of Science at North Central and is now at Lake Superior State University in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science program.
Dakoda Lauska of East Jordan started the CNC Program as a high school student, taking classes in the Fab Lab. He earned his Certificate of Development with North Central before he earned his high school diploma! Dakoda was in the first group of students to complete courses on campus during a 4-week summer intensive (CNC Completion Camp) and earned his Certificate of Development in Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machinist Technology. He then moved directly into a role as CNC Machinist in Elmira, then a Tool and Die Maker in East Jordan and has moved out of state to take a CNC Machinist job in Florida!
Elijah Newton, a CNC student while in high school, has spent the last two summers as a Product Engineering Intern at ej (East Jordan Ironworks). Attending Michigan Technological University for Mechanical Engineering, he is involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a not-for-profit membership organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, career enrichment and skills development. He is also a member of the Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise, an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students that design, license, and assemble small satellites for organizations such as Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA.
Lucas Spence of Boyne City graduated from the CNC Program. “It was a great program,” said Lucas. “The teachers were great. The courses really improved my skills as a machinist. I plan to continue my education in hopes of one day having the chance to grow within my company.” Lucas works at ej in East Jordan.
Shawntae Kauska, a CNC program graduate from Charlevoix, earned a Certificate of Development from North Central. She now works as a CNC Machinist at Moeller Aerospace in Harbor Springs.
Caleb McCary of Boyne City, completed a “Just in Time” Introduction to CNC Operations training course a year ago. Caleb now works as a CNC Machinist at Moeller Aerospace in Harbor Springs.
Ian Shackleford of Petoskey is a graduate of the CNC Program at North Central. He has been working at Lanzen Incorporated, Petoskey location. He makes precision parts for the defense industry.
Dylan Hutterer of Petoskey started the CNC Program as a high school student. He finished his courses on campus and earned his Certificate of Development in Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machinist Technology in May of 2018. He was then offered his full time position as a Laser Programmer at Jervis B. Webb at their Boyne City location. While working there, he continues to work toward his AGS and CAD Certificate at North Central.