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April 8, 2020

Karissa HavensOver the last few months, in between her nursing shifts in a Kalamazoo hospital’s medical intensive care unit, Karissa Havens followed the worsening COVID-19 epidemic as it swept from China to Europe to the United States.

The Traverse City West High School graduate, who attended NMC from 2013-2014 before transferring to Western Michigan University for her nursing degree, knew she had the skills to help both patients and overwhelmed hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots. She felt called to go where they were desperately needed.

Next week, she is. Havens, 24, has accepted a six-week traveling nurse position in a COVID-19 ICU unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. She was able to find a job within two days of deciding to leave Kalamazoo.

“I am completely humbled by this opportunity and ready to give everything I can to help fight this terrible virus,” Havens posted on Facebook announcing her move.

She will arrive in New York on the heels of 2015 nursing graduate and adjunct instructor Callie Leaman. Leaman, an ER nurse at Munson Medical Center, arrived in the epidemic’s epicenter Tuesday. She is working in midtown Manhattan at New York University Langone Health in a COVID-19 ICU unit.

Havens has not yet cared for any COVID-19 patients at her current hospital, Bronson Methodist, but she and her colleagues have researched how the disease has progressed in countries ahead of the U.S., studying patient presentation and care protocols.

“I don’t know if anything will really prepare me,” Havens said. For instance, Mount Sinai is establishing a tent annex in Central Park, directly opposite its building, to care for patients.

At NMC Havens took nursing prerequisite courses, including cell plant and ecosystem biology and chemistry. She remembers instructor Greg LaCross’s classes as among her favorites. She was also on the Dean’s List.

“I have no doubt she has made a difference in people’s lives, especially now, when our healthcare workers are so needed,” LaCross said.

She first considered going to Detroit, another hot spot, to help out her home state. But Detroit hospitals weren’t taking first-time traveling nurses. A licensing issue cropped up when she considered Chicago. But her qualifications were welcome in New York.

Havens begins work at Mount Sinai April 14. Her contract runs through May 31, though she expects it will likely be extended. It’s been most difficult to find affordable housing, though she thinks she’s found a temporary place. It’s a half-hour commute from the hospital, so she hopes the city keeps public transit running. She feels as ready for the challenge as she can be.

“I don’t have any kids, I’m not married. It’s just me and a dog. I’m the perfect candidate to go,” Havens said.

Her dog, Zaas, will stay with her parents in Interlochen. As for the general public, “Keep quarantining, and if possible, try and donate blood,” Havens said.


Do you know a helper or hero with NMC connections? Please share stories of students, instructors, alumni and community members stepping up during the COVID-19 epidemic by emailing publicrelations@nmc.edu.

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January 22, 2020

Ireland study abroad photoNMC students from NMC’s Western Religions course examine the Derry Murals and the sordid history of “The Troubles” in Ireland.A near-record number of NMC students will study abroad in five countries this spring, gaining experiences to help them succeed in an increasingly global society.

Seventy students are registered to travel to Iceland, Ireland, Spain, England and Brazil. The previous high was 73 in 2015. Between 60-65 students have traveled each of the last three years, ranking NMC the No. 1 community college in Michigan for short-term study abroad, and usually in the top 25 nationally.

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Cozy Up to Reality… TV


Posted on Dec 20, 2019

Nexus Spring 2020 Feature

Cozy Up To Reality illustrationWe all hope the polar vortex spares northern Michigan in 2020. but here at the 45th parallel, a few blizzards are just about guaranteed. so fire up your streaming services and hunker down with shows featuring these NMC alumni, students and faculty. (All four featured shows are available on Amazon Prime Video; all except ‘The Arrangement’ are also on Hulu.)


Jason CrumJASON CRUM
CURRENT NMC STUDENT

Show: Forged In Fire, the History Channel, summer 2019

Where he is now: Working at WKLT radio and taking classes online to fit his schedule as a dad.

Why he did it: Crum, 49, started watching YouTube videos on blacksmithing and built his first forge out of a brake rotor. He refined his DIY skills over six years and replied to a show casting call. After a two-month selection process, he was on his way to Connecticut for the filming in June 2018.

What he learned: Crum’s why-not entry into blacksmithing is reflected in his attitude toward returning to school. He’s taking classes online but also volunteers at radio station WNMC and is interested in other student groups like the International Club. “One of my goals was the college experience,” he said. “As I was coming up on 50, I was feeling very regretful that I never pursued college. This one’s for me.”

Find it: history.com (Type “Forged in Fire” into search field. Select Season 6, Episode 28, “Blackbeard’s Cutlass.” Multiple streaming options.


Mark HolleyMARK HOLLEY
ANTHROPOLOGY INSTRUCTOR

Show: The Curse of Civil War Gold, the History Channel, spring 2019

Why he did it: Essentially, because he was asked. Filmed in Lake Michigan in summer 2018, the episode is part of a series in which treasure hunters search for a cache of gold rumored to have been smuggled out of the South during the Civil War. While—spoiler alert!—Holley and co. didn’t find gold, he said the film crew did make a cool nautical archaeology find: a turn of the century scow in the waters off of Frankfort.

“It’d make a great project for one of our students,” said Holley, who teaches online and holds an  annual nautical archaeology field school in West Grand Traverse Bay. He’s previously appeared on the National Geographic Channel, Science Channel and Japanese TV.

Fun fact: Holley purchased the side-scan sonar equipment used in the episode with money from the NMC Barbecue.

Find it: history.com (Type “Curse of Civil War Gold” into search field. Navigate to Season 2, Episode 1, “The Return.”) Multiple streaming options.


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Have Apron, Will Travel


Posted on Aug 29, 2019

Globetrotting 2006 GLCI Grad Finds Home In Southeast Asian Hotel Kitchens

Nexus Summer 2019 From Our Kitchens Feature

Dustin BaxterHospitality has been part of Dustin Baxter’s life since high school, when he worked for his parents at Pippins Restaurant in Boyne City. He’s combined that background, a talent for pastry and a love of travel into an international career, working in three states and four countries. He says learning new cultures and adding his own style to unique ingredients (like 27 varieties of pineapple in Thailand) is his favorite part of working abroad. He offers a refreshing summertime dessert with ingredients native to Thailand but available in the U.S.

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Student Expertise Goes Overseas


Posted on Aug 29, 2019

Indonesian Institute Enlists NMC For Coral Reef Study

Marine Tech, Drones, Water Studies Integrated In Mapping Project

Nexus Spring 2019 Cover Feature

Ryan Mater prepares to launch an NMC drone in Indonesia's Bunaken National ParkRyan Mater prepares to launch an NMC drone in Indonesia’s Bunaken National ParkHiking through dense tropical jungle on an Indonesian island last May, NMC student Ryan Mater thought longingly of a project he and his marine technology classmates had left unfinished in a college classroom.

It was a hybrid drone, capable of taking off from and landing on water, and then dropping a submersible payload, like a camera. It would have been ideal for the work that had brought Mater and 11 fellow students to Indonesia: Conducting a study on the health of the coral reef system in a national park by integrating their expertise in marine technology, aerial mapping, water quality testing and data collection.

But the classroom was 9,000 miles, 34 hours of travel and three customs inspections away. When they’d chosen their equipment, they’d decided the hybrid was too bulky and too untested to justify shipping. Now Mater and the rest of the NMC team would have to find another way to tackle the task, one they had only a week to complete.

“We had to alter our game plan,” said Mater, 20, who led the group’s Unmanned Aerial Systems unit.

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Hannah Beard and Jessi Martin

NMC’s aviation program will get a lofty showcase before a national audience this summer when a pair of student pilots fly across North America in the Air Race Classic, the oldest air race of its kind, and exclusively for female pilots.

Ninety years after legendary aviator Amelia Earhart made cross-country racing popular, Team Hawk Owls — Hannah Beard of Interlochen (left) and Jessi Martin of Maple City (right) — will take off from Jackson, Tenn. on June 18 in an NMC Cessna. The 2,500 mile trip is a race against the clock broken into nine legs. They expect to land in Welland, Ontario, by June 21.

“It’s going to be marathon,” Martin, 43, said.

“Sunrise to sunset flying,” agreed Beard, 23.

Air Race Classic course mapEntering the Air Race Classic is the latest example of how women at NMC are making significant strides in what has long been a male-dominated field. While only four percent of U.S. airline pilots are female, nearly 20 percent of current NMC aviation students are now women. The college is now home to a chapter of Women in Aviation International, which allows them to network and support each other.

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UAS – Cherry Leaf Spot Project


Posted on May 19, 2016

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016 NMC’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program in partnership with Michigan State University kicked off our research project at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center in Leelanau County.

.Ebee Launch (May 18, 2016)

Our UAS & Cherry Leaf Spot project is an exciting collaboration between NMC and MSU through which weekly imagery will be collected using unmanned aircraft.  Students enrolled in the NMC/MSU Fruit and Vegetable Crop Management program will analyze the data each week as a means to determine how Cherry Leaf Spot (a fungal pathogen) can be better managed by cherry growers.

 

 

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‘Hungry, cold and bothered’


Posted on Nov 24, 2015

Experiencing others’ needs leaves instructor thankful, reflective

By Brandon Everest
NMC Social Sciences instructor

Empathy is both a deeply sown human trait and a cultivable skill. It is both a necessary condition of social life and akin to a muscle, something that must be worked to remain fit and healthy. This is especially the case in a culture like ours, which prizes individuality and individualism. With that in mind, my colleagues Lisa Blackford and Melissa Sprenkle and I worked with organizations to create events and activities that, we hoped, would pull on students’ native tendencies and strengthen them. To highlight National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, we encouraged students to participate in three activities: the SNAP Challenge; the NMCAA SleepOut for Warmth; and a Walk for Health & Housing. We believed this would provide them with a deeper connection to the issues we would research and study this semester in our sociology, social work and communications classes.

Sociology instructor Brandon Everest and his wife Mika Wilson-Everest bought this with the $58 SNAP budget allotted the two of them for one week.

The groceries sociology instructor Brandon Everest and his wife Mika Wilson-Everest bought with the $58 SNAP budget allotted the two of them for one week.

The SNAP Challenge asks participants to live for a week on the average SNAP benefit of $29.  SNAP, America’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, provides food support to low-income citizens. In taking the challenge, we joined the 20-25% of SNAP recipients who eat exclusively from these benefits. For the Nov. 4 SleepOut, we joined community leaders sleeping outside to raise funds for Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Utilities Shut off Prevention Fund. Last winter, this fund paid out $1.6 million keep more than 1,500 Northern Michigan families warm. We imagined, if only for one night, what it might be like to be out in the cold.  For the Walk for Health & Housing, we joined Ryan Hannon, Goodwill Street Outreach Coordinator, on a guided tour of TC’s downtown. Stopping at various sites, we tried to see through the eyes of unhoused people and gain insight to their challenges in our community.

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