Saturday, August 18, 2018
SMC hosts 230 for STEM Camp
Southwestern Michigan College’s Aug. 7-9 STEM camps consisted of four workshops — one per letter for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — for 230 students entering grades 4-6 this fall. Campers converged on the Dowagiac campus from across Michiana.
SMC hosts first ETS Entrepreneur Academy
Jossalyn Rogalski wondered how Lyons Industries decided to produce bath products. Dowagiac Mayor Donald Lyons, addressing Educational Talent Search’s inaugural Entrepreneur Academy July 23 at Southwestern Michigan College, recalled introducing plumbing vents to the mobile home industry. Injection-molded plastic pieces three inches tall by two inches in diameter sold for 49 cents. “We sold 17,000 in 1970 and 19,000 in 1971,” Lyons said. “By 1975, we had sold over a million.” But Lyons knew he needed to identify something he could sell for $49 to sustain growth. “As we developed more products, we found any time we dealt with something plumbing-related made from plastic, that venture was successful. I didn’t start with a product, just the knowledge I couldn’t work for somebody else.” Now, the four-acre Lyons factory on M-62 West run by his son Lance employs 125 people.
SMC interns restructure IT Service Catalog
For their 144-hour Southwestern Michigan College Application Development internships, Kathryn Woodward of Baroda and Jacob Gordon of Berrien Springs bring student perspectives to navigating the SMC web site’s information technology services. Working on laptops alongside web developer Diana Litaker in the Computing Services Department of the Barbara Wood Building on the Dowagiac campus, they reorganized Wired’s IT Service Catalog tab this summer.
SMC businesswomen's endowment named for early faculty member
Joyce Hopkins spent only a couple of years in Dowagiac teaching secretarial science on the business faculty of then-new Southwestern Michigan College, but the time here forged her daughter’s first indelible memories. Pam Catlin, who, like SMC, was born in 1964, recalls gazing up N. Front Street from their house to A&W, now Taqueria Del Rey Mexican restaurant, where they walked for ice cream. They attended First United Methodist Church, now Beckwith Theatre.
Michigan Legislature confirms part-time students NOT to be part of MPSERS
Both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate have passed by wide margins legislation to clarify that part-time student workers should NOT be included in MPSERS, the state teachers’ retirement system.
Cass County pays tribute to Barbara Wood Cook
Southwestern Michigan College founding trustee Barbara Wood Cook brings so much to the table, Cass County created a new Legacy Achievement Award. It took eight speakers and two state legislators May 3 to extol the educator’s accomplishments at a reception in the Kincheloe room of the 1899 Cassopolis courthouse. Chairman Terry Ausra presented the award on behalf of Commissioners Clark Cobb, Roseann Marchetti, Michael Grice, Dwight Dyes, Dixie Ann File and Robert Ziliak.
Nursing's Rona Goodrich wins fulltime Faculty of Year
Dr. David Fleming, vice president of instruction, announced Faculty of Year and Adjunct Faculty of Year winners at SMC’s fifth annual Employee of the Year recognition breakfast April 27 at Mathews Conference Center West on the Dowagiac campus. “It’s amazing to win an award for doing something you love,” said nursing instructor Rona Goodrich, Southwestern Michigan College’s Faculty of the Year. “As a young girl, I would play school with my brother, but I would always have to be the teacher. When he tired of being the student, I improvised by using stuffed animals and dolls as my students. My mom is also a nurse. I would borrow her stethoscope and listen to family members’ heartbeats and breath sounds. I would also listen to the cat purr. Teaching and nursing have been in my heart since I was a child,” Goodrich, of Paw Paw, said.
Danielle Lucas wins Staff Member of Year
Southwestern Michigan College honored retirees, acknowledged professional degrees and certifications by employees and revealed the Staff Member of the Year at SMC’s fifth annual Employee of the Year recognition breakfast April 27 at Mathews Conference Center West on the Dowagiac campus. Master of Ceremonies Dr. Joe Odenwald, SMC Vice President of Student Services, recognized retirees Sue Schmeichel, 22 years; Joanne Strebeck, 14 years; Dave Spurlock, 20 years; Mike McGowan, nine years; Char McGowan, 18 years; Bill Boeckmann, two years; and Karen Weber, 12 years.
Brandon Metheny named Student Employee of Year
Brent Brewer, associate vice president for the Niles Campus, announced Brandon Metheny as the Student Employee of the Year winner at Southwestern Michigan College’s fifth annual Employee of the Year recognition breakfast April 27 at Mathews Conference Center West on the Dowagiac campus. Metheny, a desk employee in the Housing Department who is majoring in accounting maintained a 3.84 grade-point average while carrying 21 credit hours spring semester.
Art award winners announced
Southwestern Michigan College’s annual juried student art exhibition closed on April 25 with an awards ceremony in the remodeled Art Gallery, room 108 of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. Graphic Design II student Maria Freed won David Mathews’ Presidential Award and a $500 Best of Show scholarship was presented to Leigh Todt for Ceramics 1. The show celebrates students enrolled in drawing, painting, graphic design, two- and three-dimensional design, ceramics and photography. Eliana DiMarzio sang the national anthem to open the event.
Steve Vojtko remembered through agriculture scholarships
Southwestern Michigan College alumnus Steve Vojtko’s July 1 death at 61 left a void in two states. His active life enhanced communities 35 miles apart — New Carlisle, Ind., where he was Town Council vice president, and Eau Claire, where he managed the Fruit Exchange for 16 years. Mr. Vojtko, who had also farmed in the Cassopolis area, completed SMC associate degrees in agriculture management and in business management in the early 1990s. His memorials will help fund additional SMC agricultural scholarships.
Cass County Youth Council smiles on Roadrunner Kitchen
Lewis Cass Intermediate School District social worker Michelle Kaminski (left), on behalf of Cass County Youth Council, July 19 delivered 144 adult toothbrushes to Southwestern Michigan College’s Roadrunner Kitchen.
New HR director traveled “long, winding path” to SMC
Fire and ice loom large in the life of Heather Hess, Southwestern Michigan College’s new human resources director. Hess, of Sister Lakes, joined SMC on June 4 after five years in HR at Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) in Traverse City. Her husband, Jeremy, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). They are the parents of two young sons.
SMC alumnus’ Custom Computer rebounds from Niles flood
Michael Reed could have used a few Stamina Sticks his Custom Computer Co. (CCC) markets to keep his entrepreneurial spirit afloat during a watery three-month ordeal. The 5,000-square-foot building he opened Jan. 9, 2017, fell victim to Niles’ historic February flooding. Ten thousand jerky sticks in flavors such as alligator, boar, elk, venison and duck developed with Zick’s Specialty Meats in Berrien Springs to market to gamers became unsellable overnight Gamers are a logical audience for Stamina Sticks because packaging can be peeled back so players’ fingers stay clean.
SMC Foundation elects Dr. Schmidt vice president
Former South Bend Community School Corp. Superintendent Carole Schmidt, Ph.D., has been elected Southwestern Michigan College Foundation vice president effective July 1. Schmidt, of Magician Lake, retired in June 2016 after five years as South Bend superintendent and three years each in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.
SMC pins 28-member nursing class
Southwestern Michigan College’s 28-member spring 2018 class received associate degrees in nursing (ADN) pins May 5 in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.
SMC 3D design students create art from old computer parts
Southwestern Michigan College’s new Information Technology lab in the Barbara Wood Building will see double duty as an art gallery thanks to a creative recycling project. Kyle Kelly “commissioned” faculty colleague Shannon Eakins’ three-dimensional design students to create art from obsolete computer equipment.
Abigail Craft receives math/science award
Niles STEM major Abigail Craft April 27 received Southwestern Michigan College’s 2018 Math/Science Department Appreciation Award at a reception in the David C. Briegel Building on the Dowagiac campus.
SMC, IUSB tackle Earth Day together
Southwestern Michigan College’s Honors Program and environmental science students teamed up April 20 for “Earth Day Service Day” with Indiana University South Bend peers to beautify the banks of the St. Joseph River. This collaboration is one of many being pursued by the two institutions separated by only 30 miles. Besides developing partnerships by which SMC graduates can transfer seamlessly to IUSB, this shared commitment to the region's environment could be further enhanced this fall with plans for a similar clean-up on the Michigan side of the state line.
22 inducted into Alpha Beta Gamma
Twenty-two high-achieving graduates of Southwestern Michigan College have been inducted into Alpha Beta Gamma, the international community college business honor society. They represent the latest group of SMC's growing population of honors students. Gamma Nu chapter of ABG is SMC’s fourth opportunity for students to earn honors distinction, along with Sigma Psi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges; Psi Beta, the national community college psychology honor society; and SMC’s homegrown Honors Program.
SMC library broadens academic connections
What do Harvard, Yale and Columbia University have in common? Yes, they’re Ivy League schools, but each is also tied to Southwestern Michigan College. So are Johns Hopkins, the National Institutes of Health, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, National Defense University, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fordham Law School, Fermilab Library, George Washington University and Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Thanks to inter-library loans, those are some borrowers of SMC books.
SMC student wins national Student Developer Champion award
Southwestern Michigan College student Ethan Pawelski earned a $2,500 scholarship as national Student Developer Champion for software development at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s conference in National Harbor, Md. National Harbor sits along the Potomac River just south of Washington, D.C., so Pawelski and Christine Stiles, the SMC instructor who nominated him, were also able to visit the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums.