Lessons learned at SC4 impact daily life for Meteorologist Colton Cichoracki

Colton Cichoracki is living his dream. He’s a meteorologist with ABC12 News (WJRT-TV) in Flint. He’s had the same drive and aspiration to be a meteorologist his entire life. While there were other stops along the way to Cichoracki’s success, it started at St. Clair County Community College almost a decade ago.

“I was a Blue Water Middle College Academy student from Memphis,” Cichoracki explained.

“I was in the very first cohort of the program in the fall of 2011, so I was entering into something that hadn’t been done before, and I’m glad I did. It was a fantastic experience and I’m a huge advocate of the middle college concept.”

Looking back, Cichoracki recalls how each of his professors cared about him as an individual.

“I never had a bad professor. In fact, I liked many of them so much that I took multiple classes from them,” he recalled. “I took two political science classes with Ethan Flick and two English classes with Chris Hilton. I remember taking Patricia Frank’s history class where we re-enacted military battles in the courtyards on campus! The impact that SC4’s professors had on me is something I carry with me today.”

Cichoracki earned his Associate in Arts degree from SC4 in 2014 and then transferred to Central Michigan University, where he majored in meteorology (with a minor in mathematics) and graduated in 2017. He started his career at KQ2 News in St. Joseph, Missouri, before moving back to Michigan to his current job in Flint.

He credits SC4 with helping him get off to a great start.

“Community college got me where I wanted to be,” Cichoracki said. “They serve such a critical role in the community, helping people grow academically and professionally. I tell everyone who’s graduating from high school to go to a community college first. You can get a lot of your general education classes done at a much lower price, and it’ll give you the experience of how to succeed in college before moving on to a university.”

The wide range of students, particularly in their ages, is another pleasant memory for Cichoracki.

“When I was at SC4, I was often the youngest person in my class,” he said. “But there were other students in their seventies in the class as well. They were doing the same thing I was, though, working to better themselves. Their age or background didn’t matter. SC4 gave us the means to succeed and make something of ourselves.”

Cichoracki also recommends community college for students who aren’t quite sure what direction they’re headed yet.

“Go to a community college, take some classes in a field you might be interested in, and see if it’s what you want to do,” he suggested. “At CMU, I saw so many people change their majors again and again, spending so much money each time to start over. You don’t need to do that. Community colleges can help you figure out what you want to do, and you’ll be much better off for it.”

Watch Colton in a recent weather broadcast on ABC12 News (WJRT-TV) below or check out his professional Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ColtonCichorackiABC12.

Updates to classes and services effective Wednesday, Nov. 18

With the spread of COVID-19 increasing in the county and throughout the state, St. Clair County Community College continues to follow our campus guidelines and procedures in conjunction with guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and advice from the St. Clair County Health Department.

Effective Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, most remaining classes that were being held on-campus will be completed using online or remote learning technology. The exceptions are healthcare-related courses, which are allowed to continue in-person under current guidelines.

This change only affects about 11 percent of fall class sections and does not affect any class that was already fully online or being delivered in a remote manner. Students will be contacted by their instructors with information on how the final weeks of their class will be handled.

In order to continue to limit the spread of the virus in our community, effective Wednesday, November 18, all campus buildings will be closed to the public. Faculty, staff, and students who need to be on-campus may do so, but all student services, including academic advising, admissions, financial aid, enrollment services, testing, student accounts, the SC4 Library, and Achievement Center services, will be provided remotely. Many of these services have been available remotely all semester, so this change should also affect only a small number of students.

Students with questions about their classes should contact their instructors directly. Other questions may be directed to the college’s main phone number, (810) 984-3881, or by using the chat service available on our website, sc4.edu.

TRIO Student of the Month: Jenna Linton

Jenna Linton likes being independent, but also appreciates having extra support when she needs it. A competitive runner, Linton chose SC4 both because she had the opportunity to continue her cross-country career at the college level and because Port Huron wasn’t close to her hometown.

“I wanted to live and see another part of Michigan,” she explained. “I knew I could live by myself. Moving away from home and into the dorm was a challenge. I’m pretty good at managing schoolwork with my running and my friends, but I had to learn other life skills. I have to make sure I prepare enough food for the next week or two, and I had to learn how to manage my spending and saving better.”

Linton wears hearing aids in both ears, which helps with the challenge of hearing and understanding people. It can be hard to catch everything in a conversation, and she’s had to stick up for herself and ask for help when she needed it. She’s found success in working with her SC4 professors to ensure she gets the best education possible. She also applied for the TRIO Student Support Services program at SC4, because she’s always been a student who needs a little extra help along the way.

“TRIO has been helpful by checking with me to see how I’m doing, both educationally and personally,” Linton said. “They’ve also helped me set realistic school and personal goals. We talk about my classes and my plan to get my work done on time. We set goals for writing papers and how I can get a better grade by including other writing skills. Having a tutor available for my harder subjects gives me less stress to worry about.”

Linton enthusiastically recommends the TRIO program to other students. “They are an amazing support program with a lot of resources to help students succeed. The TRIO classroom in the Achievement Center is also a major resource, with computers to work on, a quiet place to study, and staff available to help you with anything you need.”

She’s thankful for all the help she’s received in her time at SC4, especially from her professors who have had to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic while still teaching effectively.

“This semester has been difficult with school being online,” Linton said. “The professors have been working non-stop to provide us with resources we need to succeed. I’m extremely thankful that my professors are working through this learning curve with me and even laughing through the hard times that have made SC4 a little bit better.”

Linton is planning to transfer to Northern Michigan University in Marquette to major in Elementary Special Education. She plans to keep running at NMU, either on their club team or just on her own to stay healthy and in shape. She wants to hike and explore, too, because there are plenty of trails and other outdoor activities to participate in. Eventually, she’d like to move to Montana to teach and start her family.

For her perseverance and dedication to improving herself through education, Jenna Linton is the November TRIO Student of the month.

Learn more about Future for Frontliners state scholarship program

SC4 invites the community to attend a presentation on the Future for Frontliners Program. The presentation is offered through SC4’s Admissions and Recruitment Office and will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Future for Frontliners is a state scholarship program for Michiganders without college degrees who worked in essential industries during the state COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020, between April 1 and June 30.

This scholarship provides those frontline workers with tuition-free access to a local community college to pursue an associate degree or a certificate, either full-time or part-time while they work.

The event will provide information on the Future for Frontliners Program, an overview of the application qualifications and process and FAQs. SC4 admissions and financial aid staff will be available for questions.

To reserve your spot and receive Zoom login information, email recruitment@sc4.edu by Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Registration for SC4 winter classes opens Nov. 2

Registration for winter semester classes at St. Clair County Community College opens Monday, Nov. 2. There is no deposit required to register, and classes fill up fast. Students are encouraged to register as soon as possible in order to get the classes they need to complete their degree programs or successfully transfer to a four-year institution.

SC4’s in-district tuition and fees are about one-third of the average cost at one of Michigan’s four-year public universities. Additionally, SC4 students may also benefit from financial aid packages, scholarships, grants and loans.

From Nov. 2 to 13, there is no payment required until the final due date of Nov. 20. Partial payments will be accepted through Nov. 19. From Nov. 14 to Jan. 15, 2021, full payment is required at time of registration. Payment plans are also available.

A list of available classes can be found at sc4.edu/schedule. New students can apply to SC4 at sc4.edu/admissions/starthere. Current students can register online in the SC4 Portal Service Center or on the SC4 mobile app. The winter semester begins Monday, Jan. 11.

For more information, contact SC4 Enrollment Services at enrollment@sc4.edu or (810) 989-5500.

National Respiratory Care Week at SC4

Respiratory therapists have demanding responsibilities related to patient care and are a vital component of the health care team.

The respiratory therapy program at St. Clair County Community College uses an integration of classroom and practicum experiences in hospitals, outpatient testing facilities and physician offices.

Respiratory therapy is not the most popular choice in the healthcare field, but it’s one of the most important careers when it comes to taking care of critically ill patients.

“I teach at SC4 to educate, train, and produce competent, skilled and confident future respiratory therapists,” said instructor Tami Stafford. “With the implementation of the state-of-the-art clinical simulation lab, the students are able to experience real-life patient scenarios where they must critically think and are challenged to make clinical decisions based on a patient by patient case.”

This week, students took their classroom learning into the lab to complete a “Mock Code” patient care scenario. All students in the program must be certified in Basic Life Support and must be able to competently perform all skills needed in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The mock code scenario is a replica of a patient requiring CPR, which is directed and run by Dr. Michael Basha, SC4 Respiratory Therapy Medical Director.

“This scenario allows the students to apply the skills they have learned, understand the roles of everyone involved in this type of situation, including the physician, respiratory therapists and nurses,” said Stafford. Students are trained and must perform the procedure required for establishing an artificial airway, which includes clinical skills of bag-mask ventilation, intubation, securing the airway and assessing the patient. “This scenario brings it all together, so the students see how everyone works together as a team.”

Students graduating from the program receive an Associate in Applied Arts and Science degree and become eligible to take the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing examinations. With successful completion of the program, students can work in adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, emergency rooms, labor and delivery, regular nursing floors, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, diagnostic testing, and home care.

Once the students successfully complete this program, they will have over 1,000 hours of live clinical experience in a variety of hospital settings which gives them a well-rounded experience in all areas of the profession. “I love watching the students’ growth throughout the semesters and how they sometimes impress and surprise themselves by what they have learned and what they know how to do,” said Stafford.

This week is also recognized as National Respiratory Care Week. To show appreciation, students sent gift bags of full of individually wrapped “Lifesavers” to all the respiratory therapists and hospitals that support the SC4 Respiratory Therapy Program. Over 300 bags were made and distributed to respiratory therapists who work the front lines at Ascension St. John River District Hospital, Garden City Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, Lake Huron Medical Center, Marlette Regional Hospital, McLaren Macomb, McLaren Port Huron, and McKenzie Health System.

SC4 is a pioneer in health sciences education and offers a wide-array of in-demand program and certificate options. To learn more about the SC4 respiratory therapy program and other health sciences programs, visit our website at sc4.edu/health.

TRIO Student of the Month: Giovonni Carden

Giovonni Carden always wanted to be a nurse. She knew SC4 had a great program and it was also close by, so her choice was simple. But the decision to go to college often involves additional challenges that aren’t quite as simple. So Carden also got involved with the college’s TRIO Student Support Services program at the suggestion of some of her friends.

“I heard great things from others about the [TRIO] program,” Carden said, “and I thought that I could use some help along my journey in college.”

Her intuition about joining TRIO turned out to be a great choice.

“TRIO has helped me obtain my goals by mentoring me, addressing questions and concerns I had, and walking me through the steps to prepare for and apply to the nursing program,” she explained. “Shawne Jowett [Interim Director of TRIO at SC4] has been there for me every single time I needed her help. I’m extremely grateful for her. I really can’t thank her enough for all the help she has given me.”

For her achievements at SC4 and in the TRIO program, Carden is the October TRIO Student of the Month.

Balancing college and everyday life aren’t easy. Carden notes that she needed to work, pay her bills (including tuition), while also finding time to do well in her classes. “It wasn’t easy at the time, but I took everything one step at a time and didn’t worry about events I couldn’t control,” she said.

Carden would recommend the TRIO program to current SC4 students as well as incoming freshmen. “TRIO has such a broad spectrum of resources anyone could benefit from it,” she said. “Also, it’s full of sweet, caring people who are always there to help when you need them.”

She’s planning to complete her nursing degree at SC4 and then move on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She’d like to be an operating room nurse or maybe a labor and delivery nurse. Later, she may investigate becoming a doula (someone who provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth).

“I want to be there to help and make sure they’re comfortable,” she said.

SC4 to host virtual Financial Aid Night Oct. 13

St. Clair County Community College will host its annual Financial Aid Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, via a virtual Zoom meeting.

Open to students, families and all area residents, the event connects SC4’s financial aid experts with the community to share valuable information about financial aid processes, opportunities and tips to maximize the money students can receive.

With the 2021-22 Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) becoming available Oct. 1, the event provides timely assistance for anyone who wants to learn more about paying for college. While Financial Aid Night is hosted by SC4, students and families interested in any college are welcome to attend.

The presentation will provide information on all type of financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships. SC4 representatives will explain how to apply for financial aid and give tips for obtaining maximum awards. A question-and-answer period will also be available.

“If you’re interested in earning a degree or certificate and want to learn more about federal, state and private funding sources and scholarships that might help you achieve your goals, this event is for you,” said Director of Financial Assistance and Services Josephine Cassar.

For those interested in attending, registration is required by emailing njsemrow@sc4.edu.

Learn more about making college affordable at sc4.edu/financial-aid.

SC4 President’s Honor List for Summer 2020

A total of 218 St. Clair County Community College students earned a spot on the President’s Honor List for the 2020 summer semester, which ended Aug. 7.

Students must take at least six credits and have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher to make the list.

President’s Honor List for the 2020 summer semester, ordered by hometown:

Algonac — Alexis Semaan.

Allenton — Shelby Husovsky.

Almont — Chelsee Berger, Maria Bussone, Alyssa Soave and Timothy Wolf.

Armada — Kayla Campis and Nicole Sawitzky.

Attica — Miranda Pekala.

Avoca — Samantha Chauvin, Camryn Griffith, Emily Kean, Sarah Koch, Joseph Robinson and Doug Schoenberg.

Berlin Township — Dylan McCarroll.

Birmingham — Olivia Freshwater.

Bloomfield Hills — Roxanne Martin.

Brockway Township — Abigail Westrick.

Brown City — Isabel Woodall.

Burtchville Township — Brooklynn Wilton.

Capac — Kari Bastian, Benjamin Geliske, Dakota Killingbeck, Priscilla King, Terra King and Kathryn Oliver.

Casco Township — Daley Boyd.

China Township — Katie Tyrrell and Kristin Malcolm.

Clay Township — Anya Gerstenberg, Jenna Graham, Ashley Huber and Marianne Karos.

Clifford — Amanda Pratt.

Clyde Township — Jordan Berg, Madison Berg, Melissa Graham, Kelly Peters, Emma Purdy and Mackenzie Witt.

Columbus Township — Kimberly Berman, Alison Billeaudeau, Amber Delor, Kalie Foxwell and Carrie Rush.

Cottrellville Township — Kelly Bonam.

Croswell — Pertrilla Brown, Eden Jenkins, Matthew Kerrigan and Breanna Ngow.

Deckerville — Mitchell Noble.

East China Township — Desaray DeSnyder, Daniel Ferrone, Adrianne Henderson, Elsa McClure, Charles McKay and Kelsey Russell.

Emmett — Angela Heiden and Matthew Wetter.

Fair Haven — Matthew Privaloff.

Fort Gratiot — Zachary Brockway, Bailey Compton, Julia Cope, Dofonso Fernando, Ryan Hunt, Amanda Isaac, Larissa John, Ethan Kane, Taylor Kelley, Hope Knowlton, Jordyn Knowlton, Jon Laffrey, Madison Loviska, Roman Lucido, Michele Niehaus, Clara Scheid, Alexis Shreeve, Jennifer Steinke, Sophia Vani, Ian Wilson and Luke Zeller.

Goodells — Eva Wiegand.

Greenwood Township — Morgan Asselin.

Harbor Beach — Skylar Deer.

Imlay City — Dominique Perreault, Kayla Schocke and Shelby Webb.

Jeddo — Heather Porter and Maxwel Terry.

Kimball Township — Allison Cole, Andrea Dunn, Gale Kicinski, Davon Morris, Garrett Royce, Jenna Russell, Beth Seibert, Brianna Swantek and Paj Yang.

Lexington —Riley Bongard, William Patterson and Naomi Wildey.

Marine City — Hailey Butler, Melanie Carlson, Emily Dart, Thomas Kaminski, Conner Mathews, Jamie Stanislawski and Alyssa Westrick.

Marlette — Rebecca Jar.

Marysville — Mathew-James Alcorn, Sirena Bond, Aric Chojnowski, Eric Decker, Hunter Fite, Karlie Franz, Jacob Gilbert, Gwyneth Glombowski, Kaitlynn Kindsvater, Zane King, Kirsten Kish, Isabella Mills, Ashley Nevarez, Cade Perrin, Angella Rathsack, Adam Tuckey and Hannah Wiegand.

Melvin — Caitlin Houde.

Memphis — Taylor Kreger, Jenna Lesch and Casondra Sumpter.

Miami, Fla. — Ariel Dominguez.

Mussey Township — Sherri Domzalski, Pamela Lerash and Danielle Sawyer.

New Baltimore — Ashley Kraft.

New Haven — Christene Marcum.

North Branch — Katrina Guldi.

Port Huron — Morgan Alexis, Christopher Ballard, Kiera Barnes, Alexander Bird, Alexzandra Carr, Kayla Cartier, Faith Chmielewski, Noel Cosby, April Cox, Lindsey Crane, Elizabeth Dewey, Kaitlyn Douglas, Shylah Drouillard, Rachel Dubs, A.J. Fagan, D. Hope Galarza-Amaro, Porfirio Garcia, Latonya Harmon, Camille Harrison, Katherine Hollingsworth, Morgan James, Desiree Markopoulos, Syrys Molesworth, Remy Reynolds, Niurka Rodriguez, Dawn Silk, Adrienne Slossar, Daniele Soper, Lindsay Thoms, Lily Vella, Kobi Voelker, Stacey Wahl, Haley Werth, Nicholas Wik, Cheyna Williams, Julia Wing and David Wolven.

Port Sanilac — Olivia Espinoza.

Richmond — Regina Long and Isabella Tollis.

Riley Township — Shelby Enders and Emily Wyszczelski.

St. Clair — Avery Aiello, Katelyn Bartholomew, Julianna Cataldo, Maranda Decker, Brenda Domagalski, Julie Felbarth, Andre Fleury, Zacchaeus Gilbert, Joshua Hilton, Allison Kaczperski, Sharon Kalbaugh, Therese Kalbaugh, Leigh Knox, Sumner Malcolm, Morgan Mead, Zachary Nicholson, Robert Pelka, Bailey Sazehn, Jeffrie Seros, Sarah Shell, Jacqueline Sikora, Noah Simone and Brendan Weeks.

Sandusky — Rachael Roff.

Smiths Creek — Ross Hinkley.

Swartz Creek — Kallie Albert.

Toronto, Ont. — Jamal Armstrong.

Troy — Jen Minchella.

Wales Township —Emily Marchand, Alexandra Smith and Jacob Weidner.

Yale — Caleb Bollaert, Jada Janes, Joseph Nunley, Carleigh Randolph, David Regan, Kaycee Reid and Franki Whittaker.

Social justice educator Jen Fry to speak to SC4 campus community Oct. 9

St. Clair County Community College invites the community to attend a presentation by social justice educator Jen Fry at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. The presentation is offered through SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and will take place via Zoom.

Social justice education assists everyone in critically thinking of how to become culturally competent, how to self-reflect on one’s position, power and privilege, and how to create an inclusive culture that allows diversity to be a part of the culture, not BE the culture.

Jen Fry is a native of Arizona, a Division II athlete, and veteran volleyball coach with over 15 years of experience at the collegiate level with coaching stints at Elon University, the University of Illinois (2011 National Runner-Up), Washington State University, and Norfolk State University. She turned social justice educator when she realized there was a need for educating not only our student-athletes of all ages, but the administration, staff, and coaches who train them through an antiracist lens on issues of race, inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, and equity. She is also working on her Ph.D. in Geography at Michigan State University.

She spoke at TEDxDuke in February 2019 on the topic of “Radical Social Justice Education Through High Fives.” A video of her presentation can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/IvVIRx1ejz0.

To reserve your spot and receive Zoom login information, email SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at dei@sc4.edu. The deadline to reserve your spot is Thursday, Oct. 8.