SC4’s Lambda Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa receive awards

The national Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) recognized SC4’s Lambda Mu Chapter with the Distinguished College Project Award during PTK Catalyst 2021, the Society’s annual convention, which was broadcast live from Orlando, Florida, from April 8-10.

Only 51 of PTK’s chapters worldwide received the Distinguished College Project Award this year. The purpose of the College Project is to establish or strengthen a supportive relationship between the chapter and college administration. Lambda Mu’s project, “Tips for Success in Online Learning,” compiled online learning advice offered by SC4 faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The advice was edited into 30 “tips” and shared online.

Successful completion of the College Project is one of the criteria needed to be a Five-Star Chapter, a status the Lambda Mu Chapter maintained for the 2020-2021 academic year. Lambda Mu is also a REACH Chapter, which signifies a membership acceptance rate of over fifteen percent.

Additionally, the Blue Water Alumni Association (BWAA) was recognized as a Five-Star Alumni Association for 2020-2021. BWAA is the PTK alumni chapter for the St. Clair County area.

The Lambda Mu Chapter was also honored with the following awards at the PTK Michigan Regional Convention 2021, held virtually March 24 to 26:

  • Distinguished Chapter Officer Team – 3rd Runner Up: Tara Brown, Lisa Green, Lillian Nelson, Rachel Schmaltz
  • Honors in Action Theme 4 Award: Expressions of Truth – 1st Runner Up
  • College Project Award – 1st Runner Up
  • Angela Heiden, SC4 PTK Advisor, was honored for thirteen years of service

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in the United States and internationally. More than three million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.

If you’d like to be a part of an award-winning chapter, both the Lambda Mu Chapter and the Blue Water Alumni Association are currently looking for new members and officers for the 2021-2022 academic year. Contact PTK Advisor Angela Heiden at aheiden@sc4.edu for details.

Naima Turner’s winding road to success included a stop at SC4

Naima Turner arrived in Michigan in August 2009. She had an eight-day-old newborn and three other children aged ten, nine and two and was facing a new life as a single mother after separating from her husband. She had no income, no car, no furniture, and her only support system was her mother.

Turner had one thing going for her, though, and that was her certainty that she knew what she wanted to become, though she wasn’t quite sure how she would get there – yet. She was starting her life over again with nothing but love and determination.

She and her children stayed in her mother’s one room basement for three months until she got her own place in a trailer home. She had to ask for assistance from the Michigan Department of Human Services to survive. In order to get help from Michigan Works she needed to volunteer. So, she volunteered, cared for children, and started going to school full time at SC4, taking the prerequisite courses needed to get into the Associate Degree Nursing program.

Although Macomb Community College was closer, Turner’s aunt Crystal was already in the SC4 nursing program and recommended it to her niece. She told her that the instructors were outstanding, which Turner found out was absolutely true.

“Tami Turney, Kim Murphy, and Laurie Lamont were amazing!” Turner recalled. “They were personable, yet professional. Their compassion as nurses shone through in their roles as educators, as well. Their teaching styles were exactly what I needed to drive the subject home and help me remember. They used stories – and laughter – to help us recall difficult content and make it more applicable.”

Turner was so inspired by her SC4 instructors that she decided to follow in their footsteps and become a nursing instructor herself.

“Nursing is about so much more than just skills and knowledge,” she explained. “It’s also about the standards and characteristics that the profession requires and demands. I love being able to contribute to the development of extraordinary nurses who go out and serve our communities.”

Turner completed her ADN degree at SC4 in May 2013, then continued her education at Chamberlain University, getting her BSN and her MSN degrees there. For her MSN, she majored in nursing education. She’s currently completing her DNP degree at Chamberlain and expects to graduate this year.

She’s served for nearly eight years as a staff nurse in obstetrics, including labor and delivery, antepartum, and post-partum care; as a clinical instructor in OB and pediatrics; a didactic nursing instructor, and is currently the Director of Nursing for a program in California.

Her experience getting started at SC4 left a lasting impression of the value of a community college education.

“It’s priceless,” Turner said. “It’s vital for communities to accommodate adult learners, their schedules, and their lives, while enabling them to reach their goals and dreams. Community colleges aren’t as costly but are just as reliable and valuable when it comes to the education and experience gained. Students who choose community colleges receive a great educational experience and go on to do great things.”

Turner is certainly an example of that. Despite her difficulties when she moved to Michigan a decade ago, her current success is inspiring and shows the power of self-determination and hard work.

“It was extremely rough and difficult, but I persevered despite all the difficulties and barriers,” Turner said. “God is merciful, and he saw me through it all. If someone is determined to reach their goals, no circumstance or obstacle can deter or stop them. No matter where you are, where you’re destined to be and who you’re destined to become is a realty that only you can make come true.”

Jessica Brown completes Cornell University Diversity and Inclusion training

Jessica Brown, SC4’s Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, has been working diligently to develop a comprehensive and cross-functional emphasis on critical issues in relation to our campus community.

To build her skills in this area, Brown recently completed an eight-week certificate course from Cornell University on Diversity and Inclusion. “It was essential to dive deeper into my knowledge and recognize as an individual how critical it is to understand the multifaceted layers of DEI and what I must know to educate DEI in all communities,” said Brown.

Lessons learned during her training have increased her insight and exposure to key techniques, tools, resources, and theories that have expanded her knowledge about DEI to benefit the SC4 internal and external community.

The college created the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion last June to advance the college’s efforts in providing educational access and support for all.

Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Inclusion is an outcome to ensure those that are diverse actually feel and/or are welcomed.  

In a short time, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has sponsored speaking engagements, professional development seminars, a book reading discussion series, a podcast series, and other events. Understanding the racial, economic, and social inequities that impact our students, faculty, staff, and community members are key to advancing DEI initiatives at the college.

“I learned to examine the true meaning of trust, fairness, and inclusivity, the tools to identify implicit biases, and actively listen to concerns that impact the institution’s success and productivity,” said Brown. “No one is an expert when it comes to DEI, and all of us must have a willingness to learn to be healthy citizens for ourselves, the future generation, and the community.”

Discussion with Dr. Randa Jundi-Samman on March 25

In recognition of Women’s History Month, SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is hosting a 90-minute fireside chat session with Dr. Randa Jundi-Samman on the topic “History of Women and Their Role in Society- Have We Removed the Barriers?”

This event is 10 a.m. Thursday, March 25, via Zoom. To reserve your spot and receive the Zoom link, please RSVP to dei@sc4.edu.

Jessica Brown will serve as moderator. SC4 faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members, are welcome to attend.

Dr. Randa Jundi-Samman was born and raised in Damascus, Syria, and came to the United States at age 22. Dr. Jundi-Samman received her D.D.S. degree from Damascus University Dental School in 1990 and D.M.D. degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1993. She is the co-owner and one of the dentists at Huron Dental in Port Huron. She is a strong believer in the Blue Water Area and has been involved with many groups, including the Blue Water YMCA, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, the Port Huron Schools Endowment Fund, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Development Alliance. She is married to Bashar Samman, M.D., a cardiologist in Port Huron, and they have two adult children, Shaker, a writer, and Layla, a law student.

SC4 was the perfect way to transition from high school to college for alumnus Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis makes a difference in people’s lives everyday as a pharmacist at Meijer. That commitment to work to help others was supported by the examples he saw while a student at St. Clair County Community College.

“Janice Fritz and Joe Gibbons both sparked my interest in science and were instrumental in my acceptance to, and success in, pharmacy school,” Davis said. “I remember the passion that Dr. Fritz had for teaching and the excitement she would bring to her lectures. Anatomy and Physiology was my favorite course I took in my entire collegiate career.”

“I also fondly remember spending hours with Professor Gibbons in the chemistry lab discussing not just the course material but also life experiences,” he continued. “These professors were more than teachers to me; they were sources of inspiration as well as friendly faces I could confide in. They deserve so much recognition for the incredible work they do.”

Davis, a 2009 graduate of Marysville High School, chose SC4 for several reasons, including its convenient location close to his home and the overall cost of community college tuition.

“Going to SC4 allowed me to work full time while also enrolling in classes full time,” Davis explained. “I was able to build my schedule around everything else I had going on in my life. I got a great education for a fraction of the cost of attending a university right out of high school. I completed the majority of my prerequisite courses without having to take any student loans.”

Class size and individual attention also factored into Davis’s decision to attend SC4.

“I believe the opportunity to receive that attention from my professors was something that furthered my education beyond what a university could offer,” he said. “I spent more one-on-one time with my teachers at SC4 than I did during the rest of my undergrad and pharmacy school classes combined.”

Davis transferred to Wayne State University in 2012 and completed his bachelor’s degree and then completed his Doctorate in Pharmacy degree in 2017. He currently works at Meijer Pharmacy.

“My profession allows me to work closely with patients and make a positive impact on their lives,” Davis said. “I am an easily-accessible resource for anyone in the community to seek out advice. That brings me great career satisfaction that I can’t imagine getting in any other way.”

Davis highly recommends community college as a starting point for any student starting their college journey.

“Community colleges allow people from all walks of life the chance to improve their lives through education and experience,” Davis said. “Many barriers that exist at universities can be overcome by institutions like SC4. Students with families, full-time jobs, or other financial burdens can find an education at SC4.”

“SC4 is the perfect way to transition from high school to college,” he continued. “Community colleges offer the same prerequisite courses that universities do, but at a fraction of the cost and with a much better opportunity to receive individual attention from educators.”

Registration open for summer 2021 classes at SC4

Registration for summer classes at St. Clair County Community College is now open, providing a great opportunity for students of all backgrounds to earn valuable credits at a fraction of the cost of a four-year institution.

SC4 students continuing their education, guest students from other institutions, qualified Future for Frontliners students and MiReconnect prospects and community members looking to take courses for personal enrichment are encouraged to browse the full list of available summer courses online at sc4.edu/schedule.

Many courses that qualify for the Michigan Transfer Agreement are available, covering a range of subjects.

Classes are available in accounting, business, computer information systems, English, history, math, music, psychology, sociology, welding and more.

Additionally, students looking to complete health science prerequisites such as human anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology can benefit from summer courses.

Many summer classes are offered online. Courses also are offered in varied lengths for students to create flexible schedules.

Summer semester begins Monday, May 17. Students not currently enrolled can start the application process at sc4.edu/admissions/starthere. Current students can register online through their student portal or on the SC4 mobile app.

To speak with an admissions representative about options, or for details on how to get started, call (810) 989-5571.

Victim or Creator: Changing Your Mindset with Caleb S. Boswell — February 26

In Recognition of Black History Month, SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is offering the following event for students, faculty, staff and community.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is offering a 60-minute chat session with Caleb S. Boswell on the topic of “Victim or Creator: Changing Your Mindset,” at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, via Zoom. The session is geared toward students but community, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.

This presentation looks at the thoughts and language that we use internally (“victim” vs. “creator” and inner critic vs. inner defender vs. inner guide). The goal is to understand these concepts. The hope is that students can apply this information both academically and daily.

Caleb S. Boswell, MA, LLPC has a passion for mental wellness and education. He is currently a Student Advisor in the Office of Counseling & Career Planning at Washtenaw Community College and serves as a part-time instructor. Also, at WCC, he is the facilitator for Brother 2 Brother, a program for underrepresented males on campus. He is the co-facilitator of the college Collegiate Recovery Program, which serves students in recovery from substance abuse.

Mr. Boswell has worked in higher education over the past ten years in various capacities for CMU, EMU, and Wayne State University. He has also served in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Ypsilanti public schools. He has extensive experience working with programming that promotes college access and personal development. He is committed to helping students succeed and strives to assist them with a holistic approach. He has done presentations on mental wellness and often uses his social media outlets to promote mental wellness and therapy benefits with the hashtag #TherapyIsNormal.

Caleb is also the co-facilitator of The Healing Collective. This is an online community where various topics of mental wellness are discussed during COVID-19. He is a proud Central Michigan University alum, where he double majored in psychology and communications, and also earned his master’s degree in college counseling from Eastern Michigan University.

To reserve your spot and receive login information, email dei@sc4.edu.

A Continuing Series of Small Indignities discussion — February 25

In Recognition of Black History Month, SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is offering the following event for students, faculty, staff and community.

SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion along with the SC4 Civic Democratic Learning Committee are sponsoring a special event to discuss A Continuing Series of Small Indignities, a film by Michael Pfaendtner. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, via Zoom.

Rodney Harris retired after nearly four decades in retail management. An African American growing up in mostly white Macomb County in the 1960s, he tells all to former classmate and filmmaker Michael Pfaendtner in a short documentary film about one man’s challenges because of his race over the past half century in Southeastern Michigan. Harris often hears, “Things are a lot better now, don’t you think?” While he’s found success professionally and his children are doing well, it’s his answer that many want to hear.

Harris will be participating in a chat discussion for student, staff and community moderated by SC4 professor of criminal justice Jim Jones that shares Rodney’s personal story dealing with a history of racism.

The film will be shown during the event, but you may watch it prior to the event on Vimeo.

Rodney and Michael discuss how the film came about in this clip from Detroit Public Television.

Dofonso Fernando, military veteran, SC4 Alumnus, and current Ferris State University student will also discuss his experiences and moving into the future. Fernando was born in Namibia and he moved to America with his family when he was just an infant. Raised in the southern part of Nevada, he called Las Vegas home and spent majority of his life there. He attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas, but after two years of being a student, he decided that a college education was not for him and went into the work force.

He worked in various casinos and the real estate industry. Once the 2008 recession happened, he knew that real estate and the nightlife industry were not suitable career paths for him. In 2010, he decided to join the United States Air Force as an Aerospace Medical Technician and purse a military career. His military career ended after various military assignments and almost seven years of honorable service.

After serving in the military, Dofonso and his wife Katherine decided to move their family back to Katherine’s hometown in the St. Clair County area. With Dofonso’s VA scholarship, he decided to take another try at a college education and started at SC4. He knew that the only way he could obtain a successful career was through pursuing his educational goals.

He graduated in 2019 with an Associate in General Education with Cum Laude honors. He immediately transferred to the Ferris State University Criminal Justice program that is located at SC4 and is finishing his final semester. He will be graduating this summer from Ferris State University and pursuing a career in corrections or continuing his educational goals.

To reserve your spot and receive login information, email dei@sc4.edu.

Rodney Harris, Dofonso Fernando and Michael Pfaendtner

SC4 checked all the boxes for alumnus Don Caluya’s mission

Don Caluya has already come a long way. But he’s just getting started.

While many people dream of traveling, Caluya’s target destination is in the night sky, about 239,000 miles away. He wants to be one of the next people to fly to the Moon, and one of his earliest steps toward that goal was on the campus of St. Clair County Community College.

“As an immigrant from the Philippines, I didn’t believe I had any chance of attending college,” Caluya explained. “SC4 allowed me to break generational barriers which gave me the confidence to follow my educational and career aspirations. Once I became engulfed in college classes at SC4, I knew that I could do more with my life.”

Caluya graduated from Port Huron Northern High School in 2008, and initially wanted to be an architect.

“When choosing a college, I looked for an option that was cost-effective, but which also had a great history and reputation,” Caluya said. “SC4 checked all the boxes and I was able to accomplish my education goals.”

SC4 offered Caluya the opportunity to get started and prepare for the bigger things he had planned.

“I got the best education at a fraction of the cost,” he said. “SC4 has top-notch educators who love their jobs and are willing to go above and beyond to help their students. The staff made helping people their top priority. They assisted me with all of the steps, including admissions, financial aid, and registration.”

Caluya is also excited about the Challenger Learning Center at St. Clair County Community College that will open on SC4’s campus in early 2022.

“The Challenger project within SC4’s walls will be the pride of the community,” he said. “It’s the first of its kind in Port Huron and the only one in Michigan. SC4 students and the community will have the resources and tools to be prodigious!”

After SC4, Caluya joined the U.S. Air Force, where he had the chance to travel all over the world. He became the proud father of “the most beautiful little girl in the world.” After the Air Force, he attended The Ohio State University, graduating in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation and air transportation. He’s currently pursuing his master’s in business administration at Lindenwood University while working for The Boeing Company and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“Long term, I’d like to be a test pilot for NASA, SpaceX, or Boeing,” Caluya said. “But my ultimate goal is to become an astronaut.”

Caluya has fond memories of his time at SC4 and believes that community college is a great place to start for students regardless of their long-term plans.

“Community colleges like SC4 provide not just an excellent academic infrastructure, but they also provide students hope, encouragement, support, and pride,” he explained. “SC4 gave me, someone from a small town in the Philippines, a sense of confidence and self-worth. I’m thankful to those who helped me along the way… my dearest and sincerest thanks.”

“Everything worth having has a stable foundation that it’s built on,” Caluya continued. “For me, this foundation came from Port Huron and SC4. Even though my bachelor’s diploma says, ‘The Ohio State University,’ it should also say ‘St. Clair County Community College,’ because a quarter of my credits came from there.”

Caluya also noted that NASA and large aerospace companies have programs that target community college students. The NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program offers support to students looking to enter the field. “NASA never overlooks top talent,” he said, “and they know the worth of these local institutions.”

Whether your dreams are in the stars or a bit closer to home, SC4 can help you get there. Just ask Don Caluya, who’s already come a long way but is still looking up.

SC4 to host Futures for Frontliners Admissions Advising Day

St. Clair County Community College invites front line workers who have been approved for the State of Michigan Future for Frontliners Program but have not registered for classes yet to get assistance from the SC4 admissions team.

Students ready to take classes, but have not registered, or those who have questions about the application, acceptance and registration process at SC4 can get help during the Futures for Frontliners Admissions Advising Day.

Interested students can schedule a time to talk to an admissions advisor from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23. Appointments will be over the phone with an opportunity for a virtual visit if preferred.

Schedule an appointment by emailing recruitment@sc4.edu.