New scholarship honoring alumna Ellen Petho to benefit SC4 art and design students

Future generations of St. Clair County Community College (SC4) art and design students will benefit from a new scholarship thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from the Petho family in honor of SC4 alumna and interior designer Ellen Petho.

Ellen Petho called Port Huron her home for more than 75 years. She and her husband, Lou, raised their family in Port Huron. Ellen had a long and successful career in interior design. She also devoted herself to philanthropic work. She was proud to earn her advertising and design degree from SC4 in 1988. SC4 was an integral part of Ellen’s education and the beginning of her design career. While at SC4, she formed great relationships and had wonderful mentors.

Sadly, Ellen Petho passed away on Jan. 2, 2023. To honor Ellen and her devotion to art and giving to others, Lou, her daughters and their families have made a generous $100,000 donation to SC4 on its 100th year anniversary. This donation will provide scholarship money to aspiring art students. The scholarship will be called the “Ellen Petho Design Ideas Memorial Scholarship.” Through this scholarship, Ellen’s passion for learning, art and design, and giving to others will live on as her legacy.

SC4 students soon can apply for the “Ellen Petho Design Ideas Memorial Scholarship” at sc4.edu/scholarships.

To learn more about SC4 art, design, and other programs and career pathways, as well as how to apply and register for winter 2024 classes, visit sc4.edu/programs/.

Petho family, pictured above from left to right: Christine Moore, Lou Petho, Kathy Patterson and Karri Petho

On National STEM Day, SC4 announces SC4 STEM Fest with Michigan Tech to be held March 9

>>> REGISTER HERE FOR SC4 STEM FEST

In recognition of National STEM Day on Nov. 8, St. Clair County Community College (SC4) is pleased to announce that its second annual SC4 STEM Fest will take place on Saturday, March 9, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event—which again is free and open to the public thanks to generous donations and grants—aims to spark a sense of wonder and features more than 100 hands-on, interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics exhibits by SC4 and Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers.  

“Nearly 4,000 people from more than 130 zip codes registered for our inaugural STEM Fest event last year,” said Kristin Copenhaver, SC4 chief marketing officer. “It was a huge success for our college and community, inspiring the next generation of leaders and innovators in STEM as well as bringing excitement, energy and economic impact to our region.”

The event’s more than 100 activities and exhibits will have learners exploring a wide array of STEM topics. Specific session highlights will be announced shortly, with the event once again taking place throughout SC4’s Fieldhouse and Clara E. Mackenzie Building / Experience Center, which includes the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 and the Dr. Bassam H. Nasr Natural Science Museum. (Visit sc4.edu/stem-fest/stem-fest-experiences/ to view a list of last year’s activities. Please keep in mind, however, that 2024 activities and exhibits will/may differ.)

Mind Trekkers is a flagship program of Michigan Technological University’s Center for Educational Outreach. Powered by undergraduate and graduate student guides, Mind Trekkers travels across the country to deliver high-energy, hands-on, STEM demonstrations to learners of all ages, inspiring them to pursue post-secondary education.

“We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with SC4 with the return of Mind Trekkers to this event,” said Cassy Tefft de Muñoz, executive director of the Center for Educational Outreach at Michigan Technological University. “The southeast Michigan community is fortunate to have such a strong educational leader in SC4 and we are looking forward to providing another fun and engaging experience for families in the region.”

More information regarding exhibits, details and registration soon will be available—though registration is now open. RSVP for the event at sc4.edu/stem-fest/stem-fest-registration/ now and be among the first to hear updates.

To help support STEM Fest and STEM programming at SC4, visit sc4.edu/give. Please direct any questions to SC4 at (810) 989-5789 or experiencecenter@sc4.edu.

Alumni Spotlight: Sheri Faust

Current or most recent title and employer?
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the St. Clair River, Environmental Health Educator for the St. Clair County Health Department

How did SC4 help prepare you?
My experience at SC4 was rewarding because I was able to build relationships with my instructors due to the small class sizes. Some instructors evolved into personal mentors, like Bob Collins or more affectionately known as Bio Bob. He was a tremendous influence in my life as he devoted extra time out of class to spend time with students in the field teaching invaluable lessons and experiences that can’t be had in a classroom. It was his influence that convinced me I was on the right path to pursue my passion in natural resources management. Many of my instructors were influential in my early life as a young college student because they were personable, accessible and helpful. SC4 gave me the confidence to move on to a four-year university and pursue the career I was passionate about.

My various professional roles and titles have benefited from partnerships with SC4, so I’m grateful to have a long history with the College – both as a student and as a career professional. As a student, I became familiar with the landscape and culture of SC4, and when I returned back to Port Huron after college and marriage, getting reacquainted with SC4 staff and campus was familiar territory because I felt like I had a personal connection to the campus. This partnership has carried on for the duration of my career living and working in Port Huron.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
My interests, hobbies, passions and career all intersect. I think this is an ideal scenario which I feel lucky to be blessed with.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
After two years at SC4, I transferred to MSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management. Additional certifications, community service and awards include: Certified Planning and Zoning Citizen Planner, Planning Commissioner for Port Huron Township, Board Member for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Blue Water Woman Government Professional of the Year award

SC4 to open traveling Detroit Historical Society ‘WWII Propaganda Posters’ exhibit Nov. 6

St. Clair County Community College’s (SC4) Fine Arts Gallery will soon offer an unforgettable journey back in time with a traveling “WWII Propaganda Posters” exhibit from the Detroit Historical Society.
 
The exhibit opens on Monday, Nov. 6, with a ceremony at 6 p.m. in the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre and Gallery featuring SC4 history professors Scott Fernandez and Patricia Frank. The exhibit is open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday until Dec. 8, with closure dates Nov. 22-24. 
 
Posters included in the exhibit highlight key messaging by U.S. Government departments at the time, reflecting themes such as military and nursing recruitment, patriotism, conservation of resources and security. They also highlight the works of specific period cartoonists, illustrators, graphic artists and portraitists.
 
“We’re thrilled to bring this exhibit to our community,” said SC4 Chief Academic Officer Ethan Flick. “These posters—a primary communication tool long before digital screens and social media platforms existed—help us explore the notion of propaganda and provide a glimpse into a pivotal time in our nation’s history. We look forward to welcoming students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to this exhibit.”
 
“WWII Propaganda Posters” is free as an SC4 Community Arts offering to encourage and support the arts in our community. No tickets are needed.
 
For more information and the most current list of upcoming events, visit sc4.edu/events/. Please note that additional programming may be added and event information may change.

Above posters are part of the Detroit Historical Society’s “WWII Propaganda Posters” exhibit at SC4 beginning Nov. 6. 

SC4 to present ‘KODACHROME’ by Adam Szymkowicz, Nov. 2-4

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) thespians will take the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre stage Nov. 2-4 as they present “KODACHROME” by Adam Szymkowicz.

“KODACHROME,” a “play about love, nostalgia, the seasons and how we learn to say goodbye,” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. (concordtheatricals.com). Performances are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4.

“Being able to join the wonderful tradition of theater at SC4 is a true joy and an honor. Over the years, I have had the privilege of attending several top-notch productions at the College,” said James McCulloch, SC4 theater director. “For this production, we have a talented cast of students who are going to be storytellers on the stage. Adam Szymkowicz´s new play takes us to those beautiful and bittersweet moments in life. Audience members will recognize themselves and see their lives onstage in the stories of the folks who live in Colchester. The play really celebrates how life is made up of these wondrous moments, and I believe audience members will be truly impacted by the moving and beautiful scenes.”

“Kodachrome” performances are free as an SC4 Community Arts offering to encourage and support the arts in our community. No tickets are needed. SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre seats 295. For more information and the most current list of upcoming events, visit sc4.edu/events. Please note that additional programming may be added and event information may change.

View image pdf here.

Hispanic American Heritage Celebration set for Oct. 27

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) and the Hispanic Alliance of Southeast Michigan will host a Hispanic American Heritage Celebration to celebrate Hispanic and Latino cultures from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, in SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre.
 
The event is titled “Introducing the Hispanic Alliance of Southeast Michigan: Our past, presence and future!” From 5 to 6:30 p.m., it will feature a panel discussion moderated by Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Thelma Castillo, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. attendees can enjoy live music by Detroit’s PanaMO, a renowned Latin Jazz ensemble.
 
The event also will feature sample food from Doña Marina’s LLC.
 
Hispanic Alliance of Southeast Michigan (HASM) panelists and community volunteers include:

  • Jessica Totty – HASM president, Mexican and Indigenous descent, SC4 alumna, nurse and pastor
  • Jesus Castillo – HASM member, Veteran and U.S. Army Commendation Medal recipient, Consumer’s Energy retiree, former Hispanic Council of St. Clair County chairperson
  • Eunice Castillo – HASM member, Retired Port Huron Area School District teacher in charge of the English as a Second Language Program, former Hispanic Council of St. Clair County chairperson
  • Heather Fagan – HASM member, Doña Marina’s LLC, Seed & Soul Society president and co-founder, Nicaraguan-American
  • Iris Santillano – HASM member, event planner and SC4 alumna born in Puerto Rico
  • Irma (López) Santillano – HASM member, marketing and fundraising expert who is Mexican and Puerto Rican and speaks fluent Spanish

“We invite our community to come out and learn more about our Hispanic heritage through discussion and music,” said SC4 Chief Diversity Officer Jessica Brown.
 
The event is free and open to the public. For more information on other SC4 upcoming events, visit sc4.edu/events/.

SC4 Symphonic Band presents college and university ‘Colors of the Season’ concert Oct. 22

The St. Clair County Community College (SC4) Symphonic Band will perform a free college and university “Colors of the Season” concert from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, in SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre. 

Led by Erick Senkmajer—a longtime music educator and director of the SC4 Symphonic Band since 2012—the band will play fight songs and alma mater anthems. The band will also be performing a couple of Halloween-focused selections.

“Wear your college gear and cheer for your favorite teams,” Senkmajer said.

Those interested in finding Skippers gear can visit the SC4 Bookstore in the Acheson Applied Technology Center (ATC) on SC4’s campus.

All SC4 fall 2023 arts events are free and open to the public, and no tickets are needed. SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre seats 295. For the most current list of upcoming events, visit sc4.edu/events. Please note that additional programming may be added and event information may change.

SC4 names new Skippers Dance head coach

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumna and longtime dancer Abigail Davis has been named head coach of the Skippers Dance team.   

The co-ed, collegiate Skippers Dance team was created in 2019 and is open to any SC4 student who wishes to audition. The team performs at SC4 games and events throughout the year. The Skippers will also compete against other college and university dance teams.   

Davis, who currently works as a human resources coordinator at AGS Automotive, brings years of studio, competitive and ballroom dance experience to the Skippers team.   

“We’re excited to welcome Abigail as head coach of our Dance team,” said SC4 Director of Athletics Dale Vos. “Her experience and leadership will be a tremendous asset to the team and to this institution. We look forward to more students becoming actively involved on campus and continuing their passion for dance right here at SC4.”   

“I’m excited to be able to work with this team and give back to the dance community that gave so much to me growing up,” said Davis, who earned an Associate in Arts from SC4 before earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Oakland University. “I look forward to serving as a coach and mentor to the students, while also getting the chance to be creative.”  

Those interested in joining SC4’s Dance team should fill out the form at sc4.edu/campus-life/athletics/athlete-interest-form/, or reach out to Davis at (810) 305-9799 or aldavis@sc4.edu with questions.  

Fall 2023 DEI book recommendation and Nov. 17 discussion announced

St. Clair County Community College’s (SC4) Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion announces “Subtle Acts of Exclusion,” by Dr. Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, as its fall 2023 book recommendation.
 
Students, faculty and staff members, alumni, community members and friends are encouraged to read the book—available for free in the SC4 DEI Office, Welcome Center, Suite 250, or by request at dei@sc4.edu—and attend a guided book discussion on Friday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre.
 
Dr. Leah Howell, director of Learning Design at Everspring, Inc., and Dr. Portia Watkins, Michigan State University director of Transitions and Transfer Student Success and a trainer of the Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation program, will serve as facilitators for the Nov. 17 event. (Full bios available here.)
 
“We look forward to welcoming back Dr. Howell and Dr. Watkins to campus as we come together to cultivate a shared experience and participate in group dialogues to enrich our personal reflections,” Brown said. “‘Subtle Acts of Exclusion’ will help us explore our assumptions and understanding of each other. While some may initially dismiss the topic as political correctness or oversensitivity, the text encourages us to consider the lived experiences of others, consider the feelings and reactions to words and phrases, and expand our own ability for understanding, recognizing that viewing the world solely through our own lens denies the humanity of others.”
 
To register for this free event, visit sc4.edu/office-of-diversity-equity-inclusion/news-and-events/event-registration/ or send an email to dei@sc4.edu with questions.  

Former Skippers student-athlete receives 1st Team All-American ring, now playing NCAA D1 volleyball

Christina Bohm—St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumna, current Oakland University student-athlete and St. Clair High School graduate—was present at the Oct. 2 Skippers Volleyball game vs. Mott Community College to accept her National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) 1st Team All-American ring. Bohm is the 17th Skippers athlete to be selected as a 1st Team All-American in the College’s 100 years of collegiate sports.

In addition, Bohm was named the Player of the Year for the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Eastern Conference in 2022.

Her performance on the court for the Skippers earned her the opportunity to play NCAA Division 1 volleyball at Oakland University. She attributes her success to her SC4 coaches and teammates.

“The coaches and staff have really built a supportive program that people want to be a part of,” Bohm said. “As a whole, our teammates were very supportive of one another and had each other’s backs. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my coaches. Even in moments of uncertainty, they continued to push for me and my future volleyball career. Not only did they aid me in the recruiting process, but they were there for me emotionally as well. SC4 created a place in which for the first time I felt fully supported and encouraged by not only my coaches, but an entire staff as well. I am very grateful for my time spent at SC4 and the growth it allowed me to achieve as a person.”

While with the Skippers, Bohm was a dominant force. For the 2022 campaign, in 31 matches she tallied 387 kills, 317 digs, and 941 total attempts. She also chipped in 31 aces and 54 block assists.

Bohm and her teammates won SC4’s first conference title in volleyball since 2015 as they earned a share of the MCCAA Eastern Conference. Her efforts also helped lead the Skippers to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Region IX Volleyball District A Championship.

Bohm’s future plans include earning a degree in secondary education and eventually becoming a math teacher. She also hopes to one day coach volleyball as well.

Pictured above: Christina Bohm shakes SC4 Senior Vice President Dr. Pete Lacey’s hand at the ring ceremony, Bohm poses for a picture with SC4 Volleyball coaches Monica Freeman (assistant coach), Michelle McCulloch (head coach) and Brenna Donnelly (assistant coach), Bohm is pictured playing volleyball at Oakland University and SC4.