New study shows SC4’s economic impact on students, taxpayers and society

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St. Clair County Community College (SC4) provides enormous economic value to St. Clair County and the surrounding area, generating more than $137 million in total economic impact.

The figure is among key findings of a newly released study by the nationally recognized economic research firm Emsi Burning Glass, which uses labor market statistics to measure the social as well as the economic impact of the community college in the region.

The study shows a high rate of return on investment for students, taxpayers and society. 

Students enjoy a 14.5 percent rate of return on their educational investment at SC4. For every $1 students invest, they’ll receive $3.80 in higher future earnings than their non-degree holding peers.

Taxpayers receive a high rate of return on their investment as well. State and local funding of $18.9 million in the study year generated $35.6 million in total benefits through added public sector revenue and savings derived through improved alumni salaries and lifestyles. This means for every tax dollar spent educating students attending SC4, taxpayers receive an average of $2.00 in return over the course of the students’ working lives—an annual rate of return of 4.3 percent.

Society invested $48.4 million in SC4 in FY 2020-21. This includes the college’s expenditures, student expenses, and student opportunity costs. In return, the state of Michigan will receive an estimated present value of $417 million in added state revenue over the course of the students’ working lives.

Michigan will also benefit from an estimated $9.5 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower welfare and unemployment, and increased health and well-being across the state. Every dollar society invests in SC4 yields an average of $8.80 in benefits to society.

“The college naturally helps students achieve their individual potential and develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers,” the report states. “However, SC4 impacts St. Clair County beyond influencing the lives of students. The college’s program offerings supply employers with workers to make their businesses more productive. The college, its day-to-day operations, its construction activities, and the expenditures of its students support the county economy through the output and employment generated by county vendors. The benefits created by the college extend as far as the state treasury in terms of the increased tax receipts and decreased public sector costs generated by students across the state.”

The study showed that in FY 2020-21, operations, construction and student spending of SC4, together with the enhanced productivity of its alumni, generated $137.7 million in added income for the St. Clair County economy— equal to approximately 2.3 percent of the total gross regional product (GRP) of St. Clair County. 2,041 jobs exist in the county because of the economic impact of SC4.

SC4 students, both drawn to and retained in the area because of the college, added $855,200 to the regional economy. The impact of SC4 alumni, including thousands employed in St. Clair County, amounted to $112.9 million in added income for the St. Clair County economy.

Michigan’s community colleges enroll nearly the same amount of students as Michigan’s public four-year colleges and universities. Historically, community colleges such as SC4 offer more affordable tuition, quality programs, enhanced personalized attention and support, flexible options and seamless transfer pathways.

Challenger Center founding chair and former NASA astronauts to help launch Challenger Learning Center at SC4 April 30

June Scobee Rodgers, Ph.D., founding chair of Challenger Center and widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Richard “Dick” Scobee, will be featured at the April 30 public launch of the Challenger Learning Center at St. Clair County Community College (SC4). She will be joined at the event by former NASA astronauts Robert Curbeam, senior vice president of space capture at Maxar Technologies, and Dorothy (“Dottie”) Metcalf-Lindenburger, earth scientist at Geosyntec Consultants, LCC.

“We are thrilled to welcome June, Robert and Dottie to campus for this event, which honors the legacy of the Challenger crew and opens the door to new and exciting immersive STEM education and engagement opportunities for Michigan and Ontario residents,” said Challenger Learning Center at SC4 partners Dr. Deborah Snyder, president of St. Clair County Community College, Lance Bush, president and CEO of Challenger Center, and Mel Drumm, president and CEO of Unity in Learning (Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the Leslie Science & Nature Center, the Yankee Air Museum and SC4) in a joint statement.

Challenger Center was founded in 1986 in the aftermath of the Challenger shuttle tragedy. The families of the crew came together and created Challenger Center to carry on the spirit of their loved ones and continue the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Challenger Center, with its network of Challenger Learning Centers and digital programs, has reached more than 5.5 million students and learners worldwide.

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 is the only Center of its kind in Michigan and one of 40 Challenger Learning Centers nationwide and around the world. It is a fully immersive, space-themed, STEM experience aimed at deepening understanding and appreciation of STEM careers and topics and building critical 21st-century skills. It offers a unique learning and team-building opportunities for students, educators, corporations and community residents.

“The Challenger crew’s desire to teach and inspire our children lives on in each of our Challenger Learning Centers around the globe,” Scobee Rodgers said. “We are thrilled to be welcoming St. Clair County Community College to this group of Centers and bring our inspiring STEM programs to the community. Robert, Dottie, and I look forward to being on the campus of SC4 to celebrate the grand opening!”

The launch event on April 30 will take place in two sessions between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, though registration is required. It will take place throughout the Experience Center, located in the Clara E. Mackenzie Building, and also will feature opportunities to tour the Challenger Learning Center and conduct Super Sciences experiments.

Guests to the April 30 launch event also can take advantage of other Experience Center highlights, including the Dr. Bassam H. Nasr Natural Science Museum, Live Sturgeon, Jacob’s Ladder, Green Screen Photo Experience, Mineral Gallery, Fossil Dig, Bird and Technology exhibits.

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 also has opened early registration for the first full space mission offering, Lunar Quest, which is available for learners in 5th grade and above.

To register for the April 30 event, visit challenger.sc4.edu/launch-event/. For more information and to book a Lunar Quest mission, visit challenger.sc4.edu.

Black History Month Read-In event planned Feb. 21

In recognition of Black History Month, SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is hosting a Read-In event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, in the Fine Arts Theatre.

The National African American Read-In was created in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.

“Black History Month is a celebration of achievements and contributions to human development. And the fact that Black history is part of American history is essential for all Americans to know, learn about and understand,” said Jessica Brown, director of SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The event is focused on bringing the community together to listen to the reading of poems, stories and book excerpts from favorite Black authors. Program participants include K-12 students, SC4 students, faculty, staff and local citizens.

Brown stated, “The Read-In event reflects groundbreaking efforts to encourage communities to read together, centering on African American books and authors and celebrating the beautiful legacy together.”

The mission of SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is to advance the college’s efforts in providing educational access and support for all. The office hosts national speakers, podcasts, guided book discussion, events and programs to make our campus an inclusive environment for students, faculty, staff and our community.

Attendees are asked to register in advance for the free Read-In event by filling out the event registration form. To read more about SC4’s DEI Office, visit sc4.edu/dei.

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 to launch with a public event on April 30

The Challenger Learning Center at St. Clair County Community College’s (SC4) Experience Center will celebrate its official public launch on April 30, 2022, with an event on the College’s Port Huron, Mich., campus.

The Challenger Learning Center at SC4—in partnership with the Challenger Center, a nonprofit STEM education organization, and in collaboration with its Unity in Learning partner, which also includes the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the Leslie Science & Nature Center and the Yankee Air Museum—is the only Center of its kind in Michigan and one of 40 Challenger Learning Centers nationwide and around the world. It is a fully immersive, space-themed, STEM experience aimed at deepening understanding and appreciation of STEM careers and topics and building critical 21st-century skills.

The Challenger Learning Center at SC4 offers unique learning and team-building opportunities for students, educators, corporations and community residents, as well as unparalleled programming for 5th-8th grade learners (adaptable for 8th grade+) that aligns with national education standards. Early registration for the first space mission offering, Lunar Quest, is now open.

The launch event on April 30 is free and open to the public, though registration is required. It will take place throughout the Experience Center, located in the Clara E. Mackenzie Building, and will feature opportunities to tour the Challenger Learning Center, meet a NASA astronaut, conduct Super Sciences experiments and see live animals.

Guests to the April 30 launch event also can take advantage of other Experience Center highlights, including the Dr. Bassam H. Nasr Natural Science Museum, Live Sturgeon, Wind and Solar, Jacob’s Ladder, Electromagnetism, Green Screen Photo Experience, Mineral Gallery, Fossil Dig, Bird, and Technology exhibits.

“We’re thrilled to announce our official launch date of the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 and welcome visitors to campus,” said Dr. Deborah Snyder, president of St. Clair County Community College. “We need to provide more opportunities for learners of all ages to engage in STEM experiences—to get them excited and passionate about solving 21st century challenges. We are so excited about what this addition in our Experience Center can and will do for our local and regional communities.”

Challenger Center was founded in 1986 in the aftermath of the Challenger shuttle tragedy. The families of the crew came together and created Challenger Center to carry on the spirit of their loved ones and continue the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Challenger Center, with its network of Challenger Learning Centers and digital programs, have reached more than 5.5 million students worldwide.

“We are so excited to open the doors to this new Challenger Learning Center and welcome the Southeast Michigan community to see all that it has to offer,” said Lance Bush, president and CEO of Challenger Center. “SC4 shares our vision and commitment to inspire the next generation. We’re proud to help play a part in that commitment with the addition of the Challenger Learning Center at SC4.”
 
Added Mel Drumm, president and CEO of Unity in Learning, “The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is delighted to collaborate with SC4 upon the opening of the new Challenger Learning Center. This new informal learning experience will immerse each participant into life-like simulations well beyond anything previously available in Southeast Michigan. As the newest member of the region’s Unity in Learning collaborative, the Challenger Learning Center will join with three regional science, nature and aviation organizations to become the region’s newest destination for hands-on discovery, exploration of the natural world and experiences that take flight.”

To register for the April 30 event, visit challenger.sc4.edu/launch-event/. For more information and to book a Lunar Quest mission, visit challenger.sc4.edu.

Native American History Month presentation planned Nov. 5

In recognition of Native American History Month, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is sponsoring a presentation titled ‘We Are Still Here’ by Banashee (Joe) Cadreau and Giddigongookskwe (Jade) Green. The presentation will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 5, in the Fine Arts Theatre.

The event will be a discussion and presentation on Indigenous culture and history in Michigan, the United States and Canada. The importance of identity and the real history of the three fires people of Michigan (Ojibwa, Odawa and Botawatami) and how we are still here and why our history was never told due to colonization and assimilation.

Banashee (Joe) Cadreau

Banashee is an enrolled member of the federally recognized Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He was raised in both traditional and urban upbringings, both on reservation and a major metropolitan area. In his adolescent years, refusing to acknowledge his culture led to many difficult times as he struggled to find his place in the world. He later recognized his calling was to fight for social justice and equity. He is an active community advocate for Anishinaabe people and all Indigenous people throughout the country and globally.

He travels across the state delivering diversity presentations for schools, universities, museums and corporate clients.

Giddigongookskwe (Jade) Green

Giddigongookskwe, a 14-year old from Howard City, is co-founder of Bimose Ode. She has a passion for speaking about her journey with her Indigenous identity and issues that indigenous youth face today and in the future.

The oldest of four siblings she helps to instill traditions and a sense of Native pride for her family. She is particularly concerned with issues surrounding racism in the battle for clean water and access to healthy food. She spends her time volunteering and getting involved in social activism and community organizations.

Email dei@sc4.edu to reserve a seat for this event.

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 opens early registration for Mission Lunar Quest

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) is pleased to launch its Challenger Learning Center website and announce early mission registration opportunities for Michigan and Ontario students and educators, businesses and corporations, and community members.

SC4—in partnership with the Challenger Center, a nonprofit science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education organization, and in collaboration with Unity in Learning, which includes the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the Leslie Science & Nature Center and the Yankee Air Museum—will officially launch its Challenger Learning Center on the College’s campus in Spring 2022.

The Challenger Learning Center at SC4 is the only Center of its kind in Michigan and one of 40 Centers nationwide and around the world. It is a fully immersive, space-themed, STEM experience aimed at deepening understanding and appreciation of STEM careers and topics and building critical 21st century skills. Challenger Center and its network of Challenger Learning Centers aim to ignite a passion for learning in students and open their eyes to new possibilities for the future. The Center offers unique learning and team-building opportunities for learners of all ages and unparalleled programming for 5th-8th grade learners (adaptable for 8th grade+) that aligns with national science standards.

Though the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 won’t officially launch until Spring 2022, early registration for the first space mission offering, Lunar Quest, is now open. Lunar Quest takes crew members, serving in a variety of STEM-based roles, to the Moon in search of a long-term human habitat. It is the first of four space missions that will take flight in the Challenger Learning Center at SC4. Half day (min. 18 guests/max. 35 guests) and full-day experiences (min. 36 guests/max. 70 guests) are available, and pricing varies based on mission experience.

“We’re thrilled to launch this website and open registration for those interested in reserving a mission experience,” said Dr. Deborah Snyder, president of St. Clair County Community College. “Our nation needs future leaders who are adept at understanding and solving the challenging problems of today and the future. The Challenger Learning Center at SC4 will help support STEM education, exploration and innovation with experiences that go far beyond an everyday field trip, outing or corporate training session.”

Additional opportunities such as a Galaxy Quest STEM Summer Camp will be available beginning in Summer 2022.

“We’re incredibly excited to see the momentum continue to build for the Challenger Learning Center at SC4,” said Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “We’re hard at work building the Spacecraft and preparing Mission Control to welcome students and community members to fly our newest space missions that we developed in partnership with NASA. The countdown has started and we can’t wait to open the doors of this new Center in 2022.”

Added Mel Drumm, president and CEO of Unity in Learning, “The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is delighted to collaborate with SC4 upon the opening of the new Challenger Center. This new informal learning experience will immerse each participant into life-like simulations well beyond anything previously available in Southeast Michigan. As the newest member of the region’s Unity in Learning collaborative, the Challenger Center will join with three regional science, nature and aviation organizations to become the region’s newest destination for hands-on discovery, exploration of the natural world and experiences that take flight.” 

Challenger Center was founded in 1986 in the aftermath of the Challenger accident by the crew’s families, who were firmly committed to carrying on the spirit of their loved ones and continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Challenger Center and its network of Challenger Learning Centers have reached more than 5.5 million students worldwide.

For more information and to book a Lunar Quest mission, visit challenger.sc4.edu.

SC4 President’s Honor List for Summer 2021

A total of 274 St. Clair County Community College students earned a spot on the President’s Honor List for the 2021 summer semester, which ended Aug. 6.

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 2021 summer semester, ordered by hometown:

ALGONAC — Emily Cross, Brenda Furtah, Jessica Green, Raven Gunnells, Mickenzie Heim, Jeremiah Jones, Madelynn Saddler and Kristen Vohs.

ALLENTON — Evette Beuschlein.

ALMONT — Maria Bussone and Timothy Wolf.

APPLEGATE — Kristina Osborne.

ARMADA — Kayla Campis and Nicole Sawitzky.

ATTICA — John Lindsey and Miranda Pekala.

AVOCA — Sarah Koch and Amy Liebler.

BAD AXE — Nicole London.

BERLIN TOWNSHIP — Sydney Kosewicz and Olivia McCarroll.

BROWN CITY — Grace LaBelle.

BURTCHVILLE TOWNSHIP — Sherry Bevins-Castillo and Jenna Hayre.

CAPAC — Dakota Killingbeck and Terra King.

CARSONVILLE — Alyssa Johnson and Hua Li.

CASCO TOWNSHIP — Cynthia Shurish.

CHESTERFIELD — Brianna Allor.

CHINA TOWNSHIP — Gabby Dziedzic and Allison Pietrykowski.

CLAY TOWNSHIP — Dominique Desano, Ashley Huber and Jasmine Richardson.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Marta Walsh.

CLYDE TOWNSHIP — Jordan Berg, Rebekah Delmedico, Paige Gerrow and Camry Robtoy.

COLUMBUS TOWNSHIP — Kimberly Berman, Brenda McLeod, Anna Roland, Maria Sanchez-Cerda and Brianna Swantek.

COTTRELLVILLE TOWNSHIP — Trevor Knox and April Storey.

CROSWELL — Joona Fenner, Nathaniel Hayslett and Eden Jenkins.

DETROIT — Vicki Rose.

EAST CHINA TOWNSHIP — Miah Adams, Shelby Arnett, Sarah Borunda, Katherine Brozik, Jessica Hopkins, Kristin Malcolm, Tayler Malone, Taylor-Rae Pastorius, Hannah Psink and William Schunk.

ELKTON — Cheyenne Rathje.

EMMETT — Rosemary Day, Mark Donnellon, Marie Frohriep, Chris Heiden, Sydne Kujawa, Madison Raymo, Sarah Robinson, Matthew Wetter and Nina Wicker.

FORT GRATIOT — Shawn Baker, Shelby Bombard, Alyssa Boyd, Zachary Brockway, Alexzandra Carr, Ryan Duda, Elle Fisher, Larissa John, Ethan Kane, Maxwell Kenny, Tabatha Lester, Haylee Moore, Kobi Moretz, Michele Niehaus, Tallon Palmateer, Wendy Teich, Darrell Washington and Alexis Williams.

FORT MYERS BEACH, FLA. — Brooke Snyder.

FOWLERVILLE — Eric Lardie.

GOODELLS — Jennifer Freigruber, Gracie Graber, Kelly Mertz, Carson Nolan and Ryleigh Walsh.

GRAND BLANC — Stacy Baldwin.

HARBOR BEACH — Andrei Maungca and Rebecca Roggenbuck.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Mackenzie Bryant.

HARSENS ISLAND — Angela Prize-Walker.

IMLAY CITY — Hanna Adamczak.

IRA TOWNSHIP — Megan Bishop.

JEDDO — Kristen Fleury.

KENOCKEE TOWNSHIP — Brooke Thompson.

KIMBALL TOWNSHIP — Isabel Allen, Alicia Archibald, Dawn Barr, Ashley Collier-Sullivan, Katie Gossman, Helen Hamm, Jennifer Hauck, Mikala Kish, Nicole Kozfkay, Holly Sawdon, Beth Seibert, Nichole Swinson and Cheyene Williams.

LAPEER — Kayla McCorry, Jessica Starr and Cameron Wolowiec.

LEXINGTON — Justin Galbraith.

LINDEN — Samantha Thelen.

MACOMB — Tanya Hawil.

MADISON HEIGHTS — Jordan Galvan.

MARINE CITY — Marie Bearden, Melanie Carlson, Nicole Degasperis, Lindsey Hoover, Amanda Hurst, Chassi Kuecken, Hanna Lowes, Orianne Myres, Austin Niemi, Jamie Stanislawski, Alyssa Westrick and Keith Wroblewski.

MARLETTE — Mary Hillman.

MARYSVILLE — Maria Almeida Medeiros, Robert Balwinski, Olivia Burkhardt, Jonathan Chapdelaine, Erica Devigili, Tanya Earl, Alysia Ferrier, Hayley Gilmartin, Kenneth Greenia, Alexandra Greer, William Guy, Kayla Kavanagh, Kaitlynn Kindsvater, Travis McCann, Meghan McNames, Ashley Nevarez, Matthew Reeves, Sara Schmaltz, Jennifer Thomas and Emily Westrick.

MELVIN — Ann Demaray.

MEMPHIS — Chloe Lebow, Chad Nikles, Ariana Parrinello and Erica Syck.

METAMORA — Kaitlyn Evans.

MUSSEY TOWNSHIP — Dawn Chapman, Pamela Lerash and Sara Mandeville.

NEW HAVEN — Nicole Mallory.

NORTH BRANCH — Katrina Guldi and Emily Parker.

NORTH STREET — Leigh Grimes.

PORT HURON — Alicia Bailey, Judy Bloink, Jaylynn Buckley, Ashley Chattick, Hailey Clink, Noel Cosby, Cristina De Gregory, Sherry Denby, Angelic Drake, Danielle Eagle, Alesha Fay, Becky Fleming, Jasmine Garcia, Holden Gauthier, Hadley Gibbs, Nicole Griffor, Kristyana Hamblin, Samantha Herman, Samantha Howard, Kelsee Husson, Marisa Jones, Lindsey Kasten, Christian Lester, Aly Love, Kathleen Mavis, Melissa McCracken, Linsay McLain, Laura McNeill, Chrystianna Meadows, Rachel Miller, Amanda Miron, Jessica Miron, Mary Palmateer, Brandon Purcell, Mallory Reid, Nicholas Rex, Haley Rock, Theresa Schoben, Trent Sheldon, Dawn Silk, Chelsea Sterling, Autumn Strauch, Jen Thompson, April Tracy, Amanda VanThomme, Lily Vella, Alexandria Viola, Hailey Ward, Brady Wardlow, Julia Wing and Nicole Young.

RICHMOND — Camille Schafer.

RILEY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Enders.

SHELBY — Bailey Himanek.

SMITHS CREEK — Elizabeth Rylander.

ST. CLAIR — Branden Ayers, Katelyn Bartholomew, Julianna Cataldo, Amanda Chase, Andrew Cordes, Rebecca Donajkowski, Wendy Edgemon, Alestair Frantz, Kaylee Greaux, Mary Griskiewicz, Jason Gunnery, Megan Gunnery, Amelia Hamill, Joshua Hilton, Megan Jones, Therese Kalbaugh, Matthew Kerrigan, Leigh Knox, Michael Leroy, Kaitlyn Nowak, Sydni Oleksinski, Katelynn Paynter, Carrie Ravinkane, Chase Richardson, Sydney Riske, Drew Saunders, Danielle Sikora, Sarah Snider, Angela Stragier, Lia Turner, Roni Vanderwill, Jessica Westrick, Heather Woodman and Madelyn Woytta.

STERLING HEIGHTS — Michael Hartson and Heather Richter.

SWARTZ CREEK — Kallie Albert.

TROY — Victoria Franz.

WARREN — Amy DelVecchio.

YALE — Caleb Bollaert, Joel Duckert, Jada Janes, Jamie Kadarian, Hayley Kavanagh, Chad Plenda, Morganne Rapley, Kristine Silverthorn and Monica Stiles.

NASA learning experience inspires Robert Hilgendorf’s educational journey

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumnus Robert Hilgendorf had his sights set on graduation in his last semester at SC4 when a unique opportunity presented itself. In October 2020, he saw a campus announcement to students about the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program.

“Every time I logged in I saw the posting, I finally decided to research it,” said Hilgendorf. “Once I realized it not only was an opportunity to learn more about NASA but also work on developing my talents, I applied.”

Hilgendorf’s application was accepted and he participated in a five-week online NCAS course where he learned about the history of NASA and gained insight into future NASA initiatives. As part of the experience he attended meetings with NASA engineers and experts on topics ranging from mission launches to rover landings. “It was an eye-opening experience into how NASA’s work has impacted our life here on Earth,” continued Hilgendorf.

His favorite part of the course included details about the Artemis mission, which will return a United States crew to the Moon and eventually Mars. Hilgendorf stated, “It was amazing to see all the STEM-related disciplines required to develop and plan the mission.”

In March 2021, Hilgendorf was excited to learn that based upon his participation in the course and the final paper he submitted, he was selected to participate in a nine-day NASA virtual experience.

According to Hilgendorf, the virtual experience continued on from where the course left off. His daily calendar included speakers, intern panels, hangouts with engineers and mission meetings. Participants were divided into teams that were tasked with developing a successful mission to the Moon or Mars. Teams were responsible for defining missing goals and objectives; maintaining a balanced budget, projecting launch schedules; and specifying all systems, instruments and scientific payloads required.

Hilgendorf put his engineering degree to use as a systems engineer — in charge of rocket, surface mobility and entry/descent/landing selections. His team presented a successful mission to a panel of NASA judges.

”This experience is an invaluable resource for anyone unsure about how to reach their goals, wondering which STEM field to choose, or just not sure they can do it,” Hilgendorf said. “The program not only provides an incredible sense of accomplishment but helps develop the skills employers are looking for. I would definitely recommend it to others.”

The NCAS program provides experience, knowledge and networking opportunities that can become a foundation for a student’s future and career. NASA has an internship program that places a high value on applicants who’ve completed the NCAS program.

“When opportunities come your way, you must jump on them, and this is one you shouldn’t let pass by,” said Hilgendorf, who earned an Associate of Arts and Science in engineering technology-electronics in May 2021. “The NASA experience helped me solidify my education plans moving forward. Education is so important and truly opens doorways that would never become available without it.”

He is now planning to work on a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, thanks to his NCAS experience and the instructors at SC4.

”I cannot think of one single course or instructor at SC4 that didn’t help prepare me in one way for this program.” he said, noting that the skills gained in engineering technology, research, paper writing, public speaking, English, math, group projects and science labs all played a role in preparing him for the NASA experience and for his future career. “A special thanks to Instructor Dan Bishop and Professor Don Reuba, who took the time to write recommendation letters to apply to the NCAS program.”

If you are interested in learning more about STEM programs at SC4, visit sc4.edu/programs.

For more information on the aerospace scholars program, visit go.nasa.gov/ncas.


Gain valuable Microsoft Office skills this fall

If you’ve taken a basic microcomputer applications course, you understand the value the training provides in your daily academic, personal or professional life.

You can take your computer skills to an advanced level this fall by enrolling in SC4’s Spreadsheets CIS-200 course with Professor Colleen Forsgren. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on experiences, students will learn the skills needed to make effective use of spreadsheets, including worksheet design, problem organization, use of advanced functions, data analysis, advanced charts and graphs, spreadsheet automation and presentation of results.

“Intermediate and advanced Microsoft Excel skills are incredibly valuable,” said Forsgren. “This technology proficiency is required in a vast range of industries and occupations, and it is the most common software competency listed in job postings.”

In Professor Forsgren’s class students start with a quick overview of basic spreadsheet skills, then embark on a deep dive into skills which are most valuable in the workplace, including:

  • Accurately utilizing advanced functions, such as lookup and financial functions
  • Analyzing data, including the use of pivot tables and pivot charts
  • Creating meaningful charts and graphs to explain data
  • Grouping, sorting, and filtering data
  • Validating data
  • Automating work with macros by creating computer code to execute a series of instructions and actions

At the end of every semester, students are asked “What was your best learning activity in this class?” Professor Forsgren stated, “The most common answer every semester is the Professional Project.”

The multi-week project takes students into a real-world work scenario where the accuracy, efficiency and professional presentation must be perfect. “The project uses skills taught in class and aligns with workplace expectations,” continued Forsgren. “While the need for a final product without error is required, this is more like a work assignment with review, feedback, and revision to get to the end goal.”

SC4 faculty love hearing from former students about the impact they had in their educational journey of success. These stories are often shared with current and future students as encouragement to keep going after their goals.

“I love teaching this class because students write me after the course telling me how they used the skills in their current position or how their advanced proficiency with Excel helped them get a job,” Forsgren said with pride.

Registration for fall semester is now open for on-campus and online classes starting the week of Aug. 23. Check out a full list of classes being offered at sc4.edu/schedule.

New to campus, visit sc4.edu/starthere. Professor Forsgren and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus.

New African-American History course available at SC4

SC4 is offering an exciting new online history course this fall. Professor Patricia Frank completed her master’s thesis on African-American history and is looking forward to sharing her expertise with students enrolled in HIS 233 —African American History.

The course focuses on the time period from 1619 up until Reconstruction and includes materials through the lens of the African-American experience. The class begins with a review of major African kingdoms and their early interactions with Europeans and Muslims. The Atlantic Slave trade is then covered, with the capture of Africans, the horrific Middle Passage and sale in the Americas. The course also includes material regarding life and work among enslaved people and free blacks, rebellions and revolts, abolitionists, the Civil War, and the era of Reconstruction.

According to Frank, “The text is heavily biography based, so not only will students learn the broad outline of American history and the African American experience, but this format allows them to ‘meet’ specific individuals which should help them feel a more intimate connection to the material.”

Understanding African American history is crucial to understanding American history and will benefit students in the world today. “I hope students understand that there would be no America as we know it without the toil, suffering, and contributions of African-Americans,” said Frank.

To quote Martin Luther King, Jr, “When the history books are written in future generations, the historians will say, “There lived a great people – a black people – who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.” 

“I also hope students will reflect on the constitutional promises the United States made to all of its citizens, be aware of the struggles that have been fought to try to realize those promises, and join the work yet to be done to fulfill the claim that ‘all people are created equal’ with rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’,” continued Frank.

Professor Frank is eager to teach this course as it allows her to revisit an important topic in history. “I especially like seeing how this field has changed and evolved,” expressed Frank. “I’ve spent the past several months preparing course materials.”

Registration is now open for fall semester, which begins Aug. 23. There is still time to enroll in HIS 233 as well as other diversity, equity and inclusion relation courses.  Check out a full list of classes being offered at sc4.edu/schedule.

New to campus, visit sc4.edu/starthere. Professor Frank and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus.