Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Slaten Frasier

Current or most recent title and employer?
Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

How did SC4 help prepare you?
I actually first attended SC4 when I was in middle school through a program that allowed me to take summer enrichment classes to earn college credit. I took courses in computers, chemistry, and philosophy. I later dual enrolled while I was a high school student. No one in my immediate family had graduated from traditional high school, let alone attended college. I was always a good student, but I did not have anyone to talk about college with or to help me navigate the process. I graduated high school with a high GPA and lots of AP and college credits, but my only plan after graduation was to work at a Denny’s. A friend later convinced me to enroll at SC4, and I am so grateful I did. I earned my associate degree a year later and transferred to a four-year institution. Attending community college was fundamental to my later academic, personal, and career success. Community colleges like SC4 can break down barriers to achievement. I am so grateful I grew up in an area that had a program as robust as SC4.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
Education is so important to me. I grew up in a rough home environment and education has allowed me to attain things I never would have dreamed of otherwise. I recognize the potential education has to elevate others, and so I have made a career around it.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
I went to Central Michigan University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with double majors in English and History (2007). I became a teacher and earned my National Board Certification (2012). I also picked up a Master of Library Science degree from East Carolina University (2011). In 2012, I was recruited out of the classroom for a research fellowship at Michigan State University. I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy through that program (2017). I have pennants from every school I attended hanging on my office wall at ETSU, including one I had custom-made for SC4.

SC4 signs new agreements to help students easily transfer to four-year institutions

To kick off National Transfer Student Week, St. Clair County Community College (SC4) today announced new transfer agreements that will make it easier for community college students to seamlessly transfer to four-year institutions to complete their bachelor’s degrees. SC4 has entered into agreements in the areas of general applied science, applied business, healthcare and information technology.

SC4 is one of 25 community colleges to enter into the new transfer agreements with 10 four-year colleges and universities across Michigan. Collectively, the agreements include 529 associate degree programs offered by community colleges and 44 bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions.

“The majority of SC4 students transfer to four-year institutions,” said Dr. Deborah A. Snyder, president of SC4. “These agreements, in addition to others already established here at SC4, will help provide more seamless pathways for our students, which will minimize loss of credits and potential debt.”

National Transfer Student Week focuses on eliminating common transfer barriers and recognizing the diverse student needs and identities within transfer populations. Michigan community colleges are working to break down barriers by creating additional options for current students as well as associate degree holders that are already in the workforce to continue their education.

“Employers increasingly see the need for their associate degree-trained employees to return to college for a bachelor’s degree,” said Erica Lee Orians, executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association. “These agreements provide a simplified pathway with multiple university partners across the state to ensure that students can earn a bachelor’s degree.”

Participating four-year institutions will accept the full associate degrees, meaning there will not be a course-by-course evaluation for transferability. Additionally, these four-year institutions will accept credit for prior learning that was previously applied to the associate degree, which is a benefit for students with life experience in their field.

SC4 to host Financial Aid Night Oct. 26

Individuals, families and residents interested in learning about financial aid tips and opportunities can attend St. Clair County Community College’s Financial Aid Night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in the college’s Fine Arts Theatre.

“If you’re interested in earning credits, a degree or a 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—no matter where you’re planning on heading to college,” said Executive Director of Financial Assistance and Services Josephine Cassar.

SC4’s tuition is about a third of the cost of four-year institutions, allowing students to reduce borrowing and incur less debt. Additionally, free tuition or assistance may be available through local school districts, middle college programs, Michigan Reconnect, Michigan Futures for Frontliners, the Federal Pell Grant, employer programs and more.

With the 2023-24 Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) now available, the Oct. 26 event provides timely assistance for those interested in learning more about paying for college. Learn more about making college affordable at

SC4 expands mental health and wellness support for students through new 24/7 counseling partnership, basic needs pantry and more

St. Clair County Community College is expanding its mental health support network as an increasing number of college students nationwide are experiencing growing mental health and wellness needs.

In addition to available appointments with the SC4 Student Wellness team, students can now access telehealth sessions 24/7 with a licensed, diverse network of mental health counselors through BetterMynd.

The telehealth sessions are 50 minutes, private, confidential, and can take place on a laptop or smartphone. Five telehealth sessions are free and available for any active SC4 student, and five more additional sessions may be granted by contacting (Continued services are available for an out-of-pocket fee.)

BetterMynd—which is not to be used for emergencies—also provides free self-help resources and group workshops to current students.

“We want to provide our students with the mental health and wellness resources they need to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle—and to succeed in an academic environment,” said Director of Student Wellness David Goetze. “The past few years have been very challenging for many of our students. BetterMynd will help enhance our offerings and provide students with even greater access and support.”

With more than “70 percent of community college students experiencing emotional distress, stress and/or anxiety due to a lack of basic needs,” SC4 also launched Skip’s Corner Pantry this past spring. Located on the first floor of SC4’s Welcome Center and open during College business hours, Skip’s Corner Pantry is stocked with food and hygiene products that are free to SC4 students.

“Our goal with Skip’s Corner Pantry is to provide students with items they need, whenever they need them,” said Executive Director of DEI, Student Recruitment, Advising and Admissions Jessica Brown. “We don’t require check-in and want to maintain a discreet environment so that students feel comfortable walking in and shopping.”

Additional support at SC4 is provided through many other offices such as Advising, Disability Services, TRIO, Veterans Services, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The DEI Office, for instance, recently began its STRIVE Mentorship Program to help prepare students of all backgrounds for future success by acquiring unique skill sets, learning leadership skills, and building relationships and confidence.

The on-campus SC4 Health Clinic, operated by the St. Clair County Health Department, continues to offer greater access and services to students as well. The clinic provides services for many common health issues and concerns including vaccinations, health screenings, consultations and presentations.

“The more we can do to support our students and their health and well-being needs, the greater opportunities they’ll have for future success,” Goetze said. “That’s our mission, and it’s why we do what we do here at the College each and every day.”

Students in need of immediate assistance are encouraged to call (810) 989-5552 (Director of Student Wellness), the St. Clair County Community Mental Health Mobile Crisis Response Unit at (810) 966-2575, 911 or the 24/7 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential support to people experiencing mental health-related distress, suicidal crisis, emotional distress or substance use crisis.

Successful boutique law firm owner thankful for SC4 start

Successful law firm owner, venture capitalist, community volunteer and advocate, and St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumnus Gerry Mason has made his mark in Michigan. 

Mason owns a boutique law firm and practices law throughout Michigan, often in joint ventures with significant law firms. He is also active in the areas of private equity investment, small business, venture capital, renewable energy and technology. He’s worked as a City of Detroit Recorder’s Court Law Clerk, as a Macomb County Law Clerk for the Hon. Pat M. Donofrio, and served as a Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford, Roscommon and Macomb Counties. 

He’s a member of St. Clair Rotary Club (Past President); Salvation Army Advisory Board Vice Chairman; St. Clair Police Foundation Vice Chairman; State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly Vice Chairman; State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners Member; American Battery Technology Company Advisory Board Member; Voise Inc. Advisory Board Member—and much more.

His many accomplishments are the result of hard work, commitment and dedication to his goals and community. They also help highlight the critical role community colleges like SC4 can play in the educational journey of Michigan residents.

When Mason graduated from St. Clair High School in 1986, he initially enrolled at Michigan Technological University to be a geological engineer.

“I was not ready for a big university,” Mason said. “My dad thought that I should be an attorney and do political science as an undergraduate degree. My friends were at SC4 so I could get a ride. My mom took me to SC4 and enrolled me. Everyone at SC4 was warm and helpful. I loved it. It was college.”

While at SC4 from 1986-1988, Mason participated in student government. He also fully engaged in the classroom and benefitted from great professors and mentors.

“SC4 had excellent professors who cared about their students,” he said. “Harley Smith was great. He taught political science but never showed his views or any bias. He was always totally objective. Virginia Pillsbury taught German, but really she was teaching life. Haddock Snyder taught physics. Professor Snyder had tons of energy and made science fun. Calculus Professor Joe Delisa and I used to eat lunch together. I made friends with other professors like Bob Tansky. Great people.”

Mason transferred from SC4 to the University of Michigan on the advice of SC4 Professor Pillsbury. “All of my credits transferred, saving me $22,000 at that time,” Mason said.

He enrolled in the U-M College of Literature, Science and Art, majoring in political science and minoring in German, Russian and natural science. While there, Mason studied China under Professor Kenneth Lieberthal and spent a semester in the former Soviet Union. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 and then went on to enroll in law school at the Detroit College of Law, which became Michigan State University College of Law.

At MSU, Mason served as President of Student Government and Executive Lt. Governor of the American Bar Association, and graduated as Class President. According to Mason, law school challenged him in new ways.

“Law school was hard, fast and intense,” said Mason, who earned a juris doctorate in 1998. “You drank from a fire hose. A law degree teaches you how to think, and organize your oral and written arguments. I felt ready to take it on, though, thanks to the foundation I received at SC4, which made college fun, challenging and attainable.”

The college football, blues music and exercise fan has been putting his well-crafted thoughts to use and taking action ever since—and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“I’d like to do more by way of venture capital/private equity collaborations as well as continue charity and community work,” Mason said. “I really want to give back to the practice of law, and I will continue to be an advocate for community colleges like SC4. SC4 gave me a great start to life that I could build upon. Academia can be elitist and exclusive. SC4 offers every student the opportunity to be more than they are and all that they hoped to be by laying the foundation for future opportunities.”

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

More 2022 Commencement images

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.

SC4 alumni honor parents, support future generations with scholarships and grants

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumni Martha Foley and Dan Fredendall recently created the Therese A. Foley Student Assistance Fund and the Eileen M. and Lawrence D. Fredendall Scholarship Fund—as well as provided grants for the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 and other student support initiatives—to honor the lives and legacies of their parents.

“They were all such strong, selfless and caring role models,” said Martha, who met Dan at SC4 before they both transferred to Michigan State University. “They were committed to advancing the well-being of others within the Blue Water area. These scholarships and grants honor their work and ‘pay-it-forward’ commitment to others.”

Martha’s mother, Therese, was the youngest of 11 children from the east side of Detroit, who became a devoted mother of six, a registered nurse, and an environmental and public health activist, finishing her career as a clinical nursing instructor at SC4. Her father, Maurice was altruistic and driven, attended Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario after high school, served in the Navy during WWII, then finished his bachelor’s degree from Assumption after the war. After early jobs in the Fenton area, Maurice started working as a teacher. He taught middle school mathematics in Detroit and Port Huron schools for almost 35 years, served as supervisor of Fort Gratiot Township for eight years in the 1980s, and was active in the Society of St Vincent de Paul for decades.

Eileen Fredendall, born in Port Huron, was a committed mother of nine, a registered nurse and a community volunteer. Dan’s father, Lawrence, came to Port Huron from Iowa after high school. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII and was the first in his family line to go to college. After marrying Eileen, he earned an associate degree from Port Huron Junior College (SC4) under the GI Bill while working full time. An entrepreneur, Lawrence owned or managed a variety of businesses and finished his career with Serve-All Appliance. He was most proud of his work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, including revitalizing the stores in the greater metro Detroit area, and was instrumental in launching the Blue Water Community Food Depot.

Their parents had similar backgrounds and experiences and, unbeknownst to Martha and Dan, they knew each other before Martha and Dan met. Both mothers attended three-year, hospital-based nursing degree programs as United States Cadet Nurse Corps, finishing just after WWII ended. Their fathers were both involved at their parish churches in community outreach and knew each other through their work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“They all poured themselves out to others,” Dan said. “Whether that was in the hospital, the classroom, taking someone into their home, or in the community, they gave others the best of themselves, even when it may have been difficult. There was always someone else who needed more and they helped provide it.”

By creating these scholarships and grants through the SC4 Foundation held at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Martha and Dan are following in their parents’ footsteps and encouraging future generations to do the same. They both recognize that community college is an important bridge for many students to make the transition between high school graduation and success in a bachelor’s degree at the university level, particularly for a first-generation college student.

The Therese A. Foley Student Assistance Fund and the Eileen M. and Lawrence D. Fredendall Scholarship Fund will be awarded in perpetuity to SC4 students pursuing nursing or a STEM-related program. The grants will support access to missions at the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 as well as potential tuition assistance for disadvantaged students, Skip’s Corner Pantry support, ad hoc student assistance for one-time unanticipated events or housing support.

“We are beyond grateful to Martha and Dan for their generous support,” said Dr. Deborah A. Snyder, SC4 president. “It’s clear Martha and Dan’s parents were incredible individuals and role models for their families and communities. Thanks to their parents’ example, they are now doing the same for a whole new generation of students. The impact of their parents’ lives and work will continue to be felt for years to come.”

Community Foundation Vice President Jackie Hanton added, “Martha and Dan were thoughtful and impact-driven with their major gift. They were able to make a bigger impact on future students because they gifted stock. When appreciated stock is gifted, the donors do not have to pay capital gains tax. It is truly a win-win that will have lasting implications in the lives of so many future students.”

Dan and Martha recently visited SC4’s campus and reflected on their and Therese’s time there.

“That’s the first time we’ve been back to campus in a long time,” Martha said. “Back when Therese taught Nursing at the College, they learned by way of practicing on each other. She would be astonished and thrilled to see the technology and spaces in the Health Sciences Building. It’s an impressive facility.”

For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at or (810) 989-5530.