NSCC President Michael Thomson Attends Ohio College Presidents Conference in Washington, D.C.

On June 19, United States Senator Sherrod Brown and his staff hosted his 12th annual Ohio College Presidents Conference in Washington, D.C.[1] The conference allowed Ohio college presidents to gather, listen to updates on key federal issues, speak with the Ohio Congressional delegation and interact with key federal policy makers. In attendance were both US Ohio senators as well as five Ohio representatives, including Rep. Bob Latta (OH 5th District). The focus of the day was improving student access to education and student success. A total of 33 Ohio college presidents from public and private schools attended the conference.

The Ohio Congressional delegation spoke of strong bi-partisan support in both houses for two key measures. The first is reforming the federal aid form (FASFA) from its current 180 questions down to 20 questions and a data exchange with the IRS to speed verification of financial aid eligibility. The second is using student federal financial aid for short-term education leading to in-demand jobs. The Ohio college and university presidents strongly endorsed these bipartisan measures.

In addition, the presidents heard from several policy makers, including the Trump administration, on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. The Act was last reauthorized in 2008, and Congress wants to complete a reauthorization before the August recess. Other key discussions focused on best practices to improve student success. Of noted interest was reshaping educational systems to fit the adult learner, the effectiveness of free tuition policies in other states, providing non-college services to support students (e.g. daycare, transportation), smoother transfer processes between institutions, and Ohio’s plans to implement an accelerated degree program.

NSCC President Michael Thomson was a first-time attendee of the event and found the gathering very meaningful. “It gave Ohio college presidents a place to voice uniform support on key issues that will help our students access and complete their education,” he said.

Thomson also mentioned the willingness of presidents around the state to work together to help reach the 65% degree attainment by 2025, as well as the strong esprit de corps of the Ohio Congressional delegation. “In a climate where politics often divides us, it was very heartening to see the Ohio Congressional delegation working together on a key issue – helping Ohioans access and complete education that leads to a higher quality of life,” Thomson noted.

[1] https://www.brown.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/brown-convenes-12th-annual-ohio-college-presidents-conference

NSCC Board Learns About National Science Foundation Grants

The Northwest State Community College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Friday, June 21 on the Archbold campus. As part of the meeting, NSCC Executive Vice President Todd Hernandez presented news on grants the College has received from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The two NSF grants were recently awarded to NSCC, totalling nearly $1 million.

NSF Cybersecurity Education for Advanced Manufacturing Organizations (CAMO) Grant: $488,426, terms: 8.1.19-7.31.22
Create cybersecurity training scenarios for advanced manufacturing that will be deployed at the Ohio cyber range, including basic networking and security audit theories and techniques. This will be especially beneficial for local employers concerned about cyber attacks on their manufacturing and process systems.

NSF Scaling Elements of a Competency-Based Hybrid Instruction Model into Advanced Manufacturing Courses (SCALE UP): $500,005, terms: 6.1.19-5.31.22
This project will achieve the long-term objectives of improving the effectiveness of advanced manufacturing courses, increasing access to technical education programs, and preparing technicians with the skills that employers require in a rapidly-changing workplace.

“The two NSF grants are a testament to the innovation of Northwest State Community College and will allow us to continue the great work in the areas of cybersecurity and industrial skilled trades,” Hernandez noted.

In other Board action:

  • Approved the employment of Julie Kemarly-Dowland, faculty & lab coordinator-natural sciences; Ashley Barth, working supervisor-custodial; and Jennifer Thome, director-accounting & business services
  • Approved the employment/promotion of Alex Mangotic, enrollment specialist, formerly administrative assistant for admissions & marketing
  • Approved the renewal of probationary faculty and non-teaching faculty contracts
  • Approved miscellaneous employment contracts and four resignations
  • Approved 2019-2020 operating budget
  • Approved per-credit-hour tuition increase for 2019-2020 academic year to $172.33 (from $167.33) for in-state and $333.66 (from $328.66) for out-of-state
  • Approved deferred compensation for NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson, based on his annual Board performance evaluation

Commencement Recognizes 286 Graduates

Northwest State Community College celebrated the 2019 graduating class at its 49th Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony recognized 286 graduates who completed an associate degree or certificate program with the College during fall, spring or summer term, comprising a total of 323 awards (249 associate degrees and 74 short-term certificates). Dr. Cindy Krueger, NSCC vice president for institutional effectiveness and student services, noted that 91% of the graduating class lives in the six county service area of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams Counties, and that there were 41 members graduating with honors – 12 cum laude, 10 magna cum laude and 19 summa cum laude.

Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC president, congratulated the graduating class, noting, “I commend you for your dedication and persistence that have led to this remarkable achievement. You balanced work, family and other obligations in order to complete your education.” Thomson also noted a slight change in the events’ featured speakers, remarking, “This year, the commencement committee decided that the student voice would provide the inspirational address for our graduates.” Brittany Opsomer of Deshler, Ohio, and Mark Oliphant of Edgerton, Ohio, were the morning and afternoon featured studentspeakers.

Opsomer graduated magna cum laude with an associate of applied science in nursing and was president of Alpha Delta Nu nursing honor society and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. A young mother raising two small children apart from her husband, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Opsomer relayed the joy of completing this portion of the journey, noting, “I knew the distance (apart from her husband) was temporary and the reward of becoming an RN would be worth the struggle. This is the moment we have been waiting for, and we have become stronger from our sacrifices.” Opsomer, who was also selected to receive the President’s Outstanding Student Award in the morning ceremony, plans to continue her education at Indiana Wesleyan University in the bachelor of science nursing program.

Oliphant graduated magna cum laude with an associate of applied science in industrial technology, and was an All-Ohio Academic Team member, president of the NSCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and an Award of Merit recipient as the top graduate in the Industrial Technologies Division. Oliphant shared his story of substance abuse and imprisonment with the audience and how his determination helped him turn his life around. “I could have blamed everybody else and just dwelled on my failures, but I chose not to. I was determined to make things right, for not only myself, but for my family and become a positive influence in society,” he said. Oliphant then noted he is four years and eight days clean and sober.

Rachel Buell was named the President’s Outstanding Student in the afternoon ceremony. Buell graduated summa cum laude and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She earned a certificate in industrial maintenance and plans to continue her students in mechatronics. NSCC faculty members Marty Phillips and Pam Donaldson served as grand marshals for the morning and afternoon ceremonies respectively.

2019 Distinguished Alumni Winners Announced

Three individuals have been selected to receive the Northwest State Community College Distinguished Alumni Award for 2019. Those individuals will be officially recognized during a special luncheon ceremony prior to spring commencement. Plaques with their likeness will also be added to the prestigious Alumni wall of award recipients, located outside the Voinovich Auditorium in the College’s E wing.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes excellence beyond Northwest State – education, professional achievement, service to the community and more,” said Robbin Wilcox, NSCC Foundation Director. “We are proud to recognize these three graduates with this prestigious award, and we congratulate them for their achievements, and for being tremendous representatives of Northwest State Community College,” Wilcox continued.

Brad Hurtig is a 2006 cum laude graduate with an associate of technical studies degree in machining manufacturing. He continued his education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in biblical studies.



William (Bill) Lammers is a 1997 graduate with an associate of applied science degree in electrical engineering technology. He furthered his education at Defiance College where he earned a bachelor of business management in 2000, a master of business and organizational leadership in 2004, and a master of business administration in 2010.


Michael Sawvel, DO is a 2001 magna cum laude graduate with an associate of applied science. He went on to graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2005 and a doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Ohio University in 2009. Michael completed his neurological surgery residency at the Virginia Tech-Carilion Clinic from 2009-2015.

The Distinguished Alumni Award represents the most prestigious award presented by the Alumni Association of Northwest State. This award was established in 1998 to honor graduates of Northwest State Community College who have achieved recognized prominence in their chosen career and have made significant contributions to their profession, community and the lives of others. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award represent the ideal of a committed, industrious, and caring individual to whom Northwest State Community College may look as an example. 

Green Carpet Event Raises Over $80,000 for Student Scholarships

The Northwest State Community College Foundation recently hosted its tenth annual Green Carpet Event, “Golden Gala,” and raised over $80,000. All proceeds from the event go directly to student scholarships. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2019 Making a Difference Awards, which were created by the NSCC Foundation as a way to recognize and celebrate individuals, businesses and organizations in the six-county area committed to improving their communities. This year’s recipients were the Four County ADAMHs Board, the Bryan Area Foundation and Keller Logistics (Operation KAVIC).

In addition to the Making a Difference Awards, the Green Carpet Event included an unforgettable performance by Piano Wars!™ Premier Dueling Pianos. Gourmet food stations, a cash bar and a silent auction rounded out the festivities, as the Auditorium and surrounding areas were decorated in the event’s “Golden Gala” theme, which is an homage to NSCC celebrating 50 years of service.

“The Green Carpet Event and the Making a Difference Awards celebrate hard work, community support and giving,” said Robbin Wilcox, NSCC director of development. “We work year-round to raise awareness and needed funds for student scholarships, and this event is a critical piece of those efforts. Within a month’s time, we have hosted the Scholarship Awards Night, our spring Commencement Ceremony, and now the Green Carpet Event. We are blessed to work in a community where people want to help make a difference for others,” Wilcox continued.

A special recap program of the NSCC Green Carpet Event will soon be available on the Northwest State YouTube channel and will be distributed to local television providers for airing consideration.

About the NSCC Foundation
The NSCC Foundation was established in 1978 to provide support for the students, people and programs of NSCC. For over 40 years, the foundation has remained true to its mission to enhance, expand and sustain Northwest State so that NSCC can continue to fulfill its mission of creating opportunities for transformational learning. The NSCC Foundation works diligently to raise much-needed funds for educational opportunities that directly and indirectly impact students.

RN Graduates Recognized

Twenty-four students completing Northwest State Community College’s registered nursing associate degree program were recently recognized during spring Commencement. Graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam and enter directly into the workforce, or they may transfer their credits into a bachelor’s degree program.

In a separate ceremony, the College recognized ten students for induction into the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society. In order to qualify, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average, with at least a B in all nursing classes. One student, Brittany Opsomer of Deshler, also earned the prestigious Award of Merit.

Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society aims to recognize the academic excellence of associate degree nursing students and encourage students to pursue advanced nursing degrees. Award of Merit recipients are chosen by faculty from the respective divisions based on leadership involvement, special talents or abilities in their academic field, and significant contributions to Northwest State.

The following graduates were recognized during the ceremony:

Defiance County: Chelsea Benecke (Defiance), Cody Brown (Defiance), Elizabeth Huffman* (Defiance), Aubrey Kemerer* (Hicksville), Courtney Polce* (Defiance), Michal Troyer (Hicksville) and Sheila Worthington* (Ney)

DeKalb County: Brooke Greathouse (Auburn)

Fulton County: Cherese Bussing (Wauseon), Andrea Hernandez* (Wauseon), Aubrey Knierim* (Wauseon) and Elliet Rupp (Archbold)

Greene County: Montgomery Irvine (Xenia)

Henry County: Jared Mullins (Napoleon), Brittany Opsomer* (Deshler), Leah Vandenberghe (Napoleon) and Sarah Ward (Napoleon)

Paulding County: Julie Brown* (Grover Hill) and Katherine Murphy* (Cecil)

Van Wert County: Cameron Lautzenheiser* (Van Wert) and Bethany Roberts (Convoy)

Williams County: Shayla Coffman (West Unity), Paul Diaz (Bryan) and Malorie Heer (Bryan)

*Indicate students who were also inducted in to the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society.

Board of Trustees Meeting: April 26, 2019

The Northwest State Community College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Friday, April 26 on the Archbold campus. As part of the meeting, Wauseon resident Sandra Barber took her oath of office to become a Board of Trustees member. Barber, who had previously served on the College’s Board of Trustees from June 2011 to June 2017, fills the vacancy created when Paul Siebenmorgen resigned from his seat in January.

NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson welcomed Barber, noting, “We are so excited to have Sandra Barber rejoin the NSCC Board. Sandy is an experienced College trustee who has been a long-time advocate for our institution. Trustee Barber has tremendous knowledge of the community and state processes necessary for NSCC to fulfill its mission of strengthening our local communities. I look forward to working with Trustee Barber as we not only celebrate our first 50 years, but shape NSCC to serve our area for the next 50 years.”

During the Board meeting, Lori Robison, vice president for academics, recognized the three All-Ohio Academic Team students who were honored on April 25 at the Ohio Statehouse. Caleb Davila of Defiance and Jacob Klopfenstein of Paulding were in attendance and met the Board to share their experiences. Davila and Klopfenstein join Mark Oliphant of Edgerton in earning this prestigious recognition from the state for their academic achievements.

In other Board action:

  • Approved the employment of AmyJo Rouleau, analyst-data systems; Audrey Lehman, coordinator-fundraising; and Rachelle Durham, clerk-bookstore/retail & food services
  • Approved international travel for three NSCC nursing faculty for their doctoral studies through Indiana Wesleyan University and as part of the course requirements in Global Healthcare in May-June, and for a business faculty member to participate in a faculty immersion program in June
  • Approved processing (banking) authority for Automated Clearing House (business office) transactions for the accountant-payroll and clerk-accounts payable
  • Approved the authorization to accept bids and award contracts for the ‘E’ Building chiller replacement project
  • Approved resolutions to revise equal opportunity and non-discrimination/anti-harassment policies to align with federal regulations
  • Approved resolution to revise equal opportunity policy regarding unlawful and discriminatory employment practices to align with state regulations
  • Approved a resolution adjusting veteran-student fees for recipients of Chapter 31 and/or Chapter 33 of the GI Bill in accordance with federal guidelines
  • Approved miscellaneous employment contracts and three resignations

Three Students Named to All-Ohio Academic Team

Three Northwest State Community College students have been named to the 2019 All-Ohio Academic Team. Caleb Davila of Defiance, Jacob Klopfenstein of Paulding, and Mark Oliphant of Edgerton were named to the All-Ohio Academic Third Team, placing them among the top thirty community college students in the state. The students were honored at a recognition luncheon on April 25 in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse.

Three NSCC students were named to the All-Ohio Academic Team and were honored at a recognition luncheon in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse. Pictured L to R: Ron Scozzari, NSCC dean of Industrial Technologies; Kaitlyn Rohrs-Cordes, NSCC academic advisor and Phi Theta Kappa representative; Jacob Klopfenstein, student; Mark Oliphant, student; and Lori Robison, NSCC vice president for academics. Caleb Davila (not pictured) was also honored at the ceremony.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Caleb, Jacob and Mark,” said Lori Robison, vice president for academics at Northwest State. “They have set tremendous examples in the classroom and in their community.” Robison also praised NSCC faculty and staff for their ongoing contributions to student success.

Davila is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and will graduate in May with an associate of science. He plans to attend the University of Toledo to major in public administration.

Klopfenstein is a College Credit Plus student who will graduate from NSCC before he graduates from high school. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and will graduate in May with an associate of applied science in electro-mechanical engineering. He plans to attend Miami University in Oxford.

Oliphant is the president of the Alpha Omicron Mu chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. He will graduate in May with an associate of applied science in industrial technology. He plans to enter the workforce in a tool and die department and would like to begin an apprenticeship program.

Created in 1997, the All-Ohio Academic Team provides recognition to outstanding students in Ohio’s public two-year colleges.