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Bearded Bros Dean Kerste, Mike Reaume talk motorcycles, craft beer, and their love of teaching

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With Honor

College celebrates students’ success Taylor Dively Agora Staff

Leah Thomas won the Faculty Association Outstanding Student Award at MCCC’s Honors Reception April 18. Business professor Patrick Nedry won the Outstanding Faculty Award, and Jeffrey Rabon won the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award. “I’m going to be retiring, but it’s been a terrific ride. Thank you all!” Nedry said, capping his short acceptance speech. Thomas was the editor of the Agora last year and is a writing fellow and president of Phi Theta Kappa. “I enjoy staying busy and pushing myself to be a part of new things to maximize my college experience,” Thomas said. The Student Nurses Association won the Outstanding Student Program of the Year

award for the third time in a row. The association changed the name of the scholarship it awards each year, deciding to name it in memory of Mariya Heinzerling. Heinzerling was a student in the nursing program who died in a car crash last summer. President Kojo Quartey opened the program. He praised the students, faculty, and community members for all that they have done this year. Closing remarks were made by Mark Hall, the director of Admissions and Guidance Services. Refreshments provided by Kosch Catering were available at the conclusion of the reception. Quartey awarded the President’s Academic Achievement Award to eight students this year: Matthew Brown, Alyssa Dushane, Christopher Fultz, Madeline Gerweck, Alex See Students, Page 8-9

Photos by Vanessa Ray

Pat Nedry (left) speaks about the Outstanding Faculty Award; Jeffrey Rabon (center) speaks about the Adjunct Faculty Award; Leah Thomas accepts the Outstanding Student Award.

Nedry looks forward to life post-MCCC James P. Quick Chief Copy Editor

Patrick Nedry may be retiring, but it seems unlikely he’s going to slow down. After 24 years at MCCC, the professor of Business is now bowing out and retiring. Nedry was instrumental in creating several programs on-campus and is spoken of highly by his colleagues in the business division. He also won Outstanding Faculty of the Year at Honors Night on April 18. His colleagues in the Business Division have nothing but praise for him. “I have known Dr. Nedry for almost 20 years and I have always been amazed by his energy,” David Reiman, professor of Business, writes in an e-mail. “It seems as though he never sleeps, and he crams 30 hours of activity into every 24-hour day.

Serving Monroe County since 1968

“He also reads everything! I don’t think any email, set of meeting minutes, scholarly or news article related to business, leadership, investing, politics, or a host of other topics ever passes by without Dr. Nedry’s careful reading.” “Pat was possibly the second person I met when I arrived to campus 23 years ago,” says Paul Knollman, Dean of the Business Division. “He had only been here approximately a year, and the gentleman who hired me, which was in the Corporate Community Services office, he arranged for us a visit to the Woodhaven Ford Motor Company factory. “Dr. Nedry, myself, and John – the fellow who hired me – went up there and paid them a visit. We had a chance to get to know each other after only a week or so of working here at the college. So I’ve probably known him as long as anyone here.” Another of Nedry’s colleagues, professor of Business and

April 19, 2018

Economics Wendy Wysocki, also values his additions to the college. “I have seen him work tirelessly to support and encourage students,” she writes. “Dr. Nedry spearheaded our current Business Scholar Recognition Program and is always looking for ways to support and reward students’ accomplishments.” Nedry explains why the BSRP was set up. “We wanted to recognize some of our students who sometimes struggle in silence and don’t know if anyone’s paying any attention to them until they’re all done and they have a GPA to look at,” he says. “So we created what we call the Business Management Scholars to recognize some students before they finish. “GPA is involved, business curriculum coursework that See Nedry, Page 4

Vol. 65, Issue 7

2 • Campus News

April 19, 2018


Agora wins 24 awards in statewide competition

Photo by Vanessa Ray

Ruth Brown gets a break from finals and a kiss from Maizie.

Students de-stress at Furry Finals Carla Cohen Agora Staff

Dogs are man’s best friend, or so the saying goes. At the Furry Finals this year, this proved to be true. On Tuesday, April 17, the MCCC Student Government and the Psychology Interest Group collaborated with Therapy Dogs International Chapter 307 to bring in therapy dogs during exam weeks. Jack Ryder and Maddie Gerweck from Student Government helped by passing out ice cream and toppings to make sundaes. “I think this is a great event for our students. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to relieve stress than playing with a pup and eating ice cream,” said Tom Ryder, Student Government adviser. Paul Knollman, dean of the

Editor Vanessa Ray

The Agora

Chief Copy Editor James P. Quick Cheyanne Abel Shane Brooks Carla Cohen

Business Division, was seen getting a sundae as well. “Another great student-centered effort supported by MCCC’s Student Government,” Knollman said. The Psychology Interest group got feedback on what stress-relievers students use, while passing out coloring sheets to help relieve stress. The dogs featured were Aggi, a Havanese, Maizie, a Golden Retriever, and Link, a Bernese Mountain dog. Link, a returning dog from last year, let students rub his belly and comment on his large size. Aggi, though small in size, wowed students by doing tricks such as wave, sit pretty and pray; where she sat in a praying stance. Overall, students loved petting the dogs and getting a break from the last two weeks of class.

Web Editor Leah Thomas


Taylor Dively Miranda Gardner Sawyer Jackson

Adviser Dan Shaw Cassidy Maier McKinley Striggow Don Thomas

Editorial Policy The Agora is published by the students of Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI, 48161. The editorial office is located in Room 202 of the Life Sciences Building, (734) 384-4186, Submissions: The Agora encourages submissions by anyone in the college community, including free-lance articles, opinion columns, or letters to the editor. All submissions must include a name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. The Agora reserves the right to edit for clarity, accuracy, length, and libel. The Agora is a student-managed newspaper that supports a free student press. It is a member of the Michigan Community College Press Association, the Michigan Press Association, College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and the Student Press Law Center. Story suggestions are welcome. Let us know what you would like to see in The Agora - it’s your newspaper. Email submissions to

Eleven different members of the Agora staff won 24 awards at the Michigan Community College Press Association annual conference April 7 at Central Michigan University. Among the eight first-place awards were General Excellence, awarded to the newspaper staff, and Student Journalist of the Year, won by Agora Editor Vanessa Ray, who took home a total of seven awards. Besides the top individual award, Ray won first place in Personality Profile, Video Production and News Photo, second place in Front Page Design and Headline Writing, and third place in Photo Essay. The Personality Profile award was for a story on retiring English professor Cheryl Johnston; the News Photo award was for a picture from the MCCC Veteran’s Day celebration; and the Photo Essay award was for coverage of MCCC’s graduation ceremony. Other first place awards won by The Agora staff included Original Cartoon, by Cheyanne Abel; Best Blog, by Sawyer Jackson, and best Multimedia Reporting, won by a team of four reporters for their online coverage of the 2017 Honors Reception – Joseph Abrams, Miranda Gardner, Leah Thomas and James Quick. Abel and Gardner both won three individual awards, and Quick, Thomas, and Carla Cohen each won two awards. Dan Shaw, MCCC journalism professor and adviser to the Agora, said this is the best performance by the Agora staff in his 10 years at the college. “We won more awards in 2010, when the contest was divided into two divisions and we only competed against the smaller colleges,” Shaw said. “But this is by far the most awards we’ve won since they went to one division for most of the awards in 2011.” For the General Excellence and Student Journalist of the Year awards, the competition is divided into two divisions. The Agora competes in Division II, against colleges with fewer than 5,000 students. All community college journalists in the state compete in the other categories. Shaw said Ray’s seven awards is also the best performance by an individual from MCCC at the annual awards ceremony. “Vanessa is an outstanding student journalist, so I’m not surprised at her success,” he said. “I think the most impressive thing about it is the variety of categories. She won for writing, photography, design and video – that’s pretty amazing.” Here are the awards won by the Agora staff for the contest year that ran from March 1, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2018.

Agora staff members show off their awards: Back row, from left: James Quick, Vanessa Ray, Taylor Dively; front row, from left, Sawyer Jackson, Cassidy Maier, Cheyenne Abel and McKinley Stiggow.

First Place:

General Excellence: Division II, the Agora staff Student Journalist of the Year: Division II, Vanessa Ray Best Blog: Sawyer Jackson Multimedia Reporting: Miranda Gardner, James Quick, Leah Thomas, Joseph Abrams News Photo: Vanessa Ray Original Cartoon: Cheyanne Abel Personality Profile: Vanessa Ray Video Production: Vanessa Ray

Second Place:

Best Blog: Miranda Gardner Column: Serious, Carla Cohen Front Page Design: Vanessa Ray Headline Writing: Vanessa Ray Ilustration: Cheyanne Abel News Photo: Miranda Gardner News Website: the Agora staff Original Comic–Entertainment: Cheyanne Abel Sports News Story: Taylor Dively

Third Place:

Feature Photo: Carla Cohen Photo Essay: Vanessa Ray Personality Profile: Cassidy Maier

Honorable Mention:

Feature Story: Miranda Gardner Front Page Design: Leah Thomas Critical Review: James Quick Column, Humor: McKinley Striggow

Maier, Quick named Agora editors Two MCCC students will share the title of editor of the Agora for the 2018-2019 academic year. James P. Quick, a sophomore from Newport, and Cassidy Maier, a sophomore from Monroe, will be co-editors of the college’s student newspaper. Agora Adviser Dan Shaw said they will share the editor responsibilities, which include supervising the newspaper staff, assigning and editing stories,

and managing the website, Quick has been a member of the Agora staff since the fall of 2016. He was chief copy editor during the 2017-2018 school year. Maier has been a member of the staff since the fall of 2017. Both James and Maier won awards from the Michigan Community College Press Association, which were announced earlier this month.


Campus News • 3

April 19, 2018

Floorplan for new East, West Tech

This is the tentative floor plan for the remodeled East and West Tech Buildings. Plans could change as user groups complete meetings with the architects.

Construction moves to East, West Tech Buildings Cassidy Maier Agora Staff

The MCCC campus will change once again over the next year. Since the college passed a millage in 2016, it has planned a series of remodeling projects. The East and West Tech Buildings will be combined starting in the Fall Semester, which will create offices, computer labs, classrooms, and a brand new student space. Construction will begin during Fall semester and will continue over the course of the semester until its finished, said Sue Wetzel, vice president of Administration. “It’s kind of like a reset and a restart for us and it’s the direction that we’ve been planning for and wanting to move,” she said. The new addition will be home to multiple divisions and will include some completely redone classrooms and computer labs. “This is a realization of a long-term goal of the college to build a student success center on our campus to better serve the needs of students and our community,” Wetzel said. Students are also excited for the new space. “It’s time, because W and E are both wasted space. They need an update and there’s so many empty rooms,” student Hunter Wright said. The current outdoor walkway between the

Photos by Leah Thomas

These windows, designed by students, were recently installed in the L Building student area. The designs represent fields taught in the building. Susan Grant designed the Mathematics window, Megan Engle, Chemistry and Psychology, Dasie Justice, Biology, Daniel Witzke, Physics, and Cheyanne Abel, Earth Science/Geology.

Tech Buildings will be enclosed, and this space will house the student area. “It’s cool that they’re putting in the student area like L. I was shocked, but L’s student area is actually pretty nice,” student Raiann Porkarski said. Wetzel is most excited about this space, because it will be a testament to MCCC’s commitment to student success. “This space is student-centered, and I think that that’s going to be very exciting for all of the end users,” she said. The addition will also house the Learning Assistance Lab, disability services, and tu-

toring. Wetzel said it will be accessible because it is at the front door of the college. The offices of the Business Division faculty and Art department will be moving into the building, which insures Business offices will be together and the Art department and classrooms will all be in once place. East and West Tech will need to be completely emptied, so the classes and faculty that currently reside in them will need to move before work can be done on the building. The Business Division offices have al-

ready begun to move from the C Building to the La-Z-Boy Center. The Middle College, RCTC, CIS classrooms, and the Business and Art faculty are also moving. The classrooms and people that are being upended will primarily be moved to the LaZ-Boy Center and CTC. Plans for construction are already in the works. “Technically, we’re already started because we’re working with the architects and the construction manager. We’re putting the plans together,” Wetzel said. There is still work to be done before ground is broken, and it comes in the form of red tape. “User groups are still taking place and so the architects are making some revisions to the plan,” Wetzel said. “That’s the last drawing that I have, but it is not finalized.” “It’s being revised due to the meetings with the user groups, which is important.” Once the finalizations are made, MCCC has to get the plans approved by the state, but everything can continue to move forward in the meantime. The final plans will be unveiled at a town hall meeting like the plans for the L building were, said Jack Burns, director of Campus Planning & Facilities.

4 • Campus News

April 19, 2018


Nedry celebrated for energy, devotion Continued from page 1 they’ve completed and how well they’ve done, and some of their leadership and writing skills they’ve demonstrated in class. So the business profs get together and pick them.” The awards are given on Honors Night. This year’s recipients were Mackenzie Coulter, Anne Donnelly, Jered Emery, Ashley Grant, Shyan Risden, Rachael Sortor, and Tina Stout. Nedry also notes that these winners are occasionally invited to workshops and other enrichment programs. He points to a picture on a shelf above his desk of a group of former students at EMU. “For maybe over half of them, that was the first time they’d been to a university campus,” he says. “It kind of opens their eyes, like, ‘Hey, there is something else after we get done with this!’ And so that has been quite successful. We’re all pretty proud of that, I think.” Nedry has worked both at MCCC and Jackson Community College, the latter between 1975 and 1980. It was there that a student told him of a job as director of training and development for a company, where he stayed for some time… then he was moved. “I was an involuntary Buckeye for about four years!” he says. “They relocated 50 of us from Jackson down to Maumee. During that kind of transition period, I said, ‘well, what would I like to do?’” After learning of a job opening at MCCC, he came here in 1994. “I traveled a lot, and I wanted to go back to school to work on a doctorate, but I couldn’t do that while traveling 75 percent of the time,” he says. “So I came here and, after a few years, started my doctorate at Eastern and finished it.” After ten years as the dean of the Industrial Technology Division, Nedry took the option to become a member of faculty. “I did not want to be one in the same division I’d been a supervisor,” he says. So Nedry joined the Business Division, teaching mostly business management or related courses. The 72-year-old also assisted in developing the Entrepreneurship Capstone course. Born in Edmore, Michigan, in 1946, alongside his twin brother, Nedry’s parents had one older child, another boy. The family owned and operated a dirt farm. “I was a leading-edge baby boomer,” he says, “though my father was not in the ser-

Photo by James P. Quick

Pat Nedry relaxes in his office, just weeks before his retirement.

vice.” Nedry’s father, however, eventually went into shift work at a manufacturing plant. On the farm, the women worked right alongside the men, and Nedry’s mother, himself, and his brothers kept the farm going in the meantime. “I went to a real small school. Class D agricultural school,” he says. “Got a great education, I think; prepared us well. I was pretty active in music and band. I had a competitive scholarship to go to Central to study music.” Nedry played clarinet and saxophone. However, he eventually decided he didn’t want to do that and switched schools to

“Dr. Nedry has had his foot hard on the gas his entire career, hurtling at breakneck speed all the way to retirement. I am confident he will continue with that same energy and enthusiasm and have a retirement full of activity and adventure.” David Reiman Professor of Business

Western Michigan University and got married. “I took an exit and went off in another direction, as many college students do!” he says. His brother went to school with the scholarship funds instead. “I maintain I got him through the first couple of years of school,” Nedry says. Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “There was the little matter of the war going on,” he says. The war he’s referring to is, of course, the Vietnam War. He clarifies that he wasn’t “in country,” as they called it, meaning that he stayed stateside. “I spent 1,096 days at Fort Knox, Kentucky,” Nedry says. “I never moved more than a half-mile from where I stepped off the bus!” The entire time he was in the Army, Nedry explains, he was in training schools. These included a mechanics’ school, an administrative school, and a cooks’ school. “The most interesting duty was in cooks’ school,” he says. “Although I didn’t do any cooking!”

Nedry was a court-martial clerk for the school. “If you’re familiar with ‘M.A.S.H.,’ I was kind of a Radar O’Reilly person. The cooks’ school had lots of disciplinary matters to contend with,” he says. “So, consequently, that generated a lot of court-martial or other disciplinary kinds of things. “I could type, and that was all done on an old-fashioned typewriter at the time, so I ended up doing that as I moved around the various training companies.” After his stint in the army, Nedry returned to school at Western, where he studied business education. “I have never not worked in all the time I’ve gone to school,” he says. “I’ve always worked full-time and usually gone to school full-time, except for my doctorate, which I did part-time. “I hit the regional universities: Central, Western, Eastern, and I visited Northern.” Nedry explains that he spent 24 years in industry, usually associated with manufacturing. He’s also had about 29 years in education, most of it at community colleges. As he leaves, Nedry wants to press the importance of what it means to be a community college. “This is a community college,” he says. “The legislation that established community colleges called them ‘comprehensive community colleges.’ That means it serves two broad audiences, in addition to the community. “From a student perspective, it serves transfer students and occupational students. Not one in favor of the other. And those percentages bump up and down a little bit, but from time to time there gets to be an overemphasis on one or the other. It’s important that we do not lose the focus of what we are here for.” He says it’s important to serve those two broad audiences and work toward a greater good of an educated citizenry. His colleagues wish him well as he goes. “He has been a wonderful colleague and friend and I wish him the best in all his future endeavors in his well-deserved retirement,” writes Wysocki. “Pat is one of the most dedicated college faculty members I have had the chance to work with,” says Knollman. “He is always, always interested in what’s going on around the college. That’s one of his strongest features.” He goes on to state that he feels the college is losing a bit of passion, for good and bad, with Nedry’s retirement. “Many faculty have long and active careers and transition into retirement,” Reiman writes. “Dr. Nedry has had his foot hard on the gas his entire career, hurtling at breakneck speed all the way to retirement. I am confident he will continue with that same energy and enthusiasm and have a retirement full of activity and adventure.”


Campus News • 5

April 19, 2018

Campus is safe, but not crime-free Erin Thomas Agora Staff

MCCC has maintained a safe environment for education for decades, listing all zeros on its annual security report. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no crime on campus. The annual security report, which is required by the federal government, seems to paint a picture of a crime-free campus. But both the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and college security guards report some crime occurs on a semi-regular basis. Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, explains that the annual crime report lists zeros for crime because MCCC’s crime doesn’t reach the level required to be reported. “Things like larceny to a building or a car break-in, or things of that nature don’t rise to the level of having to be reported on the campus crime statistics,” Daniels says. He says he is thankful MCCC has not experienced crime at that level. Daniels explains the point of the reports, which have been required since the Clery Act was signed into law by George H. W. Bush in 1990, is to make people aware. “The whole point of that crime report is to get people to be cognizant of what’s going on around them,” Daniels says. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department has had 16 calls related to the MCCC campus in the last ten years. The majority of the calls dealt with larceny in a building. There was also one criminal sexual conduct report and a false terror threat call from MCCC’s address. Daniels noted the college lists every crime reported to the security guards on the college website.

Security guard Ken Wassus patrols the halls of the L Building.

President Kojo Quartey says the college emphasizes security on campus. “I don’t feel unsafe at all when I come here on this campus. I feel safer here on this campus than I do in my own home,” he says. The reason for feeling safe is because he is always surrounded by people, he explains. “At home, guess what, it’s just me. Here, if anything happens, I can reach out to any number of people, whether its students or security or whatever. I am not alone here,” Quartey says. Daniels agrees that MCCC is a safe place. “And I want to keep it that way. We enjoy a very safe campus and I think it’s indicative of everybody’s efforts,” he says. Charlie Abel, of campus security, attributes the safe campus to the college administration. “It’s been very well managed, and actually, I


Tuition raised for Fall

Tuition will be slightly higher for the Fall 2018 semester. The college Board of Trustees raised tuition for in-county students $2.50 per contact hour at its March 26 meeting. It is the first such increase for in-county students since the college froze tuition in 2016. For students from Monroe County, the increase will bring tuition to $109.50 per contact hour. Out-of-county residents will see an increase of $4.50, to $194.50. Out-of-state and international students will pay $5 more, now reaching $216.50.

Door locks installed

Door locks intended to keep an “active shooter” out of classrooms have been installed in most rooms on campus.

The Bearacade locks fit on the bottom of doors and connect to the floor with a bolt.

MCCC President Kojo Quartey said the door locks are a first step. “This equipment is our immediate response to ensuring additional campus safety, while we prepare to add more safety features and measures as we renovate the campus with millage funds,” he said in an email to employees. The locking system, which is called “Bearacade,” was selected after researching several options and calling other institutions, Quartey said. “In light of the rash of violence around the nation, safety could not be delayed, so

Photo by Erin Thomas

think that kind of goes back to Kojo. He walks around, he talks to people, he keeps people at ease which makes them at ease when they talk to us so I think it’s fairly safe,” Abel says. Daniels adds that the security guards contribute to the overall low crime rate. Quartey says having no dormitories on campus also helps, adding that he has worked on campuses with residential housing. “Here, our students come, they are educated, and they go,” Quartey says. Abel says the most reported crimes are vehicle crashes. “Someone bumps into a car, leaves a dent, pulls away. They don’t leave their information. Technically, that’s a crime, but the Sheriff’s Department’s not going to investigate it. We will look into it as much as we can,” Abel says.

we moved quickly,” he said. As campus buildings are remodeled over the next few years, more safety measures will be added, he said. “We could not delay safety until the millage renovations, so this is a stop-gap measure.” More information about the locks can be found at the Bearacade website,

Cash raised for babies The Chili Cookoff held April 10 raised $251.50 for MCCC’s entry in the March for Babies. The winning chili dish, which collected the most donations, was a spicy sausage soup by Sue Hoffer of the Maintenance Department. She receives a $30 gift card to a local restaurant for her first place finish. Second place went to Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, with Deanna’s bold and meaty chili;

He adds that security guards use random foot and vehicle patrols to keep things under watch. Quartey says students can help, too. “We need to be more vigilant. Don’t leave your laptops in your vehicle, don’t leave your earphones in your vehicle, don’t leave your cellphones in your vehicle to tempt a potential thief who is walking by. Always lock your car, too,” Quartey says. He adds another way MCCC keeps crime low is by having cameras around campus. “We have some cameras in the parking lots here on campus, so that’s a deterrent, also,” Quartey says. Daniels says there are three main reasons MCCC has cameras recording all the time. “One, we want to see if there are any patterns. Two, we want people to be aware of what’s happening and we want to make sure they can see that. Then three, people. If someone is continually showing up on these reports for one thing or another, then that’s cause for some kind of referral where I sit down and talk with them about what’s going on,” Daniels says. Daniels says the cameras are not high-tech. “Our cameras are broad view. We don’t have money for the kind of cameras where you have people sitting in the security office watching cameras all day long so they can zoom in,” Daniels says. He adds that MCCC will never have hightech equipment. “It’s always going to be a grab and record and we keep it for so long and then we cannot see it anymore,” Daniels says. He says that MCCC technology will be receiving some upgrades in the near future. “With the millage, we’re upgrading security and so we are adding new cameras. Not just externally, but internally to entrances and exits,” Daniels says.

and third place went to Nikki Roach, Kosch food service manager, for her venison chili. The final event for the MCCC March for Babies team will be a Bake Sale for Babies April 24 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Book Drive planned

The MCCC Circle K Club is collaborating with the Kiwanis Club of Monroe on a book drive for the 23rd Annual Celebrate Children Festival. They are asking for gently used or new children’s books and coloring books, etc., to be placed in the boxes around campus. Circle K Club members will empty the boxes weekly, and the Kiwanis Club will pick them up as needed. The book drive will run from through Thursday, April 26. Boxes will be located in the A Building by the Admissions Office; in the foyer of the C Building; in the foyer of the L Building; and in the H Building next to the microwave, copier, and bulletin board.

6 • Campus News

Poetry Night features original poems

April 19, 2018


The Writing Center hosted a spring Poetry Night, and the following poems were submitted in the original poetry contest.

Of course, Alfonzo gets to go free With a hook caught in his throat, But not the bluegill caught by me. He’s gonna make dad bloat. I vote we say a prayer With slow, caring breaths Because we wanted to be players In this ugly game of death. Ode to Cornelius Maddie Gerweck

Today I caught a keeper. I was so happy. But then I thought “oh jeepers!” And I felt crappy. For a stupid fish fry My mom would have to kill Such a cute little guy, My new favorite bluegill!


Kay Hodges

Deeper & deeper I sink in mucky sand I was not able to swim to mainland Stuck deep in the middle of a barren ocean With water now rising in swift motion The sand up to my knees “Somebody, help me please!” But the waves drown out my voice To die in vain...I have no choice Head tilted toward the sky Breathe...breathe...oxygen supply A wave I’m forced to swallow Air is no longer hollow last breath...choke Water over my head does evoke Breathe...breathe...the water in Coldly penetrating my skin lungs now fill Searing...burning...against my will

I hope this poem convinces someone To let Cornelius free Or I think his fishy spirit Will come back to haunt me. This is a poem that I wrote when I was eleven. My family went to Clark Lake every summer, and we always fished off the dock and had a fish fry for my dad. As I got older, the guilt of knowing that I was responsible for so many fish deaths started to eat away at me, so I wrote a poem to protest the murder of a bluegill I had named Cornelius. This is that timeless, moving piece of literature. Salt mixes with salt Tears & water I cannot halt Struggling to see the light above Bright...radiant...promising love But the darkness of the depths surround Prisoner of the ocean I am bound Deeper...deeper...the ocean thirsts eardrums burst Deaf to the sound of water that stirs Now, I am hers Sand swallows me up as a whole The pressure cracks & breaks my soul My lungs fill with sand Will I ever again see the land? Future I desired most Stranded upon that ocean’s coast Days of my past Is what will last My lungs collapse.

King of the Masquerade Ryleigh Burns

My, don’t you have it made As the king of the masquerade? Not a soul knows who you are And no one dares to inquire Not an eye has seen your marks And none even have the desire So precisely the worth is weighed Of the king of the masquerade You said you saw through my mask But darling, you wear one too You said you could read me like a book But here’s to the unturned pages of you How cleverly your cards are laid As the king of the masquerade You were intent on fixing me And a marvelous job you’ve done But darling, who will fix you? How many races until you’ve won? Oh, but don’t be so afraid You’re the king of the masquerade


April 19, 2018

Campus News • 7

Bearded bros share interests, fine facial hair Cassidy Maier Agora Staff

Beards are not the only thing two men in the Career Technology Center have in common. Other than growing impressive facial hair, Dean Kerste and Mike Reaume both share a love of motorcycles, craft beer, and their work. “All I can say about Mike is he’s really easy-going, laid back. I’ll be damned, he got me hooked on craft beer – he’s into craft beer. Now I’m at the store buying $15 bottles of craft beer, because of Mike,” he laughs. “Every time a new one comes out, he’s texting me and telling me about it. He’s really laid-back; a great person to work with.” Kerste is a professor of Mechanical Design Technology. Mike is an ASET Technician/Perkins Technical Specialist. Riding motorcycles has been a hobby for Kerste for the last 11 years and the last five for Reaume. Kerste recalls a trip he had been wanting to take on his motorcycle and was finally able to go on recently. He held out his left hand with his palm facing down and traced the route. “I started in Monroe here, five days by myself. Shot over to the west coast and went all the way around the perimeter, crossed the bridge for lunch, then I came back around,” he said. Kerste fell in love with drafting after he took a course in high school. This passion carried him through his many years of education. He got a scholarship to MCCC for the design program and worked for 10 years as a CAD system administrator. “When I was working on my first couple associate’s, the first day of class the instructor said you had to do an oral presentation – and I dropped the course. I hated public speaking,” the 51-year-old said. “Now I do it every day,” he laughed. It wasn’t love at first sight for drafting when it came to Reaume. “I think my two interests in and out of high

Kerste helps student Kody Hawley.

Dean Kerste and Mike Reaume look over student-made design plans.

school were primarily music, which I still do, and then I was also interested in doing custom car design and fabrication,” he said. The 31-year-old spent a few semesters at Washtenaw Community College, but after a little while there, he changed his mind. “They had a custom cars program, but after doing that for a little while, I felt more like it was just a glorified body shop program and I didn’t feel like I really wanted a job where I was just going to be breathing paint fumes all the time,” Reaume said. He came to MCCC to finish his degree and started taking design classes and ended up falling for 3D design. “So I do this by day and play music by night,” he said. After getting an associate’s degrees, Kerste was placed with a company as a co-op student and worked there from the age of 18 to the age or 21. He then took over as the CAD system manager and decided to come back to school. “I took over as their CAD system manager and because I didn’t have really any experience in management or administration, I came back to community college for a second associate’s in Industrial Management,”

Photos by James P. Quick

Kerste said. take on gunfire,” Kerste said. “It would be He wasn’t finished yet and decided to pur- a target if they had a direct light source, so sue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical De- we had to go back and shade all those LED strips.” sign. He says he had never thought of that, beHe started working at the college in 1994 and went back to college once again for a cause it’s not normally ever a concern in his master’s in Career Technology and rounded field. out his education with a doctorate in Higher The pair went around the design classEducation Leadership. rooms, pointing out machines and tools. “I think he’s a consummate professionKerste described what each machine does, al and a real star in the asset division. I’ve his eyes lighting up as he talked about doing know him since 1994 and I don’t think he’s one of the things he loves to do. ever stopped going to school or training or He picked up models made by Mike, himself, seminars,” Pat Nedry, professor of business and students and explained how they’re made. said. “His skills just keep growing. I don’t Kerste and Reaume had explained that one know where he puts them all!” of their favorite types of memories of their Reaume got to MCCC not long after gettime so far at MCCC ting an associate’s in has been about stuthe spring of 2012. dents. Both men have a “Many of our stusecond job outside dents find employof their work here at ment while they’re MCCC. Reaume plays taking classes here, in a band called Man so the best memoMountain. ries are when they Reaume will be gostop back in to let ing on tour at the end you know that they of September. did get the job in the design field, and “We’ll be starting in either Bozeman, Mon- Reaume looks at the model for his pinball just see their excitetana or Salt Lake City, catapult. The 3D-printed version can be ment,” Kerste said. depending on if we seen in his office. “He’s a good teachdo a tour kickoff with er, he explains everyour friends, and then it’s going to go down thing well.  He’s friendly, he helps when you through Vegas and then up through Califor- need it,” student Samuel Mohn said. nia, hitting Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Reaume spoke about helping students in Redding,” he said. class. The band will go to Portland and then to “It’s always cool to help a student that’s Boise before coming home. struggling to understand something and Kerste owns a design business and talked you’re able to explain it to them in a way that about the time he was called to refurbish the makes sense and just kind of watch it click and inside of a few Black Hawk helicopters for all of a sudden it makes sense to them and their the king of Jordan. The inside looked like the excited about it. That’s always pretty cool.” inside of a limousine once they were finished. They joked back and forth over their “He wanted LED light strips on the steps beards, which they’ve each had since the age so during nighttime people could see the of 18. A few years ago, they each decided steps and I get an email back saying they separately to start growing them out. needed shades, like some type of lamp shade “But I can’t compete with Mike,” Kerste over the LED strip, because otherwise they’d says. “Mike’s band just came out with beard

8 • April 19, 2018

Agora/ • 9

Honors ceremony highlights student achievements

Leah Thomas, student winner Cassidy Maier Agora Staff

The girl in the blue dress and sweet smile is leaving her legacy at MCCC. Leah Thomas won the Outstanding Student of the Year award at Honors Night on Wednesday, April 18. “I accredit all my success to the professors here because without them asking me to be a part of things, I would’ve never had the initiative to go and do it myself or even know what I could do,” Thomas said. “I’m excited to see what the next set of professors push me to do.” Thomas is a fifth semester Writing Fellow, former editor of the Agora, current president of Phi Theta Kappa, and works four days a week. “Her positive attitude is contagious and she has a gift for helping students around her do their very best too,” said English professor Lori Jo Couch. Her answer for how she managed it all is simple: scheduling. Thomas says she writes out her daily schedule, separating tasks into blocks of time. This keeps her sane on busy days. Becoming friends with the people she spends time with on a regular basis is also an important piece of her success. “If you like the people you work with 24/7, then everything’s fun. So, here I have the Writing Fellows, the Agora staff, and the professors. It really doesn’t seem like work when you’re hanging out with some of your best friends,” Thomas said. One of those best friends is her sister, Erin, who is one of the many people Thomas wanted to thank. “She’s my best friend, and she makes me laugh even when things get extremely crazy. Even when we’re crying we can still laugh,” Thomas said. “She’s gotten me through my entire life up until this point.” Thomas also thanks Lori Jo Couch, Tim Dillion, Dan Shaw, her family, and God. Shaw was the first professor Thomas got to know on campus. “Without him I wouldn’t be here, I would’ve gone on to

another university and been there for four years,” Thomas said. She wanted to thank her family for always supporting her in everything she decided to do and was grateful that they let her make her own decisions, especially about her education. Her favorite class was a speech course with Mark Bergmooser because the interactive class gave her the opportunity to get to know other students, she said. Thomas will be heading off to The King’s College in New York City to get a bachelor’s degree in Culture, Media, and the Arts. Ultimately, she plans on getting her master’s degree in Linguistic Anthropology. Some of the advice she leaves is to be thankful. “Be thankful because everyone in higher education is privileged to be here. Life is so much richer when you thank the people around you and take the time to acknowledge them,” Thomas said. Another piece of advice is to take responsibility for education-both for the things done wrong and the things done right. “Another thing is just take responsibility for your education, because ultimately you’re the one that gets to decide what path you’re going down,” she said. It’s just as important to take responsibility for both the things that maybe aren’t done so well and need to be improved, as it is to be proud of the things that are done right, Thomas said. “The final thing is just remembering-remembering where you’ve come from and using that to motivate you to do more,” she said.

Students honored at college banquet Continued from Page 1

Jeff Rabon, adjunct winner McKinley Striggow Agora Staff

Photos by Vanessa Ray

Joel Spotts and Katie Vandenbrink recieve the Dr. Ronald Campbell Student Government Award.

Patrick Nedry, faculty winner James P. Quick Chief Copy Editor

“Surprised? You bet!” said Patrick Nedry regarding his winning of the Outstanding Faculty of the Year award. “I had no expectation, inclination, nothing! Total surprise; caught off guard,” he said. “In fact, I was gathering up my things, ready to make a quick exit. So I was certainly honored and pleased.”

As faculty of the year, Nedry gets his name forever engraved on a plaque in the A Building, and a gift. “Sort of a capping on the career, so to speak,” he said. Nedry was especially pleased with Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee’s mention of he and his late twin brother’s participation in a twin study with the army. “I didn’t mention that the other day,” he said, referring to his retirement interview conducted two days prior. “He was in the Air Force when I was in the Army, and then about 10 years after we were out, they identified that there were 4,000 twin pairs that served between ’65 and ’75. We became part of a study. We did not serve in combat, so we became part of a control group for those who did.” The study, Nedry explained, covered PTSD, propensity to use drugs and alcohol, and other behavior-affecting variables. As the years went on, it morphed into a study on aging. “My brother did pass away in 2014,” Nedry said. “So I appreciated her including the remarks about the twin study and some of the other things I had done, as well.” “My time, as mentioned, was split between private and public sector,” he said. Nedry spent 25 years working in industry and 29 in education. “That was all part of being here and being able to use my private sector experience in the collegiate work that I was doing.” Nedry noted that he was often thrown in when a class needed an instructor.

“It was quite an eclectic opportunity here,” he said. “I did a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I was kind of a utility player in the division. I could do Accounting, Intro to Computers, Business Management; lots of different things. “So it was like, ‘Hey, send me in, coach! I can play that position ‘til you figure out what you want to do with it!’” He also thanked the students who nominated him for the award. “I’m very pleased,” he said. With Nedry retiring, this honor comes not a moment too soon. His proverbial jersey may be being retired, but his impact on the college will always be remembered and appreciated. Below is Nedry’s acceptance speech in full. “Obviously, I don’t come with any prepared remarks for this thing! So I would just cite a few lines from a favorite movie that I’ve probably seen… well, I could ask my wife… maybe 75 or 80 times: ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales.’ And there’s a line in it from Chief Dan George, who plays the character Lone Watie. “He makes the statement of the tribes being mishandled quite a bit during that period of our history and he said when they came to the US capital, the president at the time told them to ‘endeavor to persevere.’ He said they didn’t know what that meant, but they went out and did it anyway. So that’s what we have done – endeavor to persevere. I’m going to be retiring, but it’s been a terrific ride. Thank you a

The Outstanding Adjunct of the Year Award went to Business professor Jeffrey Rabon. “It’s certainly an unexpected honor, but I truly know that it is a privilege to be afforded the opportunity to teach here, and I always try to remember that every time I go into class,” Rabon said. Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee, who presented the award, noted that students found Rabon to be welcoming. Rabon, however, noted that students probably only tolerate him. He started his career at MCCC in 2011, and for the first five years he strictly taught Accounting classes. For the past two years, he has also taken on Business classes. “I just really appreciate that they considered me,” Rabon said. Nominees for the award included Timothy Curry, Russel Pitler, Robin West Smith, Richard Hoover, Michelle Sontag, Jennifer Miller, Colleen Siegel and Jill Wilson. “I would like to extend a thank you to Dean Paul Knollman, who gave me an opportunity for a start here,” Rabon said. Knollman said Rabon’s passion for teaching leads to a rather successful classroom. He also thanked Accounting professor Parnella Baul and Scott Wang, as well as his wife. She has helped me in so many ways and helps me when I get a little frustrated, he said. “Again, it’s a privilege and I thank you.” The recipient of the Outstanding Adjunct of the Year Award receives an award of recognition and their name is engraven on a plaque that hangs in the A Building. They also receive a cash stipend they can put toward a professional development event or activity of the recipient’s choosing.

Goncharuk, Lily Kozicki, Brady Spitulski, and Joel Spotts. Emma Muth won two awards, the George Rhodes Writing Fellow Award and the Outstanding Mathematics Student Award. Students included on the Dean’s List for the Fall and Winter semesters were recognized. Antoinette Kuzich was awarded the Outstanding Humanities Student Award. The All-USA Academic Team Nominees were Leah Thomas and Kara Walker. Award winners include: Business Management Scholars: Mackenzie Coulter, Anne Donnelly, Jered Emery, Ashley Grant, Shyan Risden, Rachael Sortor, Tin Stout Outstanding Administrative Professional: Rebecca Fournier Outstanding Social Science Student Award: Joseph Costello III All-USA Academic Team Nominees: Leah Thomas, Kara Walker Outstanding Nursing Student Awards: Jaimie Terrasi, Full Cohort; Sara Slack, Winter Cohort Spirit of Nursing Awards: Steffani Straub, Fall Cohort; Rebecca Green, Winter Cohort Excellence in Practical Nursing Award: Wendy Edwards Practical Nursing Student Peer Recognition Award: Mary Klotz Outstanding Respiratory Therapy Student Award: Kayla Major Outstanding Electrical Engineering Technology Student Award: Louis Nemeth Excellence in Journalism: Shane Brooks, Taylor Dively, Sawyer Jackson, James Quick, Cassidy Maier, McKinley Striggow, Donald Thomas, Erin Thomas, Leah Thomas Outstanding Journalism Award: Vanessa Ray Outstanding Freshman Chemistry Award: Madeline Gerweck Outstanding Organic Chemistry Award: Tanner Irwin Outstanding Early Childhood Education Student Awards: Kaitlynn Moore, Fall 2017; Megan Taylor, Winter 2018 Outstanding Mathematics Student Award: Emma Muth President’s Academic Achievement Awards: Matthew Brown, Alyssa Dushane, Christopher Fultz, Madeline Gerweck, Alex Goncharuck, Lily Kozicki, Brady Spitulski, Joel Spotts Outstanding Humanities Student Award: Antoinette Kuzich George Rhodes Writing Fellow Award: Emma Muth Faculty Association Outstanding Student Award: Leah Thomas Dr. Ronald Campbell Student Government Award: Joel Spotts, Katie Vandenbrink Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award: Jeffrey Rabon Outstanding Faculty Award: Patrick Nedry Outstanding Student Program of the Year Award: Mariya Heinzerling Nursing Scholarship

10 • Feature

April 19, 2018



New Science/Math Dean teaching a meteorology course spring semester of their homes and cars and there are still foundations left from the houses that were destroyed in the flood. “It was just surreal - it was eerie. The students felt this One would never guess that the soft-spoken, eeriness too, to walk through the floodplain and there’s bespectacled man in the Life nothing left,” Cooper said. The friend he lost had once chased storms with him. Science building was once a In another example, Cooper described a visit to Denstorm-chaser. ‌ Kevin Cooper, dean of the Sci ver last spring, where he was head to a mall to do some ence/Math Division, will be teaching shopping. On that day, the state experienced a huge meteorology - his lifelong passion - during hailstorm that left a record amount of damage. spring semester. . Cooper scrolled through his phone to find a picture “I think all of our faculty in the Sci- of his car. There are cracks across the windshield and ence department teach their passion, and a friend is standing behind the car, wrapping the shatthat’s weather for me,” Cooper said. “I tered back window. The hail, much of it tennis-ball want to pass that excitement about weather sized, had totaled the car. on to other people.” ‌ “That was the first time I was really scared by weathCooper has been in love with learning about er,” he said. “I’m familiar with weather, but this caught the weather and its various aspects since the age me off guard. I wasn’t even storm-chasing that day, I of five, when he witnessed a small tornado in the was heading to a mall with my friend.” Toledo area. He started to record the weather each Cooper once again lamented the fact that safety can’t day, causing his interest in the subject to grow throughbe understated, especially when storm chasing. out the rest of his life. “You have to know what you’re doing,” he said. “I think it’s a very unique science class. The weath“There are a lot of inexperienced people who get close er in this area is interesting, especially in the spring,” to the storm. You have to stay pretty far back and stay Cooper said of his new course. behind the storm and not in front.” Among other reasons he wants to teach the class is Cooper went to college in South Dakota and spent a tragic accident that touched his life as a young man. time there following storms. Here it’s not an easy feat A college friend of his was hiking in Missouri when because the area is too populated, with both people and there was a violent storm. His friend was killed during trees. In South Dakota, the land was flat and open. a flash flood, and this moved Cooper to want to pass on Cooper doesn’t chase storms anymore, but says he’s the importance of safety. excited to be in the classroom again. The new class will “Flooding is the number one weather killer. We are at meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:20. A risk for flash floods in this area, so I just want people to lab will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 9:05. be aware,” he said. “It offers another Gen Ed. satisfier for natural science He recalls a flood that killed over 200 people in the students and I’m always excited to see new courses,” 1970’s in South Dakota. He took his environmental Lori Bean, professor of Biology and Chemistry, said. science class to visit the site. People were swept out Cassidy Maier Agora Staff

Art by Cheyanne Abel


April 19, 2018

Feature • 11

myWebPAL adds useful features Donald Thomas Agora Staff

MCCC’s WebPAL has received an update and a name change. The new version is called myWebPAL and went into effect earlier this semester. The goal of the new system is to make planning and registering more user-friendly, Registrar Traci Vogt said. “Registration is a two-step process. You must plan the sections and then register for them using the ‘Plan and Schedule’ link,’” she wrote in an email. “Once a student is registered for a section, it will be highlighted in green. If a course or section is planned, it is highlighted in yellow.” In many ways, the changes, when placed next to the previous version of WebPAL, seem to be mostly cosmetic. Both systems provide students the opportunity to register for classes. In the old version, students were able to search for courses, and once selected, register for them by going into a separate tab. This process is similar in myWebPAL, with the slight shift in cosmetics and with class lists that are easier to read and better designed. This shift will take some getting to, according to Ryan Ehlen, a nursing student. “It’s confusing, but you can get what classes you need set up on it easier,” Ehlen said. There also are some entirely new and useful features that all students will be able to benefit from, according to Vogt. “‘My Progress’ is an unofficial audit of a student program of study,” she said. It allows students to see what courses are still required in their program for graduation, Vogt said. “Any requirements that are outstanding

The new interface for WebPAL.

are highlighted in red,” she said. “If a student clicks on these requirements, a list of courses or available sections will appear that will fulfill this requirement.” Vogt suggested using “My Progress” to plan out course selection. “This feature will help guide students toward the completion of their degree,” she said. Once students get within a semester or two of graduating, they should still apply for graduation and have an official audit of their program completed by the Registrar’s Office, Vogt said. Steve Mapes, one of MCCC’s counselors, works with students to help them plan their future. He said he has been using the new version of myWebPAL quite a bit.

“I use it to look for open and closed sections, to help students build their schedules for classes,” Mapes said. He said the system is one of many tools the counselors can use to help students plan their education. “We use it, but it’s like a pencil to us,” he said. “There are many things that we can use.” Vogt has some advice for students using myWebPAL to set themselves up for graduation. “In order for the graduation planning piece to work correctly, the student must have their correct program of study and catalog year on record with the Registrar’s Office,” she said. They can verify this information when

they are logged into Student Planning, Vogt said. “This is done by going to ‘My Progress’ and verifying the information under ‘At a Glance.’ If a student needs to update their program of study or catalog year, they can find the ‘Change of Program form’ online in Student Planning under the ‘Academics’ tab.” On top of the new features that are built into myWebPAL, there are some minor details that students can now update on their own, Vogt said. “Students may also update their address, phone number and email address by clicking on “User Option” and then ‘User Profile,’ Vogt said.

Race and ethnicity course to bring fresh eyes to MCCC McKinley Striggow Agora Staff

A new course exploring the impact race and ethnicity have on today’s society is coming Fall 2018. The Race and Ethnicity course (SOC 253) will be taught by associate professor of Sociology Derek Roberts. Roberts has tackled this class before at four-year universities and hopes that by getting the word out early, it will bring interested students to sign up for the course. He said the course will expose students to historical and contemporary factors contributing to the social construction of race and ethnicity. The course description notes that besides identity and group formation, the course explores how race and ethnicity have consistently played a role in social and institutional discrimination – including areas such as economics, education, health, incarceration, and politics.

The class will be a Gen Ed and Global Studies satisfier. Roberts said Race and Ethnicity will be a 200-level course. “It’s an upper-level class, so we’ll have some original resources,” Roberts said. “It’s not just a textbook introductory-type class.” The class will include some original research, he said. “The main focus will be on American issues,” Roberts said, “but we do have quite a bit of content that will compare what’s going on in America with what’s going on in places like Europe and in Africa, as well, so we can get a better appreciation of what the racial and ethnic issues in the United States are.” Roberts plans to pair lectures with group discussion. Group discussion helps to get other people’s points of view across, he said. Roberts requires participation in all of his classes. In this one especially, he stresses that it is important to be able to contribute to the

Photo courtesy of Wonder woman0731 on Flickr.

development of what he calls the sociological imagination. Through discussion, Roberts hopes to pivot the conversation away from politics. “The events of the last five years have really sort of changed the conversation a little

bit,” he said. “At least it’s gotten a couple people to think, ‘well, maybe there’s still something to it. Maybe it’s something that we need to discuss.’ “And so that’s one of the things we will look at in this course. How we’ve transitioned from race being a big deal in the past to where we’ve sort of tried to run away from race and be colorblind and not want to acknowledge that race might be a factor in our daily lives.” Roberts hopes that after the class, students will be able to think critically about racial and ethnic relations in society. “I want us to have young people who are educated about these things,” he says. “Who can talk about them honestly and openly.” The course, SOC 253, will be available starting Fall 2018. It is a three-credit course that requires prerequisites of RDG 090, ENGL 090 or qualifying scores on an accepted placement test.

12 • Opinion


layoff hockey is arguably the most entertaining post season that pro sports has to offer. Players fight through injuries that would normally leave them sidelined for weeks, refs are more lenient with penalties, and the fans are there to create an atmosphere unlike any other. The best of seven series format allows lower ranked teams the opportunity to push the best to the very edge of elimination. All for a trophy that the winning team never gets to keep. Despite all this, the first week of the NHL playoffs has seen its fair share of blowouts this year. Six of the eight series in the first round featured a team with no wins up until April 18. One team, the Los Angeles Kings, was swept by the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the newest expansion franchise in the league The Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals were the remaining teams that had yet to acquire a win. Washinton had managed to lose their first two games in the final period after holding a strong lead from the very beginning of the

April 19, 2018


Hockey playoffs deliver blowouts game. On paper, the series looks like a blowout, but the last-minute comebacks by the Columbus Blue Jackets have been extremely entertaining to see unfold. Anaheim, New Jersey, and Toronto have all been busts. In their defense, they are all playing extremely talented teams in the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins, respectively. As all of the series shifted to the losing team’s home arenas, momentum shifted into their favor, but it might not be enough to crawl out of the hole that they have all dug themselves into. The series scores have not been the only form a blowout though. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers have renewed their rivalry in the first round.

Pittsburgh currently leads the series 3-1, but every game has been high scoring. Game one ended with a final score of 7-0 in favor of Pittsburgh, game two was 5-1 in favor of Philadelphia, game three was 5-1 in favor of Pittsburgh, and game four was 5-0 in favor of Pittsburgh. The Winnipeg Jets are leading the Minnesota Wild 3-1 in a hard-hitting matchup. Despite being one of two close series in terms of standings, the games haven’t been very entertaining. Even with the amount of blowouts, the teams that were expected to win have been winning. The second round should have the Nashville Predators facing off against Winnipeg and San Jose facing the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference should be Tampa Bay against Boston and Pittsburgh against Columbus. Depending on how long the different series go, the second round could begin as early as midway through the week of April 22. Photo and story by Taylor Dively, Agora Staff

Spring games reveal Michigan teams’ potential Shane Brooks Agora Staff

Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh’s football teams returned to the practice field this spring and are looking forward to fall. Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans began practicing on March 1 and concluded their practice sessions on April 10. Michigan started practice on March 23, and will cap off on April 24. MSU held its annual Spring Football game, showcasing their program for fans to see. The offense stole the show in the scrimmage, beating the defense 32-20. Coming off a 10-3 season and a primetime bowl win over Washington State, starting quarterback Brian Lewerke is eager to build off last season’s success. “Anything less than a Big Ten title is a disappointment,” Lewerke said following the scrimmage. A lot of MSU starters weren’t given a lot, if any, playing time during the scrimmage. Lewerke and running back LJ Scott saw playing time in the first half and sat the remainder of the day. Players such as Felton Davis, David Beedle, Cole Chewins, Joe Bachie, Andrew Dowell, and other notable backups did not play at all. In 2017, the Spartans were a young football team which exceeded expectations. Many of the same players from a season ago are returning for the upcoming season, including both Lewerke and Scott.

“With a healthy quarterback, the sky’s the limit for the Green and White.” This will be Dantonio’s 12th season with the program and as of the Holiday Bowl, he has 100 wins under his belt in East Lansing. With a healthy quarterback, the sky’s the limit for the Green and White. Sixty-five miles away from East Lansing, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan look to prove the naysayers wrong. The 2018 spring game for Michigan was cancelled due to weather concerns. In 2017, Michigan was the least experienced team in college football. The program graduated over 40 seniors from 2016, and lost 11 to the NFL draft. At an 8-5 record, expectations were not met despite the youthful circumstances. The big question of the spring for the Wolverines lies at the quarterback position. Three different quarterbacks started for the offense in 2017, combining for just nine touchdown passes all season long. Ole Miss Transfer quarterback Shea Patterson will potentially start for Michigan if the NCAA grants him immediate eligibility and if he can beat out the other quarterbacks on the depth chart to win the starting job. “He’s practicing very well,” Harbaugh said regarding Patterson. “Going about his business, taking care of it nicely. He’s controlling the things he can control. We’re treating it

the same way.” Whoever ends up starting under center for Michigan will have a receiving core that should have a good amount of experience with returning faces like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Kekoa Crawford. Both Karan Higdon and Chris Evans will return to the backfield. Harbaugh earlier mentioned that run-blocking is one of the best things Michigan is doing as a team right now. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has a defensive unit that returns nine out of 11 starters from the third best total defense in the nation. It lost only defensive-tackle Maurice Hurst and linebacker Mike McCray, who will both enter the NFL draft. Expectations for the Michigan defense are high, given that Brown is considered to be a top tier coach in football. In year four at Michigan for Harbaugh, it is a put up or shut up mentality. With many fans and spectators considering his tenure to be underachieving thus far, the pressure begins to thicken. The seat isn’t hot quite yet, but this upcoming season will say a lot about Harbaugh and the team’s future.  

“Expectations for the Michigan defense are high, given that Brown is considered to be a top tier coach in football.”


April 19, 2018

Gone to Seed

Arts & Entertainment • 13

Far Cry 5 has engagement issues

Donald Thomas Agora Staff

After taking in the scenery, Far Cry 5 fails to pull you in to finish the game. Published by Ubisoft, Far Cry 5 was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 27th. The game has you playing Marshal Burke, the newest deputy of Hope County, Montana. In the opening, you, Sheriff Whitehorse, and Deputy Hudson go into the compound of the religious cult known as Eden’s Gate. Your objective is arrest the leader of the cult, Joseph Seed, and bring him back for trial for his involvement in many a missing persons case. Everything goes south from here, leading into the main game and your confrontation with Joseph and the rest of the Seed family (John, Jacob, and Faith) as the rest of your original group get captured and distributed amongst the Seeds and their individual territories.

Helping you get your friends and coworkers back are the brave residents of Hope County. They, along with you and several core members, will form the Resistance, an impromptu militia hellbent on bringing down this cult. To help the Resistance fight back and take down the Seeds, you will need to take over cultist outposts in the three segments that comprise the map of Hope County. Each outpost can be approached in various ways. You can go in alone for a frontal assault, sneak in and plan out your attacks, or pick each enemy unit off at a safe range. Once the outpost is secured your militia will move in and renovate the former cultist outpost into a stronghold that may

contain several shops, some maps on nearby locations, or even unlock some side quests for you to perform. To bring along on this adventure you have a host of characters all across Hope County that include nine special companions and up to three of any of the hundreds of guns-for-hire. Boomer, the earliest companion that you can get in Seed’s territory, is a wonderful and lovable dog that will help spot and mark enemies for you. While not in combat, he can move around cultist territory without drawing attention to himself, though he won’t stray too far from you unless otherwise commanded. Once you have done the special mission for at least one other of the nine special companions, you are able to purchase the leadership ability so that you can bring a second companion with you to journey through the game’s visually-stunning environs. Far Cry 5 had a lot of hype surrounding the exploration and “real world” elements that were allegedly packed into this latest installment of the series.

Completely lacking a mini-map and forcing players to explore the world around them, rather than take down the traditional towers of past Far Cry games to unlock the map, helped breathe life into the game. Each destination would be another opportunity at an amazing and interesting encounter. Be it a hostage that you would need to rescue, cultists transporting supplies, or even a wild animal that could be out hunting or attacking a civilian that would need to be dealt with. Quite a few events you can approach in many ways: you could either hear a rumor at a bar or an outpost, stumble

across it while out exploring, or hear gunshots off in the distance that you run to investigate. The first area that you are suggested to explore is Fall’s End; John Seed’s territory. This incentive is created by the television broadcast that is designed as a religious commercial where Seed acts as a savior. In this commercial, you see Deputy Hudson, who is now sporting a black eye and tape over her mouth. She is only shown for a brief moment, firmly tied up and forced to stand on stage alongside Seed as a trophy. To help build the tension, the major story missions involving Seed are tied to a specific meter. This is the measure of the strength of your resistance. Once you reach a milestone and unlock one of these story missions, the first issue with the plot rears its ugly head. A message appears, informing you that you have been “marked” and that a team sent by Seed is on their way to hunt you down, as if you were an exotic animal. You are given no opportunity to fight back as they have hit you with a tranquilizer, even when there are no enemies for miles, that will bring you down no matter how hard you struggle to kill all incoming enemies that will appear to haul you away. This, at first, felt organic and original as when you are just starting out and hit your first milestone, aren’t that well-equipped or powerful enough to fight off that many waves of cultists. By the second and third repeat, this entire event feels tedious and annoying as you are well-equipped with not only great gear, but awesome abilities to help you kill most every cultist around. The capture process of Far Cry 5 that leads to these story events feels so ham-fisted compared to the more organic way that Vaas Montenegro and his men would capture you in Far Cry 3. Encounters like this aren’t the only issues with Far Cry 5. Pressing onward and upward through every challenge that lays before you in Fall’s End until you have your epic showdown with John Seed that starts out horrific and ends in a daring aerial duel and freeing Deputy Hudson. Then, to celebrate your achievements in Fall’s End and the death of John Seed, you and the Resistance will have a beer in the Spread Eagle bar to celebrate. Lurking, though, is a sinking feeling that this ending for the first boss alone, and the end of the engaging part of the plot. You don’t want to face it, as behind this monster smiles gleefully, so you hope. Hope that another major event will pop up on the television or a radio broadcast that will show you the fate of the Marshall and Sheriff. Nothing comes for you. Not a single hook is given to bring you out of your celebration back to the reality at hand and the lives at stake. Thus the game only one third of the way done, ends.

14 • Opinion

April 19, 2018


Anyone can graduate college debt free Kara Walker For the Agora

During high school, every month I had a new idea about what I wanted to be. I knew I did not want to go into the medical field, and I had considered being a math teacher. Thanks to the influence of financial guru Dave Ramsey, I also wanted to steer clear of debt. After college graduation, I wouldn’t want to pay loans back. My college funding began with my graduation money. I was blessed with a couple thousand dollars from family and friends, but I knew that amount could get sucked up in one class at a university. So, I found a new way. I acquired my first 33 college credits with only my grad party funds, thanks to a few little-known tests: the CLEPs and DSSTs. CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. They are a means of “testing out” of such classes as English Composition, College Algebra, Intro to Psychology, Macroeconomics, and History of the Western World, just to name a few. When I started taking CLEPs, each one awarded three to six college credits and cost $100, plus any sit-in fee that the college, university, or testing center charged. These credits could be transferred to the college of a student’s choice, and since they are pass or fail, would not affect their GPA. Official study guides are sold online for around $20. My first year after high school I earned 27 credits through CLEP tests, all for around $700, including fees and study guides. Most of these were six-credit tests. The following year I took DSSTs, which stands for DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. Prices for these are comparable to CLEPs, but they offer a few obscure subjects (like Ethics in America) that CLEPs do not have. Out of the several DSSTs I took, I only passed two. They tend to be more difficult, and not have as many available study guides. I studied for and took each test with friends of mine, which made learning fun. As a quick word of warning, only take CLEPs and DSSTs if you know they will be accepted by your future college. I knew that several colleges I was considering accepted CLEPs (including MCCC), but it turns out even the DSSTs I

Photo by Vanessa Ray

Financial Aid can help with scholarships and grants

passed were not widely accepted. In my quest to continue school without knowing exactly where I was going or what I was doing, these tests were a casualty. Thankfully, they only set me back a few hundred dollars instead of thousands. I was okay with this being my worst college decision. I was still debt-free. The following fall I began my career at MCCC. I used the rest of my grad money to take one class per semester and began working at the Monroe County Library System. The next year, I decided I wanted to get an associate degree, even though I still did not know my end goal. I received the Performing Music Scholarship, one of MCCC’s full-ride scholarships, upon entering the Agora Chorale or Band. I learned about the scholarships late, so I had to email the choir director after the deadline to ask for an audition. It turned out that a student had returned one of the awards, and after auditioning, I was in. I encourage students to apply for the choir scholarship. You do not have to be an accomplished singer. The Chorale is full of students and community members

who come to just sing for fun and enjoy the camaraderie. Sometimes only a handful of students apply, and there are extra scholarships available after the deadline, so don’t miss out. It was my first year full-time, and I enjoyed a variety of Gen. Ed. classes, such as Psychology, Political Science, and Calculus. I also became a writing fellow (which includes an additional scholarship) and a math tutor in the LAL, joined the Ballroom Dance Club, and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). PTK is an honor society on campus that provides service and possible scholarship opportunities. Next, I decided it wouldn’t be advantageous for me to go full-time another year because I hadn’t made a major decision. Instead, I started an internship at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park in downtown Monroe while finishing my associate degree. It also came with a several thousand-dollar Education Award through AmeriCorps. One of the highlights of my internship included learning how to write a federal grant for a summer kayaking program based at the park. My grant proposal received $25,000 to start the program. I wrote a handbook and led the entire project. I handled the administrative side of the job, which showed me I could thrive in a business environment. I enjoyed writing, and grew even more passionate in my desire to graduate debt-free. This all helped me realize that my debt-free goal could be part of my career path. As such, I have decided to study marketing, with a mathematics minor. Last fall I received the Performing Music Scholarship once more (it can be awarded a total of two years), and used an articulation agreement with EMU’s College of Business to tackle my fourth year at MCCC. I’ll be at EMU in the fall after having taken almost all the business and math classes MCCC has to offer. My dream is to learn to market my own content. I would like to blog and write a book about my college and debt-free experiences, and chronicle my journey on my YouTube channel, Kara’s Quest. I may get a teaching certificate someday, because I would enjoy teaching math, business, and personal finance classes, or being a financial adviser. Wherever I end up, it will be due in part to my fantastic experience at MCCC, and all the great scholarships they have to offer.

It’s your life, you choose what you want to do Carla Cohen Agora Staff

It starts with this question: what do you want to be when you grow up? The answers range from singers to doctors – imagining the possibilities ahead of us. Personally, I wanted to be a little bit of everything. I was obsessed with the movie, “Harriet the Spy,” where Harriet, a young teenage girl, would spy on her neighbors while writing down their every move. I would do the same, following my neighbors around, furiously scribbling in my composition notebook. I also wanted to be a singer, cop, writer, fashion designer, teacher; the list goes on. As we go to school, we slowly figure out what we are good at. We are expected to get our high school diplomas, start filling out scholarship applications, and begin applying to four-year colleges. For some of us, by this time we still don’t know what we want to do. Do we go to college hoping to figure it out or do we wait?

This is just the beginning. Next, we are shown by TV, books, and more, that as soon as we figure out what we want to be, we have to start a family. By our mid-20s to early 30s, we are expected to have a stable relationship, a degree, a “real” job, and be planning for our children’s future. This can be overwhelming to say the least. I’m 28 and returning to MCCC after 4 years of being away. I’ve been going to MCCC off and on for the last decade. I’ll let you in on a secret: I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I just have a general idea and I’m working toward that. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking you have to follow this basic life plan. I got married at 21 only to be separated at 23. I thought I had to have everything figured out right away, worried what others would think. Everyone works at their own pace. Maybe this general timeframe is okay for some, but it stresses me out. I’m working toward my degree; it may take me longer, but I’ll get there. At the end of the day, I think we all need to take a breath

Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet the Spy in the 1996 film.

and relax. Everything will work out in its own time, even if we are grown-up now and still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up. In our own time, we will find what we are meant to do. It may not be a doctor or singer, but maybe it’s a passion you never knew could help in the working world. Do what you love and don’t let society force you to change.


Opinion • 15

April 19, 2018

The transformative power of movies

Sawyer Jackson Agora Staff

It only now has dawned on me that this is the final piece I will ever write for the Agora. As of this writing, graduation is exactly two weeks away. As it quickly approaches, I’m experiencing a variety of emotions: excitement, nervousness, sadness, happiness — but above all else, a sense of fulfillment. I feel as I leave both this paper and school behind to attend EMU this fall, I’ve given my best and explored all the avenues that piqued my interest to the fullest extent. Before I further reflect on my time on the Agora, I feel as though I should share exactly how I got into film criticism. Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with fiction in all media. As a child, I thought that getting paid loads of money for whatever idea one could conceive, no matter how insane it sounds, was the best job ever. To this day, I still believe that. It was in 2006, at age 11, that I discovered both film journalism and criticism. From here, I would spend much of my free time absorbing news and scoops about upcoming releases and movies so early in development that they were years away from being seen. As I entered my teenage years, I started to dabble in film criticism myself; sharing my opinions on Yahoo! Movies, Comingsoon. net, YouTube, and so forth. I still remember going to my first ever midnight screening of “The Dark Knight” almost 10 years ago, and writing a review after getting home at 3 o’clock in the morning. In my sophomore year of high school, I joined my school newspaper because I wanted to see movies get more coverage. While I don’t look back on my time there fondly (mostly because I never got the chance to write much and when I did, I was assigned to cover sports. Teenage me despised sports with a passion), it did give me insight into the inner workings of a newspa-

Photo by Vanessa Ray

Sawyer Jackson reflects on his time at the Agora.

per so I was better prepared for the next time I wrote for a school paper. Fast-forward to Fall 2016. It’s my second full semester (not counting spring and summer) at MCCC. I had read several issues of the Agora in the months leading up to my entry in the paper. Heading into the fall semester, I felt I could bring a unique approach to the Agora, as movies were only occasionally covered prior to my involvement. So, I went into the Agora’s room, met

Travis, Sawyer’s childhood dog who recently passed away.

some new people who are now my respected colleagues, explained who I was, and what I could bring to the table as a freelance writer. I was brought on board and set out to write my first piece, which was about the five most underrated films of that summer in a movie-going season that was so disappointing. I was excited about having a proper chance to share my love for movies and my opinions to an entire school. Then, just shortly after becoming a freelance writer, my dog Travis, who I had since childhood, passed away. The days that followed his death were the loneliest, emptiest, and most emotionally crippling days of my life. I felt it was appropriate to wallow in my own grief for some time because I was afraid of overcoming such a loss so quickly. Nevertheless, the day after his passing, my mother encouraged me to tag along with my father to the movies to see “Hell or High Water.” The next night I went back to the movies alone to see “Pete’s Dragon.” Both of these films made it into my first article. Upon reflection, I now realize just how instrumental these two movies were. Though I still miss Travis, and will continue to miss him for the rest of my life, these films, in particular “Pete’s Dragon,” taught me not to feel guilty about enjoying life in the face of grief.

It was here that I understood the power of storytelling. Not because it can transport us to other worlds (though that is a huge part), but because it can bring us closer to our own. I’ve been writing for the Agora ever since. Besides sharing my love of movies, I’ve gotten to hear the passion other people share as well. There is no better feeling than putting out a review, then having a classmate or stranger start up a discussion with me about the movie I reviewed. Not only does that prove they took the time to actually read it, but what I wrote sparked some level of interest to want to further discuss it with me. It’s important to get your readers’ attention, and pique their interest. Even if they disagree with your opinion, the fact that they disagree at all means you elicited some kind of emotional response. In the two years I’ve been writing for this paper, I have interacted with some great people, and travelled to incredible events. I have experienced two equally memorable trips to New York City, a place I fantasized about setting foot in ever since I saw it on my TV screen at a very young age. Just recently, I attended an awards ceremony in Mount Pleasant, where I took first place in one category. To me, that feels like a proper capper to a chapter in my life that I will always cherish. Most importantly, however, are the fellow writers I got to know through this position. The two editors who oversaw the paper during my time here, Leah Thomas and Vanessa Ray, who were always the first ones to read my stuff and were always eager to share their thoughts with me. Miranda Gardner, James Quick, Cheyanne Abel, and many others whose names escape me at this moment, who welcomed me with open arms and were a critical part of some my fondest memories. Professor Dan Shaw, whom I first spoke to about joining the Agora back in August 2016, and who always pushed me to become a better, stronger writer. As I type these final words, I’m beginning to feel a bittersweet sensation within myself. I’m sad I will never write for The Agora again or see my name alongside so many other fine writers in the masthead. But I’m happy that all of it happened. Whether or not somebody in the near future takes my place as the Agora’s unofficial film critic, I thank you for taking the time to read my opinion every month. I hope I got you to think about a movie in a way you might not have considered prior. Whether you’ve read everything I’ve written, or are only just now reading something by me, I thank you. Good luck on all your future endeavors, enjoy what you love more often, and love it unconditionally. I’ll see you at the movies.

16 • Opinion

April 19, 2018


Class of 2018 looking ahead McKinley Striggow Agora Staff

Graduating students, get those caps and gowns ready because commencements are right around the corner! This year MCCC has 190 students graduating. Students completing requirements for degrees during the Fall 2017 and Winter, Spring, or Summer 2018 semesters are eligible and encouraged to participate in the 2018 Commencement Ceremony. Participation may not be mandatory, but having the memories of walking across the stage and receiving your diploma from President Kojo Quartey will hopefully be a fond memory to look back on as the years sneak by. The ceremony will occur on April 27 in the H Building. The event will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and will last an hour and 15 minutes. Graduates are expected to arrive by 6 p.m. but the auditorium will be open for seating starting at 5:30 p.m.

Seating is first come first serve so it will be in your guest’s best interest to come early. It will make for a long day but the view will be worth it in the end. Tickets for admission will be required for all guests. Due to limited seating, extra tickets will not be available. If you have tickets you are not going to use, please give them to a fellow graduate. As far as students are concerned we are, for the most part, first in and last out. We will be seated in alphabetical order within our degree group. Once the last person has been called and received their diploma, the ceremony is finally over. So congrats, graduates, and good luck on your next journey in life! I, myself, will be transferring to EMU Fall of 2018 to complete my studies in Anthropology with a projected graduation in 2020. I am very thankful that I had no idea what I was doing in high school and ended up at MCCC. My experience here has been ex-

tremely eye-opening. I know now what it takes to be a good student. I’m no honor student, but I am happy with my grades, and I also now know the power of asking questions. To anyone who is afraid to ask questions, don’t be! Chances are your professors will be more than happy to help. Asking questions, for me, also helped to build up confidence in my communication skills. I don’t know why I felt my “wallflower” personality in high school would magically morph into a butterfly when I got to college, but that’s exactly what I thought. I was beyond disappointed in myself when I realized on the first day of my Fall 2015 semester that was not going to be the case. Joining the school’s newspaper is what truly helped me find myself. I will be forever grateful for Agora editor Vanessa Ray and for Agora adviser Dan Shaw for their guidance.

These two very important people, without even knowing it, helped me open up and want to continue on with my schooling. Before the Agora, I was ready to throw in the towel. The point I’m trying to make is that you should get involved in your school and show some interest. The friends you make at school will help you through the tough times when the only thing you want to do is give up. If that doesn’t make you want to continue on, then think of it this way: we start school at a very young age; some even as young as three. Do you really want to give up at 18 when you have already been going for about fifteen years? I promise you, four or more years of college is nothing compared to what we have already been through. School, like life, is not a dead sprint. It’s a distance race and I’m in it for the long haul.

Agora April 2018  

Highlights from this months paper include coverage of MCCC's Honors night, the retirement of Business professor Pat Nedry, a profile on "Bea...

Agora April 2018  

Highlights from this months paper include coverage of MCCC's Honors night, the retirement of Business professor Pat Nedry, a profile on "Bea...