Every year at this time, LCCC and the more than 1,100 community colleges in the U.S. take time to recognize April as National Community College Month. National Community College Month provides awareness of the critical role community colleges play in our country’s higher educational system.
This year, more than ever before, we are proud to serve our students and the community.
Finding Hope: A Message from LCCC President Dr. Marcia Ballinger
President’s Blog, April 2020
As we begin National Community College Month, it’s safe to say this is not the April any of us expected. The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted the entire nation into a new reality, including higher education and Lorain County Community College.
This nationwide crisis has given me a new perspective on Community College Month and the role of LCCC for our students and the community. As always, the health and safety of all students and employees are our top priority. In the face of this emergency, we remain guided by the principle that every student’s dream matters. By wrapping our students in a Culture of Care we can help them reach their goals, even in these uncertain times.
A Salute to our Healthcare Workers and First Responders
LCCC pays tribute to the healthcare workers and first responders who chose a career giving back to their community and caring for others.
LCCC Stories of Impact
For this year’s community college month, we are highlighting our students and alumni, many of who are on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, we are spotlighting students who are persevering and faculty who are inventing creative ways to solve course delivery challenges.
How one North Ridgeville firefighter and Paramedic finds Silver Lining amid the COVID-19 Crisis
Firefighter and Paramedic Calvin Knowlton Focuses on Service to Others
Social distancing measures keep the fire station quieter than Calvin Knowlton and his colleagues are used to. Of course, that calmness can change at a moment’s notice when an emergency calls comes through.
“Things are different now, but we are always ready for whatever type of call may come through,” said Knowlton, 27 of Amherst.
Avon High School grad Ayrianna Lord used LCCC’s NEOLaunchNET to create a flotation device for the differently abled
A Family on the Frontline: Hometown Hero Rebecca Sullivan
For Rebecca Sullivan’s family, emergency medicine is just a way of life. It’s where it all started, literally. Rebecca, a registered nurse in the emergency room at Mercy Health – Lorain Hospital, met her husband Matt, a North Ridgeville firefighter and paramedic, in Lorain County Community College’s paramedic program.
Read the story: “A Family on the Frontline: Hometown Hero Rebecca Sullivan“
The Sew Must Go On: Volunteers Turn LCCC Theatre Costume Fabric in to Face Masks during Coronavirus Pandemic
Stitch by stitch and seam by seam, the Lorain County Community College family is uniting to collectively sew hundreds of face masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
With in-person theatre shows canceled, LCCC director of theatre Jeremy Benjamin and costume shop supervisor April Rock, found themselves with a lot of material for costumes and no characters to dress. It didn’t take long for the decision to be made to turn the yards of fabric into face masks for the community.
A Healing Heart – Ohio Nurse and LCCC Instructor Heads to New York to Help in Pandemic Fight
LCCC Student Dulce Cintron Named Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar
Lorain County Community College student Dulce Cintron has been named one of the top 100 community college students in the country, and one of the top 10 community college students in Ohio. Cintron, 17, of Lorain, is a senior at Lorain County Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus. In May, Cintron will graduate with two LCCC associate degrees at the same time she graduates high school.
Lorain County Community College student Dulce Cintron has been named one of the top 100 community college students in the country, and one of the top 10 community college students in Ohio.
Cintron, 17, of Lorain, is a senior at Lorain County Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus. Cintron is enrolled in Lorain County Early College High School through a partnership between LCCC and Elyria City Schools. Lorain City Schools are also a partner with Early College. In May, Cintron will graduate with two LCCC associate degrees at the same time she graduates high school.
Cintron has been named a 2020 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion. She has also been named to the Ohio First Team Top 10, and will receive a $1,000 scholarship and medallion.
“Dulce dedicated herself to advanced academic achievement at a very young age by making the decision to attend LCCC’s Early College High School. She has flourished in her classes, as well as taking on challenging extra-curricular opportunities, such a high-level research. There is no doubt that she will go far in life,” LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., said.
Cintron is a member of LCCC’s chapter of the American Society of Microbiology and a leader in an on-campus research group that investigates toxic algae blooms in the Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie. She is also a supplemental instructor for biology and a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and a varsity athlete in cross country and track for Elyria High School.
“Dulce is truly an amazing individual,” said LCCC biology professor Kathy Durham, Ph.D., who oversees the research group. “She was only a freshman in high school when she asked to join my research group. I said yes, and it was the best decision I ever made. Dulce is reliable, enthusiastic and a very positive leader.”
Cintron plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science or a related field. Her ultimate goal is to become a large animal veterinarian and to conduct veterinary research.
“I’m honored to be recognized with these awards,” Cintron said. “Attending Early College at LCCC, I have been inspired to work harder by my teachers and I cannot thank them enough. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of the LCCC community.
Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.
“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”
“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.
LCCC Grad and Cleveland Clinic Nurse Looks for the Simple Joys to Deal with COVID-19 Pandemic
Cleveland Clinic registered nurse and LCCC graduate Michelle Thimke finds joy in the simple things while dealing with the uncertainty of treating patients in the hospital’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit – uncertainties that are now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cleveland Clinic registered nurse and Lorain County Community College graduate Michelle Thimke finds joy in the simple things while dealing with the uncertainty of treating patients in the hospital’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit – uncertainties that are now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Catching up and checking in on my family and friends brings me the most joy,” said Thimke, who is an intensive care nurse in the surgical ICU. She and her husband, Corey, are Elyria natives who now live in Lakewood.
“I also find a lot of peace from exercise, so I have been keeping up with my weekly routine of jogs, long walks, yoga, and now at-home workout videos,” she said.
Thimke, who earned an associate of science degree from LCCC in 2014 and an associate degree in nursing from LCCC in 2016, starts her morning off from work with an online service or daily devotional from her Lakewood church. “This helps me have the right mindset for the day. I try to limit time spent on social media so that I am not influenced by the hysteria some are causing,” she added.
Facing this current public health crisis is not easy for any healthcare professional, but Thimke believes her education and training from LCCC prepared her for the challenges she now faces.
“The Nursing program at LCCC in particular was the most challenging endeavor I have accomplished in my life thus far. Looking back, I am so thankful for the high standards set by the professors in lecture, lab, and clinical because I would not be the nurse I am today without that level of preparation,” she said. The professors in the program helped shape her and prepared her to take the NCLEX (nurse licensure exam). “I had a relatively seamless transition when I began my career.”
Healthcare professionals and first responders face anxiety on a regular day and that is now magnified during this pandemic, but she uses a different focus in her day-to-day work with patients.
“I think vigilance is a better word to describe my actions and feelings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Thimke said. “At work, I have to be more vigilant while caring for patients to keep them and myself safe from harm. I find myself looking out for the safety of all members of our healthcare team more intentionally, especially regarding proper use and removal of PPE (personal protective equipment).”
After beginning her career in nursing at the Cleveland Clinic she continued her education by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from The University of Akron and is now pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Kent State University. She also co-taught a nursing simulation lab at LCCC prior to returning to school to earn her MSN.
Thimke was drawn to health care after she lost her grandmother, whom she called Mema Sandy, to pancreatic cancer when Thimke was a teenager. “I remember feeling so helpless and unaware of what to expect as she fought courageously,” Thimke noted.
Thimke’s passion only grew as she took courses in anatomy, physiology and genetics at Elyria High School during her senior year. “When the time came to make my career choice, it seemed to me that nursing was the best way to combine my desire to feel empowered while caring for people and my passion for learning about health and the human body,” she said.
Because research and recommendations for public health are changing almost daily Thimke would like everyone to remember to be selfless during this time and think of others, especially the elderly and those with weakened or compromised immune systems. “Abide by social distancing recommendations and follow stay-at-home orders. Together we can combat this, and we will learn from our shortcomings,” she said.
After all, we all need to reflect on the simple things in our lives like our family and friends, she said. “I could not ask for a more loving and supportive family,” Thimke said. “They are truly my greatest blessing in life.”
LCCC Nursing Student Geri Martineau
The Importance of Accurate Information
The people and the stories of their journeys through the COVID-19 pandemic are many and certainly varied. There is not just one angle or one way to deal or to help.
Everyone can certainly look inside themselves and find a gift to give and help as we all try to navigate down the path of uncertainty.
This is Lorain County Community College nursing student Geri Martineau’s gift.
“I am focusing on making sure people have accurate information,” Geri said. “There is so much out there that people are spreading through social media that is inaccurate.” She put an emphasis on the “so much.”
Geri is 38 years old. She is a mom. And, after 15 years working in her chosen field of sociology and criminology, she, “reassessed my life.”
Geri has a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University in sociology with a concentration in criminology but she wanted to become a nurse. She is in her second semester in LCCC’s associate degree nursing program.
In the very first semester of her return to college, Geri took Microbiology from Dr. Harry Kestler. His celebrated background in infectious disease research in HIV-AIDS changed her life.
“I’ve been sharing his videos,” Geri said referring to Dr. Kestler’s daily CoVideo updates. “I’m proud to be a nursing student right now and, as people, we need to watch out for each other’s mental health. There is so much you can do whether you are in the medical field or not.” Geri has a 15 year old son who is autistic. “One of the things I did at my house right away was I made sure words like quarantine and coronavirus and COVID-19 are familiar words for my son, not scary words. I made it a positive thing to discuss and we didn’t push it aside and saved mental stress over them.” Her son, Billy, is one of the reasons she is pursuing her RN degree. “I think I have some life experiences to share and I think one of my strengths in nursing will be my ability to work one-on-one with patients and help comfort them when they are scared or confused.”
When Geri needs comfort, she turns to the cello she plays in the Lorain County Community College Orchestra. She loves to get lost in its strings. And, of course, if she needs an extra boost, she has Dr. Kestler’s knowledge.
“I am very glad to be involved in helping people right now and educating them with accurate information.”
LCCC Donates Medical Supplies to Local Hospitals
LCCC has donated hundreds of boxes of medical supplies to Lorain County hospitals. The supplies included nitrile gloves, surgery masks, sterile gowns, surgical scrub caps and reusable eye shields from the College’s allied health and nursing education program and the micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) program.