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Small-Town Students Experience Big City Life: TRiO Program’s Cultural Trip to New York City

From rural landscapes to towering skyscrapers, students from North Central State College’s TRiO program had the chance to experience the vibrant sights of New York City this past summer. Brothers, Clay and Chase Easterday, both part of the TRiO program, shared their adventures and how the experience changed their perspectives.

The North Central State College TRiO program takes students to at least one to two leadership conferences or workshops during the academic year. These opportunities are provided for our TRIO students who aspire to be leaders in our community.

Clay, an integrated engineering technology student, and Chase, a business management student, began their college experience at the North Central’s Crawford Success Center.  “We are so grateful to have the Crawford Success Center in our local community,” Clay says.  “It makes it a lot easier to get your education in one spot and then being able to take that education anywhere you wish to take it.”

The brothers came from a small town, so visiting New York City was a huge change. They got to see museums, eat at world-famous restaurants, and experience the hustle and bustle of city life.

For Chase, the experience was a testament to the program’s commitment to broadening horizons. “We’re small-town kids. Some of the students are from other small towns, we would never be like, ‘Hey. We’re going to New York,'” Chase remarked. The brothers never thought they’d go to a place like New York City. But the trip wasn’t just about sightseeing; it was about learning and growing. They visited iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Apollo Theater, and the Twin Towers memorial. They even got to go to the top of the One World Trade Center and see the amazing skyline of New York City.  “You just don’t realize how high up you are in the elevator and see it all,” Chase reflected.

Their trip wasn’t just about the tourist spots; it was about the people and the connections they made. Despite being from a small town, they felt connected to the city and its diverse culture. Chase shared how they watched as the city lit up at sunset, a sight they wouldn’t have experienced back home. “We got to see New York come to life,” Clay recounted.

The TRiO program’s support extends beyond sightseeing, offering indispensable assistance tailored to students’ academic needs. The TRiO Student Support Services program provides and coordinates a variety of educational services for students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or students with disabilities. Clay Easterday emphasized the program’s role in alleviating financial burdens, sharing, “They saved me over $600 on books this semester.” Through initiatives like a used book library stocked with TRiO resources, students find solace in the program’s unwavering support, ensuring academic success and support for all of its members.

“The cultural activities are provided to allow students to experience programs, events, and activities they may not otherwise experience like sporting events, theater productions, museum visits, etc.,” Amanda Windom, TRiO specialist explains.  “By TRiO sponsoring these activities, our students are also given the chance to explore possible internships and job opportunities.”

In just one week, the students went beyond their rural backgrounds and fully embraced the diverse culture of New York City. When they came back from the trip, they were filled with memories of a journey that exceeded what they thought possible. Chase reflected, saying, “The trip exposes you to different cultures and lets you meet new people.”

The New York City trip is a perfect example of the real-world experiences offered at North Central State College and the power of education and exploration. From small towns to towering cities, the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds.

Crawford Spotlight: Local Mom Finds Success and Support in One-Year Certificate Program

Jessica Hickman, a dedicated single mom and seasoned office manager, is embarking on a journey through a one-year certificate program in Operations Management at North Central State College. Her story is one of resilience, empowerment, and the unwavering support of her community.

Discovering the opportunity through a connection made at a Galion Chamber event, Jessica wanted to expand her skills. “My boss connected me to Nate Harvey from the Crawford Success Center to keep growing in my career as an office manager,” Jessica explains, highlighting the importance of seizing opportunities for professional development.

With six years of experience in office management, Jessica views the certificate program as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. “It’s going to boost my skills and help solidify my knowledge, especially in areas like accounting,” she shares.

For Jessica, who has been out of school for nearly two decades, the prospect of returning to college as a single mom initially felt overwhelming. However, the supportive environment alleviated her apprehensions. “North Central State College has done a wonderful job of giving me all the resources I have needed,” Jessica says.

North Central’s Operations Management Certificate program allows students to complete a series of coordinated courses in a shorter period than an associate degree.  This certificate is eligible for federal financial aid.

The accessibility of the Crawford Success Center has also been instrumental in Jessica’s success. “Making the drive to Mansfield all the time is really hard, especially with children,” she admits. Jessica is thankful for the Crawford Success Center offering essential resources, from computer labs to printing services, making academic pursuits possible for individuals like her.

In addition to academic support, Jessica acknowledges the invaluable assistance provided by her community, both within and beyond the program. “Having friends who help me focus on one assignment at a time has made the biggest difference,” she reflects, emphasizing the importance of surrounding oneself with encouraging and supportive individuals.

“Everyone has been so kind and supportive,” Jessica says. “The campus also offers a food pantry program and that is something I have had to utilize a couple of times this year. The staff makes it accessible here at the Crawford Success Center and it’s been a huge help to me and my kids.”

As Jessica continues her educational journey, her story serves as inspiration, demonstrating the power of education and the strength of community support.

Scholarship Application

North Central State College Foundation Scholarships deadline extended to March 15

  • Who may apply? Those who will be regularly enrolled students at the College during the 2024/25 academic year (fall 2024/spring 2025). A regularly enrolled student is one who has graduated from high school (or received a GED) and is seeking to earn an NC State degree or aid-eligible certificate.
  • Deadline to apply: March 15, 2024
  • Those awarded a scholarship will be notified by mid April.
  • All applicants must file a 2024/25 FAFSA by March 15, 2024.  NC State’s FAFSA code is 005313
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. You will not be notified if your application is incomplete.
  • Most scholarships carry stipulations (e.g., major, GPA, level of enrollment, place of residence, year-in-college, etc.)
  • Scholarship proceeds will be credited to recipients’ fiscal accounts at the College to help pay tuition expenses. No cash payments will be made to students from scholarship funds.

Application is live from February 1, 2024-March 15, 2024

Access the application here from February 1, 2024-March 15, 2024

For a complete list of scholarships available visit the North Central State College Foundation

Determined to Make a Difference

Rico Woods was determined to make a difference in the world of law enforcement. Uncertain about his future, he worked odd jobs until he learned about North Central State College.

“Walking through the doors at NC State, I found a supportive community that guided me through the enrollment process, setting me up for academic success,” Woods says.

In 2016, he began classes at North Central State College in the criminal justice department.  Although he admits to struggling with math and English, Rico sought tutoring to stay on track.  He completed his necessary general education courses over the next two years.  In 2019, he proudly graduated with an associate degree in criminal justice.

“Graduating with my degree in criminal justice from North Central helped me get my foot into some doors. I quickly saw more opportunities opening for me in a wider area,” Woods explains.

The associate degree from North Central became a stepping stone to a security job.  For two years, Woods enjoyed a flexible security position at a local library, benefitting from tuition assistance.  Working in the library gave him access to resources like OhioLink and Search Ohio, which allowed him to explore additional training to enhance his knowledge without financial burden.

After exploring universities across Ohio, he chose to pursue his bachelor’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. His credits from North Central transferred seamlessly, and UC uses the same online learning platform — Canvas.  Balancing a full-time job with academics proved to be a challenge, but Woods successfully graduated in the fall of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Reflecting on his achievement, Woods described his start at North Central as a “life-changing experience.”

“At North Central, the people, the professors, and advisors work hard to help students get to that next level and further their education.”

Eager to explore new opportunities, Woods plans on pursuing his master’s degree in either public administration or business in 2025.  He recognized that these degrees could open doors to diverse roles in the criminal justice field.

His story serves as an inspiration for those seeking to carve their path in the world by combining public service and higher education.

Funding Available for New Drone Program

North Central State College students will soon find out what it takes to catch a criminal from 400 feet in the air with the launch of a new Drone Program.

North Central State College (NCSC) and the NC State Foundation, with a lead gift from Craig Smith Chevrolet and Craig Smith RV, are launching a new Commercial Drone program for 2024.

A demonstration was held on Monday, December 11, 2023, at the RV Center in Galion. The new program will combine online coursework and in-person training to prepare students to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Small UAS Rule (Part 107) licensure test.

Chris Copper, VP of the NCSC Foundation says, “This is a very exciting day for our college.  This program is a direct result of a need in our community and interest from our students.”

Brent Smith of Craig Smith RV says, “We have been a victim of theft here many times from people stealing everything from TVs to catalytic converters. With the use of drones, police can launch it from the station and have it over to our business in a minute or two.”

He continues, “Sponsoring the program was a no-brainer for us because of all the ways it could help.  We are very grateful for the opportunity.”

Drones can assist safety forces and first responders throughout the community.  Drones can be used by police and fire personnel.  Galion police officer John Wallis will be instructing students for the program.  Wallis says, “This is the first step in a very advanced field.  I am just one of what will be five operators in the Galion police department. We are hoping to eventually offer services to not only Galion but all of Crawford, Richland, and Morrow counties.”

The North Central State College Foundation surveyed multiple county-wide police and fire departments, with 60% saying they do not have the resources or anyone trained to pilot a drone.

“This drone will assist us with suspect apprehensions,” Officer Wallis explains.  “The infrared on the drone has the capability to assist when there are large fires, high-speed pursuits and establish perimeters for the SWAT team to keep the lives of those wearing a badge safer.”

Funds for this new program are being generated through donations from area donors and training will be done through NCSC.  Funding is available for the first 10 students who enroll in the program.

To find out more information go to https://ncstatecollege.edu/workforce-development-drone/.

Drone Program Interest Form

Please fill out this form to find out more about the Drone Training Program at NC State.

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Richland Gives

On Monday November 13th, many will come together for an online giving event called Richland Gives and the NC State College Foundation needs OUR ALUMNI’S HELP!

Our Foundation exists to secure financial and community support to be able to provide lifelong learning opportunities to all people in our communities, through scholarships, caring and meeting student needs.

This year our community has spoken, and we have established the Honoring the Legacy, Inspiring Future Leaders Scholarship. The scholarship commemorates the lasting impact, legacy of service and enhancement of lives felt in our communities from every honoree inducted into the Hall of Excellence, while paying the opportunities forward to our future leaders.

As Alumni, please consider a donation in the dollar amount of the year you graduated. If you would like to impact that gift further, add the dollar amount of the total number of years you have been an alumni, to the graduation year gift. If you were a 2013 NC Graduate, your graduation year gift would be $20.13 adding the 10 years since you were an NC State graduate your total enhanced gift would be $30.13.

Will you change a life today? Please support the vital services of the NC State College Foundation by donating today online at Richland Gives 2023.

Tell your friends. Forward this link. Share it on Facebook and LinkedIn. Help spread the work of changing lives!

Remember the next time you see a nurse, a peace officer, an engineer, a college student, they may not be where they are without your help to make a real difference.

Scholarships Help Student with Career Change

At 50 years old, Jae Cha is halfway through the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program at North Central State College.  In 2014, Cha decided to get his GED in the Adult Education program at 42. Soon after he enrolled in classes at North Central.  “It was something I never dreamed I would do, but thanks to a wonderful scholarship opportunity from the North Central State College Foundation, I decided that gift was my sign to continue on to get my associate degree,” Cha says proudly.

In 2018, Cha graduated from North Central with his associate degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA). “The Foundation was an excellent resource for me during that time and helped me financially through the program,” Cha explains.  While employed as a PTA through OhioHealth, he worked closely with the nursing staff every day.  “When I had the opportunity to return to school again to be a nurse with the help of OhioHealth and North Central, I decided that was something I really wanted to accomplish,” he says.

OhioHealth and North Central State College Foundation have partnered to provide an amazing professional development opportunity for OhioHealth employees.  This program, which trains employees to become Licensed Practical Nurses, provides support while meeting the needs of those in the program.

Cha currently works as a full-time PTA during the day, while going to school at night and clinicals on the weekends.  “I am extremely grateful that this program exists for people like me.  Receiving this scholarship changed the path of my career in the health field, and that means everything to me,” Cha says.

“This program has inspired me to return to school at my age to eventually become an RN,” Cha says.

Once Cha has completed his LPN certificate he plans to return to the Registered Nursing Program at North Central next year. “I’ve always thought about furthering my education. The generosity from the Foundation made it a no-brainer for me.”  The combination of PTA and nursing will provide unique skills in two in-demand fields.  Cha is excited to continue his growth as a professional.

“With my LPN certificate, I would like to continue my journey with OhioHealth, be a part of their nursing team, and continue my journey with patient care,” Cha explains.

“I love having the ability to help people who are having health issues and being able to be a part of their recovery process.  I currently help mobilize patients to get them up and moving after an injury, but hopefully I can do more for them as a nurse.”

Respiratory Care Students Breathe Easy About Future Career

Click Here to Schedule and Information Session

There is a growing demand for respiratory therapists who have a passion for helping others breathe easier.  Casey Shenefield, a respiratory care student at North Central State College, wanted to find a way to serve others as a Navy reservist.  “Getting out of the military full-time, I wanted to continue to serve in some capacity so with the help of my sister (who is currently a respiratory therapist) I discovered that NC State, which is local to me, had a great Respiratory Care program.”

Respiratory therapists help treat patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders.  They take care of people who have trouble breathing – for example because of conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Shenefield has been in the Navy for 10 years active and three years in the reserve.  “I looked into NC State College before joining the Navy,” he explains.  “My sister has several colleagues who went through the program at North Central and highly recommended that I attend college here.  They told me it is a great program to prepare me for a career in respiratory therapy.”

North Central’s Respiratory Care Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. There are more than 185,000 respiratory care practitioners in the United States.  In a recent study by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), 75% of respiratory care practitioners work in hospitals side-by-side with physicians and nurses as a vital part of the healthcare team.  Others work in laboratories, home health care, skilled nursing facilities, physicians’ offices, sales, education, and research.

“This career is one of those hidden gems within the healthcare field,” Shenefield says proudly.  “It’s something you don’t hear a lot about until you do your research or you are involved in the hospital with respiratory therapists.  I feel like the program here at North Central goes above and beyond to fully prepare you to do your job and be successful once you are in the hospital setting.”

Shenefield has already earned a degree in criminology but decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in respiratory care using the GI Bill to return to college during his military career.  GI Bill benefits help members of the military pay for college, graduate school, or training programs.  Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped qualifying veterans and their families get money to cover all or some of the costs for school or training.

“Coming to NC State, I was able to work with financial aid offices to get the GI Bill set up,” Shenefield says.  “They made the process super simple.  It was just a couple of paperwork items from my side and they established financial aid through the bill quickly and efficiently.”

Students in the respiratory therapist program learn a lot about patient care including drawing blood, oxygen therapy, medication delivery as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Shenefield says his favorite part about the program is learning about the ventilators.  He explains, “I like the mechanical aspect of the ventilators, like how we can manipulate the body to do what we need it to continue to survive.”

“The same equipment that we are training on in class is the same equipment we are seeing in the hospitals in our clinical sites,” he says.  “Being able to have hands-on experience with the same equipment we are going to use in the real world is very helpful.”

In the Respiratory Care program at North Central, after the first two semesters, students have the opportunity to apply for a limited student permit.  It gives them the opportunity through the summer and the remaining time at NC State College to work full-time in a hospital setting.  Students are compensated and get to be more hands-on as they prepare for graduation. Graduates in the program are eligible to take the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) examination to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist and to attain a Respiratory Care license in the state of Ohio.

Shenefield will graduate from the program in May of 2024.  He says, “Just knowing the day I step out of NC State, I have an opportunity to work in a hospital right away is awesome.”

Experiences Make Life Full

It’s the experiences in life that make it full.  Elizabeth “Biz” Them has dedicated her life to making sure people are aware of the impact they can make on others.  Biz, a 2013 Physical Therapy Assistant graduate of North Central State College was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, which is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain, causing loss of muscle use.

People with ALS lose their ability to walk, talk, eat, and eventually breathe.  The diagnosis usually comes for people between the ages of 40 to 70 but can strike at any time.  Biz was diagnosed at the young age of 32.  It’s her outlook on life that inspires others.  “I know it sounds cliché,” she says with a smile, “but just living every day to the absolute fullest is so important.  Grab every opportunity that you get.”

And that’s something Biz can say she does daily.  She takes advantage of every opportunity in front of her in life, including getting a quality education.

Biz is a 2003 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.  She started at college in Indiana and played basketball.  However, circumstances brought her back to Ohio where she took classes at Ashland University.  After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she worked for two years but didn’t find pleasure in her chosen field.

After hearing about the Physical Therapy Program at North Central State College, she enrolled, taking advantage of yet another opportunity.  “Honestly, I heard nothing but great things about the program and that influenced me to enroll,” Biz explains.  “I had a wonderful experience.  It was very affordable.  Even if you need a loan, you’re going to pay it back quickly.  Every staff member and instructor I ever encountered at the college was top-notch.”

“The whole program ran very smoothly.  I learned a ton.  I was fully prepared for my board exams to work right after graduation.”

“The staff at North Central State was amazing,” Biz says.  “I enjoyed all of my classes.  We had small class sizes, and a fantastic lab to learn in.”

After graduation, Biz joined OhioHealth’s outpatient clinic as a Physical Therapy Assistant, where she had a chance to work with her best friend and now part-time caretaker, Cassie Taylor.  “Cassie graduated from North Central State College’s PTA program as well,” Biz says while coaxing her friend to join the conversation.  “We learned together, we worked together.  We’ve known each other for about eight years now.”

Cassie steps forward, smiling at Biz, “We became really good friends when we were co-workers together at OhioHealth.  I still work at the same clinic.  On occasion, I bring Biz to the clinic to hang out with everyone and have lunch.”

“After I graduated from North Central, all of my classmates got jobs right away,” Cassie says.  “I had an interview at OhioHealth on the same day of my graduation and started working within two weeks.”

Biz adds, “Cassie and I were in our mid-20s when we were at North Central.  We didn’t take classes at the college right out of high school.  We didn’t feel awkward or out of place.  It was very welcoming and easy to be there.”

“I was also able to make more money with my two-year associate degree than I did with my bachelor’s degree,” Biz says.

Along with Cassie, Biz has a big support group that includes her husband and her two stepdaughters.  One of her favorite things to do is travel.  “My husband and I have made traveling a priority.  If we can swing it, we do it!”

Biz and her husband have traveled all over the world.  From a trip to Iceland, to Costa Rica, and even a van trip across the United States.  She wants to make sure she sees the beauty this world has to offer.  “During the pandemic, we bought a van, picked up my parents, and began a cross-country trip,” she remembers fondly.  “We drove west for three weeks.  We hit 15 national parks.  I just loved every minute of it.”

And life is about taking in every opportunity presented to you, Biz makes sure she uses those moments to also help spread awareness of ALS.  “The drug I am on now is FDA-approved.  It is a great medicine,” she explains.  “I don’t know if it was my young age, my activity level, or the medicine but my progression is slowing.  I am still walking, talking, eating, and breathing just fine.  Which means I still have plenty of time to share awareness of this disease.”

She works very hard to raise money each year.  Biz participates in the “Walk to Defeat ALS” with her team named “We Mean Biz”.  “I started raising funds in 2021.  Last year, I was able to raise over $20,000.  Now this year I have a goal of over $30,000.”  At last check, Biz has already raised almost $24,000!

The money goes directly to patients with ALS.  “I have benefited from it every year, with grants from transportation or cleaning the house.  Fundraising is key, but so is awareness.  It is an awful disease, but there is hope.”

If you would like to help support Biz and her mission to help defeat ALS, you can go to the Columbus Walk to Defeat ALS: Elizabeth Them – The ALS Association Central & Southern Ohio Chapter.

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