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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

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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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Students Take on Grand Race Challenge

No challenge seems too big for Mechanical Engineering Technology student Brycen Burkhalter.  Not only has he taken on the challenge of earning his bachelor’s degree, but he also works as an airman in the Ohio National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing.

“Between graduating from the CollegeNow program to today, I worked in aircraft maintenance for two years,” Burkhalter explains.  “I graduate this May and will go straight to tech school.  I can’t wait to use all of the experience I gained at North Central State College in my military career.”

Burkhalter was part of a team of students who built an electric vehicle as part of their capstone project in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology program.  Burkhalter and his teammates, Jackson Carpenter, Lane Fry, and Casey Barker put their project to the test in early May at the Grand Race Challenge held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH.  “We worked on the design the first half of the year, and the second half of the year worked on the redesign,” Burkhalter says.  “However, during spring break we ran into major problems and did a complete redesign.”

But all of that hard work paid off.  The vehicle ran smoothly around the course going about 50 seconds per lap.

Burkhalter got his start in engineering as a junior in high school, enrolling in North Central’s CollegeNow engineering academy. “I knew I wanted to pursue an associate’s degree when I was in high school.  I enjoyed all of my engineering courses,” he says.  “It was a FREE associate degree for me and a great opportunity.  I was a 17-year-old starting in the engineering program and now I’m 21 and will soon graduate with my bachelor’s degree.”

He says he chose North Central State College to continue his college education for many reasons.  “North Central is local and the college gives you so many chances to succeed. I tell anyone who might be interested in the program to talk to other students who have had a first-hand experience of how these courses work,” Burkhalter says.

And his love for engineering won’t stop after graduation.  Soon after he walks across the stage to get his diploma, he will be leaving for Missouri where he will continue training for his military career.  “I will be doing landscape surveillance and AutoCAD, which is a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application,” he explains.  “We use AutoCAD here at North Central, so I’ll have a step up.  These past four years have been a really good experience, especially knowing that the information I learned in class will now transfer into my military career.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Grand Race Challenge

At the 2023 Grand Race Challenge, five females unite to build the ultimate pink go-cart!

Members of the group:

  • Madison Carns
  • Mikayla Blankenship
  • Ava Neidermier
  • Haley Lefever
  • Hailey Morris

Grand Race Challenge

8-Week Classes Begin Oct. 16th

We hope students have a great fall semester.

If you are still interested in enrolling at North Central, we are now offering 8-week courses* so you can concentrate on fewer courses at a time.  The second half of fall semester begins October 16, 2023.

BUSM-2010Intro Data Mgmt for Business
PSYC-1010Intro to Psychology
HUMA-1010Intro to Humanities
MATH-1151Calculus II
MUSC-1010Music Appreciation
STAT-0086Algebra for Prob & Stats
STAT-1010Probability & Statistics
ENGL-0040Integrated Reading & Writing
PSYC-1010Intro to Psychology
MATH-1110College Algebra
PSYC-2090Social Psychology
GEOL-1010Physical Geology
HIST-1010American History I
EDUT-2150Educational Psychology
ENGL-2050American Literature I
ENGL-2050English Composition I
SPAN-1010Beginning Spanish I
ENGL-0010College Comp Lab
ENGL-1030English Composition II
CISS-1280Microsoft Excel Advanced
ENGL-9920 Combined ENG 101 & ENGL 0010
MATH-0084Intro & Intermediate Algebra
CISS-1280Microsoft Excel Advanced
ITEC-1650Linux Fundamentals (Linux+)
BUSM-1010Intro to Business & Entreprenuership

If you don’t find the information you need, contact admissions@ncstatecollege.edu, or connect with any of the offices below. We’re here for you!

*Certain criteria apply.  Contact NC State for additional information.

Fall Break Week October 9-15

Fall 2023 Session B Begins October 16 - December 10

Fall Semester 2023 Ends

College-NOW students compete in Grand Challenge Race

**UPDATE** Those planning to attend the race will need to fill out a track waiver for the event. 

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At the 5th annual Grand Challenge Race, North Central State College and partnering school’s engineering technology students will drive the electric vehicles they built as their capstone projects around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 7721 Steam Corners Rd, Lexington OH on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.  Admission is FREE.

Race Day Schedule:

  • Electronic Vehicle Races: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Autonomous Vehicle Races: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Experimental Vehicle Races: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Awards Ceremony: 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Each team has been building an electric vehicle throughout the year. They began by researching and designing the types of vehicles they might want to build, including frame, steering, braking, gearing, power, and drive options – and the optimal combination to provide the best overall performance and energy efficiency.  The students will spend the day displaying and racing their design of electric, autonomous, and experimental vehicles.

Partnering Schools: Edison State Community College, Mount Vernon High School, Pioneer Career & Technology Center, and St. Peter’s High School.

Alum Breaking Barriers in Social Work

Each year March is dedicated as National Social Work Month, but the students and alumni from North Central State College continue to break barriers every day.  It’s that passion for helping others break their own barriers that began Lasha Winters journey to becoming a Licensed Social Worker.  “I chose to be a social worker so I could have the knowledge and skillset to help heal the hearts of those in addiction by empowering and advocating for them daily,” Winters says.

Social workers are known for their compassion and ability to break barriers, not only within themselves but their clients as well. “North Central State College taught me how to push through barriers; in my field and my personal life,”  she says. “In my classes at North Central State College, I learned about many theories and ways to help those in need,” Winters explains.  “We learned about all the different components that interact and influence a person’s behavior and thinking.”

Winters is a first-generation student, meaning she was the first in her family to graduate from college. “My mom finished her GED, and my dad didn’t finish high school.   I was lucky to be a part of NC State’s TRiO program, a program that helps first-generation students in college,” Winters says.  TRiO provides and coordinates a variety of educational support services for first-generation students, low-income, and/or students with disabilities.  “Being the first in my family to go to college, TRiO added support that I didn’t have around me in a culture that didn’t emphasize education.  TRiO provided me with the encouragement I needed.”

“At one point, I required help financially, and they encouraged me to apply for a grant that would help pay a bill I was unable to afford at the time,” Winters says gratefully.  “It helped ensure my success in college when I didn’t come from a background that gave me a lot of support.  Being a mom, going to school full-time, and working, I didn’t have time to go out and find another job.  With their help, I didn’t have to choose between my education and my job, TRiO stepped in and I was able to focus on school and finish the semester.”

While attending North Central State College, Winters changed her major from education to social work with the encouragement of her professors.  “While I enjoyed my English classes at the college, I became extremely interested in the Hull House Movement, which I happen to read about in one of my classes,” Winters explains.  The Hull House was Chicago’s first social settlement.  It was not only the private home of Jane Addams and other Hull House residents but also a place where immigrants of diverse communities gathered to learn, eat, debate, and acquire the tools necessary to put down roots in their new country.  “I had a particular professor that saw my interest in helping others and suggested that I pursue a career in social work.”

After graduating from the Human and Social Work program at North Central in 2019, Winters continued her education at Mount Vernon Nazarene University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree.  “The classes I took at NC State transitioned into their program easily,” Winters says. “The professors and staff at North Central helped set me up to be successful in my bachelor’s program as well.”

Winters was part of the North Central State College Honor Society.  By participating in projects at the college, she realized the need for qualified social workers in the Mansfield area.  “I did volunteer work and put together fundraisers for the Harmony House Homeless Shelter,” Winters says.  “We took donations and with the help of my classmates, we donated over 100 pillows to help homeless men, women, and children in our area.”

Winters continues to pay her kindness and compassion forward.  She is currently a Licensed Social Worker at Healing Hearts Counseling Center, a behavioral health and wellness center in Mansfield.  The mission of employees at the center is to provide mental health and addiction services.  “We have a diverse and wide array of clients from all different ages and ethnicities,” Winter says.  “You never know who is going to be impacted by addiction so it’s open to anyone that needs help to begin their recovery journey. I am breaking barriers by helping to be a consistent person for those in need.  In today’s society, we don’t always have consistency, and I want to be that person who is enabling change in our community.”

“As a licensed social worker I want to be a part of reducing the stigma around Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) diagnosis,” Winters says.  A SUD is a mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to a person’s inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. “As a social worker, I want to help share the importance of treating substance abuse as a mental health disorder, as a disease rather than a decision to just go out and use drugs.   It’s a medical diagnosis that needs treatment, so being able to help educate people and provide definitions is actively participating in shutting down those stigmatizing stereotypes.  That’s helping to break barriers!”

Scholarships for Success event and auction raises over $30,000

Bucyrus, OH – The Crawford Success Center’s 5th annual giving event “Scholarships for Success” raised over $30,000 in scholarships with a live and silent auction on March 2, 2023.  Scholarships for Success benefit North Central State College students from Crawford County, providing scholarships and vital training.

“This event was truly an investment in the future of Crawford County,” says Nathan Harvey, director of the Crawford Success Center. “The funds we raised will offer resources to help local students have opportunities for higher education and workforce development.”

The North Central State College Foundation announced two new scholarships at the event:

The first was established by Tina Husted, the 2nd Lady of the State of Ohio. The new “Husted Family Leadership Fund for Women” will open doors for Crawford County women to pursue higher education.  The scholarship is in partnership with Cedar Fair Charities.  Husted recently partnered with the North Central State College Foundation and Cedar Fair with the release of a landscape painting of the Cedar Point skyline titled “Cedar Sky”.  Sales from the canvas and poster reproductions helped fund the scholarships and will continue to grow as the partnership expands.  The first scholarship award will be given to a student that will attend North Central State College in the fall semester of 2023.

“I am excited about this scholarship fund,” Husted says.  “I am grateful I can use my talent of art to raise money for scholarships and help the students of Crawford County pursue their education.”

The second scholarship presented at the event is made possible by North Central State College board member and avid Crawford Success Center supporter, Dave Bush in honor of his parents named the Donald J. and Josephine M. Bush Memorial Scholarship.  It will be awarded to a Crawford County student beginning in August 2023.

The North Central State College Foundation will also be awarding $500 scholarships to students from Bucyrus, Winford, and Crestline high schools.

The Scholarships for Success Leadership Award is presented to an inspirational leader in the Crawford County area.  The 2023 recipients, Pat and Janel Hord, have expanded their robust family business, while simultaneously investing in the needs of the community. They have been supporters of the Crawford Success Center from the beginning. Pat and Janel’s gifts to the Crawford Success Center have helped support local students pursue their degrees in higher education.

The Hord Livestock and Family Farms employs more than 200 residents who strive to raise animals with care while utilizing modern and advanced farming practices.  Hord Family Farms is currently celebrating its 5th generation of family farming, while its 6th generation is learning the family business.  The Hords’ commitment to sustainable and responsible farming is demonstrated by their continued travel, study, and investment in the latest design of farm buildings, equipment, and best practices for sustainable farm operations.

“This community should be very proud,” said Vice President for North Central State’s College Foundation and Development Chris Copper.  “With the support of several new scholarships, the Crawford County community will gain the resources it needs to ensure our students have the financial support to graduate with a degree or certificate.  Crawford County really shined at this annual event.”

The 2023 Scholarships for Success was made possible through several sponsorships including OhioHealth, North Central Ohio Media Group, Lind Media, ARK Realty, Avita Health System, Dave Bush, FC Bank, Tom & Pam Holtshouse, Dr. Joe and Susan Shadeed, Mizick Miller, Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, Park National Bank, Stanley Black & Decker, and auction partner Castle Auctions and Appraisals.