Success Story: Students’ gratitude spans a decade

November 23, 2016

Students are to NMC as turkey is to Thanksgiving — front and center. On this Thanksgiving eve, we talked to a past and present student a decade apart to find out how NMC figures in what they’re thankful for.

Matt Harting, 2006 alumnus, composer living in Los Angeles

Matt Harting and Allyson NelsonMatt Harting and Allyson NelsonHarting, 30, can trace his livelihood, marriage and financial well-being back to NMC.

After graduating Traverse City Central High School in 2004, he attended NMC with a plan to transfer to Columbia College-Chicago. Cast in the NMC production of Bye Bye, Birdie, he met a student named Allyson Nelson, from Bellaire. She wound up transferring to Columbia, too, and there the couple began dating. Harting graduated with a degree in audio arts and engineering, and got a job at Earhole, a Chicago sound studio (first assignment:  Obama campaign.)

When career opportunities led Nelson to LA in 2010, Harting followed. He kept his job at Earhole, working on campaigns for commercial clients like Dodge, Jeep, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Small talk among his professional peers led him to realize a third dimension of gratitude, for NMC’s affordability.

“They still have more (debt) than I started with,” he said. Moreover, there was no sacrifice in quality. Instructors like the late Jim Valovick and music instructor Dorothy Vogel were top-tier, he said, and able to provide the personal attention that he needed.

“She straightened me out and made me see that music was truly something that needed to be studied and respected,” Harting said of Vogel.

Harting and Nelson got married just last month, and where it all began is still fresh.

“I loved the campus, I made great friends, I had great teachers,” he said.

Alex Briggs, 20, Commitment Scholarship recipient

Alex Briggs speaking at NMC CommencementAlex Briggs speaks at the 2016 Commitment Scholarship induction“I didn’t really think I was going to go to college,” said the first-generation Computer Information Technology student. “I didn’t see myself affording college. Now, I’ve paid for it all with scholarships.”

It started with the Commitment Scholarship, a full-tuition promise Briggs received in 2011 as a ninth grader at Elk Rapids High School. Now in her second year at NMC, she’s received two merit-based scholarships, two Elk Rapids scholarships and federal grants, which combined also enable her to live on campus.

Besides living in East Hall, Briggs works in the Advising Center, is an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a member of the Women in STEM student group.

“I wanted the well-rounded college experience,” she said. “I live, sleep, breathe and eat NMC.”

She’s also provided an example to her brother Zack, a fellow Commitment Scholar, who started at NMC this fall. They’re believed to be the first sibling recipients of the Commitment Scholarship.

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NMC students past and present are achieving success in the classroom and in their careers. This section showcases just a few examples.

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