Traverse City Regional Center expands course offerings through partnerships

November 14, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 6)
Article by Thomas Garrett

Grand Valley student Delaney Novach spent two weeks in the summer taking a Great Lakes Technology course at Northwestern Michigan College. The course is designed to instruct students on lake research equipment, its calibration and operation. 

Novach's primary classroom was aboard a 56-foot research vessel called the Northwestern, owned by the Great Lake Water Studies Institute. This opportunity was available to her through GVSU's Traverse City Regional Center.

Shannon Owen, director of Grand Valley's northern Michigan programs, said the goal is to find more opportunities like this for students as she and the center's staff grow partnerships with other institutions. 

“As we look at these different community colleges across the state, we are trying to identify what is unique for our students," Owen said. 

Novach, a geology major, said one of her most enjoyable experiences aboard the Northwestern was operating the ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) that would scan the lake floor. 

“We are all wearing these headsets, communicating to multiple pilots, with multiple people reading sonar, and a team guiding the cable off the side of the research vessel," she said. "It felt like a real career experience."

The Traverse City Regional Center serves students in the region by providing undergraduate and graduate programs. The center also partners to help students transition from a two-year community college program into a four-year institution.

“We are working with all kinds of students: high school, transfer, adult learners and those just looking to stay in northern Michigan,” said Jackie Abeyta, assistant director of student engagement.

Abeyta said GVSU students in many academic programs can take advantage of these unique course opportunities and cited allied health sciences, biology, geology, integrative studies, and environmental studies as a few examples.

Information on opportunities available through Grand Valley's partnership with NMC can be found on the GVSU Traverse City website or by contacting Abeyta at [email protected].

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This article was last edited on November 14, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.

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