Commencement in Traverse City set for Tuesday

headshots of woman, man
Kate Howard and Nathan Burns are two of 44 graduates who will earn degrees through the Traverse City Regional Center.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

Two Traverse City residents will continue making a difference in their communities after they earn degrees from Grand Valley's Traverse City Regional Center.

Nathan Burns and Kate Howard are among the 44 eligible graduates who will participate in the commencement ceremony, set for Tuesday, May 2, at the Hagerty Conference Center.

• Burns will receive a bachelor's degree in liberal studies. Before enrolling in Grand Valley, Burns, 32, had taken courses at three different community colleges. When he made the decision, at 29, to finish his degree, Burns said Grand Valley's advisors understood the needs of adult students.

"It's so important for adult students to get through their programs quickly," he said. "Many have full-time jobs, families, they don't want to accumulate a lot of debt. The advising staff does a great job in helping make your degree possible."

For a required internship, Burns drew from his connections as a seasonal worker for the Leelanau Conservancy. He monitored stream and lake levels, in addition to his regular duties of maintaining trails and leading volunteer and school groups.

• Howard will earn a master's degree in social work. She works part-time at Munson Medical Center as a behavioral counselor for adults who are recovering from addiction.

For her required social work internship, Howard worked with juveniles through Grand Traverse County Friend of the Court and said she enjoyed the opportunity to work with a different population.

Commencement will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hagerty Conference Center, at Northwestern Michigan College, 715 E. Front St. Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas will give remarks.

The speaker is Jennifer Strange, behavioral health manager at Traverse Health Clinic. Strange was appointed in 2015 by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Commission.