The MCTC News Blog

Stephanie Glaros, Connecting with the Human Side of the Story

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Stephanie Glaros

Stephanie Glaros’ interest in social justice began her very first year of college. That interest took her on a long and rich path to several colleges, states, jobs and, presently, to the faculty roster at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and the Humans of Minneapolis.

“I took a Women’s Studies class at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and it helped me connect the dots between what I had been experiencing and what were systematic problems,” she said. “It was like a bell went off in my head.” Stephanie began seeing parallels between women’s social justice and other systemic issues. “At that point, the greater concept of social justice became not just an interest, but a passion.”

After transferring, working and finishing college in the Rocky Mountains, Stephanie traveled, took short-term jobs and eventually found herself working in downtown Minneapolis as a marketing assistant. “I was being directed by finance-minded people, and what they were asking me to do didn’t make sense intuitively. But I had no design background, and no vocabulary to describe why what they were telling me to do wasn’t right.”
Stephanie looked into design classes, and found MCTC in her backyard. “MCTC offered night classes at a time when I was working days. I could afford it, and it was located downtown,” she said. “While I was a student here, something just clicked for me. Graphic design was a way to combine my creative side with my desire to organize things. I felt like I finally found what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

After finishing her degree, Stephanie joined the small staff of the downtown Minneapolis-based Utne Reader magazine as its art director. There, she found a way to connect her career with her passion. “My educational background and trade fit with my interest in progressive politics and social justice issues,” she said. “I was a one-person art department. I had the opportunity to sift through some of the best photojournalism in the world. I learned the power of photojournalism and storytelling.”

It was the perfect match for Stephanie. “My background in graphic design and passion for social justice issues shape my work. My goal is to capture emotional stories, challenge prejudices, and increase empathy.” On her walks to work—camera in hand—she began capturing the emotional stories of  strangers in Minneapolis. “I took photos of anything I saw: the homeless shelter, the Greyhound Bus station; I found myself passing the same people every day, but I’d never interact with them. We were outside of each other’s circles. That started to feel very strange to me, and I decided to use my camera as an excuse to break that barrier.”

In 2010, the blog Humans of New York began publishing its collection of street photography. Stephanie followed it closely, drawn to the way the photographs shone a spotlight on otherwise overlooked individuals in the country’s largest city. Not long after, she realized she was already meeting and photographing the humans of Minneapolis. In 2013, she started her own blog by that name, bringing her pastime in line with a growing national movement to engage communities in storytelling.

“When I realized that’s where my interests had taken me, something clicked: telling stories is what I love to do. It brings together my background of photography, editorial journalism, graphic design and social justice.”

In the midst of her career and personal and professional growth, Stephanie was approached by one of her former Graphic Design instructors at MCTC who was about to take a sabbatical. He invited her to teach in his absence. That was the year 2011, and Stephanie has been teaching future generations of graphic designers ever since.

Today, in addition to teaching courses and telling the stories of the humans of Minneapolis, Stephanie writes a regular column in Southwest Journal, and is working on a community engagement project for the City of Minneapolis.

“I’ve realized how much of myself comes through in my work—not only in who I talk to, but in the parts of an interview I select. I’ve learned to trust my gut, and trust who I can connect with.”

Pearl Christenson DREAM Memorial Fund

Posted on: October 26th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Pearl-Christenson-200Pearl Christenson was the child of Norwegian immigrants and lived the American dream of opportunity. Together with her husband Jerry, she raised a family of six children with the fundamental belief that access to education is the key to success for all who call America home, including immigrants.

Pearl was an early and consistent supporter of Power of YOU, a program which covers the cost of attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) or St. Paul College for two years for Minneapolis, St. Paul, and inner suburban high school graduates. She also understood the critical challenges facing our new immigrants, knowing that 24% of students now in Minneapolis public schools are immigrants and refugees. She was amazed to learn that 60% of the 2015 nursing graduates from MCTC were born outside the U.S. Additionally, she cared deeply for students who have come to the U.S. as children but have “undocumented” status, which poses great barriers to pursuing college and the American dream. She was fascinated with MCTC’s effort to provide special scholarships for these undocumented DREAMers.

This year, MCTC is piloting scholarship support for a special cohort of seventeen Power of YOU students who are otherwise ineligible for governmental aid because of their undocumented status. The Christenson family can think of no greater way to honor Pearl and her life of commitment to education and opportunity. You can learn how to contribute your support to the Pearl Christenson DREAM Memorial Fund by clicking All of us who love Pearl thank you.

See Pearl’s obituary here. She passed away in October, 2015.

Theater Arts Instructor Michael Kissin Slows his Role…but Not by Much

Posted on: October 26th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments
MCTC Theater Arts Instructor, Michael Kissin Photo Courtesy of Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

MCTC Theater Arts Instructor Michael Kissin
Photo Courtesy of Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Theater Arts Instructor Michael Kissin was featured in a recent article in the Star Tribune for his role in the play The Twenty-Seventh Man currently running at the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company. Michael Kissin is an actor, director and musician in addition to his teaching role at MCTC, and has been a company member at the Mixed Blood Theatre for over 20 years. Michael has directed plays including Talley’s Folly, Goats, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding and Stars of David, and starred in the one-man show Boychik.

The original story is posted below.

Michael Kissin feels connection to MJTC’s ‘The Twenty-Seventh Man’

Twin Cities stage vet Michael Kissin honors his Jewish roots in a play about Stalin’s purge of Yiddish writers.

“Crimes of the Heart,” MCTC’s Fall Play

Posted on: October 15th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Small Poster crimes of the heartMinneapolis Community and Technical College, in association with Student Life and the Theater Arts department, present the fall play production of Crimes of the Heart, written by Beth Henley and directed by MCTC Theater Arts Instructor Maxine Klein.


The play runs October 28 – 31 at 7 p.m. There is an additional matinee performance Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. Sign language interpretation will be provided at the Thursday, October 29 performance.


Admission is free! Audience members are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate.


MCTC Whitney Fine Arts Theater, 1424 Yale Place, Minneapolis, MN. Information available at 612-659-6122.

About the Play

One of the most entertaining and popular of contemporary plays, Beth Henley’s comedy Crimes of the Heart won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, the New York Critics Circle Best American Play and a Tony Award nomination for Best New Play. From loves savored and lost to attempted murder, the play takes its characters on a gothic, zany adventure that promises to challenge actors and delight audiences.

“It has heart, wit, and a surprisingly zany passion…it would certainly be a crime for anyone interested in the theatre not to see this play.”

-The New York Post

“While this play overflows with infectious high spirits, it is also, unmistakably, the tale of a very troubled family. Such is Miss Henley’s prodigious talent that she can serve us pain as though it were a piece of cake.”

-The New York Times

Psychology Instructor Finds Creative Way to Support Students this Thanksgiving

Posted on: October 6th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC Psychology instructor Troy Dvorak

MCTC Psychology Instructor Troy Dvorak.

MCTC can’t take poverty out of a student’s life, but the College community can do something to help.

That’s the sentiment of Psychology Instructor Troy Dvorak, who is thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and to his students who may not have family to join or a Thanksgiving meal to enjoy. “While I have always enjoyed time and wonderful meals with family during the holidays, I know many of our students want for the most basic things, including food. That bothers me a lot,” he said.

Troy plans to address this reality by donating sixteen $25 Cub Foods gift cards to the MCTC Resource and Referral Center, which is part of the larger MCTC Student Support Center.

“A meal is a basic need. Being able to provide that meal is a point of pride,” said Troy. “I imagine there are more in our community who would like to see MCTC students well-fed on Thanksgiving and feeling proud about it.”

Troy is inviting MCTC faculty, staff and community members to join him in making $25 donations to the Resource and Referral Center to fund more grocery gift cards.

“There are many things I cannot change about a student’s situation,” he said. “But in the same way we endeavor to help students academically, I want to extend my caring beyond the classroom.”

All interested members of the MCTC community are invited to join Troy and the Resource and Referral Center in ensuring MCTC’s students have a full meal this Thanksgiving. All contributions toward these grocery gift cards can be delivered to the Student Support Center in T.2300.

“I am very thankful every day, and want to share that with others,” said Troy.