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March Phonphiboun, World Citizen Award Winner

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Photo: March PhonphibounAn associate’s degree was only the beginning for March Phonphiboun.

The Mathematics and TRIO work study student began his studies at MCTC in 2010. “In high school, I wasn’t in an academic state of mind,” said March. “I barely graduated, and when I got to MCTC, my performance kept getting worse.” After seeing his first semester grades, he began asking himself some hard questions. “I had had enough. It was then my journey with self-discovery and improvement began.”

March worked hard—both in his studies and in tandem with his studies. “I had to pick up part-time jobs during college to help pay bills,” March said. “On top of studying, dealing with personal issues and working to improve myself, it was a difficult time for me.” During his time at MCTC, March fed his interests in leadership and interpersonal communications. “There are so many things you can do when you develop leadership skills. You begin to notice life working for you.” In December of 2012 March graduated with honors, receiving his associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. However, he wasn’t done learning.

March’s ideas, experiences and personal growth had given him energy and a new direction to pursue. In January 2013, March began a new course of study at MCTC: mathematics. This time, he was empowered to use his new skills and confidence to apply for a scholarship to help pay the way.

“An adviser in the TRIO Starting Point program suggested I apply for the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award,” said March. The application called for an essay addressing how people of the world are connected to one another. “In my essay, I wrote about how world citizens aren’t so different from one another. As a team, world citizens can expand the existing pool of knowledge.” March also described his concept of a program aimed at making STEM fields approachable to non-STEM majors.

Last fall, March joined the North Star STEM Alliance and had the opportunity to attend the national conference for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers in Philadelphia. “Among countless things, the conference taught me the importance of networking. Communication skills can be one of the biggest assets you can have, especially when moving laterally within a company or organization.”

This will be March’s final semester here at MCTC. He will transfer to the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2014 to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. “Every day is an opportunity to learn and improve,” said March. “I like to believe that once you stop learning, you stop living. I’m getting ready for the future.”

A welding instructor with a liberal arts background

Posted on: April 10th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments
Todd Bridigum, MCTC instructor

MCTC welding instructor Todd Bridigum inspects the work of a student

What sort of academic background would you expect of a welding instructor who also teaches machine tool technology and HVAC-R, and dabbles in the art of printmaking?

Todd Bridigum has a bachelor’s degree in English.

Todd fell in love with visual arts and sculpture while he was studying for his bachelor’s degree. After completing his degree he went back to school for welding and metal fabrication. He worked in a manufacturing company for several years before joining Minneapolis Community and Technical College as a welding instructor and faculty coordinator. He also has his own studio space where he continues his studies in printmaking, drawing and metal sculpture.

Todd’s liberal arts background has come in handy—he was given an offer to write a book on welding. Since its publication, his book How to Weld has received international demand.

Read more about Todd here.

MCTC Alumna Susan Niz Releases her First Book

Posted on: July 14th, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments

Kara, Lost Book CoverIn Susan Niz’s first book, Kara, Lost, 16-year-old Kara flees the suffocation of her suburban life, trading in her home and family for a gritty, anonymous existence on the streets of Minneapolis. First-time novelist and MCTC alumna Susan Niz offers a universal story of yearning for place, acceptance and identity.

Niz attended MCTC from 1994-96 as a liberal arts major. She soon transferred to the University of Minnesota where she majored in English and minored in Spanish, graduating in 1997. She returned to the U of M to complete a Master’s in Education. She is now a writer and ESL teacher.

Susan NizNiz has begun her writing career with several recognitions, including the 2010 finalist for the Loft Mentor Series Competition in creative non-fiction for memoir series, Her Name is Guadalupe and the 2009 Editor’s Nomination for the Million Writer’s Award for Seed Words

“In Kara, Lost, Susan Niz’s wonderful eye for detail and uncanny insight bring a troubled teenager’s world to life. Kara’s fierce determination to forge her own path in life and the challenges she faces on every front ring true. So true, in fact, that at times I wanted to put down the book and go find that girl and give her a home. A masterful debut,” says Alison McGhee, a Minnesota Book Award Winner.

Get on the Path to Success at MCTC’s Open House on July 12

Posted on: June 16th, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments

Open HouseJuly 12
5 – 7 p.m.
Technical Building Skyway

Join us at MCTC’s Open House and find out how one of our exciting career, technical and liberal arts two-year degree programs can start your life moving in a new direction! Read more…

Share our invitation on Facebook.