My journey at Elgin Community College started in 2017 when I came from Venezuela to this beautiful country seeking a better life for my family and myself. As an immigrant, I faced many challenges, but they did not stop me from completing my life goal.
Michael LoPresti: Take all your experiences, good and bad, and apply what you have learned to everyday life.
Welcome friends and family, members of the faculty, and fellow students. We have made it! My name is Mike LoPresti, and I am graduating from Elgin Community College's Nursing Program.
My name is Bailee Winchell, and this is my story.
I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. In 2018, the time was right for me to go back to school. I investigated a number of schools, and found my home at ECC.
Since high school, I have had a passion for engineering and have always planned to get a degree in that field. However, despite being told multiple times that taking a gap year was a bad decision, I wasn’t sure I was financially ready for college. In the end, I decided to take a gap year to work and build up my finances.
Renee Skrabacz, associate dean of health professions, math, science, and engineering, began at ECC in 2013 as an adjunct professor in the Biology Department. Skrabacz is a microbiologist that has always held a passion for healthcare, and her current position lets her educational interests collide.
Amy Brandolino joined ECC as an instructor of art history in 2019. Brandolino offers in-depth and exciting exposure to art history for students of all levels.
Local Elgin family Melissa and Dave McFadden have a full house, caring for three young children, and have chosen to add another guest into their home. At the start of the fall 2021 semester, they welcomed international student Ryoga Yamada into their family, an international exchange student from Japan.
In 2009, then-Governor Pat Quinn mandated that all schools in higher education provide a point of contact person for incoming military veterans to talk about their concerns in seeking a degree or certificate at their college or university. This one mandate is now the norm for all colleges and universities to handle other incoming new students the same way: first-generation college students, Latinx, Black/African American, and dual credit high school students.
As a Student Support Specialist, Andrea Kuzniar ensures ECC students have all the necessary resources to achieve their goals. Kuzniar works under the Sustainability, Business, and Career Technical department for the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System, or the ICAPS program. Kuzniar is also a U.S. Air Force veteran, one of the most fun, interesting, and challenging experiences she has ever had.
Ron Krivosik is a professional chef and current teacher of the culinary arts & hospitality program here at ECC, where he once was a student himself. He has been sharing his knowledge and skills in the industry as an instructor with ECC since 2004.
From Elgin to Daytona IMT Program collaborations help student Steven Spicer excel in new career path
Elgin Community College student Steven Spicer entered ECC’s Industrial Manufacturing Technology (IMT) Program without any knowledge of the craft, coming from a background in construction and working odd jobs to support himself and his two children. After deciding to move onto a new trade, he discovered Computer Numerical Control (CNC), which led him to ECC.
Beth Mrofcza is the director of ECC’s Early Childhood Lab School (ECLS), where she leads an environment that instills an early love for learning in each child in their care. Since 2017, she’s dedicated herself to helping ECC student parents achieve their educational dreams by providing the best child care for the least amount of expenses.
In my early 20s, I got sick and was stuck in bed for months with no energy to join my friends enjoying summer fun. Bored and lonely, I grabbed a library book, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, from my nightstand. I was instantly captivated by the novel. Even though the main character's experience, a child of immigrant parents caught between cultures, was very different from my own, his journey of coming into adulthood and forging his own identity deeply resonated with me.
Adan Torres began his first campus experience intentionally getting lost, discovering what ECC had to offer and what was happening around campus. "My favorite thing to do with a new location that I will ultimately be spending a lot of time in is to get lost, to explore," said Torres.
Neile Litton-Wolf joined ECC in early 2020 as the temporary manager of alumni and affinity relations for the ECC Foundation – or she puts it, “a relationship bridge builder” and became permanent full-time in the position in September 2020.
For the past 13 years, Lauren Nehlsen, Ph.D., has helped expose Elgin Community College to the world and the world to ECC as the Director of International Education and Programs. Nehlsen’s love for traveling and vast experience doing so make for the perfect combination to lead ECC’s international programs.
Sherry Selgrad experienced the ECC campus for one day before the COVID-19 shutdown forced remote work and classes on students and staff. Despite her brief first exposure to the campus, Selgrad holds a critical role in connecting our community as a student system specialist in Teaching, Learning, and Student Development (TLSD).
In April 1972, a young Mexican-American woman in Aurora, Illinois, made history. Twenty-eight-year-old Maria Margarita Decker won the election to the Kane County Board. She was likely the first Latinx person to be elected to prominent office in Illinois.
Rick Mao, PhD, has been with ECC since 2002 and serves as the Dean of the Division of Communications and Behavioral Sciences. As part of his work, Dr. Mao rounds up the best of the best in educators for the department, and his success is evident in the outstanding faculty and their dedication to ECC students.
Michelle Kershner, a Chicago native and associate professor of Mathematics, has been teaching at ECC since 2016. One thing she is most excited about for the upcoming year is less teaching online and getting back to more classroom time in person.
As the executive assistant for Institutional Advancement, Jennifer Garner has the answers you need, and if she doesn’t, is more than happy to find them for you. Garner had her start at ECC in 2019, navigating a new team and switching to remote work.
Colleen Stribling, Ed.D., professor of English as a Second Language, has been a part of the ECC family as a full-time faculty member since 2009. She started as an adjunct professor, sharing an office with her mentor, former ECC Professor Liz McNulty.
Pastry Chef Instructor Chrystie Wojcik can be credited for the delicious desserts from ECC’s culinary classes since 2010. Wojcik can credit her start to where she now instructs; her first ECC experience began as a culinary program student.
Wicked Wrench Co. provides opportunities in auto repair industry for ECC students.
Susan Timm, Ed.D., professor of Digital Technologies at Elgin Community College, was honored at the YWCA Elgin’s 37th annual Leader Luncheon with the 2021 YWCA Harriet Gifford & Hattie Griffin Award for Education for her unwavering efforts related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice.
We all have different reasons to learn English, to get our GED diploma, but we have in common something great, which is our desire to change our lives and the lives of those around us. I hope that my story inspires and motivates you to keep moving forward and keep fighting for your goals and dreams.
Taryn White, student speaker for the Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony, took a risk that paid off big for her future.
Zain Alsalhani reflects on the past year for the 2021 Spring University Transfer commencement ceremony.
After four years in the Navy, Larissa Scott turned to ECC to help find her path forward.
At ECC, Ashley Freeman was able to explore here healthcare passions and find the right career path for her.
Shortly after immigrating from Cameroon, Sandra Djou started her ECC journey as an English as a Second Language. Now, she's graduating with her associate degree and heading to her bachelor's.
Linda Kooper knows first hand that you're never too old to follow your dreams.
Dual Credit Graduate Taylor Vitacco reflects on her journey at ECC.
Being homeschooled through high school, ECC helped Katherine Castiglione smoothly transition to college.
Spring 2021 Graduate Leslie Miranda reflects on her time at ECC.
If the last year has taught us anything, it's the importance of self-care and mental health. In early 2020, ECC added two new wellness professionals to serve the needs of our students. Prem Nikoniuk, LCPC., LPC., CCMHC., NCC, had a great first day at ECC on a cold January 2020 morning – with no idea what life had in store for her.
Elgin Community College will hold three virtual ceremonies for the spring 2021 graduating classes.
James G. Allen, Jr., of Elgin, and Jenna Manzano, of Streamwood, will represent the students of Elgin Community College in leadership positions for the 2021-22 academic year.
As we learn of the verdict regarding the murder of George Floyd, we acknowledge and recognize how painful the tragic events of this year have been for our nation and our community.
Timothy Kaar, MFA, professor of graphic design, and Robert Russ, MA, business unit adjunct faculty, were recently recognized with the 2021 Orrin G. Thompson Teaching Excellence Award from Elgin Community College. Kaar received the full-time faculty award and Russ received the part-time faculty award.
At ECC, we see you! We hear you! We recognize how much you have to overcome to go to school and we are able to meet you where you are at this point in time. Our purpose is to provide hope to our community through access to education.
In honor of Transgender Visibility Day and the final day of Women's History Month, Lori Clark, EdD, professor of English at ECC, reflects on the need to include and celebrate the achievements of trans* women during WHM.
Every March, the ECC family celebrates Women’s History Month. As part of this celebration, the college hosts an Immigrant Women’s Roundtable - every year, except this year. Irina Del Genio, PhD, associate dean of liberal, visual, and performing arts, founded the roundtable event in 2007. Here she shares her immigrant story.
If you started at ECC in the last three years, you’ve probably talked to Gina Mago, talent acquisition specialist, as she has shepherded hundreds of people through the application, interview, selection, and onboarding process.
These days, ‘self-care’ is something we hear a lot about. For students, it’s critical that they can effectively manage school, work, and family. That’s why Elgin Community College puts so much focus on student wellness, and what brought Coresair Mack to campus.