Jose Soublett, Fall 2021 ECC Graduate
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/21/2021


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, student speaker for the Fall 2021 Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/17/2021

Michael LoPresti: Take your experiences, good and bad, and apply what you have learned

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.

Bailee Winchell, student speaker for the Fall 2021 University Transfer Commencement
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/17/2021

Bailee Winchell: Our stories and struggles are what make us unique

Elgin Community College student Bailee Winchell thanks all her classmates and teachers who made getting a degree possible.

Cassie Stevens, Fall 2021 ECC Graduate
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/16/2021

Cassie Stevens: Thanks to ECC, I'm finally starting my dream career

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.

Justin Martinez, Fall 2021 ECC Graduate
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/03/2021

Justin Martinez: I leave ECC with a sense of immense pride and gratitude

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
Administrator Profile
Published 11/29/2021

Renee Skrabacz; Science by Day, Singer by Night

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, instructor of art history
Faculty Profile
Published 11/15/2021

Amy Brandolino and the importance of paying attention

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.

The McFadden family with their international student Ryoga Yamada
Published 11/17/2021

ECC's Homestay program provides unique cultural opportunity for local family

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.

Anitra King, MS, Career and Student Veteran Success Specialist
Student Resources
Published 11/11/2021

In service to those who have served – ECC’s veteran programs offer wholistic support

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.

Andrea Kuzniar, student support specialist
Staff Profile
Published 11/08/2021

ICAPS Students See Success with Andrea Kuzniar

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, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Adjunct Faculty Member
Faculty Profile
Published 11/01/2021

Ron Krivosik transforms ingredients into meals and students into professionals

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.

Professor Umberto Tinajero and student Steven Spicer stand in front of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine
Academics | Accomplishment | Student Profile
Published 10/29/2021

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, director of ECC's early childhood lab school
Staff Profile
Published 10/25/2021

Beth Mrofcza Believes in the ECC Family

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.

Stacey Shah, Professor I Distance Learning Librarian
Published 10/19/2021

Books: Discover the Hidden Power Within the Pages

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, TRiO student support services and ESL coordinator
Staff Profile
Published 10/18/2021

Adan Torres: Educator and Explorer

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, manager of alumni and affinity relations for the ECC Foundation
Foundation | Staff Profile
Published 10/11/2021

Neile Litton-Wolf Loves a Happy Ending

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.

Lauren Nehlsen, Ph.D., Director of International Education and Programs
Administrator Profile
Published 10/04/2021

Lauren Nehlsen brings international interest to ECC

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, Student System Specialist in Teaching, Learning, and Student Development (TLSD).
Staff Profile
Published 09/27/2021

The Many Sides of Sherry Selgrad

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).

ECC Professor of History and Political Science Antonio Ramirez
Published 09/17/2021

Latinx History in Unexpected Places

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, Dean of the Division of Communications and Behavioral Sciences
Administrator Profile
Published 09/20/2021

Ruixuan Mao’s Passion for Teaching Reflected in His Division

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, associate professor of math
Faculty Profile
Published 09/13/2021

Mastering Math with Michelle Kershner

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.

ECC President, David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM
Published 09/09/2021

A message from President Dr. David Sam

Elgin Community College focused on removing barriers to education; affirms its commitment to keeping education accessible and affordable throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Jennifer Garner, Executive Assistant for Institutional Advancement
Staff Profile
Published 08/23/2021

Need help? Just ask Jennifer

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, EdD, professor of English as a Second Language
Academics | Faculty Profile
Published 08/16/2021

Colleen Stribling finds her stride in ESL

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.

Chrystie Wojcik, associate professor of culinary arts & hospitality
Faculty Profile
Published 08/09/2021

Chrystie cooks up culinary magic

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.

The Hoffer Family Foundation donated $10,000 to the Student Success Fund, allowing students like Victoria Huynh to keep her educational dreams moving forward during the pandemic.
Academics | Foundation
Published 07/07/2021

Donor support keeps dreams alive

ECC Foundation Student Success Fund and Hoffer Foundation help ECC Student continue with education and career goals.

Alumnus Alan Ladwig launched his aerospace career at ECC
Academics | Accomplishment | Alumni Profile
Published 07/07/2021

Aerospace careers launched at ECC

Elgin Community College alum Alan Ladwig builds a notable aerospace career. He built a notable career fueled by a mantra to always shoot for the stars.

Leo Cooksey '21 found a second career through ECC's Apprenticeship Program
Published 07/07/2021

Internships light the way to success

Leo Cooksey received an Associate of Applied Science degree in industrial manufacturing. He credits the ECC faculty's expertise and dedication with helping him.

ECC student Nadya Quezada finds inspiration with her internships with women-owned and run Wicked Wrench.
Published 07/07/2021

Going the extra mile: Area auto repair shop challenges industry norms

Sisters Naomi and Jaime Hjelm believe it's essential for people, women, in particular, to understand car problems and repairs.

Hundreds of ECC students like Andrea Lara-Gasca received funding from ECC to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their education.
Published 07/07/2021

Fiscal stimulus fills gaps for students

ECC's allocation in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief funds directly benefitted students by helping them pay for educational expenses.

ECC student Simone Tetzlaff found an apprenticeship key in her manufacturing career goals.
Published 07/07/2021

Gearing up for manufacturing growth

Elgin Community College is gearing up for manufacturing growth. ECC is planning on developing a new manufacturing education and training center.

ECC Professor of Business Susan Timm, EdD
Accomplishment | Faculty Profile
Published 06/03/2021

Educating Beyond the Classroom: ECC Professor Susan Timm Granted YWCA Faculty Award

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.

Juan Chavez, Class of 2018, is the guest speaker for the 2021 High School Equivalency Graduation Ceremony.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Juan Chavez: My story is proof that ECC is a place where people can come and fight for th

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 Spring 2021 Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Taryn White: Find the right path and fight to stay on it

Taryn White, student speaker for the Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony, took a risk that paid off big for her future.

Zain Alsalhani, student speaker for the Spring 2021 University Transfer Degree Commencement Ceremony.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Zain Alsalhani: We have been equipped with the necessary tools to be able to overcome any

Zain Alsalhani reflects on his time at ECC. We are here to celebrate our achievements and comradery not as just students but as a community.

Eric Semelroth, graphic designer at ECC
Staff Profile
Published 05/24/2021

Eric Semelroth Illustrates ECC's Story

Eric Semelroth, a graphic designer in the marketing and communications department, is a visual storyteller who transforms words into visual form.

Larissa Scott, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/20/2021

Larissa Scott: ECC challenged me to strive for excellence and put my best foot forward

Elgin Community College constantly challenged me to strive for excellence and put my best foot forward. Because of ECC, I am more driven and embrace challenges.

Ashley Freeman, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/19/2021

Ashley Freeman: ECC Let Me Explore My Career Options

For Ashley Freeman choosing Elgin Community College was a no-brainer. While studying at ECC, Ashley was able to find the right career path in Healthcare.

Sandra Djou, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/18/2021

My Immigrant Story is a Success Thanks to ECC

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, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Academics | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/17/2021

Linda Kooper: It's never too late and you are never too old to follow your passion

Linda Kooper knew she wanted her life to be different by having a brighter future. She thought about the best path for her, so she decided to attend ECC.

Taylor Vitacco, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/14/2021

Taylor Vitacco: No place strives for student success like ECC

Taylor Vitacco reflects on her journey at ECC. This school has provided me with endless opportunities, such as taking leadership roles within different clubs.

Katherine Castiglione, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/13/2021

Katherine Castiglione: ECC opened new doors to my future

Elgin Community College helped Katherine Castiglione smoothly transition to college. The warm welcome brought a sense of belonging.

Leslie Miranda, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/11/2021

Leslie Miranda: Never underestimate your potential

Leslie Miranda is highly grateful to her professors and clinical instructors in the nursing program at Elgin Community College.

Prem Nikoniuk, ECC wellness professional
Staff Profile
Published 05/03/2021

Pause with Prem

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.

Taryn White, student speaker for the Spring 2021 Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony
Accomplishment | Commencement | Events
Published 05/03/2021

ECC to host virtual graduation ceremonies for more than 850 graduates on May 21 and May 2

Elgin Community College will hold three virtual ceremonies for the Spring 2021 graduating classes. All speakers will be pre-recorded individually.

2021-22 Student Trustee James G. Allen Jr. and 2021-22 Student Body President Jenna Manzano.
Accomplishment | Board of Trustees | Student Profile
Published 04/23/2021

Allen and Manzano Elected as ECC Student Trustee and Student Government President

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.

Official ECC logo.
Published 04/20/2021

Monumental verdict regarding the murder of George Floyd marks pivotal time for change

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.

Scott Piner, Director of Content and Creative Services
Administrator Profile
Published 04/19/2021

Making Marketing Magic with Scott Piner

Scott Piner is the director of content and creative services. His role is to help ensure the design and message are consistent with the brand.

Timothy Kaar, professor of graphic design, and Robert Russ, business unit adjunct faculty.
Accomplishment | Faculty Profile
Published 04/09/2021

Timothy Kaar and Robert Russ receive 2021 Orrin G. Thompson Teaching Excellence Award

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.

Faculty Profile
Published 04/05/2021

Lori Clark has PRIDE in helping students

Lori Clark, a newly minted EdD, is beginning her seventeenth year of teaching English at Elgin Community College.

Jennifer McClure, PhD, managing director of enrollment services
Published 04/01/2021

You Have Bright Future Ahead at Elgin Community College

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.

Lori Clark, EdD, professor of English
Faculty Profile
Published 03/31/2021

Validating the Invalid: Using Women’s History Month to Recognize Trans* Voices

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.

Irina Del Genio, associate dean of liberal, visual, and performing arts, hosts the 2019 Immigrant Women's Roundtable at ECC.
Administrator Profile
Published 03/18/2021

Celebrating Immigrant Women: A Reflection on Women's History Month

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.

Dean of Adult Education Elizabeth Hobson, PhD
Administrator Profile
Published 03/08/2021

Hobson takes the ECC community to heart

Elizabeth Hobson, EdD, dean of adult education, loves the supportive, encouraging atmosphere of Elgin Community College.

Mae Hicks Jones, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Sustainability, Business, and Career Technologies
Faculty Profile
Published 02/22/2021

Dream Big with Dr. Mae Hicks Jones

Get to know Mae Hicks Jones, Ed.D., an adjunct business professor at ECC. She enjoys working at ECC because it changes people's lives.

Cathy Taylor, ECC Dean of Sustainability, Business & Career Technologies
Published 02/15/2021

Black History and Acts of Resistance

Cathy Taylor, Dean of Sustainability, Business & Career Technologies, reflects that Black History Month is a time to reflect on the achievement.

Gina Mago, talent acquisition specialist
Staff Profile
Published 02/08/2021

Gina Mago is truly a people person

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.

Tiffany Bruno, academic advisor at ECC.
Staff Profile
Published 01/25/2021

Tiffany Bruno Keeps Students Afloat

Meet Tiffany Bruno, academic advisor, and dedicated veteran advisor. She enjoys working directly with ECC students.

ECC Wellness Professional Coresair Mack.
Staff Profile
Published 01/11/2021

Coresair Mack puts the “Well” in “Wellness”

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.