2020

Dr. Donna Redmer, Chair of the District 509 Board of Trustees
Achievements | Board of Trustees
Published 12/23/2020

Gratitude for Graduates

District 509 Elgin Community College Board of Trustees Chair Donna Redmer, EdD, shares inspiring words for the fall 2020 graduating class and ECC’s newest alumni.

December 2020 Graduate Najmu Sahar.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Najmu Sahar: ECC is a great place to start

Graduate Najmu Sahar knew she was not ready for a four-year college. She turned to ECC to start her college experience while she figured out her path. Read more about how ECC put her on the right path towards her goals.

December 2020 Graduate Wendy Rivera.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Wendy Rivera: At ECC, I finally felt like I belonged

Wendy Rivera never imagined graduating with high honors or going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. Read how ECC shaped her into who she is today.

December 2020 Graduate Robert Phelan.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Robert Phelan: ECC gave me the confidence I needed

Robert Phelan returned to school after seven years to move his education forward. Read more about how ECC helped him develop the confidence to pursue his dreams.

December 2020 Graduate Danielle Lauritzen.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Danielle Lauritzen: ECC let me grow into who I am today

In high school, Danielle Lauritzen was lucky enough to know what she intended to make of her life. At ECC, she was able to grow and come to understand her place in this world through the work she had a passion for - teaching.

December 2020 Graduate Lisbeth Castillo.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Lisbeth Castillo: ECC taught me to embrace challenges at opportunities to grow

Experiencing culture shock and learning English as an immigrant moving from Guatemala at age 14 significantly impacted Lisbeth Castillo's life. Read about her how ECC opened doors to her brighter future.

December 2020 Graduate Ruthie Chae.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Ruthie Chae: Pursue your dreams, no matter what

Career and Technical Programs ceremony student speaker Ruthie Chae reflects on her time at ECC.

December 2020 Graduate Kori Stoll
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Kori Stoll: Keep going, because it's worth it in the end

University Transfer Degree Ceremony Speaker Kori Stoll reflects on her time at ECC.

Bryan Arredondo received help from the ECC Foundation's Student Success Fund.
College Publication | Foundation | Student Profile
Published 12/08/2020

Rallying to help students succeed

After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, it became clear that the disruptions caused in classrooms and overall student learning were more than an inconvenience. The effects of lock-downs and social distancing bled into loss of jobs, or conversely, increasing demands. The ECC Foundation determined that a solution was needed to assist students at risk of not continuing their educations or coursework due to financial concerns. The answer was the Student Success Fund.

ECC students persevered throughout the pandemic.
Academics | College Publication | Student Resources
Published 12/08/2020

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees and students at Elgin Community College adapted quickly to suspend in-person classes and transition to remote learning for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. As the crisis persisted, ECC’s faculty fully developed and expanded online course offerings for the fall semester, ensuring a smoother transition and innovative approach.

Toma Kpandeyenge, ECC alumnus, connects on LinkedIn
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 12/08/2020

Career Catalyst

ECC gave alumnus Toma Kpandeyenge a springboard to achieve a leadership role at LinkedIn.

ECC alumna Cathleen Nesheiwat cares for COVID-19 patients
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 12/08/2020

Health Care Hero

ECC alumna Cathleen Nesheiwat believes her ECC training prepared her to stay calm and work with the resources she has—a valuable trait when caring for patients who show symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive.

ECC graduate Jeanette Silva Haro.
Academics | College Publication | Student Profile
Published 12/08/2020

Blazing Trails

ECC students are blazing trails in the fire science field, as more women and minorities graduate from the program.

Pietrina Probst, director of ADA and student disability services
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 11/30/2020

Access Achievement with Pietrina Probst

To help students navigate ECC, Probst uses an attitude of positivity, compassion, and kindness. Her role is to remove barriers for students with disabilities and help educate the ECC community about the various types of disabilities students may have and how to accommodate students in classes, on campus, and through student services.

Mark Krukowski, computer information systems adjunct faculty
Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 11/09/2020

Code Hands, Warm Heart: Meet Mark Krukowski

Get to know Mark Krukowski, adjunct faculty and lab coordinator for the computer information systems (CIS) department.

Yolanda Barnes, Associate Dean of Sustainability, Business, and Career Technologies
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 10/20/2020

Yolonda Barnes: Designing the Future of SBCT

Despite the pandemic, it’s been a great first year at ECC for Associate Dean of Sustainability, Business, and Career Technologies (SBCT) Yolonda Barnes, Ed.D. As a former teacher herself, she dove into the role of connecting ECC faculty with the resources and support needed to bring the best in education to our career and technology education students.

ECCPD Commander Allen Young
Newsletter | Staff Profile
Published 10/05/2020

Next Up to The Plate, Commander Al Young!

Getting to know Elgin Community College Police Department Second Shift Commander Allen Young.

Steve Sarver, Marketing and Communications Executive Assistant
Staff Profile
Published 09/21/2020

Steve Sarver: Eagle Scout and All-Around Resource Man

Steve Sarver, executive assistant for the Marketing & Communications Office, only had one month of the ECC campus experience before the pandemic set in and the campus closed.

ECC Massage Therapy Instructor Natalie Pendergrass.
Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 09/07/2020

Natalie Pendergrass: ‘Life is meant to be lived!”

Like many students who come to ECC right out of high school, Natalie Pendergrass, massage therapy unit adjunct faculty, did not know what she wanted to do with her life. She considered teaching, counseling, even real estate, but nothing seemed to spark her passion. She wanted movement, variety, and a sense of helping others. As fate would have it, Pendergrass had the luck of being at ECC at just the right moment – the start of the Massage Therapy program. She checked it out and was hooked.

Industrial Manufacturing Technology Professor Umberto Tinajero.
Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 08/24/2020

Umberto Tinajero comes full circle at ECC

When Umberto Tinajero, professor of Industrial Manufacturing Technology (IMT) and the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) instructional coordinator, first set foot on ECC’s campus 20 years ago, it was as an ESL student. After improving his language skills, he left to pursue a career in manufacturing, but it was far from the last time he’d be on ECC’s campus.

Cecil Smith
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 07/27/2020

Cecil Smith: Degree of Honor

During his 25-year career with the Elgin Police Department (EPD), Cecil Smith rose through the ranks from patrol officer to commander of the Special Investigations Division. Smith’s dream of leading a police department inspired him to enroll at Elgin Community College to help advance his career.

Masked Men
College Publication | Faculty Profile | Staff Profile
Published 07/27/2020

Mask Makers

As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools and businesses across the country, Elgin Community College began to look for innovative ways to support essential workers. A trio of ECC faculty, staff, and alumni found a way to do their part with a little ingenuity and a lot of creativity.

Linda Deering Dean
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 07/27/2020

Linda Deering Dean: Leading with Heart

Linda Deering Dean never imagined herself as the president of a regional hospital. When she enrolled at Elgin Community College to continue her education, she was working full time as a registered nurse and raising a family. She appreciated having an affordable option in the community to help her achieve her goal of advancing to a high-level clinical nursing position.

ECC employee hands a Chromebook to a student
College Publication | Foundation
Published 07/27/2020

ECC Foundation: Emergency Student Relief Fund

Shortly after the implementation of Illinois' stay-at-home order in March, the Elgin Community College Foundation established the Emergency Student Relief Fund to help students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one month later, more than 100 donors had pitched in to help reach the goal of raising over $50,000.

Dean Follmann
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 07/27/2020

Dean Follmann: Battling COVID-19

For years, ECC alumnus Dean Follmann’s work has been focused on the study of infectious diseases and clinical trials that evaluate therapies. Most recently, it has put him on the front lines in the quest to find a cure for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Bridget Mooney
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 07/27/2020

Bridget Mooney: From ECC to Soldier Field

Rising culinary star tackles tough challenges

Tim Slater
Alumni Profile | College Publication
Published 07/27/2020

Tim Slater: Driven to Success

ECC ignited a career path and paved the way to business ownership

Liam Coleman, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/20/2020

Liam Coleman: ECC is a bright choice for a bright future

I was able to transition from high school to college in a fun, friendly, and engaging environment that allowed me to work towards my associate degree whilst giving me time to figure out and explore what I wanted to do with my life. I cannot recommend ECC enough to prospective students, and can personally attest to ECC being a bright choice for a bright future.

Melissa Mucci, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/18/2020

Melissa Mucci: ECC gave me opportunity to grow in classroom and as a leader

I am grateful for ECC, because it gave me the opportunity to grow as a student in the classroom and as a leader on campus. I know that I made the right decision from the start.

Camryn Cutinello, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/17/2020

Camryn Cutinello: Thanks to ECC my dream career in journalism is within reach

I made the decision to attend Elgin Community College after I decided I wanted to pursue journalism as my major. I knew if I attended ECC for my first two years, I would have substantially lower debts, which was very important given my career choice. Beyond the cost savings, though, attending ECC was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Catherine Briggs, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Catherine Briggs: ECC gave me a solid foundation

ECC provided me with a solid foundation in my educational journey as well as workplace experience. As much as I am sad to be leaving, I have learned to embrace the next steps in my journey with excitement and open arms. The most important lesson I learned was that as many times that I felt alone and overwhelmed, I was never alone, and I always found the support I needed from professors and peers.

Alannis Munoz, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Alannis Munoz: ECC gave me the college experience I was looking for

ECC impacted my life greatly. I learned how to take care of myself mentally and to never be afraid of what you believe in. I discovered that in order to receive things in life, you have to get your foot in the door and not wait around for something to happen, but rather you have to make it happen.

Aimee Johnson, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Aimee Johnson: I was lucky to attend ECC on my path to becoming a neurosurgeon

As a junior in high school, I enrolled as a dual credit student with Elgin Community College to get a head start on my education. A life-long learner, I was lucky to attend an institution where I could explore my interests. By becoming a dual credit student, I learned more about myself, not only academically, but personally.

Natalee Riggins, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Natalee Riggins: ECC surpassed my expectations

When I was a junior in high school, I was one of six students in my class to be given the opportunity to participate in the Dual Credit Program at Elgin Community College. Being accepted felt surreal. I was excited for all that I was going to learn, yet nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up academically.

Adam Pillari, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Adam Pillari: ECC demonstrated the value of community colleges

After two years at Elgin Community College, I can honestly say that attending this school has been one of the best experiences of my life. I am a non-traditional student. This is my second time in college, and I’m significantly older than most of my peers. Despite these differences, I always felt welcome, and never felt out of place.

Susannah Gooch, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/15/2020

Susannah Gooch: ECC boosted my confidence. At 16, I am eager to continue my academic journey

I now have confidence to move forward with my education because of my ECC experience. I am proud of my accomplishments--graduating with honors at 16-years-old--and eager to continue pursuing my academic goals.

Brooke Bohlin, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Brooke Bohlin: I’m graduating from ECC debt-free and getting a full ride to Roosevelt University

Getting ready to graduate from ECC brings a mixture of sadness and excitement. I’m sad to leave such an amazing place, but I am so excited about where I am headed. I plan to transfer to Roosevelt University in Chicago this fall on my journey to pursue a doctorate in Forensic Psychology.

Izzy Hernandez, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2020

Isabella Hernandez: ECC gave me resources, support to thrive academically

I was able to create strong bonds with others who kept driving me to succeed and grow, which helped me grasp who I truly was and who I could become. ECC gave me the resources and support I needed to thrive academically and professionally.

Seth Brophy, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/15/2020

Seth Brophy: ECC gave me more opportunities than a four-year school

When I graduated from high school, I was unsure about how I was going to further my education. At first, I was skeptical about Elgin Community College, but it turned out to be the best option for me. As I reflect on my two years here, I’ve come to realize that ECC has given me more opportunities than a four-year institution could.

Alexis Loula, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/14/2020

Alexis Loula: ECC’s faculty helped me find my path

ECC has given me experiences I would have never received at my high school, such as volunteering in the greenhouse or working behind the scenes in the laboratories. ECC’s science instructors helped me decide on my major and my transfer school: I will be a biochemistry major at Loyola University Chicago starting in the fall of 2020.

Jackson Wozniak, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/13/2020

Jackson Wozniak: ECC gave me a second chance at academic excellence

After two years of hard work and dedication to my studies, I am graduating with my Associate in Engineering Science. I will be going to West Point to study Mechanical Engineering, and I feel very prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Octavia Tate, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/12/2020

Octavia Tate: Club leadership led to small business ownership

"ECC allowed me to be more independent, confident, and eager to take on risks. I will be the first in my immediate family to receive a college degree, and I am now a small business owner of a non-medical home care agency. I encourage all future graduates to work hard and never give up despite any obstacles that might get in the way. The sky's the limit, and anything is possible if you believe in yourself."

Emina Derakovic, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/11/2020

Emina Derakovic: ECC provided a sense of belonging

"ECC has prepared me for both of these paths by providing me with a sense of belonging in a country that was not my own, shown me that hard work and perseverance leads to results, that there is always someone there that cares, and that no one has to go through their academic life alone."

Dean Follmann
Alumni Profile
Published 04/30/2020

ECC alum on frontlines of COVID-19 battle at NIAID

Follmann, ECC’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni, is the Assistant Director for Biostatistics at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), specializing in the design and analysis of clinical trials that improve human health. His team has been involved in efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including early treatments, preventative drugs, and trials for antivirals and vaccines.

Nurse Alum
Alumni Profile
Published 04/29/2020

ECC nursing grad using compassion, focus in COVID-19 fight

In the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathleen Nesheiwat of Streamwood is in the thick of it, as a nurse on the medical pulmonary floor at Northwest Community Hospital. She and a group of mostly veteran nurses combine compassion and their special training to provide the first line of care for patients with symptoms caused by the virus.

Todd Ramljak
Staff Profile
Published 03/13/2020

Focus on soon-to-be Dr. Todd Ramljak

Last year, ECC and the City of Elgin Police Department came to a landmark agreement Students who graduated from ECC with their associate in applied sciences in criminal justice would be eligible to take the entry-level police officer exam. For Todd Ramljak, instructional coordinator for the criminal justice program, this agreement is the capstone of his 17-year career at ECC.

Ann Migatz
Staff Profile
Published 03/09/2020

You’ve got a friend in Ann!

Everyone on campus knows the face of Lead Barista Ann Dondelinger-Migatz. In her five years in the Café, she has met just about every student, staff, or faculty member on campus. For Ann, though, it’s about so much more than just serving coffee.

Associate Professor of English Ryan Kerr
Faculty Profile
Published 03/02/2020

Lumos Ryan Kerr (aka, shedding light on Ryan Kerr)

Kerr, associate professor I of English and English instructional coordinator, loves to talk about children’s literature. “The literature and messaging that shapes us as children carries through to influence our entire lives—our relationships, our politics, our very understanding of ourselves,” says Kerr.

ECC Gallery Curator Juan Fernandez
Newsletter | Staff Profile
Published 02/24/2020

The joy of working with Juan Fernandez

It may be the obvious choice, but Gallery Curator Juan Fernandez would love to live inside “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.” Luckily, his job entails living inside the art world at ECC, where he manages ECC’s art collection as well as coordinates shows in the three campus galleries.

Chief Human Resources Officer Anthony Ray
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 02/17/2020

Anthony Ray believes there’s no place like HR

When you ask someone what their passion is, and their response is “HR,” you know your workplace is in good hands. ECC is in good hands with Chief Human Resources Officer Anthony Ray. He is especially committed to emphasizing the ‘human’ aspect of HR and positioning ECC to be an employer of choice in our community.

Hiral Patel-Hutton
Student Profile
Published 02/14/2020

Interesting Internships: Hiral Patel-Hutton

When Hiral Patel-Hutton began her internship with the National Safety Council in Itasca, she did not have a lot of graphic design experience, but she wanted to learn first-hand how to design collateral for ad campaigns.

Bridget Hoffenkamp
Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 02/10/2020

Hoffenkamp trains techs how to keep it clean

Most people don’t give much thought to operating room set up when preparing for surgery, but Bridget Hoffenkamp, director of the surgical technology program, thinks about it all the time.

Craig Campbell
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 02/03/2020

Craig Campbell and the importance of listening to your mother

For Elgin Community College’s Deputy Chief of Police Craig Campbell, wisdom is a theme that runs through his life. Whether it was the early wisdom from his mother, the wisdom gained while working his way through life, or the wisdom he continues to pursue today, Campbell is always trying to improve.

Tyler Roeger
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 01/27/2020

Step into Tyler Roeger’s neighborhood

Tyler Roeger, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), has been at ECC for less than a year, but he knew he’d found the right fit during his campus tour. Learn more about Roeger’s work supporting faculty and discover his surprising hidden talent below.

Mary Perkins
Administrator Profile | Newsletter
Published 01/21/2020

Mary Perkins helps put the word “community” in Elgin Community College

As Dean of College Transitions and Secondary Partnerships, Mary Perkins brings together the college and the community to develop strategies and programs to help students achieve their dreams.

 Erik Enders, one of ECC's student life coordinators
Newsletter | Staff Profile
Published 01/13/2020

Erik Enders sets students up for success

When Erik Enders, student life coordinator for student success, arrived on campus for his job interview last summer, it was the first time he’d been to Elgin Community College. He knew about ECC from friends, but had not experienced the college. One visit was all it took to solidify his desire to be a part of the ECC community.