PHOTO CAPTION: (
from left to right) Outstanding Graduates Joel Olson, James McNeil, Chad Newton, Hunter Dlugas, Sara Larson and Andrew Vandermissen at the Awards Dinner held on April 18 at Bay College.
Bay College is pleased to announce its 2017 Outstanding Graduate Award Winners, honored at an Awards Dinner held April 18. The graduates were selected by their educators for their academic excellence, leadership and community service. Each was sponsored by a local business, the Bay College Foundation and the Bay College Faculty Union.
The 2017 Outstanding Graduates are as follows:
Outstanding Allied Health Graduate - Joel Olson
Sponsored by OSF St. Francis Hospital
Joel was born in Marquette, and currently resides in the Escanaba area. Joel served in the Infantry in the United States Army for twenty-two years. He honorably retired with the rank of Sergeant 1st
Class. Joel graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Paramedic from Bay College. He will continue through the summer to complete his Field Internship, at which time he will be eligible for the NREMT Paramedic cognitive and psychomotor exam and licensing as a Paramedic with the State of Michigan. Throughout Joel’s time at Bay College, he has been a leader and mentor to many students. He was also instrumental in initiating the EMT/Paramedic Club. Joel’s future goals include furthering his education to become a line medic with wild land firefighting and to become an EMS instructor coordinator.
Outstanding Business Graduate - James McNeil
Sponsored by Schneider, Larche, Haapala & Company
James is a graduate of Escanaba High School and earned an Associate in Arts Degree in Business Administration from Bay College. In the fall, James will start his classes for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting / Finance minor through Lake Superior State University’s Regional Center within Bay College. James has been a tutor for Business Math, Environmental Science, and Computer Concepts and Applications. During his free time, he enjoys coaching Escanaba High School football.
Outstanding Social & Behavioral Sciences Graduate - Chad Newton
Sponsored by Burkhart, Lewandowski, Miller & Nastoff Law Offices
Chad is from Bark River, and graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Law Enforcement from Bay College. Chad’s instructors describe him as quiet, attentive, smart, prepared, and punctual. He is currently working at the Delta County Sheriff’s Department, and will be attending NMU’s police academy in May. Chad’s future plans include working as a police officer in a local police department.
Outstanding Math & Science Graduate - Hunter Dlugas
Sponsored by Hoegh Industries, Inc.
Hunter is a graduate of Escanaba High School and earned his Associate in Science Degree in Pre-Engineering from Bay College. During his time at Bay, Hunter worked as a tutor for the Academic Support Department, sharing his knowledge in math, physics and chemistry. He also received the Outstanding Study Group Facilitator Award, highlighting his exceptional tutoring skills. Hunter plans to transfer to Michigan Technological University majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
Outstanding Arts and Letters Graduate - Sara Larson
Sponsored by Bink’s Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Sara Larson is a graduate of Gladstone High School, and earned an Associate in Arts Degree from Bay College. Sara tutors multiple subjects for the Academic Support Department, including English, Math and General Education Courses. She founded the Renegade Writers Club, served as a TRiO Student Support Services Peer Mentor, was a student editor for Serendipity, and has been involved in campus play productions. Sara plans to attend Michigan Technological University.
Outstanding Technology Graduate - Andrew Vandermissen
Sponsored by Verso Corporation
Andrew is a graduate of Bark River-Harris High School and resides in Wilson. He earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Mechatronics and Robotics Systems from Bay College. Andrew has been on the Dean’s List every semester and Bay’s first graduate in this new program. He works as a Machine Operator at Stewart Manufacturing, and holds the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He is active with FIRST Robotics, where he has volunteered as a coach for the ICE - cubed team and has been a robot inspector for several contests throughout the state. Andrew plans to continue his education at Lake Superior University in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science program.
In addition to the Outstanding Graduate Awards, the 2017 Presidential Honor Award Recipient, Kayla Blunt, was recognized at the Awards Dinner. The Presidential Honor Award program was established by the Bay College Foundation in honor of Dr. Dwight E. Link, President Emeritus of Bay College, and his commitment to Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) students attending the college. Kayla is a Computer Information Systems double major with a 3.85 GPA, and is planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Kayla works for the Information Technology Department at Bay College strengthening her interpersonal and problem-solving skills, allowing her to offer the best support for technology related problems. Kayla is also heavily involved with TRiO. As a peer mentor, tutor, and student in the program, she works closely with students to obtain the resources, skills, and confidence needed for college success.
Michael Laverdiere, 2017 Student Commencement Speech Contest Winner, was also recognized at the Awards Dinner and spoke at Commencement on May 6. Michael graduated with an Associate in Arts Degree from Bay College, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. During his time at Bay, he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, was a math and psychology tutor and a Supplemental Instructor for Human Biology. Michael is a veteran of the United States Navy and a volunteer for the Delta County Angel Program. He is currently attending Northern Michigan University where he plans to graduate in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and later earn a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis.