The online voice of cambridge campus students
 
by Kirsten Ellison

Contributing writer




“I think the most interesting thing about me is what I have overcome in life,” said Michael Relitz, a student from Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC).  

After getting involved in alcohol and drugs, Relitz went into rehab and has been sober for over two years and is currently maintaining a 3.9 grade point average in college. Relitz said, “I have learned a lot from my past mistakes and it has made me a better person.” 

At the age of 24, Relitz met his wife Catherine and married her six months later. Shortly after they met, his wife joined the Army and they then spent their first four and a half months where she was stationed, in Campbell, Ken.  His wife was deployed twice during that time and during her second deployment, lasting 15 months, he moved back to Minnesota and then enrolled at ARCC. 

When asked whom his heroes are Relitz responded, “My number one hero is my wife. She is a strong woman who served proudly in the United States Army and became a Sergeant.” Relitz enjoys spending time with his wife.  Their hobbies include camping in the summer, fishing and watching T.V.  He also enjoys playing poker and golfing. 

At one point in his life, Relitz didn’t have any goals, but now he has big dreams and is determined to achieve them. “My biggest dream in life is to start a family with my wife, get a good job and raise my kids to be the best that they can be,” he said.  He also aspires to someday create a television series.  “I have a lot of great ideas that I can hopefully someday bring to life, and bring people out there in T.V. land some enjoyment,” Relitz stated.  



 
 
by Rachel Kempen

Contributing writer




Since 2006, Jennifer Liberty-Clark, a proud member of Cambridge’s Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) psychology department, has been connecting with students on more than just an intellectual level. 

To her, college is more than just shuffling students around, and memorizing certain facts. It is about a time in a student’s life to reinvent, and discover their true selves.

“We are all like onions, with many layers. Peeling them back is finding our true self. I feel like it’s a life process, for sure, but as far as my career goes the onion has been peeled. I have found the inner core, the thing that was written for me to be, and to do long before I was born,” said Liberty-Clark.

However, Liberty-Clark didn’t always know that she’d end up with her career path as an educator. It took her years of peeling back the layers, and a twist in the road to find her purpose in life.




Psychology wasn’t anything new to Liberty-Clark growing up. Her uncle, George Petrangelo, was a psychology professor at St. Cloud University. Although, it wasn’t so much his two master’s degrees and doctorate that impressed her, but his knowledge for people, and how he interacted with them, mentioned Liberty-Clark.

It wasn’t until college as a freshman that Liberty-Clark truly got hooked on psychology, she said. The final push was a general psychology course. By 1991, Liberty-Clark received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in psychology with an emphasis in human resource management.

While working at a bank Liberty-Clark went on to earn her master’s degree in 1995 at St. Cloud University with two focal areas in counseling psychology and vocational rehabilitation. However, has life would have it, by the time she graduated with her degree the State of Minnesota had changed their licensing laws. “Basically, counselors were made obsolete with only a master’s degree, because insurance companies wouldn’t pay for them,” said Liberty-Clark.

“I was very disappointed and so went back to the bank to work while I figured out my route. I ended up working for Dale Carnegie Training in their Minnesota branch selling training/consulting services to fortune 100 and 500 companies. I also began actually training our customers. I did that for 10 years when I took an adjunct position at Century Community College teaching lifespan psychology,” said Liberty-Clark.

Slowly after that she eased her way out of the training and development field and into teaching at ARCC, Liberty-Clark explained.

Since then she has been teaching students about more than just theories of psychology, and the theorists that created them; she has been teaching them to believe in themselves, and embrace education, and how they can be the voice of change in the world. If nothing else, Liberty-Clark hopes to teach students that they are worthy of a college education, of being successful and grabbing happiness as their own. “If they leave my classes seeing ‘the cup half full rather than half empty’, I’ve done my job,” added Liberty-Clark.

 
 
by Josh Gloe

Contributing writer




With every bump in the road, pain shot through the leg of a young John Loomis. He had yet again broken his leg, this time in the middle of a Cub Scouts meeting. Although it was one out of many times he had to deal with a broken bone, that did not dull the pain.

Loomis, now 18 years old, and an Anoka-Ramsey Community College student, was born with brittle bones, technically known as osteogenesis imperfecta. The student estimates that he has broken a bone around 50 times in his life. He has undergone much pain, suffering, surgical treatments, and hospital time.

Through such hardship in his life, Loomis’ faith carries him through the good times and the bad, and he has developed a love for music. He explained that he continues to develop his passion in his faith and in his music, and it helps fuel him when times are tough, as well as when life is not as difficult.

Loomis is literally one in a million. Only one out of every million people diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta do not receive it genetically. Loomis is one of the extremely rare cases in that he did not inherit his brittle bones from family members.

Throughout his life, Loomis has had countless surgeries and medical procedures to suffer through, aside from the pain of breaking bones. In one notable case, in January of 2007, he had a major surgery on his back.

“I had extreme scoliosis,” he said, “and I had to have my vertebrae fused together.” After a lengthy amount of time spending all day in his bed for week after week, and after a slow recovery, Loomis’ back is essentially immobile. “Now I can’t bend my back,” he said.

Loomis said he kept track of those last few moments before surgery, because he knew he would be limited after the procedure. In reference to the morning of the surgery, he said, “I got to crack my back for the last time at 7 a.m. that day.”

A couple of years later, in September of 2009, Loomis had an external fixator inserted into his leg through what he described as a very painful surgical process. This was done in hopes of extending the length of one of his legs, as one was shorter than the other.

“I had five osteotomies,” he explained, “and the external fixator was on my femur. I had to daily use screws and bolts to lengthen it.” This was, he explained, yet another severely painful process. Loomis ended up having to stay almost completely immobile in his bed for several more months, until December of 2009.

Not three months later, in March of 2010, Loomis began feeling severe abdominal pain. “At first,” he said, “I thought that I had the flu. Well, after not eating for five days and being in quite a bit of pain - and that’s saying much for me - I told mom that I thought I was going to die one night. She said, ‘Well, I guess we should take you into the emergency room.’”

“Well, they poked and prodded, and finally, after about five hours, found the problem. I had burst my appendix, and it had been burst for three days. The doctor said that I would have died that night if we had not come in.”

Throughout all of this, the suffering, the near death experience, and the reasons to want to give up hope, Loomis has held his head high and grasped a higher power. His religious faith has given him hope and strength to carry on. “It is the most important part of my life,” he said.

By writing and performing music for the Catholic Marian group Schoenstatt (German for “beautiful place”), which is a global organization with several groups located in Minnesota, he combines his spirituality with his love for music.

Loomis has been playing piano for 10 years, cello for eight years, guitar for two years, and the drums for two years.

Throughout his times of hardship and troubles, pain and suffering, music was always a big part of his life. If he couldn’t physically play an instrument, he would be listening to it or singing it from his bed during his times of recovery.

Now on the rebound, Loomis is planning on working towards his Associates in Fine Arts degree in the area of music at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. He plans on using this to further his love of music, God, and the people around him.



 
 
by Michel Relitz

Contributing writer




Game on! Anoka-Ramsey Community College student Rachel Kempen is tired of the same old mistakes in video games. That’s why she’s setting her controls for auto-pilot; destination: game design. 

Kempen has given much thought to what career path to choose and has settled on game design. “The reason behind being a game designer is really simple,” said Kempen. “I enjoy games- everything from Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, to World of Warcraft and Doom. Heck, even Tetris can keep me entertained for hours.” 

Kempen spoke about story-lines, graphics, and game play. Beyond her love for the games she sees much room for improvement in the overall design of games. “The way certain areas or encounters are designed, they are just either extremely stupid and you begin to wonder, ‘who the heck thought this was a great idea’, said Kempen, “or other times they are so hard that you find yourself raging at your T.V. or computer.” 

Kempen added that there are times during games when she felt she could do a better job with the design. She said, “I always have these ideas pop into my head about what should have happened, or what they could have done to make an event better.” 

All this and more is what’s driving Kempen towards game design. Looking towards the future Kempen noted that, “It would be amazing to see my own ideas and designs in a popular video game. I could point something out and be like, ‘I designed that’.  Not to mention I’d have a blast having a career in game design.”

 
 
by Michael Relitz

Contributing writer




Some teachers obtain their degrees looking toward teaching at universities, yet others prefer state schools and smaller community colleges. Dr. Kate Maurer, member of the Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) English department, has had the best of both worlds.

Maurer was born in Little Falls, Minn and raised in St. Cloud, Minn where she attended a parochial high school. Maurer grew up believing she could be whatever she wanted to be, thanks to her mother’s praises. 

In her early post-secondary education, Maurer was engaged in scientific studies. She believed that a person always had to study something that was a challenge to them, but she soon became ill and fell behind. 

Maurer recalled, “When I was a sophomore in college I got very sick. I ended up missing about a month of school, and if you miss a month of chemistry and calculus when they are not easy for you to begin with, you will never catch up.” It was at that point in her education that Maurer had an epiphany. She added, “That’s when I realized, ‘wow, I don’t have to take something that’s hard for me.’ I always enjoyed literature and reading, and it never dawned on me that I could study for something that I have an affinity for.” 

Maurer explained that she was drawn to teaching by example. “I had some really good role models -- some professors who I just would do anything for. They were amazing, which made me want to be like them.” 

Maurer went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and followed that with a masters from Marquette University in Milwaukee where she also got her doctorate.  

While at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Maurer worked as a teacher’s assistant (T.A.). She stated, “I was a T.A., which in our field means you run the whole class. It doesn’t mean you help the professor, you are the professor.” She added, “Once I started doing that I really liked it. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to go but I found that I really sort of grew into my personality once I had to be in charge of a classroom, and I really enjoyed it. First it was to pay the bills and it quickly became something I very much enjoyed.”

Maurer has been teaching in one capacity or another since 1989. Before coming to ARCC she taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth for nine years. Maurer stated, “I wanted to come to a teaching-centered school. I had some philosophical differences with the approach of the four-year school.” Those differences were enough to convince her to make the move to the smaller campus of ARCC. 

Comparing ARCC to the University of Minnesota Duluth, Maurer said, “I like that it [ARCC] is very student orientated. To me that doesn’t mean, bend over backwards and do whatever the students want, but it means I’m given the freedom to spend time with you, to help you to get to know you as opposed to,  just ‘get them through, don’t care about them, push them on through.’ We are encouraged to get to know our students individually and spend time with them.” 

Maurer explained that she is happy with her decision to make the move to a smaller school and has no future plans on moving back to a bigger school. She is currently involved in teaching courses at ARCC such as: college writing and critical reading, British literature, introduction to literature, and the art of watching films. She also hopes to one day teach a special topic Shakespeare course.



 
 
by Rosalie Young

Journalism student




When Samantha Williams was only 12, she embarked on a journey with her family to Hawaii. Little did her parents know, but they had planted the seed that would sprout and bloom all over the world. She found the traveler spirit in her soul.

At the age of 20, Williams has logged many hours on flights to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Fiji. While most of those hours have been with family, she has also shared them with friends and a travel group called People to People Ambassadors. This program offers educational travel opportunities for students. It can also be a tool whereby college students receive credit for their hands-on study of the history, culture, art, geography, economics and government of the regions where they stay.

Fiji is one of Williams’ favorite destinations. Fiji is comprised of 333 islands. One tiny heart-shaped island is named Tavarua. Owned by a family friend, it is surrounded by turquoise water; offers world-renowned surfing and beaches of white sand.  While in transit on one of her visits, Williams was invited to stay with a mainland family where polygamy was practiced. The family consisted of two wives sharing one husband in a house with two sides, one for one wife and kids and the other side for the other wife and kids. Williams found this situation rather strange, but it was a normal lifestyle for that family.

Williams hopes to continue to enrich her portfolio of foreign destinations with a jaunt across the Atlantic to meet the Queen.



 
 
by Rachel Kempen

Journalism student




Who knew that Girl Scout leaders, and craft workshops could be the wake-up call to becoming an instructor? MaryAnn David, a business instructor at Cambridge’s Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) sure didn’t know. “I started teaching art workshops and trained adult Girl Scout leaders. Then it occurred to me that I wanted to be a teacher. I really enjoyed sharing my skills,” said David.

David has since then spent over 30 years as a teacher, and another 15 years as a college instructor. Today one can find her teaching business classes at ARCC. However, she won’t be there for all that much longer. “Currently I’m at retirement age; I plan to continue at this college as an instructor for perhaps a few more years but after that it’s time to pack my bags,” explained David.

Over the course of 45 years of teaching, David has learned a lot about herself she said. “I didn’t expect so much fun and enjoyment in doing what I now love to do! I didn’t ever think I could be teaching college level courses. It’s very exciting!”  David stated.

“I have learned that the more I teach, the more I realize I don’t know. I learn so much from my students every day. It’s great to learn from them,” said David. “I am still in awe of what I do!” 

During her time as an ARCC instructor, David said she had one student teach her an important lesson. There is nothing like a good nap. “I taught a keyboarding class to a very elderly couple (husband & wife) who tried their very best to manage the keyboard. Once though the elderly man fell asleep at the computer, and just leaned on the keys resulting in numerous pages of the same letter of the alphabet going on and on. I just let him sleep, as did his wife,” explained David.

However, David does the majority of the teaching in her classes. There she spends her time reaching out to students, and teaching them about computers and their software. But David said didn’t always teach about computers.

“I’ve always been a good typist and have had years of experience as a secretary. When everything changed to computers, I liked the idea of composing letters and messages via the keyboard and making corrections as you go. We used to use correction tape and white-out and before that, typing erasers and carbon paper. Can you even imagine?” stated David.

But that wasn’t the only thing that excited David she said. “I love the ability to think and speed-write as you go, and then make the corrections right in front of you before printing.  Also, because I am not very good at math, I so enjoy Excel because it can do my math for me!” David explained.

Although David can agree that computers and technology often benefit people, there are some down sides she points out. “With today’s technology and the demand for accelerated, on-line classes, I feel the ‘personal touch’ has been lost. I believe personal communication is critical, and that seems to be gravitating more and more toward ‘texting’… Where is the interpersonal communication and reading of body language to interpret the message as intended?” commented David.

Also David mentioned that technology doesn’t come without its faults. “The college network has a way of ‘acting up’ and it gets frustrating when the computer saves a student’s files to a place where they then can’t find them again,” explained David. “Sometimes though the students just need to pay a little bit more attention to where they save things,”

Although technology can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to be scary said David. “I wish for my students to not be afraid of the computers and to try new things out,” she said. With her older generation students David understands that most are afraid and don’t like the change that technology brings. She can relate.

“At mid-life, I once went from a manual typewriter on the job to an electric, and that was miserable! Younger folks don’t seem to hesitate about jumping into new things and adapting; perhaps they don’t have the experience behind them to see what could go wrong,” David stated.

However, she explains that one shouldn’t be held back by technology but embrace it. “I am at retirement age and going strong; my mother-in-law is 88 with a computer and plays games and surfs the Internet all the time,” said David. “But, I understand that computers can intimidate both the old and young.”

For the next couple years MaryAnn David says she will remain at the ARCC campus. During that time she says her positive and cheery personality will be there to continue to teach students to not be intimidated by computers. She boosts, “I’m quite animated and lively in the classroom.”



 
 
by Joe Schmitz

Journalism student




In the age of technology and many opinions, Josh Gloe, a high school student, has the perfect answer.

Gloe created Project:Informed in late December 2009.  It is a discussion forum in which members can chat, talk about or debate any topic they please.  The goal of the site is to get people involved in current issues and for the members to freely discuss their side of the argument.   The forum includes discussions on anything ranging from video games to religion.

“I hope to turn the board into a thriving community to debate and share thoughts,” says the 17-year-old Gloe.  “We have members as young as 13 and as old as 50, so certainly everyone is welcome.”

he forum has a section for general thoughts, as well as an opinion section. The opinion section is moderated by Gloe, so that the debates don’t become offensive or derogatory, making the site safe for young members.

Armed with a new site and goals to attend a four-year university to double-major in mass communications and marketing, Gloe claims he is just scratching the surface of his potential.  He encourages people to check out the site.  

He said, “It has a laid-back and welcoming feeling with plenty of areas for fun, but also a professional and controlled area for members to debate and discuss more serious issues.”

Gloe grew up in St. Francis, Minn. and currently attends school at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.  He also volunteers at the local church and at Feed My Starving Children. 

Gloe hopes his site is the next big hit. It can be found at http://projectinformed.proboards.com/.  

 
 
By Angelina Geinosky

Michael Seymour is the vice president of operations at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) Coon Rapids Campus. Seymour is an anomaly; at least that’s how he described himself. “In the way that I work, play, and view life, I’m a little bit different. I have the comfort from across all social classes, in the way that I can be up on 65 at fat boys, with a table full of bikers and feel at home, or I could be hobnobbing with professionals, doctors and lawyers, and have a foundation to converse with everybody,” said Seymour.

He has worked as the vice president of ARCC for the last eight years. Seymour said that now there isn’t a second that he is not thinking of the institution. He stated that after being involved with the college for as long as he has, his career became bigger then himself. 

Seymour said that ARCC helped him to mature as a person, stating that he has grown much more patient since he took on the role of vice president, but admits that if he had been asked 12 years ago, he would never have imagined himself sitting in the vice president’s chair.

Seymour said that he has been part of many changes he has been a part of at ARCC over the last 12 years. He admits that nothing is really done by one person.  He said “a lot of people contribute to the success of ARCC. I would never say, so and so works for me, but that they work with me.”

Seymour said that he feels the biggest impact he has had on ARCC is what he calls the coming together of the Coon Rapids and Cambridge campuses over the last decade. He stated that when he came on as the vice president, the campuses were like two separate entities, and now the relationship in regard to business alignment as well as student services is better than ever.

He accredited the faculty and students for helping to make the institution what it is today, acknowledging that every new day presents new obstacles that challenges the established perimeters, obstacles that he and the faculty have to find solutions to in order to keep the “highly regarded” reputation ARCC has earned over the years strong.

Seymour said that after time “It seems easy. People just look around and they see that thing are not that bad. We have facilities, nice technology, nice do-able workloads, and all those other things that make for a nice place to work. Safe environment, civil people, doesn't just happen. It takes leadership from the president down or the students up."

Seymour moved to Minnesota because of a job offer, he started working as a technology professor at a small university located in Austin, Minn. Seymour said that the market was too small for his career in Austin, which is how he ended up at ARCC, where he started his path towards vice presidency.

Seymour worked as what he calls “one of the first technology directors of the school.” He described that as a technology instructor he usually thought in a mathematical business-like manner, which he says is the sort of thinking he is required to use as the Vice President as well.

 Seymour was born in Milwaukee, Wis. 1964, but he was raised in Sheboygan, Wis. for the first half of his childhood with his little brother Mando, and his parents Eufemia and Jerry Seymour.  . He explained that his mother was full blooded Latino.
 Seymour attended Ferris State University and earned his associate and bachelor in television production, and also earned his master’s in teaching there, as well. After attending Ferris State, Seymour initially worked making and editing training videos out for the corporate offices of General Motors. He admitted that it was a dull, unfulfilling job and decided to pursue a more technological career. Seymour said that he had learned a lot in the way of computer functionality due to the ever changing technological advancements in the television production field.

Seymour is now living with his wife Karla, and their two children, Tori, 15 and Tyler, 11 along with their dog Murphy Macray in Andover, Minn. Seymour stated that besides hunting with Murphy, he mostly enjoys spending time watching his children participate in their own distinct activities. However, he stated that he is happy to take advantage of all the time he can get with his family; he admitted that the hardest part of being the vice president of ARCC is finding a balance between the college and his family.

 
 
By Angelina Geinosky

Mary Ann Larios is helping students to find their career paths everyday as a career counselor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC); ironically she didn’t always know that this is what she would one day be.

Larios actually changed her career path several different times in her life before she discovered her calling as a community college counselor. After graduating from high school, Larios attended Macalester College in St. Paul Minn., initially majoring in vocal performance. However after her freshman year she said that she decided to change her major and transferred to Saint Benedict Saint John University where she pursued a career in interior design.

After graduating from St. Benedict in 1982, Larios decided it was time to “go out and see what was out there.” She moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. and lived with her older sister. However, due to the struggling economy at the time Larios was decided to move to Phoenix, Ariz.  where she had heard there were jobs available in the interior design field. 

Larios worked as an interior designer and enjoyed it for about six years. During her mid-20’s however, she started working as a volunteer with soon-to-be moms and realized that counseling was what she calls her real passion. “I found I was getting so much more reward and satisfaction from this volunteer work then I was when I was an interior designer,” Larios admitted. Larios decided to go back to school and  received her masters in counseling from Arizona State University and later went on to gain her doctorate in human services from Walden University .

At first Larios was intrigued by junior high and high school counseling, but after a couple of informational interviews, she said she could sense that these schools were not for her. It was a friend of her husband’s who introduced her to community college counseling and after a couple more informational interviews she knew that this was the job she was meant to do. “Typically people in a community college are in the realm of wanting to improve their life through education, and it’s really exciting to be a part of that,” she said.

 She admits that even though she loves working at ARCC, her job can be hard sometimes because she doesn’t always know the outcome of the students she has helped.  “I might have some students come talk to me about a personal issue, or their career or whatever it is, and that might be the end of it. But I don’t know how their life progressed, and I think when your in a community college setting that’s typically the case,” Larios said.

Now after what Larios calls “a long journey,” she is happy to say that she has found a perfect match for her life. What she says she loves most about her job is the diversity of her workload. She says that her work excites her because she is not always doing the same thing over and over again.

Along with counseling Larios also takes part in many different mental development workshops at the school, in addition to teaching an online career development course. Larios said that she really enjoys the educational environment of ARCC, saying that she is confident in knowing that her work associates are always supportive of her and her different ideas.

For Larios, she says, it is both the faculty and students at ARCC that makes coming to work everyday a treat. She is admits being overwhelmed by her colleges’ fantastic work ethic as well as the willingness of students at ARCC to succeed. She says she loves knowing that she can make a difference in their lives and thrives on it, stating “I wouldn’t call it helping people, because people help themselves, but I enjoy being on that journey with them. To me, it’s very exciting."